This is our second cruise with Viking. The first was in Russia, and was superb. Well thought out, great crew, significant learning while being entertained. This cruise was the antithesis of the Russia experience.
I'll begin with a discussion of the Internet access on the ship. This is critical to me, and was particularly so this time since we had a grandson-in-law undergoing delicate cancer-related surgery and wanted to be in constant communication with our granddaughter. The Wi-Fi signal on the ship could only be received in one's stateroom while sitting on the toilet, and often that didn't work either. Wi-Fi in the reception area and the lounge was O.K. but, of course, inconvenient. The ship router to wide area connections were spotty and congested. I am an Electrical Engineer, and spent my career in data communications. The problems alluded to above are easily remediated, but Viking is apparently rooted in the 19th (o.k., maybe 20th) century and just doesn't care about this vital service. The Wi-Fi capability (or lack thereof) absolutely ruined the cruise for me, and I will never use Viking again.
I wrote to the hotel director, an officious pompous ass, about the Wi-Fi problem, and he never gave me the courtesy of a response. If he worked for me, he'd be gone for that contempt for the passengers alone.
The activity director was of the forced perky school, and I literally had to leave whenever she spoke about the day's plans. She literally made my skin crawl with cutesy-poo behavior.
The shore excursions were boring and repetitive. They stopped at any town with a church, palace or castle and generally visiting one of these three "landmarks" constituted the excursion. Trust me, when you finish this cruise you will have been in more churches than Pope Francis and more castles than King Arthur. There was very seldom enough time allocated to roaming the city, meeting the people, and sampling local cuisine while getting a real feel for the city. We always had to rush because there was another town to visit down river, and they had a "can't miss" church, palace or castle. Half as many stops for twice as long would have been 100% better for me, and for many of the folks we spoke with.
In contrast to the bad experience with Internet access, tour planning and courtesy of the management, the dining and housekeeping staff were wonderful. I have Celiac Disease, so being gluten-free is not a choice function for me - it is a life saving necessity. The Maitre'd and the waitstaff worked overtime to make me comfortable that I'd never be "glutened" and after a day on the ship I never worried about it again. I met with Roland (the Maitre'd) each morning and we planned out the meals for the day. The waitstaff got to know me (and, I think, become my friends) quickly, and they knew exactly how to assure that the meal plan was adhered to. Wonderful guys and one wonderful gal; they could all work for me any day and I'd be proud to have them. As an aside, the bartender knew how to make a really good martini, and one was in my hand 60 seconds after entering the lounge without my saying a word.
Housekeeping was impeccable, and the cabin attendant was wonderful
If you are thinking about this cruise, don't bother to bring any electronic communication device, and be ready for a dizzying procession of churches, palaces and castles. Better yet, think again.
The cabin was smallish, but perfectly adequate. The housekeeping was superb; room always spotless, and the cabin attendant (Marija) was wonderful. Of course we didn't spend as much time in the cabin as we normally would, because of the frightful Internet service available there.
Good discussion of the history of the city, and a good overview of the various points of interest. No time to roam and sample local cuisine, meet the people, or get a feel for the city environment.View All 353 City Tour Reviews
Whirlwind views of the city highlights. Essentially no time to sample the cuisine or get a feel for the city. An extra fare concert in Vienna was held in a peculiar venue, not well presented, and certainly not worth the money.View All 183 Walking Tour Reviews
Lovely abbey, the first of the church/palace/castle deluge. A little time to actually see the town. Certainly no time to get a feel for the cuisine, meet the locals, etc.View All 182 Melk Abbey Reviews
The organ concert was horrific. Someone wanted to show the power of the organ(s), with no attention to making music. Sounded like a herd of cats scampering on the keyboards. I would have run out, but I was pinned in the middle of a pew and could not escape.View All 112 St. Stephen's Cathedral Reviews
Nice, albeit brief, discussion of the history of the town, the flooding problem, and the importance of the location at the confluence of the Danube and Inn rivers. Great guide, and a little time to actually roam the town.View All 218 Walking Tour Reviews
The tour of Regensburg was another in the line of church/castle/palace, no time to really see the town stupidity until the guide began to discuss her involvement with the stumbling stones project and the fate of the jews in Regensburg and elsewhere in Germany. She was so eloquent and caring that she made a very deep impression on all of us, and prompted us to donate to the project before we even left the town. This was a highlight of the cruise.
Mad dash around the city by bus, church/palace/castle redundancy. Some discussion of the Nazi influence, and some scary photographs of the celebrations held by the party in the late 30's and early 40's. Should have taken the WW2 tour instead.
This tour was memorable since we actually got to have lunch in town and meet some local people. The actual tour was not memorable; I've given it an average score because it was mercifully short and allowed us to actually see a town.
Good day because I didn't take the Viking excursion to yet another castle. Cable car to the old fortress, walking around the "corner of Germany," visit to the Berlin wall memorial, local food, meeting a number of locals and learning about their lives, etc. If only I had done this at every city!!!
Yet another church, albeit a spectacular one. Enough time to do some independent walking and eating; way better than the tour itself.View All 148 Walking Tour Reviews