Sail Date: April 2018
River cruising is much different than ocean cruises. You get to know most of the crew and see the same passengers every day. You can have lengthy conversations and learn more about others on the ship. Because you are in the heart of ... Read More
River cruising is much different than ocean cruises. You get to know most of the crew and see the same passengers every day. You can have lengthy conversations and learn more about others on the ship. Because you are in the heart of the countries, not just along the coast, you learn much more about the culture of the country. The shore excursion tours are much more personal and you are told to interact with the guides and ask the “hard questions”. We thought the food was excellent. Generally the menus met or exceeded those I had experienced on ocean cruises. No fitness equipment on these vessels but they do have a walking track on the upper deck. What we really enjoyed was the sea time, because you are always in sight of land, passing by smaller cities, castles, churches and transiting 25 Locks just from Nuremberg to Budapest, as well as passing over a water bridge. Truly amazing scenery! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
Almost everything was the best. The MAJOR deficit was the bed and bedding. The bed mattress was the absolutely hardest I have ever had on any ship and the bedding was the worst! They provide a "comforter" that does not tuck into ... Read More
Almost everything was the best. The MAJOR deficit was the bed and bedding. The bed mattress was the absolutely hardest I have ever had on any ship and the bedding was the worst! They provide a "comforter" that does not tuck into the bed but sits on top of you! I, finally, got a blanket that we could tuck in and then the bedding worked. I have a hip socket and a pinched neck nerve that progressively got worse as each night passed. I will NEVER go on this type of ship in the future. Crew was exceptional other than the concierge, who was a matter of fact man who did not engage with anyone that I saw. Gave information and was simply there to do a job. Chef and food was exceptional, portions were small and wonderful. The Chef many times engaged with patrons and was fun. Special request that were not too crazy were accommodated. Cruise Director was great and funny. She kept patrons laughing and informed. In the past, we always had someone in each city come on board for entertainment, but Viking has done away with that for some reason. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose this cruise for places we visited. We have never been on this part of the world and for us it was spectacular. The cabin was as expected but comfortable. The food was superb. The crew is what made it for us. We could not be ... Read More
We chose this cruise for places we visited. We have never been on this part of the world and for us it was spectacular. The cabin was as expected but comfortable. The food was superb. The crew is what made it for us. We could not be happier with all the people who worked on the boat. Everyone was very friendly and helpful. The shore excursions, for the most part were informative and enjoyable. However, the tour of Vienna was very disappointing, and the bus tours were not good at all. We wanted to take in as much as possible in the ports we visited. For the most part we were able to do that except for Vienna. After a major disappointing foot tour, we were limited to how much time we had to enjoy the city. Having said all that, we would take the same cruise again. We are looking forward to our next cruise. We and our friends are planning going on a cruise to Holland and Switzerland. Viking of course. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2017
Traveled with several friends. We had not been to the countries and ports previously so it was a tremendous new experience. The cabin rooms very nice and plenty of room. The food was outstanding with good variety. The food service staff ... Read More
Traveled with several friends. We had not been to the countries and ports previously so it was a tremendous new experience. The cabin rooms very nice and plenty of room. The food was outstanding with good variety. The food service staff were very accommodating to prepare dishes we wanted even though it may have not been on the days menu. Basically this is a cruise for older adults, not for children. The service from cruise team was amazing. I would suggest going a little later in the year as weather would be warmer. We had to wear coats each day. Outstanding educational experience. Extremely enjoyable and memorable. Great pics. We recommend adding on extra days on front and end of cruise to have time to experience some nearby areas. Suggest you go as a group... the ship has great gathering space and opportunity to relax and socialize at various times especially after dinner in the evening. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
The cruise was all we expected it to be and more. All the crew were extremely friendly and helpful. The food was excellent. The scenery was fantastic. The tours were very organized and informative and all the tour guides were superior ... Read More
The cruise was all we expected it to be and more. All the crew were extremely friendly and helpful. The food was excellent. The scenery was fantastic. The tours were very organized and informative and all the tour guides were superior to most others we have encountered on other trips and you never missed anything because the guide has a microphone and you get a personal receiver with headphones. The two special highlights of the cruise for us were; The first evening's cruise, after a fabulous dinner, was up and down the Danube in the city of Budapest with all the major buildings, bridges and monuments fully lit up. It was a spectacular scene which we will remember forever. Secondly, the day time cruising through the Wachau Valley in Austria was breath taking. Our very favourite memories were produced by the dining staff and the two special people who looked after us, Carmen and Robert. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2016
We choose cruise because of deal offered. It was a great value for our dollar. We booked our air travel, hotel, transfers and cruise through Viking and they did a wonderful job. They sent us a booklet pre trip and we found it very ... Read More
We choose cruise because of deal offered. It was a great value for our dollar. We booked our air travel, hotel, transfers and cruise through Viking and they did a wonderful job. They sent us a booklet pre trip and we found it very helpful. The hotel was great and they were there to assist pre cruise. One we boarded we were surprise that each passenger was treated like an owner. We like the idea we were able to get to know all the staff and other passengers since there were only about 180 of us. Even though there were set meal times, there was always something to snack on to hold you over if needed. We enjoyed the programming that was also offered. We were pleased with all the services offered. We definitely will sail again with Viking. Just wish we could have stayed in some of the cities visited a little longer. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2016
We wanted to cruise the Danube and see this part of Europe from the water. The cruise exceeded our expectations. It was extremely well organized, from soup to fish as the Brits would say. Our British host was funny and charming. The food ... Read More
We wanted to cruise the Danube and see this part of Europe from the water. The cruise exceeded our expectations. It was extremely well organized, from soup to fish as the Brits would say. Our British host was funny and charming. The food was outstanding. All the cruise attendants were friendly, helpful and went the distance to be sure we had a great time. The extra tours were also well worth it. We had a back stage guided tour of the Vienna museum by the most knowledgeable docent who had been guiding for 20 years. One of a kind tour. The two abbey tours were also most interesting and we were delighted that some of our tour dollars were going towards their restoration. My husband really enjoyed all the locks we went through, and there were a lot. So not just pretty scenery; good infrastructure/engineering fun as well. We can't wait to do it again, in another location.We are looking at the Rhine cruise, to see more castles! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
The ship itself was lovely, clean and well laid out. They even had good wifi and enough plug outlets for all our electronics. Food was excellent and pleased both the adventurous and meat and potatoes sides of our family. Service was ... Read More
The ship itself was lovely, clean and well laid out. They even had good wifi and enough plug outlets for all our electronics. Food was excellent and pleased both the adventurous and meat and potatoes sides of our family. Service was good, but not great, or quite as personal as the high end cruise ships we have been on. Don't expect a broadway show, but do expect to learn about the cultures and history as the staff and locals share their favorite recipes, folklore and history. A much more personal, locally infused entertainment. This is an adult voyage, and geared towards adults in all ways. There are no kids activities or clubs. We enjoyed it so much that we did not wait a month from our return to book our next river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
I jus arrived home from a fabulous 3 week vacation in Europe including the two week Grand European Tour on the Viking Jarl. This was certainly a trip to remember and I would recommend it to anyone who loves to travel and experience new ... Read More
I jus arrived home from a fabulous 3 week vacation in Europe including the two week Grand European Tour on the Viking Jarl. This was certainly a trip to remember and I would recommend it to anyone who loves to travel and experience new places and people. Viking does a stupendous job of giving its passengers an introduction to the many ports on the cruise and unlike large ship cruises you see a new town each day. On river cruises there are no "sea" days and most of the ports on this route are small towns with medieval origins so get ready to walk your footsies off. You can take the included tour and then wander on your own or skip the tour completely if you prefer but the tour gives a bit of history, interesting facts and orientation so I recommend taking it if it is your first time in that port. The service on the Viking ships is outstanding and our crew was exceptional in their helpfulness and friendliness. By the time the cruise ends you feel like you are part of a large family of Viking crew and passengers. Unlike the large cruise ships venues never feel crowded and you know or at least recognize virtually all of your fellow passengers in a short time. The food is outstanding and although there is no room service or the availability of 24 hour snacks, each cabin had a small refrigerator so you could stock items if you wanted something to eat between meals. Croissants and pastries are available from 6-11 AM and then there are cookies in the afternoon. Coffee (including specialty coffees and hot chocolate) and tea are available around the clock. If you are looking for gambling, wild nightlife and Las Vegas or Broadway type shows, river cruises will disappoint. There is music and dancing every night with local talent brought in for short shows in a number of ports. All of these were worthwhile and fun but not what passengers on the large cruise ships are used to. We had a group of singers who did arias from famous Vienna associated composers, Hungarian musicians, a Liar's Club (a late night large ship staple) and an incredibly entertaining glass blower to name just a few. In addition there are optional excursions offered to shows and if the ship leaves the port late the opportunity to do a night event on your own. Viking offers pre and post cruise extensions but I feel that their pricing is high unless you are uncomfortable planning your own trips and traveling on your own in European cities. I spent three days in Prague and then one night in Budapest before boarding the ship and would recommend a similar plan if you have the time and interest. One night in Budapest (included in the cruise) is not nearly enough to see this fascinating city. Visiting the Parliament Building was a worthwhile (though fairly costly) tour not included on the cruise. Traveling by train in Europe is generally easy, and comfortable and the trip from Prague to Budapest although 7 hours was relaxing. I also spent 3 nights in Amsterdam post-cruise (again arranged by myself) and found that an excellent way to end my journey - exploring the museums, canals, sights and streets of this active city. Just be careful walking in Amsterdam, the bike traffic is amazing and bicyclists are not always very considerate of pedestrians. I stayed at the Doubletree, which is in an excellent location. It is about a 5 minute walk (without heavy luggage) from where the river cruise ships dock and right across from the central train station which is where many buses, trams and canal cruises start. You can walk almost anywhere in the city from there and have innumerable options for eating, shopping and also uniquely Amsterdam activities. I did no tours in Amsterdam but did not feel this hurt my experience. This was my second Viking trip, having done one in China last year, and my experience confirmed that this is a high class operation. I would recommend Viking River Cruises and the Grand European Tour with enthusiasm to anyone interested in the ports on this trip.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
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
Thank you for asking our opinion. As this was our third cruise with Viking, we have become used to the very high standards, not only in hospitality, but also in organisation. We have been to Russia, to China, and this year to Europe. We ... Read More
Thank you for asking our opinion. As this was our third cruise with Viking, we have become used to the very high standards, not only in hospitality, but also in organisation. We have been to Russia, to China, and this year to Europe. We found the cabins on our previous cruises slightly more roomy, but we understand that there are limits to the size of the ships on the European rivers. We went on, and enjoyed, all the on-shore excursions with very knowledgeable guides, but here we have a suggestion. The guides are excellent and told us an enormous lot about the buildings, the towns and the history. However, we found that after even a short while we could not remember most of what they told us, something our fellow passengers also found. It would be really helpful if Viking could provide a more detailed information sheet with all the information the local guides give us, after we return to the ship, so that we could return to it again at a later date. It seems a pity that all the work and effort the guides put in to explain to us, is lost again through no fault of theirs, but through our limited memories. We were planning to join another cruise in 2015, but unfortunately there was no room available at a time convenient for us. We have asked the office in London to put our name on a waiting list just in case there is a cancellation and we hope to cruise with Viking again in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
April 17: Cut a deal with Icelandic Air to stay in Keflavik for a day (saved enough to pay for the hotel and meals), then took a jeep tour with localguides.is to the glacier, geysir, waterfall. Pricey, but a lot of fun and includes ... Read More
April 17: Cut a deal with Icelandic Air to stay in Keflavik for a day (saved enough to pay for the hotel and meals), then took a jeep tour with localguides.is to the glacier, geysir, waterfall. Pricey, but a lot of fun and includes Icelandic meals and snacks. Stayed at Hotel Berg in Keflavik and ate dinner at Cafe Duus a hundred meters away. April 18: Up early, breakfast, and catch the hotel shuttle to the airport for the 3 hour flight to Amsterdam. Catch the Connexion van in front (buy tickets at office, cheaper for four pack) to the Doubletree beside the Central Station. Afternoon spent walking around Amsterdam from station down to the Dam Square. Dinner upstairs at the Doubletree, surprisingly good. April 19: buy a return ticket to Enkhuizen on the train. Enkhuizen is a restored 1700s fishing village north of A-dam, hour trip on the train. Light lunch there on the site. Indoor museum was disappointing, outdoor great. Buy tickets via ferry at the VVV next to the Enkhuizen station, and walk back to the station through the town. The 'T Kleine Cafe across from the station is a nice place to wait for the next train and have a beer. April 20: I'm up early for birding in Flevoland with Emile Dirks of http://www.birdwatchingholland.nl for the day. We have a good time (22 new lifers, 48 species by lunch) and Emile drops me off at the Viking Jarl, which is moored out in the industrial district next to a scenic scrap pile of junked cars. The town is full of river ships(maybe 20?) for tulip time, and moorings are hard to come by. We have our nightly briefing in the lounge, meet the captain, get a safety briefing and tomorrow's activity schedule. Dinner of Sea bass / veal chop Crab-tuna tartare, cheese souffle. April 21: Awake to find we've shifted moorings – now we're next to the Train Station. Canal tour this morning (better than the normal tour!), Bloomenmarkt tour via bus. Make sure to stop in the adjacent shops and taste the cheeses. Don't buy the bulbs – you can't bring them back to the States. Nancy buys a big bunch of 25 tulips and a vase for 14 euro, and our cabin is decorated for the voyage. Our afternoon is free, and with a public holiday, the big museums are packed, and we catch the tram out to the Artis stop and go to the Resistance Museum – very informative and too much reading, and if you go, make sure to open all the little doors. Back to the ship for briefing Amuse Bouche (tonight is a chicken nugget with Curry, last night was BBQ. Starting to wonder if we're getting these Pre-chewed pellets of pulpy Poultry every night?) Captains toast and good champagne is free and plentiful pouring, ceviche and appetizers are brought around. Dinner is scallops / Chateaubriand, salmon with caviar (excellent) April 22 (Hoorn): Email finally shows up on the Kindle. Best Internet speed is on the 3rd deck, although Nancy's phone works fine with the email (think she's getting it via cell tower). 5:00 – leave for Hoorn, we're in the back on the lower deck and the engines are quiet. Hoorn is a nice small town with an older center. We tour around, then visit a local resident for coffee and fruit tart and conversation. This is a great time, and Viking has a good idea here. We get a retired doctor who now does some volunteer work in Africa. For the afternoon, I roam around the town and pick up a couple of Netherlands soccer shirts for the grandkids to wear to practices, then roam the parks birding. Shopping street runs from the main square to the train station, if that's your thing. Amuse Bouche tonight is a Tuna Tartare, dinner is Duck or Honey Salmon, a poor polenta and spinach still sandy, and the service is slow and disorganized tonight. Have the feeling that the kitchen must of spilled a pot of soup or something.... At 9:00, we have a presentation on how to make wooden shoes, which is mostly a chance to order some for pickup at voyage end. April 23 (Arnhem): Morning tour is to the Het Loo Palace, formerly the royal residence with magnificent gardens (make sure you walk around, and DO go to the back) This is close to Versailles in scope when the flowers are in full bloom. The palace is decent and not too handicapped friendly. In the afternoon, we opt for the Kroller-Muller museum for the Van Gogh painting (most of which are from his early years and are VERY dark) and the sculpture garden. Get to sing “Starry, starry night...” on the way back, and it finally makes sense. Willing to tackle “Louie, louie...” but no go. Dinner is choice of Veal Tenderloin or Red Snapper with bacon. Never saw the city, other optional tour is to the battlefield. April 24 (Kinderdijk, cruising): tour of windmills (half mile level walk) and museum. Make use of your time, go around the corner and into town a bit and discover an overlook that has a nice view of 14 of the windmills. Then go another 100 yards past the church to a bakery and buy some GREAT sugar pretzels. Back aboard for a lunch of smoked trout and lobster mac/cheese. April 25 (Antwerp): tour the city in the morning with lots of cobblestones and stairs. Tremendous cathedral to see. After a fair lunch of bland sphaghetti, I return for a tour of St Charles Borremeno (all carved wood and very nice), then attempt St. Jakobs church – closed for renovations. Briefing tonight is a talk on Belgium – very good, then a talk on future cruises and plans for new ships and rivers (float the 'coming to America' story, but Viking has to buy a couple of Senators for that one...) April 26(Bruges, Ghent): morning tour to Bruges – guide is too fast, then we get to the main square and he wants to deliver a 20 minute lecture standing on one side. All the nice museums look to be on the way back to the bus, and we have no idea how to find them. Off goes the earpiece, and we explore on our own. Research shows WC in corner of square.... Nice cathedral, walk around the center a bit and have some frites, then back to the bus. Not enough time in this town, but you can stay the afternoon if you want. Back to the ship for an excellent pumpkin soup (I have a second), then bus to Ghent. St Basa's Cathedral proves to be better than Bruges, all carved marble. Good dozen mini-chapels around the altar and better stained glass (clerestory windows are plain). We didn't get enough time in this town, either. The bucket list for our next trip to Europe is growing..... April 27 (Veere, Delta works): bus to the Watersnood Museum, made of some surplus WWII caissons that blocked a dike break in 1973. Museum decent. Tour Veere – quaint nice village with a large church now bricked up and decaying. One of these years, it's going to collapse and bury the town. Off to the Delta Works to look over the construction. Back to the ship, and the crew is outside with a “Welcome Back” sign. Lunch of Fish/Chips, then leave to go north, passing through 2 locks on our way to Rotterdam. Dinner is Wellington or shrimp, mushroom soup, and a chocolate tart. At 9:00, we have a show with the local Shanty Singers, straight out of the senior center circuit. Really good, with broken English and boundless enthusiasm – think they're doing it for the beer afterwards.... Rotterdam? We go ashore, touch the ground, back on the ship. April 28 (Keukenhof): awake back in A-dam, board buses for the 40 min transfer to the gardens. Spectacular 80 acres of tulips with pavilions full of flower arranging displays, If this day isn't peak, it's close enough. We see maybe half, Nancy orders tulips for fall delivery in the States (free delivery, bonuses if you buy enough). Try to see it all, is my advice.... Back to the ship for broccoli soup (x2 again). One of the diamond places is offering a free shuttle this afternoon, so Nancy goes shopping and I go birding in Vogelpark, plus stop at a grocery store and pick up a few things. Oxtail soup, no longer available in the USA and a great soup/gravy base, some candy bars for the grandkids, and some toast sprinkles for the gkids. Final dinner of River perch or short ribs to end the cruise. April 29: taxi for 6 to the airport split 3 ways, then a couple hours of waiting. Off to Iceland (beers cheaper on the plane) and into Denver about 7 at night. General: Staff aboard the Jarl is professional and friendly, and since we just sailed on the Jarl up the Rhine in December, we have a nice basis for comparison. This time, Richard the Food Manager was superb. Gary the passenger manager was good, but Rene last time was the best. Robert and Marita on the lower deck took the utmost care of our room needs, and Dimeche, Carlos, and Emerik in the dining room were the best. Chef George in December was better, and if it weren't for the Amuse Bouche, this voyage and Chef Roman would be ranked lower. The dessert cook this time isn't very good, the soup cook started out not so good, but got better. Breads both times were killer good! I like the idea that the entire staff is introduced, including the line-handlers and the dishwashers. They all split the tips, so it's only fair. On our first Viking cruise, I watched the chef out on the pier helping to hustle suitcases. Your room is 155 sq ft, and we didn't figure to use the balcony or even open the window, so we went the cheap route. The floor in front of the bath has some kind of access hatch that catches our feet, maybe from worn carpet? Flat screen TV with a limited selection of channels, mini fridge for your beer, free bottled water, 110/220 volts both, decent bath and a shower with a solid door and a night light. Only bad thing – who designed the switches beside the bed? Getting better, only turned the lights on in the middle of the night once. Euro system where you insert a card to turn on the lights, so bring an old casino card or something and just leave it in there. High-end toiletries. Need firmer pillows for some people. Several passengers were on the slow walking side of senior citizens, and the ship always ran a leisurely tour group. Keep in mind that Europe is cobblestones and stairs, though. It is not wheelchair accessible. There is an elevator between the 2nd and 3rd decks, but shore access might be from the 4th deck and steeply sloped. Breakfast is smoked salmon, bacon/sausage, scrambled eggs, potatoes, good homemade yogurt, oatmeal, egg station. Bread is baked aboard, and VERY GOOD. There is an expresso machine 24/7, and the coffee is better there than in the dining room. Beside the expresso machine is a bin full of pastries, later in the day replaced by cookies. Lunch is a salad bar, usually some kind of meats and cheeses, a pasta station. All in all, great cruise, great food, Viking staff are the best, and we've already booked another for the fall.   Read Less
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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