We were “warned” that this ship was on its last legs for Viking. I hope this is not the case. We sailed her last week from Budapest to Passau. The ship was completely renovated. New carpet, furnishings and decor. Nothing showed ... Read More
We were “warned” that this ship was on its last legs for Viking. I hope this is not the case. We sailed her last week from Budapest to Passau. The ship was completely renovated. New carpet, furnishings and decor. Nothing showed any signs of wear. It was great. The staff seemed proud of their “new” ship. The winter weather was gone and we had a great time. The ship is still without an elevator. A few things still needed completion, the networked items, saves and televisions only partially worked. The staff accommodated my mobility problem very well. Viking has very special excursions, we enjoyed the night of music and dance in Vienna. When we cruise, my wife and I enjoy sea days to rest. There is no rest days here- the itenerary has too much to see and do. It was wonderful. This was our first river cruise, we will be back One day. We recommend the 2 night extension in Budapest it was very instructive, the Corinthia hotel was very nice and a good location. Read Less
Not for people with disabilities: I recently completed a cruise of the Rhône Valley. I found the ship and experiences to be very difficult for people with mobility issues. What is more shocking is that there are no handicap ... Read More
Not for people with disabilities: I recently completed a cruise of the Rhône Valley. I found the ship and experiences to be very difficult for people with mobility issues. What is more shocking is that there are no handicap accessible cabins. The shower is incredibly small and has no grab bar. additionally, there are free excursions offered every day but the vast majority on my cruise were not handicap accessible. They should offer excursions for people with limited abilities. My other major complaint is that meals are only served in a group setting at 7:15 PM each night. There is no on-demand dining and no in room service so if you want to eat a small meal or at a different time you cannot. Dinners are usually long and lasting till at least 9:30 PM. I realize this is the continental way of eating but that iis a little too late for me. also, be forewarned that the cabins are extremely tight, with the beds being about 4 inches apart from each other. There's no room to move about in the cabin.
On the positive side, the staff were excellent. The food was generally good and the alcohol flowed freely. The ship was clean and the public rooms were nicely finished. Read Less
My experience of my first river cruise totally turned me off from going to future river cruises. Not only for 3 consecutive days, my mini suite cabin with balcony, is in total darkness because the boat double-parked with another and ... Read More
My experience of my first river cruise totally turned me off from going to future river cruises. Not only for 3 consecutive days, my mini suite cabin with balcony, is in total darkness because the boat double-parked with another and blocking all the sunlight into the cabin. As a result, there was no river scenery to enjoyed. In addition, my cabin had the odor of diesel fume and the noise of the engine plus the water discharge sounds made sleeping difficult at times. Even though this is the maiden voyage after its refurbishment, Osfrid was acting funny. For the first day, my cabin door could not open. Then the reading lights turned on by itself in the middle of the night. Next, due to the rising water level of Douro River and the multiple locks that control the water level of the river, the boat could not reach the towns we were supposed to go. As a result, most of us were bused to our destinations through winding roads. Even so, I enjoyed the land tours and the predetermined site visits, etc., due to the tremendous efforts made by the Viking program staff who arrange the itinerary to satisfy the unhappy crowd. I must say the night spent in a hotel in Salamanca, Spain was one of the highlights of this river cruise. Food was much better on shore than on boat. However, compliments to all the serving staff on the boat, especially Manuel, who tried his best to make dinners happy with their requests. Perhaps, the chef on boat needed to know many of the dishes were cold when they reached the tables. For this river cruise, I think the air fares they arranged far exceeded my upcoming trip with Smithsonian, same business class. Did I get my money's worth for this cruise, I should say "no". Read Less
Viking Cruises, Community Team has responded
We appreciate you taking the time to reach out to us. We’re happy to hear that you enjoyed your shore excursions, as well as the service provided by Viking staff. We are saddened to learn, however, that certain aspects of your cruise were disenchanting.
At Viking, our customers are important to us and we greatly value your feedback regarding the itinerary changes and food on board. Should you wish to share additional details about your cruise on Viking Osfrid, we would be happy to hear from you at TellUs@vikingcruises.com.
We look forward to connecting, and wish you a lovely day!
First impressions of the boat is that it is nothing like an ocean liner. But we found our time well spent.
Dining: self seating made it possible for us to choose where we wanted to sit and with whom. This allowed travelers to mingle. ... Read More
First impressions of the boat is that it is nothing like an ocean liner. But we found our time well spent.
Dining: self seating made it possible for us to choose where we wanted to sit and with whom. This allowed travelers to mingle. Wine and beer flowed freely at lunch and dinner, which surely added to the friendly atmosphere we have never before experienced on ocean cruises. Food was great and the service given with a smile.
The Evening entertainment: piano player most nights in the lounge, But two nights the Program Director conducted fun games, which was fun. Other nights we had a classical music ensemble, and a pop group.
Included Excursions: They were outstanding, far exceeding any cultural tours we took to-date.
flights: The overnight flight to Amsterdam was very exhausting. Either upgrade to larger seats, or fly in the daytime a day or two ahead of embarkation. Dealing with the security lines once we returned to the states was a nightmare. 2 hours before we were able to retrieve our luggage!
Time of year: end of March was too early to see spring colors. There were some clusters of daffodils in the Netherlands, and occasionally in Germany we saw some buds beginning to open nsome sheubs. It remained cloudy most days, with light rain. And it was moderately to very chilly cold every day.
Over all. though, it was a wonderful experience. Read Less
We have been on several Viking river cruises before, in German and Russia and had very good holidays. The problems with communication on this trip started as we arrived at the port when the person who was supposed to come to the coach to ... Read More
We have been on several Viking river cruises before, in German and Russia and had very good holidays. The problems with communication on this trip started as we arrived at the port when the person who was supposed to come to the coach to deliver important information failed to turn up. Consequently we had problems early on as we did not know about the imminent passenger information meeting. When we spoke to the Cruise Director she was very off hand and dismissive.
Every day there seemed to be a problem with serving dinner. Most days the meal started at 7.00pm but most people did not emerge from the meal until almost 10.00pm. Frequently the food orders were incorrectly served and food was often only just warm.
On several days the ship was double parked away from the quayside. This meant that passengers had to clamber to the top deck on Forsetti and the over the other ship on slippery steps in the pouring rain. excuse me Viking but people made this comment in reviews in 2013 and it is now 2018!! Inevitably some people had impaired mobility issues were unable to leave the vessel and go on the excursions. This parking problem also meant that people who had paid for balcony cabins couldn't use the balcony as there was another ship parked only a few inches way. The double parking on the last night in Bordeaux also meant that fumes were coming into the cabin via the ventilation system
SO, even though the cabin was very well maintained by the stewardess Marijana I can not say that this was the enjoyable relaxing holiday which we intended.
Will I go on Viking again? Only if things get an awful lot better. Read Less
Viking Cruises, Community Team has responded
Thank you for taking the time to review your recent trip. We are sad to hear that you were disappointed by the food, service and double docking experience. We’re happy to hear that the service provided by your stewardess, Marijana, was excellent.
Rest assured, your comments about your time aboard Viking Forseti have been recorded for review by our Executive Team. Should you wish to share additional details about your cruise, we would be happy to hear from you at TellUs@vikingcruises.com, where we will connect you with a Customer Relations Agent to address your concerns.
We appreciate your feedback, and wish you a wonderful day.
We’ve been travelling with Viking many times and we always prefer a nice relaxing river cruise instead of an ocean one on a big noisy crowdy ship.
Our cruise from Bucharest to Budapest manage to change our “top 10 best ... Read More
We’ve been travelling with Viking many times and we always prefer a nice relaxing river cruise instead of an ocean one on a big noisy crowdy ship.
Our cruise from Bucharest to Budapest manage to change our “top 10 best cruises” taking the first place for so many reason.
Viking LIF despite being an “old ship” (according to Viking Cruises timeline) was clean and sparkling and the housekeeping team was working hard in and out our cabin to achieve this. Our room stewardess was a sweet girl from Romania – marina – and she was doing everything possible to give us a non-stop “being home” feeling.
We didn’t like the new menu in the restaurant (too complicated and no flavour) nor the new French style dinner on the terrace (the booking system was pointless, and the food didn’t have any connection with the French cuisine). Fortunately, our waiters Bart and George were superb with excellent manners and high standards. Absolutely in love with them.
We missed the presence of the concierge on board despite all the efforts of the Hotel manager – a charming Dutch man and his team at the reception. Anckitza was so accommodating and always smiling.
The biggest surprise on this trip was the Program Director. All our previous Viking Program Directors were good and very good, but Leonard push the expectations for our next Viking experience very high. Leonard was literally working 24h/day, 7 days/week: in the morning organising the excursion and supervising the guides (actually he knew all the city like his own pocket and sometimes better than the guides), in the afternoon planning and hosting different events on board (his presentation about Dracula and European Union were a perfect mix of academic information and fun) and finally in the evening putting together unforgettable performances, game shows and parties. Everything in a relaxed manner, always with a charming genuine smile but never forgot to be super-professional. What a gem.
One day during the excursion one of the elderly ladies in our bus had a medical problem. Leonard stopped the bus in the middle of nowhere, assist the lady and her husband (later we found the Leo – as everybody was calling him on board – is a licensed physician and a famous Romanian movie star), organised an ambulance but at the same time manage to reschedule the excursion for the rest of us only with a small delay but without missing a thing from the program. It was what I call PERFECTION.
Now a question for all of you who travelled before with Viking. We want to book a trip from Budapest to Amsterdam with Viking but we want to be sure that Leonard will be our Program Director. Does anybody know if you can request him to be on board with us? Thank you in advance for your advice.
Our cruise from Bucharest to Budapest was an amazing experience. Thank you Viking Lif for this extraordinary trip! Read Less
Because I sell wine, I was interested in seeing some of Alsace and the Mosel valley. We travelled with Viking twice before and were delighted with the cruises, so we chose Viking again, and we were not disappointed. Our two previous ... Read More
Because I sell wine, I was interested in seeing some of Alsace and the Mosel valley. We travelled with Viking twice before and were delighted with the cruises, so we chose Viking again, and we were not disappointed. Our two previous cruises were not on the Longships, and we were very very impressed with this newer model. It is spectacular really, with the lovely option of breakfast and lunch on the Aquavit terrace. When it was cold, the doors in the Terrace were closed, but we could still enjoy the passing scenery. On a few gorgeous days, we were able to eat outside, and it was amazing. On the top of the ship is a walking track, which we used on days when we were not on shore a lot. The view from there was excellent.
The stateroom we had was a decent size with a nice balcony we used often. The Restaurant was roomy and pleasant. The food on board was delicious for all the meals, and the included wines, though they only alternated from day to day, were 8 choices overall and quite good.
The service was marvelous, and though a few of our dinner mates complained, I could find nothing lacking. I thought that the staff worked exceptionally hard and were unfailingly pleasant.
The tours on each day varied. We had mainly very interesting tour leaders who maintained our interests, but on a few occasions the tour did not live up to what we had experienced on our other cruises. The optional tours we took were quite good, though, especially the tour of the Alsace wine country with Juliette. She gave us a fascinating tour.
The hotels on either end of the tour were good. The Renaissance in Zurich was very nice, and it was a simple, short ride on the tram to central Zurich. We bought our tickets at the hotel and really enjoyed riding the tram with the Swiss. The Pullman in Paris was good, and in a perfect location next to the Tour Eiffel! The metro was super close too, and we hopped on each day to tour.
Really, we loved the cruise/tour and the Longship and can't wait to book another cruise. Read Less
We have done many ocean cruises and did short (1 day) cruises on the Rhine River, and had thought for some time about trying a river cruise. When we finally got around to talking about it and doing it, we decided on the Grand European. ... Read More
We have done many ocean cruises and did short (1 day) cruises on the Rhine River, and had thought for some time about trying a river cruise. When we finally got around to talking about it and doing it, we decided on the Grand European. Once we have flown from the US, we wanted to stay as long as possible. It turned out we were on the first trip of the season. The shopkeepers in all the towns were happy to see us coming. Because it was early in the year, we had NO crowds in any of the towns. Even the bus drivers mentioned how nice it was with no traffic. We also had weather across the board: rain, sleet, snow and warm sunshine. Nothing dampened our spirits, and most on board enjoyed experiencing four seasons in a day or two! This is a long, but quick review. I’m up to my eyeballs in laundry! Oh, speaking of laundry, if you want to bring less clothes, we both used the laundry service on the ship. It was beautifully and quickly done! We aren’t really shoppers, but managed to find gifts for our kids and grandkids and were happy our suitcases were not too packed. If you have any specific questions about the cruise or the ship, please ask! You are all in for a treat on your trip. I get motion sickness very easily and wear patches on ocean cruises. On this ship, I can easily say 96 percent of the time you didn't even know you were on a ship. The ride was very smooth! You did know a few times when we were going in a lock as the sides would hit a bit, but the locks were fascinating!
We booked the pre-stay in Prague. We had been before and loved the city. We were met at the airport in a timely manner by the Viking representative, and we never thought of another detail for three weeks! Everything was handled for us, and what a pleasure. We stayed at a lovely hotel, the Art Nouveau Palace Hotel. The hotel was just a few short blocks from Old Town. There were Viking representatives at the hotel if we needed anything. The breakfast room was lovely and the breakfast had everything you could possibly want. It was a large buffet and had great food and service.
We went on the included tour of Prague and enjoyed it, although it was a very long walk. We walked for hours but saw a lot! The next day was free and we went to the Jewish Quarter and back to Old Town and the Charles Bridge. Early the next morning after breakfast we met in the lobby and were taken by coach to Budapest, with a few short stops and a lunch stop.
When we arrived in Budapest, we were taken directly to the Vili, and checked in within minutes. Once we had our keys we went to our room to unpack. There was a safe in the room, large flat screen tv, desk and refrigerator. We were given fresh bottled water daily in our room. We met our room steward, Gabriella, who was sweet and offered to help in any way and wanted to make sure we were comfortable. Gabriella turned out to be an angel who did our room the minute we left each morning and freshened it again each evening when we were gone. Sometime that evening there was a welcome reception in the lounge and then dinner. I could go on and on about the staff on the Vili, from the unseen staff who quickly docked us to the terrific Tour Director (Gary) and everyone in between, but you are in for a special treat to experience this yourself. We commented several times, with many others echoing our thoughts, that we felt like VIPs. Honestly I don’t know how they do it, but the staff was wonderful at every turn and seemed genuinely happy to assist us.
I will just say right now that the meals were terrific. There was plenty of variety, even for 15 days on the ship. Every night featured a regional menu, with food from the area we were traveling in. Hungarian, German and Danish food, which was very fun to try. The included wines and beer each afternoon and evening were usually very good. Some with the Silver Beverage package even drank the free wines at dinner as they were very good. My husband is a beer drinker, and there were 10-12 bottled beers offered, and one nice German draft beer. Champagne was supplied every morning for mimosas. Probably the only thing better than the food and variety was the service. We could not have asked for better service. We happened to sit in a section the first night, and the staff seemed to immediately develop a rapport with us. We ended up staying in the same section most meals, knowing we would get exceptional, cheery, fast and friendly service. The servers even remembered our drinks of choice and offered it immediately when we sat down. It was really incredible to watch how hard all the staff on the Vili worked.
There was some entertainment on board, and all seemed to be well received. Honestly, most were usually beat by the end of the day after seeing all the towns and doing the tours. My favorites were the Taste of Germany night and the guitar concert. There was a duo who provided great music every night in the lounge. There were two classical music concerts and a glassblower who came on board. The Tour Director gave several informative talks, and there were drink sampling, cheese sampling and a few other fun things. The included tours were all terrific (except Amsterdam) and rivaled many we have paid a lot of money for. It was very easy to understand some incredible guides! It seemed the guides were handpicked for their great English, humor and history knowledge.
The cruise was a great balance of go, go going and seeing and doing, and some nice down time. We took advantage of our down time and rested (our legs!) and enjoyed all the other tours. There were lots of opportunities to add excursions or on your own jaunts, or time to relax if you needed too.
The evening we embarked, the Tour Director and Captain of the ship announced he knew many of us were tired from long travel days, but they were going to take us on an evening cruise to see the lights of Budapest. They stressed we would not be disappointed if we could stay up, and they were so right. The lights of the Parliament and other location sin Budapest were stunning. It is something you will never forget if you get the chance to see it! The next morning, we were taken on a great included city tour of Budapest, seeing the major sights. You always have the option to opt out of the included tour if you wish to get out on your own, but we enjoyed every tour, with the exception of the one in Amsterdam that was just so-so! The rest of the day in Budapest was on our own. We went to the great market and to the shoe monument on the river. The market was right by the ship and was interesting. The top floor was souvenirs and lots of Hungarian crafts and items, and the street level was all food. Great place to pick up paprika! The lower level was an Aldi supermarket, where some people stocked up on items for their refrigerator and rooms. We left Budapest that evening in the middle of a huge snow storm! We again got to see the Parliament and other lit monuments as we sailed again, and it seemed more magical in the heavy snow!
Upon arrival in Vienna there was a light covering of snow. It was cold but we had plenty of very warm clothes. We again had a great included city tour, mostly by bus with nice stops for photos. In each stop Viking has great city/town maps on the reception desk. In addition, on the back of the daily newsletter Viking highlights the sights, stores and places to eat that are good. We went to a few of each of the stores and cafes/restaurants and were not disappointed in the recommendations. After lunch we had free time. We went to the “Behind the Scenes of the Lipizzaner Stallions” tour. We were told in advance it was the horses day off (Monday) and there was no show that day. The behind the scenes tour turned out to be very interesting. The horses have some great digs in the heart of the city, and the history and stories we heard while touring the Spanish Riding School exceeded our expectations! After the tour we were taken to a nice café for cake and coffee, and the snow started again! After dinner there was a very large group of people who had signed up for the optional Strauss and Mozart concert, which we did also. We honestly hadn’t signed up, but had spoken to so many people who had, that we thought everyone must know something we didn’t, so we joined in. The concert was in a beautiful hall, a bit crowded, but Viking had prime seats reserved and we were in the first 5 rows. The concert was entertaining and very good. Again, we were pleasantly surprised at how much we enjoyed the whole show, and we are really just old rock and rollers!
The next morning, we cruised the Wachau Valley (on the Danube) and the Tour Director had a running commentary on the sights. It was interesting, beautiful and relaxing. Later that afternoon, we arrived in Melk and were bussed to the Melk Abbey. I thought it strange we were really just making a stop to see an abbey. But please, take my word for it, YOU CANNOT MISS THE MELK ABBEY! I don’t want to tell you how spectacular it is, you need to see with your own eyes. Really an incredible place. Very little walking on this tour, except around the Abbey. The buses picked us up and took us right to the Abbey. We had a bit of free time after the Abbey to walk through town and back to the ship if you wished.
Again, a great included tour. Passau was easily walkable (as easy as cobblestones with some ice on them can be!), and it was a great tour. Normally there is an organ concert offered in the beautiful cathedral, but as we were there in the off season there was no concert. After the tour we were given time to explore the city on our own and walk back to the ship on our own. We did not do an optional tour, but the people who did the Bavarian Cruise & Baroque Tur Scharding tour spoke very highly of it. Those that went to Salzburg also enjoyed their day and saw a lot of the city in a short time!
This town turned out to be a little unknown (to us) jewel! This was a1 ½ hour walking tour that showed us all the important historical sights. The tour ended at the Stone Bridge and the Old Sausage Kitchen. While we all joked that no one needed any more food, Regensburg is famous for their sausage, so in we went. The sausages are small (breakfast sausage size), and in true American fashion you can get them to go on a pretzel bun for just 3 Euros. The sausage was good, but I especially loved their sweet mustard! The rest of the day we were able to walk around this nice town, and easily walk back to the ship when we were done.
The morning was for free time, and they drove us into Nuremberg (ten minutes away). We were left at the main town square and explored the market and other sights on our own, with recommendations from the local guide. In the big cities we went to, the included tours were great on just showing us the important, beautiful historical sights. The bigger cities on this itinerary had nice, historic town squares. We were especially lucky to run into three Easter Markets, including the largest, in Nuremberg. The markets are not as large as the Christmas markets, but were fun to explore. I’d love to do a Christmas market tour! This included tour was also very good. It was a four-hour tour, mostly on the bus. It was recommended we try the gingerbread in Nuremberg. It was delicious and interestingly enough, made without ginger!
Bamberg was a fun little town. The beauty of this little town was striking. We were given a great 4 hour walking tour. Most of the walk was easy, with steep steps at the end leading up to the cathedral. The views from the cathedral were stunning and worth the short hike up the stairs. After the tour we met many from the Vili at the oldest pub to sample the smoke beer. We met some locals who joined the large tour group and it was quite fun. I wasn’t a fan of the smoked beer, but glad I tried it. My husband is a beer person and enjoyed it. We had a few hours to explore Bamberg on our own which was nice.
The day we docked in Warzburg we took the optional tour to Rothenburg ob der Tauber. We had both been to Rothenburg before, but it remains our favorite place in Germany! The bus trip was about 45 minutes each way. Once we arrived in Rothenburg, we were given an included tour through the town, then taken to lunch. After lunch we had several hours on our own to explore. My husband and I again walked the walls of the city for spectacular views. This trip was on a Sunday, and many on the tour were disappointed the cute, small shops were all closed. Restaurants, coffee shops and bakeries were open. There is a lot to see in this tiny town so we did not miss shopping at all! If you do get there on a shopping day and like Christmas at all, be SURE to visit the Kaethe Wohlfart Christmas museum and beautiful store. She has 4 stores in Rothenburg, but the main Christmas store is behind and opposite the town hall. The museum was 2 or 3 euro to get in, but not to be missed if you are a Christmas fan like I am! After our free time in town, we were taken back to Bamberg to do the included tour of the Bishop’s Residence. An incredible building and again, not to be missed. It was a short, one-hour tour with easy walking. We were then given time to walk back to the ship and explore Bamberg on our own or return to the ship. If you can’t decide whether to do an optional tour, you do see everything in Bamberg from the tour even if you go to Rothenburg, which was a plus for me. I hate to miss anything! I can’t recommend Rothenberg enough!
Wertheim is a very small town. The tour director joked you could see it all in 15 minutes, and they were close. They managed to fit it into a 1 hour tour and we saw some incredible sights and loved this little storybook town. Easy walking. After the tour we had time to walk around town on our own or have another (free, included) tour of the Jewish history on the town. Those who did the Jewish part of the tour said it was a lot of hilly walking but very interesting. Cute town!
The day we were to be in Koblenz we work up in the middle of a large city. I thought it was strange, and turned on the tv to the Ship Tracker, and noticed we were in Frankfurt. I assumed we were stopping for a quick stop. Around 9 am, the Tour Director came on the loudspeaker and announced that there was a one day lock strike, and we could not continue up the river. He said there would be a briefing in the lounge at 9:30. By 9:30 a.m., the crew had lined up all sorts of tours! You could take an included walking/bus tour of Frankfurt, or take the bus (included) trip to the Marksburg Castle that afternoon. The ship took us by bus as we were unable to get to Koblenz by ship. We chose the castle, as we had both been to Frankfurt. You had the morning free to walk around the main square of the old town in Frankfurt. After lunch we took a bus trip to the castle. We were warned (and warned again) about the walking and climbing on this tour. If anything, we felt the tour director UNDER estimated how bad it was. We felt like mountain goats all afternoon. It’s a very steep climb from the bus to the castle, and once inside it is lots of steps and walking on slate, more uneven than cobblestones. That being said, we loved the castle and the beautiful view. If you have it in you, do this tour, but know that it is a lot of climbing and walking. The tour itself went fairly slow, it had rained a bit so the slate was slippery. Around 11 p.m., we were able to start again down the river. If you go to the castle, or find someone who is, there is a great book for 3.90 euro that has pictures and information about all the Rhine Castles. It was fun to have, and we can now identify our photos.
The captain adjusted our schedule so we did not cruise the picturesque Middle Rhine at night. For about 3-4 hours, the tour director gave a commentary on the incredible sights! Cute half timbered towns and many, many castles! It was a nice cruise. That afternoon we arrived in Cologne. We had a two hour walking tour of Cologne, and enjoyed the whole thing. We ended up by the river, and you could easily walk to the ship. The ship was parked right next to the Chocolate Museum and the pub/shopping area. That evening we took the optional tour of the pubs, the Beer Culture Dinner. What fun that was. Again, we can highly recommend. If you are going and have met friends, as the tour director to put you in the same group. By this time we had a group of people we met and had fun with, so we had a great group. We had dinner at a restaurant with unlimited beer, followed by three or four other pubs, again with unlimited beer. We had a great guide who gave us lots of history and even more laughs.
What a great stop this was! The ship parked directly across from the windmills. Maybe it was because it was warm and sunny, or because we got to go inside a windmill and learn lots of history and fun facts, but this was one of our favorite days. We too k the two hour included tour, very easy walking. There are 19 windmills in this area. Really something to see! Those that took the windmill/cheese tour also enjoyed it, sampled lots of cheese and bought more.
The next morning we arrived in Cologne. We have been briefed in writing and in updates about the disembarkation. From what we saw it went so very smoothly. I’m not sure it has ever been that easy for us. We were assigned a time to have our luggage out and what time we would be picked up. We had a nice breakfast, said goodbye to a few people and sadly ended our cruise. We did, however, have the Amsterdam post stay booked. We were in the beautiful Pulitzer Hotel, right on the Princess Canal. This hotel was a series of canal houses built together and was gorgeous. Most were put at the Movenpick down on the water. I believe the Pulitzer was an upgrade, but we enjoyed every second here. After we arrived, we had an included two hour walking tour. For whatever reason, this was not a great tour. We were a block away from the Anne Frank house, which we didn’t know until we discovered it ourselves. The guide took us through a shopping district, and at least a mile of walking through a residential district. Didn’t see much until the end when we arrived at Dam Square. In the end we felt fortunate we only had one bad tour out of all the tours we took! The rest of the day and next day were free. We took our own tour to the Kuekenhof Gardens. Wow is all I can say. We saw tulips and flowers for many, many miles. It was a lot of casual, easy walking, but beautiful surprises were around every corner. If you are in Amsterdam when it is open, we can’t recommend these gardens enough. My husband was a great sport about tiptoeing through the tulips, so the next day we went to the Heineken Experience, a Disneyland for beer lovers. They offer a fun, short tour with lots of beer. We had to buy advance tickets because it was a very busy Easter weekend, but got in easily. After the beer, we took a canal cruise which was relaxing and interesting. Later that afternoon we had pre-purchased tickets to the Anne Frank House. Many, many on our cruise had wanted to go, but waited too late to get their tickets. You must buy tickets in advance online. I believe you can do it 60 days in advance. We got in very easily at our assigned time. Museum and house is well done, if not quite somber.
The next morning, we were picked up by Viking arranged transportation and returned to the airport in Amsterdam. This was the first time in many trips we just had Viking make all our arrangements, and we were not sorry. Everything went very smoothly and with little, or no effort from us!
We are now anxious to book another Viking river cruise. It was just spectacular and fun from start to finish. We are fairly easy-going travelers with a lot of experience but have to say this was the best trip we have ever taken. While I know you cannot keep everyone happy, I don’t think I heard a complaint in the over two weeks we were on the ship. Amazing! We give Viking River Cruises our highest recommendation, and we have several favorite cruise lines. Enjoy. Read Less
We just come back from a cruise in eastern Europe on Viking LIF. We’ve been cruising many times before mainly on Cunard, Regent, Silver Sea and Viking (3 times on the ocean) but this was our very first river cruise. It was an awesome ... Read More
We just come back from a cruise in eastern Europe on Viking LIF. We’ve been cruising many times before mainly on Cunard, Regent, Silver Sea and Viking (3 times on the ocean) but this was our very first river cruise. It was an awesome experience from all point of view: the size and the ambiance of the ship, the excellent service, great tours and fantastic time on board. Our room attendant, Anna was very friendly and while we didn't ask for much, I believe she would be more than willing to accommodate our needs. The food on board was good but we believe that Viking needs to provide more quality ingredients to be sure that the food experience on board rich the standards of the rest of the services provided on Viking LIF. The staff was always pleasant, and we fell in love with our waitress Alina. Ivan in the bar had a great sense of humour and we love his wine and cocktails recommendations.
But the cherry on the cake was the cruise director Leonard. In all our previous cruises we were luck to have nice good cruise directors. But this time Leonard beat all the records: his passion, expertise, knowledge and amazing sparkling personality brought this river cruise to a hard to beat level. His lecture were a pleasure to attend with a perfect mixture of information, knowledge and entertainment getting standing ovations every night (especially his talks about the life in communist Romania and the myths of vampires) Leonard was working almost 24 hours a day: we saw him at 5.00am getting ready the excursion, running up and down during the day with the guides and entertaining passengers in the lounge until midnight or maybe late. What a great asset for Viking!
For sure we will be back on another river cruise but must be Viking, must be the ship LIF and of course must be Leonard as a cruise director.
Thank you all for an amazing trip between Budapest and Bucharest! Read Less
we picked this cruise to end up the celebration of my 65th birthday. Unfortunately March 5th is not a prime time to go to Europe. I will never book a Europe trip this early in the season. ours was the first for the season on the Elb and ... Read More
we picked this cruise to end up the celebration of my 65th birthday. Unfortunately March 5th is not a prime time to go to Europe. I will never book a Europe trip this early in the season. ours was the first for the season on the Elb and your could still see ice floating in parts! Most of the amenities aboard the Astrild were top notch. the glaring detractor and ruination of the cruise was the bedding. unbelievable discomfort. The mattress cover had pieces of cloth sewn all over it to create a "pillowing effect" it was more like a cratering effect. could not sleep first night and complained next morning to a very uncaring staff. was told " all beds are the same,we cannot get you a new mattress." so asked around and got many more passengers to agree on the crummy bedding,to no avail. the chambermaid tried putting two mattress covers on and that made it twice as bad. Finally my spouse and I stripped the bed to the mattress and I tried it without any cover. still miserable. this was the deal breaker for me as I have cruised with Viking on prior occasions including the Grand Tour and Bordeaux. Both of which had wonderful bedding. The Elb is a quaint more narrow river with one or two memorable spots. The weather was horrible. Freezing rain and snow. Cold that bit right through you. Prague was the worst,really really cold. think twice before booking this cruise. Do not do it on the cusp season! Read Less
Viking Cruises, Community Team has responded
Thank you for taking the time to review your recent trip aboard Viking Astrild. We regret to hear that the bedding and weather did not meet expectations.
Rest assured, your feedback has been recorded for review by our Executive Team. Should you like to share additional details about your Viking Experience, we would be happy to hear from you at TellUs@vikingcruises.com. We appreciate this opportunity to respond, and hope you have a wonderful day.
Welcome to Cruise Critic; we’re happy you decided to register to become a Cruise Critic Member.
Important: Do Not Use Your REAL NAME as your USER NAME
Important: Please disable your email verification software so that you receive our activation e-mail. Please add @cruisecritic.com to your email safelist.
Please respect that this is a MODERATED community for people who absolutely LOVE cruise travel or want to learn about cruise travel.
Registration to Cruise Critic’s Cruise Community is free! We require that you use a valid e-mail address. You will receive an e-mail asking you to verify your e-mail address before you are allowed to login and post on the boards. Again, please disable your spamblocking or verification software so that you receive our activation e-mail. Also, as a member of Cruise Critic you will receive copies of our weekly newsletter plus our "Cruise Sails" and one "Member Offer" mailing. Should you not want to continue to receive these e-mailings, simply unsubscribe by following the directions in the newsletter. By agreeing to become a member, you are agreeing to receipt of our newsletters.
Additionally, we do insist that you abide by the rules and policies detailed at this link: Community Guidelines.
This is a moderated Community. If you do not agree with the terms and conditions of this Web site and do not wish to be bound by them, please do not use this Web site or continue the registration process. Cruise Critic reserves the right to remove any content in its sole discretion. Additionally, if you violate our Community Guidelines you may lose your posting privileges — permanently — without warning. By continuing the registration you are agreeing to the terms.
These are moderated message boards. What this means is that we do our best to remove all objectionable messages from the boards. It also means that you cannot say whatever you’d like on the forums. If you are looking for an "anything goes" setting, Cruise Critic might not be the place for you. Understand, too, that our community is comprised of folks who LOVE to cruise. It therefore stands to reason that they will have a favorite cruise line or port of call — in other words, they are "fans" and will sometimes take offense when a brand new member has arrived on the scene to bash a cruise line.
Keep in mind that we do not prescreen posts so there may be a period of time when an inappropriate post is visible. Please use the Report A Post icon located in the UPPER right hand corner of each posting if you wish to report a violation of our Community Guidelines. All messages express the views of the author, and neither the owners of Cruise Critic Message Board Forums, nor Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd. (developers of vBulletin) will be held responsible for the content of any message.
By agreeing to these rules, you warrant that you will not post any messages that are obscene, vulgar, sexually-orientated, hateful, threatening, are in violation of our Community Guidelines or otherwise violative of any laws.
Cruise Critic reserves to right to remove, edit, move or close any thread (discussion) for any reason from the forums without warning. or notification to the Community. Additionally, we also reserve the right to deny posting privileges to any member at our sole discretion.
You hereby grant Cruise Critic the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive right and license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display any message posted in our message board community (in whole or in part) worldwide and/or to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.
Our mission is to provide a haven on the Internet free of harassment and advertising for our community members’ enjoyment. Any company or person(s) that interfere with that mission risk losing their posting privileges.
If you have any questions about how our community is moderated, please address them to our Community Manager via e-mail at email@example.com. Please do not post on the boards.
LauraS Community Manager
Become a cruise insider
Get the best cruise deals, along with the latest news and insider tips, right to your inbox
Thank you for Signing Up
Now help us get to know you better to enhance your experience.