This was my wife and I's first river cruise and we really enjoyed it. We started in Amsterdam then visited Kinderdijk, Antwerp, Bruge & Ghent, the Delta Works, Delft, Amsterdam again, and Arnhem before ending in Amsterdam. This ... Read More
This was my wife and I's first river cruise and we really enjoyed it. We started in Amsterdam then visited Kinderdijk, Antwerp, Bruge & Ghent, the Delta Works, Delft, Amsterdam again, and Arnhem before ending in Amsterdam. This is not the same schedule that was on the Viking web site. That time of year there are so many cruise boats in the Netherlands that not all can do the same route. We only learned of the change when our cruise package arrived month before the cruise.
The cruise format was great. We breakfast onboard followed by an included walking tour most mornings, back on board for lunch then free time ashore or an optional tour. Back on board for supper then the ship sailed. The walking tour guides all spoke English very well. There were a fast and a slow group but you definitely need to be able to walk at least a couple miles to do the tours. If you do not do the tour there is little to do onboard although there was a small library and a good selection of movies to watch.
My two favourite excursions were to Brugge and Horne. Both small towns with lots of history. The home visit in Horne was very interesting The North Holland excursion was also very interesting it included a visit to the old floating vegetable market (now a museum) and it was interesting to see the tulip beds as we rode for an hour on the bus. The Keukenhor Gardens are amazing with its millions and millions for flowers. I did not visit this trip but I have visited the Airborne museum in Arnhem. It is well worth a visit. Watch the movie a Bridge to Far before visiting to get the most out of your visit. If you are staying in Amsterdam and want to see the Rijksmuseum go in the early morning, by 10 AM there are long lines. If you want to visit Ann Frank House book in advance, the lines are even longer. I found the Maritime museum very interesting.
The ship was very well appointed with what I would describe as nordic furnishings. The cabins are small but have every feature we needed. We were is the lowest level. There were two small windows at the waterline that let in natural light. We were hardly in our cabin except to sleep so we did not need a balcony or picture windows. On several occasions we were berthed beside other cruise ships so the view was of the other ship.
The food was excellent. Breakfast and lunch buffet style although you could order a la cart. Supper was served at 1900 every day. The beer (BItburger) and some very nice wines were included with lunch and dinner. The prices of drinks in the bar were reasonable. If you did not wish to eat in the dining room you there was also a small buffet in the lounge. The service was always excellent.
Most nights there was some sort of entertainment on board. It varied from a male folk choir (who were excellent) to a wooden shoe maker. No Vegas style shows on these ships, there is not enough room.
The upper deck is completely clear. It makes a great place to go for a walk or sit and watch the scenery go by.
Keep some cash for gratuities at the end. You can put the gratuity on your bill but you can also use $, or Euros. We received two envelopes the last night. One for the Cruise Director and one for the crew. The Cruise Director worked tirelessly in all aspects of our our cruise, from boarding, to leading tours, to departure. She deserved very penny she got.
We had Viking book our flights but we visited another city first so we arrived in Amsterdam by train. This was the only problem we had. Our ship was not at the main River Cruise port but in an industrial port. Buses were being used to shuttle people to and from the city centre. We went to the main port to ask the Viking agent there where the shuttle buses left from. The rep only dealt with people staying on the official "pre stay". They had already left for the ship. She advised us to take a taxi. Our taxi driver did not know where the new location was so we spend 30 minutes circling the industrial port before he asked a security guard for directions. If we had flown directly to the cruise we would have been met by a Viking rep at the airport and bused to the ship. The trip from the ship to the airport went very smoothly.
We are sailing with Viking again Read Less