My sister selected this 10-day river cruise for us because of the size of the ship (about 170 passengers) and the destinations and excursions (Amsterdam, Hoorn, Arnhem, Kinderdijk, Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Brussels, Keukenhof, Haarlem, ... Read More
My sister selected this 10-day river cruise for us because of the size of the ship (about 170 passengers) and the destinations and excursions (Amsterdam, Hoorn, Arnhem, Kinderdijk, Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Brussels, Keukenhof, Haarlem, and back to Amsterdam). We have family connections to the Netherlands and were very excited to see so many cities and enjoy so many activities (biking, walking, eating [eating!], sight seeing, beer tasting, meeting new people, etc.).
We were able to do all these things on this cruise. The excursions were interesting and the local guides were very knowledgable and skilled. The busy touring and dining schedules were maintained by the crew's use of printed daily guides, a daily announcements session before dinner, and overhead PA announcements. The ship's sailing, hotel and dining crews were efficient, friendly, helpful, and put the passengers' safety and pleasure first. The staff were particularly helpful to passengers on this cruise who had mobility or sight limitations or dietary concerns.
We had first-hand experience with the crew's and Viking's ability to maintain safety and manage logistics because of an accident we experienced on the river. Shortly after midnight on the seventh day of our cruise our ship and a tanker collided. Thankfully, a very few passengers and crew sustained minor injuries only. On the other hand, the ship was did not come out as well. The bow and kitchen were heavily damaged and there was lots of broken glassware, dishes and serving dishes, and glass tables and some shower doors were also shattered.
The crew in all departments handled this emergency quickly, efficiently and professionally. We were kept informed of events and crew members checked on passenger safety several times in the minutes and few hours after the collision. We were towed to a nearby port (Terneuzen). The crew and land-side Viking staff worked overnight to arrange for us to be bussed to a hotel for a lovely breakfast and then on to Bruges for the scheduled walking tour. That evening we stayed on board and the crew again worked all day and night so that the passengers could enjoy breakfast together in the ship's dining room. I have no idea how they did it. After breakfast we continued with scheduled events: a tour of the Delta Works and stops at Veere and the Watersnood Museum. At the end of the day we were delivered to a fabulous hotel in Amsterdam because the ship had to be put in dry dock for repairs. Our excursions from Amsterdam (where we would have been in the ship if the accident hadn't occurred) were held as scheduled. Despite the collision, the only excursion that was cancelled was the Flanders Field visit; everything else was accomplished as originally planned.
The Viking Idun crew and Viking corporate staff were available to passengers throughout the rest of our time together. All of them remained calm and kind throughout what must have been a very stressful time for them. Viking extended very generous compensation to passengers. Almost all the passengers completed the tour rather than fly back home early.
I have to mention several crew by name because they truly extended themselves pre-, and especially, post-collision:
Guest Services Sandra Slankandenac who, with her peers, always remembered our room number, greeted us kindly and answered all our questions.
Bartenders Gilbert, George and Yvanna. They were gracious and made a great lemontini!
Hospitality Manager Stefka Koleva supported her staff who kept our staterooms lovely.
Housekeeper Lillya was always ready with a happy greeting and kept us supplied with everything we needed.
Executive Chef Ronald Waarsdrop. I did not really appreciate the quality of his food preparation and presentation, and the skill of his kitchen staff and servers, until we had a typical hotel breakfast on Day 7 of the cruise.
Hotel Manager Harry Berislavic and Maitre D' Nenad Dukanovik. Both men have such a great sense of humor and were always in action.
Servers Istvan, Daniel, Tihomer, Kin were attentive, friendly, helpful and always wanted us to be happy.
Program Director "Joey" Schuijt. I do not know where to begin to list all that Joey did for the passengers and our experience on the Viking Idun. Before the collision he was efficient, funny, professional. After the collision he was those things as well as sensitive, responsive and deeply concerned that our experience be as positive as possible.
Captain Zoran Lukic. My sister and I enjoyed a conversation with the Captain one afternoon and found him to be kind and considerate. We learned about his family and his many years of experience as a Captain. We could plainly see his commitment to his profession and, most of all, to our safety. After the collision Captain Zoran, and Joey Schujit, worked without sleep to take care of us, our needs and the ship.
Overall, despite the accident, I had a wonderful experience on the Viking Idun and will take another cruise with Viking. Maybe Russia!
I wish the Captain and the crew well and hope they are together again on the Idun soon. Read Less