A teacher-friend and I chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the added perks Viking offered at the time we booked. My friend had been on an ocean cruise previously; I had traveled extensively in Europe and Asia, but had not been on a cruise. It was such a fun trip!! We met so many fun and interesting people, both fellow travelers and staff! A river cruise involves a smaller boat, thus fewer passengers. Seeing the same people at meals and in tour groups for two weeks allowed us to get to know each other. People often sat at the same several tables with new friends.
We left the boat for guided tours (as a prior tour guide, I enjoyed the depth of information and the professionalism of the guides Viking uses.) Returning to the boast for lunch or dinner, we were served excellent meals, often the menu coincided with the region through which we were traveling. Wine and beer were also from the geographic area. However, the service was perhaps what impressed me the most. Never was there any hint of frustration or irritability in any of the waiters, stewards, housekeeping staff, program/ tour staff, etc. I don't see service like this anywhere else!
As with individuals, the true character of a company becomes obvious under strains and pressures. We ran into problems twice because the Rhine and Main Rivers were so low. Once we stayed overnight in a Hilton Hotel, traveled the next day by very nice coach, toured the anticipated locations, and met our boat at the end of the day. The other time, we packed our bags on the first boat, toured by coach, were treated to lunch at a traditional German pub, and met the next boat further downriver that evening for dinner. Our luggage had been delivered to our new rooms. These were unexpected interruptions, however, Viking cannot control the water levels. Viking handles even inconveniences with grace and professionalism.
We decided to stay on the 'swan deck' because it was less expensive. Our room was lovely, and the window afforded plenty of light. Additionally, we were not there often because we were always on a tour, in the lounge or the sundeck with new friends, or enjoying a great meal! The room had plenty of space for the two of us, but we are smallish ladies. A couple who was accustomed to more room might have felt a little claustrophobic. (Having a window covering most of the exterior wall would give the feeling of more room, too.) All of the riverboat's cabins had exterior windows. The bathroom was perfect for us, and we would choose a room on the 'swan deck' again!