Before booking this kind of holiday please make sure it is for you. If it is what you want it is great, if not you could very well be disappointed. My husband and I cruised on La Marguerite 9-16 September 2014. Our first disappointment ... Read More
Before booking this kind of holiday please make sure it is for you. If it is what you want it is great, if not you could very well be disappointed. My husband and I cruised on La Marguerite 9-16 September 2014. Our first disappointment was that we in our mid 50s were the youngest on board. On booking we had asked about ages and told it was mixed, but most were 70+. The ship is very nice, but not a lot of space to move about. Food was excellent but the lack of activity made it hard to enjoy it, as I never felt that hungry. All the staff were sweet and attentive - faultless in every way, and the boat was immaculately clean. The Vietnamese cruise director was incredible - Son - he could sell you anything - each day raising our hopes about the 'beautiful' things we were going to see, and though on each trip we were disappointed, we still believed him again next time. Without his lead there may well have been dissatisfied voices, but no-one wanted to upset him I think! the local guides who travelled with us had excellent English and tried hard, but they had little to show us.
The real problem was the excursions. There really is nothing to see along the way, in Vietnam the river is wide and brown, the shore the same old farming land or village slums and rubbish, and most of the other boats you pass are large dredgers. In Cambodia it is slightly better, no dredgers. I didn't find anything beautiful to look out at. the sky is cloudy all the time, creating oppressive heat, then at some point each day there is a torrential down pour which can last hours. If you are on an excursion at the time, bad luck, put on a mac and get on with it. Mud everywhere! The daily excursions are to villages and to look at the homes of the people - so poor and full of rubbish - schools, markets (with some quite unpleasant sights) and temples, that are neither ancient or attractive. By the end of the week about half of the party had given up getting off the boat!
If you want to see the real life of the local people, can face the dirt, smells and rubbish, and like sitting around chatting on the boat with free drinks and good food, and amateur evening entertainment - including poor copies of dvds - then this is for you. If you are expecting luxury, 5*, freedom to walk around on lovely excursions (during the briefing each night Son told us that the excursion would involve about 500 mtrs walking and 10 or so steps to climb - you get the idea - not meant for those with energy or no walking issues) then choose something else. As I said before - if this is what you are looking for you will love it. I felt we had been missold - or maybe I should have done more research before booking rather than relying on the travel agent and glossy brochure.
Viking has it down to a science! The river cruise was superb in every way. The happy-hour used to review the next day's itinerary+timing = fabulous! The moving of groups off the ship was smooth and efficient. City maps available the ... Read More
Viking has it down to a science! The river cruise was superb in every way. The happy-hour used to review the next day's itinerary+timing = fabulous! The moving of groups off the ship was smooth and efficient. City maps available the night before at the front desk. The local guides were the BEST available: lively, intelligent and enthusiastic. The transmitters were easy to use and protected from any screaming. The destinations were superb (Budapest, Vienna, Melk, Passau, Regensburg, Nuremberg). Every spot had a LOT to see and experience. The cruise director (George) had a terrific personality: vivacious and indefatigable!! The onboard personnel were attentive and gracious. The food was plentiful and delicious. All around BEST cruise experience!!!
This was our first experience on a Viking Long ship . It was truly a great experience and the upgrades over the regular ships is great. I sure that in no time all the ships with be long ships. The meals and the service has really ... Read More
This was our first experience on a Viking Long ship . It was truly a great experience and the upgrades over the regular ships is great. I sure that in no time all the ships with be long ships. The meals and the service has really improved or our previous cruise 6 years ago on Viking.
I wished we had paid more attention to the bus rides that we were gong to have as it can as a surprise to us and that maybe partly because we did not get our tour information three weeks in advance as it should be.
The shore excursions were all very good but a couple of them could of had more detail in the places we visited. For example we did not get to see enough of Nurnberg as it s such and important place in history. I suppose that this these trips are to tweek your interest and cause to want to return and see more. We appreciated the addition of the head sets for touring they were a real plus.
The cabins were nice size with a larger TV than before and the fact that you could use 110 or 220 power was a great plus.
Just back from the "Romantic Danube" Viking river cruise on the Viking Idun in Early September 2014. We left from Budapest and cruised up to Nuremburg, and added the extension in Prague. Viking gets my highest rating. Here's a few ... Read More
Just back from the "Romantic Danube" Viking river cruise on the Viking Idun in Early September 2014. We left from Budapest and cruised up to Nuremburg, and added the extension in Prague. Viking gets my highest rating. Here's a few thoughts. The Program Director Barry and the chef Ronald are both out of central casting. Ronald was frequently invited over to our table so we could complement him and beg him for recipes. The menus were flexible, and locally themed. The soups were wonderful. As for Barry, the best test of a PD is how do they handle unexpected problems. One day of our tour, the ship was late getting to a port of call (Regensburg) because of river traffic (there are many locks so the ship actually travels at a low average speed). So at 2 in the morning, Barry called a bus company to pick us up at an earlier port at 8 am, bus us to the city (cars are faster than the ship) so we can have time to do our tour of the city while the ship caught up with us. In Nuremburg, the ship arrived early, so Barry had busses ready for us to take us on an extra morning visit, where we beat the crowds and had some quality time in the city. We just felt like we were in good hands the whole time. The service was extremely friendly and high quality the entire way, on the ship, and off as well, including our many transfers around the cities and to and from the airport. The tour guides were very knowledgeable, and the portable listening devices came in handy. The cabins are small, but the public rooms, especially the bar/lounge, was never crowded (except for Barry's evening 15 minute roundup of the next day's agenda). The roof top was nice, but rarely open due to low bridges. No gym or spa. Food was more than enough, including an open seating buffett breakfast (show up anytime between 7 and 9:30) with an omlettte station. Lunch and dinner had timed seatings for the more formal restaurant, while there was an informal buffett option upstairs by the front deck. The house wine and beer offered at lunch and dinner was actually pretty good. They didn't drop the quality to force you into the premium liquor package, which is very expensive. Nice touch Viking. The coffee machines had snacks next to them all day long, which is wonderful for your diet. Dress code was casual. Only about 20% of the men wore a blazer during the most formal evening of the "captains dinner", though the women noticeably dressed a bit nicer every evening than during the day. Daytime dress was very casual. This trip was certainly a taste of Europe with frequent, short stops in the ports of call. Vienna deserves more than 8 hours. Do the optional classical concert excursion. For visitors from the US, add on Prague, and do the reverse of what we did. Do Prague first for a few days (ladies, do not wear heels in Prague, cobblestones everywhere), get un-jet lagged, and then bus to Nuremburg (via Viking) and go to Vienna and Budapest last. Don't worry about the view from the Nuremburg port (shipping containers), the views will get very charming in no time. The docks themselves are very undramatic (just basically a gangplank), and frequently we were docked side-by-side with other ships, which makes for an interesting morning view from your room. Unlike my Alaskan cruise, there was no risk of motion sickness on this trip. The ship was very stable and we had to look out the window to see if we were moving. We bought our flights through Viking, which put us on non-direct flights, despite other airlines offering direct flights. Still, we liked the guarantees from Viking of making our connections, especially when Lufthansa's pilots went on strike on our departure day. Just a great trip and would recommend it to anybody. We went with another couple, which was a good idea and lots of fun. Even though we were by far the youngest passengers on the ship (I'm 53), we had a blast and felt like we were in good care from Viking.
Travelled from NYC up the Hudson River, through the multiple locks on the Erie and Oswego Canals, into Lake Ontario, through more locks on the St. Lawrence Seaway all the way to the Saguenay in September 2014. We stopped at many smaller ... Read More
Travelled from NYC up the Hudson River, through the multiple locks on the Erie and Oswego Canals, into Lake Ontario, through more locks on the St. Lawrence Seaway all the way to the Saguenay in September 2014. We stopped at many smaller cities and towns along the way as well as Montreal and Quebec City. This was a great experience. We had 72 passengers (capacity is 88) with the majority being in the 60-late 80s age range. The staff on the ship were efficient, pleasant and professional. Food was for the most part excellent and always abundant. Fresh fruit, baking, hot and cold beverages available 24/7. We had a pastry chef on board which meant fresh bread and/or baking every meal. With Blount's home port being Rhode Island, seafood was frequently on the menu. Food restrictions were able to be accomodated. Onboard entertainment in the evening included an onboard lecturer, local to the port musicians, movies. Bus and walking tours were available at many ports at an extra cost. Lecturer organized a short stretching session pre-breakfast later in the trip. (Would be awesome to have entire trip!) Cabins are small but efficient. Some folks in top deck rooms commented on their rooms being cramped as they had separate shower stalls and sliding doors onto the deck. Main floor rooms were more spacious depending on location. Avoid main floor rooms at the stern due to noise from engines/generators as well as ones near to doors into the dining room, lounge and deck due to noise. Blount has a BYOB policy as well as complimentary beer and wine at lunch and supper. Blount hosted 3 happy hours with open bar and hors d'oeuvres.
My only real complaint was with internet access. First world problems! But if you are someone depending on using your cell to keep in touch with home or work while away, be aware that Wifi was not available most of the time in part because the ship only uses a hot spot and limited number of people could use it at any one time if you did have reception. Once we entered Canada, there was no wifi the entire time as the host of the hot spot didn't have a Canadian data plan or had used up their data plan. Because of the route, there were often times when we couldn't get any cell reception (via 3G). Don't count on there being easy internet access at some of the ports, esp at the smaller ports.
My wife, Nancy, was sick when we came aboard, had to obtain a Doctor immediately, and she was sick the whole cruise which clouded my review of this trip. However, under these circumstances, I did enjoy the trip. The whole crew was very ... Read More
My wife, Nancy, was sick when we came aboard, had to obtain a Doctor immediately, and she was sick the whole cruise which clouded my review of this trip. However, under these circumstances, I did enjoy the trip. The whole crew was very supportive, obtaining a doctor, finding a taxi to fill the prescriptions, taking food into our stateroom for my wife, checking on her when I was off the ship, and many more kindnesses that I don't have room to tell you about.
The weather was fair to good, and I was able to go ashore without difficulty.
As on my previous trip in 2013, my time aboard the Prestige was great. The service and facilities were fantastic. I enjoyed every minute aboard -- the food was great, the lounge was comfortable and always available. The crew and the services they provided did an outstanding job-- each and every one.
Having never been on a river cruise we had the best time of our lives. Took it off our bucket list and celebrated our 51st anniversary.Vantage was recommended by our good friend who has used them many times. The trip started in ... Read More
Having never been on a river cruise we had the best time of our lives. Took it off our bucket list and celebrated our 51st anniversary.Vantage was recommended by our good friend who has used them many times. The trip started in Amsterdam and cruised the Rhine to Budapest. We learned so much about the different countries we visited as Vantage's guides were the best. Ship and its amenities were wonderful. We has a deluxe suite. Of all the things we did and saw the best were the people we met who will remain lifelong friends. As was recommended by another good friend we flew business class. Great Idea, obviously more expensive, but well worth it. Our stay in Amsterdam was 4 nights and what a wonderful city. We had such a great time that we have already booked France and Barcelona for Sept/oct 2015. Also thinking of the one after that. I would leave again tomorrow. I even made a movie of the trip which I will cherish always. I heartily recommend Vantage and any trip you are interested in.
My husband and I spent a wonderful week on the Viking Prestige from Sept. 7 - Sept. 14, 2014 from Passau, Germany to Budapest, Hungary. Viking arranged our flights and transportation from the airport in Munich to Passau; all was trouble ... Read More
My husband and I spent a wonderful week on the Viking Prestige from Sept. 7 - Sept. 14, 2014 from Passau, Germany to Budapest, Hungary. Viking arranged our flights and transportation from the airport in Munich to Passau; all was trouble free. It was very easy to locate the Viking representative at the airport and transfer to the bus was simple and quick.
We were welcomed on-board and immediately shown to our room. Lunch was still being served so we went to the Aquavit terrace where we enjoyed a delicious light lunch. We found the food on board to be very good. The portions were a good size - not too much which would be frustrating since I hate to waste food - and the quality was very good. I don't remember having an issue with anything that we were served and there were at least 3 options at each meal (plus the "always available" options - baked chicken, steak and salmon); there was always a vegetarian option. We dined with some people who had dietary restrictions and they were always served something that fit their needs.
The ports were all wonderful - both the small towns and the cities. The local guides were all very knowledgeable and friendly and the "quietvox" system was helpful - you didn't have to crowd around the guide and they didn't have to yell to be heard. We attended 2 optional tours - the Schonbrunn Palace and the concert in Vienna. Both were very enjoyable and worth the extra price. The service (dining room and housekeeping) was outstanding. We extended our trip (on our own) at the end by taking the train from Budapest to Prague. The concierge arranged for a taxi to pick us up at the ship and take us to the train station, called us in our room when the taxi arrived, and got our bags to the taxi; it took all of the stress out of getting to the train station on time. This trip lived up to my (very high) expectations. I would have no hesitation to book another Viking cruise!
We started with a two-day pre-cruise package in Nuremberg. It really set the stage for the whole trip because Nuremberg was central in the history of the Holy Roman Empire. Our tour guide on for the pre-cruise package was a history ... Read More
We started with a two-day pre-cruise package in Nuremberg. It really set the stage for the whole trip because Nuremberg was central in the history of the Holy Roman Empire. Our tour guide on for the pre-cruise package was a history major specializing in Medieval Nuremberg and she really put the everything in context. The crew of the Idun did everything they could to make our trip special. They were always friendly and warm. The ship was awesome and the tours were great. We thought most of our tour guides were top notch. Having the personal radios for the whole week to listen and synchronize with the tour guides was awesome.
We did all the optional tours except the horse related. They were worth it to us.
We thought the food was great. We are not big drinkers so having the wine at lunch and dinner was plenty for us. I did drink a lot of coffee from the break area.
The people we met were awesome. We had so much fun with two other couples we all agreed to do a viking cruise together in 2015. We are booked for the Rhine Getaway cruise with one of the couples because the other couple had some medical problems. Can't wait!
This was our first cruise ever. We ended up going for a river cruise because the intimacy, age group, and river scenery appealed to us.
This was a great river cruise for older people. We found this to be the best vacation we have ever taken after many trips to Europe. We knew this would not be the spectacular items of London, Paris, or Rome. Maybe our expectations then ... Read More
This was a great river cruise for older people. We found this to be the best vacation we have ever taken after many trips to Europe. We knew this would not be the spectacular items of London, Paris, or Rome. Maybe our expectations then weren't as high. We were going to relax and maybe see a few nice sites. We were surprised beyond our expectations. The river cruise was spectacular. The wine country was very nice. Great guides. Great wine. Super chocolate! Wonderful sites. I could live in Avignon or Lyon. There were many great things to see. Walking in the old city was very nice. We had superb guides in each city. They were very knowledgeable and very eager to share their experiences with us. The ship was exceptionally clean and comfortable. The staff was accommodating beyond belief. Some of them became nice friends. The size of the travelers on board made for a nice climate. We got to know more people than usual. The tours were broken down into 4 groups so we always had nice small groups with earphones so you could always hear the guides and be close. You got to know everyone. The meals were exceptional. For eight days there was not one thing to complain about. Everything was perfect! The trip was very well planned by the staff. I enjoyed the opportunity to see the wheelhouse and the kitchen. We liked the aquaterrace and the lounge. I guess I could say that the WIFI could have been better. It was spotty at times, especially through the locks. We were looking for a nice relaxing vacation and we got one along with 8 great tours, great wine, unbelievable food, and many super friends. Thanks Viking for a very well planned and executed trip to Southern France. We cannot wait to book another river cruise.
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