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7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Friends who made a couple of Viking River Cruises highly recommended us to cruise on the Viking cruise line. We had made several (7) Ocean Cruises on Royal Caribbean with them and they wanted us to enjoy this new and intimate experience ... Read More
Friends who made a couple of Viking River Cruises highly recommended us to cruise on the Viking cruise line. We had made several (7) Ocean Cruises on Royal Caribbean with them and they wanted us to enjoy this new and intimate experience on a smaller vessel. Most of our cruises on RCI were 3500 and above passengers where this one was only 190! The cruise itinerary for us was perfect for although we have traveled extensively throughout Europe we had never been to Budapest nor Prague. Learned a lot about why communism and those behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War were so affected by not being able to live freely. The Viking was very clean and support staff were very professional seeing to our every need. It was service with pleasure from embarkation to disembarkation. Our Crew was excellent and we had a great Tour Director (Edina) and Hospitality Director (Mariana). Superior experience and great trip down the Danube! Read Less
46 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We have taken 2 previous land cruises with Gate 1 and found them to be fantastic. We came upon a special for a River Rhine cruise that was a great price in late spring. In all the Cruise was quite good. This was our first cruise of ... Read More
We have taken 2 previous land cruises with Gate 1 and found them to be fantastic. We came upon a special for a River Rhine cruise that was a great price in late spring. In all the Cruise was quite good. This was our first cruise of any kind so we did not know what to expect. Gate 1 leases this ship which is 10 years old but one would never think that. Everything was modern and very clean. There was a buffet breakfast with omelet station and lunch buffet with a hot sandwich and pasta option each day, Dinner was 4 or 5 course gourmet every night with wine or beer included. with the exception of two lunches, we had all of our meals on the ship. No complaints about the food were heard, all was very good. The cabin was cozy but not cramped and very clean. We did not hear any noise from the outside nor from neighboring cabins. Shore excursions were hit or miss. I thought some of them were somewhat rushed. The local guide gave a short walk with a smattering of information about the area and then left us for free time. There were three optional tours - Colmar, France with wine tasting, Heidelberg, and Marksman Castle. These were all on the expensive side and really not a good value. We were really rushed thru Heidelberg. At times it seemed as thou the ship's sailing schedule took precedence over excursion time. Evenings featured music in the lounge each night. The weather last week was perfect so we spent a lot of time on the ship's top deck. Beer and wine prices in the lounge were reasonable but mixed drinks were pricey. I have seen comments concerning Gate 1 as lower tier mass market. With sailing right next to Viking ships and following identical excursions I'm not sure that is a fair assessment. I don't know what Gate 1 is missing compared to Viking concerning the price of the cruise. I would recommend this cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We wanted to visit Budapest, Vienna and Prague, and our cruise itinerary gave us the perfect chance to do so. We spent three days before the cruise exploring Budapest, and three days after the cruise exploring Prague. The Austrian and ... Read More
We wanted to visit Budapest, Vienna and Prague, and our cruise itinerary gave us the perfect chance to do so. We spent three days before the cruise exploring Budapest, and three days after the cruise exploring Prague. The Austrian and German towns we stopped at along the way exceeded expectations, as did our time aboard the Egil. Shore excursion guides ranged from average to excellent. Our one day on the river traveling down the Wachau valley was gorgeous and relaxing. A positive aspect of river cruising is having your "hotel" travel with you, obviating the necessity of packing, checking in and unpacking at each new city. On the other hand, the requirement to return to the ship by dinnertime most days precluded experiencing city nightlife. Breakfasts and dinners on board were well-prepared and well-served, but unfortunately room service was not available. Nightly ship-wide meetings consisted of informative presentations of then next-day's ports and schedules, as well as various musical performances. Bar service during and afterwards was fast and unlimited. Last but not least, the staff were friendly, knowledgeable, helpful and all around amazing. They worked very hard to make sure our stay went smoothly, and all our needs were met, both on and off the ship. This was our first river cruise and we definitely will be back for more! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
This was a last- minute booking. We knew the ships could be outdated - and this one was (gaudy orange walls, green carpet and shiny gold ceilings) and that the majority of people on board would be French but decided to give this company a ... Read More
This was a last- minute booking. We knew the ships could be outdated - and this one was (gaudy orange walls, green carpet and shiny gold ceilings) and that the majority of people on board would be French but decided to give this company a try. Unlike other lines, Croisi Europe does not include any trips although they say that all drinks are included - this is true unless you want any liqueurs, branded spirits, decent wine or anything but very basic port. There are daily cocktails which appear to come ready mixed and don't seem to contain much alcohol. The wine we got with meals was cheap and nasty- we found one of the bottles for €3 in a local shop. Trips are expensive and you get the impression that things are included as time-fillers rather than because they are interesting. There are no allowances for slower walkers, as there are on other lines. Smoking is allowed in all outside areas which means that everyone has to suffer when someone smokes at the front of the sun deck, which they do all the time. There is nowhere to escape from the constant noisy chatter on board. There is no choice at mealtimes, although they try to offer alternatives if you let them know you don't like something. They do try to include regional specialities. Breakfast is largely continental and is the only meal served buffet style. There were eggs and a variety of weird sausages and we even had bacon one one occasion. The river is stunning with wild, remote areas and five dams with huge locks. The canopy on the sun deck had to be lowered each time we went through the locks and for low bridges and you have to be careful not to get wet when the ship passes under the guillotine gates from which water pours as you leave the locks. The only places where there is anything to see when you stop are Regua and Pinhao. Both are small places with a few shops and cafes but neither is anything special. If you go on the excursions, the ship moves on and you miss a lot of the beautiful scenery. Porto is interesting but very hilly. It has 30-odd port houses. We didn't feel that this cruise was good value because the trips were extra. By the time you add flights and transfers onto the basic cost, it didn't work out much different from other far superior lines and would have been more expensive if you went on the trips. We did see other Croisi Europe ships which appeared to be much nicer than ours and we were told that the ship is due a re-fit at the end of the 2017 season. This is long overdue! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We had been considering 15 day The Grand European Tour Viking River Cruise for a long time, and we finally decided to indulge ourselves. We were on the May 26 - June 9, 2017, cruise. This was an outstanding experience, and one that far ... Read More
We had been considering 15 day The Grand European Tour Viking River Cruise for a long time, and we finally decided to indulge ourselves. We were on the May 26 - June 9, 2017, cruise. This was an outstanding experience, and one that far exceeded our expectations in almost every way! First, we opted for Viking to make our travel arrangements, which included our transfers between airport and ship. Not only did they welcome us in the arrivals hall in Schiphol Airport (Amsterdam) at the beginning of our journey, they also had a representative stay with us all the way until we arrived at the security checkpoint when we departed from the Budapest airport. We opted for the Veranda Stateroom (upper deck) because we wanted a little more room (205 sq. feet plus balcony) versus the French Balcony Stateroom (135 sq. feet). We are very happy with our decision. Although we really did not use the balcony very much, we very much appreciated the extra space! Rey, our cabin attendant was superb! We don't know how he always seemed to know the moment when we left our cabin, and when we came back from breakfast, he had already been in to clean the room. He frequently asked if there was anything else we needed or wanted, and reminded us that he was there to do whatever he could to make our vacation enjoyable. That attitude was prevalent among ALL the staff! Every staff member consistently provided exceptional service, and made us feel so welcomed and valued as customers. The front desk staff was always friendly, efficient, and very helpful. The maitre d' Ksenjia always handed each of us a bottle of water to take along as we left the ship each day for our excursions, and she then offered us a warm welcome and a smile when we returned. She made sure the food service operation went smoothly, which it did! Our waitstaff Mae, Barbara, Dessi, and Michael were all fantastic, as were the bartenders in the lounge: Tamas and Christian! Chef (Gabor) was a master at his profession, provided a varied menu of expertly prepared meals, including a number of regional specialties. It was a real treat to be able to visit the galley after dinner one night and hear the chef explain the culinary operation of the ship. Each day during lunch time and again after dinner, we enjoyed going to the lounge and listening to musicians George and Magdalena. Program Director Barry did a great job of managing all the onboard activities, as well as the daily excursions. The ship was absolutely beautiful, was spotlessly clean, and was well-maintained. We went on all of the included excursions. It is difficult to say which was best, because they were all excellent. If I had to choose, I would say that the tour of Marksburg Castle in Braubach, Germany, and the visit to the windmills at Kinderdijk were personal favorites. The guides were all friendly and knowledgeable. The only thing lacking, in my opinion, was some sort of fitness room. It would have to be very small, but even a room with a couple of stationary bikes or treadmills would have been appreciated. The sundeck does have a walking track, but the sundeck was closed for five days because of the need to be able to lower the railings and equipment on that deck so that we could pass under some of the many bridges on the rivers. A small fitness room would be a welcome addition, especially for those times when the walking track is not available. I could go on and on. Suffice it to say that, based on this very positive experience, we hope to take more cruises on Viking in the future. Our next adventure may be on one of their ocean cruises! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We chose this cruise because of the rave reviews of Scenic, because it is all inclusive and because of the itinerary, Gems of the Danube. We were picked up at the airport in a lovely Mercedes and our driver delivered us to the ship ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the rave reviews of Scenic, because it is all inclusive and because of the itinerary, Gems of the Danube. We were picked up at the airport in a lovely Mercedes and our driver delivered us to the ship quickly. Embarkation was simple and seamless in Budapest, though we waited several hours in the lounge for our cabins to be prepared. Drinks and snacks were offered in the meantime. The crew was welcoming and friendly. Our cabin was great and we met our butler immediately though I have to say that was one of the very few times we saw him. This was disappointing as we were expecting a little pampering. The food is ample and good though rarely outstanding. The wines are not as high quality as we expected though we discovered quickly that better wines were available upon request. The tours were well planned and made for little idle time. You will walk quite a bit on this cruise so be prepared. The signature Tailormade system is very effective, easy to hear the guides (I used my own earbuds though) but it is a bit heavy and bulky to carry around one's neck. We participated in almost every tour day, save one, and did the Prague extension as well. The onboard entertainment is okay--the pianist who is the onboard musician is very skilled and enjoyable and some of the local performers were good. We loved the Vienna special performance--truly professional musicians, dancers, vocalists. Suggestions: if you arrive mid-day on embarkation, have the ship's crew arrange a tour for you to the Hospital in the Rock or shopping district so that your frustration at waiting will be alleviated. There is much to see in Budapest but we had limited time before sailing the next day. It would have been nice to have more time in each port. All in all, it was an enjoyable cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We wanted to see this part of France which was new to us. Having to fly from Edinburgh to Amsterdam and then on to Marseille wasn't the best way to start a holiday especially as the 'special assistance' for my wife in ... Read More
We wanted to see this part of France which was new to us. Having to fly from Edinburgh to Amsterdam and then on to Marseille wasn't the best way to start a holiday especially as the 'special assistance' for my wife in Marseille wasn't the best with a miserable girl who would only take us to the door even though the coach was on the far side of the coach park. However, the Emerald rep. was very good and the transfer to Arles was fine. It was very nice to find that we had been upgraded from Panoramic Balcony Cabin to a Grand Balcony Cabin. This was almost perfect apart from the very narrow space between bed and shower room. I've seen less smart shower rooms in some high grade hotels! The rest of the cruise did not disappoint and the crew could not have been nicer, more helpful or friendlier. They said they worked as a family and indeed they seemed to be just that with very little division between crew of different rank. We were lucky to have excellent weather the whole time and would recommend this cruise without reservation. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2017
The Quality of service and the food was excellent. However, we would recommend that meals be prepared with lower sodium. Some of us are on low sodium diet for health reason. This was not too much of a problem due to the wide variety of ... Read More
The Quality of service and the food was excellent. However, we would recommend that meals be prepared with lower sodium. Some of us are on low sodium diet for health reason. This was not too much of a problem due to the wide variety of foods available. We did read about this available option after the cruise. All the Staff working on board, from the manager to the housekeepers, were excellent, very attentive to our needs. They were very friendly and helpful. When describing our positive experiences to friends and family members, we always recommend viking cruises to our friends. Introduction lectures on the region were always excellent. Basic lessons on language were very good, though we already have basic knowledge of French. Tour guides were very informative. The cheese and wine event on the first day of the tour was very helpful for tour members to get to introduce themselves. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Every single member of the crew was outstandingly good at their job. You could not find a friendlier, more efficient group of widely international people anywhere, The ship, itself, was well designed in every respect. Given the size ... Read More
Every single member of the crew was outstandingly good at their job. You could not find a friendlier, more efficient group of widely international people anywhere, The ship, itself, was well designed in every respect. Given the size limitations of a Danube river cruise, nothing could have been better. The lounge and restaurant on board were very well run, both in the range of food and the immaculate service of the staff. The whole atmosphere was very amenable at ll times. The off-board excursions were run with great precision, even down to the special guides for the slower, more disabled passengers when walking around in groups. Shuttlebuses in the larger cities were well organised and very useful. Tours around the three big cities were very informative but the outstanding trip of the week was in Slovakia to visit a real family in their home environment and experience their friendly hospitality. Brilliant at his job was Balazs Varga, who was on top of all planning and made everything run smoothly. We cannot praise the whole organisation enough for providing one of the most enjoyable holidays you could possibly have anywhere in the world.. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Choosing the Danube Delights river cruise enable my husband and I to visit several cities in Europe that we hadn't before and how pleased we both were. We had never taken a cruise before and was excited to give it a go. What a ... Read More
Choosing the Danube Delights river cruise enable my husband and I to visit several cities in Europe that we hadn't before and how pleased we both were. We had never taken a cruise before and was excited to give it a go. What a wonderful experience it turned out to be from the moment we embarked in Budapest to the disembarkment in Nuremberg it couldn't have been better. Our ship was beautiful and much more spacious than expected. Our cabin was surprisingly spacious and well equipped for our comfort. Spotlessly clean and well serviced every day. Dining aboard was excellent and the service second to none. The staff or should I say crew aboard could not have been more helpful and attentive. The daily programme or itinerary was comprehensive and well planned. The evening entertainment was just enough after our busy time on our shore excursions which again was very professionally done and interesting. We saw some amazing sights along the way and thoroughly enjoyed our Discover More events. Our only regret was that we only had eight days...had we known how exceptionally fantastic this way of travelling was we wished we had stayed on longer! And yes, we will certainly be travelling again with Emerald Waterways. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We choose this river cruise as a 40th wedding present for ourselves, and anticipated it with excitement for months. We did not know what to expect, coming from the Midwest USA, and traveling to Russia, but it would be impossible for us to ... Read More
We choose this river cruise as a 40th wedding present for ourselves, and anticipated it with excitement for months. We did not know what to expect, coming from the Midwest USA, and traveling to Russia, but it would be impossible for us to leave the experience more pleased! Travel from Chicago to Moscow was grueling, but we expected that. What we did not expect, to this level, was the exceptional attention to detail when we arrived at Moscow airport, and for the next 13 days. EVERYTHING, (yes, everything) was designed to give the traveler every opportunity for the best experience ever. From the handling of our luggage, our boarding experience, the large and wonderfully appointed cabin, the excellent food (every meal!!!), to attentive housekeeping, and wait staff, both kitchen and the lounges, were magnificent. A sidebar about our luggage: one piece was lost by British Airlines, arriving to our room 48 hours later. The Helgi front desk pestered the airport/airlines several times each day, nagging, I think, like a grandmother whose child lost her doll, to make sure that it was found and delivered before we left Moscow. In the meantime, we received toiletries, robes and clothes, and free 3 hour laundry service. I believe that it is through adversity that the excellent prevail, and the Helgi crew did just that. Everyone had a smattering of the English language, with most speaking better than me. Absolutely no communication issues. The extra, unexpected events, like champagne in the hall to meet the captain and our new, temporary neighbors, to the daily briefings, cocktail hours was amazing. The exceptional service of Frank, the hotel/ship manager, Roland, the maître d'hôtel, Natred, our exceptional waitress whom we would have adopted in a heartbeat, to my new Siberian best friend Demetri, to Alvin, Jay, Tin, the excellent musicians, and others of whom I have forgotten their names but not their service, I tip my fedora. The vetting process of the Viking HR to find and retain such incredible staff (read: Family) must be outstanding, as they have employed the best of the best. While accommodations are important, it is the people who make the trip, and these folk certainly did this for us. We have traveled rather extensively over our many years, but this trip and experience climbs to the top of the list. Thank you, thank you!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We chose this cruise as we had already travelled with Scenic from Nurnberg to Budapest and from Budapest to the Black Sea, so this trip completed our journey from the North Sea to the Black Sea. The ship was immaculately kept and ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had already travelled with Scenic from Nurnberg to Budapest and from Budapest to the Black Sea, so this trip completed our journey from the North Sea to the Black Sea. The ship was immaculately kept and spotlessly clean, although not the newest ship in the Scenic fleet. Cruising with Scenic is utterly relaxing, because you know that everything they promise will be delivered. The staff are truly outstanding - they seem to have a knack for recruiting genuinely kind and pleasant people who work incredibly hard and deliver a very high level of service. The food was excellent - not a disappointing plate on the whole voyage. Buffet breakfast and lunch, silver service dinner with a vast number of choices. There's also a range of favourite fishes on the menu ( steaks, salmon, fish) in case you can't find anything you fancy. Every customer is invited once to Portofinos - an Italian restaurant with a six course menu and matched wines. Passengers on the upper deck also get La Rive, which is a French themed restaurant, although some preferred to stay in the main restaurant. Drinks are all included, including Champagne with breakfast if your tastes run that way... The included excursions are well run, informative and quirky, and there are also other enrichment items, like an opera concert in a castle. Interestingly, a fellow passenger ( okay, cruise nerd) had done a detailed breakdown of Scenics prices with other lines, and worked out that although Scenics brochure prices are a bit higher, by the time you work out what all the included benefits would have cost if you had paid for them separately on another line, Scenic was the best value for money. Plus as previously mentioned, you have the deep calm that comes from knowing that everything will run super-smoothly. Fellow passengers were a mix of Brits, Australians and New Zealanders and Canadians, (and a single group of Americans from Texas, who took lavish advantage of the included drinks, and were consequently loudly and obnoxiously drunk every night, and grumpily hung over every morning). Minor niggles? We got the impression that the food, although excellent, had had its budget cut slightly from previous cruises, which meant one of two fewer choices at lunch. The mooring at Basel on the first day was next to a large working scrapyard, so sitting on the balcony enjoying the holiday-starts-here gin and tonic was periodically interrupted by the massive crash of shredded car bodies being dropped into skips. Similarly, the mooring in Amsterdam was miles from the centre. However cruise lines presumably have to take whatever the harbourmaster allocates on the day. Individual laurels to Alex, hyper-efficient and charming Cruise Director from Germany, and Emilia ( Roumania) and Marek (Poland), both charming, helpful,funny and incredibly hard working bar staff. I can't think of any reason to ever go with a different river cruise line. Mekong next!... Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Wonderful program from beginning to end. Amber is a beautiful ship. Fine dining and wonderful port stops. Excellent crew. Everything run to perfection. A good mix of early starts and late starts for tours. But, never enough time to ... Read More
Wonderful program from beginning to end. Amber is a beautiful ship. Fine dining and wonderful port stops. Excellent crew. Everything run to perfection. A good mix of early starts and late starts for tours. But, never enough time to see all that Eastern Europe has to offer. If ending in Budapest, add at least one night to your stay and explore this wonderful city. Highly recommend Scenic and this itinerary. A few notes: Scenic hotel was Prague Marriott (wonderful). Breakfast only for Prague extension. One city walking tour included for Prague, otherwise on own but Prague is an easy, walkable city to explore. Buses left hotel for port between 12:30 and 1:00 PM, one bathroom stop mid way. All buses for entire trip had small toilets - none had Wi-Fi. Rooms 301 and 302 on Amber and Jade have obstructed views (smaller balcony windows). There is a breakfast menu but you have to ask for it, otherwise buffet. Coffee/Hot Chocolate machines in bar, cookies set out at times. Also a glass encased snack/treat area directly at the bar. Type C electric adaptors needed for US electronics. A bus follows the bikers if any decide not to finish the ride from Melk to Durnstein. Bottles of water available at start of each tour. Amber docks far away from Marriott Budapest, so don't plan on walking from the ship to the hotel at the conclusion of the cruise. If booking a Budapest extension with Scenic, they provide bus transfer to the Marriott. We booked the Marriott on our own and the Travel Director added us to the bus transfer, after we asked. All required to be out of ship cabins by 8:45 AM. Could remain in bar area until departure. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We have cruised a lot but this was our 1st river cruise and could not have been more happy. Ship was beautiful, crew was fantastic and we had a wonderful time. 3 days in Paris 1st and Franz our guide was great. All the transfers went ... Read More
We have cruised a lot but this was our 1st river cruise and could not have been more happy. Ship was beautiful, crew was fantastic and we had a wonderful time. 3 days in Paris 1st and Franz our guide was great. All the transfers went smoothly and it was first class service all the way. Love the design of the balcony cabins, the room was very comfortable and had plenty of storage. The Chef prepared delicious dinners and the guest Chef Fabien dinner was a nice surprise. Our cruise director Jana kept us entertained and there was plenty to do on the boat and off. Enjoyed the bikes on board and had fun biking in the south of France. Local guides were very knowledgeable and we enjoyed all the included tours. For us, having an English speaking crew was very helpful and all the employees were friendly and very efficient. We are already planning our next Emerald cruise! ⚓️ Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
First (and last) river cruise for us. Emerald Sky is a great ship, and a great way to see several destinations with no hassle. Our cabin 311 was well decorated with good space and it was kept immaculately clean by our super cabin attendant ... Read More
First (and last) river cruise for us. Emerald Sky is a great ship, and a great way to see several destinations with no hassle. Our cabin 311 was well decorated with good space and it was kept immaculately clean by our super cabin attendant Malik. All of the crew were terrific and very helpful. The entertainment wasn't to our taste but we enjoyed what we did join in with. The excursions were well organised and very good, the local guides excellent. The food was good but that's where we found our problem, we really didn't like having to all eat at 7pm which meant a race to get to a table, we hated having our food served like a canteen and the noise level in the dining room was just awful with people shouting across tables. Whilst we realise the crew have to multi-task and move from drinks duty to waiter service etc but this did not make for an enjoyable evening meal as we felt the dinner was rushed and certainly not the relaxed looking photo in the brochure! Thank you Emerald for the holiday, your staff are a credit to you but sadly we won't do another river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2017
We chose this because of my sister and I had never experienced the Danube and we stopped in Vienna and Budapest. The river cruise was much better than we anticipated. All of the crew were just wonderful. Deb was always on top of ... Read More
We chose this because of my sister and I had never experienced the Danube and we stopped in Vienna and Budapest. The river cruise was much better than we anticipated. All of the crew were just wonderful. Deb was always on top of everything and she helped in so many ways. My sister and I both loved Deb. The cabin was beautiful and always kept clean and tidy by the cabin attendant. The entertainment and piano was spectacular. Vienna was undoubtably more than we expected. The extra special excursion to the Vienna Opera and Vienna City Orchestra was something we will never forget. I never wanted the performance to end! We had a wonderful vacation and one will never forget. This was our second Viking River Cruise. The first cruise was on the Rhine and was also memorable but with a different itinerary. Thank you Viking and a special thank you to the host, Debra Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Recommendation of friends who were on their third SCenic cruise. This was my second SCenic river cruise so, obviously compared it with the Danube cruise I went on last year. It was a good experience (not quite as good as the DAnube ... Read More
Recommendation of friends who were on their third SCenic cruise. This was my second SCenic river cruise so, obviously compared it with the Danube cruise I went on last year. It was a good experience (not quite as good as the DAnube cruise I did last year)? The entertainment was good but only for two nights, the rock group was excellent, a great night. the Pope's palace concert good as was the evening drinks visit to castle of Tournon. Although Pianist Richard did his best he was not quite 'in tune' with his audience. The shore excursions were very good except for the village of Oignt where we were promised crafts shops and coffee shops, none of which were open! We wondered why we were only give 45 minutes there, just enough to visit the disgusting toilets!!! Dining was very good but breakfast buffet could have been a bit more efficient, often scrambled egg, potatoes etc. All gone and not replenished very quickly. Wine with meals excellent and special requests fulfilled. Bar service during the day also very good, although not so go up on top deck in the afternoons, seemed to be only one attendant on duty and not to be seen regularly. Captains, senior staff etc.very 'visible' and approachable. All in all, despite minor criticisms I would recommend this cruise to my friends, I had a good time and appreciate everyone's efforts to make my time on board enjoyable. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
What a great trip and the itinerary was perfect. We opted for the additional excursion to Cascais and Sintra which turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip. The walking tour of Lisbon was special - such a beautiful city and ... Read More
What a great trip and the itinerary was perfect. We opted for the additional excursion to Cascais and Sintra which turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip. The walking tour of Lisbon was special - such a beautiful city and learning about the history was memorable, thanks to the local guide. The cruise on the Douro was wonderful and the excursions to the Sandeman winery and to Favaios were special. The scenery along the Douro was reminiscent of the Mosel River - you know you're in wine country. We enjoyed the excursions to Lamego and the the Mateus Palace. Salamanca and Santiago de Campostella are not to be missed, they added so much to the travel experience we enjoyed. We owe a special thanks to Bruno, our Viking rep. in Lisbon for his help and guidance for the first two days. All in all, the local guides were great for each of the excursions. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2017
Never been to Europe. Took two cruises One from Budapest to Amsterdam then went to Paris for Paris out to Normandy and back to Paris. Each ship had great crews, the excursions were wonderful, food and service just spectacular. It was ... Read More
Never been to Europe. Took two cruises One from Budapest to Amsterdam then went to Paris for Paris out to Normandy and back to Paris. Each ship had great crews, the excursions were wonderful, food and service just spectacular. It was a trip of a lifetime. I was espescially impressed with Nuremburg WWII for the Budapest to Amsterdam trip. Then for the Paris trip, Normandy and the beaches (Omaha especially) were inspirational. The US cemetary will be in my memory forever. Then the other places for the excursions such as Monets home and the village. Then Paris and the sights seen both before and after the cruise were spectacular. Napoleons home, the versailles and so many other things all packed into just a short time. I feel like it could not have been better. On the Budapesat to Amsterdam cruise, there were so many great sights and excufrsions. The Sound of Music day was wonderful as was he time spent in Vienna, Austria. So many of the areas are in my memory, but I have trouble remembering how to spell the area properly. On each ship the program director, Caitlyn O'Dowd(the Mirmar) and the Rolf Lionel were both great at the job they did. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
This was the inaugural cruise for the American Cruise Lines ship, American Constilattion. As with the previousv14 cruises, the ship, personnel, and the onshore sites, were outstanding. The sites included Colonial Williamsburg, Crisfield ... Read More
This was the inaugural cruise for the American Cruise Lines ship, American Constilattion. As with the previousv14 cruises, the ship, personnel, and the onshore sites, were outstanding. The sites included Colonial Williamsburg, Crisfield Maryland (Bluecrab capital), and included the naval academy at Annapolis. The dining staff was very friendly and accommodating when requests for a change in meals. We later decided to extend our cruise with an additional week, and while not originally booked, the American Cruise Lines was able to extend our cruise. We originally met, married on American Cruise Lines ship American Independence. We were traveling as separate individuals, but stated, through the help of the personnel, we were married as the first couple to be married on an American Cruise Lines ship. We always consider American Cruise Lines as our cruise line. We have taken cruise in Maine, Alaska, the Mississippi, and costal southeast. While pricey in regards to the BIG ships, the difference is worth the cost. SMALL BOAT CRUISING DONE RIGHT. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2017
Traveled in style on this brand new ship in American Cruise Lines inventory, great tour of the Chesapeake Bay. This was my eleventh cruise with ACL, and it was fantastic!!!!!! The crew was well trained, and ready to assist in any way ... Read More
Traveled in style on this brand new ship in American Cruise Lines inventory, great tour of the Chesapeake Bay. This was my eleventh cruise with ACL, and it was fantastic!!!!!! The crew was well trained, and ready to assist in any way possible. Shore tours were well planned and very organized, which is a hallmark of American Cruise Lines. The Captain kept us up to date on landmarks and points of interest along the way. On board area specialist extremely knowledgeable about the history of the Bay, its geological background, and how evolution has made it as it is today, still a great source of seafood, crabbing specially. The cruise was well worth the money!!!! Well done, once again, American Cruise Lines. I will be back for two more cruises this year, Columbia and Snake rivers and Alaska, and am planning already for 2018, so you have a customer for "life"!!!!!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
This was the first time we tried Viking, as we had two other river cruises on Uniworld. The Danube was wonderful, the ship modern, clean and great staff. I will say, however, the food on Uniworld was a step above Viking. Other than ... Read More
This was the first time we tried Viking, as we had two other river cruises on Uniworld. The Danube was wonderful, the ship modern, clean and great staff. I will say, however, the food on Uniworld was a step above Viking. Other than that, the ports were great, tour guides terrific especially in Passau and Nurnberg. Chilling tour of Courthouse where Nazi's were tried and Zepplin field. We did an extension to Prague and Viking handled that just perfectly. Munich tour was wonderful, small group, great lunch and tour of city. I do suggest that you DO NOT book shore excursions beforehand, as there is always room. Our tour to Salzberg was quite delayed so we cancelled and good thing we did, those who went said it was too long of a bus ride and not much time to explore. Viking was gracious enough to refund our $398. for that tour, so we were completely satisfied. Deborah was great, can't say enough good about the staff! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2017
Paris is always a great destination. Just walking around the city is a great pleasure. Lunch in a little brasserie near Notre Dame added to that pleasure. And, a visit to Notre Dame is good anytime - a place of peace. We had never been ... Read More
Paris is always a great destination. Just walking around the city is a great pleasure. Lunch in a little brasserie near Notre Dame added to that pleasure. And, a visit to Notre Dame is good anytime - a place of peace. We had never been to see Monet's gardens. This was a reason for the trip. The gardens more than lived up to expectations even though we were too early for the lilies to be in bloom. Our guide was wonderful, very knowledgeable. We took lots of photos, and had to buy a guide to the gardens to figure out all the variety of flowers. (The gift shop was an excellent shopping stop.) Omaha Beach and the American cemetery were very moving places. Rouen and the smaller towns along the way were most pleasant. And then, there was the simple pleasure of cruising on the Seine River. As always on Viking, the food was excellent, the service friendly and unparalleled, and the cabins most comfortable at the end of a hard day of tourism. We always like that we unpack once and the hotel goes with us on the journey. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
One of my friends and I have been talking about taking a river cruise for years. Let's face it - those Viking commercials are very inviting. Now that my three kids are grown, in the spring of 2016 we decided now was the time to start ... Read More
One of my friends and I have been talking about taking a river cruise for years. Let's face it - those Viking commercials are very inviting. Now that my three kids are grown, in the spring of 2016 we decided now was the time to start planning. I first sent for brochures from several river cruise companies to compare intineraries etc. My friend and I have both travelled to Europe previously and wanted to go someplace new so we chose to take a Danube river cruise. I then met with a local travel agent who specificalizes in river cruises. She steered me away from Viking and helped me narrow our choices to AMA or Avalon. When she quoted out the price it was much higher than we had anticipated so we chose to watch and wait. By the fall of 2016 Avalon came out with a great sale - $1000 off per person + free air. That seemed too good to be true. I called the travel agent and we were booked within a few days! We ended up choosing this itinerary since it was short and we did not know if we would like river cruising. About a week after we booked my 27 year old daughter decided she wanted to go with us. She was able to get the single supplement waived and she booked as well. She could not get the single supplement waiver and free air but she was able to book on the same flights we were on so we could fly together. We all absolutely loved this cruise!! Everything about it was wonderful. It was a nice mix of small towns and big cities. We added a few days to the end of cruise and took the train to Budapest. We wished we had chosen a longer intinerary that included Budapest so we could stay on the ship. The ship: Our ship was the Avalon Passion. This was a new ship in 2016 and it was beautiful. Everything was sparkling clean and very tastefully decorated. The ship was actually much longer than I had anticipated. The rooms were spacious and that wall of windows was in the room was just awesome. We loved waking up in the morning and looking out at the river going by. The lounges, sky deck and dining room were equally beautiful. The age of passengers: Our sailing had a mix of American, Canadian, British, Australians, New Zealanders, one mom/daughter from India and two young ladies from Korea. I had expected mostly retirement age passangers but that was not the case at all. There was a real mix of 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s on up. I am in my early 50s and I felt like one of the older people on the cruise. There were quite a few mother/daughter pairs and several groups of younger women traveling together. We had a wonderful time chatting with everyone and hearing about everyone's travel experiences. Crew: I cannot say enough about how attentive and friendly the crew was. They went above and beyond on a daily basis. Our cruise director was Andrej (sp?). He was awesome. He was a kind person with a quirky sense of humor. His nightly port talks were always informative and entertaining at the same time. We added three days at the end of cruise and travelled on our own to Budapest. He gave us a Budapest map and recommended some sights and restaturants for us to see during our time there. So nice of him! Our server at dinner was Liza from the Phillipines. We sat in her section most meals since she was so nice and friendly. She got to know what we liked and we looked forward to seeing her at every meal. Valentin was the person who cleaned our room daily. He always had a smile on his face and left us a wonderful towel animal on our last day. Food: My friend and my daughter are both vegetarians and I am a "meat and potatoes" kind of person so it is not easy to find meals we all like. Avalon started their Avalon Fresh menu offerings in 2017 offereing enhanced menu options for vegetarians which sounded like a good fit for our group. Each one of us ended up loving the food!! It was so nice to have a floating restaurant with awesome food each day instead of searching around for a restaurant in each city. Breakfast and lunch were buffet with loads of choices. We loved the Belgian waffles and made to order omelets at breakfast. We loved all the desserts too. Dinner had several choices and none of us had any problem finding something we liked. We tried different wines each night and Liza just kept filling our glasses. In addition to the meals every day about 4pm was cake time with several different cakes to try. And...on the third floor was a lounge with cookies and cakes all day long. I have to admit - we visited the "cookie room" on more than one night about 11pm. Entertainment: We came on this cruise to sightsee at the various cities and were not expecing much in the way of entertainment. We did end up taking part in some of the nightly entertainment and it was really nice. Every night there was a piano player playing which was nice if you wanted to grab a drink or dance a little. One night there was a wine tasting demonstration which was perfect since we were sailing through the Wachau Valley past numerous vineyards. One night we had a singer/guitar player who played a mix of country and oldies. He was quite good and the dance floor was full for most of the night. The Australians were a bit rowdier than the rest of us and frankly made it so much more fun. I cannot think of anything I would change from this cruise. I can't wait to take another Avalon cruise. I am hooked! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Chose this cruise as we had never done a river cruise. First two to three days food was certainly not 5 star, we thought the chef had been replaced as the food certainly improved. I must mention Branislav the waiter who went the extra ... Read More
Chose this cruise as we had never done a river cruise. First two to three days food was certainly not 5 star, we thought the chef had been replaced as the food certainly improved. I must mention Branislav the waiter who went the extra mile and Francis the butler was very keen to please. Waiter was asked by a guest for a dessert wine, which he brought, when asked by another guest if he could have one also, he told him no as it was a special wine for other guests, not the answer we would expect on a 5 star ship. As we had not been on a river cruise before, we were surprised by the fact we did not see daylight in our cabin for four days out of the seven days as other boats were moored right next to us, we paid for a balcony and could not use it, as the guests off the other boats could see in the window. I would have thought in this day and age we would have been able to see out and they would not have been able to see in, but no. We have been on Ocean cruises and now a river cruise, I would like to do another river cruise, so I could make a better comparison, but it was very expensive to keep your curtains closed all day. Read Less

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