Viking Embla Cruise Review by O1dT1mer
- Sail Date: May 2018
- Destination: Europe River
- Cabin Type: French Balcony
Instead, we discovered that there were usually four to six Viking ships in town at a time. We often docked 20-30 minutes from town in a cargo area and were bused into town and back. This meant that the tours involved around 1,000 people - more if you included the ships from other companies. The next to last stop was supposed to be in Kinderdijk. Instead, we docked in Doordrect and rode on buses for 30 minutes each way.
The food ranged from good to terrible. Several of the meals were inedible. They were bland beyond belief and often poorly prepared. The standard "always available" lunch entrees were a hamburger (overcooked and dry) or a hot dog. The local menus on the Danube were good. From that point on, the local menus ranged from standard sausage and kraut (good) to incredibly bland, and definitely not representative of local dishes. The Dutch ones were particularly horrible. Unlike anything available in the Netherlands.
We also did not appreciate the overdone drinking culture. There were no non-alcoholic options available at the "free receptions" and the whole cruise seemed to revolve around alcoholic beverages. I guess that is one way to keep some gusts happy.
The included shore excursions were mostly 1 1/2 hour walking tours through town. Some were interesting. The guide for the Vienna city tour was irritating. The two optional music activities in Vienna were the highlight.
I would never do this itinerary. The four days cruising the Danube-Main Canal were the worst and mostly a waste of time. I would recommend choosing either the Rhine or the Danube (preferred) but not the Grand European.
The entire environment was geared towards relatively untravelled Americans. It was too structured for our taste and lacked the international flavor we have enjoyed on other cruises.
The crew worked incredibly hard and were efficient and friendly. The Program Director had to work constantly to compensate for Viking's disorganization and oversold activities. He was knowledgeable and certainly among the best in the business.
Our French Balcony cabin was small, but worked fine, especially since we spent little time in it.
The internet service was simply awful by any measure. The free internet on European trains works 100 times better. It was incredibly slow when it was semi-functional. Most of the time it was not, unless you tried it before 6:00 AM. The onboard WiFi system did not provide adequate coverage, the authentication system was buggy.
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The shower was small, but since it had two doors, it was usable. Unfortunately, the door system and seals led to significant leaks. The closet space is also quite constrained and there were not enough drawers. The drawers were also very flat and didn't hold much. There was a large-screen Sony TV on the wall. We only used it to watch the safety briefing which they pestered you with until you watched it. Quite irritating and not very informative.
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
City TourThe place was packed. The cathedral was breathtaking - especially the stained glass. A good place to shop.View All 115 City Tour Reviews
Melk AbbeyAn amazingly beautiful place. A bit crowded with all of the Viking ships in town. No photos are allowed and no digital photos are available.View All 169 Melk Abbey Reviews
Walking TourThis was a fun city. We also purchased a cuckoo clock there from an amazing shop with a great selection. It is a family run business. Prices were competitive.View All 198 Walking Tour Reviews
ViennaWe were treated to an amazing, extremely entertaining evening with a small orchestra with amazing musicians and dancers. There were two vocal artists who were also wonderful. This was definitely a highlight.View All 13,774 Vienna Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Vienna Cruise Port Review
Schonbrunn PalaceWe booked a combination of the Palace and the Vienna Choir Boys. The Choir tour was the highlight of the cruise. We were treated to a private concert and reception with one of the four resident choirs. There were only about 28 people in attendance and the concert was truly amazing.View All 159 Schonbrunn Palace Reviews
WurzburgThis was one of our favorites. Small and easy to get around.View All 204 Wurzburg Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Wurzburg Cruise Port Review