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My husband and I went on Viking River Cruise’s “Christmas in Germany” cruise this past December. This was my first river cruise, but I have been on many ocean cruises and traveled throughout Europe. We are in our early thirties, so I was anxious about going on this cruise as I know that the passengers on these journeys are usually older, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a younger bunch on this ship, perhaps because of the holidays. There were plenty of retirees, but also couples in their thirties, forties, and fifties, some with adolescent children. We never felt uncomfortable, and since we are not big “party animals” we thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment (local musicians and craftsmen) and port talks. Our cruise director Sam was wonderful and one of the best I have ever met! I expect him to join the ranks for Carnival’s famed director John Heald. We booked our air travel through Viking Air and flew Lufthansa from Atlanta to Frankfurt and United from Cologne to Munich, Munich to D.C., and D.C. to Atlanta. I was displeased at the number of stops on our return trip, but the times were acceptable as we did not have to leave the ship until 6:30 AM the morning of our departure and since we received our tickets in October (three months before departure), I was able to secure good seat assignments. The main problem I encountered on the entire trip Viking Air’s lack of support when our flight from Frankfurt to Nuremberg. Upon our arrival in Frankfurt, we discovered that our next and last flight to Nuremberg was cancelled. After speaking with the airline (Lufthansa) and being told that there were no other flights to Nuremberg that day and that the only option was to take the high-speed train with vouchers offered by the airline. This was concerning because our Viking transport bus was supposed to meet us at the Nuremberg airport upon arrival, not at the train station. I immediately called Viking at the number provided in my travel material and spoke with a man who seemed to be bothered by my call and told me that if the airline cancelled the flight, there was nothing Viking could do as the bus would be waiting at the airport and that I must find my own transportation to the ship. He did say that Viking would reimburse the taxi fare from the train station to the port. Wanting more information, I called back and spoke with a different person who had more information than him (she had been alerted that multiple flights had been cancelled that day), but she was not able to offer any additional help. We took the train, which had a station in the Frankfurt airport, to Nuremberg and flagged a taxi to take us to the port. Our situation turned out fine and we made it to the ship (three hours later than intended), but we made it in plenty of time. I was disappointed in Viking’s support during this situation as I understood that one of the advantages to booking air through Viking was to has assistance with any air and transportation issues. If we were handicapped or not well-traveled, this could have been a big problem, resulting in us not getting to the ship in time. I still recommend booking air with Viking as was a significant discount, do keep in mind that booking with them does not necessarily mean that they will be able to assist with any issues once you have started the trip. Onboard service, however, was excellent! There was always a room steward, waiter, or guest services manager available to meet any and all needs. DINING We dined in the Aquavit Terrace several nights and the waiters were very attentive. They even humored us and brought entrees from the dining room menu to us and another table! There are tables for two and four inside of the terrace and even more options outside when the weather is warm. Each night there is a different entrée on the menu, but the starters and salads were the same. I suggest that they provide the same “Always Available” dining room menu in the Aquavit Terrace for passengers who want a quiet, intimate, shorter dinner experience. The dining room service was also great and the food was good, but there was not a big variety of types of food from which to choose. Understandably, much of the menu is German-type food and one night is themed with traditional German dishes and musical performers in the dining room. CABIN Our French Balcony cabin on Deck 2 was wonderful! There is plenty of room for two people, the floor to ceiling windows (with a door that slides open – there is a rail to prevent falls since there is not a balcony) make the room feel even larger. The bathroom is completely tiled and the heated floors felt so good after a cold day. Bottled water is replaced daily, there is a self-service machine on each deck (which I prefer as opposed to having to track down a cabin steward like on ocean cruise ships), and the mini fridge is surprisingly cold. The beds are comfortable, topped with soft white duvets and plenty of pillows. ITINERARY We cruised from December 22nd to December 29th and took the “Christmas in Germany” route from Nuremberg to Cologne, stopping in Bamberg, Wertheim, Wurzburg, and Koblenz. If you choose to cruise during Christmas, be aware that most shops, restaurants, and historic sites are closed for much of Christmas Eve and all day on Christmas and the day after Christmas. I expected the closures on Christmas Eve and Christmas, but not the day after Christmas. Nevertheless, Viking was able to arrange some fun stops along the way, including docking on Christmas Eve in a small town so that passengers could attend Christmas Eve services at local churches. Because of work and school obligations, the Christmas holidays are a convenient time for many families to vacation; however, because of the extended closures in Germany, I would not recommend traveling during this time, unless one is planning to an extended trip - staying multiple days before or after Christmas, instead of just traveling through the week of Christmas.

Viking River Cruise - Service on Par with Disney!

Viking Tor Cruise Review by lhshore

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2017
  • Destination: Europe River
  • Cabin Type: French Balcony
My husband and I went on Viking River Cruise’s “Christmas in Germany” cruise this past December. This was my first river cruise, but I have been on many ocean cruises and traveled throughout Europe.

We are in our early thirties, so I was anxious about going on this cruise as I know that the passengers on these journeys are usually older, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a younger bunch on this ship, perhaps because of the holidays. There were plenty of retirees, but also couples in their thirties, forties, and fifties, some with adolescent children. We never felt uncomfortable, and since we are not big “party animals” we thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment (local musicians and craftsmen) and port talks. Our cruise director Sam was wonderful and one of the best I have ever met! I expect him to join the ranks for Carnival’s famed director John Heald.

We booked our air travel through Viking Air and flew Lufthansa from Atlanta to Frankfurt and United from Cologne to Munich, Munich to D.C., and D.C. to Atlanta. I was displeased at the number of stops on our return trip, but the times were acceptable as we did not have to leave the ship until 6:30 AM the morning of our departure and since we received our tickets in October (three months before departure), I was able to secure good seat assignments.

The main problem I encountered on the entire trip Viking Air’s lack of support when our flight from Frankfurt to Nuremberg. Upon our arrival in Frankfurt, we discovered that our next and last flight to Nuremberg was cancelled. After speaking with the airline (Lufthansa) and being told that there were no other flights to Nuremberg that day and that the only option was to take the high-speed train with vouchers offered by the airline. This was concerning because our Viking transport bus was supposed to meet us at the Nuremberg airport upon arrival, not at the train station. I immediately called Viking at the number provided in my travel material and spoke with a man who seemed to be bothered by my call and told me that if the airline cancelled the flight, there was nothing Viking could do as the bus would be waiting at the airport and that I must find my own transportation to the ship. He did say that Viking would reimburse the taxi fare from the train station to the port. Wanting more information, I called back and spoke with a different person who had more information than him (she had been alerted that multiple flights had been cancelled that day), but she was not able to offer any additional help. We took the train, which had a station in the Frankfurt airport, to Nuremberg and flagged a taxi to take us to the port.

Our situation turned out fine and we made it to the ship (three hours later than intended), but we made it in plenty of time. I was disappointed in Viking’s support during this situation as I understood that one of the advantages to booking air through Viking was to has assistance with any air and transportation issues. If we were handicapped or not well-traveled, this could have been a big problem, resulting in us not getting to the ship in time. I still recommend booking air with Viking as was a significant discount, do keep in mind that booking with them does not necessarily mean that they will be able to assist with any issues once you have started the trip.

Onboard service, however, was excellent! There was always a room steward, waiter, or guest services manager available to meet any and all needs.

DINING

We dined in the Aquavit Terrace several nights and the waiters were very attentive. They even humored us and brought entrees from the dining room menu to us and another table! There are tables for two and four inside of the terrace and even more options outside when the weather is warm. Each night there is a different entrée on the menu, but the starters and salads were the same. I suggest that they provide the same “Always Available” dining room menu in the Aquavit Terrace for passengers who want a quiet, intimate, shorter dinner experience.

The dining room service was also great and the food was good, but there was not a big variety of types of food from which to choose. Understandably, much of the menu is German-type food and one night is themed with traditional German dishes and musical performers in the dining room.

CABIN

Our French Balcony cabin on Deck 2 was wonderful! There is plenty of room for two people, the floor to ceiling windows (with a door that slides open – there is a rail to prevent falls since there is not a balcony) make the room feel even larger. The bathroom is completely tiled and the heated floors felt so good after a cold day. Bottled water is replaced daily, there is a self-service machine on each deck (which I prefer as opposed to having to track down a cabin steward like on ocean cruise ships), and the mini fridge is surprisingly cold. The beds are comfortable, topped with soft white duvets and plenty of pillows.

ITINERARY

We cruised from December 22nd to December 29th and took the “Christmas in Germany” route from Nuremberg to Cologne, stopping in Bamberg, Wertheim, Wurzburg, and Koblenz. If you choose to cruise during Christmas, be aware that most shops, restaurants, and historic sites are closed for much of Christmas Eve and all day on Christmas and the day after Christmas. I expected the closures on Christmas Eve and Christmas, but not the day after Christmas. Nevertheless, Viking was able to arrange some fun stops along the way, including docking on Christmas Eve in a small town so that passengers could attend Christmas Eve services at local churches. Because of work and school obligations, the Christmas holidays are a convenient time for many families to vacation; however, because of the extended closures in Germany, I would not recommend traveling during this time, unless one is planning to an extended trip - staying multiple days before or after Christmas, instead of just traveling through the week of Christmas.
lhshore’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

French Balcony
Cabin D 222
Our French Balcony cabin on Deck 2 was wonderful! There is plenty of room for two people, the floor to ceiling windows (with a door that slides open – there is a rail to prevent falls since there is not a balcony) make the room feel even larger. The bathroom is completely tiled and the heated floors felt so good after a cold day. Bottled water is replaced daily, there is a self-service machine on each deck (which I prefer as opposed to having to track down a cabin steward like on ocean cruise ships), and the mini fridge is surprisingly cold. The beds are comfortable, topped with soft white duvets and plenty of pillows.
Middle Deck Balcony Cabins