2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I chose this cruise so my wife and I could spend some time with our daughter and her family after the cruise in Basel. All-in-all we were very happy with this cruise and how Viking took care of us. We spent a day in Amsterdam prior to ... Read More
I chose this cruise so my wife and I could spend some time with our daughter and her family after the cruise in Basel. All-in-all we were very happy with this cruise and how Viking took care of us. We spent a day in Amsterdam prior to departure to get over the jet lag flying overnight from Chicago. The ship and facilities were in very good condition. We are mostly experienced in ocean cruising with about a dozen overall cruises, but this was only our second river cruise, both with Viking. Viking did an excellent job navigating the Rhine as it was at a historically low water level, given the drought in Europe last summer. At one point, Viking thought we were going to have to be off-boarded and transported to another ship to get past the most critically low-level areas. However, they got through with apparently only a few inches of clearance and it was really cause for celebration to avoid that possible obstacle and delay! The stops and excursions were all excellent. Typically, we are willing on cruises to pay extra for excursions, but on this trip, what was included in the base price were excellent, and we didn't upgrade a single excursion! Very unusual for us, yet we felt we saw everything we wanted to. The areas for improvement for us are in evening entertainment and the ability to have room service for your meals. The previous river cruise with Viking had significant evening entertainment which we didn't feel this cruise offered. Also, the balconies are very nice on the ship and we love to have our meals brought in to be consumed while we sail and we often do on our ocean cruises...unfortunately, Viking doesn't offer that on their river cruises, that I am aware of. A third complaint is that this river ship did not offer a small gym or workout room. Other than those complaints, we were very happy with the ship, the staff, the service, and the entire experience with Viking. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We chose the Rhine Getaway largely because of the moderate summer temperatures in northern Europe in July/August. This was our first river cruise. We had no ideas what to expect. My biggest concern was that there would be little ... Read More
We chose the Rhine Getaway largely because of the moderate summer temperatures in northern Europe in July/August. This was our first river cruise. We had no ideas what to expect. My biggest concern was that there would be little independent time and little activity. My concerns were quickly dispelled. We did the Amsterdam pre-extension, which I highly recommend because Amsterdam is an WONDERFUL city, and we were able to adjust to the time change. The hotel, the Radisson Blu, was well-located and quite nice. The included walking tour was fine. Our independent travel was better, walking, enjoying the incredible architecture, navigating public transportation, visiting wonderful museums, and dining in very good restaurants along the canals. The included canal boat tour on day 2 of our cruise was ok...something a tourist must do. The cruise itself was quite good, usually cruising during the night, a morning stop and walking tour in an historic city/town. We were often bussed to the towns, but this was fine as the Viking-owned busses are quite nice and the road trip was interesting. There were usually optional afternoon and/or evening tours. I was really impressed though that for the rest of the day, Viking offered shuttle service to and from the towns we had visited, so we could explore independently if we wanted. We only did one optional tour--to the medieval village of Colmar in France. Our tour guide was excellent and this was a lovely little French town that was untouched by the war (unlike, say, Cologne). Our only disappointment was the Black Forest tour. Frankly what we saw of the Black Forest was not that exciting and the destination was a touristy shopping place that sold a lot of cuckoo clocks. Staff on the cruise was outstanding, even compared to our positive big cruise ship experiences. The Program Director, Renee, was SO organized and entertaining. A good piano/singer was with us in the evenings for the entire trip, and a few local entertainers were also brought on board. In the process of dining, visiting the lounge, and daily trips, we met many friendly people and shared travel experiences. The ship is very well appointed, sunny and open, light contemporary decor. Food was generally very good. We purchased the wine package, which we would not repeat. The regular wines were fine and the package was way to heavily loaded with German wines for our taste. We did a 2-day extension in Lucerne, a truly beautiful city. I regret that we did not do the optional train into the Alps, but just walking the city and cruising on Lake Lucerne were very good. My only complaint about Viking had to do with travel and left hand not communicating with right hand. We booked through Viking Air because of the low cost and because it included escorted transfer from the airport to our hotel. Although there are several direct flights from Detroit to Amsterdam, we were booked initially with a 1-hour layover in Dulles, just barely enough time to make our connecting flight to Amsterdam if nothing went wrong. What were they thinking! It took 3 phone calls and a lot of stress before Viking Air agreed to change our flight, which in the end had a reasonable connection in Newark. Upon arrival in Amsterdam, we found that Viking Air had not informed the Viking transfer company (all of these services seem to be subcontracted) that we would be arriving 3 hours later, so there was no one to pick us up when we arrived. There were several red-shirted Viking reps there however who did arrange a pickup for us, but in our fatigued state, the delay was really frustrating. Also in a call to Viking before our trip, we were assured that we could check in to our hotel upon early morning arrival. The hotel made it very clear that they had been fully booked the night before and no one could check in until 1 pm. Again, bad communication and a lot of frustrated Viking travelers arriving at the hotel. I do have to add that our transfer from our Lucerne hotel to the Zurich airport was quite nice. My husband and I were chauffeured in a Mercedes, and the driver gave us a nice tour of Zurich on the way. So, we are looking at a possible Viking Danube trip for 2017. If we book it, we will: 1) monitor the Viking air reservation situation very closely and 2) do more research on independent travel possibilities along our itinerary, now that we know that those opportunities will be there. Oh yes, and bring your home medicine cabinet (aspirin, antidiarrheals, etc.) as there is no medical care on these ships. I had to spend time in Amsterdam searching for drug stores when there were much better things to do. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2016
Exploring another part of Europe. Historical cities, great castle views. Excellent cuisine to sample. Wonderful experience.. Our 4th Viking River Cruise...and our best. Our extended stay in Amersterdam was well worth the added ... Read More
Exploring another part of Europe. Historical cities, great castle views. Excellent cuisine to sample. Wonderful experience.. Our 4th Viking River Cruise...and our best. Our extended stay in Amersterdam was well worth the added expense. Our 4th cruise and our best.Yet. we enjoy meeting new people..we have kept in contact with those we met. Service is wonderful. The staff obviously takes great.pride in learning about their guests. The very quickly learn or preference, red wine/ white wine, coffee/ tea. They have an.amazing ability to know your name after the first day. Off ship cultural tours are great fun, and very educational. I app that there are levels of exertion for the tours...allowing those who wish to do less or go at a slower rate than others while not slowing anyone else down. We are trying out the Viking Ocean cruise in January...going from Barcelona to Rome in January. .looking forward to it! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
I enjoy traveling to new places and accompanied a friend, who is a retired History teacher. The Lofn was my first experience on a Longship and quite different from cruising on big ocean liners, but very nice. The ports were wonderful. ... Read More
I enjoy traveling to new places and accompanied a friend, who is a retired History teacher. The Lofn was my first experience on a Longship and quite different from cruising on big ocean liners, but very nice. The ports were wonderful. Our guides were fantastic. Everything was very well planned. I would have enjoyed more evening entertainment. A dress code for dinner would have been appreciated-jeans are fine during the day, but no jeans and t shirts for dinner. Including a tour of Ann Frank's house would have been appreciated. My friend waited 2 1/2 hours in line. Visiting the many cathedrals was a highlight of my trip. The tulips were gorgeous the third week in April. The dining hours for breakfast, lunch and dinner accommodated our tour times. Rene was a great entertainment director. The waitstaff went above and beyond to make sure everyone was pleased with service, food and special diets. Being able to tour the galley was an unexpected treat. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
My Mother and I have just completed a river cruise on the Viking Skirnir and Lofn from Amsterdam to Budapest. At 85 years of age, this was the pinnacle of her 'bucket list' and an epic journey from Australia to Europe. I have ... Read More
My Mother and I have just completed a river cruise on the Viking Skirnir and Lofn from Amsterdam to Budapest. At 85 years of age, this was the pinnacle of her 'bucket list' and an epic journey from Australia to Europe. I have been on many ocean cruises before but never a river cruise. I found river cruising very different to what I have experienced on ocean cruises. Firstly embarkation - forget lining up with the hoards - we arrived at the cruise terminal in Amsterdam about 3pm and were taken to the ship. No lines - straight onboard and greeted warmly by the reception staff. We were taken to our cabin and given an overview and our luggage was delivered promptly. We booked a full balcony cabin and my first impression was that it was extremely small - much smaller than any ocean liner cabin I have ever been in. However, it was well equipped and had plenty of storage space for the both of us. The heated bathroom floor was a nice touch in the chilly weather. After unpacking, we acquainted ourselves with our home for the next 14 nights. Both the Skirnir and the Lofn are beautiful new ships and very well appointed. Due to low water levels in the Rhine and Danube, we faced the possibility of 3 ship changes during our journey. However, luck was on our side and we only had one change after 3 days from the Skirnir to the Lofn. This was handled beautifully by the staff and when we arrived to board the Lofn, our luggage was in the same room as previously and we just had to unpack once more. The ship was identical in every way except for the name on the side. My Mother has very limited mobility and uses a walker. In hindsight, although this cruise was her dream, it was really not for her. River cruises are far from a relaxing journey. You are in a different port every day and most of the tours are walking tours. With the low river levels, the gangway was very steep and just getting her to the top was a major effort. All of these old cities have cobblestone streets which are not conducive to walker or wheelchair use. Consequently, she had to stay onboard many days and missed a lot of the tours. Our cruise director was amazing. He arranged for us to use the onboard wheelchair so that I could take her onshore to have a look around at some of the ports. This was not without resistance from the hotel manager who insisted that the wheelchair was to stay onboard for emergency use. I am fairly fit but it was not an easy task negotiating ancient cobblestone streets with the wheelchair. The food onboard was amazing - much better than on any ocean liner I have been on. The variety was fantastic and we did not have any dish repeated in the 14 days. The staff were wonderful and nothing was too much trouble. They took wonderful care of Mum. There was an elevator onboard that took us from deck 2 (where our cabin was) up to deck 3 where the lounge was situated. There was no elevator to the top deck but it was really too cold to go up there anyway. As I said previously, most of the tours are walking tours. They do have a 'leisurely tour' each day for those who are not as able as others. However, these tours still involve a lot of walking and I heard complaints from many people who struggled with them. We finally decided that Mum was not going to see much at all, so arranged for the Concierge to have a taxi waiting for us in each port to show us around. This worked out very well and we had excellent drivers who spoke English and were very knowledgeable. These cost us around 30 euros per hour each time. As a tour is included each day at no extra cost, this was an added charge for us but the only way that Mum was going to experience any of the towns at all. Wine, beer, etc is included with every meal including champagne with breakfast for those who wish to partake. I did not always like the wine so tipped the waiter 5 euros and was able to have anything I wanted. Drinks outside of meal times are reasonably priced and I found them substantially cheaper than our previous Celebrity ocean cruises. Entertainment is lacking with just a piano player in the evenings. One day we had a glass blower on board and he was very entertaining. We also had opera singers one night (totally not my cup of tea) and some German dancers (ditto). Again disembarkation is totally different to the big ocean liners. Our flight out of Budapest did not leave until 3pm, so we were able to stay onboard until noon (after vacating our room at 9am) and use all of the facilities. We had breakfast and also a light lunch before our taxi driver came to collect us. So to summarise - these cruises are not everyone and particularly not for anyone with mobility issues of any kind. You are on the go every day and it is quite tiring. Don't expect to be entertained onboard. Most of the cruising is done at night but if you cruise during the day, just expect to sit and watch the world go by. This is just my personal opinion but river cruising (at the moment) is not for me. I will continue to do ocean cruises for many years to come. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
We enjoyed our cruise on the Viking Longships---two actually because of low water problems in the river systems during our October sailing. We were suppose to start and finish on the Lofn but actually only finished on it. However, Viking ... Read More
We enjoyed our cruise on the Viking Longships---two actually because of low water problems in the river systems during our October sailing. We were suppose to start and finish on the Lofn but actually only finished on it. However, Viking handled the required ship change as smoothly as anyone could have dreamed. Except for having to pack and unpack a little more than desired and to have had a few more long bus rides I don't think we had any ill effects. In addition Viking gave us a free excursion because of the difficulties. The food and drink onboard were of high quality and the free wine service was generous and prompt. Our Cruise Director went with us from ship to ship so that we had some type of continuity throughout. Both crews were fantastic and I can't remember any complaints worth mentioning. This was our first river cruise and my wife and I both liked it. We had previously visited some of the towns and cities along the way but enjoyed all and found the excursions to all be worthwhile. We signed up for only a few of the 'extra fee' excursions as we thought the free ones were excellent. I would have liked more tome onboard just cruising along the river but I think that's the nature of river cruising , at least in Europe where one has to cope with so many locks and daytime stops. Entertainment on board was minimal but fine with some cultural insights thrown in through lectures od local entertainers. All in all, I liked (as did my wife) our first river cruise and I was especially pleased with the entire Viking treatment. Indeed, I might have rated this higher than 4 stars but have so little past river cruising experience that I felt like I should hold back a little. However, Viking impressed me so much that we are planning an ocean cruise with them for 2017 (by that time we will have been on 18 ocean cruises and I'll have the experience to more accurately rank them. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
My wife and I really enjoyed our Viking Grand European River Cruise. The crew, food, and accommodations were excellent. We did feel that the Viking organization could have been more forthright from the beginning of the cruise about the ... Read More
My wife and I really enjoyed our Viking Grand European River Cruise. The crew, food, and accommodations were excellent. We did feel that the Viking organization could have been more forthright from the beginning of the cruise about the low water conditions on the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers, and the probable consequences. Instead, it was more or less a surprise to most passengers. It was indeed fortunate that there was an identical Viking ship in Passau so that the east and west bound passengers could trade boats. Our new ship had to stop short of Budapest and we again were bussed to the city and only had about a half day to see the sights. Viking did their best to make up for the travel disruptions by providing concert tickets in Vienna to all interested passengers and a free sightseeing boat trip in Budapest. Read Less
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