5 Viking River Viking Atla Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

European Christmas markets, beautiful Danube Austrian and Bavarian locations, sailing up river thru some 26 locks passing Austria and into Bavarian Germany, so enticingly promised by the highly effective and persuasive Viking ads. How did ... Read More
European Christmas markets, beautiful Danube Austrian and Bavarian locations, sailing up river thru some 26 locks passing Austria and into Bavarian Germany, so enticingly promised by the highly effective and persuasive Viking ads. How did the cruise pan out? Just fine! Nearly completely met the promises, not easy to do… This off season cruise incorporated the usual highly rated Romantic Danube agenda with the first week of Christmas markets in the heart of Danube gemutlichkeit (good feeling). It didn't hurt that we were lucky with both river water level (not too high or low, not always the case in past years), and weather i.e., cold but not rainy, just some delightful white flakes drifting down. Could one ask for more?? We don't think so. Now I’ve gotta say: a big plus to the overall good feeling for us was the Atla’s 90% male crew led by a chef presenting consistently interesting, delicious, well served food. The only better food afloat per us might be Crystal, out of 20+ ocean and river ships we’ve been on. The chef, and Viking’s well planned menus, consistently fed the 186 guests wonderfully varied, fresh, well prepared, interesting selections, mostly with decent wine. Perhaps actually this was the biggest key to success of the cruise. A second was Super Mario, the tour and entertainment guru. The Captain and boat crew also all were efficient, aided by no shortcuts in the design and execution of the boat with its very well equipped cockpit. Our Ukrainian captain timed arrivals and departures well to maximize time in port plus one day doing daylight sailing thru the beautiful Wachau valley of Austria. All not easy to orchestrate given that we were going upstream on the fast flowing Danube with so many locks to negotiate, all while needing to fit in with commercial traffic. Truth be told, if this is a fair example, (and it is our first time aboard Viking) they have this river cruising thing down cold. Personalized attention to detail again and again starts at the top with the CEO and his wife, the sparkly and appealing Karin. Rooms, meals, tours, places to dock, festive seasonal touches, a special arrangement with a wonderful monastery and seasonal cooking demo examples, special music just for the boat in a classic theatre in Vienna, so helpful service desk and an offset hall room plan, and working elevator for the more mobility impaired. Really hard to see how one could ask for more, different or better. While we're also fans of Avalon with their larger rooms, from past cruises, Viking certainly now has won our business and surely will see us again on the rivers...and maybe as ocean cruisers on their new ships as well. Tip: we arranged our own to/from transportation. Viking did so for most others and had a problem with Lufthansa pilots going on strike. Lesson: pay a little extra ($50 I think) for the Viking option to use your own travel agent who can argue for and help to arrange the most favorable routing. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
My husband and I recently took the Viking Romantic Danube cruise on the Atla from Nuremburg to Budapest with a group of friends. The small ship was satisfactory, but it was too cold in November to use the third deck for exercise, games, ... Read More
My husband and I recently took the Viking Romantic Danube cruise on the Atla from Nuremburg to Budapest with a group of friends. The small ship was satisfactory, but it was too cold in November to use the third deck for exercise, games, or viewing. Food and staff were adequate. The included morning excursions were enjoyable with excellent local guides. For those who don’t like to shop, there was nothing else to do in the afternoon unless purchasing an optional tour. There were before-dinner lectures but little to do after dinner other than sit in the bar lounge and listen to a singing pianist, except for two game nights and one night of two opera singers with a four-piece string accompaniment, all of which were enjoyable. There were very few TV stations, and the Internet was sporadic. The disastrous part of this cruise was booking it. We started almost a year earlier with Johnny at Viking because there was a “special” price and free airfare from the East coast until January 31. As we worked with him, we learned that Orlando is not on the East coast, but Philadelphia and New York are! We upgraded the nine-hour flight from Orlando to Frankfurt to premium economy for $900 each. We extended two days in Budapest for a deviation fee of $100 each. We were charged $400 each for the two-day hotel stay. We bought the travel insurance for $519 each. The total cost of the trip was $7,800. We decided to book as this was a group vacation. I left messages for Johnny every day for a week, and he never returned my calls. Finally on January 30 I called general reservations and was given another agent to book before the “sale” ended the next day. When I realized we were being charged $800 for two nights in a Budapest hotel, I called the Viking business office and spent a day cancelling it. I instead booked the four-star K and K Opera Hotel online myself for $80 a night. When we later tried to learn the flight dates and times, we were told we had to pay an extra $164 each from Air Plus, Viking’s “exclusive custom air department,” to find out ahead of time and receive “more desirable” flights. These flights were later changed without notifying us, from the agreed-upon 8 AM flight to a 6 AM flight. We learned of the change only after calling the airline to confirm our flight. Even though the cruise itself was adequate, it’s not worth the agony of booking, the unprofessional service, or the ridiculous costs of the add ons. This was not our first European river cruise, but Viking was a very difficult company to deal with. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Grade A service, Grade A logistics, Grade A tours, Grade A optional land excursions, Grade A food, and Grade A entertainment. The food was superb and for me being on a salt restricted diet, the maitre'd sought me out at breakfast ... Read More
Grade A service, Grade A logistics, Grade A tours, Grade A optional land excursions, Grade A food, and Grade A entertainment. The food was superb and for me being on a salt restricted diet, the maitre'd sought me out at breakfast and would give me the lunch menu and dinner menu for the day. On the left side are the daily selections and on the right there are the standbys available every night, e.g., steak, fish, chicken, pasta. I was able to pick my daily meals with no salt....especially made for me. There were others who were diabetic and those needing a gluten free meal. The land tours were great and divided into groups from easy walking to longer more intense walking trips. The guides were local to the town we were visiting and they spoke English very well. They definitely deserved the tips that were offered. I can't think of one thing that I would have changed. The service was impeccable. First night we had a tour of the river lights in Budapest. It was chilly when we went to the upper deck, but they were right there with blankets and a tray of apricot schnapps. Nice touch!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We chose this cruise because 11 friends were taking this cruise and we wanted to be with them. However, the ports that we visited beginning with Bucharest and ending with Budapest (we did extend our travels to include Prague) were ... Read More
We chose this cruise because 11 friends were taking this cruise and we wanted to be with them. However, the ports that we visited beginning with Bucharest and ending with Budapest (we did extend our travels to include Prague) were fabulous. The ship, Atla was excellent and we enjoyed the activities on board and the food was excellent. The entertainment provided was outstanding and the food was excellent. Our cabin service was excellent and all service was the best. Viking does a wonderful job in providing for all needs from the time that we met the Viking group at the airport in Bucharest to the time that we departed home from our last stop in Prague. I cannot say enough about the shore excursions. All of the tour guides were outstanding. The bus ride that Viking provided for the trip from Budapest to Prague was very relaxing and our tour guide provide a lot of details that we would experience in Prague. If I had to rate the places that we visited, I would place Prague and Budapest at the top with Bucharest, Rouse, Vidin, Belgrade and Croatia not far behind. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
It was a beautiful cruise from Bucharest to Budapest on the Danube River. The ship was beautiful and the cabins and common areas were so well done. We really spent a lot of time in the lounge area during the day and for lunch -- did not ... Read More
It was a beautiful cruise from Bucharest to Budapest on the Danube River. The ship was beautiful and the cabins and common areas were so well done. We really spent a lot of time in the lounge area during the day and for lunch -- did not go to the dining room for lunch at all...just breakfast and dinner. We only had one sea day -- Iron Gate -- the rest of the time we had offshore excursions and the cities we visited were great -- great guides also!! There were 13 of us travelling together -- and they made special arrangements for us in the dining room to be able to sit together...many anniversaries and birthdays in our group!! They decorated doors to our cabins and in the cabin -- decorations around the mirror...so thoughtful!! We were on the side of the ship that had a balcony and we enjoyed the time we could sit out there and enjoy the view. We really had great weather and that made all of our shore trips so much better -- took a jacket -- but hardly wore it!!! What a great crew and fun entertainment at night with local dancers and singers -- many of them young people!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Viking Atla Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.6
Dining 4.0 4.5
Entertainment 3.0 4.0
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 1.0 3.3
Family 1.0 3.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.5
Enrichment 4.0 4.2
Service 4.0 4.8
Value For Money 3.0 4.2
Rates 4.0 5.0

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