5 Prague to Europe - River Cruise Viking River Viking Prestige Cruise Reviews

If we had to do again, we would add on 2 days to our stay in Prague and we would NOT have chosen the Lobkowicz Palace extension mainly because of all the steps involved which caused me to injure my hip. I actually had to opt for the ... Read More
If we had to do again, we would add on 2 days to our stay in Prague and we would NOT have chosen the Lobkowicz Palace extension mainly because of all the steps involved which caused me to injure my hip. I actually had to opt for the LEISURE tours the rest of the trip as a result - not that that was a BAD thing, but there were some walks I just couldn't handle for fear of really hurting myself. Viking did NOT properly prepare us for the reality of this extension and the intensity of the morning and afternoon outings combined and in retrospect, we could have spent time on our own exploring Prague. We were herded from place to place from 9am till after 5 pm, which was too much. We ARE 70 years old, and I AM overweight which were also factors for the reader to consider. The Prague Hilton was magnificent. The tour of Nuremberg could have been so much more than driving by places on the bus, but getting to the boat more than made up for this. I also felt the heaviness of visiting the stadium ruins there, but that was MY burden. My husband was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the parade grounds and museum. The boat is magnificent and the crew was very welcoming and charming. Our guide, Diana Van Tuuk was formidable and delightful. She made sure that all went well and took care of all glitches immediately and efficiently. The meals were more than pleasant and we loved the choices. We would have liked more wine choices and a better drink plan. I don't drink alcholic beverages, but we would have had to pay for BOTH of us for my husband to enjoy what he would have liked. It seemed a bit exorbitant to us. We happily survived and my husband didn't suffer unduly. All of the other tours were really enjoyable with educated and involved tour guides who didn't just give a packaged spiel, but were truly invested in their towns and the history. Heidelberg was beautiful and I survived the FUNICULA once I realized it wasn't as scary as I had envisioned. We LOVED the winery tour in Rudesheim which was very comfortable and relaxing. The view of the river valley was breathtaking and the VERTICAL vineyards were awesome to see. But, there is SO MUCH to see in each town and learn. The castle tour in Cochem was magical!! Since my husband and I are eternal students, we were like children on Christmas morning every day. We had not gone on this trip with high expectations, although we were very hopeful of a great time. We figure we always create our own good times and enjoy our surroundings, but this Viking experience was beyond our expectations and we highly recommend them to all our friends. Our favorite stop along the river tour was in Trier which we would love to visit again and tour more fully to better appreciate the Roman ruins. Sadly, because of the government shut down, the cemetery in Luxembourg was closed, but we at least drove onto the grounds to pay our respects and then had a great time in Luxembourg city where we actually saw the Grand Duke and Dutchess leave the palace for a special parade. Nothing like seeing "royals" for American tourists!!LOL! Finally, our extended stay in Paris was incomparable. We were celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary on this trip which we topped with dinner at the Jules Verne Restaurant in the Eiffel Tower. MAGNIFICENT!! Everyone went out of their way to make us comfortable - both the Viking staff at the hotel and the concierge who assisted in our extra 2 days in Paris. We enjoyed the experience SO much, that we are taking the trip from Amsterdam to Budapest in a few weeks with an extended stay in Amsterdam. We will be REvisiting a few of the towns along the Rhine, but are looking forward to expanding our view of those towns and doing a bit more on our own. We HIGHLY recommend the Viking Experience especially if you are looking for an INTIMATE environment. With only about 180 other people on board, it is easy to find companionship and people to share in the delights being offered..   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
Contrary to the Viking advertisements, our cities of light cruise Prague to Paris was a bus trip with periodic interludes where one could sleep and eat on the ship. We expected to be able to walk on and off the docked ships. Surprisingly ... Read More
Contrary to the Viking advertisements, our cities of light cruise Prague to Paris was a bus trip with periodic interludes where one could sleep and eat on the ship. We expected to be able to walk on and off the docked ships. Surprisingly the docking points are generally remote from the towns. One is usually on a bus for most of the touring. Sometimes the bus trip is longer than the actual tour content. The tour schedule is hectic and generally requires a very early rising. We stayed onboard towards the end and found it far more relaxing. It should also be known that the tour sites are very very crowded. In some instances we could not appreciate any of the sites as the crowds were just too large. One of our tour guides noted that this is the result of nearly 800 river cruise ships following the same itinerary. Food was ok for breakfast and lunch. Dinner was generally awful. The menu does not vary from day to day. Today's roast beef is tomorrow's beef stroganoff. Todays lamb roast is tomorrow's lamb stew. We were served the chef's idea of an amuse bouche which were overcooked and sauced mussels. They were inedible and served on two occasions. Another example of an appetizer is an olive placed on top of a dry white bread round held together by a toothpick. Many of the crew were outstanding. Diana the tour director is a dynamo of energy and a real problem solver, She is great. Ewa in housekeeping took very good care of us. The dining room staff harkened back to the days when servers were expected to be entertainers in order to cull favor of the guests. Unfortunately no one told these guys that those days are over and that guests prefer receiving their orders on time and correctly. The buffoonery of the Maitre d' set the tone. Carrying plates of food on his bald head was a little more than I could stomach! Our dinner orders were often incorrect and cold. Be wary of the purported included drinks during meals. One needs tackle the beverage servers in order to get the included wine or beer. We had elected a prepaid upgrade beverage package and had difficulties being served. We really got upset to see guests being served cocktails for no charge when we had paid for ours. The 2 day Prague and 2 day Paris days are worthless. There is not enough time to enjoy these cities. I would not recommend Viking to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We signed up for this tour in December of 2012, at which point only the lower level cabins were available. In hindsight, we are glad we didn’t spend the extra. We then heard nothing more from Viking until a few weeks before our ... Read More
We signed up for this tour in December of 2012, at which point only the lower level cabins were available. In hindsight, we are glad we didn’t spend the extra. We then heard nothing more from Viking until a few weeks before our departure, when we received a booklet with descriptions of the various stops, along with travel suggestions. We departed for Prague expecting an enjoyable river cruise. What we got instead was a lot of time on busses. This was due in part to the lockworkers’ strike that began the day we were supposed to depart from Bamburg, and in part due to the actual logistics of the cruise. There was no simple way to tell this from the information we saw before signing up. The lockworkers’ strike was the latest of several that had occurred this year. Viking professed to be surprised it was happening. However a quick web search revealed that the strike had been called by the lock workers union before we departed the US for the vacation, and was scheduled to last a week. If they knew and didn’t tell us, that is deceptive. If they didn’t know, that is incompetent. Had we known, we might well have decided to make other plans. It turned out the strike lasted two days, so the ship was way behind, but moving. Meanwhile, we spent time on busses going from where the ship was stuck or late, to planned or substitute destinations. Each day was seemingly invented the day before, with no clear knowledge of how the rest of the cruise would develop. Our impression was that VRC were just winging it, a day at a time. Given all their previous experience with disruptions, this was not impressive. The tour director and staff on the ship were nice and doing their best, but without any evident long range plan from their management. Loading 4 busses of people, some of whom were not in real good condition, was a slow process, and of course this happened two or more times each day. This added a large amount of dead time to the trip. At the destinations, there were suggestions that some folks might want to join a “leisurely group” which would walk more slowly. In general however this did not work, and every group included folks who had trouble keeping up, thus slowing the process further. As a result, nearly half of each day was lost to bus logistics and driving time. The ship did not manage to catch up to the schedule until the last two days, and one of the scheduled stops was skipped completely. Most of the time the ship was docked at industrial facilities or places away from the town centers, so except for one day, it was not possible to simply walk off the ship into the town. Our theory is that VRC has expanded so much, using larger ships, that these city center docks are simply not available. Again, had all of this been made clear when we were signing up, we would not have chosen this cruise (but still no way to know if any other would be different). The idyllic scenes one sees on the PBS ads or on their website do not represent what you really get (at least in this case). This turned out to be a bus tour with a floating hotel that met us at the end of the day. If we had wanted a bus tour, we could have signed up for one at substantially less cost. Once home, we made our concerns known to Viking, and they offered us a $500 discount on our next cruise. We don’t plan on collecting.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We arranged our own air and arrived in Prague a day earlier than the scheduled 2 free nights from Viking. The hotel was a Hilton, OK for a large hotel; a little out of the way from old town. We took taxis in to town on our own instead of ... Read More
We arranged our own air and arrived in Prague a day earlier than the scheduled 2 free nights from Viking. The hotel was a Hilton, OK for a large hotel; a little out of the way from old town. We took taxis in to town on our own instead of the Viking tour. Prague is a magical, fairytale city with lots to see and do. We did do the Lobowicz Palace tour and lunch through Viking. We had a great lunch in the family's quarters and then a private concert. Prague and the Palace were the highlight of the whole trip. We then went on a bus to Nuremberg to board the Prestige. Luckily we had one of the two suites which were great. Eva, head housekeeper and the captain's wife, looked after all our needs. The boat was very nice, the food about a B- but the staff was great. This was our first river cruise and what we thought we were getting was traveling down a river and docking in small villages or towns that we could explore with the group or on our own. We got to do it in Bamburg and one other village. The lock masters went on strike which Viking knew since July, so we were stuck dead in the water for about 36 hours. Viking should have notified us passengers and given us alternatives. Most of the people we talked to felt the same way. Reading other reviews this happened in July also. So, there were the long bus rides for the tours. We only went to Heidelberg and stayed on the boat the rest of the time. We couldn't get off and explore because when the strike was over the boat had to keep moving to get us to Paris on time; so you would get off in one port and get back on in another. We had to miss two ports because of the strike. The weather was dreary and rainy so just as well. When you finally get to the Rhine, you really feel like you are on a river, but only the last two days of the cruise. Then we got on a bus at 8:30AM to go to Paris with a stop at the American Cemetery and some time in Luxembourg to have lunch and some free time. We arrive in Paris in all the traffic and get to our hotel around 7:00PM. A very long day, most of us ate in the hotel that night. The hotel was dowdy and not very clean. Not a 4 star in my opinion. The walls were nicked and the carpets all over need to be shampooed. The room was OK after we upgraded. But Viking should be able to do better than that. I would never stay there again. Well, on these river cruises I was told by a Viking representative, you either deal with high water, low water or strikes which can lead to moving ship to ship or moving by buses. Not at all appealing to me. So, in conclusion, I would not go on a river cruise again, but it was an interesting experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We were passengers on the City of Lights cruise on September 13, 2013 on board the Viking Prestige. This was our second cruise with Viking. May 2012 we took the Viking trip to China and had such a wonderful experience we decided to book ... Read More
We were passengers on the City of Lights cruise on September 13, 2013 on board the Viking Prestige. This was our second cruise with Viking. May 2012 we took the Viking trip to China and had such a wonderful experience we decided to book another trip immediately. However, there were two issues that detracted from what otherwise was a great experience. One, after several days into the cruise portion of the trip my wife and I as well as many other passengers were complaining about swollen ankles. Prior to arriving on the ship we were in Paris for 4 days and did not experience this problem. This had never happened to us before so we started to look into potential causes. This was painful and as we later found, unnecessary. What we identified was that the bottled water provided was very high in sodium content. During one part of the cruise we visited the Viking sister ship, Alta. We noted that the bottled water served on that ship was low in sodium content. We brought this to the attention of the Prestige’s captain. Two, our excursion in Prague was disappointing and frustrating. We chose the optional Lobkowicz Castle excursion. We did not know that this excursion would include a morning “walking” tour of the old city. Our tour of the Lobkowicz Castle and luncheon was scheduled for 1:00 p.m. The walking tour dragged on for 4 hours. Much too long than was necessary and for the repetitiveness of the sights we were seeing. Walking through the park with the guide describing graffiti was disappointing and frustrating! Following this “death march” as many called it, we had to walk up hill to the castle. The walk to the castle may have been unavoidable but the 4 hour walking tour certainly was. As much as we enjoyed the Lobkowicz Optional tour it will forever be tainted by the poor planning of the city tour. We were excited to cruise the Moselle and Rhine rivers and visit the towns along the rivers. The Prestige ship was in excellent condition, our stateroom was comfortable. The crew was attentive and did their job well. We have taken many cruises but never has a Captain greeted us in person on the gangway after excursions and our Captain went above and beyond.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Viking Prestige Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.5
Dining 4.0 4.6
Entertainment 4.0 4.0
Public Rooms 4.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.2
Family 1.0 3.2
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.5
Enrichment 5.0 4.3
Service 3.0 4.7
Value For Money 5.0 4.3
Rates 4.0 3.7

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