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6,919 Viking River Cruise Reviews

I used to cruise on Viking River ships then I started going on the Viking Ocean cruises for the last four years, I decided to go back on a Viking River cruise, and I was interested in this tour since it included two nights in Zurich, ... Read More
I used to cruise on Viking River ships then I started going on the Viking Ocean cruises for the last four years, I decided to go back on a Viking River cruise, and I was interested in this tour since it included two nights in Zurich, Switzerland and two nights in Paris in hotels. This trip make the fifteen cruise on Viking River or Ocean ship. I was afraid the River trip would not be as good as the Ocean trip since the Ocean ship is larger and they have more activities and restaurants. I did not need to worry the food was still great, they had local entertainment at night, in addition to piano player, and excellent free shore excursions. I love the Quiet boxes, you can really hear the information about the places you are visiting. We got to meet some interesting people at dinner. All and all it was an excellent trip. We started off in Zurich At a Hotel, where Viking provided a free cruise on Lake Zurich, then Went to Basel old town then to Strasbourg, an enjoyable twon with Renaissance architecture. In Mainz, we visited the Gutenberg Museum showing the importance of the printing press, t, We then cruised on upper Rhine ,enjoying the view of castles on hillsides. We visited some small Germany towns Speyer, Koblenz and Cochem with cobblestones and great white wine. One tour even included free wine tasting and explanation of wine making from the owner. We switched to Moselle River and ended portion of River cruise and took bus to Paris, it was a long day since we visited Luxenbourg cemetery, where Patton is buried and other World War II American veterans, then on to old city of Luxemberg, and finally arriving in Paris just in time to hit heavy traffic. Next day we had morning bus tour of Paris ending at Notre Dame Catheral. In the afternoon we went on our own riding Metro to funicular to go to Sacred Heart. We walked around enjoying the view overlooking Paris. Cathedral was free so only cost was $9 euros for Metro and funicular. The metro was clearly marked you just have to know last stop to know which direction you want to go. Viking had offered a tour that covered the trip and I am sure one would get more information on the church but I was more interested in the overview. I used the money instead for a nice lunch to the left of the church and up the street there were numerous eating areas. When you are off the boat, and staying at the hotels only the breakfast is included I am looking forward to my next river cruise when Viking starts sailing on the Mississippi River, maybe 2021. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise primarily for itinerary as we wanted to start in Paris. We did a pre-extension on our own in Paris in order to see the beaches of Normandy, where my father in law spent the week after D-Day. We also did a Viking ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily for itinerary as we wanted to start in Paris. We did a pre-extension on our own in Paris in order to see the beaches of Normandy, where my father in law spent the week after D-Day. We also did a Viking post-excursion 4 day trip in Switzerland. Embarkation, disembarkation, and all transfers were run exceptionally smoothly. Viking has a well oiled machine. Food sensitivities were excellently handled by the Maître D and dining staff throughout the cruise (was able to pre-order lunch and dinner at breakfast). Staff were very attentive at most times. Viking is much hyped on much social media so perhaps our expectations were heightened but we found the food to be nice but not exceptional. Dinner took 2 hours as expected however there would be 10-15 minute gaps between removal of first course dishes and arrival of 2nd course. Rooms were well kept. The included excursions were generally well run. Cochem and cruising the Rhine Gorge were the highlights for me. It was a first river cruise - I loved it, the quiet lap of water, the lack of swells, the novelty of locks. My husband, however, didn't feel there was enough of interest in the small port towns. Totally personal preference. Post-cruise trip to the Alps was delightful - despite rain and fog on our two attempts at the high Alps. Overall impression: well run ship and line; typical cruise industry food, eager to please staff, slow pace of service for dinner in dining room, able to handle special requests well. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We sailed the Passage to Eastern Europe with the added pre-extension in Prague. Overall Viking is very organized in terms of transporting you from place to place. Starting at the airport, there was a Viking Rep waiting for us. We were kept ... Read More
We sailed the Passage to Eastern Europe with the added pre-extension in Prague. Overall Viking is very organized in terms of transporting you from place to place. Starting at the airport, there was a Viking Rep waiting for us. We were kept waiting for another couple, who never showed, for an hour and a half. Here’s where some common sense should’ve kicked in. Maybe wait a half hour and then take us to the hotel. We were exhausted from a long flight and wanted to rest at the hotel. We were booked at the Corinthia, which is a wonderful hotel The room was a good size and very clean. They have three good restaurants and a lounge for late-night coffee or drinks. Breakfast was included and very good. They have a Viking Desk at the hotel which is convenient. They had signed us up for the city tour, which we opted out of, so they arranged transportation for us to join the food tour which we had signed up for. The tour was good with three restaurants and several dishes to try. Very little walking. We also did the Prague by Night tour which drove us through the city at night with some beautiful stops for amazing views of the city. They also had a complimentary shuttle to the Old Town from the hotel, which we took advantage of to explore on our own. To get to Budapest was an 8-hour or so bus ride. We stopped a couple of times for bathroom breaks and lunch. It was essentially a lost day. We stayed at the Hilton in the castle district, which is absolutely stunning. Check-in was less smooth with everyone crowding the desk to get a room key. At this point I had pulled a muscle in my calf and was unable to go on one of the tours. Beware: Once Viking has your money, YOU WILL NOT get it back. We were told no refund unless we paid $130 Euros for a doctor’s note. We were looking to get back $180 US. Having traveled several cruise lines, Viking is the only one who wouldn’t refund our money for missing an excursion. We paid $20K for the trip and they have lost a customer forever. I hope the $180 was worth it. Awful service. Budapest is stunningly gorgeous. We went on a few of the tours, which were part bus, part walking tours. After two nights, Viking takes you on a day tour and then finally to the ship. Getting on board is relatively easy as you just check-in at the front desk and relinquish your passport. They had a light lunch waiting for us and shortly after 3:00 we entered our cabin. The ship was in good shape, clean, and inviting. It’s color palette is blonde wood with beige furniture and accessories. Because it’s a river boat, the spaces are smaller and fewer. The largest spaces are the lounge, dining room, and top deck. We never had any issues finding a table or seating for lounging. At night there is a pianist/singer in the lounge. That’s about it for entertainment unless they bring in locals for dancing and other activities. The food is good. Each night they have a tasting menu based on the country you’re docked in. Everything we tried was very tasty. Dining times are rigid for each of the three meals. However, if you do miss a meal, the staff is extremely well trained and accommodating so you can likely get something if you ask. We traveled through Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania. Most of the tours are around 4 hours and some combination of bus and walking. All of the guides talked about the wars and Communism, which was really interesting. We had two full-day tours the last two days. On one of the tours we drove out to Veliko Tărnovo for a bathroom break, coffee, and photo op. Then on to Arbanasi for a walking tour and lunch, and then back to the other village for an “hour+ of free time.” Why not just head back to the ship? Instead we arrived back with less than an hour to spare before dinner. It felt like they just wanted us to spend money in town. The next day we disembarked, en masse, in 100 degree heat to be driven around all day and kept away from the hotel until after 4:00. There were no other options but to be forced on to this tour to get us off the boat. So, it says 11 days, but you’re only on the boat for 7. This means some of your meals are on you in addition to what you’ve already paid for the cruise. Overall we saw some beautiful places that have not yet been commercialized. We learned a lot about this part of the world. We met some wonderful people and had some great food. There were a few things that did leave a bad impression, most notably the refusal to refund one of the excursions. We expect more for the high cost of the trip. For our next cruise, we’d select a company who understands that fully accommodating its customers means repeat business. Viking, unfortunately, doesn’t get that part. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We have traveled with Viking before and always had pleasant experiences. We have never been to Russia and this looked like a nice cruise. It was our first time on their older ships. When we got to our stateroom we couldn't believe ... Read More
We have traveled with Viking before and always had pleasant experiences. We have never been to Russia and this looked like a nice cruise. It was our first time on their older ships. When we got to our stateroom we couldn't believe how noisy it was. It turns out we were located right below the major air handler for the entire ship. Besides the loud air noise there was a throbbing pulsing noise that made it impossible to sleep. We complained and were told that there was nothing they could do to silence the noise. They had an empty suite but they would not let us use it unless we paid the upgrade fee. Their solution was to let us use a stateroom that was empty on the second floor to sleep in. This room was quiet but didn't have the veranda that we paid extra for so we didn't want to move to that room permanently. So every night for the entire cruise we would go down to the second floor to sleep and then back to 422 during the day. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
My aunt and I wanted to go to Switzerland to see the Alps after much research our travel agent recommended a Viking River Cruise. I’ve always wanted to visit Amsterdam/Holland to see the windmills so the Rhine Getaway seemed like the ... Read More
My aunt and I wanted to go to Switzerland to see the Alps after much research our travel agent recommended a Viking River Cruise. I’ve always wanted to visit Amsterdam/Holland to see the windmills so the Rhine Getaway seemed like the opportunity to do two countries that we both wanted to visit. We arrived in Amsterdam and were met by a Viking Representative and taken to the Viking Vidar. Our flight was an early arrival so our room wasn’t ready after an 8 hour flight Viking got us right onto the ship and into their lounge we were able to relax, have a snack before heading out to take a canal cruise of Amsterdam (so convenient within walking distance). Every Country we visited (Germany, France, Switzerland) and the included excursions were wonderful. We enjoyed just sitting on the sun deck, floating by beautiful scenery (castles, small villages, mountains, vineyards, etc). The crew were so friendly and attention to detail was everything I had hoped. I was amazed that after the first day they would know your name. Gavin our program director made sure things ran smoothly when you were off the ship and when we returned from an excursion the Captain would greet you back onto the ship while the hotel manager would have some little treat for you! Attention to detail!! We stayed two extra days in Lucern Switzerland and WOW even then Viking was available if you needed anything. We were sad to leave Switzerland the Alps were beautiful!!! Must take the train to Mürren, Switzerland you will be so happy you did. I highly recommend Viking worth every penny! Thank you to the Vidar cabin steward for making my birthday special. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
My husband and I had been planning a wonderful birthday celebration for him, so we decided on Viking. We had heard from many friends on how superb and excellent it was to travel with Viking. This was not our first cruise as we have done ... Read More
My husband and I had been planning a wonderful birthday celebration for him, so we decided on Viking. We had heard from many friends on how superb and excellent it was to travel with Viking. This was not our first cruise as we have done several cruises at least 1 every 2 years, fortunately enough with other very high-end lines - Oceania and Regent Seven Seas. We are lucky enough that we can afford high-end cruise liners so we thought Viking would be in the same category as our past cruise experiences! We booked the Eastern European cruise from Bucharest to Budapest from Aug 21-28, 2019. Boy were we SO wrong!!! I am currently sitting in my hotel room on August 25, in Sofia, Bulgaria writing this review, we have been here since August 23. The reason I am writing this today and posting to all different websites instead of communicated directly with Viking is because we have already tried that. We had an extremely unsatisfying phone conversation with Viking customer service when we arrived in Sofia, Bulgaria after disembarking. The lady on the phone was quite rude and dismissive of our issues. She was unwilling to admit any fault with Viking Cruises or their services and told us that we “chose to leave” therefore, there was no compensation for our dissatisfaction and that we should of purchase travel insurance. Really? Based on how we have been treated so far, we would not consider another Viking Cruise. We are on the younger side of their demographic, are active on social media, and have a wide circle of friends. If this is how we are treated, I cannot imagine how they dealt with the very elder members of the cruise. This is how are travel story began: We literately got on the ship on August 21 and disembarked and left on August 23 (being my husband's birthday)- two days into our cruise! The last thing you want to do is pack again when you have only spent 1 night on a ship. But it was such an awful and uncomfortable experience and my husband was so unhappy, we made the decision to leave the ship and told the ship's hotel director that we were disembarking on the next port of call (Vidin, which by the way, the ship did not stop there, but instead we made it to Lum as the ship had some issues getting to Vidin! - not surprise, as we were late the day before arriving to the first port of call Russe, Bulgaria to pick up the majority of the passengers who got off for their tours in a different location). Just think to have to decide to either deal with this awful experience for another 5 nights or cut your losses and leave ship, we chose the latter. We had to at least close the day of his 60th birthday in a place we would be more comfortable at. To start, we arrived on Saturday, August 17 in Bucharest from the US as we wanted to spend a couple of days on our own touring the city. We are not big on group tours and prefer doing our own thing (this is another big problem if you travel with Viking but will fill you in on that part of the story later). We were told to speak to our local Viking contact at the Sheraton Bucharest hotel - where we were staying as part of their 1 day pre-cruise land offer (and at least it is a very nice hotel, and since I hold Platinum status with them, we were upgraded to a lovely suite). Pre-cruise meeting August 20th in the evening – Sheraton Hotel: The Viking person there told us to have our luggage out by 7:30 am on August 21 and to meet in the lobby by 9 am. She indicated that there would be a scenic tour through the city on our way to a location for lunch and then a bus ride to the ship. What we were not told or even offered, especially for those guests that had already been in the city for days prior to cruising, was given an option to go straight to the ship from the hotel. August 21, ship boarding day, what really happened: Stop 1 - they bused us around the city again and took us to Old town (our 5th time there, remember, we arrived on August 17th!), then wanted to give us a walking tour of Old town, why??? We told them we had already been there 5 other times, so instead my husband and I sat around some bank building steps for almost 2 hours while the rest of the guest did their so called "tour" what a waste! At this time of day (9 am) all of Old Town restaurants are closed and only some coffee shops were open, we just had breakfast at the hotel as instructed! We sat around from 9 to 11:30 am! I asked Diani (or Dina) our very confused tour guide on bus 14, if there was a better option for us that we could meet them at the restaurant, she actually threatened and said that if we did not arrive at the restaurant, we would have to take a private car to the ship and that was about 1 hour and 45 minutes ride, so my husband and I decided to tag along. Old town tour is done thankfully, and now they tell us we are going to the Parliament building for a 10-minute picture stop and finishing up at the Museum of the Villages before lunch. Stop 2 - We crossed through town again, and saw the same scenery, the arch, the revolution square, heard the same stories and finally arrived at the Parliament location again and after 10 minutes those that got off for “picture moments” got back on the bus, where the tour guide and her very valuable assistant proceeded to do a head count and appeared that they were short 1 person as she stated that we were originally 37 on our bus (#14) and now we were 36. She then told us that we could not leave until such person was found and asked us if we knew this person? How could we know such person as we just all boarded 2 hours ago, none of us have even met, let alone know all the passengers on board? She didn't even know if we were looking for a man or woman. After an almost 45-minute wait in the parking lot, they finally gave up and we headed to the Museum of the villages tour. Stop 3 – Museum of Villages - What a dump, The is and old, mosquito infested open air museum that has the different house structures of Romania within its compound, we were forced to be there for 2 hours, so again we tried to find a decent place to sit while we waited for our 2 pm departure. We sat in an un air-conditioning hut where they Come to find out, that during this tour, the tour guide's quiet head sets and microphone were not working so no one could hear her talking about this 'wonderful museum'. Again, my husband and I do not like group tours, and we made this clear to the agent when we booked our cruise directly with Viking, he told us we could also do our own thing, really? Stop 4 – LUNCH - So now we are down to lunch, oh boy, it was at Pescarus by a local lake (why not Hard Rock cafe next door, at least the building is nicer, and they have real a/c and great food). The tour guide made it sound that this was an exceptional high-end restaurant with wonderful local food. This restaurant reminded us of an old 70 diner in Vegas, the food was some type of composition of lots of onions with some 3 pieces of meat, potatoes and bread, with some side salad. Wine, water and if you only asked beer, as they didn't voluntarily offered beer or told us it was included in our meal. My husband had already gone to the bar and paid for his as we didn't know it was also included. This was lunch – nursing home cafeteria!!! Oh, and some local folkloric dancing was provided for entertainment. Guys this is what you call luxury travel and superb top of the line service, read your advertisement, it is a SCAM, total SCAM!!! Then finally we are off to the ship, almost 2 hours into the drive, the tour guide's information about Romania is focused on that people have their own gardens, grow their own vegetables and fruits, and have cows, chicken, and pigs in their lands, and indicates "to the left you will see some cows, to the right you will see how gypsies live. Coming to the right again are more cows and some chickens"? Really... ok so we finally arrive the ship.... Finally, on board - Room was quite small, but appeared comfortable at least, we had room 323 on the highest level with a Veranda (never got to use it). The ship has NO WOW factor, it is small, clean, but small. Our room had a mini bar but of course empty why would they want to even fill it up with sodas, juice and beer for you, like most "LUXURY" cruises do when you pay such a high-price, of course not, we are just cattle and their job is to hurry you up to the next port of call get you off the ship and put you on another awesome tour for the day, give you some petty lunch and bring you back for dinner. We could see this coming. We had a decent dinner and some drinks at the bar and called it a night, we could not get much sleep as people were walking above our room, since we were on the top floor above us was the walking track! There is a taped paper sign by the railing asking guest that as a "curtesy not to walk between the hours of 10 pm to 7 am" did they see, read or listen, no! So between toilet flushes (oh yes, they have some type of vacuum system that is so loud, you can hear everyone’s flushes all night long - remember, the majority of passengers on this ship were over 70, I think we were the youngest, so they go to the restroom a LOT! And the guest walking above our room, we probably got 4 hours of sleep, but we thought when they all get off the boat tomorrow, we can relax and enjoy the ship and sleep in -- not! We were told that for those that were not going on tours in Russe, Bulgaria the next morning, they could lower their room speaker’s volume so you would not be disturbed! Right!!! 7:45 am a loud speaker wakes us up, literately we both jumped out of bed, as they had to announce the departing time for tours!!! We tried to reduce the speaker volume, and were unsuccessful as it was broken, so we knew now that sleeping in would not be an option for the next days. We decided to try and go to bed once again after everyone got off the boat and this is where the real meal plan begins. You see they offer breakfast from 7-9, because they don't expect any one to remain on the ship, why would they bother to extend breakfast time to maybe 10:30 for those that do want to stay onboard. All luxury ships provide some type of meal service throughout and 24 hours. This ship does not offer ROOM SERVICE, so you are screwed. You must eat at hours told, if not, you will end up like us with no breakfast or lunch for our first full day on board. By the time I got up on the first day of cruising (Aug 22), we both missed out on breakfast, tough luck! They had some breads and cold cuts, but forget some nice eggs or omelet, bowl of cereal or warm toast. We decided to stay on board to see how the experience would be as we had decided not to join any of the "free tours" based on our pre-cruise tour experience we could see the quality and decided to just get off where we could at each port of call and do our own thing (of course we didn't get to do that as we permanently got off the next day!). 1st full and last day on board - here it goes, we have no real breakfast, for lunch we both napped again and by the time we woke up we had missed the light lunch they sat out for the maybe 12 passengers that stayed on board. So, we ate what was left before they picked up by 2 pm. My husband likes to smoke his cigars, and proceeded after lunch to go to the upper deck to have one and enjoy the river view, to his amazement, they had removed all shading in the designated "smoking" area at the back of the ship, he literately sat in the withering sun at 90 degrees F trying to enjoy his cigar, he could not and just got up and we ended up spending the remaining of the day in the a/c lounge area. There is absolutely no wait service in the upper deck. If you want to get a drink, you must go down to the bar and order one. You are on your own. By this time my husband was so fed up with how the services are on board and the limited staff that is available we were so disenchanted that I only wanted to be off this ship! So, this is how the meals program works, breakfast is 7-9 am, lunch 12-2 pm, however, the restaurant is not open for those days where everyone or the majority of passengers our off on tours. So, the only day that lunch would even be available in the restaurant is the 24th as it was the only "Sailing day" to "enjoy the luxuries of this ship" a joke. Dinner starts at 7 pm as per their program sent to us. Not true, on the ship we were told that if you did not make it past 7:20 pm in the restaurant, most likely you would miss out on your appetizer, and if you got there by 7:45 pm you would might not get your main course, so of course everyone like cattle, herd over to the restaurant right at 7 pm! What a joke, where is the luxury in this, the comfort, why work on your time vs. ours! We are paying for this service it is not a nursing home, but we sure felt like it! We were so disgusted with this that we didn't even put in our dinner order we went back to our room and discussed our options, we decided to cut this trip short and leave! Didn't care where, just leave! I spoke with the Hotel director on board and explained that we were so disenchanted with this whole experience we just wanted off the boat. We left August 23 at 9 am to never, ever turn back. We ended up having to pay for a driver to take us to Sofia, Bulgaria $200 Euros. Booked a room at the Hilton in Sofia for 5 nights and booked two one-way plane tickets $1500 K to take us from Sofia to Budapest on the 28th as we already have the 2 post days in Budapest booked with Viking. We don't head home until the 1st of Sept so it would of cost us a lot of money to change our first-class seats back to the US for an earlier departure, plus Budapest has been on our bucket list for a long time. So, to summarize our experience, if you are looking for true luxurious travel, with all the comforts of high-end cruising VIKING IS NOT, again NOT FOR YOU! Our advice, please do your research, I failed to do this, and we relied on what people we knew that travel like us had shared! I didn't bother to read reviews, or investigate further, since their pricing and advertising is similar to those true luxury lines, we didn't think twice on booking. However, lessons learned, from now on it does not matter how experience travelers we are, we will always check. I am so upset about this, this cost us over $15,000 K, we could have done a beautiful resort in Hawaii or a luxury pent-house cruise in the Caribbean for this price, but no, we chose Viking due to their misleading, false advertising. As I initially stated, I called their customer service number once we arrived at Sofia, Bulgaria to ensure that they would NOT cancel our hotel in Budapest as it was part of the package and to also request a partial refund for such an awful experience. They lady on the phone proceeded to tell me that we didn't buy trip insurance and therefore, we were not owned anything back! As we chose to leave, no lady, you gave us plenty of reasons to leave that is the big difference!! We didn't buy trip insurance, why would we, we are both healthy and had every intention to make this trip, it is my husband’s 60th. She told me that if we would have purchased it, there would have been a partial refund. NOT TRUE, their trip insurance does not refund you for dissatisfied services only for the following as per their brochures: CANCEL FOR ANY REASON WAIVER DETAILS What We Will Do: Under the “Cancel For Any Reason” Waiver, we will waive our cancellation penalties and reimburse you in cash or travel vouchers (depending on the reason for cancellation) for the nonrefundable portion of your Viking trip cost, provided that you cancel before your scheduled departure. We will also waive any additional fees you would otherwise incur for a change in your per person occupancy rate if a person booked to travel with you cancels his or her trip and you do not cancel your trip. How You Are Reimbursed: If you cancel for one of the “Specified Reasons” listed in the Protection Plan document, we will reimburse you in cash. If you cancel for any other reason, we will reimburse you with a travel voucher that can be used for future voyages with us. The maximum amount covered under this “Cancel For Any Reason” Waiver is the cost of the travel arrangements provided by Viking Cruises. TRIP INTERRUPTION AND DELAYED ARRIVAL - Provides You with a reimbursement for the unused prepaid, non-refundable Payments or Deposits for Your land or water Travel Arrangements for Your Trip, plus the additional airfare cost to return home, if Your Trip is interrupted for a covered reason. MISSED CONNECTION - Provides You with a reimbursement for the unused portions of Your land or water Travel Arrangements, plus the additional costs to join Your trip, if Your arrival at the Trip destination is delayed for 3 hours or more for a covered reason. TRAVEL DELAY - Assists with additional travel expenses incurred when You are delayed at least 12 hours due to a covered reason. In the event of a covered delay, You will be reimbursed for additional expenses for hotels, meals, and transportation. AIR FLIGHT ONLY ACCIDENTAL DEATH & DISMEMBERMENT - Provides coverage up to the maximum benefit payable for loss of life, limb or sight resulting from an Accidental Injury. MEDICAL EXPENSE/EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE - Provides Medical Expense benefits for a covered Sickness or Injury incurred while on Your Trip. When required, We will evacuate You to the nearest qualified hospital and will then return You home when You are safe to travel. POLITICAL OR SECURITY EVACUATION - Provides coverage for all reasonable evacuation expenses incurred for Your transportation to the nearest safe haven, if You must leave Your Trip for a covered Political or Security Event. Evacuation must occur within 10 days of any Political or Security Event. BAGGAGE & PERSONAL EFFECTS - Provides reimbursement when Your baggage or personal belongings are damaged, lost or stolen during Your Trip. Personal belongings include such things as loss of luggage, jewelry, passports or travel visas. Ms. Viking Customer service or better yet, Mr. Hagen (CEO and President of Viking) tell me where you would reimburse me if we were unsatisfied with your services if we would have even opted to buy your so called “travel Insurance” oh but yes, another scam. Things to know, the main drive of Viking is to sell you tours, to get you off their ships like cattle herding as they now don't have to entertain you with drinks and meals on board. They put you on buses and bus you around and give you nice bottles of “warm” water and some type of lunch meal, then bus you back to their ship and feed you again to put you back to sleep in your corral and do this all over the next day. I call Viking a low-class glamping service, that really is what they are. There is absolutely no way to reach out to those higher up in the Viking organization, but one wonders if they are possibly well aware of these selling methods and activities. It is all about driving profit. I feel that as a consumer is my right to advocate for us travelers, and if publishing my review throughout all travel sites will have my voice heard, I will do until I have someone in the Viking organization try and appease this situation with us and reimburse us partially for such a disappointing and disastrous experience. I will also be disputing this with my credit card company. Also, anyone would be so kind, please share this review. Again, thank you for taking the time to read my review and feel free in reaching out to us, united we have a bigger voice. August 25, 2019 Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Have been ocean cruising for a few years now and thought we would give river cruising a try. We saw Jane Mcdonald on a Danube river cruise, liked the itinery, so started looking around. Viking seemed to get a lot of excellent reviews, ... Read More
Have been ocean cruising for a few years now and thought we would give river cruising a try. We saw Jane Mcdonald on a Danube river cruise, liked the itinery, so started looking around. Viking seemed to get a lot of excellent reviews, nothing negative that we could find, so we booked with them. First off, they posted a nice personalised brochure to us. I logged onto their website and reserved our trips-don't worry if you forget this, you are automatically reserved on each of the included excursions and can change these at anytime, even on board. The meet up with the Viking rep at the airport and coach trip to the ship is very smooth.Once on the coach you won't touch your luggage again until its delivered to your cabin. On arrival we were shown around the ship and our cabin, and (depending on the time you arrive) were directed to a wine and cheese tasting event to get things going. The cabin was bigger than I expected, at least the same as on ocean cruises. Spotlessly clean and nicely decorated. Bottled water every day. Food was very good. Great choices with local variations at each port. Wine and beer included with every lunch and dinner. Waiters are mainly Philippino, very cheerful and clearly enjoy working for Viking. Nothing is too much trouble. Entertainment is obviously different to on an ocean cruise but the singers, musicians, and Tim our entertainment Director, are of very good quality and perfect for a ship of this size. Be prepared to join in, it makes for a great evening. Tim must eat Duracell batteries for breakfast, he's a human dynamo. The excursions are excellent, they run so smoothly and are fabulous. Water bottles are handed out as you leave the ship, so no getting dehydrated. No photographer on board (hooray! ), no sales pitches,no gym, a small onboard shop for those who collect memorabilia. Basically, what you pay for the cruise is virtually all you need to budget for, no nasty surprises. And no children on board! We are definitely using Viking again, we only need to decide where to go! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We've been talking about taking a river cruise for a long time and finally decided this was the time to go. So happy we did. So much nicer than the huge ships on other cruise lines. The ship was beautiful, the cabin was comfortable ... Read More
We've been talking about taking a river cruise for a long time and finally decided this was the time to go. So happy we did. So much nicer than the huge ships on other cruise lines. The ship was beautiful, the cabin was comfortable and the dining was wonderful. I always like to try new foods and was never disappointed in the quality. Also, the included excursions were really good and there were additional excursions to choose from. The entertainment was very good and the service was first-rate. We picked this cruise line because there were no small children, no rock climbing wall, no disco and no hard sell to buy jewelry or artwork. The staff, including the captain, were very warm and friendly and always there to help get whatever you needed. We will definitely do another cruise with Viking. It was the most relaxing cruise we've ever had and would recommend it to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We started the trip with a non-stop flight from Newark to Lisbon. We upgraded to Economy Plus for the extra leg room and enjoyed a smooth flight. We landed in the early morning and after clearing passport control we were met by Viking and ... Read More
We started the trip with a non-stop flight from Newark to Lisbon. We upgraded to Economy Plus for the extra leg room and enjoyed a smooth flight. We landed in the early morning and after clearing passport control we were met by Viking and transported to the Hotel Tivoli Avenida Liberdade Lisboa. It was a lovely hotel and we enjoyed our stay. We arrived so early we had to wait a little until our rooms were ready. Since I am useless with no sleep we just sat in the lobby until our room was ready. Our room was facing the interior courtyard and there was some noise from the nightclub on the roof but I was so jet lagged I was able to sleep. The hotel was very nice and clean and the included breakfast was terrific. We found a very nice seafood restaurant down the street from the hotel and we enjoyed dinner there. The second night we ate at a place recommended by the hotel but that was not exactly what we wanted. The food was tasty but floating in a bowl of gravy. Our transfer to Porto was quite a ride but we did make 3 stops to break it up, a comfort stop , a stop for lunch and a visit to Coimbra University. The tour buses were very comfortable and equipped with a rest room and wifi. This made the trip easier to bare. Our arrival at the ship was smooth and we were given our room keys as we got off the bus. The cabins were all ready and everyone was happy to arrive and unpack finally. The meals on the ship were all very good, the weather was perfect. Cool in Lisbon and Porto and the much warmer as we got into the Douro Vally. One thing about the meals was that if you didn’t take then Chef’s suggestion he took it personally. I had duck one day and did not want the gravy. He became so upset and insisted the duck needed the gravy. It was just a personal thing I don’t care for gravy but he was acting like I suggested we go club baby seals. One night my husband ordered from the always available side of the menu. The waitress again was horrified and tried to get him to order something else. I just found that strange. The tours were all very nice my favorites were the dinner at Grahams and the Bread Bakery tour. When we were riding up to Grahams the tour guide told us that we probably didn’t know each other yet but when she picked us up at the end of the dinner we would be great friends and we were. A beautiful dinner in a beautiful place. The bread bakery was amazing. I love bread and this was the best bread I ever tasted. The lady took it right out of the oven and handed it to me. I had to grab some napkins to stop from burning my hand. I enjoyed the warm bread with butter and homemade jam. We did several wine tasting at wineries. The Sanderman winery was interesting though the ride up there was very scary. There was nothing bad that happened but I was nervous. The Viking drivers were very skillful and careful. How they negotiated the hairpin curves and the narrow roads in the big bus was truly amazing. They always got applause and a handshake when we returned. The day in Salamanca ,Spain was very nice. Plaza Mayor reminded us of Venice. We enjoyed a lunch there . Delicious and reasonable priced. We enjoyed the ship probably even more because we received an upgrade to a Veranda Suite. I am afraid I have been spoiled. The bed was comfortable and the room was spotless. Our cabin steward was perfect. She kept our room in tip top condition. The final day we were sadly transported the Porto airport for another direct flight to Newark. It was a wonderful vacation. I cant wait for my next Viking trip. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
While we were questioned by family and friends, and found out almost everyone else on the cruise as well, as to why did we want to go to Russia? Our family were concerned about our safety, especially after weeks of protests in Moscow. ... Read More
While we were questioned by family and friends, and found out almost everyone else on the cruise as well, as to why did we want to go to Russia? Our family were concerned about our safety, especially after weeks of protests in Moscow. None of this daunted our desire to go, especially since we had already paid for the cruise. We wanted to see something we knew would be very different and were raised to treat Russia as an enemy country. We were really in for a pleasant surprise - we absolutely loved Russia. We learned so much about the country, the people, their history; how they suffered during WW II and also how they suffered under communism prior to the fall of the Soviet Union. That's why we went, and while this will probably be the once in a lifetime trip, we'd do it again given the opportunity. We are first time river cruisers - really want to do another river cruise somewhere - most likely Europe. We were so impressed with Viking - their planned tours were fantastic. The ship was exceptionally well maintained. Don't be daunted by the 1975 ship build date - Viking keeps is looking new at all times!! Our cabin (room 300) was very comfortable. The food was great; the staff absolutely top notch - I'd love to cruise with this crew again. One concern I've read before going was that there is only 1 elevator on this ship and the stairs are quite steep. My wife and I are in the 60s and 70s, in good shape. We only used the stairs - had no problem going up and down. Used the elevator once to take our suitcases down to weigh them before departing - as part of foolish manly pride, I decided to take the first bag down the stairs - no problem going down; however, two Viking cleaning ladies immediately jumped in and grabbed my bag to carry it down - they then pointed to the elevator and said I could use that!!! Trying to go back up with the bag was more of a challenge - a young Viking sailor saw me and immediately lifted the bag over his head and carried it up for me - this is how the crew is all the time. I then elected to use the elevator for the second bag - much wiser. So, we had no complaint regarding using the stairs! People with mobility limitations would have difficulty on the stairs. It was a little more challenging after the vodka sampling activity one evening - I definitely recommend it. Our room was right outside the main dining area - we thought this might be an issue with noise - no issue whatsoever - since everyone is on the same schedule, people talking outside our room never bothered us. While we had a balcony, we hardly used it since we were so busy all the time; plus it could be a little cool sitting out there in the evening - once the sun went down - between 9 and 10 pm, up at 4:30, the temperatures went down - maybe into the 50s. However, we were lucky - we brought the sun - something rare in this part of the world. So our temperatures were mostly in the 70s during the day; one day it hit 80 in Moscow - while locals weren't happy with that, it still felt very comfortable. All excursions go on rain or shine - we had a few light showers and one heavier downpour in Yaroslavl - but the outside gift area was covered, so rain never bothered us. We travelled from St Petersburg to Moscow - we go through 17 locks - many are at night when sleeping; but very interesting to watch. We didn't realize there are 5 Viking ships going up and down this route all season - each one does 14 round trips per season (6 month period) - can't do it in the winter since lakes and rivers are frozen over. All ships looks exactly the same. When we got to St Petersburg all 5 were at the docks - each one leaving a different day. They'll dock 2 together, so you will have to walk through one to get to your ship. Some of you will do what some of us did - get on the first ship and go to your room - only to find your key doesn't work. Then you realize, you are on the wrong ship!!! There are differences in the ships - usually in the size of public rooms. Starting in St Petersburg, all our tours were included with two exceptions. Went to Catherine Palace in Pushkin - unreal to see this. The crowds were quite large, but the Viking guides (some from the ship, others local) - are great. Lots of historic detail which they are very proud to provide regarding Russian history. Did the Panoramic St Petersburg tour - got a really good look at this beautiful city. Did the optional Cossack Folk Songs and Dances - don't miss this fantastic show - the show is in the parking lot of the port - in a large tent - kept perfectly comfortable inside. Then went to the Hermitage - this place I so incredibly large with so much to see and lots and lots of people. It's definitely worthwhile - but not possible to see everything. Did the optional St Petersburg from the water - highly recommend this wonderful tour of canals in St Petersburg. We stayed on the open deck for the entire trip - but you can go in to a covered area if it rains. I also attended the ballet - saw Swan Lake - it was beautifully done. Left St Petersbug and sailed to Mandrogy - very smooth waters all the way. This is a very interesting stop - no included tours, but you can walk through a small village. Went to a vodka museum - didn't realize the 300 ruble entry fee included sampling 3 or 4 vodka's of your choice. Some people did the Russian Banya - they all said it was worthwhile - I preferred not to try. Then we sailed for Kizhi - a tiny island way up north on Lake Onega - the entire island is a historical museum of how life was in Russia 300 years ago. Very interesting - it was a very smooth ride on the lake. The cathedral was fantastic to see. Priests did a chant for us - fascinating to see and hear. The old house was unreal how they engineered it - warm places for children and women and an entire area inside for the cattle to stay for the very harsh winters. This was the coolest day we experienced; I think in the 50s and windy with very light rain - it felt so good when coming from Texas in August. Goritsky was the next stop - bus ride to Monastery for a beautiful included tour of Monastery. Then a bus ride from Monastery to meet ship in Kuzino (you could have stayed on ship to relax, but we wanted to see everything we could). Next stop was Yaroslavl - a city of 600K people - quite nice city. Did the Yaroslavl tour with Governors House - this was really worthwhile. Got to go into a beautiful church - leaned so much in there. Also visited a high school where each group was assigned a student to give us the tour - Our student's English was very good; then a 12 year old young lady performed a Russian dance for us - she was so good. Then in the Governor's house local young ladies escorted each group - there was so much artwork in there ; plus some live classical music, plus 1800's dances performed by 2 young ladies and 2 young men - they were superb. Then is was off to Uglich - the last town before Moscow. Got up to prepare for our 8:30 tour which was a visit to a Russian home - thought we were already docked at 6:30am; since ship wasn't moving. Opened curtain to see what it was like out - very dense fog. Cruise director told us we hit the fog when entering the Volga river and had to stop and anchor since they can't navigate the river in dense fog. Then we were told we would move once fog lifted and unfortunately would have to miss the stop at Uglich - very disappointing. Viking made it up by inviting everyone on the optional Moscow by night tour - for those who already paid, we got refunds. Last stop was Moscow - did the Kremlin included tour - again large crowds, but so worthwhile to see.. Then we did the optional tour of the Cosmonaut Museum - they really put on a tremendous display. They are vey proud of their accomplishments and the fact that they have worked well with USA in space activities. Moscow by night is highly recommended - a late night, but worth it. Last tour was the included Panoramic Moscow - riding the subway was quite the experience - the stations were absolutely beautiful. Finally, pack and head home. I was so impressed with how organized Viking is with handling luggage and getting us to the airport on time - this happened on both sides - getting to St Petersbugh - arrival and check in was the smoothest I've ever experience. I think I've written enough - if you gather that we loved this cruise, you are right and that we were so impressed with Viking - I will definitely sail with them again. The wait staff was phenominal - mostly Filipino or Russian - incredibly responsive to our needs and food was great. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We have had a river cruise on out "bucket list" for several years. Viking's reputation led us to booking with them. We were not disappointed. We have shared the experience of our cruise with whomever will listen, and ... Read More
We have had a river cruise on out "bucket list" for several years. Viking's reputation led us to booking with them. We were not disappointed. We have shared the experience of our cruise with whomever will listen, and praise Viking at every level. The cruise, accommodations, tours, food and entertainment created an overall experience that we will never forget. Not to mention a crew that attended to every detail and more. The environment made it so easy to meet and enjoy new friends on tour and on the ship. Every question answered (and many before they were even asked). Would we go again... absolutely. Other cruise lines also have good reputations, but we would not risk changing, knowing what capable hands we would be in with Viking. We did not have to worry about anything. Every transfer, tour, etc. was organized and implemented flawlessly. All we id is small and have fun. Viking is the River Cruise line to choose... no doubt! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This trip was for our anniversary that we were not sure we would make as my husband has cancer. This was also our first River Cruises. We so happy with not only the service and the accommodation but more than anything the Crew. The ... Read More
This trip was for our anniversary that we were not sure we would make as my husband has cancer. This was also our first River Cruises. We so happy with not only the service and the accommodation but more than anything the Crew. The Program Director Candi and her team were fantastic everything from the organization of the excursion to the entertainment. The shore excursions, we great and the knowledge that was shared by the local guides was so helpful in understanding the local culture. The entertainment on board was also perfect. This was truly a trip of a lifetime. They truly made us feel welcome and like were part of the family. We are already thinking about another trip, I can only hope that it will be just as wonderful. Thank you, Viking, for a wonderful vacation. Thank you again for a wonderful trip and we hope to see you again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was a wonderful cruise because it covered so much of Europe. The staff on the ship were so friendly and attentive. They quickly knew your name and your tastes. The food on the ship was delicious and varied with the region. We loved ... Read More
This was a wonderful cruise because it covered so much of Europe. The staff on the ship were so friendly and attentive. They quickly knew your name and your tastes. The food on the ship was delicious and varied with the region. We loved sitting out on the Aquavit terrace for lunch and riding up top as we cruised along the rivers. All of the excursions were very informative and the quietvox technology made it easy to hear every word. It was also so helpful to have a Viking representative at the hotels during the extensions in the cities before and after the cruise. Those representatives were great at recommending local places and making any reservations needed. River cruising is the best way to see everything but still be able to relax and enjoy yourself. The small number of passengers let you get to know others and everyone was incredibly friendly. The onboard entertainment was also great. Loved the glass blower and the singers. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We just got back from the Cities of Light cruisetour (August 7-18th, Prague to Paris on the Alsvin) and had a great time! This was our second Viking river cruise having gone on the Danube Waltz last summer (Budapest to Prague on the ... Read More
We just got back from the Cities of Light cruisetour (August 7-18th, Prague to Paris on the Alsvin) and had a great time! This was our second Viking river cruise having gone on the Danube Waltz last summer (Budapest to Prague on the Legend) which we also really enjoyed. I was worried that August would be unbearably hot and crowded. However, we found the crowds quite manageable and the weather was very nice: low 70s and sunny/clear most days; there was only one day when it rained steadily throughout the day. We had no problems with low or high water levels on this cruise. Viking is not the most luxurious or all-inclusive (or expensive) river cruise line but, for the price we paid which included air, we have been very happy with what Viking offers. Our vacation unfortunately got off to a rocky start. We used Viking Air and, through no fault of Viking’s, the first leg of our Delta flight to Prague was cancelled because of weather. We were re-routed all over the place and ended up on three connecting flights. Instead of arriving in Prague at 11 AM, we arrived closer to 6 PM that day. I had called Viking en route to let them know of the delay, and a very nice Viking representative was waiting for us at the airport when we finally arrived (the one bright spot to an otherwise miserable, exhausting flight). To top it off, my checked bag with a two-week supply of clothes, shoes and toiletries did not make it to Prague. The concierge at the Prague Hilton hotel was basically useless in helping me track down my bag. However, the minute the Alsvin Program Director, Bjorn, became aware of my situation, he took over and contacted the airlines; my bag was delivered soon after directly to the ship. Bjorn even arranged to have my one change of clothing laundered (at no charge) until my suitcase arrived. Thank you, Bjorn! The two hotels we stayed at, the Hilton Prague and the Le Meridien Etoile in Paris, were fairly good but I would probably choose to stay somewhere else if returning to Prague or Paris. At the Hilton Prague, the air conditioning didn’t work in our traveling companions’ room and was never fixed despite repeated attempts to inform the front desk. At both hotels, I was disappointed in the quality of service offered by the concierges and front desk. One the other hand, they are centrally located, the rooms/bathrooms were attractive, clean and spacious, and the breakfasts were very good. The Alsvin is a beautiful ship with a modern, clean, Nordic décor. It’s kept sparkling clean and is in great condition for its age. The staff with very few exceptions were outstanding, very friendly and attentive – we were treated like royalty on this cruise! As already mentioned, Bjorn, our Program Director, was remarkably knowledgeable, helpful and attentive… and very funny too! Last year on the Legend, we had a French Balcony cabin. Although it was nice to open the sliding door at night (if not rafted next to another ship), we spent very little time in our cabin during the day since most of our time was spent dining, touring, and lounging in the public spaces. On this cruise, we booked the least expensive “aquarium” class cabin, saving about $1000-2000 compared to a balcony cabin, and were happy with our choice. Our cabin was very small but comfortable and efficiently laid out. Our cabin steward was excellent and kept everything very neat and clean. Meals are served in the main dining room and in the Aquavit Terrace which opens to a lovely, outside deck with expansive views. We really enjoyed the Aquavit and had about a third of our meals there. I would say the food on our cruise ranged from very good to excellent. Food quality can vary across ships depending on the Executive Chef and kitchen. Our Chef, Thomas, prepared some excellent regional dishes (mostly German) and we tended to order those most nights. For example, on the German buffet night, everything was delicious and perfectly prepared. The soups on this cruise were especially good, a highlight of the cuisine I thought. My husband had the ‘anytime’ steak one night and he said it was excellent. There was only one night when I wished I had ordered something else: I tried a lamb dish on the menu one night and was a little disappointed. The dining service was usually very good to excellent although not quite as outstanding as on the Danube Waltz Legend cruise we took last summer. On one or two nights depending on where we sat, the service seemed to drag on a bit, and we had to ask our server to refill our wine glasses (something we NEVER had to do on the Legend!). The included excursions and guides ranged from very good to excellent, and were very enjoyable. I think Viking does this very well! You visit many of the ‘berg’ towns on this cruise (Nuremburg, Bamberg, Wurzburg, Rothenburg, Heidelberg) which are very picturesque and charming – think of those quintessential German half-timber houses and thatched roofs. We went on only one optional excursion, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, for $99 per person. Rothenburg is a walled medieval village with a fascinating history and some interesting shops and museums. However, we were disappointed that we had little free time to explore – only an hour after the fairly long bus ride, guided tour and a somewhat mediocre lunch at a local restaurant that took too long. In retrospect, we should have skipped the lunch to allow more free time to explore on our own. On most river cruises, the evening entertainment after dinner is often fairly dull and boring. On our Danube Legend cruise last summer, there was an uninspiring piano player and the lounge was usually empty after dinner. On this cruise, however, the entertainment seemed much more lively. There was a husband and wife keyboardist/singer team on board who were quite talented and seemed to encourage people to dance. Bjorn organized a couple of ‘quiz and game nights’ which people seemed to enjoy. On a couple of nights, there were onboard performances from local classical and jazz musicians who were quite good. I was surprised to find the lounge full of people many nights after dinner, “partying” until the late in the evening. There are a few downsides to be aware of when booking this particular itinerary (not a criticism of Viking, just the nature of the itinerary on this cruise). First, in order to pass under the MANY low bridges along the Main river, the sun deck remains closed for 3 of the 6 days on this cruise, from Bamberg until reaching Mainz on the Rhine river. It takes a long time for the staff to open and close the sun deck, so it may be standard for most cruise lines to close the sun deck while sailing on the Main river. However, it wasn’t too much of an inconvenience for us because the Aquavit Terrace on the third deck was available and has lovely outdoor seating to enjoy the views. Second, for those adverse to bus trips, this may not be the cruise for you. There are several long bus trips on this itinerary: the bus from Prague to Nuremberg takes over three hours and Luxembourg-to-Paris takes over 4 hours. There are also fairly lengthy bus rides (45 minutes to over an hour) to reach the Heidelberg and Trier excursions. Heidelberg is located over an hour’s drive from the river; for Trier, you depart the ship at Wintrich and are bused to Trier for the excursion, while the ship continues sailing on to Trier. The coaches, however, are very comfortable with guides that provide interesting information about the region. Finally, I would have liked to have had more time to experience sailing along the beautiful Moselle river. Although we had a full morning of sailing through the Rhine castle region (which is spectacular!!), our time on the Moselle was limited and we had to choose between going on the Trier excursion or staying on the ship while it sailed the Moselle to Trier. None of this detracted from the fabulous time we had on this cruise! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Expected luxury from start to finish, which we certainly paid for. Cruise from Budapest to Prague. We were very disappointed. Food was average to say the least. Dining room meals what we expect in an Aussie pub. Deserts were awful. Coffee ... Read More
Expected luxury from start to finish, which we certainly paid for. Cruise from Budapest to Prague. We were very disappointed. Food was average to say the least. Dining room meals what we expect in an Aussie pub. Deserts were awful. Coffee during day via a machine with a cookie or danish (at least I think that was what it was)! Accommodation was average, although beds were comfortable. Closets small, rooms were cleaned well, but no luxury whatsoever. Even toiletries had been downgraded from L’Occitane to Freya. Told we were welcomed back from tours with drink and something to eat; this happened once with pate on a cracker that was disgusting. Boats stacked along side each other in port, which meant when we opened our curtains to sit on our balcony, we stared straight into another boat’s guests’ room! We chose Viking over Scenic because we wanted special treatment, how naive! Did a survey for VIking at end of trip and never heard back - how surprising, they already had our money! Would not recommend Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We selected the 14-day Grand European Tour river cruise more than 12-months prior to embarkation. We splurged on the Explorer Suite as a treat to ourselves. On a prior Viking cruise we had a Veranda Suite, and enjoyed it. Needless to ... Read More
We selected the 14-day Grand European Tour river cruise more than 12-months prior to embarkation. We splurged on the Explorer Suite as a treat to ourselves. On a prior Viking cruise we had a Veranda Suite, and enjoyed it. Needless to say we anticipated this 2019 cruise with the greatest of expectations. Our original itinerary was for the Viking Vali ship. A week or so prior to the cruise we received notification from Viking that the river levels were low in Germany and what Viking's contingency plans would be if the water levels became impassable. We hoped for the best and went ahead with our plans. As it turned out the Viking Vali was unable to get back to Amsterdam due to the low water levels so the whole set of guests were put onboard the Viking Tir. All Viking river ships are for the most part exactly the same layout, so this change was not a problem. It turned out the rivers' water levels improved during our cruise so we were able to remain on the Viking Tir for the entire 14-day trip. HOWEVER, there is more to know about low water levels on a ship's comfort which will be noted later in this review. We did a pre-cruise stay in Amsterdam, and several excursions (some included and some for extra charges)...all were fine. Yes, some wished we had more time, but it's not until we're on the excursion that we realized that. Oh well. The villages of Passau and Melk were unexpected treats; the concert in Vienna was so-so. Dining and the crew's service onboard the ship were very good and matched what we expected from prior cruises. Granted we did pay quite a bit more for the Explorer Suite, so when a crew member knew our suite number they did give us a little more attention. The duo who entertained in the ship's Lounge every night were average; he was talented on instruments, but she was at best an average vocalist. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This is only the second cruise ever for my wife and me - our first was a brief ocean cruise from Florida to Bahamas on another major line, and we were not overly impressed. For years, though, we always wanted to try a river cruise, and ... Read More
This is only the second cruise ever for my wife and me - our first was a brief ocean cruise from Florida to Bahamas on another major line, and we were not overly impressed. For years, though, we always wanted to try a river cruise, and after years on Viking's mailing list, we decided to take the plunge. We are so glad we did - we thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We took the Grand European Tour, a 15-day river voyage down the Danube and Rhine from Budapest to Amsterdam, and every aspect of our trip was enjoyable. Each port of call was a fascinating visit, including Vienna, Nuremburg, Cologne, and some less well-known cities and towns such as Melk and Wertheim. We visited 12 cities for at least a day each. (Amsterdam was our disembarkation point so we only saw it from the shuttlle bus to the airport.) Each stop had a tour included as part of the package, as well as a few optional tours for an additional fee. (The only optional tours we took were the evening concert in Vienna and the wine country tour in the Moselle Valley.) Our guides were all excellent, but we were particularly impressed with our guides in Regensburg and Wertheim, who gave us a "Jewish history" tour. Also, since we are both in our late 60's and my wife was nursing a sore knee and recovering from a rib injury, we appreciated and sometimes took advantage of the "gentle tour" options. The cruise experience was everything we hoped for and more. If you are expecting an over-the-top experience like on some ocean cruises, you may be disappointed. You won't find wall-to-wall 24-hour buffets, Broadway-style musical reviews, "formal nights", noisy casinos, infiinty pools or mini-water parks. What you will find is a quieter, more low-key experience. The boat is only four decks, three of which have staterooms and suites, and accommodates less than 200 passengers. Delicious food, including international cuisine, is served three times a day, either buffet-style or table service. Meals include soft drinks and beer or house wine. You can pay for an optional "silver spirits" package which provides unlimited beverages, but we didn't choose this because we are not big drinkers.There is nightly entertainment in the Aquavit Lounge - the "house band" was a talented duo on guitar and piano, and on two evenings some talented local classical singers and musicians came to serenade us. We also welcomed a funny, fascinating and informative local glassblower, and enjoyed a Beatles sing-along night, as well as trivia and game nights (our team won the trivia contest). My wife also celebrated a birthday on board - the staff brought her a delicious little cake and sang to her, and we returned to the stateroom to find a birthday card and balloons on our bed. We met many very nice fellow passengers, most of whom were in our age range, and most American, though some were from Canada, Australia, and other countries. The staff was, without exception, courteous, friendly, and very attentive, from the reception desk to the restaurant, lounge and staterooms. And one couldn't ask for a better cruise director than David - very organized, informative and personable. Our voyage was smooth and scenic, with lovely towns, castles, churches and vineyards along the way. (We found the system of canals and locks along the rivers and the way they operated to be almost as fascinating as the scenery along the banks). The best views could be found from the top sundeck, although access was limited at times because we traveled under some rather low bridges. We were worried early on that due to low water on the rivers, there was a chance we might have to disembark for part of the tour and be transported by bus, but Mother Nature was kind to us, and despite a hot, dry summer in Europe, there was enough recent rain to eliminate that possiblity. Our weather was generally quite good - a bit hot at the beginning, but more temperate through the rest of the trip with only two days we would describe as rainy. Our package included free airfare, and we were lucky to get nonstop flights to and from our home airport in Philadelphia. The Viking staff were very helpful getting us to and from our ship upon arrival and departure. All in all, we had a wonderful time, and we're already thinking about booking another Viking cruise in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
First ... a shout out to our wonderful “included” tour guides. We especially enjoyed Sylvia Seifert whose extended tour in Regensburg (including Jewish history and the Stumbling Stones Project) was spectacular. Another terrific guide ... Read More
First ... a shout out to our wonderful “included” tour guides. We especially enjoyed Sylvia Seifert whose extended tour in Regensburg (including Jewish history and the Stumbling Stones Project) was spectacular. Another terrific guide -whom we were with today in Cologne- was Ralph (sorry no last name). His knowledge of history was extensive. In a very brief period we learned so very much. Finally and sadly (sorry!!!) we cannot recall the name of our Wertheim guide, another terrific individual (woman in her 60s) who brought her home town to life -past and present. For example she told us that her husband was 5 years old when US tanks rolled through town at the end of WW2: an image he has never forgotten. She shared a great deal of her own life experience as well as history and both helped us get a true flavor for her river town. Food was outstanding. Thank you Marc!! My husband is a vegetarian and there were excellent options and the chefs also made special meals for him which were great. Note: no special milk products like soy, cashew or almond milk on board. The staff took exquisite care of us. They took care of everything. We have loved our cruise experience (we have one more day). I have 2 items to critique: I would have liked another day in each of the larger cities: Vienna and Cologne. Of course I knew the schedule in advance. I would like Viking to know this preference however and will put this on the evaluation they provide. We did the pre-extension in Budapest and so we did have more time there. The second item is that for a good part of the cruise - maybe half - the sundeck was closed due to very low bridges. This is something that I would have liked to know about in advance. It would not have stopped me from coming. Still, if one does not have a private balcony, not having access to the sundeck makes a difference. Last but not least this trip is great if you are very active (you can hike and bike), if you have limited mobility and need to be in a “gentle” tour group or if you are anywhere in between. We were told the average age was 68 with a range from 20s- 83. A terrific experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Viking does a great job marketing and we were sold a “first class experience” when booking one of two explorer suites. These suites are right above the engines in the back of the boat. Low water on the Danube exasperated the loudness ... Read More
Viking does a great job marketing and we were sold a “first class experience” when booking one of two explorer suites. These suites are right above the engines in the back of the boat. Low water on the Danube exasperated the loudness if the suite and the vibrations made our teeth chatter. We had to be moved to another room on the cruise. Horrific experience and very poor customer experience. Viking also has no automation for passenger boarding and leaving ship. Traditional ocean liners have an automated system where you put in your card upon entering and exiting the ship. Viking does this work paper cards that you are given (and have to wait in line for) each time you enter or exit the ship. Ridiculous and so old school! They cruise officers were always looking for people at each port. I would also never add anything port extensions on with Viking. Very poor hotels, especially the Corenthia in Prague Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Itinerary sounds good, but that is only if you would enjoy an 8hr bus ride from Paris to the ship in Germany. The first morning after eating a tainted breakfast and between 4-5hrs later, I came downwith the worst case of food poisoning ... Read More
Itinerary sounds good, but that is only if you would enjoy an 8hr bus ride from Paris to the ship in Germany. The first morning after eating a tainted breakfast and between 4-5hrs later, I came downwith the worst case of food poisoning anyone has ever had. Viking has decided not to include any medical personal in their crew, so I layed in my cabin for the next 3hrsrapidly dehydrating. When we docked in a very tiny village I was taken by ambulanceto a very small German hospital. No one at the hospital spoke English, and no one fromViking accompanied me to offer assistance. After hours of treatment, they were able tostabilize me somewhat. Seeing Viking was about to leave that port, rather than be stranded in this tiny village we opted to return to the ship. As a result of the Viking provided food poisoning, I was so sick and weak, I was unable toleave our cabin for the balance of the trip, or participate in any activities. Let us talk about the cabin. This cabin was presented as the best cabin on the ship. Thatwould be true if you prefer old tatered furniture and riding above the droning of the propelers not to mention the smell of gas when the windows were open. These werethe joys we experienced on a $23,000. cruise. Since our return, we have spent at least 6 phone calls with Viking seeking compensation.So far, we have been offered a discount on a future Viking cruise. REALLY!!!!! In summary, many others on the cruise commented on the poor quality of the foodand their overall displeasure with the cruise in general. Cruising can be expensive andsuffering the way I did at the hands of an unresponsive cruise line is hardly a good value. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Viking River Cruise on “Embla:” Bucharest to Budapest w/ 3-nt Prague Add-On Overall: Terrible experience with Viking aboard their boat Embla due to major maintenance issues known to them before our cruise started. Half speed at ... Read More
Viking River Cruise on “Embla:” Bucharest to Budapest w/ 3-nt Prague Add-On Overall: Terrible experience with Viking aboard their boat Embla due to major maintenance issues known to them before our cruise started. Half speed at best; little to no air-conditioning with room temperatures ranging from the high 70s into the 90s. The dining room felt even hotter with everyone assembled. This was a boat maintenance issue, NOT a river problem. We did not have a river cruise; the boat stayed in Russe, Bulgaria for 3 days. Then we were on buses for the rest of the trip. No choice/options as to what we ate. Viking gave minimal refund and never answered my emails to Customer Relations and several senior management personnel. Specifics: Immediately after boarding we were informed that: • The boat would be going slower than normal because the river level was low and that caused the water to be warmer which had a negative effect on engine cooling. A crew member later told us that the boat had previously hit a submerged object and had to travel slow coming to Bucharest because of propulsion problems. We saw other longboats passing us (on the one day we “cruised” from Russe to Lom); the “warm” water did not affect them! We also saw tugboats pushing loaded barges which rode much lower in the river than our boat. – We were misled from beginning!! Viking was aware of problems with Embla before we even boarded. Viking could/should have told us in Bucharest that the ship could only sail at half speed and that we would not be able to make our ports on time. They could have offered to cancel our cruise, receive a full refund for the cruise and Prague portion, and given us one more night in a hotel in Bucharest to make travel arrangements. Instead, Viking elected to hide the problem and have us board a ship that could only travel at a very slow speed with 50% a/c capacity, and sent us to spend 3 days in the small town of Russe. • We should not open our balcony doors, especially during the evening & night, as the mosquitos were very bad. This was also the case on the open upper deck. Thus, outside air was not a solution for the 80-90 degree (F) temperatures in our staterooms. The first day in Russe we elected to stay on the boat and not walk into town. We went to the dining room for lunch and were told lunch would only be available in the small eating area in front of the lounge. This “meal” consisted of a buffet of soup, cocktail sandwiches, and Bulgarian meatloaf; not exactly what you expect on a cruise. The next day we were told that we could stay on the boat, but there would be no a/c for several hours. We opted to go on a 3-hr tour of the old and new city squares of Russe. Once on the tour we were told that we would be eating lunch in Russe after the tour. Following lunch, we were informed that we must not return to the boat. We would tour 3 museums, attend a piano recital (at least it was in an air-conditioned room) and then have dinner at the same restaurant where we had lunch. At both lunch and dinner we were given what they wanted us to eat; no menu to select from. Again, not what one expects when traveling on a cruise. The boat set sail from Russe after midnight that night. The next day (Saturday, 27 July) we cruised at a very slow speed all day. This is the day we were supposed to be “scenic cruising past the Iron Gates.” That is one of the reasons we selected this Viking itinerary; we wanted to see the Iron Gates – this did not happen! We had lunch and dinner in the dining room. There was no ice cream available for dessert at dinner; the chef said the freezer was turned off. We were told before dinner that we would be getting off the boat the next morning in Lom. We were told that we would be driven by buses to Belgrade and then to Budapest. Keep in mind, temperature in the staterooms was 80-90 defrees (F). The rest of the boat (lounge, dining room, etc.) was even hotter. Sun, 28 July: After sailing over 36 hours and not even getting to Viden, we boarded buses in Lom and less than 3 hours later stopped for lunch with a distant view of the Belogradchik Rocks. That’s as close as we got to them and the Fortress (tours touted in the Viking literature). The lunch was a small buffet, no “ordering from a menu.” After a 12-hour day on a bus we arrived at the hotel in Belgrade. We had dinner around 9pm (more than 9 hours after we had lunch). Mon, 29 July: Spent the day in Belgrade. Had lunch in Old Town and dinner at the hotel. Again, we did not get to order from a menu. Tues, 30 July: Departed Belgrade via bus. Had noticed on the internet that it was a 4-to-5 hr bus ride to Budapest. Instead, Viking bussed us through Croatia where we had lunch in various private homes. We did not choose this; Viking did. When given the option prior to the cruise to have meals in private homes, we declined. This is not something we preferred to do. We, once again, did not get to select our meal. We were not offered the choice of a 4 or 5 hour bus ride vice a 12 hour bus day! After arriving at the hotel in Budapest around 9pm we had another buffet dinner. Wed, 31 July: Following two 12-hr bus ride days, two of our party were in poor physical condition and could not attend the included “Panoramic Budapest” tour. We were not meeting the objectives we had when we selected this itinerary. Since two members of our group were not on the tour, they were not provided lunch by Viking; the rest of us ate, once again, what & where Viking prescribed. Thurs, 1 Aug: Spent the day recuperating at the hotel. Note: Since we arrived in Budapest a day earlier than planned, we could not stay at the InterContinental Hotel as originally planned. This hotel is very conveniently located to Old Town, the river, and most the popular tourist attractions. Instead we were assigned a hotel that was not within walking distance of the tourist areas. Fri, 2 Aug: Took a 9-hr bus ride to Prague. Had this been our first “bus day,” we would have been in much better physical condition upon arriving in Prague. As it was, taking this 9-hr ride after the previous two 12-hr bus days was too much. This whole trip was a miserable, painful, terrible experience. As disastrous as it was, the Embla Captain never addressed the passengers and apprised us of the situation; it was like he was hiding. We were not consulted about what we might have wanted; we were not given any options. It was strictly, “Do what Viking says!” This was supposed to be “the vacation of a lifetime.” When we planned it, we did not choose a bus tour of Eastern Europe. We have several reasons for NOT wanting to spend hours riding a bus. We did not get to enjoy any of the advantages of a cruise. The few days/nights we spent on Embla were extremely uncomfortable. We chose a balcony room, and upon boarding, were told not to open the balcony doors in the evenings or nights! We only had a few meals in the Embla dining room where we got to select our meal from a menu. The rest of the time we had no choice as to what we ate. We all ate more meals consisting of chicken and potatoes than we ever thought possible when on a “cruise vacation.” We spent $13,494 on this cruise (two were refunded a small amount since they used their frequent flyer miles for the air travel), four of us paid an additional $50 each so we could choose our airline flights and seats, and we paid various amounts (average was approximately $1000/couple due to differing age) for travel insurance. Each couple spent approximately $15,000 to spend a miserable two weeks on a poorly-functioning boat and a bus. We were unable to enjoy places like Budapest and Prague because Viking’s choices had us so exhausted and physically impaired. To make matters worse, Viking has refunded $3,999 and claims that is 50% of our cost. Viking can most likely justify this with some “creative accounting.” $4,000 per couple does not come close to compensating us for our expenditures and the pain and suffering we endured. If you do book Viking, I recommend that you ask for a maintenance record of the boat. Specifically, for Embla: ask for the maintenance they performed after July 28, 2019 in order to fix the problems that led to our ‘bus tour”. I would also ask for the exact cost breakdown that they show for the trip to be sent directly to you, not just the travel agent so you are aware how they are pricing it. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This is was our first river cruise. We are seasoned ocean cruise travelers. This cruise started with a delay in boarding the ship of one day due to maintenance problems on the previous cruise. We only had one day that we went to a port and ... Read More
This is was our first river cruise. We are seasoned ocean cruise travelers. This cruise started with a delay in boarding the ship of one day due to maintenance problems on the previous cruise. We only had one day that we went to a port and got off the ship and toured the venue. That was on day 12 when we visited Cologne Germany. All the other days we spent more time on buses than at the scheduled venue. We had an additional day when the ship was put in dry dock. Thus we were now 2 days behind. In order to make up time scheduled venues were skipped. The crew and staff were excellent, but the cruise was very bad. One of the highlights of the cruise is to cruise the Rhine and see all the mid evil castles. When we got to that point on the cruise it was 8:30 at night and dark! No castles I was notified via “form” letter 4 days after returning off the cruise that Viking was sorry and that they would give us 25% off our next cruise. Who would ever go on another cruise and get this type of cruise. Viking must think I am stupid. To spend $14,000.00 for this and get no compensation is totally wrong. Viking should be ashamed. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We paid for our cruise with all the expectations of neophyte river cruisers and are crushed that our river cruise of a lifetime ended up being a horrible bus ride through Eastern Europe. Due to mechanical malfunctions on the Viking ... Read More
We paid for our cruise with all the expectations of neophyte river cruisers and are crushed that our river cruise of a lifetime ended up being a horrible bus ride through Eastern Europe. Due to mechanical malfunctions on the Viking Embla our tour was unable to hold to schedule resulting in canceled excursions, creative docking at unknown sites (we even had to break through a factory fence at one point in order to re-board our ship) closed locks, restricted use of the sun deck, after dark "scenic cruising", and days of sailing without stopping for excursions in order to "get back on schedule". We thought the staff was superb, they tried valiently to make us happy and service was impeccable, however after day 10 or 12 I began to think I was suffering from 'Stockholm Syndrome'. Our on board program director explained daily what was going to happen the next day, because of where the ship was in relation to where it should have been this excursion or that excursion was cancelled but we are offering a substitute or we could "stay on board with us..lunch will be at 12:0 in the in dining room...etc. " After several of these substituted excursions many of us stopped going as the excursions involved hours of bus rides each way. We wanted our cruise, not a bus ride. Viking is not making a significant compensation offer to us, in fact their offer shows little respect or understanding of our ruined trip. They seem not to care about customer satisfaction. We want our money back, Viking should have given us a full refund and canceled the cruise rather than take all of us down the river to the bus embarkation points. Viking knew before we boarded that the Embla could not deliver the cruise as promised. The schedule disruption was not due to river depth rather it was the Embla's malfunctioning engine and Viking's money grubbing refusal to cancel the cruise and refund our tickets. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I chose this cruise as my great grandparents came from Saxony and I wanted to view the lay of the land from the water by cruising down the Elbe. Unfortunately drought and the resulting low water levels did not allow for cruising and we ... Read More
I chose this cruise as my great grandparents came from Saxony and I wanted to view the lay of the land from the water by cruising down the Elbe. Unfortunately drought and the resulting low water levels did not allow for cruising and we were bused from site to site while overnighting on the riverboats. Naturally this was extremely disappointing to us, but when life gives you lemons then you make lemonade... On the plus side, the crew tried very hard to accommodate us, although much of our onboard ship time turned into bus time in order to reach the prearranged tour stops on our itinerary. Another plus was that over half of the passengers opted out of the trip two weeks out when they were told that they would not be sailing.... Hence my husband and I only shared the the boat with fifth-one fellow cruisers. Meal options were limited to breakfast and dinner as we were always off the ship at lunchtime. We opted for the lighter breakfast option in the lounge on second, although full breakfasts were served daily in the dinning room on first. Dinner was served nightly on the first deck with table seating for groups of four or six. Small groups tended to gather in the lounge area prior to dinner and again following dinner where alcohol was available for purchase and instrumental and vocal entertainment was provided. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I was fortunate to experience the Grand European Viking Cruise in 2017 and loved the entire experience. I wanted to take another Viking cruise and chose the Swiss Alps to Paris as my second cruise. We experienced beautiful scenery in ... Read More
I was fortunate to experience the Grand European Viking Cruise in 2017 and loved the entire experience. I wanted to take another Viking cruise and chose the Swiss Alps to Paris as my second cruise. We experienced beautiful scenery in Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg and France. Switzerland was our favorite as the entire country was gorgeous. We have beautiful mountains in Montana but the alps are in a category all their own. Joining in the National Holiday on August 1st was a great bonus with beautiful fireworks! The 7 day cruise on the Rhine and Moselle rivers was very enjoyable with great educational excursions. Our cruising companions were friendly and we enjoyed our conversations and sharing our experiences. The Viking Hild staff were unbelievable. They knew our names, food preferences and drink preferences within a day. Impressive! The lounge entertainment was great with local performers teaching us about the music from current and former times. The piano player, Danielle, who played every afternoon and evening was so good I looked forward to hearing him. He made he cruise extra special. In total everything was great! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
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