On our first Viking Cruise we had Viking make all our flight arrangements and this worked with out flaw, perfect, easy, zero problems. Yes I did check to see if I could get better connections, and cheaper fares on my own, I could not. Using Viking Air is the way to go.
As a yacht captain, I can see well past any ship board facade, and it is clear to me Viking is the clear stand out in European river cruises. This conclusion is after 3 cruises with Viking and the opportunity to view other river cruise operators close up (as in rafted up alongside). What makes Viking stand out? The largest fleet, this allows Viking to accommodate their passengers when things go wrong, such as low/high water, mechanical failures, by having enough long ships to substitute ships and not have to cancel the entire voyage. Viking has the newest ships and built to a very high standard. The interiors are well appointed in a modern tasteful fashion. The staterooms are very nice, and the heated bathroom floor is one of my favorite things.
The dining, I personally am pretty easy to please in this department. but I'll give a 1-5 rating, 5 being the best.
Taste 3.5-4.0 There are no "5's" on board any ships (fresh vs refer/frozen)
Waitstaff 6 best in the business, (remembered my name by second day).
Honestly I am amazed how well the food service operates, seamlessly serving 200+ people in less than 90 minutes.
Among the ship board activities I really enjoyed the "Port Talk" and there were some fun night time games in the lounge ( I did win a bottle of champagne, for coming in last place in the trivia game one night).
Not going to candy coat some of the ports, I understand first hand how the preferred dockage/berth may not always be available, and that there will be times multiple ships will have to "raft up" (obscuring your stateroom view) to make port. That is just the way it is, in certain cases you may have pass through other ships to go ashore. The up side for me was that passing through other non Viking river boats assured me that I had made the best choice going with Viking.
The shore excursions, only wish we could do them all. We did have one tour guide that was not ready for prime time, but one bad apple does not spoil the bunch.
We traveled as husband and wife, no children and toured Italy and Greece after our cruise. As of now we are planing to do a Viking river cruise every year.