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Cruise Ratings
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Sail Date: July 2019
brochures and promo not accurate. We knew low bridges would restrict us from using the sun deck at time. But not for days on end. We knew at some ports of call we would be double and triple banked. It happened too many times to be ... Read More
brochures and promo not accurate. We knew low bridges would restrict us from using the sun deck at time. But not for days on end. We knew at some ports of call we would be double and triple banked. It happened too many times to be comfortable. So don’t get a Balcony. All this information should be spelt out and told how many times it would happen. in the promo. Cologne was the only port we had local entertainers in the Evening. Unfortunate we missed it due to going on an evening excursion. Promo gives you the impression this happened every night. Where possible. Our Entertainment Director Kane was brilliant so he made up for the disappointment. Could not fault staff. Staff brilliant food good enough could we have a chocolate treat with coffee. tours OK I got churched out talked out and walked out in the end. I thought the quiet vox was a device so you could wander around the sights by yourself if you did not want to be hearded like sheep around the sights, I stayed with tour group in case I missed out on something amazing. And the fear of getting lost. Make sure you have plenty of 50c Euro coins for toilets. overall enjoyed my trip. We made the Journey without changing boat. We were the last boat to do this from to Passau. The band was very average but the nights where Kane had quizzes and trivia were hilarious. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We had a good experience on a Viking Ocean Cruise and had not done a river cruise before. Viking gets high marks in that category, so we were excited to try it. However, we have been very disappointed. Our ship, The Embla, has been ... Read More
We had a good experience on a Viking Ocean Cruise and had not done a river cruise before. Viking gets high marks in that category, so we were excited to try it. However, we have been very disappointed. Our ship, The Embla, has been experiencing severe mechanical issues, that Viking was well aware of, prior to our boarding. In the interest of “the bottom line”, they didn’t disclose this, they put us on the ship anyhow. Our stateroom and all the others, had no air conditioning on our arrival and throughout the few days that we were kept on the ship (Tim sent you a photo of the thermostat in our cabin, showing 96F degrees ). We sailed, literally, across the river, and with no transparency, Viking strung us along in an ugly, smelly dockage for more than two and a half days. We could all, quite literally, give tours of Russe, for as much time as we spent there. The Embla finally sailed at 11 pm on the 3rd night, at a crawl, (less than 4 knots we figure), not making it even half way to our first port of Vidin. We were disembarked in Lom or Silistra, Bulgaria. We then had a bus trip complete with 11 and 12 hours on the bus with en mass bathroom breaks at malls and gas stations, (not fun when only 4 stalls and 5 buses worth of passengers) buffet lunches, hot sandwiches that were meant to be cold, and water on the bus only the first day. Our bus driver’s skills were questionable and our bus broke down. Excursions were abbreviated and virtually, all by bus or eliminated completely. They took us hours out of the way to make a brief lunch with locals in Croatia, that added at least 4 hours to our second day on the bus and added an unnecessary second border crossing, which took in excess of an hour in itself. We felt like going hours out of the way for 1 hour off the bus lunch, was probably an attempt by Viking to go through the motions of making it to Croatia. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Just returned from 14-day Amsterdam to Budapest with 3-day Prague extension. I've done a lot of cruising, so was really looking forward to Viking's "superior" experience, and was really disappointed. The ships' ... Read More
Just returned from 14-day Amsterdam to Budapest with 3-day Prague extension. I've done a lot of cruising, so was really looking forward to Viking's "superior" experience, and was really disappointed. The ships' crews were great. FYI, if you're on the Modi or Skirnir, there's a broken lock on the Main, and they'll give you 48 hours notice on an "unfortunately" announcement about switching ships (we docked at Nuremberg, toured, and were bused 3 hours to Regensburg, where we boarded the Modi with a new crew, same room, etc.). Transfer was handled smoothly, but they've been doing this since lock broke on June 5th - they should be more up front about it. Before I booked the 3-day Prague extension, I read that Viking promised train transfer, but used people. When I booked, I was assured we would transfer by train. Not true - was a 9 hour coach ride, which the onboard guide told me they'd been doing for 5 years. Also - that's your whole first day. We got in at 5 p.m. and were exhausted. Hotel about 2 mi out of old town Prague, so long walk. For what we paid for that extension ($699 per person), I could have put us on train for the 2.5 hr ride, and a closer hotel, at half the price tag. Again, my main gripe is the build-in dishonesty about the company. The stops on this itinerary were all great, and local guides were usually pretty good. Service on Skirnir was mediocre, but food was great. When we switched to Modi, service was excellent, but food was mediocre and we started skipping meals. Do not use their add-on "flight concierge" service. We paid for it, to get window/seats together, and to avoid the east coast airports. Flights changed 7 or 8 times (airlines and/or connecting cities). When I went to check in, I had to pay Delta and additional $54 for a window seat because flight concierge completely doesn't keep up on your reservation and preferences once they make the original booking. Not worth it. Last complaint is about the almost daily reminders from our tour director that we could tip extra for excellent service. We pre-paid the $20/day per person gratuities so we didn't have to worry about it. But the daily hustling and reminders from Wez were tacky and uncomfortable. I thought that was really unprofessional for a supposed "luxury" company. We know we can tip extra for great help (and we did) - but the daily harangues were off-putting. My sense is that regardless of what Viking promises, all these river cruises are basically the same level of service/food/experience. Go with a more economical line, and be wary of extensions. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
My wife and I had a very nice cruise on the Viking Lofn in June, 2019. The staff were excellent, although we had to grin at the cruise director's obvious over-hype on occasion. We had one management level staff member in the dining ... Read More
My wife and I had a very nice cruise on the Viking Lofn in June, 2019. The staff were excellent, although we had to grin at the cruise director's obvious over-hype on occasion. We had one management level staff member in the dining area seem to "put down" a guest at our table when she ordered a steak rather than the suggested entre- that didn't set well with any of us who heard his statement about "Americans." (He did apologize to her the next day at dinner.) Honestly, the food was good, but not great in our opinion. We've had better. As an example, the scnitzel we had at a nice restaurant in Rudesheim au Rhine was much better than the one we had on the Lofn; twice as large, very tender, with fries and a nice salad- all for less than $12 US. The tours were very nice, but felt rushed. Occasionally we had time to spend on our own, but nof often. My Black Forest hike lasted all of 30 minutes, yet the bus ride there was 2 hours round-trip. Our tour of Marksburg castle was limited by the many other tours on-site. We rarely had more than a few minutes in a room or location, We did get a few minutes at the end of our tour to buy a Coke and sit on a bench. We don't blame Viking for this at all; there were hundreds of tourists on-site while we were there. The Bruhl tour was fine, but understand that one cannot take any photos of the beautiful interiors of the castle or hunting lodge. One must buy postcards of the interiors. I could add more to this review, but won't. We had a very nice time. Will we do it again? No, we won't. Are we glad we did it, yes. Viking did a very good job. The staff onboard, with one exception, was superb. The Rhine Getaway should have been a 10-day trip in our opinion, Thank you to Viking, the staff of the Lofn, Viking's staff in Amsterdam (where we took a wonderful 2-day pre-cruise stay at the Pulitzer Amsterdam) and all the tour guides. We would rate this cruise a solid four of five. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
This was my first river cruise and it was very enjoyable. The staff was fantastic and really went out of their way to make this a memorable experience. All aspects of the cruise went smoothly and there was someone to help at every step of ... Read More
This was my first river cruise and it was very enjoyable. The staff was fantastic and really went out of their way to make this a memorable experience. All aspects of the cruise went smoothly and there was someone to help at every step of the process from landing in Amsterdam until we left the hotel in Lucerne to return home. The excursions were well done, although I would have like a bit more detailed information when I was signing up for the excursion before we sailed. I might have chosen differently in a few instances. But overall, I thought the excursions were worthwhile and all our guides were excellent. The different activities onboard the ship were very enjoyable and also educational. Our program director, Boyan, was absolutely the best and I especially liked his stories and special music for the castle day part of the cruise. Everyone on the staff and crew was very friendly and it was nice to be able to talk to them and learn about their home countries. I highly recommend Viking as a cruise line and if you do the Rhine Getaway cruise, I highly recommend choosing the Eir. I will definitely do more cruises with Viking in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Although we had been on several ocean cruises with other lines, this was our first river cruise. It coincided with our 40th wedding anniversary and we wanted something special. We boarded the ship and immediately felt welcome. The crew was ... Read More
Although we had been on several ocean cruises with other lines, this was our first river cruise. It coincided with our 40th wedding anniversary and we wanted something special. We boarded the ship and immediately felt welcome. The crew was awesome. No need went unmet. Unlike the ocean cruises, we were part of a small group - 180+ passengers. By the end of the cruise, we'd gotten to meet almost everyone and formed special friendships with several. The Captain, at first, gave the impression of a gruff exterior but soon revealed a warm and friendly person. He invited us to visit the bridge to see how they navigated and welcomed the passengers to visit as long when things weren't too busy. The entire crew was very friendly - from the captain to the cooks and deck hands. Our cabin was kept fresh and stocked by a delightful young lady. Of particular note was the Cruise Director - Bujon (I'm sure I spelled that wrong). He went out of his way to insure everyone had a great time. His personality couldn't be better suited for the job. Always a ready smile. The dining experience was also delightful with special attention to dietary restrictions. The dining room staff was very friendly and pleasant to work with. The food never failed to please the palate. We couldn't have asked for a better 40th Anniversary celebration! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We have a group of 12 friends which had taken the Danube cruise in 2015, and we wanted to have another memorable experience. And, indeed, this cruise was just that. We did the extension in Amsterdam, and that was amazing. So many ... Read More
We have a group of 12 friends which had taken the Danube cruise in 2015, and we wanted to have another memorable experience. And, indeed, this cruise was just that. We did the extension in Amsterdam, and that was amazing. So many interesting sights and unique adventures. The accommodation there was convenient, comfortable and beautiful. The Viking-provided walking tour was excellent. The Rhine cruise was a delight from start to finish. The crew were attentive and took care of our every need. They could not have been better. Food was great and the shore excursions with one exception were fabulous. I cannot say enough about how well George, our program director handled everything. In particular, he was so gracious when I got "lost" in Heidelberg and didn't make it back to the coach on time. Fortunately, we were able to communicate by mobile phone, and he held the bus for over twenty minutes, saving me a EU 200 cab ride. I was planning to show my appreciation with a generous gratuity supplement, but I was unclear on the procedure for that, and he was not available as we were rushing to disembark on the last morning in Basel. (Give George my sincere regards and thanks.) The only criticism of the cruise concerns the last excursion, into the Black Forest on June 6. The guide we had was excellent, and the scenery beautiful, but the main event I chose was the so-called coo-coo clock making demo. This in reality was a lengthy stop in a pricey souvenir shop. One of our group had opted for the "forest stroll", but that was so brief as to be unremarkable. I suspect there must be some other activity in the forest that would have made the 4-hour excursion more worthwhile. In summary, we all thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and the Amsterdam stay. It was another wonderful Viking adventure. We all look forward to being with your organization in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We booked our cruise based on our own research and our travel agent’s recommendation. It’s not often that our entire vacation ends up being better than we hoped, but this trip truly was. From the time we got to the airport in Raleigh, ... Read More
We booked our cruise based on our own research and our travel agent’s recommendation. It’s not often that our entire vacation ends up being better than we hoped, but this trip truly was. From the time we got to the airport in Raleigh, NC to the time we returned there, everything was handled by Viking with exceptional results. Every detail was well thought out and expertly executed. The staff at all phases were friendly, courteous, and professional. We were met at the airport in Amsterdam, and taken to our hotel ( the Radisson Blu), where we were met by our Viking concierge. That’s the way it went until we were delivered to the airport in Zurich. The only negative I can even think of was the last included excursion (the Black Forest one.). It wasn’t bad, but paled in comparison to all the others. It was a long (by beautiful) bus ride to a destination that felt very much like a tourist trap. It wasn’t a bad day, but by the time we got back to the boat we were tired. Five plus hours of bus for barely one hour among the shops. Even taking that less than spectacular excursion, the Viking experience is one that left us looking forward to seeing what cruise to book next. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
we traveled per recommendation of a friend. It was an excellent cruise except that there were too many old and inactive guests.Amenities were nice,,service was excellent and the staff were very friendly and courteous. The restaurant was ... Read More
we traveled per recommendation of a friend. It was an excellent cruise except that there were too many old and inactive guests.Amenities were nice,,service was excellent and the staff were very friendly and courteous. The restaurant was adequate and the food was always fresh and well prepared.The band was very good but most people would disappear soon after dinner. I guess to bed. The excursions were well organized and guides were knowledgeable. The arrival in Amsterdam was well arranged.The limo driver was very nice.We were met by the staff at the port and were taken to our cabin with no delay.Every thing was explained about the set up and services.The cabins were cleaned and made up very quickly.Going through the locks and dams was very interesting specially those during the night. The departure was also well organized and the staff were very helpful to guide every one to their destination. Overall it was worth the time and money. It is highly recommended. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
Got a cabin cancellation three weeks out, seemed like a good deal. Cabin 119 with just a small window was fine. Viking did an outstanding job, everything exceeded my expectations, this was our first river cruise and our first visit to ... Read More
Got a cabin cancellation three weeks out, seemed like a good deal. Cabin 119 with just a small window was fine. Viking did an outstanding job, everything exceeded my expectations, this was our first river cruise and our first visit to central Europe. Candi, the cruise director was extremely organized, loved the QuietVOX RF receiver/headphone system. We only did included excursions which we enjoyed., they were well run, we had enough time in each port. Buses were extremely well run when used. Ship looks like new, food was excellent, service was excellent. The only thing I can think of for Viking to improve is to lower the price! We loved small German towns, we found Basel to be very expensive, restaurants in city seem to be about twice what we are used to in rural Virginia. God willing we'll be going on more Viking cruises. Misc: for the first time we did laundry every night on the ship, rapid dry clothes dry in less than 4 hours, cotton underwear, socks and shirts take 20 hours. We used the heated bathroom floor to finish dry the socks and underwear. There was a clothes line in the shower. Loads of hot water, loads of water pressure from shower head. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We had sailed with Viking on the Danube and were pleased with our experience so we picked them again for a Rhine River cruise and we're glad we did. Our balcony cabin was small, as are most river cruise cabins, but there was ample ... Read More
We had sailed with Viking on the Danube and were pleased with our experience so we picked them again for a Rhine River cruise and we're glad we did. Our balcony cabin was small, as are most river cruise cabins, but there was ample storage. The service was outstanding; we would like Marlon, our waiter, to come and live with us. He knew all of our drink preferences after the first day and, when one of our party became ill, he never failed to ask about his progress. We were very lucky: the water level and the weather were close to perfect. We spent most of the afternoon of the Middle Rhine sailing on the top deck and Viking showed great attention to details: we had maps that showed all of the 31 castles we sailed by, the program director did a commentary, we were given ice water, shade umbrellas, and ice cream (the sun was very strong that day - we all had red skin on areas where we failed to use sunblock). Most of the excursions were very good; the one exception being the Black Forest where it takes much too long on the bus to spend an hour at a very touristy visitors center (let's not talk about the rush hour traffic we hit on the way back). We would love to travel with Viking again. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this itinerary because our previous Viking Danube River cruise was fantastic. This one a bit of a disappointment. The service and food were excellent. We really enjoyed our veranda cabin, too. Our biggest disappointment were the ... Read More
We chose this itinerary because our previous Viking Danube River cruise was fantastic. This one a bit of a disappointment. The service and food were excellent. We really enjoyed our veranda cabin, too. Our biggest disappointment were the included excursions. It seemed like Viking would take us on a short tour and then drop us off for hours of shopping. The excursions we paid for were much better. Our biggest negative was the post cruise trip to Lucerne. I could go into many details on how expensive and awful this was, but sum it up by saying Lucerne was beautiful but don’t take the 11 hour tour of the area. We were also concerned about the laxness of the boats security in several ports. Several times when we were in port there didn’t appear to be anyone monitoring the exit and entrance to the boat. Overall, we’re currently “turned off” on a river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We had never been on a River Cruise, but had a great experience on a Viking Ocean Cruise last year, and did the Amsterdam To Budapest Cruise with two extra days in Amsterdam—booked on our own. The crew was wonderful: very attentive ... Read More
We had never been on a River Cruise, but had a great experience on a Viking Ocean Cruise last year, and did the Amsterdam To Budapest Cruise with two extra days in Amsterdam—booked on our own. The crew was wonderful: very attentive and helpful. Our veranda stateroom was okay, but without anywhere to sit, other than the bed or on the single chair provided, it was simply not a good place for us to “hang out.” We wound up spending a lot of our down time in the Lounge, because our veranda was basically off limits almost 2/3 of the cruise due to rain, or, more annoyingly, being tied up next to another ship that obscured our view. After all, who wants to sit on a veranda where your view is into a stateroom of the ship next to you. The food was very good, but again didn’t compare well to the myriad offerings on the Ocean Cruise. The biggest disappointment was the unavailability of any place to exercise, other than the Sky Deck, which was closed for five days while we transited locks and bridges. Fortunately, the wonderful cities on the itinerary showed themselves well. We loved Cologne, Vienna, Bambërg, and Budapest. Our excursion to Salzburg was glorious. All in all a fine trip, but I’m not sure we are cut out for River Cruising. Perhaps a shorter trip would have been better for us, as we are still very fit and active travelers. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Viking are very efficient, I cannot fault their communication and organisation. They organised the flights and transfers as well. However, they wanted an extortionate amount for 2 days in Amsterdam before the cruise, so we organised it ... Read More
Viking are very efficient, I cannot fault their communication and organisation. They organised the flights and transfers as well. However, they wanted an extortionate amount for 2 days in Amsterdam before the cruise, so we organised it ourselves and so had to make our own way to the hotel. The ship was lovely, very clean, smooth lines, no chintz! The other passengers were probably 50% Americans, 25% British, 25% other and quite a wide age range from people in their 30s to 70s. I would say most of the people were 50 - 75. The service was excellent, but I think over the top. After cleaning the room in the morning, is there really any need for the maid to clean it again in the evening? This is one reason it is so expensive. I have stayed in top notch hotels where they close the curtains and turn down the bed and I think that is all that is needed. Alcoholic and soft drinks are included at both lunch at dinner and not just one, they keep topping up your glasses, so people like me who don't drink are actually subsidising those that do and they certainly take advantage of it! Some people opted for the drinks package which included certain drinks all day. However, both passengers in the state room have to take it, so it wasn't worth it for us. the service throughout the ship was excellent, with a good choice of food for breakfast and a limited choice for lunch with a good salad buffet and burgers if you did not fancy what was on offer. However, I was disappointed with the evening meals. There was always a regional menu of 3 courses, plus 2 choices of international dishes for each course and if you didn't like them, there was steak, burgers or chicken. However, I found it difficult to find something I liked every night and resorted to the steak and chips on several occasions. There was a German buffet one night, but as I am not keen on lots of sausages, cooked meat and pork I was not impressed, neither was the Jewish gentleman on our table! One night Thai soup was on the menu and I ordered that as it contained co-conut milk and as I am lactose intolerant did not expect to be served a very creamy soup containing milk! Also, the greatest disappointment for me was the tiny servings for dessert. The excursions were well organised with a leisurely option for those who had limited mobility, which we took advantage of as my husband had a bad knee. Little treats awaited us on our return to the ship which was nice and we all had electronic gizmos with earpieces so we could hear the guide, which were very easy to use. The excursions are mainly walking tours in the cities, concentrating on the history, architecture and cathedrals etc. The guides were very good except the fortress at Koblenz. The guide was an actor and it was supposed to be amusing, but it was not. The evening entertainment was mainly a pianist, but one evening there was a classical concert, another glass blowing demonstration on the adjoining ship, two quizzes which were great fun as they were not the usual format and a disco night. Ivan was in charge of this and he was excellent.We had been on ocean cruises but this was our first river cruise. We loved the fact there was less than 200 people on the boat, so you got to know people very quickly and we made some good friends. It was lovely to watch the scenery as you floated by and you won't get sea sick! Not far to walk to the cabin or the restaurant. However, there is not much to do when sailing except talk, drink, read, sunbathe, sleep or walk around the walking track. If we did another cruise, I probably would not take one that included drinks as this inflates the price if you don't drink very much. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We don't have any negatives to tell you about this cruise, the ship, the staff, the activities, or the food. Everything was so far above our expectations it would be hard to explain. Viking has excellent ships, excellent employees, ... Read More
We don't have any negatives to tell you about this cruise, the ship, the staff, the activities, or the food. Everything was so far above our expectations it would be hard to explain. Viking has excellent ships, excellent employees, and a science around how organized they are with all of the arrangements. I was worried about riding in a bus to the excursions, but the buses and drivers were a pleasure! I was also concerned about the food, having heard stories about the massive amounts of junk food on some cruises. Our chef was excellent and all the food was so delicious. The choices were wonderful and the portions were perfect. We loved our cabin, which had a balcony, and enjoyed sitting up on the deck. We met lots a great people on the ship that we have remained in contact with. We are looking forward to many other Viking cruises! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This is our second Viking River Cruise -- Amsterdam to Basel on the Rhine River. Our mid-April weather was perfect -- in the 70's during the day and no rain. The food was wonderful, the crew was terrific (knew our names on the first ... Read More
This is our second Viking River Cruise -- Amsterdam to Basel on the Rhine River. Our mid-April weather was perfect -- in the 70's during the day and no rain. The food was wonderful, the crew was terrific (knew our names on the first day!) and the excursions were perect The narration by our Program Director, Diana, was great while we were cruising down the Rhine looking at all the castles -- yup, just like the advertisements! We enjoyed all of the "included" excursions and chose one optional -- Medieval Colmar and it was well worth it. Colmar is a delightful cobblestoned village -- right out of fairy tale books. We chose to ride on the "little white train" to get to the main square and it was the perfect way to travel through this village. If you're deciding on an option, try this one! We were busy everyday yet had time to relax and enjoy the scenery on the upper deck. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
My husband and I took the cruise down the Rhine. We had never been to Europe. I love castles! This cruise was for our 46th wedding anniversary! The ship was fantastic ,the entertainment was fabulous and my husband and I danced every night ... Read More
My husband and I took the cruise down the Rhine. We had never been to Europe. I love castles! This cruise was for our 46th wedding anniversary! The ship was fantastic ,the entertainment was fabulous and my husband and I danced every night away with the new friends we met on the ship .We enjoyed our balcony so much! We thoroughly enjoyed all of the excursions that were included and marveled at the beautiful scenery on the excursions and while riding down the Rhine River . The staff was so great and made us feel so special the whole trip! They were very friendly, attentive, and went out of their way to attend to our every wish! On the night of our anniversary we had dinner with the captain and the staff sang to us it was awesome ! The staff also decorated our room with hearts champagne and chocolate it was a wonderful surprise ! We can’t wait to book our next cruise , Thank You Viking! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We did our 1st River Cruise and it won't be the last. Awesome cruise from start to finish. The staff knew your name before the cruise ended. The food was amazing, and the chef will make you special food for those with allergies or ... Read More
We did our 1st River Cruise and it won't be the last. Awesome cruise from start to finish. The staff knew your name before the cruise ended. The food was amazing, and the chef will make you special food for those with allergies or lactose free. Every region you are in, the menu, wine and beer will change. The optional tours are well worth the money. Strauss Concert in Vienna was simply AMAZING. The cruise director surprised us in Budapest with a nighttime cruise to see the lights. Very breathtaking. If you're looking for a river cruise, look no further than the Grand European. You will not be disappointed. The sites from Amsterdam to Budapest are amazing. The castles and churches are beautiful. If you have never been through locks, well this is the cruise for you. You'll go through 65 locks with the deepest at 85'. John and Lucille Mlakar Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We signed up for this cruise because it coincided with peak tulip time in the Netherlands. Despite the crowds Viking was able to provide access to sites that generally avoided the crowds and gave us a good insight into the people and ... Read More
We signed up for this cruise because it coincided with peak tulip time in the Netherlands. Despite the crowds Viking was able to provide access to sites that generally avoided the crowds and gave us a good insight into the people and culture of Holland. Although a bit nippy at times the weather was excellent. The tours were generally extremely well done - although in Amsterdam museums would be better visited on one's own. The guides were well-informed. The food was great - variety, complimentary wine and beer The wait staff was superb - prompt, attentive, friendly. Game nights were hilarious. Pre-dinner talks from the master chef were an event to be looked forward to. The entire staff was extremely helpful, good-natured and provided advice and many small extras that made the cruise special. Embarkation and debarkation were handled very efficiently. I would not look elsewhere for a river cruise! While the cruise offered a lot there were several areas that we visited on our own by renting a car and getting local guides to visit special sites: Madurodam, Den Haag, Delft, Amersfoort, Leeuwarden, Franeker, Harlingen, and Marken. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
My sister selected this 10-day river cruise for us because of the size of the ship (about 170 passengers) and the destinations and excursions (Amsterdam, Hoorn, Arnhem, Kinderdijk, Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Brussels, Keukenhof, Haarlem, ... Read More
My sister selected this 10-day river cruise for us because of the size of the ship (about 170 passengers) and the destinations and excursions (Amsterdam, Hoorn, Arnhem, Kinderdijk, Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Brussels, Keukenhof, Haarlem, and back to Amsterdam). We have family connections to the Netherlands and were very excited to see so many cities and enjoy so many activities (biking, walking, eating [eating!], sight seeing, beer tasting, meeting new people, etc.). We were able to do all these things on this cruise. The excursions were interesting and the local guides were very knowledgable and skilled. The busy touring and dining schedules were maintained by the crew's use of printed daily guides, a daily announcements session before dinner, and overhead PA announcements. The ship's sailing, hotel and dining crews were efficient, friendly, helpful, and put the passengers' safety and pleasure first. The staff were particularly helpful to passengers on this cruise who had mobility or sight limitations or dietary concerns. We had first-hand experience with the crew's and Viking's ability to maintain safety and manage logistics because of an accident we experienced on the river. Shortly after midnight on the seventh day of our cruise our ship and a tanker collided. Thankfully, a very few passengers and crew sustained minor injuries only. On the other hand, the ship was did not come out as well. The bow and kitchen were heavily damaged and there was lots of broken glassware, dishes and serving dishes, and glass tables and some shower doors were also shattered. The crew in all departments handled this emergency quickly, efficiently and professionally. We were kept informed of events and crew members checked on passenger safety several times in the minutes and few hours after the collision. We were towed to a nearby port (Terneuzen). The crew and land-side Viking staff worked overnight to arrange for us to be bussed to a hotel for a lovely breakfast and then on to Bruges for the scheduled walking tour. That evening we stayed on board and the crew again worked all day and night so that the passengers could enjoy breakfast together in the ship's dining room. I have no idea how they did it. After breakfast we continued with scheduled events: a tour of the Delta Works and stops at Veere and the Watersnood Museum. At the end of the day we were delivered to a fabulous hotel in Amsterdam because the ship had to be put in dry dock for repairs. Our excursions from Amsterdam (where we would have been in the ship if the accident hadn't occurred) were held as scheduled. Despite the collision, the only excursion that was cancelled was the Flanders Field visit; everything else was accomplished as originally planned. The Viking Idun crew and Viking corporate staff were available to passengers throughout the rest of our time together. All of them remained calm and kind throughout what must have been a very stressful time for them. Viking extended very generous compensation to passengers. Almost all the passengers completed the tour rather than fly back home early. I have to mention several crew by name because they truly extended themselves pre-, and especially, post-collision: Guest Services Sandra Slankandenac who, with her peers, always remembered our room number, greeted us kindly and answered all our questions. Bartenders Gilbert, George and Yvanna. They were gracious and made a great lemontini! Hospitality Manager Stefka Koleva supported her staff who kept our staterooms lovely. Housekeeper Lillya was always ready with a happy greeting and kept us supplied with everything we needed. Executive Chef Ronald Waarsdrop. I did not really appreciate the quality of his food preparation and presentation, and the skill of his kitchen staff and servers, until we had a typical hotel breakfast on Day 7 of the cruise. Hotel Manager Harry Berislavic and Maitre D' Nenad Dukanovik. Both men have such a great sense of humor and were always in action. Servers Istvan, Daniel, Tihomer, Kin were attentive, friendly, helpful and always wanted us to be happy. Program Director "Joey" Schuijt. I do not know where to begin to list all that Joey did for the passengers and our experience on the Viking Idun. Before the collision he was efficient, funny, professional. After the collision he was those things as well as sensitive, responsive and deeply concerned that our experience be as positive as possible. Captain Zoran Lukic. My sister and I enjoyed a conversation with the Captain one afternoon and found him to be kind and considerate. We learned about his family and his many years of experience as a Captain. We could plainly see his commitment to his profession and, most of all, to our safety. After the collision Captain Zoran, and Joey Schujit, worked without sleep to take care of us, our needs and the ship. Overall, despite the accident, I had a wonderful experience on the Viking Idun and will take another cruise with Viking. Maybe Russia! I wish the Captain and the crew well and hope they are together again on the Idun soon. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
The entire April 3, 2019 Tulips and Windmills cruise on the Viking Mimir was flawless. We were fortunate. The weather was nice: cool but windy. The tulips were in full bloom. Timing for us could not have been better. From the shore ... Read More
The entire April 3, 2019 Tulips and Windmills cruise on the Viking Mimir was flawless. We were fortunate. The weather was nice: cool but windy. The tulips were in full bloom. Timing for us could not have been better. From the shore excursions to the dining, all services were provided with grace and charm. Almost too much to fit into one week, but what wonderful memories. I was particularly charmed by the Belgian and Dutch citizens who were so pleasant. They wanted to share and show the love of their countries. I am Catholic and had the unexpected opportunity to attend daily Mass in Antwerp and Bruges. I didn't miss out on any part of the ship's tours because it so happened that Mass was offered in small chapels adjoining the large cathedrals in the town center at 11:00 A.M in both towns and the times coincided with the "free time" to shop or browse. Have another cruise with Viking already booked. I don't have to research shore excursions options. I need only to show up with good walking shoes on my feet! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We have completed over 20 ocean cruises and wanted to try a River Cruise. The timing was right for this one and the price was right as there was a big sell. I think we booked at the end of July 2018 for a March 2019 cruise. My wife loves ... Read More
We have completed over 20 ocean cruises and wanted to try a River Cruise. The timing was right for this one and the price was right as there was a big sell. I think we booked at the end of July 2018 for a March 2019 cruise. My wife loves the castles and she loved the day we cruised and saw all of the castles. The staff was very good to us. We celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary and they brought us a bottle of champagne and flowers for my wife. We also celebrated her birthday and they brought her a birthday cake to the dining room. We enjoyed all of the people we met on the cruise and got to know some of them very well. We are planning another Viking cruise down the Danube in August, 2020. One thing I do not like is that you have to make full payment 1 year in advance if you book more than a year out. 6 months ahead of time would be more reasonable. The food was good but understandably there was not as big of a selection as on the ocean cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
This was my first river cruise, and I cannot wait to go on another trip. There were a wide variety of excursions on offer - including art, history (both medieval and modern), engineering, farming, food, music, etc. - it was an excellent ... Read More
This was my first river cruise, and I cannot wait to go on another trip. There were a wide variety of excursions on offer - including art, history (both medieval and modern), engineering, farming, food, music, etc. - it was an excellent introduction to the area. The optional extension in Amsterdam before the cruise was a definite plus - we got to explore the city in greater detail and it allowed us to take the excursions farther afield while the ship was docked in Amsterdam. Viking was terrific about coordinating our transits to and from the airport, and making sure that our needs while in town were met (all this before we experienced their hospitality onboard). On the ship, the Viking crew was exceedingly attentive and the facilities were excellent. It seemed as though everything I could have thought about wanting was already ready and waiting. I was amazed at how quickly the crew grew to know my preferences and anticipate them. The cabins larger than I had anticipated, and well appointed. The public areas of the ship were open and inviting. I had not anticipated the amount of mingling that would take place (having only done bus tours before) while the ship was in transit, it definitely enriched the experience. The food onboard was top notch as well; I appreciated how each meal endeavored to present local favorites while also providing variety and new takes on dishes (it was the just the right blend of traditional and innovative). Looking back, I regret not eating in more local establishments while docked, but the cuisine offered by Viking seemed too good to pass up. The logistics of the trip were handled expertly as well. Whether it was the transit from the airport, the embarkation, or the organization of the shore excursions, I was impressed with how smoothly and effortlessly (at least from the passengers' perspective) everything went. All in all, it was a superb trip. I would recommend it to anyone. PS - when in Amsterdam, be sure to check out the Dutch Resistance Museum in the Plantage district - it is a thoughtful look at the complexities of civilian life during the Nazi occupation. The museum doesn't seem to get the recognition it deserves, as it is overshadowed by the larger (and justly renowned) establishments in the Museum Quarter. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Have done three Globus Bus Vacations and wanted to try something new and different. Our troubles started at Logan Airport when we could not check in. Viking had booked us on KLM and it should have been Delta. We lost our oringinal seats ... Read More
Have done three Globus Bus Vacations and wanted to try something new and different. Our troubles started at Logan Airport when we could not check in. Viking had booked us on KLM and it should have been Delta. We lost our oringinal seats and finally got booked in. Loved Delta! Got to Amsterdam Airport and walked to the farthest luggage pick up area and could not find a Viking Rep. Finally a man felt sorry for us and said Viking usually met at the "meeting place". Off we go and walked half way across airport to the "meeting place". Again no Viking Rep. After twenty minutes I called the ship's phone number. Having never called a European phone number +49 did not work for me. It should have started with 0049. Sinking feeling in strange airport waiting for 45 minutes. Started walking around and finally found three Viking Reps walking together looking for us. They said we should have been at gate 19 where we first started. Back on track...bus ride to ship. Crew was great and we went to our stateroom. Small but doable...lower level. Window is eye level with the water and my wife could not look out at all without standing on the bed. That night when we left port at midnight the engine noise and water noise kept me awake most of the night. I thought seriously about canceling our trip. After that everything went fine until we got to Wurzburg. High water levels stopped the boat in it's tracks for a number of days. We were then bussed everyday to our venues for four days til the boat caught up to us. Half hour ride, then one hour ride next, then two hour ride the following day and finally a three hour ride to and from the next town. Some tours were canceled or rescheduled. Did not get much cruising and relaxing time on the boat. Felt like I was back on a Globus bus tour for a lot more money. Viking offered us a $1599 credit towards a future trip but it has to be used in the next year before 3/20/2020. No thanks...do not want two trips one one year. No more river cruises and have booked our next trip with Globus to Portugal and Spain in the fall. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Reportedly Alexander the Great wept when told there were no more lands left to conquer. In that spirit, after 30 Celebrity ocean cruises, I decided to try a Brandy Alexander on our first river cruise. Amsterdam to Basel 8-day Rhine river ... Read More
Reportedly Alexander the Great wept when told there were no more lands left to conquer. In that spirit, after 30 Celebrity ocean cruises, I decided to try a Brandy Alexander on our first river cruise. Amsterdam to Basel 8-day Rhine river cruise starting Dec. 15, 2018 on 180-passengers Viking Tialfi. We added Viking’s 2-day Lake Lucerne extension for $599 pp at 5-star lakefront Schweizerhof Hotel (built 1845), 1 guided tour, transfers and breakfast included. This review compares the Celebrity ocean and Viking Rhine river experience. Meal service is suspended during this irreverent? flight of fancy. Our TA had advised that the Rhine river was particularly scenic with hills and medieval castle ruins (nearly 40). The Rhine also has a heavy volume of commercial ships rushing close by at 12 knots when we were docked at the riverside. The first port’s guided visit let those inclined climb up the interior of a 500-year-old family-managed windmill. Included guided tours featured the Cologne and the Strasbourg Cathedrals and the 11th century Marksburg castle. The guided tour to the romantic Heidelberg Castle featured the world’s largest (58,000 gallons) wine barrel built in 1751. This Viking trip was titled Rhine Christmas Markets offering the attraction of bright festively decorated specialty seasonal stores set up in town plazas. However, the port stops allowed visiting only during daylight hours. Some markets closed at 7pm. Staff were scrambling at the end in Basel to organize and store all the supplies, kitchenware, etc. because it was the last trip until late March 2019. Background: I’m a frequent Celebrity cruiser, sailing accompanied by my starter wife of 43 years, Joan. Even after all this time I’m still a little chagrined that her favorite song is Deanna Carter’s “Did I shave my legs for this?” Some may have run into me since 2000 on past CC Celebrity roll calls and on board socials. Others on past Celebrity trips may have also crossed my path. If you overheard a woman telling her husband “Remember what happened the last time ….” – that was me! Alternatively, if you noticed a woman among other ladies saying “Now what’s he think he’s doing ….” – that was me! Advance message board “Roll Calls” are uncommon among the typically 150-200 passengers on a river trip. I normally organizes a review under the “Miniskirt” rule (short enough to be interesting but long enough to cover what’s essential) Times have changed however. I will modify the advice of “Sing like no one is listening”, etc. and instead will write like no one is reading. So liberating. Passenger comparison: The presence of only 180 passengers soon led to a comfortable relaxed familiarity among the predominantly active well-traveled 55-75-year-old couples (I’m sure the wives were much younger). On this trip I presume Mae West’s dictum that “good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere.” did not apply. It’s rumored that Celebrity stopped publicizing ceremonies for the renewal of wedding vows after Guest Relations was flooded with hopeful individuals asking about expiration dates. Many were first-time river cruisers also. I understand E. Hemmingway said he drank (a lot) in order to make other people interesting. We found everyone cordial and welcoming in the lounge and at shared dining tables (irrespective of my drinking). Brings to mind Paul Hornung’s statement “I read about the evils of drinking, so I gave up reading.” And M. Mokhonoana’s “Millions of deaths would not have happened if it weren’t for the consumption of alcohol. The same can be said about millions of births.” The river ship held a safety orientation that was smaller scale than on ocean mega-ships. On ocean cruises, having grown up watching the Twilight Zone and X-files, I would look around my muster group hoping no one closely resembled William Bendix and/or Tallulah Bankhead. Stateroom comparison Viking’s bottom-deck ‘river view’ and upper-deck veranda cabins are generally similar size and layout to Celebrity’s but neither inside cabins nor super-size suites are offered. Viking river ships are not outfitted for mobility impaired passengers. A non-mix Patron margarita was $8. WIFI was free but laundry priced per item. For budget and packing convenience I brought light weight quick-dry polyester undershorts that I could wash in the sink using shampoo. I later realized a potential downside of combining liberal amounts of shampoo but limited hand rinsing. If I fell overboard, rescuers could be perplexed by a foaming crotch. We had the lower deck standard cabin with long horizontal windows (“aquarium view”) at head height. The propeller sounds of from each of the many ships passing nearby were transmitted for 1-2 minutes through the hull. I planned to describe the passing propeller noise like briefly being within __ feet of a sloshing washing machine. So I tried to measure by sitting nearby but my wife had me to leave so she could do laundry. So the precise noise level remains as inexplicable as Al Capone’s secret vault room. Other Viking features: adults only 18+, no smoking, no casino, no photographers, no art auction, no theatre shows, no formal nights. Daily attire for men featured blue jeans or chinos. Our trip had a pianist nightly in the lounge and two guest acts, a rock trio (Eagles, Beatles) and classical violin duo. Food, dining As some wag noted “Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.” And rotund Orson Welles weighed in “My doctor told me I had to stop throwing intimate dinners for four unless there are three other people.” The food was available in a small casual buffet off the lounge or in the table-service dining room. Breakfast had the standard offerings including omelets to order and fresh breads, pastries. A self-serve fresh-grind Espresso/Cappucino machine was always available. There were fewer entrée choices but some local cuisine was included. In general, food was satisfactory and on par with Celebrity. Spa services are based on the proposition “Time may be a healer, but it is no beautician.” Viking river fleet does not have fitness equipment or spa facilities. Their website’s FAQ reports that the ship’s Concierge can arrange access to partner facilities in many ports. WEATHER Downsides Dreary gray, foggy, chilly drizzle was common on the river route but most seem prepared. The universal recommendation to ‘wear layers’ to flexibly adjust was in order. It occurred to me that the ‘layering’ lesson had been disregarded to their detriment by the area’s Neanderthals. They might have survived if they had used a deer skin base layer, fashionably accented with a interwoven pastiche of muskrat pelts, with a final poncho-style bearskin outer-layer – snake skin belt optional. Of course, only dark bearskin after Labor Day. It was too uncomfortable to use the topmost unsheltered viewing and lounging deck. Viking Tialfi did not have a pool but I saw a small lounging pool on a competitor’s river ship. WEATHER Upsides Unfavorable weather conditions lead to ‘Christmas Markets” trips being the least expensive of the season. It was $3,000 each for the ‘standard’ cabin but included round trip economy air (major US hubs), airport transfers, 2-4 hour guided tour at each port, free (slow) WIFI, house beer/wine with lunch/dinner. Balcony cabin fares jumped $1,000+ pp above standard but the weather precluded sitting out unless attired as recommended for a Neanderthal. A -$1,000 pp air credit applied if you provide your own travel. A Bayerische draught lager, a cabernet/merlot blend and a pleasant dry white Burgundy was included at meals. Suggested tips reached $190 for the cabin. The wintry weather held a pleasant advantage - crowds in major tourist areas were low. Along with other sites, we noted that popular areas such as Lake Lucerne would be practically impassable in peak season. Our guide claimed that Marksburg Castle, Braubach has 6 million annual visitors. There were only a couple hundred tourists on the dreary day our ship’s tour visited. River depth, noise vs Ocean Water is not as deep (at least on Rhine) - no Poseidon catastrophe here – even Shelly Winters could clamber up the TWO decks to escape. Most long-haul river ships have three cabin decks with upper open sun deck for viewing. The floor of the lowest cabin deck is below the water line. I saw another new river ship with 5 decks and our Captain said it could only travel between two middle-Rhine cities because of low bridges. Indeed, unusually high or low water levels for the Rhine can restrict ship travel. We learned that in a recent major drought, people could wade across the Rhine in some sections. Both Viking and Scenic offer a ‘water level guarantee’. They intend to bring another ship from the opposite direction to transfer passengers to bypass the unnavigable section. Refunds are offered if they can’t manage that substitution. LOCKS The lower Rhine is navigable because of numerous locks that each raise/lower a ship about 40 feet in about 10 minutes. The river cruise spends each day in a town or city, traveling overnight – no relaxing sea-days. At worst, the river is choppy, so no sea sickness. At one point there was a long loop in the river so passengers were transferred to busses and rode 30 minutes into the city while the ship travelled 3.5 hours to catch up. This conserved time for the morning tours. Another time the ship pulled to the river edge to let 12 passengers embark on a paid tour – a drop-off taking only 20 minutes. All included walking tours provided individual ear-bud listening devices to hear the guide. The ship carried power-assist bicycles for use in ports. Service was pleasant and attentive. The CD had 5 years prior ocean ship experience. The crew was predominantly from eastern Europe and seemed efficient and competent. Lake Lucerne (2-day Viking guided extension) Twenty of us were transferred from the Basel endpoint on a coach to Lake Lucerne’s elegant lakefront Hotel Schweizerhof. On arrival, most joined the guided 2-hour walking tour of the historic district. Viking stationed an concierge agent during the morning and afternoon for both days. On the third morning the included coach transfer left our hotel at 6am for Zurich airport to connect through Amsterdam to Atlanta. Others had later shuttle departures. Many tree sellers were along the avenues – apparently its common there to buy trees just before Christmas day. We hoped to ride the 100+-year-old steam-drive side-paddle-wheel ferries but they were in for maintenance over winter. We visited a local museum, took long walks and retired early. In summer, many sail to ascend 7000-ft Mt. Pilatus using variety of cogwheel rail (world’s steepest), cable car and gondola. SUMMARY A river cruise offers an attractive small-ship alternative to ocean cruises. A river cruise is more suitable to touring countries interior areas as opposed to coastal ports. A river cruise is more oriented to adults touring historic sights but provides only limited ancillaries like casinos, pools, and floor shows. Since I’ve written like no one is reading, I’ll end with an Oscar Wilde remark “I don’t want to go to heaven – none of my friends are there.” Read Less
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