Viking Idi Cruise Review by ticonderoga
- Sail Date: September 2014
- Destination: Europe River
A note about older longships: we were docked at one point, tethered to a Viking Longship that was a couple of years old and I noticed that it was a little ragged around the edges. The wood stairs were kind of worn and there was quite a lived-in quality to it. It was perhaps this particular ship, but we were also tethered to this year's ships and last year's ships that looked in excellent condition.
The glitch: On every cruise there is a glitch. On ours, it was an accident of a barge that ran into a bridge ahead of us and which prevented us from getting to Regensburg. We docked at an industrial site and were bused to Regensburg. We returned to the dock after the tour and the next morning, when we were supposed to have arrived in Nuremberg to switch ships, we had to take a bus to Nuremberg. The ride was under an hour and we went on our tour then were driven to the Kvasir and our bags were already in our cabins. The Kvasir passengers had their tour and were driven to where the Idi was docked to continue their trip to Budapest while we went on to Amsterdam. I must admit that Viking staff handled this unfortunate situation with expertise and know-how.
In part 2 of this review, I discuss the basic differences between the two ships in terms of staff since the ships themselves, apart from different art work, are essentially identical. The long and short of it is that the Idi staff (waitstaff, room attendants) were far superior to the staff on the Kvasir. The difference is in the management of the staff. On the Idi the waiters and waitress were on top of things at all times. They bent over backwards to make sure that you got what you wanted and needed quickly and efficiently. You could tell one waiter that you need more water and even if he is not the waiter assigned to your table, you would get it. There would be communication between the staff and the team work was amazing. On the Kvasir, you had to get your wine from one person and food from another and it had to be in order. If you changed your mind, you could tell it was a big deal to add a cheese plate to you order. On the Idi, it appeared effortless and passengers felt comfortable.
We also lucked out on the Idi with probably the best room attendant that ever lived. I will name her because she deserves all the accolades she can get. Zsuzsana was beyond the best. She was so attentive, that our room was on a continuous tidy up, add water, etc schedule. Our room would be cleaned while we were at breakfast, no matter when we went to breakfast. Whenever we got back to the room after breakfast, it was prepared for the day. If we used a towel or washcloth during the day, it would be replaced as would be our soap, gel, whatever we used. She was the greatest. (We had the worst room attendant possible on the ship when we switched to the Kvasir, unfortunately).
Another difference I don't discuss in part 2 of my review is the food. There were subtle differences between the two ships and I think that the menus are pretty standard but the cooking can be somewhat personalized. I think the Idi food was better, perhaps more expertly seasoned. I know that when we got to the Kvasir, the food was way over salted only on the first two days which made my mother's legs swell up. But generally the food was excellent on both ships. I stayed away from the fish and people at my table kept insisting the what was served as haddock was not in fact haddock. I did find out that they get their beef from Argentina and I have to say that anything I had that was beef was especially wonderful. Their venison was probably farmed because, although it was outstanding, it had no taste of game at all. The goulash soup served after the concert in Vienna was a tad on the tasteless side, definitely not one of the highlights of the trip.
The house wines were excellent. I have been interested in wine for a number of years and whoever makes the decisions for Viking has found some excellent reds from Austria and Hungary. The local whites were of course very good. I also fell in love with their house German black lager beer and had one every day at lunch.
What would have made this trip even better? Perhaps a staff member who does massage. Thai massage does not require disrobing and could have been used by many tired passengers. Perhaps a staff member who also gives yoga classes. This does not require a special room and it could be done on the sundeck. Perhaps, having information about the cruise available for download on an iPad. It would have been nice to sit on deck and know exactly where were were if there was a Viking app for that. I talked to the Program Director about the possibility of spending 2 days in Vienna. I had been to Vienna in the past so I had seen most of what I had wanted to prior to this cruise, but for people coming for the first time, there truly was not enough time. Perhaps, a little more time in Budapest would have also been nice for those not doing a pre-cruise there. We did our pre-cruise in Prague and only arrived late afternoon the first day in Budapest. Where do you cut? Well, past Koblenz, there's only Cologne and if you're there on a Sunday, apart from the Cathedral, there's not much to do. So I would cut that to half a day. I would probably eliminate Kinderdijk, or limit it to half a day. The tour to the windmills was interminable. It could have been done in an hour, yet we were there for what seemed forever and, at Kinderdijk, all day. I would extend Amsterdam, so that passengers disembarking there could have a day, like in Budapest, rather than having to leave immediately if they are not doing a post-cruise. Alternately, I would have been just as happy to end the cruise in Cologne and be bussed to Amsterdam for a post-cruise had there been an extra day in Vienna and Budapest. I know you can't please everyone all the time and when I look back at this cruise, it was simply wonderful. I will have beautiful photos and memories and in the end that's all that counts.
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