73 Viking River Viking Hemming Cruise Reviews

This cruise the Duro with Viking was not cheap we had a 4 day extention with accommodation at the Tivoli hotel so we explored Lisbon .That was very good and to be recommended however the cruise itself whilst enjoyable is not worth £7000 ... Read More
This cruise the Duro with Viking was not cheap we had a 4 day extention with accommodation at the Tivoli hotel so we explored Lisbon .That was very good and to be recommended however the cruise itself whilst enjoyable is not worth £7000 for 2 people whilst the staff and organisation are brilliant we seemed to be on coaches for what seemed to be as much time as we were cruising .This was a disappointment as the scenery on the river was spectacular. Example in Porto we had an included excursion we boarded a bus and traveled less than 2 miles into the city to a mediocre church then a train station with remarkable tiles and then to the underground metro to look at mire tiles which were not spectacular. After these less than gripping tour we had free time before boarding this typified the whole cruise. We had no time to relax after our excursions as it was time for cruise updates then dinner the only decent time we had cruising was on the return journey I belive that for us this was not good value and whilst we had a good time because of the staff and our fellow passenger's I can state that there were some on this cruise who had done more than one cruise with Viking and they also be lived that this one was not good value. So Viking you really need to rethink the itinerary on this cruise and the stupid cost of the optional excursions I mean come on £140 for port tasting We will not be travelling with Viking again sorry. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Having already river cruised before with viking and knowing this itinerary was exactly what we wanted we had no hesitation in booking this holiday. We opted to do the pre cruise extension in Madrid and this proved to be another good ... Read More
Having already river cruised before with viking and knowing this itinerary was exactly what we wanted we had no hesitation in booking this holiday. We opted to do the pre cruise extension in Madrid and this proved to be another good choice as we got to know our small group of 16 other travelers well and they turned out to be our core group of friends for the rest of the trip. On transferring to Lisbon this group soon expanded and by the end of the holiday we were a very happy and integrated bunch on mainly British and American travelers. If you like meeting new people and seeing new places then this is a great way to do it. After a fascinating stop in Cohimbra we arrived in Porto and got promptly onto the viking Hemming and straight into our cabins. 36hrs later we were on our way. Sad to say it was all over too soon but everyone left with wonderful memories,new friendships and hundreds of photos.Oh and a number of bottles of the various drinks we had sampled along the way,and this was quite a few,all of which were splendid. I will leave it to others perhaps to describe in more detail the actual trip. My advice to first time cruisers (repeat cruisers will be aware of any downsides to any european river cruise ) is do some research and if you don't mind the multiple docking possibilities,bus rides to sights etc and if the thought still appeals then sailing on the viking Hemming won't disappoint. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
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 December 2018
This cruise was a Christmas/birthday present for my sister, who had never been to Portugal. It was my fourth visit to the country, but first to the Douro region. I have never "cruised", opting for more active adventures, on ... Read More
This cruise was a Christmas/birthday present for my sister, who had never been to Portugal. It was my fourth visit to the country, but first to the Douro region. I have never "cruised", opting for more active adventures, on land. But my sister's limited mobility made this a better choice. We were not disappointed. The ship was comfortable, with an elevator for those who preferred. It was spotlessly maintained. This was one of the final cruises of the season, yet the crew members were as fresh and enthusiastic as I would expect on the first cruise of the season. We enjoyed the attentive housekeeper assigned to our comfortable cabin. I was initially concerned regarding the Portuguese cuisine, but the ship's kitchen offered tastes of Portugal as well as standard simpler offerings, including vegetarian options. The guides for shore excursions were knowledgeable and enjoyable. I appreciate their sensitivity to those few with mobility limitations. A highlight was the overnight excursion to Salamanca, which did involve a long bus ride due to lock maintenance closures. Other than that, I did not find bus travel dominant. On-shore hotels (Lisbon and Salamanca) were excellent. As a first time cruiser, I especially liked the opportunity to enjoy the lounge, meet new people or be alone with a book. Even though this was a December voyage, thus cooler temperatures, my hours on the cabin veranda/patio were a delightful way to enjoy the river bank scenery. The flexibility appeals to different interests. Activities/entertainment in the lounge were educational and/or just fun. I would definitely go on a VRC again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Excellent cultural education. Excellent guides who knew their history and culture of the regions Cuisine was fabulous and often of the region we were visiting Crew was wonderful. All directions as to what to do and expect were ... Read More
Excellent cultural education. Excellent guides who knew their history and culture of the regions Cuisine was fabulous and often of the region we were visiting Crew was wonderful. All directions as to what to do and expect were detailed Ship was great 2 hotels were lovely first class. Airline travel totally arranged Stateroom was cleaned twice daily. There is absolutely nothing I can speak except high praise for this cruise and Viking. Our contractor Pamela Reible even made sure that we had staterooms near the couple with whom we were traveling as well as informing us how to arrange airline seating to be close together. She was fabulous, a wealth of information. The places the cruise arranged for us to visit were very educational culturally. The Viking guides were all very informative about everything we were seeing and every trip that we made in each port. Road travel from port to site was in very comfortabvle coaches. We hope to take many more Viking trips with our friends, in fact have already contracted for a 2020 River cruise. Our trips will always be with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date December 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 ... 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
Sail Date November 2018
Our Douro cruise was very good. the Douro river is quite scenic but we only cruised two days up river and two days back to Porto. The remainder of the cruise is spent on busses visiting places sometimes up to two hours each way. Every day ... Read More
Our Douro cruise was very good. the Douro river is quite scenic but we only cruised two days up river and two days back to Porto. The remainder of the cruise is spent on busses visiting places sometimes up to two hours each way. Every day the bus excursions were long and tedious. This was our third Viking cruise and you could not book with a better company. The entire crew are outstanding. Yet we will never take another river cruise for the following reasons. 1River cruises are very expensive for obvious reasons. 2 For about 6 to 8 weeks every year the rivers are too low to cruise. You won't know this until you arrive in Europe. Your 5 star luxury leisurely cruise will be a 2 star bus trip either staying at other ships moored at strategic locations or 3 star hotels. You will be exhausted moving every day with your luggage. 3 Balcony's are useless as you will be sandwiched between two other ships...no light, no view, no privacy. 4 You may no longer berth in the town but at an industrial mooring several km away from the action. You are totally reliant on Viking getting you into town on a bus. Now if you can handle this and be happy please book with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date October 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 ... 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
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 September 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
Sail Date August 2018
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
Sail Date November 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
Sail Date October 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
Sail Date July 2017
I was really skeptical coming into this trip. My grandma had told me that she loved the river cruises she had been on but that people my age don't typically go- that there would be all old people. BUT, within the first couple hours in ... Read More
I was really skeptical coming into this trip. My grandma had told me that she loved the river cruises she had been on but that people my age don't typically go- that there would be all old people. BUT, within the first couple hours in the city of Lisbon I fell in love. The food was incredible and the people taught me so much. We boarded the ship and I immediately was on first name basis with 30 of the 34 crew members. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH! I was not surprised my energy and youth kept the boat alive. Everyone from Marcio the bartender to Vitor the waiter who put up with my dairy allergy, to Jens, the manager, to Leandro the security night guard, was so welcoming, funny and nice. I could be myself. I also learned so much from the older people, having gone through so much of life already. We went all over the place but the hemming was unforgettable, we danced sang, ate, tasted olive oil and made custard. I fell IN LOVE with the crew and the people.I also got close to the bus driver Azy, and everyone on the ship. I don't know what I have to say to make you book your hemming cruise but all you need to know was that I made 32 family members on this trip and 100 friends. I cried my EYES OUT when I left and I am having withdrawal still. I eat at 7 (breakfast) and stick to the schedule even off the boat. I am going to miss Emanuel's playing or dancing the waltz with Marcio.The country is incredible. Also, I was fortunate enough to have my birthday on the last day (when we headed home) but they threw me a celebration the night before, Christovao and Vitor (crew members) decorating my table and giving me gifts. I WANT TO GO BACK!!!! Best experience of my entire life. Prettiest country. THE ROOMS ARE SO NICE TOO! And the food!!!! Jan, best dishes ever (the chef is also hilarious). Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
After cruising on the Grand European last year I joined this year the Rivers of Gold in Portugal. The Scenery is stunning and amazing. Besides wonderful excursions to Porto, Salamanca, Lamego, Mateus Palace, Sandeman, Pinhao and great Port ... Read More
After cruising on the Grand European last year I joined this year the Rivers of Gold in Portugal. The Scenery is stunning and amazing. Besides wonderful excursions to Porto, Salamanca, Lamego, Mateus Palace, Sandeman, Pinhao and great Port wine tastings I enjoyed every single minute on board the Viking Hemming. The Crew has been incredible friendly and caring - they gave a home away from home feeling. Carolina and Milan were the waiters that took so good care of me. Chef Jan and his team prepared wonderful food with many local tastes. I fell in love with the Spanish Paella, the Pork Cheeks or the wonderful Chateaubriand. Furthermore I met wonderful people from around the world. For the entertainment we had wonderful shows like Flamenco and group of young students providing an great flair of Portuguese music. I am already planning on the next Viking Cruise - Thank you Viking. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We chose this cruise because we had never been to Portugal and we love Viking. This cruise was highly recommended to us by the crew during our Russia cruise. The crew of the Hemming was wonderful. Jens, the manager, could not have been ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had never been to Portugal and we love Viking. This cruise was highly recommended to us by the crew during our Russia cruise. The crew of the Hemming was wonderful. Jens, the manager, could not have been more helpful and delightful. Barbara, our program director, was excellent. She made sure that we were always informed about the particular tour we were taking. She took care of every detail during the tours and made sure that everyone was having a good time. The dining area crew and the cleaning crew were incredible. The entertainment on the ship was excellent. We thoroughly enjoyed the tours as well as the lectures on the ship. The olive oil tasting as well as the port tastings were most enjoyable. The trip was a huge success!!!!! I am very happy that we attended this cruise and would highly recommend it to friends. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We have river cruised before with another company and went on a sea cruise with Viking last year which we loved. We thought we would give the river cruising arm a go! We really enjoyed the trip ( by the way we were on the same trip as Gina ... Read More
We have river cruised before with another company and went on a sea cruise with Viking last year which we loved. We thought we would give the river cruising arm a go! We really enjoyed the trip ( by the way we were on the same trip as Gina - see below) - we too were at the younger end of the passenger age range and we understood some of her concerns. Overall we had a very good time - the Douro is absolutely beautiful, the ship, buses and staff are excellent. I will get the negatives out of the way straight away....there were food problems on this cruise...staff turnover had left inexperienced chefs in charge and they struggled all week to keep on top of things. Lunches were very disappointing most days, and in the evening food service and quality was inconsistent. Waiting staff were also either inexperienced or suffering low morale as a result of the kitchen problems. The advice I would give to anyone thinking about this trip is to read carefully and understand what trip you are going on. Viking are quite clear on the logistics of this cruise and if that combination of coach tour and river cruise is not for you then perhaps look elsewhere. We found the two days in Lisbon excellent - the recently refurbished Tivoli hotel was very good indeed and we were very happy there. We were amazed how much we saw on the half day tour - we have been to Lisbon before and saw less in a weekend than on our tour! We had plenty of time to explore on our own which we appreciated. The trip to Porto via Coimbra was excellent with a great lunch with Fado music. Porto is a beautiful town and we were easily able to explore ourselves. We took the cable car from right by the ship , walked across the bridge , took the funicular down and the water taxi back....a lovely afternoon in the sun after the Viking morning tour. The day tours were well organised, generally interesting and we had plenty of time to explore and walk in our free time. The group was very sociable. Cabins were very well kept, bar service excellent and the local entertainment very engaging. It is true that this group was on the older side....we are in our early 60s and very fit but we're very happy with the mix of activities. The villages you go through are small and off the beaten track and authentic and that is part of the charm. Viking responded positively to my concerns when we returned, and I know are committed to addressing them. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip but some improvement is definitely required to the food service and quality. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
You start in the Tivoli in Lisbon: Astheticlly a nice hotel. It is missing many high level hotel details. What drove many in our group crazy was that there is no shelf or place to put the soap/shampoo in the shower, leading to a more ... Read More
You start in the Tivoli in Lisbon: Astheticlly a nice hotel. It is missing many high level hotel details. What drove many in our group crazy was that there is no shelf or place to put the soap/shampoo in the shower, leading to a more difficult shower. After a long day of touring, I like to tune into TV, but there were only 2 English speaking channels and they left little to be desired. What was most troubling is that the headboards are not fixed properly, so we heard several different hotel rooms “quickly slamming their headboards to the wall” (if you get what I mean). The soundproofing in this hotel is horrific and if you are not listening to screaming people on the street, you are listening to your neighbors getting busy in their rooms or doors slamming out in the hallways. Viking provided breakfast included at their restaurant and it was a great spread and the service was good. From a service perspective, the hotel staff rarely answers the phone, so you are forced to go downstairs and wait in line for even the most minor of things. We went one day ahead of the cruise and book a private tour of Sinstra, which was our very best day on this vacation! Pena Palace and the Moore Castle was amazing and we paid about $140/pp and had a private car and driver on our own (same price as the ship charges to go on a bus with 30 people and do the cattle call). Day in Lisbon: Viking’s included tour in Lisbon was good, but not great. It hit the high points, but our guide failed to have interesting details or stories that we have had with other wonderful guides during travel. Lisbon is a fun city with much to do. We enjoyed our time there. Off to Porto: We spent the extra money for the Fatima/Monastery tour. I would say it was not worth it. We were in Fatima on a Sunday and it was crowded with a service, so seeing anything was pretty impossible. The Monastery was beautiful, but I am not sure I would have paid the money to see it, had I known about Fatima. We drove a total of 4 hours or so, in between the sites we saw, getting out 3 times. We had lunch at a restaurant on the beach with a wonderful view, though the food itself was just OK (and beware, if you don't like fish that was the only thing they offered us, though, after complaints they did bring something else). Viking ship: Know this, other than a young blind woman and her guide, we were the only people under the age of 60. The average age is around 70, with many close to or over 80 on this cruise. What this means is that (among other issues this creates) the tours are geared at people that cannot handle much. A 15 minute walk is advertised highly, to encourage all to attend and know it is not too much. What this means is that tours tend to be dry and boring. The pace of walking is more than sluggish and the amount you see is minimum outside of the coach. The guides are not at all interesting and, being an extensive traveler, I have never been so bored in my lifetime. Each day means 2-4 hours on the bus, as there is nothing close by. You MUST go on their tours and deal with extremely uncomfortable long bus rides. There is no private tour booking availability and the "program director" never even responded to our request to book such. There is literally nothing to do on this ship, so staying back behind is not a option and there are no towns at the “ports”. The “pool” is about 10 feet long and 2-3 feet deep. There are 3 steps to get to the bottom of it, if it tells you anything. What a total waste. There is no gym (Viking does tell you this) and, further, you may not run along the top, as the people can hear you in their rooms. You must concede to no exercise at all on their cruise and you won’t make it up in walking, as you see much of what you do from the bus. The scenery you sail is very beautiful, but there really is not much to do except visit wineries. If you do not like port, which is a very sweet wine, that makes for a very boring vacation. Your ship moves as your bus does, so you get little of the sailing time through the valley since you are on the bus much of the time the boat is sailing and it cannot sail at night either. TV: Warning, you lose satellite at times during the trip. Since there is nothing to do on the ship, this is problematic. Their list of movies is garbage, which was also a bummer. We also had some issues with our TV, as it would sometimes not work and they were constantly trying to fix it. They had the opportunity to at least have some current features, which were not available, to pass the time when you are trapped on ship with nothing else to do. This also goes to wireless availability and cellular service. They all drop off for long periods during the sailing. Do not book extra excursions prior to boarding. They have plenty of spaces to add when you are on the ship and cannot do a refund on the ship, which causes issues. They told us to get a refund on line and the on line system didn’t allow it either. We had to fight with Viking, who eventually did give us a credit. Staff: Many are wonderful. Our guide (bus 1C from the June 4th sailing in 2017, however, seemed impatient and with attitude. The reception staff were requested of things and would just force us to follow up over and over again, never following through on their own. The program director said she would try and set up somethings for my husband and I , tired of the bus. We heard nothing from her again. The matra de was wonderful and the wait staff was very accommodating. The chef was very friendly and with a sense of humor Food: . I was told by many that had been on other Viking cruises that this cruise did not match the normal Viking river dining experience, which was a bummer for us. Mediocre at best. Good fruits like berries are not present and they make their own yogurt, which is watery and gross. Not sure why they don’t just buy local yogurt like most do. Night one, we had steak as the special, but it was slightly overcooked. The dessert special was amazing. We were told the steak would come medium rare and it did not. Night two was the lamb chops. They were OK, but not great and there was little to the dish. Dessert was a marscapone and it was terrible. Night 3 was a peppered chicken. It had way too much in pepper on the skins and it was not pleasant to eat. The waiter also did not understand the dish, as I asked about the potatoes served with it and he said a thick pieces of potato and it was actually more like a hash brown. I am not certain how they cannot know what is being served. Dessert that night was a banana split, which was a banana cut in half with one scoop of vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce, whipped cream and almonds on it. It was OK, but certainly not worth the calories. The next night was a pork tenderloin special, which was not good. The dessert was a sort of custard advertised with berries. It came with 2 small blueberries for each person on the ship and when we all asked for more, we were told they ran out. How can you have a dessert based on blueberries and run out? Breakfast too, was mediocre. They have the waiters making eggs and they tried twice to get me eggs over lightly and both times they broke them. Even the chef made eggs one morning and needed 2 hands to crack them (awkwardly) and broke one! Salmanaca night the menu was horrible and almost 100% of our table ordered the rib eye from the base menu instead, which was good. The mashed potatoes came out ice cold (not warm, truly cold). The dessert again was subpar. They seem to do a lot of custard type desserts and not one was good, so they need to figure something out. The next night’s menu was good and I ordered the filet mignon, which was cooked perfectly. Dessert, again, we a disappointment. Lunches have been a struggle for most of the cruisers. They just don’t have the basic menu they need and try to be too fancy…..and cannot seem to handle that either. I would recommend they come up with a basic menu for lunch that is always available, full of “normal” eating, which they lack right now. They did have Gluten free pasta and options, which was nice. I will give the chef kudos for the last night’s meal, a veal dish. It, along with the starters, were excellent the last day. Had the food been this good throughout, we would have been more than satisfied! Day 1 in Porto: This tour was a “panoramic” tour, meaning you see little up close. You do go into the train station and get a full (LOL) 40 minutes to walk around, but that is the end of it. Guirames: What they do not tell you is that every tour is a long bus ride. This one is an hour there and an hour back with less than 2 hours at the place. As with most Viking tours, there is little time on your own. After buying it, we skipped it. Mateus Palace and Gardens Tour. There was a 45 minute ride to a “palace”. The tour was done by a university student with terrible English. Many could barely understand him and when you could, his information was dry and boring. What a shame, as this seemed like an interesting place. Then we went to another Sandelman’s winery. The tour was interesting, but frankly a repeat of the other day’s tour at Sandelmans in Porto and the “tasting” was of a mixed drink with port in it. Pinhao: Another hour ride to Castelo Rodrigo. It is a cute, ancient town, but you only spend an hour or so there, as there really is not much to see and do. The tour was a total of 10-15 minutes. There is a very cute church there, but the guide didn’t even go over the interesting things about that church, which was the usual way of these very boring guides. You have around an hour on your own. The guides told us to wait to by cork at this stop and there were literally 3 shops, with very little in them. While the price of cork was better than other places, there was little to choose from. As with other days, we were in the bus for 2 hours for just over an hour spent at the destination. PS, there is someone that comes onto the ship with good cork prices and handmade items (purses, wallets and jewelry mostly) on the last night that is worth the visit and her presentation on cork was good too. Salmanaca: 2 hours each way by bus. There is around a 45 minute tour, done by Spanish guides, who were far better than our Portuguese ones and then 3 ½ hours on your own. Salmanaca was a very interesting stop, with a lot to see and enjoyable shopping and food. Finally, we had a day where we spent a good deal of time away from the boat. This was a long bus ride, but definitely worth it when comparing to other days. Favios: This town has very little to offer….not even a shop! It was interesting to see how she made the bread and it was hot and tasty. Then we were off to the bread and wine museum, which seems to have been created for these Douro river tours. There is not much of interest, but they have done their best to create something that goes with the cruise. We then had a tour of a Muscaret winery and a tasting. Again, way too sweet for us. We then went for a long traditional Portuguese lunch at a winery and this was done very well. The owner is funny and interesting to listen to. The food was good and dessert very good. The bus ride is just over an hour each way. There is no free time or shopping on this excursion. You go back to your ship in Pinhao. You can walk around but there isn’t much to see or even much in shopping, just really the train station and a casual stroll. Lamego: 30-40 minute bus ride to Lamego. It has a cool staircase that you can walk down and is worth the 5-10 minutes it takes to do so. The town itself has several pretty churches, but that is about it. It does have nice cafes and a couple of decent shops. It isn’t really a quaint town, but it seems they are looking for places to bus their cruisers, so this is it. Had we stayed on the boat, it takes you to another port in a city that has a few shops to offer. Then you leave on your ship again., off to Porto. Thank God, we are looking forward to the end of this cruise for sure. Back to Porto: We had one night left in this pretty town. We enjoyed a tuk tuk tour on our own, had another éclair and enjoyed the spa at Hotel Flor Village (where we stayed). It’s located in a great square and we had a lovely evening with tapas! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
What a great trip and the itinerary was perfect. We opted for the additional excursion to Cascais and Sintra which turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip. The walking tour of Lisbon was special - such a beautiful city and ... Read More
What a great trip and the itinerary was perfect. We opted for the additional excursion to Cascais and Sintra which turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip. The walking tour of Lisbon was special - such a beautiful city and learning about the history was memorable, thanks to the local guide. The cruise on the Douro was wonderful and the excursions to the Sandeman winery and to Favaios were special. The scenery along the Douro was reminiscent of the Mosel River - you know you're in wine country. We enjoyed the excursions to Lamego and the the Mateus Palace. Salamanca and Santiago de Campostella are not to be missed, they added so much to the travel experience we enjoyed. We owe a special thanks to Bruno, our Viking rep. in Lisbon for his help and guidance for the first two days. All in all, the local guides were great for each of the excursions. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We chose this cruise to compliment our Portugal vacation and Viking did not disappoint. After a start in Lisbon that provided great tours, the under construction Tivoli hotel had great breakfasts; but some rooms had no wifi and no hot ... Read More
We chose this cruise to compliment our Portugal vacation and Viking did not disappoint. After a start in Lisbon that provided great tours, the under construction Tivoli hotel had great breakfasts; but some rooms had no wifi and no hot water on the second day. The Viking hotel manager quickly provided shipboard credit that gave us a luxurious experience free from worries about any charges. The Viking Hemming is a smaller river ship river. Clean, comfortable, happy staff ready to say yes to your request and with terrific meals provided by the chef and restaurant staff. The Douro River has stunning vistas and is a photographers paradise. The tours are well organized, the buses near new and never crammed full. The tour guides were some of the best we have experienced. Very knowledgeable and their pace never rushed the small groups we were divided into. A 5 star cruise we would recommend to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We wanted to see Santiago de Compostela and were not disappointed. We were a little disappointed in the food, however; the service was outstanding. Our cabin shower had mold growing around the perimeter and was not dealt with. Our ... Read More
We wanted to see Santiago de Compostela and were not disappointed. We were a little disappointed in the food, however; the service was outstanding. Our cabin shower had mold growing around the perimeter and was not dealt with. Our excursions were excellent, notably Fatima, Lamego, Salamanca, Mateus and Favaios bakery. The scenery along the Douro river was amazing. We were delighted to have a wonderful PD group. Boris, Jens and the guides were very knowledgeable and informative. Eva did an outstanding job in Santiago. The flamenco show could be replaced with something else, perhaps some cultural events. Overall the excursions were great with one exception. The onshore guide at Fatima was less than average. She did little to inform us while on the bus to Fatima and very little when we arrived. The ship overall was good. The staff was very friendly and attentive. We will continue to use Viking as our cruise carrier of choice both river and ocean. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We chose this cruise because we were on grand European tour 2yrs before and loved every minute of it.The service is amazing and the tour guide extraordinary actually spoiled us for any other guide. Food out of this world hard to ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were on grand European tour 2yrs before and loved every minute of it.The service is amazing and the tour guide extraordinary actually spoiled us for any other guide. Food out of this world hard to resist. We're thinking of booking another one probably in the fall of 2018 or spring of 2019. In 2015 it was our very first river cruise we had done 10 ocean cruise so we were not sure what to except . We love the big ship but now I'm not sure which one I like best because they're very different vacation. For the attention you get on Viking you can't do better. I remember one day my sister in law and I were having lunch on deck and the waiter came to tell us our husband were waiting for us in the dining room. You would never get that special attention on the big ship. In others words IT'S THE BEST VACATION ever. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We have had previous river cruises with Viking and this one exceeded our expectations. The ship was so comfortable and we were very well looked after, the crew were particularly kind to my 91 year old mother. The sailing was smooth and not ... Read More
We have had previous river cruises with Viking and this one exceeded our expectations. The ship was so comfortable and we were very well looked after, the crew were particularly kind to my 91 year old mother. The sailing was smooth and not a single bump in any of the locks! The scenery along the river is stunning and we were lucky to have great weather. The trips were well organised and the guides well informed and entertaining- the coach was driven safely and smoothly through some difficult narrow and winding roads. The food was fantastic, how the chef and his team can turn out such lovely meals in such a small space is amazing. The cabins were comfortable and kept spotlessly clean. The two night stay in Lisbon was good, lovely hotel, fabulous city. I would definitely recommend the cruise and just writing this makes me want to go again! Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
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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