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10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
After numerous ocean cruises, we decided it was time to try a European river cruise and friends suggested Avalon. Choose the Blue Danube Budapest-Prague itinerary for mid-Oct based on the sites, included pre and post-cruise hotels, the ... Read More
After numerous ocean cruises, we decided it was time to try a European river cruise and friends suggested Avalon. Choose the Blue Danube Budapest-Prague itinerary for mid-Oct based on the sites, included pre and post-cruise hotels, the price of a Royal Suite and hopes for fall colors. Overall, we were delighted with the stay in Budapest and Prague, the included city tours and the awesome fall colors along the Danube. Biggest disappointments included the lack of any on-board amenities for a suite, mediocre food and entertainment, an egotistical Cruise Director, poor communications and policies before and during the cruise. Specifics include poor excursion policies, pricing where excursions booked on-line cannot be changed beyond four days prior to the cruise. After listening to the Cruise Director's on board review I met with him to request changes including canceling and adding some. While able to add excursions, he immediately disclaimed any association with pre-booked excursions and would not cancel. Find this very disappointing, frustrating so warn others not to book pre-cruise as there were always plenty, but pricey, openings. Also, unlike suites on ocean cruises, we did not have any on-board amenities. In fact, while we could get only a continental breakfast delivered they charged $2 pp! With 137 passengers we only saw the officers at the first and last cocktail receptions! Overall, think ocean cruises on small ships offers much more than river boats! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
Lovely ship and so clean.. Sadly on the first evening for dinner it was a right " shambles ". Didn't know where to que for what and then couldn't fine a place to sit. Should have had staff to help sort it out. Also on ... Read More
Lovely ship and so clean.. Sadly on the first evening for dinner it was a right " shambles ". Didn't know where to que for what and then couldn't fine a place to sit. Should have had staff to help sort it out. Also on many evenings at dinner ,when you needed another glass of wine the staff didn't seem to notice . But, other than that ,, it was lovely. The ports of call were great and loved the day we went to have tea with a local family. Would loved to have tried the pool but wasn't brave enough . Due to the weather. Nina our tour guide was always there to answer any questions. Had a massage and it was just " wonderful. Please enjoy your cruise and have fun. Would go with Emerald again . So go go go go go ,fun fun fun . Xx Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
This was my first riverboat cruise after almost twenty traditional cruises. Pros: 1) Ship was new & beautiful; 2) my single cabin w/balcony was very comfortable and clean with nice bathroom; 3) cuisine was the best I've had on any ... Read More
This was my first riverboat cruise after almost twenty traditional cruises. Pros: 1) Ship was new & beautiful; 2) my single cabin w/balcony was very comfortable and clean with nice bathroom; 3) cuisine was the best I've had on any cruise line in at least 20 years; 4) staff was young, very friendly, and tried to be very helpful; 5) lounges were very comfortable and well laid out; and 6) the included wines at dinner & happy hour were delicious and served liberally. Cons: 1) This particular cruise up the Hudson Valley had way too many rough edges and poor coordination; 2) the complimentary excursion in Martha's Vineyard and the $65 excursion of NYC were well meaning but very poorly done by the respective tour companies; 3) even though the cuisine was delicious, way too many times the food was served either tepid or had completely cooled; 4) loading of luggage at the hotel recommended by American Cruise Lines was absolute chaos...the very worst I've every experienced; 5) there was no reason to leave the vessel at many of the ports of call simply because there was nothing of interest to do or see; 6) Disembarkation involved a very long walk from the vessel to the airport transfer buses; and 7) Laguardia was an absolute nightmare...avoid it like the plague. Having said all of this, I've already booked a second time on ACL for Christmas 2018 on the lower Mississippi cruise, which everyone I've spoken with said was an excellent experience. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I was not sure what to expect from this cruise as I had never been on a river cruise before but having said that it was not that good! First im going to say the good things. The boat was first class The crew were first class ... Read More
I was not sure what to expect from this cruise as I had never been on a river cruise before but having said that it was not that good! First im going to say the good things. The boat was first class The crew were first class The food and entertainment was first class. Most of the tours were first class. Now the not so good! Hardly any daytime cruising! While docked for some reason they decided to pump out the sewage that left a disgusting stink in our cabin made both of us a little nauseous! When we left Prague we were told we would not be going to Nuremberg but to Ragensburg and no attempt was made to take us by bus to Nuremberg for the day and no compensation given for something we paid for, and Nuremberg was a place I was looking forward to seeing! One of our Discover more trips to Blatna was cancelled without compensation this also was something we wanted to do! The beds in the cabin need to have some way to stop them from separating (Velcro) So would I recommend this cruise? Probably but make sure everything is looked into thoroughly before you pay. We did have fun and met new friends so it was not a total washout the countries we visited were fabulous and with a rich history Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
On September 10th my wife and I and 34 neighbors from our Del Webb community took the American Empress riverboat from Clarkston Washington to Vancouver Washington (not Canada). The costs were $9189 not including flights, gratuities or ... Read More
On September 10th my wife and I and 34 neighbors from our Del Webb community took the American Empress riverboat from Clarkston Washington to Vancouver Washington (not Canada). The costs were $9189 not including flights, gratuities or transfers. Although everyone had a great time as we were all friends prior to this trip, we were very disappointed that we completely missed the major scenic portions of the river due to the Oregon fire and the Native American salmon fishing rights which prevented our docking at The Dalles. Due to the fire, we completely missed the Columbia gorge (passed thru after midnight), Mt. Hood, Multnomah Falls, The Old Scenic Highway, Bonneville Dam, and Timberline Lodge. We felt American Queen Steamship Company let us down, when they decided to compensate us with a day in Vancouver Washington with an included 15 minute hop on-hop off bus trip, and an additional day in Astoria Oregon with an included shopping trip to Cannon Beach and Seaside beach (local beaches). We asked them to provide a trip to Mt. St. Helens as they had done on the previous trip, but they refused. After returning home we requested our travel agent to ask them for compensation but AQSC did not respond. The bottom line is the fire and the blockage of The Dalles port were completely out of American Queens control, however their replacement options simply fell way short of the missed experiences to say nothing of the $1000+ a day cost. By the way they continue to advertise the same experiences we missed, even though the State of Oregon indicates those experiences may be closed for up to 2 years as a result of the fire. Although we all had fun on the river boat, we all felt that AQSC fell short in substituting for the missed experiences. We are aware that their contract says they can make any changes they want, including doing nothing. As a group we had a great time, but probably would not travel with AQSC in the future. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
This was our first Uniworld cruise and we have done Avalon & Viking. I am not impressed by the room size on the River Countess. We opted for the suite because we wanted more room. I loved the bathroom with the 2 sinks and large shower. ... Read More
This was our first Uniworld cruise and we have done Avalon & Viking. I am not impressed by the room size on the River Countess. We opted for the suite because we wanted more room. I loved the bathroom with the 2 sinks and large shower. The minibar was also a plus as was our butler. The biggest problem was the furnishings were way too large for the cabin. The table lamps were so large that you had little room to put anything on your night stand. Our friends who also had a suite had the butler take the shades off the lamps so they didn’t bump into them all the time. Also, the furnishings in the lounge we bulky and hard to move around to fit more people. A big plus was the fantastic crew. They were always happy to help with any request. The food was good most days and fair the rest of the time. I know it’s hard to cook for that many people but other lines do it and do it better. Also, there selections were very limited, especially on the Captain’s welcome and farewell nights when you had a fixed menu. Not everyone eats the same food all the time and they need to recognize this. To call this a river cruise is a stretch. Even if the Po River isn’t too low to cruise, the total time you cruise the river is maybe 3 hours. The only reason they run the ship up the Po is to make the drive to Ferrara and Bologna shorter. We didn’t make it to the Po River but instead the captain did an afternoon and evening cruise within the lagoon. These were probably much better than the river. Being all inclusive is great if you drink a lot of cocktails but not very good if you like good wines. Their wine selection was not very good. They did have a wine list where you could purchase wines but it didn’t seem right to buy wine when it was supposed to be included. Our group purchased wine when we were ashore and brought it to dinner. No corkage fees. The local tour guides were very knowledgeable but tended to be long winded and walked very slow. The biggest negative is the internet service. Their internet makes dial-up look good. With today’s technology, getting good internet service is not hard. Considering how much the cruise costs, Uniworld needs to step up to the plate here. What a great way to differentiate your cruise line from your competitors. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
I had been recommended the Moselle and having already sailed the Rhine this combination seemed a good mix, however was not at all impressed when we could not use the top deck for half the holiday (while we were on the River Main). This ... Read More
I had been recommended the Moselle and having already sailed the Rhine this combination seemed a good mix, however was not at all impressed when we could not use the top deck for half the holiday (while we were on the River Main). This should have been mentioned in your description of the holiday. When you have approx 160 people on board and the only outside seating is for approx 40 on the front terrace this is not a good situation, especially when the temperatures are high. The two top deck cabins at least have windows but your visual experience is very limited to just one side of the river. However the staff on the boat were great - having to deal with the frustration of passengers, especially those booked in on the lower deck, was very good, especially as this was not their fault . It really spoilt the holiday for many many passengers. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
I have travelled with Gate 1 several times before so did not hesitate to book a river cruise. The cruise overall was acceptable. I tried not to compare to ocean cruising which is totally different from river cruising. The Monarch ... Read More
I have travelled with Gate 1 several times before so did not hesitate to book a river cruise. The cruise overall was acceptable. I tried not to compare to ocean cruising which is totally different from river cruising. The Monarch Queen is in dire need of refurbishing. She is tired and the furniture are ratty and appears dirty. The deck chairs were almost thread bare and in some case ripped. There were not enough chairs when we were urged to go up top for the great views. The views were wonderful and give you a perspective that only going by river can give you. The dining room seemed to be having some issues with personnel and rumor had it, some quit in the first few days. Not good for the clients who expected good service. Choice of meals left me wondering. There was one of each meat, fish and veggie choice for each dinner. Chicken breast was always available. Only one choice for dessert. Soups were well done. If you were a big eater, you could have been left wanting for more. The portions were very small. Beer and wine were included for dinner but getting your waiters attention for a refill was a feat. One of our wait staff had a cold which quickly went throughout the boat. Not good. Coughing, sniffling, sneezing and nose blowing were not very appetizing. Afternoon tea was a half hour only with the sweets quickly being whisked away at the half hour mark. There was a 24 hour coffee bar which was used extensively. The rooms were comfy enough as we had a French balcony room. Beds were good. Bathroom was small but well laid out. Took some getting used to the shower which had 3 different heads. Our cabin porter was amazing in keeping our cabin clean. Going through 68 locks was interesting and a slow process. There seems to be a great deal of traffic on the rivers we travelled - Rhine, Main, & Danube. The included city tours were basic and informative. Our tour director Christina was very knowledgeable on the history of the regions. The optional day tour to Salzburg was definitely a highlight for me. Beautiful city with so much history. Entertainment was so-so with most of the entertainment coming from the passengers themselves in the way of contests. The piano player Peter was OK albeit he only played for a few hours a day. The few entertainers that boarded for the evening were professional and everyone seemed to enjoy. Typical with all companies, they try to make up profits off the bar. This was no exception. A draft beer came at a cost of 4.3 euros - not cheap. A rye and ginger ale tallied up a whopping 8.3 euros.... I will not hesitate to travel with Gate 1 again as I still feel they offer good value for the dollar spent. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We were on a large group (wine club) cruise from California. The lack of quality excursions was disappointing. The cruise takes place in the heart of the French wine region yet there were little to no wine related excursions offered. ... Read More
We were on a large group (wine club) cruise from California. The lack of quality excursions was disappointing. The cruise takes place in the heart of the French wine region yet there were little to no wine related excursions offered. Since we were in multiple towns, in multiple AVA's, there should have been many half and full day excursions offered. I had to search and plan our own trips myself, including drivers to take us to wineries we were interested in visiting. I believe very little effort would be required by Emerald Waterways in securing such excursions. The dining experience on board the Emerald Liberte was just so-so. Breakfast was the same day after day with the only thing changing was the flavor of the yoghurt and the pastries. Lunch was poor with what seemed to be prepared from canned or frozen foods. Meat and gravy, fish, vegetables that didn't seem fresh, and pasta that was flavorless. There were no lunchmeats or cheeses to make a sandwich with. Dinner had good presentation but everything else was lacking. The meat was a poor cut and was tough. The vegetables were fresh, as the chef was seen shopping in town most days, but they were just steamed with no effort to enhance the flavors. We were in France for God sake, at least have some sort of French cuisine. I can get American food everyday of the year at home. Our only true French cuisine was the night we went into town on our own. The ship was wonderful and the staff was excellent, very helpful with any questions we had and were very personable with everyone. The towns were well chosen with a lot of history represented in each. Would I go again? I would really have to consider that with the food being a large part of any cruise. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Not our favorite cruise, yet, this week's expedition offered rest and beautiful country in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. The staff bombarded us with picky details and scheduling, more than was necessary. The boat was noisy and the ... Read More
Not our favorite cruise, yet, this week's expedition offered rest and beautiful country in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. The staff bombarded us with picky details and scheduling, more than was necessary. The boat was noisy and the companionways too chilly. Not many places to retreat and read. Too small for lounge chairs. Food was well prepared—caesar salad, fruit compote, pork roast, burgers, cheesecake—except for the clam chowder, which was malodorous. The riverlorian, Laurence Cotton, gave excellent guidance to Lewis and Clark history and to the background of significant figures. He also answered difficult questions about major events and post-expedition influence. Library contained quality choices of biographical, native American, and pleasure reading. Bar service was friendly and prompt with afternoon snacks—cookies, popcorn, guacamole, chips and dip—but pianist was a self-important clown who drowned out conversation with his "improvisations." Nighttime shows destroyed the serenity. Bus tours offered some excellent commentary and some pointless chatter, occasionally inaccurate. The cruise line does not compare with Voyages to Antiquity. An appealing evening entertainment would take passengers to a casino. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Friends had already booked and we had always wanted to try a river cruise (have done many ocean cruises) but wanted to be part of a group of friends so joined up as itinerary sounded an interesting one which it was. Budapest - Estergom - ... Read More
Friends had already booked and we had always wanted to try a river cruise (have done many ocean cruises) but wanted to be part of a group of friends so joined up as itinerary sounded an interesting one which it was. Budapest - Estergom - Bratislava - Durnstein-Melk- Linz (for Salzburg) - Vienna- Budapest. All interesting. NB its an hour and a half coach trip each way to get to Salzburg from Linz. Thought much of the daytime river scenery apart from the Wachau Valley element was a bit boring - mainly loads of trees on both banks! Other parts were done at night so its more about the stops rather than the cruising. Embarking was hopeless as Riviera UK had given us the wrong pier address and as we were on a cruise only package we then had to phone the UK to find out where it actually was moored and they said the wrong place again. When we phoned the emergency ship number we were told it was about 5k away in the other direction so incurred extra taxi costs. The ship is only chartered by Riviera Travel and is operated by Select voyages so crew are not Riviera staff just the cruise Director and Tour Manger. The navigation crew generally looked a bit scruffy with jeans and Tshirts most of the time, though they were all friendly. Only saw the captain in uniform t the safety briefing and welcome dinners. The ship is only two years old so in good condition and with an excellent housekeeping team always seemed spotlessly clean. Hotel Manager was very friendly. Staff ensured all pax always used hand sanitisers so felt health safety was being well controlled. Rooms were actually bigger than I had imagined so they exceeded our expectations. Enough hanging space for a week. Plenty of shelving (with a safe on one) plus a few drawers. Empty Suitcases fit under beds. Flat screen TV. Compact bathroom with shower only but big enough again for a week for sure. The two Riviera Staff on board the cruise Director and Tour manager were friendly and engaging but on the whole always looked a bit scruffy. Shirt hanging out etc...? Food and beverage was a bit hit and miss though. The bar staff always seemed a bit stretched and apart from one waitress who was very pleasant were a bit surly and miserable. They were expected to help in the restaurant during meal services so couldn't understand why the restaurant staff couldn't help the they were busy pre meals?? Breakfast buffet was excellent with plenty of choice plus an excellent egg station. Lunch was again buffet style and generally OK. Dinner varied from fairly good on the welcome dinner and final captains dinners to fairly average the other other nights. The "Fine Dining" experience in the rear "Marley's Bar" was not bad but the room itself had big aircon problems that evening and was just incredibly hot which rather spoilt it and generally everyone only gets one chance per cruise to try this as the room is pretty small. To be fair the hotel manager comped a couple of the service staff came across as a bit surly though once you got to know them they were much better. The menus on normal nights seemed to be somewhat basic and restricted based on a fairly tight budget allowance I would think. Marley Bar never operated as a Bar and is just really a tea coffee / water station all day with some fruit and cookies (though once these ran out that was it they were not replenished). The Welcome drink at the two special evenings was a half glass of sparkling wine. A top up would have been nice! Same app;lied to late night snacks if you didnt get in quickly they soon disappeared. Bar prices generally seemed pretty fair and the house wine at euro 19 per litre was fair value. Our drinks bill for the week came to c euro 250 per cabin sticking with the house wine. Most other wines were around euro 28 per 75cl bottle. Having done a number of upmarket ocean cruises with Silversea maybe I was expecting too much. The cost worked out at about £300 per day per person so similar to a repositioning silversea voyage. Afraid no contest! Riviera Travel staff guest ratio is nowhere near an ocean cruise. they also do a lot of coach party touring and it felt a bit like that on this river cruise. Afraid we all felt we wouldn't bother doing another with Riviera Travel again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We had never been on a river cruise before so maybe our expectations were too high. The really good thing about it was that all the arrangements for getting on and off the boat, excursions etc went like clockwork and the local guides were ... Read More
We had never been on a river cruise before so maybe our expectations were too high. The really good thing about it was that all the arrangements for getting on and off the boat, excursions etc went like clockwork and the local guides were in general excellent. The tours themselves were variable - some rather boring and created just to fill time. The boat was lovely and clean and modern but we found the cabin small considering we had a grand balcony. Because of the minibar and safe in the wardrobe there was little room to hang clothes and to get to the loo you had to turn sideways passed the bed. The bathroom itself was fine and the drawer storage was good. We found the entertainment to be poor. The service was pretty good although dinner took a long time - if you didn't want all the courses you just had to wait as they would only serve one course at a time. We would not go on another such cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Our cabin, though on the Sapphire Deck, had limited space for movement. The wardrobe and shelving space was adequate and the safe on a pull-out drawer easy to use. However, we chose a cabin with a balcony, thinking we would wake up with ... Read More
Our cabin, though on the Sapphire Deck, had limited space for movement. The wardrobe and shelving space was adequate and the safe on a pull-out drawer easy to use. However, we chose a cabin with a balcony, thinking we would wake up with our morning tea and look out onto the Danube scenery - all we could see 5 mornings out of 7 - was into the cabin of the ship moored alongside us. We saw a lady coming our of the shower, thankfully with a towel draped over her and a man putting on his underwear!! There was no space to pass between the chair at the dressing table and the end of the bed. The shower was very good, but the tap over the basin was sited much too high, therefore clothes splashed if not VERY careful. The design of the window space was most odd. What use was each individual sliding glass panel? What were they there for? The net curtain and the bedroom black curtain, when pulled closed, made the cabin even smaller. Thought should be given to re designing the curtain to go AROUND the window thus opening up the balcony space for use at all times. The food was most disappointing and not 5 star as advertised. The dining room tables were much too close together - some tables never used as people could not get into the spaces at table. We did not expect Buffets when 5 star advertised. The entertainment was varied to suit all tastes and the excursions were well organised, though a 10 hour trip to and from Strasbourg was much too long. The Lounge area was too cramped and movement to reach a seat meant struggling between low, black glass tables and the swivel chairs. The service of all crew, catering, housekeeping and guides was fantastic. The Cruise Director was fantastic, helpful and knowledgeable. If there had been 30 less people aboard, space would have been better and things more relaxed. We would not use Scenic again for these reasons. Read Less
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
On whole, the trip met our expectations and we will most likely take a future river cruise with Viking, but there were some quirks that folks should understand if they are not familiar with Bordeaux or if they are new to river cruises (or ... Read More
On whole, the trip met our expectations and we will most likely take a future river cruise with Viking, but there were some quirks that folks should understand if they are not familiar with Bordeaux or if they are new to river cruises (or Viking river cruises in particular). From prior posters' reports, we knew in advance that there would not be much cruising on this trip. If that had been a surprise, we would have been very disappointed. We spent 3 of 7 nights docked in the city of Bordeaux, and the other 4 nights in tiny ports with virtually nothing to distinguish themselves by other than their proximity to shore excursions and the opportunity to witness the crew docking the vessel. Bordeaux is a beautiful city with accessible public transportation, and the vessel's dock was adjacent to a tram stop, making it very easy to get around independently while in port. In hindsight, I'd have preferred that we just stayed in port in Bordeaux each night, and integrated the cruising element by some day cruising up and down the rivers. This was my husband's second Viking River Cruise, and my first. He oversold me on the culinary experience based on his first cruise on the Rhine. We were both underwhelmed by most of the food on the Bordeaux cruise (although there were some notable exceptions) and I disliked the rigidity of the dinner service. On several days we had private all-day winery tours that included lovely three course meals in local restaurants. The last thing we could handle was a full-on heavy dinner on board ship at 7pm sharp. It would have been nice to have the option of having a light meal served later in the evening. We were also somewhat disappointed by the Chateau Kirwin meal on Thursday. The venue was nice, but Chef thought it would be fun for the Americans to serve them turkey on Thanksgiving, not realizing that you can't replicate a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal for 120 people and that many of us traveled over Thanksgiving to get away from tradition. The Chateau Kirwin wine they served was disappointing and the wait staff refused to open the superior wine that we'd brought with us. I realize in hindsight that it would have been in poor taste to drink someone else's wine at the Chateau Kirwin but I resent having been forced into that situation in the first place. If we'd been docked in Bordeaux instead of Pauillac that night, we could have just gone into town and had a nice dinner on our own instead, but that wasn't an option. If you prefer the group travel experience to independent travel (and frankly, that is the demographic that Viking is reaching out to), you would certainly have enjoyed this trip and would find my disappointments a bit puzzling. For the group traveler, the choice of shore excursions was varied and comprehensive. I think that is one of the things that Viking really does well. The program director on this cruise, Lorin, is a gem and Viking should be commended for its employment of his many talents. He was entertaining, thought-provoking, hard working and genuinely engaged in the mission of bringing local culture to the Viking guests. The ship was very clean, our stateroom had plenty of storage capacity and the staff was hard-working and friendly. We chose this Viking cruise as a marital compromise (I dislike group travel of any sort, and especially boats, but my husband does not share my feelings. More than anything, he hates to pack and unpack and the pressure of selecting a restaurant to dine in each night, and he enjoys the socialization that is available on-board). The trip met or exceeded my low expectations, and it also met or exceeded my husband's higher expectations. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
We had a last minute deal which included airfare and was a great value, cost wise. We had 2 days inAvignon,a pleasent town to walk around. As this was the last cruise of the season, some cafes, and galleries were closed,including the ... Read More
We had a last minute deal which included airfare and was a great value, cost wise. We had 2 days inAvignon,a pleasent town to walk around. As this was the last cruise of the season, some cafes, and galleries were closed,including the galleries on Rue Tentulier. St Pierre's chapel was delightful to visit, as was the included excursion to midieval Vienne and the extra cost excursion to the Pont du Gard Roman aqueduct. Pros- The ship has a pleasant and efficient Romanian/Buigarian staff, very good food service and cruise director/tour guide, and cabins are good size. We were upgraded to 417 which is the highest deck and had more closets and storage space and a mini fridge compared to other non suite cabins. Cons- The cabin walls are extremely thin, such that if a neighbor sneezed it was as if they were next to you and tv sound was noticeable. The latter disappeared typically by 10pm when most retired.The walls need to be improved. The river is not that scenic and that interesting to sail, frequently viewing nuclear plants, industrial sites, and trees slightly masking the parallel highways. By comparison the Douro River Vantage cruise we took in August was very scenic - hillside wineries and a few castle ruins. The Avignon stay could have been improved by a nearby visit to Nimes or Aix en Provence. The extra cost Perouges excurision was not worth $79. A tiny hamlet inhabited by about 80 people -sort of a Disney midieval open air museum. The midieve lbuildings are interesting but not as charming to view as those in our included Vienne excursion. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
We chose the Rhine River cruise to celebrate our 25 th anniversary after spending the previous 2 months in Italy. 4 days prior to departure I received an email stating the ship had a broken propellor and that we would be bused to Breisach ... Read More
We chose the Rhine River cruise to celebrate our 25 th anniversary after spending the previous 2 months in Italy. 4 days prior to departure I received an email stating the ship had a broken propellor and that we would be bused to Breisach the day 2 port in Germany and not from our departure port of Basel, Switzerland. We were told to report to the Basel airport to meet the buses. Thus we missed the Basel tour and cruising upriver into Germany which is what we paid for and not a bus ride. Despite it being a Viking problem this matter was never brought up again and no compensation not even a free drink was offered as an apology. The following morning breakfast was a buffet fiasco with the wait line out the door. I felt as if I was on a Canaveral cruise. To make matters worse the wait staff really didnt smile except for perhaps one or two. On our 3 rd night when we returned to our suite 316 I checked the bedsheets and to my shock I could see blood stains and urine on the mattress cover showing through my sheet! I went to reception and the person there told me housekeeping was asleep. My response was " I'm not"! She came to our suite and she was appalled by what she saw! She did wake up the housekeeping manager but they didnt have clean linen! They put blankets as a mattress pad. The following morning the room cleaning girl apologized saying she didnt see it , but you had to be blind not to see the numerous blood and urine stains on both sides of the mattress pad. They gave us the drink package as an apology but we dont really drink. The remainder of the cruise was just ok. Too much time on buses, not enough in the towns . The food on the cruise was ok (6 on a scale of 1 to 10 ) not great so we started eating upstairs in the Aquavit Terrace as our waiter Sandor was friendly and fantastic in comparison to the wait staff in the dining room that really didnt smile! One evening I asked Tony the head of Dining for one of the dishes from upstairs and he told me to get it myself! I will say that Arturo our concierge was great. He was always willing to help and service with a smile. He indeed was a pleasure to interact with. The day we were to depart the ship the steward that came to get our bags was drinking a cup of coffee that he spilled on our luggage! Totally unprofessional! I'm so disappointed with Viking! Best thing on the cruise were the new friendships we made ! Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
A river cruise is something we've always wanted to do, so agreed to join my husband's two sisters on the Rhine R. from Basel to Amsterdam. We both booked a veranda room and the included air option for a substantial price (as ... Read More
A river cruise is something we've always wanted to do, so agreed to join my husband's two sisters on the Rhine R. from Basel to Amsterdam. We both booked a veranda room and the included air option for a substantial price (as compared to the many ocean cruises we've taken). We decided to fly in 2 days early to Zurich to do more sightseeing in Switzerland. Viking managed to add on fees for change of airports: one for Switzerland and another for the US. We made our own hotel reservations in Zurich which saved quite a few hundred dollars. They told us no transfers were available from Zurich to Basel so we arranged those on our own also. Come to find out, on sailing day they did provide transfers from Zurich to Basel for folks who flew into Zurich. (We heard this form Canadian passengers who said a bus brought them from Zurich to Basel with only 4 passengers aboard!) But I digress. While the ship was lovely and our cabins very comfortable and the staff always helpful and friendly---this was our only ever Viking cruise. Our main complaint was the constant "rafting" of boats at nearly every port. Our balconies were useless at that point. We had no views, no light or sunshine and no privacy. We had to pull our draperies as the adjacent ship balcony was less than one foot away! The extra money spent for a balcony was a total waste. We do have to commend the cabin attendants and the dining room waiters, especially. They were first class and took such good care of us. Remembered our names from the first day forward with smiles on their faces. The meals were disappointing for lack of variety and for the constant use of gravies and sauces on almost everything. Plus, most dishes at lunch and dinner were prepared with excessive salt. There were some tasty options and always a nice selection of salad greens and fixings. Every beef entree at dinner was almost too tough to chew. Stick with the fish. We enjoyed all the included tours although some moved at a snail's pace with a lot of time just standing around. We took two optional tours: Medieval Colmar Village and the Mosel Vineyards Tour . Both were well done and worth the investment. We missed having more free time in the cities for exploring and shopping. Also missed having even a basic room service available to bring a morning cup of coffee to us. There is no coffee maker in the room and to get your first cup you have to get dressed, comb your hair and walk a good distance to the one coffee service on deck 3. Guess we're spoiled as every hotel room has a kettle/coffee maker. And every ocean cruise ship has room service. A minor point---but for the money Viking extracts----?? So, we have good memories of the cities and places visited. But not so good memories of the Vidar. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We have sailed with Viking previously (Christmas Markets of the Danube) 3 years ago, and in fact, on the same ship. The ship hasn't changed, but the crew, and attitudes, has. This trip we opted for deck one (cabin 110) and the ... Read More
We have sailed with Viking previously (Christmas Markets of the Danube) 3 years ago, and in fact, on the same ship. The ship hasn't changed, but the crew, and attitudes, has. This trip we opted for deck one (cabin 110) and the cabins are just fine....typical for a river cruise ship, with the usual space constraints. The crew was very good (Arturo, the Concierge) said we would remember him...a true statement. The rest of the crew and staff went out of their way to assist my wife when she had to return to the ship due to medical reasons. (The ship was to drop us off, immediately sail on, and remeet later.) All of that was good. One problem was the itinerary...it just did not take full advantage of the Rhine River. Our stop in Kobletz is a prime example. We docked at the base of the cable car to the castle, just a few meters from the statue area at the conflux of the Rhine and Mozelle Rivers. Absolutely no time was allocated to be able to go into the town, or to explore the monuments. The group going on the included castle tour grabbed their bus and took off. Those remaining going to the alternate (extra cost) castle headed to the cable cars, hand went up on their tour. The ship, in the meantime, headed up river, to dock near where the first group would end up. After the second group finished their castle tour, we all boarded buses and went to where the ship was waiting. Food was not as good this trip, and there were some nights the "always available" menu was needed. Entertainment was very good, as brought aboard. However, why, in Germany, was there no "oom-pa-pa" band? Will we sail again with Viking? Yes. They do care, but they need to do some refresher courses. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Great itinerary for classical sites & ports of call. Nightly stage show was extremely entertaining despite many complaints we heard by many other travellers that there was little variety. Long queues at the buffets was a bit ... Read More
Great itinerary for classical sites & ports of call. Nightly stage show was extremely entertaining despite many complaints we heard by many other travellers that there was little variety. Long queues at the buffets was a bit of a nuisance and the food on offer was pretty mediocre but the cruise was mostly spoiled by the freedom smokers enjoyed that contaminated many communal areas including the promenade deck. Those who choose to smoke should be isolated to an area whereby other travellers are not exposed to their unsocial habit. Smoke free areas were consequently congested. Outside cabin was roomy and the steward was hardworking and attentive but the bedding and towels were in need of replacement - all a bit grey due to age and over use. Admittedly the ship is more than 30 years old - perhaps it's time she were retired from the fleet. Not sure that I would travel with Thomson cruises again unless they tighten their smoking policy. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
This was our 2nd Viking cruise, the other being in 2014 in Russia for 14 days was wonderful and exciting, now comes my coparison. This cruise "The Grand European Tour" from Budapest to Amsterdam on the Embla was average at best. ... Read More
This was our 2nd Viking cruise, the other being in 2014 in Russia for 14 days was wonderful and exciting, now comes my coparison. This cruise "The Grand European Tour" from Budapest to Amsterdam on the Embla was average at best. We did the pre and post cruise extensions. Lack of local entertainment on board, 2 of which were musical and very nice and a local glass blower who was more about selling his goods. Each night at 6:45 there was a briefing for the next days included and optional excursions where the program director was in the zone for selling the optional tours. The first night she went on and on about the upcoming optional tours like an encyclopedia salesman. The dining staff was short staffed at best, very rushed, twice we had to ask where our food was. a few nights we were finishing dinner and wanted another glass of wine and just chat with friends and low and behold the wine is gone and they are setting up for breakfast with clanging dishes, just horrible service. then I was not feeling well with a chest cold nad canceled one of our optional tours for the next day which I explained to the concierge at the front desk and he knew I was sick. He had told me he couldn't do anything because we booked online and when we got home just call Viking for a refund and they would confirm I was sick. Not so! Called viking and was told that the policy is no refunds under any circumstances. all in all it was an expensive lesson I will never repeat and our plan after our Viking river cruise was a Viking cruise every other year. Not happening now. They really nickle and dime you. Theyt have grown to fast over the last couple of years in my opinion. Sorry Viking, you reap what you sow. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2016
This was our second Viking river cruise (1st was four years ago in China) and overall we enjoyed the trip, The ship left Budapest and sailed up the Danube river making stops in Austria and Germany. The Bestla was a last minute replacement ... Read More
This was our second Viking river cruise (1st was four years ago in China) and overall we enjoyed the trip, The ship left Budapest and sailed up the Danube river making stops in Austria and Germany. The Bestla was a last minute replacement as our former ship was involved in an accident a few weeks prior that left it inoperable. First impressions are key and there were three viking ships at the dock - we were not sure which was our ship and I asked a few porters for the Bestla - I mis-pronounced the name and was curtly corrected by a porter about the correct pronouciation and was informed we should know better where we are going - interesting way to board a ship. The room was clean, nicely styled with an outdoor balcony but was somewhat smaller than our China cruise. The meals were good and enjoyable (not great) - they were tasty and flavorable but nothing really stood out as being unique or memorable. Unlike our China ship, it seemed to take the crew a few days to get organized and work as a team - service during meals and the bar were a bit slow in the first few days but seemed to improve as the days went on. One notable difference from China is that the crew did not take the time to learn the names of the passengers (by the end of day one in China, our bartenders knew our names and had drinks pre-made as we entered the bar and dining area). The included excursions were okay but one of my ongoing chief complaints for river cruises in general is that you have to pay the extra dollars for the better excursions (of which we signed up for several - Mozart string quarter, palace in Vienna, Munich). One notable experience that really got my goat was when we went to a beautiful Monastary and had to pay a small additional fee (that we were unaware of) to attend a dumpling demonstration - those that did not sign up (including us) had to wait in the coffee shop until the demonstration was completed - have to say when you pay over $10,000 to go on this trip I am disappointed that Viking could not include this as part of the free excursion. We signed up for the silver beverage package that allowed for unlimited beverages and wine - when we ordered wine for dinner each night, we were told they ran out of several types that we enjoyed but mysteriously they were served in the bar later that evening. Also I enjoy single malt scotch and when they ran out of one particular bottle on day three of the cruise, I was told they could only serve one bottle per cruise - again we are paying $10,000 for this trip so please don't nickel and dime me with the silly rules. The ship is very small and we met a lot of kind, funny, and engaging folks from all over the world and made new friends for life. Overall we had a nice time but compared to our China cruise (service, crew team work, meals, excursions, bar service) this was not the five star service we have come to expect from Viking. Will probably look into other river cruises for some diversity next year. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We chose this cruise because we wanted to do a Rhine cruise and the dates coincided with our Ruby wedding anniversary and our friends 60th Birhtday ( We are from The UK our friends from Australia ) We arrived at the ship in Nuremburg to a ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to do a Rhine cruise and the dates coincided with our Ruby wedding anniversary and our friends 60th Birhtday ( We are from The UK our friends from Australia ) We arrived at the ship in Nuremburg to a warm welcome and glass of champagne. Most passengers had already boarded at Budapest a week earlier and so we were one of only six couples to board. We were given a welcome briefing which was brief, practical and on the whole useful. Our cabin was comfortable and reasonably spacious - the innovative balcony windows are a great idea. The bed was very comfortable as were the pillows. The cabin staff were helpful and nothing was too much trouble - the same can be said for all the staff aboard the ship. I personally found the meals to be disappointing as I a a Vegetarian and found there was very limited chice. Lunchtime was particularly disappointing - often of the two soups available one was rarely vegetarian and if it was it was often a cold soup ( yuk ! ) The lunchtime Bar- B-Q was also a disappointment - vegetarian options were lettuce, mini corn on the cob and jacket potatoes. There was a wide selection of meat and fish dishes but where were the vegetable kebabs, vegetarian sausages etc ? On another occasion there was a meat lasagna - wherre was the vegetable lasagna ...? ! ! Evening meals offered only one vegetarian option per course - I guess you coud call that adaquate but how many non vegetarian passengers would settle for ony one option per course ? Acceptable on a basic cruise but not in my opnion on a cruise advertised as five star. ( And yes we have been on 5 star cruises ! ) The bar and dining room staff work very hard ( Bar staff double up as waiters in the dining room in the evenings ) But due to the fact that everyone is expected in the dining room at the same time; it can be a long wait before you are served your meal and an even longer wait for wine ( There is no wine waiter ) We often had to ask busy staff for wine and also to be topped up. There is a longe with a bar in which some entertainment is provided most nights. The lounge is very crowded and it was often difficult to find a seat. This however was not the main problem. On our first evening we noticed a great many passengers were coughing and anticipated the worst. Unfortunatly it was not just a cought but a flu like virus and sadly both ourselves and one of our friends caught the virus. Not surprising given the close proximity of passengers in the lounge. I would estimate that at least 80% of passengers were take ill. In fairness to Scenic it was not thier fault that someone brought the virus aboard the ship and there is an emphasis on using the hand gel dispensers located at the entrance to public areas and at the entrance of the ship. But sadly our experience was spoilt and our wedding anniversary celebrations non existant. The same can be said of our friends 60th Birthday celebrations. On balance I would say the cruise was enjoyable - there are some good excursions, the staff are excellent and the cabins very comfortable. But if you are a Vegetarian think again about booking and don't book a river cruise end of September onwards - the possibility of catching a virus would be very high. It only needs one person to bring a virus aboard the ship and sadly it can spoil the entire experience. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
This experience was ok, not great, not bad. The highlights were the included orientation tours at each stop, and the great, friendly and efficient crew. Everyone on the ship tried hard to please, but it is hard to say it was an ... Read More
This experience was ok, not great, not bad. The highlights were the included orientation tours at each stop, and the great, friendly and efficient crew. Everyone on the ship tried hard to please, but it is hard to say it was an outstanding experience, relative to the price. Port stops were often rushed and inconvenient. Although this was indicated as a Danube River Cruise, in fact at the start of the journey, for more then a day we were cruising along a not very pretty canal. Yes the locks are interesting, but not beautiful, except in a mechanical, scientific way. The chef, the galley crew and the servers all worked hard to serve meals. It is not their fault, but the menu was rather boring, staid and not particularly tasty. Dessert choices were extremely limited, usually one pastry, one ice cream and one fruit dessert at dinner. Dinner service included beverages, and although wine flowed freely, it wasn't always good. The ship was tastefully decorated, but I found the seating in public spaces uncomfortable and too low to the ground. Often at night the longe area seemed very chilly. Last year I took a Uniworld River cruise and thought it was far superior. Maybe it was the itinerary, maybe the company policies, but dollar for dollar it was a far better experience. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Chose Scenic at that particularly time to celebrate our 40th Anniversary in my husbands family's heritage - Germany and for me to see Vienna, Spanish Riding School. Sadly they advertise 5 star dinning but it is at best 3 star. ... Read More
Chose Scenic at that particularly time to celebrate our 40th Anniversary in my husbands family's heritage - Germany and for me to see Vienna, Spanish Riding School. Sadly they advertise 5 star dinning but it is at best 3 star. Ignored emails for us and our travel agent (6 in total) and we told three people when we boarded that the wife is seriously allergic to all fish and sea food products - I still go served fish 4 days into the trip that did not look like fish and was not ordered. The staff blamed us for not telling the company (we had 3 times) - one response state "we cant guarantee food requests can be met". We were told your met at the airport and taken to the ship. Nope we spent 7 hours in a hotel function room waiting to go to the ship. We had been traveling 35 hours in the same clothes by the time we got on board! All we wanted was our room and shower - but first Scenic crew wanted a lovely meet and greet with champagne - YUK! when your sweaty and dirty from traveling. To many Port calls they go on and on and everyone is expected to attend (at least a couple a day). While the crew handled a difficult time badly (rive closed for few days) the companies options were appalling - cut Vienna to 4.5 hours (the worlds cultural centre) and we had four days in row going to medieval villages - no offense but seen one seen them all - the best one was Rottenberg. There are no picnic baskets as advetised - the crew had never heard of such things. Meal times are ridiculously strict - and tend to over rule travel one would like to do - seriously the first two weeks of our once in a lifetime anniversary trip ruined by living to scheduale we do that for a living! May as well have stayed at work. However, Great Britain and Switzerland were awesome and made up for the cruise - scenic had nothing to do with that part of our trip. PS butler to look after your every whim - rubbish we saw him twice to say hello day 1 and goodbye on day 15. I am told Viking are much better company to travel with. Our Cabin Steward Putu was fantastic!!! Needless to say we thanked him privately. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2016
This was our first river cruise. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly, though the dock area was a bit funky and dirty. The excursions were very well done with local guides. That said, there were a couple of excursions that had too ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly, though the dock area was a bit funky and dirty. The excursions were very well done with local guides. That said, there were a couple of excursions that had too many people. The boat and accommodations were nice, and the room was quiet. The pricing for drinks at the bar was a bit high. There is a happy hour, though we bought drinks one evening about three minutes before happy hour and were charged full price. With regards to dining, the service was good, though the food was just average. It seemed a bit silly to have a big celebration for the kitchen staff at the end of the cruise. I would be willing to pay more for better food and all inclusive drinks. We enjoyed the lectures and would recommend more of these educational opportunities. We went with friends and had a lot of fun. I don't think we would have enjoyed it as much without our companions. Read Less

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