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
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
I chose this cruise because of seeing all of the wonderful cities along these rivers. I can only rank it a 1 due to many reasons. #1. You have only an hour or 2 of free time in most of the locations. #2. There is WAY TOO MUCH down ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of seeing all of the wonderful cities along these rivers. I can only rank it a 1 due to many reasons. #1. You have only an hour or 2 of free time in most of the locations. #2. There is WAY TOO MUCH down time. Most of us finished our novels we brought and were sharing with each other. A lot of time each day is spent cruising the river. While some days had beautiful scenery, most of the time it was just river banks. #3. The service was poor! In the dining room most of us laughed about don't order anything to drink other than wine, because you will never get a refill. Unfortunately, I love iced tea. Only twice in the entire cruise was my iced tea refilled. And . . . if you decided you wanted desert without ordering it with your meal - be prepared to be lectured by a waiter or waitress! #4. I do not go on a cruise to listen to their staff complain about each other and the passengers. #5. The guides are hit and miss. We found out that many of the guides were volunteers with the local historical society. #6. NO entertainment at night. They did have 2 nights where people came on board and those were great. #7. No exercising. There is a walking track, but tread lightly or the people below hear your footsteps. The pros: #1 Beautiful ship. #2 Met great people that we will continue to connect with! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2016
I have been on many cruises but never have I experienced a staff that could care less about you! I had expected a higher level of service given the price. Nope. I expected the land tours to be good. Only a few of them were as they ... Read More
I have been on many cruises but never have I experienced a staff that could care less about you! I had expected a higher level of service given the price. Nope. I expected the land tours to be good. Only a few of them were as they only used local volunteers. The food was mediocre. I would compare it to a Denny's on most nights. Here are examples: I injured my food getting off of one of their buses. No one bother to tell any of us that 2 people in the prior bus has tripped over the same small rolled curb (in all honestly blended in). I was brought on board and told I could go to the hospital the next day at the next city. I am young, so it wasn't a problem for me. The head of housekeeping accompanied us on the drive to the hospital (complaining the entire time about the stupid questions people ask and he was glad to be off of the ship away from the customers). He ditched us as soon as we checked in to the ER. Wasn't a minor injury - tore many ligaments in the ankle and I have to see a specialist because it still swells on occasion. (Sucks when you try and run 3-4 miles a day.) While on board, you could hear staff yelling at other staff members. The meals are at specific times only. Do not arrive late or you will not be feed. There are no h'oeuvres out at any time. Not even cheese and crackers. It is free sitting, but they will NOT take your order until the entire table is sat (you could wait 15 - 20 minutes). Do not ever expect to get your iced tea refilled. Now the wine and beer - they do keep that flowing! You have VERY little time on land. The river is like an LA freeway. You have to get usually after 3 hours in town because of the wait time for the locks. This was explained to us by the staff. I get it - but you need to tell people beforehand. As I said, the tours were very hit and miss. Some guides were great - some were awful. I spend most of my time in a beautiful city with a tour guide that spent most of the time talking about a US movie that was filmed there. Seriously - let's go here to see this where this was filmed, then let's go there to see where such and such scene was filmed. Remember these are free guides provided to the cruise line by the historical society. They can say and do whatever they want. Some are experienced, some have to do it for a college course. Oh, one more thing. We were told (by calling the Viking - who we booked the cruise through) that there was a gym. No gym and definitely no walking or running on the walking path. It is right above cabins and there is no soundproofing! Our friends said they could hear every footstep. On the great side - we met amazing people. We are still in contact with several couples and do see them. 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: June 2018
After a fabulous river cruise last year with Viking, we had high hopes, especially the Danube and Vienna. Half-way into the cruise, after going through dozens of locks in Germany with the sundeck closed and boring shore excursions, we ... Read More
After a fabulous river cruise last year with Viking, we had high hopes, especially the Danube and Vienna. Half-way into the cruise, after going through dozens of locks in Germany with the sundeck closed and boring shore excursions, we were told a barge had blocked the Danube just before Passau. We docked Next to a sheep pasture and lock Sun. to Wed. Several key excursions were cancelled. Other ships moved passengers around the blockage but not the Bragi. All the passengers had to leave the ship and bus to Budapest. The top deck & the lower deck passengers were separated, sticking 2/3s of us in an airport hotel far from Vienna. Two days there became 1/2. Meals were in bad restaurants. Worst, Vikings’ story about what happened was contradicted by what we saw when we got to Budapest. Somehow the Bragi found another load of passengers to bring to Budapest. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
First of all, we are seasoned travelers. We have taken over 20 trips to Europe. We are retired tour guides who have run many students on trips to Europe. This was, by far, the worst food we have ever had anywhere. We went on what we ... Read More
First of all, we are seasoned travelers. We have taken over 20 trips to Europe. We are retired tour guides who have run many students on trips to Europe. This was, by far, the worst food we have ever had anywhere. We went on what we thought was a trip of a lifetime. As it turned out, we had to get on the Skaddi and transfer to the Bragi mid cruise due to water levels in the Maine River. This has been happening for the past several years, and is in the fine print. However, we did not know that we would be on an uncomfortable bus without air conditioning for 8 hours. And then the next day, we did it again, this time with A/C, because we could not reach our port. The food on the off-the ship-days was a set meal at a restaurant that was supposed to be traditional food It was breakfast sausage and sauerkraut, beer and ice cream (there were no choices). We had the beer and ice cream. The food on the Skaddi was excellent, however, when we transferred to the Bragi, it was almost inedible. On most nights, we did not like the choices, or the beef was tough, but there was always chicken and mashed potatoes that was on the optional menu. There was always a fish choice, but it was always grey colored. There was almost always a sausage dish, which was cut up and mixed with mayonaise and served as a salad as leftovers the next day for lunch, disguised as something else. We wondered if we had a substitute chef. Yes, we saw some gorgeous places, and there was unlimited been and wine at dinner, but we could not get past the terrible quality of the food. We expected to have food equivalent of a fine restaurant, when in fact, if a restaurant served food of this quality, it would go out of business. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
This is our second cruise with Viking. The first was in Russia, and was superb. Well thought out, great crew, significant learning while being entertained. This cruise was the antithesis of the Russia experience. I'll begin ... Read More
This is our second cruise with Viking. The first was in Russia, and was superb. Well thought out, great crew, significant learning while being entertained. This cruise was the antithesis of the Russia experience. I'll begin with a discussion of the Internet access on the ship. This is critical to me, and was particularly so this time since we had a grandson-in-law undergoing delicate cancer-related surgery and wanted to be in constant communication with our granddaughter. The Wi-Fi signal on the ship could only be received in one's stateroom while sitting on the toilet, and often that didn't work either. Wi-Fi in the reception area and the lounge was O.K. but, of course, inconvenient. The ship router to wide area connections were spotty and congested. I am an Electrical Engineer, and spent my career in data communications. The problems alluded to above are easily remediated, but Viking is apparently rooted in the 19th (o.k., maybe 20th) century and just doesn't care about this vital service. The Wi-Fi capability (or lack thereof) absolutely ruined the cruise for me, and I will never use Viking again. I wrote to the hotel director, an officious pompous ass, about the Wi-Fi problem, and he never gave me the courtesy of a response. If he worked for me, he'd be gone for that contempt for the passengers alone. The activity director was of the forced perky school, and I literally had to leave whenever she spoke about the day's plans. She literally made my skin crawl with cutesy-poo behavior. The shore excursions were boring and repetitive. They stopped at any town with a church, palace or castle and generally visiting one of these three "landmarks" constituted the excursion. Trust me, when you finish this cruise you will have been in more churches than Pope Francis and more castles than King Arthur. There was very seldom enough time allocated to roaming the city, meeting the people, and sampling local cuisine while getting a real feel for the city. We always had to rush because there was another town to visit down river, and they had a "can't miss" church, palace or castle. Half as many stops for twice as long would have been 100% better for me, and for many of the folks we spoke with. In contrast to the bad experience with Internet access, tour planning and courtesy of the management, the dining and housekeeping staff were wonderful. I have Celiac Disease, so being gluten-free is not a choice function for me - it is a life saving necessity. The Maitre'd and the waitstaff worked overtime to make me comfortable that I'd never be "glutened" and after a day on the ship I never worried about it again. I met with Roland (the Maitre'd) each morning and we planned out the meals for the day. The waitstaff got to know me (and, I think, become my friends) quickly, and they knew exactly how to assure that the meal plan was adhered to. Wonderful guys and one wonderful gal; they could all work for me any day and I'd be proud to have them. As an aside, the bartender knew how to make a really good martini, and one was in my hand 60 seconds after entering the lounge without my saying a word. Housekeeping was impeccable, and the cabin attendant was wonderful If you are thinking about this cruise, don't bother to bring any electronic communication device, and be ready for a dizzying procession of churches, palaces and castles. Better yet, think again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
This was a nice trip. BUT we paid to upgrade our room to a balcony suite and expected good views. But each night they docked next to another ship and our view was the room on the other ship. We could not open our curtain. Biking did not ... Read More
This was a nice trip. BUT we paid to upgrade our room to a balcony suite and expected good views. But each night they docked next to another ship and our view was the room on the other ship. We could not open our curtain. Biking did not mention this when they took out money. We actually enjoyed this trip and saw many wonderful sites. The people on board were nice. The crew was wonderful and took care of all of our needs. The food was great. The included tours were great. It was nice to be pampered all week long. Housekeeping did an awesome job. They clean our room at least twice a day. So all in all the trip was great. I just can’t get over the fact that we wasted a lot of money on an upgrade that was worthless. Biking should be ashamed of themselves. I don’t know if I can recommend them to someone else with out mentioning the room situation. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We chose the The Grand European Tour with Viking because we liked the itinerary and heard some very favorable reviews about the Viking River Cruise Line in general. Our flights worked out well (except for a few seat & schedule ... Read More
We chose the The Grand European Tour with Viking because we liked the itinerary and heard some very favorable reviews about the Viking River Cruise Line in general. Our flights worked out well (except for a few seat & schedule changes), and the pre cruise 2 night stay at the Movenpic Hotel in Amsterdam was fine. We had a standard stateroom #115 which was small but well appointed and our stateroom attendant was excellent. A lot of our friends in our group ( 16 all together ) had either veranda or balcony staterooms and the only complaint we heard was about the size and some occasional noise. The ship itself seemed okay, perhaps a little tired, and the staff was generally helpful. The cruise director (Kane) who kept everybody informed of the daily activities, was very good and quite entertaining. The dining experience on the BRAGI was AWFUL. Breakfast & lunch were okay, but dinner was really disappointing. The quality of the food was poor, very often tasteless, sometimes unedible, and the service was no better. Dinner was at 7:00 p.m., and we usually received our main course around 9:00 p.m. very often being served cold, and the orders were frequently served incorrectly. And to make matters worse, the servers we had in the dining room seemed rather indifferent. On other cruises, if you didn't finish your dinner (which was most of the time on the BRAGI) the servers would always ask: was something wrong with your dinner ? is there something else we can get you ? But, not on the BRAGI, they would take your full plates away and very often say nothing. In fact dinner was so mediocre that some of us would consume extra bread and ice cream to make up for what you couldn't eat at dinner. And if you enjoy coffee or tea, do not sail with the BRAGI, one coffee / tea station was always broken and the other usually in a state of disrepair. The itinerary was very good ( although we did have some delays and missed one stop due to high river heights on the Danube ) and we did enjoy all of the ports. As far as the tours arranged through Viking, some were very good, and sometimes if the tour was rather dull we would break away from the group and explore on our own. What made any of the tours either enjoyable or painful, was the personality & communication skills of the tour guide. Anyway, I guess we had high expectations with Viking River Cruises and besides the interesting ports, the overall experience with the Viking BRAGI was just average and in many cases disappointing. To sum it up, we were with a group of 16 seasoned travelers and not one of them would consider trying a River Cruise with Viking ever again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
After a very enjoyable two week cruise through France on Viking ships, we decided to go for the Grand Cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam. We added a short extension in Amsterdam. Although we were not disappointed with the cruise, there ... Read More
After a very enjoyable two week cruise through France on Viking ships, we decided to go for the Grand Cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam. We added a short extension in Amsterdam. Although we were not disappointed with the cruise, there are a few things Viking should do to improve offered shore excursions. Local guides were available in almost every instance and were generally good. We did have a couple of guides who were not up to standard. When we mentioned this to the ship's staff, we were only told that others had made the same complaint. Not a very encouraging answer. Be wary of making trips away from the port cities. Too often the excursions were cut short because of slow progress through locks, or the time spent on a bus ride. These excursions are very pricey and the amount of time spent at the site did not seem to make for a good value. Be sure to take advantage of the extensions that are offered for free on the included tours. The extra time was well spent! Perhaps the best thing to think about if contemplating this cruise is to take it in sections. Spend more time in the embarkation or disembarkation cities, or both, and forego the lengthier cruise. It is probably worth the added expense to travel either in later spring or earlier fall. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2016
Grand European tour covered places I wanted to see and met the 2 week time frame my friend wanted. It was fabulous! The included tours were wonderful; the young escorts were fantastic. The ship staff were friendly and helpful. The food was ... Read More
Grand European tour covered places I wanted to see and met the 2 week time frame my friend wanted. It was fabulous! The included tours were wonderful; the young escorts were fantastic. The ship staff were friendly and helpful. The food was terrific. I loved being able to see so much, experience so much, and meet so many lovely people. The attention to detail was exceptional; my boarding pass was even obtained for me in Budapest. I enjoyed the walking tour in Amsterdam to start the trip. I enjoyed several optional tours. The lectures were excellent. I was amazed by the efficiency of departures and embarkation. Our tour director was professional and unfazed by some problems caused by swollen rivers; we covered all excursions despite a damaged original riverboat and even received a thousand dollar voucher towards the next cruise. I plan to travel with Viking River Cruises in the near future. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Just finished the Grand European cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest on Bragi. For the price I expected much more. Staff is great, especially the cruise director, concierge, and other people you may deal with at the front desk. Cabin was ... Read More
Just finished the Grand European cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest on Bragi. For the price I expected much more. Staff is great, especially the cruise director, concierge, and other people you may deal with at the front desk. Cabin was clean and attendant was excellent. Dining and shore excursions were not so great. Dining service is slow. Dinner took 1.5 - 2 hours each night. Dining staff seemed to work hard however there didn't seem to be enough of them. Food was way too salty, especially the beef dishes. Beef was always tough. Water glasses were rarely refilled unless you asked. Most shore excursions were walking tours. The bus tours were good but there were only a few. Most tours were walking only and half were not very good. Some guides did not cover much area and babbled on about history of a few things. When I take a walking tour I prefer to learn about as many sites as possible. Most guides got into too much history on a few sites which left less time to see other sites. Would have preferred more bus tour to see as much of each city as possible. Almost half the cruise was on the Main river through Germany. Problem with the Main river are low bridges which means we were not allowed to use the upper deck for almost half the cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
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 2017
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
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 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: April 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: September 2016
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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 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
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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