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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This was our first river cruise and understood Viking was a top provider. BUT, we were very disappointed. The crew/staff were excellent, but after that things fell down. Getting a balcony is a waste of money as many times we were moored ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and understood Viking was a top provider. BUT, we were very disappointed. The crew/staff were excellent, but after that things fell down. Getting a balcony is a waste of money as many times we were moored next to another Viking ship's balcony which was just 2 feet away. No view or privacy! Breakfast was fine but other meals were poor. It became the joke many times to see what was served compared to what was ordered. Many times when we docked at a town we then had to be bussed. We were not able to simply get off the ship and walk around. A couple times we docked in industrial areas. On included tours guides were friendly and knowledgeable, but we were always rushed. Numerous times we had to move along as there was a group behind us. No time for questions (later) and photos. A typical tour was bussing, see a cathedral/palace/castle listen to some history/stories & then some free time. When you combine the amount of ships of Viking & it's competitors, tours become a herd! For the price do not recommend Viking. Will not use again. Viking may have been a class outfit, but possibly have lost control with expansion. Deep research needed for any river cruise. Have taken over a dozen land trips with success, but our ages require a more leisurely experience. Read Less
Viking Cruises, Community Team has responded
Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences aboard Viking Embla with the cruising community, ffg7711. It is pleasing to learn that you found our crew and staff to be excellent, however we do recognize your disenchantment with your balcony due to double docking. Although we regret to hear about your dissatisfaction with the onshore tours, we are grateful for this opportunity to collect feedback about our third-party vendors for review by our Executive Team. We appreciate this chance to respond, ffg7711, however should you like to share more about your Viking experience, we would be happy to collect additional comments at TellUs@vikingcruises.com. Thank you for sailing Viking, and have a wonderful day.
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This cruise had been on our bucket list for the last couple of years. My husband and I with another couple had done European river cruises and thought that this would be similar. No way can ACL be compared with them. They may both be ... Read More
This cruise had been on our bucket list for the last couple of years. My husband and I with another couple had done European river cruises and thought that this would be similar. No way can ACL be compared with them. They may both be small boats as far as passengers but that is where the comparison stops. On this cruise the excursions were large bus trips where you stop only at highway rest areas. If you are on the wrong side of the bus you never see the point of interest. Dining options very limited and not up to other cruise lines. The young people in the dining room made the week with their friendly, helpful ways. The dining room itself needs an overhaul. The fabric chairs are stained as is the carpet. Our cabin was not luxury at all. Everything on the boat closes down at 9:00 pm, and no movies offered on the tv. I am sorry that this did not work out for us in our mid sixties, maybe we would have enjoyed it more fifteen years from now. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
I would never recommend Emerald River Cruises. First I would recommend more options for pre/post cruise tours. I would also recommend narration of the sites on the way to the ship even if it’s a transfer. Once onboard a lot ... Read More
I would never recommend Emerald River Cruises. First I would recommend more options for pre/post cruise tours. I would also recommend narration of the sites on the way to the ship even if it’s a transfer. Once onboard a lot more info on what to expect and someone to answer questions, like your cabin steward whom we didn’t see until the second day. This doesn’t improve, if you miss a port talk you are completely in the dark. The owners suite is small compared to other cruise/River ships. No tv in bedroom so bring binoculars to see it in the sitting room. Expect to hear your neighbors as the rooms have very thin walls. No ice offered unless you get a glass of ice at the bar. If you want a drink you must go to the bar and it’s like asking for a favor. With the premium package you get whatever bottle they have open, and if it’s a good wine, expect it to runout quickly! The cabin steward left our used towels because we didn’t throw them on the floor. Who knew? as this was never communicated. Emerald assured us we wouldn’t hear joggers above our suite but you definitely do, at 6am. They told us we had to put up with it for four days. The crew told us this was the last cruise and they didn’t know if the ship was returning or they had jobs. How sad for them and to bad for us. We sat at the Captains table which was very nice. The food should of been exceptional which I can’t say was the case. I’m really trying to be positive but so far the experience hasn’t lived up to our expectations. The included guided tours have been managed well and you see a lot of the cities you visit. The food is probably the biggest disappointment. No variety and mainly the same theme throughout the whole cruise. The buffet menu was offered only on a couple days, but don’t expect the classics these are only offered when it is a dinner menu night. The soups are either consommé or bouillon and nothing special. When a buffet is offered expect complete chaos. No formal direction just one big free for all. I went on the bike trip from Durnstein to Melk. They did try to talk us out of it but the reviews were to good for me to skip it. The guide was young and worked with her farther who brought up the rear. We did the 20 miles in 3 hours with a half hour lunch break and 5 photo opts. The pace was way to fast and that was because the guide did double duty and needed to get back for the Abby tour. Two folks had to get a cab (52 euro) to get back to the ship. Active is one description but this is Tourist de France. Nothing offered after dinner. OK, my wife and I can’t complain anymore. So much is wrong about this experience we just decided to give in and let it happen. They will not change so we go with the flow but will never ever make the same mistake. Emerald is at best a 2 Star and needs improving. Anyone who travels knows what expectations should be provided and they have a long way to go. Hope this review enlightens your decision. So choose well and happy travels. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
How does the saying go? Champage taste and beer pocket? This trip was champage price and….lets just say too disappointing for words! We had always wanted to do a river cruise as we had heard so many great reviews of this type ... Read More
How does the saying go? Champage taste and beer pocket? This trip was champage price and….lets just say too disappointing for words! We had always wanted to do a river cruise as we had heard so many great reviews of this type of trip. We finally booked a 16-day cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest through Gate 1 Travel. Gate 1 put us up at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel for two nights prior to embarkation on to the “Monarch Queen”. On the day of embarkation, we had an early morning tour date, and we made arrangements with the bell hop at the hotel that we would handle our luggage ourselves. When we returned to the hotel our luggage was not in our room!. It appeared that someone from Gate 1 arranged for our suitcases to be delivered to the lobby. We had not finished packing and were clearly upset with this "invasion of privacy". As we boarded the ship it was immediately evident that this was not the luxury ship that we had anticipated. The ship appeared tired and dated. Our stateroom was basic. Upon first use of the bathroom sink, we noticed a strong sewer gas smell. It was putrid. We immediately reported the problem and after some time, a temporary fix was done. A few days later, the smell was back. Eventually they put enough chemicals down the sink to get rid of the smell. The food on this cruise was at best, mediocre. Most of the soups were cream-based soups and they all tasted like “cream of mushroom soup” even though they claimed to be different vegetable soups. There were main course options of fish, meat or vegetarian at every meal. All were mediocre. Often too salty, or not enough salt. The bread basket which was provided at dinner, was the same type of bread and, occasionally, they ran out of the grain bread and offered a lesser quality rye bread. In Europe, where the pastries and breads are so delicious, the limited selection of bread was surprising and disappointing. We often bought our own bread when out on excursions and brought it back to the boat. Bottled water seemed to be at a premium and only available in the cabin. The water which was served in the dining room must have come from a holding tank. The water tasted and smelled foul and was not drinkable. The service in the dining room was terrible. We understood that they were short staffed, but why should that become our problem? Getting a waiters attention for coffee refill at breakfast, or wine at dinner was next to impossible. We had asked for a decaf coffee one evening after dinner and were told we would have to go to the lounge and get it ourselves! The dining room wait staff was not properly trained. For example, women were not served first; wait staff reached in front of passengers to collect dirty dishes. One server wore a very strong perfume which was quite offensive. The dining room itself was not an elegant or classy room. The dishes were not quality china. In fact, many dishes were chipped. This was not fine dining. The lounge had a cappuccino/expresso machine and also a variety of teas were available. There were only cookies available for a snack. The television in our cabin was not working in the room. When the crew member came to repair the television, he accused us of pulling the tv out from the wall too far and thereby breaking the cable. We took exception to this accusation. The ship is not that old, but is not kept up. The walking track on the upper deck was covered with a rubber compound that was torn in some areas, presenting a potential tripping hazard. There was virtually NO shade on the top deck. There were some screen canopies, but they did not provide full shade. The tours were fine but they were not in-depth or well researched. The on-board lectures were equally not terribly interesting. The best crew member was our room steward. The room was always cleaned perfectly!!! And she was always willing to accommodate any request. Overall, this was probably one of the worst trips we had ever taken. The price of this cruise was excessive for what we got!!! Read Less
29 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We had a TERRIFIC time on our GATE1 Danube River Cruise; THE stops were enjoyable and most of the tour guides were amazing: The best were Michael in Regensburg, Lyudmila in Melk, Gerhardt in Vienna, and Janko in Bratislava. The service ... Read More
We had a TERRIFIC time on our GATE1 Danube River Cruise; THE stops were enjoyable and most of the tour guides were amazing: The best were Michael in Regensburg, Lyudmila in Melk, Gerhardt in Vienna, and Janko in Bratislava. The service was impeccable and our room steward Daniel and all of the waiters and waitresses were awesome (Trix and Marius, especially, who took excellent care of us during lunch and dinner every day). The food was mostly delicious, and we enjoyed relaxing on the upper deck. I only liked only two evening activities, the Hungarian and Bavarian evenings. There was one BIG problem though: for several days, there was a horrific smell in our rooms on the 3rd floor. It smelled like a sewer. The lounge in the aft was unbearable to enter because of the smell the entire trip. The biggest issue was that I don't think it was handled well by Soma, the Tour Manager, and by Gate 1. To be offered "free sodas and alcohol at lunch" as a way of placating, or compensating the passengers for this terrible smell, doesn't really cut it. At one point we were told that Gate 1 was “flying in engineers to take care of the problem at the next port”. There was still a smell for one day after this happened. This ship was only a year old, and to have to spray the room with room spray, body mist and/or my perfume to make it bearable to sleep in, is unconscionable. I can't imagine people wanting to pay thousands of dollars to smell a foul sewer smell. I frankly believe all of the passengers affected should get some kind of major credit for their next Gate 1 trip. I would like to take another river cruise but because of this issue, I may try Viking or another company. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
This was a last- minute booking. We knew the ships could be outdated - and this one was (gaudy orange walls, green carpet and shiny gold ceilings) and that the majority of people on board would be French but decided to give this company a ... Read More
This was a last- minute booking. We knew the ships could be outdated - and this one was (gaudy orange walls, green carpet and shiny gold ceilings) and that the majority of people on board would be French but decided to give this company a try. Unlike other lines, Croisi Europe does not include any trips although they say that all drinks are included - this is true unless you want any liqueurs, branded spirits, decent wine or anything but very basic port. There are daily cocktails which appear to come ready mixed and don't seem to contain much alcohol. The wine we got with meals was cheap and nasty- we found one of the bottles for €3 in a local shop. Trips are expensive and you get the impression that things are included as time-fillers rather than because they are interesting. There are no allowances for slower walkers, as there are on other lines. Smoking is allowed in all outside areas which means that everyone has to suffer when someone smokes at the front of the sun deck, which they do all the time. There is nowhere to escape from the constant noisy chatter on board. There is no choice at mealtimes, although they try to offer alternatives if you let them know you don't like something. They do try to include regional specialities. Breakfast is largely continental and is the only meal served buffet style. There were eggs and a variety of weird sausages and we even had bacon one one occasion. The river is stunning with wild, remote areas and five dams with huge locks. The canopy on the sun deck had to be lowered each time we went through the locks and for low bridges and you have to be careful not to get wet when the ship passes under the guillotine gates from which water pours as you leave the locks. The only places where there is anything to see when you stop are Regua and Pinhao. Both are small places with a few shops and cafes but neither is anything special. If you go on the excursions, the ship moves on and you miss a lot of the beautiful scenery. Porto is interesting but very hilly. It has 30-odd port houses. We didn't feel that this cruise was good value because the trips were extra. By the time you add flights and transfers onto the basic cost, it didn't work out much different from other far superior lines and would have been more expensive if you went on the trips. We did see other Croisi Europe ships which appeared to be much nicer than ours and we were told that the ship is due a re-fit at the end of the 2017 season. This is long overdue! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
What a way to visit Normandie and get a taste of Paris! This was our first cruise of any kind. We are very happy with our choice. From beginning to end all went well. The crew were welcoming, helpful, efficient and professional. ... Read More
What a way to visit Normandie and get a taste of Paris! This was our first cruise of any kind. We are very happy with our choice. From beginning to end all went well. The crew were welcoming, helpful, efficient and professional. They must be applying the 10/5 concept; eye contact at 10 feet and a hello at 5 feet. Whenever we would leave the ship for an excursion the Captain would bid us a good day and then a welcome back, something we were told rarely happens on other cruises. The stateroom was very well apportioned and always kept clean and tidy by our room steward. Dining in the morning, at noon,in the evening and at night was fantastic and plentiful and the wines were very good. The service on all fronts was excellent, albeit a bit slow at the bar at times; the entertainment also left something to be desired, except for the night the crew took to the stage. As for the shore excursions all of them were well guided, informative and always on schedule. Without taking anything away from other excursions the highlights for us were the D-Day landing beaches and the optional one to Honfleur, i.e., the location from where Champlain and company departed to settle the "new world". The sailing part of the cruise was not so much a sail per se as a glide along La Seine. Although there is always a current there is practically no wind to speak of, thus no waves. We delighted in watching the river banks and the towns and cities glide by, even at night with the lights of our room extinguished and curtains slightly opened, all until we gently fell asleep. This was truly a wonderful adventure. Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
I want to start by saying that I take writing reviews seriously. As of this writing I have 18,895 Trip advisor readers that have read my reviews. This is my first review on Cruise critic.. We booked a trip on the Uniworld cruise ... Read More
I want to start by saying that I take writing reviews seriously. As of this writing I have 18,895 Trip advisor readers that have read my reviews. This is my first review on Cruise critic.. We booked a trip on the Uniworld cruise "Enchanting Danube" in September with two other couples. To say the trip was a disaster is an understatement...but more importantly Uniworld's management handling of the issues shows a total disregard for their passengers. I would NOT recommend using this company. The day we boarded the ship there was a known problem that prevented this ship from proceeding through the first bridge. Had we been informed that there was a possibility that this ship would never make the first scheduled stop or any stops for that matter, we could have made other arrangements and quite possibly cancel and reschedule our trip. The boat's management poorly communicated in the first few days and developed solutions that either required sitting on a bus tour for over two hours or sitting on the stationary boat. For those of you who are not familiar with a Uniworld cruise, there is nothing to do when sitting on the boat during the day. The boat management seemed clueless as to what to do. One day all passengers we ordered to stay on the boat. We were shocked that the management team did not try to offer something to entertain the passengers...wine tasting, bringing additional massage therapists as the one therapist was booked everyday, music on the deck, cooking class etc. After a few days, Uniworld realized that they could not proceed with the cruise. They called a meeting at 6PM and informed the passengers that they would have to disembark by 8:30 AM the following morning to begin a bus tour. Everyone had to pack that night and wake up early to leave the ship. A member of our party gets sick when traveling on a bus which is why we chose to do a river cruise in the first place. We could not agree to do the bus tour. We demanded that Uniworld find us a car service to take us to Prague, the last stop on our trip. They reluctantly agreed. We wanted to just go home. To make a long story short, Uniworld did not provide a rivercruise...they provided a bus tour. They knew of these issues when we boarded the boat and did not adequately communicate with the passengers. We never had a river cruise. Then when complaints arose, they sent a note stating."we have offered each guest a 50% per person refund of the cruise base fare (less all discounts), the category upgrade (if applicable), and port taxes, as well as a Future Cruise Credit of 50% off of the base cruise fare and category upgrade (subject to availability and excluding suites) in our 2016, 2017 or 2018 sailing seasons." On a $24K trip we received $7,200 for our troubles. Our travel agent and I reached out to the President of Uniworld with no adequate resolution. After 45 days of getting the run around I give up. I paid for a river cruse and was offered a bus tour that we could not do because a member of our party gets sick on buses. Some additional information, I would not recommend a Uniworld tour unless you are in your late 70's or early 80's. After dinner entertainment is like Bill Murray imitating a lounge singer on Saturday night live. Most people were sleeping by 9:30. I think this says it all. BEWARE!!!!! Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Never take this cruise. They talk about some great tours and cancel many of them along the way. The food is not good, the service is mostly done by interns that are learning and it is super over priced for receiving close to nothing. ... Read More
Never take this cruise. They talk about some great tours and cancel many of them along the way. The food is not good, the service is mostly done by interns that are learning and it is super over priced for receiving close to nothing. Terrible and boring cruise up the Mississippi with almost know good entertainment or activities. The boat even crashed into a sand bar at night - took about 30 minutes of pushing back and forth to get off and woke everyone up- bent the paddle wheel and made them late to arrive in Memphis so they canceled the Memphis tour? If you want a good cruise go on a Viking River cruise. The difference is like a cubic to a diamond. Our only grace was we had planned a few days on our own in the start destination and the end destination so we saw those two locations and had fun there Read Less
60 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
This was my first river cruise. We were originally scheduled to sail on the Kara from Amsterdam to Basel for a seven night cruise. However, a few days before we were to sail, we got an email telling us that we were going to be getting on ... Read More
This was my first river cruise. We were originally scheduled to sail on the Kara from Amsterdam to Basel for a seven night cruise. However, a few days before we were to sail, we got an email telling us that we were going to be getting on the Hlin in Amsterdam instead of the Kara. This did not really concern us since they seemed to be identical ships. The Hlin was initially docked at an industrial port in Amsterdam, Coenhaven, which is about 10 km outside of the city. It cost us $50 euro to get there. We could not walk to the city from here, and as a result,, we lost time in exploring the city. The worst thing is that Viking did not tell us where to go for the ship! It was not one of the three "possible" ports indicated on their website. We really enjoyed the first three nights on the Hlin. The chef was excellent, the crew was great and we had a happy ship. That all changed on day three when we were told to pack our bags and have them ready at our door at 9 am, we were going to be transferred by bus to the Kara and the Kara passengers were being transferred to the Hlin. OK so we were going to miss an evening in the lounge, I was not that upset. Sometimes you have to go with the flow. I wish I could say that was the end of our troubles. After our morning excursion to Marburg Castle, we got back on board the ship for lunch and a brief sailing on the Rhine. We were not allowed to return to our rooms and had to stay in the public areas. We were lucky it was a nice day and we could enjoy the top deck. This turned out to be the only time we actually sailed on the Rhine! For just 2 hours. We missed seeing the most beautiful part of the river. Of course they lied and told us that we would be missing nothing, that we would only miss seeing the part of the river they sail on when we are sleeping. Then they stopped at the side of the river and loaded us all on buses. They told us it would be a 2 hour bus trip to Kehl. It took almost 5 hours to get there! We stopped for the bathroom once and had to pay to use the toilet! The crew of the Kara had been told not to discuss how long they had been tied up at Kehl (over 2 weeks!). The ship seemed older than the Hlin and the service on the Kara was below par. It was if we were with a different tour company. We did not sail once we were at Kehl, but rather,we were bused everywhere! For the next four days. The cruise director said these circumstances were most unusual. We later learned this is a common occurrence. We completely skipped four of our port cities: Koblenz, Heidelberg, Breisach and Basel. We received no compensation for this deviation of itinerary. We were bused to some (not all) of these places but we did not sail to any of them. We paid extra to have a balcony. It was a waste of money. We never got to enjoy it. The view from my balcony in Amsterdam was of a highway. Would you want to sit on your deck looking at the cars flying by? Here's another thing they don't tell you: the ships are often stacked at ports. This happened to us twice! Can you imagine having a ship right next to your room? We could not see out of our window (as advertised) or sit on our balcony. In fact, I had to keep the curtains in the room closed if I didn't want someone to see in my room! We paid for a balcony and never got to use it. One of the things that Viking advertises is “Our ships gently carry you to the world’s greatest cities, deliver you to the center of charming towns and villages and connect you to your destination.” This never happened for us. In fact, not once did they "deliver us to the center of charming towns and villages" On the second night in Cologne, we were docked about ten kilometers from the city. We were told there were no docks in the city. But we saw many river cruise boats docked right in town including several competitor companies who were in Viking spots using Viking River Cruise ramps. And after that we were stuck in Kehl for the rest of the trip. Every day they lied to us. They lied about changing ships, the lied about how much time we would be on each bus (by at least an hour each day!), they lied about what we would be missing on the Rhine, they lied about the locks and they lied about the problems. And everyone on the ship felt the same way as we did. Not only has Viking not offered a refund, they only offered us 25% off of future cruises. We will never again sail on Viking. My ratings below are a combination of both ships. In general the Hlin was well run and, in general, the Kara was below par. The lies and lack of information was inexcusable. Read Less

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