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9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We did the pre-cruise Lisbon two days and that added to the two days that Viking puts you in a hotel for two days in Lisbon gave us 4 days. Our mistake was not taking one of those days to go to Fatima. We paid to have tours from Lisbon ... Read More
We did the pre-cruise Lisbon two days and that added to the two days that Viking puts you in a hotel for two days in Lisbon gave us 4 days. Our mistake was not taking one of those days to go to Fatima. We paid to have tours from Lisbon to Porto (bus) and Fatima was one of the stops - what we didn't realize was that we would have approximately 45 minutes total in Fatima - not near enough. So my suggestion is to skip paying Viking for the extra stops on a bus ride you are going to be making anyway, take the free Viking transfer, and spend a day in Fatima on your own or pay for a private tour. Meals is Lisbon will cost you at least 40 euros per couple - not fancy places. Once on the boat in Porto we sat and rode buses for two days. Finally moving on the boat but each day is buses. Very little "cruising". Meals were so-so. Cabin seemed smaller than on our other Viking trips (this was our 5th trip). Could not see out the "porthole" because on this ship they have it covered with frosted plexiglass. Entertainment - how do you have a trip to Portugal and Spain and not have Fado? You do have a lecture on cork and a chance to buy cork products and a lecture on olive oil and a chance to buy olive oil but no Fado. Like I said this was our 5th so we are big fans of Viking - this trip was our most expensive but I rate it as 4th best. English is absolutely no problem in Portugal and since the cruising part of the trip is minimal one may be better off doing a land trip on their own. We also did the the two day post in Santiago and enjoyed the Cathedral and other sights; but once again English is no problem so one may consider doing it on your own. Meals in Santiago will run you at least 40 euros per couple. Airline - direct flight to Lisbon from Miami on TAP - seat arm rest was broken - very minimal English entertainment - food was horrible. Return flight - up at 5:30 to put luggage out and then to Vigo to catch flight to Madrid with only one hour to make next flight - we made it but they were getting ready to shut the door to the aircraft - this could have been avoided as there was a flight from Vigo to Madrid one hour earlier and as we had to sit in the Vigo airport for two hours waiting for our flight we could have been booked on the earlier flight. We had to literally run to make our flight connection in Madrid - no fun. Walking - get heavy duty comfortable shoes that are anti-slip (sidewalks can be a bit slippery when wet). So in summary - a good trip and glad we did it. We are booked on one of their ocean ships in March and looking forward to that. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Hild and capt johann were awesome. would repeat again. cruise program director emma was awesome. staff was great. food was great. Viking did a magnificent job on the river cruise. 5 stars or more. My "rub" was with the ... Read More
Hild and capt johann were awesome. would repeat again. cruise program director emma was awesome. staff was great. food was great. Viking did a magnificent job on the river cruise. 5 stars or more. My "rub" was with the hotels before and after the cruise. in zurich, the renaissance was located away from the city center and we were forced to wait in the lobby for three hours after we arrived before we could enter our room. so, a 12 hour flight experience to get to zurich and a 3 hour wait in a hotel lobby. come on viking!!! Our hotel in paris, the pullman, was past its prime. yes it is next to the eiffel tower, but the room was more 2 star than anything else. Note to viking; the passengers filled out the cruise survey without any feedback on the last two days in parish after disembarking. there is a gap there and if viking really wants feedback then figure out this gap. We are big viking fans and have already booked our next cruise. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
WE went on this river cruise because it's something I always wanted to do after a dozen big ships it certainly was different,we had a ball the crew were fantastic the food was great the cabin could do with some updating, the ensuite ... Read More
WE went on this river cruise because it's something I always wanted to do after a dozen big ships it certainly was different,we had a ball the crew were fantastic the food was great the cabin could do with some updating, the ensuite had mould around the shower and the towels needed to be replaced getting a bit on the thin side. We went with Gate1 travel after friends recommended it and we weren't disappointed. The cruise director was excellent in arranging all the tours seeing the castle's on the Rhine Danube and Maine rivers was fascinating the towns we visited so much history amazing. There is a big difference between river cruising and ocean cruising that is on the ocean cruise you get a lot more time to relax where as on the river cruise you seem to be on the go all the time there's a lot of walking involved which we enjoy anyway but but at the end of each day we were certainly tired. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose Emerald because of recommendations on line. They were offering good on board credit and other discounts. The Radiance is a beautiful ship and the staterooms are stunning. The lounge is good but the bar is too big leaving only room ... Read More
We chose Emerald because of recommendations on line. They were offering good on board credit and other discounts. The Radiance is a beautiful ship and the staterooms are stunning. The lounge is good but the bar is too big leaving only room for sitting. There was no space if anyone wanted to dance. The bar is the wrong place. The Entertainment could have been better . There was the resident pianist and one evening a local group played. Having travelled with other river cruise companies this was poor compared with them. The crew however were amazing and made the trip very enjoyable. It is a full on trip with a very busy programme during the day. The weather was amazing which greatly enhanced our enjoyment. The food was very good but it is necessary to enjoy meat. Servings of meat were huge although vegetables were in short supply at the evening dinner. Fish was available as an alternative. We purchased a drinks package which meant drinks were available all day. Other than this we spent very little, which meant while the trip might have appeared expensive everything was included for us. We spent 3 extra days in Lisbon which was great and wished we had stayed longer in Porto as it is quite beautiful. Transfers between Cities, hotels and the ship went very smoothly. I would recommend the Douro as the countryside was some of the most stunning we had seen. Not too many locks and all praise for the Captain as the river in some areas was very narrow and navigation must have been difficult. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
This was our first River Cruise. We enjoyed the size of the ship and that there were only 168 guests, which made getting to know people very easy. The cruise director, Andreea, was exceptional - she managed all aspects of our itinerary ... Read More
This was our first River Cruise. We enjoyed the size of the ship and that there were only 168 guests, which made getting to know people very easy. The cruise director, Andreea, was exceptional - she managed all aspects of our itinerary seamlessly. The food was very good, with a varied selection of appetizers, soups, mains, and desserts. The wait staff were friendly and professional. Our cabin was very well designed so we had plenty of space to put everything. Our cabin was also spotless. I would say that I found the itinerary a bit rushed - that being said however, I also chose to not stay on the boat, which I could have. Perhaps the same itinerary could be completed in ten days, allowing a bit more time in some cities. Unfortunately on our second last day we ended being off the ship for almost 11 hours. Our tour of Regensburg was to last 4 hours. There was a problem with water levels being too low and the boat being unable to make it to our next destination. That is understandable - cannot control Mother Nature! I'm not totally convinced that there was not a way to get us on the boat earlier. So, the memory of my last excursion was a long, wet, cold day in a small city with nothing to do. When we boarded the boat everything was rushed. The next morning we had to wake up very early to be bussed to our last port of call. Unfortunately these events coloured my overall experience. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We booked this river cruise because of the great deal offered and because of what was about half-price we thought we got good value. The staff were friendly and welcoming, the tours were excellent and on the whole, the ship was ... Read More
We booked this river cruise because of the great deal offered and because of what was about half-price we thought we got good value. The staff were friendly and welcoming, the tours were excellent and on the whole, the ship was comfortable. When we arrived we were greeted warmly, our baggage was immediately taken off us and carried onto the boat. The reception staff were always pleasant and helpful. We were directed to the lounge where there were soup, open sandwiches and cake being served for a light lunch. Shortly before 3pm we were escorted to our cabin and shown around. The cabin was small but quite comfortable with one armchair and a footstool in front of the small desk area, although we would have preferred an upright chair. We liked the French balcony which allows you to look out and get fresh air without wasting space on a real balcony that isn’t needed on a river cruise especially as often you’re rafted up to another boat. There was enough storage and room for suitcases under the bed. However, the bed was disappointing with a mattress that definitely needs replacing. It was very hard and even after we requested and were given another duvet to lie on, the bed sagged to one side and was uncomfortable. The duvet was also old and lumpy. We do wish people would provide a top sheet instead of just a duvet in Europe. We were near the back of the boat and did find it rather noisy for sleeping the first couple of nights. But we quickly got used to it and it didn’t bother us for the rest of the cruise. We were quite happy with the housekeeping service and the room was kept clean. The small bathroom was good and had a decent shower. However, we woke one morning to find our toilet wasn’t functioning; a situation that lasted nearly all day as we had to wait for an engineer to come on at the next stop. Ours wasn’t the only one and another couple had several instances of their toilet flooding throughout the trip. Also, occasionally there was a whiff of an unpleasant smell in the bathroom. Clearly the plumbing system needs an overhaul. We were very impressed with the cruise directors and the tours. Soma and Armin were great - professional, friendly and very helpful. They were always available for questions and would join guests at meals and other times to chat and offer advice. They accompanied all the tours and made sure that everything was running smoothly. We couldn’t have had better people. Soma gave a briefing every evening before dinner with a rundown of the next day’s programme and included plenty of tips on what to do at each stop as well as the included tour. Maps of the towns were given out at every stop. Armin put on quizzes and other activities during sailing times for which there were decent prizes of nice boxes of chocolates and bottles of wine instead of the cheap pins etc given on ocean cruises. The few times entertainers came on board, they were well worth watching. The Oompah band solo performer was terrific. There was an included tour every day which were excellent with very good and knowledgeable local guides. All the stops were at beautiful and interesting places. Also, Soma provided excellent commentaries for the scenic cruising through the Rhine gorge, the Wachau valley and the sail into the Budapest. We were delighted to find that a full inside tour of the Wurzburg Residenz was included – ours was taken by an architect who provided lots of interesting detail. It’s worth asking your cruise director for advice on which local guide is likely to suit your particular interests. We took two optional tours which were also good and reasonably priced. The whisper devices with headphones seem to be standard these days and worked very well. Many of our guides told us interesting and amusing stories and one even quoted some of his own doggerel poems which were most entertaining. The only tiny issue we had occasionally with the tours was the timing for the buses. In Bamberg the free time lasted too long on a cold Sunday afternoon with no shops or museums open. The bars and cafes became very crowded with all the tour groups in town who had nothing else to do. Many people returned to the meeting place early to wait for the buses. On the other hand, there was hardly any free time in Nuremburg as the tours went over time. There was the option to go back into town after lunch on a bus for the afternoon but just another half an hour or so in the morning would have been good. In Vienna the boat is docked way out of town at Nussdorf which isn’t practicable for public transport. The tour started at 8.15am and if you wished to stay in town, the only options for a return bus were at 3pm and 4.30pm. Shuttle buses running throughout the afternoon as they were in Amsterdam would have been much better. Nevertheless, we were very pleased indeed with the touring side of the cruise. The one thing we were disappointed with was the food. While it wasn’t bad, it wasn’t very good either. The dining room is too small for the number of passengers so the tables and chairs are squeezed in with hardly any room to get in and out to go to the breakfast and lunch buffets. It was also extremely noisy which made talking very difficult. Service was not always very professional and rather bossy. For instance, you were instructed to pass menus, dirty plates, etc to the waiters the minute you were finished. They wouldn’t remake the used tables at breakfast and lunch so you were forced to walk around trying to find a spare space even if you had to sit apart from your companions. Once I was told off for sitting at a table already set for dinner even though there were no tables left ready for lunch. It was as if the staff felt we were there for their convenience rather than the other way around. The meals were acceptable but rather repetitive with little variety. Some meals were lovely but others weren’t very well cooked. Servings were sometimes very small. The vegetables were generally undercooked and the soups mostly tasted the same and were too salty. The breakfast buffet was very good with a wide variety of offerings and a specialty cooked item each day as well as eggs and omelettes that could be ordered. Cold meats and cheeses were put out at breakfast but never with the salad buffet at lunch which was always one hot meat and one hot fish dish, plus soup, a hot sandwich or pasta dish that could be ordered. But the most disappointing aspect was the poor quality baked goods. The bread was mass-produced and not good. There were little rolls put out for breakfast but never for lunch or dinner. We heard that all the bread and cakes were frozen and then thawed out and you could tell. Many days the cakes at afternoon tea were a dry Sour Cherry cake and stodgy apple pie. This was so disappointing in countries like Germany and Austria that have such wonderful bread, cakes and pastries. There was a coffee machine in the back corner of the lounge but it would have been good to have also had a hot water dispenser for tea and hot chocolate. It was frustrating to queue for ages while people made their coffees when all you wanted was some hot water. At first nice sachets for hot chocolate were available but after a few days they were replaced with an uncovered bowl of cheap chocolate mix – this in a ship where people were constantly coughing from a nasty cold that was going right through the ship. It got so bad that people were ordering taxis at ports to take them to pharmacies and even the local hospital on the weekends to get medication. There was a choice at dinner of one white and one red wine that changed every night plus a house beer. There’s a bar the back of the lounge but it wasn’t easy to get any service. Even if you went up to the bar you were told to go sit down and wait for service. We waited 40 minutes to get a drink one night. The passengers were divided between those from Australasia who had prepaid their tips and those from North America who hadn’t. It became obvious that the wait staff were giving priority and better service to impress the people who hadn’t prepaid their tips. They always seemed to be served first and immediately presented with lots of bar snacks which instead we had to ask for. The back lounge has been converted to a steakhouse restaurant in the evenings which we went to once. The food was good and we enjoyed our evening with another couple. We sat there sometimes during the afternoons to try and avoid the coughing of the sick passengers. It was a pleasant place to sit and watch the wonderful views out of the floor to ceiling windows. Disembarkation was well organised and you could request taxis to be ordered in advance. We were very pleased to be allowed to stay on board for a while longer because we couldn’t get into our apartment until later in the morning. All in all, we felt the cruise was very good value for what we paid. But for the reasons given, mainly the bad mattress and variable quality of food, we wouldn’t book with Gate 1 again if we had to pay full price. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Loved this idea of spending our 25th anniversary in Europe. All went well-great staff, good food, nice ports, but wished there was more free time and fewer ports to visit. Had to get up pretty early for the free excursions, which are ... Read More
Loved this idea of spending our 25th anniversary in Europe. All went well-great staff, good food, nice ports, but wished there was more free time and fewer ports to visit. Had to get up pretty early for the free excursions, which are largely church/history oriented, if you're into that sort of thing. Would have preferred more intimate excursions (for free) instead of 50-60 people ushered around already popular destinations. If you are a history buff, and like lectures, etc. This is for you. The passengers are largely 60+, and highly educated. A few wheelchairs also, although Europe is tough for them with all the cobblestones and hills. I really prefer Gate 1 for this sort of thing. More free time, less expensive, and a smaller group. You're not tempted into gluttony as much. Food was good, but not as good as some of the finer meals I've enjoyed in major cities. If there were more shore excursions catering to intimate experiences, that would be better-like seeing a cobbler make shoes. Since the cruise is so pricey, these should be included without an extra charge. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
This is not a first cruise for anyone. It's a cruise for people who've seen a lot, and want more. The "river" between St. Petersburg and Moscow is a combination of lakes, rivers, and canals. Near St. P, it's ... Read More
This is not a first cruise for anyone. It's a cruise for people who've seen a lot, and want more. The "river" between St. Petersburg and Moscow is a combination of lakes, rivers, and canals. Near St. P, it's mostly uninhabited area. Near Moscow, it's more inhabited. Of the 5 stops on the "river," only two (Yaroslavl and Uglich) are real towns. Kizhi is fabulous, as a recreated ancient community. Mandrogy is an artisan village, and fun (and expensive if you shop), but for tourists. The monastery stop was interesting, but due to fog, we were shepherded past any vendors and didn't see a real town. St. Petersburg and Moscow were fabulous - and exhausting! You walk your feet off. It's worth it, but just be warned. The worst crush was The Hermitage in St. Petersburg - and I was there in a shoulder season! But the fabulous art is incredible and not to be missed. As are any of the St. Petersburg tours, and definitely Moscow by Night. The Kremlin (included) tour was very good, but I wish I'd done the optional tour that included the carriages, jewels, dresses, etc. We saw St. Basil's in the afternoon, which will NOT get you good pictures. You need to be there in the morning. Best souvenirs: Uglich. We skipped the tour and just shopped for 3 1/2 hours. Do not try to buy souvenirs in Moscow; for some reason, they are scarce and expensive. At the St. Petersburg port, there is a souvenir shop, which is better than nothing. Do not bring rubles; banks charge too much. I got rubles 4 times at ATM's, with a charge of $1 each withdrawal, and the best rates. Dollars are almost universally accepted, too. Though outside of vendors, very few people speak English. On the ship, we were coddled by the staff. In the dining room, Jeremiah, Mikey and Dino took fabulous care of us, including telling us to wait til Uglich to shop. In the bar, Dasha and Egor were attentive and helpful. Sasha (from Russia) was a terrific tour director. Andrey was a terrific tour guide. Daniel was the M'd with a sense of humor! Don't miss the pelmini cooking demo, or the vodka tasting! Russia has changed incredibly in the past couple of decades. Not a complete capitalist country, but growing so! The people were warm and friendly (they want our dollars). If you go, you'll love it. I wish you good cheer! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
A friend we were traveling with found Scenic and we just took his recommendation. The ship was excellent and the crew were superb. The only disappointment was our butler, who did very little and for the the odd time that we asked for ... Read More
A friend we were traveling with found Scenic and we just took his recommendation. The ship was excellent and the crew were superb. The only disappointment was our butler, who did very little and for the the odd time that we asked for something he still didn't come through. Otherwise, the entire experience was excellent. The shore excursions were very well organized and we were very pleased that all the gratuities were included. The motor-assisted bicycles were also a great amenity. We used two of them on one occasion and thoroughly enjoyed them. They were also very easy to learn to use. The meals were outstanding and the chef took great pride in his craft. The selection of wines was mediocre but sufficient. The bar selection was likewise very good and the bar staff carried the torch for service excellence. Overall, we had good value for our money and will likely cruise with Scenic again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
We explored Lisbon before we embarked our ship in Porto. I found Porto difficult to walk around with lots of potholes in the sidewalks and lots of empty buildings. In the future, I would skip Lisbon and head into Porto a little earlier. ... Read More
We explored Lisbon before we embarked our ship in Porto. I found Porto difficult to walk around with lots of potholes in the sidewalks and lots of empty buildings. In the future, I would skip Lisbon and head into Porto a little earlier. That being said, the hotel was lovely and our waitress in the hotel lobby knew her wines, and was generous in her information about Portuguese wines. Embarkation went smoothly. Our cabin was on Sapphire deck and was quite comfortable to our needs. Very comfortable bed. Housekeeping always kept the room immaculate and refreshed our little bar daily and gave us extra water. Loved the balcony which I could open and close at leisure. We ate mostly in the Crystal dining room, but often ate a lighter lunch in the sun lounge. We ate once in the Portobellos, the specialty restaurant. Food was delicious on all counts. Our entertainment and activities were light but highly interesting. Tours also were interesting, and there were always washrooms available. I am going to try to make the candied almonds that one person demonstrated on one tour. We especially liked the Fado music both on and off board, the cork demonstration, shopping with Chef and his demonstration, and tours to the wineries and villages. Service was always with a smile and we loved the staff, their hard work and humor. After disembarking at Porto, we flew on to Madrid. The only negative thing I have to say is about Portuguese airlines. Small and not on time. We loved Madrid. Our tour guide was knowledgable, warm and welcoming. She was always more than available and helpful. The streets are pedestrian friendly. We would definitely go there again. And our city tour guide who was also our guide at the Prado Art Gallery was exceptionally knowledgable. In conclusion, we loved Scenic. I love the all inclusive, I loved the wonderful variety of shipmates. I loved that the ship was Portuguese built, and the crew was Portuguese. But never fear - their English is impeccable. We would travel with Scenic again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We took advantage of a special offer via Imagine Cruising a company we use and trust for this river cruise.We arrived at Lyon and boarded quickly and were very pleased at our cabin which was spotless and very welcoming with nice decor ... Read More
We took advantage of a special offer via Imagine Cruising a company we use and trust for this river cruise.We arrived at Lyon and boarded quickly and were very pleased at our cabin which was spotless and very welcoming with nice decor etc.We enjoyed the pleasant public areas and especially the sun deck with good seating and a lovely shaded area with also small but well presented pool to cool off in everyday.All meals and most drinks are included and were of very good quality.We enjoy different cultures and the food offered and like to try different tastes and always found something tasty at meal times.Salads.meats,fish desserts.cheeses including the breads were good.Tea and coffee are available at all times. We visited the South of France area from Lyon through Avignon,Arles etc down to the Port st Louis area which was the only port to disappoint.We think this last stop should be excluded from the itinerary as it's too industrial in this part.We enjoyed two trips outside of the towns that we moored in the centres.the first was to the Camargue area ending up in the lovely little seaside town of St Marie de la mer which is beautiful.The second was to Marseille but was too rushed and a bit frustrating as we only had 25 minutes around the port area which was the most interesting part of the city. The clientele are largely German with a few other nationalities and about 25 percent British and there was little mixing ,probably due to the language barriers and it was difficult to communicate and people gathered in the evenings in their own language groups.I hoped for more mixing It was very pleasant to sit to enjoy sunsets and the passing countryside as we leisurely sailed the river.All the main cities including Lyon and Avignon are easily explored from the boat and we have lovely memories of these beautiful places. the evenings were simple with light music playing as we enjoyed the company of fellow cruisers with inclusive drinks and food at hand at all time. We will certainly river cruise again and we hope with Arosa in the future.104 Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Price & itinerary and our availability to travel with our good friends. Also, have cruised with Viking before and knew of the high standard. This was our 3rd cruise with the same friends and really enjoyed it. The weather was very ... Read More
Price & itinerary and our availability to travel with our good friends. Also, have cruised with Viking before and knew of the high standard. This was our 3rd cruise with the same friends and really enjoyed it. The weather was very hot but that is something that Viking cannot control. Crew was very solicitous about offering bottles of water each time we embarked or disembarked the ship. Tour guides tried to keep us in the shade on tours as much as possible. We enjoyed all the various tours of wineries and wine tastings. Also the visits to chateaux. We loved the surprise lunch at Chateau Siaurac hosted by the ship's chef and entire wait staff. The crew, down to the last one, were courteous, helpful, professional and friendly. Our cabin steward, Helen, always greeted us with a big smile and always asked if we needed anything. She is a tremendous asset to Viking. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We are UK residents and live about 30 miles from London. We wanted a 7-day cruise with not too far to travel, so went for 7-days Paris to Normandy & return to Paris. Used Avalon last year on the Rhine and it was great. We ... Read More
We are UK residents and live about 30 miles from London. We wanted a 7-day cruise with not too far to travel, so went for 7-days Paris to Normandy & return to Paris. Used Avalon last year on the Rhine and it was great. We travelled by air then, not our favourite these days but it was good from Heathrow to Zurich and return. This year we opted for Eurostar as our only previous experience, a short break to Lille, was good. This time it was a disaster, we missed our train by 2 minutes, as the security/passport control queue was massive. (Sat. morning). This cost us an extra £190 to get on a train 4 hours later, in separate seats, that was the only option. Return journey was terrible, we were dropped off at a side entrance and had a massively long walk to get to the Eurostar Terminal. The economy seats were tired and uncomfortable. At the end of the journey we had a massive walk to find our pick-up driver and then another huge walk to the car park. So our advice is unless you are young and fit, avoid Eurostar. The Avalon River Cruise part was very good, service, food accommodation etc. first class. Avalon include tips as well for UK customers and offer beer, wine & soft drinks at lunch and dinner included. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We chose Emerald for our first river cruise based on reputation and information available on website. Have previously taken ocean cruises we now felt we wanted to try the intimacy of a smaller ship. The itinerary looked interesting and ... Read More
We chose Emerald for our first river cruise based on reputation and information available on website. Have previously taken ocean cruises we now felt we wanted to try the intimacy of a smaller ship. The itinerary looked interesting and have always wanted to visit Vienna. Embarkation was smooth and were taken to our Panoramic balcony stateroom by a member of staff. The cabin was modern and spotless. Large ceiling to floor window which gave a wonderful view while travelling and this was enhanced when the window was lowered. Our cabin steward was very good and always greeted us by name. He worked very hard and the cabin was spotless throughout the cruise. We enjoyed the planned stops and the quality of guides was very good with interesting content. They were very knowledgeable and spoke good English. The tours were not too long and mostly took part in the mornings so we were back on board for lunch. The self service lunches were a little chaotic. The served dinners were much more civilised and the restaurant staff were all very professional and very attentive. The quality of food overall was good. Highlights were the classical recital in Vienna and the tour of Vienna. Passau was lovely and wish we had more time there. The afternoon tea with a Slovakian family was also enjoyable. Entertainment was low key in the evenings, however the Bararian dancers and the band were good. The small infinity pool at the rear of the ship and its lounge area were ideal if you wanted peace and quiet and it also gave you a lovely view. The organisation by the cruise director Jana was exceptional and she definitely had her finger on the button. Nothing was too much trouble and a couple of times things had to be changed and she did this efficiently. Going through the many locks was an interesting experience and we passed under some very low bridges. Overall this was a lovely experience and a good introduction to river cruising. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Wanted to go down the Danube and visit bits of Eastern Europe to which we had not previously been to see. We visited Budapest, Hungary (night cruise to see the lights was very good), and Kalosca, Hungary for a horse show. Osijek, ... Read More
Wanted to go down the Danube and visit bits of Eastern Europe to which we had not previously been to see. We visited Budapest, Hungary (night cruise to see the lights was very good), and Kalosca, Hungary for a horse show. Osijek, Croatia. Belgrade Serbia (looks more prosperous now) sailed through the Iron Gates Gorge. Arbanasi Silistra and Varna in Bulgaria (the most traditional and probably the poorest country). and Bucharest (much more prosperous and lively than suspected). The visits were mostly part of the cruise price and well organized and the crew dealt with problems well. The dining/bar staff were very good with an occasional grumpy or over officious one. Cabin kept immaculately clean. Drinks on board were at 'cruise prices' with a number of complex packages which could be added to the mealtime free beers and local wine. Beers only lager locally wine ranged from quite good to barely drinkable. Breakfast was buffet food ok layout of the buffet poorly thought out. (A whole circuit was required to get standard bread, butter and jam) but not a major problem. Dinners were good and not overly large (thank goodness). Entertainment pianist (Gianni) exceptional, local entertainment competent but of limited interest. Cruise Director (Polina) very pleasant and competent but tired a bit towards the end of the cruise, should have had a deputy she seemed to be on duty 18 hours a day. Read Less
46 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We have taken 2 previous land cruises with Gate 1 and found them to be fantastic. We came upon a special for a River Rhine cruise that was a great price in late spring. In all the Cruise was quite good. This was our first cruise of ... Read More
We have taken 2 previous land cruises with Gate 1 and found them to be fantastic. We came upon a special for a River Rhine cruise that was a great price in late spring. In all the Cruise was quite good. This was our first cruise of any kind so we did not know what to expect. Gate 1 leases this ship which is 10 years old but one would never think that. Everything was modern and very clean. There was a buffet breakfast with omelet station and lunch buffet with a hot sandwich and pasta option each day, Dinner was 4 or 5 course gourmet every night with wine or beer included. with the exception of two lunches, we had all of our meals on the ship. No complaints about the food were heard, all was very good. The cabin was cozy but not cramped and very clean. We did not hear any noise from the outside nor from neighboring cabins. Shore excursions were hit or miss. I thought some of them were somewhat rushed. The local guide gave a short walk with a smattering of information about the area and then left us for free time. There were three optional tours - Colmar, France with wine tasting, Heidelberg, and Marksman Castle. These were all on the expensive side and really not a good value. We were really rushed thru Heidelberg. At times it seemed as thou the ship's sailing schedule took precedence over excursion time. Evenings featured music in the lounge each night. The weather last week was perfect so we spent a lot of time on the ship's top deck. Beer and wine prices in the lounge were reasonable but mixed drinks were pricey. I have seen comments concerning Gate 1 as lower tier mass market. With sailing right next to Viking ships and following identical excursions I'm not sure that is a fair assessment. I don't know what Gate 1 is missing compared to Viking concerning the price of the cruise. I would recommend this cruise. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We chose this cruise because of the rave reviews of Scenic, because it is all inclusive and because of the itinerary, Gems of the Danube. We were picked up at the airport in a lovely Mercedes and our driver delivered us to the ship ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the rave reviews of Scenic, because it is all inclusive and because of the itinerary, Gems of the Danube. We were picked up at the airport in a lovely Mercedes and our driver delivered us to the ship quickly. Embarkation was simple and seamless in Budapest, though we waited several hours in the lounge for our cabins to be prepared. Drinks and snacks were offered in the meantime. The crew was welcoming and friendly. Our cabin was great and we met our butler immediately though I have to say that was one of the very few times we saw him. This was disappointing as we were expecting a little pampering. The food is ample and good though rarely outstanding. The wines are not as high quality as we expected though we discovered quickly that better wines were available upon request. The tours were well planned and made for little idle time. You will walk quite a bit on this cruise so be prepared. The signature Tailormade system is very effective, easy to hear the guides (I used my own earbuds though) but it is a bit heavy and bulky to carry around one's neck. We participated in almost every tour day, save one, and did the Prague extension as well. The onboard entertainment is okay--the pianist who is the onboard musician is very skilled and enjoyable and some of the local performers were good. We loved the Vienna special performance--truly professional musicians, dancers, vocalists. Suggestions: if you arrive mid-day on embarkation, have the ship's crew arrange a tour for you to the Hospital in the Rock or shopping district so that your frustration at waiting will be alleviated. There is much to see in Budapest but we had limited time before sailing the next day. It would have been nice to have more time in each port. All in all, it was an enjoyable cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
First (and last) river cruise for us. Emerald Sky is a great ship, and a great way to see several destinations with no hassle. Our cabin 311 was well decorated with good space and it was kept immaculately clean by our super cabin attendant ... Read More
First (and last) river cruise for us. Emerald Sky is a great ship, and a great way to see several destinations with no hassle. Our cabin 311 was well decorated with good space and it was kept immaculately clean by our super cabin attendant Malik. All of the crew were terrific and very helpful. The entertainment wasn't to our taste but we enjoyed what we did join in with. The excursions were well organised and very good, the local guides excellent. The food was good but that's where we found our problem, we really didn't like having to all eat at 7pm which meant a race to get to a table, we hated having our food served like a canteen and the noise level in the dining room was just awful with people shouting across tables. Whilst we realise the crew have to multi-task and move from drinks duty to waiter service etc but this did not make for an enjoyable evening meal as we felt the dinner was rushed and certainly not the relaxed looking photo in the brochure! Thank you Emerald for the holiday, your staff are a credit to you but sadly we won't do another river cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Recommendation of friends who were on their third SCenic cruise. This was my second SCenic river cruise so, obviously compared it with the Danube cruise I went on last year. It was a good experience (not quite as good as the DAnube ... Read More
Recommendation of friends who were on their third SCenic cruise. This was my second SCenic river cruise so, obviously compared it with the Danube cruise I went on last year. It was a good experience (not quite as good as the DAnube cruise I did last year)? The entertainment was good but only for two nights, the rock group was excellent, a great night. the Pope's palace concert good as was the evening drinks visit to castle of Tournon. Although Pianist Richard did his best he was not quite 'in tune' with his audience. The shore excursions were very good except for the village of Oignt where we were promised crafts shops and coffee shops, none of which were open! We wondered why we were only give 45 minutes there, just enough to visit the disgusting toilets!!! Dining was very good but breakfast buffet could have been a bit more efficient, often scrambled egg, potatoes etc. All gone and not replenished very quickly. Wine with meals excellent and special requests fulfilled. Bar service during the day also very good, although not so go up on top deck in the afternoons, seemed to be only one attendant on duty and not to be seen regularly. Captains, senior staff etc.very 'visible' and approachable. All in all, despite minor criticisms I would recommend this cruise to my friends, I had a good time and appreciate everyone's efforts to make my time on board enjoyable. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
This was the first time we tried Viking, as we had two other river cruises on Uniworld. The Danube was wonderful, the ship modern, clean and great staff. I will say, however, the food on Uniworld was a step above Viking. Other than ... Read More
This was the first time we tried Viking, as we had two other river cruises on Uniworld. The Danube was wonderful, the ship modern, clean and great staff. I will say, however, the food on Uniworld was a step above Viking. Other than that, the ports were great, tour guides terrific especially in Passau and Nurnberg. Chilling tour of Courthouse where Nazi's were tried and Zepplin field. We did an extension to Prague and Viking handled that just perfectly. Munich tour was wonderful, small group, great lunch and tour of city. I do suggest that you DO NOT book shore excursions beforehand, as there is always room. Our tour to Salzberg was quite delayed so we cancelled and good thing we did, those who went said it was too long of a bus ride and not much time to explore. Viking was gracious enough to refund our $398. for that tour, so we were completely satisfied. Deborah was great, can't say enough good about the staff! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Chose this cruise as we had never done a river cruise. First two to three days food was certainly not 5 star, we thought the chef had been replaced as the food certainly improved. I must mention Branislav the waiter who went the extra ... Read More
Chose this cruise as we had never done a river cruise. First two to three days food was certainly not 5 star, we thought the chef had been replaced as the food certainly improved. I must mention Branislav the waiter who went the extra mile and Francis the butler was very keen to please. Waiter was asked by a guest for a dessert wine, which he brought, when asked by another guest if he could have one also, he told him no as it was a special wine for other guests, not the answer we would expect on a 5 star ship. As we had not been on a river cruise before, we were surprised by the fact we did not see daylight in our cabin for four days out of the seven days as other boats were moored right next to us, we paid for a balcony and could not use it, as the guests off the other boats could see in the window. I would have thought in this day and age we would have been able to see out and they would not have been able to see in, but no. We have been on Ocean cruises and now a river cruise, I would like to do another river cruise, so I could make a better comparison, but it was very expensive to keep your curtains closed all day. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
I was confused because I could find any reviews since 2015. We were on the "MS River Navigator", although this page refers to Vantage River Navigator. I'm assuming and hoping I'm on the right page. River cruise, ... Read More
I was confused because I could find any reviews since 2015. We were on the "MS River Navigator", although this page refers to Vantage River Navigator. I'm assuming and hoping I'm on the right page. River cruise, NOT an ocean liner. CanNOT really compare the two. I believe the capacity is around 150 passengers as opposed to the thousands on ocean ships. Typical small rooms and bathroom, but very adequate. Room service was great. Only one time slot for meals, all dress is casual. The meals were fine: breakfast buffet, lunch at 12:00, dinner at 7:00pm. The service was great, but the kitchen was at times, very slow. Dinner is typically salad, soup, entree, and dessert. On multiple occasions we did not get our dinner entree until 8:30pm or later. I imagine very hard to serve +100 passengers timely with such a small kitchen. Staff very friendly, but minimal accommodations. No pool, no theater, no entertainment, other than one act each night in the lounge. Small library, exercise room has a couple of treadmills and a couple of exercise bikes. Overall very enjoyable experience. I was told that the clientele is typically senior citizens which was the case on our trip. So mostly quieter and no real late night activities Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
My husband and I wanted to cruise the Rhine and visit places we had never been to before. The emerald sky is a beautiful ship with wonderful staff. We were delighted to have been upgraded to an owners suite which was an amazing ... Read More
My husband and I wanted to cruise the Rhine and visit places we had never been to before. The emerald sky is a beautiful ship with wonderful staff. We were delighted to have been upgraded to an owners suite which was an amazing surprise. I couldn't stop smiling. Rooms were beautiful and clean with everything and more that you needed for a comfortable stay. I have Crohn's disease so have some complex dietary needs. The resturaunt manager Adrian was amazing and helped me every day to choose what I wanted to eat and he liaised with the chef to ensure my meals and snacks were 'Crohn's friendly' so to speak. My only slight complaint is that all bar one of the excursions were early morning, not very relaxing when you have to set alarms to get up at 7 to be ready to go off out. Also most tours were quite rushed. For instance , we visited the beautiful Black Forest museum. We were told we only had time to visit two of the buildings and had maybe 20 mins free time before we had to go to a cake demonstration and then back to the bus to go back to the ship. There was no opportunity to revisit in our own time as it was so far from the port and the ship was sailing in the afternoon. We enjoyed the arranged visits to Koblenz and cologne and then had free time also to explore on our own so this was great. Our last stop was Amsterdam, again an early start, bus from port to city center, short city tour then canal boat tour which were good. We were then promised free time at museum square but because of delays with traffic etc we only had 20 mins before we had to leave to go back to the ship. I would have loved to visit the museums and have a walk around. There were shuttle buses provided in the afternoon for anyone wanting to go into Amsterdam on their own but I wasn't confident enough to do this. I would have liked someone with us who knew the city. I understand that the cruise had a timetable to stick to, that the ship had a lot of locks and ports to navigate and this may have influenced the timing and duration of shore excursions. On the whole though I really enjoyed my holiday. No complaints whatsoever about the ship, staff, service, cleanliness. Just a shame we felt rushed on our shore excursions. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2017
We liked the itinerary and our neighbours recommended Emerald. We were very pleased to overnight in Amsterdam and so close to the sights. We were disappointed that on 2 occasions we had to wait for the ship to arrive. (Over one and a half ... Read More
We liked the itinerary and our neighbours recommended Emerald. We were very pleased to overnight in Amsterdam and so close to the sights. We were disappointed that on 2 occasions we had to wait for the ship to arrive. (Over one and a half hours on the last day). This meant that lunch was late but dinners was still at the same. As this was our last day, and luggage had to be outside early the next morning, we didn't have any time to relax . We would have liked some of the tours to be more adventurous and energetic and that we had to take coach tours to the towns. We were delighted with all the ship's crew who were polite, friendly and very efficient. As an overall experience we were very pleased and would love to try different routes and rivers but would probably choose cruises where we could get to the sight seeing more easily and on our own. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
I had always wanted to visit the Amazon and this was the perfect way to do it. It is an excellent ship, great guides and wonderful flora and fauna. We also visited villages and learned about life on the Amazon. The most amazing thing ... Read More
I had always wanted to visit the Amazon and this was the perfect way to do it. It is an excellent ship, great guides and wonderful flora and fauna. We also visited villages and learned about life on the Amazon. The most amazing thing was seeing the river at just under high water and being able to explore the area by skiff. It was hard to imagine that it all be dry land in a few months. The bird life was plentiful and we saw monkeys, sloths, bats, snakes, lizards dolphins. We had daily skin explorations, swam in the Amazon, kayaked on some of the tributaries, went on several hikes in the jungle, visited a Shaman and a village where we learned about interesting enrichment project to empower women. Many of our guides were from the area and brought their knowledge and affection for the area to all of us. Each evening we had a talk on the history and culture of the area as well as its natural history. The food was plentiful and reflected local cuisine. We had a fun pre boarding lunch in Iquitos on a floating restaurant - yummy food - and visited a manatee rescue facility on the way back to the plane to Lima. It was a great experience. Read Less

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