A note - we actually began this cruise in Basel, Switzerland and ended in Amsterdam - the options menu did not have Basel listed.
We are not new travelers to Europe, but are new to river cruising. This was a trip we looked forward to for more than a year. My husband and I and another couple arrived on a flight into Zurich and were met by a pleasant Viking rep, then transferred to Lucerne for our ore cruise extension. Rooms were not yet ready so the hotel stored our luggage and we went off on the planned walking tour. It was very informative and ended in old town. We found an outdoor cafe for lunch, walked a bit, then returned to the hotel hoping the rooms would be ready. They were not. After an all night flight by 3 pm people hit the proverbial wall, and thankfully the Viking rep intervened, but we were not pleased with the hotel's attitude. If you plan a pre cruise (or post cruise) extension, do yourselves a favor and upgrade your rooms. We didn't think of this until we were on the cruise, but i contacted our travel agent and she upgraded our rooms for the Amsterdam post cruise extension, which made us much happier. Otherwise, the hotel was not at all special.
Viking is highly organized so embarkation is effortless. You walk on the ship, identify yourself, receive your key cards and are whisked off to your cabins. We stayed in a veranda suite (304) and it was wonderful. Compared to big cruise ships everything is smaller on a river cruise ship, but the suites are lovely, well appointed (l'Occitane bath products), fresh flowers, fruit and champagne, and extremely attentive service. Verandas are small but a lovely place to perch and admire the scenery.
Veranda suites are wonderful - we loved ours. The larger side and extra amenities were, to us, worth it. We typically choose suites when cruising and were very happy with this one. Loved being just steps from the lounge and stairway to the dining room and exits off the ship, too.