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7 Viking River Africa Cruise Reviews

We recently returned from our Nile River cruise on the Viking Ra, October 1. It was an amazing, eye-opening experience! We traveled with dear friends, booked the cruise almost 2 years ago while on another cruise. Our husbands were ... Read More
We recently returned from our Nile River cruise on the Viking Ra, October 1. It was an amazing, eye-opening experience! We traveled with dear friends, booked the cruise almost 2 years ago while on another cruise. Our husbands were thrilled, almost giddy with excitement at the thought of seeing the pyramids. The wives were a bit apprehensive and remained so until we arrived in Egypt. Yes, we did have armed security on the bus with us. In several locations we had police escorts in front and/or behind the bus. But really, at no time did we feel unsafe. Not even when some news outlets were exaggeratedly or falsely reporting "chaos" in Cairo the first few days we were there. We were in the location cited... No chaos! We were, however, unprepared for how extremely poor, beyond anything we had ever seen before!, Cairo and Egypt in general is. There is an enormous, enormous difference between what you see driving around and what you experience. Also, maybe because of the sand storms? it just seems so much...dirtier? I understand, I mean, how do you clean up after a sand storm? Especially since there will be another one right around the corner. But they also tend not to finish buildings, which lends an almost post-apocalyptic feel to the landscape. The Cairo hotels, the Nile Ritz Carlton pre-cruise and the Intercontinental City Star post-cruise were wonderful. Although the buffet was more extensive at the Intercontinental, I thought the food was better at the Ritz. Both rooms were beautifully appointed and very comfortable. Both had tight security. Anyway, the cruise and the ship. The program directors (PDs) and other ship staff are amazing! Our PD, Ahmed (they split you into 2 groups), was so knowledgeable and enthusiastic. His love of his subject (both are Egyptologists) and joy in sharing it shone through. He made the sites we visited come alive for us and adding immensely to our enjoyment of the trip. The rest of the staff, well, it's Viking. They were a mix of local and international. I did notice a few minor things that frankly I think would not be quite up to par with Viking European river cruises or their ocean cruises, but as I said, minor and everyone is extremely eager to please. And they really did a better job than some mainstream cruise lines I've been on. Our suite, on deck 2, physically, was lovely. As pictured and described. Two rooms, living room with small sofa, chair and coffee table, and a desk and chair. Closed storage shelves that we used for more clothing storage. Mini bar and TV. One thing I particularly liked was the storage cubbies by the door. We kept our hats, sunglasses, umbrella (for shade), my purse there, ready to to out the door. Also kept the hair dryer in one as they are next to the desk and I used that plug. Bedroom was nice, but a Queen bed, not a king. Hubby and I are both... large and used to a king but it was fine. Bedside tables have 1 small drawer that was difficult to open (both of them, maybe weather related?). I would have liked more closet space because I had longer hanging tops, not tunics, but hip length and they didn't fit next to or over the safe on the short side. Hubby's shirts didn't either. 2XL run long. But we managed to share. The bathroom was very nice. The rooms are smaller than they appear in Viking's photos, but certainly comfortable.Now for the negative, and it's a biggie! We were pretty much unable to enjoy our cabin anytime we were sailing! Sleeping was difficult. Whenever we were under way, there was a STRONG fuel odor in our cabin. Some nights of woke us up coughing, and we both use CPAP machines (changing the filters as soon as we get home). I finally complained and when they came and checked to see if it actually did smell, they asked if we had opened the balcony door. No. So an engineer came. His solution was to turn the AC fan to high, thermostat down to 50, and leave the bedroom and bathroom doors open. After 10 minutes turn the thermostat back. Surprisingly, that worked. For about an hour. Our friends, one cabin back opposite side, had the same issue. For another couple, one deck down, it was so bad, they were moved into another cabin! Did I want to spend all day in my cabin while we were sailing? Well, obviously not. But some days, I might have appreciated a nap, but I could not be in there because of the smell. And it was obnoxious to be awakened, gagging, on the stench of fuel on multiple nights. The shore excursions were handled very well. My husband's favorite excursion was the trip to Giza to see the Pyramids and the Sphinx. He had dreamed of it for so long and to actually finally do it was amazing! My favorite was Nefertari's Tomb. To see those amazing carvings and paintings, in situ, still so vibrant and beautiful, so many thousands of years later, well, words fail me. Everywhere we went, we had to brave the "Valley of the Vendors" and let me tell you, they are aggressive! They will follow you to the steps of the bus! We did several of the optional excursions as well. I felt the market and dinner was a bit overpriced. We had a short walk with our TD through part of the market then were on our own. We four walked for a few minutes, then our husbands went into a tiny shop while my friend and I waited outside. The security guard came by with a few of the group, He waited until our husbands came out and basically gathered us up to go with him. So we did (if your security guard indicates you should stay with him, maybe you should listen to him, right?). Dinner was good, but not great. Both my friend and I are scared of heights, but our husbands insisted we all go on the hot air balloon ride. In fact, my daughter told me I could not come home if I didn't do it! LOL Anyway, we did. We stood behind our husbands so we could not look down, which made it OK. We both had a little concerned when our pilot took us up higher than a lot of the other balloons, but settled fairly quickly. I got my pictures and after about 15 minutes was done and ready to get off. The ride went on for 45 more minutes! We both agreed we were glad we did it, but wished it had been just that 45 minutes shorter. However, our husbands loved it. Be warned before reading on, this may come under the heading of TMI. One thing, well, 2 things, you might want to take along with you. Immodium and electrolyte packets (they make Pedialyte for adults in packets). About half the ship was affected with...intestinal symptoms, and I don't mean stomach. Pharaoh's curse? If you forget or don't bring any Immodium, ask at reception. Totally different from an ocean cruise. They have anti mal pills that they will give out 4 or 6 at time. Ask as soon as you need them! They put bottled water in the bathroom. Use it to brush your teeth! I didn't to start with and regretted it. My husband and friend had no issue. Most people were able to carry on. A couple missed shore excursions. I missed Abu Simbel! Not just that. I found the heat brutal and the first 105° day developed a blinding migraine. Barely made it back to the bus. Temps at Abu Simbel were 110°. I hated missing it but was afraid that between the symptoms I was having and heat and possibility of another migraine, I just couldn't risk it. The rest of my party went and loved it. They all tolerated the heat better, but all said Abu Simbel almost did them all in. They looked wrung out when they got back. One woman actually did get a migraine from the heat/sun. she got back to the ship, took meds and we didn't see her until the next day. If you are sensitive you heat, plan accordingly. I know there has been a lot of chat about the alcohol on board. I am not much of drinker. I had a gin & tonic at the cocktail parties. I thought it was fine. The rest of our group had wine, both red and white with lunch and dinner and seemed to enjoy it. I know they were concerned because I told them what I had read, but no one seemed to dislike it. I found the food quite good, except no pork bacon or sausage, which I enjoy when I travel because I don't eat it at home. Just as well, I suppose. Of course, due to the number of passengers, choices were limited but to be expected. I did not find it to be a problem. And there was ginger tea and chicken soup available for the more ill amongst us. Remember hat, sunglasses, sunscreen even if you don't normally wear them. I think almost everyone had a hat and one man asked me if I'd gotten my hat in Luxor. His wife said he didn't want to bring one and now wanted one! Both of our husbands bought crushable Panama style hats with a wide brim (they normally wear ball caps), and my friend wore a hat, which she never does (I always do, migraines, remember?). Maybe a cooling towel? We had them. Maybe they helped a little. Or it was psychological. On our trip, our TDs took care of the bathroom attendants. We just flashed a V sign for Viking. But they give you a limited amount, maybe a couple of squares. I took the ends of about 10 rolls, flattened, in a large ziploc. I took a snack size ziploc put one a day in to carry in my purse. The TD suggested getting some from the ship. Our last day, a group of us went to the Grand Egyptian Museum. Warning: all purses, backpacks, etc. must be left on the bus! And no pictures allowed in the conservation area. We made a pit stop before the tour. Our guide had to get paper towels (not TP!!) for us to use! In the museum! Granted it's the conservation area and the museum is not open but employees have to bring their own?! One woman commented that we all have TP, but it's in our purses on the bus. BTW, personally I do not recommend this excursion. WAY overpriced to see 3 conservation labs (NO pictures) and the (construction zone) entrance hall with the statue of Ramses II. My husband says he agrees it was way overpriced, but he does recommend it. And your feet and shoes will get filthy! Mostly just sand, dust, dirt, but sometimes you need to mind where you walk. Be aware if you have germophobic tendencies, you may want to take along your favorite wipes and save sandals for the boat. My friend alternated 2 pair of leather flats that she doesn't know can be saved. They look so worn and scuffed. They weren't brand new, but not old. I wore a pair of Rothy's (with a different insole). I actually rinsed them several times after a morning excursion and they dried by evening. Couldn't wait to wash then once I got home. SO glad I didn't wear my Tieks as usual, they'd have been destroyed. OK, now that I've written a novel if anyone still has anyone questions, please ask or PM me. Let me end with saying again that it was an amazing trip and the experience of a lifetime, something I never thought we would actually get to do! Cruising on the Nile River is fascinating. To see the date palms, all the beautiful green on the banks of the river, and the Great Sahara beyond...It's something I've read about, and quite frankly, never quite really believed I would ever see! There is a special beauty and I feel very privileged to have experienced this trip. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our first Viking cruise and it was amazing. We started our adventure with the optional Israel pre-cruise land tour. The tour guide, Jo, was amazing. We visited all the biblical sites and more. The Dead Sea Scroll Museum and the ... Read More
This was our first Viking cruise and it was amazing. We started our adventure with the optional Israel pre-cruise land tour. The tour guide, Jo, was amazing. We visited all the biblical sites and more. The Dead Sea Scroll Museum and the Wailing Wall did not disappoint. We stayed at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem which was elegant but dated. We had a great group of travelers which made a dream vacation even better. Then we flew to Cairo very early in the morning. We stayed at the Ritz Carlton were security was paramount and tantamount the the TSA.this hotel was the best one we stayed at. It was very modern. We had a tourist police with our tour the entire stay. The pyramids were amazing. We took the optional market place tour. I wouldn’t recommend it. We just walked down busy streets of a market where we were continually harassed to buy things. This was true of the entire trip. To exit any of the sites we saw we had to go through a market place with aggressive sellers. We referred to it as “running the gauntlet”. Take antibiotics and anti-diarrheal medicine along. Almost everyone was touched by the intestinal bug. We had to drink bottled water the entire time. The tour provided this at no cost. It was HOT. Be prepared for that. The wifi on the ship was poor. 3G. The internet at the hotels was great. The cruise ship was small but very nice. We flew to Luxor to catch the ship. We also took the Abu Simbel excursion and flew there for the day. My husband did the hot air balloon ride and said it was amazing. The food was very good but not exceptional. My tiramisu had been previously frozen and not completely thawed. The staff was top notch. They treated you like a queen or pharaoh. The temples and sites we visited were amazing. The guides were informative and friendly. They were experts in ancient Egyptology. We never felt unsafe which surprised me. Be prepared to see trash all over the place and extreme poverty. Our trip went smoothly and Viking expedited matters at the airports. We never waited for tickets as our guide had them. Be prepared for really bad bathrooms and always carry Kleenex. Our guide tipped the bathroom attendants but they still begged for more. Everyone everywhere had their hands out for money. Bring lots of dollar bills for tips. This was easi;y the best trip we ever have taken. I highly recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Very comfortable well run ship with an excellent crew. All but four of the cabins on the Ra are suites, with a separate living room and bedroom, and a balcony. The décor is clean Scandinavian, similar to the European long ships. Dining is ... Read More
Very comfortable well run ship with an excellent crew. All but four of the cabins on the Ra are suites, with a separate living room and bedroom, and a balcony. The décor is clean Scandinavian, similar to the European long ships. Dining is at set hours. There is a good variety of foods, including Viking standards (salmon, steak, burger) and middle eastern foods. The fresh made pita bread and hummus was especially delicious. Meals are usually a combination of buffet and menu. There is no room service. There was a pianist/DJ playing pleasant lounge music each evening. There also were special performances by local entertainers. The Ra has a small swimming pool and jacuzzi. The temperature was over 100 F each day of our cruise, so not much traffic in the jacuzzi. The crew of this ship was excellent. Our room steward was most efficient. The bartenders and dining room crew were fun and engaged. A special note about the two tour directors, Ahmed and Ihan. Incredibly knowledgable and outgoing. They made this cruise so much richer. I don't think there is any place in the world that can out shine Egypt for shore excursions. The Great Pyramids and Sphinx of Giza, Valley of Kings and Queens, Temples at Karnak, Luxor, Dendara, Kom Ombo - every one was more than we expected. Notes: Our suite had two very nice TVs, but no programming except soccer. Not even BBC. Children are not allowed on this cruise. The shore excursions require more physical exertion than you might expect if you have been on other river cruises. Sadly, many of our fellow cruisers spent most of the cruise on the ship because they couldn't manage the long walks with steps and very uneven footing. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was a cruise we always wanted to go on and it did not disappoint. The excursions were just marvelous and our outstanding guide, Walid El-Batouty, made it all come alive for us. By the end of our cruise, we could all read the temple ... Read More
This was a cruise we always wanted to go on and it did not disappoint. The excursions were just marvelous and our outstanding guide, Walid El-Batouty, made it all come alive for us. By the end of our cruise, we could all read the temple friezes! The variety of temples and tombs all helped to make Egypt's ancient history come alive. We were also very appreciative of having our questions about Egypt, today, patiently and thoroughly answered. At all times we felt safe and were aware of the unobtrusive extra care Viking took to allow us all to travel easily, comfortably and without worrying about our safety. Also, the visit to the new Museum of Egyptian Art (before its opening) was incredibly special. Standing next to King Tut's bed as it was being restored, is a memory I will hold precious all the rest of my life! We loved our small ship and the staff's excellent care. Thank you so much, one and all! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
After having a great experience with Viking in Russia, my wife and I again chose Viking for our tour of Egypt. We were met at Cairo airport at the arrival gate (before immigration) by Viking's airport representative, Amr, who ... Read More
After having a great experience with Viking in Russia, my wife and I again chose Viking for our tour of Egypt. We were met at Cairo airport at the arrival gate (before immigration) by Viking's airport representative, Amr, who guided us effortlessly through all required formalities and delivered us to our transport. From Cairo airport we were delivered to the Nile Ritz Carlton hotel (fabulous), in which we stayed for three nights while we toured the sights with Viking (pyramids, Citadel, museum and markets). On the fourth day we were flown to the Viking Ra in Luxor. This is a great little ship with all suite cabins, a great lounge and two exterior sun decks. The staff which consisted of both international and local personnel, were fantastic. The restaurant was very comfortable and the food very good. The cruise down the Nile was fantastic and all excursions were well organised and very engaging thanks to our program directors, Amr and Ahmed. We highly recommend the optional excursion to Abu Simbel and also the optional balloon ride over Luxor. Disembarking and returning to Cairo was also very well organised. And the accommodation and food at the Intercontinental CityStars was first rate. Transport back to Cairo airport also went smoothly. The only minor irritation was that some of our luggage was left at Luxor and we had to wait until just before we flew out of Cairo before we recovered it. Overall, a fantastic holiday with a great company. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Viking River Cruise, Egypt and Egyptologist Amr Shaheen are the perfect combination for a trip of a Life Time! From the time my sister and I landed at the Cairo airport until twelve days later when we left Cairo, Viking was there " ... Read More
Viking River Cruise, Egypt and Egyptologist Amr Shaheen are the perfect combination for a trip of a Life Time! From the time my sister and I landed at the Cairo airport until twelve days later when we left Cairo, Viking was there " twenty-four seven." The Viking Representative met us at the baggage claim area and took our luggage to the motor-coach, escorted us the the beautiful Hotel Sofitel El Gezirah and made sure we were checked in properly. Our room's balcony overlooked the Nile River with a wonderful view of Cairo. We had dinner on the patio facing the Nile at one of the hotel's many restaurants. The next morning we met our Egyptologist and Program Director Amr Shaheen. Little did we know he was going to give us the best and most enjoyable tour of Egypt imaginable. His passion for and knowledge of Ancient Egypt was incredible. He made every site we visited come alive and his humor was priceless. Everyone simply could not stop talking about what a wonderful guide he was. The Egyptians and hotel staff were very friendly and welcomed us back after a decline in tourism for a long period of time. Egypt felt very safe, but Viking always had escorts and security for us at every site. Especially in Cairo, where our first two security guards were especially vigilant. This made for a very relaxed and enjoyable visit. American dollars are widely accepted and actually preferred. Be sure to bring plenty of one dollar bills for tipping. We brought $100.00 in ones and should have brought more. We tipped ship crews, hotel staff and bus drivers with American Dollars. Hotel and Ship Charges were put on a credit card. The ship crew must be in cash only, either American Dollars or Egyptian Pounds. Viking River Cruise is the only way to truly see Egypt.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
My partner and I flew from Edinburgh to Munich via Amsterdam on Sunday 4th May 2012. Right from the start the arrangements made by Viking River Cruise clicked into place. KLM fights were comfortable, only slight hitch was the timing of ... Read More
My partner and I flew from Edinburgh to Munich via Amsterdam on Sunday 4th May 2012. Right from the start the arrangements made by Viking River Cruise clicked into place. KLM fights were comfortable, only slight hitch was the timing of the change on onward outward flight at Amsterdam - it was a bit too tight changing aircraft due to size and distance from arrival to onward flight. We were met at Munich and taken by coach to Viking Legend, our temporary home for the next 9 nights. First impression of the ship was good. It looked smart, neat and clean. Crew appeared to be very professional and friendly. Whilst we enjoyed a late buffet style lunch the crew were busy getting our baggage to our cabins and ensuring all was ready to hand over to us. Our holiday had started. We stayed overnight at Passau and on Monday we had walking tour of the City of three Rivers. Local guide was excellent and set the standard for local guides on such city tours. Our cruise started om Monday afternoon as we set sail from Passau down the Danube. This would be the norm, on this cruise most of the sailing would be at night, I will admit I was a tad disappointed at this, I came to understand the reasoning -but I would have liked to have a cruise in the day. Our stops on the cruise were from Passau, Linz, Melk, Durnstein, Vienna, Bratislava then Budapest. Each stop had an inclusive walking tour plus extras. We took the extra tours in Vienna which consisted of a visit to Schnbrunn Palace and an Evening Concert. Whilst I enjoyed the Schnbrunn Palace tour, with the benefit of hindsight I would either suggest it is done in the morning rather than the afternoon giving the option to explore the gardens and have lunch there instead of returning to the ship. My big disappointment was the Concert - not the concert itself which was superb, never has 2 hours flown by so quickly. My disappointment was being told no photography allowed, yet on getting there I saw videoing and photography. Still I have the memories of a great concert. If Vienna was the cultural highlight, then Budapest was the photographers highlight. The sailing into Budapest was at night but was a sight to see. The city and bridges were all lit up and the "Blue Danube" had turned to black and gold with the reflections, again a wonderful memory that will last me as long as I live. To summarise and cut short an otherwise long feedback review. Ship: Viking Legend. Condition: excellent, clean, smart and comfortable. Bar/Lounge was comfortable with good view from windows. Cabin - Standard class e was great, comfortable,clean and the shower was superb. The plumbing (vacuum) did make a bit of noise in use, but we soon got acclimatised to that. Crew: very professional - in fact we hardly saw the sailing crew. Hospitality Team. Bar staff/Waiting staff - excellent and friendly. The team that arranged the guided walks etc were great. The Tour Director and team were attentive and had arranged a good itinerary of visits and entertainment at night. All local guides were knowledgeable of their city and sites, providing good background and historical details. Cruise. These cruises only give on a taste of the cities they stop at, but they also provide relaxation. Whilst the sailing was mostly at night, the day or afternoon cruising was relaxing. Overall. I feel that this was value for money - especially the drinks package It allowed me to keep to a sensible budget re shipboard spending. A great atmosphere on board, you were made to feel welcome, it was your holiday and nothing was too much for the crew. Oh yes - the food, no I had not forgotten the food and still not forgotten the food. Superb does not do justice to the presentation and service nor to the taste. Conclusion - would I go again? Yes, would I travel with Viking again? Yes In fact the day after I got home I booked fro a different river cruise with Viking next year. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
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