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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I will begin this by saying, this trip was booked for the sole purpose of visiting the Christmas Markets. My mother had been to Germany several times, and I was anxious to see the wonderful sights she had seen while visiting the Christmas ... Read More
I will begin this by saying, this trip was booked for the sole purpose of visiting the Christmas Markets. My mother had been to Germany several times, and I was anxious to see the wonderful sights she had seen while visiting the Christmas Markets previously. We have traveled on several cruises together through the years, but always pn ocean liners. We researched the trip. We researched the destinations. We definitely did our homework. That being said, I will refer to a particular evening when our Cruise Director was going over the following day's itinerary. I heard a passenger lament that we were going to "Another Christmas Market" with a groan and eyeroll as she said it. I turned to my mother and said, "How could she be upset about that? This was advertised as a Christmas Market Cruise!" I heard many of these rumblings throughout the trip. I was somewhat offended, because I will cherish the trip, the memories and the people we met for the rest of my life. I had an awesome trip, so I found it a little hard to stomach the ones that were saying such rude things. I found the ship and crew warm and welcoming. The staff bent over backward to make us feel at home. Many of the crew members filled multiple roles. They did so with efficiency and kindness. As I said previously, we had been on several cruises. They were ocean cruises. This was the first river cruise I'd been on. I knew that the grandeur of a ocean cruise ship would not be found on a river cruise. I knew there would be no casino, no nightclub, no nightly shows. I knew there would be no midnight buffets with ice sculptures. I don't care about those things. We booked this trip to add to a lifetime of memories that my mom and I have been making together. We were not disappointed. I found the ship to provide for every necessity we had, and provide well. The ship was well kept, it was lovely and when I compared it to other ships we saw cruising the Rhine I was pleasantly pleased that our ship was amongst the nicest. Dining. I heard quite a few people complaining about the fare. I heard some rather needless and unkind things being said. So here is my assessment of the food and dining experience. I found the food to be good, plentiful and very tailored to the passenger pool. If we were to take a walking trip around the meal bar you would find: fresh cheeses, sliced meats, salad options, fruits, bread, desserts, hot and cold cereals, soups, rice, fish, sandwiches, hot veggies, meat choices, usually a pasta choice, omelettes to order at breakfast and the list goes on. If you want a lighter fare you can visit the lounge and enjoy a pancake, french toast, soup, pasta or sandwich at breakfast or lunch. At dinner the menu also plentiful. Typically there were 2 choices of appetizer, a soup, a featured item as main course and a dessert. If you did not care of the featured main course there was a choice of chicken, steak, fish or Ceasar Salad every night, as well. No, you will not find the vast array of food you'd find on an ocean cruise. That being said, if you find fault in the food on this cruise then I would say you should have booked a Cuisine Cruise instead. I found the food to be delicious, and I thought the Chef was wonderful. Entertainment and Activities were not a huge priority to us. We did not book this cruise to be entertained and party. We were on this trip to enjoy time spent with each other and any new friends we would meet, and we did meet some wonderful people. We thoroughly enjoyed the glassblower, the cookie making, the musical entertainment, the movie nights, disco night and trivia. They were wonderfully presented and fun to attend. Service. The ENTIRE staff bent over backwards to help us. If I were going to say anything on the downside, it would be that my mother and I are not alcohol drinkers. I found it a bit difficult at first to get a soft drink. The wait staff have to go to a different location to get a soft drink so it throws off their service rhythm. Which I totally understand. Dining on a smaller scale ship is like a well thought out ballet. Everything has it's place because of limited space. They are super organized and efficient. I felt I was inconveniencing them to ask for a soft drink. They are pronto with the alcohol, but soft drinks not so much. I worked it out by mid cruise, I began ordering my soft drinks two at a time so that I wouldn't have to ask for a refill later in the meal. Ironically, the majority of the ladies we sat with began doing the same so we became known as the soda drinkers. We also made sure to sit in the areas of the dining room that we knew the waiters were a bit more flexible. From the Captain on down to the room stewards, everyone was wonderful. Ports, docking and excursions. Ports were wonderful. Transportation from the ship to our destinations was quick and efficient. I enjoyed the all the places we visited. I absolutely LOVED Rothenberg, which in our package was an excursion. It was my absolute favorite. If we had thought it through more, we would have gotten an earlier flight to Nuremberg and visited the Market there before boarding the ship. We enjoyed a diverse choice of stops with the commonality of the Christmas Markets, which we loved. If I was going to find a downside, I would have to say the arrival times to the Market locations. I had anticipated this experience for so long. After researching the destinations and seeing pictures of the marketplaces at each, I had a very clear vision in my head. I was mildly disappointed that the majority of the markets we visited weren't even open when we arrived, because we arrived in the mornings. I was excited to experience the markets in the evening when they were lit up to get the full effect of Christmas time festivities. I was grateful to get to see them, but would have loved to see them all at night. I understand we were at the mercy of our port time and sail schedule, but that would be the only thing I would say was disappointing. Overall, this was the trip of a lifetime and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I would do it again and again, and I would sail with Emerald again to do it. It was a great way to "sample" some locations to possibly revisit so that I can spend more time in the places that truly stood out to me. In an nutshell: I loved the entire trip. What I didn't love was the bashing being done by some of the other passengers. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Paris is always a draw but we were particularly focused on seeing Normandy. This cruise did all of this and more. The time spent in Paris was fun and well spent. We were quickly caught up on France's great history. The Louvre and Notre ... Read More
Paris is always a draw but we were particularly focused on seeing Normandy. This cruise did all of this and more. The time spent in Paris was fun and well spent. We were quickly caught up on France's great history. The Louvre and Notre Dame were great. Traveling on the river to Normandy presented great excursions. Visiting the farm in Rouen was a particular highlight and Monet's gardens and home were a real treat. Normandy was a very special experience, especially the visit to Omaha Beach. Looking at the geography of the beach, one has to wonder how our great soldiers were able to overcome the odds by making it up that wide expanse of a beach and then up the hills beyond. This has to be seen to understand how difficult a time they must of had. The ceremony at the Memorial and the walk through the cemetery fulfilled our purpose for taking this cruise. As always, the food was wonderfully prepared and served. Our servers quickly became our friends and their entertaining capability made each meal more than just a food experience. The ease of coming and going throughout the whole trip is much appreciated. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
Very pleased with overall performance . The included shore excursions were well planned & executed . The most outstanding comment each day was HOW HARD & DILIGENT the program director was. I saw him from morning to evening at ... Read More
Very pleased with overall performance . The included shore excursions were well planned & executed . The most outstanding comment each day was HOW HARD & DILIGENT the program director was. I saw him from morning to evening at every event - observing, directing & controlling the entire program. His onboard & general knowledge of the entire trip was a amazing. ( without any notes). I only know of him as JOE. He is certainly an asset to this company. I would like to know of any other Viking cruises he is on , as i would definitely consider booking it. Everyone i talked with were completely satisfied with all aspects of the cruise. I will definitely consider another Viking cruise. River cruising has a distinct advantage over ocean cruising in the ability to view more of the country side as you are underway and very important -- the lack of "sea sick "movement of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
We picked this cruise from three other possibilities as we liked the itinerary and the option to have free time to do our own thing. The passengers were mainly 60 plus and my husband and I are 51 and 48. The passengers were a pleasant ... Read More
We picked this cruise from three other possibilities as we liked the itinerary and the option to have free time to do our own thing. The passengers were mainly 60 plus and my husband and I are 51 and 48. The passengers were a pleasant mix of mainly American, Canadian and Australian. From my observation everyone was very friendly and mingled well. Everything went very smoothly from airport pickup to airport departure. We had one minor hiccup with our baggage being misplaced at the end of our tour at the hotel and this was sorted quickly with very minimal fuss. Our cruise director Patricia was excellent. Nothing was ever too much trouble and made sure everything ran smoothly. The dining was spot on. Buffet breakfasts and lunch and five course sit down dinners with endless wine. Special thanks to Eldar (Eddie) and his offsider (I'm so sorry can't remember your name) they were always very attentive, polite and great fun. Our cabin was always very well maintained by Aulia who was friendly and always greeted us by name with a smile. The ports and shore excursions were well thought out. A map with clearly marked points of interest were always handed out with a complimentary bottle of water. We did an optional tour to Rothenburg and special thanks to Renee (Renate) as she organised a tasting tour as we walked through the main street. This was for me a real highlight to try foods from the local businesses. A great touch. All in all we had a great cruising experience. We have cruised before on the ocean but this was our first river cruise experience and would absolutely do another. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Ship was beautiful, cabins were huge very spacious the bathroom was a very generous size with a amazing shower. The dining on board is the best dinning experience i have ever had the waiting staff very polite and knowledgeable ... Read More
Ship was beautiful, cabins were huge very spacious the bathroom was a very generous size with a amazing shower. The dining on board is the best dinning experience i have ever had the waiting staff very polite and knowledgeable regarding wines and dishes being served. The port of call were fantastic great choice with very knowledgeable guides who were happy to answer any questions along the way. Seeing the Eiffel Tower illuminated and sparkling was a great start to our cruise. Service we received from every single staff,crew member was brilliant. The whole experience from start to finish was seamless Entertainment was very low key which was fine, nice music playing in the background each evening. I would 110% recommend a Scenic Cruise to friend and family i can guarantee you will be blown away. Looking forward to planning another one and i know Scenic will be my first choice every time. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
In general, cruises have never appealed to us. However, the idea of being on a river and getting off each day to explore and the specific itinerary convinced us to give it a try. We were not disappointed. In fact, we had a trip beyond our ... Read More
In general, cruises have never appealed to us. However, the idea of being on a river and getting off each day to explore and the specific itinerary convinced us to give it a try. We were not disappointed. In fact, we had a trip beyond our expectations. The local guides were superb! We enjoyed their in-depth knowledge as well as the personal anecdotes they shared. The ship's crew was an unanticipated surprise. Although we expected them to be polite and helpful, this crew was totally engaged with the passengers and really provided an extra level of service and comfort. Being somewhat of a neatnik and a planner, I was delighted by the level of organization and all the little things that were planned for and thought of by the crew and Viking. Last but not least at all, France and all the excursions were fantastic! We went non-stop and enjoyed a mix of included excursions, purchased excursions and exploring on our own. The food was excellent and provided a lot of choice for all palates. I'm already thinking about where my Viking River Cruise will take me. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
We were attracted to the design of the ship, especially the drop down balcony area. On receiving the brochure it was difficult to choose a trip because they all looked so good. The Rhone/ Soane are was chosen for the scenery, the history ... Read More
We were attracted to the design of the ship, especially the drop down balcony area. On receiving the brochure it was difficult to choose a trip because they all looked so good. The Rhone/ Soane are was chosen for the scenery, the history and the culture of the area. Wine growing was an advantage. Each day the morning walking trip with expert guides was included in the cost and well worth doing. Group 1 was always available for a slower paced walk. Walking poles and umbrellas are provided in cabins but we did not need them. After lunch on board, excellent with all dietary needs catered for, there was always an optional extra trip you could pay for. We took part in 3 and felt they were worth it but one other trip friends took part in was felt to be less interesting than the description given implied. As part of Emerald Active there were bikes on board to borrow at each stop and the tow paths were very well maintained. Regular cyclists were able to do 15-30k rides with a guide meeting the boat at the next port on the afternoon we cruised. Entertainment was limited but enjoyable with a pianist during meals, We were lucky in having Darren as our cruise director. He was very efficient with all the arrangements and was great entertainment being a natural comic. We also had a French singer one night and music to listen or dance to in late evening though the dance area was very small. The swimming pool was small but for exercise at the flick of a switch you could swim as long as you wished without moving forward. This are became a cinema after 9pm most nights and had it's own bar and tea station. We didn't use the gym but a massage went down well after all the walking. there was a hairdresser and beautician also. With a small library and table games as well as the putting green and walking track on deck there really was not enough time to try every thing available. Our cabin was compact as the bed was huge and we had 2 chairs and a table in the balcony area plenty of cupboard and drawer space and the best shower I've seen even in a hotel. There was a safe and TV but no kettle but tea etc was always available with good choice. It was plenty big enough as your balcony are is inside the electric drop down windows. This was an advantage over conventional doors as no chance of things rolling or blowing into the river. Our cabin attendant was very good. All the staff were friendly, efficient and professional often multi tasking. We enjoyed the informality of talking to the Captain and other staff. Catering was excellent with plenty of choice and drinks included with meals. Don't worry if you have food intolerance as they mark up a menu for you so you can make informed choices. Overall the trip was great and the ship brand newbut we did find Emerald inflexible to deal with prior to the trip and as we booked 18 months ahead some details had changed but we were not informed.We will book again though. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
Everthing about the cruise was perfect. Scenic did everything for us. Our flights before and after went smoothly without any hitches. We were picked up and delivered before and after right on schedule. On board the cabin was quite ... Read More
Everthing about the cruise was perfect. Scenic did everything for us. Our flights before and after went smoothly without any hitches. We were picked up and delivered before and after right on schedule. On board the cabin was quite comfortable. It was always cleaned up daily. The food on board as excellent. Service was impeccable. Our cruise director Sonia was phenomenal. She provided daily updates and arranged plenty of fun times.Our side trips were well organized and most enjoyable. Entertainment on board was very good. The sailing down the Rhine, Main and Danube we most scenic. We enjoyed the many stops and ventures through the towns. There were many extras that were provided free of charge. Even the 200 euros that we got were well used. The Taylor made gps were quite useful. We enjoyed the company of many passengers from around the world. All total we won give Scenic an A++ Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Without a doubt one of the best vacations we have ever been on. i was worried because we had taken the viking river cruise up the rhine and the bar was set pretty high. gate 1 met and at times exceeded the bar. the moment we entered the ... Read More
Without a doubt one of the best vacations we have ever been on. i was worried because we had taken the viking river cruise up the rhine and the bar was set pretty high. gate 1 met and at times exceeded the bar. the moment we entered the airport in prague to be transferred to the hotel until the moment we were transferred to the departure airport in budapest everyone and everything was fantastic. mari in prague was a great initial point of contact for gate 1 and gave us tips and suggestions that were perfect. she was there for us and any of the rest of the group 24/7. the imperial hotel was above and beyond our expectations, and for a first time gate 1 traveler, left an appetite for more. the transfers from the airport, hotel to the ship and the departing airport were coordinated perfectly. then there was the cruise. what a trip!!!!! the stops and tours were out of this world. gate 1 really stepped up the game and again we were pleasantly surprised at the quality of the tours and the tour guides. michael in regensburg, gerhardt in salzburg and nora in bratislava. the crew on the ship was without a doubt the best team we had ever cruised with. the following individuals need mentioning: captain peter, hotel manager cristian, 1st receptionist nicoleta, ex chef miro, maître d marcin, housekeeping samsudin, cruise director karol, activity host saber, room steward veri, head waitress baloga, 2nd waiter marius and richard the piano man. there were many more and they all deserve a big hand. the cabin we chose was comfortable and roomy, i stand 6'5" and the issue i have with these ships is the bathroom and shower. not this time!!! it was very efficient and the shower was the perfect fit. we were in room 215 and it wasn't a suite. the food was gourmet every night and the breakfast was as you want it. there was entertainment on the ship every night thanks to karol and saber. saber had nightly trivia contest and they were very entertaining, especially the battle of the sexes. karol arranged for local groups on the ship to sing and dance the local specialties along with a couple of nights of local refreshments. karol also narrated the wachau valley tour on the ship as we cruised down to vienna and spoke on the danube river and the locks. and cristina was always there to help with any request. the individual stops and tours at regensburg, melk abbey, salzburg, passau, vienna, bratislava and budapest were well organized and the quality of the tour guides were top notch. i always say that if you walk away learning more than you knew at the start you were doing good. i learned more than i ever expected. this was a very educational trip as well as an enjoyable learning experience. Everyone asks me what was my favorite part? the whole trip!!! i could go on and on but the only way anyone would understand is to experience it themselves. this is the first of gate 1 new ships with more to come. this is a must trip and this is the must company to use. thank you all for a great time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
My husband and I love cruises but we wanted something a little different than the usual island hopping. Friends of ours had recommended Viking and we decided the time had come for us to give it a try. We arrived on the Budapest after ... Read More
My husband and I love cruises but we wanted something a little different than the usual island hopping. Friends of ours had recommended Viking and we decided the time had come for us to give it a try. We arrived on the Budapest after over twelve hours of traveling. We were tired from our trip and ready to collapse. The Viking staff picked us up at the airport and got us to the Gullveig with a minimum of fuss. Once aboard, we were told to expect our room to be ready by 1pm. Jaded travelers that we are we thought we'd actually be allowed in at 3 but the staff was as good as their word, at 1pm we were in the door able to finally relax. That was the first of many promises kept over the course of the week. When the Maitre'D Panayot found out I was a diabetic, he gave me a card with the number "5" on it. For the rest of the cruise, every time I sat down to eat, I'd just put the card on the table and Panayot would come and personally make sure my dietary needs were met. He kept entrees from being seasoned with sauces that might not be good for me and made sure desserts like fresh fruit with whipped cream were there for me every day. Other aspects of the service were equally excellent. Each day, the Captain was there to personally greet the guests as they returned aboard ship. When we wanted to see parts of Prague that were not covered on the normal tour. The tour director was able to make special arrangements and find a guide and transportation for us. The food was exquisite and the waiters and waitress were friendly and professional. The small size of the ship made the experience intimate and friendly. By the end of the cruise we knew almost everyone aboard. Then there was sailing up the Danube watching the lovely countryside glide by us as we made our way leisurely up river. We would get off the ship and go on beautifully orchestrated tours that had the memory cards of our cameras filled and the soles of our shoes noticeably thinner. Exhausting at times but well worth every minute! As I've said before, my husband and I are the veteran of many cruises but this was by far the best. We can't wait to do this again! Read Less

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