3 Viking River Viking Atla Luxury Cruise Reviews

Full Disclosure: We were on both the Viking Atla (which was supposed to be our ship originally) and the Viking Jarl due to a ship swap mid-cruise. I may leave reviews for both ships. We flew Lufthansa through Viking Air (we did the ... Read More
Full Disclosure: We were on both the Viking Atla (which was supposed to be our ship originally) and the Viking Jarl due to a ship swap mid-cruise. I may leave reviews for both ships. We flew Lufthansa through Viking Air (we did the custom air so that we could choose our flights). The flights were smooth and efficient, as were the transfers from the airport to hotel and vice-versa. We did a 2-night pre-cruise extension in Nuremberg and a 2-night post-cruise extension in Budapest. Although we booked these via Viking, we went off on our own instead of participating in the included city tours. We stayed at the Le Meridien Grand Hotel in Nuremberg and the Hilton Budapest (Buda Hill) in Budapest. We had rooms with fantastic views at both hotels (especially in Budapest, where the view of Fisherman's Bastion, the Parliament Building, and the Danube was breathtaking). Our view at the Grand Hotel was that of the old city. The Le Meridien Grand Hotel was fantastic - the service was superb. The included breakfast was the most sumptuous that we had on the trip. I would return for the bread and jam (all homemade) alone. The hotel also had some special perks for Viking guests, among them, welcome gifts, snacks, and a crafted coffee drink (like cappuccino/espresso) or tea per day. The hotel was right across the street from the Nuremberg train station – which was perfect for us. We took the high-speed ICE train the next day into Munich and met our private guide for an excursion to Berchtesgaden/Salzburg. This was a fantastic introduction to our trip and gave us an interesting perspective on German culture. Since we arranged this trip on our own, I won’t go into detail here, but we greatly recommend it. The next day, we were supposed to transfer to our ship after breakfast – but since we planned another excursion on our own, we sent our bags ahead of us. The Viking Host was very helpful and gave us directions to the Nuremberg Harbour, where the Jarl was docked. This proved essential when we returned from our private excursion (to Dachau – very powerful). The first part of our river voyage was on the Viking Jarl (identical to the Atla save for artwork). We embarked later than most guests, so we missed the original orientation and dinner. We arrived around 8 p.m. and were met by the Maitre D’ (Jelko) who introduced himself and made sure that we were taken care of. We ate that night in the Aquavit Lounge (which we mostly had to ourselves). The staff of the ships are the stars of Viking Cruises – as much as and sometimes more so than the sights and the rivers themselves. Everyone on the both the Atal and the Jarl went out of their way to ensure that we were happy. All requests were fulfilled promptly, and often anticipated. Our wait staff pampered us. It was very hard to leave the staff of the Jarl mid-stream. The staff of the Atla did their best to pick up where the Jarl’s staff left off. They, too tried to please us in every way – we had less time to get to know them, but they, too, were exceptional. Our Program Director (Terry) and our Concierge (Kremena) were the only staff members to come over with us to the Atla. They both deserve high accolades. We needed to swap ships on Day 5 (Thursday, Oct. 29) of our cruise due to the low water between Regensburg and Passau. Both ship crews handled the swap efficiently. We did have a 3.5 hour (including a half hour rest stop) bus trip from Regensburg to Kelheim – but it allowed me to catch up on some much needed sleep. We also got to experience an autobahn rest stop that puts the US versions to shame. The restaurant at the stop was quite extensive! To compensate us for the ship swap, we were offered multiple options (full or half day in Passau with lunch, full day in Munich with lunch), plus comped premium beverages, comped musical excursion in Vienna. We completed the scenic sail of the Wachau Valley between Kelheim and Melk on a small day excursion boat (with lunch included). After the sail, we finally boarded the Atla. We were welcomed onboard with hot punch, music, and welcome signs. Our bags were in our cabins, AND our extra pillows, robes, and slipper preferences were pre-arranged without our request. One of the most fun excursions we did was a trip to the farmer’s market in Vienna with the chef. I don’t know if this is offered on every cruise. Our small group had a private wine and cheese tasting in the market. Just fabulous! We celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary onboard the Atla at the farewell dinner on Sat. night. Viking sent a delicious cake to our table – the Maitre D from the Jarl had sent word of our anniversary over to the Atla and surprised us! After the cruise, we stayed in Budapest for 2 days. We recommend visiting one of the many thermal baths. Our Viking Host helped us arrange for a private tour of the Jewish Quarter, which was quite illuminating and worthwhile. My only wish (aside from wanting higher water levels so that we could cruise without a ship swap) was for more leisure time in Vienna. It was a wonderful vacation and I would gladly cruise with Viking again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was our first river cruise and it was an excellent experience. We went from Amsterdam to Budapest. It is called the Grand European Tour. The Viking Atla is a very new boat and is streamlined and modern in its design. I think what set ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and it was an excellent experience. We went from Amsterdam to Budapest. It is called the Grand European Tour. The Viking Atla is a very new boat and is streamlined and modern in its design. I think what set this tour apart from say an Ocean tour was the fact that so much of the included excursions were cultural and intellectual in nature. There was always something new to learn and the quality of the tours very high. There was also lots of options regarding spending time at leisure.We did luck out with regards to the sometimes capricious nature of rivers - sometimes they are too low etc. Conditions for us were perfect. The ship ran like clockwork with all tours precisely on time and well-organized. Our program director Caspar, would brief us the night before which helped with planning. Many of the destinations small and charming. I was surprised by all the local musicians that came aboard. There was also a glass blower that was very entertaining, The quality of the meals was very high. An added touch were cookies, donuts and latte machines available throughout the day and evening. Most remarkable for us was the quality of service by the housekeeping and restaurant staff. They were courteous, friendly and amazingly efficient. We celebrated our 30th Anniversary aboard ship and staff really made it special. We came away from this tour feeling like we had been treated as special guests. We took the more expensive route of allowing Viking to arrange the air. The connections and flights were not always ideal but the seamless transfers from hotel to airport more than made up for that. One employee even offered to stand in line for me to hold my place at the VAT desk at the airport because she could see I was getting tired. Truly amazing service from start to finish. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
This was our first river cruise. We extended our stay 2 nights in Amsterdam at the beginning to acclimate to the time change before the cruise started and we extended our stay 3 nights in Prague following the cruise. Would highly recommend ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. We extended our stay 2 nights in Amsterdam at the beginning to acclimate to the time change before the cruise started and we extended our stay 3 nights in Prague following the cruise. Would highly recommend doing both of those things. We had varied weather so would suggest that you pack for layering. Viking did not disappoint; they were there for us every step of our trip. Our tour guides in every port were knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. The food was excellent. They offered a surprise tour with the chef in Vienna that was so much fun. Sailing into Budapest after dinner was magical. The Nuremberg World War II side tour was overwhelming; would highly suggest doing that. We also did the evening concert in Vienna and would also recommend that, too. Our room on the third floor was small but there was room for everything and we did not feel crowded. This truly was the trip of a lifetime and we are so glad we opted for the long cruise with extra days before and after. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
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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