Sail Date: September 2013
General thoughts on Viking's Grand European Cruise: 1. Grand European Itinerary (Amsterdam to Budapest or reverse): • Probably the most popular, particularly if you like 'history, castles and cathedrals'. • Not sure ... Read More
General thoughts on Viking's Grand European Cruise: 1. Grand European Itinerary (Amsterdam to Budapest or reverse): • Probably the most popular, particularly if you like 'history, castles and cathedrals'. • Not sure if continuing onto Belgrade worth the extra time and cost. • Extra time in Budapest worth it if you haven't been there before, although Viking's “add on” is quite costly (but totally organised and hosted). 2. Why travel west to east: • This was noted by our Cruise Director. Leaving Amsterdam is a more leisurely start (Kinderdijk windmills, Cologne at end of second full day). • Leaving from Budapest, you experience three major cities (Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna) immediately. • The ship arrives Budapest late evening, with all castle, bridges, etc, lit up – quite an amazing sight. Leaving Budapest would not give the same effect. 3. On board (I can only comment on Viking, but I would think they are all fairly similar): • Totally pampered from the moment you arrive (details if you want). • 52 staff for about 188 guests. Aside from a few 'behind the scenes' crew members, anyone is there to assist you with anything. • Meals and Service are equivalent of a very fine restaurant (Claire – similar to Arbutus Club Fireside, if you've eaten there). Breakfast and lunch always a choice of sit-down service or self serve buffet. Dinner is a three or four course sit down (although one can choose a limited menu upstairs in the Lounge as an alternative). Amazing what they can offer/serve to almost 200 people from a small kitchen (we took a tour; eleven cooks/preps in about 100 sq. ft). • Beer, wine, soft drinks, etc, gratis at lunch and dinner. They don't skimp. The stock wine quality is quite sufficient. • Beverage Package – almost $900 per cabin (about $30 pp/day). Not worth it unless you want to drink lots of 'premium' spirits and/or upgraded wine. • Program Director – makes or breaks the cruise. Ours (Gary Nicholson) was more than excellent. The rest of the crew are there to serve, but some have limited English and not the general knowledge of the PD. He was more than our main point of contact – always on the land portions and seemingly available at any point on the ship. We had a drink with him numerous times. • Sundeck – 'roof' of ship with tables, chairs, loungers, shade and a walking track. Great location in good weather (we didn't have, although I walked the track for more than an hour on two days; great way to see the sights and get some exercise). Note – this deck is closed for much of the middle portion of the cruise due to 'low' bridges and/or high water. 4. On Board Guests: • Mainly older Americans, with Brits the next most, and then some Canadians, Aussies, etc. Average age well into the 60s. • With 'Open Seating' at meals, can get “cliquey”. However, we found many interesting people to sit and chat with. 5. Viking cabins – which to choose vis a vis price, etc: • If you look at their website, you will see prices ranging from about $4500 to $15,000 per person. • The 'Standard' cabins are below the waterline with a small window (you need to be almost 6' tall to see completely out). I've heard these tend to sell out as they are he cheapest. If you don't want to spend time in the cabin, then perhaps OK. At least one of the cabins had a plugged drain issue from the shower. • Decks 2 and 3 have an 'offset' hallway. The starboard (right) side cabins are larger and have a full balcony. The port side cabins only have a French balcony and less space in the room. We chose the full balcony room on Deck two (about $1200 more than the port side rooms). It was nice to have the extra space, although we were at the back of the ship. • About $400/pp more for Deck three (than two). Not sure if it's worth it. • Deck three also includes some small suites (two rooms, with both a full and French balcony). These are almost another $3000/pp than the full balcony rooms – nice to hvae the separate rooms, but a lot of money. • Explorer Suites – two of these at the stern. Much larger with a wraparound balcony. However, $15,000/pp is very pricey. Note – there have been issues with noise and vibration with these suites (on our cruise, one couple cancelled payment mid cruise as they were very disappointed; not sure how that worked out). Worth investigating if you have clients interested in these suites. • Recommendation – suite #304, two rooms near the middle of the ship might be the best 'value' (size, cost and noise). 6. Port experience – tours, choices, guides, etc: • A knowledgeable, English speaking local guide in every port. Tremendous value. Each guest has a wireless earpiece on his/her guide's separate channel (works up to 400m away so one can 'wander' and still keep in touch). • They always offer a 'leisurely' tour (less strenuous) although the 'regular' wasn't difficult. A few of us suggested a 'strenuous' version (more and faster walking) to counteract all the food/drinks consumed! • In many ports the ship docks in the middle of the city and the tours walk from there (a Viking advantage as they have many of the 'prime' positions). In others, a bus transports you to the city (always brand new, high quality coaches). • There are a few extra/optional tours at extra cost, but the included ones are more than enough. We did choose the 'Regensburg' optional tour as Rick Steves highly recommended it. 7. ‘Vagaries’ of the river, including limitations due to river height (both low and high) as well as bridge heights: • See above re the closure of the Sun deck. • If the river is high, then the ships often can't travel (more likely in the Spring). If too low, same problem (although the ship only drafts 1.5 metres). For this reason, I would avoid late May/June. We chose September – unfortunately, the 'nice Fall' we had expected didn't materialise and the river was almost too high due to the ten days of rain we had. The Danube and Inn rivers meet at Passau which adds considerably to the volume of water. 8. ‘River’ cruising vs ‘ocean’ cruising (I’ve only ocean cruised in NA): • Although we've only cruised mid size ocean ships at around $100 pp/day, others on the river ship were comparing the service level to Seabourn, Silver Star, etc, ocean cruise lines. • Our cabin level (mid price) was approximately $425 pp/day, but then everything is incuded. After tips and onboard spending, we ended up spending about $13,000 total for the two weeks (and felt it was well worth it). But, perhaps not for everybody. 9. General cost. Booking times (in advance) and ‘incentives’: • As above, it was pricey (and it was a “Two for One” offer). They do seem to sell out almost 18 months in advance by offering the above and other incentives. We did our own airfare (Aeroplan) so I can't comment on their air packages. We did talk to an Australian couple who had taken up reduced air, a beverage package and free gratuities (but then, I don't know how much they paid). 10. Tipping: • Suggested, but not included automatically. Interestingly (and it made sense), they separate the tips for the Program Director from the rest of the crew. The suggested amount was about 360 euros/pp for the 'crew' (apparently split somehow) and 60 euros/pp for the PD. • We noticed a lot of guests putting cash into envelopes (thus, anonymous) rather than on a credit card. • We actually tipped more like what the ocean cruises suggest and felt it was quite fair.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
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
1 Helpful Vote
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: April 2014
Despite a glich at the airport, everything after that was wonderful!!! Unfortunately as I had expressly requested a wheelchair to collect me at the plane, the man at that door who had a wheelchair, had no identification as being from ... Read More
Despite a glich at the airport, everything after that was wonderful!!! Unfortunately as I had expressly requested a wheelchair to collect me at the plane, the man at that door who had a wheelchair, had no identification as being from Viking (was in blue cover alls) and made no acknowledgement of my Viking name tag hanging around my neck. It was for me, dragging my overhead bag behind me to try and locate the baggage claim area. Again, unfortunately, I was directed to the wrong set of baggage conveyor belt areas. I had to throw myself at the mercy of a KLM woman who made phone calls to find the correct area AND got me a wheelchair. Finally I joined with the Red-Jacketed Viking rep., my traveling companion and my luggage. We rushed over to the boat, however not in time for more than coffee and dessert....an entire day wasted. However, after all of that, the rest of the cruise was a pleasure. The meals, the service, the engine we never heard while cruising, the stateroom was very impressive. Although the weather was not always the best, the staff made the best of it and kept the good humor going. Special groups aimed for the somewhat slower were enormously helpful, as at the age of 71yrs. with bad knees and bad back, it was at times hard to keep up with the younger and healthier. We loved the entire (barring the airport fiasco) adventure and plan to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary in May 2015 with you again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2014
This trip was our sixth river cruise with Viking and, with the exception of a Christmas Market experience, was the best cruise by far. The ship stayed in Amsterdam the first day so we had the opportunity to explore a bit on our own. Being ... Read More
This trip was our sixth river cruise with Viking and, with the exception of a Christmas Market experience, was the best cruise by far. The ship stayed in Amsterdam the first day so we had the opportunity to explore a bit on our own. Being adventurous, several from the ship walked to the center of town and even walked through the Red Light District. The following day was spent touring through the canals and more of the City Center. The next day we went to Hoorn where we had the opportunity to have afternoon tea with a local family. This was definitely an experience worth taking. The family was so open and friendly and was as interested in us as we were in them. During the following days we traveled to Arnhem, Kinderdijk, Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges and Rotterdam. At each stop Viking had a planned tour highlighting either the historical nature of the area and their medieval beginnings, demonstrations showing working windmills or flood control measures, and special works of art. The final day was spent in Amsterdam and a visit to the Keukenhof Gardens. The entire vacation was worth the trip to the gardens. On the way we passed fields of multi-colored tulips. However, the display of over 7 million tulips and other bulbs in their glory was breathtaking. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2014
This was our second cruise with Viking. Our first cruise was on the Viking Pride out of Paris. I think the Viking Pride was the oldest ship in the fleet and the Viking Bragi was one of the newest. When we were on the Viking Pride we ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Viking. Our first cruise was on the Viking Pride out of Paris. I think the Viking Pride was the oldest ship in the fleet and the Viking Bragi was one of the newest. When we were on the Viking Pride we thought that was the best cruise we have ever been on. We loved the ship and especially the crew. We knew at that time Viking was our cruise line. Compared to the big ships - well, you really can't compare because it's a totally different experience. When you are looking for a cruise you must ask yourself what you expect: If you are looking for a lot of parties, heavy drinkers and a choice of a lot of shipboard entertainment, then Viking is not for you. And if you have kids and are looking for a lot of ship activities, this may also not be a good choice. But, if you are a serious traveler and want to be catered to in a friendly, intimate environment, I am convinced you won't find a better cruise line than Viking. The Viking Bragi was a beautiful brand new Long Ship. Our room had a Veranda, which was not available on the Pride. This ship had an Aquavit Terrace which also was not available on the Pride. We loved eating outside especially for lunch. It gave you a new eating option, which was great. One thing between the two cruises was the same: The Crew. I don't know how they could have made the service any better. I can't think of a reason we would ever look for another cruise line. They gave us a perfect experience! Any small issues or problems were resolved quickly, efficiently, and with a positive attitude! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2014
Everything about the trip on the Bragi was magic. The crew was fantastic and extremely attentive. The meals were outstanding and the service was exceptional. The tour director was very interesting and entertaining, and organized beyond ... Read More
Everything about the trip on the Bragi was magic. The crew was fantastic and extremely attentive. The meals were outstanding and the service was exceptional. The tour director was very interesting and entertaining, and organized beyond belief. The timing on the cleaning of the rooms was perfect, and those hard working crew members always had a smile and warm greeting. If they were not cleaning the rooms they were around the ship cleaning everything, including any finger prints on the brass railings. The 24 hour coffee/expresso station was always neat and clean. The ship was beautiful, and immaculate from start to finish. We enjoyed the local entertainment brought aboard at the various stops and the local excursions in each destination city along the way. Although there were activities each day, I have never in my life been more relaxed for so long. Our concern about motion sickness was unnecessary because we never felt the ship moving. We didn't know it was moving unless we looked out the window. The views from the stateroom balcony along the rivers were spectacular. We were sad when we reached Amsterdam and had to leave the Bragi. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
In celebration of the recent retirement of several members of our extended family, we (6 couples) decided to take a river cruise across Europe.Starting in Amsterdam, and sailing all the way to Budapest, we had a most memorable experience. ... Read More
In celebration of the recent retirement of several members of our extended family, we (6 couples) decided to take a river cruise across Europe.Starting in Amsterdam, and sailing all the way to Budapest, we had a most memorable experience. The ship, and the city-stops, were big enough that we could get out on our own when we needed to and yet the ship was small and perfect for when the "family" wanted to be together. While the initial cost was quite a bit to fork over in advance, almost everything was included, such that , other than gratuities for th crew, there was almost nothing to pay for at the end. There was an included tour in every city/port (and we stopped at least once each day) that we stopped at, and with rare exceptions, the included tour was more than adequate. We wanted to travel the "Romantic Road", so we paid extra for that, and we paid for a special tour in Nuremburg. They were both worth the extra price paid. Meals were excellent. every dinner included 3 new entre selections and 3 other staples so that there was something for everyone. There were also at least 3 appetizers and 3 desert options. Embarkation was very easy and Disembarkation at each port and at the end of the cruise were mad easy by the crew. Our cabin was comfortable (lower level) and, with a small ship, everything on board was only a few steps away. We carefully chose this cruise by picking one that stopped at new and interesting places that we wanted to see. We planned our own pre-cruise touring in Amsterdam, and our own post-cruise trouing in Budapest. The VIking cruise allowed us to have this flexibility. The Viking cruise experience was outstanding. We passed on their optional arrangements for air transportation, and pre-cruise and post-cruise options, because a seasoned traveler can do much better!   Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
Well I am not quite sure where to start. 5 days into the cruise we were advised that we would need to change ships to fit their winter schedule. That was the first surprise. After we switched to the Bragi it broke down on the second day ... Read More
Well I am not quite sure where to start. 5 days into the cruise we were advised that we would need to change ships to fit their winter schedule. That was the first surprise. After we switched to the Bragi it broke down on the second day and we had to adjust all our excursions. This led to lots of extra bus time. The washrooms were not working for one day. We then had to cut our trip one day short so they could get the ship to dry dock to repair. That day we spent from 8am to 630 pm on the bus. We then arrived back where the ship was supposed to be but it did not arrive for 2 hours later. Another ship was docked and we were allowed to sit in the back waiting. For the money involved the food was poor, the service was very average and the ship did not perform. Be vary careful when using this cruise company. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
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
1 Helpful Vote
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: March 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
From the moment we stepped foot onto the Bragi it was like we were old friends. The crew, especially Casper were amazing and so much fun! He has an amazing knowledge of, it seems like everything but yet is very fun to be around and talk ... Read More
From the moment we stepped foot onto the Bragi it was like we were old friends. The crew, especially Casper were amazing and so much fun! He has an amazing knowledge of, it seems like everything but yet is very fun to be around and talk to. Natalia certainly worked overtime to insure that everyone was taken care of on the shore tours or anything that someone might need. We learned so much and had so much fun. It was amazing! Everything was definitely first class. Our Matra'd was an awesome fellow. He taught us so much about wine at dinner time and was so much fun, LOTS of laughs. We ended up having a table for eight each night and would bring a bottle of wine and he would tell us about it and whether it would go with our meal that night or not. If it didn't go with what we were being served he would provide us with the proper wine. Lots of laughs for us novices!! I just wish I could remember his name because he deserves special mention. Everything, even our young cabin girl ended up being special to us. We can hardly wait for Viking to do US river cruises. VIKING IS THE BEST! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
This was my wife and I's first river cruise and we really enjoyed it. We started in Amsterdam then visited Kinderdijk, Antwerp, Bruge & Ghent, the Delta Works, Delft, Amsterdam again, and Arnhem before ending in Amsterdam. This ... Read More
This was my wife and I's first river cruise and we really enjoyed it. We started in Amsterdam then visited Kinderdijk, Antwerp, Bruge & Ghent, the Delta Works, Delft, Amsterdam again, and Arnhem before ending in Amsterdam. This is not the same schedule that was on the Viking web site. That time of year there are so many cruise boats in the Netherlands that not all can do the same route. We only learned of the change when our cruise package arrived month before the cruise. The cruise format was great. We breakfast onboard followed by an included walking tour most mornings, back on board for lunch then free time ashore or an optional tour. Back on board for supper then the ship sailed. The walking tour guides all spoke English very well. There were a fast and a slow group but you definitely need to be able to walk at least a couple miles to do the tours. If you do not do the tour there is little to do onboard although there was a small library and a good selection of movies to watch. My two favourite excursions were to Brugge and Horne. Both small towns with lots of history. The home visit in Horne was very interesting The North Holland excursion was also very interesting it included a visit to the old floating vegetable market (now a museum) and it was interesting to see the tulip beds as we rode for an hour on the bus. The Keukenhor Gardens are amazing with its millions and millions for flowers. I did not visit this trip but I have visited the Airborne museum in Arnhem. It is well worth a visit. Watch the movie a Bridge to Far before visiting to get the most out of your visit. If you are staying in Amsterdam and want to see the Rijksmuseum go in the early morning, by 10 AM there are long lines. If you want to visit Ann Frank House book in advance, the lines are even longer. I found the Maritime museum very interesting. The ship was very well appointed with what I would describe as nordic furnishings. The cabins are small but have every feature we needed. We were is the lowest level. There were two small windows at the waterline that let in natural light. We were hardly in our cabin except to sleep so we did not need a balcony or picture windows. On several occasions we were berthed beside other cruise ships so the view was of the other ship. The food was excellent. Breakfast and lunch buffet style although you could order a la cart. Supper was served at 1900 every day. The beer (BItburger) and some very nice wines were included with lunch and dinner. The prices of drinks in the bar were reasonable. If you did not wish to eat in the dining room you there was also a small buffet in the lounge. The service was always excellent. Most nights there was some sort of entertainment on board. It varied from a male folk choir (who were excellent) to a wooden shoe maker. No Vegas style shows on these ships, there is not enough room. The upper deck is completely clear. It makes a great place to go for a walk or sit and watch the scenery go by. Keep some cash for gratuities at the end. You can put the gratuity on your bill but you can also use $, or Euros. We received two envelopes the last night. One for the Cruise Director and one for the crew. The Cruise Director worked tirelessly in all aspects of our our cruise, from boarding, to leading tours, to departure. She deserved very penny she got. We had Viking book our flights but we visited another city first so we arrived in Amsterdam by train. This was the only problem we had. Our ship was not at the main River Cruise port but in an industrial port. Buses were being used to shuttle people to and from the city centre. We went to the main port to ask the Viking agent there where the shuttle buses left from. The rep only dealt with people staying on the official "pre stay". They had already left for the ship. She advised us to take a taxi. Our taxi driver did not know where the new location was so we spend 30 minutes circling the industrial port before he asked a security guard for directions. If we had flown directly to the cruise we would have been met by a Viking rep at the airport and bused to the ship. The trip from the ship to the airport went very smoothly. We are sailing with Viking again Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
This was only our second river cruise (Mississippi earlier), but we've enjoyed many at sea. The difference is no waves or seasickness, but similar in other ways except no slack days "at sea." The ship itself is modern and ... Read More
This was only our second river cruise (Mississippi earlier), but we've enjoyed many at sea. The difference is no waves or seasickness, but similar in other ways except no slack days "at sea." The ship itself is modern and beautiful and the staff so friendly that we hated to say "goodbye." Each stop along the river provides so much history for Americans that one can easily feel an overload, yet the experience and the photo opportunities excelled our fondest dreams. The dining experience is unsurpassed and the tour guides all spoke excellent English, with the marginal exception of one lady in Regensberg who walked too fast and seemed to have a little trouble with her second language. Our suite (not the top-end two) was not as large as the photos seem to indicate, but we enjoyed some extra space. Internet was spotty at times, even if one used the on board computers (two), but our in-room connection seemed very good. We heard from others in standard staterooms, however, who might not agree. English is the on board language and all of the hotel and dining staff spoke it well enough that understanding them proved not to be a problem. We enjoyed learning their perspective on modern day events, and, for some of them, how things were before they were liberated from Communism. The included shore excursions at each stop were excellent and well-organized. Punctuality is a must, however, although we're unaware of anyone left behind. All in all, this cruise met our expectations in every way. We came home refreshed and enlightened regarding the history of the Rhine, Main, and Danube river cultures dating back hundreds of years. We think that you will enjoy the experience a lot. We would book with Viking in an instant! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
The cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam was superior in every way. The scenery was beautiful (and close). The stateroom was cozy and nice but not spacious. The public rooms were commodious and convenient. The food was very good, well ... Read More
The cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam was superior in every way. The scenery was beautiful (and close). The stateroom was cozy and nice but not spacious. The public rooms were commodious and convenient. The food was very good, well prepared and with local flavors to match the surrounding countryside. Shore excursions were entertaining and educational. The service on board could not be beat. It was prompt, courteous and well done. The ONLY drawback we saw was too little time in Amsterdam. We would have preferred more, and we could have booked an extension of course, but time constraints prevented us from doing so. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
What a fantastic river cruise! While all of the Viking employees went out of their way to ensure everyone enjoyed the trip, two employees deserve specific mention. We can't say enough good things about Alex, the Bragi"s Program ... Read More
What a fantastic river cruise! While all of the Viking employees went out of their way to ensure everyone enjoyed the trip, two employees deserve specific mention. We can't say enough good things about Alex, the Bragi"s Program Director. He possesses a great sense of humor and is very, very knowledgeable about the history of Europe and all the sights along the route of our trip. He worked hard night and day to ensure all passengers enjoyed the voyage were given a 5 star vacation. Natalia, the Bragi's concierge, also made this cruise a great experience. She was always there to make sure the shore excursions went as well as possible and that extra activities were available wherever desired. Shore excursions were the highlight of our travel through five countries. Each was well planned and local English-speaking guides made each one informative and very worthwhile. We also liked that on many days there is time to do some extra exploring on your own. We had a veranda cabin and loved the many times we could sit outside and enjoy the sights. Both formal dining and buffet dining offered excellent food each day with super service. The cabin was well appointed and kept immaculate. Unfortunately, the Danube was closed to traffic for approximately 150 miles because of low river levels. While most other river cruise lines had to move their passengers each day to hotels from the river closure point (Nuremberg) to the end of their journey, Viking accommodated it's passengers with a 2-hour coach trip around the closure and a swap to a duplicate sister ship, the Skadi. A definite Viking plus. Our extended stay in Budapest was great -- superb room at the Hilton, wonderful excursions, local exploring fun and limo transportation the the airport as we sadly left Hungary and the trip of a lifetime behind. If you've ever wanted to go on a European river cruise, the Viking's Grand European Cruise must be added to your bucket list. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
Six of us celebrated a 50th anniversary by taking the Viking River cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest leaving Amsterdam on July 11, 2015 Wonderful cruise, on the Bagri. Program Director Alex was the most informative, hard working ... Read More
Six of us celebrated a 50th anniversary by taking the Viking River cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest leaving Amsterdam on July 11, 2015 Wonderful cruise, on the Bagri. Program Director Alex was the most informative, hard working individual I know. Daily excursions were well planed, informative, and interesting with great English speaking guides. Meals were wonderful with great variety. Staterooms are well planned with nothing left to want. Daily excursions are a great reason to go on the Viking Grand European cruise. When the Danube was closed to traffic for approximately 150 miles, Viking accommodated all passengers with a coach trip around the closure and a swap to a sister ship (the Skadi) in Passau. We never missed any city stop. In fact in Nuremberg we had lunch in a German restaurant which was a great experience. Viking made our swap very easy and accommodated us in other ways. Walking tours were designed with all walking abilities accommodated from fast walkers to those with more challenging walking speeds. Razil and Niko (in the dining room) on the Bragi were exceptional individuals who we were sad to leave after the one week. All staff were wonderful on both ships. Arriving in Budapest at night was incredible, bridges and building all lit up. What a way to end a fantastic holiday. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
Six of us celebrated a 50th anniversary by taking the Viking River cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest leaving Amsterdam on July 11, 2015 Wonderful cruise, on the Bagri. Program Director Alex was the most informative, hard working ... Read More
Six of us celebrated a 50th anniversary by taking the Viking River cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest leaving Amsterdam on July 11, 2015 Wonderful cruise, on the Bagri. Program Director Alex was the most informative, hard working individual I know. Daily excursions were well planed, informative, and interesting with great English speaking guides. Meals were wonderful with great variety. Staterooms are well planned with nothing left to want. Daily excursions are a great reason to go on the Viking Grand European cruise. When the Danube was closed to traffic for approximately 150 miles, Viking accommodated all passengers with a coach trip around the closure and a swap to a sister ship (the Skadi) in Passau. We never missed any city stop. In fact in Nuremberg we had lunch in a German restaurant which was a great experience. Viking made our swap very easy and accommodated us in other ways. Walking tours were designed with all walking abilities accommodated from fast walkers to those with more challenging walking speeds. Razil and Niko (in the dining room) on the Bragi were exceptional individuals who we were sad to leave after the one week. All staff were wonderful on both ships. Arriving in Budapest at night was incredible, bridges and building all lit up. What a way to end a fantastic holiday. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2015
Our trip started on the Shadi due to the low water issues. That was such a wonderful ship, the staff were excellent and we had so much fun. We just bonded with the staff and we were made to feel so special. Later we had to change ships to ... Read More
Our trip started on the Shadi due to the low water issues. That was such a wonderful ship, the staff were excellent and we had so much fun. We just bonded with the staff and we were made to feel so special. Later we had to change ships to the Bradi, which was equally beautiful and the service was also excellent. The sailing was unbelievably smooth. I had to look out my window to see if we were REALLY moving along. The sites along the way were awesome. The information was great and we especially enjoyed the views along the Rhine, they were incredible. All the Castles and Cathedrals were so beautiful. In face EVERY THING was so awesome. The whole trip was so wonderful and so easy to do, I've recommended it HIGHLY to everyone I visit with. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
This was a simply outstanding cruise through the heart of Europe from Budapest to Amsterdam. Travelling on the Viking Skadi and Bragi was the perfect way to explore the Danube and Rhine Rivers and all the history from each of the villages ... Read More
This was a simply outstanding cruise through the heart of Europe from Budapest to Amsterdam. Travelling on the Viking Skadi and Bragi was the perfect way to explore the Danube and Rhine Rivers and all the history from each of the villages and towns we visited. An exceptional feature of the Viking Cruise was the escorted tours at each stop with local guides which was included in the price. Our Cruise Director Renee was outstanding and our concierge Natalia was also terrific. When we had to change ships after a week due to low water level in the river, Viking did everything in their power to minimize the disruption and with a wonderful restaurant lunch provided as well as complimentary drinks back on the our new ship and with being greeted by our new ships crew it was first class. The food was wonderful with an excellent variety of dishes and desserts. The crews of both ships are very professional and really made the cruise that much more enjoyable. This was tremendous cruise and Viking is a first class company. Thank you very much. Read Less
Sail Date: August 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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
We wanted to celebrate my wife's 60th birthday in a special way and we could not have asked for a better way to do so. The whole trip was AMAZING! From only having to unpack & pack once (ok, it was twice because of the low level ... Read More
We wanted to celebrate my wife's 60th birthday in a special way and we could not have asked for a better way to do so. The whole trip was AMAZING! From only having to unpack & pack once (ok, it was twice because of the low level of water in the Danube-but Viking can't control everything) while getting to visit interesting out of the way towns and attractions in the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Hungary was an absolute joy. The staffs on both river ships the Bragi and her sister ship Skadi made us feel right at home. They were quick to learn our preferences (such as having our ice bucket filled each morning) and fulfilling them without us having to prompt them. Our cruise director, Roos, was very knowledgable and charismatic, making this trip unforgettable . We had excellent daily tour guides that made each stop both informative and fun. The audio sets used by the guides allowed me to wander and linger behind our group to take the photographs that I wanted while not missing any of their knowledge or humor. The two weeks spent with Viking not only provided us with unforgetable memories but also new life long friendships. Upon our return, when I have been asked how our trip went, my consistent reply has been "If you can afford it, you should absolutely experience a Viking River Cruise." The only thing that I would change, if we were do it all over again, would be to extend our time in both Amsterdam and Budipest, but due to my work responsibilities, that was not possible. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
Everything about the cruise was above expectations! The food was outstanding, always served quickly, hot and beautifully presented! The service staff prompt, courteous, and personable! The local guides through the audio devices were so ... Read More
Everything about the cruise was above expectations! The food was outstanding, always served quickly, hot and beautifully presented! The service staff prompt, courteous, and personable! The local guides through the audio devices were so knowledgeable and answered every question. The small groups made everything accessible! Our Cruise Director could not have been better! Roos's commentaries while cruising were so informative and she has the perfect personality to deal with groups and individuals. All of the officers were friendly and informative while being very professional. We have already booked another Viking cruise! Thank you! Read Less
Viking Bragi Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 1.0 0.0
Family 1.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 3.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 N/A

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