After enduring an overnight "cruise" from Portland to Nova Scotia some 20 years ago, I have never had the desire to take a cruise. Being stuck at sea with 5,000 strangers does not sound like much fun to me. Enter the Viking River Cruise: a perfect way to see so much and not have the hassle of checking in and out of hotels. The ship was fantastic and only making its second voyage when we checked in. The engineers did a fantastic job thinking of virtually everything in terms of getting as much out of contrained space as possible. The bed and linens were top shelf, storage ample, bathroom and water pressure was perfect. The only negative worth mentioning is wifi acess and the TV. I think the internet access is a long term problem that goes beyond Viking, while I chalk up the spotty TV service to being a new ship with glitches to work out. The dining room, food, and service was impeccable. Menu selections were varied and I actually appreciated the smaller portions, as one could always get seconds or even sample another entree at any meal. We really enjoyed the passengers and crew we met on this trip. It is the kind of trip that could be fun to enjoy with another couple, but I think if you were to go with a larger group, you may tend to flock together and really miss out on meeting some interesting people. Forget bringing the kids on the trip (there were none and they would go out of their minds of boredom if there had been any); youngest person we met was 31, and at 51, we were certainly in the "youngest quintile" of folks. None of that is a negative, but I think we were told the avg. age was 50 and I'd say that was a bit low. We really enjoyed the excursions and the history lessons we felt we learned throughout the trip. They are very well organized, but there is some variety in the quality of the local tour guides (ranged from excellent to "mehh")- luck of the draw. The other lesson we learned is that when they say they sail from Basel to Amsterdam, don't assume that builds in any time to actually tour either city. We did Lucerne extension (which was excellant), but by the time we were delivered to the ship, it was set to sail in less than 2 hours. With Amsterdam, arrived at 2 am but nowhere near center city...we got up early and took a cab to the city to see as much as we could before returning to the ship for our tranfer for a 1pm flight home.
We will definitely be taking another Viking River Cruise. Destination TBD.
Bed - big and comfy
Linens - heavy gauge quality cotton..nice duvee...great pillows
closet and drawer storage - fantastic (but I was only on 8 day cruise)
TV - see reviw above
space - with balcony, fine...a room without balcony might feel small
cleanliness - spotless
service - same attendant everyday, she can meet any ad hoc need you may have
climate control - A/C was broken on night one, but engineer found and fixed problem. you definitely want to sleep with windows closed as there are little bugs along the river that will infiltrate your room.
dropped off from Lucerne with no time to spend in Basel
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