Fantastic trip! As totally novice cruisers we were apprehensive about our first trip overseas. Booking directly with efficient/knowledgeable Viking staff went smoothly. A little confusion on short time span to add trip insurance (ask a ... Read More
Fantastic trip! As totally novice cruisers we were apprehensive about our first trip overseas. Booking directly with efficient/knowledgeable Viking staff went smoothly. A little confusion on short time span to add trip insurance (ask a lot of questions). Took the discount 3.3%.
Made a big mistake in filling out personal data by NOT including passport numbers by the time we made full payment. (We had gotten our passports later). This apparently led to a delay in getting our plane reservations well after the stated 60 days before departure!! We had made multiple calls to Viking to try to rectify lack of reservations and on three occasions were told to "wait a few days, and you will get the info". We Didn't!
Tip: Fortunately my wife had been accessing a VIKING travelers Facebook page - This was a GREAT source of info! One of the super Viking travelers gave us a Viking contact that immediately got our plane reservations!!! The running commentary on the site was extremely helpful - You should use it! Because of the delay we were booked on Delta flights from Phil to Atlanta (2.5Hrs), then flew back north past Phil to Amsterdam?? We wisely used our airline/upscale credit cards to enter Delta's courtesy clubs and enjoyed a few anniversary drinks and food. Tip: Contrary to popular belief traveling the day before the fourth of July (Thurs) the courtesy clubs were devoid of business travelers because of the mid-week holiday!
Last glitch was sitting in Amsterdam airport an hour waiting for Viking shuttle. After that we had a Fabulous Time. The ship was beautiful (even compared to several competitor ships docked nearby), The staff was five star rivaling many US top hotels. The food was very good, plenty of specials and standard fair that was table served or buffet serviced. The lounge service was superb - TIP: If you like higher end beer, wine, cocktails, soda - GET the all inclusive SILVER SPIRITS package. It provides access to better wine at meals, champagne at breakfast and top shelf drinks at any open lounge hours. Check the individual drink menu prices on-line (canned soda - $5 Euro!!).
Tip: Get to know the names of the staff - Your extra effort will pay big dividends. They love to become part of your experience.
The inclusive tours were all worthwhile (Black Forest got the lowest score - long bus ride for short tourist trap stop). The local tour guides provided were all excellent!
WE liked Cologne the best, Cathedral amazing! Shopping & food wonderful. We managed to have our 40th Wedding Anniversary meal at a restaurant we stumbled across that had the same name as the one we got engaged at 41 years ago in NYC - "Mama Leone's" ! To complete the romantic nostalgia, we bought a lock and hung it on the "LOCK" bridge across the Rhine and tossed the key.
Many of our fellow passengers bragged about the optional pub tour!! Don't miss Captain's Bridge tour.
Loved our on-board Tour Director - Renee ("Sooooooo,....!!!!), Rebecca - Hotel manager, Super Mario - Master of the lounge, the extraordinary dining staff - Will, Mickey, Chris and too many others to mention!!!!
If you have the time, take the optional add-on tour to Zermatt-Geneva. Includes a not to be missed train ride into the Alps, a Swiss town, have a meal across from the Matterhorn after a quirky cog wheel train ride scaling mountain sides ending above the clouds and lodging in a most unusually furnished hotel. The tour finished off with a Lake Geneva cruise, winery visit, UN tour and exploration of old town in Geneva! Our tour guide (Tina) on the optional tour was like an encyclopedia and maximized our appreciation of Switzerland.
Tip: The passengers on board were very friendly. Try to sit at different table at each meal! A lot of interesting encounters and coincidences - a couple with the same wedding date also 40 years ago, a traveler with same full name as our son's girlfriend, and someone from the old neighborhood. Many married couples, grandparent and mature grandchild, school teachers and retirees, pairs and groups, mostly first-timers and averaging about 50 years old. Read Less