140 Viking River Viking Embla Cruise Reviews

This is the end of the Embla saga - on arrival at the Embla in Budapest on 11 September 2019 we were confronted by a vessel with an odd large boxed item next to the bridge. Wondering why it was there and how it would survive low bridges ... Read More
This is the end of the Embla saga - on arrival at the Embla in Budapest on 11 September 2019 we were confronted by a vessel with an odd large boxed item next to the bridge. Wondering why it was there and how it would survive low bridges unless it could be lowered and raised like the captain’s bridge, we went to our cabin where we found the 06 September 2019 letter – not good timing on Viking's part as we were already on board. Once we got to Linz, we had to disembark to end up at a golf resort - Bad Griesbach - for two nights.Note that we had already received a “low water on the Danube” excuse notification from 29 August 2019. From the golf resort I went on the two hour plus Viking bus ride to Regensburg . After the city tour I wandered back towards the bus park that is adjacent to a canal – I had wondered earlier how vessels made their way through Regensburg and now I was to find out as a cruise vessel, same size and (likely) same 1.7 m draught as Viking vessels, stopped to allow guests off to walk into the city – much nicer than a 2 hour bus ride there and back. So was the 29 August notice a smoke screen for the Embla’s generator replacement? And, if the generator replacement was known and urgent, for whose convenience did Embla sail in the first place? How would Viking have dealt with a situation had the vessel broken down 50 miles from the nearest large town? Clearly, passenger comfort and safety is not as high on Viking's priority list as one once imagined. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We just finished a disappointing Russia River Cruise with Viking and we were looking forward to a newer Long Ship, the type we have been on before. Due to low water, the ship couldn't meet us in Bucharest, so we had a long bus ride ... Read More
We just finished a disappointing Russia River Cruise with Viking and we were looking forward to a newer Long Ship, the type we have been on before. Due to low water, the ship couldn't meet us in Bucharest, so we had a long bus ride to get to the ship. When we arrived, we found out that they had a generator breakdown and installed a temporary one on the top of the ship. Yes, you guessed it, almost right on top of our Stateroom 303. Besides the noise and the diesel fumes, we were never able to enjoy our Veranda. At least with the door closed the cabin we were able to sleep, unlike our experience on the Russia Cruise. Also this ship had a strong septic smell. We were disappointed that none of the ports that we docked at had towns that we could just get off the ship and explore the town on our own. We were bussed everywhere. Some people might like that but I like to tour on my own without a guide in my ear for hours on end. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We paid for our cruise with all the expectations of neophyte river cruisers and are crushed that our river cruise of a lifetime ended up being a horrible bus ride through Eastern Europe. Due to mechanical malfunctions on the Viking ... Read More
We paid for our cruise with all the expectations of neophyte river cruisers and are crushed that our river cruise of a lifetime ended up being a horrible bus ride through Eastern Europe. Due to mechanical malfunctions on the Viking Embla our tour was unable to hold to schedule resulting in canceled excursions, creative docking at unknown sites (we even had to break through a factory fence at one point in order to re-board our ship) closed locks, restricted use of the sun deck, after dark "scenic cruising", and days of sailing without stopping for excursions in order to "get back on schedule". We thought the staff was superb, they tried valiently to make us happy and service was impeccable, however after day 10 or 12 I began to think I was suffering from 'Stockholm Syndrome'. Our on board program director explained daily what was going to happen the next day, because of where the ship was in relation to where it should have been this excursion or that excursion was cancelled but we are offering a substitute or we could "stay on board with us..lunch will be at 12:0 in the in dining room...etc. " After several of these substituted excursions many of us stopped going as the excursions involved hours of bus rides each way. We wanted our cruise, not a bus ride. Viking is not making a significant compensation offer to us, in fact their offer shows little respect or understanding of our ruined trip. They seem not to care about customer satisfaction. We want our money back, Viking should have given us a full refund and canceled the cruise rather than take all of us down the river to the bus embarkation points. Viking knew before we boarded that the Embla could not deliver the cruise as promised. The schedule disruption was not due to river depth rather it was the Embla's malfunctioning engine and Viking's money grubbing refusal to cancel the cruise and refund our tickets. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This is was our first river cruise. We are seasoned ocean cruise travelers. This cruise started with a delay in boarding the ship of one day due to maintenance problems on the previous cruise. We only had one day that we went to a port and ... Read More
This is was our first river cruise. We are seasoned ocean cruise travelers. This cruise started with a delay in boarding the ship of one day due to maintenance problems on the previous cruise. We only had one day that we went to a port and got off the ship and toured the venue. That was on day 12 when we visited Cologne Germany. All the other days we spent more time on buses than at the scheduled venue. We had an additional day when the ship was put in dry dock. Thus we were now 2 days behind. In order to make up time scheduled venues were skipped. The crew and staff were excellent, but the cruise was very bad. One of the highlights of the cruise is to cruise the Rhine and see all the mid evil castles. When we got to that point on the cruise it was 8:30 at night and dark! No castles I was notified via “form” letter 4 days after returning off the cruise that Viking was sorry and that they would give us 25% off our next cruise. Who would ever go on another cruise and get this type of cruise. Viking must think I am stupid. To spend $14,000.00 for this and get no compensation is totally wrong. Viking should be ashamed. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Viking River Cruise on “Embla:” Bucharest to Budapest w/ 3-nt Prague Add-On Overall: Terrible experience with Viking aboard their boat Embla due to major maintenance issues known to them before our cruise started. Half speed at ... Read More
Viking River Cruise on “Embla:” Bucharest to Budapest w/ 3-nt Prague Add-On Overall: Terrible experience with Viking aboard their boat Embla due to major maintenance issues known to them before our cruise started. Half speed at best; little to no air-conditioning with room temperatures ranging from the high 70s into the 90s. The dining room felt even hotter with everyone assembled. This was a boat maintenance issue, NOT a river problem. We did not have a river cruise; the boat stayed in Russe, Bulgaria for 3 days. Then we were on buses for the rest of the trip. No choice/options as to what we ate. Viking gave minimal refund and never answered my emails to Customer Relations and several senior management personnel. Specifics: Immediately after boarding we were informed that: • The boat would be going slower than normal because the river level was low and that caused the water to be warmer which had a negative effect on engine cooling. A crew member later told us that the boat had previously hit a submerged object and had to travel slow coming to Bucharest because of propulsion problems. We saw other longboats passing us (on the one day we “cruised” from Russe to Lom); the “warm” water did not affect them! We also saw tugboats pushing loaded barges which rode much lower in the river than our boat. – We were misled from beginning!! Viking was aware of problems with Embla before we even boarded. Viking could/should have told us in Bucharest that the ship could only sail at half speed and that we would not be able to make our ports on time. They could have offered to cancel our cruise, receive a full refund for the cruise and Prague portion, and given us one more night in a hotel in Bucharest to make travel arrangements. Instead, Viking elected to hide the problem and have us board a ship that could only travel at a very slow speed with 50% a/c capacity, and sent us to spend 3 days in the small town of Russe. • We should not open our balcony doors, especially during the evening & night, as the mosquitos were very bad. This was also the case on the open upper deck. Thus, outside air was not a solution for the 80-90 degree (F) temperatures in our staterooms. The first day in Russe we elected to stay on the boat and not walk into town. We went to the dining room for lunch and were told lunch would only be available in the small eating area in front of the lounge. This “meal” consisted of a buffet of soup, cocktail sandwiches, and Bulgarian meatloaf; not exactly what you expect on a cruise. The next day we were told that we could stay on the boat, but there would be no a/c for several hours. We opted to go on a 3-hr tour of the old and new city squares of Russe. Once on the tour we were told that we would be eating lunch in Russe after the tour. Following lunch, we were informed that we must not return to the boat. We would tour 3 museums, attend a piano recital (at least it was in an air-conditioned room) and then have dinner at the same restaurant where we had lunch. At both lunch and dinner we were given what they wanted us to eat; no menu to select from. Again, not what one expects when traveling on a cruise. The boat set sail from Russe after midnight that night. The next day (Saturday, 27 July) we cruised at a very slow speed all day. This is the day we were supposed to be “scenic cruising past the Iron Gates.” That is one of the reasons we selected this Viking itinerary; we wanted to see the Iron Gates – this did not happen! We had lunch and dinner in the dining room. There was no ice cream available for dessert at dinner; the chef said the freezer was turned off. We were told before dinner that we would be getting off the boat the next morning in Lom. We were told that we would be driven by buses to Belgrade and then to Budapest. Keep in mind, temperature in the staterooms was 80-90 defrees (F). The rest of the boat (lounge, dining room, etc.) was even hotter. Sun, 28 July: After sailing over 36 hours and not even getting to Viden, we boarded buses in Lom and less than 3 hours later stopped for lunch with a distant view of the Belogradchik Rocks. That’s as close as we got to them and the Fortress (tours touted in the Viking literature). The lunch was a small buffet, no “ordering from a menu.” After a 12-hour day on a bus we arrived at the hotel in Belgrade. We had dinner around 9pm (more than 9 hours after we had lunch). Mon, 29 July: Spent the day in Belgrade. Had lunch in Old Town and dinner at the hotel. Again, we did not get to order from a menu. Tues, 30 July: Departed Belgrade via bus. Had noticed on the internet that it was a 4-to-5 hr bus ride to Budapest. Instead, Viking bussed us through Croatia where we had lunch in various private homes. We did not choose this; Viking did. When given the option prior to the cruise to have meals in private homes, we declined. This is not something we preferred to do. We, once again, did not get to select our meal. We were not offered the choice of a 4 or 5 hour bus ride vice a 12 hour bus day! After arriving at the hotel in Budapest around 9pm we had another buffet dinner. Wed, 31 July: Following two 12-hr bus ride days, two of our party were in poor physical condition and could not attend the included “Panoramic Budapest” tour. We were not meeting the objectives we had when we selected this itinerary. Since two members of our group were not on the tour, they were not provided lunch by Viking; the rest of us ate, once again, what & where Viking prescribed. Thurs, 1 Aug: Spent the day recuperating at the hotel. Note: Since we arrived in Budapest a day earlier than planned, we could not stay at the InterContinental Hotel as originally planned. This hotel is very conveniently located to Old Town, the river, and most the popular tourist attractions. Instead we were assigned a hotel that was not within walking distance of the tourist areas. Fri, 2 Aug: Took a 9-hr bus ride to Prague. Had this been our first “bus day,” we would have been in much better physical condition upon arriving in Prague. As it was, taking this 9-hr ride after the previous two 12-hr bus days was too much. This whole trip was a miserable, painful, terrible experience. As disastrous as it was, the Embla Captain never addressed the passengers and apprised us of the situation; it was like he was hiding. We were not consulted about what we might have wanted; we were not given any options. It was strictly, “Do what Viking says!” This was supposed to be “the vacation of a lifetime.” When we planned it, we did not choose a bus tour of Eastern Europe. We have several reasons for NOT wanting to spend hours riding a bus. We did not get to enjoy any of the advantages of a cruise. The few days/nights we spent on Embla were extremely uncomfortable. We chose a balcony room, and upon boarding, were told not to open the balcony doors in the evenings or nights! We only had a few meals in the Embla dining room where we got to select our meal from a menu. The rest of the time we had no choice as to what we ate. We all ate more meals consisting of chicken and potatoes than we ever thought possible when on a “cruise vacation.” We spent $13,494 on this cruise (two were refunded a small amount since they used their frequent flyer miles for the air travel), four of us paid an additional $50 each so we could choose our airline flights and seats, and we paid various amounts (average was approximately $1000/couple due to differing age) for travel insurance. Each couple spent approximately $15,000 to spend a miserable two weeks on a poorly-functioning boat and a bus. We were unable to enjoy places like Budapest and Prague because Viking’s choices had us so exhausted and physically impaired. To make matters worse, Viking has refunded $3,999 and claims that is 50% of our cost. Viking can most likely justify this with some “creative accounting.” $4,000 per couple does not come close to compensating us for our expenditures and the pain and suffering we endured. If you do book Viking, I recommend that you ask for a maintenance record of the boat. Specifically, for Embla: ask for the maintenance they performed after July 28, 2019 in order to fix the problems that led to our ‘bus tour”. I would also ask for the exact cost breakdown that they show for the trip to be sent directly to you, not just the travel agent so you are aware how they are pricing it. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
My husband and I have taken many many cruises, but never a river cruise. This cruise on Viking was hands down the worst we have ever taken. In fact, it was the worst vacation we have been on - period. Our room was extremely tiny and at ... Read More
My husband and I have taken many many cruises, but never a river cruise. This cruise on Viking was hands down the worst we have ever taken. In fact, it was the worst vacation we have been on - period. Our room was extremely tiny and at times, smelled like a sewer. There were unusual loud gurgling sounds coming intermittently from the hallway, which we have never heard before. We had heard that the food was really great and the service was supposed to be, as well. Neither was true. The food was just ok and the service was mediocre, with many of the crew being trainees. Wine and beer were included in the price, but ONLY at dinnertime. There was nothing much to do in the way of entertainment and the lounge was bare bones and was the only game in town. However, the REAL PROBLEM was that on the second day of the cruise, the generator completely broke down and proved to be unfixable. Our room was 88 degrees. After telling the 187 passengers on board that a technician was on the way, that proved to be a lie and everyone had to leave the ship, get on 5 buses, never to return to the ship. A CRUISELESS CRUISE. We had a 12-hour bus ride - not new buses, uncomfortable, from Bulgaria to Belgrade, then a 10-hour bus ride from Belgrade to Budapest. Finally, we took an 8-hour bus ride to Prague. A veritable nightmare. To put the icing on the cake, the steering column on the bus was falling off and there were no tools to fix it, so a crew member took his belt off and tied the steering column to the bus on a curvy, cliffside road. In spite of this, they offered 50% off of the cruise, but were so petty that they would not include the two-night stay in the hotel, which they said amounted to $900 because technically, that was not part of the "cruise." We had purchased insurance through Viking and they would not cover even one cent of it. So, why purchase insurance which was $1200? Viking was not cooperative and did not handle this well, from beginning to end. I would never go on another Viking cruise of any kind. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I don't know where to begin with this review. Before we started the cruise we understood that low water levels may sometimes affect the itinerary so we were prepared for that. What we were not prepared for is what actually did ... Read More
I don't know where to begin with this review. Before we started the cruise we understood that low water levels may sometimes affect the itinerary so we were prepared for that. What we were not prepared for is what actually did happen. From the time we boarded the Embla to the time we got off the buses in Budapest the trip was a disaster. Viking knew before we ever boarded the ship that it was broke but wanted us to board so they could still get their money for the cruise. We could tell something was not right when we went to our room and the a/c was not working properly and all the other passengers were complaining about it as well and the common areas were just plain hot. We departed that night at 11pm and literally crossed the river and docked again. We were then informed that the boat had a generator problem and they were bringing in a technician to repair the problem. After 2 days stuck there with no a/c or toilets we finally attempted to sail further. The ship made it 1 day and traveled only a short way so we docked again in a small town where we were put on buses and bused to Belgrade a 12 hour bus trip with just 2 stops. 1 bathroom break and 1 stop for lunch. The toilet on our bus was broke and backed up making our bus smell awful. By the time we reached Belgrade it was after 9pm and they offered a buffet dinner at 9pm at night. After 2 nights and 5 buffet meals later we were again loaded on buses and this time it was 13 hours on a bus to get us to Budapest. During the trip one of the buses broke down and one of the Viking crew members used his belt to make a temporary repair. Our bus was leaking very bad during a rain storm and a passenger actually used a umbrella to stay somewhat dry. We finally arrived in Budapest after 9pm and again they served us a buffet dinner late at night. The next 2 days were again all buffet style meals that you can get at Golden Corral. We were told by a Viking represenative that we would be contacted by Viking shortly after we arrived home. That did not happen. They just refunded a portion of the cruise only amount back into our bank account without ever discussing this with us. The amount was not even close to what we actually paid for the cruise and when I called customer service he explained that it was for the river portion only because we were provided the hotels precruise and post cruise. We were refunded 50% of the river portion and a 25% discount on a future cruise. Why would we ever consider a future cruise. Ridicoulous. The representative told me Viking considered this a very fair offer but they would up the 25% discount to 35% for us if we signed a disclosure agreement to keep our mouths shut. Vikng from start to finish was never honest with us and could care less about the safety of the passengers. They knew from the very beginning the ship had issues and we should not have ever boarded the ship. We never received a safety drill prior to sailing which we only did 1 day of. When we returned home we reseached the Viking Embla and saw that on a previous cruise in June just before our cruise the ship had been involved in a accident that damaged the generator. The same problem we had which apparently never was fixed properly. This cruise was supposed to be a trip of a lifetime and we had heard many good things about Viking in the past but they apparently now only care more about the money than the safety and experience their passengers receive. My wife and I have been on many Ocean cruises, some good and some great but this trip was a disaster from start to finish and beyond. If Viking had done the right thing and refunded us 100% of the cost of the cruise we would have absolutely considered cruising with them again. If you are one of the lucky ones who had a great cruise with Viking congratulations but if you happen to be one of the ones that the cruise turns into a disaster do not expect Viking customer service to do the right thing. Beware. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We shared this information with Viking. Nothing significant was done. We booked through and they have also been advocating for our group (3 couples). Customer service at Viking is not empowered to do anything. A decision was made ... Read More
We shared this information with Viking. Nothing significant was done. We booked through and they have also been advocating for our group (3 couples). Customer service at Viking is not empowered to do anything. A decision was made “by Executive”, that provided 50% of our “cruise fare” as a refund. Unfortunately, there is no backup or detail on any billing to indicate what “Cruise Fare” is. It looks like they inflate the shoreside hotel prices in order to reduce their exposure on the refund. No proper explanation is given. After many phone calls, they reluctantly agreed to increase the voucher on future cruises to 35% from 25%. Why would we ever cruise with Viking again?? No Value in that. The reluctantly refunded our prepaid drinks package, but refused to refund prepaid onboard gratuities. We were only on the vessel for 2 days…. Cruise critic readers – read on and beware. There are many choices on river cruises. Many are much better than Viking. As you can read from other passengers the much touted Viking Experience we see on PBS is largely a marketing myth. I wanted to share our experiences with Viking on this cruise. We are experienced ocean cruisers (approximately 10 cruises on 3 lines – Princess, NCL and RCCL) and had looked forward to the change to a river cruise. We booked this event with two other couples with whom we frequently travel. Being subscribers to our local PBS affiliate, we were very impressed with Vikings promotions around Masterpiece Theater and eagerly anticipated a wonderful experience. We would describe ourselves as active seniors, still working, but nearing retirement age. I believe we tend to be relaxed travelers and we fully understand that occasionally issues can and do arise when travelling. Further, we have never felt the need to write to any of our other cruise hosts before. However, simply filling out your survey forms would not be enough to express our feelings on this cruise. The following feedback may help Viking in the future. Please read it carefully. Unfortunately, this is a competitive business and at this point we do not envision we will be joining your company - river or ocean on any future cruises. Booking and travel to Embla We were very pleased with the booking process, materials received, outbound flights, the arrival process, hotel and tours in Bucharest on the first day. Everything was handled well; Viking personnel were helpful and courteous. Checking in to Embla The port facility at Juju in Romania was very rudimentary with a steep gangway. Passengers lined up in a very clumsy, poorly managed serpentine line in the main reception area. It was the poorest reception we have ever experienced. Check in was very slow. There was no seating available for those who could not stand for long periods. No refreshments were offered. Benchmark Princess if you want to understand best practice in this area. In addition, security at the dock was non-existent. We never felt unsafe, but there was nothing to deter anyone from Boarding Embla. Ship and Stateroom We really liked the design and layout of the Embla. There was very good use of space, well thought out. Our stateroom was clean and comfortable and our cabin steward, Helen was fine. As compared to ocean cruises, it was apparent at check in and on the first day that Embla is very short staffed. The normal short meeting and greeting with key members like cabin staff did not occur. We were surprised that robes and slippers were not available in the staterooms. This is a normal offering among premium cruise lines and was missed. Dining and Lounge Again – short staffed. There were too few waiters. Drinks had to be carried from the bar due to insufficient bar staff. Bar staff courtesy was wide ranging. One was outstanding, the others bordered on rude and with no sense of urgency. Again, this was far below expectations. The food quality was quite good and the waiter, Executive Chef, and the Maitre D’ were outstanding. They were personable and engaging. We travelled with a gluten free friend and the Maitre D' went out of his way to be helpful. These crew members deserve special recognition. However, it was clear that our waiter, had little assistance and too many tables to attend to. During several meals we had to ask 2 and 3 times for service (coffee, wine, dessert). Frustrations We learned from your Program Director , and several other crew members, that Embla had been experiencing diminished power on the downriver journey to Bucharest. As the Danube has about a 3-knot current, this was less of a factor down bound, but a significant hindrance when travelling upriver. By day 2 it became obvious that there were significant problems effecting travel speed and air conditioning. Knowing this before embarkation would have been preferable and had Viking been communicative and transparent the frustration and stress levels would have been more manageable. We also understand that Embla was sailing without a key officer – Hotel Manager. Compounding this situation was the fact that the Captain has very limited English skills. This left the entire communication responsibility to the Cruise Director. One, very dedicated, hard-working person trying to appease 180 plus passengers who were growing more frustrated by the hour. The Cruise Director worked diligently to assist passengers and create optional logistics for this cruise. She was not or could not be as transparent as we feel the situation required. In addition, required safety drills never occurred. There appeared to be a cooling system modification arranged on the rear deck of Embla. Frankly, Viking chose to sail an unsafe, non-seaworthy vessel. Among our group, we have great empathy for the Cruise Director. It was clear to us that she was not sufficiently empowered or informed and was left to largely “wing it”. We are sure that somewhere at Viking, there were persons assisting. We feel strongly, however, that Viking needs an emergency management plan and contingency plans. Ideally, it would have helped if senior representatives of Viking were dispatched immediately to Embla simply to help communicate and assist passengers. Again – one person cannot do this. The bus tours we went on were generally good, but on Wednesday, the tour was extended three times in order to keep people off the ship. It wasn’t until a passenger on the bus demanded to be taken back to the ship that we were informed there was no power on the ship and that everyone was taken off. We should have been continually informed of the condition of and on the ship. We felt like hostages, shuttled around to whatever facility in Russe, Bulgaria could accommodate our numbers. We were subjected to a short piano recital in a musty, poorly air-conditioned house. The talent level was adequate, but the piano was severely out of tune. There were insufficient chairs to sit on and the air was full of dust. It should also be noted that we were provided with the same meal – cucumber and tomato salad, vegetable soup, and meat stew for both lunch and dinner two days in a row. We were served lunch and dinner in the same restaurant that day and it had no toilets, just holes in the floor. This was not acceptable given the age of the many of the travelers and their physical limitations. When we finally returned and sailed that evening, it was clear that Embla was not making enough speed. Despite this, nothing was said to passengers until almost 18 hours later. At that point the trip was turned into a hastily arranged bus trip to Belgrade, Serbia (almost 10 hours). We received a letter in our stateroom as we prepared to board the busses to Belgrade Basically, it said, don’t ask about compensation, a basic don’t call us, we will call you response…. This was hardly reassuring given Vikings performance up to that point. Of course, we did receive our bill and an insistence that we settle it before getting on the bus. Fellow passengers were not charged for their bar bills, but nothing was said to those of us that had purchased the beverage package about receiving a refund. This approach appeared to be quite one sided. We have experienced an unfortunate weather delay on another cruise line (Princess). As it was safety related, the Captain chose to stay in port for 3 days. It was an unfortunate, but unavoidable decision. Even though Princess had zero actual culpability for the weather, the entire crew sprang into action, arranging tours, entertainment etc. Most importantly, a very generous compensation offer was received before we departed. By being proactive, Princess turned a difficult situation into a customer loyalty generator. We immediately booked another cruise and have booked several others since that time. We had hoped to develop a similar loyalty relationship with Viking. Moving off Embla was relatively efficient, at the expense of service in the dining room. Tables were not cleared, and it was a mess. We were served on dirty tablecloths and not given napkins. On the epic journey to Serbia, the bus had to detour because of closed roads and stop at a small petrol station (2 stalls) for a rest stop. To say this was disorganized would be a gross understatement. A better option would have been to cancel the trip day 1 and arrange everyone safe onward passage home from Bucharest or assist in making alternate travel plans. The trip to Belgrade was uneventful but long. Lunch was an adequate but uninteresting buffet. Having arrived in Belgrade we checked into the Hyatt Regency. The check in was efficient and fast and the rooms were quite nice. The dinner buffet and the breakfast for the next two days were at best mediocre. As seasoned business travelers, we would rate the food as basic convention food. On the first night each diner was restricted to a single glass of wine or beer of modest quality. Viking made no effort to provide the type of dining experience or entertainment that we would expect on Embla. Any additional drinks or food we wanted we paid for out of pocket despite having the Viking beverage package. The tour of Belgrade was well done and the lunch at Two Deer’s restaurant was very good. As mentioned, this was followed by a mediocre dinner without any effort to entertain or accommodate the guests. Our fellow traveler with the gluten intolerance was at this point left to fend for herself. The bus trip to Budapest was long and arduous. Over 3 hours were wasted at border crossings. The busses had no WIFI and no electrical connection points. For people travelling who had a need to keep in touch with work or relatives back home, this situation was unacceptable. Lunch at the local village homes was decent but rushed due to the delays at the Croatian border. No dietary accommodations were made. We faced a pouring rainstorm in Croatia where it was discovered that the bus roof escape hatch leaked. The bus toilet on this leg of the trip was also out of service. It should be noted that by this time in the journey the poor Cruise Director was beyond shattered. She had lost her voice. More importantly, she had lost her ability to be at all empathetic. She was simply trying to endure until we arrived in Budapest. They failed over 180 passengers as well as failing several dedicated Viking employees. By this time information flow for us and the onward Amsterdam travelers had gone to zero. We just rode on busses. Vikings motto is “Travelling the World in Comfort”. This was an epic failure. We basically felt like we were kept in the dark and held hostage by Viking for almost the entire trip. Once in Budapest we got somewhat back on track. However, our accommodation was changed from the Hotel Intercontinental to the Corinthia. Corinthia is a nice hotel but is not situated along the river and is a long walk from most major attractions. The food served by Corinthia was largely uninteresting and the service was mediocre. The Maitre D’ informed us that he was not given much time to prepare and react and as a result was waiting tables himself. In fact, the exact same meal was provided at the Spoon Restaurant while on tour at lunch and then again in the hotel dining room. Again – Viking was simply reacting, not planning. Upon retiring for the evening, we discovered that our room had no air conditioning. We spoke to Viking’s Desk at the Hotel the next morning. The young man quickly pointed out that the hotel was “completely booked”. Another young lady from Viking stepped in and said she would have a word with the hotel. Upon return that evening, the problem persisted. We went directly to the hotel and they dispatched repairman that evening. Again – Viking staffs’ lack of urgency and total apathy was appalling. We understand that a Vice President of Viking came to Budapest and conducted a meeting for those people that were continuing to Amsterdam. At that time, they were offered compensation. Why was a meeting not held for the rest of us? Total silence is all we received. No apology, no compassion for what we were experiencing, no recognition of our disappointment due to what we anticipated versus what we were experiencing. Upon departure from Budapest for the airport, we were met by Viking staff and rode the Viking bus. The young lady who met us at the airport told us to line up in que 1, 2 or 3 which reflected our airline status (premium economy and Star Alliance Premier Access). Upon opening the check in, the airport officials redirected us to the end of the long economy que. Another nuisance reflecting the lack of training of Viking staff. Of course, by that time, Viking staff had departed the airport, so we got in line and waited. Recommendation – never sail with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We had a good experience on a Viking Ocean Cruise and had not done a river cruise before. Viking gets high marks in that category, so we were excited to try it. However, we have been very disappointed. Our ship, The Embla, has been ... Read More
We had a good experience on a Viking Ocean Cruise and had not done a river cruise before. Viking gets high marks in that category, so we were excited to try it. However, we have been very disappointed. Our ship, The Embla, has been experiencing severe mechanical issues, that Viking was well aware of, prior to our boarding. In the interest of “the bottom line”, they didn’t disclose this, they put us on the ship anyhow. Our stateroom and all the others, had no air conditioning on our arrival and throughout the few days that we were kept on the ship (Tim sent you a photo of the thermostat in our cabin, showing 96F degrees ). We sailed, literally, across the river, and with no transparency, Viking strung us along in an ugly, smelly dockage for more than two and a half days. We could all, quite literally, give tours of Russe, for as much time as we spent there. The Embla finally sailed at 11 pm on the 3rd night, at a crawl, (less than 4 knots we figure), not making it even half way to our first port of Vidin. We were disembarked in Lom or Silistra, Bulgaria. We then had a bus trip complete with 11 and 12 hours on the bus with en mass bathroom breaks at malls and gas stations, (not fun when only 4 stalls and 5 buses worth of passengers) buffet lunches, hot sandwiches that were meant to be cold, and water on the bus only the first day. Our bus driver’s skills were questionable and our bus broke down. Excursions were abbreviated and virtually, all by bus or eliminated completely. They took us hours out of the way to make a brief lunch with locals in Croatia, that added at least 4 hours to our second day on the bus and added an unnecessary second border crossing, which took in excess of an hour in itself. We felt like going hours out of the way for 1 hour off the bus lunch, was probably an attempt by Viking to go through the motions of making it to Croatia. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We did our 1st River Cruise and it won't be the last. Awesome cruise from start to finish. The staff knew your name before the cruise ended. The food was amazing, and the chef will make you special food for those with allergies or ... Read More
We did our 1st River Cruise and it won't be the last. Awesome cruise from start to finish. The staff knew your name before the cruise ended. The food was amazing, and the chef will make you special food for those with allergies or lactose free. Every region you are in, the menu, wine and beer will change. The optional tours are well worth the money. Strauss Concert in Vienna was simply AMAZING. The cruise director surprised us in Budapest with a nighttime cruise to see the lights. Very breathtaking. If you're looking for a river cruise, look no further than the Grand European. You will not be disappointed. The sites from Amsterdam to Budapest are amazing. The castles and churches are beautiful. If you have never been through locks, well this is the cruise for you. You'll go through 65 locks with the deepest at 85'. John and Lucille Mlakar Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Because of the itinerary we chose this cruise. We flew into Basel Switzerland a day early so we could relax and explore after the long flights. Our cabin was nice although we didn't spend much time there. Everyone was very ... Read More
Because of the itinerary we chose this cruise. We flew into Basel Switzerland a day early so we could relax and explore after the long flights. Our cabin was nice although we didn't spend much time there. Everyone was very welcoming and accommodating. The shore excursions were exceptional and the transportation off the ship was great. The tour guides were extremely knowledgeable & friendly. The ports were beautiful and each had it's own special grandeur. Some tours required a lot of walking especially on cobblestones. We had no problems but there were several people who did (I don't think they read the descriptions of the shore excursions )We also very much enjoyed our daytime sailing especially when we passed so many castles and windmills. The food on the ship was good, some meals better than others. The desserts were always very good. The waitstaff were exceptional and very friendly. Ship was clean & comfortable. The bathroom was a little small. The bed was super comfortable. The entertainment on board was great and we enjoyed the guest speakers. I definitely would go again. We have gone on several ocean cruises but the river cruise is much different. We like them both. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We just come back from a cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam with Viking and after reading all the opinions of other travellers we decided to have our input too. We travel with them exactly when the low water in Europe affected everybody ... Read More
We just come back from a cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam with Viking and after reading all the opinions of other travellers we decided to have our input too. We travel with them exactly when the low water in Europe affected everybody cruises and I think is fair to identify two different aspects of the issue. On one hand a big disappointment: you except Viking to be honest and transparent with their customers and inform them in advance about this type of issue which will bring ship changes, long bus rides, in general a discomfort for passengers. The only e-mail we got 8 days before the cruise was regarding the change of the ship: Viking Embla instead of Viking Lif. We contacted Viking office and we were told that will be no problems, that “everything is like was mentioned in the itinerary” and the “water is not a problem anymore”. Is it right Viking to lie to your customers just to avoid cancellations and compensations? On the other hand when we were on the boat and we started to experience problems with the water everything was perfectly organised smooth and with no stress and we reach Amsterdam after a 2 amazing weeks. In this case, when everything on the boat is so well planned and organised, having a minimum impact on our journey, was it so difficult to find the same level or respect and transparency when we call the Viking office? We travelled on 2 boats: Embla and Lif which supposed to be identical, but the reality was a little bit different. We liked Lif more being a newer ship, more comfortable and more spacious. But the massive difference was the service and the staff: while on Embla everybody was very professional on Lif we had the feeling that we landed on a “training vessel” with everybody trying to do their job but failing almost every time. Katja, the hotel manager on Embla, was always in control, always with the passengers and always efficient and smiling. Her leadership abilities reflected positive on her entire crew who was brilliant. On Lif Jeronimo, the hotel manager, was very arrogant, never interacting with the passengers and more interested in having a “good time” with the rest of the staff then acting to achieve a good service. We tried to speak with him about some on-board credit issues, but he was always busy, avoiding us and passing the problem to the reception. Not the expected level of customer service from Viking. George the restaurant manager was superb and everybody in Embla restaurant was perfect: remembering our names every lunch and dinner, impeccable service (we fall in love with Martina) and delicious food. On Lif we never had the chance to speak with the restaurant manager, the waiters giving us the feeling that they just learn the job, making mistake with orders, speaking in front of us in their own language and never check if an extra service was needed. We ended on Lif to have dinner in the lounge were Christian and Ivan were far more attentive and professional then others. The reception on Embla was extremely helpful, booking a lot of trips for us and helping everybody to find their way around. Especially Lucia was always kind and smiling and when she didn’t know the answer didn’t have a problem to ask the cruise director for the correct information. On Lif the two young men at the reception (didn’t make the effort to remember their name) were very unprofessional and arrogant with an attitude more appropriate to a cheap hostel than a Viking ship. At every question they were giving us the feeling that we were stupid, and this patronising way to answer was always topped with the wrong information. They were the worst receptionists ever!!! On the positive side the housekeeping on Lif was amazing with our steward Ivan very helpful and professional. While on Embla we never meet the Capitan, on Lif the Dutch Captain was a pleasure to meet and talk to and his evening presentation was informative and funny. The only constant exceptional experience for us on these two boats was the Program Director – Leonard. From the very first moment when we embark Embla in Budapest until the moment when we left Lif in Amsterdam Leonard was far above any expectations. His was an excellent organiser managing perfectly the guides, the coaches, the time tables, everything and everybody involved in changing the ships so well that for all of us was just a normal day not a major trauma or drama! During the long bus rides he was jumping from one coach to another, from one group to another to check if everything was fine and to solve any problems and he manage to find time during the transfer to buy to all of was a chocolate hart … how sweet! One day he was assisting a passengers with reduce mobility while he was giving information about best shopping in town and locating a lost cell phone and another day he was helping very professional (my husband is in ER) with a medical emergency (quite a ugly wound on somebody leg) while he was trying to help a passenger from another Viking ship left behind his group. Really ??? How many things you can do so well Leonard! Leonard knows the history, culture, tradition of any stone, city, castle and church on our itinerary and sometimes his explanations were better and more accessible than the guide’s ones! Each evening briefing and lecture was a unique opportunity to access in an easy, interesting and entertaining way complicated stories about history, art and culture. He had such a versatile personality: a strong organiser in the morning during the excursion, informative and efficient in the evening and fun and charming in the evening. What a joy to have him on board! For sure we will go back to Viking…they know how to make every moment special despite the fact that they still need to work on some issues (do something about Lif…is a beautiful ship with such low standards). And by the way we want Leonard as a Program Director! If anybody from Viking read our review, please send our massive “THANY YOU!” to Leonard for making this a vacation of a lifetime. He really is a “ Rockstar “ who made this so much fun and so Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We really enjoyed our river cruise, as always. There is no other way to travel! Looking forward to new itineraries and cruising more!, I would like to have available a stretching, Pilates or yoga class. As a Pilates instructor I have had ... Read More
We really enjoyed our river cruise, as always. There is no other way to travel! Looking forward to new itineraries and cruising more!, I would like to have available a stretching, Pilates or yoga class. As a Pilates instructor I have had numerous fellow passengers want to join me when I am doing my exercises. I would gladly teach for a few dollars off our trip. After all the walking some stretching feels great! We enjoyed the excursions. One problem I see is there were some people who had trouble maneuvering stairs etc that were in our group for the excursions. They should put the more active people together and have another group for the people that can’t walk as far, as fast, etc The food was great and the waiters and waitresses are so accommodating! A lot of good choices for food and of course the wine was really good also. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We were interested in seeing more of Eastern Europe after having been to Prague on our last river cruise. We knew before we left that river levels were low. We did have to leave our ship early and were bused into Budapest. It would have ... Read More
We were interested in seeing more of Eastern Europe after having been to Prague on our last river cruise. We knew before we left that river levels were low. We did have to leave our ship early and were bused into Budapest. It would have been lovely to have cruised into beautiful Budapest! Food was not quite as good as our previous river cruise. I celebrated my birthday on the first day of the cruise. My husband had called Viking ahead and told them this. He also asked one of our servers at dinner about my birthday. He was told they were aware of it. They still managed to forget to acknowledge my birthday. The next day something showed up in our room. I was very disappointed and my husband was not happy. Not the service we expected! Budapest was the highlight of the ports. Beautiful city with lots to see! We have another river cruise booked for 2019. It will most likely be our last. We have done one Viking ocean cruise, and we much prefer the ocean to river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was our 6th River Cruise on a Viking ship. We wanted to re-visit some of the cities in Germany and the Netherlands that we had been to previously. The Grand European Tour offered us just the right route. We loved the food on board ... Read More
This was our 6th River Cruise on a Viking ship. We wanted to re-visit some of the cities in Germany and the Netherlands that we had been to previously. The Grand European Tour offered us just the right route. We loved the food on board the Longship - always a good variety and tasty options, and the "sit where you want to" policy suits us just fine. All of the other guests were well-traveled and offered suggestions as to what to see in various cities, and what other Vicing River Cruises we might enjoy. We love the staff - always warm and friendly and helpful. We found the included panoramic city tours by bus to be a good introduction to the cities. We signed up for a number of optional tours to see sights that we had missed during prior travel. It was a great trip.The cabin was comfortable for us. The evening entertainment was enjoyable after a busy and tiring day of travel. We highly recommend this trip to all travelers. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
The cruise went from Budapest to Amsterdam. We normally never do tours, we always travel on our own. We Really loved this. We felt very taken care of. It was a really Super fun boat. People were the best including the Staff and the ... Read More
The cruise went from Budapest to Amsterdam. We normally never do tours, we always travel on our own. We Really loved this. We felt very taken care of. It was a really Super fun boat. People were the best including the Staff and the guests. We Made great friends. We Got completely spoiled. We had Great tour guides who were very knowledgeable. They had Fast and slow groups which accommodated all. There was Fab live music. The menu had Local foods and other great tasting meals. There were Excellent bartenders. Outside decks were breezy and comfortable. The Inside lounge areas had with plenty of room to relax. There happened to be a medical emergency and it was handled well. All the buses for the tours were very comfortable. I would have chosen another month because it was too hot for me in the port cities. I already have my eyes on other Viking tours. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Heard many great things from many past Viking Guests. Wanted to go to Europe , Germany etc, thought I would give Viking a try. Our first week we were on another ship, then midweek we had to transfer to another ship Due to the low water ... Read More
Heard many great things from many past Viking Guests. Wanted to go to Europe , Germany etc, thought I would give Viking a try. Our first week we were on another ship, then midweek we had to transfer to another ship Due to the low water of the river. Really hated leaving the 1st ship. Loved the staff. The second ship the Embla was a little smaller stateroom. We were never on the Aegir. I forgot the name of the first ship. The transfer was painless and everyone was very professional. I give credit to our tour guide Stephen. Food and dining service fantastic and friendly. The only negative thing I have to say about the dinner, was that the dinners all started at 7 p. M. It would have been nice to have an earlier dinner, because by the time you were finished dinner, you had to go right to bed because you had to get up so early in the morning for the excursions.Ship clean and attractive. River Cruises are different from sea Cruises There is nothing to do on the ship of you don't go on the excursions. A small library, relaxing on the top sundeck where there is a walking track and a small putting green. The top deck is not accessible when the ship has to go under bridges for height restrictions. The only nightly entertainment they had was a lady singer who was very nice and a electric piano player. Every night everybody would gather into the lounge, where the tour guide would discuss the plans for the next day and the excursions. Sometimes they would have lectures the day before on specific details of the area that you were going to see the next day. They also had a couple of demonstrations, making Turkish coffee for instance. Beware of the excursions, where they say or easy or moderate, it's not exactly true to form. There are times where you have to walk up steep hills on cobblestones for quite a while just to get where you have to meet your guide. These excursions are for very healthy fit individuals that can do a lot of vigorous walking, at least three to four miles per day. Europe especially has lots of uneven cobblestones streets which can wreak havoc on your back. You are not allowed to bring any type of scooter on board. You are allowed to bring a wheelchair, someone even brought a motorized wheelchair but no scooters are allowed. I had a hard time keeping up with the groups. I am in my 50s, and unfortunately I could not keep up as much as I'd like to. Some excursions were better than others.My advice, if you wish to do excursions with any type of river cruise, is to make sure you're able to walk 3 or 4 miles on cobblestone streets which are prevalent in Europe. I'm glad I went on this Viking tour, however regarding the excursions, I don't think that they were very accommodating to people with any type of mobility issues. The walking tours that were included with Viking we're Fair. The ones I would recommend in Europe specially Germany is to go to all the Palaces. The interior of these palaces were tremendous. Unfortunately due to the restrictions you are not able to take photographs inside. would I travel with Viking again, yes I would if there was a particular place that I would like to go see, and also the price. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We wanted to celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary in a special way, and had heard of Viking's excellent reputation through friends. The idea of a river cruise sounded appealing, and the ports were all new to us. We expected to ... Read More
We wanted to celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary in a special way, and had heard of Viking's excellent reputation through friends. The idea of a river cruise sounded appealing, and the ports were all new to us. We expected to receive good service on the Elba, but what we experienced was so much more than that. Everything, from the port tours to the on-board special presentations, were so varied and well organized. And the staff were amazing. The housekeepers consistently smiled and said hello, desk personnel were always professional and helpful, wait staff were so accommodating and pleasant, and our Program Director, Violeta, was such an attentive and hard working representative for Viking! It was so obvious that all had the same goal...to make this voyage a wonderful and rewarding experience for their guests. And they succeeded! We loved the special touches too, such as a champagne toast upon our arrival and the offer of a wonderful piece of chocolate on our return from the Vienna tour. Dining was exceptional, and we truly enjoyed trying the delicious regional offerings. We are so impressed with Viking that we have convinced 2 other couples to book trips with them, and we have already booked another Viking cruise for ourselves! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
There isn’t a moment that I can think of that wasn’t superb: great food (especially the breads and breakfasts), wonderful varied entertainment (folk dancing and music); excellent meaningful lectures on Balkan politics and history on ... Read More
There isn’t a moment that I can think of that wasn’t superb: great food (especially the breads and breakfasts), wonderful varied entertainment (folk dancing and music); excellent meaningful lectures on Balkan politics and history on the boat and through the port excursions: nice people to meet through the open seating at meals; beautiful and varied scenery; knowledgeable guides on the port tours; friendly helpful staff- what more could one ask? My husband and I and our daughter and son-in-law found enough things to do together and other activities that we could do separately that made for a truly memorable trip. I never thought. I’d want to know that much Balkan history but I enjoyed each of the presentations and appreciate the level of understanding I gained that helped me understand world history and even international politics today. Highlights for us included the visit to the violin maker’s studio in Serbia and learning how one creates an instrument like a violin; the home visits to “B&B’s”; and the cooking class where I learned to make great Feta Cheese and Phyllo dessert. There were some surprise concerts from young people at some of the churches- an extra treat! I enjoyed the informality and the reasonable size of the boat. Every day was different but also relaxed. The Program staff on the Boat and Guides on Bus and Walking Tours we’re honest with their comments about a very contested history and certainly seemed honest with their interpretations of their excellent local knowledge. For example, I particularly enjoyed the two young girls just completing the “Gymasium”(High School) education who talked about their lives today and goals for the future. But the first specific story I keep telling was the Violin maker’s studio. The trip was so good that we have already reserved another trip next May with our other daughter and her husband. Traveling intergenerationally with our children gave the trip a double benefit for we shared experiences and created memories that will go beyond our own lives, Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was our first river cruise and understood Viking was a top provider. BUT, we were very disappointed. The crew/staff were excellent, but after that things fell down. Getting a balcony is a waste of money as many times we were moored ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and understood Viking was a top provider. BUT, we were very disappointed. The crew/staff were excellent, but after that things fell down. Getting a balcony is a waste of money as many times we were moored next to another Viking ship's balcony which was just 2 feet away. No view or privacy! Breakfast was fine but other meals were poor. It became the joke many times to see what was served compared to what was ordered. Many times when we docked at a town we then had to be bussed. We were not able to simply get off the ship and walk around. A couple times we docked in industrial areas. On included tours guides were friendly and knowledgeable, but we were always rushed. Numerous times we had to move along as there was a group behind us. No time for questions (later) and photos. A typical tour was bussing, see a cathedral/palace/castle listen to some history/stories & then some free time. When you combine the amount of ships of Viking & it's competitors, tours become a herd! For the price do not recommend Viking. Will not use again. Viking may have been a class outfit, but possibly have lost control with expansion. Deep research needed for any river cruise. Have taken over a dozen land trips with success, but our ages require a more leisurely experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We selected this cruise because we lived near canals for two years and it looked like fun. The advertising promised convenient, in town docking locations, small tour groups and excellent dining. Instead, we discovered that there were ... Read More
We selected this cruise because we lived near canals for two years and it looked like fun. The advertising promised convenient, in town docking locations, small tour groups and excellent dining. Instead, we discovered that there were usually four to six Viking ships in town at a time. We often docked 20-30 minutes from town in a cargo area and were bused into town and back. This meant that the tours involved around 1,000 people - more if you included the ships from other companies. The next to last stop was supposed to be in Kinderdijk. Instead, we docked in Doordrect and rode on buses for 30 minutes each way. The food ranged from good to terrible. Several of the meals were inedible. They were bland beyond belief and often poorly prepared. The standard "always available" lunch entrees were a hamburger (overcooked and dry) or a hot dog. The local menus on the Danube were good. From that point on, the local menus ranged from standard sausage and kraut (good) to incredibly bland, and definitely not representative of local dishes. The Dutch ones were particularly horrible. Unlike anything available in the Netherlands. We also did not appreciate the overdone drinking culture. There were no non-alcoholic options available at the "free receptions" and the whole cruise seemed to revolve around alcoholic beverages. I guess that is one way to keep some gusts happy. The included shore excursions were mostly 1 1/2 hour walking tours through town. Some were interesting. The guide for the Vienna city tour was irritating. The two optional music activities in Vienna were the highlight. I would never do this itinerary. The four days cruising the Danube-Main Canal were the worst and mostly a waste of time. I would recommend choosing either the Rhine or the Danube (preferred) but not the Grand European. The entire environment was geared towards relatively untravelled Americans. It was too structured for our taste and lacked the international flavor we have enjoyed on other cruises. The crew worked incredibly hard and were efficient and friendly. The Program Director had to work constantly to compensate for Viking's disorganization and oversold activities. He was knowledgeable and certainly among the best in the business. Our French Balcony cabin was small, but worked fine, especially since we spent little time in it. The internet service was simply awful by any measure. The free internet on European trains works 100 times better. It was incredibly slow when it was semi-functional. Most of the time it was not, unless you tried it before 6:00 AM. The onboard WiFi system did not provide adequate coverage, the authentication system was buggy. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise because of the timing that worked out for our younger daughter and son-in-law as well as for us (mid-May), the discounted cost ("two-fer" in terms of cabin costs) and because it covered a part of Europe we ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the timing that worked out for our younger daughter and son-in-law as well as for us (mid-May), the discounted cost ("two-fer" in terms of cabin costs) and because it covered a part of Europe we had not yet visited. (We had been in Budapest but not any of the other Balkan countries we visited). We had high expectations, and the trip exceeded them. I cannot remember any bad or even difficult moments (except perhaps for the heavy rain on the Budapest day - but that's not under the control of the Viking planners). The food and service were superb, varied, interesting and with more than enough choices. I cannot believe it was cooked so well in the small kitchen we toured. The chefs and helpers obviously work together very closely and very well! The entertainment and lectures were excellent. I learned more about Balkan history than I ever thought I'd want to know, but enjoyed the lectures/presentations, and now have a better understanding of WWI, WWII, and even the Balkans today. The entertainment, especially the folk-dancing, in Romania during lunchtime, and other times on the boat, were a delight. My husband and I enjoyed the Port trips we could take (he has some walking limitations) and the optional trips we added. One highlight was the cooking class in Bulgaria. "Ramona's Banitsa" will now be added to my cooking repertoire. A second highlight - and probably the most interesting - was the visit to the violin maker in Kovacica, Serbia. I seem to talk about that particular afternoon, and show the pictures I took of Jan Nemcek that show how he made violins more than any other part of our trip. Two other highlights were visits to homes in Croatia (actually "B&B's") where we met and enjoyed talking with the hosts in our small groups, and the Hungarian "horsemanship" show in Puszta. We had been to Budapest before, so on the second day (now with good weather) we hired a "TukTuk" and had a 2-hourguided trip to revisit the important and meaningful "Shoe Memorial" along the river, and Chris, our guide, then took us some small parks and meaningful sculptures that we would not have known about without him. We enjoyed the trip so much we have made reservations for another Viking Cruise next May - and this time we will share it with our other daughter and her husband! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This cruise was a dream come true. It was our first cruise and one we will always remember. My husband wanted to show me Eastern Europe where he worked many years. We decided to fly into Budapest two days early to recuperate from jet ... Read More
This cruise was a dream come true. It was our first cruise and one we will always remember. My husband wanted to show me Eastern Europe where he worked many years. We decided to fly into Budapest two days early to recuperate from jet lag and to walk around the city on our own. When we walked onto the Embla we were warmly greeted with smiling faces by the entire crew, and it remained that way throughout the cruise. The crew was first rate and many were from the countries we were visiting. Many of them had interesting stories to share if you asked. Violetta, our tour director, was amazing and put together tours and lectures that enriched and enhanced our Eastern European experience. I learned so much about this part of the world. All of tour guides were quite knowledgeable and obviously chosen with care.We loved the food, particularly the foods of each country we visited. Dinner was always special, but breakfast time was a great start with chef Jiggs serving his fantastic omelets. ( I did gain a few pounds, but it was worth it!) We also met some very interesting people and made some wonderful new friends. I would certainly urge anyone wishing to take a river cruise to travel with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Viking did everything right to make this trip even more special for us. We knew we picked the right cruise company for our river adventure when we found out that we were going to be in Amsterdam on "King's Day". Heck, we ... Read More
Viking did everything right to make this trip even more special for us. We knew we picked the right cruise company for our river adventure when we found out that we were going to be in Amsterdam on "King's Day". Heck, we didn't know what "King's Day meant until they told us. All roads in and out of the city are shut down by 8am for motor traffic and don't open again until the next day. King's Day was the day we were to meet our ship, the Embla, to start our 14-day voyage! Our Amsterdam hotel learned about our predicament and arranged a special driver to take us to our riverboat, but we had to leave the hotel about 7 am and we arrived at the EMBLA about 7:30am, almost 5-hours before we were to check in. What happened next was incredible. The tour director for our cruise actually was waiting for us on the dock, and just said "Welcome Home"! She then told us to just leave our bags on the dock and they would take care of them, go on board, have a coffee or breakfast and mingle with the guests who hadn't yet departed. We were "Home"! We continually had those same type of experiences throughout our two-week journey on the Embla. The hotel accommodations on board the Embla were great. The food was consistently incredible and yummy. The entertainment, music and exhibitions on board seemed to be just about perfect to meet the needs for almost anyone and either prepared us for places we were going, helped reflect on the places we just visited, or just to have fun. The staff, in every part of our Embla experience, were absolutely WONDERFUL (friendly, courteous, and always ready to help). We actually wanted to adopt one of the crew (Dani). He was one of the servers in the lounge who also helped at lunch time on the forward terrace and during dinner in the main dining room. He made us feel special every time we saw him. The local tour guides also provided unbelievable history and ambiance to always set the right image for the specific experience. We loved everything about our experience aboard the Embla and we are already planning our next Viking trip in 2020. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Viking Embla Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 3.0 3.6
Public Rooms 5.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 1.0 2.8
Family 1.0 2.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.0
Enrichment 4.0 3.9
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 3.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 3.7

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