This was a trip that had been postponed for three years due to Covid, so we were excited to finally set sail down the Rhine. Pre-embarkation communication was chaotic and disorganized, leading to some stressful moments, but that smoothed out as we got underway. We were in Amsterdam at the peak time for Keukenhof Gardens, when they have their annual Flower Parade, so visiting the park was one of the highlights of the trip. We weren't sure when the tulips and other flowers would be at their peak, but mid-April was it. The daffodils were about done, but everything else was in full bloom and the park was just stunning. If you can visit on a weekday instead of the weekend that would be best, but even with the weekend crowds we were able to see the entire park. Once underway on the Rhine, we enjoyed our time on the VIsta. Built in 2012, it is still in excellent condition and very well maintained.
Food on the ship was good, not great. We enjoyed the buffets at breakfast and lunch more than the sit down dinners because there was more variety. Dinner dress was business casual. Happy hour was always well attended. There really were not enough bartenders and servers for the number of guests on board, and you weren't allowed to place your own order at the bar yourself, so at times it was very frustrating trying to get someone's attention to order a drink. Overall, though, service onboard in all areas was attentive and we could tell crew members were trying hard to make guests happy. The star of the trip, however, was the river itself. As we passed through the mid-Rhine river valley, the cruise director provided a two-hour narration about the beautiful castles that line both sides of the river and the statue of Loreli, the mythical siren who lured ancient sailors to their death in the most treacherous stretch of the river. That was another trip highlight. All of the ports of call on the itinerary were worth seeing, and we especially enjoyed visiting Cologne's famous Gothic cathedral that dates back to 1280. Most tour guides were adequate, but not subject matter experts, and often couldn't answer questions that were off script. The "whisper" devices used to amplify what guides were saying were kind of a pain to use and didn't have great range, so if you were towards the back of a group of 30 people all you might hear would be static. I noticed some people gave up on using them.
Overall, this was a great itinerary that was made even better by spending a few extra days in Amsterdam prior to embarkation and a few more in Switzerland after the trip. We gave it four overall stars only for the nondescript food, poor initial communication, and difficulty in getting drink service.
Cabins are right around 200 sq ft, with very comfortable beds and plenty of storage space, even in the bathroom, which had a very nice sized shower and included a hair dryer and lighted makeup mirror that doubled as a nightlight at night. There are no balconies, but the windows are floor to ceiling and fully slide open with the idea that your entire cabin becomes your balcony. The bed faces the windows with this in mind. If it had been warmer we probably would have taken more advantage of the fresh air, but the week we went was cool and rainy. We would have liked more USB ports than the two on either side of the bed. You will need adapters if you have USB-C cords and adapters for any electrical appliances you bring. We found we didn't need to use converters.