Sail Date: December 2018
XMAS CRUISE 2018 PORTO TO PORTO , DOURO RIVER PORTUGAL. itinerary changed so many times even the staff could not tell me where or what we were doing have the time. Spent 10% on the ship ( sleeping , eating ) 90% on buses this is a ... Read More
XMAS CRUISE 2018 PORTO TO PORTO , DOURO RIVER PORTUGAL. itinerary changed so many times even the staff could not tell me where or what we were doing have the time. Spent 10% on the ship ( sleeping , eating ) 90% on buses this is a bus trip not a river cruise. I feel we were deceived as the excursions were changed / canceled repeatedly. if xmas is not a good time for attractions to be open , then do not offer this cruise. All other cruise lines not operating douro river at this time ( wonder why ) we were dropped off at mateus palace for a 30 min tour/ then 2.5 hrs free time to do absolutlety nothing !, whole day wasted for this ! as bus ride took up the rest of the day. Meals were not very good compared to our other cruises (ama was better ) restaurant had a hole in front entrance floor ( not appealing to look at ) same wine served every night , which was not the greatest they ran out of lots of things after 3 days of cruise( lemons , milk , ketchup, jam , coke to name a few.) We were not impressed with this cruise at all ! ( the douro valley is very beautiful to see ) Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We watch some TV networks where Viking advertise all the time and we have always talked about a River Cruise. 2 years earlier on a Viking Ocean Cruise (Best cruises in the world) we met a couple that had done 7 River Cruises - they met us ... Read More
We watch some TV networks where Viking advertise all the time and we have always talked about a River Cruise. 2 years earlier on a Viking Ocean Cruise (Best cruises in the world) we met a couple that had done 7 River Cruises - they met us on this one. This was Viking Hemming Rivers of Gold and we spent 2 nights in Lisbon in a great hotel and then embarked The Hemming in Porto Portugal 2 days later. We had been advised that since we have done ocean cruises - on Viking - that we should be careful not to "compare" because they are different. I both agree and disagree with this statement. Yes, the river cruises are different in many ways, but the Viking service standard is what stood out as the same to the ocean cruises. The river ships are obviously smaller and on the Douro River it is an even shorter ship than the typical long ships in other European destinations, but the ship was great. It had all that we needed for sure. I think that one thing I will comment on is that Viking have their own busses in Lisbon and Portugal - every excursion that you go on during this cruise is on a Viking branded bus. Viking reconfigured these busses to have more leg room and they are beautifully clean and comfortable. The busses even have "emergency toilets" in them if you need... The hotel Tivoli in Lisbon was centrally located and everything that we wanted to see in central Lisbon was just out the door of the hotel. The hotel was welcoming and accommodating and had amazing staff, food, and overall service. I would not or could not ask for more in the hotel. Our luggage was expertly handled out of the hotel and on to the busses for our trip to Porto and our embarkation to the ship was fast and really simple and it was only a matter of minutes before our luggage was at our room. No the river ships do not have expansive gyms and spa facilities but that was not expected either on these ships. There is a walking track on the top deck and that was enough for sure. The staff were overall - awesome. From the welcome to the meals to the cabin service to the excursions... all was fantastic. Here is the kicker and what more than sealed the deal for us with Viking - not that we had not already voted Viking OUR favourite cruise line (we have two more booked and looking at another one now too...) We are Vegan. This is a choice that we make for health. We are not animal activists and we don't talk about it unless someone asks. I called Viking 90 days before as I was worried on the river ships that there would not be as much option for us as there are on the Ocean ships. Stay with me here because there is a good end... Viking's response to me was: "We don't do Vegan, but we can do Vegetarian." I did not fight them on this but asked if they can list us as Vegan non-dairy. They said they would. On embarkation we went to talk to the Maitre D (Gabor) and he was more than accommodating and asked us questions. Later we met the Chef (Pedro) and he as well was more than accommodating and asked us questions. We had the most fantastic experience from that point forward. Viking - Gabor and Pedro - wowed us daily. Each day Gabor would come to our table with a menu that had been "marked up" by the Chef and it listed what was already suitable for us, or what could be modified for us. In some circumstances the main course option did not have a modification option and in these circumstances Gabor would ask if we would trust the Chef to prepare something special for us. We agreed each time and the special preparation by the Chef and his team was exceptional. We were a group of 8 travelling together and most every meal we sat together. Our friends were actually jealous of what we were served many times... All in all - Gabor (Maitre D) and Pedro (Chef) and team went way over our expectations to accommodate us. For this we are so grateful and we will continue to rate Viking our highest travel experience because of this. Excursions - as we have mostly so far - we have always gone with the included excursions and we did on this cruise as well with the exception of one. We have always found the included excursions to be EXCELLENT and have not felt the need to pay for optional. It is not the cost, we are not trying to be cheap, we just feel that the included excursions are so well planned in content and activity that we don't need anything else. We also feel that the tour guides are more than expected on Viking cruises. Silver Spirits. We love wine and champagne. We are not satisfied with the daily house wines - not because they are not good choices, because they are. We don't like to be restricted to the 2 they have each day. On this cruise, we got our cost of Silver Spirits back in a couple of days just based on the Champagne we were drinking. (by the bottle) We highly recommend Silver Spirits. Entertainment. We were curious and anticipating the entertainment. On the river cruise, the entertainment is more "home grown" and although we had an excellent piano player every night and a couple of guest performers, most of the entertainment was directed by the staff and it was all quite fun and more intimate with the small group - 102 Guests. You will see below that the only elements that I am not giving "excellent" rating are the entertainment and the fitness and recreation. The entertainment just off the top rating because it was as I said above - home grown - but well done. The fitness I rated low because there was no real fitness or recreation available on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
This was a huge celebration trip. Declared cancer free, 30th wedding anniversary, husband's 65th birthday, husband's retirement. We had a blast. Service, food, tours, amenities all up to our expectations and more. Our suite was ... Read More
This was a huge celebration trip. Declared cancer free, 30th wedding anniversary, husband's 65th birthday, husband's retirement. We had a blast. Service, food, tours, amenities all up to our expectations and more. Our suite was wonderful with the balcony and plenty of space. Very clean and our room steward was excellent - as were all the crew! This is not a cruise for people with limited walking abilities. Portugal is VERY hilly and the footing of cobblestones is tough. I disagree with one review that says you spend more time on the bus than the boat. You have options. As we headed down the river we decided not to go on the tour and sailed all day on the bow with champagne, cheese, Iberian ham and yummy bread, we'd bought in Spain, and our books. We really got to see the river this way, experience the amazing scenery and going through the locks. We did this for two days and loved the experience. Whole ship to ourselves, pretty much. We went early November and it was cool and not very crowded - perfect time to travel. Can't wait to do another trip! Thanks Viking! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
No! I'm not being funny with the title just honest. You will spend much more time on busses than you will cruising on the Douro. If like us, you understand that before you go you will not be disappointed. In fact the Douro is lovely but ... Read More
No! I'm not being funny with the title just honest. You will spend much more time on busses than you will cruising on the Douro. If like us, you understand that before you go you will not be disappointed. In fact the Douro is lovely but only navigable for a short distance. Thus you cruise 2 days upstream from Porto, turn around and cruise 2 days back to Porto. This was our third Viking river cruise and we would gladly do a fourth. The staff and attention to detail leaves little to be desired. But please don't confuse this trip with the Rhine/Main/Danube. For a start there are no cute towns to explore along the way just small settlements often without a single shop, so you must take the excursion or remain on board and be bored to death. Another difference is that over the years whole fleets of ships are on the rivers. this means when you berth you may be sandwiched between two other ships. No natural light or view and you can't use the balcony. This applies to all ships. Meals were good but on this smaller ship of 106 passengers beware of the groups that can dominate such a small number of passengers. At times my wife and I were invisible at the dinner table as all our fellow diners were members of a book club and were discussing the books read during the year. Our valiant attempts to contribute drew a silent stare that said 'if we want your opinion we will ask for it'. Then there was the medical group that really did not want extra table companions but had to suffer them, then the group of two couples from the same English village that went to school together. I'm sure you get the point. This never happens on a large cruise ship. We solved it by rushing to the dining room to snare a table for four. Despite these minor problems we loved the bus trip with cruise extension. Viking are flawless and to be highly recommended. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
The cruise through the beautiful Douro Valley in Portugal was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. The scenery is breathtaking- in places the river is so narrow you can almost touch the shore - a major navigational feat for the captain. ... Read More
The cruise through the beautiful Douro Valley in Portugal was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. The scenery is breathtaking- in places the river is so narrow you can almost touch the shore - a major navigational feat for the captain. Since the Douro is a major wine producing region the shores are filled with almost continuous terraced vineyards. In spite of the hot summer the landscape was very green. The ship is small, accommodating only 106 passengers but it provides a feeling of a small community. The stops along the river offer opportunities to taste and observe the manufacture of the famous port wine as well as other wines, including moscatel. One stop included a trip into Spain for a day in Salamanca, home of the oldest university in Europe. There are included excursions every day as well as additional optional excursions so lots of activity to keep passengers busy. Or you can opt to enjoy the beautiful scenery and weather from the sun deck. Food on board was excellent; buffet service as well as menu options at breakfast and lunch and table service at dinner. As with every Viking river ship there is open seating at every meal. One dinner offered a complete Portuguese menu and was interesting. There was high quality service in every aspect from the cabin stewards to the dining room staff. Several educational activities were offered during the sailing periods - an informational talk on cork, olive oil tasting and a demonstration by the chef on how to make the addictive egg tarts. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
I had been to Portugal a few years ago and when I saw a Viking river cruise in Portugal, I immediately wanted to go. Even better, the next day this cruise was on sale and we were able to upgrade to a veranda suite which made the trip that ... Read More
I had been to Portugal a few years ago and when I saw a Viking river cruise in Portugal, I immediately wanted to go. Even better, the next day this cruise was on sale and we were able to upgrade to a veranda suite which made the trip that much more enjoyable. The hotel in Lisbon was outstanding as were the day tours. the coaches were impressive as well. Always immaculate and the drivers were not only well versed with the area, their driving skills were also impressive. On the ship, our crew was first class from the moment that we stepped aboard. The food was delicious with a special meal prepared each day along with the set menu that allowed you to always find something that you would truly enjoy at every meal. Every time I see a Viking commercial on TV, I immediately want to book another cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
This River cruise was our first visit to Europe. It was a trip that was one of my favorite vacations ever. All personnel from the bus drivers, guides, chefs, waiters, cleaning were so welcoming, friendly and would do anything to make ... Read More
This River cruise was our first visit to Europe. It was a trip that was one of my favorite vacations ever. All personnel from the bus drivers, guides, chefs, waiters, cleaning were so welcoming, friendly and would do anything to make our vacation perfect. All the excursions were so interesting and beautiful. I read posts of the individuals cruising a few months before our trip and how their food on board were below standards. I can't say how much we enjoyed our food throughout our trip. It was fantastic! We did the pre-cruise Lisbon and it was wonderful walking in the evening in downtown Lisbon. All the history, the people, the food and restaurants. A must if you go on this cruise. My husband and I just turned 50 and the majority of the guests were much older, but that didn't stop us from enjoying our vacation. We're hooked and we already have cruising plans for 2018. Viking has my business for now on. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2017
Wanted to learn about Portugal and the port wine region of the Duoro Valley. Lisbon extension with included excursions and side trip to Salamanca, Spain were added bonuses. Great weather did not hurt. Day time cruising on the Duoro, ... Read More
Wanted to learn about Portugal and the port wine region of the Duoro Valley. Lisbon extension with included excursions and side trip to Salamanca, Spain were added bonuses. Great weather did not hurt. Day time cruising on the Duoro, because river boats can not travel at night, gave us lots of sightseeing opportunities on this beautiful river. Fantastic locks and excellent included excursions along the way. Splurged for the dinner at Graham's Vinum restaurant and was not disappointed. Thoroughly enjoyed the smaller ship. Viking always does an excellent job. The way they helped a man who was injured on one of the excursions was noteworthy. A security/translator and medical staff member went with the man and his wife to seek medical treatment and rejoined the boat later in the day. They even allowed them to stay an extra night on the boat to recuperate prior to leaving for home. When we were ready to leave on an earlier bus to the airport, Viking recommended that we relax in the lounge so we did not have to spend so much time at the airport. They then took just the two of us in a bus to the airport. The only negative was that the hotel was having an extremely noisy function until 2:00am on the night before embarkation - no sleep and no help from hotel staff in spite of calling the front desk multiple times - we were in an inside room overlooking the lobby/ballroom area. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We did the pre-cruise Lisbon two days and that added to the two days that Viking puts you in a hotel for two days in Lisbon gave us 4 days. Our mistake was not taking one of those days to go to Fatima. We paid to have tours from Lisbon ... Read More
We did the pre-cruise Lisbon two days and that added to the two days that Viking puts you in a hotel for two days in Lisbon gave us 4 days. Our mistake was not taking one of those days to go to Fatima. We paid to have tours from Lisbon to Porto (bus) and Fatima was one of the stops - what we didn't realize was that we would have approximately 45 minutes total in Fatima - not near enough. So my suggestion is to skip paying Viking for the extra stops on a bus ride you are going to be making anyway, take the free Viking transfer, and spend a day in Fatima on your own or pay for a private tour. Meals is Lisbon will cost you at least 40 euros per couple - not fancy places. Once on the boat in Porto we sat and rode buses for two days. Finally moving on the boat but each day is buses. Very little "cruising". Meals were so-so. Cabin seemed smaller than on our other Viking trips (this was our 5th trip). Could not see out the "porthole" because on this ship they have it covered with frosted plexiglass. Entertainment - how do you have a trip to Portugal and Spain and not have Fado? You do have a lecture on cork and a chance to buy cork products and a lecture on olive oil and a chance to buy olive oil but no Fado. Like I said this was our 5th so we are big fans of Viking - this trip was our most expensive but I rate it as 4th best. English is absolutely no problem in Portugal and since the cruising part of the trip is minimal one may be better off doing a land trip on their own. We also did the the two day post in Santiago and enjoyed the Cathedral and other sights; but once again English is no problem so one may consider doing it on your own. Meals in Santiago will run you at least 40 euros per couple. Airline - direct flight to Lisbon from Miami on TAP - seat arm rest was broken - very minimal English entertainment - food was horrible. Return flight - up at 5:30 to put luggage out and then to Vigo to catch flight to Madrid with only one hour to make next flight - we made it but they were getting ready to shut the door to the aircraft - this could have been avoided as there was a flight from Vigo to Madrid one hour earlier and as we had to sit in the Vigo airport for two hours waiting for our flight we could have been booked on the earlier flight. We had to literally run to make our flight connection in Madrid - no fun. Walking - get heavy duty comfortable shoes that are anti-slip (sidewalks can be a bit slippery when wet). So in summary - a good trip and glad we did it. We are booked on one of their ocean ships in March and looking forward to that. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
A wonderful trip! The staff in Lisbon and on the boat were wonderful. The daily excursions were entertaining and informative. The food was good, the drinks were good, the weather was good- it was an amazing trip. The hotel in Lisbon, ... Read More
A wonderful trip! The staff in Lisbon and on the boat were wonderful. The daily excursions were entertaining and informative. The food was good, the drinks were good, the weather was good- it was an amazing trip. The hotel in Lisbon, Tivoli was very nice in an ideal location. Make sure you visit the Sky Bar. The trip to Porto on a very nice coach with 3 stops was a great day. Porto is a neat city, with lots and lots of port wine. The staff on the Viking Hemming went above and beyond in every aspect, from a Pedro and Valter in the bar, to The cleaning staff to the Captain and his crew to the chef everyone helped make this trip wonderful. The majority of the guests were over 70 but active and fun. People were from the US, Canada, the U.K. . Europe and Australia. We stayed in 326 and it was a nice, comfortable room. The ship only sails during the day so no noises to keep you up at night. The excursions were enjoyable. Again, lots of wine and wine tasting. Many days were filled with cobblestone sidewalks. Confortable shoes are a must. Read Less
Viking Hemming Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.6
Dining 4.0 4.5
Entertainment 3.0 4.1
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 1.0 3.4
Family 1.0 3.4
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.5
Enrichment 4.0 4.4
Service 4.0 4.6
Value For Money 3.0 4.2
Rates 4.0 N/A

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