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2,934 River Cruise Reviews

We had made many ocean cruises before this river cruise. We were amazed with all of this cruise. Hospitality, comfort, food, tours; everything was beyond expectations! Every cruise member were always going out of their way to help, to ... Read More
We had made many ocean cruises before this river cruise. We were amazed with all of this cruise. Hospitality, comfort, food, tours; everything was beyond expectations! Every cruise member were always going out of their way to help, to cheer, to make our experience the best one possible. The fact that we are about 168 passengers on board makes it a very intimate atmosphere. Our room wich was a few feet above water level had 2 sliding patio doors wich we could open wide; the feeling was awsome! The itinerary was great; remember, you're on a river. You're always close to great scenerys without the motion of the ocean. Always nice and calm. I could go on and on! You just can't go wrong with this kind of cruise.We will be back and tip of the hat to AMA for offering such a great product! Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We loved our second AMA cruise at least as much as our first one, which was from Nuremberg to Luxembourg. But the countryside and culture are entirely different and less visited, so this is a special trip. We learned a great deal about the ... Read More
We loved our second AMA cruise at least as much as our first one, which was from Nuremberg to Luxembourg. But the countryside and culture are entirely different and less visited, so this is a special trip. We learned a great deal about the history of Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Croatia, from the times of the Ottoman empire right up to the present -- the conflicts arising from the breakup of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. I was impressed that AMA scheduled a tour of Vukovar (Croatia), where terrible atrocities where committed – not your typical visit to architecture landmarks and cultural icons. The Vukovars have created a sobering, respectful memorial to the many who were outright murdered, and the war victim cemetery with it row of empty plots for those still missing is a stirring visit too. They have also left the shell-pocked water tower as-is, an always-visible reminder. This optional excursion should not be missed. I went on all three optional bicycle tours, which as always were guided by local knowledgeable and personable guides. I liked all three, but particularly recommend the one to Ada Ciganlija & its lake in a park in Belgrade, and most of all the one in Hungary to the White Stork Museum in Kolked, from Mohacs where we were docked. This little museum really is out-of-the-way, but the passionate naturalist who guided our tour made it memorable. The third was through downtown Novi Sad and was another eye-opener about life in Communist and post-revolution Balkans. We were treated very well by everyone on and off the ship in every place we visited. Our fellow passengers were a great bunch, and we had good times with quite a number of them. Dining was like going to a top ranked restaurant every evening. The only possible complaint we had was that early birds using the jogging track on the top deck – above us – disturbed our sleep-in. Passengers were asked to curb this, but AMA should just outright ban running there before 8am. Early birds can run onshore. We cruised upriver, so docked in Rousse, Girugiu, near Bucharest, Vidin, Belgrade, Novi Sad, Ilok, near Vukovar, and Mohacs. We opted to take the Istanbul pre-tour extension which is pricey but was worthwhile, partly because to get from there to the Danube, you go by bus through rural Bulgaria, a fascinating trip, including an overnight stop in Plovdiv and visit to Veliko Tarnovo. I also recommend tours to Belogradchik / Baba Vida, Belgrade city, and of course Bucharest. You will encounter many currencies on this trip ... just go with the flow, obtain some when you first enter each country, and use what you don't spend, for tips when you leave for the next country.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This is the first time we ventured on a river cruise with a total of 18 friends in our group. Our group has travelled extensively both on land and ocean and live in 3 different continents: North America, Australia and Asia. The food ... Read More
This is the first time we ventured on a river cruise with a total of 18 friends in our group. Our group has travelled extensively both on land and ocean and live in 3 different continents: North America, Australia and Asia. The food quality was by far the biggest disappointment. There was very limited selection during breakfast and dinner. Breakfast options were the exact same 7 days straight. You could tell they recycled the leftover food from the morning and serve it at night. Also, they misrepresented the size of prawns and type of fish on their menu. The wine selection for the dining room was mediocre at best. At the bistro dinner, there was no wine pairing as was indicated and food portions were rather small and as a result we were still hungry afterwards. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Hello. My husband and I were not “guests” but a paying customers on the Scenic Ruby (8/9/14 - 15/9/14). I was to complete the survey provided and return however putting a cross in a box could not express in detail all that should be ... Read More
Hello. My husband and I were not “guests” but a paying customers on the Scenic Ruby (8/9/14 - 15/9/14). I was to complete the survey provided and return however putting a cross in a box could not express in detail all that should be said. We were on tour Romantic Rhine and Moselle River cruise (code AMBA080914-2) that we booked. After a 8hr flight to Zurich we were transferred to Hotel Movenpick and left for 7 hrs in a room with chairs fit for a classroom with coffee facilitys. Once on the ship, both the room keys issued to us malfunctioned 4 times each. We were accused of keeping them next to a phone - NOT TRUE. Of the passengers that boarded 2 where visibly terribley sick with the flu. There was no attempt by the cruise director to address the prospect of infecting others. Others ships do so and retain those for a period to monitor in an infirmary. We were told after 2 days they were removed to hospital to intensive care and only returned on the last day of the cruise to fly home. It took a few days for 98% of those on board to get extremely ill (us included). When I tried to contact our private butler after being bed ridden for a day/night and explaining we had not eaten in this time, I was told that he was too busy as he was working in the dining room. The entertainment was an organ player suitable for a retirement village. The rooms appeared tidy and the bed comfortable. However the piece of blue material covering the bed foot was stained with what I could only call bodily fluid stains! The room staff where pleasant however some dining staff frowned when a request was made. You just about lost your voice trying to talk over the noise in the dining room. Food not 5 star - the same plain gravy with 3 totally different meats over 3 nights and 1 toaster for one hundred and so passengers. All passengers are invited to dine for an Italian meal at a dining area called Portabellos. I've had better Continental Cup minestrone soup, with more veg in it. The bus trip to Kaju Restaurant where we had a Swiss Cheese Fondue lunch consisted of 2 squares of bread to dip in the fondue and I had to get up to get my own drink of juice as the staff could not cope! - Not hard people. No one saw the 3 guys playing the Alp Horns on arrival as 3 bus loads of people with busting bladders tried to fit in 3 Female/ 3 Male toilets. Our guided tour of Strasburg had actually left 2 of the group there! Of the electric bicycles many did not work, neither did the GPS. We went out then without the GPS and took a map from the boat but the maps did not mark the locations of the sites - as you need the GPS to find them! The tour guides contracted to conduct the tours where blazay a least. The bike tour guides did not wait for the slow AND with no tool kits, they actually stopped at a residents house to ask for a spanner so as to adjust a seat for a rider! We were in Outside Stateroom: Cabin E110. Every time the Ruby entered a lock, it would fill with diesel fumes. An obvious lack of ventilation. Travelling time on board too long. We actually realised that we had turned and back tracked on the river. The last 2 days on board, the entire lower section reeked of raw sewerage (leaking sewerage container?) At this time staff where preparing for the next passengers. Our room was no longer serviced or stocked with toiletries (including toilet paper). Our bath robes were confiscated for cleaning for the next passengers and our tv/internet turned off. This tour is designed for those who wish to sink copious amounts of alcohol, spending time on a boat with 60% of industrial river views. PS take the earplugs if you don't wish to hear any rowdy neighbours. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Good and bad, mostly good. Good = a clean, quiet ship; every meal began on time; meal servers efficient, attentive -- ready with coffee refresher, ready with a second glass of wine or beer; meal portions sensible; food tasty, nicely ... Read More
Good and bad, mostly good. Good = a clean, quiet ship; every meal began on time; meal servers efficient, attentive -- ready with coffee refresher, ready with a second glass of wine or beer; meal portions sensible; food tasty, nicely presented; breakfast buffet variety of items (cereals, eggs, omelets, sausage, fruit, croissants, jams/jellies, OJ, grapefruit juice, coffee, tea, butter, honey, etc.); 24/7 quality coffee from a dispenser near the lounge; treats (cookies, pastry) always available by the dispenser; sanitary standards obviously a priority, from your room to the hallway to the lounge to the restaurant Bad = tours to Salzburg and Durnstein too much emphasis on shopping -- not worth the 2-hour trip to Salzburg, although scenery was beautiful; Salzburg bus dropped you off just outside the main shopping district (don't believe the Web and brochure of the Salzburg gardens because it is only about two blocks long and a block wide) and although some free time was available to get to the hilltop castle there was not enough time to actually stroll into the city proper to see neighborhoods and other city life; Durnstein was one long, narrow street packed with touristy shops, with the ancient castle perched above, reachable by a hike on a steep trail, which actually was good exercise; my advice is to skip Salzburg and stay in Linz to see the city there and you'll have all day to do it; conversely, not nearly enough time in Vienna, only a morning tour with afternoon free time -- it's a city worth part of another day, which could be accomplished by leaving Durnstein off the itinerary and just docking in Melk, with its beautiful abbey. Good = some of the local tour guides who actually were informative because they mentioned modern life in whatever community we were in (Bratislava, Budapest, Passau) with details about the economy, housing prices, political conditions -- in addition to the usual history info. Bad = some of the local tour guides who stuck to a script and did not deviate, had almost no sense of humor or otherwise put no personality into their talk (Salzburg, Vienna). Good = free time in Passau and Budapest to explore the cities on your own, get away from the tourist areas. Bad = not enough independence allowed you, because we would rather have gone off on our own with a good local sightseeing book rather than being stuck in a slow-moving group. Good = attitudes of ship's crew, servers, program director and assistants, concierge; all to be expected, of course, because their livelihood depends on it, but still pleasant to encounter. Bad = attitudes of too many fellow passengers who never tipped the local tour guides or bus drivers; this is inexcusable because that's how these people earn extra income and saving a few euros a day by not tipping just so you can pay for the extra booze you want is awful. Good = We did our airline travel, and we would recommend it because you can rest a day before your cruise and you can continue to where you want to go when you want to go. However, even though we booked our own flights Viking made sure we had transportation (we paid for transfer from Budapest hotel) and a Viking representative met us at the airport as the sun rose in the sky to make sure we got through the baggage process. Viking doesn't forget you when you leave the ship. Would we go again? A couple years from now. Meanwhile, what we learned was how to plan our own trip at less expense. We took trains before and after our cruise (this was a dream vacation that stretched to 22 days) and now we feel comfortable navigating Europe (English, French, German trains).   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
I cruised on the Kalaw Pandaw from Sept. 6 to 13, 2014, embarking in Mandalay and debarking in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma). The Kalaw is a beautiful little river steamer built almost entirely out of a dark hardwood that is indigenous to ... Read More
I cruised on the Kalaw Pandaw from Sept. 6 to 13, 2014, embarking in Mandalay and debarking in Bagan, Myanmar (Burma). The Kalaw is a beautiful little river steamer built almost entirely out of a dark hardwood that is indigenous to Myanmar. The boat is in excellent repair, well maintained and clean. Because the boat is small, it does not have the amenities of the large cruise ships, but that does not matter to me. I don’t need a pool, gym, separate cocktail lounge or the other amenities of large ships. All of us could socialize out on the deck whenever we wanted to. Cruises on Pandaw are down to earth, which I liked. The ship’s small size and shallow draft enable the captain to take it right up to the river banks and sail it in parts of the river where larger boats cannot go. This was the inaugural cruise for this itinerary and, I think, this boat. Service was excellent. Crew and staff were friendly and went out of their way to accommodate our wishes. Food was ample and very good. Laundry sent out in the morning was back by evening. All excursions were included in the cruise price. Transfers to and from airports or hotels was included too. Gratuities were included, but most of us gave staff cash tips anyway because the service and overall experience was so good. The itinerary was excellent. We were taken to well known historic sites and temples, as well as remote villages and places that I would have never found on my own. This mix of excursions added very much to the enjoyment of the cruise. Our tour guide was excellent. He spoke English and had extensive knowledge about every place we went. We learned a lot about the history and culture of this enchanting country. Because the boat ties up to river banks, your shoes may get a little muddy or dirty and the same with some of the excursions that we went on. No problem. You take off your shoes when entering the boat. Crew clean them off and deliver your shoes to your room. Sandals should be worn. You have to take off shoes and socks to enter the temples anyway. The Irrawaddy River is huge. It is the main economic artery of Myanmar. We were 600 miles north of Yangon (Rangoon) and the river was larger than the Mississippi R. at New Orleans. The Irrawaddy is famous for its sunsets. The river did not disappoint us on this trip. Many of us would sit out on the deck in the evening to watch the sunset. I intend to sail on Pandaw again and recommend this cruise line to other travelers as well.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Please, please, please think very hard before you spend your hard earned money cruising on Viking Freya. My wife and I unfortunately spent almost £7000.00 for a seven night river cruise on the Danube. To be fair our flights to and from ... Read More
Please, please, please think very hard before you spend your hard earned money cruising on Viking Freya. My wife and I unfortunately spent almost £7000.00 for a seven night river cruise on the Danube. To be fair our flights to and from Belfast via London to Budapest with a two night hotal stay b/b basis before our cruise were included. We paid a lot extra for a balcony, recommended by Viking for the ultimate holiday. What they didn't say was that at almost every port of call another Viking boat moored alongside us and guess what, the only views we experienced was another balcony within arms reach, I kid you not!! Most of our journeys were at night so all the beautiful so-called views were obscured by darkness. When we didn't have a boat alongside we would have required rubber boots as our and the next door staterooms balcony were flooded ( have photos to verify) with two inches (50mm) water, apparently from a leaking downpipe from above. Our stateroom attendant had to mop this virtually daily. The response from the reception staff was literally, " we are very sorry but it's out of their control", in other words, live with it!! The week prior to our journey must have been another disaster for the passengers as the Captain apparently forgot to lower the wheelhouse when passing below a low bridge, and "whoops " no wheelhouse!! WHAT A MESS The main reason for this trip was because my wife and I had just hit another big "O" and according to the Viking brochures this was going to be a trip of a lifetime, which we had saved very hard. To be fair we knew what we had to pay and were taken in with Vikings very expensive television adverts, I now know that I have paid for quite a few of them. Vienna was supposed to be the highlight of our cruise, again rather than an overnight stay we were rushed about and the only highlight was a beautiful concert, which after paying almost £7000.00 had to fork out an other hundred plus for the privilege. The amount of people that I have put off cruising with Viking runs into double figures and If you are thinking river cruising please shop around or do what we intend to do is visit Vienna and take a local river cruise up and down the river, you will save thousands. There was little or no entertainment on board, the food was ok but nothing special. Our last night onboard was taken up mainly with the entertainment officer asking us for tips/gratuities not only for her and the other visual staff but for the crew in general, somehow I think they must be well paid. I have checked prices for cruise ship prices and we can get 21nights cruise on the Azamar (5star) for the same money, fully inclusive. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!! PS. I got a beautiful letter from Viking stating, how sorry they were and please come again, NO WAY. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This was our first river cruise and we chose AMAWATERWAYS AmaKatarina after discussions with our travel agent. We were very pleased with our holiday and would certainly travel with AMA again and we would absolutely recommend their Russian ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and we chose AMAWATERWAYS AmaKatarina after discussions with our travel agent. We were very pleased with our holiday and would certainly travel with AMA again and we would absolutely recommend their Russian Waterways Cruise. We understood that there had been quite a few cancellations on this particular cruise as people were concerned about the political situation in the Ukraine. At no time did we feel any such concern and we met tourists from all over the world. The AmaKatarina is an older ship, leased by AMAWATERWAYS from a Russian company. It is by no means luxurious but it is comfortable and certainly ‘home’ for this trip. WEATHER: We were fortunate and had good weather the entire cruise. It did look like rain a couple of days but we always travel with rain gear and travel umbrellas. The ship had umbrellas for any passenger that needed them. As this was September, cooler weather clothes were the norm. PORT TRANSFERS: We chose on this trip to book the AMA transfer. A representative met us at the St. Petersburg Airport (Pulkovo) and escorted us (and many other passengers) to 2 modern, clean buses. A guide accompanied each bus to the ship. Our luggage was loaded on the bus for us and also delivered to our shipboard stateroom very quickly. When we ended our cruise in Moscow (we were able to work with the ship’s Cruise Director to get the departure time that we wanted) an AMA guide accompanied us to the Sheremetyevo Airport. She was with us throughout the check-in procedure. Another couple took a taxi to this airport and they did, in this instance, have a cheaper fare. If the traffic had been bad it could have cost them more. This is a chance you take. The ride was 7-8 kilometres in length and took 35 minutes for us. CHECK-IN: Upon arrival at the start of our cruise we were directed to the Reception Desk and were very quickly processed. Our passports and Russian arrival cards were kept by the ship while we were docked in St. Petersburg. CABINS: Our room was on the second floor, starboard, and mid-ship. The cabins are compact. There is 1 closet for hanging clothes and some shelves for storage. There is a safe which had the capacity to hold 2 iPads, a camera, wallets, etc. There is a small fridge in the room. Although we did not spend a lot of time on our balcony we did enjoy having it, being able to enjoy the fresh air and sitting outside when we could. The bathroom shower stall is small but the water pressure and temperature were great. We were given bottles of water each evening and toilet paper/toiletries were replaced as needed, without having to request them. The first night we did request extra pillows and blankets and they were provided promptly. There is no alarm clock so bring a travel alarm clock with you if this is important to you. There was only 1 electrical power plug in our cabin so that made it difficult to charge the camera batteries, iPads, etc. Bringing a power bar would take care of this issue. MEALS: There are 2 dining rooms on board. At each entrance you were expected to use hand sanitizer. A great idea! There could have been more of this throughout the ship; but the passengers certainly needed to be more aware of basic hand hygiene to prevent disease contamination! Breakfasts were buffet style and there was plenty to choose from. Lunches were also buffet style and there were always options for vegetarians, meat and fish eaters. Soup, salad, cheeses, breads, crackers, fruits, desserts, tea, coffee (including brewed decaf) and water were always offered. Dinner was a sit down/served on the 2nd floor dining room while the 3rd floor restaurant remained buffet style. The food offered was the same. We liked to eat on the 3rd floor as we liked to choose what and how much we were eating. The staff members in both restaurants were all very friendly and tried very hard to please. They quickly learned the likes and dislikes of the passengers. The food was well cooked but basic, not gourmet--always plentiful and always options for everyone. My husband has a severe food allergy and the Restaurant Manager checked the food to be served daily (and when we ate off the ship on excursions) and made sure that we were aware of any potential food dangers. My husband was given a laminated card to be shown to wait staff that had the allergy written in English and in Russian. We were given excellent care and attention. Beer and Wine was provided at dinner. At lunch you had to pay for this and for soft drinks. STAFF: The staff were very friendly and tried very hard to please the guests. The Tour Guides were students or graduates of the linguistics program at University. All staff were employed by the Russian Cruise Ship Line with the exception of the Hotel Manager and the Cruise Manager who were employees of AMAWATERWAYS. Most staff had some English language, some more than others of course. We were always greeted with a smile. In summary, we were very pleased with the staff on this cruise. Every evening a newsletter, the Daily Cruiser was left in the cabins with details of the next day’s itinerary and any information that the passengers needed to have. EXCURSIONS: The tours were well organized and a ship tour guide was always with each group along with the local guides at most places we visited. Our favourite tour guide, Maxim was excellent and managed to keep track of wandering tourists – not an easy task! Personal audio devices and headsets were provided for each excursion so that it was very easy to hear the guide as you toured. In St. Petersburg we chose to take the free shuttle provided into the City rather than sign up for an optional tour. We enjoyed walking the Nevsky Prospect, (twice) visiting the Church of Our Saviour on the Spilled Blood and wandering on our own. There were organized walking groups for several styles of passengers—those who wanted to sleep in and join the group part way through the day, the gentle walkers, the regular walkers and the fast walkers. This certainly was advantageous for those with different tour needs. We always chose the fast group as we felt we did see more and also had free time to further explore. You chose the group the night before at the Reception Desk. Using hydrofoils in St. Petersburg meant more time at the tourist site, less time sitting in traffic. Moscow traffic is bumper to bumper, 24/7. This added to the time on the bus and took away from time we could have been sight-seeing. Another day in Moscow would have been appreciated. Because of fog on the river the ship could not travel and we arrived quite late into Moscow. Although we saw the Kremlin we were rushed and did not get to truly see and appreciate major landmark. The second day in Moscow was busy with too many activities. We left the ship at 9 a.m., returning at 11 p.m. Although we had a free hour in Red Square, there is so much to do there as we could not see St. Basil’s Cathedral, Lenin’s Tomb, etc. We ran out of time! We had chosen the extra tour to the Russian Circus in the evening (which I would not do again as this show was long, including a 45 minute intermission so that the children could go on stage and get pictures with the fountains and was a show of skaters, acrobats, a comedian). This is the only extra tour that we paid for. When we returned to the ship we were given dinner but, as everyone had to disembark the next day, starting in the early morning hours for some, this day was just too long. In retrospect we should have booked a couple of days in Moscow after the cruise ended. Those passengers that we have stayed in touch with and who did this all reported that they enjoyed their extra time and saw the same and different sights with lots of time to explore. SUMMARY: We truly enjoyed our first ever river cruise and we were happy to have done this with AMAWATERWAYS. We highly recommend their Russian Waterways River Cruise. We will certainly travel with AMAWATERWAYS again.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We travelled with a Gate 1 arranged river cruise on the Amadeus Royal on the Danube from Nuerenberg to Budapest this year. Gate one arranged cruises are cheaper than others, and there is a reason for it. The ships they use (from Lueftner, ... Read More
We travelled with a Gate 1 arranged river cruise on the Amadeus Royal on the Danube from Nuerenberg to Budapest this year. Gate one arranged cruises are cheaper than others, and there is a reason for it. The ships they use (from Lueftner, in our case) are older, in need of modernization, not as attractive an interior, old carpet, tired looking cabins, almost no space for your clothes, etc. This was our first Gate one arranged trip and our last. We will not travel with them again...and we cruise several times a year. For example, the promised internet worked intermittently, more often not. It never worked when underway, and frequently didn't work even in port. No excuse for that. Be wary of the cabin you get! The room we booked was a mid category, but we were shortchanged. The room itself was smaller than the others in the same category and the window was 25% smaller than others in the same category. When we complained to the Gate 1representatives on board, they shrugged their shoulders and told us to contact our travel agent. When we complained to the Lueftner front desk, they said that it wasn't their problem, it was a Gate 1 issue. After NUMEROUS letters, Gate 1 offered us $50 total refund, after paying more than $6000! We wanted the $500 upgrade fee we had paid to be returned, since we didn't have a truly upgraded cabin. If we had known what we were getting, we would have booked alternate dates, or in retrospect, with a different company. But they were not honest with us from the beginning with their description of the cabin. The room was immediately adjacent to the kitchen door, which was used by the crew 24 hours a day. When I say used, I mean slammed. No sleep for the first 3 nights. I complained the first night, and was told that it was in my imagination, that at 2 am there were no crew members going through the door. The next night, at 1 am, I went out into the hallway and saw the back of the crew member who had just gone through and slammed the door. I went up to the desk in my p.j.s to complain. To no avail. It wasn't until the next night's early morning wake up call and the arrival of the chief of the hotel for the shipping line, that something was finally done. He was great and finally solved the problem! The crew was forbidden to use the door after 10 pm. The rest of the trip I was able to sleep through the night. AVOID that cabin at all costs. The only bright spot was some of the Luftner's actual crew members (not the Gate 1 representatives, who were more interested in flirting with the crew members than taking care of the passengers and not particularly the Lueftner front desk staff who were flirting with the Gate 1 reps). The waiters, bar tenders, and cabin stewards were as good as any I have seen. The food ranged from very good to mediocre. No way to predict which evening meals would be good and which not. The port stops were fine. No complaints there. In summary, it depends on what is important to you: service and comfort or a cheap cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
My mother and I had our Grand European Tour split between two ships. We were originally supposed to be on the Kvasir from Budapest to Amsterdam, but right before we were leaving our pre-cruise in Prague, we got an email from Viking stating ... Read More
My mother and I had our Grand European Tour split between two ships. We were originally supposed to be on the Kvasir from Budapest to Amsterdam, but right before we were leaving our pre-cruise in Prague, we got an email from Viking stating that we were going to board the Idi instead when we got to Budapest. Unfortunately none of the Viking staff in Prague were aware of the change. That's apparently not unusual according to Viking staff. This lack of communication between Viking Administration and their customers and staff is one big negative against the Viking brand. It caused confusion and created a number of really disgruntled passengers for the bus trip to Budapest. The reason we were given, once we were on board the Idi, was that because earlier in the summer high water prevented the ships from going the full length of the cruise, so passengers changed ships and the ships went back. Our cruise was when Viking was going to revert back to the original schedules in order to be able to go on their winter cruises correctly. We were finally given this news by the amazing Program Director who was parachuted into our cruise to deal with unhappy passengers and he converted just about everyone into a happy camper. The Idi staff did the rest. As other reviewers have said, if you have the same cabin on a ship that is the same age and identical in every way, there should be no problem. We finally exchanged ships in Nuremberg and it was as seamless as promised. We left our baggage on the Idi, went on our tour of Nuremberg and returned to the same cabin on the Kvasir. A note about older longships: we were docked at one point, tethered to a Viking Longship that was a couple of years old and I noticed that it was a little ragged around the edges. The wood stairs were kind of worn and there was quite a lived-in quality to it. It was perhaps this particular ship, but we were also tethered to this year's ships and last year's ships that looked in excellent condition. The glitch: On every cruise there is a glitch. On ours, it was an accident of a barge that ran into a bridge ahead of us and which prevented us from getting to Regensburg. We docked at an industrial site and were bused to Regensburg. We returned to the dock after the tour and the next morning, when we were supposed to have arrived in Nuremberg to switch ships, we had to take a bus to Nuremberg. The ride was under an hour and we went on our tour then were driven to the Kvasir and our bags were already in our cabins. The Kvasir passengers had their tour and were driven to where the Idi was docked to continue their trip to Budapest while we went on to Amsterdam. I must admit that Viking staff handled this unfortunate situation with expertise and know-how. In part 2 of this review, I discuss the basic differences between the two ships in terms of staff since the ships themselves, apart from different art work, are essentially identical. The long and short of it is that the Idi staff (waitstaff, room attendants) were far superior to the staff on the Kvasir. The difference is in the management of the staff. On the Idi the waiters and waitress were on top of things at all times. They bent over backwards to make sure that you got what you wanted and needed quickly and efficiently. You could tell one waiter that you need more water and even if he is not the waiter assigned to your table, you would get it. There would be communication between the staff and the team work was amazing. On the Kvasir, you had to get your wine from one person and food from another and it had to be in order. If you changed your mind, you could tell it was a big deal to add a cheese plate to you order. On the Idi, it appeared effortless and passengers felt comfortable. We also lucked out on the Idi with probably the best room attendant that ever lived. I will name her because she deserves all the accolades she can get. Zsuzsana was beyond the best. She was so attentive, that our room was on a continuous tidy up, add water, etc schedule. Our room would be cleaned while we were at breakfast, no matter when we went to breakfast. Whenever we got back to the room after breakfast, it was prepared for the day. If we used a towel or washcloth during the day, it would be replaced as would be our soap, gel, whatever we used. She was the greatest. (We had the worst room attendant possible on the ship when we switched to the Kvasir, unfortunately). Another difference I don't discuss in part 2 of my review is the food. There were subtle differences between the two ships and I think that the menus are pretty standard but the cooking can be somewhat personalized. I think the Idi food was better, perhaps more expertly seasoned. I know that when we got to the Kvasir, the food was way over salted only on the first two days which made my mother's legs swell up. But generally the food was excellent on both ships. I stayed away from the fish and people at my table kept insisting the what was served as haddock was not in fact haddock. I did find out that they get their beef from Argentina and I have to say that anything I had that was beef was especially wonderful. Their venison was probably farmed because, although it was outstanding, it had no taste of game at all. The goulash soup served after the concert in Vienna was a tad on the tasteless side, definitely not one of the highlights of the trip. The house wines were excellent. I have been interested in wine for a number of years and whoever makes the decisions for Viking has found some excellent reds from Austria and Hungary. The local whites were of course very good. I also fell in love with their house German black lager beer and had one every day at lunch. What would have made this trip even better? Perhaps a staff member who does massage. Thai massage does not require disrobing and could have been used by many tired passengers. Perhaps a staff member who also gives yoga classes. This does not require a special room and it could be done on the sundeck. Perhaps, having information about the cruise available for download on an iPad. It would have been nice to sit on deck and know exactly where were were if there was a Viking app for that. I talked to the Program Director about the possibility of spending 2 days in Vienna. I had been to Vienna in the past so I had seen most of what I had wanted to prior to this cruise, but for people coming for the first time, there truly was not enough time. Perhaps, a little more time in Budapest would have also been nice for those not doing a pre-cruise there. We did our pre-cruise in Prague and only arrived late afternoon the first day in Budapest. Where do you cut? Well, past Koblenz, there's only Cologne and if you're there on a Sunday, apart from the Cathedral, there's not much to do. So I would cut that to half a day. I would probably eliminate Kinderdijk, or limit it to half a day. The tour to the windmills was interminable. It could have been done in an hour, yet we were there for what seemed forever and, at Kinderdijk, all day. I would extend Amsterdam, so that passengers disembarking there could have a day, like in Budapest, rather than having to leave immediately if they are not doing a post-cruise. Alternately, I would have been just as happy to end the cruise in Cologne and be bussed to Amsterdam for a post-cruise had there been an extra day in Vienna and Budapest. I know you can't please everyone all the time and when I look back at this cruise, it was simply wonderful. I will have beautiful photos and memories and in the end that's all that counts. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Viking has it down to a science! The river cruise was superb in every way. The happy-hour used to review the next day's itinerary+timing = fabulous! The moving of groups off the ship was smooth and efficient. City maps available the ... Read More
Viking has it down to a science! The river cruise was superb in every way. The happy-hour used to review the next day's itinerary+timing = fabulous! The moving of groups off the ship was smooth and efficient. City maps available the night before at the front desk. The local guides were the BEST available: lively, intelligent and enthusiastic. The transmitters were easy to use and protected from any screaming. The destinations were superb (Budapest, Vienna, Melk, Passau, Regensburg, Nuremberg). Every spot had a LOT to see and experience. The cruise director (George) had a terrific personality: vivacious and indefatigable!! The onboard personnel were attentive and gracious. The food was plentiful and delicious. All around BEST cruise experience!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
My wife, Nancy, was sick when we came aboard, had to obtain a Doctor immediately, and she was sick the whole cruise which clouded my review of this trip. However, under these circumstances, I did enjoy the trip. The whole crew was very ... Read More
My wife, Nancy, was sick when we came aboard, had to obtain a Doctor immediately, and she was sick the whole cruise which clouded my review of this trip. However, under these circumstances, I did enjoy the trip. The whole crew was very supportive, obtaining a doctor, finding a taxi to fill the prescriptions, taking food into our stateroom for my wife, checking on her when I was off the ship, and many more kindnesses that I don't have room to tell you about. The weather was fair to good, and I was able to go ashore without difficulty. As on my previous trip in 2013, my time aboard the Prestige was great. The service and facilities were fantastic. I enjoyed every minute aboard -- the food was great, the lounge was comfortable and always available. The crew and the services they provided did an outstanding job-- each and every one. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This was my sixth VR River Cruise and it was by far, my least favorite. The food was mediocre, at best and there was very little to see at each of the stops along the way. The best part of the trip was the three day precruise trip thru the ... Read More
This was my sixth VR River Cruise and it was by far, my least favorite. The food was mediocre, at best and there was very little to see at each of the stops along the way. The best part of the trip was the three day precruise trip thru the Loire Valley. The Captain of the ship didn't even attend the Aquavit party for Viking Explorers. Everything on the trip seemed to be a little cheaper, e.g., the Silver Spirit Package did not include a hat nor a bag like it had, in the past. All of that being said, the boat and the crew (except for the Captain) were fantastic. This was my first trip on a Longship and the boat is far superior to the standard boats from the past. It was a shame to waste such a magnificent boat on such an ugly river. Distances were so short, sailing times never seemed to exceed two hours. This trip should not be included as a future Viking destination. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Overall, a fantastic experience.  Having a full sized Mercedes bus pick us up at the Amsterdam Airport (we were the only two passengers) made us feel like royalty. We were met at the ship by a friendly gentleman named Nicholas Hale. Only ... Read More
Overall, a fantastic experience.  Having a full sized Mercedes bus pick us up at the Amsterdam Airport (we were the only two passengers) made us feel like royalty. We were met at the ship by a friendly gentleman named Nicholas Hale. Only later did we learn he was the cruise director! The ship was immaculate and the crew was extremely helpful and friendly. Everyone working on the ship made you feel like their personal friend to the point where you wanted to invite them along on shore excursions. However, they never lost sight of their duty to Viking and the ship and usually had to decline and stay onboard. In retrospect, I believe traveling against the current on the Rhine is a bit of a disadvantage for the tourist. Viking does its best to give its passengers access to historic points of interest along the route but you can't help notice that the boat must fight the current to stay on schedule. The timetable becomes a factor. Perhaps traveling downstream would be the more advantageous route? The food is delicious, the service is superb. You are so pampered you won't want to go home! If you are fortunate to have Mr. Nick Hale for your cruise director you are in for a treat. He could easily have his own televised standup comedy show if Viking had not secured his services. One last kudo to Viking; their use of headset for the guided excursions is a great benefit. They allow you to hear everything your guide has to offer even if you are at the back of the group. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
A group of 8 of us went. It was our first river cruise. The trip was fantastic. The room was very comfortable. If you are a large person, the shower would be too small. The food was aways first rate, as was the service. I took the optional ... Read More
A group of 8 of us went. It was our first river cruise. The trip was fantastic. The room was very comfortable. If you are a large person, the shower would be too small. The food was aways first rate, as was the service. I took the optional wine tasting tour, which was horrible. The optional tour to Colmar was excellent. Others in our group did the WWII tour, and enjoyed it. Some of the things I wish I had known ahead of time are: 1. Most of the morning tours begin about 8:30 2. Several of the places require a lot of stairs. If you have trouble with stairs, this is not your trip. 3. Most of the time, the cruise line provides transportation into town for your free time. So if you choose not to take an optional excursion, you are not stuck on the boat. 4. Some of the optional tours have long bus rides. Ask about the length of the bus ride if it concerns you. 5. There are fresh baked cookies available most of the day if you need a snack. 6. Bottled water is provided on every excursion. I could not have been more pleased by Viking. The only low point of the trip was the wine tasting. We spent almost 4 hours on a bus to taste 4 lousy wines, and learn nothing about wine making. The guides in each city were very knowledgable and entertaining. Everyone connected with Viking spoke fluent English. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We have traveled quite a bit but this was our first Riverboat Cruise! It was a wonderful experience and a great way to some of European cities we hear so much about plus some smaller towns that you don't hear so much about. The ... Read More
We have traveled quite a bit but this was our first Riverboat Cruise! It was a wonderful experience and a great way to some of European cities we hear so much about plus some smaller towns that you don't hear so much about. The service, the food, to cabin, and the excursions were all well thought out and executed. We had lovely weather which allowed us to enjoy the upper deck a lot! So nice to be floating along just enjoying the scenery for awhile and then exploring a town without having to pack and unpack or figure out where to eat that day! The locks were interesting to experience and see and the captain and his crew have our utmost respect. We would highly recommend Viking! My only suggestion is to offer bike riding along the Danube as an excursion. We saw folks gathering for a ride while walking to the bus for one of our excursions. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We had an incredible time on our Viking vacation. We opted to add several days in Prague on the front end , and several days in Budapest on the back end, to an 8-day cruise on the Danube which took us from Nuremberg, Germany......through ... Read More
We had an incredible time on our Viking vacation. We opted to add several days in Prague on the front end , and several days in Budapest on the back end, to an 8-day cruise on the Danube which took us from Nuremberg, Germany......through Regensberg, Melk Passau, Vienna and on to Budapest The land accommodations were first class, and the ship was immaculately maintained. The food and beverages were top notch and germane to the local areas we passed through. The organized tours were staffed with expert local historians who clearly enjoyed talking about the history and culture of the home towns. Staff on the ship, from the housemaids to the food servers to the chefs, to the captain....all went the extra mile to to see to it that we were taken care of and enjoyed the experience. This was our first experience on a river cruise, and I can tell you that we would look no further than Viking for our next one. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This was my second Viking River Cruise, and it was just as well-run as the first. The staff was amazing - I can't say enough about them, from the cleaning people to the restaurant staff to the guides to the cruise director. Perfect. I ... Read More
This was my second Viking River Cruise, and it was just as well-run as the first. The staff was amazing - I can't say enough about them, from the cleaning people to the restaurant staff to the guides to the cruise director. Perfect. I do wish the ship had a fitness center, and I find the food on the ships perfectly fine but unexciting. I realize you've got all kinds of constituencies to please so it's probably the best it can be, but I'm from New Orleans where we like every meal to be thrilling! That said, I have no complaints about the food; I just find it somewhat bland and boring. My only other suggestion would be to include more, even if it bumps up the price, in the offshore activities. For example, I'd have liked to have had the option to spend more time at the Armoury, and found what we did see in our brief visit there to be something that should have been included for everyone. I'm so glad I went and hate to think how many people missed out on it because it was an add-on. Oh, and I do have one more suggestion - the music in the Skybar was way too loud and intrusive and repetitive! It would be great if it changed more often and I think would have felt less obtrusive if it had been quieter, and/or all classical. Much of it was pretty lounge-lizard/cheesey! All this said, I had a wonderful time and think Viking really knows how to run things. I'll do another cruise for sure! Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Out Viking Tor cruise along the Rhine, from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Basel, Switzerland, was filled with beautiful sights (and sites), wonderful food, and terrific people. From the windmills of Kinderdijk and cafes of Cologne to the ... Read More
Out Viking Tor cruise along the Rhine, from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Basel, Switzerland, was filled with beautiful sights (and sites), wonderful food, and terrific people. From the windmills of Kinderdijk and cafes of Cologne to the castles of Heidelburg, the beautiful streets of Strasbourg, this trip had something for everyone. Learning how to construct a Black Forest cake or simply catching the glorious view floating up the middle Rhine presented only two aspects of the trip. On board, the crew and staff were thoughtful, helpful, and fun to be around. The food was delicious and not like the overpowering piles found on those huge vessels. The intimacy of the Viking ship makde for a friendly, accessible atmosphere. Having gone as part of the Pied Piper group enhanced the atmosphere in which we could get to know our fellow travelers well enough to create some lifetime friendships. I highly recommend this cruise (and the Seine River cruise) to anyone. If you are queasy about being on the rough sea, there's no need. The rivers are smooth and steady. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Make sure your passport is good for at least six (6) months after dates of travel. This is required by Russia for Visa as well as Viking. Visa for Russia is a pain and needs to be taken care of well in advance. It is meticulous and EXACT. ... Read More
Make sure your passport is good for at least six (6) months after dates of travel. This is required by Russia for Visa as well as Viking. Visa for Russia is a pain and needs to be taken care of well in advance. It is meticulous and EXACT. Use a service unless you are an expert and do it well in advance. You cannot change dates once you get the Visa. This was our first River Cruise with any line. Viking knows how to do a river cruise and do it very well. Passport Control in St, Petersburg took over 2 hours, Customs was a walk through. Viking met us at the exit from Customs in St. Petersburg and everything was great from there until we were flying out in Moscow. Luggage was taken by the crew from the airport to the ship and delivered to our cabin, in Moscow we did have to drag our suitcases from the bus to check in, but... Flights arranged by Viking were very tight for us and we missed our last flight on return home by less than 5 minutes. On return home you wind up going through TSA Screening leaving Moscow, leaving Zurich, and leaving the airport in the USA. Between Customs and TSA, you may miss your flight in the USA of you have an hour or less. OKAY, the cruise itself! Fantastic is too gentle a word. We have traveled extensively on Ocean Cruises on HAL (3 star), NCL, Carnival, and Princess. None of the ocean cruises treat you as good as this. The cabins are much smaller in each class than on an ocean liner, but still large enough to be comfortable and larger than some of the interior cabins on some Ocean Liners. Bathrooms are the same as any Ocean Liner - Control central - you can reach everything while sitting on the commode - yet 2 sinks, not one. Shower only in most of the cabins. Balcony, not just a French Balcony on this ship. Meals: Our chef was from Germany and made very memorable meals. Breakfast and lunch were Buffet, but you could also order special items from the waiters. Dinner was sit down and menu items, always special meals every night and changing every night. If you did not like the special offerings, there were standard items which included Salmon, steak, salads, etc. Salmon was fresh, not frozen, or seemed to be. Steak was cooked to perfection. Wine, Beer, and Soft Drinks (unlimited) were available at lunch and dinner- and I do mean unlimited and you were encouraged to have as much as you wanted of any or all of them. The days in St. Petersburg were wonderful, only optional tour we took was the "Storage" of the Hermitage and well worth it. We also attended the Cossack Show, where Vodka flowed freely during intermission and they tried to sell us souvenirs at 4 to 10 times the price of the other shopping areas. But the show was great fun. All other tours were included and really good to take. Viking did it right here. As we went down the river we stopped at different ports and had tours in each. The ships tours were well worth doing and we did not bother with optional tours at all until we got to Moscow. the regular tours kept us busy and informed. Each little town had it's own charm and just like Ocean Cruises, we could have spent a lot more time in each town. I am not going to spend a lot of time oin the towns because the Viking site does a good job. Moscow. Once again most of our tours were the standard ships tours during our three days. Let me say something about our "three days" in Moscow. The third day is actually departure day and most flights leave in the early morning so there is no third day. We actually left the ship at 0200 - yes 2:00 am for our 6:00am flight. The reason for this is because the airport is an 1.5 hours away and Moscow Traffic is atrocious - traffic ams almost 24/7 is the norm. In fact our plane left over an hour late because our Swiss Flight Crew was late due to traffic. Tours of the Kremlin, Kremlin Armory (optional and worth it) and other ships tours were so good, do them all if you can. One of the best was also the tour of the Metro, WOW!. Shopping at GUM. Let me know if you find the DOWN escalator, please. By the time you return home you will be ready for your net river cruise. We are and Viking is the first one we will be looking at for our next. YOU DO NOT NEED SUITS OR JACKETS - I had a sweater and that was more than enough.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
I received so many helpful hints from others prior to my cruise that I thought I’d share some highlights from my experience. I’m in my early 60s, an active, experienced traveler in good physical shape. I did this cruise with my sister, ... Read More
I received so many helpful hints from others prior to my cruise that I thought I’d share some highlights from my experience. I’m in my early 60s, an active, experienced traveler in good physical shape. I did this cruise with my sister, who has walking difficulties – she walks with a cane, can go steps, but walks slowly and can’t walk far without resting. So, some of this review will be from the perspective of someone with walking difficulties. Overall, we had a fabulous time and would happily sail with Viking again. However, there are a few small things that Viking could do to make it easier for people with limited walking abilities. Viking does offer a leisure/slow group for city tours and there were several others walking with canes that joined us for these. I did lots of research before the trip to make it as easy as possible and enjoyable for my sister – who had never been to Paris, Germany, or Prague before. I’ve been to Paris and Prague several times and to most of the places in Germany once, so I had a sense of what would be doable for us. For Paris, I relied heavily on Rick Steves’ guide. We had booked Vikings precruise tour of Paris, but ended up arriving a day earlier than expected due to a pilot’s strike by Air France. I had booked our airfare via Delta and received an email about 6 days before departure. I called Delta and easily moved the flight up a day. Some who had Viking book didn’t find out until the day before departure. Viking had us staying at Le Meridien and I booked another night myself. Tip: I booked a room for about $ 350 per night. The Viking precruise tour package ended up being about $ 500 per night. I would have booked it all on my own, but didn’t want the hassle of changing hotels if Viking made a last minute change. I didn’t get breakfast included in the $350 room rate and didn’t want to pay the 20+ euros for breakfast, so went across the street to Starbucks (in the shopping mall) for coffee and pastries. Breakfast was included in the Viking rate – it was good but not 20+ euros good. The shopping mall also has a fabulous gourmet grocery store. Several evenings, my sister was too tired to go out to dinner. I got takeout from the store and we enjoyed that in our room. Found some small items for gifts and bought some wine to take on the cruise. Transportation Tip: If you don’t have a Viking Transfer from the airport, the Air France bus stops directly across from the hotel. I bought our tickets in advance online – the transfer was very easy and I didn’t have to stress watching the taxi meter rise while stuck in morning rush hour traffic. The hotel isn’t in an area I’d choose to stay in, but transportation connections were convenient. Monday, 15 September Our flight came in about 5:30 AM so we arrived at the hotel well before checkin time. I didn’t expect that we could check in – and we couldn’t. Checked our baggage with the porter. I went to the metro station to buy a carnet of metro/bus tickets (a carnet is 10 tickets – cheaper than buying them individually). We walked up to the Avenue de la Grande Armee to catch Bus # 73 to Arc de Triomphe where we caught the Open Air Hop On/Off Bus. Thought this would be a good easy thing to do on our first day and would give my sister a feel for the layout of Paris. I bought my tickets in advance. We had a beautiful warm, sunny day, so enjoyed riding on the top. I wouldn’t recommend this as the fastest way to get around. We were often stopped for fairly long periods of time as people bought their tickets while boarding. We got off to visit Notre Dame here, so skipped this part of the Viking Tour – later in the week. Tuesday, 16 September My sister was very tired so I went out on my own – after my breakfast run to Starbucks. Returned and we had lunch at Le Sud, just up the street from the hotel. Took bus # 73 again to Musee D’Orsay. Let me start here by saying how access-friendly Paris and Parisians are. If you are handicapped, admission to museums for you and your companion is free. Wheelchairs are also free (just need to leave an ID). I knew that walking around museums, especially the Louvre, would be difficult for my sister, the wheelchairs made it possible. The staffs of the museums went out of their way to show us to the elevators – not always easy to find. Wednesday, 17 September We’re officially on Viking tour now and enjoyed the hotel buffet breakfast. Each day, the host/hostess seated us at a table close to the buffet so we didn't have to walk far. We took the Metro to the Louvre – fairly easy walk from station directly into the Louvre’s underground shopping center. I didn’t plan on use Metro much as there are steps and often quite a bit of walking if you’re in a station with connections. (People readily gave up their seats for my sister). Again, the museum staff were very helpful – we were even directed to go in front of the velvet rope at the Mona Lisa, so my that my sister had a great view. Dinner this evening was at the Eiffel Tower. Tip: If you want to go up the tower for a tour or a meal, be sure to book in advance or face waiting in a very long line. To avoid this, I thought about booking lunch. In June, lunch reservations were already sold out for our dates in September, so we splurged on dinner. Expensive (about $ 110 each), but food was great and the view was fantastic. We took a cab both ways. Thursday, 18 September Another morning on my own. In the afternoon, we went to Giverny with Paris Tours. It’s easy to get there on your own, but Paris Tours picks you up at your hotel. We were dropped off at the back, close to the lily ponds – there are steps. We did that first before walking up to the house and gardens. There were benches to sit on to rest. The bus picked us up near the house, so walking was minimized. Note: I really wanted to go to Versailles as I hadn’t been there in more than 20 years, but was concerned that my sister wouldn’t be able to keep up with a tour and if we did it on our own, it would involve lots of walking. And, recent reviews on TripAdvisor complained about the crowds. Also, I knew that Wurzburg would give us a baroque palace experience. Friday, 19 September Decided to take Viking’s morning tour of Paris (I wish they had 1 or 2 busses do this the first day of the precruise tour – kind of too late after you’ve been tin Paris for a day or two). The first part of the route took us through a part of Paris that we didn’t cover on the Open Air Tour. We got off near Notre Dame. I don’t recall if there was a slow group organized, but we wouldn’t have been able to keep up to get to Notre Dame. Decided to skip the rest of the tour and took bus # 63 to Pere Lachaise cemetery to see Jim Morrison’s (The Doors) grave. Used Rick Steves’ directions. I’d been before, but my sister wanted to go and it’s not a far walk from the bus stop and there are benches in the cemetery to rest. We took the same # 63 bus back and got off to visit the Rodin Museum – my sister’s choice. The gardens were lovely with roses and sculptures, but the house was not very accessible – just stairs. My sister was worn out by then – taking a bus would have meant a transfer and the taxi stand was quite a walk away. A woman in the gift shop offered to call us a cab – well worth it. Saturday, 20 September Left Paris about 8:00 for Luxembourg City. We were assigned to a bus with other “leisure travelers”. Here’s a little thing that Viking could do to help – have the bus with the leisure group parked closest to the hotel, ship, etc. While walking a few bus lengths isn’t a big thing for most, if you can’t walk far, it does make a difference – many times, our bus was the furthest one away. Had one stop along the way (bus drivers are mandated to stop for a break). Long lines at the restroom as all busses stopped at the same place. Nice shop to buy champagne, snacks, etc. Arrived Luxembourg City around lunch. With Saturday crowds and some kind of festival going on, it was hard to see and keep up with the guide on the walk to the center. She wasn’t very clear on when/where to meet for the city tour and some people missed it – we only had about 30 mins for lunch before the start of the city tour. We opted for a nice lunch instead. We went to The Chocolate House, recommended by Rough Guide, and across from the Grand Ducal Palace. Beautiful view, great food, and yummy desserts and bought some chocolate spoons to go (you dip these in hot milk for a hot chocolate drink). Stopped by the American Cemetery. Hard to keep up with our guide, but we heard what he said via the Quiet Boxes – what a great invention! Finally arrived in Trier to board the Viking Odin. Fast easy boarding process – if you’ve only cruised on ocean liners, you’ll be amazed at how fast checkin and getting your luggage can be! I booked our tour in December and the only cabin left was on the lower level. There is no elevator down. One flight of steps was ok for my sister. Being on a higher deck would have been easier. There is an elevator from Deck 2 (Dining Room) to Deck 3 (Lounge), with just steps up to the sun deck. If I cruise again with her, I’d go for a higher deck to minimize steps; with someone else, I’d be perfectly happy on the lower deck. We didn’t spend much time in our cabin and I’d rather splurge on something else. Had pre dinner brief by our program director, Titiana (I hope I spelled her name right). She’s an enthusiastic, ball of energy and did a wonderful job, as did the entire crew. Sunday 21 September Had a quick bus tour of the outskirts of Trier to see several Roman sites and then started our walking tour. We went with the leisure group. Had several opportunities to sit down but it was still quite a long walk. Couldn’t go into the basilica (primo Roman site) as it’s now used as a church and there was a service. We had time at the end of the tour to sit and have some hot chocolate. If you were on the fast tour, there might have been time to visit the museum by Porta Nigra. Note, my husband and I usually prefer to travel on our own and we’ve visited Trier before. This is one place where I’d have been very frustrated by the tour – we love Roman archaeological sites and I would have missed a lot if the Viking tour had been my only experience, but that’s one of the disadvantages of taking an organized tour. We had a late afternoon stop at Bernkastel. Did some window shopping. Monday, 22 September Docked in Cochem to visit Reichsburg Castle. Minivans took us up to the Castle and then back down the hill for a walking tour of the town. I asked if we could go up in the first van so that we’d have plenty of time to walk in the town (without slowing anyone else down). The Castle was doable for my sister and we enjoyed the tour. We left the walking tour early to slowly make our way down. We had a leisurely afternoon – watched a movie in our cabin before docking in Koblenz. Tuesday, 23 September I visited Marksburg Castle while my sister relaxed on the ship while it cruised to Brauback– you never have to get off for port visits if you don’t want to. Titania made it very clear that this tour would be difficult for those with mobility issues and she was right. The walk up to the castle isn’t too bad, but once inside the gate, there are places where it’s rocky, steep, and uneven. The afternoon was spent cruising the Rhine and viewing the castles. We had lunch on the Aquavit Terrace and stayed there most of the afternoon enjoying the view. The crew brought lap blankets as it was cool and cloudy to start. There are plexiglass panels at the bow, so we were fairly well protected from the wind. Titania broadcast which castles were coming up so we knew what to look for. Rick Steves also covers this area well. Docked in Rudesheim about 5. It was a long walk into town from where the ship docked. Another tip for Viking – in Rudesheim and a few other places, the ship docked quite far from the center of town. Some of these towns had little tourist trains/trolleys. It would have been nice if Viking could have arranged for these to meet the ship – or offered to call a cab. We’d have gladly paid extra for the convenience. Tip for Christmas decoration shoppers – our first Kathe Wohlfahrt shop was in Rudesheim. There are also stores in Heildelburg and Rothenburg. One of our tour guides offered brochures for a 10% discount. Had a special German dinner on board along with a tour of the galley. Wednesday, 24 September Disembarked in Aschaffenburg and took a bus to Heidelberg Castle. Quite a steep walk to the entrance from where the bus parked. The leisure tour did stop at several scenic places to sit so it worked out ok. Bus took us to the outskirts of the Old Town and we walked to Zum Ritter for lunch (included) – a fairly long walk. We had a very good beef dish but you could order a vegetarian option in advance. A student from the University was seated at each table, but we were too far away to converse with him. Restrooms were upstairs, but Titiana showed us a hidden elevator. After lunch we were on our own and did some window shopping. We were to meet at Zum Ritter for the walk back to the bus. Unfortunately, there is no place to sit on the square – except for restaurants where you had to order something. We ordered coffee, just to have a place to sit and wait. Bus took us back to ship which had sailed to Miltenberg. Thursday, 25 September We had signed up for the Rothenburg tour – I had been there more than 20 years before and would have liked to revisit, but it would have meant a full day of touring which was too much for my sister. Don’t miss if you haven’t been. We had seen some medieval towns, but hadn’t seen a baroque palace and didn’t want to be too tired to enjoy Wurzburg Palace. The bus dropped us off near the entrance. There is a magnificent staircase, but the guide told us where to find the elevator to join the tour at the top. We left the tour after the Palace portion, foregoing the city tour to take more time to enjoy the gardens. We made our way through town on our own, crossed the old bridge (and saw our ship going through the lock) to catch our bus which took us on a short ride to the ship. Our afternoon was free and I walked back to the city. Except for the Palace, it’s not a very touristy town and you’ll find shops and department stores geared towards the locals, not tourists. Captain’s dinner tonight and most people dressed up a bit more – as others have posted, whatever you wear during the day is perfectly acceptable for dinner. A group of men had T-shirts imprinted with a tuxedo – a nice touch. Friday, 26 September A leisurely morning with a disembarkation briefing followed by a lecture on the European Union. Arrived Bamberg after lunch. Took the leisure tour through the city and had lots of time after to enjoy a local beer and do more shopping. Bus back to the ship, our final dinner and I paid our bill after dinner. Unlike ocean cruising, there were few extras to pay for. We added our tips and I had a few slacks laundered – that was it. We had no bar bill. We found that wine or beer at lunch and dinner was plenty for us. We bought 2 bottles of wine in Paris and only drank ½ of one! A note about services on the ship. We didn’t use the services of the concierge, but she provided information about tours and concerts in Prague and would gladly book for any of those interested. We talked with several people who used her to book trips to Cesky Krumlov or a car/driver to take them to other places outside of Prague. Saturday, 27 September. Bags out by 7 and we were to be out of cabins by 8. After breakfast, we went back to our cabin – about 7:30, only to find that beds had been stripped and all towels were gone – a bit tacky, but we still left an extra tip for the cabin steward as she had been great all week. We also had to leave our quiet boxes – not sure why. The busses took us to Nuremberg. We didn’t have quiet boxes and couldn’t hear our guide most of the time. We went to the Zeppelin parade ground, the castle and then back to the Old Town. I liked Nuremberg more than I thought and will revisit if I'm in the area so that I can see more of it. We had lunch at a café on the square – we tried to pay by credit card and the waitress told us that the restaurants on the square don’t take credit cards, so be sure to have cash. The clock on the Church of Our Lady on the square has a mechanical show at noon – wish our tour guide would have told us that – maybe she did, but we couldn’t hear. We caught the end of the show. Bus to Prague for stay at the Prague Hilton. Like Le Meridien in Paris, I wouldn’t choose to stay in this location. But, the hotel is really nice. There are ATMs and currency exchange machines in the lobby so it’s easy to get Czech currency. I’m a Hilton Gold member and the Executive Lounge is probably the best I’ve encountered. My sister was too tired to go out, so we ended up eating “dinner” here every evening (a shame to miss out on real Czech cuisine, but we did have great lunches!). Tip: I had wanted to go to Pivovarsky Klub Microbrewery, 272 Krizikova –about 2 blocks beyond the Floenc Metro. My husband and I dined at their sister restaurant several years ago and enjoyed it. Be sure to try Becherovka, an herbal liquer made in Karlovy Vary. I also love Czech bread dumplings - often offered with goulash - the sauce on the dumplings is delicious. The hotel is not far from the Florenc metro/bus stop, but for us it was a long walk. There is a small shopping mall across the street with a grocery store and pharmacy (walk through here to get to metro). Sunday, 28 September We got new quiet boxes for the tour - yeah! Took the leisure tour to Prague Castle. Disappointed that we couldn’t visit St. Vitus Cathedral (Sunday services again) but we did hear the bells pealing which was almost as good. Saw the end of the changing of the guard ceremony. We had plans to meet family at 12. The bus was going nearby our meeting point and the driver kindly let us off. The fast tour had planned on stopping at the Charles Bridge and the group would walk over this to the Old Town. The slow group would have missed the Charles Bridge part. Monday, 29 September This was the end of the Viking Tour, but we extended one day in Prague and another 5 days in the Czech Republic. We took a taxi to the Mucha Museum (I love Art Nouveau). We walked from there to Obecni Dum (Municipal House) to see another Art Nouveau exhibit and had lunch in their beautiful café. Would have loved to have come back for a concert – it’s a really beautiful building. Walked to Old Town Square to see the Astronomical Clock and then shopped at Erpet Bohemian Crystal – across from the clock. Tip: Someone who used to work at the US Embassy Prague recommended this shop as a reputable place, especially if you want to ship your purchases. We bought some garnet jewelry here, but if I had wanted to make a large purchase, I’d do it here. We probably should have asked the store clerk to call a cab for us, but we walked to the Mustak Metro station and took it to Florenc (near the hotel). There is an elevator at Florenc but we had to wait a long time for it. Someone with a bicycle got on and there was no place for us so we had to wait for the next one (bikes aren’t supposed to be allowed). We had a drink at Hilton's rooftop lounge for a nice view of the city. Tuesday, 30 September – Friday, 3 October We had breakfast in the Executive Lounge – same food as the lobby buffet, but not as crowded. We had arranged for a Hilton car to take us to the airport (800 kc) and the car dropped us off at the car rental place as requested. We drove to the palace at Horovice (my great grandfather was a guard there) and stayed at nearby Chateau Zibrou – very interesting if you’re in the area and want a castle hotel stay and an interesting tour. I didn’t know it when I booked but Mucha spent several years here and there is a nice exhibit of his work. Next to Cesky Krumlov for 2 nights. Then to Putim, a small town outside of Pisek where we visited more relatives. I only mention this if there are any fans of the book “The Good Soldier Svejk”. Parts of the book take place here and a movie of the book was filmed here. There is now a statue of Svejk here as well. Saturday, 4 October Drove back to airport to return car and stayed at Airport Marriott. Since we had a very early morning flight, it seemed easiest to stay here. Very reasonable priced – about $ 85. And there are walkways to both terminals. We enjoyed a good dinner and our final Czech beer here. I hope that some of you find this review useful. I'm happy to try to answer any questions. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
First things first... I'm saving my pennies as quickly as possible to take another of Viking's River Cruises. So how much do you think we liked it? We didn't. We LOVED it!!! I am home-sick for the Viking Var! I cannot think ... Read More
First things first... I'm saving my pennies as quickly as possible to take another of Viking's River Cruises. So how much do you think we liked it? We didn't. We LOVED it!!! I am home-sick for the Viking Var! I cannot think of a single negative about this cruise. Everything was exceptional. My husband would say the negatives were the small shower and the poor internet access (he was dying to see a couple of football games in the middle of the night). So the shower was small but the large cruise ships we've been on the showers were so much smaller. Embarkation was extremely easy and quick and our rooms were available much earlier than we were lead to believe they would be. The cabin was very well laid out but definitely seemed smaller than the photos we'd seen. If I were to change anything about the cabin it would be the addition of another drawer or two. LOVED the 24 hr coffee/latte/espresso machines and the treats. The ship was absolutely beautiful and so very comfortable. We enjoyed the food very much and we indulged too much on quite a few evenings. The service on-board was exceptional. When we left we felt like we were leaving family behind. Our Cruise Director was awesome. So genuinely hilarious and clever. He was a definite highlight! The on-board entertainment left something to be desired but it didn't bother us at all. We were just having a wonderful time. We both got a little tired of cathedrals every place we went but they were gorgeous and historic. The shore excursions were so well done. All of the tour guides were so much better than we had expected (with the exception of the tour guide in Switzerland). We added the post-cruise trip to Lake Geneva. We were disappointed in the Geneva tour and felt it was wasted money and time. We were bored. Next time we would stay in Montreux (which is where our beautiful hotel was) and enjoy the scenery which was magnificent.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Pre cruise trip to Lucerne planned by Viking. We were well cared for while there. Met at airport, transported to hotel, side trips available all very well coordinated by Viking. After 3 days transported to Basel to met Viking Tor. Boarded ... Read More
Pre cruise trip to Lucerne planned by Viking. We were well cared for while there. Met at airport, transported to hotel, side trips available all very well coordinated by Viking. After 3 days transported to Basel to met Viking Tor. Boarded ship, luggage taken to room by Viking, then on to first of many wonderful dinners. Program director lead informative greet and meet to let us know plans for our trip down the Rhine. He also introduced the crew. Each day was filled with side trips, delicious meals, smiling and friendly crew and evening entertainment. The rooms were comfortable, clean and well kept. The crew and schedule were very well coordinated, informative and our days were run like a well-oiled machine. It was a sad day when we knew our cruise was over and we had to fly home from Amsterdam. I would not hesitate for a second to plan another Viking cruise. So very enjoyable and relaxing. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We spent twelve days & nights crusing the Russina waterway from St. Petersburg to Moscow. I enjoyed each of the guided tours from The Hermitage , the Peterhof, the summer Palace to the Kremlin and St Basil's church. Viking managed ... Read More
We spent twelve days & nights crusing the Russina waterway from St. Petersburg to Moscow. I enjoyed each of the guided tours from The Hermitage , the Peterhof, the summer Palace to the Kremlin and St Basil's church. Viking managed to make me feel at home. Each guide, both the tour escorts andlocal guides spoke very good english and were very knowledgeable. The guides managed to make history very relavant and interesting. The mechanics of the cruise were fine. our room had plenty of space , housekeeping did a wonderful job of keeping our room clean and organized. The staff were friendly and always helpful. The food was great! Each day there were many choices that were regional specialties and of course there were also the always present "american menu items available at every meal. This was certainly a "trip of a lifetime" for me and my husband. It was fun to realize that the Russian people and very much like us! Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Wonderful experience on this 7-day riverboat cruise. Thanks to our Viking host, Guillam Van XXX, we had 7 fun-filled days of the French countryside from the River Seine to and from the small town of Roen. From Roen, Viking bussed us to ... Read More
Wonderful experience on this 7-day riverboat cruise. Thanks to our Viking host, Guillam Van XXX, we had 7 fun-filled days of the French countryside from the River Seine to and from the small town of Roen. From Roen, Viking bussed us to and from the great Normandy beaches and we got a good glimpse of a few battlefields and one of the American cemeteries. Viking did a masterful job of getting us to the small village of Giverny where the great French "Impressionists", especially Claude Monet, did their wonderful masterpieces. While there, our assigned tour guides were incredibly good about showing us the details of the "Impressionists'" art including some short comparisons of recent magazine pictures to the actual Giverney painting locations. We've decided to stop ocean cruises from now on and to focus on the riverboat cruises, especially those provided by Viking. Viking "get's it". Read Less
Sail Date September 2014

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