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7,292 Viking River Cruise Reviews

WARNING! This review is long. After reserving this cruise almost two years ago, we (group of 8) were a bit concerned if our cruise down the Nile on the Viking Ra scheduled to begin on March 6, 2020, would be cancelled. With Viking’s ... Read More
WARNING! This review is long. After reserving this cruise almost two years ago, we (group of 8) were a bit concerned if our cruise down the Nile on the Viking Ra scheduled to begin on March 6, 2020, would be cancelled. With Viking’s new cancellation policy, at least we could make a decision closer to the scheduled date so that gave us some flexibility with the ever-changing situation. We ended up going as scheduled and were thrilled with the entire trip, itinerary and experience that Viking provided. As soon as the trip began, we heard that Viking was shutting down all cruises for several weeks so this was the last cruise the Ra would take for awhile. We joked that we were shutting off the lights as we left each port. It was hard to think about the many tour agencies and other cruise lines that would be shuttering for awhile and how that would effect the many service people, vendors, guides and staff that we met along the way. Just like in all the countries around the world, their economy will take a hit and the poverty that we witnessed will only get worse. We had made our air reservations through Viking and we were so glad that we did. I’ve always been frustrated by their fees for any changes to the air itinerary even before the trip is booked so we have not always gone with their deal, but we decided to go with them two years ago because we knew with the length of this trip (17 days total with extension to Jordan), we weren’t going to add any more days (we do have to work at some point to pay for our travel! ☺) More on that later. From the moment we arrived at Cairo airport, the Viking staff took over. Someone met us at the arrivals gate and guided us through the areas at the airport. We had gotten our visas online through the government website ($25), another couple had gone through an agency, and the other four just paid for the visa on arrival. As so many others have said, just do it when you arrive. There was no line, they didn’t look at passports, they just asked for $25 USD (cash) and you walked on through. Took all of 2 minutes. Our luggage was taken care of and we really didn’t have to deal with carrying them the rest of the trip. Our Program Director, Hani, met us on the bus and gave a welcome, some history on the bus ride to the hotel and lots of clear and useful direction on ATM’s, restaurants, the information meeting the next morning and how our trip was structured. The Ritz Carlton Cairo was beautiful and in a great location right on the Nile and next to the Egyptian Museum. We had a bite to eat in the lounge and headed to bed. Our other breakfasts and one dinner were at the main floor restaurant and were all very extensive buffets (included in our tour). Our first touring day was the biggest one and after being awakened at 4 by the disco on the Nile or maybe on the small island in the middle of the river, I wasn’t sure how the day would go. We had an orientation meeting at 8 and started touring at 9. We started at the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, then a rug making school before lunch at a hotel buffet. The afternoon was spent on the Giza Plateau where we had time at the great Pyramids, rode a camel and visited the Sphinx. Let me just take a minute to say that Viking provides 2 Egyptologists and they are with you for the entire trip. You are broken into two groups and you stay with your Egyptologist (called Program Directors) the entire time. Our group had Hani and the other group had Tarek. We were so gratified all through the trip to have a Program Director leading us. Not only did they provide general information about each touring day, take care of all entry fees and most tips for the wash rooms, make sure we had the correct information for touring each site and gave us pointers on how to deal with aggressive vendors, but (what they were really trained for) they described, explained and enthused over the tombs, temples and pyramids we saw so that we could really appreciate and understand what we were seeing. Because we had the same Program Director each day, they could build on information they had given us days before and build on the picture that we were seeing of the country they loved. This was one of the few times when I saw the wisdom of going with a structured tour group instead of building a trip itinerary and doing it on our own. Great job, Hani! I’m sure you won’t get much from an in-depth review of each day, but I will insert anything that might be of use to future travelers on this itinerary. Day Two was the Citadel and mosque. Our PD did explain a lot about his personal Muslim faith and what it meant to him and his culture. I thought it was fascinating and insightful and the mosque was beautiful. Later that morning we went to the Egyptian Museum and our PD showed us the highlights. Since it was right next to our hotel, we headed back after lunch at the Ritz Carlton. One couple in our group paid to go into the mummy room and said it was worth it. If you can make it across the street (traffic is insane), there is a government shop (meaning that the prices are fixed) that had some good shopping. Our group booked two cars through the concierge and went to a recommended Middle Eastern restaurant on one of the islands on the Nile. The name of it was Abou El Sid and it had great food, including pigeon! About half of the large group went to the El Kalil market and dinner excursion. I heard mixed reviews. Day Three began early with a 5 am wake up call and bags out by 5:15. We had a buffet breakfast at the hotel and headed to the airport for our charter flight (8 am) to Luxor. As soon as we landed at 9:30, we headed to Karnak Temple. All transportation was seamless and taken care of by Viking. The buses they used throughout were comfortable with plenty of cold water bottles and a bathroom if needed. We headed to the boat at noon and a buffet lunch. Ah, the Ra. Beautiful ship. The common areas were well thought out, the two room suites were spacious and the top deck lounge area so inviting. Before we could get off the bus, medical personnel came on board with a questionnaire and took our temperatures. We had our temperatures taken each morning while we were on the cruise and that information was sent home with us incase there were questions re-entering our home countries. We heard there were 51 people on our tour so we assumed no one had cancelled before the trip but later we were told there were only 46 on the cruise portion, so I’m not sure if some left the tour after Cairo, whether we were not given the right original totals or we forgot someone at the airport. ☺ We were originally surprised more people hadn’t cancelled before the trip with the news that a Nile cruise ship had been struck with COVID-19 the week before After a welcome, port talk and safety drill we headed out to Luxor Temple. I thought it was great to see a temple lit up at night. Day Four was another early morning wake up at 4 am. We hopped on a motor boat for a 10-15 minute ride down the Nile and to the other bank where we took a short van ride to the balloon launching point. Yes, we opted for the Hot Air Balloon ride over the Valley of the Queens. It is something that you book when you arrive in Cairo and costs about $250, I think. I assume they have to wait to see what the weather will be like before they book. Only 13 of the 46 on our cruise did the Hot Air Balloon ride but each participants that I spoke with thought it was the “must do” experience of the trip. We launched on a beautiful, calm, gorgeous morning and were amazed at the sights below us. Such a unique way to see the temples and tombs that we would go inside later that day, plus just the topography and the graphic nature of that swathe of green extending from the Nile and then this sharp boundary where the desert begins. Amazing! Do it!! We had a wonderful breakfast on our return and then headed out to the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens. Ramses VI’s tomb and Queen Nefartari’s tomb are not to be missed. I think Ramses tomb is an extra fee. We also went into King Tut’s tomb which was an extra price. Our PD downplayed it, but we thought it was worth seeing. We also saw the Collosus of Memnon on the ride back to the boat. After lunch we had free time. During free afternoons our PD’s would sometimes have a talk including topics like – the Arabic language, Women in Egypt, hieroglyphics, ancient Egyptian medicine, etc. After dinner was a belly dancer and a whirling dervish in the lounge. It was hard to watch the belly dancer’s performance and I know that the staff said that they try to tell Viking that no one likes it, but it’s still on the entertainment schedule. You’ve been warned. Day Five we saw Dendera Temple in the morning and had the rest of the day to ourselves as we sailed back up the Nile.. It’s wonderful to sit on that top deck or on your balcony and watch the world go by. Day Six – the men in our group went to the 8 am tour of Esna Temple. We ladies decided to take the village tour and then did some shopping (you do walk by the temple on the village tour). I think enough people have reviewed the crazy, pushy, aggressive behavior of vendors. You get a bit used to it but it always feels rude because eventually you just have to be very firm. One note, if you really want something, just keep walking away. The vendor finally got to the price I was willing to pay for a galabeya (long flowing garment) when I was walking down the steps to the ship (Viking’s dock was right next to the village). Get a tunic or galabeya before Egyptian night on the boat. It was fun to see people wearing these colorful garments at dinner that night. We set sail again and enjoyed a Falafel demonstration in the restaurant. That night was an amazing Egyptian dinner and the Nubian dancers in the lounge afterwards were very entertaining. Interestingly enough, we ran into a sand storm in the afternoon and had to dock at Edfu since all river traffic was stopped by the government. It was only through the hard work of our crew that we got clearance to keep sailing about 5 hours after the storm ended and were able to dock in Aswan the next morning so that those going to Abu Simbel could make their flight. Day Seven – I think it was at breakfast when Karoline, our Hotel Manager, told us the bad news that Jordan had closed its borders and we would not be able to go on our extension trip to Jordan. Our trip was cut short by 4 days. Here is where we were extremely happy that we had done the Viking airfare. By the time we got back from our jaunt to the airport, Viking had rebooked us on a flight out of Cairo for Tuesday and handed us our new flights times. Easy. They were actually better flight times than we originally had and we didn’t have to try and rebook and cancel flights online or over the phone (Karoline said the wait time was sometimes 6 hours on the phone). Our friends (they couldn’t book through Viking because of another reason) tried twice to talk with someone on the phone and after an hour wait were disconnected. They finally were able to use the ships computer to book a flight home and decided to deal with cancelling the original flight and getting the refund later. To Viking’s credit, they worked with all of the passengers whether they had booked their original flights through Viking or not, but those passengers that hadn’t booked with Viking did have to deal with the logistics themselves. Abu Simbel. What can I say. There are no words. Mostly because we only saw the Aswan airport. ☺ We did see the Aswan Dam in a 20 minute stop on the way to the airport. But once we got to the airport, we waited for our plane to come from Cairo. Unfortunately, because of a bad rainstorm the day before, Cairo’s runways were flooded and flights were backed up. (We also heard that all the schools were closed, local transportation cancelled and electricity cut off because of the flooding. Because they rarely get rain, let alone a lot of it, they just don’t have the drainage in the city. Who knew?) After several delays and concerns over another sand storm trapping us in Abu Simbel if we did make it there, our PD called the trip off and we headed back to our ship. The Aswan airport was an interesting morning tour spot with bathrooms that included toilet paper and no attendant to tip, shops that had fixed prices and a free soda at the cafeteria. After a week in Egypt, all three were welcome experiences. The others in our group that didn’t go on the eventful Abu Simbel excursion, said that their boat ride (although too windy for a felucca ride) and market visit were good. That night a few of us (20 or so) went to the Phillea Light Show by boat. There are 5 light shows at sites around Egypt and I was glad to get to go to one. I think our group was divided on how much we liked it. It is very artsy and was trying to showcase the history of the temple in a different way. It was professional and the temple is beautiful as it’s perched on an island, but you do see the temple in the daylight the next day. Day Eight – We had a lovely boat ride to a Nubian village where we visited a local home and the Papyrus Institute before heading back to Phillea Temple. The afternoon was spent cruising before reaching Kom Ombo for a late afternoon tour of the temple and the small crocodile museum. Day Nine – our last day of touring started with a carriage ride to Edfu Temple before sailing back to Luxor. We really enjoyed going through the lock and the activity of the vendors in boats alongside us tossing up their wares…our last experience with the aggressive merchants of Egypt. I believe that this experience is usually seen on the way upriver but because of the sandstorm on our way to Aswan, we went through the lock at night. Day Ten – the next morning we had to have our luggage out by 5:15, then our last breakfast onboard before boarding the bus for the aiport at 6:30 am. We were saying goodbye to an amazing staff onboard the Ra. This was my third Viking river cruise and by far the best staff across the board. Karoline, the Hotel Manager was exceptional. She has been with the company for over 20 years and my only regret is that since she is on the Russia sailings in the summer, we won’t have her on our ship next summer on the Volga. I can only imagine the headaches she had with this last cruise as the craziness around the world with the COVID-19 crisis changed things day to day and she and her staff took care of everything. We passengers have no idea of the turmoil below deck but I’m sure it was a massive effort. My husband had an eye problem during the cruise and she took care of arranging an eye doctor to come to our room and kept us informed. Excellent service. The restaurant staff was also exceptional. Kai and Abdullah were the chefs and we loved the quality and variety of food (wine selection was not up to snuff but that was because of excessive import tariffs, I’m told). Priscilla was the restaurant manager and she was friendly, efficient, welcoming. And that atmosphere was carried through in all of the staff – Wadde, Anastasia, Mohammed and Hussein made each meal so pleasant with their excellent service, pleasant nature and interest in making our meal times relaxing. Although I didn’t spend as much time in the lounge, I do know that the staff I came in contact with there were very pleasant, unobtrusive and efficient. The ship and staff of the Viking Ra have set a high standard for the next two cruises we’ve already booked. Our flight back to Cairo was uneventful and after a buffet lunch at the Intercontinental Hotel (beautiful hotel!), about 20 of us headed out on the Coptic Christian walking tour of Old Cairo. We spent a very interesting afternoon looking at the area and visiting a synagogue and church. When we got back to the hotel, we ladies headed next door to the attached 5 story shopping mall for some shopping before our farewell dinner. Because of the times everyone was heading home, it was an anticlimactic buffet dinner as we all said goodbye and wondered what it would be like back home. Some headed to the airport that evening, but most of us didn’t leave until 3:30 the next morning for our 6:30 am flights. Just some general thoughts on this massive tome: This was the first time that I was truly impressed with Viking. Our other two cruises were nice and we enjoyed them, but if this is the service, attention to detail and staff that is the standard of Viking, I will continue to give them my business. I thought this cruise was very expensive but I will say that I could see where my money went. We had wonderful accommodations at the hotels and on the ship. We had security personnel on every bus, during tours and even some police escorts – a necessary precaution but the areas we went to did not seem unsafe. Tips and entry fees were taken care of by our Program Directors with only a few exceptions. This made for a streamlined tour and faster entries. Having staff assigned to the airports, each hotel and our Program Directors with us the entire trip made all the difference in our enjoyment and the ability to see so much in this jam-packed itinerary. Another plus for Viking is that we never had other boats tied up next to us. We always had our own dock and some of that could have been happenstance but I know that in a few of the towns, Viking has paid to have their own docking space. At Kom Ombo I took a picture of three ships docked against the pier with up to five ships tied up to each of those ships. We were the only ones that had our own docking space. During the sandstorm a ship tied up to us because everyone was forced to dock, but other than that, I was always able to use my balcony and have a nice view. We had rooms 300, 301, 302, and 303. I was really glad that we had a balcony (I believe all the rooms on the Ra do) because I sat out there many times and read, had a drink and watched the shoreline. Our rooms had plenty of storage between the two rooms. There is room under the bed to store your suitcases. The bathroom was the biggest I’ve seen on a cruise ship. Our room steward kept the place spotless and fully stocked. Our only complaint was that most mornings we woke to the sound of chairs being dragged across the floor of the pool deck above us. Maybe the second floor would have been a better choice for rooms. We had to be up early most mornings anyway but it was a negative for those particular rooms. Just an FYI, the odd numbered rooms seem to be most likely to have a view of the Nile rather than the dock. Lastly, others have alluded to the fact that this is a tiring cruise because of the itinerary. We are in our 50’s and some in our friend group were in their 60’s. Some days were longer than others but I don’t think anyone thought the trip was grueling. There is not a lot of time for just casually hanging around but there is free time and I thought the itinerary made the most of getting us to a lot of Egyptian sites, experience some of the culture and making sure we felt like we were on vacation. A few in the larger group needed to use walking sticks, but they kept up fine and never complained. This was not a perfect cruise in description (sandstorm, cancelled Petra excursion, no Abu Simbel excursion) but it was the perfect cruise in actual experience. I commented to our group that I couldn’t think of one fellow traveler in our group of 46 that seemed to be a complainer or challenging in any way. Everyone seemed in good spirits, positive, on time, considerate, rolled with the changes in schedule and pleasant to be around. I highly recommend Viking and the itinerary they have put together. Well done! Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Never having been to Europe before nor done a river cruise decided on the Romantic Danube cruise at end of December. We have done a number of ocean cruises but this was our first river cruise. Having heard so many positive things about ... Read More
Never having been to Europe before nor done a river cruise decided on the Romantic Danube cruise at end of December. We have done a number of ocean cruises but this was our first river cruise. Having heard so many positive things about Viking we had high expectations. The first part of our trip the 3 day Prague extension was wonderful - viking host and guides along with nice hotel made for a wonderful Christmas experience. The bus ride to Nuremberg was fine, embarkation easy. We very much enjoyed the ports visited and for the most part (Except for Nuremberg) the guides were good. In Nuremberg guide seemed to just want to get it over, instead of making stops at places like the Zeppelin Field so we could get out for a few minutes to really look at it - just a quick drive by. We had plenty of time as Christmas Market was gone and many things closed in town so stopping for a few minutes would have been fine. At end of walking tour he said ok tour is over and just walked away. We did day trip to Munich which was fun although bad timing (not Vikings fault) as it was a Sunday and most places closed. Guides in Passau, Krems, and Vienna were good. Our guide for Budapest was excellent. Our experience on board was very disappointing. Our cabin stewardess Dora was wonderful but rest of staff were lackluster and indifferent as well as not very accommodating. For example one night at dinner hubby want to switch out potatoes that were offered on his entree for ones that came on another entree - no can do according to waiter. Another guest asked for additional vegetables with her entree and was told no. It seemed to us that if you weren't in the drinking crowd or part of a regular dinner table (we ate with different people each night) then you were ignored. As for the food it was terrible. Breakfast was ok - that was best meal of day. I'm guessing that since this was last cruise of season they just were trying to use up what they had. Entrees were pretty basic and didn't seem reflective of area we were in except for the taste of Germany night. It was nice having the machines you could get hot chocolate or tea anytime but often the pastries or cookies there were dried out. They have 1 restaurant and 1 seating (7 pm) each night so not really any other options for food either which would be fine if food was good. Only had lunch on board 2 days (ate in ports other days) and food so bad the one day I ordered a burger figuring that was safe - nope not good and the other day the Reuben had bread that was rock hard. From what we had heard expected the food to be much better. As for the cultural experiences on board - very little. Of the 7 nights had a night of Franconian music in Nuremberg, the oompa band for taste of Germany dinner, and a choir on our last night in Budapest (this was at 9 pm) that many guests missed as were departing ship at 330 a.m. Also had 1 afternoon talk about Bavaria. Even if you count the 15 minute port/excursion talks before dinner that's not much so again a disappointment. What they did have was trivia every night and a piano player mostly for the drinking crowd. As for cabin - we were on top deck so that was nice, unfortunately never really had hot water in shower - it would get warm but that was it. At least not ice cold. Given our expectations don't think given the price will be sailing with Viking anytime soon but will look at other river cruise companies as this definitely wasn't worth the money. As I said we enjoyed the ports a lot, the before part in Prague was wonderful, Viking crew there met our expectations but on board the Tor fell short. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I went with my parents for Christmas vacation. I will list the pros and cons. Pros: -The ship is well heated -The rooms and showers are clean -They will bend over backwards to accommodate you -Some of the excursions are ... Read More
I went with my parents for Christmas vacation. I will list the pros and cons. Pros: -The ship is well heated -The rooms and showers are clean -They will bend over backwards to accommodate you -Some of the excursions are decent -The staff is cordial and well-vetted -The excursions are planned so that you don't have to do much thinking or organizing -It is handicap accessible with an elevator Cons: -You must eat during their pre-set meal times. -Sometimes dinner isn't until 7 or 730 and my family and I were hungry prior to dinner time -There are no snacks available outside of meal times -The food is mediocre at best -Most of the cruising is done at night, so you don't get to see much of the river -If you book to sail Nov-Apr, please expect many of your excursions to be cancelled. They contract with local guides who don't do tours during the winter, but they will make you think you have a lot of fun things planned until you start getting cancellation emails -Don't bother going to the top deck if it's cold - everything is shut down Neither pros nor cons: -The activity director will announce excursions 15 minutes prior (over the loud speaker, which can wake you up if you are asleep) -They tidy your room twice a day. I personally don't want someone bothering me or in my room 2x a day, but some people might. -You don't feel the boat move much All said and done, I'm glad we did this for the experience but we've agreed we won't go again. We like more flexibility in accessing food, and we can organize a trip like this cheaper on our own with more shore time and exploration. A lot of time is spent cruising. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We had done several Viking river and ocean cruises but had wanted to experience the Christmas Markets. The trip met and exceeded our expectations! Viking, as always, has the best service but the crew were especially excited since this was ... Read More
We had done several Viking river and ocean cruises but had wanted to experience the Christmas Markets. The trip met and exceeded our expectations! Viking, as always, has the best service but the crew were especially excited since this was their next to last trip of the season. Then they return home until April. The ship was fully decorated to embrace the season. And the food choices also reflected traditional German meals. The balcony cabin is always smaller on the river boats, but more than enough storage space. Bathroom did not feel cramped at all. There was a Basel city tour the afternoon we boarded, after eating lunch. We were extremely fortunate that the weather was quite warm, cloudy but just a little rain once in a while. But more than happy not to wear heavy coats. On board delights included glass blowing, German carolers, lectures and cooking demonstration. We even were able to visit the adjacent Viking ship one evening for a show. The staff and service are always perfect. That's why we return to viking! But the markets are impressive! Eight separate markets in Cologne! Each stop was just beautiful. You won't be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise as the best way to see the amazing sights in Egypt and to learn about its people. This holiday greatly exceeded our expectations. Michael, our guide was awesome in his knowledge and enthusiasm not just for the temples ... Read More
We chose this cruise as the best way to see the amazing sights in Egypt and to learn about its people. This holiday greatly exceeded our expectations. Michael, our guide was awesome in his knowledge and enthusiasm not just for the temples some of which he had worked on as an Egyptologist but also for giving us a comprehensive overview of Egypt more recently. The hotels in Cairo were excellent and the Ra is like a luxury hotel. The cabin (middle price) had a spacious bathroom and great balcony and sitting area. Food on board is superb with plenty of choice at every meal. The staff cannot do enough for you. All were faultless. On our anniversary they left a bottle of champagne and a charming note in our cabin.The on board talks and entertainment were great. We were the only non American guests and found out that most fellow cruisers had booked 2 years ago. Some had mobility issues but these were seamlessly taken care of by the staff,crew and guides. Only one criticism _ the WiFi was inadequate and patchy. In this day and age, one's expectations are of strong reliable connections. Other than this. Strongly recommended. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was our third Viking River cruise(Danube followed by China in 2012) which we booked to travel the Rhine at Christmas Markets time.The ship,cabins,excursion buses,guides,all met our expectations when compared to our previous Viking ... Read More
This was our third Viking River cruise(Danube followed by China in 2012) which we booked to travel the Rhine at Christmas Markets time.The ship,cabins,excursion buses,guides,all met our expectations when compared to our previous Viking cruises but the food service was much below the level we had come to expect. The lunch and dinner menus lacked variety,the soups mostly cream based seldom arrived at our table HOT, several waiters were slow to take our orders or follow up during dinner service.The breakfast buffet was excellent. It seems that adding a Viking ocean cruise fleet and rapid expansion of the river fleet since our 2012 China cruise has not been matched by a system to hire,train and coach staff that could maintain the food service quality Viking was justly proud of. The towns and cities visited were first time stops for us and the Christmas preparations made were very extensive and colorful.We would certainly recommend a Christmas markets tour of Germany and France Vancouver Island cruiser Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We took the Paris to the Swiss Alps cruise in reverse from December 11-22, 2019 starting in Zurich. Viking has partnered with Marriott Hotels for accommodation pre- and post-cruise. The Hotel Renaissance is in the Technopark of low-rise ... Read More
We took the Paris to the Swiss Alps cruise in reverse from December 11-22, 2019 starting in Zurich. Viking has partnered with Marriott Hotels for accommodation pre- and post-cruise. The Hotel Renaissance is in the Technopark of low-rise buildings, but Tram #4 (blue) one block over runs to the old town. A day pass costs 8 Euro per person. Viking offered an orientation walk of the hotel area at 5:30 PM which is fine in summer but in December darkness comes early and lighting is poor. Some passengers purchased the day-long Highlights of the Swiss Alps optional excursion at $400, but it turned back due to heavy snow in the Alps. Instead of giving passengers a refund, Viking tried to offer an on-board ship credit. There is little to buy and how much can you drink? Just refund the money. Its basic public relations. After a bus ride to Basel and a convoluted walking tour around town pointedly trying to avoid the Christmas Market, we boarded Viking Alsvin at the St Johann Dock by walking down a long set of concrete stairs to the gangway. Note there is a lot of walking on this cruise so get yourself into condition before arriving. Alsvin is one of the newer additions to the Viking fleet all of which follow the same design template. That said, engine noise was louder than on the other six Viking river ships on which we have sailed and Alsvin would ‘shudder’ occasionally while underway. Our cabin 332 was filled with a king bed so we had to walk sideways around it. The bathroom was tiny but had all the necessities plus a heated floor. Twice the toilet wouldn’t flush but a maintenance guy cam promptly to fix it. Channel 9 on the TV is the bow cam for a view of where we were going should it be too to stand cold outside. Food service in the restaurant was okay but it took longer to get meals out of the galley and there were fewer serving staff on the floor than on previous Viking cruises. The first morning there was nobody at the omelette station and a slab of smoked salmon had not been sliced. Staff showed up later. Near the end of the cruise in Trier, they ran out of Coke and peanut butter and had to scramble to get some locally. Between Basel and Strasbourg, Viking Alsvin bumped into side walls of some locks and the jerky movement could be felt on board. No explanation from Captain Adam Buczkowski why this kept happening. Before Trier, the ship hit the wall of a lock with a loud ‘bang’ and enough force to jolt the ship and rattle glasses in the restaurant. Again, no explanation. I have never had this happen on any of my previous six Viking river cruises nor on any cruises with Avalon or Uniworld. Stops at Speyer and Mainz filled in sites I had wanted to see but while the Gutenberg Museum was closed on Monday, it was open to Viking passengers. Problem weas, their gift shop was not open. They could have made a tidy profit even after paying a salary and utilities but, so be it. Viewing the protected manuscripts is difficult in a crowd of people so go online to the Museum’s website where some exhibits are displayed. With the exception of transiting the Wachau Valley, there was very little commentary about the passing scenery on this cruise. Not even a separate TV channel with info. We cruised under an immense bridge then we drove on it to Luxembourg, but it was never identified by Viking staff. I found it is called the Hochmoselbrücke, literally the High Moselle Bridge, but it would be handy if Viking could identify local landmarks for passengers. Also, daily Port Talk briefings by Program Director Bojan Bozic lacked any details about walking from the ship to buses, for example, the multiple series of steps at Kehl for the Strasbourg tour and an alternative incline pathway. Finding our guides for excursions was often chaotic especially with other boats in port. Perhaps because this was the holiday season and some guides were not ‘regulars’ English language skills were challenging. When leaving Alsvin for excursions we had to pick up and return a guide number/letter card plus a little piece of paper stating our name, cabin and excursion so a manual tally could be made to determine if everyone was back on board. Why, for heaven’s sake, could we not tap our cabin card on exit and re-entry as is done on other ships? Technology works, Viking people. Also, Viking needs to acknowledge that on a cruise during the pre-Christmas season many passengers come to visit the little Christmas Markets along the Rhine and Moselle. Yet there was barely any Christmas music, classical or commercial, played on board. When I asked Reception why not, the woman behind the counter said, “it is not on our playlist”. I recommended the playlist be revised. The next day, I heard “Here Comes Santa Claus”. Once! Water was high in the Moselle and Viking’s large ship could not pass under some bridges even with its retractable wheelhouse fully lowered. Other smaller boats could make it. So, we double docked alongside Viking Eir and spent an extra day in Koblenz waiting for water levels to drop. A two-days-in-one combination bus tour of Cochem and Trier was set up. At 8:15 AM some Alsvin passengers boarded buses in Koblenz to Cohem and Trier completely bypassing Bernkastel located between these two towns. There was no commentary on the bus about the passing Moselle Valley. We arrived in Cochem for a flash tour of downtown and the reconstructed Reichsburg Castle. We were told, “you will have a little time in the square on your own.” No, we did not. Rush back on the bus for the hour plus ride to Trier. Certainly, no time to find a store selling the mustard which Bojan said was an authentic Cochem souvenir. Also lacking was a drive around Trier to see the Roman Amphitheatre and Roman Baths. We got off at the old town and marched directly to a restaurant near the Cathedral where we were scheduled to blow two hours at a three-course, sit-down lunch. I left, got a map and did my own tour. Come on. Most of us have sufficient reserves to get by on a snack of water and a granola bar when time is tight. And there is lots of food at the Christmas Market. We left at dusk and drove back to the ship in the dark. The next day we did sail up the Moselle to Bernkastel where we docked for a few hours before sailing to Trier for disembarkation. At 8:30 AM four buses took all Viking Alsvin passengers from Trier to Paris. This being the last cruise of the season, most crew left too and Alsvin would be taken to Cologne for off-season maintenance. While you can tip individuals for exceptional service, Viking Cruises reduces their wage costs by automatically billing 15 Euro per person per day in gratuities to be settled before disembarkation and divvyed up among crew doing the work for which they were hired. That’s about $200 per cabin per cruise. A nice chunk of change. This practice artificially lowers the advertised price of Viking cruises because other cruise lines take an honest approach and include basic onboard tips in their listed prices. Caveat Emptor. But before Paris there was a stop at the American Cemetery and Memorial at Haram and a walking excursion around old Luxembourg City then the long bus ride to our Paris hotel. On the bus, tour director Bojan finally decided to provide some not useful commentary by telling us about things off the motorway which we could not see such as Reims Cathedral (hidden by roadside berms and hi-voltage transmission towers), champagne vineyards (somewhere off in the distance, maybe), and Euro Disney (out of sight on the right) as we finally approached Paris. At 4:00 PM he got a call from the Marriott Opera Hotel asking where we were. After nine plus hours enroute, we finally arrived at 6:00 PM. The location of this hotel on Boulevard Haussmann is great within walking distance of many attractions. This Paris to the Swiss Alps Viking river cruise was not up to the quality of previous ones. I prefer river cruises to ocean cruises because distances are shorter, docks are close to sites and shore scenery is interesting. However, in 2017 we tried an ocean cruise from Barcelona to Rome on Viking Star with Captain Rune Lokling. The ship and amenities were excellent but along the way our cautious Captain Lokling decided he could not dock at Marseille, a natural harbor since medieval times, so no excursions. Instead he went further east to Toulon, home port of the French Navy Mediterranean fleet. We sailed in under sunny skies with calm water. I took photos. Then the white pilot boat departed, and we sailed out again. No excursions. Two hours later our captain finally announced bad weather prevented docking. No Way! So, we bobbed around at sea for a day with nothing to do. Next, the tender returning from St. Tropez hit the hull with enough force to break a window and toilets on board Viking Star did not flush for two hours one afternoon. I complained to Viking customer service in California. They denied any problems, but Viking Star now has a different captain. Maybe Viking Alsvin should too. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We thought we would try Viking because, let's face it, they have great marketing. It was very reasonably priced, but you really do get what you pay for. We are experienced travelers who have traveled on Uniworld and Windstar for ... Read More
We thought we would try Viking because, let's face it, they have great marketing. It was very reasonably priced, but you really do get what you pay for. We are experienced travelers who have traveled on Uniworld and Windstar for years, so we are used to small ships, but the Viking ship was really disappointing. There are no amenities on the ship. No spa, no gym, no Jacuzzi, no room service, no library, no space to go sit anywhere, no free sodas, no attention from the staff and definitely no river cruising. Some nice people on the cruise, but most were traveling in groups and were exceptionally rude. Constantly saving tables in the dining room, chairs in the lounge and seats on the bus. Were were told many times "you can't sit there". Really, people! Even chased away from dining room tables after we were seated. Room was much smaller than it looks in the pictures. You walk in, take 2 steps and fall into the bed. Shower was so small, my husband didn't even fit. Water fluctuated between freezing cold and boiling hot. There was no where to go on the ship. You either sat on the bed in your room or in the lounge. We were so uncomfortable the whole trip. Meals were rushed, always clearing the tables and food away before meals times were over. Had to pay for soda if it wasn't at dinner. Not about the money, it just seemed petty. I'm going to try and summarize the trip itself. Embarked in Budapest, took the included tour the next morning expecting to return to the ship and cruise the Danube to our next stop. Well, the ship left! We were bused 1 1/2 hours to Vienna, nowhere near town. Viking proved no transportation to downtown unless you took their tour. Pointed out the U-Bahn stop and told us to take that. Did that and took a taxi back at the end of the day. Next stop was Krems. Ship was leaving at noon, so we had no time to do anything. Then told we had to pack everything and leave the ship the next day to a sister ship. We pulled to a random dock, got on a bus, 1 1/2 hours to Passau where we stayed until they picked us up at 4:30. Another 1 1/2 hours to a random dock in the middle of nowhere. Cruised overnight to Regensburg. Finally docked in town! We were so excited we could come and go as we please. Well, the ship left again. Had to stay in town until 5:30 in the freezing cold because there was no where to go. Next day we pulled in to Nuremberg more than 5 miles from town. We had pre-booked a hotel to get off the ship early, and we were so glad we did. We wanted to get off in Passau, but our luggage was on a truck somewhere up river. If you are fine with being on a bus, taking group tours and not thinking for yourself, this is the trip for you. If you are interested in really seeing the towns you are in, skip this mess and do it independently. Really a poor value for the money. I would take the excellent reviews with a grain of salt, because even without the river water level problems there is so much more wrong on this cruise that I have time to go into. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this cruise for an opportunity to spend more time in Paris and for the excursions to Auvers-Sur-Oise and the D-Day sites. The transportation strike in Paris interfered with our extension there, but the cruise itself was ... Read More
We chose this cruise for an opportunity to spend more time in Paris and for the excursions to Auvers-Sur-Oise and the D-Day sites. The transportation strike in Paris interfered with our extension there, but the cruise itself was wonderful. Viking handled the airport and ship transfers with perfection. The cabin and public spaces were beautiful as always, although we did find the bed rather uncomfortable. Our Program Director, Max, arranged a very moving wreath-laying ceremony at the American Cemetery in Normandy. He also was extremely helpful to us in re-booking tickets and transportation to an exhibit in Paris that we had missed because of the strike. The visit to Auvers-Sur-Oise in the footsteps of Van Gogh was most memorable. Seeing Van Gogh's tomb, side by side with his Brother's was quite touching. The excursion was complemented by the ship-board watercolor class and the very informative lecture on Impressionism. Service everywhere on the ship was prompt and gracious. The food was good, but not memorable. A live pianist provided pleasant background music in the lounge. On one occasion there were three delightful young opera singers. This was our 4th Viking cruise and we have already booked the next one. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Chose this cruise for the Christmas Markets from Passau to Budapest with a 3 day pre cruise extension in Prague. The extension in Prague was outstanding, a beautiful city especially during this time. Viking offers ‘included ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the Christmas Markets from Passau to Budapest with a 3 day pre cruise extension in Prague. The extension in Prague was outstanding, a beautiful city especially during this time. Viking offers ‘included tours’ in each stop. Some were walking tours others were bus tours so check to see which you sign up for. We used Viking Air service and were booked on Lufthansa. Incoming flight to Orlando caused us to miss connection in Frankfort...neither Viking nor Lufthansa were much of a help either rebooking or holding the Frankfort flight. Return flight had a 5 hour layover in Frankfort. Be aware when booking thru Viking. The ship itself was a bit of a disappointment. It is referred to to a ‘long ship’ which it is. The staff, while helpful, was somewhat distracted since this was the second to last cruise and most were going home within the next few weeks. The rooms are at best tiny. Storage is at a premium. Bathroom had a heated floor which was nice since we cruised in December. Bust again tiny with limited storage space. Dining was interesting. Viking does not accommodate medium sized groups for seating. We had to send a “scout” each night to stand in line before the doors opened to ensure we had a table for our party of 9. Service was attentive but slow. Wine/beer served with each meal. Menu selections were interesting, portions sufficient. Meals came out promptly and were presented well. Personally the soups were the highlight for me. Main courses nothing special. Entertainment was local and actually quite good. In my opinion, our cruise director was trying too hard to do his job. The hotel manager was great, funny and personable. My summary: compared to another river cruise I took, this was just ok. Viking gets raves but I was disappointed. Would I do another Viking? Perhaps. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose this itinerary because we wanted to go to the markets and we were not disappointed! We started in Amsterdam (we have been there before) and then traveled to Kinderdijk, where we have also been before. We then went to Cologne and ... Read More
We chose this itinerary because we wanted to go to the markets and we were not disappointed! We started in Amsterdam (we have been there before) and then traveled to Kinderdijk, where we have also been before. We then went to Cologne and our first Christmas market. It was absolutely magical! We continued to more markets in Germany and one in Strasbourg France. The markets did not disappoint and i filled an entire bag of gifts from the markets as well as ten different mugs from the markets. If you don’t care for the hot wine at the markets, get the hot chocolate, it’s incredible. The ships captain was probably the best of all 6 of our Viking cruises as was the hotel manager. Our favorite by far was Renee, our program director. However, quite a few of the crew seemed uninterested in us being there. As a matter of fact I had a bartender be incredibly rude to me which has NEVER happened on Viking before. Another crew member who witnessed it came over to me to apologize, but I was so upset about it I left the lounge and was uncomfortable seeing this crew member the rest of the trip. The ship seemed a bit run down and housekeeping was a bit lax although our cabin steward was very sweet. The food was incredible and, as usual, my food allergies were taken care of with extreme attention. We have another trip with Viking booked and my hopes are that we will return to the service that we are accustomed to with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
My husband and I were excited to sail on Sigrun by Viking River Cruises. We booked our Voyage in 2017 to sail in Fall 2019. We paid for a French Balcony room but were disappointed extremely when we were given a room on the bottom. I.m a ... Read More
My husband and I were excited to sail on Sigrun by Viking River Cruises. We booked our Voyage in 2017 to sail in Fall 2019. We paid for a French Balcony room but were disappointed extremely when we were given a room on the bottom. I.m a vegetarian and asked the Ship Chef if there will be any vegetarian option on the ship. He assured me that each meal has a vegetarian dish. So there was no option or choice for a vegetarian guest. And to my surprise, the understanding of a vege. meal for the Sigrun Staff was completely different than what I believe in. To my surprise the first vegetarian dish was a vegetarian soup made from/in Beef Broth. I can't stand the smell of beef, and for a Hindu, eating beef is a sin. The second experience was with Cesar Salad which consisted Ham on top. The staff on the ship was so reluctant to make any accomodation or adjustments to my choice. I asked for a grilled cheese sandwich for a meal one day but I was told that it can't be done since its not part of the menu. I asked for only asparagus for one dinner. Asparagus was being served with a meat dish. The server refused to serve only the asparagus to me. I basically ate bread and butter for most of the meals. The chef was being kind to make me a curry dish with a day before's leftover grilled vegetables. He mixed the tomato sauce and some water to make me a curry. I felt highly humiliated to see my special meal made from leftover food. When I went to share my negative experience to Ship Manager, Michael, he walked away without listening to me. I said I will write about it, he replied rudely, "Go for it" I don't know if I can ever go back with Viking or can advice anyone to sail with them, especially my vegetarian friends. Just to let you know that this was my fifth sailing experience and one of the worst one. My husband bought the special Silver Spirits Package, and none of the bottle served matched the list of menu listed on the Wine Menu. The positive points were: Most of the crew members, Cleaning Lady for our cabin, Bar Lady, The Radison Blu hotel in Amsterdam. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We had a day in Heidelberg that we were out from 10:00 to 3:30. We came in from the very cold day to a lunch of hot soup and finger sandwiches. I arrived about 3:35 and there were many still behind me. They were only serving one type of ... Read More
We had a day in Heidelberg that we were out from 10:00 to 3:30. We came in from the very cold day to a lunch of hot soup and finger sandwiches. I arrived about 3:35 and there were many still behind me. They were only serving one type of soup and when I got there they told me with no apology whatsoever that they were out of soup. I have been on at least 14 cruises on 4 different lines and I’ve never heard sorry, we’re out. The wait and bar service was mediocre. The cocktails were very inconsistent, I don’t think the bartenders were trained. the drink list was old fashioned and limited. One server grabbed my Cosmo before I was finished and put a napkin in it. When I said I was still drinking it he removed the napkin and handed it back. I wish I could say I was kidding. Shipboard entertainment was very weak. A piano player, a local choir, decorating the Christmas tree. Really, we decorate Your tree for you? The optional excursion that we did was disappointing. We paid $79 for an average meal at a German Restaurant. There was partying and an “oompah band” promised but the band did not even have a tuba. I don’t consider “Margaritaville” traditional German music. What was good: Not packing and unpacking, the stops. The included tours were actually good and they offered a more relaxed pace option for those who wanted it and the guides were good. Overall I would choose Tauck for a better experience. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I am willing to pay for a true luxury experience and that is what I thought I would get with Viking River but this is definitely not luxury, maybe 4 star for accommodations and 3.5 for food. Using an analogy to hotels, let's say Four ... Read More
I am willing to pay for a true luxury experience and that is what I thought I would get with Viking River but this is definitely not luxury, maybe 4 star for accommodations and 3.5 for food. Using an analogy to hotels, let's say Four Seasons/Mandarin Oriental/Conrad/Montage, etc. are at a top level 5 (which Viking River most certainly is not), Viking River is akin to a good Hilton. I splurged, I really wanted the luxury experience. So I paid extra for the verandah suite. Accommodations were nice especially for a "cruise". Spacious, clean and modern facilities (including a walk in shower with heated floors, an appreciated touch during the cold German nights). HOWEVER the food and service is definitely not luxury. Breakfast/lunch/dinner items are extremely generic and usually bland (to accommodate the tastes of the elderly who frequent these cruises). I ended up skipping dinner altogether most times and just having a protein drink in my room. For fitness buffs like myself, there is no gym by the way on these small river cruise ships which was a complete bummer. Similarly, the SERVICE was not luxury. The wait-staff are salt of the earth nice people who do a good job, but the level of deference and "invisible" service that you get at true luxury properties are not found here. Instead it seems the staff, particularly in the restaurant, are instructed to be outgoing and garrulous which is tiresome for me on a trip that is supposed to be relaxing. What really pissed me off is that I spent an extra thousand - on top of the premium price - on "optional" excursions which were a COMPLETE RIPOFF. For example, the Optional day trip to Munich, costing me an extra $279 PER PERSON, was just an hour and half drive on the bus, a pit stop at the FREE BMW headquarters, a walk around town (not even going inside to any of the multitude of museums), a pre-set rather cheap meal and then a ride back to the ship. THAT WAS AN EXTRA $300. Complete rip-off, it was literally a $40 car ride with a mediocre guide. All in all, if you love to go on cruises, this is probably one of the better ones but if you want true luxury - which I really really need for my VACATIONS - I will not be going on Viking again. OOOOHHHH how can I forget? The sleep issue. There was a constant clanging in the walls in what I was later told by the engineer as emanating from the hot water pipes. This clanging was LOUD, traveled all around the walls of my suite and CONSTANT. As in every 20 seconds 24/7. The captain came in, acknowledged the problem and offered ear-plugs. He said that this was just a built-in problem with the ship and the rooms...the hot water pipes are behind the walls of the small cruise ship and that when you cruise, you have to expect noises from the ship. I think that is UNACCEPTABLE for an experience labeled as "luxury" by the company. Getting good sleep is fundamental to a vacation and I did not get it here. AT THE VERY LEAST, the company should disclose this issue UP FRONT IN ITS ADVERTISING. Of course it does not. All in all, I am not impressed by the company and its lack of transparency and its cost-cutting measures that really do not make this a true luxury experience (for example, the coffee machines SUCK, do NOT offer decaf and the teas are just teabags that tasted gross...we're in Europe for crying out loud, premium teas are cheap and plentiful. By the way, WIFI is spotty and slow, you cannot stream movies which is UNACCEPTABLE these days especially if you don't offer other things to do on the ship like a gym, etc. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Extension in Prague was great, wonderful city but the Marriott they booked us at was the worst Marriott we ever stayed at. First there was construction noise all day, when we complained to the front desk the woman said nothing she could ... Read More
Extension in Prague was great, wonderful city but the Marriott they booked us at was the worst Marriott we ever stayed at. First there was construction noise all day, when we complained to the front desk the woman said nothing she could do. Our view was of a lower roof top...oh and the bar did not know how to make a Shirley Temple or apparently anything except a Mai Tai, the drink of the day everyday we were there. Bed was the worst I ever slept on, prisoners probably have better beds. The mattress pad was hard and lumpy, they replaced it with another which was just as bad...I finally told them do not even bother I pulled the pad off myself and we slept on the cheap thin foam mattress the entire cruise. Breakfast okay, lunch underwhelming but dinner usually good. Service in dining room was lacking, very hard to get cocktails and refills. Staff definitely not as good as on the Rhine cruise we did with Viking. Free tours are mostly bus tours, we either bought excursions or like in Passaic, did our own walking tour and went to a great cafe and Dachshund museum then Christmas Market and church. Worst thing was in Budapest we tried to arrange with the front desk for a cab to do High Tea at the Gresham Palace (did not want to walk as we dressed up) but they gave our cab to another room! We were late for our reservation and wasted our vacation time! I am sure our survey was thrown out. Bear in mind there are a lot of really old people and those who do not travel independently ever. The Christmas Market in Budapest we walked to on our own. Did not like the bread making and distillery tour in Austria...did not see any farm animals and did not make bread only kneaded, shaped and added toppings to it. Not sure we will do Viking again at this point. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We have traveled on 2 other Viking cruises and had a wonderful time. Great wine choices, lots of local food offerings and beautiful ports of call that we were able to explore in the evening. Since we had heard so many wonderful things ... Read More
We have traveled on 2 other Viking cruises and had a wonderful time. Great wine choices, lots of local food offerings and beautiful ports of call that we were able to explore in the evening. Since we had heard so many wonderful things about Portugal, we thought the Douro would be a good choice. None of these things held true for this trip. The same wine was served every night. Food was average. We were a group of 10 that were linked in our reservation - but we still needed to fight for a decent table each evening for dinner. Why couldn't we sit at the same table that fit us all? Excursions consisted of long bus rides and several times we drove longer to meet up with the boat in a different location. Not really the "luxury experience" Viking said they would provide. The biggest hassle was with Viking and Iberia Air. We paid the fee to work directly with Air Plus, so that we could get the flights we wanted. I received email confirmation of flights and seat assignments. But on departure day found out that Iberia does not hold seats unless they are paid for - which Viking does not do, even though we had paid the trip off months in advance. Why don't they pay for the seat and avoid the customer getting stuck by the bathroom or in a middle seat, especially when they paid to work with the Air Dept. Lack of transparency. Totally not luxury and very disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Beautiful part of France. A wine tasting excursion In Beaujolais country. The Nouveau Beaujolais uncorked when we were visiting. Year of Van Gogh and there was a wonderful day long excursion immersing in Van Gogh’s days in ... Read More
Beautiful part of France. A wine tasting excursion In Beaujolais country. The Nouveau Beaujolais uncorked when we were visiting. Year of Van Gogh and there was a wonderful day long excursion immersing in Van Gogh’s days in Arles. A variety of affordable excursions were offered at each stop, including one included excursion at no additional cost. The three included excursions I took were excellent. All tour guides were professional, congenial, and knowledgeable. I always felt safe. Local food opportunities numerous including a Taste of Lyon, the gastronomy capital of France. Viking ships are very comfortable. The staterooms are equipped with TV and free WiFi. Storage and closet space provide plenty of room. We unpacked all of our belongings for easy access. The bathrooms are very nice with great water pressure. The service onboard ship was of the highest caliber. From serving dinner to cleaning rooms, everyone was professional, congenial, and knowledgeable. The sailing crew were professional at all times. Food on board ship was very good. There was a variety each day as well as standard fare if one preferred. The free coffe/tea bar is a bonus. Onboard entertainment and lectures were outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I chose this cruise because I had been to Lyon once before but only for a day and I wanted to see more and I am a fan of French food, history, culture, wine and pretty much everything else. The stops were all wonderful and the tour guides ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I had been to Lyon once before but only for a day and I wanted to see more and I am a fan of French food, history, culture, wine and pretty much everything else. The stops were all wonderful and the tour guides quite good. The staff on the ship was observent and attentive, all spoke English (since my French is pretty creative that was helpful!). The wine and truffle day was most amazing- my favorite and well worth the investment. My room was nicely appointed and larger than I expected. The food and wine onboard was superb. One little story: After tramping through the damp, rainy, muddy forest in pursuit of truffles, my suede hiking boots were trashed. There was no way I could get the mud off the soles. I finally took them to the desk for some help. 2 hours later housekeeping returned them to me in a logoed box, wrapped in tissue, looking brand new! That was above and beyond expectations for sure!!! So the onboard experience was ib a scale of 1-5-- it was a 10! But the arriving and leaving, not so much. Arriving in Lyon in the pouring rain, the 11 travelers on this ship were greeted by one woman with one umbrella. After traveling for 12 hours, we had to gather all our checked and carry on luggage and drag it, in the cold rain for about a 10 mionute hike across the parking lot to where the bus was parked. She left us cold and wet on the bus to get another group. Upon leaving at 4 in the morning to Marsille, we were once again deposited in the icy wind, to get all our luggage off the bus and find the terminal from which we would leave, again a long walk with all our luggage, no help at all and no one to tell us where to go or what to do when we go there. An inauspicous end to what was a an overall wonderful experience, Beginnings and Finishings count. score 2 in my book. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
The breakfast choices were not as expansive as other river cruises and coffee was poor. Lunch choices as well were limited. Dinner choices were limited and some menus were good but small portions with protein. Deserts were average in ... Read More
The breakfast choices were not as expansive as other river cruises and coffee was poor. Lunch choices as well were limited. Dinner choices were limited and some menus were good but small portions with protein. Deserts were average in taste. If you don’t upgrade to silver spirits your wine will be poor. The ship service was good with the exception of dinner. The staff was slim for this sitting. The ship is very sparse in decor and looked a little worn out. Excursions were good and tour guides had good expertise. However the excursions could have had better tours in many of the locations because they had great material. I didn’t like paying the tips in advance and then being asked to give additional tips. Before booking Viking look at all the additional charges for the options. I felt nickel and dimed!! The boat had a window boarded up during the cruise in the dinning room. Also the ventilation seemed poor. The Thermostat in the state room did not appear to work. WiFi is pretty poor. Entertainment was just poor in comparison to other river cruises. I don’t like hearing about the history of Portugal as entertainment. Also if I hear about cork again I may ask someone to cork it!!! Not sure that I will become a Viking groupie Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I’ve wanted to experience a river cruise for quite a while! The crew & staff were outstanding, the food was exquisite & the cooks were very accommodating for my dietary needs! The shore experiences along the Rhine were marvelous! ... Read More
I’ve wanted to experience a river cruise for quite a while! The crew & staff were outstanding, the food was exquisite & the cooks were very accommodating for my dietary needs! The shore experiences along the Rhine were marvelous! I so enjoyed the walks through the towns along the Rhine! The town folk were friendly & very accommodating! There were more activities than could be done in one journey so there is incentive to return for even more adventures! The rooms are very comfortable with heated floors in the bath! There was plenty of room under the bed for luggage & generous drawer & closet space for our clothes! Buses took us to & from our adventures off the ship, & knowledgeable guides gave us tours of each site we visited, but when the tour guide finished there was time for walking & enjoying the sites, shops, restaurants & museums like the Chocolate Museum in Cologne! The small shops were so special as well as the larger shops! The experience will stay with me forever! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
This was our second Viking cruise and it was outstanding. We started with the optional Israel pre-cruise land tour. The tour guide, Jo Lane, was knowledgeable and outstanding. We visited all the biblical sites and more. The Dead Sea Scroll ... Read More
This was our second Viking cruise and it was outstanding. We started with the optional Israel pre-cruise land tour. The tour guide, Jo Lane, was knowledgeable and outstanding. We visited all the biblical sites and more. The Dead Sea Scroll Museum and the Western Wall did not disappoint. We stayed at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem which was elegant but somewhat dated. It appears that all Five Star hotels in the Middle East include breakfast. The King David had a fantastic spread every morning. After the 4 nights in Jerusalem, we flew to Cairo very early in the morning and checked into the Ritz Carlton. RECOMMENDATION: Since the first day in Cairo is free, we booked the Pyramid Light and Sound show via private car on TripAdvisor/Viatour a week before. This is really the only chance you will have to see it. We were picked up at 6:00 PM by our guide and driver and driven to Giza. We were given tickets to the show, the guide went inside with us, recommended where to sit and said he’ll be waiting outside for us after the show that started at 7PM and lasted an hour. He was and we were driven back to the Ritz. It was a memorable and great deal for about $52.00 each. The Ritz Carlton hotel was the best one we stayed at. It was very modern and had a great breakfast included each morning. BE ADVISED: Beer and wine in Egypt is moderately priced but spirits are stratospherically expensive! We never looked at the prices but just ordered a “double” martini at the bar at the Ritz. A “double” is misleading, since they pour very small shots, so we ordered a double just to get half a drink by our standards. The price? With service charge, VAT, each drink cost us $67.00!!!!!!!!!!!! The price for the same gin on the Viking RA was the same as the Ritz, so we purchased a beverage package on the ship, which turned out to be a steal. We flew to Luxor to catch the ship. The cruise ship was intimate and very nice. Everyone on the staff was outstanding. We both thought the food was also outstanding. We both did the hot air balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings and it was great. All of the included tours were excellent. The tour busses were first class with a restroom on board. Every single tour bus in Egypt has a government security man on board. They’re well dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and tie and have a small submachine gun tucked under their jacket! In addition, we had police escorts at many venues. Tourists are so important to Egypt’s economy, the government goes way out of their way to provide security and safety. Everything on this trip was top notch. You never hauled your luggage and there was a Viking person outside and inside each airport to assist. It was a great trip I would recommend to all! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
First let me tell you this was Passage to Eastern Europe. Our ship was supposed to be the Aegir, but was switched to the Embla at the last minute. This was our third Viking River Cruise having done the Rhine Getaway and the Romantic ... Read More
First let me tell you this was Passage to Eastern Europe. Our ship was supposed to be the Aegir, but was switched to the Embla at the last minute. This was our third Viking River Cruise having done the Rhine Getaway and the Romantic Danube. While on the Danube cruise, I asked our program director, George, which was his favorite cruise. He said Passage to Eastern Europe. Consequently, we booked it as soon as we got home. Caveat: while this was a fantastic cruise, I would not recommend it for a first Viking cruise. As usual, the Viking staff and crew were exceptional. Service, dining, accommodations, etc. all the very best. However, the itinerary is specifically geared from an historical and cultural viewpoint. The five countries we visited were all recently freed from communist rule. Their reactions and development to this new way of life are very eye opening, yet inspiring. In all cases, the people of these countries worked very hard to maintain their individual cultures--no matter who was oppressing them. Important to note; due to rules in place in the various cities and countries, Viking is not able to offer the "special" excursions for those with mobility issues--I am one of those people. Bear in mind, there is a lot of walking, some of it difficult, on this cruise. As I mentioned, the crew and were absolutely wonderful. Unfortunately, I developed a serious upper respiratory infection. It caused me to miss several excursions. I was getting concerned that it might turn into something serious. Viking managed to locate a doctor in Bulgaria who came on board, examined both me and my wife and prescribed medications. A woman who was on board with a children's choir for that night's entertainment, volunteered to go to a local pharmacy to get the meds for us. How wonderful was that!!! I missed several dinners (didn't want to be hacking and coughing on everyone) and Alexander, our waiter, brought soup to my stateroom each of those nights. Do I think Viking is the absolute best cruise line?? You bet!!! We have booked our next (and probably last) Viking cruise--I will be 81 years old by the time that rolls around; Paris to Normandy. Can't wait. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We arrived in Moscow 2 days early and were totally amazed at how clean the city was and how friendly all the people were. Our hotel in Moscow (Raddison) was like a palace. The food in the hotel was good also. We went to a local ... Read More
We arrived in Moscow 2 days early and were totally amazed at how clean the city was and how friendly all the people were. Our hotel in Moscow (Raddison) was like a palace. The food in the hotel was good also. We went to a local Ukranian restaurant and had a great time, the food was great, the waiters were fun and we felt like we knew everyone when we left. Shopping was also fun in Moscow. The Metro is like going to a historical art museum. The Kremlin was impressive as was St Basil. I would definitely reccomend going to Moscow a couple days early. The villages on the cruise were really interesting and educational. The school we visited was well done. it made me realize why everyone can speak english so well. They learn it with Russian from the 2nd grade on. The villages had lots of fun art objects to buy and the Russian Banyo was really good. St Petersburg was out standing of course, the architecture and history there is amazing. It's hard to take it all in. My opinion of Russian has changed completely, I went there thinking suppressed people, poverty, unrest, crime, I saw none of that if anything the opposite. It's a great country and the people are happy and resilent. The meals on board the Embla were wonderful as usual as was the entertainment and games at night. I got to help the chef make dumplings and had alot of laughs doing that what a great trip. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We were so fortunate to vacation on the Viking Einar. From the moment we were picked up at the airport in Basel to our departure in Amsterdam we were treated as royalty. Every member of the staff was excellent. It was the norm for staff ... Read More
We were so fortunate to vacation on the Viking Einar. From the moment we were picked up at the airport in Basel to our departure in Amsterdam we were treated as royalty. Every member of the staff was excellent. It was the norm for staff members to greet us with a smile and a hello. The cruise director was excellent. She was always prepared and saw to it that all the passengers were having a good time and all their needs were met. The Einar is a new Viking ship and the design is beautiful, with tasteful decor throughout the ship. We stayed in a French Balcony room. Though the room was small, there was enough storage space and the warm bathroom floor was a nice touch. We enjoyed our meals in both the main dining room and at the Acquivit Terrace. The dining staff was very attentive and there was a variety of choices on the menu. The wine and beer served during meal time was a nice touch. It was very interesting to dine with different people throughout the cruise. The evening entertainment in the lounge was always pleasant. I enjoyed when we had local musicians perform as the evening's entertainment. The ship's pianist was excellent and he read what the passengers enjoyed. A highlight of our vacation was the wonderful tours we went on. Each of our tour guides were excellent and we learned so much. We especially enjoyed a food tasting tour in Strasburg, France. It was amazing to see all the castles along the Rhine, as we cruised. The cruise director's commentary as we sailed, made the experience more meaningful. Each tour was well planned and the quiet-vox which each passenger used, was most helpful. We enjoyed visiting the monastery, Kloster Eberbach, where we toured, had a wine tasting and enjoyed dinner. Touring the windmills in the Netherlands was also a touring high point. Each tour we went on was excellent and gave us much information. We have sailed Viking River cruises a number of times and I look forward to sailing with them again. I highly recommend this itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We had done the Danube on a previous trip. The decision to choose Paris and the heart of Normandy was my husband’s wish to visit the Normandy beaches. It was a good decision. There was lots of interesting tours, both included and ... Read More
We had done the Danube on a previous trip. The decision to choose Paris and the heart of Normandy was my husband’s wish to visit the Normandy beaches. It was a good decision. There was lots of interesting tours, both included and optional. As expected, everything was perfect. Even though a first impression is the cabin is small, it works! The layout is efficient, it may take a bit of thought and organization though! There are not enough adjectives to adequately describe the service that is provided by every member of the staff. Everything anyone could have possibly wanted was provided, almost to the point of appearing as if by magic, anticipating everything! The food was out of this world. No one could have lost an ounce on Viking cruises. There were so many choices on the menu, local specialties, items that were available daily, as well as an ever changing dishes. Everyone on the staff should be commended. Each member of the staff treated us with kindness, taking time to stop and talk, or answer questions. No one was ever too busy to spend time with guests. This is the reason we will continue traveling with Viking. I can’t say enough glowing, wonderful, awesome, things. I just smile when I think of our trips and always, always tell people they MUST experience it for themselves. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
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