Myself and friend booked this holiday over a year in advance and was looking forward to this for a long time so I can't help feeling then that the holiday itself was very anti-climactic.
We opted for getting the eurostar from London to Amsterdam and this part was smooth and enjoyable. We arrived in Amsterdam on time but minus the person who was meant to meet us. Using Google and common sense we made our own way to the boat after we called it directly to find out where it was moored. We had to have the room rearranged upon arrival but one thing I cannot fault is the staff. Friendly, funny and engaging the entire time and couldnt be more helpful.
The cabins are somewhat small and sadly despite the beautiful weather we rarely had the sliding door open...for some strange reasons these boats are a magnet for spiders and creepy crawlies.
I feel very mixed about the excursions. My friend and I opted to do our own thing on occasion and when we did we found it more enjoyable. The day the tour went to Speyer myself and friend stayed on the boat as it continued to travel down the Rhine, disembarked further down when it docked and visited the Technik museum. Best museum I have ever been to and thoroughly recommend. On the day the group visited Strasbourg instead of spending time on a coach driving around the city (bearing in mind it was so foggy visibility was awful) we instead had a leisurely morning and got the tram into the centre of town. This was a much more enjoyable way to see the city at our own pace.
We added on the Lucerne trip which was again thoroughly enjoyable. I do recommend the walking tour upon arrival. This however is where things get unpleasant. Viking clearly lacks experience in booking European trains. A taxi was arranged to take us from Lucerne to Zurich but would get us to the train station so early we would miss breakfast at the hotel and spend over an hour waiting around an empty train station on a sunday morning. Should be noted a lot of places are closed on a Sunday in europe. We instead decided to pay for the train which was shorter time, more direct and allowed us to have a lie in at the hotel. I'm sure it was also cheaper. The train from Zurich to Paris was on time and fine but arriving at Paris we were meant to be greeted by a taxi driver. To put it mildly he was rude, unhelpful and we only knew he was the Viking rep because he was berating another couple for not wearing their Viking badges - which none of us had been given. Myself and friend made ourselves known to this man and asked a question about the journey to get the Eurostar. His response and tone left a lot to be desired so when I commented that I wansnt happy to get in a car with someone so dismissive we would get the RER, Paris' equivalent of the metro. The drivers response was "I've lived here 20 years there is no RER" and at this point no way would I get in a car with him. It's like me saying there's no Houses of Parliament in Westminster!
Anyways, through all of this it turned out the time between connections was negligible and we missed our train from Paris to London meaning we had to pay an extra 100 euros. It really put a downer on our holiday and while I acknowledge we could of gotten in the taxi I'd rather pay extra than compromise my safety. The Viking river cruise looks great on the exterior like a beautifully wrapped gift but upon opening and closer inspection it really is lacking and poor quality. I would definitely suggest researching other companies and looking at options before deciding. In hindsight we would definitely have used another company which would have been better quality than the several thousand this cost.
The rooms are small but well fitted. Bed was comfortable and external noise minimal. Didnt spend much time but was very serviceable. Shame Viking stopped using L'occitane products. Bathroom also small but adequate. Room was always cleaned well and made up by staff promptly.
Visited Cologne on a sunday when everything is closed. Disappointing. Spent time afterwards walking around and visited the Lindt chocolate factory which definitely made up for it!
I personally didnt visit Koblenz but friend did. He enjoyed while I enjoyed some quality relaxation on the boat.
Seemed silly to be doing two castles back to back so spent time on the boat to Speyer and visited the Technik museum. Could have spent so much more time there and by far the best most interactive museum I have ever been to. Viking should really look at including it in their itinerary.
Well worth paying extra for the canal cruise. Stories provided through head sets were entertaining and funny even of the accents were a bit dodgy.