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Unfortunately, what should have been a great Rhine cruise was marred for over half the passengers on the Viking Hlin. Within two days of boarding the ship over 60 out of 188 passengers came down with gastroenteritis. The ship staff took virtually no measures to control the virus so it tore through the rest of the passengers in short order. Sick people were loaded onto tour buses with healthy ones, self-service buffets continued, and there was no systematic disinfection of handrails or shared furniture. To add insult to injury they didn't bother to obtain rehydration solution or antidiarrheal medication, even though they knew dozens of passengers were sick and local shops closed on the weekend. Handling of special diets was adequate, but not up to the high standards they claimed when I booked my ticket. Despite my telling them about my gluten-free/egg-free diet six weeks in advance, breakfast was a sad affair. There wasn't a single bread or cereal aboard I could eat; even the hash browns were made with eggs. I was completely left out of the two afternoon teas because the only gluten-free option was egg custard. If you don't have a special diet or mind a round of gastroenteritis with no medicine for relief, the rest of the cruise is to be recommended. Shore excursions are to carefully chosen sites, many of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites. The tour guides are somewhat variable in quality, but most are very good. I was only disappointed by one guide, who was intent on telling a particular story and glossed over what we were looking at. There are both included and optional tours, plus short walks into port cities lead by the conceirge. Be sure to consider the optional tours which go to interesting places and provide good value. Viking provides a transmitter/earpiece system so it's easy to hear all the narration. When the ship is cruising, there are slide shows in the afternoon, appealing spreads of local pastries, and music in the evening. The cabins are well appointed and the information on their website is spot-on. L'Occitane toiletries are a nice touch. The lounge is big and comfortable with floor-to-ceiling windows and plenty of seating. There is a rooftop sundeck as well, with plenty of lounge chairs and the option of sitting in the sun or the shade. Dining room tables seat either six or ten guests and lounge seating is in conversation groups. This is a good arrangement if you like to mingle and talk to other people on the ship. Mealtimes are fairly regimented if you want to enjoy the main menu; breakfast is the only meal with a fair amount of flexibility. Dinner was often later than I would have liked. We were typically seated at 7pm and not served until maybe 7:45. The late dinners combined with 8:30 am excursions meant I ended up a bit sleep-deprived. Because of the relatively small size of the ship there were typically only 3-4 selections for lunch and dinner, plus a menu of fixed options. The food was fresh and well-prepared. Wine is served with lunch and dinner. They serve the same complementary wine with all the meals the whole week. If you want something different there are some really nice wines for purchase on the wine list. Be aware with the Rhine cruises that the ones originating in Amsterdam are going upriver. That means more time on the water and less on shore excursions. Choose your direction by whether you like sitting on the sundeck and watching the river go by, or having more time to wander the local cities. There isn't a right or wrong answer; the cruises are just different.

Good Cruise, Except for the Gastroenteritis

Viking Hlin Cruise Review by skylark77

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2015
  • Destination: Europe River
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Stateroom
Unfortunately, what should have been a great Rhine cruise was marred for over half the passengers on the Viking Hlin. Within two days of boarding the ship over 60 out of 188 passengers came down with gastroenteritis. The ship staff took virtually no measures to control the virus so it tore through the rest of the passengers in short order. Sick people were loaded onto tour buses with healthy ones, self-service buffets continued, and there was no systematic disinfection of handrails or shared furniture. To add insult to injury they didn't bother to obtain rehydration solution or antidiarrheal medication, even though they knew dozens of passengers were sick and local shops closed on the weekend.

Handling of special diets was adequate, but not up to the high standards they claimed when I booked my ticket. Despite my telling them about my gluten-free/egg-free diet six weeks in advance, breakfast was a sad affair. There wasn't a single bread or cereal aboard I could eat; even the hash browns were made with eggs. I was completely left out of the two afternoon teas because the only gluten-free option was egg custard.

If you don't have a special diet or mind a round of gastroenteritis with no medicine for relief, the rest of the cruise is to be recommended. Shore excursions are to carefully chosen sites, many of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites. The tour guides are somewhat variable in quality, but most are very good. I was only disappointed by one guide, who was intent on telling a particular story and glossed over what we were looking at. There are both included and optional tours, plus short walks into port cities lead by the conceirge. Be sure to consider the optional tours which go to interesting places and provide good value. Viking provides a transmitter/earpiece system so it's easy to hear all the narration. When the ship is cruising, there are slide shows in the afternoon, appealing spreads of local pastries, and music in the evening.

The cabins are well appointed and the information on their website is spot-on.

L'Occitane toiletries are a nice touch. The lounge is big and comfortable with floor-to-ceiling windows and plenty of seating. There is a rooftop sundeck as well, with plenty of lounge chairs and the option of sitting in the sun or the shade.

Dining room tables seat either six or ten guests and lounge seating is in conversation groups. This is a good arrangement if you like to mingle and talk to other people on the ship. Mealtimes are fairly regimented if you want to enjoy the main menu; breakfast is the only meal with a fair amount of flexibility. Dinner was often later than I would have liked. We were typically seated at 7pm and not served until maybe 7:45. The late dinners combined with 8:30 am excursions meant I ended up a bit sleep-deprived. Because of the relatively small size of the ship there were typically only 3-4 selections for lunch and dinner, plus a menu of fixed options. The food was fresh and well-prepared. Wine is served with lunch and dinner. They serve the same complementary wine with all the meals the whole week. If you want something different there are some really nice wines for purchase on the wine list.

Be aware with the Rhine cruises that the ones originating in Amsterdam are going upriver. That means more time on the water and less on shore excursions. Choose your direction by whether you like sitting on the sundeck and watching the river go by, or having more time to wander the local cities. There isn't a right or wrong answer; the cruises are just different.
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Stateroom
Cabin E 105
The dimensions and description of the deluxe stateroom on the website are accurate so I knew what to expect. The cabin is mostly bed, with a small built-in desk and a stool. There is also a wardrobe, drawers, and a small refrigerator. The bathroom is small but very functional. There is a television, but channels are limited and may not work well when the ship is moving. The windows on the waterline staterooms are up high. You can see out if you stand, but not sitting on the bed or stool. In order to see the scenery, you're going to want to spend most of your time in the lounge or sun deck.
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