Sail Date: May 2015
We have been on 18 ocean cruises, on many different lines. This river cruise was the best we have ever had. The food was excellent! Every meal was so well prepared with the finest ingredients, and the best service. The ship was beautiful, ... Read More
We have been on 18 ocean cruises, on many different lines. This river cruise was the best we have ever had. The food was excellent! Every meal was so well prepared with the finest ingredients, and the best service. The ship was beautiful, the cruise director very entertaining, and the concierge was very, very helpful. The included tours were wonderful, and the optional tours we took were very memorable. Bravo Viking! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
We had a very enjoyable river cruise. The food and drinks were excellent. We thought the itinerary was very good. We also enjoyed some of the unusual excursions.The entertainment was excellent . We especially liked the service provided ... Read More
We had a very enjoyable river cruise. The food and drinks were excellent. We thought the itinerary was very good. We also enjoyed some of the unusual excursions.The entertainment was excellent . We especially liked the service provided in the dining area. The cruise director was very entertaining. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2015
This cruise was problematic in: - Lack of food to buy onboard between meals Room was strictly average in care and staff upkeep -Food was mediocre although it looked good, but poor quality -Staff was mediocre in politeness and ... Read More
This cruise was problematic in: - Lack of food to buy onboard between meals Room was strictly average in care and staff upkeep -Food was mediocre although it looked good, but poor quality -Staff was mediocre in politeness and helpfulness; unaccomodating -Half of the tour guides were above average, the rest mediocre and below average - Scarcity of onboard activities - Program director and her immediate staff were helpful and agreeable Comments by some staff members: When our shower flooded: "That happens sometimes on these ships". No apologies? nothing When I requested more food: "We don't have anymore- was thrown away" Ridiculous- no civility or manners. Much dismissiveness on our requests- who trained these people? - It might help if their English skills were better also. We paid a considerable amount of money for this trip- I can't believe how poor it was. -We have been on cruises to the Mediterranean, Alaska, and the Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
We have only one regret related to our cruise on the Danube from Budapest to Nuremberg, and that regret is that we didn't do it sooner. The ship, the crew, the organization, the meals, the tours with native guides, the cabin - ... Read More
We have only one regret related to our cruise on the Danube from Budapest to Nuremberg, and that regret is that we didn't do it sooner. The ship, the crew, the organization, the meals, the tours with native guides, the cabin - everything was first-rate. The meals were wonderful and the tours were memorable, but I would like to single out one thing as being absolutely perfect, and that was the crew. Every event, every tour, every meal, every experience with briefings or entertainment or bartenders or housekeeping or the mechanical crew was absolutely wonderful. Viking employees know how to treat their customers! And further evidence of our feelings about our first cruise in May 2015 - we have already booked our second cruise for March of 2016. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
We are not usually cruise vacationers though we have cruised to Alaska and through the South Pacific islands. This was our first river cruise. Getting to the boat was the tough part as we had some distressing travel complications (not the ... Read More
We are not usually cruise vacationers though we have cruised to Alaska and through the South Pacific islands. This was our first river cruise. Getting to the boat was the tough part as we had some distressing travel complications (not the fault of Viking). Once on the Var all was beyond expectations. Our cabin had a small balcony that we made good use of. The storage space, the bed, the bathroom facilities were all perfectly acceptable. The shower was even spacious enough for me at 6 foot 2 and 195 pounds. All services on board were well planned and comfortable. On board entertainment was daily simple but the intent was to engage some local talent flavor. Dining was one of the major surprises. The food was varied, well prepared and professionally served. To make it even more impressive (to me) was the attention I got from the Maitre'D I had a gluten free dietary condition and I was met each morning at breakfast by him to go over my meal options and possible menu modifications to satisfy my diet. The port and shore excursions were well chosen and excellently run by polite and knowledgeable guides. We did however choose to do some walking tours on our own and that worked out very well also. Disembarkation was a bit early for our liking but we did need to meet an early flight from Berlin to catch our connecting flight in Rome. All in all the boat, the sights the staff were fantastic!!! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
I went on the Danube Watlz cruise in the spring 2015. This was my first river cruise. I loved many things about the cruise: the ports, the food on board, the included and the the optional excursions. The staff was excellent. The local ... Read More
I went on the Danube Watlz cruise in the spring 2015. This was my first river cruise. I loved many things about the cruise: the ports, the food on board, the included and the the optional excursions. The staff was excellent. The local guides were excellent. The onboard entertainment was okay. There could have been better representation of the cities visited. Vienna is known for its music but the entertainment presented was below average. I wish I had more time in Vienna. Also, the optional excursions in Vienna were scheduled so that a passenger could do only one and not both. I noticed for the 2016 Danube Waltz cruise that Salzburg is not the included excursion from the Linz port. I feel that Salzburg was a highlight of the trip. I may not have chosen Viking if Salzburg was not part of the itinerary. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
In Summary 1. In our opinion, Viking Cruises is more a marketing company than a holiday provider. Marketing is what they do best, full of promises, fabulous photos and presentations to make you believe you'll be travelling with ... Read More
In Summary 1. In our opinion, Viking Cruises is more a marketing company than a holiday provider. Marketing is what they do best, full of promises, fabulous photos and presentations to make you believe you'll be travelling with the best cruise line in the World. Comparing Viking's handling of our complaint with the volume of their marketing material sent simultaneously by email and post, Viking's priority is marketing. 2. Our cruise was ruined by loud mechanical noises which kept us (and many others) awake every night. Viking staff did absolutely nothing about it, other than to make us feel like fussy, inexperienced passengers. Instead of putting things right, Viking staff tried to cover it up. 3. The boat was new and clean, but many of the brochure promises weren't met, including WiFi available throughout the boat and in our cabin. 4. Apart from a bigger cabin, you get nothing extra for paying more for an expensive cabin (i.e. meals, excursions, etc. are the same for all). 5. Meals were mediocre and certainly not the treat one looks forward to on a cruise. 6. Excursions are good and well-rehearsed, with generally good guides. 7. Many crew were friendly, helpful and attentive, but a significant number were surly and somewhat unhelpful. 8. The impressive Viking "Service Guarantee" is virtually worthless and once we'd made a complaint, Viking made it clear that they weren't interested in retaining us as valued customers, but just wanted to get us out of the way as quickly as possible. We had our cruise in April 2015, so you may wonder why this review is so delayed. It took us several months to agree compensation with Viking for our ruined holiday, without being gagged by their non-disclosure agreement (more about that below). Before the cruise, our main concerns were on-board cleanliness and the weather. The Viking Var was very clean, although before entering the restaurant, we were not required to use the hand sanitisers provided. As for the weather, apart from the day travelling to Passau, we had fabulous sunny weather throughout the cruise. So what went wrong? We were kept awake every night by loud mechanical noises in the boat, which affected virtually all passengers. Despite reporting the noise problem every day to Viking staff, not only did they do nothing about it, but tried to suppress passenger complaints and make us believe that we were fussy passengers who didn't realise that such noises are just part of cruising! By the end of the cruise we were completely exhausted from lack of sleep, unable to enjoy the excursions, or anything else. When we got home, it took us several days to recover, so we made a formal complaint. We were greatly reassured by Viking's "Service Guarantee" (which promises 100% refund if a complaint can't be resolved within 24 hours), until we tried to use it. To qualify, you must have left the cruise prematurely and made your own way home at your own expense! Clearly, not many passengers would choose this - imagine a group of pensioners disembarking onto the banks of the Danube with all their luggage. For us the journey home was about 1,000 miles, but much further for passengers from outside Europe. The Viking "Service Guarantee" is fatuous and provides no credible protection. Initially Viking offered us a 25% discount off another cruise! In other words, their idea of compensation was to sell us another holiday, from which they would profit. Only when we threatened Court action did we eventually reach a cash settlement. Then after reaching an agreement, Viking said we would only receive the money if we signed their "acceptance letter", which they said was for our benefit. Their "acceptance letter" is nothing more than a gagging order: "In consideration of the above refund referred to the above beginning as of the date of this Settlement Agreement 10th June 2015, neither this Agreement nor its subject matter shall be discussed with anyone other than the parties to the Agreement or their attorneys, except as otherwise required by law. We/I also agree to take all steps reasonably necessary to protect the confidentiality of this Settlement Agreement and to prevent the Settlement Agreement from falling into the public domain or public forums or into the possession of unauthorised persons or persons who do not work for Viking. We/I agree that, if asked about the status of any claims by or disputes between the parties to this Settlement Agreement, We/I shall not communicate the terms of the settlement except to state that this matter has been amicably resolved as this agreement is subject to a confidentiality clause" In other words, we would have to remain silent about the matter for ever, except to be able to say that it had been resolved amicably! This seemed so onerous that we immediately rejected their offer, as they had changed the terms of our settlement after we had agreed it. After further prolonged negotiations, we eventually received a full cash refund for the cruise, plus the cost of a supplementary excursion, without having to sign their disgraceful "acceptance letter". The Cruise Itself: We were in a cheaper, lower deck cabin (or "state room" as Viking annoyingly called it). Those in the more expensive cabins received exactly the same excursions, meals, etc., some having paid several times what we did. The cruise itself wasn't bad, greatly helped by the lovely weather, but it wasn't fantastic either, so paying considerably more wouldn't have made it any better. Passengers in the upper decks heard the same noises that we did (except perhaps not quite as loud). The success of your cruise depends to quite a large extent on the quality of the Cruise Program Director, who in our case was George. While not terrible, he wasn't much good either, spending quite a lot of his time sucking-up to the more affluent passengers (presumably those who might give a bigger tip) and telling us uncomfortably personal "funny" anecdotes during passenger briefings. The boat itself was new and clean and there was adequate lounge space. If you want to sit on your own for a quiet read, you may end up having to sit in one of the areas by the stairs, which is OK, but not ideal and hardly luxurious. Viking say there's free Wi-fi on board, which you can get all round the boat and in your cabin. We found there was no Wi-fi when sailing. Even when moored, the Wi-fi was very slow and limited to certain public lounge areas and we certainly couldn't get any signal in our cabin - maybe that's something the more expensive cabins had. On a cruise we don't expect a fast broadband connection, but we'd prefer that Viking didn't promise what it doesn't fulfil. Excursions were generally good and well rehearsed. We found the Quietvox units, provided to all passengers, very helpful. Guide quality was variable, but usually good. Buses were new, clean, reliable and punctual with careful drivers. Meals were nothing to write home about. Holiday breakfast is something I look forward to, but here it was usually a bit rushed as we all had to get away for excursion departure. Instead of lovely fresh coffee, it was served pre-prepared in vacuum flasks, to enable staff to serve us quickly. The breads were always delicious and fresh, but otherwise the buffet, while OK, was nothing special. Lunch was mediocre, served either on the Aquavit Terrace and in the restaurant. The Aquavit Terrace lunch depended on good weather and was more-or-less a barbecue, or salad and limited choice. The restaurant lunch wasn't much better. Dinner was supposed to be the meal of the day, but was generally average, with some quite odd courses and small portions. There were some "standby" courses that remained the same every day (e.g. steak, salmon, etc.), but on a cruise one hopes for better than that. In the restaurant there were no tables for two. Sharing with others is fine, but sometimes it's nice just to sit as a couple. As a cruise progresses, cliques develop, who "own" their group table. We were told a number of times how the kitchen staff performed miracles in a very confined space, which is probably true. However, it should be remembered that the Viking Var was built for Viking to their design, so Viking chose to make the kitchen area small, to allow for more cabins for paying passengers. Some crew/staff were fantastic, while others were quite surly and unhelpful. We had read how the crew's contracts of employment had recently been changed to their disadvantage, so that may explain why some weren't particularly enthusiastic. Would we try Viking again? DEFINITELY NOT! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
First the good. Viking has the best organized excursions I have ever been on. The employees were all excellent. The boat was beautiful. A river boat is the very best way to see central Europe. Next the OK. The food was OK. The ... Read More
First the good. Viking has the best organized excursions I have ever been on. The employees were all excellent. The boat was beautiful. A river boat is the very best way to see central Europe. Next the OK. The food was OK. The advertising pictures show couples sitting at tables for 2 or 4 people. If you want a very light meal you can eat in the bar at a table for 2. But if you want a substantial meal you must go to the dining room and sit a table for 6 or 8 people. Meeting new people at breakfast and making polite conversation when you haven't even had a cup of coffee can be painful. There was no room service. The food was well prepared. They served regional specialties: peasant food. The chef did an excellent job with the materials he had. Don't look for a lot of upscale seafood or expensive cuts of meat on these cruises. The wine was OK. We should have upgraded. We were a little tired of regional German/Austrian wines by the end of the trip. It would have been nice to have an Italian or French option, but we were traveling through Germany/Austria. Last, the bad. Viking Var Cabin 201 was VERY NOISY. We could hear plumbing noises that sounded like gurgling, flushing, splashing through the wall near the bathroom. It was a great itinerary with great excursions, but we paid $8000. for this cruise and I am not sure that it was a good price value. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
Overall Excellent. The crew and staff really tried to relate and serve their guests in a timely, professional and friendly manner. Tours were timely and well executed. We learned a lot. Food reflected the best of the Danube River ... Read More
Overall Excellent. The crew and staff really tried to relate and serve their guests in a timely, professional and friendly manner. Tours were timely and well executed. We learned a lot. Food reflected the best of the Danube River Valley. There is no substitute for great service and high quality food. The Danube Trip no. 2 of now 3 tours taken to date. A 4th has been scheduled. PERSONNAL BACKGROUND: Married, Retired Military, Nashville, TN TRAVEL TO PORT OF PORT OF EMBARKATION: Delta to Atlanta GA United to Wash/Dulles Delta to Minneapolis Delta to Brussels Lufthansa to Frankfurt KLM to Amsterdam Bus to Amsterdam Lufthansa to Prague KLM to Nice Bus to Pasau Bus to Avignon HOTEL (3 DAY STAY) BEFORE CURISE Hotel Dukes, Bruges Sheraton Charles Sq Prague Le Meridien Nice RIVER CRUISE EMBARKATION Amsterdam NL Pasau Avignon, FR STATE ROOM Cat A Veranda w/Balcony Cat A Veranda w/Balcony Cat AA Suite Veranda Room # 233 Room # 309 Room # 320 SHIPS INFORMATION Viking Longboat Mani Viking Longboat Var Viking Longboat Heimdal DINING Meals Included Gourmet ACTIVITIES 2 Tours/stop Included/Local Dining Menu/Language and History Classes STAFF AND SERVICE 5 Star Excellent/Responsive ENTERTAINMENT Bar Entertainer and Local talent per stop for each boat. Well Done SHORE EXCURSIONS 3-5/Stop and tailored Excel Min 2/Stop Included in price DISEMBARKATION Basel, Switzerland Budapest, Hungry Lyon FR SUMMARY: After three complete riverboat cruises with Viking and understanding that I am a well traveled, military retiree, I still think well enough of Viking to book a fourth cruise, really says something. I find service to be 5 star quality and consistent across the Viking Fleet (Mani, Var and Heimdal). Each package was pre-paid, and inclusive. The food was served with care, fresh and well presented. You had the choice of local menu with gourmet items or the more standard fare. Everyone of the staff consistently presented a high quality, friendly/accessible and responsive service. There are many 5 star hotels that could learn from this operation. Tours were included and several were interchangeable or presented for a nominal cost. Guides were very informative and approachable with questions and local information. Overall, I find vary few operations that can deliver consistent service excellence with such a wide variety of service obligations. The running of the ship, the hotel service, the bar service, the galley service, tour service, medical emergency service, and still address one-on-one guess inquiries is nothing short of monumental. It is not "What Went Wrong" but rather, "How Well It Was Addressed" Job Well Done. Rating Overall Excellent. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
Fabulous from Day 1! Supported by Viking at all times but left to our own devices if we wished. Thoroughly dislike being organised but Viking seem to strike the correct balance. Most of the trips had been clearly devised by experts; ... Read More
Fabulous from Day 1! Supported by Viking at all times but left to our own devices if we wished. Thoroughly dislike being organised but Viking seem to strike the correct balance. Most of the trips had been clearly devised by experts; perhaps the odd one we were indifferent about could be down to choice or tiredness - too much social life the night before? The staff on this tour were flexible, ie they were prepared to let the passengers temporarily take over... We had a problem with the boat but this was handled with great efficiency and equilibrium. We also had a problem with the aircraft home - nothing to do with Viking - but when we contacted Viking, their response was immediate and generous. We have always made friends on board and arrive home with smiles on our faces while at the same time planning our next cruise, hence we are happy to take part in this critique. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
Amazing, funny, efficient staff, super organized. Great food, unlimited wine and beer. Best trip of my life - so far. Cabin was tight but very livable. I think time of year is key for these trips. Only 1 or 2 other ships in port at each ... Read More
Amazing, funny, efficient staff, super organized. Great food, unlimited wine and beer. Best trip of my life - so far. Cabin was tight but very livable. I think time of year is key for these trips. Only 1 or 2 other ships in port at each city, I hear in summer there are scores of ships in each town. Guides were excellent. We did the walking tours whenever available and were never disappointed. If your trip includes a larger city I suggest you stay a few extra nights - either through the cruise line or on your own. The booking process was flawless and the agent was top notch. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
I went on the romantic Danube cruise on the Viking Var with my mother in law. We had an incredible time. The crew is so warm and friendly. George met us as we arrived and he kept the atmosphere upbeat and fun. We were lucky to have ... Read More
I went on the romantic Danube cruise on the Viking Var with my mother in law. We had an incredible time. The crew is so warm and friendly. George met us as we arrived and he kept the atmosphere upbeat and fun. We were lucky to have most of our meals served by a friendly fellow called Ivan. I felt like we were on a small cruise with family. The ship is always clean, the staff treat you like VIP's and the price is more than fair. We saw so many sights and leaned so much while having fun. Cheers to Viking you have a winner group with the Var! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
Great trip that made is both eager to do another river cruise. The ship (Var) is very new as are most of the Viking ships. We spent three extra days in Amsterdam before the cruise, and really loved that very diverse and interesting city. ... Read More
Great trip that made is both eager to do another river cruise. The ship (Var) is very new as are most of the Viking ships. We spent three extra days in Amsterdam before the cruise, and really loved that very diverse and interesting city. We want to go back! The location of our hotel, Moevenpik (sp?) was excellent for access to the tram system, canal cruises, and embarkation on the Var. The various stops to and up the Rhine included Viking arranged bus and walking tours that were well planned and very interesting. Guides on those tours were excellent, especially in Cologne, Heidelberg , and Strasbourg. The top deck proved to be a wonderful place to relax and view the beautiful towns, castles, and vineyards as we cruised from stop to stop. Not enough good words exist to describe the service and food in the lounge and dining room. The staff is very well trained, attentive, and a delightful part of our experience. There were many choices for all meals, so I'm sure everyone was more than pleased. We found that cruising with only about 190 passengers on this ship was much more enjoyable for us than past ocean cruises with three to five thousand. We are now starting to plan for our next river cruise!   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
This was our first time on a Viking cruise. My husband and I took the Rhine river cruise from Amsterdam, The Netherlands to Basel, Switzerland. It was truly wonderful! We were papmpered with helpful, wonderful staff who made a point to get ... Read More
This was our first time on a Viking cruise. My husband and I took the Rhine river cruise from Amsterdam, The Netherlands to Basel, Switzerland. It was truly wonderful! We were papmpered with helpful, wonderful staff who made a point to get to know you and what you liked to eat and drink. The food was delicious and overflowing! The ports of call were exciting. If you are into history, you will love the tours. Europe has such history! The rooms on the ship were small, but the balcony was such a plus! I used the balcony more than my husband because due to a knee injury I wasn't always able to take all the included tours..too bad, but the room has good movies, tv shows and wonderful music for me to entertain myself with, so all was good!! We went through several locks and that was exciting! Some were at night which we felt, but couldn't see. It was so interesting. Cruising past the wonderful, old and medieval castles was such a photo op! We loved it. Our ship was a new longship and it thankfully had an elevator from the 2nd to 3rd floor which was helpful for me and my bad knee. I still had to walk up the stairs to be on the top deck to sight see, but it was worth it. The views were fantastic! This is not a cruise for kids and the median age on the ship was about 65. A lot of retirees. It was nice to feel young!! The ship had open seating at meal time which was so nice. You got to meet new people even though you tended to gravitate to the same tables most nights, Everyone was warm and friendly! The weather was in the 60's most days and we had some rain, but not enough to ruin the vacation. I love cooler temperatures, so it was delightful for me! We will take another Viking river cruise as soon as we save our pennies!! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
We had heard nothing but raves about river cruising, but we were still pleasantly surprised by the outstanding service, food, and itinerary of our Rhine cruise from Basel to Amsterdam. It was quite obvious that Viking was determined to ... Read More
We had heard nothing but raves about river cruising, but we were still pleasantly surprised by the outstanding service, food, and itinerary of our Rhine cruise from Basel to Amsterdam. It was quite obvious that Viking was determined to take care of every little detail from the time we booked the trip, arrived at the airport, during the entire week, and including the shuttle to our departure airport. There was never any confusion, delays, or anything that wasn't perfect on the Var. A simple pamphlet for each passenger contained all our flight, hotel, and daily itinerary information. Another small booklet detailed what we were passing along the Rhine, and kilometer signs were placed on each shore so it was easy to follow the sites. The Viking Daily listed each day's itinerary as well as historical information on the port. Loudspeaker announcements were kept to a minimum and mostly to announce departure times. For the first time, we let a cruise line make our flight plans and British Airways was excellent. We got to go on the newer Airbus 380 double-decker, and paying a bit more for Economy Plus was well worth it. The space, service, in-flight entertainment selections, and food were very good. Processing through Heathrow in London was a bit of a mess both directions, but thankfully we had plenty of time between flights. Meals, particularly dinner, were the main social events onboard. The menu, all beverages included, was very good. Even the "everyday" offering of chicken and steak was excellent. Usually from 7:30 to 9:00, this gave everyone plenty of time to meet fellow-cruisers. Also offered were music and dancing, a concert, glass-blower, and a presentation on the European Union. Each stop included a tour (Breisach-Black Forest, Strasbourg-Petite France to Cathedral Square, Heidelberg-Castle and town, Koblenz-Marksburg Castle, Cologne-Old City and Cathedral, Kinderdijk-windmills, and Amsterdam-old town. We took advantage of the pre-cruise stay in Lake Lucerne and post-cruise stay in Amsterdam. Met at Zurich airport upon landing and shuttled to the hotel, then shuttled from our last hotel in Amsterdam; no problems at either end-was impressed by Viking's planning. Both were at top-rate hotels, staffed by Viking personnel, and included orientation walks. Of particular note was the Mt. Titlis optional excursion in Lake Lucerne. It was a highlight of the entire trip with fantastic scenery up to the 10,000 ft. peak.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
A group of 8 of us went. It was our first river cruise. The trip was fantastic. The room was very comfortable. If you are a large person, the shower would be too small. The food was aways first rate, as was the service. I took the optional ... Read More
A group of 8 of us went. It was our first river cruise. The trip was fantastic. The room was very comfortable. If you are a large person, the shower would be too small. The food was aways first rate, as was the service. I took the optional wine tasting tour, which was horrible. The optional tour to Colmar was excellent. Others in our group did the WWII tour, and enjoyed it. Some of the things I wish I had known ahead of time are: 1. Most of the morning tours begin about 8:30 2. Several of the places require a lot of stairs. If you have trouble with stairs, this is not your trip. 3. Most of the time, the cruise line provides transportation into town for your free time. So if you choose not to take an optional excursion, you are not stuck on the boat. 4. Some of the optional tours have long bus rides. Ask about the length of the bus ride if it concerns you. 5. There are fresh baked cookies available most of the day if you need a snack. 6. Bottled water is provided on every excursion. I could not have been more pleased by Viking. The only low point of the trip was the wine tasting. We spent almost 4 hours on a bus to taste 4 lousy wines, and learn nothing about wine making. The guides in each city were very knowledgable and entertaining. Everyone connected with Viking spoke fluent English. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
First things first... I'm saving my pennies as quickly as possible to take another of Viking's River Cruises. So how much do you think we liked it? We didn't. We LOVED it!!! I am home-sick for the Viking Var! I cannot think ... Read More
First things first... I'm saving my pennies as quickly as possible to take another of Viking's River Cruises. So how much do you think we liked it? We didn't. We LOVED it!!! I am home-sick for the Viking Var! I cannot think of a single negative about this cruise. Everything was exceptional. My husband would say the negatives were the small shower and the poor internet access (he was dying to see a couple of football games in the middle of the night). So the shower was small but the large cruise ships we've been on the showers were so much smaller. Embarkation was extremely easy and quick and our rooms were available much earlier than we were lead to believe they would be. The cabin was very well laid out but definitely seemed smaller than the photos we'd seen. If I were to change anything about the cabin it would be the addition of another drawer or two. LOVED the 24 hr coffee/latte/espresso machines and the treats. The ship was absolutely beautiful and so very comfortable. We enjoyed the food very much and we indulged too much on quite a few evenings. The service on-board was exceptional. When we left we felt like we were leaving family behind. Our Cruise Director was awesome. So genuinely hilarious and clever. He was a definite highlight! The on-board entertainment left something to be desired but it didn't bother us at all. We were just having a wonderful time. We both got a little tired of cathedrals every place we went but they were gorgeous and historic. The shore excursions were so well done. All of the tour guides were so much better than we had expected (with the exception of the tour guide in Switzerland). We added the post-cruise trip to Lake Geneva. We were disappointed in the Geneva tour and felt it was wasted money and time. We were bored. Next time we would stay in Montreux (which is where our beautiful hotel was) and enjoy the scenery which was magnificent.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
My wife and I took the VAR from Amsterdam to Basel. The boat was very well run and the crew went out of their way to make things work. The river water level was high and some changes had to be made in the itinerary. Viking handled this ... Read More
My wife and I took the VAR from Amsterdam to Basel. The boat was very well run and the crew went out of their way to make things work. The river water level was high and some changes had to be made in the itinerary. Viking handled this change very well. I could feel the scrabbling to make the last minute changes. The excursions were well planned and well organized. I had to change local guides because the one I was assigned to wouldn't stop talking about extraneous things. No harm, I just hooked up with another group. The trip to Cologne was the best I have ever taken. The history of Cologne was fascinating, I would do it again if given the chance. The only small thing that went wrong was I put money in the safe and didn't push the button after closing it. When I came back I noticed that the safe was open. I check my wallet and saw that money was in the wallet and didn't think much about it. When I got to Basel Airport, I checked and found that my $3,600 US was suddenly $1,600 US. It was my fault, I should have counted the money when I found the safe open. Overall, very pleasant trip well worth the price. Beautiful boat with nice people running it. Great food all the way. I highly recommend the Viking Var. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
My wife and I have cruise many times on ocean cruises but this is our first time on a river cruise. We chose Viking on the recommendation of our travel agent, and we definitely were not disappointed. We were on the VAR going from Basel, ... Read More
My wife and I have cruise many times on ocean cruises but this is our first time on a river cruise. We chose Viking on the recommendation of our travel agent, and we definitely were not disappointed. We were on the VAR going from Basel, Switzerland down the Rhine to Amsterdam, The Netherlands, The itinerary is outstanding with some of the most spectacular scenery we have seen in our travels. With the exception of Amsterdam, we found the people at each port to be friendly and helpful. All of the guides (including Amsterdam) were excellent. We took and each of the included excursions and enjoyed them all. Viking's scheduling gives you plenty of free time in each port to explore on your own. The VAR is one of the new Longships and it is a wonder. Our cabin (311) was a veranda cabin on the upper deck. The cabin is somewhat small but very well designed, maximizing the available space. There is plenty of storage, and even our very large suitcases fit under the bed. The bathroom is also small, with a single sink and shower. Again, the space was optimized, especially the shower. With 2 glass doors, egress is easy, and even my large girth had no trouble taking a comfortable shower. The veranda is smaller than those on ocean ships, but it was plenty large enough for the 2 of us to sit with a glass of wine and watch the amazing scenery go by. While the ship does not have all of the "happenings" of an ocean cruiser, it fit our life style perfectly. The lounge is large and very comfortable. The Sun deck (top deck) is comfortable and provides a 360 degree view. The dining room is also perfect for this type of cruising, with open seating at every meal. We enjoyed eating with different people at the meals, always having the option to repeat with those we found particularly interesting. The food in both the dining room and the "lighter fare" in the Aquavit Terrace was well prepared, well presented, and delicious. The menu was varied and imaginative. While the choices were limited (1 white and 1 red), the house wines included with the cruise fare served at meals were very good, and at several meals they were the most expensive wines in the cellar. And now for the best part of the trip - the crew. Without fail, each member of the crew was dedicated to making the trip better. The Program Director (Cruise Director Rene) was very hard working and made sure that he was involved started to finish. The lounge staff (Lazlo and his crew) were wonderful, making sure that everyone's needs were met. Bottom line - we are making plans for a cruise with Viking next year! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
Originally I thought this was very over priced for 7 nights, but after the trip I had completely changed my mind. We did in one week what would have taken us on our own about 3 weeks. When you factor those extra two weeks, the cost of the ... Read More
Originally I thought this was very over priced for 7 nights, but after the trip I had completely changed my mind. We did in one week what would have taken us on our own about 3 weeks. When you factor those extra two weeks, the cost of the Viking cruise was very reasonable. We saw so much and it was so easy. Just show up when and where you're told and the rest is just pure pleasure. Every detail is taken care of so you don't have to worry about a thing. The tour guides were exceptional. Their local knowledge and personalities made the tours a real treat. I loved the sound system Viking provided that let you listen at a distance and not miss a single word. This was perfect for me because I'm a photographer and was able to stop and get any picture I wanted and never miss what the guide was saying. The people on the boat lived up to everything Viking had promised. Always cheerful, helpful and kind. The tour director was amazing. His personality alone kept the entire week exciting and fun. We wondered if all the boats were blessed with someone this amazing. The person who took care of our cabin was also exceptional. Very personable and kind. We ended up tipping her extra just because of the quality of service she provided. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
My wife and I had never taken any type of cruise before embarking on the Viking Var for our 7 night adventure down the Rhein River for 7 beautiful June days. We were a bit cautious as we were "not cruise people" before stepping ... Read More
My wife and I had never taken any type of cruise before embarking on the Viking Var for our 7 night adventure down the Rhein River for 7 beautiful June days. We were a bit cautious as we were "not cruise people" before stepping aboard a Viking Long Ship. We have always planned our own vacations and taken care of ourselves for the most part while traveling around the world, including a Christmas Market trip to Europe in 2012. We were convinced to experience a cruise by my wife's parents and togetherness we decided to give Viking a try. From the time we stepped aboard to the time we departed we were treated like royalty. We have never had a better vacation! Leaving everything to Viking turned out to be the best decision we ever could have made. From the spacious and comfortable cabin to the delicious and abundant food life on board was amazing. No packing and unpacking as we travelled from city to city was a treat. And Viking provided well thought out, entertaining, and nicely managed tours at each stop. There was also a nice selection of optional afternoon and evening tours that weren't budget busters, we told advantage of a few and had the same level of comfort and service as the included experiences. With the exception of the optional tours and cocktails at the fully stocked bar, beer and wine are included at lunch and dinner (and plenty of it), there isn't anything else to spend money on while board. There is even a self-service coffee bar, with pastries in the morning and afternoon cookies, for your pleasure, and several surprises like ice cream sundaes on the top deck while viewing the castles on the Rhein. You never go hungry on a Viking Cruise! Every evening an informative lecture is given detailing the next day's events. And on most nights some for of entertainment, from local musicians to cooking lessons, there was even a glass blowing demonstration on our ship. And there is always piano music in the lounge or just sitting on the deck watching the world glide by as you cruise in style on the best floating resort in the world. The only shortcoming we found with the longship was the exercise track being right above our cabin. There was an early riser on our cruise who must have been training for a marathon because the noise from the track was something that did penetrate our cabin the first few mornings. The cruise director did ask that the runner please hold off till 7:00AM, which they did, but still, we had a 7:00AM wake up call in the form of running steps each time they passed our cabin. We were sad to depart the Viking Var, but completely sold on cruising. But only with Viking. So much so, we booked our next cruise as soon as we returned home! We sail again in May 2015! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
We actually did the reverse itinerary from Basel to Amsterdam. We had three cabins for our party of six. The ports were all interesting with the usual good selection of included shore excursions we have come to expect from Viking. The ... Read More
We actually did the reverse itinerary from Basel to Amsterdam. We had three cabins for our party of six. The ports were all interesting with the usual good selection of included shore excursions we have come to expect from Viking. The dining room staff made sure we had a table reserved of six each night for our party. Food was generally good, but not considered gourmet in my opinion. I am amazed they can do anything in such a small galley, but they manage to pull it off. Our verandah cabins were well laid out with the modern appointments that you would expect from a newer ship. We have booked the new large Viking Star for 2015 and are looking forward to the voyage. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2013
First River cruise with several ocean cruises behind us. The first thing we found was how open the ship was, for the actual width. After the massiveness of the ocean liners, this ship looked very small from the outside, but they have done ... Read More
First River cruise with several ocean cruises behind us. The first thing we found was how open the ship was, for the actual width. After the massiveness of the ocean liners, this ship looked very small from the outside, but they have done a great job of making it very roomy indeed. Our cruise had 184 passengers so you never got the feeling of being crowded. In fact I was pleasantly surprised that overall there was more "personal space" on this ship than on the ocean liners. Very surprisingly we found there were 172 Americans on board, so it was more like an American ship. We had originally thought we would be one of the few Americans or at least some balance of cultures from around the world. In any case, the mix of people really made the cruise exceptional and we were also surprised that the average age of passengers was a little younger than we had anticipated (not the mid 70's but more late 50's to mid 60's) and all pretty well traveled. We spend a couple of nights in Budapest prior to sailing, which was wonderful. Allowed us to recover from the flight and get our sleep patterns in check, as well as see more of the amazing city. Others joining the cruise on the day of embarkation wished they had booked a few days as well (highly recommended whichever cruise you take). Our balcony room was slightly larger than our ocean cruise rooms and extremely well laid out, with large flat panel TV larger bed, more storage and a really nicely designed bathroom. The shower has an angled glass wall with 2 doors, so while still relatively small, it is easy to get in and out of and has enough room that you didn't feel locked in.. I was quite impressed with this feature. Meals were excellent and much better than I expected. Definitely restaurant quality with no hint that this was a mass production line. We didn't buy the upgrade package for wine and spirits which allows you to have higher class drinks any time, rather than just at meals. The "included" drinks at meals - beer and house wine were actually very nice indeed, the wine was far better than anything you would find as "house wine" in the U.S. At the end of the trip our total "additional" drinks bill was about $120, which was far better than the upgrade package cost. There is always orange juice, a coffee/chocolate machine upstairs and large water bottles in your room. The ship moves effortlessly through the river and you hardly know you are moving. The scenery is constant and only ever a few hundred yards away which makes for a great experience, especially going through the different locks, which just fascinated me - 3 inches to spare on either side of the ship... The staff were simply wonderful, although you will likely locate the best staff quickly and stick to their section in the dining room (Thank you Senya and Igor). Dawn, the program director is a multi-talented absolute, over the top personality (which takes a day or so to get used to) and I wish I had a tenth of her energy. She is the glue which holds the ship together for pretty much everything, including entertainment and shore tours (Thank you Dawn) We decided to make our own way around many of the locations we visited and take public transport rather than the arranged tours. This seemed to throw the front desk staff for a bit of a loop, when we asked questions like - "Where is the ship docked" on the map they just handed us and "Where is the train station" or "What is the best public transport to the RingStrasse"? It seems that most people just jump on the tours and the staff are less than prepared to handle questions outside of that. We actually found that the location of the ship, in one case, was not actually on the map and the business card they give you with the ships location was of little value unless you were taking a taxi back to the ship. A little better information in this area - maybe maps printed by Viking themselves with better "on your own" directions would entice a younger (mid 40s and above) element who may not want to be sheep herded around. Our cabin was more midship, with a short walk to the main atrium/exit/stars/dining room and lounge, so we never got the feeling that we were hemmed in, or got the sensation of how long the ship really was in the living quarters end of the ship. I would highly recommend a room nearer to the middle. The foot traffic was very light and noise was never a problem for us (room 209). The name "Romantic Danube" gives you a sense that this might be a romance themed cruise - well it's not... it is just the name of the river (you'll have to plan your own romance); and don't expect anything too special in the way of being Christmas market themed either, apart from some tours just happening to have Christmas markets at the main center of town or at other attractions. It is the same itinerary as the other tours, but just happens to have Christmas markets. You may have to do a little research on some out of the way markets. We found quite a few in Vienna by riding the bus. It seems that there is a small market around nearly every corner, while the big ones are right at the major squares. Overall this cruise was fabulous and far better than anything we have experienced on ocean cruises. Would we do it again - in a heartbeat... In fact, I would consider doing this cruise in early fall for the foliage. December was bare treed, but I could imagine what it is like fully leafed. This was a great get away and a great way to see different cities that you would likely never go to.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
We have been on many ocean cruises, Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Alaskan, but this River cruise was the best one to date. Viking is so organized and took care of all details so we had to worry about nothing. The hotel in Budapest (Le ... Read More
We have been on many ocean cruises, Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Alaskan, but this River cruise was the best one to date. Viking is so organized and took care of all details so we had to worry about nothing. The hotel in Budapest (Le Meridien Budapest) was in a great location and beautiful and the hotel in Prague (Prague Sheraton Charles Square) was nice but nothing special. We were actually on 2 ships, Thor and Var, because of low river levels. The transfer of ships was done seamlessly for all of the passengers. All aspects of this trip from the food, to the service, to the shore excursions were beyond expectations. Our room was so nice with plenty of storage and we loved having a refrigerator and balcony in the room. The crew handled disembarkation so well that we felt as though we were the only people there. Being taken to the airport in Prague and met by a Viking representative and walked all the way through to the security line was way more than we hoped for. What else can I say....we will take another river cruise and it will absolutely be with Viking. Thank you to everyone involved with making this an amazing trip. Read Less
Viking Var Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.4
Entertainment 3.0 3.9
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 1.0 3.2
Family 1.0 3.2
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.4
Enrichment 4.0 4.2
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 3.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 N/A

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