5 Viking River Viking Jarl Luxury Cruise Reviews

Due to the severe drought in Europe, we had to stay in a hotel in Budapest the first night, then travel to meet our ship, then change ships part way through. However, Viking cannot be blamed for that, and they certainly did all they could ... Read More
Due to the severe drought in Europe, we had to stay in a hotel in Budapest the first night, then travel to meet our ship, then change ships part way through. However, Viking cannot be blamed for that, and they certainly did all they could to make it easy and enjoyable for us. They even gave us a credit for a future trip to make up for our inconvenience. We had been keeping our eye on this situation so were not surprised by changes. The hotel was very nice and we had good meals provided for us there. The large cities on this tour (Budapest, Vienna, Nuremberg) were impressive, had wonderful approachable local guides and tours, and allowed time for shopping. The smaller towns and stops were even more enjoyable for us. I thought we would get tired of seeing so many cathedrals and abbeys, but each was unique and different and IMPRESSIVE! We wished that we would have extended our stay with more time in Budapest since time there was so limited. The staff on both ships were superb; efficient, quiet, quick, thorough, open to requests, and approachable. Everyone was friendly and so helpful. Our cabin was on the top level of the boat and had a small balcony which would have been nice if the boat had traveled during the day. We would have liked more daytime travel seeing sights from the river. Food was great. Piano bar was enjoyable for an after dinner drink and relaxation. This tour provided meals at a couple of local restaurants with more ethnic food which was interesting and very nice. Unfortunately, we missed the musical entertainment that was brought on the ship since we had such early flights to leave. This is the second Viking cruise that we have taken and flights and transfers are always easy since they do all the work. We don't like the long flights, but that is certainly not Viking's fault. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
We took a 'Mom and Two Sons' river cruise from Budapest to Nuremburg. It was time to spend together traveling like we had not before and visiting cities, world heritage sites and countries that none of us had visited before. ... Read More
We took a 'Mom and Two Sons' river cruise from Budapest to Nuremburg. It was time to spend together traveling like we had not before and visiting cities, world heritage sites and countries that none of us had visited before. Every facet of out Viking experience was timely, stress-free and truly enjoyable, From the time we were met at the Budapest airport to the 'ship swap' to the Viking Atla to delivering us to the Nuremburg airport, we were treated like kings and queen. I do not enjoy crowds, so the size of the ship was perfect. Service was just right and quickly our 'favorites' were known and served. Each crew person was personable, fun to get to know and in a short time, became a friend who we cared for very much. Dining was so enjoyable and the chefs were fabulous. We truly enjoyed our meals and were very happy for the excursions so we could walk off the calories! Each excursion guide was friendly, informative and interesting because they lived in the cities where we toured. The extras from the city-natives was insightful and I felt like they were sharing their love of history as well as the beautiful architecture. I especially enjoyed walking on the Roman/Medieval roads, seeing the art and sculptures and the magnificent cathedrals. Realizing how real World War II remains in the cities we visited was eye-opening. The physical losses and rebuilding was truly conveyed to all of us and gave me a new appreciation for each city's peserverance. We did not have the opportunity to stay for any extra time in Budapest, although I certainly would love to return. Yes! I would love to take a longer river cruise when I retire in 2-3 years. What a great way to start a new phase of my life! Perhaps my sons will be able to come with me once again so we could create more memories. I have recommended Viking to many of my friends and co-workers because it was such a wonderful way to travel and see the world. Thank you, Viking, for my memories of the beautiful cities, valleys and time spent with my sons. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Travel Dates: August 30, 2015 – September 6, 2015 Viking Boat: Jarl My husband and I, along with our friends (another couple) booked our Viking “Romantic Danube” cruise almost a year in advance. My husband lived in Germany ... Read More
Travel Dates: August 30, 2015 – September 6, 2015 Viking Boat: Jarl My husband and I, along with our friends (another couple) booked our Viking “Romantic Danube” cruise almost a year in advance. My husband lived in Germany for several years, and we have traveled a lot through the region, but had never cruised the Danube before. We wanted to see all of the beautiful towns along the way and to savor the relaxing feeling of cruising down the river while taking in all of the sights. This is what Viking advertises, and we believed them. We began the cruise on the Jarl in Budapest. A couple of days before the cruise our friends – but not us – received an email from Viking notifying them that the water levels were low and there may be a delay of the start of the cruise. They were directed to go to the Intercontinental Hotel in Budapest and await further instruction. Thankfully our friends received an email, otherwise we would not have known this crucial piece of information. We contacted the Viking representative at the Intercontinental Hotel and specifically asked her whether the boat would make it all the way to Nuremberg given the water levels. We specifically said we wanted to cruise- not be bussed from city to city. She assured us that the water levels were now fine and that the boat would leave on time – AND MAKE IT TO NUREMBERG. The boat did leave on time. And, for the first three days of the cruise it was lovely. The staff was amazing. They are professional, friendly, personable, and truly went out of their way to make the experience enjoyable. The tours of Budapest, Melk, Vienna and Passau were good. And then it all went downhill. On night four of the cruise the ship stopped for several hours for repairs. And, after Passau the ship stopped cruising for two days. Nights 5 and 6 were spent docked next to the road on the industrial side of Passau. Our balcony was level with the asphalt, looking at the gas station across the street. And we were the lucky ones. The people on the opposite side of the ship were looking into another Viking boat- they stack boats next to each other next to the shoreline so you are literally looking into another person’s cabin- for two days! The ship could not reach Regensburg on day 6 as scheduled. So, Viking bussed us 1.5 hours each way to the city. This is 3 hours taken out of our day, a day we were spending a lot of money in order to enjoy. On day 7, the day we were supposed to spend in Nuremberg, we were told that we would be bussed 3 hours each way in order to see the city, a total of 6 hours. Many people, including us, declined and stayed on the boat, parked next to the gas station in Passau, instead. The boat finally eked its way to Deggendorf on the last day of the cruise, and Regensburg by the final morning. This is still only a little more than half way of the distance we were supposed to cruise. We were not allowed to leave the boat during this period, except to go on the long bus rides to the next two cities, and in any event couldn’t have gone into the old city of Passau as it was across the river from us. The icing on the cake was the day of disembarkation. People, based on groups, were told to leave their luggage outside their rooms beginning at 3 a.m. The last group had to have their bags out by 5 a.m. We were put on buses at 8 a.m. and bussed for close to two hours to Nuremberg. Aside from the fact that the boat only cruised about half of the distance promised, there were other things which made us deeply regret having spent $7,000 on this cruise. For instance, despite the fact that we paid extra (several hundred dollars) for the upgraded liquor package, they ran out of ALL Cabernet Sauvignon by day 5, and all but the cheapest cognac by day 6. We could not understand why they couldn’t replenish their supplies when we were literally parked next to a city or why supplies couldn’t be taken from the other 5 or 6 Viking ships docked next to us! On day 5, when it had become clear that we were not going to travel any further up river – something we learned in private from the waiters and which was NEVER communicated by the ship administrators – we approached the program director and the hotel manager. We asked that we be permitted to disembark in Passau and that Viking refund the last two days of the cruise. He smirked condescendingly and told us that we were “free to do whatever we wanted,” but that the most they would do for us is help us find hotel reservations (at our own expense). We decided to stay on the ship to the bitter end. We had paid more than $1,000 a day and didn’t want to have to spend more money on accommodations and food for those last two days. The mood on the ship from day 5 onward was somber. Even the staff seemed down and it was reflected in the overall service they provided. In short, we are deeply disappointed in Viking. The cruise is nothing like we expected. Most of the cruising (what little of it there was) was done at night and there was literally only one day – going through the Wachau Valley – when we saw the beautiful sights advertised. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This is our third river cruise with Viking. The previous two were fabulous - Canals of the Tsars and the Danube/Main/Rhine cruise. We have also done more than a dozen sea cruises, including adventure cruises to Galapagos, Antarctica and ... Read More
This is our third river cruise with Viking. The previous two were fabulous - Canals of the Tsars and the Danube/Main/Rhine cruise. We have also done more than a dozen sea cruises, including adventure cruises to Galapagos, Antarctica and Alaska. This by far, except for a forgettable Yangtze cruise with another company, was the most disappointing of all our cruises. We departed from Budapest to sail down river to Bucharest. As it is our second visit to Budapest, and we have done all the major sights in the city during our first visit, we booked two optional excursions with Viking instead. These were tours to places outside Budapest. We were eager to checkout the surrounding countryside and had really looked forward to the two tours. Both turned out to be very disappointing. One was nothing more than a visit to a little old town full of over priced tourist shops. We stopped at a bakery/cafe for tea as part of the itinerary but it turned out to be a rather unhappy experience as the tour guide and the waitress were hopeless. It took forever for the orders to be filled and they ran out of items, then the serving was at a snail pace. Our guide did absolutely nothing to speed it along. The second tour to the favourite castle of Elizabeth (fondly known as Cissy to Hungarians), was slightly more interesting but nothing to write home about. Please do not waste time and money on any optional tours. They are overpriced and a complete waste of time. Save the money for nice meals and gifts instead. We spent two nights in the Marriott hotel, then we packed to board the ship. At the end of the cruise in Bucharest, we had to check into the Hilton hotel again for one night before departure. I much prefer the arrangements in Russia, where we stayed on board our ship throughout and did all the sightseeing from there, using that as our base even in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Saved us the hassle of packing and unpacking. That's one of the reasons why we pay so much to sail instead of taking cheaper land tours. I cannot fault the Viking team on board. They were always friendly, helpful and informative. We also had excellent guides in the cities we visited and I thoroughly enjoyed talking with them and trying to gain a better understanding of the Balkan War, which saw so much unnecessary bloodshed in several of the countries we sailed through. As the war ended only about 10 years ago, this region is still trying to rebuild and it is obvious they are struggling. High unemployment is rampant and abandoned factories dot many of the highways we pass through when we drove out to visit scenic sights. Some of the towns we sailed into are small and have not much to offer - certainly nothing close to what you would see along the Rhine/Main rivers. The trips and visits were all short and not very exciting. There were occasional gems but most days, we were done before lunch and that leaves a free afternoon with nothing much to see or explore in town. Even the shopping was pathetic. I wanted very much to shop and put some money into the local economy but could find very little to buy, besides tourist trash. Of all the cities we visited on this part of the Danube, Bucharest was the biggest surprise. What a charming and lovely city. Viking's sightseeing arrangements in the city was quite limited. We visited the Museum Village with them and opted to see the Parliament of the People instead of doing the Old Town walk. It was the right decision as the ENORMOUS Parliament building, a testament to one man's oversized ego and the excess that resulted from it was really quite elegant. I had expected it to be really over the top, so was nicely surprised to find some of the rooms rather pleasing. Many of them were quite empty and crying to be used. Those who went to the Old Town walk (basically 90% of the guests) found themselves with nothing to do after an hour of walking and had to wait for us to return to join them for our next sightseeing. Most of them were deterred from going because Viking's advisory said there were 200 steps to climb. What they did not elaborate was that it is the total number of steps for the entire tour. Many of the guests could have made it if they were given the correct information as we have climbed quite a lot of steps during other visits and I have seen most of the guests making it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This the the first river cruise for my wife and me, although we have taken several ocean cruises. I always was curious about the Viking ad of less time getting there and more time being there. And it was so true. Our cruise started in ... Read More
This the the first river cruise for my wife and me, although we have taken several ocean cruises. I always was curious about the Viking ad of less time getting there and more time being there. And it was so true. Our cruise started in Amsterdam and ended in Budapest with pre stay in Amsterdam and then post stay in Prague (via motor coach). The sights were amazing, a real step back in history with so many gothic churches and awesome castles, the likes of which I am sure cannot be seen anywhere else. The cruise was wonderfully organized, the staff aboard could not have been more pleasant, the food was very good with quite a variety of choices over the 14 days, the tours were very well organized with quite knowledgable guides. The pre and post city extensions were well worth the time to allow more in-depth exposure to the areas and more chances to visit museums and other sites. The only real disappointment is the "blue" Danube isn't so blue (actually muddy brown, unlike the TV commercials). We were thoroughly pleased with the tour. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Viking Jarl Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.6
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 4.4
Enrichment 4.0 4.3
Service 4.0 4.8
Value For Money 3.0 4.2
Rates 4.0 5.0

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