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2,934 River Cruise Reviews

My husband and I recently sailed on the Ama Legro of Ama Waterways on the Seine from Paris and experienced the trip of a lifetime. We have traveled in many different iterations of vacations but this trip was extraordinary as a result of ... Read More
My husband and I recently sailed on the Ama Legro of Ama Waterways on the Seine from Paris and experienced the trip of a lifetime. We have traveled in many different iterations of vacations but this trip was extraordinary as a result of the Ama Legro crew (family).This was our first river cruise and my first trip to Europe. We had an extremely positive experience from the booking process thru airline and shuttle services and then the unbelievable cruise week that will forever be our most memorable trip. Every morning on the boat, we were given the details of our day tours and specific suggestions on the level of physical activity required and the choice of a "Gentle Tour" or the standard walking tour experience. The tours were guided by extremely knowledgable staff. The tours we chose were so informative and interesting and the sights were made even more special thanks to the design and implementation of the tour. The ports chosen for the tours were everything I ever imagined for a true flavor of France. It is difficult to pick a favorite spot - but one unforgettable sight was the Cathedral in Rouen and the evening light show - it is a Must See! You can get a glimpse of it on YouTube - but one must make a point to see it live! The tour of the D Day beaches was especially moving. The day of all of the WWII sights was done with such respect and reverence for the experience, Our cabin was just perfect in size and it was spotlessly cleaned every day by wonderful cabin stewards and stewardesses. We had air conditioning that worked perfectly and the opportunity to open our French Balcony door really allowed us to be en pleine aire! The food was as of a 5 star restaurant and it was such a pleasure to be able to meet the Chef and his staff and thank them in person for their culinary skill. The soups are like none I have ever had and they were exceptional. The dining room service was the best I have ever experienced! The wait staff presents with such joy and attention during every meal. The bartender and lounge staff were also top notch. They were attentive, remembered favorite foods and drinks and never lacked for conversation or service. The entertainment was also a plus. I felt as tho we were enjoying the best artists in the region. We traveled thru locks - a first for my husband and myself. It was a wonderful learning experience and the Captain and Crew were very informative and happy to accommodate questions. The entire ship was spotless, well furnished and provided many different areas for relaxing and viewing. As a plus, we had wonderful weather that just added to the joy of the entire experience. I must admit, Peter our Cruise Manager was one of my favorites! His sense of humor and sparkling demeanor truly added to the ambience of the boat! (He really should have his own standup comedy show!) We also enjoyed being on a cruise with only 125 or so other guests. We not only got to know crew, but had wonderful opportunities to meet and spend quality time with many of our shipmates. We had extra days in Paris following our cruise and the 5 star service continued there as well thanks to Peter. We stayed at the Pullman Montparnasse and were very pleased with the choice and the choices for tours. You will not be disappointed in your choice of Ama Waterways as a provider of unparalleled service and true excellence in a vacation option. I only hope that some day we can enjoy the excellence of this company on another river cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
My husband and I are seasoned travelers and have done several cruises, Carribbean, Yantze, Mediterranean ... And have come to love the smaller boats. Because of the truly pervasive advertising On TV, we thought we'd try a Viking ... Read More
My husband and I are seasoned travelers and have done several cruises, Carribbean, Yantze, Mediterranean ... And have come to love the smaller boats. Because of the truly pervasive advertising On TV, we thought we'd try a Viking River Cruise. Our possible dates were limited by our Schedule and our friend' schedules, all of us executives, so the only possible sailing was Nuremburg to Budapest in October. I have to write and tell you it was the finest vacation ever! Fantastic food, brand new River ship, fantastic staff (okay the room cleaner was a bit testy at times), great ports, lovely, lovely trip. Only complaint would be not enough time in each port, but that's the schedule! We couldn't get the Internet in our rooms, and it was dial up speed even on the public desktops, Would be nice if they said that up front, we would have brought CDs. The Program Host was a rock star, he was so great and so funny all the time and kept us up for everything even when the morning tours left early-early! Did I say the food was fantastic? Not mass market cruise fare, but personal chef type quality. Always available coffee, tea, cappuccino and hot chocolate, filtered water, both still and bubbly. Easy embarkation, room ready way before promised -- easy debarkation...and so sad to have it come to an end. My husband figured out the costs based on the room and level of service,and it turned out to be a good value, too. Note: best shopping in Budapest and Nuremberg -- take the Nuremberg extension for nuremburg or you'll only wave at the window of the trial courtroom, and miss the toy manufacturers' plants. Try to get to see the Passau motor works, and while there, GO to the restaurant high overlooking the river -- you can pass on the organ concert in Passau! Next year in France, I hope!! Viking River Cruises all the way! Thanks for a wonderful, wonderful trip!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We had high expectations for the Grand European Cruise, all of which were met and exceeded. The selected docking cities and villages were well-chosen, the local guides ranged from very good to incredible, the range of options available ... Read More
We had high expectations for the Grand European Cruise, all of which were met and exceeded. The selected docking cities and villages were well-chosen, the local guides ranged from very good to incredible, the range of options available every day was comprehensive, tailored to physical capabilities and interests of the folks on board. And the service was superb. My husband accidentally left his glasses on a bus that transported us into town (and then went off to serve other customers)--and the Program Director tracked them down, that afternoon. We've been on a number of big-ship cruises, and never experienced anything like the level of friendliness, attention and care we got from the Viking staff. There were many little unanticipated perks--genever and cheese tastings, art lectures, special folk musicians, an amuse bouche at every dinner--as well as the flexibility to eat with different guests each evening, or choose a simpler, bar-food meal for two if we wanted a bit of private conversation. The food was uniformly excellent, at all meals, and the unlimited beer and wine a major plus. Rooms were small but cleverly designed, and very comfortable. Room service was prompt and attentive. If you never spent a dime on any extras-- non-included tours, bar items-- you would still have marvelous things to do every day and plenty to drink, including special coffees and other amenities. The small size of the boat let you understand some of the complexities of river navigation. And the preparation materials sent to us beforehand were outstanding, letting us get the most out of--for us--a once-in-a-lifetime vacation splurge. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Portugal is a very interesting and beautiful country. The tourguides were excellent and the sites were amazing. Our Tour Director was very efficient and organized, as well as interested in the passengers. I had never been to the country ... Read More
Portugal is a very interesting and beautiful country. The tourguides were excellent and the sites were amazing. Our Tour Director was very efficient and organized, as well as interested in the passengers. I had never been to the country before so there was much to see and learn. Lisbon was very different from other European cities I have visited and walking on the tiles and hills was a challenge. The hotel was very nice and the rooftop restaurant and the hotel pool were a bonus. I really enjoyed the meals and entertainment off the ship, as well as the tours of the small towns. The pool on the ship was a disappointment, since it was only a couple of feet deep. The ship was similar to the one we had cruised on in the Danube, although smaller, which was fine. However, the food was quite a disappointment. On the Danube cruise we had wonderful meals and I was looking forward to the same in Portugal. Soup, Salad and Cheese are my foods of choice, so I expected to have similar quality items on the Hemming. I have also eaten many meals in Portuguese restaurants in Newark, New Jersey, which has a large Portuguese population. However, most of the meals my husband and I ate on the ship were very disappointing. The soups were especially bland. I expect Portuguese food to be flavorful and this was not. The salads were not the variety I had on the Danube and the cheeses seemed to be the same every day. We had two very good meals - one was duck and the other was lamb. Perhaps this is because you are just starting on the Douro. We will be on the Rhine River Cruise next October and expect the meals on that cruise will be comparable to the Danube. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
This was our first Viking cruise. We added a few days at the beginning of our trip in Berlin. We stayed at a Hilton hotel which was arranged for us through Viking. So glad we did that. The hotel was situated very well for our needs. We did ... Read More
This was our first Viking cruise. We added a few days at the beginning of our trip in Berlin. We stayed at a Hilton hotel which was arranged for us through Viking. So glad we did that. The hotel was situated very well for our needs. We did take cabs to take us further out in the city. It was a wonderful cosmopolitan mix of the old (being restored) and the very modern new. We truly enjoyed both of them. We took a tour of the city when our official cruise time began. Lovely to see so much of that city. We enjoyed the ambiance of the hotel. It was immaculately clean. The buffet breakfasts were delicious and the service was excellent. We were on the ship after a long ride on a bus. Did not know anyone, but slowly enjoyed the company of the couple across from us. We arrived at the boat on a clear sunny day. Were welcomed by the captain and a very eager to please staff. Our cabin was great. It was not as small as I thought it would be. We had a large sliding window and a smaller one at the side of the bed. The bathroom felt bigger than it was. tv reception was not good at all. There was always plenty to do, or not do. It was relaxing in every respect. And always very clean. Dining at every meal was an adventure. It was hard not to want to eat everything on the menu or the buffet. We truly had to obey our stomachs and not our eyes! Presentation was always smart, and our waiter was very kind. He catered to each one of us like a family member would. He was terrific. The port and shore excursions were too short for my liking. I never felt that I could shop for a meaningful souvenir in a leisurely way. Some of our time was wasted by poor planning. One whole excursion was to a beer hall, with the whole town shut down because it was Saturday afternoon. No place was open to tour. My husband enjoyed many of the activities, while I need to rest. He participated in many. Our last stop was Prague. There were many hotels. The one that Viking chose fore us was just okay. However, every time we wanted to go to the center of the city, the bus ride was a half an hour. Therefore approximately one hour of a day would be wasted. Other than the complaints I have mentioned. I thought it was a nice vacation. Unfortunately our last meal in Prague, gave my husband food poisoning. When got back to the USA we disembarked with assistance and were in an emergency room that night. He spent the following few days in the hospital. So the end of our trip was not good. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We just returned from Waterways of the Tsars and fell in love with St. Petersburg and the Russian countryside. Our cabin was on the highest cabin deck, and we enjoyed sitting on our veranda during the cruising portion of the trip. Our room ... Read More
We just returned from Waterways of the Tsars and fell in love with St. Petersburg and the Russian countryside. Our cabin was on the highest cabin deck, and we enjoyed sitting on our veranda during the cruising portion of the trip. Our room was a good size for us, but there are many public areas to sit if you prefer. The ship is attractive, and up to date, and always spotlessly clean. The meals are great. I cannot speak of ocean cruising, where I believe the eating options are much more varied, but we are not river cruising primarily for the meals. That said, the choices pleased us and everyone we talked to on the ship. There were almost always Russian specialties as an alternative to more common common dishes and we loved that. We thought the food was delicious and imaginatively prepared. The staff was amazing! I really cannot think of a single staff member who was not professional and at the same time friendly. Our steward, Elena, kept the cabin immaculate. The wait staff, including Anna, was wonderful. The maître'd Sophia was adorable and kept the dining room running beautifully. The hotel manager was charming and extremely competent. He literally took care of any problems immediately, though the ship was run so well there were few issues. The on shore excursions were great, although we always preferred the on board tour escorts, Sasha and Alexey, to the local tour escorts whose command of English was not as good. Still, many of those tour escorts were good as well. The tours were superb, and there were also many on board lectures to acquaint you with Russian history and culture. All in all, we enjoyed this cruise much more than we had expected to, given the political situation. We have travelled with Viking before and knew they were excellent, but were a bit unsure about going to Russia at this time. We are certainly glad we went. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Having just returned from the Paris/Normandy cruise on the River Baroness, we could not fault the Uniworld service or friendliness and consideration of the staff or the fact that the food was good. However, for the sake of those ... Read More
Having just returned from the Paris/Normandy cruise on the River Baroness, we could not fault the Uniworld service or friendliness and consideration of the staff or the fact that the food was good. However, for the sake of those considering this or any river cruise there are other factors to think carefully about when booking. This is a costly vacation so take into account personality factors and your likes and dislikes. This is the only reason we are writing this review. We have travelled the world, cruised on ocean liners, been independent in cities where we’d just rent a car and go, booked private houses in foreign countries and enjoyed being locals. When we travel we like to explore and walk as much as possible. We also like some “personal space” from time to time. We only picked this itinerary because of the Normandy Beach inclusion specifically and we’d be cruising a river inland vs. an ocean. So, we'd never done a river cruise, and thought we should at least try it. We also thought that for the most part we’d be “berthed” close to places that we could walk off the ship, and those places would not be mostly in areas either noisy or industrial. The impression in the brochure makes you feel like you will be close to a tow path with a village nearby when “letting the serene Seine carry you through the countryside”. The impression in the brochure is also that the berth in Paris is very near the Eiffel Tower. The berth is long way from the Eiffel Tower. Even with a Google map printout of the location, our taxi driver had difficulty and could not find the ship immediately. In the spring, while travelling, we spoke to a couple who had been on Uniworld. They were similar to us in personality and likes when travelling. They were sociable, but also liked to choose when to be social and when to have quiet time, in fact the woman said she “needed” to have that option. She didn’t want to put me off but said she ended up just wanting to be off the ship after three days to find a place she felt less confined. I thought she may be exaggerating. The first shock to us after spending three days in a small room in a boutique Paris hotel (they are all small), was that the room we had in Paris was large compared to the cabin on the Baroness. Others on the ship told us this is Uniworld’s oldest as well as their smallest ship. They also said they didn’t like the cabins either, but insisted we not let it put us off future river cruising. Honestly we felt cramped in the cabin, and the bathroom, as both are very tight. It’s a challenge and you better not be a slob on this ship. You need to be organized in a room this small. I wish I could post my pictures of the cabin on this review. I think the brochure must be done with a different lens. You can get one person on each side of the bed, but don’t try squeezing past each other (and we are not big people). There is one chair with no room to pull it out and sit on, as it would block up the space, and the only place to sit is on the bed. It got even worse the two days we were berthed at Rouen, with another ship right beside us cutting out the view and light from the room. It was like having a huge truck parked in front of your living room window. I wish I could post that picture also. Yes, people will say “well you are not in your cabin much” but some of us don’t always want to be with everyone else socializing 24/7 and simply want to enjoy a spot where you can chill out. We were lucky we could use the sun deck as an alternative to the Monet lounge, which I agree with a previous reviewer – needs an overhaul and is not that comfy. You are either in your cabin, the dining room when open, the Monet lounge, or on the bus doing the excursions. There is the sun deck when the weather is nice, but if not, then you are limited to the lounge or your cabin when the dining room is closed. The dining room and the lounge both have low ceilings, and the noise intensifies due to that, so trying to talk or socialize when there is a lecture, music, or scheduling talk going on ruins other’s enjoyment of whatever they are listening to. What we missed were more quiet spots, and we were not alone in wishing that. Others mentioned it also. It was also our first time on a daily basis being shuttled to excursions and being in a group following a guide twice a day. We did not think we’d spend as much time on the buses as we did. At Vernon you are berthed in a sort of industrial area, but you really only get on the bus from the ship, back again, and your off somewhere else. I think our nicest spot to berth was Les Andelys, but you are not there long either. In Rouen we were close to the city, and could walk ashore, which was a bonus. We were also next to a main highway and bridge so there was a lot of traffic and construction noise. Plus we had the other ship right next to us outside the window most of the time. On the return towards Paris we berthed in St. Denis suburb, in a rough looking area, and we did walk ashore so can attest to it. It was the “dump your car parts, oil change, old tires by the sidewalk” capital of France we think. You can’t have it all I guess – close enough to walk ashore meant not an ideal spot, and other spots you were bussed for a good distance to reach your destinations. This meant a schedule of getting up early, all rushing to dine to eat breakfast, then all heading for the bus. After the tour, it was back on the bus, back to the restaurant for lunch, and return to another bus for the next destination after lunch. For us this is a schedule………and we don’t go on vacations to have to follow schedules that tightly. We are not saying this is wrong. Some people may feel intimidated in a foreign place and not wish to go anywhere on their own. This is an all inclusive floating hotel that you never have to get off except with a guide if you don’t want to. Some love to follow the bus, never have to eat ashore and struggle with a foreign menu, love to stay with the same folks all the time, sit at the same table, get the same seat on the bus. They like the security of it all and the service which Uniworld provides – and that service is very good. If you are this type of person, this is the trip for you. We found very quickly that we were not this type of person. After days of sharing the tours the first few days we choose not to do the walking tour of Rouen, but had a later breakfast after the main crowds left. We simply got a map and headed out, taking in the vendors at the market, finding the historic spots on our own, opting to see what was up little alleys, and we saw and found it all without having to wait for stragglers or follow the guide. Yes, you do get a lot more history with the guide, (and hopefully retain it all by the end of the day) but we’d done some homework, and we managed just fine. In fact, we hit the tour group many times as we walked. We found we enjoyed the freedom more. We had signed and paid for the optional tour of Versailles, but after we hit the crowds there and got back on the bus, we looked at each other and said “we’re not going on another bus, or another tour, or another crush of people”. We were bus and tour sick. So, like two other couples, we were the only folks left on the last day. We had a “sea day” and enjoyed being on vacation with no schedule. Again, this is not saying anything against Uniworld, (apart from the fact that the cabins are smaller than they look on the brochure, and the Monet Lounge is tres “shabby chic”). The staff did a wonderful job. However if you are the type of person who: likes a little more space in your cabin and light through the window all the time; likes quiet time occasionally; hates to dawdle behind a crowd and guides with lollypops (felt a bit like being back at school some days); does not wish to get up too early on vacation; doesn’t like to be bussed almost every day somewhere on a schedule and wishes there was more free time rather than travel time; and lastly, thinks you are travelling up the Seine seeing scenic spots and tying up in quiet little villages all the time--------------- if you are all or most of the aforementioned - then don’t choose this tour. I’m not disparaging it for others. It simply did not fit our “type” of travel personality. We felt confined in the cabin, often in the lounge, on the tours, and ultimately, like the lady we met, felt confined by the whole boat experience, and because of that we know we will never go river cruising again. It’s a personal choice, but I do think you should be aware of all this before you make the choice. We are glad that we did Paris on our own ahead of time, as being on a panoramic tour on a tour bus at the end would have just been a snapshot of a wonderful city that needs to be experienced with time for walking along the Seine, checking out the architecture, sitting at a café, having time to really spend in a Museum, lining up to choose the pasty of the day, seeing the lights, sitting in a green metal chair in the many parks and watching the Parisians relax at the end of their work day. You need time for Paris, so, if you do choose this tour, make sure you spend time in Paris at either the beginning or end, because you really can’t see Paris properly any other way.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This was our first river cruise and we were very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the experience. The tours were fantastic, the tour guides exceptional, and the on-board lectures very informative. The food and the food service was ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and we were very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the experience. The tours were fantastic, the tour guides exceptional, and the on-board lectures very informative. The food and the food service was exceptional as well. The time was filled with as many activities as one could manage and any down time was your choice. We will definitely take another Viking cruise. They cost a little more but from what we can tell they are worth a little more. The only negative is the Viking suggested gratuity policy. Several of the passengers had gratuities included in the ticket price but many, including us, didn't. We were never offered the option. And Viking's suggestion was to tip everyone and tip them generously including a healthy tip to a general fund to be distributed to the crew. If we followed their suggestions that meant bring a lot of extra cash (although they offered the option to add tips to your bill). That aside it was a wonderful two weeks and we wouldn't have missed it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This was a marvelous 10 night cruise from Portland, ME to Providence, RI with six stops in Maine along with days in Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. The 50 passenger American Glory was full, and we all had a great time. A guest ... Read More
This was a marvelous 10 night cruise from Portland, ME to Providence, RI with six stops in Maine along with days in Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. The 50 passenger American Glory was full, and we all had a great time. A guest lecturer was aboard with us, and evening entertainment was usually imported from shore. This cruise is geared for intelligent adults...children would not be happy. Shore excursions were optional and varied in their interests. Some passengers took off on their own and were given good directions about doing this. Travel to Portland was easy by air, train or automobile. Disembarkation in Providence was very efficient and fast. A shuttle to the airport was provided for those who wished it. The American Glory is a fine little ship with three lounges as well as ample outdoor space on three levels and a spacious dining room...Seating is never assigned. The food was excellent and represented the local environment with a lot of fresh fish and lobster on this New England cruise. Special Lobster Cruises are available! I have traveled a number of times as a solo passenger on American Cruise Lines and have always had a fine experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Viking Waltz, Budapest to Passau, August 2014 on the Viking Prestige. Just returned from the holiday. OK, I’m easily pleased but I can’t say I’ve ever experienced anything like it. It was 5 star all the way. Ship - clean, light, ... Read More
Viking Waltz, Budapest to Passau, August 2014 on the Viking Prestige. Just returned from the holiday. OK, I’m easily pleased but I can’t say I’ve ever experienced anything like it. It was 5 star all the way. Ship - clean, light, comfortable, public areas were nicely set out, 2 dining areas, the main restaurant for a served meal, the other (Aquavit Terrace) for a buffet style. Stateroom - We had the basic room 170 sq ft with water level window. More than enough room, good shower, comfortable beds, everything worked (no blown light bulbs for example). Interesting view just above the water level, you are looking out and the swans are looking in! We didn’t spent a lot of time in the room in any event but it was nice just to go back sometimes and plan the next few hours. Fridge in room to keep our wine chilled. TV included but we hardly turned it on. Food - outstanding, both in the buffet and restaurant. Plenty of choice and beautifully prepared and presented. Complimentary wine - good quality (although I’m no wine connoisseur), very drinkable. Staff - worked extremely hard to make sure we were well looked after. The stewards were excellent, visiting the stateroom twice every day. Service staff likewise, reception always on hand and the Programme Director and Concierge worked like Trojans to make sure all the events and tours went to plan, which they did. Entertainment - Good pianist in the lounge and also presentations. A bit quiet in the evenings, but please read on. Ports of call and tours - interesting places and the tours (by bus and on foot) were well organised and informative. Clientele - works as per Pareto’s law. 80% American and 20% Others (Brits, Canadian, Far Eastern, etc), all very nice and very friendly. Most of the guests were of, or close to, retirement age. At 57 I was one of the younger ones on the cruise (there were about 10 or so younger). Had my birthday whilst on the cruise and got a complimentary mango cheesecake (not really a birthday cake I know, but who cares). Value for money - this is a difficult one because these cruises are expensive. However, considering the level of service, the all inclusive food (we had to buy one meal only) and the wines at lunch and dinner, plus the included tours, it works out fairly well. I certainly don’t think I’ve been overcharged. In summary - Don’t be fooled into thinking that this is a nice relaxing holiday, if you go on all the included tours and make the most of your free time this is “full on”. I must say that that’s the way we like it. Try and see every thing you can and do everything you can. I’m fairly fit and walk just about everywhere in the UK but my feet were ready for a rest at the end of each Viking day. The only real down time you have is after dinner when you can sit in the lounge, go to the library (nice and quiet in the evening) or back to the stateroom. That said there were some people who couldn’t get around too well who spent more time on the ship so I suppose it can be as busy an itinerary as you want it to be. We had a bit of a change to the itinerary towards the end of the cruise where we had to leave the ship so Viking put us all in a 5 star hotel, carried on with the tours and visits and then gave us 30% off our next booking (which I’ve just made). I have no doubt that some guests could find fault with various things but I don’t go on holiday to pick it apart. I do know that at least 2 couples on our trip had their luggage misdirected at the arrival airports but that’s not Vikings fault. All in all, this was a great holiday and I’m looking forward to the Rhine next year.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We both really enjoyed this cruise. It was to celebrate our Silver Anniversary and lived up to our expectations. The junior suite was lovely and all the staff were excellent. All the trips and events were fabulous and the arrangements to ... Read More
We both really enjoyed this cruise. It was to celebrate our Silver Anniversary and lived up to our expectations. The junior suite was lovely and all the staff were excellent. All the trips and events were fabulous and the arrangements to visit made it all so easy. The food was excellent too. We would say that it would have been good to have had more free time, perhaps fewer events would be better. Sometimes, our free time was taken up waiting to get to toilets. The cathedrals were all spectacular, but maybe there were too many visits to such religious sites. The boat trip in St Petersburg was a bit rough and ready, not quite Viking standard, We were also concerned that one older lady fell getting off the bus for this but our guide was already away out front and had to be called back. Guides should check everyone is ok before setting off. However, the whole experience was excellent and we would defrinitely go Viking again - if we can afford it! Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
After 3 days in Prague we were supposed to board the ship at Nuremberg for a cruise to Budapest. However, at the last minute we were advised that the river was too low and we would have to be transported by bus to Passau. As a result we ... Read More
After 3 days in Prague we were supposed to board the ship at Nuremberg for a cruise to Budapest. However, at the last minute we were advised that the river was too low and we would have to be transported by bus to Passau. As a result we missed out on two of the seven days cruising we had looked forward to. We were later told by a member of the Avalon staff that this situation is not unusual as the Main River is often low in June. The boat was very nice, the food was excellent, the service provided by boat staff was excellent. However, we were very disappointed by the loss of those two days cruising. In our opinion we had paid top dollar but for two days we were provided with a mediocre product. We did not get what we had paid for. Avalon staff told us that they do not compensate passengers for this loss. Our advice - research the river you will be travelling on with respect to how often it is not navigable during a certain month of the summer. One last note. Do not take a river cruise if you like to eat by yourselves. There are no tables for two. You will have no choice but to eat with others, some of whom are delightful, others less so.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
My DS and I were part of a group of about 40 who elected to spend four days in Paris, France before our cruise on the AmaDagio to Provence. We took advantage of some of the pre-arranged tours and transfers AmaWaterways (“AMA”) offered. ... Read More
My DS and I were part of a group of about 40 who elected to spend four days in Paris, France before our cruise on the AmaDagio to Provence. We took advantage of some of the pre-arranged tours and transfers AmaWaterways (“AMA”) offered. Our trip began the evening of Saturday, May 10, when we flew from JFK airport to Paris. We arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport Sunday morning, retrieved our luggage and met the Ama rep who led us to our coach bound for the city. Another rep at the Ama desk at the Pullman Paris Montparnasse hotel gave us all our room keycards. Our luggage was taken to our rooms if it bore the Ama tag that was previously provided. After settling in at the Pullman, my DS and I walked around the neighborhood. Gare Montparnasse and the local metro are conveniently located at the end of the street, and there are several restaurants, banks, clothing, grocery and other stores nearby. We grabbed a crepe with cheese and located a BNP Paribas bank to withdraw euros. Sunday evening, the group’s first tour in Paris consisted of a cabaret dinner show at the Moulin Rouge; needless to say the men were mesmerized (lol). The following morning, our guide took us on a city tour by coach to see the major sites in Paris; we traveled by metro to spend some time at Notre Dame Cathedral. The tour continued with lunch at Le 58 Tour Eiffel restaurant, and in the evening we had dinner on a Seine River cruise. Since we were free most of the third day, a couple joined my DS and I on an excursion by local bus to Musee D'Orsay. To skip the long lines, we paid a couple more euros and obtained passes from the concierge at the hotel. Metro tickets were sold out so we bought day passes at the station. I was particularly interested in viewing The Disciples, by Eugene Burnand, but was disappointed to learn it was in storage. Nevertheless, Musee D'Orsay was delightful as were the exhibits. We used the nearby footbridge with “love locks” to cross the Seine and continued through Tuileries Garden and Place de La Concorde to get to Rue du Faubourg St. Honore where we browsed high-end shops. We then walked along Champs Elysees and enjoyed a late lunch. We rode the metro back to the hotel to prepare for the Montmartre and Illuminations evening tour which gave us an opportunity to explore the hilltop district and Sacre-Coeur Basilica, and to observe the lights of Paris at night. The stop at the Eiffel Tower was a treat with its sparkling lighting effects. Day four consisted of a tour that focused on various ethnic groups in Paris and the night ended with a Brazilian cabaret dinner show. The second day in Paris, the group met Sebastien Leroy who was to be our cruise director on the AmaDagio. He welcomed and assisted us, made us feel comfortable and at ease and ensured we got off to a good start on our tours. I believe getting to know Sebastien in Paris, and the foundation that Ama laid from the point of greeting us at the airport, set the tone and helped us to settle in early and better enjoy the cruise that was to follow. The transfers were also particularly helpful as we did not have to find our way from point A-B or traipse our luggage around as Ama handled these details. Early Thursday, the 15th, after breakfast at the Pullman, we left by coach to take the TGV high-speed train to Lyon. Within two hours we arrived and were whisked away to our first cruise tour which was a cooking demonstration where we prepared an appetizer, main meal and dessert. We were then taken to the AmaDagio where our luggage awaited us in our French balcony cabin on the Cello deck. There was sufficient storage for my DS and I to unpack and we settled in. We later attended a cocktail reception where all guests were introduced to the top brass of the ship and were provided safety instructions and other information. The ladies present enjoyed a special welcome from Captain Louis Devaux which caused some men to be jealous (lol). Breakfast, lunch and dinner were about the same time each day on the AmaDagio and the latter meals provided delightful opportunities to explore and experience French cuisine, wines, and cheeses. One night, we had dinner at the Erlebnis Restaurant in the aft where an exquisite meal was prepared to individual order, while we enjoyed a splendid scenic view of the banks of Tournon and the suspension footbridge which reminded us of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. Also, entertainment was provided each night, and some couples showed us their dance moves on the floor. At times local artists were highlighted. The Daily Cruiser newsletter kept us abreast of important information such as ports, local history, excursions, and schedules. My DS and I joined the informative guided tours Ama offered at each port. Several of the locations are UNESCO World Heritage sites. Among other things, we learned of: the impact of papal and ancient Roman history on local culture, and the Saone and Rhone Rivers on the livelihood of the people along their banks centuries ago and today; the regions we were visiting; soil types and conditions that produce various wine appellations and other products; olive and truffle farming; trades, artistry and industries; ancient architecture and lifestyles; the Mistral wind and more. On reflection, I doubt I would have gotten as much detail on a self-guided tour or drive through. Also, we were able to keep pace with our English-speaking guides with the voice box Ama provided each of us, which was wonderful since we did not have to strain to hear what was being said and we could stop momentarily to observe an item or site of interest while the group continued several feet ahead. Some memorable tour highlights were -- Lyon: During the City Tour, we slipped easily over the Rhone and Saone Rivers and learned how traboules, covered walkways, were used in the old town. Belleville: On the Beaujolais Excursion we met a local vintner, Pascal, who explained regional wine production with Gamay grapes; and we visited the ochre-colored, medieval, hilltop village of Oingt (pronounced like a nasal “wah”). Vienne: During the walking tour, we took photos of the first century, Roman Temple of Augustus and Livia with its Corinthian columns. Tournon: We toured Tain-l'Hermitage, learned about Syrah/Shiraz grapes, Cotes-du-Rhone vintages and aging potential, and we sampled wines at M. Chapoutier. Viviers: On the evening Ghost Walk, we heard of Noel Albert, a burgher and embezzler who was beheaded and is claimed to haunt the medieval town. St. Etienne des Sorts: We traversed the village of Grignan and visited the hilltop Renaissance chateau where the daughter of Madame de Sevigne, who is credited with influencing French literature, lived; we later visited a farm and observed how the owner, Serge, harvests truffles with the help of his dog, Emy, who is Italian and understands French and English (lol). Avignon: We envisioned how seven successive popes lived in the Gothic Papal Palace in the 14th century, and we took advantage of the opportunity to shop. Arles: Our coach climbed the Alpilles Mountains to the rocky outcrop village of Les Baux de Provence where the ruins of a castle and its fortress sit; we also visited a farm in Saint-Remy and learned about olive oil production and quality from Gilles; and our walking tour of Arles took us to the Roman Amphitheater and sites that inspired some of Vincent Van Gogh's paintings such as the yellow café and the courtyard of the hospital where he was admitted in the late 1800s. Sometimes more than one tour was available at a port. For example, I was outnumbered by a vote of 3:1 and we signed up for the L'Hermitage Wine Tour although I would have also enjoyed the Chocolate and Wine Pairing Excursion at the chateau in Tournon. Some guests opted for the Nougat Demonstration in Viviers; Pont du Gard Roman Aqueduct Tour & Uzes or Chef Cabestan Culinary Studio in Avignon; while others went with the Impressionist Experience Tour in Arles. At times, gentle walkers' and later risers' tours were offered. The last night in Arles, there was a farewell gala cocktail and captain's dinner at which time the Captain and crew gave the guests a great send-off. Our group did not continue to Barcelona so the next day, on the 22nd, we transferred to Marseille by coach to fly to JFK via Charles de Gaulle. Ama handled our luggage from our cabins to the airport. Overall, Captain Louis and Patricia, his second in command and wife, were excellent hosts who made us feel at home on the AmaDagio. All staff we encountered on the ship were professional, courteous and helpful. We knew several by name. This was my first riverboat cruise and I hope it will not be my last. I found it to be an intimate, personal and enriching experience as I became more immediately in touch with my surroundings when we stepped off the ship and into the local culture. I was also aware of the ship and its navigation as it glided over the calm and gentle waterways, through locks, and along the rolling slopes of vineyards and the banks of everyday living in towns and villages, all as I absorbed and embraced the French way of life, if only for a moment. La vie c'est belle!   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We traveled on Viking River Cruise's Imperial Jewels of China trip in May/June 2014. We chose Viking because of their total package, and because China would be difficult to navigate by ourselves. I'll start with the negative, ... Read More
We traveled on Viking River Cruise's Imperial Jewels of China trip in May/June 2014. We chose Viking because of their total package, and because China would be difficult to navigate by ourselves. I'll start with the negative, but there were many more positives. The negative was that our group of 24 who traveled and ate most meals together included 8 people who were not able to physically keep up with the rest of the group for various reasons. One individual brought a walker and friend to help her, but even that was not adequate for most of the excursions. During our two week time, two people fell, and two went home before the trip ended. Though Viking "warns" travelers about the rigorous nature of the trip, it's really up to the traveler to decide. The Chinese tour guides are not equipped to accommodate large numbers of handicapped/mobility-challenged individuals. Our guide spent many days scurrying to find wheelchairs for this often demanding group. Viking needs to have the flexibility to move these folks into a group of their own the first or second day (in situations like ours); otherwise, it negatively impacts the rest of the tour group. We missed a trip to the Chongqing Zoo (which has natural habitats rather than a traditional zoo) and the famous Dumpling restaurant in the Muslim District in Xian. So please, if you fall into this category and are considering a trip to China, consider the other travelers before booking a trip. On the positive, we enjoyed our time in the major Chinese cities - Shanghai, Xian and Beijing - more than our time on the cruise. The hotels were 5 star - we stayed at the Shanghai Ritz Carlton, the Xian Hilton and the Regent in Beijing. All were well-located and accommodated to our needs. Traveling from Shanghai to Beijing is beneficial because there is time to get over jet lag at the beginning of the trip, and touring the Yuyuan Gardens, the silk factory and the Shanghai Museum can be done at a relaxing pace. The leg from Xian to Beijing is the most interesting and requires the most walking and traveling. The Chinese airlines were all professional, clean and organized, in our experience, and Viking coordinated our flights well. Xian was one of the highlights of the trip, and Viking wisely made it a two-day stop. Beijing was wonderful during our visit - the weather, the people and our time at Tiananmen Square/Forbidden City - walked 5 miles as well as our 2-hour hike up the south side of the Great Wall of China at Badaling. Shopping at the Pearl Market was a great time with many deals. Give yourself a full afternoon for that. Regarding the cruise, the staff on the ship could not have been nicer or more accommodating. It is not as luxurious as some cruises we have done, but we enjoyed the small group (180 people total), and we made friends with many people. This was nice to do at the beginning of the trip so we could spend time together for the remainder of the trip. Most thought that 3 days on the Yangtze would have been enough, but since Viking is a cruise company, that seems unlikely. The Three Gorges Dam and the Lesser Gorges are definitely worth seeing, but much of the coastline as you head east is industrialized. You will learn so much about China and its culture, and we recommend it! Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We are 77 and74 respectively and we are in pretty good physical shape. Our trip down the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel was our first excursion into Europe aboard the Avalon Felicity. Where should I start? This River Cruise was so ... Read More
We are 77 and74 respectively and we are in pretty good physical shape. Our trip down the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel was our first excursion into Europe aboard the Avalon Felicity. Where should I start? This River Cruise was so wonderful, quite beyond our expectations. (We did reserve through a local Travel Agent) The boat was very, very clean. Strict attention to reduce possible illnesses is observed. We liked the fact that the Felicity was fully booked, and there were not thousands of travelers. The staff in all areas were knowledgeable and responsive to our needs. They were cognizant of cruising safety. Those patrons needing some special assistance were easily and immediately accommodated. The hotel manager was always available, skilled and cheerful. If there were stresses for her they were not evident. Our Tour Director, Mr. Dragan was quite superior. He was prepared for every excursion. Our on land Docents were caring, kind and extremely interested and interesting. If someone wanted to leave an excursion in progress, the Docent made sure they knew the time and best route to return to the boat. We had plenty of time to see everything. At night you were virtually unaware of the boats movement between ports. Passing through Locks with such ease and skill was thrilling as we had never seen these maneuvers. Dining was another wonderful adventure. Our Chef made sure to buy local faire to contribute to our meals. I never found anything I could not eat. Our servers, who came from many varied countries, were prompt, responsive and genuinely caring. Our cabin was always clean and inviting. Our weather was perfect so we kept our door open most of the time. In summary, if someone told us we could go on another cruise tomorrow, we would be packed and ready quickly. Thank you, thank you Avalon Felicity. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Traveling from the USA, we chose to extend our cruise on the front end in Amsterdam. Viking was there to greet us and get us to our hotel. The Viking rep at the hotel talked to us about the Walking Tour of Amsterdam and told us about other ... Read More
Traveling from the USA, we chose to extend our cruise on the front end in Amsterdam. Viking was there to greet us and get us to our hotel. The Viking rep at the hotel talked to us about the Walking Tour of Amsterdam and told us about other sights to see, even walking us to a canal boat tour. Our Walking Tour included a couple who had just come off the same river cruise from the opposite direction, so we learned even more about the fun we were about to have. We were taken to the Viking Tor and escorted to our cabin, which was very comfortable. Everyone went out of their way to make us feel welcome. We enjoyed the briefings and the daily plan of the day to keep us up to date on where we needed to be and when. We took full advantage of the excursions, both included and extra, and thoroughly enjoyed each one. We got to know the whole crew with whom we interacted, from the Captain to the servers, and got to know some of them very well. We met a variety of interesting, friendly people from all over the world and still keep in touch. The Viking attention to detail on logistics was impressive from beginning to end. One anecdote: at the airport in Basel, waiting for our flight back to Amsterdam, we met a couple who also came to Amsterdam two days early, but on their own. The husband developed a serious eye problem, so they notified Viking, who ushered him to a doctor, who performed laser surgery that day, and transported the couple back to their hotel and later to the Tor so they could enjoy the cruise, despite the fact that Viking had no legal responsibility to do any of the above. Pretty impressive, in my opinion. We've already signed up for the Barcelona to Venice Mediterranean Cruise. You do it right! Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
The cruise that began in Bordeaux April 19 was disappointing in many ways, despite the pleasant and and attentive staff. (The concierge was exceptionally helpful.) 1. It began with a stench from a sewage pump-out that for hours permeated ... Read More
The cruise that began in Bordeaux April 19 was disappointing in many ways, despite the pleasant and and attentive staff. (The concierge was exceptionally helpful.) 1. It began with a stench from a sewage pump-out that for hours permeated our cabin so strongly that you could taste it. 2. The best cruising on the planned itinerary, from Bordeaux to Cadillac along the Garonne, was cancelled, but not, as we were told on board, because of river conditions. The real reason was that the boat didn't have a permit to turn around in the river at Cadillac, and the dock there required some work to accommodate the new class of longer ships. Viking customer relations staff have since conceded that we were misled as to the reason for the changed itinerary. Viking could easily have advised us in advance of the change, which had also occurred with previous sailings from Bordeaux this year. Their only advance warning was that the itinerary could change due to the river conditions.i That was not the case, and according to authorities in Cadillac, Viking knew full well that the ship could not visit there until well into May. 3. As it was, the boat spent an excessive amount of time docked in Bordeaux, a little of it taking on fuel beside a scrap yard to the accompaniment of a crane dropping heavy metal onto a pile. 4. At least half of the time in port passengers had to clamber up and down long flights of stairs and cross another boat to get to shore. Daunting, to say the least, for many older people. 5. Dining aboard rated no more than a three on the usual scale of one to six for ocean cruises, and was distinctly below some other river cruise fare. It was adequate for older North Americans who like small portions blandly prepared. 6. The included table wine was also adequate. Those who wanted fine wine were able to bring their own bottles to the table without a corkage fee. Knowledgable wine drinkers complained about the quality of wine provided on vineyard excursions. 7. Wine ranged from fair to terrible with a dinner (prepared and served by Viking staff) on an excursion to a mediocre vineyard where the "chateau" displayed for sale only very large bottles of (presumably) table wine. 8. Ship's staff milked the room shamelessly for applause, apparently due for their taking the trouble. 9. French law requires service to be included in the price, top ups -- usually minor -- are entirely at the discretion of patrons. Viking recommends a hefty level of gratuities to be paid before leaving. The manager on board said he had never eaten in a French restaurant and was unaware of the law. Viking customer relations staff have since said they complied with French law because tipping is voluntary. One can reasonably conclude that Viking (and other lines?) take advantage of patrons who don't know the law. 10. Teething pains on a fairly new ship are forgivable. We felt entitled, however, to a cash refund, at the least for the portion of the itinerary that Viking knew in advance would not take place for reasons that had nothing to do with river conditions. Customer relations offered only some discount when and if we book with Viking again. Given the corporate attitude, that won't happen. (This writer, formerly an official responsible for consumer assistance programs and enforcement of consumer protection laws, has had very satisfactory experiences on half a dozen river cruises and dozens of ocean cruises.)   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We were expecting a great time based on the comments we had heard from friends. Our only fear was being locked into eating most of our meals on board. We actually had a stupendous time, far exceeding our wildest expectations and the food ... Read More
We were expecting a great time based on the comments we had heard from friends. Our only fear was being locked into eating most of our meals on board. We actually had a stupendous time, far exceeding our wildest expectations and the food was five star quality and we had more choices each night than we had expected during the entire trip. Entertainment was great. Our only disappointment - and it was a small one - was that the trip to the Summer Palace of the Austrian Royal Family, which was an extra, was not as spectacular as we had hoped. This was partly due to rain which caused us to miss the gardens, but we would have had little time for them even without the rain. The entire crew was outstanding - almost unbelievably so - and our room was kept extraordinarily well. We met a lot of nice people and made a few friends that will hopefully remain so for years to come! Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
This was my first cruise with Viking and it was so much better than I anticipated. From the moment we were met at Munich Airport to the departure In Budapest there was nothing I could find nothing to even moan about. The ship was spotless ... Read More
This was my first cruise with Viking and it was so much better than I anticipated. From the moment we were met at Munich Airport to the departure In Budapest there was nothing I could find nothing to even moan about. The ship was spotless and all the public areas were relaxing and carefully designed. The restaurant was exceptionally well planned and as a single traveller I enjoyed the opportunity to meet so many interesting passengers. The choice of food was first class and there was a good choice on the menus. You should try the French Toast and the pancakes at breakfast though not at the same time! All the excursions were well planned and having mobility issues I was delighted that there was a group for strollers. The use of radio mikes was brilliant as you could hear everything the guide eas saying without any difficulties. All the crew on board were exceptional and of such a high standard. They were all friendly and obviously proud to be part of the Viking family. Nothing was too difficult for them and they definitely succeeded in making me feel very special. I've booked two more cruises for 2015 and I'm counting the days to my next Viking experience. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
I am going to be much more critical than is warranted because I want to point out the limited downfalls of Viking. Overall, we would rate this trip an 8-9 out of 10 so we liked it and would do another. I think it important to research what ... Read More
I am going to be much more critical than is warranted because I want to point out the limited downfalls of Viking. Overall, we would rate this trip an 8-9 out of 10 so we liked it and would do another. I think it important to research what type of cruise you want to do. Viking does a much focused type of cruise with a very set schedule. It’s kind of like going on vacation where the first day, you just relax and say "I am on vacation" and don't fight it. Viking can be very very set in their ways and for the most part, they do all they can to make this a good experience. However, if you want something out of the ordinary, like upgrade your room, schedule a airport transfer or if you want to tip with anything other than Euro or US$, then they are not flexible and it can be irritating. They could work on that a bit. Our cruise was a Christmas Market Cruise and we did everything and more than we had hoped to. We booked our own airfare only because we did not know better. Viking works best if you use all of their services and if you confine your trip to what they offer. If you book airfare with them or extended stay, then they will make sure they meet you at the airport and take you back. One caution however is that you must remember that there is no such thing as a $199 air fare that they tout once in a while. It is simply that Viking is subsidizing part of that cost so they do not discount their room, which they very very very seldom do. When you book your air fare through Viking make sure you look at the flight times and layovers. That $199 airfare will most likely get you stuck in an airport for a few hours or a longer flight home so just check the details. We ended our trip in Passau, Germany so for 95% of the group, the trip was over and they needed to go to Munich airport for their flight back home. While I suspect not normal, one couple had to get up at 2 am to catch their bus. Let me explain. The drive to Munich is 2 hours so they allow 3. They schedule pickup 1/2 hr prior to that and then you need to be at the airport to 2-3 hrs ahead of time. If you have a 7 am flight, booked for you by Viking (can you say $199 air fare?), then you get the idea. On our trip, we booked our own airfares and were able to screw up our own schedule by allowing a 4 hr layover in Amsterdam so you need to get involved. You have to remember that you are in the middle of the night when you get to your first layover so my advice is to pick a flight to minimize layovers and look closely at departure times and where the airport is. Doing this will greatly improve your experience. The other somewhat irritating issue is tipping. Viking being an American/Swiss company asks you to partially subsidize their costs and tip at the end of the trip. Its the American way. It was interesting watching the Tour Director and others encourage tipping in Europe where there is no tipping. This is completely up to you but they do lay on the guilt trip for you. Something I felt amusing is that they will only accept tips in euro or US$. If you are to tip, a great way to get rid of the misc currency, from Hungary for example which is not euro, is to leave that as part of the tip. NOPE, we only accept euro and US$. I never had anyone tell me before when I was giving money away that they wanted it only in certain form. Viking could work on this. Now the good part. There are only 170 or so people so this is not a 3,000 person Princess Cruise so you need to rethink this. With only 170, they can plan pretty well. I liked the single dining experience. We had time for Happy Hour and usually a brief talk about what was going on the next day in the Lounge and then you had 1/2 hr or so to make your way to the dining room. I would rate the food overall 7 out of 10 which I think is pretty good. If you are a picky eater, look closely at the menu and you will find a César salad always available with Salmon or chicken on it or some other dish so look and ask. We purchased the unlimited bar which probably was not worth it $150 euro or $200US each but it did boost the level of the trip. We ordered a bottle of wine off the separate list each evening and had a few cocktails before or after the meal. It was nice not putting yourself in a position of wondering how much it was. On the other hand, if you can eliminate worrying about the cost, then I think you could drink as much as you want for less than the $200 per person. A bottle of wine was about $30. A typical day started with a pretty good breakfast that started at 6 and went to 9AM. You can get a European breakfast of cold cuts and cheese of a Texas breakfast of eggs, bacon, ham, sausage etc. You get the idea. Following breakfast 6 days out of 7 is the tour of the day that is usually included in your booking fee. They do have a couple of side trips like an opera (that only 50% thought was good enough to warrant going). Most tours have a guide who wears a microphone and broadcasts a monologue as they walk. Each room and person is provided a devise to listen (make sure you charge it every night) This works very well. The walks are not that difficult and normally Viking, after the first day, formulates a special tour group for those that do not want to or cannot keep up and they do it gracefully. Given that this was the Christmas Market Trip, we usually had a tour of town and then back to the boat which was almost always close to the market or you could easily walk. Trying to figure out where to spend your time was never a problem. It was a bit cold so we always looked forward to getting back about 4 for happy hour and talk to other guests about their experience. Always about 5 or 6 the tour director would come in and have a presentation about the next day’s trip (always something you want to do) Following was open seating dinner but within a couple of days you started to know people and which ones to sit with and which ones to avoid if you know what I mean. .Not very often did we need to avoid anyone but we did form a little group that sat together each evening so the conversation was not ever strained. Especially with two of the ladies that loved to shop. At one point, one of the ladies had to buy luggage in town just to bring back to the ship what she bought. Let me summarize my suggestions for booking with Viking. If you can do all of the booking with them, do it however make sure you look at the times and discuss when you need to be off the boat. Consider arriving a day or two ahead to get used to the time change. If you arrange your own air travel or decide to extend your trip without Viking I highly suggest you make your own arrangements. We wanted to go to Munich to meet some friends and booked a Transfer from the ship to the airport. Viking wanted $150 euro each for this but we bought it. We only had one day in Munich so we wanted and early transfer and were told by Viking a number of times that their guests are first and they will take us when they have time. We canceled with a $30 fee each and rented a car for $100 euro and had a wonderful drive. Viking takes care of its own and after that you are better working it out yourself. Bottom line we would and will take another Viking Cruise but will not leave the travel details to them as it should be. You need to watch out for yourself   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We enjoyed the Russian river cruise on the Rurik in September 2013 from Moscow to St. Petersburg. We were impressed with cruise director Kris and hotel director Caroline and how well they ran the cruise, particularly when nasty weather ... Read More
We enjoyed the Russian river cruise on the Rurik in September 2013 from Moscow to St. Petersburg. We were impressed with cruise director Kris and hotel director Caroline and how well they ran the cruise, particularly when nasty weather threw in some real challenges. They were more than up to the task and we hardly missed a beat, despite arriving in St. Petersburg more than 12 hours late. Major kudos to them and their staffs! Viking’s bottom line on that trip took a real hit, I’m sure. Cabin: Very nice: Our cabin was nicely appointed and the veranda was lovely, though rarely used due to time of year. The L’Occitane bath products were impressive. Lubow, our cabin attendant, made sure it was always clean and straightened up. The television was good and having the safe was a big plus, as was having bottled water replenished whenever it was running low in the cabin. Need more hangers? Call the front desk and someone brings you the number you request. Everyone was responsive to requests and inquiries. Staff: Superlative. The Filipino wait staff was superb. We found Chester, Jefrena, Gabriel, and Cherilyn in Panorama and Sky Bar incredibly personable. We arrived at 9:30 p.m. the first day and they still knew our names the second day. Rommel, Norman, Rosie, Djober, and others were really good wait persons in the Neva Restaurant and made the dining experience fun. Viking would be lost without the Filipino staff. They have a work ethic that is beyond impressive. Speaking of dining, let’s give a hand to Julian and Sofia, in charge of the dining room. Oh, and they put on a pretty mean Vodka Tasting, too! And by ‘mean,’ I mean hilarious. Definitely one of the premium onboard events worth the money and I don’t usually do shots of anything! The food was good, and we appreciated and enjoyed the Russian specialties that were regularly featured. We found the food a bit bland, though. We wouldn’t expect the chef to make it to our tastes, but the addition of some condiments other than salt and pepper would have helped. Meals offered another bonus: Meeting fellow passengers. We chatted with quite a few over the course of the first week and then settled into a table with four other passengers for about the last week. We forged nice friendships and hope to see them again one day. Silver Spirits Package Not Recommended. My husband is not a wine lover, but he is a beer snob. I showed him the list of possible premium beers to be offered onboard such as a hefe weissen and several British and Belgian ales , so he insisted we pay for the Silver Spirits package. I am not a big drinker, but if one person in a cabin gets it, the other must be charged for it, as well. Imagine his surprise and massive disappointment when the ONLY beer served the entire 12 days was Baltica 7, a Russian lager. That was about $300 pretty much wasted on the Silver Spirits package. And Baltica was served at dinner and lunch. That is something to note: house wine and beer are served with dinner and lunch without charge. Silver Spirits is, apparently, for those who drink hard liquor . . . and a lot of it or who want to choose bottles of wine from the separate wine list. I managed to drink two bottles of wine off the list during the 12-day cruise because we had paid for the package, but it was not necessary. Lectures and Tours: Applause. The tour escorts, Sasha, Alexi , and Eleyna were extremely knowledgeable and their lectures, which we watched from our cabin, were informative, interesting and entertaining. Alexi and his rolled Rs always made me smile. Sasha has a wicked, dark and dry sense of humor that we loved. And local guides provided entertaining and enlightening insight into their hometowns. The home visit at Uglich was definitely a highlight of the trip. Cabin Noise: GRRRR. Please! Do Something! We were on Level 4 in a Veranda cabin toward the back of the boat directly above the Neva Restaurant. The noise and vibration were, at times, teeth-grindingly annoying, particularly when trying to sleep. One night I got up about midnight, turned on my phone to video, which also has audio, and recorded the noise. I’ve seen other comments about the vibration and noise and want to emphasize something needs to be done about it. Moscow Drivers: Great. Traffic: Awful. Moscow traffic is a nightmare. Sorry. I have to complain even though Viking is not at fault for the traffic. It is beyond anything I have seen anywhere else in the world. I will say, however, the drivers are the most considerate I’ve ever seen in a large city. Horns are not honking and cars and buses are allowed to change lanes and merge without being cutoff. But, every time we left the boat for a tour, it was at least an hour ride to get wherever we were going and at least an hour back. Not enjoyable. Also, please, please, please, tell the tour escorts to tell the guests they meet at the Moscow airport BEFORE they board the bus that the trip will take 2-to-4 hours so that they can make a bathroom stop beforehand. We were met outside baggage claim (after our flight and waiting an hour+ for luggage that did not arrive and then dealing with filing complicated lost luggage claims) and told to "stay right here; I’ll be right back.” The 2-hour bus ride we were warned of AFTER boarding was actually 3 ½. Miserable does not begin to describe the ride. I second (or third) the suggestion to take the Moscow-St. Petersburg cruise. Moscow is interesting and there are great things to see but, other than the gold onion domes, most of it struck me as being all the same gray color. We were very happy to begin sailing toward what can only be described in comparison as a Spring flower: St. Petersburg. Fantastic city. Truly breath-taking.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Hi, We returned about two weeks ago from our cruise from Bucharest to Amsterdam. A previous review pretty well said it all about the ship, although that was from Budapest, and we were on it the first week from Bucharest, so I thought ... Read More
Hi, We returned about two weeks ago from our cruise from Bucharest to Amsterdam. A previous review pretty well said it all about the ship, although that was from Budapest, and we were on it the first week from Bucharest, so I thought I'd write about that part of it. We were met at the airport by Viking, and taken to the Raddison Blu Hotel. Our flight had been delayed, and we were pretty tired, so stayed in for the evening, but were taken on a bus tour of Bucharest next day. This part of the trip took in parts of Europe that had previously been under Communist rule, and we had been unable to visit because of my husband's job. It included Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia,and Hungary. It is a poorer part of Europe and doesn't have the tourist infrastructure, but that made it more authentic of what the people there live with. The locals were very friendly and our guides were very well spoken and educated. Some were a little hesitant to speak of the past, but were looking forward to a better future. It was sad to see bombed buildings from the Serb-Croatian wars, and some areas were still waiting to be cleared of mines. Roads needed repairs but there was no money as each village is responsible for roads and most of the young people have moved away to make money. Each house has a small garden for fresh veg. and a small vineyard. Plum wine is popular and each visitor is greeted with a glass. Food in local restaurants was delicious. Food on the Aegir for this part of the trip was not up to our expectations, but we had a different chef for this part of the trip. (We heard he was a replacement, and not the regular Viking Chef). When the other chef boarded in Budapest, there was a definite improvement. The servers, room staff, receptionists and concierge were all outstanding, and I don't think we've ever had such a hard working cruise director. This was a vey educational and interesting cruise, sailing on the Danube, Main and Rhine rivers with no problems with water levels. I would highly recommend doing the whole length from the Black Sea to the North Sea on the Viking Aegir. I am still sorting through my 1600 plus photos. Hope this is helpful. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013

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