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2,086 River Cruise Reviews

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 ... 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. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
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 ... 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. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Since our only visit to France had been on an ocean cruise stop in Cannes, we wanted to get a better feel for the country, the culture, and the history (oh yes, and the wines!). The cruise traveled from the Mediterranean to the Normandy ... Read More
Since our only visit to France had been on an ocean cruise stop in Cannes, we wanted to get a better feel for the country, the culture, and the history (oh yes, and the wines!). The cruise traveled from the Mediterranean to the Normandy Coast, with Paris in between. What more can you ask for? Along the Rhône, Saône, and Seine rivers we stopped at numerous towns and cities for (included) excursions of towns such as Avignon, Perouges, Dijon, Giverny, and Honfleur. Most notable were excursions to wineries in Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Beaune, and the Pont du Gard and the Normandy D-Day landmarks and American Cemetery. The entire journey required two different riverboats, but the connection was something special as well. The included connection was from Dijon to Paris aboard the TGV, or Train à Gran Vitesse, France's high-speed train. What a pleasure to sit in power reclining seats and travel over 200 mph in smooth, quiet comfort. The real beauty for us is the way Vantage takes care of everything, from handling our luggage at the airport to escorting us through the Paris train station. There are no worries about catching a ride, how to get to a sightseeing attraction, or even "where are the restrooms?" QuietVox headsets are provided for all excursions, so you can comfortably hear your English-speaking guide even if you're half a block away. all excursions are divided into groups of 20-30 guests, so crowding is not an issue. Dining is superb, and the chefs go out of their way to provide local delights as well as traditional American fare. An example: "Rack of lamb with Dijon mustard crust, rosemary potato gratin, and ratatouille Provencale". Make no mistake, this is NOT a cruise for children (there were none on our voyage), but adults will find it very relaxing and most interesting. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This was our first river cruise, and we are so happy that we chose Viking! The Grand European Tour was everything we expected and more. The scenery, the towns and villages, the exposure to history, the daily tours, they were all we could ... Read More
This was our first river cruise, and we are so happy that we chose Viking! The Grand European Tour was everything we expected and more. The scenery, the towns and villages, the exposure to history, the daily tours, they were all we could have wanted. The Lif became our very own home for 15 terrific days and that was due not only to the comfort of the ship itself (which was beautifully designed), but was due in large part to the friendliness of, and the inclusion by, the crew. They literally became like family and made our time on board even more special. I think it is exceptional to report that we were a group of ten and not a one of us had a single complaint. We have already booked our 2015 Viking Cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
What a spectacular trip that has given us so many great memories. Having arrived two days early we stayed at the Holiday Inn, Notre Dame. An accommodating staff, who prepared us for the events to come. Our embarkation, was easy- ... Read More
What a spectacular trip that has given us so many great memories. Having arrived two days early we stayed at the Holiday Inn, Notre Dame. An accommodating staff, who prepared us for the events to come. Our embarkation, was easy- peasy and our stateroom on the AMALEGRO was more than just great, with plenty of room, storage and even an in room computer. The ship is spacious, extremely clean, tastefully appointed, and well managed. The meals were especially good, with variety and special attention to guests special occasions. Regional specialties were often served at different stops. Dining room service and attention was first rate. Hats off to the wait staff, and Pavil the maitre d' for always watching out for our every need. The shore excursions were excellent and we had the added bonus of the 70th Anniversary of D-Day to make our stay at Caudebec-en-Caux and our transport to the Normandy beaches the next day above our expectations. Our Normandy trip will be a lifetime memory. Our guide was one of the few non French tour guides (an American who resides in France) and she took us thru to the June 6, 1944, experience as if we were there - very emotional. Upon our return from the beaches, we had the surprise of the locals celebrating the 70th anniversary of their liberation that lasted late into the evening. Dozens of locals were dressed as G.I.s and World War 2 outfits, many of whom were driving fully restored war era Jeeps, toting gear and memorabilia. The evening was capped with a full orchestra playing Glen Miller songs, dressed in military garb and playing the tunes flawlessly. A memorable evening! We cannot applaud the staff enough. Annie, our cruise director, was always involved in our experience. She made sure we got off on excursions in a timely fashion & always cheered us with her ingratiating personality and smile. She even gave some really good singing performances and you could often find her on the dance floor after dinner adding to the fun or getting it started. Captain Franch was a joy. Although his English skills were limited, his engaging personality communicated with all the guests just fine. The entire staff was friendly, helpful and clearly enjoyed their work. This is a well managed and cared for ship. A rose for me upon arrival, a gift at disembarkation and a hand written THANK YOU card from the Captain and senior staff when we got home … very classy. Will cruise AmaWaterways again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This was our first river cruise but definitely not the last. We were impressed with the helpful , friendly staff. The regional food was outstanding. Having everything included is a great feature. When sailing you always see something - ... Read More
This was our first river cruise but definitely not the last. We were impressed with the helpful , friendly staff. The regional food was outstanding. Having everything included is a great feature. When sailing you always see something - on that trip the scenery is SUPER! My husband has a difficult time getting around, but the staff made sure to steer hime in the right direction to make it is easy as possible for him. The tour guides in the various cities were easy to understand and vary knowledgeable. The ship was very clean. Sailing on rivers is like sitting in you living room - no rough waters!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
August last year, perhaps a little late in the season but our fault we chose it. The first couple of days are spent in Moscow, one of those places that not so many years ago was almost impossible to go to. We had a fantastic time, ably ... Read More
August last year, perhaps a little late in the season but our fault we chose it. The first couple of days are spent in Moscow, one of those places that not so many years ago was almost impossible to go to. We had a fantastic time, ably assisted by our very knowledgeable Russian Guide Victoria. She seemed to know everything and used her skills as a guide along with her amazing grasp of the English language and the English sense of humour. The cruise took in some wonderful palaces at which we stopped for a tour and some free time. Uglitch, Kizi Island and it amazing wooden church and several other places. Our destination was St Petersburg, without a doubt the Jewel in the Crown. So much to see and so little time as the saying goes. The Hermitage, Peterhoff Palace, the list could be endless but you must do your own homework. As I said at the beginning August is a little cold but snuggled under a warm (provided) blanket drinking coffee under the ever moving stars was just priceless, (oh and the Vodka Tasting evening is good fun as well). Go you will not regret it. The sail date may be slightly wrong, cant remember the exact date we sailed. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
My family discovered the ultimate vacation in 2013- a Viking cruise on the Rhine River from Amsterdam to Basel. It was fantastic from beginning to end! We just couldn't stop thinking about the great experience, so we booked another ... Read More
My family discovered the ultimate vacation in 2013- a Viking cruise on the Rhine River from Amsterdam to Basel. It was fantastic from beginning to end! We just couldn't stop thinking about the great experience, so we booked another Viking cruise the following year, in 2014- this time from Paris to Prague, aboard the ship, Odin. The staff and crew were welcoming and the atmosphere was always relaxed and fun. The daily excursions were fabulous and interesting and included local guides. There was plenty of free time to enjoy the destinations. And we enjoyed everything on the ship- most of all- the food. We took thousands of pictures! We had an extended stay in Paris prior to the cruise and Viking took care of everything. Both of our cruises with Viking have been fabulous; I would call them both vacations of a lifetime. We are pleased with the quality of the Viking cruises and the planning that Viking has done to provide us with great destinations, great rooms, great food, and great fun! Life doesn't get any better than being on one of these cruises. And it won't take us long to get back to Europe next year for a third Viking cruise. They are absolutely the best! Counting the days, Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This was our first ever cruise experience and overall we loved it. If you've never tried river cruising you really should. The ship sails along at a leisurely pace and you'd barely know you were moving. There are 3 full meals a ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise experience and overall we loved it. If you've never tried river cruising you really should. The ship sails along at a leisurely pace and you'd barely know you were moving. There are 3 full meals a day in the spacious dining room, and opportunities for snacking and tea in the late afternoons and evenings, all at no extra charge. Drinks at the on-board bar are extra. There are many opportunities for excursions at each port, and optional extra excursions are available at an additional charge. These may be purchased about a month before your cruise date on-line, or may be added as an on-board extra, provided there is space available. The ship is a few years old (2009), but is still in beautiful shape and is very nicely appointed. Plenty of opportunities for relaxation and/or conversation in the ship's many public areas, so you don't ever have an excuse for sitting cooped up in that tiny cabin. And the food is EXCELLENT, especially at dinnertime, where you can enjoy a 5-course meal with complimentary wine, beer or soft drinks. The ship's intimate atmosphere is one of its best selling points. With only 70 cabins (140 passengers) and 39 crew members, there are plenty of opportunities to make and cultivate new friendships. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Although my husband and I have traveled extensively in the USA, we have never taken a river cruise and my only cruise experience was a short ocean cruise some years ago. I had no desire after that to take another cruise until we were ... Read More
Although my husband and I have traveled extensively in the USA, we have never taken a river cruise and my only cruise experience was a short ocean cruise some years ago. I had no desire after that to take another cruise until we were invited by our friends to go on a river cruise with Viking. From the time my husband and I boarded the Delling to leaving at the end of our trip, we couldn't have been more pleased with our overall experience. Everyone was very friendly and went above and beyond to make this a memorable experience. Our room was immaculate, and although a little small, we had more than enough room for both of us to store everything. Marek was the absolute best Program Director. I don't believe I have laughed so hard and even woke laughing the next morning after he dressed as Mozart. Viking is very fortunate to have him on their staff. You could tell that he really enjoyed what he was doing and interacting with the guests. The entertainment was great and even the staff took part in their costumes. Every afternoon before dinner we were briefed on the next day's activities and also had a copy in our room. There were more than enough activities to keep us busy and even additional entertainment like the wonderful concert in Vienna. The local tour guides were very knowledgeable and spoke English very well. We enjoyed our walking and bus tours and the free time to explore on our own. I particularly enjoyed eating in the dining room. We were always greeted with a smile and the service was wonderful. The open seating was ideal and you never felt like you were "stuck" with someone the whole cruise. This allowed you to meet new people if you wanted to or sit with people you knew. The food was delicious and we were able to eat a leisurely meal without feeling rushed. I really enjoyed traveling with Viking and look forward to going again. It was a great experience and we took home many good memories.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We just ended out first boutique river cruise. We researched extensively, and chose Uniworld based on its customer reviews and the new S.S. Antoinette ship. And we are so glad that we did! We took the Amsterdam to Basel Rhein River cruise, ... Read More
We just ended out first boutique river cruise. We researched extensively, and chose Uniworld based on its customer reviews and the new S.S. Antoinette ship. And we are so glad that we did! We took the Amsterdam to Basel Rhein River cruise, and experienced the best in service we ever could have imagined. The accomodations were plush, the food was terrific, the excursions were top notch, but that was to be expected. What made it the best was the staff. They did not know the word "no". If you forgot to sign up for an excursion...no problem. If you wanted to change your mind about your dinner order, no problem. If more people wanted to take an excursion than they had room for, well they just made arrangements to add an additional excursion, tour guide, lunch stop, bus driver, etc in order to accomodate our wishes. They bent over backwards to make the trip the best it could be. WELL DONE, UNIWORLD! Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
First and foremost, Son, our Tour Director was an amazing and diligent guide that met everyone’s needs. He ensured everyone understood the plan, how to eliminate overhead and bureaucracy and the most time was spent on the attractions and ... Read More
First and foremost, Son, our Tour Director was an amazing and diligent guide that met everyone’s needs. He ensured everyone understood the plan, how to eliminate overhead and bureaucracy and the most time was spent on the attractions and not waiting around. We loved how he handled all the passport, visas and customs processes. He made it so easy for everyone. Not a single complaint. The land portion of the Hanoi tour excellent. Good balance and blend of sites. My only criticism is the tour did not include an option for the women’s museum which is a great museum to understand all the ethnicities in Vietnam, nor did it include a visit to the (Army) War Museum in Hanoi. We went to these on our own. Taxis only cost $2-3 each way, so it was no problem for us to do when we arrived a day early before the tour started. The hotels were clearly 4-5 star choices. Could not have been better choices and the Sofitel Metropole in Hanoi was a clear delight. Definitely sign up as soon as you can for the free bomb shelter tour. You will learn a lot of history in 45 minutes that many never hear or see in Hanoi. As everyone will tell you, bring LOTS of $1 bills for tips. You need at least 50 of them. Plan for it, you will need them for many things, like Tuk Tuks, taxis, drinks, etc. Don’t plan on exchanging money in Vietnam for the small bills…you can, but it is a pain in the butt and may not be possible when you need it. Just bring $100 in lots of small bills. You will be happy. The ATMs in Vietnam are plentiful and spit out local currency…most people don’t need more than $50 in local currency. In Cambodia, most people use US dollars and even the ATMs give out US dollars, no local currency needed. In restaurants, taxis and bars, tipping is not needed or expected. From a weather standpoint, it was HOT and HUMID in August. You will sweat your butt off and be prepared to bring lots of clothes that you can wash in your room every day (like EXOffico, REI and Columbia). Most people can and do wear shorts, but for temples and pagodas, you do need long pants and full shirts that cover your shoulders to get into most of them. Outside of that, most places and most people are very casual. It can also rain/downpour at a moment’s notice, so small mobile umbrellas are handy. The tour group is very good with giving ponchos and umbrellas when people were not prepared. Hanoi, Siem Riep, Phnom Penh, the villages are all safe. No threats whatsoever. Very friendly people and no concerns of theft, pickpockets, etc. A true delight that is not experienced in many countries anymore. Never felt or seen any behavior or activities to concern a tourist. One thing that AMA did very nicely is there for approximately 65 people total in our group. They broke it down into 3 groups every day based on a color naming scheme. In general, most groups at 15-20 people max, and each group got their own bus. They never operated with massive group sizes or crowded busses. You actually felt like a smaller tour. This was well done and a definite plus for this tour company. Cruising with AMAWaterways on the AMALOTUS for a week was a delight. The highlights: The staff do have limited English, but it is adequate and they try very hard meet all passenger needs while being in a third world country. They are customer focused and it shows. But, be aware, they are limited and if you have questions that are more than basic things, they will not understand you or be able to help. It is important that people set different expectations on what is possible and what can be done in a third world country. The rooms are very comfortable and clean. We were a little worried that our first room (303) had very poor air conditioning and was going to be hot, but they moved us to a new room (305) and we had a nice ice cold room the entire cruise. One thing people should be aware of: if some of the better rooms are not occupied, they will not upgrade you to the nicer rooms. If you want a nicer room, they will offer the upgrades for a discount ($500 - $800 for the week), but it won’t happen just because you are a frequent guest of AMA Waterways. The food was great every day. Good choices, many options and generous portions available to everyone. Local and western choices. Great flavors and unbelievable presentation every day. The seating times are somewhat fixed though: lunch is at 12:30 and dinner is at 7:30. There is a little flexibility, but not much. Everywhere you, you will be given lots of bottled water to drink and brush your teeth with. Not even locals drink tap water, so you better not try it yourself. Even if you run out, you can buy a bottle for 50 cents in local currency or even a bottle of beer for less than $1 US dollar. Most people felt the Cambodian Angkor beer was the best choice. Drinks are always available: beer, cocktails, soft drinks, juices, water, etc. Wine is only available at lunch and dinner, but it is poured with ease and you can take a full glass when you leave the table. The house wines were not bad and unless you are a connoisseur, the wines will be just fine. The exercise room has 1 bike, 1 treadmill and 1 elliptical with a few free weights and yoga mats. It is not much, but at least they had something on the small ship. I think it would have been nice to have a few more free weights in the heavier levels. Vising the local villages and schools was a wonderful experience as a westerner. We were able to see, smell, and feel how many people in Vietnam and Cambodia live their daily lives. It is so limited and so different, it is hard to explain until you experience first-hand. You learn and understand so much more with tours like this that are not possible in the standard group tours. The people love to meet and see you and it is a delight to interact with them. When you visit these places, the children love the gifts. In Siem Riep, we purchased some small soccer balls to give to children in the villages. This is something they could never afford, but it gave them a toy that many could enjoy that might not be possible without outside visitors bringing these things to them. It was a great reward to play a game with all the kids without saying a word that neither side could understand. If you have one of the mini-suites you get the great benefit of a bathtub (with jets) which is great when you have to do laundry to clean your daily sweaty clothes in the 100% humidity and 100 degree weather in these countries in the summer months. You also get a dedicated Internet hotspot for your room and do not need to share with the entire passenger list which is VERY nice when you want to stay connected along the way.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
My wife and I recently completed a Danube River cruise aboard the Avalon PoetryII. This was our second river cruise with Avalon. Like the first we were completely satisfied with the ship. Our cabin was nicely decorated and was the size ... Read More
My wife and I recently completed a Danube River cruise aboard the Avalon PoetryII. This was our second river cruise with Avalon. Like the first we were completely satisfied with the ship. Our cabin was nicely decorated and was the size expected. Meals were outstanding as were the wines that were offered. The ships crew were always courteous and helpful. Housekeeping was top notch. We chose to take most of the optional tours and were able to see a lot of the visited countries. Primary onboard entertainment was a lounge singer who was good. The hotels in Prague and Budapest used for pre- and post cruise stays were much better than expected. They were both InterContinental. We had to travel by bus from Prague to Nuremburg to board the PoetryII and I enjoyed the opportunity to see the countryside of the Czech Republic and Germany. We would highly recommend Avalon Waterways. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We just got back from our Grand European Tour from August 10 - 24 starting in Budapest. I think it was a good decision to begin in Budapest because we had almost 2 complete days to enjoy the city. We arrived at 10AM and were in our cabin ... Read More
We just got back from our Grand European Tour from August 10 - 24 starting in Budapest. I think it was a good decision to begin in Budapest because we had almost 2 complete days to enjoy the city. We arrived at 10AM and were in our cabin at noon. At the end of the cruise we might have been too exhausted to appreciate this beautiful city, am only sorry we didn't arrive a couple of days early. The weather was quite warm, almost 90F, but after Budapest the temperature dropped considerably and it was chilly with little sun and rain in several places. I think the itinerary was excellent and each city or town was different and had its special charm. The places I enjoyed the most were Budapest, Vienna, Regensburg and Bamburg. The only places that disappointed were Wurzburg and Cologne. probably because I expected more. Viking does an excellent job of balancing the itinerary so that there are early starts on tours interspersed with later starts on others. The tour guides were very knowledgeable, informative, and personable. However, after a few tours it is hard not to confuse one place with another and maintain interest. I am a history lover and a former educator, but I did find myself getting "toured out." That was my problem, definitely not Viking's. The service provided was outstanding in all respects. Kudos to the entire staff who work hard to accommodate you. Jazmina in the restaurant and Johnny on the Aquavit Terrace were wonderful, as well as our stewardess, Michaela. The stateroom was tiny, but well laid out so with a little organization two people can manage to fit. Unfortunately, my husband fell ill and missed several days of the cruise and I was tempted to take a blanket and sleep in the lounge. Being on the lowest deck was fine, especially since in several ports there are ships stacked next to each other and there is no view. The food was hit or miss. Breakfast was very good, Norwegian smoked salmon daily with bagels and yummy pastries were part of the offerings. We rarely had lunch, and dinner good be quite good but also quite lacking. The chef tries to make very sophisticated dishes that at times did not work. The only incident that was annoying was at the end of the cruise. We had a 10:10 AM departure from Amsterdam and we had been scheduled to depart the ship at 6AM. Viking refused to change anyone's departure time so with another couple we asked for a mini van to go to the airport. Constantin, the concierge, said it would cost 45 euros for the four of us (not for each couple). I had him repeat this several times to make sure there was no confusion, but when we got to the airport after dropping off the other couple at KLM we proceeded to United, where when paying the driver he wanted $70 euros. We refused to pay the difference and since the transfer had been arranged by Viking and this was the taxi company they always use we told the cabby to complain to the Baldur. We did report this to the Viking representative at the airport and also called the company yesterday to tell them about it. Now why did I say "not my cup of tea"? This was our first river cruise and have only done two ocean cruises to Alaska and to the Mediterranean years ago on what was Renaissance and is now Oceania. We have always traveled to Europe independently organizing the itineraries on our own and having done the river cruise we realize that group travel is not for us, it is too regimented as far as meals, tours, etc. Planning a European trip requires a lot of exhaustive research, but that is definitely our preference. Having said that, I would definitely recommend Viking and this itinerary to anyone who wants to do a river cruise and leave the planning to others. Last, but not least, we were fortunately in that there were no problems with water levels or lock break downs which seems to be a fairly common occurrence. This was causing me a lot of stress before the trip worrying about whether our cruise would turn into a bus tour, another reason why I would not repeat this experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We are expats based in Shanghai and took our first river cruise with AMA Waterways on the Ama Dolce in August 2014 on the Rivers Moselle/Rhine. We had a room on the Cello Deck with a French balcony and a nice room configuration. All staff ... Read More
We are expats based in Shanghai and took our first river cruise with AMA Waterways on the Ama Dolce in August 2014 on the Rivers Moselle/Rhine. We had a room on the Cello Deck with a French balcony and a nice room configuration. All staff we encountered in HouseKeeping and the service waiters were warm, friendly and eager to ensure everyone is well looked after. The availability of good wi fi was a nice bonus. The food choices were excellent and the chef was very accommodating for my wife who had dietary restrictions. Alcohol was provided during meal times which was another bonus. The on shore excursions were very well co ordinated and all programs run on schedule. With an excellent Cruise Manager, Darinka, who seemed to orchestrate every process seamlessly. Overall, despite a few wet days, we had the best vacation. We have shared with friends our happy snapshots of the beautiful sceneries of castles on the Rhine and many are keen to book this same program. We look forward to another cruise with AMA Waterways. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
The cruise has you start in Spokane, WA where you spend one night at the Doubletree City Center. The hotel is comfortable and has a very good, though a bit expensive, Spencer's Steakhouse. The hotel is located so that you can walk to ... Read More
The cruise has you start in Spokane, WA where you spend one night at the Doubletree City Center. The hotel is comfortable and has a very good, though a bit expensive, Spencer's Steakhouse. The hotel is located so that you can walk to restaurants, the park, and the falls. In early afternoon the American Empress will take you by bus (2 1/2 hour ride) down to Clarkston, WA where you join the boat. The drive takes you past golden wheat and hazelnut fields. Our welcome on board made us feel quite welcome and valued. During dinner there is a short cruise before spending the night. In Clarkston a Hop On-Hop Off complimentary tour is offered though we chose the Premium Tour that took us on a jet boat through Hells Canyon that we thought well worth the extra cost. The next stop was in Richland, WA where we chose the Hop On-Hop Off tour. The visit to the Reach Museum was interesting. I'd bypass the stop at Sacajewa State Park as there really isn't anything there. You might enjoy the stop at the Country Mercantile as they have really good ice cream and fruits from the area that you can try as well as a shop where you can buy items that one doesn't find in the local supermarket. The next day was spent on the Columbia River and sailing through the Gorge and arrived at The Dalles around 8 pm where we spent the night. In the morning, we took the Hop On-Hop Off that took us to the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center that shouldn't be missed. Other stops were The Original Courthouse Museum, Fort Dalles Museum and the Sunshine Mills Winery that we chose not to visit. In Stevenson, the next stop, the Hop On-Hop Off took us through Downtown Stevenson that you could visit easily with a walk from the boat, Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center (another not miss), and the Bonneville Dam. At the dam, do not miss the fish ladder viewing area. The end of the tour is drawing near in Astoria, OR named for John Jacob Astor. We chose the Hop On - Hop Off that included the Riverwalk that you access with just a short walk from the boat, Flavel House, a beautiful Queen Anne house that was built in 1886. The Carriage House has displays and this is where you pick up a ticket to enter the house for a self guided tour. The house has been lovingly renovated by the Clatsop County Historical Society and is a gem. The views from the Astoria Column was hidden by fog so we didn't get off nor did we visit the Heritage Museum. Astoria has a lot of restaurants and is quite nice. The American crew is welcoming, friendly and helpful. The onboard entertainment included a Riverlorian, a husband and wife team, Greg & Lindy Pendzick, who were quite good and were the Co-Cruise Directos. Frank Chase in the Paddlewheel Lounge was quite entertaining as was another couple, Laura Sable, singer, and her husband Bill Weimuth who is multi-talented - storyteller, singer, magician. Food generally was very good, but the complimentary wines definitely need improvement! On board activities include the Riverlorian, Bingo, Enrichment Lectures and a bit more. Overall, a very experience. The cruise ended in Vancouver, WA where you could take a ships tour to Mt. St. Helens, a bus to the airport ($25 each), or have the ship arrange a taxi the airport.with tip cost $35.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
As experienced cruisers with 17 ocean cruisers under our belt, we were excited to embark on our first river cruise choosing the new longship Viking Heimdal sailing the Portraits of Southern France itinerary. We are busy professionals and ... Read More
As experienced cruisers with 17 ocean cruisers under our belt, we were excited to embark on our first river cruise choosing the new longship Viking Heimdal sailing the Portraits of Southern France itinerary. We are busy professionals and love the true getaway that a cruise experience can provide however we were admittedly a bit concerned that we might find the river cruise experience to be a tad sedate. Much to our pleasure we thoroughly enjoyed our experience. Despite many logistics issues due to both high river height and lock maintenance which required significant and ongoing shifting of our itinerary, our trip was fabulous and we both agreed on the flight home that it was one of the best and most relaxing vacations we have taken. We booked this trip fairly last minute so we used Viking Air (not our typical approach with cruises). Our experience on Lufthansa was one of the only downsides of our trip. It was not awful but just not very good, seemed a bit of a budget experience and the fact that we were booked on 3 flights to get home from France added to the disappointment. We also had to pay for pre-assigned seat assignments on each leg of our trip which was a late surprise, costing us $300 total, and the irony is that we ended up switching seats with a family with two very small children who were being split up for an 8 hour flight.....so much for our pre-assigned seats. Now for the good stuff- the cruise was great. The ship was elegant and understated with easily accessible common areas. The staff and service were just superb. We enjoyed the small footprint of the ship and the intimate atmosphere provided when traveling with only 180 passengers. Given that our cruise last summer was on a 4000 passenger ship, it was quite a dramatic difference. The food quality was top-notch and it was bolstered by the overflowing enthusiastic attitude of our young chef (only 26 years old) and her staff. This was highlighted on one special evening where they served a buffet of Provence food and allowed all of us into the galley where they were dancing with passengers in-between serving us. As I mentioned the itinerary was a daily challenge. Not worth going into all the changes but I think there was not a single day on the ship that was not impacted. The staff did a great job balancing this. The result was that we were able to experience just about everything that was promised with one exception. However, in order to do so we spent more time on bus rides than we had planned. BTW - the buses were high quality and comfortable; some even included TV screens showing the view from the front of the bus. However, the increased bus time was the cause of great disappointment and upset to a few but most passengers focused on having a great time. The weather was superb in the mid 70s to low 80s on most days, so this helped to make the trip wonderful and hearing how the folks on the previous week were faced with rain almost every day, made it even sweeter. The excursions were high quality with generally good guides. Sharing stories with fellow passengers, we can report that the vast majority were happy with the excursions. One fairly universal disappointment was the inaccessibility of the top deck for almost the entire trip. At first it seemed this was a result of high water levels but ship staff revealed that this was more the norm than an exception, due to the large number of low bridges and locks on this itinerary combined with the river height. On the next to the last night the Captain took the ship out for a spin by the bridge in Avignon and he treated everyone to an open bar on the top deck in an attempt to make up for all the issues we had dealt with. It was a nice gesture and a beautiful experience. Other pluses of the cruise were the fellow passengers, very reliable free wireless, and other amenities such as free water bottles for excursions and occasional sweet treats greeting us upon return to the ship. The atmosphere was very casual with few dressing up at all and most only on the night of the Captains dinner. Even on that night the dress was what I would call resort casual for most. The bar staff were extremely congenial and competent. We noticed that the whole staff had a real "pitch in" attitude with many doing several jobs as demand required. The on-board musician was a low light but he was augmented with a few outside acts which helped to provide some variety and I found myself enjoying him a bit more later in the week. Our only regret is that we didn't have more time on our own to wander around and enjoy, especially in Avignon which was truly a fabulous city. We are already talking about another river cruise on Viking...now we just have to decide which one. We are so happy we tried a river cruise, while we still love the ocean, river cruising is our new pleasure. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This was my first time on a river cruise and it was a wonderful experience. Cruised from Budapest on the Danube to Nuremberg with stops in Vienna, Passau, Melk and Regensberg. The staterooms on the ship were small but you are hardly ever ... Read More
This was my first time on a river cruise and it was a wonderful experience. Cruised from Budapest on the Danube to Nuremberg with stops in Vienna, Passau, Melk and Regensberg. The staterooms on the ship were small but you are hardly ever in them so no big deal. Had a cabin with the French balcony; well worth the extra cost. Could open the drapes and enjoy the view while getting ready for breakfast or dinner. We had friends with cabins with only a window and they were not happy. The food is excellent and plentiful. The staff very friendly and helpful. The nightly entertainment in the lounge was hit and miss. The highlights were when Preston, the Program Director, performed. He has an amazing voice and variety of music genres he could sing. There were also a few nights where outside performers were brought in which were also excellent. There rest of the nights; not good at all, which is a problem when you are cruising because there is nothing else to do. The internet was extremely slow and only one computer station was working. I only used the internet once so no big deal but some people needed to keep in touch with work so this was a problem for them. The city tours in each location were well organized. The local guides were very knowledgeable and spoke English well. If you go on the city tour or the optional tours you do not have much free time in each location but the tours are excellent so you want to take the tours; a dilemma really. I would have liked more time in Vienna. Cruising through the Wachau Valley was absolutely beautiful! Worth sitting up on the sun deck even in the cold. I would definitely go on another Viking cruise!   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
My partner were on our first cruise. The car parking and check-in at Dover were excellent; we were given clear directions to the car-park, porters took our luggage from the car and it next turned up outside our cabin. We had a forward ... Read More
My partner were on our first cruise. The car parking and check-in at Dover were excellent; we were given clear directions to the car-park, porters took our luggage from the car and it next turned up outside our cabin. We had a forward cabin on deck 4 (picture window, not portholes); comfortable beds, plenty of hanging space, a little short of drawer space. Decent size towels and changed as required; hand and shower wash toiletries supplied. Duvet covers changed daily. A full tea/coffee making tray provided. We had failed to noet that. although it is a UK ship, the electrics are continental 2 pin! Reception loaned us 2 adaptors for the trip, for a small returnable deposit. The structure of the cabin creaked and groaned a bit on the two nights when the sea was a bit rough but were excellently sound proofed The staff were all cheerful, polite and competent - dining-room, bar, reception and cabin. There are two sittings for dinner 6.15 and 8.15 pm with tables for 2,4,6, or 8. Choose time and number when you book. There are three restaurants where one can have breakfast and lunch but the menu is the same in each. The food was excellent with a wide selection; good food, nicely cooked and presented,,on hot plates and as good as you would eat in any up market holiday hotel. Drinks prices were on a par with UK bar/hotel prices, but we found that the £8 per person/day All Inclusive package represented good value and, even at the £10 it has gone up to it is still worth doing. A gin and tonic and a pint of draught bitter is about £8.60 and wine is around £4 a glass so spending your daily allowance involves normal holiday drinking and nothing excessive! There was an outbreak of noro-virus, almost as soon as we sailed. Strict health precautions were enforced which basically meant that whenever you entered or left a public room you were required to sanitise your hands with an alcohol based gel. People who got the virus were treated free by the ship's doctor and anyone who accepted the request to stay in their cabin for 48 hours was give a pro-rata 2 day refund on their fare.. There was a huge range of onboard activities including talks, demonstrations of art and craft, dancing, bridge, truly something for almost everyone.. We did not attend any of the evening entertainments but heard good reports of them from those who did. The shores excursions in Nantes, La Rochelle, and Bordeaux were excellent but seemed a bit pricy at £49 per person for a 1/2 day. There were about 8 excursions offered at each port and the full range can be seen on the Fred Olsen website. The arrangements of getting on and off the boat for these tours was poor, bordering on shambolic! Many passengers had a range of mobility issues which made them a bit slow, the gangways were steep and at one time there were 300 passengers who had got off tour buses, trying to get back on board via a one-way gangway with 300 passengers trying to get off and board the coaches! Disembarking and baggage collection were speedy enough and efficient. Overall, my idea of a good cruise, Braemar was full but did not seem to be (900+ passengers) and I was sufficiently impressed that I booked a cruise on the same boat for next year, while I was on-board! 5% discount too! Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We are two friends traveling together every August on either an adventure travel experience or a river cruise. We have cruised rivers in the USA, The Amazon among others throughout Europe. We arrived by air in Zurich early AM and spent ... Read More
We are two friends traveling together every August on either an adventure travel experience or a river cruise. We have cruised rivers in the USA, The Amazon among others throughout Europe. We arrived by air in Zurich early AM and spent part of the day at airport Hotel awaiting bus transportation to Basal our port of embarkation. The Felicity is well appointed and a very pretty ship; all public rooms were decorated in great taste and had ample room for about 120 guests. Each port of call had a choice of included tours; and a few optional tours were availabe at a modest cost. The on shore guides were all very professional and knowledgeable; and all walking tours offered "gentle walks" for those who needed a bit more time to get around. The shipboard service was great mainly due to the expertise of our cruise director who catered to every passenger need no matter how small. The food was 5 star all the way from our buffet breakfast to lunch to a 5 course dinner which included wine, beer and soft drinks. The entertainment was local and very enjoyable. A happy hour was offered each night with 1/2 price drinks. We leected to stay in a suite which was adequate size for our needs and had ample storage space for our stuff. We reluctantly left our cruise in Amsterdam for our return home. We are now in the process of booking our next Avalon cruise for August 2015. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We arrived in Paris 4 days before the cruise, stayed at a lovely small boutique hotel close to the port and had a grand time seeing the sights on our own and using tour companies found on TripAdvisor. We traveled by metro and the train, ... Read More
We arrived in Paris 4 days before the cruise, stayed at a lovely small boutique hotel close to the port and had a grand time seeing the sights on our own and using tour companies found on TripAdvisor. We traveled by metro and the train, and it was easy and affordable. I urge everyone to do a before of after Paris visit of several days at least, as there's rather minimal time exploring Paris itself on this cruise. After a 5 minute taxi ride, we arrived at the port at 12:30 pm, were greeted by Patricia the Program Director, and Sascha, the Hotel Manager, and had a nice light lunch in the lounge. We selected a cabin with a large window that could open which was lovely for views along the river. The room was of sufficient size, with plenty of drawers and closet space. Luggage was stored under the bed. There was a 115 V socket and several european sockets. All of our electronic devices worked fine, and we did not need a converter. We did bring adapter plugs. The room was kept clean and tidy, and we paid our housekeeper an extra tip at the end of the trip. As mentioned previously, the hair dryer is not as powerful as we're used to at home but did manage to dry my hair. We utilized the laundry service, as we limted how much we brought along, and it was delivered back to us in perfect condition the next day. The excursions have been reviewed elsewhere. Our favorite was the visit to Monet's house and gardens. The gardens are extraordinary, with an amazing abundance of beautiful flowers. There is also a Paris city bus tour with a stop at Notre Dame, a walking tour through Rouen with a "leisure" group for slow walkers, a visit to the Normandy beaches and museums, a stop in Las Andelys and optional tour to Versailles. I found the shopping best in the 2 stores in Las Andelys, and we took the half day Versailles excursion which we found to be sufficient. Back at the boat, we had breakfast in the dining room, the light lunch in the lounge (there is also lunch in the dining room) and dinner in the dining room. We thought the food was excellent but service a bit slow for dinner, especially for our table of 4, the first one in the middle upon entrance. I suggest avoiding that one, as we were usually the last ones served. People tended to stick with the original table selected on this cruise, so moving seemed like it would be a bit of a challenge. Everyone appeared to be working hard, so it seemed like an additional waiter might have helped. As typical of prior river cruises, onboard entertainment was limited. We attended an interesting lecture on Joan of Arc, a French lesson, a tour of the galley, an optional oyster eating event and a music quiz that was more amusing than expected. There was also a painting class and a piano player in the evening. The last night there were some classically trained singers, who were very good, but I didn't stay for long due to packing requirements. All of the major staff members were personable and helpful. Patricia was very orgainized, with a bubbly personality. A final word on the debarkation: We were assigned a bus for CDG airport 3 hours before the plane's departure. It took 1 hour to get to the airport, and because of a great deal of traffic, left off at Arrivals. Getting through the chaotic maze at CDG was an obstacle course, and even though we were on priority lanes throughout and moved as fast as possible, it took over an hour to get to our gate. Within 10 minutes the plane began boarding. if you prefer a more leisurely airport experience, I strongly recommend getting yourself on a bus that gives you more time. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This was our second booking with Viking. Our first on the Danube was shortened because of extreme flooding last year. Viking handled the situation superbly, and provided a credit which was a pleasant surprise and made it possible for us to ... Read More
This was our second booking with Viking. Our first on the Danube was shortened because of extreme flooding last year. Viking handled the situation superbly, and provided a credit which was a pleasant surprise and made it possible for us to book again. This time we cruised on the picturesque Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel. First about our ship - The Ingvi. Beautifully designed, quiet, and surprisingly roomy. Our room with real balcony was functional and provided adequate space for storage. The bathroom and shower were very well planned and met all our requirements. The restaurant, Aquavit Terrace and other public spaces were well laid out. The upper deck was excellent for lounging and sightseeing. The Staff - Viking staff in every aspect were competent, pleasant and attentive. The Program Director, Nick, was not only competent, but a born comedian and performer of boundless energy. Sasha, the maître de, was very attentive to my wife's dietary restrictions as was all his staff. Minho, the Chef, provided us with great meals that were nicely presented and delicious. Wine flowed generously until you said stop, please. The Cruise - From Amsterdam to Basel the Rhine was a beautiful trail throughout the cruise. Viking has become the leader of the river cruise market, and rightfully so. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Just returned from the trip that started in Moscow on August 24. About a week before leaving I finally read the reviews of this trip posted on this site and found them to be very mixed. Along with the political situation, some of the ... Read More
Just returned from the trip that started in Moscow on August 24. About a week before leaving I finally read the reviews of this trip posted on this site and found them to be very mixed. Along with the political situation, some of the reviews added to my doubts about whether this was the right trip to take. I have never posted a trip review before but wanted to address the concerns I read about, some of which I found to be accurate and others not of consequence. Some of them really depend on your expectations. Reading the reviews did help to properly set my expectations. Getting around Yes, the boat is docked quite a bit away from the center of both Moscow and St. Petersburg. In Moscow my husband studied the metro system (which is a sight in itself to tour!) and when we wanted to go somewhere during free time, we used the metro which was a 10-15 minute walk from the ship. It made me nervous at first but turned out to be quite safe and a pleasant way to get around. In St. Petersburg we never used the metro. Because of the timing of excursions and free time, on 2 out of the 3 days we chose to not return to the ship with the tour group but to stay in St. Petersburg after the Hermitage so we could visit the Faberge Museum and on the final day we took the hydrofoil from Peterhof back to St. Petersburg for more touring on our own. (Viking plans excursions so that you always return to the ship for lunch even if there are morning and afternoon tours. This does waste time.) The ship We have been on one other river cruise, not Viking, and that ship was newer and nicer. These ships were built in Russia and are rather old. Even with refurbishing they look a little run down in some of the common areas. But that was okay with me. Having read the reviews, my expectations were set. Our cabin was mid-ship, perfectly clean and beautiful, no special noise (yes you can hear some noise from adjacent cabins but the people travelling on this type of cruise are not really party people so no problem there). Twice a day the staff replaced towels, cleaned, everything sparkling. I cannot complain about the ship. Some said the bar areas were small and one was used for lectures and could not fit al the people. That is true, but they always gave 2 sets of the same lecture dividing the population so not a problem. Just once there was a welcome type of reception and the room was overflowing. The other river cruise I was on had a bigger bar/common area. But the Helgi had a number of smaller seating areas that were really a nice concept. You could go there and read, or sit with a small group of people. I liked these areas although they could use some sprucing up. Food Some people complained it was awful. I thought it was quite good. Someone complained that the wait staff were not properly trained. Maybe that was at the beginning of the season - don't remember the review. I found them to be quite good with a few exceptions here and there where it seemed my table was forgotten! Mostly though they were right there when you needed them, very pleasant and accommodating. Tours and tour guides Very good. The 3 tour guides were a wealth of information on all aspects of Russian life. They gave multiple lectures on Russian history. There was a final round table at which they answered questions. It was interesting to hear their opinions of Russian life. Some reviews said they could have done without the stops and tours between Moscow and St. Petersburg. This depends on what you are looking for. They do give a slightly different view of Russia but some were really just fill ins. There is a trade off between taking this river cruise and doing a land tour of Russia. On the river cruise you sacrifice more time touring areas that might be of more interest to you vs having some more relaxing time while the boat cruises (and this is the time when they had the lectures which I found very valuable). It really depends on what you are looking for. I looked at the itineraries for some land tours and other than St. Petersburg and Moscow which are always multiple day stops, they then visit other areas (Latvia, Estonia, etc) generally for one day at a time. So you are always packing up. Again, it is personal preference. Overall I am glad we did this trip. I learned a lot, saw some incredible sites, have lots of pictures, ate too much, enjoyed a mix of group and free time. This was my first Viking cruise and I think they did a very good job. Would I have preferred a land tour of this area? Will never know! Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This was our second Scenic River cruise, last time we did Amsterdam to Budapest in 2009 I enjoyed it then but Scenic have really raised the bar. This time we sailed from Budapest to Amsterdam and because of the different timings and ... Read More
This was our second Scenic River cruise, last time we did Amsterdam to Budapest in 2009 I enjoyed it then but Scenic have really raised the bar. This time we sailed from Budapest to Amsterdam and because of the different timings and direction we actually saw many new sights. unfortunately the weather wasn't the best so we only spent a couple of days on the sun deck. for quite a few days , this deck was closed anyway due to the numerous small bridges the ship,goes under. Since 2009, the ships have been improved in decor, full balconies where you can have the window closed or open ( a great feature) TV/ videos and free wifi in the rooms. We found occasionally you lost reception but that is to be expected with a moving boat. the cabin we had was on the second floor 223 - which we had last time and we had no problems with noise.However, our friends had a room on the top floor over the engines and found it excessively noisy and a lot of movement. I loved the L'Occitane bathroom products which were replenished frequently, as was the bar fridge. When Scenic say 'all inclusive' they mean it apart from laundry. In 2009 we had a rather excessive drinks bill so it was fabulous this time that we didn't have to worry - cocktails, wines,champagne etc all inclusive. nothing like starting the day with a champagne and orange for breakfast! the meals were pretty good, not 5 star as you would get in a fine dining restaurant but when you see the size of the galley, compared to a sea cruise ship, the chef does a great job. Breakfast was a buffet with everything you could want but you could also order off the menu. lunch was either in the dining room ( different courses) or as we preferred a lighter lunch of open sandwiches or soup and beautiful cakes. Dinner was in the dining room and was 4 or 5 courses with choices. You could also choose to have other options if you preferred. Each passenger can have a booking for a special evening in Portobellos restaurant with silver service , again very nice and much quieter than the restaurant as it only seats 24. Table Rive was for guests on the top deck. There was entertainment most nights usually relating to the various ports of call, and the crew put on 2 concerts which were fabulous. Excursions were good and we found all the guides easy to understand unlike last time. The use of the new GPS system and information was easy to use and useful whilst on the top deck to listen to what you were seeing. Possibly there were too many excursions and not enough down time but no one needs to do anything , you can stay on board. Our cruise director did have a briefing every night to go over what was happening the next day but if you didn't wish to attend or have another cocktail before dinner, the daily news sheet gave you all the details. In fact it would have been better if some guests hadn't attended as they were constantly talking as the director was trying to give out his information. I found the staff to be exceptional, courteous, very hard working and always with a smile. However, as for the guests- being an Australian ( at least an ex pom) I think people from England, the USA and Canada need to fully research as the whether this cruise with mostly Australian guests is the one for them. Several English guests were extremely objectionable in their attitude towards Australians who were having a great time and were discourteous to the staff who were doing their best to please. One gentleman , I say that loosely, from Canada, blamed the Australians for causing a cold virus to go through the boat- apparently we bring diseases with us because we travel further! All in all we had a lovely time but I probably enjoyed going from Amsterdam to Budapest as I felt that scenery wise it was better.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Started this Danube cruise in Budapest which included a stay in the Marriot hotel is well located on the banks of the river with a great bar/restaurant for river gazing. Hotel was a comfortable 4 star styled establishment. The included ... Read More
Started this Danube cruise in Budapest which included a stay in the Marriot hotel is well located on the banks of the river with a great bar/restaurant for river gazing. Hotel was a comfortable 4 star styled establishment. The included tours were informative and well done. Boarding the boat was painless as our bags magically arrived in our staterooms while we were touring the city. We found the organisation by Viking when it comes to logistics, in general, excellent. Our cabin in brief was light, bright, very well designed and tastefully decorated in relaxing colours. Our stateroom also had an adequate balcony with a table & 2 chairs. We were saddened by the fact that other than 1 day (passed through locks) we sailed at night. Suitcases fit nicely under the bed so they are out of your way. The boat is well laid out, spacious, lovely and light with great viewing from all public areas. Never felt at all claustrophobic. The crew were excellent, attentive, fast and a whole lot of fun while being most accommodating. The food at all meals was excellent. The local wines served were superb! Our farewell meal would have stood proud in any high level establishment. My husband and I found most of the included tours to be of a good standard. There were opportunities to save many of the not-so-young from having to sit part of the walking segments out that were missed. I do feel Viking could do well from taking more cues from their clientele. Most who do this particular tour have already travelled somewhat and can tell when something is attempting to be made from nothing. The optional tour to Szentendre (Hungary) was in our opinion a waste of the day and dollars. It was just like every other town that survives solely on peddling unwanted goods to uninterested tourists. Have seen way too much of that. We did the extension option to Transylvania and stayed at the Radisson Blu Bucharest, another good quality 4 star hotel also very well located. The highlight of the cruise/tour was Transylvania, what an absolute delight the country side, architecture and attractions were! We stayed overnight in Brasov, visited Bran Castle (associated with Vlad the Impaler), Sinaia - a breathtakingly beautiful resort town and Peles Castle which was gobsmaking. Viking would do well to concentrate more in Transylvania rather than over done and overworn excursions/activites that are suited to either the very young or feeble minded, none of which were on board the vessel. The optional tour to Constanta was nothing short of an absolute rip off! We were all ready at 8am as requested but didn't leave till 9am. 20 of us were squeazed on to a small bus for an uncomfortable 3hr trip to see 1. A port (big deal. 2. A derelict building (Casino) 3. Archaeology Museum that after seeing the 1st floor we all too tired, cranky and hungry and at 1.30pm - needed lunch! We were then taken to a restaurant on an overcrowded beach for lunch. It took an hour to arrive and my chicken was raw. With only 1/2 hr remaining not enough time to reorder. We were told we could swim in the black sea - but there were no change rooms available. So for those who did it was a quick dip and hardly worth the 3hr ride there and 3 hours back for such a quick stop that included the first 3 "sights". My husband and I realised that this cruise would involve visiting ex socialist countries that have been war torn for long periods of time and would therefore not be as pretty as central Europe. Many on board expressed their disappointment at what they saw, I don't think they had realistic expectations of the countries visited. I think Viking's promotional material might be better served by preparing those who did not do their homework. Would avoid a heck of a lot of disappointment. All in all we enjoyed the boat greatly along with it's crew. Couldn't fault either. Would we do another Viking River Cruise? Yes, we loved the standards set and that you didn't have to dress up. We would however do more detailed research into optional tours to avoid disappointment. Given that we have travelled extensively they do not offer river cruises that appeal to us or go where we haven't been otherwise I'd be packing my bags rather than writing this.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014

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