Some of the things that have been picked up as criticisms by other reviewers are really to be expected. Water levels can change on the Rhine/Danube on your river cruise depending on the time of year, and a swap of boats was no problem whatsoever. We packed up in the morning, went on a day trip and rejoined a new boat, same cabin, everything looked the same with our baggage in the room, not a problem at all. It’s a given that ships go through locks, it is quite normal for river boats to next to each other on rivers and again that was no inconvenience whatsoever. It’s a small crew so lunch and evening dining time is a set time and that was a great opportunity to meet people from other nationalities. For us it was meeting Australians, Americans and Canadians, swapping stories. There is ample opportunity to eat on the outside terrace over the 14 days. It was naughty of some guests to ‘bag’ seats in the dining terrace! Still, give the trip a few days to settle down and lunch or supper in the Aquavit is delightful. The average age is retired and everyone had a wealth of entertaining tales to tell. The cabins are immaculately kept, the entire crew were all efficient, professional and friendly. The quality of food is to be highlighted. A magnificent range for every dietary requirement. Tours were long enough to be interesting, but not too onerous, with thoughtful extras such as bottled water given out and comfort stops. Included city/town walking tours were about 2 hours with frequent stops and included cobbled streets and some steps. There is a leisurely walking tour group but the cruise is really not suitable for those with impaired mobility. There is a lift on the ship but you will encounter slopes and steps accessing the ship, tour bus and visits to castles etc. There was a mixture of scenic sailing and night sailing to to get from one end of the river to the other. The cruise director Alec was superb. I would recommend everyone reads their flight itinerary carefully in case the Viking guide is not there to meet you at your airport. There is a set procedure. You can either ring the emergency line or go to the set general ‘meeting point’ in the airport, at Amsterdam this is a large cube. We were told that if after 30 minutes your Viking guide has not turned up, get a taxi to ship or Hotel, they will reimburse you at the ship’s reception. I would also recommend that everyone takes a pre-cruise extension so they don’t miss the boat. Most of the travellers in the UK were the ones late arriving! The ones with the least distance to travel! I would also recommend packing half and half for any flight in case your luggage is lost or delayed. We thought the river cruise excellent value for money and we enjoyed every minute. We have already booked our next. The casual dress code was welcome and cuts down on packing. There are some very good discounts and extras thrown in if you book immediately upon returning to your home country. I’ve booked direct with Viking by phone to get good discounts. A very professional operation indeed. I liked the plain decor of the ship. It was not overly fussy and was immaculately clean. I can’t wait for our next river cruise. We did a post cruise extension in Budapest. The Hilton (excellent) was right next to the Cathedral, close to castle, great views over to the Parliament, near good selection of bistros and cafes and a small supermarket. Ideal!
We had a balcony but to be honest rarely used it so will choose one with the sliding window next cruise. Immaculate, mini fridge, large tv, US and Europe plugs. Shower doors fold in to create extra space. Lots of large quality toiletries and endless fluffy towels. Choose mid ship.