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We are seasoned ocean cruisers and thought we should try river cruise having heard so much raving from friends and online reviews. Coming from the ocean cruise angle, river cruise is a bit small, bland, and boring. Due to the low water level, we were put in a hotel (Marriott) the first night at Budapest. Since we are gold elite member of Marriott, we were conveniently upgraded and had access to the concierge lounge which has a spectacular view of Budapest. Believe it or not, this was the highlight of our cruise! We were put back in the cruise after the first night and had to change ship eventually. The cruise staff did their very best to accomodate. Service was decent overall. However, if you are looking for food quality and entertainment, they are literally non existent compared to ocean cruises. Viking's saying that "spending less time getting there and more time being there" didn't hold true either. We didn't find the excursions any better than those of ocean cruises. I expected some in-depth immersion in each city's culture through the daily excursions. But I find the excursions lack of lustre. Or maybe I was hyped up too much by all the ravings and had too high an expectation. Entertainment is basically a one man band playing the piano. Food is short of variety and innovation. I couldn't remember even one meal or one dish that stands out. High tea was the worst. I definitely make better scones and cakes than the chef (and I'm only a mediocre cook)! Most of the time, the top deck is closed off due to passing under bridges. We're basically stuck in a very small vessel. At times when we docked, our vessel is parked side by side another one, meaning that we couldn't even open the blind. Coincidentally, we met another couple whom we acquainted in an earlier ocean cruise. They were seasoned ocean cruisers as well. They hold the same view as we do. That we won't be going to river cruise any time soon or in the foreseeable future. Having friendly cruise staff just doesn't cut as river cruises are expensive and expect more. PS By the way, I expected at least a small fitness center on board. But sorry, none!

We prefer ocean cruises.

Viking Jarl Cruise Review by Mike from Toronto

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2015
  • Destination: Europe River
  • Cabin Type: Veranda Superior
We are seasoned ocean cruisers and thought we should try river cruise having heard so much raving from friends and online reviews. Coming from the ocean cruise angle, river cruise is a bit small, bland, and boring.

Due to the low water level, we were put in a hotel (Marriott) the first night at Budapest. Since we are gold elite member of Marriott, we were conveniently upgraded and had access to the concierge lounge which has a spectacular view of Budapest. Believe it or not, this was the highlight of our cruise! We were put back in the cruise after the first night and had to change ship eventually. The cruise staff did their very best to accomodate. Service was decent overall. However, if you are looking for food quality and entertainment, they are literally non existent compared to ocean cruises.

Viking's saying that "spending less time getting there and more time being there" didn't hold true either. We didn't find the excursions any better than those of ocean cruises. I expected some in-depth immersion in each city's culture through the daily excursions. But I find the excursions lack of lustre. Or maybe I was hyped up too much by all the ravings and had too high an expectation.

Entertainment is basically a one man band playing the piano. Food is short of variety and innovation. I couldn't remember even one meal or one dish that stands out. High tea was the worst. I definitely make better scones and cakes than the chef (and I'm only a mediocre cook)! Most of the time, the top deck is closed off due to passing under bridges. We're basically stuck in a very small vessel. At times when we docked, our vessel is parked side by side another one, meaning that we couldn't even open the blind.

Coincidentally, we met another couple whom we acquainted in an earlier ocean cruise. They were seasoned ocean cruisers as well. They hold the same view as we do. That we won't be going to river cruise any time soon or in the foreseeable future. Having friendly cruise staff just doesn't cut as river cruises are expensive and expect more.

PS By the way, I expected at least a small fitness center on board. But sorry, none!
Mike from Toronto’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Veranda Superior
Cabin A forgot
Zero. Looked at concrete most of the time.
Upper Deck Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins