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Viva Cruise Review
0.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
8 Reviews

Ok experience, for an American

Viva Cruise Review by Rickbethmartin

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Dec 2018
  • Destination: Europe River

Disclaimer - this was our first river cruise, and first cruise on a non-American ship, therefore hard to compare. Will give thoughts based on overall experience in case other nonEuropeans are considering.

7 day New Years cruise on Seine River.

2 cabins, 4 guests. (Including on child and one in a wheelchair)

Expectations/Assumptions: smaller ship, older passengers, not a “party” ship, not catering to kids, Americans in the minority. All correct.

Language: yes it is primarily German. Yes they have some things in English. About 1/2 the time dinner buffet was in English (but staff willing to explain). Most on board information was in English, with a few exceptions. “Library” had 2-3 books in English and the rest (30) in German. Some staff spoke better than others. There was always an English translator for on board activities (if needed). Some excursions were ONLY offered in German, however. But most staff and guests spoke better English than we spoke German!

Ship: Clean. Modern. Amenities included a jacuzzi and sauna open during some evening hours. Note - sauna was VERY European. Yes - men and women in there naked! Should have peeked in before we walked in with our 12 year old! Spa where massages, etc could be booked. Gym was a yoga ball and 3 elliptical machines. Too cold to use sun deck and other outdoor amenities such as shuffleboard. Lounge area where dancing/music was in evenings. Small gift shop. No other on board activities to speak of.

Cabin: larger than expected. Room was kept clean and housekeeping was in there often. Comfy bed, but no sheet - just a comforter. Housekeeping staff was AMAZING. Bathroom had large shower with high pressure and HOT water.

Dining: German ship + Romanian/Hungarian cooks + French flair = some interesting dishes. We did not use formal dining room since it was an up-charge. The buffet with mostly European foods and food that were fun to try. Lots of fish/seafood. Great breads. Separate section for gluten free. Breakfast - good variety of pastries and jams. Fresh made omelette/eggs. One meat (sausage?). Juice, coffee, hot cocoa, and tea available. Good selection of fruit and cereals/granolas. Lunch and dinner - hearty. Small salad area (lettuce, tomatoes, corn, radishes and cucumbers. Period). One soup - usually a purred or broth/consume one. Great cheese/antipasto selection. Entrees included many fish, a few pork dishes and a carving station. Rarely chicken. Usually a pasta and a potato. Great selection of vegetables. Dessert was usually fresh made crepes, fruit, and hard ice cream/sherbet. One small bar area (15- 20 seats, maybe) with many house beverages.

Activities/excursions: Very disappointing. As mentioned earlier some were only offered in German. We were led to believe we were docking in Paris for the new year. However a “loch was broken” and we were about an hour outside of the city. They did provide gratis transportation to/from the city for an on your own day, New Years celebration, and ride on Paris river boat/tour. However no bus tour of the city and we had to figure out how to see what we wanted to see on our own - with a wheel chair. (FYI Paris streets are not the best for a wheelchair, however seemed pedestrians ALWAYS had the right of way.) We were so close to Versailles and Giverny, yet nothing was offered. The little towns we did on our own, since they did not have an excursion to the Normandy Beaches (that would have been a little uncomfortable anyway!).

Service: mixed. Some staff - like Jennifer and Marie - were awesome. Both could not do enough for us. About 1/4 of the the staff was nice and were very welcoming - like the housekeeping staff and reception desk. Other staff was tolerable and would greet us when spoken to. Perhaps it was a culture difference. And then there was the staff who got really nice the closer we got to tipping - I mean the closer we got to the last day of the trip. Even though about 200 on board bar staff still did not know our preferred drink (red house wine) even after ordering it multiple times every night. As far as handling the wheelchair the support was great. We were not the only ones in a wheelchair but they were always ready to lend a hand to get it on/off the ship with as little problem as possible. MIL celebrated 75th birthday and room was decorated beautifully, but no other celebrations by staff.

Kids Club: we had our 12 year old with us and she did not want to go. (She preferred to play cards with her grandmother.) However the director seemed nice. The children who went made bracelets, interviewed the staff, made pizzas in the kitchen and did a few other things that we heard of.

Embarkation/Disembarkation: Since they did not offer airfare from USA we had to arrange. Not a huge issue but since they did not arrange they would not offer to transport us from airport to ship. We had to pay out of pocket for an hour long taxi ride to the ship. Also we we never notified of the ship having to move it’s first dock and only found out by accident when we saw the ARosa staff member in the airport. What would we have done if we did not run into her? Probably take a taxi to the original berth and then what?... Disembarkation was much smoother and they arranged transport to airport and train station for guests.

Overall comments: We really enjoyed our first river cruise. We liked being in the minority and exposing child to other cultures. Would cruise again, maybe a different river next time.


Rickbethmartin's Full Rating Summary
Cabin
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
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Dining
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Cabin Review

We had a cabin right close to stairs but right under dance floor. MIL said she could her the dancing every night. Not usually an issue on the large/sea ships, so forgot to look what was on floor above when booking.


Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Since we had to dock so far out they took us to and from Paris city center. We had to figure out what to do on our own though.

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Rouen

We walked the town on our own. Sweet town and great historical center. Saw cathedrals, clock tower, shopping area, outdoor cafes and even went ice skating on a teeny rink. Definitely worth the walk into town.


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Rickbethmartin
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