We have seen VIking Cruises advertised for years and have had it as a goal since our last European vacation 5 years ago. Although it seemed like such an expensive extravagance, since cruising we realize what an exceptional value it is. We were offered free airfare and that convinced us to do it. And we are so happy we did!
We went to Amsterdam on our own 2 days ahead of the cruise. It was tempting to let Viking handle it, but I'm glad we did it on our own, because it was much more inexpensive that way. Finding our way to our hotel from the airport was very simple and inexpensive by taking the train. We did have to pay a $100 pp diversion fee, but still felt we made the best choice. Our first day on the boat we were able to join in the walking tour of Amsterdam.
From the moment we dropped our luggage near the port, we were treated like royalty. I can't say enough about the service! And we felt special because they took the trouble to remember our names and greet us whenever they saw us. I have to recognize Krista, Alex, Ivan, Jimmie, Rudy and Arias, Exceptional service!
The rooms were comfortable. We chose a lower deck room because we didn't feel it was important to have a balcony and we really didn't miss it. They have done everything to make the small space as comfortable as possible. There was plenty of storage space.
The food was fabulous with plenty of choices since there is an "always available" menu with a few choices. We only went to it once, choosing the steak which was very good. The included wines were good, but did not vary the entire week. They offered a Sauvignon Blanc and a Malbec. I don't know if there was more than one beer on offer or not, but when we did have it, it was the same. I don't remember the nameof it. We did not choose the silver package because we don't drink liquor, but most of the people we hung out with did, and they seemed to think it was worth it. The drink prices are reasonable. You have the option to add the silver package up to the second day of the cruise. We chose the dining room for every meal. There was much more on offer and we could still eat light if we chose to.
Candi, our cruise director did a wonderful job and was always informative, patient and and jovial. We did not do any of the optional excursions. We felt the included excursions and then exploring on our own the rest of the time was a perfect mix. We enjoyed all of the included excursions.
There was a singer, pianist most nights. Although it was clear English wasn't Gigi's first language, he did a good job and the crowd joined in with him and enjoyed his entertainment. There was another pair playing classical one night, but it wasn't our thing, so we went to the top deck, since we were going rough the locks that evening ( that in itself is an event worth seeing. We went through many locks but most of them were while we were sleeping.). Another afternoon, there was a speaker, but we missed it because we went in to explore the town.
We would love to take another Viking Cruise. We couldn't give t a better recommendation!
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