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6,920 Viking River Cruise Reviews

For our 5th cruise with Viking (after Portugal, France, China and Med) we decided for our anniversary to explore the Central Europe on Viking LIF. Our expectations were very high, but the recent 2 weeks experience was absolutely ... Read More
For our 5th cruise with Viking (after Portugal, France, China and Med) we decided for our anniversary to explore the Central Europe on Viking LIF. Our expectations were very high, but the recent 2 weeks experience was absolutely terrific, far above all our previous cruises with Viking. The on board meals were wonderful but I will suggest the possibility to order half portion I hate food waste. All the staff in the restaurant they were above any expectations: outstanding service, especially Pol, George, Bogdan, Andri. The food was delicious and fresh, very well prepared and the lead Chef Michael was top notch. PERFECT! Kudos to Kristian, the restaurant manager for his attention, friendly attitude and the way how he manage my quite complicated dietary requests. The reception team was excellent. Sometimes we found the Hotel Director Josip a little bit arrogant, but maybe is a cultural thing. Susana, Johnny and Bart were very professional, efficient and gracious. Their smiles were contagious true sunshine between the raindrops One little glitch about our Silver package being in force mid-way through cruise. Great services remedied the problem of our enrollment post haste and all is well. Add more hook for clothing in state rooms both River and Ocean I am disappointed how some guests dressed for dinner in the dining room: shorts, flip flops, sweatshirts And finally, our cruise Director. What can I say? Sometimes I had the feeling the we have 4 or 5 of them on board because he was everywhere: in the morning on the sundeck explaining the scenery, during the tours popping out at every corner, in the afternoon with amazing infotainment type of lectures and after dinner organizing fantastic parties and game shows. Leonard was unbelievable, he made this trip so memorable, lovely person. Energetic, wealth of knowledge. He is a great addition to Viking. He is a gem and handled challenging issues (low water levels, changing in program, difficult guests) with professionalism and a sense of humor. Looking back to our experience on Viking LIF is clear that Leonard was the best thing on the cruise so much information, friendly, helpful. These people deserve a hand. Leonard made this trip awesome All the staff was exceptional. Leonard is worth his weight in gold I really enjoy the relaxed friendly atmosphere your staff are the best I have met after 10 years travelling, I only hope I stay well enough to travel with you again. Viking staff is the key to a wonderful experience Lif has Leonard and an outstanding crew from the top down. We felt well cared for, pampered and safe. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was my first river cruise but not my last! Viking is a first class operation and the HEIMDAL is the best! The crew is more than helpful not to mention funny, the food excellent and plenty, excursions were fabulous and the ... Read More
This was my first river cruise but not my last! Viking is a first class operation and the HEIMDAL is the best! The crew is more than helpful not to mention funny, the food excellent and plenty, excursions were fabulous and the excursion guides were incredibly knowledgeable, friendly and humorous. The Captain was always smiling and made himself available everyday to greet the guests. How he maneuvers that huge ship through the Locks is amazing! The friend I traveled with chose this itinerary and I wasn't sure it would be wonderful....silly me... it was FABULOUS! Each port of call was different and amazing and as I said earlier the guides were excellent... not boring as some can be. Whoever trains them does a first class job! I loved the excursions but I also loved getting back to the boat, taking a refreshing shower then sitting outside looking at the fabulous views while sipping on a cocktail and being very thankful that I was here. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our sixth Viking River Cruise and we have enjoyed them all, The staff are always excellent, The organisation is superb and we meet new friends, The food is excellent and the restaurant service could not be faulted. particular ... Read More
This was our sixth Viking River Cruise and we have enjoyed them all, The staff are always excellent, The organisation is superb and we meet new friends, The food is excellent and the restaurant service could not be faulted. particular mention of Ryan and Ladice. The entertainment manager Ryan worked tirelessly and had to over come low water problems. One of the great pleasures it to meet new friends and the river boats with their very comfortable lounge is excellent for doing so. The shore excursions are interesting. The guide did an excellent talk in the Court of Justice in Nurembourg. And the guide at Regensbourg wae entertaining and amusing. She could be an actress. There was a problem with low water in the river and we were forced to change ships. But all at Viking did their utmost to limit this inconvenience. Whilst the Hilton at Budapest was comfortable we would have preferred a hotel on the waterfront near the chain bridge where we stayed previously We plan to take another Viking River Cruise in 2021. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
After 6 cruises on the big ships we decided for our anniversary to try a river cruise with Viking (we’ve done already 2 Viking cruises on the ocean). The cruise from Bucharest to Budapest sounded very interesting and we decided to try ... Read More
After 6 cruises on the big ships we decided for our anniversary to try a river cruise with Viking (we’ve done already 2 Viking cruises on the ocean). The cruise from Bucharest to Budapest sounded very interesting and we decided to try despite the fact that our friends from Atlanta got a better quote for the same cruise and the same cabin. The ship was Viking LIF and the entire experience made us to started to look more in to river cruise for our future holidays. Here are some suggestion and impression from our trip in eastern Europe Bucharest – a beautiful city where the communism left plenty of marks. We loved the food and the architecture and, as a suggestion, maybe in the future Viking will organise a stay longer than one night. Excellent hotel and very well organised transfers. Ruse – despite the fact that the journey to Arbanassii was quite long the excursion was amazing giving as the chance to learn about the history of this country (we didn’t have any idea about how old Bulgaria is). Great lunch and fantastic place to visit. Maybe the guides can be less ridged and less “primary school teacher”-like Vidin – a very poor city but the trip to the mountains was amazing. Was great that the cruise director “forced” us to go and ignore the information about difficulty of the excursion. Was worth it and you don’t miss the breath-taking views with plenty of things to do if you don’t climb the rocks. Sailing day – the landscape is fantastic, and the information offered by the cruise director made us feel like in a Discovery documentary. We loved the new excursions introduced by Viking in a local village, an areological site and a fortress. The children invited on board were amazing despite the fact that the moderator of the conversation was trying hard to take over the entire conversation. Belgrade – we would love to stay longer. What an amazing city! We strongly recommend the visit to the opera and a lunch on your own to a restaurant close to the ship with no name …just “?” (our Cruise Director was so right to recommend this place) Vukovar – the visit to a Croatian family was fantastic and a real eye-opener. Maybe Viking can do something about the “rush feeling” of that day…we would like to explore more. Kalocsa – the horse farm was an interesting and authentic experience. If you want to buy paprika do it here is far much cheaper and better quality than the one in Budapest. The small shop close to the ship has excellent prices and they all speak English. Budapest – we’ve been to Budapest before but was a pleasure to visit it again. The hotel was a nice decent one, the tours were interesting but for us, Budapest was the end of our cruise so we were sad to leave Viking LIF. The staff on Viking LIF was absolutely amazing and nothing was too much for them. Joy our room stewardess was a real “JOY” smiling, helpful and very well organised making our cabin impeccable every day. In the restaurant the manager Kristian was very helpful and friendly providing an excellent service with a lot of care and attention. Alin in the bar, great and very professional, learned in the first day our favourite G&T and we enjoyed every moment spent in the lounge. We fall in love with the reception team especially with Susanna very friendly and always ready to help. But the top of this extraordinary team was our Cruise Director Leonard. He was working around the clock, almost 24 hours daily with the same passion, enthusiasm and professionalism. Was obvious that he is in love with his job and every meeting before dinner was a mixture of practical information, facts traditions and stories put together with a unique charisma and sense of humour. After the first day, was hard to find a place for his presentation in the lounge. Every night after dinner Leonard had a surprise for the passengers: lectures (the one about Dracula was as good as a real History Channel documentary and his story about Ceausescu time was heart-breaking), games (so much fun in the music quiz) and an amazing Disco party with music and dance until early hours in the morning. With brilliant organisational skills everything planned by him went perfect even if sometimes you can see the struggle behind. Honestly if Viking will tell me that Leonard will be our next cruise director I will book a cruise even on the river behind our house! After on week on Viking LIF I understand why Viking is the best and the only option to travel in comfort. Thank you Viking, thank you Lif, thank you Leonard! See you soon! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Always wanted to visit Saint Petersburg and Moscow. From the moment Slava met us at the Moscow airport we knew we were in good hands. The transfer from the airport to the boat went smoothly. Our cabin was very comfortable and always clean ... Read More
Always wanted to visit Saint Petersburg and Moscow. From the moment Slava met us at the Moscow airport we knew we were in good hands. The transfer from the airport to the boat went smoothly. Our cabin was very comfortable and always clean and tidy. The food was wonderful and every meal we had the opportunity to try Russian regional specialties. The service in the main dining room was always great, our favorite waiter was Mark :) Our tour guides in Moscow really made the visits to the Kremlin informative and interesting. I also enjoyed visit to Ulgich and other small towns on our cruise to St. Petersburg. Our first tour was of The Hermitage and my husband and I broke off from our group to explore other areas of the museum on our own. We visited the Catherine Palace in Pushkin and our tour guide was excellent. We took the optional tour to Peterhof and our guide was Phillip. He was very informative and we were able to tour both the palace and the gardens. I highly recommend taking a tour of Peterhof. Finally, we visited the Faberge Museum with Slava as our tour guide. He knows the history of the museum and the Imperial Eggs in-depth. I was very glade he lead our tour. Sasha from Russia who is the Cruise Coordinator is enthusiastic and kept my husband and I laughing most of the cruise. This cruise met all our expectations. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our first Viking cruise and it was amazing. We started our adventure with the optional Israel pre-cruise land tour. The tour guide, Jo, was amazing. We visited all the biblical sites and more. The Dead Sea Scroll Museum and the ... Read More
This was our first Viking cruise and it was amazing. We started our adventure with the optional Israel pre-cruise land tour. The tour guide, Jo, was amazing. We visited all the biblical sites and more. The Dead Sea Scroll Museum and the Wailing Wall did not disappoint. We stayed at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem which was elegant but dated. We had a great group of travelers which made a dream vacation even better. Then we flew to Cairo very early in the morning. We stayed at the Ritz Carlton were security was paramount and tantamount the the TSA.this hotel was the best one we stayed at. It was very modern. We had a tourist police with our tour the entire stay. The pyramids were amazing. We took the optional market place tour. I wouldn’t recommend it. We just walked down busy streets of a market where we were continually harassed to buy things. This was true of the entire trip. To exit any of the sites we saw we had to go through a market place with aggressive sellers. We referred to it as “running the gauntlet”. Take antibiotics and anti-diarrheal medicine along. Almost everyone was touched by the intestinal bug. We had to drink bottled water the entire time. The tour provided this at no cost. It was HOT. Be prepared for that. The wifi on the ship was poor. 3G. The internet at the hotels was great. The cruise ship was small but very nice. We flew to Luxor to catch the ship. We also took the Abu Simbel excursion and flew there for the day. My husband did the hot air balloon ride and said it was amazing. The food was very good but not exceptional. My tiramisu had been previously frozen and not completely thawed. The staff was top notch. They treated you like a queen or pharaoh. The temples and sites we visited were amazing. The guides were informative and friendly. They were experts in ancient Egyptology. We never felt unsafe which surprised me. Be prepared to see trash all over the place and extreme poverty. Our trip went smoothly and Viking expedited matters at the airports. We never waited for tickets as our guide had them. Be prepared for really bad bathrooms and always carry Kleenex. Our guide tipped the bathroom attendants but they still begged for more. Everyone everywhere had their hands out for money. Bring lots of dollar bills for tips. This was easi;y the best trip we ever have taken. I highly recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
For our 5th cruise with Viking (2 river cruises + 2 ocean cruises) we decided to take the 3 weeks trip from Amsterdam to Budapest on Viking Lif. We absolutely love the ship and we were lucky enough to don’t have any problems with the ... Read More
For our 5th cruise with Viking (2 river cruises + 2 ocean cruises) we decided to take the 3 weeks trip from Amsterdam to Budapest on Viking Lif. We absolutely love the ship and we were lucky enough to don’t have any problems with the water levels. Viking is for sure the best choice if you like river cruises: the level of hospitality, attention to details, organisation and the wide range of options are only couple of reason why Viking is always our first choice. In Budapest some of the crew change, and this is the main reason why I decided to post this review. Maybe Viking should pay more attention to consistency, especially when you think about the staff on board. After 3 weeks on board Viking LIF and 2 different staff we had the feeling that we travelled with two different companies. And that was more obvious at the level of the “key players” on board. And here are couple of reasons why we had this feeling Hotel director From Amsterdam we had Johnny a young Romanian with a lot of passion and dedication for his job. Nothing was to much for him and he was always there to assist passengers and his own colleagues. Always smiling and knowledgeable Johnny was a very pleasant presence for our first two weeks on board. Unfortunately for us in Budapest his place was taken by Joseph who, maybe because he is working in this business for too long (and he didn’t miss the opportunity to remind us every time) he was pretty bored, not at all approachable and quite arrogant. We missed Johnny so much in the last week of our cruise. Capitan For the first two weeks we hand a young Capitan and I must apologise for not remembering his name. The only time when we saw him was late in the evening, in the bar when he was drinking with one of his colleagues or a younger female passenger. We never had the chance to speak with him, which surprise us a lot thinking about our previous experience with Viking. In Budapest an amazing Dutch Skipper, Anna, join the ship and the story was completely different: he was always very polite and ready to answer all our questions. His presentation about the ship with the Cruise Director was very interesting and entertaining at the same time. When we had the chance to visit the bridge for the second time it was a completely different experience than in the previous week as he made us feeling welcome and accommodating all our questions and requests. Restaurant manager Martina was our first restaurant manager and she was very sweet despite the fact that she wasn’t very efficient. She was trying hard but couple of times she confused our diets and she was getting very stressed time to time. But we loved her. In Budapest her place was taken by Christian who was obviously that had more experience than Martina. His manners were at the level of a 5* restaurant, his solving problems abilities were amazing, and he always seemed to be calm and in control. Even if the restaurant was busy he always found time for a little chat. Cruise Director This was, maybe, the biggest surprise. For the first two weeks we had as a Cruise Director Sonya, a very pleasant girl from Serbia who was trying her best to be in line with our expectations. The only issue was her big personality, her inability to listen and her quite messy organizational skills. Especially in days with a lot of excursions and tours she got very agitated, getting in a very defensive mood with everybody around. We stopped asking her question after couple of abrupt answers! Sonya seemed to know her job but she always gave us the feeling that she just wanted to tick a box and run “behind the scenes” away from passengers and questions. In Budapest Leonard took over…literally took over. His personality, his knowledge, his energy and passion and his ability to be everywhere, anytime with the same smile and willingness to help made up for the entire trip. We never meet such an approachable, kind, genuine and hard-working Cruise Director in any of our cruises, both on the river and on the ocean. We wished to have Leonard for the entire 3 weeks: he created in 7 days memories for an entire lifetime. Maybe Viking will look for the future in to how different personalities fit the job profile and try to eliminate this differences which can impact the entire experience of a cruise. For sure we will be back. But can we have Anna, Christian, Johnny and Leonard with us? Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Only been on one cruise before and that was on an enormous Royal Caribbean ship in the Caribbean which we didn’t enjoy as too many people, too impersonal, and all dockings were at awful ugly tourist trap towns like Ocho Rios in Jamaica ... Read More
Only been on one cruise before and that was on an enormous Royal Caribbean ship in the Caribbean which we didn’t enjoy as too many people, too impersonal, and all dockings were at awful ugly tourist trap towns like Ocho Rios in Jamaica where we couldn’t get off the ship because of fights in the streets and the dirty Cozumel in Mexico. This cruise on the Viking Var was exceptional. There were 180 people on board and everyone was looked after as though they were family. It is to be noted that 90% of the travellers were from the USA and the average age had to be 65 with thankfully NO CHILDREN. We started our trip by flying from Heathrow to Budapest with BA. On arrival there was a Viking rep at the airport available for help if anyone needed it. We arrived in Budapest and several reps were available to ensure the right passengers got to the right ship. We had a 45 minute delay in getting to the ship because the transfer coach did not arrive on time with the excuse of a traffic jam. The driver should have checked on Waze or Google and left plenty of time to get to the airport. We arrived at the ship at 14:30 and fortunately the restaurant was still serving food. Our suit cases were delivered to our cabins. Our cabin number 325 was quite small but cleverly designed to make the most of the available space. We had twin beds with enough cupboard space to hang and put away our clothes including hiding our suit cases under our beds. The shower was large with a non slip mat and 2 different shower heads. Soap, shampoo etc were all there and were replaced when used. We had been warned that the electrical sockets were not UK 3 pin and took with us converters. It was great that there were several USB connection points for recharging our iphones and iPads. We paid a bit extra and had a nice balcony with a table and 2 chairs to sit on and watch the scenery go by, but this was seldom used because we met up with both our 4 friends we travelled with and new friends who we made on board and met on deck or in the comfortable lounges. I am not certain wether we would book a cabin with a balcony on our next trip as a Juliet balcony, where you have patio doors but no balcony to sit on, would probably suffice. Regarding food, drinks and restaurant timings. Timings were set to fit in with all the off ship tours and for each meal you could either have a snack or 3 course meal. Alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks were served foc only during meal times. At all other times, they were charged to your cabin unless you had purchased a drinks package. There is however a coffee/tea station open 24 hours. Every evening there were 3 super menus: A 3 course local fare menu dependant on the country and city we were docked at; a menu with a selection of different daily themed plates and; a menu with a choice of food which was available every day. vegetarians, pescatarians, omnivarians and especially Americans who typically are unwilling to  try any unusual food they don’t recognise will have no problem finding something that would suit them. On arriving at the boat we asked the restaurant manager, the wonderful Alexandra, if they could provide lactose free milk and for my wife, gluten free food. No problem at all, I know that one day when they ran out of the milk Alexandra actually left the ship to go to a store to buy some herself!!! Every day Alexandra would show the dinner menu to my wife and went through what she could provide gluten free. She was a miracle worker and my wife received the perfect selection of food every day and with no nasty side effects. The serving staff in the restaurant were unbelievably helpful and service was never delayed. We tried to keep to the same area in the restaurant so that we had the same servers. Who wouldn’t want to make sure they had the wonderful Alan, Yuri and Ryan looking after them. By the second day, they knew that the 6 of us in our group didn’t drink wine and made sure we were provided with a selection of suitable soft drinks and very occasional bier or shandy. We booked our holiday to  include the cost of tips, but we were looked after so well that we still tipped them at the end of the trip. We took the free tours as offered as part of the cruise as well as a couple of additional cost ones which we wanted. The tour guides were extremely knowledgeable and looked after all participants making sure no one got lost or were left behind. Only one of the guides was below par, but that was in comparison to the others which was a shame. Tours commenced early in the morning so we tended to go to bed early, waking up at 6am or 630am to ensure we managed to get breakfast before setting off. Every day bottles of water were handed out to those taking part in the tours. The tours were arranged depending on people’s abilities and ensured that the less physical persons were not left out or placed on a tour they could not cope with. The headphone system to listen to the guides was first class and we never had a problem of hearing or understanding what they were saying or we were seeing. This Danube cruise started in Budapest then sailed north to Vienna, Krems  Passau, Regensberg finishing at Nuremberg. We then booked an extension of a 3 night stay in Prague. Transfer to Prague was a 3.5 hour coach ride. The ship’s Maitre D for the whole of the cruise was George. He was brilliant and provided film shows and pre tour information to help everyone get ready for the excursions with timings and advice. We often saw him about the towns during the excursions to ensure we were all ok. In the evening he even sang with the onboard professional resident entertainer Sylvia who sang and played a piano/ keyboard both in the evening and during the day. We had been looked after so well on the ship that we were, in comparison, unhappy with the reception by the reps and the position of the Hilton Hotel in the New Town. We arrived at approximately midday after the long drive and there was no food or drinks waiting for us. We were advised that we would not be provided with a room until 3pm and not one room was released till they were all ready. This was unacceptable and should have been made available as soon as each was ready. During this delay, we were taken outside the hotel and the rep pointed out the station and where shops and restaurants would be and just given maps and told where we could go nearby to obtain a meal. This was not acceptable and not in the manner of being looked after we had become accustomed to. We decided to have lunch in the hotel in one of the restaurants but were told that even though there were several empty tables they refused to put 2 tables together so that the 6 of us could sit together. The Viking reps should have expected some of us to want to eat in the hotel after a long transfer from the ship and made arrangements for the restaurant to have space available. So everyone (we were all in groups, having made friends on the ship) left the hotel to find a restaurant that would sit us together. This Hilton hotel, whilst new and attractive inside with its atrium is positioned between 20 minutes and a half an hour walk to the interesting part of the city. This area in the New Town is also dirty and there were men who either follow you around offering to exchange your currency or stand around the ATM exchange machines where you don’t feel safe to be alone. Never trust them as someone was sold what they thought was the legal currency but in fact we’re worthless. This was never the case in the old town where tourists and students were in abundance and we felt extremely safe. As a Hilton diamond HHonors member I expected my bedroom to be upgraded but this was refused as I didn’t book the hotel direct but through Viking. I didn’t see the relevance to this as one way or another they were still paid via me and I will be complaining to Hilton directly. The hotel itself is very large and very modern and our bedroom overlooked the interior of the hotel and atrium. There was a problem with the bedroom that we were taken to as whilst it was twin bedded as booked it only had a shower in the bath which my wife could not have physically climbed into. I told the Viking rep that the room was not as booked and was told they could do nothing and I had to go to reception. They did not offer to intercede. When asked to be moved, reception was not at all helpful and eventually gave us a king bedded room with a shower, saying that (in this enormous hotel) there were no twin bedded rooms with a shower available. I certainly felt that their response would have been different if I booked with Hilton rather than through Viking. Breakfast was included and there was an excellent choice of food from the breakfast buffet. We took bread rolls, meats, cheese and salads  every morning so that we had sandwiches for lunch. The next day we were taken on a coach and short walking tour of Prague and the following day we went on an additional cost tour of Jewish Prague. This guide was knowledgeable and really excellent ensuring we visited and entered every important site. On the last day we were rudely woken up at 07:30 by the maid who continued to bang on the door till we opened it. Check out time was 10am so we were really angry about this and complained to reception who was very rude saying that they had every right, especially as we had to wait till 3 pm to get a room when we arrived. At the end of our stay, transfer to Prague airport was arranged by Viking from the hotel and having left our suit cases at their dedicated desk in the lower lobby. We didn’t see our suit cases again till we arrived back home in London. This desk was manned the whole day for advice and help on what to do, how to use public transport, and where to go in Prague but was not helpful in the same way as on the ship. Don't forget to take sweaters, cardigans and shawls with you as the air conditioning on the ship is very cold. At the end of the cruise and before disembarking in Nuremberg we were offered coupons costing £100 Pounds Sterling, payable in Euros (everything on the ship was based in Euro’s) and for each £100, a coupon of £200 was given. Unfortunately only a maximum of 2 can be purchased. We enjoyed the cruise, the staff, the food, the tours and their organisation so very much that we will be booking with Viking again in 2021, that is unless our children purloin the coupons. It should be noted that whilst we were warned that the discounted coupons were only available before we left the ship, we have in fact received emails still offering them a week after returning home. Sent from Graham's iPad Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We heard about this cruise from our travel agent when we asked about Danube cruises. The trip far exceeded our expectations in every way. The crew was friendly, helpful, skilled and talented. The food was served beautifully. The choices ... Read More
We heard about this cruise from our travel agent when we asked about Danube cruises. The trip far exceeded our expectations in every way. The crew was friendly, helpful, skilled and talented. The food was served beautifully. The choices were always plentiful and I appreciated the size of portions- enough but not too much. Coffee of all kinds, tea and pastries are always available. The excursions were led by locals who knew their business. I do a lot of reading and research before traveling and the tours were great. Be aware that the staterooms are small but they contain lots of storage- plenty for two people. Also be careful to ask about the activity level of the tour- they usually offer two levels with the leisurely one having fewer steps and hills. Our cruise had a lady with a walker ( in her 80s) who did everything at the leisurely level. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We had a wonderful cruise with an excellent cabin on the lower deck. Plenty of space and a well stocked bathroom. All meals were delicious and well presented food and there was plenty of first class wine at each meal. The staff were all ... Read More
We had a wonderful cruise with an excellent cabin on the lower deck. Plenty of space and a well stocked bathroom. All meals were delicious and well presented food and there was plenty of first class wine at each meal. The staff were all excellent and happy and appeared happy to look after us. Our cabin steward, Ivo, could not have been nicer or more efficient. a Boris, the programme manager, was excellent and very knowledgeable and worked tirelessly to make sure everything worked to plan. Ivana, the Hotel Manager, was quite outstanding and went out of her way to help passengers with any problems. She is an excellent representative of Viking Cruises. The included free excursions were very interesting and informative and we thoroughly enjoyed them all. The whole experience, from start to finish was exceptional. Having done a large number of ocean cruises we would thoroughly recommend Viking River Cruises. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This is our 4th Viking River Cruise, and we chose this itinerary because although we had visited much of Europe, we had never been to these cities. I was quite concerned before the trip regarding the water level on the Danube due to ... Read More
This is our 4th Viking River Cruise, and we chose this itinerary because although we had visited much of Europe, we had never been to these cities. I was quite concerned before the trip regarding the water level on the Danube due to problems last year, but there were no issues. We came to Budapest a couple of days early and did some touring on our own, including a fun up close and personal Tuk Tuk tour. The embarkation went smoothly and we had a nice but small balcony cabin. All of the staff were excellent, from our waiters to our steward and we went on many of the excursions, as we recognized we are unlikely to come this way again. The food was fine and entertainment minimal other than a Mozart and Strauss concert excursion in Vienna and a folklore dinner in Prague. The captain was everywhere saying hello to all the guests which I haven't seen on a cruise before. The highlight for all of us (we were traveling with son and dil) was the Prague extension which was far more interesting than we expected. The architecture is outstanding and the tours were interesting. My dil developed a toothache, and the host in Prague at our hotel actually arranged for an emergency dental appointment near the hotel and accompanied her to see the dentist helping to translate. We were very grateful for this service. I have absolutely no criticisms of this trip. However, without the Prague extension, I would have given it 4 circles as it wasn't as exciting as prior Viking trips which I attribute to the nature of these cities rather than any faults on Viking's part. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Always dreamed about being able to experience a Viking Cruise and it did not disappoint! We did a 2 day extension in Budapest prior to boarding the ship. One of the best things we did was hire a private guide to show us the city from a ... Read More
Always dreamed about being able to experience a Viking Cruise and it did not disappoint! We did a 2 day extension in Budapest prior to boarding the ship. One of the best things we did was hire a private guide to show us the city from a locals perspective and it was well worth it! The embarkation process could not have been more smooth and even though we arrived 2 hours early, our room was ready within 5 minutes! We were fortunate enough to have one of the two Explorer state rooms, and it was well worth the extra money. To have a living room space as well as the wrap around balcony was a huge advantage, especially on such a long trip. Most importantly...the staff! I have been on many cruises in the past and I can say with absolute confidence...they were the best I have ever seen! By the second day, they knew everyone's name, cabin # and even what you preferred to drink. Every person we encountered was exceptional. The Program Director had more energy and personality than you could ever hope for and the Hotel Manager was truly amazing. He went above and beyond in every way. We did most of the included tours and each one was a great introduction to the city and it's highlights.We have already started looking at which cruise we want to do next! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We didn't choose this ship,- it chose us! from the moment we boarded in Amsterdam to the disembarkation, we were looked after royally, from the Captain down to the cabin Stewardess, we cannot fault, Our cabin on deck 2 was a ... Read More
We didn't choose this ship,- it chose us! from the moment we boarded in Amsterdam to the disembarkation, we were looked after royally, from the Captain down to the cabin Stewardess, we cannot fault, Our cabin on deck 2 was a "French Balcony" however even though it was a tad cosy ( read small) it still gave us an open sliding door to the world sliding past as we went up/down? the river to Budapest. Our Tour Director, Sanya, and her Co- Host staff managed each guests tour itinerary's without a miss-step and didn't loose any of our passengers once. We were looked after at each meal by very attentive staff ( Alajandro, Dawid and Pol) regally, and I cannot complain as to the overall attentiveness, they also strive to accommodate all tastes and dietary restrictions, - (although if you are Coliiac or dairy free, then it becomes a tad boring) BUT! you wont starve!, Our cabin Lass, Agata, was an absolute blessing as my wife went down with a head cold on week 2 of the trip and she looked after us with all requests for extra tissues, towels, bedding and privacy that was asked for, Gold Star for her!. For any prospective travellers with Viking on this trip, I can only say, sit back, enjoy, eat well and be pampered with the knowledge that you are looked after as a guest, not just another "head on a bed". I think to summarise why we would choose Viking again, I would say that when we were due to be taken to the airport in Prague ( after an extension to the river cruise) we were escorted from the hotel by a Viking staff member to the limo and met by another equally attentive staff member at the airport drop-off and were whisked straight through to the relevant check-in ( she took us straight to "Business" class) and we were booked in and on our way ( unfortunately this didn't get us B.C Seating) but we enjoyed the status of beating the queues, all in all, Well done Viking!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
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
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
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
We had been wanting to go on a river cruise. This was our first one and we chose this itinerary because the timing fit with other plans made. We enjoyed the small passenger feel. The staff worked hard to see that you were comfortable ... Read More
We had been wanting to go on a river cruise. This was our first one and we chose this itinerary because the timing fit with other plans made. We enjoyed the small passenger feel. The staff worked hard to see that you were comfortable and had everything you needed. Some of the special things we enjoyed was the “Meet your Neighbors” event, where all your cabin neighbors met in the hall, drank champagne and had chocolates, and visited. Often we were greeted at the door after an excursion by staff with something to drink or warm washcloths. It was a very nice touch. We also enjoyed the Liars Club, which was hilarious! The cooking class was not at all what was expected. It was more of a comedy show and everyone had a great time. The Russian history lessons were very interesting and we were so impressed with the knowledge of our three guides. Our excursions were all well planned, informative and enjoyable. We would definitely travel with Viking 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
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
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