Viking Gefjon Cruise Review by bondboy1014
- Sail Date: May 2017
- Destination: Europe River
- Cabin Type: Veranda Stateroom
The ship was conveniently located for boarding in Amsterdam at the ship terminal. We had stayed at the Movenpick next door. We were enthusiastically greeted by the Program Director, Sam Corbin. Sam, a very exuberant young man, was a very capable and enjoyable Program Director for the trip. His excursions were well run and he was always pleasant no matter what happened. The on-board programs were entertaining.
If you like medieval history and architecture with castles and cobblestones, you would like the cruise. We do. Be prepared though for some difficult walks. When Viking says the walk is “strenuous” – believe it. Don’t play macho with a “I-can-handle-anything” attitude!
The ship itself was in very good condition. Everything was kept in a shiny and spotless manner. The crew across the board was attentive, good natured and eager to please the 183 passengers. The housekeeping staff kept the cabins clean. Just remember though, instead of asking for “wash clothes” ask for “face towels”.
There were two dining areas – the main dining room (open seating) and the Aquavit Terrace. Both were very capably served by staff. The Terrace was a wonderful place to have breakfast and watch the world go by. The biggest drawback to the Terrace was the dinner entrees were on a one week rotation and only the entrée changed each night – other courses always remained the same. What you had on the first Monday was what you would get the next Monday and there was only one entrée offered.
Over the years we have seen all cruise lines reduce the food quantities served and an emphasis on presentation – how does it look on the plate with drizzles and colors, etc. The food was average and, frankly, tended toward the bland side. Soups had little thickness – were very watery. I think Viking has overdone the portion control. Surf and turf with one-half of a small lobster tail and small four oz. piece of meat is carrying it a little far. The “fall back” steak if you didn’t like other alternatives was a, sometimes, inedible strip steak. We know people who sent them back.
While we generally enjoyed the cruise, there was one very troubling aspect. We paid for a full balcony stateroom on the second deck with the intent of enjoying the scenery while sitting on the balcony (or at least with the door open) as we glided across Europe. The Viking company policy is that staterooms and balconies are non-smoking. A designated area is provided for smokers. Unfortunately, we non-smokers, ended up with at least one smoker next door and he sat on his balcony smoking. We were forced indoors with the balcony door closed. I spoke to customer service about this about the third day of the cruise. Their reply was they would check with housekeeping. We did not receive any feedback on the issue and the smoking continued through the end of the cruise. A Viking representative contacted me after the cruise after I had made a comment on one of their surveys with a “so sorry” attitude.
If you are a non-smoker and are expecting a non-smoking environment, you should be prepared for that to not be the situation and act accordingly. My mistake was probably not being aggressive enough in the follow-up.
So, would we do a river cruise again? Maybe. Would we do Viking again? That’s going to require some real consideration. It was good, but if they don’t live up to their own policies well…………..
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