We are 'sold' on Viking. This was our second river cruise and we have also taken one ocean cruise with them.
The service from the crew is outstanding and they go an extra mile for their passengers. The ship is light, airy and always being cleaned. You will find that 80% of passengers are American, some from New Zealand and Australia and probably about 10% from Britain. Previously we have found the age group to be 60's and over but this time there were definitely more under 40's and several teenagers. Everyone talks to everyone else and I think it would be fine to travel as a single person as you would not feel lonely or left out.
There is not a huge amount of entertainment and mostly provided by the resident pianist or local groups brought on board for the evening.
Clothing in the evening is supposed to be smart casual. However, I saw people in shorts and teenagers in 'cut offs', so as long as you look clean and tidy, I think you can get away with anything. Certainly don't bother with a jacket and tie for men or anything sparkly for women.
People say that Viking are expensive. I don't agree - once on board you don't pay for anything else and there are many extras. For example, we all sat on deck whilst cruising the middle Rhine and it was a tad chilly. Soon, blankets were brought round for us and 20 minutes later, hot chocolate with amaretto.
We travelled from Amsterdam to Basel and then added two nights in Lucerne. Beware that Switzerland is extremely expensive. We paid about £17 for an ordinary pizza and coffee comes in at about £4 a cup. The hotel in Lucerne was expensive too - it cost us £400 each for two nights with breakfast - but now I realise why. The Continental Park is well placed in the centre of the town and right near the train station - go on any escalator down to the station and you will find 2 supermarkets and many other shops. The staff were very helpful but I'm not sure I like their idea of 'cool lighting' in the bedrooms. This was a very bright red fluorescent strip along the wall behind the bed and a very bright blue strip opposite. There was an almost spotlight effect over the bed if required and two very dull bedside lights. As we were there in June, the evenings were light so we managed with just the bedside lights.
Of the trips that Viking offer - if you can ride a bike, then take the cycling round Kinderdijk and also the e-bike through the Black Forest. The e-bike was the highlight of our cruise. The weather was perfect - we started along the Rhine, then went inland through farmlands of apple trees, asparagus etc. There was an included coffee stop with huge slices of cake and other treats at the farm shop (after about an hour), then on through lovely villages for the lunch break (an included cooked meal), then along a valley in the Black Forest to reach a farm high in the hills (no trouble getting up there on an e-bike - and we are 'occasional' cyclists over 60) where we sampled various cheeses. A bus collected us and drove us back to the boat as we had completed our cycle of about 25 miles. It may seem expensive but really, it was wonderful.
This was a French balcony - very well appointed as usual. The cabin is not large but adequate with a very nice, small bathroom with walk-in powerful shower and always plenty of hot water.
I would always book a French balcony so that you can open windows to get fresh air in, rather than rely on air con.
The basic cabins are below the water line, apart from their window, which obviously doesn't open.
There is not a lot to see in Cologne unless you want museums. The Cathedral is about all there is as after the bombing in the War, Cologne was rebuilt as a new city.
Excellent tour of Marksburg Castle. I have seen many castles in the UK and Europe but this has to be one of the best. However, do be warned that it is extremely uneven underfoot as it is carved out of the rock. Much worse than cobbles.View All 23 Castle Tours Reviews
A lovely castle that it mostly demolished so just outside to see. We had free time in the town of Heidelberg and that is a lovely place to be.View All 180 Heidelberg Castle Reviews
A good walking tour and you could go back in on your own in the afternoon. However, I do think the included tour could be less on the bus (about an hour) going round the outskirts, and more free time for a coffee and to just sit and take it in (about 20 minutes). The mooring outside Strasbourg at Kehl is one of the nicest I have seen. Really green and well kept with lovely houses and many many Canada Geese. The walk from the ship to the bus was about 1/4 mile at least but they provided taxis for the less able.View All 79 Le Petite France Reviews