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We are a group of 8 who have traveled together on land tours, but this was our first river cruise, and was a complete delight! The Alruna is a relatively new ship, and beautiful from stem to stern. The long ships are quite simply laid out, you have essentially three decks to hold the staterooms, a lounge and a dining room, and the sun deck for lounging and enjoying the scenery when sailing during the day. We had classic central European fall weather, mainly cool with occasional rain, so we didn't have much chance to sit on the sun deck except for a day in which we sailed by several castles, and it was absolutely fabulous. We chose to tack on two days in Amsterdam at the start of the trip, which was a doubly good idea, as it gave us more time to explore the city and enjoy the night life, and at the same time shake off any jet lag before beginning the actual cruise. When we arrived in Amsterdam we were greeted by Viking agents, who led us to a limousine to take us to our hotel (Amsterdam Renaissance). It was pouring rain and a fair piece to the hotel, during which our driver regaled us with the history and anecdotes about the city. Once at the hotel we met with other agents who helped us plan out our city tours and activities, and one of them (Iris) led us on a walking tour of the city on the second day. All the agents were friendly, helpful, and entertaining! Iris was the best! We walked to the ship from our hotel, which tells you how convenient river cruising is compared to the experience on ocean cruises. Processing was like checking into a hotel! On board the ship, the experience is relaxing and fun, while including some education for you about the areas you are passing through and stopping at. Meals vary from day to day, following the local cuisine, although if you wish you can always get a steak or a chicken dish. The menu is limited in comparison to big ocean liners, but found them more than adequate in choices, and complete with beer and wine. Speaking of which, Viking has probably the best drinks package of any line we have traveled on. Each stop has an excursion that is included (usually a city walking tour) and a few optional ones. The guides were all top-notch, very knowledgeable, and equally amusing. Viking provides each guest with a "quiet stick", which is a small receiver and earphones. The guide uses a similar looking transmitter, so you are able to hear clearly everything they say without having to run to be at the front of the crowd. One feature of their organizing the excursions is for people who are limited in their mobility (not necessarily handicapped, but travel a bit more slowly than most), Viking organizes separate groups to accommodate them without missing any of the highlights of the tour. One excursion you don't want to miss is the "Taste of Alsace" in Strasbourg. It is a walking tour of the city, during which you stop at various shops where you taste (and may purchase), breads, cheeses, cured meats, pastries, etc, ending up in a wine shop where you have a "picnic" of the items the guide has collected, and glasses of Alsatian wines from the shop. Be sure to book early, it is limited! Another feature of Viking's attention to detail for excursions is they provide you with an excellent small city map (not the sort of map the big liners provide showing you where the Diamonds International are), and a business card with information in the local language on your ship and where it is located, and phone numbers to contact it or Viking. If you should happen to get lost or are delayed in returning to the ship, you can show the card to, say, a cab driver or policeman, and they can help get you back to the ship in time for sailing! As I said, this was our first river cruise with Viking, but it will certainly not be the last. In fact, our group has already booked for a Danube cruise in 2018, with the two-day stay in Prague tacked on to the beginning of the trip. This was another last-minute decision, and guess what, we will be back in "steerage" again, but who cares!

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Viking Alruna Cruise Review by oldarmychief

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2017
  • Destination: Europe
We are a group of 8 who have traveled together on land tours, but this was our first river cruise, and was a complete delight! The Alruna is a relatively new ship, and beautiful from stem to stern. The long ships are quite simply laid out, you have essentially three decks to hold the staterooms, a lounge and a dining room, and the sun deck for lounging and enjoying the scenery when sailing during the day. We had classic central European fall weather, mainly cool with occasional rain, so we didn't have much chance to sit on the sun deck except for a day in which we sailed by several castles, and it was absolutely fabulous.

We chose to tack on two days in Amsterdam at the start of the trip, which was a doubly good idea, as it gave us more time to explore the city and enjoy the night life, and at the same time shake off any jet lag before beginning the actual cruise. When we arrived in Amsterdam we were greeted by Viking agents, who led us to a limousine to take us to our hotel (Amsterdam Renaissance). It was pouring rain and a fair piece to the hotel, during which our driver regaled us with the history and anecdotes about the city. Once at the hotel we met with other agents who helped us plan out our city tours and activities, and one of them (Iris) led us on a walking tour of the city on the second day. All the agents were friendly, helpful, and entertaining! Iris was the best!

We walked to the ship from our hotel, which tells you how convenient river cruising is compared to the experience on ocean cruises. Processing was like checking into a hotel! On board the ship, the experience is relaxing and fun, while including some education for you about the areas you are passing through and stopping at. Meals vary from day to day, following the local cuisine, although if you wish you can always get a steak or a chicken dish. The menu is limited in comparison to big ocean liners, but found them more than adequate in choices, and complete with beer and wine. Speaking of which, Viking has probably the best drinks package of any line we have traveled on.

Each stop has an excursion that is included (usually a city walking tour) and a few optional ones. The guides were all top-notch, very knowledgeable, and equally amusing.

Viking provides each guest with a "quiet stick", which is a small receiver and earphones.

The guide uses a similar looking transmitter, so you are able to hear clearly everything they say without having to run to be at the front of the crowd. One feature of their organizing the excursions is for people who are limited in their mobility (not necessarily handicapped, but travel a bit more slowly than most), Viking organizes separate groups to accommodate them without missing any of the highlights of the tour.

One excursion you don't want to miss is the "Taste of Alsace" in Strasbourg. It is a walking tour of the city, during which you stop at various shops where you taste (and may purchase), breads, cheeses, cured meats, pastries, etc, ending up in a wine shop where you have a "picnic" of the items the guide has collected, and glasses of Alsatian wines from the shop. Be sure to book early, it is limited!

Another feature of Viking's attention to detail for excursions is they provide you with an excellent small city map (not the sort of map the big liners provide showing you where the Diamonds International are), and a business card with information in the local language on your ship and where it is located, and phone numbers to contact it or Viking. If you should happen to get lost or are delayed in returning to the ship, you can show the card to, say, a cab driver or policeman, and they can help get you back to the ship in time for sailing!

As I said, this was our first river cruise with Viking, but it will certainly not be the last. In fact, our group has already booked for a Danube cruise in 2018, with the two-day stay in Prague tacked on to the beginning of the trip. This was another last-minute decision, and guess what, we will be back in "steerage" again, but who cares!
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Cabin Review

Cabin 122
We were traveling in a group of 8, and booked the cruise relatively at the last minute, so we got the last 4 staterooms on the ship, which were standard cabins down in "steerage." And although the view wasn't great (you could look up to watch the ducks swim by the boat), the rooms were comfortable, and fully accomodated us and our luggage. In fact, I believe the Standard cabins have more square footage than the French Balcony staterooms. Having a suite would have been nice, but our rooms were fine. And as to view, we really used them only at night or maybe to take a short nap in the afternoon, so there really was no issue about it.
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