Sail Date: August 2012
We were the first passengers to board the Viking Aegir's maiden voyage. Check-in was easy, the cabin (even though it was the lowest category because I got the last cabin available when I signed up) was excellent. The ship had the ... Read More
We were the first passengers to board the Viking Aegir's maiden voyage. Check-in was easy, the cabin (even though it was the lowest category because I got the last cabin available when I signed up) was excellent. The ship had the smell of brand new carpet and they vacuumed about three times a day because of new-carpet-fuzzbunnies. The staff was absolutely fabulous. Cabin stewardess, wait staff, front desk staff, everyone was great and really seemed happy and enthusiastic about their jobs. The Captain, being the leader of the crew, obviously provided a great work environment for the staff. The Cruise Director, Feliz, was born for her job. She truly enjoyed it and was always available from early morning to late evening. The food was EXCEPTIONAL every meal and the service was impeccable. The off-boat excursions were meticulously planned and came off without any major hitches. The personal audio devices in every cabin were a great ammenity and when one did not work a staff member was always nearby with assistance. Having a staff member on each excursion was excellent because they were a "touch of home" in that they were someone to talk to if you missed something the guide said. All of the guides were top quality too. Overall the Aegir was a great vessel with a great itinerary and a GREAT staff. I have been recommending it to everyone who wants a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
I have to say that this cruise was well run and very enjoyable. Some people might criticize the pace of the cruise as too fast but it was exactly what I was looking for in a river cruise. Each day was a new port, there were activities ... Read More
I have to say that this cruise was well run and very enjoyable. Some people might criticize the pace of the cruise as too fast but it was exactly what I was looking for in a river cruise. Each day was a new port, there were activities available all day, and the tours offered where included or at a very fair price. We participated in activities every day and we were busy all day, every day but you are not required to take every shore excursion. The cruise can be as relaxing as you wish. You can go off on your own if you wish. It allowed us to cover more territory in a week than any other method of travel in reasonable luxury. The food on board was very good and there was a good selection to choose from. The cabins on the new longboats were comfortable and practical and made very good use of the space available. I never felt cramped. The ability to travel Europe and never have to leave the same comfortable room cannot be overstated. Every aspect of the cruise itself was outstanding and if I have to find a criticism, it would be that the internet connection was not as reliable as it could have been and docking the boat with the satellite disk under a bridge one day did drop the internet and TV for that day. On the other hand, having TV and internet at all beats most other options available and I was still able to keep in touch enough to keep my business going while I was out. Now for the negative. Viking Cruise lines are clearly an unequaled river cruise line but they are a below average travel agency. Being able to book entire trip including stay-overs and airfare appears convenient and supports the cruise business, but I suspect this travel agency is run separately from the cruise line and it shows. Their primary interest is locking in the original booking and after that, it is difficult to get anything else done or even get a callback. The information concerning the cruise is very complete and available on the website but the other travel arrangements are not and the information you receive concerning these other travel arrangements may change after you book the trip. They are out to book the additional arrangements and are a bit loose with facts. Here is the story: Viking may offer free or deeply discounted airfare but here are many conditions that are far from clear when you book it. Extra charges if you want inputs into the airlines or arrival and departure times. Extra charge to arrive earlier or leave later. Extra charge to not book their hotels for extended stays. They will tell you that you can use your frequent flyer privileges with your airline for your benefit but you can't. You can only upgrade through Viking at extra charges and miles than the airline requires. They will tell you that you can upgrade through the airlines but this is not true. By the way, this is not a requirement of the airlines or fare class. I had a long talk with United Airlines and they were willing to give me the upgrade, but the agreement they had with Viking did not allow them to do it. It's a locked in profit center for Viking no matter what the agent tells you when you book the trip. When I tried to get my standard upgrade with United, Viking told me it would cost $9000 for them to allow United to give me the upgrade. Welcome to the bait and switch! I tried to talk to someone in management (Rose) about this problem; she said she would get back to me. I called her back and another person told me she was too busy. After that, I didn't hear from her or anyone again. At this point. I had no options at any cost. Summary; Viking is an amazing cruise line and a lousy travel agency. I recommend the cruise but be very leery of the airfare deals and consider booking your own travel. We would have been better off. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
The idea of a river cruise was new to us and we did enjoy the scenery, although only two of the days involved sightseeing from the ship. Otherwise we sailed overnight. PROS: The towns of the Rhine Valley. Gorgeous and amazing even on ... Read More
The idea of a river cruise was new to us and we did enjoy the scenery, although only two of the days involved sightseeing from the ship. Otherwise we sailed overnight. PROS: The towns of the Rhine Valley. Gorgeous and amazing even on cold, rainy winter days. They must really be stunning in the spring time. The breakfast oatmeal! Everyone, including the crew, said it was the best thing on the menu. Breakfast and lunch were fine. New ship! Fit and finish was immaculate as you would expect. Getting on and off very easy. Nice itinerary (Basel to Amsterdam). CONS: Not much to do on board. Dinner quickly became tiresome. Didn't open dining room until 7pm. Didn't eat until 8. Didn't get out of there until 9:30 most nights. The whole evening was wasted in a very loud and uncomfortable atmosphere. The food was as good as you can expect on a cruise ship, meaning good but not gourmet. Although they said up front that you could always get food in the lounge, there were only five rather dull, unhealthy choices on the menu. No comfortable furniture anywhere. The four of us wanted to play cards at a normal table. Sorry! There were only three and they were out on the cold afterdeck. Rest of the furniture was modern, low and slouch-inducing. Our room also smelled bad. Other guests also complained but they were unresponsive. Finally, I returned after an excursion half-asleep on the bus and managed to leave my pack with glasses, hats, Kindle, etc. Discovered my mistake about an hour after leaving bus. They said they called bus company but never got my stuff back. What bus driver doesn't check his bus after a tour for lost items?   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
This was our fifth Viking cruise within the last 3 years and we have another booked so we are fans of the brand. If you book on an early offer price they are rarely bettered in our experience. This trip was booked for 2 reasons.We are ... Read More
This was our fifth Viking cruise within the last 3 years and we have another booked so we are fans of the brand. If you book on an early offer price they are rarely bettered in our experience. This trip was booked for 2 reasons.We are fans of German Xmas markets plus we wanted to try out a new Viking longship--as they call their new design. They have launched several this year with more to come in 2013. Ordinarily we have not booked a french balcony cabin as even on a deal a standard plain window cabin is coming in at around £155 each a day which is plenty but that does include an excursion a day plus house wine or beer with lunch and dinner (and bottled water plus tea/coffee from a machine 24/7). This time was no exception but it proved to be a mistake. Every time you used the bathroom plumbing noises were very evident in the cabin so if one was taking a shower the other endured a racket in the main cabin as the water flowed through the pipework.It was even louder in the bathroom . Additionally if another boat or barge was passing by then you picked up its engine noise from about 4 lengths before to about 4 after.And this was even if the boat was passing on the opposite side of our ship. We resorted to sleeping with wax earplugs to try and get some uninterrupted sleep--but with difficulty I wondered if the extra noise on the longship was due to its construction--maybe aluminium was used for lightness and strength.No one will tell me.I am surprised that they have built so many to the same plan without introducing just one and getting feedback on its "wrinkles" and then sorting them out. We were not alone in our criticism .Others near us complained of the same when we mixed as we ate and chatted about the cruise.(all open seating).So we will not travel on the lower deck on one of these again! Having said all that the remainder of the ship was fine --very light and airy.A bit short on seating in the main lounge for daily briefings if everyone turned up. Breakfasts and lunch were mainly buffet style and food choices good but unexceptional.Dinners were served after ordering usually from a choice of 3 on the menu and were very good indeed in our view.To us the house white is indifferent and the red just about palatable but it is included in the price paid. The itinerary was the standard Amsterdam to Basel with some very good daily stops but being december we had xmas markets for 5 days out of 7 to enjoy in and around the standard sightseeing tours.And snow on 5 out of 7 also which made the Black Forest coach trip quite magical. Will we go back on Viking? Certainly but regettably will have to pay more to be higher up if the booked trip is on one of these new ships in which case we will go less often. Having written to Viking about the noise levels we are still waiting for their comments if indeed they do bother to reply Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2012
Not one of the best cruises I've been on. Will probably stick to Uniworld and Avalon for river cruising. First the Good: 1. A great staff - almost across the board. Everyone was first class, with the exception of some of ... Read More
Not one of the best cruises I've been on. Will probably stick to Uniworld and Avalon for river cruising. First the Good: 1. A great staff - almost across the board. Everyone was first class, with the exception of some of the restaurant servers. In the mornings it could take quite awhile to get some fruit juice, tea or water. Unless you drank coffee (which I do not) - coffee came right away. The breakfast food was buffet style, but the drinks were not. You had to flag down someone and hope you got your drink before you were done with your breakfast. But all other staff just could not do enough for you. Reception staff was incredible. 2. New ship just months old so everything was fresh and clean. 3. Home-made soups and dinner meals were excellent. Some of the best fish dishes I've ever had. 4. Very comfortable beds with nice linens. And the Not So Good: 1. Staterooms are SMALL. We were in a group and checked out friends' rooms in other categories, and they were all on the small side with teeny-tiny showers. Except for the Suite which will be described later. 2. Don't take Cabins 100 and 101! Viking should not even allow paying passengers in these cabins. The gangways are deployed right above you, and whoever designed this vessel did not believe in soundproofing. The noise at 11 p.m and 6 a.m. could wake the dead when crew was deploying the gangway. Also, whenever a passenger with hard soles or heels traversed said gangway coming or going, it sounded like Fred Astaire was up there. And when in port, the window looks directly onto the side of the dock. That's all you see six inches in front of you - concrete, metal or dark wood. 3. Apparently, from the lower deck waste water must be pumped upward. Which is fine, but the pumping system sounds exactly like an old coffee percolator from the 1970's. It is loud in the room and WILL wake you up. I could hear my neighbor's pump, and I am sure they could hear mine. I could also hear my neighbor's TV, closet hangers banging, etc. Again, did someone not want to spend a couple dollars in some soundproofing? This was the noisiest vessel I have EVER been on. 4. The showers in everyone's room drained slowly...and I mean slowly to the point where you need to cut short your shower because you think it's about to overflow. 5. Wine choices at lunch and dinner are very limited. The first few days the white wine offered was Chablis and the red wine offered was Merlot, neither one of those varietals that I care for. Thank goodness that changed after a few days. And fruit juices and sparkling water are not offered between meals - you'll have to pay for those. I know Viking wants you to buy the optional premium beverage package, but it was REALLY overpriced, and if only one of you drinks in the room and the other occupant does not drink, you still have to buy the package for both room occupants. That's ridiculous! The good thing is you can take your own liquor and wine on board with you, which I would definitely recommend. 6. LOTS of buffet food on this cruise. Breakfast was pretty much buffet only. You could order a couple egg dishes from the kitchen, but you were still stuck with all accompaniments coming from the buffet. I never once had any hot breakfast potatoes or hot bacon, just kind of lukewarm at best. Lunch buffet dishes were usually nice, but again, not real hot. I personally don't like a lot of buffet foods - it's germ central on all the shared serving utensils, as many guests do not avail themselves of the hand sanitizer. And sure enough by the end of the cruise half of our party either had colds or were coming down with one. 7. Let's talk about the expensive Suites. Beautiful rooms, well-designed, beautifully appointed, nice, large wrap-around balcony, BUT, oh-my-gawd, one night it felt like you were sleeping in the engine room. If you are deaf and rich, this would be the room for you. Some nights it was quiet, some nights it was deafening. It's surprising that Viking put the two most expensive rooms on the boat right where the engine noise is. Again, who dropped the ball on designing in some sound-proofing? Viking apparently has 4 more boats like this on order, but I'm surprised they are buying these before the jury's in on how well this ship has done. 8. This is a WALKING trip. There is LOTS of walking on the tours. Be prepared. 9. There were some interesting presentations in the Lounge, but if you were sitting on the starboard side towards the back, good luck hearing what was being said. When they were using just a mic and an amp it did not come through the ceiling speakers on that side. Very poor design and execution leaving many passengers frustrated. 10. The Lounge can get a little crowded if inclement weather prohibits use of the upper outside deck. If it's too cold to go outside, it can feel uncomfortably tight in that lounge area. Solution: Avoid cold weather cruises! 11. Where's the bartender??? Sometimes you couldn't buy a cocktail to save your life. Is he doubling as a steward and changing sheets somewhere?? What?? I once tried to order a Martini at 4 pm and was told the bartender will have to do it as no one else knows how, but no one knew where he was. It's a Martini, guys! One of the easiest drinks to make. I offered to walk her through it, but no, couldn't do that. Waited 20 minutes for the bartender. Some employee cross-training might be called for. 12. Lastly, there was unanimous disappointment by all in our party about the itinerary. This cruise was marketed as a Christmas Market cruise. However, Christmas Markets were certainly not plentiful, nor was there ample time to explore the few that were available to us. Unusually high water levels contributed to some port visits being cut way short, which was also very disappointing, and we did not seem to make up that time somewhere else. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
well were do I start...our flight out of Tampa was cancelled that started the ball rolling we missed all of our connections. We finally made into Basel at midnight the ship was due to leave at 7:00 pm but have no fear Viking to the rescue ... Read More
well were do I start...our flight out of Tampa was cancelled that started the ball rolling we missed all of our connections. We finally made into Basel at midnight the ship was due to leave at 7:00 pm but have no fear Viking to the rescue they held the ship for us there were three other couples waiting to get on board. When we arrived at the ship Simon the cruise director was waiting outside for us took us in and they had warm soup sandwiches and dessert waiting for us we were treated like royalty. This is my fifth cruise with Viking and they have never disappointed me. My best friend luggage never arrive till the day before we were do to get off the ship again Viking could not have done enough to help my friend they offered to do her laundry for free plus help her with all the paper work. Enough said on this. The Christmas markets were wonderful Cologne was the best and one thing to remember is that at the Christmas markets they only take cash so make sure you have plenty of euros. I would do this cruise all over again it was a wonderful experience one that I will never forget Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2013
Our trip was the Passage to Eastern Europe consisting of 2 nights in Budapest a 7 night cruise and 1 night in Bucharest. For those you who want a short review... this was the best cruise we have ever taken!!! The food was 5 star, as well ... Read More
Our trip was the Passage to Eastern Europe consisting of 2 nights in Budapest a 7 night cruise and 1 night in Bucharest. For those you who want a short review... this was the best cruise we have ever taken!!! The food was 5 star, as well as the service and attentiveness of the entire staff from the captain on down. For those of you, who would like more details, read on. Arrival at Budapest: Our flight from Atlanta via Paris was delayed three hours due to a mechanical problem. Once we collected our luggage, the Viking representatives were waiting for us at the arrivals area. We brought our luggage to the waiting busses and took the 40 minute ride to the Budapest Marriott. When we arrived at the hotel, I went to the luggage compartment on the bus and was told by the driver; “Sir, you luggage is no longer your concern, its mine”. In the hotel lobby, Viking had a reception area set up with our room keys and other documentation relating to the next days itinerary. Once we received our keys, we went to our room, and our luggage was there waiting for us! Make note, all the rooms overlook the Danube River. Seeing that our arrival was so late, we went to bed to recharge our batteries for the things to come. Budapest: After breakfast, we had a 4 hour tour of the city. Budapest is an old world European city filled with friendly people. After the tour we returned to the hotel and I ventured out on my own to explore the city. Within walking distance of the hotel there is Vaci Street which is closed to vehicles. Here you’ll find cafes, bars, restaurants and boutiques. Also within walking distance, on the way to St. Stephen’s Basilica, there is another pedestrian area that is filled with vendors selling souvenirs, breads, pastries and food. After eating, it was back to the hotel to get ready for the cruise the next day. Embarkation: In the afternoon, we met at the hotel to be transported to the ship. Upon arrival at the pier, we boarded the ship, surrendered our passports and received our cabin keys. We were escorted to our cabin and when we opened the door our luggage was on the bed. We were invited to a buffet lunch being served in the Aquavit lounge. There were plenty of items to choose from as well as free flowing beer, wine and soft drinks. Cabin: We were in cabin 331 which is a category A veranda cabin. These cabins are not as large as veranda cabins on ocean going vessels, but they are quite functional. There is ample closet space as well as 8 drawers and shelves in the closet. There are multiple 110v outlets throughout the cabin and a safe. The only con to the cabin is that the mattress was hard. Viking should have put pillow top mattresses in the cabins instead of the 8 inch hard mattress. However Vince, the head of housekeeping went out of his way to provide us with a solution. He had the cabin stewardess place multiple mattress toppers on the bed, and that solved the problem. Dining: This is where Viking excels. The first night I ordered the New York strip steak prepared medium. I have never been able to get a steak prepared to my liking on the first attempt on any cruise line. Viking is the exception as my steak was perfect! That evening, the Executive Chef asked me how my steak was and told me that all of Vikings meats were rated Prime. There was not a single mediocre meal during our cruise. Some of the offerings were; Beef Wellington, Crusted Grilled Salmon, Veal Osso Buco, Filet Mignon with Tiger Prawns, Blackened Halibut and Lamb Shank. All prepared expertly and seasoned to perfection. The only con to the restaurant is that there is no dress code. It is not uncommon to see people wearing jeans during dinner. One night during dinner I saw a very large woman wearing a skin tight tee shirt (not a pretty picture), a man in jeans and a plaid shirt with both a belt and suspenders and a man wearing the same tattered, rolled up jeans he wore for the past 5 days. This takes something away from the 5 star quality of the restaurant. Entertainment: During the cruise, Viking brings on locals to entertain us with folkloric music and dance. There are enrichment talks and daily briefings regarding the following day’s tours. Besides that, there is a pianist each night in the lounge. Tours: Each day starting at 8:30 or 9:00 there is a tour. It could be a city tour, visit to an equestrian center or fishing village. There is always ample free time to shop, explore on your own or nap. Your day can be as full as you want. Disembarkation: On the last day you are asked to have your luggage outside your cabin by 8:00am for pickup and transfer to the hotel. After breakfast we check out and proceed to the waiting buses for transportation to the Bucharest Hilton. The Hilton was a 40 minute ride from the pier, and again, by the time we collected our room keys and got the elevator, our bags were already in our room. That night we walked around in the city, ate in the lounge at the hotel and turned in early as we had a 3:30am wake up call for our trip to the airport. Our shuttle to the airport left the hotel at 4:30am and the fact that we were heading back to reality set in. We are already planning a trip to France on Viking in the fall of this year for our anniversary as we know Viking is now our cruise provider of choice. Congratulations on a job well done!!!   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2013
With several exceptions of a minor nature this "Grand European" sailing from Amsterdam to Budapest was stellar in all regards. Our timing for this sailing was marred by the fact that Europe was experiencing it's coldest ... Read More
With several exceptions of a minor nature this "Grand European" sailing from Amsterdam to Budapest was stellar in all regards. Our timing for this sailing was marred by the fact that Europe was experiencing it's coldest Spring in many years and that detracted from the overall experience. Can't hold VRC responsible for this! From our standpoint VRC was in the hotseat as far as us sailing with them again but WOW, their performance on this trip was mighty good. So good in fact that we will book a "Waterways of the Czars" itinerary with them in the future. The only gripes we had were too much idle free time in 3 German cities that were basically shut down due to Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Easter Monday, the absence of space in the Viking lounge for presentations and local talent shows, and the inability for passengers to pay off their outstanding room charges until between midnight and 9am on the day of disembarkation. VRC should warn their customers who sail in Europe during the Easter holiday that most city visits on these days will result in shut down towns and shopping. The inadequate space in the lounge is well documented by other posters. The food at each meal from lunch in Amsterdam to breakfast in Budapest was equal to the fabulous meals we have enjoyed on Silversea and Celebrity expeditions to Antarctica, the Arctic, and the Galapagos. We don't know how the staff on Aegir does it but they consistently presented superior dining experiences. The house red and white wines wines were just fine but certainly not top cabin. The menus were varied and portion size was completely acceptable. The soups and entree's were very good and the sorbets better than what we have enjoyed on previous ocean cruises. The availability of beverages and cookies during the day was appreciated. The hotel manager, Oliver, and the maitre'd Valentin (and their staffs) did a commendable job every day. Breakfast in the Aquavit Terrace was a nice departure from the hustle and bustle of the breakfast buffet in the dining room. Our "aquarium class" lower deck cabin was adequate and the bathroom, although quite tiny, was fine. Closet space was ample but the drawers were not very high and had smaller than desired capacity. We did OK with the space. The bed creaked a lot but we slept well. A few times we were jolted at night as the ship bumped the walls in the locks. We quickly fell asleep after waking to the bumps. We got used to the vacuum pumps from adjoining cabins and would say this problem documented by other posters is overblown. The internet connection throughout the sailing was good, far better than it was on our previous VRC sailings. Most of the local tour guides were quite good as they balanced information, personal stories and humor. The visits to the "alt stadt's" in town after town did get a bit old as we visited the walled cities and saw the same old architecture throughout Germany. The "ABC" (another blooming church or castle or cathedral) tour comment got a bit of a workout by our fellow passengers! Service in our cabin and in the dining room was outstanding with the staff going above and beyond in performance and overall kindness. Can't say enough about Stela caring for our cabin and Damir and Teodor in the dining room. It's a bit tight and a little on the noisy side in the dining room but we really have no gripes on this issue. Our table mates (two couples from Australia and Canada) were wonderful and we hope our paths cross again. They were greatly appreciated as were their colleagues. The concierge was very helpful and the program director kept things moving with good info and injections of his talent and advice. Wish the PD would have kept a better handle on the behavior of rude passengers who tried to talk over him when he was presenting important info to the group at the daily briefings. We thoroughly enjoyed the onboard entertainment afforded by a glass blower, classical German singers, and a Hungarian music and dance troupe. Liar's Club, trivia, and longest German word competitions were fun. We took advantage of a new VRC policy for future sailing vouchers which do not have an expiration date. It's too bad VRC does not have the technology to book future sailings whilst passengers are onboard. Overall this was a very positive experience, one that will bring us back to VRC again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2013
Our "North Sea to the Black Sea" cruise on the Aegir will always be our favorite cruise. Even though we have taken several Viking cruises, none will ever match the Aegir. It was an excellent cruise, the ship was wonderful and, ... Read More
Our "North Sea to the Black Sea" cruise on the Aegir will always be our favorite cruise. Even though we have taken several Viking cruises, none will ever match the Aegir. It was an excellent cruise, the ship was wonderful and, if you ever take this cruise, look for two of the dining room servers who were absolutely the best ever: Marius and Jazzminka. Also cruise director Roddy was first rate and with us no matter what the weather or the circumstance. Not that these three were alone, they were just the standouts on what was a first rate group of people. No aspect of our needs were overlooked and they catered to us continuously. It was the coldest spring in four hundred years and we needed a LOT of support. If I had one cruise in the world I would do again it would be this one. I could not recommend the Aegir more highly . Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2013
This was our second Viking River Cruise.The first on the Aegir. We had a room downstairs that was below water level,which made me search out escape routes before we left port.2 ways out. We stopped in Belgrade and were showen bullet ... Read More
This was our second Viking River Cruise.The first on the Aegir. We had a room downstairs that was below water level,which made me search out escape routes before we left port.2 ways out. We stopped in Belgrade and were showen bullet ridden buildings.Returning to the boat there was no security check and the gangway remained unmaned all night. There were a lot of Buffet meals. The cabin was tiny ,just bigger than the bed two singles beds,pushed together. Advertised as a Romantic Danube Cruise ,it was anything but romantic, with war stories and comunnism the main theme The scenery was nice if you dont mind a polutted river. I think it will be a few more years ,for this part of the world to get it together Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2013
While this vacation did not match our planned trip to Eastern Europe, I must say we all had a very interesting and enjoyable time. To be honest, I would have liked the planned trip, but given the record floods and the decision by Viking to ... Read More
While this vacation did not match our planned trip to Eastern Europe, I must say we all had a very interesting and enjoyable time. To be honest, I would have liked the planned trip, but given the record floods and the decision by Viking to attempt the cruise, I was astounded that our vacation was as enjoyable and educational as it was. No one loves bus trips, but we made the best of it...and the crew on the ship was outstanding at arranging trips on the fly. We saw things that we would not have seen (while missing some that we wanted to see)- I guess we will have to go back another time!! As for what we DID do on this ill-fated cruise...we had fun! Our young grand-daughter was at least 30 years younger than the average passenger, and this was her first river cruise. We felt pretty confident that she would be fine with this "adult only" type ship but one never knows. The reality was she had a grand time-- made lots of friends, some she is emailing now that she is home! While her deck was on the side of the ship next to the other docked ships, she and her mother spent more time in the public areas meeting people and enjoying the provided side trips. I was lucky, my room was on the water side, but honestly, I never really used the deck...I were too busy. We used our time in the little town of Novi Sad to really soak up Serbian life and the history of Eastern Europe after Communism. What a wonderful experience for all of us, but especially for our grand-daughter. For me, it was wonderful because I was close to the area where my grandparents were born. I saw things that they did in their home in America, and I now know where it came from ... the grape arbor in the yard leading to their door, the rugs my grandmother made on her loom..it almost made me cry!! We get so caught up in all of our "things" that it is good to see folks who are happy with far less. Our room steward was exceptional...the concierge went above and beyond for us, the entertainment was fine....you are not on a "Broadway" ship for goodness sake. I guess as a recent cancer survivor, I don't understand wasting energy being upset about what life presents to you...This could be your last day! It almost was for me, so I use each day as a day to learn, enjoy and be thankful! This trip was not what we planned, but it was not the worst trip by any means. We all (4 people)enjoyed this trip immensely, and then to be given a full refund )and I mean full... no thousands less, a free bar bill, and 1/2 off vouchers for the next cruise...what a treat!! I'm sure this was a big hit for Viking to take, cost wise....but we thought they did the best they could do once the error was made to do this cruise. Many of the folks I talked with thought the same thing.. Travelers should ALWAYS be ready for unexpected things to occur. Viking gave us a lovely ship, perfectly fine meals- (the local fare is what you expect if you are traveling in Eastern Europe), great staff, and some unexpected drama...some of which was brought on by the travelers themselves...What else do you want on vacation??? Would I travel Viking again...yes...next summer!!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2013
My wife and I made reservations for the Viking 2013 Passage to Eastern Europe (June 15 Budapest to Bucharest) cruise in August of 2012. Their brochure described a wonderful journey spending eight days cruising down the Danube and visiting ... Read More
My wife and I made reservations for the Viking 2013 Passage to Eastern Europe (June 15 Budapest to Bucharest) cruise in August of 2012. Their brochure described a wonderful journey spending eight days cruising down the Danube and visiting venues we had not seen before. They particularly highlighted the Iron Gate area. In addition to the monies paid to Viking we used many thousands of air miles for our flights. These miles could have been deposited back in our account had the trip been cancelled prior to leaving. Due to extreme flooding on the Danube I checked with Viking regularly during the seven days prior to the departure date from Budapest both by phone and their online site. They said we would be notified if the cruise were to be cancelled. I called Viking 24 hours prior to leaving San Francisco Airport and again was advised the trip was a go even though Viking had cancelled many trips due to rising waters on the Danube and elsewhere. Their online site still stated we would leave Budapest as scheduled. Whoever made the call to force the trip from Bucharest back to Budapest made a very unfortunate decision. With state of the art weather information, history of flooding, local river officials and continued cresting of the river it is unfathomable Viking would depart Bucharest only to be stuck between bridges in Novi Sad. It was not waiting one day for the river to subside but six days. In addition we paid extra for an outside balcony we could use sitting in chairs enjoying the described sights. Unfortunately we spent six days looking at another boat tethered one foot away. After cancelling so many trips I also wonder if the insurance company put pressure on Viking to make an attempt to depart. Had Viking cancelled this trip the insurance I paid for would have reimbursed me and I could have put my air miles back in my account for future use. In any case Viking with its resources knew the river was or would not be navigable and should not have left Bucharest. The decision to continue this cruise was a reckless decision and is the full responsibility of Viking Cruises. As stated in a petition signed by many we believe we were lied to by Viking as they knew full well a completion of the journey to our embarkation point of Budapest was not possible. Why Viking would risk it's reputation and the loyalty of passengers with such a feckless decision is beyond comprehension. We finally left after six days in Novi Sad to cruise 20 hours mostly in the dark to Calafat Romania. We went through the highly touted Iron Gate at night. We were then bussed six plus hours from Calafat to Bucharest enduring a flat tire on the bus along the way. We arrived in Bucharest around 4:30 pm, were hustled to a tourist trap restaurant for what should have been a 12pm lunch where we had exactly one hour to eat blah food and listen to loud music. Initially we were offered 50% off a future cruise and after the petition was presented were offered 100% back on this cruise excepting air costs and 50% of the value of this cruise towards another cruise we must book before June 2014. I am not sure why other posts indicated only a credit of 75% credit on different cruises. To those Viking sycophants' who defend Viking because of the weather I say yes you can't control the weather but you can make intelligent decisions with the information at hand and if you don't at least be honest to your customers. If some of the malcontents had not signed the petition I am sure the first 50% offer would have been the only one. I won't comment on noise, food or rambling bus trips as those have been already been addressed on other posts and I for the most part agree. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2013
The ship Aegir is beautiful, very modern, very clean, very good food and friendly staff. We did this cruise for our 26 Wedding Anniversary and were looking for a nice romantic time with good sightseeing and entertainement. However, the ... Read More
The ship Aegir is beautiful, very modern, very clean, very good food and friendly staff. We did this cruise for our 26 Wedding Anniversary and were looking for a nice romantic time with good sightseeing and entertainement. However, the best thing about the cruise was our stateroom butler Vinnie and the Chef who spoiled us with his excellent food. The itineary was not exciting but that's not really Viking's fault. However, the noise-level on the ship is! The ships are beautifully designed but obviously none of the designers nor Vikings' Management has stayed in any of the cabins on the 3rd level (which is the most expensive one). Right above the stateroom is a running/walking track which IS BEING USED. Although the ship has restrictive hours for the use of this track - passengers do not really respect them. So it might be that someone feels like running at 5 am or 11 pm. Being in your stateroom you feel that the ceiling comes downn on you any minute. But the worst experience is that Viking does not care at all!!! Management on the ship refers you to the questionaire at the end of the trip and Viking Headoffice sends you a lame apology..... A LOT OF MONEY BADLY SPENT!!! >Next time we will do Crystal Cruises again where you truly get what you pay for!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2013
"It is harder to seek pardon afterwards than to be cautious beforehand", from "The Vikings' Guide to Good Business", offered for sale in the Viking Aegir gift shop. Perhaps the executives at Viking River Cruises ... Read More
"It is harder to seek pardon afterwards than to be cautious beforehand", from "The Vikings' Guide to Good Business", offered for sale in the Viking Aegir gift shop. Perhaps the executives at Viking River Cruises should make themselves familiar with this centuries-old book and the advice it contains. As a former executive manager, I always found that making the right decision at the right time was what set you apart from those who just drew a salary. In those cases where problems arose, maintaining a commitment to corporate integrity, ethics, and the simple acts of being open and truthful went a long way to meliorating the situation. Again, lessons that don't seem to be part of the Viking approach to business. The flooding on the Danube was an act of God. The decision that put us on this flooded river was an act of corporate ineptitude. Our planned 11 day river cruise, a celebration of our 25th wedding anniversary, turned into 6 days of confinement on a veritable prison barge with a mounting number of hours on poorly air-conditioned buses used to visit marginally interesting sites to take our minds off our situation. Our contracted "river view stateroom" offered us only the blackened curtains of another ship, tethered inches away from us. The only escape from the claustrophobic room/balcony was a choice between the outside deck (in 95 degree temperatures) or the lounge with a high-school level talent playing incessantly on the piano with Zombie-like patrons sitting around him staring off into space or asleep in the chairs. We were subjected to an orchestrated program of lies, half-truths, and deceptions designed (IMO) to keep the passengers from open revolt and, not coincidentally, to keep Viking within their contract obligations to avoid litigation. When the majority of on-board customers did threaten action, Viking first offered a 50% discount for a future cruise (followed by the tour director being booed off his perch). On the next day, Viking then offered a "full" refund for the trip, but was careful not to define what "full" meant. Upon our return home, we were provided with two emails -- the first giving us an exact dollar amount for the future discount; the second, another unspecified "full" refund. Upon a call to the Customer Retention office, and a two day wait for a return call, we were informed that "full" really meant we were still out of pocket for over $2,500. The Viking web site, prior to the trip, announced that the cruise would proceed as scheduled. Upon arrival in Budapest, we learned that the prior week's cruises had been canceled. We were then told that our second day in Budapest would be eliminated so that we could be bused for 6 hours to Novi Sad, where we would commence the trip. Once in Novi Sad (bypassing planned stops in Kalocsa, Hungary, and Osijek, Croatia), we were told that we could not sail until the water level dropped enough to transit a railroad bridge. When asked how fast the water was dropping, we were told by the cruise director that the water was still rising. Each day thereafter, there was the constant promise of departure as soon as the water levels dropped -- a promise which was ridiculed by the crew members of the tethered ships whose companies had canceled their own cruises. These other crews proved to be absolutely correct on when a sailing level would be reached, a piece of river knowledge which seems to have escaped Viking. Although we did reach Belgrade (by bus ride rather than by water), no other item on the itinerary list was achieved, unless you count the abbreviated cruise to some remote station in Romania that lasted about 24 hours and a so-called lunch in Bucharest which was served to us at 4:00 in the afternoon after another 6 hour bus ride. This lunch ended at 5:00, just prior to checking into the hotel for a quick dinner and an early to-bed evening preceding a 3:00 AM wake-up call for the airport. While in our six day confinement in Novi Sad (with bus trips with a daily itinerary of a fort and a church as a Groundhog Day kind of treatment), the mantra of "when the water drops below the bridge" became a point of hope for everyone. We all were highly amused, of course, when the final announcement came that the water was now low enough for transit.....but that the river authority had closed the waterway to traffic (maybe that's why we had seen nothing at all moving on the water in the 6 days we were there?). We had also been promised that despite missing out on all the scenic views up-river, that we would be dazzled by the beauty of the Iron Gate and the majesty of the carved face of the Dacian king, Decebalus -- and surely we would have been if we had not sailed past these points at 11 PM. As to the other things expected for a cruise experience, stateroom, food, service -- fail, fail, and fail. We were amazed that a room where so much attention was given to noise reduction (doors, drawers, and toilet lids that can't slam), could be so noisy. We were awakened every morning NLT 6:00 AM (some days, 5:45) by the noise coming from the exercise deck above us. The shower constantly clogged and flooded. The food had two levels of seasoning, none and horribly salty. We were served meat that was bloody rare or tough as shoe leather. We were made to feel as if we were in the way with staff spraying cleanser on the tables while the later diners were still at their meals; we watched staff putting silverware on seats just vacated by passenger butts and then returning that silverware to the table. Portions were small and everything, whether expected to be hot or cold, was served close to room temperature. I ordered eggs Benedict one morning and was served egg Benedict -- one lonely egg sitting on a huge plate with nary a hint of sauce and a soggy piece of bread under it. The only positive of the trip was the ability to order eggs to order (never Benedict again, however). This was negated by the state of the fruit trays with sadly mushy watermelon setting the tone for the other surprisingly over-age offerings put out for consumption. The staff ranged all over the place in level of service. Some did all that we expect from a cruise staff. Many others were surly and inattentive. We found it impossible to make a blanket tip for this type of experience and made individual tips to those who had earned it. On a related note, we were left wondering why we were constantly told of the very high unemployment rates of the places we visited and then found that a sizable number of staff on board were from the Philippines -- perhaps just another area of corporate ethics in which Viking is lacking.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
The comments below are from a letter sent to Viking following our July, 2013 cruise from Bucharest to Amsterdam. Overall the trip did not meet our expectations. We realize that some problems were caused by the rolling lock strike, but the ... Read More
The comments below are from a letter sent to Viking following our July, 2013 cruise from Bucharest to Amsterdam. Overall the trip did not meet our expectations. We realize that some problems were caused by the rolling lock strike, but the way that Viking handled that issue was disappointing. In addition, there were aspects of the trip independent of the strike that were disappointing. First, since the negotiations between the parties had been going on for months, Viking clearly knew that there was the possibility of a strike long before the cruise, although the actual dates of the strike were uncertain. Viking made the decision not to inform their clients of this possibility. Had we known about the possibility, we probably would have decided to take our chances, but we would have been aware of potential disruptions. This unwillingness to communicate was further manifested on the cruise itself. There was very little information provided except to assure us that everyone was working hard to make alternate arrangements. As time progressed and it became apparent that the cruise would have to be terminated, we were asking questions, and the staff seemed to be trying to assure us that we would still be able to continue. Frankly, the failure to communicate left us with the impression that Viking River Cruises was completely unprepared for the strike and that they were making arrangements on a day-to- day basis. As a consequence, at least one of the contracted bus companies (Wii) was completely incompetent, first getting lost in Heidelberg, taking an unnecessary and dangerous route to the castle and then trying to take us back to the ship in Nuremberg rather than going to Wurzberg where the ship was docked. Our belief is that Viking needed to have vetted companies in preparation for a strike in order to avoid these kinds of issues rather than appearing as if they were making all arrangements the day before. Basically, we felt that Viking was not open concerning various plans and options, and furthermore that we were being treated as children. Independent of the strike issues, however, there other issues that made the cruise less than optimal. Most importantly, we feel that Viking's decision to have two people (cruise director and concierge) responsible for 180+ people was wholly inappropriate, regardless of how competent those individuals may be. As teachers with over 70 years combined experience, we cannot image how difficult it would be to keep track of that may people on excursions. One place where this deficiency became apparent was on bus excursions. With only two Viking personnel and four or more buses, if there was a problem, there was no one from Viking there to address the issue. As a matter of policy, no bus should ever leave the ship without a Viking employee on board independent of any contracted tour guide. That employee (who could be from the wait or hotel staff) should be able to communicate with the cruise director, Viking, and the bus company. That employee should keep count of the people on that particular bus, allowing a departure when everyone assigned to that bus is on board. Doing so would avoid the usual lengthy wait as only two Viking people tried to get everyone on board various buses. In Bamberg the lengthy delay meant waiting in an extremely hot bus since the bus was not able to idle and turn on the air conditioning. It was extremely uncomfortable. Had we left our dog in a car in similar heat, we could have been prosecuted. On excursions, guides from different buses should vary the order of tours to avoid the inevitable congestion that occurs when 180+ people are following the same path. Moreover, when lunch is served on an excursion, more than one restaurant should be used when possible. The amount of time spent feeding 180+ people at once meant that time spent either in sightseeing or free time was significantly reduced. Later in the tour we simply skipped the offered lunch because of the crowds and noise. Furthermore, all optional excursions should be advertised well before the cruise. We learned about some optional excursions only on the ship. Finally, the comfort of passengers should be the top priority. On buses, toilets were frequently locked, and staff on long bus trips (more than 1 hr.) should never say that a rest stop will occur if there is an emergency. As a matter of policy, when travelling on a bus, passengers should be allowed a rest stop at least every 1.5 hours, and the time allowed for these stops should be realistic. (Stating that the stop will be 10 minutes when more than 180 people have to use the toilets is not realistic.) Finally, we would like to address what we feel is misleading advertising by Viking River Cruises. Ads show three or four people with a guide. The reality is up to 40 on a tour, which as former teachers we feel is too many for a single guide. Second, unlike the ads, it is only after one has paid for the cruise, that there is any information that ships may be rafted together, thus making use of a veranda impossible. We spent two days in Budapest rafted without use of the veranda. Surely, the ship could have turned around or switched with the other ship (both were Viking ships) to allow some use of the veranda. Third, the ads say that dinner is between 7 and 9, leaving the impression that one can go into the dining room and be served at any time during that period. The reality is that everyone is expected to begin dinner at 7 as each course was served to everyone at the same time. Given that the tables are for 6, 8, or 10 people, everyone waiting for the next course meant that the noise level in the dining room was so high that conversation was nearly impossible. As an alternative, consider tables no greater than 6 and encourage people to vary their dining time to make interaction easier. Fourth, in the ads people were dining on the Aquavit terrace. When one of us inquired about that possibility, the person at reception at that time argued that the terrace was open for lunch only. Only after one of us continued to insist and also showed her the information in the booklet in which the word evening appeared, did the receptionist check with someone and come back with the limited evening menu. Dinner on the terrace was wonderful until the word got out, and it became more popular. Initially, people were told that dinner could only be served in the enclosed portion of the terrace, but later the staff relented and allowed dining in the open area. The problem was that the number of people serving (2) was not increased as the area become used more, with the result that food was sometimes cold before it could be delivered. Finally, the ads imply that the cruise would be a voyage of cultural and intellectual discovery. However, the time taken to organize excursions, the time allowed for shopping, and the general ambiance encouraged aboard the ship seemed to us to be an attempt to create more of a party experience. In sum, although we found parts of the trip interesting and stimulating, our overall experience was a disappointment. Had we had a more accurate understanding of the reality of Viking River cruising, perhaps we would have been less disappointed. More importantly, our disappointment cannot be attributed wholly to the dislocations due to the strike, although that was an important component. One way to judge a tour company is how well they perform when things go wrong rather than when things go well. By that criterion, we believe that Viking has work to do. While we are not precluding a future river cruise, and even one on Viking, we have much lowered expectations based on our experience. Moreover, when asked if we would recommend Viking River Cruises, our recommendation must be, at best, qualified. As a consequence of this letter we received a $1000 voucher which we thought was a response to the letter and not linked to the promised 25% voucher. On Aug. 13 we received the 25% voucher and an hour and a half later received an email rescinding the $1000 voucher. Very childish and petty. We definitely would NOT recommend Viking to anyone. At this point we feel we have been had.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
We planed this Viking River Cruise 7 months ago after comparing it with several other cruise lines. Choosing the Grand European Tour aboard the Rinda as the timing schedule and the appeal of a new ship drew us in. I was concerned about ... Read More
We planed this Viking River Cruise 7 months ago after comparing it with several other cruise lines. Choosing the Grand European Tour aboard the Rinda as the timing schedule and the appeal of a new ship drew us in. I was concerned about what could happen after reading several reviews by passengers who were unfortunate enough to experience flooded rivers and lock strikes. I couldn't imagine not being able to enjoy cruising along the Danube, Main and Rhine Rivers. Our only surprise was when we arrived in Budapest we boarded the Viking Tor as the Rinda was still in another port due to the strike. After asking the captain if we would be changing ships; he said there was a possibility. We did change ships 4 days later in Melk, the only inconvenience was packing and unpacking, which the captain apologized for and offered an open bar for that night. The rest of the trip was a pleasure, the food preparation for our special low salt diet was always accommodated, onboard or at restaurants on shore. The captain and crew were professional and went out of their way to make the cruise smooth. The shore excursions were enjoyable with guides that made them interesting. The only complaints we heard from several guests were that the upper deck had to be closed during a few days due to low bridge clearance. We had a fabulous trip and would cruise with Viking again. But know how lucky we are that the weather, aside from several hot days, cooperated with us. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2013
My girlfriend and I took the 15 day European trip with Viking Aegir from Budapest to Amsterdam. Overall I would rate the trip as a 7.5 out of 10. First I don't want to take anything away from the crew. They were great. The first week ... Read More
My girlfriend and I took the 15 day European trip with Viking Aegir from Budapest to Amsterdam. Overall I would rate the trip as a 7.5 out of 10. First I don't want to take anything away from the crew. They were great. The first week we had Capt. Lovin and he was great but he was only on board for a week then the "resident" captain Gyula came on board. Let's just say that he was not that great as he was yelling at the deck crew when they were placing the gang plank, how to place it, how to put the vertical poles in place and how to place the rope. He was also in charge when we buried the bow into the bank and broke off an 8" tree limb. They first said it was a power outage, but no one I talked to noticed and lights going out. Then the next day they said after the "local police" looked into it another ship coming at us was hogging the river. Well I guess sonar was out, right....anyway broke about 5-7 panels on the forward open deck and a passenger that was sleeping in a chair ended up with a good 3" gash in his head. So after all that put aside. No one will ever mention that while going through the canal/locks that the sundeck would be closed all the time to slide under the bridges. So in essence the sundeck was open the first, say 3+ days and the last 3+ days. This was a bummer in that the walking area was closed and you didn't get the views for about 8-9 of the 15 day cruise. DISAPPOINTMENT The food was great and the wine and beer that was served during lunch and dinner was endless. The wines were pretty good. I have Celiac, gluten intolerant, and the head waiter maitre d, Valentin, was awesome. Every day whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner he always looked for me to go through the menu and what I could eat. Can't say enough great things about him. The rest of the officers were without doubt the best. Violeta (not sure of spelling) and Connie were the greatest along with Raostina and I wish that I had the names of the remaining crew..oh, the waiters...Henry, Rose, Ned, Camellia (spelling), and the rest were again awesome. Besides the sundeck we would dock late and poor Violeta had to hustle to get things back on track. These days we would lose the "free time" at the city to make up for the late arrival. So in all the crew, less the second captain, were awesome. So out of a 10 I would say 7.5 or a 3.5 out of 5. So hopefully this gives you some insight to ask the right questions.   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2013
We have now sailed with Viking four times and were not disappointed, despite very hot weather throughout the trip! The entire crew was fantastic, especially Tatiana and Marcio in the lounge. They were as entertaining as they were ... Read More
We have now sailed with Viking four times and were not disappointed, despite very hot weather throughout the trip! The entire crew was fantastic, especially Tatiana and Marcio in the lounge. They were as entertaining as they were efficient. The Viking Douro is a rental from Uniworld as Viking enters the Portuguese market for the first time in 2013. We did not like the lower level dining room, which really killed the view and atmosphere during meals. In 2014 Viking will have their own two-ship fleet with their more passenger friendly design. There was a bit of a learning curve too with the meal quality compared to Viking's normally high standards. Chef Richard was saut'ing on his first trip and did a great job, but the menu was a bit limited compared to our past cruises. Surprisingly, there was very little seafood served aboard. Meals on the excursions were also a bit plain. Local restaurants were great when we could get away. We highly recommend the Cervejaria Ribadouro on the Avenida da Liberdade near the Hotel Tivoli. They offer a great selection of quality fresh meats and shellfish and are frequented by many of the locals. The Tivoli itself has a nice restaurant on the ground floor and a rooftop lounge that features great views of the city. Our room featured a nice balcony. We would strongly recommend avoiding Portugal and Spain in August! It was very hot with temps reaching over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in both Lisbon and on the river up north. We spotted several forest fires not far from the river. The ship's climate was perfect and the sun deck was cooler and very enjoyable at night. Even though local regulations prohibit river travel at night east of Porto, our captain gave us a nice night tour of Porto bridges and traveled to the mouth of the Douro near the Atlantic following our first dinner on board. A very nice trip highlight! Grab a seat on the sundeck with a glass of port, or whatever, and enjoy this show. Other river traffic was almost nonexistent east of Porto and the locks were few and not crowded throughout the journey. The truly unique aspect of this trip versus river cruising in France, Germany, Austria, and even Russia, was the unusual topography along the Douro. The river displays 'big shoulders' along its entire route. The Douro carves its way through mile after mile of beautiful ravines with sculptured, rhythmic terraces dotted by the occasional tile-roofed quinta or whitewashed cylindrical pigeon tower. The excursions included very comfortable buses (new Mercedes and Volvo) with nice climate control. Virtually every excursion travels by bus due to the fact that most worthwhile sites are miles from the Douro River. Skip the first port wine tour because the Sandeman tour is superior and you can only hear so much about port. We arrived in Lisbon a day ahead of the planned tour and took a side tour to Sintra. It's a nice 40-minute train ride from Lisbon to this quaint, charming village. We hiked up the steep path for two hours to the Pena National Palace and it was a highlight of the trip. We also enjoyed the Alfama walking tour (see my website below for a view). Salamanca, Spain, was terrific (even though the program director touted the great shopping and the market but most shops were closed due to a national holiday when we arrived Feast of the Ascension, 8/15). We had a great hike through town to the old Roman Bridge (89 AD) and thoroughly enjoyed the cafes in the shade of the Plaza Mayor. We even enjoyed the two-hour bus ride with a chance to peek at the farms and pastures of rural northwest Spain. We flew from Porto back to Lisbon to return and would change that to another European capital on the next trip. We had seen plenty of the capital and its oppressive August heat. An overnight at a Porto hotel would be another good choice; it's a very scenic and interesting town. Prices in general on board and in Portugal were well below other major European cities. A nice glass of red wine on board (included with lunch and dinner) was priced at '3.50 after hours. Many local cafes charged '1.00 for a cold 10-ounce draft beer. The Portuguese people were incredibly friendly and helpful everywhere we traveled. A man ran a half block to return a pair of sunglasses I had left sitting on a plaza bench. The entire crew was from Portugal which was a genuine plus. Each person would share their personal story about their family and help explain the unique Portuguese culture. If you wish to see a glimpse of the sights along this journey (and other Viking trips), visit my photo website at: http://www.mikerophoto.com   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
The Viking Grand Europe River Cruise, Amsterdam-Budapest appealed to me because it offered an opportunity to see many countries without the hassle of packing and unpacking and arranging for transportation. The cities we visited were all ... Read More
The Viking Grand Europe River Cruise, Amsterdam-Budapest appealed to me because it offered an opportunity to see many countries without the hassle of packing and unpacking and arranging for transportation. The cities we visited were all new to me and this seemed like a good way to "sample" places that I'd like to return to in the future. That said, the itinerary was a good match for what I wanted. From booking to disembarking, this trip met or exceeding expectations. Viking delivered on all its advertised luxuries. Except for the weather, which either rained or threatend rain every day but two, I was delighted with the experience. Again, I think it is critical to do your research ahead of time so you know what a trip like this is and isn't. What it is:The long-ships are essentially a very well run hotel on the river with experienced staff. From the enthusiastic program director to the service oriented waitstaff, there is a clear message that they are working to make your trip the best. The excursion guides are locals and in addition to being well informed, they are terrific ambassadors for their cities (many of which are hoping that tourism will boost their economy). We had a room on the third deck with a balcony. Our travel companions had a suite on the same deck. Since we spent little time in the room, the space was adequate and the balcony was a nice feature. I think the French balcony would have been fine as well and a real upgrade over the small window on the first deck (not good if you like fresh air at night). The food quality seemed to improve significantly as the trip proceeded. I highly suggest spending the extra money to eat lunch in the cities when in a port if you want to meet locals and get a real sense of the local cuisine. Breakfast and dinners on board were very good with the last few night's dinners excellent. If you like lingering over dinner this is the place. Dinner starts at 7 and we were usually at our table until 9:00. The evening entertainment varied from fair to fabulous-especially the off-ship concert in Vienna. I wish there were more of these options offered especially when in larger cities such as Cologne. If you don't like arranged guides with quick visits to cathedrals and palaces and walks through medieval towns, this is NOT the trip for you. There were times I was wishing for more free time (which you could do in lieu of the guided tour), but over all it was a good balance of free and structured time. As with any cruise, you can be as social or solitary as you wish. Our fellow travelers were easy to interact with. Since we were traveling with another couple, we spent much time together while also engaging with others at meals and during the day trips. The layout of the ship makes it easy to find a quiet spot to read or relax as you cruise down the beautiful river. As a relatively fit and active couple, we were surprised to learn that our daily walks through towns (many with great hills and stairs to climb) proved adequate for our exercise needs. I was brave enough to weigh myself upon our rerun and shocked to find I had only gained pound (and I drank beer and ate dessert every day). Lastbut not least, this was a trip where you could dress as casually as you wanted. Some dressed up a bit for dinners, but you really could live in jeans everyday if you so desired. What it is NOT: It is not the kind of trip where you are going to feel you get your value worth if you stay on the ship all day. It is not a trip for those who wish to spend quality time in one or two cities (although the pre and post trip options would allow for this). It is not a trip that will satisfy if you are not willing to take a chance on the unpredictable weather, which can cause significant problems as many travelers noted during the June floods. It is also not a trip that you should consider if you aren't willing to compensate the excellent staff. Some on board our trip commented on the tipping guidelines but we thought about what we would tip if we went out to dinner every night for 15 nights and it seemed within reason. That said, they are just guidelines. We were happy to compensate all the staff for their excellent service. Overall, this was a very good trip in large part because we had a pretty good idea of what to expect. Like all trips, there was some luck involved. No floods or strikes or ship malfunctions. Other than a mild cold, all went off without a hitch. Now, if someone from the staff could just help me sort through my1000+ photos... Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
Hi, We returned about two weeks ago from our cruise from Bucharest to Amsterdam. A previous review pretty well said it all about the ship, although that was from Budapest, and we were on it the first week from Bucharest, so I thought ... Read More
Hi, We returned about two weeks ago from our cruise from Bucharest to Amsterdam. A previous review pretty well said it all about the ship, although that was from Budapest, and we were on it the first week from Bucharest, so I thought I'd write about that part of it. We were met at the airport by Viking, and taken to the Raddison Blu Hotel. Our flight had been delayed, and we were pretty tired, so stayed in for the evening, but were taken on a bus tour of Bucharest next day. This part of the trip took in parts of Europe that had previously been under Communist rule, and we had been unable to visit because of my husband's job. It included Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia,and Hungary. It is a poorer part of Europe and doesn't have the tourist infrastructure, but that made it more authentic of what the people there live with. The locals were very friendly and our guides were very well spoken and educated. Some were a little hesitant to speak of the past, but were looking forward to a better future. It was sad to see bombed buildings from the Serb-Croatian wars, and some areas were still waiting to be cleared of mines. Roads needed repairs but there was no money as each village is responsible for roads and most of the young people have moved away to make money. Each house has a small garden for fresh veg. and a small vineyard. Plum wine is popular and each visitor is greeted with a glass. Food in local restaurants was delicious. Food on the Aegir for this part of the trip was not up to our expectations, but we had a different chef for this part of the trip. (We heard he was a replacement, and not the regular Viking Chef). When the other chef boarded in Budapest, there was a definite improvement. The servers, room staff, receptionists and concierge were all outstanding, and I don't think we've ever had such a hard working cruise director. This was a vey educational and interesting cruise, sailing on the Danube, Main and Rhine rivers with no problems with water levels. I would highly recommend doing the whole length from the Black Sea to the North Sea on the Viking Aegir. I am still sorting through my 1600 plus photos. Hope this is helpful. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2014
Our trip was the Passage to Eastern Europe consisting of 2 nights in Budapest a 7 night cruise and 1 night in Bucharest. For those you who want a short review... this was the best cruise we have ever taken!!! The food was 5 star, as well ... Read More
Our trip was the Passage to Eastern Europe consisting of 2 nights in Budapest a 7 night cruise and 1 night in Bucharest. For those you who want a short review... this was the best cruise we have ever taken!!! The food was 5 star, as well as the service and attentiveness of the entire staff from the captain on down. For those of you, who would like more details, read on. Arrival at Budapest: Our flight from Atlanta via Paris was delayed three hours due to a mechanical problem. Once we collected our luggage, the Viking representatives were waiting for us at the arrivals area. We brought our luggage to the waiting busses and took the 40 minute ride to the Budapest Marriott. When we arrived at the hotel, I went to the luggage compartment on the bus and was told by the driver; “Sir, you luggage is no longer your concern, its mine”. In the hotel lobby, Viking had a reception area set up with our room keys and other documentation relating to the next days itinerary. Once we received our keys, we went to our room, and our luggage was there waiting for us! Make note, all the rooms overlook the Danube River. Seeing that our arrival was so late, we went to bed to recharge our batteries for the things to come. Budapest: After breakfast, we had a 4 hour tour of the city. Budapest is an old world European city filled with friendly people. After the tour we returned to the hotel and I ventured out on my own to explore the city. Within walking distance of the hotel there is Vaci Street which is closed to vehicles. Here you’ll find cafes, bars, restaurants and boutiques. Also within walking distance, on the way to St. Stephen’s Basilica, there is another pedestrian area that is filled with vendors selling souvenirs, breads, pastries and food. After eating, it was back to the hotel to get ready for the cruise the next day. Embarkation: In the afternoon, we met at the hotel to be transported to the ship. Upon arrival at the pier, we boarded the ship, surrendered our passports and received our cabin keys. We were escorted to our cabin and when we opened the door our luggage was on the bed. We were invited to a buffet lunch being served in the Aquavit lounge. There were plenty of items to choose from as well as free flowing beer, wine and soft drinks. Cabin: We were in cabin 331 which is a category A veranda cabin. These cabins are not as large as veranda cabins on ocean going vessels, but they are quite functional. There is ample closet space as well as 8 drawers and shelves in the closet. There are multiple 110v outlets throughout the cabin and a safe. The only con to the cabin is that the mattress was hard. Viking should have put pillow top mattresses in the cabins instead of the 8 inch hard mattress. However Vince, the head of housekeeping went out of his way to provide us with a solution. He had the cabin stewardess place multiple mattress toppers on the bed, and that solved the problem. Dining: This is where Viking excels. The first night I ordered the New York strip steak prepared medium. I have never been able to get a steak prepared to my liking on the first attempt on any cruise line. Viking is the exception as my steak was perfect! That evening, the Executive Chef asked me how my steak was and told me that all of Vikings meats were rated Prime. There was not a single mediocre meal during our cruise. Some of the offerings were; Beef Wellington, Crusted Grilled Salmon, Veal Osso Buco, Filet Mignon with Tiger Prawns, Blackened Halibut and Lamb Shank. All prepared expertly and seasoned to perfection. The only con to the restaurant is that there is no dress code. It is not uncommon to see people wearing jeans during dinner. One night during dinner I saw a very large woman wearing a skin tight tee shirt (not a pretty picture), a man in jeans and a plaid shirt with both a belt and suspenders and a man wearing the same tattered, rolled up jeans he wore for the past 5 days. This takes something away from the 5 star quality of the restaurant. Entertainment: During the cruise, Viking brings on locals to entertain us with folkloric music and dance. There are enrichment talks and daily briefings regarding the following day’s tours. Besides that, there is a pianist each night in the lounge. Tours: Each day starting at 8:30 or 9:00 there is a tour. It could be a city tour, visit to an equestrian center or fishing village. There is always ample free time to shop, explore on your own or nap. Your day can be as full as you want. The local guides were very passionate, knowledgeable and informative. Disembarkation: On the last day you are asked to have your luggage outside your cabin by 8:00am for pickup and transfer to the hotel. After breakfast we check out and proceed to the waiting buses for transportation to the Bucharest Hilton. The Hilton was a 40 minute ride from the pier, and again, by the time we collected our room keys and got the elevator, our bags were already in our room. That night we walked around in the city, ate in the lounge at the hotel and turned in early as we had a 3:30am wake up call for our trip to the airport. Our shuttle to the airport left the hotel at 4:30am and the fact that we were heading back to reality set in. We are already planning a trip to France on Viking in the fall of this year for our anniversary as we know Viking is now our cruise provider of choice. Closing: You may ask if it’s worth the money. In a word, YES! If you do the math you’ll see there isn’t much (if any) of a difference between a larger cruise line and Viking. Considering the cost of a conventional cruise to Europe would cost approximately $1300pp for a veranda cabin. Then add air, insurance, transfers, drinks and tours and it may cost even more than Viking. The biggest factor for us was that the Danube is a placed we’ve never been and the Aegir only held 190 passengers. Cant wait to do it again.   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
Overall a very pleasant cruise: The Viking long-ships are hard to beat for creature comfort and Viking knows how to take care of customers with great food, attention to detail and professional staff. This particular March cruise (our ... Read More
Overall a very pleasant cruise: The Viking long-ships are hard to beat for creature comfort and Viking knows how to take care of customers with great food, attention to detail and professional staff. This particular March cruise (our second Viking cruise for my wife and I) delivered excellent weather and reduced tourist crowds and convinced us that Europe travel in early spring is the way to go. This was the first time I did not book the air portion of travel myself, we utilized Vikings air service and the process at both ends was flawless. We will use them again. The cities/towns visited and the associated tours were a real eye-opener and changed our preconception of this part of the world. While the route traveled passed through areas that have seen relatively recent conflicts and political unrest the vibrancy of both the cities and people attest to the resiliency of the people and governments. Sadly this was not the case during our stop in Vukovar Croatia; here the ravages of the recent wars were still in evidence and was somewhat of a downer, not helped with a tour stop visit that was clearly not up to Viking standards. On balance I would recommend this cruise for a glimpse of a part of the world that most of us only read about in the newspapers during times of conflict; the positive takeaway is that the people are proud, modern and youthful and clearly dedicated to rebuilding the countries. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
This was our first ever river cruise and in most areas it did not disappoint. We did the European Sojourn for its length. When you travel from Australia you don't do it for a short holiday. After taking 30 hours to arrive in Bucharest ... Read More
This was our first ever river cruise and in most areas it did not disappoint. We did the European Sojourn for its length. When you travel from Australia you don't do it for a short holiday. After taking 30 hours to arrive in Bucharest we figured we had earned a long relaxing holiday. Our arrival at the airport and pickup by viking was seamless. Our arrival at the Athenee Hilton not so impressive. We stood around with 3 other couples waiting for the viking Rep to even acknowledge us as she was chatting to a couple from the USA . When you have spent so long traveling to your destination your patience can be a little thin. Not a good start but that was not going to spoil the start to our holiday. After settling in we went for a walk, had a great pizza for lunch and had an early night. The next day we were collected for a tour of Bucharest and arrived at the ship quite late and were rushed to be ready for dinner. This is one area Viking could improve on. If we arrived mid afternoon and had time to unpack, orientate and freshen up for our first dinner onboard I would have been much happier. The passengers who joined our cruise a week later in Bucharest arrived on the ship around lunch time and had a lovely relaxing afternoon. The food on board was delicious. Amazing eggs bennie for breakfast along with many many other choices. Our waiter was the best ever. Ned was from Bulgaria and we were lucky enough to have him for the duration of the cruise (had to move tables after the first 7 days to ensure this). Ned would ensure we got little extras. If we could not decide which dessert we wanted we got some of each. If we wanted steak but there were also scallops on the menu, we got scallops on our steak. The best waiter on any cruise ever. We met 3 Americans on the first night and shared our meals and many excursions with them for the next 3 weeks. With the addition of another Aussie in Budapest it made for an enjoyable dining experience. Whilst we were one of the youngest aboard (early 50's) we found some amazing people to share our holiday experience with. I must say our much older American friends had more energy and stamina then us. This was the first trip where I could honestly say I got to talk to the captain. For the first half of the trip we had Captain "Stevie". He was the most personable Captain of any cruise ship we have travelled. No matter what he was doing or where he passes you he would always stop for a chat and ask how your holiday was. His English was not great, by his admission, but by gosh this did not stop him being the friendliest and most genuine guy ever. I don't even know who the Captain was after Stevie got off!!!!! One of the worst parts about this cruise was that my husband and I both got very ill with chest infections. This happened about half way through the cruise and was very disappointing. As a Registered Nurse I had plenty of medications including antibiotics with me but due to the severity of the infection we had to visit a Doctor in Germany. There were a couple of stops that we were forced to miss simply unable to get out of bed but as true Aussies we got going again as quickly as we could. I must mention Vinnie ( the housekeeping supervisor) at this time. One evening I passed him in our corridor as I walked back from getting myself a juice from the bar ( everyone else was at dinner). He asked me how I was and I replied I was fine. He immediately realised I was not and insisted on bring soup to my cabin. He then made it his mission to check on me daily. This was service above and beyond and typical of the Viking treatment. Whilst getting sick is something that happens on cruise ships I must say I had issues with the lack of hand sanitisers on board. For most of the cruise only one hand sanitiser was to be seen outside the main dining room. Other ships we docked beside also had them at the entrance to the ship but the Aegir only produced one there after many of us fell ill. As an RN I am fastidious about hygiene and certainly made use of the sanitisers where others certainly did not. On ocean cruisers there are many more around and staff to encourage their use. We had some very interesting passengers aboard with some very nasty ones as well. One passenger who insisted on walking on the sun deck at 5.30 each morning waking the passengers on deck 3. When asked by the staff to walk later in the morning he blew up big time and continued to make scenes for the next 2 weeks. A very rude and obnoxious man but to be fair Viking should have had a sign at the walking track alerting people to what the opening hours were. This suggestion was made to the staff but I bet there is still no sign. Another couple who complained about absolutely everything and continually sent food back to the kitchen. When they had a formal meeting with cruise staff they also complained about the fact that there was no hairdresser, masseuse or nail technician and his wife needed these treatments. Who books a cruise and does not research what facilities are on board?????? Ridiculous given that this information is all on the Viking website. We were blessed with the best weather ever and only experienced rain in Vienna. Our day cruising the Rhine has to be my highlight and I have the most amazing photos. I shared these with the Residents of the aged care facility I manage and the smiles on their faces as they remember their childhood days or travel experiences was priceless. I must mention at this point that the sun deck is closed for many days during the cruise. This is a point much complained about in reviews but is completely unavoidable. Many bridges along the rivers are low and as a result the sundeck is closed for safety reasons. If you are used to Ocean cruising then don't expect large cabins and lots of evening entertainment. The cabins are very small compared to ocean travel and the entertainment is limited to local entertainers and a piano player. We had a couple of awesome nights on the top deck with new friends having a few drinks and lots of laughs. Sadly being sick for the back half of the cruise certainly hampered these fun times but we enjoyed ourselves none the less. Early in the cruise the bartender, Michael, told us we were doing the cruise in the right way, Bucharest to Amsterdam instead for Amsterdam to Bucharest, as the scenery would just get better and better. Boy was he right. Even while I was sick I would lie on my bed with the curtains drawn, the sliding glass doors open and just watch this amazing array of churches and castles pass by. I never tired of it. We also added on the 2 night stay in Amsterdam. We were still not well but again made the most of this stay. The city itself was very welcoming but very dirty with rubbish absolutely everywhere. The canals were lovely but again full of rubbish. The hotel ( Moevenpick ) was pretty ordinary and position not great. Not even any shampoo or conditioner in the bathroom. As for value for money this was probably the most disappointing aspect of the trip. We could have booked this same extension for 1/3 of the price we paid Viking. We were lazy and paid the price for it. Beware the Viking add ons. This is not a cheap holiday but when you look at the inclusions (excursions, all drinks, gratuities and transfers) it is value for money. When we discussed prices with our new American friends we found they paid less for the cruise itself but had to pay extra for drinks ( outside meal times) and also had to pay gratuities to many many people. While our gratuities were included we still gave tips to staff who exceeded expectations. Laundry was an extra that certainly surprised all. With no self service laundry for passengers to use you were forced to pay Viking to launder your clothes. Very expensive by any standard and an issue for all passengers. All in all my husband and I had an amazing time. Would we recommend it? In a heart beat!!!!! Would we do it again? Too many other parts of the world to see. Hope this review helps someone to decide to cruise the rivers of Europe and have realistic expectations.   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
In May, 2014, we took a Danube River cruise from Budapest (a gem of a city) to Bucharest. This was by no means a typical European river cruise. There are few towns along this part of the river, and those few are not the picturesque ... Read More
In May, 2014, we took a Danube River cruise from Budapest (a gem of a city) to Bucharest. This was by no means a typical European river cruise. There are few towns along this part of the river, and those few are not the picturesque villages one associates with the Rhine and Danube in Germany and Austria. With the exception of sailing through the "Iron Gate" the scenery is also not spectacular, although beautiful in a quiet, unspoiled way. So what made this particular cruise memorable? The itinerary took us through five countries commonly known as part of the Eastern Block. In other words, they were, in varying degrees, under the control of the Soviet Union from 1945 until 1989. Until this trip, we had only a vague notion of what this implied for each country: decades of living in a police state, the attempted destruction of a rich and diverse cultural heritage, a destroyed economy, and now the efforts to recover and rejoin Western Europe. This is not the place for a history lecture, nor am I knowledgeable enough to give one. I would just like to say that these countries (Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania) are fascinating and certainly worth more attention than they receive from the typical tourist. Our daily port stops took us to places we would likely otherwise never have seen, such as Osijek, Croatia, and the rock formations at Belogradshik, Bulgaria. Another highlight was Belgrade, despite record-setting rain. We also enjoyed a demonstration of Hungarian horsemanship in Kalocsa. All tours, including those of Budapest and Bucharest, were included in the the cruise price. The Viking Aegir is known as a "longship," designed for river cruising. While not luxurious, it is comfortable and well equipped. Cabins are very small but efficiently arranged, and since this is a port-intensive cruise, little time is spent in the cabin. Public rooms are lovely. The Lounge was the gathering place, since the weather (cold and often rainy during our cruise) was not conducive to staying on the attractive sun deck. The dining room offered open seating and a choice of a buffet or table service. Food was very good, although the variety was not as great as on ocean cruise ships. Service in the dining room, lounge, and cabin was impeccable. As for entertainment aboard, it was minimal: no band or casino or shops. There was a piano player nightly in the lounge, and some passengers danced. At almost every port a local group came aboard for a traditional performance. The Serbian group was especially good. But clearly the emphasis on this cruise was the port stops, and truthfully, the days were so busy that we would not have had the energy for nighttime entertainment even if it had been offered. Our cruise director, a Romanian named Vlad (no relation to Vlad the Impaler, aka Count Dracula), was incredibly knowledgeable on every aspect of the region, and his daily briefings and lectures (always done with humor) gave us exceptional insight into the history, culture, and special challenges of these countries. The local guides on the daily excursions were outstanding, with impressive knowledge, an excellent command of English, and a sense of sometimes dark humor. To those people who have never seen the castles on the Rhine or the great cities of Western Europe, I would say: by all means, visit those places. But for those who would like a truly different and enlightening experience, a river cruise on the lower Danube is an outstanding opportunity. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
We took the Viking Grand European Cruise, starting in Budapest, Hungary and ending in Amsterdam. We cuised the Danube River, the Main-Danube Canal, the Main River, and the Rhine River. There were over 60 locks on the journey. Viking ... Read More
We took the Viking Grand European Cruise, starting in Budapest, Hungary and ending in Amsterdam. We cuised the Danube River, the Main-Danube Canal, the Main River, and the Rhine River. There were over 60 locks on the journey. Viking really has their act together. They are so organized. Every tour is organized into different groups ("A", "B", "C", etc.) and the buses are clearly labeled, as well as the local tour guides themselves. They have radio receivers so the tour guides aren't shouting over each other and you can listen conveniently at a comfortable distance away. They have long-sticked paddles with the Viking logo and the letter of the tour so you can find your tour guide from afar. Many cities (not all) had the opportunity to take a "leisurely" tour if there were passengers who find it difficult to walk long distances or deal with stairs. The buses were very comfortable and they all had a toilet on board. That was handy. The city tours were okay. It depended heavily on the tour guide you got. Some were outstanding, some were average. The cities along the route are steeped heavily in history. Those tour guides were able to spit out all kinds of facts, dates, and names. It was a little overwhelming. If you're really into European history dating back to medieval times, you'll enjoy the tours. I was only able to focus on the history from WWII. The rest went in one ear and out the other! The food on the ship was very, very good. I wouldn't put it in a "superb" category, but it was good. We thought we'd be tired of having every meal aboard the ship, but honestly, we didn't mind that at all. The tours and schedule always had us aboard the ship for meal time anyway. For instance, if there was a morning tour, we started it after breakfast (it varied from 9:00, 9:30, or 10:00, depending on when the ship arrived in the city). When the tour concluded, we were back on the ship for lunch. Depending on where we were on the river, we either sailed away after lunch, or spent the time in port and you could walk around the city after lunch. They were flexible -- if we stayed in a port throughout the day, anyone could go have lunch or dinner on their own in the city. All lunches and dinners had complimentary soda, wine, and beer available. Most wines were generally local from the regions we traveled through. They always told us when to be back on board and when the ship was leaving. Everyone had an ID card that you had to turn in when you got back on board so they could do a headcount and not leave without someone. I think the biggest impression we got is that they treated us like responsible adults. Every night before dinner the Program Director would explain what was planned for the next day -- where we were going, what time the tour started, when we'd be back on board, any optional excursions to sign up for, etc. There was also a printed itinerary of the next day left in your room during dinner so you didn't have to take notes during her explanation. The staff was excellent. The wait staff during meals was very friendly and efficient. The maids were always cleaning the rooms and the public areas. The Program Director and Concierge were superb. The bridge officers were professional but made themselves accessible to answer questions. Our Veranda room was superb and was worth the extra cost. It had more interior space than a room with just the French Balcony. The Veranda room was a little wider (about 18 or 24 inches more) and had enough room for an extra chair next to the bed. The Standard and French Balcony rooms did not have the space for the extra chair and the bed was very close to their wall (Standard) or sliding glass window (French Balcony). The people in the Standard rooms (below water level on the lower level) were not happy with their choice, even though they saved money. They said it was noisy, had absolutely no view, and would never choose that Standard room again. Most of them booked late and the Standard room was the only choice available. The Wi-Fi service was through satellite, and it was really only available in the public areas. Our cabin was in the rear of the ship and our reception was spotty. The satellite Wi-Fi was slow. Good enough to get email and browse the web, but don't plan on uploading large photos to Facebook or other personal websites. The sun deck was not available for the entire cruise. Because of many low bridges and structures on certain parts of the river, the crew had to literally fold everything down on the top deck. All the furniture, chairs, tables, and railings were foldable. Even the wheelhouse (from where the Captain and officers steered the ship) could be lowered and tucked away into the ship. Disembarkation was thoroughly organized. They had everyone's luggage arranged with color-coded tags by when they needed to leave the ship, so it was staggered departures. Passengers that were catching a flight were usually first off; those that were going to a hotel were encouraged to stay on the ship until after lunch since most hotels wouldn't check you in until the afternoon anyway. All transportation was arranged by the concierge the night before. The best thing about the tour, though, was the people we met. There were about 190 passengers on board. We forced ourselves to sit with different people at every meal since there was no pre-arranged seating. By the second week of the cruise we knew who we liked (as well as who to avoid). That was probably the best strategy we decided upon at the very beginning of the trip. I highly recommend this tip for anyone else. It's too easy to just settle for the first group you sit with. You really do have to move around and to meet and find like-minded people in a sea (pun intended) of strangers.   Read Less
Viking Aegir Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.3
Entertainment 3.0 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 1.0 3.0
Family 1.0 3.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.1
Enrichment 4.0 4.2
Service 4.0 4.6
Value For Money 3.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 3.5

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