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29 Viking Bestla Cruise Reviews

We were interested in seeing part of Germany, since that is the country of my husband's ancestors. We selected the Danube cruise in December because it promised that we would get to see many Christmas markets, which we did. The ship ... Read More
We were interested in seeing part of Germany, since that is the country of my husband's ancestors. We selected the Danube cruise in December because it promised that we would get to see many Christmas markets, which we did. The ship was beautiful and well-appointed. Our cabin was comfortable. I loved that there was plenty of storage space for all our things and that we were able to store our suitcases under the bed after we had emptied them into the ample closets and drawers that were provided. Dining was wonderful. We had an opportunity to meet many different people, as we were able to sit at whatever table we wanted for all of our meals. One thing I particularly enjoyed was the fact that local cuisine was featured in many of our meals. The shore excursions were fun and educational. I was highly impressed by the knowledge of our guides and their ability to make their talks interesting and entertaining. The only downside was that the temperatures were extremely cold (though we knew in advance that they would be), and we are thinking of taking the trip again at another season of the year when we will be able to enjoy the out of doors more. Overall, the Viking experience was wonderful and we would definitely go again. In fact, we have already booked another Viking cruise for this coming December. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
If you are considering a Viking River Cruise - just do it! My Mom and I had so much fun and I think to narrow it down it was "the experience" overall. Feel free to reach out with specific questions but here's a quick ... Read More
If you are considering a Viking River Cruise - just do it! My Mom and I had so much fun and I think to narrow it down it was "the experience" overall. Feel free to reach out with specific questions but here's a quick overview. 1. The boat is quaint and beautiful. I loved knowing or recognizing most of the passengers. The rooms are small but comfortable. I would recommend spending the extra money for a balcony or french balcony because opening your door when you want is worth the money; especially in those cool locks! 2. The food was really good. Eating w/people you recognize and spend time with was great. The caliber of people on our ship was amazing. Just nice people all around. Beer, wine and drinks are "included" during meals so you never have to worry about a bill sneaking up on you. 3. The tours are interesting, included and fun! They are short - like 3 hours and give you a taste of where you are. Then you can decide if you want something more intimate or want to just wander. I loved that! 4. EASY - Everything was so easy and practical. We did not have to worry about anything including when they took us back to the airport. They went in with us and stayed until we were checked in. A couple tips to bring: 1. I recommend bringing two suitcases and filling your smaller one in the big one over there and then having an "extra" for stuff. 2. Bring bubble wrap so that nothing breaks. 3. Bring a USB fan. The cabins have their own temperature but my Mom gets cold easily so I wished I would have brought a personal fan. 4. If it's cold - bring hand warmers. They were a game changer for us. 5. We loved the tours - but wish we would have booked things more "intimate." I highly recommend doing a "Viator's Food Tour" in a couple cities when you go. They are amazing!!! 6. Business cards for people you meet. 7. Battery packs - for your iPhone if you are out all day. We went on the Danube but any river tour with Viking is well, well worth it!! Jen Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
The Danube River cruise is the best cruise that my husband & I have taken. We did explore Budapest several days before the cruise & do suggest others to do so. There are many free, guided walking tours of the city. Plus, we ... Read More
The Danube River cruise is the best cruise that my husband & I have taken. We did explore Budapest several days before the cruise & do suggest others to do so. There are many free, guided walking tours of the city. Plus, we explored on our own too. Embarkation & disembarkation were both easy & worry free. The staff greeted us from the moment our taxi arrived & took excellent care of us throughout the cruise. We loved the intimate size of the longboat & soon knew our cruise staff well and made lots of new friends with fellow passengers. Our cabin was very comfortable & we enjoyed having a balcony, mini frig, heated bathroom floors. Dining was great whether in dining room or in Aquavit Terrace. The daily free tours were wonderful. The daily briefings by the cruise director were informative & always prepared us for the next day. We enjoyed the entertainers, singers & dancers and lecturer that were brought onboard in several ports. My husband & I only have praise for Viking River cruises! While onboard, we bought a voucher for our next cruise & have already booked a Rhine River cruise. This was a dream vacation! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This was our second Viking river cruise (1st was four years ago in China) and overall we enjoyed the trip, The ship left Budapest and sailed up the Danube river making stops in Austria and Germany. The Bestla was a last minute replacement ... Read More
This was our second Viking river cruise (1st was four years ago in China) and overall we enjoyed the trip, The ship left Budapest and sailed up the Danube river making stops in Austria and Germany. The Bestla was a last minute replacement as our former ship was involved in an accident a few weeks prior that left it inoperable. First impressions are key and there were three viking ships at the dock - we were not sure which was our ship and I asked a few porters for the Bestla - I mis-pronounced the name and was curtly corrected by a porter about the correct pronouciation and was informed we should know better where we are going - interesting way to board a ship. The room was clean, nicely styled with an outdoor balcony but was somewhat smaller than our China cruise. The meals were good and enjoyable (not great) - they were tasty and flavorable but nothing really stood out as being unique or memorable. Unlike our China ship, it seemed to take the crew a few days to get organized and work as a team - service during meals and the bar were a bit slow in the first few days but seemed to improve as the days went on. One notable difference from China is that the crew did not take the time to learn the names of the passengers (by the end of day one in China, our bartenders knew our names and had drinks pre-made as we entered the bar and dining area). The included excursions were okay but one of my ongoing chief complaints for river cruises in general is that you have to pay the extra dollars for the better excursions (of which we signed up for several - Mozart string quarter, palace in Vienna, Munich). One notable experience that really got my goat was when we went to a beautiful Monastary and had to pay a small additional fee (that we were unaware of) to attend a dumpling demonstration - those that did not sign up (including us) had to wait in the coffee shop until the demonstration was completed - have to say when you pay over $10,000 to go on this trip I am disappointed that Viking could not include this as part of the free excursion. We signed up for the silver beverage package that allowed for unlimited beverages and wine - when we ordered wine for dinner each night, we were told they ran out of several types that we enjoyed but mysteriously they were served in the bar later that evening. Also I enjoy single malt scotch and when they ran out of one particular bottle on day three of the cruise, I was told they could only serve one bottle per cruise - again we are paying $10,000 for this trip so please don't nickel and dime me with the silly rules. The ship is very small and we met a lot of kind, funny, and engaging folks from all over the world and made new friends for life. Overall we had a nice time but compared to our China cruise (service, crew team work, meals, excursions, bar service) this was not the five star service we have come to expect from Viking. Will probably look into other river cruises for some diversity next year. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
I have been on other Viking river cruises and enjoyed this one even though it was a river / bus trip due to the low water level of the river. This was my first experience with a Viking Longship. Besides the Eistla, I was also on the ... Read More
I have been on other Viking river cruises and enjoyed this one even though it was a river / bus trip due to the low water level of the river. This was my first experience with a Viking Longship. Besides the Eistla, I was also on the Bestla and the Ve. I was only on the Ve for one night. The Ve's staff seemed unprepared for us; I was not taken to my cabin and did not even see my room stewardess. The cabins were furnished nicely and were kept in pristine condition by the staff. Embarkation was usually smooth, except when we boarded the Ve as the path was muddy with poor lighting. The food was consistently delicious and the wait staff conscientious on the ships. Some of the arranged meals that we ate, during tours, were not very good. The shore excursions were generally great. It is nice that most tours are included in the price of the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Our trip was from Amsterdam to Budapest covering 15 ports in 15 days. This is our second cruise with Viking and this week just purchased another 15 day small ship ocean cruise with Viking. The Amsterdam ship was a totally 1st class ... Read More
Our trip was from Amsterdam to Budapest covering 15 ports in 15 days. This is our second cruise with Viking and this week just purchased another 15 day small ship ocean cruise with Viking. The Amsterdam ship was a totally 1st class experience from the wonderful personal service, outstanding cuisine, impeccably clean, up to date and well appointed ship facilities and amenities. Heated bathroom floors, beautiful room accomendations and service was everywhere on board. Shore excursions at each port always had three "speeds" to choose from, leisurely, moderate pace and slight hike speed. Every one found what they were looking for. Excursions were all very interesting and well run with enthusiastic & knowledgable guides. Dining was a pleasure with wonderfully prepared meals complemented by fantastic personal service. There was not one thing that we could find to complain about, the trip was worth every penny with greatly discounted on-board credits for future trips. Our disembarkation and travel from the airports was handled in a fast efficient friendly manner leaving you feeling at ease at all times. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
For the price of the cruise, we expected to be "wowed", but only had one such experience, sailing into Budapest at night. We also expected to be treated as adults about the likelihood of low river water interrupting our ... Read More
For the price of the cruise, we expected to be "wowed", but only had one such experience, sailing into Budapest at night. We also expected to be treated as adults about the likelihood of low river water interrupting our cruise. We had called Viking twice before our departure from the States and were told we had nothing to worry about -- an outright lie, we were to learn once onboard the ship and were informed of the likelihood of having to switch ships. When we arrived in Budapest, one of the local Viking reps informed us that we were the first ship in three weeks to be able to sail in, further evidence of the misinformation we were given on the telephone prior to our departure to Europe. The food was good, not outstanding, except for the final dinner. Service in the dining rooms was inconsistent. Large groups were treated preferentially, including having tables "saved" for them by wait staff, in spite of Viking's policy of open seating. We looked forward to the guided walking tours in each location, but found the quality of the guides to vary greatly. Many were too young to have any historical perspective and worked entirely from a memorized script. The program director (Jutta) was outstanding and worked very hard, along with the concierge. Some of the onboard entertainment and programs were excellent, such as the musical and glass blowing performances. We loved all of the destinations visited on the Grand European Tour, but the Viking experience itself is not something we are recommending wholeheartedly to friends and family. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
My husband and I sent our baby off to college and wanted an adventure of a lifetime. We had been getting the booklets from Vilking for years and always said ”someday”, well someday was now. We booked the Explorer Suite and began our ... Read More
My husband and I sent our baby off to college and wanted an adventure of a lifetime. We had been getting the booklets from Vilking for years and always said ”someday”, well someday was now. We booked the Explorer Suite and began our Grad European Adventure in Amsterdam and ended in Budapest. We have cruised with other large cruise company on big ships hauling 3000 people. We always felt like herded cattle on those ships. The Bestla was the perfect size ship. There were just 180 people on board and we never felt herded anywhere. The staff on the ship was very attentive and added to the positive experience. We spent 3 days in Amsterdam before boarding our ship. We really enjoyed that, it gave us a pit of time to get our sleep schedules adjusted so we could hit the ground running on our excursions once on the ship. I loved waking up each morning knowing we had a new adventure in a new place. We stayed in the Explorer suite and we are so happy we did. The first-class airfare was a great experience and made the trip so comfortable, our seats laid all the way down to a bed and we were given pillows and down blankets --best fight ever! Our cabin was beautiful. We had a large bathroom with large walk in shower, and a wall of shelves to hold all our things and the fresh flowers were a nice touch in the bathroom. We had a bedroom with a large bed and a sliding door with floor to ceiling windows. The separate living room was nicely done with sliding doors on two walls so the entire room could be open to the outside, we had views of both shorelines and a walk out balcony with chairs and a table. We sat out there often as we sailed into and out of ports. I will never forget the sunrise over the windmills... Our room was stocked with a drink refrigerator filled with our choice of beer, wine and soft drinks. We enjoyed fresh fruit, and warm cookies and fresh flowers in 3 locations in the room) each day. We did have a room stewart that spoiled us rotten, she even did our laundry at no charge and placed it on our bed folded in tissue and placed in a box. I mention all this about the suite because I was never able to find a review about the suite and I would have found it helpful. The amount of space in the suite was more then I expected and when traveling for 14 days we felt the room really added to our experience. We enjoyed the solitude there at times. The only drawback to the suite is that it is naturally in the back of the ship. The room is noisier then the other rooms because it is over the engines but it did not bother us. At age 52 we were the youngest couple on the ship but it wasn’t an issue. We met so many wonderful and interesting people and there was a good mix of ages ,we made lasting friends and plan to travel with them again on a viking trip. Midway through the cruise the water level was to low for us to pass, and we had to move to a new ship to finish our trip. The crew made it the easiest of transitions and it really was impressive the way it was handled. The ships were identical so we just went to our same room on the new ship. We had the unique opportunity to experience 2 ships and two crews. In every category the Bestla and its crew were amazing, and we preferred our time on that ship. We will without question take another adventure with Viking and we can’t wait! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This was our first cruise and we loved it! We were looking for something quiet and relaxing and this fit the bill. Everything was well planned and organized. Food was delicious, and the crew was attentive. The only disappointment was that ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we loved it! We were looking for something quiet and relaxing and this fit the bill. Everything was well planned and organized. Food was delicious, and the crew was attentive. The only disappointment was that on the Main river there were so many low bridges, the sundeck was closed for several days. Warning: this is not for younger people! It is geared very much toward an older crowd. I would say the average age on our cruise was about 67. You also have to be fit enough to walk on lots of cobblestones! Overall, we would do it again in a heartbeat! Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Service, food, hospitality, staff, overall quality of the ship were all great. Cabins were well laid out and very quiet. Ease of getting around on the ship was very appreciated. Ports-of-call generally good, with easy access, but more ... Read More
Service, food, hospitality, staff, overall quality of the ship were all great. Cabins were well laid out and very quiet. Ease of getting around on the ship was very appreciated. Ports-of-call generally good, with easy access, but more time in Budapest, Vienna or Passau would be preferred then Nuremburg and Cologne. More flexibility with air and ground choices for personal time, at embark/disembark cities is needed for additional relaxation. Options too restrictive and costly. Onboard entertainment was enjoyable and entertaining. Overall, this cruise was relaxing, low keyed, quality at it's best....just as we anticipated. We have highly recommended Viking to many friends. Some have already signed up for a cruise, and we are looking forward to our next opportunity. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
From the very moment we booked the cruise we received top notch care from Viking. We were kept informed all the way through. Viking met us at the airport in Amsterdam and they walked us through the boarding process in Prague, Czech ... Read More
From the very moment we booked the cruise we received top notch care from Viking. We were kept informed all the way through. Viking met us at the airport in Amsterdam and they walked us through the boarding process in Prague, Czech Republic when we left for home. The trip itself was wonderful, the staff on the boat was fun, friendly and because the boat was a smaller vessel then a big cruise ship we were able to personally meet so many people over dinner and on our tours. We have nothing but good to say about the experience. We were totally well taken care of the whole way! Thank you Viking!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
The Bestla was cheerful, organized, and tasteful. Our cabin was comfortable and had everything we needed and we never saw the house staff, we had one TV problem and had a repair engineer in within 10minites and fix our problem quicker than ... Read More
The Bestla was cheerful, organized, and tasteful. Our cabin was comfortable and had everything we needed and we never saw the house staff, we had one TV problem and had a repair engineer in within 10minites and fix our problem quicker than that. The daily outing were informative and interesting, just long enough, and the group leaders and size of group were just right. The food was all wonderful, a large variety, just right proportions, the servers were great, the times served were perfect and the cooking demonstration and kitchen tour were appreciated. Every meal was more than I expected and the house wine and beer were all enjoyed. The lounge for cocktails, evening entertainment, meeting people was a large area and comfortable. The house staff were everywhere and the little extra's were the best, not having to carry your passports, the water and umbrellas ready for your use every days, the warm reception at evening meals by officers, the availability of water, cookies, coffee anytime was like it was your home. The general smiles and hello's were seemed to come so naturally to staff. It was a comfortable atmosphere especially with dress, fellow travelers, staff, finding locations, and no loud speakers making announcements generally a quiet soothing atmosphere. We had very little thinking to do it was just done for you and in a nice way. It was our first and I have told friends and hope to do more River Cruising again, I have only ocean cruising to compare it to or land trips but I couldn't find one thing that needed to change. We stayed in Amsterdam two days ahead of time and hotel was great and walking tour very good we would have liked more information ahead of time to get timed tickets to a few things before arrival but had an interesting visit. Se glad we finally decided on River Cruising and Viking. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Can't say enough about the crew. Very attentive and enthusiastic. This was our third Viking cruise. The itinerary for Tulips and Windmills was not as interesting as the previous two cruises (Romantic Danube and Portraits of Southern ... Read More
Can't say enough about the crew. Very attentive and enthusiastic. This was our third Viking cruise. The itinerary for Tulips and Windmills was not as interesting as the previous two cruises (Romantic Danube and Portraits of Southern France). Nevertheless, the Bestla crew did their best to make this a perfectly enjoyable experience. The standard tours were all excellent (don't miss the tulips at Keukenhof Gardens), but we passed on the optional tours to explore on our own or sit on the sun deck with a glass of wine. This cruise begins and ends in Amsterdam. A city tour and canal cruise are included. Many other attractions can be reached via a short walk or a taxi. However, the city is quite busy - crowded and congested. No problem! At our request, our concierge, Nina, scheduled a private tour for our party of six at the Rijksmuseum (rated the #1 attraction in Amsterdam by Trip Advisor). We skipped the long line, as our guide took us directly into the museum for a wonderful tour (at reasonable cost). Thanks, Nina! Thanks also to our program director, Carla, our cruise director, Chris, and many others too numerous to mention. The positive attitude onboard starts with the captain, who was at the door each day to send us off on our tours. I would definitely cruise on the Viking Bestla again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We saw the Viking ad on PBS station and wanted to see the Tulips in bloom. Everything was handled very smoothly from the airport to the ship and on the way home. We were on the Bestla. Our cabin was beautiful with its views from ... Read More
We saw the Viking ad on PBS station and wanted to see the Tulips in bloom. Everything was handled very smoothly from the airport to the ship and on the way home. We were on the Bestla. Our cabin was beautiful with its views from the large windows. The dining was well organized and gave us lots of choices of things to eat. The chef surprised us with tidbits to taste from time to time and the wait staff were ready to do what ever we asked of them. The entertainment and activities were a mix of performers and the staff showing us many aspects of Dutch culture in a fun way. The service was top notch, nothing was too much, I forgot my ipad charger and they found a charger to fit my model so I could take photographs. The excursions were led by very informed guides with a personal touch that we all enjoyed. I would do another Viking river cruise any time and I have had many people ask me what it was like as they were thinking of doing one. I highly recommend them. My husband passed away this year and this was the last trip he was able to take. He was partly disabled so not up to much walking but he could manage the easy pace of the excursions. I have a reservation on a Viking med cruise next year which I am sure will be as special as the river cruises are. Thank you Viking. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
The kitchen really catered (pun intended) to our group of 8. Four of us had special need diets and the maitre d' and the chef really outdid themselves at every meal. So attentive! Lunch and dinner were always checked with us in ... Read More
The kitchen really catered (pun intended) to our group of 8. Four of us had special need diets and the maitre d' and the chef really outdid themselves at every meal. So attentive! Lunch and dinner were always checked with us in advance and then ordered to our specifications. Vegan items included quinoa, tofu, chick peas, etc. They had GF bread always available and separately packaged. I think, however, if you have celiac disease (rather than gluten intolerance), you would have to be wary of cross contamination because the kitchen is small. But it is so clean (we toured it) and they are allergy friendly so possibly the whole cross contamination could be explained? Anyway, for dessert, there is always a sorbet for a vegan choice but otherwise the fruit plate would be the only other option. They make pasta everyday for lunch at the buffet but they made a special vegan version in the kitchen. And it was always delicious. This attention to dietary preferences really helped make the trip a total success. The crew in in its entirety were superb and there were really no glitches that I can remember. Because we go extra attention we added quite a bit for personal tips for the dining room chef and the tipping can add up. Don't forget to factor that into the total cost and keep cash for the final days tipping envelopes. Although it can go on a credit card, I think for tips for special service its better to have cash. A couple things to note, its very casual on and off board and we could have packed less clothing. Most passengers only dressed up for the captain's dinner on the second to last night. Although we didn't, you could go from the day's excursion direct to dinner and no one would notice. (Maybe because we were a group of 8 and rarely mingled, this was easier for us.) The only negatives I can think of is that the beds are not very comfortable (a bit hard), the pillows are flat and hard, and the sheets are not smooth (rather thick and rough). The cabin, however, was always top notch clean. Housekeeping through out the boat was always A+. The itinerary works well (could use more time in Bruges), the programs were fun, and the tulips in Keukenhof were spectacular! A highlight was the visit to a family in Hoorn (such a sweet town) for coffee and cake. That was a fun and different break from touring. Because the demographic skews older, they did run a group for slower passengers but that group was small. It was mostly a fit and active older (60+) group on this ship. But, if you are really fit, there is no place to work out, just a small track on the upper deck and although it could be possible to do a yoga or other fitness routine up there, it was generally too cold and/or wet in the mornings to get much use from the space. I had not expected much from the trip or from Viking and I was so very pleasantly surprised. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
say 3 good thing first, 1st cruise for the season- cabin was ready at 10a.m., ship is beautifully, cabin arrangement was nice. now the disappointing part: because is the first cruise of the season, felt like the entire staff don't ... Read More
say 3 good thing first, 1st cruise for the season- cabin was ready at 10a.m., ship is beautifully, cabin arrangement was nice. now the disappointing part: because is the first cruise of the season, felt like the entire staff don't have clue what they are suppose to do. The staff are mainly eastern European, they don't speak or understand each other, especially in the dining room or the lounge. most workers at the front desk do not speak or understand Dutch. Cannot read a map or computer search. one person from our group needed a doctor, Viking does not have any pre contact with doctors from town that we visited, and do not know how to get hold of a doctor needed or do they know how to get to a hospital . I found the Viking Cruise extremely disorganized and lack of training. I blamed that on managements . Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was my first Viking cruise. I had heard from friends and relatives that the tours and service were excellent. I was not disappointed. We had several days of weather problems which caused us to stay in port or dock in locations not ... Read More
This was my first Viking cruise. I had heard from friends and relatives that the tours and service were excellent. I was not disappointed. We had several days of weather problems which caused us to stay in port or dock in locations not close to town. However, Viking did not miss a beat. They arranged transportation to ensure we made all tours, had a free happy hour for the inconvenience and went out of their way to make sure the trip went on as advertised. Pick up and departure transfers went flawlessly. Food was exceptional and wine/beer at meals were well enjoyed. As a follow-up we received travel vouchers for future cruises because of the "inconveniences" experienced, even though they had no control of the weather. Viking is everything advertised and my wife and I will be cruising with them again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Overall we had a very good trip. However two things were irritating, the boat switch halfway through the trip and the beverage package. This was the most expensive vacation I have ever taken and I expected perfection.In those two areas ... Read More
Overall we had a very good trip. However two things were irritating, the boat switch halfway through the trip and the beverage package. This was the most expensive vacation I have ever taken and I expected perfection.In those two areas Viking fell short. I also felt the Moevenpick was not a great hotel for the post cruise stay in Amsterdam. I see why they use it, location works well for ships coming and going. Viking transportation: Was right there in Budapest and got us to the boat. Nice young people greeted me, took my luggage to van and we were off. Transport was on time for return trip, very efficient. Viking Air: First set of flights had me traveling west to Pittsburgh, fly west to Chicago, then fly to east Europe, getting in at 4pm or so Oct 2. At my request changed to flying from JFK and saved me about 8 hours of travel. This should have been handled better, I would expect professional Viking Air reps to know better. Arrangements were fine after that. Arrival: I got there first and our room was ready, so it was great to unpack and get organized. We went up to the Aquavit for buffet lunch, great weather and very good service. General comments: When we were traveling through the Wachau Vally, it would have been nice if the crew had wiped down chairs so they were not wet before folks came up there at 8am. Also, should have been serving coffee or tea also. Ship was clean. Laundry service was great, came back nicely folded. Boat switch in Nuremburg: This was so disappointing. I was ready if there were water level problems or lock issues. We were told on day 2 that we would switch boats in Nuremburg b/c of a labor contract issue. So a company made problem forced us to pack up and have our bags out and the switch took place during touring. The switch was pretty fast and other than a missing umbrella for 3 days, that worked. The problem is one of the reasons you select a trip like this is to avoid the hassle of moving. I had steamed all my clothes for the duration - what a waste. Also the servers know what you like by then, had to start all over. You also had to clear out your account on the Eistla and start again on the Bestla. They have a pretty inefficient way of clearing out accounts vs an express check out We were never offered anything but an open bar - worthless for us with the beverage package. As much as I liked the cruise overall, this is really tainting my ability to recommend Viking for the Grand European. I did see that they are doing this a lot in Nuremburg and it really stinks. Other passengers said the Bestla was in Budapest when they arrived but gone before the cruise. So whatever the issue, my opinion is the company needed to suck it up and keep us on the same boat and eat whatever the expense was. I did not feel that the Viking acknowledged the inconvenience nor did they do anything substantive to apologize or reward us for the issue. Eistla vs Bestla: The crew that was on the Eistla was superior to the Bestla from a service perspective. The Bestla food was a hair below but the food service was really less efficient. Dinner courses had long waits and I think it had to be a kitchen issue. Once food was ready the servers really worked to get the food out. Servers on Bestla - like any staff there are good and bad. The female servers on the Bestla were way less hospitable and at times a bit cranky.The male servers - Claudiu, Mirko, were great. If you came later for the open meal period at breakfast or lunch, they were already setting for next meal and would be a bit rude about having you move. I understand they have tight turnovers but inform us in the initial briefing so we get it? Figure out a way to tell people better. They did not have a wine we liked on the Bestla, and next day they had it, beverage steward came up and said we got it from the other ship since we didn't have it and you liked it - great move. On Bestla, the one night we asked for a menu in the Aquavit, the server said "don't you remember it from last boat?" We hadn't used the Aquavit for dinner yet, so didn't know the menu. This is just an example of the difference with servers on the ships. Just give us the menu without the snide commentary. Esitla: The servers had great wine recommendations and remembered you. All the servers were super. Seta and Agnes in particular. They were on top of the crowd, efficient and friendly. Beverage package: This was not what was promised from the espresso drink offerings. We purchased it thinking I could have all the fancy espresso drinks I like. That was not true. It made it seem like I could have access to a variety of Starbuck like drinks. All passengers can get pretty good coffee drinks at the two beverage stations off the bar area. I first asked at lunch, and was told I could go to the machines. Later in the trip I noticed a Jura coffee machine at the bar, and started to order capuccino. It was hit or miss, of you were on bar/Aquavit level you could get it, in the dining room you could not. I was told they had to go upstairs......so that marketing was pretty misleading. It also seems goofy that I couldn't get the drinks at meals, which we took most B/L/D in the dining room. I would suggest you not get the package where one of the cabin mates does not drink much.It is only sold to both people in the cabin. It was a total rip off over $800. We could have had house wine, which was very good and a mixed drink here and there for $200. They will also cork any wine you bring on the boat for free. A clear case of marketing and execution not meeting. Food in general was pretty good. Dining Room: Breakfast and lunch were buffet style plus a few items off the menu. Lots of fruit, breads, meats and cheese in the am. Fresh preserves, steel cut oats with the fixings. Eggs and omelets to order plus always a few items from menu. Lunch always had a choice of salads plus a nice selection off menu. And a fresh cooked pasta to order. Portions overall were very nice, a half of a club vs huge american portion, which was perfect. Dinner was good, sit down and changing menu every night. Steak you could always order with three sauces was very good. Can also order chicken or salmon. Again, good portion sizes. It would be nice to get a plain, large salad available at dinner beside the caesar. Aquavit - very good, casual and buffet style at lunch and breakfast, set menu at dinner. Wished they had told us in advance when they were doing hot dogs or hamburgers up there. Tours: Overall excellent. We only signed up for the WWII tour with extra cost. While the courtroom 600 was in use, we got a great overview of the Nazi party workings in the 30's and the trials. Highly recommend this. Everyone who took the Rotherberg excursion loved it, I would take it if I went again b/c there was so much good feedback on it. I think that was available on the Wurzburg stop. Like any tour guides, some are really good and others are OK. I prefer facts vs opinions, but got lots of info. Overall good experience. Passau, Regensburg, Wurzburg and Bamberg are where you can shop for German things. Cologne and Koblenz are really big cities and finding stuff there was hard, all international shops or really cheap touristy stuff. Concierge and Program Director: Berona & Gigi very good. Verona was very bubbly and informative. She helped a few folks with Anne Frank House, which they appreciated. The commentary on sailing days was excellent. Tour groups handled efficiently and very organized. Gigi was always milling about checking on things. Amsterdam post cruise at Moevenpick: Location is walk from ship but in highly industrial area. Have to walk quite a bit to get to restaurants. Cost at over $500 pp for short transfers and walking tour plus room/breakfast a bit pricey Viking people in lobby overwhelmed with guests, so that turned out not to be a bonus since it was hard to get to them. Walking tour with Klaas was good. Hotel is worn and not exceptionally clean. There was scum on the bottom part of the toilet that I see in homes not well cared for and god knows what on the underside of the TP holder. Trash wasn't emptied. Staff at desk not knowledgable of area, had to see concierge…always busy with a line. Breakfast was a large buffet and communal seating, lots of offerings. Food was good. Excellent hot chocolate. If I had to do it over, I would stay at the Vienna Marriott, located in a better area, close to museums and good restaurants and saved money. Over $1000 was not a value at all. Anne Frank House - they will get you tickets on the ship, I got ours on line earlier in the summer. In any event there is a huge line to buy tickets at the museum, if you get them ahead you get buzzed in and can go right through, but only at the time they give you on ticket. Beware, they are sold for specific times.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We recently came back from a Viking River Cruise starting in Budapest ending in Amsterdam. We boarded the Viking Ship called the Estila after looking for the Bestla which we did not know untill we got to the Ship. We found the staff on the ... Read More
We recently came back from a Viking River Cruise starting in Budapest ending in Amsterdam. We boarded the Viking Ship called the Estila after looking for the Bestla which we did not know untill we got to the Ship. We found the staff on the Esitla to be very welcoming and with pleasure served us. The Cabin we stayed in was not a good experience as the bathroom smelt like sewer. We ask for that to be looked at but nothing was done.Then seven days into the trip we were told to pack our bags because we were moving to the Bestla. The staff on this boat was not at all welcoming and never a smile from them. We were told we would have happy hour from 5:30 to midnight because of the move from one ship to the other. The staff on the Bestla said no way that is not going to happen.They were very unfriendly and seemed to care less about us. There were many compaints from the guests,the staff only changed a little bit. Our cabin on the Bestla was not great, the bathroom door kept getting stuck and the toilet would not always flush. We asked for that to be looked into, but nothing changed. Our overall experience on the boat Bestla was not acceptable. The food was acceptable but not memorable.On the Eistla and Bestla room 123 was quite noisy when travelling,as though there was a very strong wind going on outside ones home. The entertainment could have been better on both ships,especially after supper. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Recently back from a great cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest (followed by Prague extension). Exceeded my expectations. Had the youngest (German) captain in Viking (Bestla) fleet and it seemed he set a nice tone as everyone aboard enjoyed ... Read More
Recently back from a great cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest (followed by Prague extension). Exceeded my expectations. Had the youngest (German) captain in Viking (Bestla) fleet and it seemed he set a nice tone as everyone aboard enjoyed the experience. Biggest surprise was the great food. We've sailed quite a bit and it seems the food has steadily got worse but this time it was excellent. Also Viking matches others with free wine & beer at lunch & dinner and it flowed easily with me being permitted to select whatever beer was onboard. Enjoyed the ports and most of the guides did an good job. Nice to not have to pay for the tours. Took a couple of extra excursions but final bill was low. Cruising isn't cheap but we feel we got our money's worth out of this trip. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
I was on a 15 day cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam. This was my first river cruise, although I have been on more than 30 ocean cruises. I had decided to try this type of cruising, even though it was more expensive. I spoke to several ... Read More
I was on a 15 day cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam. This was my first river cruise, although I have been on more than 30 ocean cruises. I had decided to try this type of cruising, even though it was more expensive. I spoke to several people who had done it, and they had all been very happy with their experience. It was more costly than an ocean cruise, but included many things. I was anxious to see if it was really worth it. It turned out to be a fantastic experience. There were only 192 passengers on board, which meant that we got to know many people fairly quickly. Getting on and off the ship was very easy, no lines, began quickly. The tour guides were excellent, the places visited very interesting. I loved the intimate feeling of being onboard. The food was very, very good, and wine/beer were served always at lunch and dinner. Our cruise director was fabulous, had a doctorate in History, and kept us well informed. He paid attention to every little detail. I would highly recommend this type of cruising to anyone who is interested in a more intimate cruising experience with excellent service and accommodation. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
I found that the Viking staff were exceptional given the needs of the guests. They dealt with issues in a very professional and caring manner since there were several medical issues during the excursion. The tours that were set up were ... Read More
I found that the Viking staff were exceptional given the needs of the guests. They dealt with issues in a very professional and caring manner since there were several medical issues during the excursion. The tours that were set up were exceptional and the guides both informative an entertaining. However, there needs to be some effort made to make solo travellers made to feel that they are more welcome. I would suggest that perhaps a meet and greet session be held. The cost of travelling solo is also a discouragement from taking further trips. I can appreciate the economics behind it but my costs were either identical or exceeded those who were travelling as a couple. Travelling in a large group can either bring out the best or the worst in people. I can understand that little can be done to monitor who sets sail but the group that was on our tour were rude, demanding and selfish. This took away from the enjoyment of trip in some respects as the crew had to take the time to deal with their issues which took away from the general populace on the tour.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
The service, the meals, the staff, and the ship itself were all first class. We especially enjoyed all the destinations where the guides on shore were knowledgeable and friendly. The cruise director was really organized and gave us a good ... Read More
The service, the meals, the staff, and the ship itself were all first class. We especially enjoyed all the destinations where the guides on shore were knowledgeable and friendly. The cruise director was really organized and gave us a good preview of every stop on the beautiful cruise up the Danube and Rhine toward our final destination, Amsterdam. Our two on-shore stays in Budapest and Amsterdam were also outstanding with the help on the Viking representatives on-shore. I would recommend this cruise to anyone wanting to see Europe on all its beauty and interesting culture. The entertainment on board was also very interesting and fun at times. No negatives at all from either my wife or myself. We enjoyed meeting the other passengers on board and I enjoyed being able to walk and run on the upper deck walking path. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
We took the Grand European Tour with great expectations. We could not have been more disappointed. The quality of the service in the restaurant and cabin was not up to standard. The food was mediocre and it took them forever to get the ... Read More
We took the Grand European Tour with great expectations. We could not have been more disappointed. The quality of the service in the restaurant and cabin was not up to standard. The food was mediocre and it took them forever to get the main course to the table. But the worst was the way Viking handled a contingency due to low water level of the Danube. Decisions were not timely and we had to spend more than 14 hours, in 3 days, traveling by bus. There was absolutely no concern with the hardship produced on passengers, most of them old seniors. With better planning and a more timely decision making the time employed in traveling by bus could have been reduced by one half. Eventually, we were transferred to the Eistla, where the quality of food improved considerably but, when facing a problem, senior staff was always providing excuses and not expressing any concern with the way the issue at hand was affecting passengers. Absolutely not client oriented. Additionally, there were problems with several excursions. In one case, the bus picking us up came one hour late. In other, one guide was assigned for 60+ persons while visiting a medieval castle with small rooms and very narrow corridors. Bottom line. Not traveling with Viking again and not recommending it to friends and relatives. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Viking Bestla Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.7
Dining 4.0 4.5
Entertainment 3.0 4.3
Public Rooms 5.0 4.7
Fitness Recreation 1.0 3.7
Family 1.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.4
Enrichment 4.0 4.4
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 3.0 4.2
Rates 4.0 N/A

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