20 Viking River Viking Bragi Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because of the ports to explore along the various rivers. Amsterdam, Cologne, Nuremberg, Vienna, and Budapest were historically appealing for my husband and I. The excursions were very informative and comprehensive. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the ports to explore along the various rivers. Amsterdam, Cologne, Nuremberg, Vienna, and Budapest were historically appealing for my husband and I. The excursions were very informative and comprehensive. We enjoyed on board entertainment especially the German glass blower. The meals were delicious and reflected the lands we were touring. The option of changing tables at each seating allowed us to meet many new friends. Service was outstanding from the cabin attendants, and waiters, to the cruise director, Joey. Due to water levels being extremely low, we had to transfer from the Scadi to the Bragi to continue our cruise. It was inconvenient to repack, but the crew including the captain handled everything and streamlined the process. We cruised to Vienna, but could not go on to Budapest due to the low water levels. The crew once again stepped up and diffused the situation. We boarded luxury buses and were driven to Budapest where we were lodged at the Ritz. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Enjoyed our river cruise trip with Viking Bragi from Budapest to Amsterdam having already cruised with them in China. The only complaint I have, and it is a big one ! Is that the sundeck is closed for half of the trip!! Didn't know ... Read More
Enjoyed our river cruise trip with Viking Bragi from Budapest to Amsterdam having already cruised with them in China. The only complaint I have, and it is a big one ! Is that the sundeck is closed for half of the trip!! Didn't know the reason why until I returned to the UK and found out that there had been a major crash on another Viking ship the previous year. Two crew died at night when the wheelhouse struck a bridge ! So now as a safety measure the sundeck is closed down throughout the canal part of the trip, which to be quite honest did ruin the holiday. So yes my wife and I enjoyed all the places we visited with Viking, but not be able to exercise on the sundeck, or take a stroll, or just relax in a sun lounger ruined what was an enjoyable trip. The food overall was really good, and our cabin level 2 with balcony was cosy with a really comfy bed. The service was very good, and the cruise director Kane was outstanding, we even got him to sing one late evening when most folk had retired to bed. There were two resident singers, a husband and wife team called Sundown who were okay, he played the piano and also sang. There was free wine with your meals, or spirits, and unlimited tea or coffee throughout the trip from a machine on level 3, which was okay but not Starbucks ! The excursions were very informative, and most of the guides were very knowledgeable. We have been back now a few weeks so cannot always remember all that we did, but we had a really good time, and met some interesting people , and made some good friends with 2 couples from the USA. We have already booked a cruise with them for next July with the Celebrity Reflection. We did look at a Viking ocean cruise to the same area, the Greek islands and Italy, but the cost so much more. Overall our trip was fabulous as the pros outweighed the cons, and for that reason I would rate this holiday 8/10 Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We traveled for Budapest to Amsterdam First the Good: Service was great, the crew was great, the food was great and we enjoyed the Aquavit option, particularly when the weather was hot - the cabin was always clean - the tour guides were ... Read More
We traveled for Budapest to Amsterdam First the Good: Service was great, the crew was great, the food was great and we enjoyed the Aquavit option, particularly when the weather was hot - the cabin was always clean - the tour guides were great - a real mix of eclectic guides. The quizs were great fun. The schedule was good and luckily we did not encounter the river level issues that had affected earlier sailings. The included tours were generally pretty good and well organized - in general, the overall level of organization, running to schedule, etc., was excellent - the public areas absorb the 190 passengers surpirsingly well Of the included tours: We enjoyed Vienna, Melk Abbey and Wertheim in particular. The Passau Organ Concert was a bit disappointing - the church itself was fabulous, but the music played was to my knowledge of music quite obscure - something more widely known would have been appreciated, since my guess is that over 90% of those in attendance were tourists. The Nuremberg tour was "OK" - the 45 minute plus washroom break at the castle (due to limited facilities) dampened this tour for sure and meant that the gingerbread specialty store was closed by the time we arrived in the square. Of the Optional tours: The Rothenberg ob der Tauber tour was well worth while - the Mozart and Strauss Concert was excellent, the Dutch cheese making was very good and the Cologne Beer Night was good The not so Good (personally): We stayed in a French Balcony cabin - they are so small, you have to leave them to change your mind! - for those whom size matters, I suggest a survey across the river cruise lines to check out cabin sizes before you book - saying that you don't spend much time in your cabin is only partially true. The "roof" deck, much touted by Viking in its advertising, is closed for more than half the trip - while this is understandable re the need to pass under bridges, I think that advance info about its availability is lacking - particularly since the roof deck is the only "fitness facility" on the boat - some other lines have fitness facilities There are no bike tours offered (at least on the Budapest to Amsterdam direction) either at any of the city/town stops or along the 2000 plus KM of river and canals we passed along - some other cruise lines even have bikes on board - my overall resulting impression is that Viking is for the "not so active" crowd - something to be considered when choosing which river cruise line - for example, the Wertheim to Miltenberg stretch is reported to be a pleasant bike ride of three hours including a stop, while the boat takes five hours - well suited to an organized/available option, but not on offer. (Note that the front desk will help you to try and arrange things, but having more readily available options/contacts, even if not organized tours would help.) The included wines were largely limited to a single choice in Red and White each meal - understandable re stocking and the limited size of the boats, but the initial local wine was not great! The downright Ugly: Viking Air - this has to be my worst experience ever - personally I would never recommend included air fares with Viking - there were two options - 1) you can let them assign you flights and tell you that's your schedule, or 2) you can pay $US50 per person extra - yes $50 per person extra for the privilege of actually talking to them - everyone I talked to had taken 1) above (and didn't know about 2) and had lousy flight schedules - for example, all those coming back to Vancouver from Amsterdam had stopovers in Toronto - a longer routing with a stop over to boot - we grudgingly paid the $50 each to find out that we had to pay a further $100 per person per "deviation" and that the "free" fare "allotment" was $1495 per person - any routing/fare combo above $1495 would cost us the difference - we wanted to go into Budapest two days early on our own - I could see on Expedia lots of options with good schedules less than the $1495, but had to pay the $100 per person for the "deviation" of arriving early - the only plus was that we were able to get them to fess up with a non-stop flight home - my guess is that probably as a "profit center", Viking Air makes internal money by assigning cheap terrible schedules to those that don't ask and making those that do ask pay in effect an extra $150 each for something reasonable (while still within the 1495!) - and on top of it I suspect they get travel arranger $$ back from the airlines - it was all quite unseemly to me - next time I would ask for pricing without "free" air and do a comparison The price of the optional tours if booked on the boat are much more expensive than if pre-booked - the size of the onboard price "uplift" was outrageous to my mind The ship's Szechenyi Baths tour is way overpriced - do it on your own Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
This was a special two week celebration cruise for us for which we paid as a couple over £12,000. There was a mix of English speaking 'guests', as we were called. Although I'd particularly asked for a cruise with a ... Read More
This was a special two week celebration cruise for us for which we paid as a couple over £12,000. There was a mix of English speaking 'guests', as we were called. Although I'd particularly asked for a cruise with a majority of British clients, of the 186 'guests' most were American. There were a few British and an Australian couple and a New Zealand couple. The food was good and plentiful and in the main reflected the cuisine of the areas we travelled through, ie The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary, so it was strange to have some American favourites such as clam chowder! The staff were very friendly, helpful and good. The organised tours were managed very well in the main with some excellent guides and some not so knowledgeable. We loved the medieval German villages, particularly Rothenburg, Bamburg and the dynamic Regensburg. However, although our suite was lovely with a balcony, it was often impossible to use or enjoy it. When we were docked in Cologne for the day and for the 2 days in Vienna and two days in Budapest it was unusable as we were sandwiched between two other Viking Boats. This also meant that because there was no daylight into either rooms of the suite, we had to have the electric lights on continuously and, therefore, we then had to have our curtains closed completely during daylight hours to give us privacy as obviously the boat parked directly alongside could view straight into our rooms. Having experienced being moored beside another boat in Cologne all day, when we arrived in Vienna for two days and were straight away sandwiched between two boats, I asked for how long this was going to be the case. I was told this would be for the entire time we were in Vienna. I was not happy and suggested this was a economy for Viking which was not what we had paid for. I was told it was not an economy as Viking owned two other moorings at Vienna but had rented them out!!! Obviously Viking benefitted from this but we did not. Also noticed when we were parked between other boats in this way, particularly in the public areas, that there was a smell of sewage, which was not pleasant. To add to this the sun deck was closed for 5 days during the first week of the cruise. I understand that this is because of the low bridges. However for those guests without balconies there was very limited if any outside space in which to enjoy the early part of the cruise, during which there was mostly cruising and very few stops at ports. I also noted, as did other guests, that the necessary closure of the sun deck was not reflected in Viking's brochures or other documents. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Tulips were on the bucket list at the Kueckenhof. The crew was very professional, the excursions were well organized and the food with one exception was first class. One meal was a disaster withe pork schnitzel so overlooked that ... Read More
Tulips were on the bucket list at the Kueckenhof. The crew was very professional, the excursions were well organized and the food with one exception was first class. One meal was a disaster withe pork schnitzel so overlooked that nobody finished the meal. We were only able to book the bottom state room because of late booking but it was very acceptable because we spent very little time in the room other sleeping there. The weather was very windy, is Holland always windy? The guides were with one exception were first class, the organosing of each trip was very good with little hassle or waiting. The accomadation was very acceptable with laundry service available when we wanted it. I did find it over run with Americans there seemed to be very little other nations represented. As a couple traveling but ourselves we found several groups of people preferred to keep their own company. We made no new friends on. The trip, despite being both extroverts because from my experience Americansprefer to keep themselves to the,selves. This was the only drawback. Maybe Viking should take that into account for non American travelers Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
I injured my knee a month before the cruise and was still in pain. There are walking groups for the slower walkers. This was not always so easy, one man kept getting lost, another couple was always late, it was not hard to get to certain ... Read More
I injured my knee a month before the cruise and was still in pain. There are walking groups for the slower walkers. This was not always so easy, one man kept getting lost, another couple was always late, it was not hard to get to certain areas walking but once inside the castles or ruins the paths were very uneven and painful for me. I loved the dining. I felt like we were so important and everyone tried to serve us the best possible meals in the best possible way. I can not say one thing negative about our meals or the servers. We loved meeting new people every day so ate at different tables frequently. We met so many nice people. I loved sitting up on the terrace as we sailed but if we couldn't my room was comfortable to just sit on our bed and watch the countryside as we sailed by. The room was small but very comfortable and we had plenty of room in the bath. I loved the heated floors! The tours were varied and appropriate for the areas, I had plenty of time to sight see and shop. I do not feel like I missed anything until Buda Pest. We had en extra day in Vienna and we put it to good use but I still am so sad that our trip was interrupted in Vienna due to a lock issue and then and EU Conference where they shut down the river. We were bussed in to Buda Pest, straight to the airport. I still get so sad thinking that we did not get to sail in to that beautiful city, especially when I read in one of the suggested readings that that is the only way to enter Buda Pest. I felt our compensation was very poor also. The money I spent on this trip was saved for a long time, I am not sure I will ever be able to take another Viking Cruise and even if I could the discount offered was so very little. My perfect trip was not so perfect due to knee pain and then not to get to see the city I thought was the crown jewel and it still over shadows how wonderful the rest of the trip was. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We enjoyed the cruise very much. It was our first time to Europe and our first Viking experience. There was not enough room on the sundeck for the majority of people. Some people grabbed the best seats and tables and held them for their ... Read More
We enjoyed the cruise very much. It was our first time to Europe and our first Viking experience. There was not enough room on the sundeck for the majority of people. Some people grabbed the best seats and tables and held them for their friends who sometimes weren't there yet. I was surprised how many locks and low bridges we had to go through. The sundeck was closed off completely for about 5 days. So it was hard to get much sun & exercise. There were usually 4-5 buses that took us on the excursions. There were A, B, C, D & sometimes E. For some reason, we were never on Bus A or B. We purchased the thumb drive with our tour pictures. There were many pictures of some people and very few of others. The main guide seemed to have taken the pictures and was never on our bus. The food and service was excellent. The attendants were all very polite. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We enjoyed our cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. We stayed in Amsterdam two nights before the cruise and extended our trip with three nights in Prague at the end. We had a minor upset on our trip. Our boat was mispositioned (in Budapest) ... Read More
We enjoyed our cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. We stayed in Amsterdam two nights before the cruise and extended our trip with three nights in Prague at the end. We had a minor upset on our trip. Our boat was mispositioned (in Budapest) so we boarded a different boat to meet the Bragi in Nuremberg . The Bragi his a bridge on the way up so we we housed in a very nice hotel on Nuremberg for two days while Viking set up a new boat. We were treated well and most of our tours still occurred as scheduled. Entertainment was good and enhanced the cultural experience. The service was great , staff was very b=good about doing little extras for you. My wife enjoyed the excursions, the pace was good and the narration was excellent. The staff handled all the background logistics very well. We are scheduled to try the Viking ocean cruise this December to the West Indies and hope they are as well coordinated as the river cruise was. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We took the Grand European Tour and stayed in the Explorer Suite (a special occasion at great expense). This is a senior cruise, with the majority of guests over 65. Disabuse yourself of the idea that a river cruise is charming small ... Read More
We took the Grand European Tour and stayed in the Explorer Suite (a special occasion at great expense). This is a senior cruise, with the majority of guests over 65. Disabuse yourself of the idea that a river cruise is charming small ships sailing right into town. With the exception of Krems and Bamberg, all ships dock very far from the towns and a Viking shuttle bus takes you to the town center, often miles away; the docks are sometimes just cement landings in an industrial port area. This is an all English-speaking cruise, with 95% being Americans, with a few Canadians, Brits, and Australians. Also be prepared for the huge crowds of tours--river cruising has boomed tremendously. There were sometimes four Viking vessels docked, each with 200 people, along with a dozen other cruise boats from other companies. The tours groups are about 50 people each, so imagine how crowded that gets with all the tours going in the same places simultaneously. If you are thinking of getting the Explorer Suite, think again: these rooms (only two on each ship) are located directly over the ships' engines, and the balconies are basically unusable unless the ship is docked (and who wants to sit out there and look at cement?). The vibration from the engines is so loud and so severe that at one point I watched a glass vibrate its way across the glass table and fall off. This is especially true of an up-river cruise (Amsterdam to Budapest) as the engines are always working full-blast. Save your money and get a regular suite up toward the front of the ship where it's quiet. I think Mr. Hagen, Viking's founder, ought to spend two weeks in one of his Explorer Suites to see what it's like. The food is good, not great, but good. I have food allergies and the Maitre d' met with me each morning to go over the entire menu to make sure I wouldn't get sick, and I didn't. The service overall is beyond anything we've ever experienced--kind, helpful, friendly beyond belief, and the Viking crew seems to absolutely love their jobs. Very well done. We added the Prague Extension. Beware--the "transfer to Prague," which our sales agent told us was a few hours by bus, is an EIGHT hour drive via Slovakia (with a rest stop for lunch in what had to be the worst cafeteria food I've ever had), in essence losing an entire day (advertised as three days in Prague). Then, the only other complaint was the Soviet-era hotel called the Corinthia; Viking says "Hilton hotel or equivalent," supposedly a five-star hotel which is nothing of the sort. It's miles away from town in an industrial park, and there are shuttle buses--very nice ones--which take you to and from the old town square every half hour. The hotel's air conditioning did not work, and they "fixed" it by giving us a fan. The windows don't open. Many of us were miserable. If I were to do it all over again, I'd book a flight from Budapest to Prague and get a hotel in town--it would also save time and money. We are a gay couple in our 60s, and luckily found another couple to hang out with, because otherwise the clientele was frosty towards us at best and on at least two occasions people did not allow us to sit with them--always Americans, almost always from the South. My favorite moment at breakfast was when a woman from Alabama ended up sitting across from us--her husband had sat there first leaving only the chair across from me free for her--and under her breath muttered to him "why did you have to sit HERE?" She wouldn't speak to me and stared off into the distance acting as if there were a bad smell in the room. Variations on this occurred several times. Obviously this is a cruise for straight couples. Fortunately there were also some very decent couples, wonderful people, who were happy to sit with us. Sometimes, though, it was awkward. This is no fault of Viking's of course, just something to be aware of if you're a gay couple--bring friends along or be prepared to be shunned, not ever by Viking staff, but by your fellow travelers. On the plus side, the included tours are wonderful, though whirlwind fast, sometimes with a bit of time on your own (never more than a half hour though).. There are rechargeable "Quiet Vox" boxes in each room with an earpiece which one brings along. The highlights of the trip included an organ concert in Passau's cathedral, truly excellent; and when the captain took the ship out for a 90 minute cruise at night in Budapest--we've never seen anything like it in our lives, with all the big buildings in Pest and Buda (opposite sides of the Danube) all lit up. Absolutely mind-blowingly gorgeous. The other highlights were the small towns of Bamberg, Rothenburg, Miltenburg, and Krems. We quickly realized we liked the charm of the small towns more than the crowds and bustle of the big cities like Amsterdam and Vienna (also having been to both before). All in all a wonderful trip--Viking is possibly the best-managed cruise company we've ever seen and they really take care of you--with a few weird hiccups. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Cruise was wonderful, excursions were very good, food was excellent, airport transfer was non-existent. Even though we had transfers from the airport to the ship, no one from Viking was there to pick us up. After several attempts to ... Read More
Cruise was wonderful, excursions were very good, food was excellent, airport transfer was non-existent. Even though we had transfers from the airport to the ship, no one from Viking was there to pick us up. After several attempts to contact the ship by phone, we were finally told to take a taxi, but the ship was not able to provide an address or exact location. We were dropped off in the port area and had to walk about 1/2 mile in rainy, windy weather to find our ship. We were never informed why we were not met at the airport even though we arrived on time in Amsterdam on a flight arranged by Viking Air. We were also assigned a flight by Viking Air that had two stopovers and took 17 hours. Our traveling companions were given a direct flight that took only ten hours. When I contacted Viking about this difference, I never got a response. Viking is very good, but obviously not as excellent as their commercials would portray. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We went to see Tulips and Windmills, and saw both! The ship and crew were excellent, and lived up to the reputation of Viking to "make it right" when there was an issue in one location. The food and service staff were ... Read More
We went to see Tulips and Windmills, and saw both! The ship and crew were excellent, and lived up to the reputation of Viking to "make it right" when there was an issue in one location. The food and service staff were wonderful! We cruised at night, so didn't have a lot of scenery along the waterways to view, which was fine as it was mostly oil refineries. The docking locations varied, and some were great (Antwerp, Amsterdam, Hoorn were all beautiful). Shore excursions were well done, for the most part. River cruising is so much better than ocean cruising - we met some amazing people and actually were able to enjoy their company at meals, and to see and recognize them while on the ship. On the big cruises you might never see the same person twice. It is just so much more relaxing, and I would recommend it to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This is a fabulous cruise in spite of low water levels and swapping ships ( bus from Nuremberg to Passau) plus having to bus into Budapest from Vienna! Our weather was wonderful, unseasonably warm, but no rain causes even lower levels! ... Read More
This is a fabulous cruise in spite of low water levels and swapping ships ( bus from Nuremberg to Passau) plus having to bus into Budapest from Vienna! Our weather was wonderful, unseasonably warm, but no rain causes even lower levels! Our visit to Bratislava was an hour bus ride from Vienna also.. as we had to spend 2 nights in Vienna, which was the first time a ship couldn't go there! We had swapped from Bragi to identical sister ship Skadi which was handled by Viking very professional and with style. Our Program director, Caspar and Concierge Dejan accompanied us but it was hard to say goodbye to the rest of the crew we had grown to love. Disappointed we were bused also into Budapest and stayed our last night at the Hilton, which is up by the castle on Buda and had an awesome view from our very large room. Our stay in Budapest was only a few hours and that was upsetting but unavoidable. We did feel Viking should have given us a choice of the city bus tour or going directly to the hotel. When we did finally get to our room, 5:00 pm we had spent way too many hours on a bus! Exhausted and had to get our luggage out by 2:30 am to transition to airport for return! How I longed for a full day & 1 night in this beautiful city on the boat! This had been the plan if we had been able to complete itinerary. Viking did its very best, always took excellent care of us, in spite of change in plans, out of their control. YES, I would do this cruise again...in spite of everything, but plan on several extra days in Budapest on our own. The Paris tradgedy was just hours before we left for airport, so I am counting my blessings for an awesome trip and safe return to the USA! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
As always, the service and food on board the cruise was great. The fact that we had to swap ships was unavoidable but probably could have been handled better. We lost 1-2 days of river cruising and spent many hours on buses instead. Viking ... Read More
As always, the service and food on board the cruise was great. The fact that we had to swap ships was unavoidable but probably could have been handled better. We lost 1-2 days of river cruising and spent many hours on buses instead. Viking made good for it with a credit that I applied to our next Ocean Cruise. However, our stateroom was very small and no upgrades were available due to rescheduling passengers leaving from Amsterdam. The excursions were great but several were cut short due to the busing situation. Entertainment was great. Our cruise director Casper was a true renaissance man with a wealth of information and a great sense of humor. We are loyal fans of Viking and will continue to cruise with them even with these minor problems. The mark of a good company is how they make something good out of a bad situation. The crew bent over backwards to make the turmoil of the boat swap forgotten within the first day. Of course we will be back !! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
I loved the Skadi, staff was outstanding and was very disappointed that midway through our cruise we were moved to the Bragi. I know that nature does not always cooperate with providing enough rain but I think we should have been informed ... Read More
I loved the Skadi, staff was outstanding and was very disappointed that midway through our cruise we were moved to the Bragi. I know that nature does not always cooperate with providing enough rain but I think we should have been informed ahead of time as we lost an entire morning traveling by bus. The Bragi staff was adequate but not near as good as on the Skadi. The scenery from the ship was spectacular and I would recommend a river cruise to anyone in order to explore the Danube, Rhine and Main Rivers. Shore excursions were well planned and felt that all the guides did an excellent job with showing us the sites. Food was plentiful and don' think that anyone left the ship without gaining at least 5 pounds. Even though we opted for the small cabin, it was very well designed so that we never felt cramped and there was space for everything. I have one very strong complaint and that was in disembarkation. We were told to have our bags outside our room at 9:00 a.m. And they would be taken to our transportation to the airport. We waited an hour and forty five minutes in the rain for our bags with our driver. Finally my husband went back on board and had to search for our bags and carry them himself through several ships so we could get to the airport on time. I did appreciate that Viking had a representative at the airport to help us so that we could catch our plane. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This was our first river cruise and it's very different from ocean cruises. The atmosphere on board is cozy and more personal contact with co-travelers, which we liked. The food selections were not as many as ocean cruises, but the ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and it's very different from ocean cruises. The atmosphere on board is cozy and more personal contact with co-travelers, which we liked. The food selections were not as many as ocean cruises, but the quality of dishes for every meal was excellent. Despite no buffet and room services, we were never hungry with fruits and cookies available on board. We don't drink much, and was surprised that we had to pay for juice outside of meal time. All local tour guides for onshore excursion were very knowledgeable with good English skills. We appreciated the provision of "leisure" group for the daily onshore excursions for people like me who have knee problems and walk at a slower speed, and didn't want the pressure of slowing other people down. We have booked an ocean cruise next year, and really hope this kind consideration will be extended to the ocean cruise excursions as well. We didn't have good weather during our cruise. Rain and grey sky half of the time, not Viking's fault. However, we did have problems with our key cards (more than once) and loss of power inside our cabin which required electricians' attention (more than once). We enjoyed the on-board lectures and performances, except the lounge was a little small and many seats had obstructed view of the speaker/screen/performers (we had problem finding a good seat 10-15 minutes before the lecture and performances). We then tried to watch them on TV in our cabin, but the microphones in the lounge were very directional, and the audio part wasn't reliable. The daily briefing by our able and helpful program director Alex on next day's activities before dinner every evening was great. All personnel on board were very friendly, warm and welcoming. A couple of days into our cruise, we were notified by our credit company that our credit cards were compromised. Within 24 hours, we could see that the fraudulent charges to our credit cards were mounting quickly to close to $15,000. With the help of the phone on board, we were able to communicate with our credit card company more effectively trying to resolve the crisis! The morning we disembark, we had pouring rain (4/4/15 in Amsterdam). Although the luggage we put outside of our cabin was retrieved and transported while we were having breakfast (so we only need to carry our carryons with us when we disembark), we were horrified to see those two pre-transported luggage were placed yards away from the bus, unloaded onto the bus, uncovered and exposed to the downpour. They were only loaded onto the bus after we arrive ourselves and identified the luggage as ours. Of course they were soaking wet by then (some items packed close the the surfaces were damp when we checked after arrival at the airport). It was a very relaxing way to travel, and Viking is very good at providing excellent services to make the trip enjoyable. We hope we'll see the same on our Viking ocean cruise next year. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This Christmas Market cruise from Amsterdam to Basel was our first experience on a river cruise. If you are an ocean cruiser (as we are), you will find river cruising a very different experience from ocean cruising. On ocean cruises, the ... Read More
This Christmas Market cruise from Amsterdam to Basel was our first experience on a river cruise. If you are an ocean cruiser (as we are), you will find river cruising a very different experience from ocean cruising. On ocean cruises, the cruise is often all about the ship especially since you will have several at sea days during your voyage. River cruising, on the other hand, is focused on the various towns that you visit during the cruise. We would describe river cruising as more like having a floating hotel accompany you during your voyage. Your room and dining facilities basically travel with you from location to location. We found river cruising to be a convenient way to explore Europe. Since this was our first experience with river cruising, and our first extensive trip to Europe, we opted to book our entire trip through Viking – air travel, the pre and post excursions and, of course, the cruise itself. Viking did an excellent job in arranging the details of our trip. Pre-Cruise We arrived in Amsterdam and found a Viking representative right outside of customs waiting to greet us. We were among several Viking guests who arrived at about the same time and after a brief wait we were escorted to a Viking motor coach for the ride to the Moevenpick hotel. Our two day stay in Amsterdam included a tour of the city (led by a very knowledgeable Viking host), breakfast and access to a Viking host during our stay. While in Amsterdam we booked a canal tour (with the assistance of the Viking host) and visited a number of historical sites and museums. The Moevenpick Hotel was pleasant and the breakfast buffet was excellent. The hotel is located a distance from the town center, however, and to get into town you have to either walk (about a 15 to 20 minute brisk walk) or catch the tram which stops in front of the hotel. The Ship On Saturday we boarded the Viking Bragi. By ocean liner standards, the ship is small – three stories, one of which is partially under water. You can get from one end of the ship to the next in minutes. The ship itself is nicely appointed, although this being a Christmas Markets cruise, I expected to see more Christmas decorations on board. The rooms are small with barely enough room for a king size bed. Despite that, we had enough space to store all of our items (in the closet, shelving and drawers). Our suitcases fit under the bed. The bathroom was a standard size with a very nice shower. The Cruise Itself Cruising the Rhine River was a pleasant experience. The river is calm and peaceful. The Rhine is a busy thoroughfare and during our seven day cruise, we passed other river cruise ships as well as numerous cargo ships. The highlight of the cruise was visiting the various towns which border the Rhine River. At each stop, we had an included tour of the town and its major attraction. Overall the shore excursions were excellent and well organized. The guides at each stop were experts on the area. Tours generally lasted 1 to 1 and ½ hours. Our favorite stops were Cologne, where we visited the cathedral and had plenty of time to tour the Christmas Markets and town; the visit to Marksburg castle (not to be missed); the town of Heidelberg (the tour of the castle was mediocre but the view outstanding); and Strasbourg and its Christmas Markets. The only problems we encountered were with our optional excursion to Colmar and our visit to the Black Forest. The Colmar tour was very poorly organized (being an optional tour we paid extra for it) and we felt Viking should have done a better job of planning the excursion. There simply was not enough time to visit the town and Christmas Markets in the short time allotted. We enjoyed our bus excursion to the Black Forest (the scenery was breathtaking and tour guide very informative), but we spent too much time at the Best Western Hofgut Sternen. At this location we were promised cuckoo clock and glass blowing demonstrations but saw none. The stop basically consists of a hotel, two stores (with nice but we thought overpriced souvenirs), and two restaurants. There was also a Christmas Market with an admission fee so many guests skipped that. Dining On Board We enjoyed breakfast and lunch each day on the ship. For breakfast, you have a choice of various buffet items (including eggs cooked to order) or you can order from the menu. Lunch was similar with an extensive buffet and various menu selections. Where Viking fell short was with dinner. We are not keen on having to dine at a specific time (there is only one dinner seating at 7 pm sharp) and for some reason cooking for 190 people at the same time seemed to undo the kitchen staff. While we found the menu items at lunch always good, at dinner the same food was tasteless and often served lukewarm. If you don’t want to dine at the prescribed time, you have the option of eating when you want in the Aquavit Terrace but we never did. The food just wasn’t that appealing. Entertainment There is virtually no entertainment on board in the evenings. One evening we had what was billed as a “childrens’ choir” come on board to entertain and, quite frankly, they were embarrassing. Another evening, the entertainment was two young ladies who played the guitar and violin and sang. They were mediocre. During “German night” we were serenaded by a guitar and accordion duo and they did a nice job. The last evening we listened to a French singer, who was accompanied by an accordionist, and we enjoyed her performance. In terms of entertainment, Viking leaves much to be desired. We were certainly not expecting elaborate productions on board this ship, but on a continent where you can find talented musicians on virtually every street corner, we were surprised at the poor quality of the entertainment. On the positive side, the onboard pianist was good. Christmas Markets The focus of this cruise was the Christmas Markets and they did not disappoint. European Christmas Markets are a unique experience with their eclectic mix of stalls filled with ornaments, crafts and local food. The markets are known for their Gluhwein (basically mulled wine) which you purchase along with the souvenir mug. Each market has its own unique blend of Gluhwein and decorative mug. The markets are full of interesting items, although it is difficult to find pieces that are locally made. We had better luck shopping at some of the stores in town we visited, especially the Kathe Wohlfahrt shops, where you can find items that are crafted in Germany, France and other European countries. Post-Cruise Although this cruise is advertised as an eight-day excursion, it is really only seven days. We arrived in Basel, Switzerland on day 8, disembarked from the ship at 9 a.m. and were taken by motor coach to Lake Lucerne for our post cruise excursion. Again Viking handled our transfer flawlessly. The Schweizerhof Hotel is elegant, our room was spacious and we had a nice view of the city and the Alps. Breakfast here was not as good as at the Moevenpick but adequate. We took advantage of the included tour of the city. We opted to spend Sunday touring the city on our own rather than doing one of the optional tours offered through Viking. We booked a cruise of the lake (with the assistance of the Viking host) and it was pleasant and very informative. Overall Impressions We enjoyed our first river cruise. Viking does an excellent job of organizing the excursions and transferring guests to and from the various locations. The ship is clean, neat and efficiently managed. The staff on board the ship is outstanding from the hotel manager to our room attendant to the wait staff in the restaurant. We liked the fact that the cruise was all inclusive (guided tours at each stop, unlimited wine, beer and soft drinks at meals). Gratuities are extra and according to Viking should be calculated for eight days. We paid the recommended amount for seven days since day 8 was basically breakfast and the transfer to the hotel in Lake Lucerne. Viking recommends that you pay gratuities to the bus drivers and tour guides but we noticed that only about half of the guests did so which was unfortunate since we found the drivers excellent and most of the tour guides extremely knowledgeable and entertaining.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
2 years ago I did Viking Nuremberg to Budapest Christmas Markets. What a great trip. This year I did Amsterdam to Basel. Disappointing. The first two days,... no Christmas Markets. This should not be part of a trip touted as Christmas ... Read More
2 years ago I did Viking Nuremberg to Budapest Christmas Markets. What a great trip. This year I did Amsterdam to Basel. Disappointing. The first two days,... no Christmas Markets. This should not be part of a trip touted as Christmas Markets, On day 5 we were supposed to go to Heidelberg & Speyer. Never any mention of Speyer, it just vanished and so did its Christmas Market. I understand the Christmas Market in Basel was the best one on the trip, but if you didn't do the extension, you never saw it. This trip should include it. Also, last time we had so much fun on the ship. It was so Christmasey. This time, not a lot of piped in Christmas Music and vertually no activities compared to last time. I complained to Caspar the social director and he said people do their own thing, I said I didn't not pay all this money to watch TV or read. I could have done that at home. After that we had a good French singer and played Christmas Trivia one night, nice. His idea of entertainment was a lecture every other night. Not fun. And the food wasn't as good as last time. Since when is Chateaubriand two slices of beef over French Fries with gravy? Sorry, as a whole, I was disappointed in this trip. There were good moments and enjoyable times, but nothing compared to my last trip with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
My husband & I just got home from our Viking Christmas Rhine Cruise. We're experienced travelers in our 60s who used to do most of our European travel by train, limit our itinerary to 3 cities at most & stay at least 2 nights ... Read More
My husband & I just got home from our Viking Christmas Rhine Cruise. We're experienced travelers in our 60s who used to do most of our European travel by train, limit our itinerary to 3 cities at most & stay at least 2 nights in each city to minimize packing & unpacking. However now that we're older my husband wants to take more cruises because the tour companies handle luggage & airport transfers for us. This was our 1st Viking cruise. (A yr & a half ago we took a Tauck French Art cruise. The price for our Viking cruise was much less than the Tauck cruise.) Overall our Viking cruise was enjoyable & went smoothly, but there were a few things that could have been improved. We took a 3 day Brugges, Belgium extention, which began when we landed in Brussels. Unfortunately no one was at the airport when we arrived to take us to Brugges. We waited 45 mins. & the driver eventually showed up, said he was in a traffic jam due to rain & apologized. When we arrived at our hotel, the Duke's Palace (a real Medieval palace in the center of Brugges) at 11 am. they said our room wouldn't be ready until 3 pm. They had a rigid policy & refused to let us go on a waiting list if a room became available. We were exhausted from our flight, but we knew of a nearby reastaurant, Lizzies that serves excellent waffles, so we had lunch. Then we returned to the hotel lobby around 12 noon & met up with 3 other couples from our tour. We got acquainted & then commiserated about having to wait so long for our rooms. Eventually all 4 couples fell asleep in the hotel lobby on the sofas & armchairs. In all other respects the hotel was very nice including their bar & restaurant. Finally at around 2:45 pm 4 rms became available all at once. The hotel clerk tried to give us a room opposite an elevator, but the desk manager eventually found us a new room. It was nice with copies of old Flemish portraits & had a hi-tech bathroom with a huge shower. So we fell asleep, caught up with our jet lag then had dinner nearby later. The 2nd day an excellent guide took us on a walking tour of Brugges & the following was a free day. The last day we were loaded on a bus with an amusing guide who told us all about Belguim & Holland. We arrived in Amsterdam at the Bragi around 5 pm, so we didn't get to do any Amsterdam sightseeing, but we were tired, so it didn't matter. The weather was unseasonably warm, in the 40s & down around the 30s for the rest of the cruise, except when we were in the Black Forest on Christmas Day when there was a pretty snowfall. The passengers were a mixture of people on their 1st European trip & travel veterans. The majority were in their 60s, but there were a few college-aged, some as old as their 80s & a few disabled people traveling with family members. (Viking does a excellent job of accomodating for the elderly & disabled.) I would guess that most passengers were middle & upper-middle class with a good number of teachers, college professors, ex-military & civil servants. Since the theme of the cruise was Christmas Markets we visted cities with markets & took walking tours of Cologne, Heidelburg, Strasbourg & an optional tour to Colmar. Along the way we saw castles on the Rhine. Viking offered optional tour groups for slower walkers & photograhers. There were other tours & attractions as well, but jet lag & short, dark days made me feel lazy & require an afternoon nap, so I took a pass on some of the scheduled afternoon events. At night there was a fantastic pianist, Emil who could play just about any request. On Christmas Eve there was a sing-a-long of Christmas music & some people got up & danced. All our meals were provided on the boat, which was convenient, helped save money & the time required to figure out where to eat while ashore. At breakfast they served a buffet with all sorts of sausage, cheese, fruit, potatos, breads, veggies etc. plus omlettes & French Toast. At lunch there was a choice of soup, cooked dishes & a fantastic salad bar. There was also a casual dining restaurant in the bar with soup, sandwiches & a less extensive salad bar. At lunch & dinner there was always nice dessert choices. There was a free coffee bar with cocoa, espresso & afternoon cookies. Dinner was a multi-course, more formal event. Many fellow passengers raved about the refreshments at the Christmas Markets, such as Gluwein but I was more focused on chocolate & marzipan. Most passengers we spoke with agreed that the food was somewhat bland, became repetitive by the end of the cruise & was often not hot enough. The wine was good, but they kept serving the same red & white with each dinner. Some variety would have been nice. I think the Christmas tour is more of what I would describe as a "beginners" tour--more low-stress for people who are timid about mixing in with real Europeans, but it was great for people who like to sit on the boat & watch the scenery. Life on the boat is like living in a North American bubble & I felt cut off from real Europeans, except for the Viking staff. I love art & had to break away from the tour & go on my own at one point, so perhaps this wasn't the best cruise for me. I think I'd do better on a specialist art tour, but If you just want some jolly Christmas fun & a chance to make some new friends it was great. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
My husband and I are first time cruisers, ocean and river. And our first time traveling in Europe although we are frequent travelers within the US. This was for my 40th birthday celebration. We are both 40 and well below the average age ... Read More
My husband and I are first time cruisers, ocean and river. And our first time traveling in Europe although we are frequent travelers within the US. This was for my 40th birthday celebration. We are both 40 and well below the average age of the average cruiser on this trip which we knew going into. We are not ones who normally look for social opportunities on our vacations so the fact we were truly 20-30 yrs younger than everyone else was fine. Our fellow cruisers were pleasant and good company. I love Christmas hence why we selected this itinerary. We embarked from Nuremberg and disembarked in Budapest, choosing to stay one more day to explore the city. I am giving an overview of both highs and lows. Just keep in mind that we have no other cruise experience to compare. Nuremberg - lively and lovely city. We flew in 1 day earlier to adjust etc. glad we did. We stayed at the NH Hotel which is just a few blocks but certainly walking distance from the city centre where all the action is. It was quiet and a very clean hotel. Friendly and the rooms were quite nice. Beds were excellent. The market was hopping! Crowded! But what we expected. A great introduction to the Christmas market mentality and all the booths, people, food, spirits and overall atmosphere was just what we had imagined. I went into the trip with pretty high expectations of the local wares and overall we thought the ornaments etc were a bit commercialized but still nice to look at. We hopped the Vag (their subway which is super easy to navigate. Very clean too) to Furth, a neighboring town which was smaller and stumbled onto a very small but truly authentic market with wonderful wares. Craftsman we're making their things right there. Very nice. Bought a few things here. Regensburg - quaint and quiet city. Both really enjoyed the atmosphere. Much smaller than Nuremberg but with that came just a more relaxed feeling. Did the Thurns and Taxis tour which was interesting albeit felt rushed. Nice market within the grounds. Passau - wonderful town. One of our favorites. The gorgeous church that you visit as part of the standard tour and ours happened to coincide with an organ concert. Largest organ in Europe and 2nd largest in the world. So neat! Small market and we found nice things at nearby stores. Enjoyed a very nice lunch at an Italian place our guide commented on during the tour which is a favorite of the locals. Yes, we had Italian in Germany! It was very good. Would like to visit regensburg and Passau again. Melk- here is when I share that the ship had a stomach bug that inflicted many including me. I couldn't make the tour of Melk which sorely disappointed me as I has heard how gorgeous the Abby was. My husband went and took lots of pictures. A short visit to Melk. Just the Abby and we sailed. No market. Vienna - again, still under the weather so I didn't truly get to experience Vienna the way I had wanted to. You do get jolted back into metropolitan life... Hustle and bustle. Lots of noise. City of 1.8 million. But beautiful. Just gorgeous architecture. Would love to see it during springtime. City tour was ok. Very brief. Just too much too see and the typical Viking sampling wasn't enough. Christmas market wasn't open yet when our tour ended so I cannot comment. I think the guide said there were over 25 markets! Really enjoyed the Schorenburg palace tour. Those grounds must be spectacular in spring and summer. The Christmas market at the palace is very authentic and worth seeing. Small but good. A great atmosphere. Just so much to do in Vienna and we felt we simply didn't have enough time. Could spend an entire week there alone. Budapest - gorgeous views! Easy to get around on foot. Two markets within 10 min walking distance. The main one was larger but really crowded. Maybe we were Christmas marketed out but we both felt it was not that special. The smaller market in front of the church (St Stephen I believe) had very little to offer. Lots of food. Gorgeous marzipan though. My husband came down with the stomach bug on our last night on the ship. We were staying an extra day which I just explored solo. Easy to walk around. Overall a great impression of this part of Europe. Friendly people and we were able to easily navigate our way with the currencies and most people spoke some level of English if not fluent. The weather during our trip was overcast (no sun the entire 10 days) and hovered around 35-40. We are from WI so this was not cold to us. It was damp, often foggy and drizzled so water proof jackets and shoes are a must if you want to be comfortable. We packed like we would for just being home in WI...bring a base layer of long under and then layer according to your needs...turtlenecks, medium sweaters, jeans or corduroys. Smart-wool socks and base layers work great. The drizzle and lack of sun did not dampen our spirits! In fact we were impressed at our Europeans seemed to take the weather in stride. Overall impression of the ship was positive. Food was good and met our expectations. We are not wine enthusiasts so cannot comment on the quality. We had a room on the 2nd floor with a small balcony. The room was nice although the bed was quite uncomfortable and pillows were flat. You can control the Room temp but we found it fluctuate from cold to hot. Appreciated having the balcony door to open. Y The walks are on the thin side. And we often heard the very loud flushing of toilets and water running thru the pipes from what I assume was the rooms above us. Not sure if this is common on cruise ships. Would spring for a 3rd floor room if it would help. I found the common areas of the ship cold at times. Bring a sweater. Casual wear at dinner is fine. Ranged from nice jeans to trousers and kakis. There is free wifi which was important to my husband and it worked well in the common areas. But little to no signal in our room. Staff was very friendly. Met our expectations. Made our stay pleasant. Would consider Viking cruise again. Thinking the Paris / Normandy itinerary in the future. It is just an easy way to see various parts. I do wish we could have spent more time exploring some places further but that not what this cruise is about. They give you a sampling. Definitely a must-do itinerary for Christmas lovers! Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We were first time cruisers, first time winter in Europe, first time to Hungary, Austria or Germany. If you love Christmas, like we do, you will be in heaven. First, let me say we were very fortunate- the weather was 35-40 every day, no ... Read More
We were first time cruisers, first time winter in Europe, first time to Hungary, Austria or Germany. If you love Christmas, like we do, you will be in heaven. First, let me say we were very fortunate- the weather was 35-40 every day, no snow, no sleet, no rain, no ice. The entire itinerary ran on schedule, and the river behaved. There were no stomach bugs, no lost luggage or missed flights, no bus-instead-of-river substitutions. Overall- I am not sure the cruising experience is for me. I wanted a whole lot more time in the cities/ towns. I was very happy we did the Budapest pre-extension. Wandering around for hours exploring neighborhoods, markets, churches and shops into the nighttime is for me. Forced conversation with strangers on a ship cruising on the river all night with nothing to do s not for me. We were very fortunate to become very friendly with one other couple and would definitely travel with them again. My husband loved the cruise experience, so I would perhaps do another river in the future if we had companions to go with. That being said, the ship was very attractive and comfortable. The food and service good. We were on the third floor, which I recommend as people complained about cabins above them (noise). Negative- our ship concierge that week was a pill. No one liked her. There is far too much ship time.Going through locks is excruciatingly boring. I suppose the ship time may be nicer in the warm weather. The entertainment is OK. The evenings are a bore.An exception was a gypsy violinist and his band the second night. 1. Budapest: Viking was waiting for us at the airport and immediately took us to the Budapest Hilton. They had their own concierge in the lobby. Hotel was phenomenal, city was wonderful. Be sue to make it to a thermal spring bath. A highlight for me was mass at Matthias Church with the organ and choir- magnificent. Christmas Market: so-so. Buy paprika, painted eggs or marzipan and brandy- skip everything else. Issue with Viking: tour guide was boring and only did the same side as our pre extension- Buda. Was disappointed they did not take us to Pest. Make your own tour arrangements and see Pest. The transport to and check in at the ship was a breeze. 2. Vienna: my favorite. Christmas markets were beautiful and good.Tour guide was very good.We got to see the Lippizaner Stallions (for free) up close. Demel has strudel to die for. Shopped in the Swarovsky flagship store. The whole town is beautifully decorated (chandeliers down the middle of one street). Issue with Viking- none. 3. Melk- adorable town with some nice store.Tour guide- local young woman who grew up there and attended the abbey school. Phenomenal, Vatican- worthy abbey. If you've been to the vatican you'll understand.If you haven't, Melk is on that scale. Plus: we walked to and from the ship to the town. Negative: not enough time! 4. Passau: Now we are onto the real German Markets. It will not disappoint! Lovely picture postcard town, good guide, nice walking tour. We were greeted by singing school children. Plus: lots of shops outside the market, even a mall. Very walkable. Negative: not enough time! 5. Regensburg: A favorite of both of us. Another picture postcard town and fabulous markets.Good guide. We liked the foods here the best. Wursts and desserts to die for! Be sure to stop at the Weissbrauhaus of Regensburg. It's a great pub-style place with really nice atmosphere and terrific food and staff. Plus: nice antique and other little interesting shops. Negative- not enough time. 6. Nuremberg: the grandaddy of em all Christmas Market we almost didn't get to see. I thought there'd be a riot when the tour director announced we'd get to the market MAYBE if we had time, for about 1.5 hrs in late afternoon. They put priority on a boring (and I love tours) castle tour of a bland rebuilt castle like structure. Melk Abbey it is NOT.Skip it and take a cab to the market. The director managed to get a bus for us to the market that morning for about 1.5 hrs. Thank goodness- it was uncrowded and we managed to get some great stuff. When we returned in the afternoon, it was so packed we could barely move. Deprature: Note to self: never agree to a 4 am departure again. There is no live help at the airport in the middle of the night, and the line was out the door. Tedious. The Viking people stayed with us until we were checked in.They really provide very good service. So, I'd recommend the cruise, with Viking, on Bragi, on Danube, to see Christmas Markets. Myself, I'd rather a land tour, but would perhaps do a different river for the Markets if we were traveling with friends. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Viking Bragi Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.5
Dining 4.0 4.6
Entertainment 3.0 4.1
Public Rooms 5.0 4.7
Fitness Recreation 1.0 3.5
Family 1.0 3.5
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.6
Enrichment 4.0 4.3
Service 4.0 4.8
Value For Money 3.0 4.3
Rates 4.0 N/A

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