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Sail Date: August 2019
We sailed the Passage to Eastern Europe with the added pre-extension in Prague. Overall Viking is very organized in terms of transporting you from place to place. Starting at the airport, there was a Viking Rep waiting for us. We were kept ... Read More
We sailed the Passage to Eastern Europe with the added pre-extension in Prague. Overall Viking is very organized in terms of transporting you from place to place. Starting at the airport, there was a Viking Rep waiting for us. We were kept waiting for another couple, who never showed, for an hour and a half. Here’s where some common sense should’ve kicked in. Maybe wait a half hour and then take us to the hotel. We were exhausted from a long flight and wanted to rest at the hotel. We were booked at the Corinthia, which is a wonderful hotel The room was a good size and very clean. They have three good restaurants and a lounge for late-night coffee or drinks. Breakfast was included and very good. They have a Viking Desk at the hotel which is convenient. They had signed us up for the city tour, which we opted out of, so they arranged transportation for us to join the food tour which we had signed up for. The tour was good with three restaurants and several dishes to try. Very little walking. We also did the Prague by Night tour which drove us through the city at night with some beautiful stops for amazing views of the city. They also had a complimentary shuttle to the Old Town from the hotel, which we took advantage of to explore on our own. To get to Budapest was an 8-hour or so bus ride. We stopped a couple of times for bathroom breaks and lunch. It was essentially a lost day. We stayed at the Hilton in the castle district, which is absolutely stunning. Check-in was less smooth with everyone crowding the desk to get a room key. At this point I had pulled a muscle in my calf and was unable to go on one of the tours. Beware: Once Viking has your money, YOU WILL NOT get it back. We were told no refund unless we paid $130 Euros for a doctor’s note. We were looking to get back $180 US. Having traveled several cruise lines, Viking is the only one who wouldn’t refund our money for missing an excursion. We paid $20K for the trip and they have lost a customer forever. I hope the $180 was worth it. Awful service. Budapest is stunningly gorgeous. We went on a few of the tours, which were part bus, part walking tours. After two nights, Viking takes you on a day tour and then finally to the ship. Getting on board is relatively easy as you just check-in at the front desk and relinquish your passport. They had a light lunch waiting for us and shortly after 3:00 we entered our cabin. The ship was in good shape, clean, and inviting. It’s color palette is blonde wood with beige furniture and accessories. Because it’s a river boat, the spaces are smaller and fewer. The largest spaces are the lounge, dining room, and top deck. We never had any issues finding a table or seating for lounging. At night there is a pianist/singer in the lounge. That’s about it for entertainment unless they bring in locals for dancing and other activities. The food is good. Each night they have a tasting menu based on the country you’re docked in. Everything we tried was very tasty. Dining times are rigid for each of the three meals. However, if you do miss a meal, the staff is extremely well trained and accommodating so you can likely get something if you ask. We traveled through Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania. Most of the tours are around 4 hours and some combination of bus and walking. All of the guides talked about the wars and Communism, which was really interesting. We had two full-day tours the last two days. On one of the tours we drove out to Veliko Tărnovo for a bathroom break, coffee, and photo op. Then on to Arbanasi for a walking tour and lunch, and then back to the other village for an “hour+ of free time.” Why not just head back to the ship? Instead we arrived back with less than an hour to spare before dinner. It felt like they just wanted us to spend money in town. The next day we disembarked, en masse, in 100 degree heat to be driven around all day and kept away from the hotel until after 4:00. There were no other options but to be forced on to this tour to get us off the boat. So, it says 11 days, but you’re only on the boat for 7. This means some of your meals are on you in addition to what you’ve already paid for the cruise. Overall we saw some beautiful places that have not yet been commercialized. We learned a lot about this part of the world. We met some wonderful people and had some great food. There were a few things that did leave a bad impression, most notably the refusal to refund one of the excursions. We expect more for the high cost of the trip. For our next cruise, we’d select a company who understands that fully accommodating its customers means repeat business. Viking, unfortunately, doesn’t get that part. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
While we were questioned by family and friends, and found out almost everyone else on the cruise as well, as to why did we want to go to Russia? Our family were concerned about our safety, especially after weeks of protests in Moscow. ... Read More
While we were questioned by family and friends, and found out almost everyone else on the cruise as well, as to why did we want to go to Russia? Our family were concerned about our safety, especially after weeks of protests in Moscow. None of this daunted our desire to go, especially since we had already paid for the cruise. We wanted to see something we knew would be very different and were raised to treat Russia as an enemy country. We were really in for a pleasant surprise - we absolutely loved Russia. We learned so much about the country, the people, their history; how they suffered during WW II and also how they suffered under communism prior to the fall of the Soviet Union. That's why we went, and while this will probably be the once in a lifetime trip, we'd do it again given the opportunity. We are first time river cruisers - really want to do another river cruise somewhere - most likely Europe. We were so impressed with Viking - their planned tours were fantastic. The ship was exceptionally well maintained. Don't be daunted by the 1975 ship build date - Viking keeps is looking new at all times!! Our cabin (room 300) was very comfortable. The food was great; the staff absolutely top notch - I'd love to cruise with this crew again. One concern I've read before going was that there is only 1 elevator on this ship and the stairs are quite steep. My wife and I are in the 60s and 70s, in good shape. We only used the stairs - had no problem going up and down. Used the elevator once to take our suitcases down to weigh them before departing - as part of foolish manly pride, I decided to take the first bag down the stairs - no problem going down; however, two Viking cleaning ladies immediately jumped in and grabbed my bag to carry it down - they then pointed to the elevator and said I could use that!!! Trying to go back up with the bag was more of a challenge - a young Viking sailor saw me and immediately lifted the bag over his head and carried it up for me - this is how the crew is all the time. I then elected to use the elevator for the second bag - much wiser. So, we had no complaint regarding using the stairs! People with mobility limitations would have difficulty on the stairs. It was a little more challenging after the vodka sampling activity one evening - I definitely recommend it. Our room was right outside the main dining area - we thought this might be an issue with noise - no issue whatsoever - since everyone is on the same schedule, people talking outside our room never bothered us. While we had a balcony, we hardly used it since we were so busy all the time; plus it could be a little cool sitting out there in the evening - once the sun went down - between 9 and 10 pm, up at 4:30, the temperatures went down - maybe into the 50s. However, we were lucky - we brought the sun - something rare in this part of the world. So our temperatures were mostly in the 70s during the day; one day it hit 80 in Moscow - while locals weren't happy with that, it still felt very comfortable. All excursions go on rain or shine - we had a few light showers and one heavier downpour in Yaroslavl - but the outside gift area was covered, so rain never bothered us. We travelled from St Petersburg to Moscow - we go through 17 locks - many are at night when sleeping; but very interesting to watch. We didn't realize there are 5 Viking ships going up and down this route all season - each one does 14 round trips per season (6 month period) - can't do it in the winter since lakes and rivers are frozen over. All ships looks exactly the same. When we got to St Petersburg all 5 were at the docks - each one leaving a different day. They'll dock 2 together, so you will have to walk through one to get to your ship. Some of you will do what some of us did - get on the first ship and go to your room - only to find your key doesn't work. Then you realize, you are on the wrong ship!!! There are differences in the ships - usually in the size of public rooms. Starting in St Petersburg, all our tours were included with two exceptions. Went to Catherine Palace in Pushkin - unreal to see this. The crowds were quite large, but the Viking guides (some from the ship, others local) - are great. Lots of historic detail which they are very proud to provide regarding Russian history. Did the Panoramic St Petersburg tour - got a really good look at this beautiful city. Did the optional Cossack Folk Songs and Dances - don't miss this fantastic show - the show is in the parking lot of the port - in a large tent - kept perfectly comfortable inside. Then went to the Hermitage - this place I so incredibly large with so much to see and lots and lots of people. It's definitely worthwhile - but not possible to see everything. Did the optional St Petersburg from the water - highly recommend this wonderful tour of canals in St Petersburg. We stayed on the open deck for the entire trip - but you can go in to a covered area if it rains. I also attended the ballet - saw Swan Lake - it was beautifully done. Left St Petersbug and sailed to Mandrogy - very smooth waters all the way. This is a very interesting stop - no included tours, but you can walk through a small village. Went to a vodka museum - didn't realize the 300 ruble entry fee included sampling 3 or 4 vodka's of your choice. Some people did the Russian Banya - they all said it was worthwhile - I preferred not to try. Then we sailed for Kizhi - a tiny island way up north on Lake Onega - the entire island is a historical museum of how life was in Russia 300 years ago. Very interesting - it was a very smooth ride on the lake. The cathedral was fantastic to see. Priests did a chant for us - fascinating to see and hear. The old house was unreal how they engineered it - warm places for children and women and an entire area inside for the cattle to stay for the very harsh winters. This was the coolest day we experienced; I think in the 50s and windy with very light rain - it felt so good when coming from Texas in August. Goritsky was the next stop - bus ride to Monastery for a beautiful included tour of Monastery. Then a bus ride from Monastery to meet ship in Kuzino (you could have stayed on ship to relax, but we wanted to see everything we could). Next stop was Yaroslavl - a city of 600K people - quite nice city. Did the Yaroslavl tour with Governors House - this was really worthwhile. Got to go into a beautiful church - leaned so much in there. Also visited a high school where each group was assigned a student to give us the tour - Our student's English was very good; then a 12 year old young lady performed a Russian dance for us - she was so good. Then in the Governor's house local young ladies escorted each group - there was so much artwork in there ; plus some live classical music, plus 1800's dances performed by 2 young ladies and 2 young men - they were superb. Then is was off to Uglich - the last town before Moscow. Got up to prepare for our 8:30 tour which was a visit to a Russian home - thought we were already docked at 6:30am; since ship wasn't moving. Opened curtain to see what it was like out - very dense fog. Cruise director told us we hit the fog when entering the Volga river and had to stop and anchor since they can't navigate the river in dense fog. Then we were told we would move once fog lifted and unfortunately would have to miss the stop at Uglich - very disappointing. Viking made it up by inviting everyone on the optional Moscow by night tour - for those who already paid, we got refunds. Last stop was Moscow - did the Kremlin included tour - again large crowds, but so worthwhile to see.. Then we did the optional tour of the Cosmonaut Museum - they really put on a tremendous display. They are vey proud of their accomplishments and the fact that they have worked well with USA in space activities. Moscow by night is highly recommended - a late night, but worth it. Last tour was the included Panoramic Moscow - riding the subway was quite the experience - the stations were absolutely beautiful. Finally, pack and head home. I was so impressed with how organized Viking is with handling luggage and getting us to the airport on time - this happened on both sides - getting to St Petersbugh - arrival and check in was the smoothest I've ever experience. I think I've written enough - if you gather that we loved this cruise, you are right and that we were so impressed with Viking - I will definitely sail with them again. The wait staff was phenominal - mostly Filipino or Russian - incredibly responsive to our needs and food was great. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We just got back from the Cities of Light cruisetour (August 7-18th, Prague to Paris on the Alsvin) and had a great time! This was our second Viking river cruise having gone on the Danube Waltz last summer (Budapest to Prague on the ... Read More
We just got back from the Cities of Light cruisetour (August 7-18th, Prague to Paris on the Alsvin) and had a great time! This was our second Viking river cruise having gone on the Danube Waltz last summer (Budapest to Prague on the Legend) which we also really enjoyed. I was worried that August would be unbearably hot and crowded. However, we found the crowds quite manageable and the weather was very nice: low 70s and sunny/clear most days; there was only one day when it rained steadily throughout the day. We had no problems with low or high water levels on this cruise. Viking is not the most luxurious or all-inclusive (or expensive) river cruise line but, for the price we paid which included air, we have been very happy with what Viking offers. Our vacation unfortunately got off to a rocky start. We used Viking Air and, through no fault of Viking’s, the first leg of our Delta flight to Prague was cancelled because of weather. We were re-routed all over the place and ended up on three connecting flights. Instead of arriving in Prague at 11 AM, we arrived closer to 6 PM that day. I had called Viking en route to let them know of the delay, and a very nice Viking representative was waiting for us at the airport when we finally arrived (the one bright spot to an otherwise miserable, exhausting flight). To top it off, my checked bag with a two-week supply of clothes, shoes and toiletries did not make it to Prague. The concierge at the Prague Hilton hotel was basically useless in helping me track down my bag. However, the minute the Alsvin Program Director, Bjorn, became aware of my situation, he took over and contacted the airlines; my bag was delivered soon after directly to the ship. Bjorn even arranged to have my one change of clothing laundered (at no charge) until my suitcase arrived. Thank you, Bjorn! The two hotels we stayed at, the Hilton Prague and the Le Meridien Etoile in Paris, were fairly good but I would probably choose to stay somewhere else if returning to Prague or Paris. At the Hilton Prague, the air conditioning didn’t work in our traveling companions’ room and was never fixed despite repeated attempts to inform the front desk. At both hotels, I was disappointed in the quality of service offered by the concierges and front desk. One the other hand, they are centrally located, the rooms/bathrooms were attractive, clean and spacious, and the breakfasts were very good. The Alsvin is a beautiful ship with a modern, clean, Nordic décor. It’s kept sparkling clean and is in great condition for its age. The staff with very few exceptions were outstanding, very friendly and attentive – we were treated like royalty on this cruise! As already mentioned, Bjorn, our Program Director, was remarkably knowledgeable, helpful and attentive… and very funny too! Last year on the Legend, we had a French Balcony cabin. Although it was nice to open the sliding door at night (if not rafted next to another ship), we spent very little time in our cabin during the day since most of our time was spent dining, touring, and lounging in the public spaces. On this cruise, we booked the least expensive “aquarium” class cabin, saving about $1000-2000 compared to a balcony cabin, and were happy with our choice. Our cabin was very small but comfortable and efficiently laid out. Our cabin steward was excellent and kept everything very neat and clean. Meals are served in the main dining room and in the Aquavit Terrace which opens to a lovely, outside deck with expansive views. We really enjoyed the Aquavit and had about a third of our meals there. I would say the food on our cruise ranged from very good to excellent. Food quality can vary across ships depending on the Executive Chef and kitchen. Our Chef, Thomas, prepared some excellent regional dishes (mostly German) and we tended to order those most nights. For example, on the German buffet night, everything was delicious and perfectly prepared. The soups on this cruise were especially good, a highlight of the cuisine I thought. My husband had the ‘anytime’ steak one night and he said it was excellent. There was only one night when I wished I had ordered something else: I tried a lamb dish on the menu one night and was a little disappointed. The dining service was usually very good to excellent although not quite as outstanding as on the Danube Waltz Legend cruise we took last summer. On one or two nights depending on where we sat, the service seemed to drag on a bit, and we had to ask our server to refill our wine glasses (something we NEVER had to do on the Legend!). The included excursions and guides ranged from very good to excellent, and were very enjoyable. I think Viking does this very well! You visit many of the ‘berg’ towns on this cruise (Nuremburg, Bamberg, Wurzburg, Rothenburg, Heidelberg) which are very picturesque and charming – think of those quintessential German half-timber houses and thatched roofs. We went on only one optional excursion, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, for $99 per person. Rothenburg is a walled medieval village with a fascinating history and some interesting shops and museums. However, we were disappointed that we had little free time to explore – only an hour after the fairly long bus ride, guided tour and a somewhat mediocre lunch at a local restaurant that took too long. In retrospect, we should have skipped the lunch to allow more free time to explore on our own. On most river cruises, the evening entertainment after dinner is often fairly dull and boring. On our Danube Legend cruise last summer, there was an uninspiring piano player and the lounge was usually empty after dinner. On this cruise, however, the entertainment seemed much more lively. There was a husband and wife keyboardist/singer team on board who were quite talented and seemed to encourage people to dance. Bjorn organized a couple of ‘quiz and game nights’ which people seemed to enjoy. On a couple of nights, there were onboard performances from local classical and jazz musicians who were quite good. I was surprised to find the lounge full of people many nights after dinner, “partying” until the late in the evening. There are a few downsides to be aware of when booking this particular itinerary (not a criticism of Viking, just the nature of the itinerary on this cruise). First, in order to pass under the MANY low bridges along the Main river, the sun deck remains closed for 3 of the 6 days on this cruise, from Bamberg until reaching Mainz on the Rhine river. It takes a long time for the staff to open and close the sun deck, so it may be standard for most cruise lines to close the sun deck while sailing on the Main river. However, it wasn’t too much of an inconvenience for us because the Aquavit Terrace on the third deck was available and has lovely outdoor seating to enjoy the views. Second, for those adverse to bus trips, this may not be the cruise for you. There are several long bus trips on this itinerary: the bus from Prague to Nuremberg takes over three hours and Luxembourg-to-Paris takes over 4 hours. There are also fairly lengthy bus rides (45 minutes to over an hour) to reach the Heidelberg and Trier excursions. Heidelberg is located over an hour’s drive from the river; for Trier, you depart the ship at Wintrich and are bused to Trier for the excursion, while the ship continues sailing on to Trier. The coaches, however, are very comfortable with guides that provide interesting information about the region. Finally, I would have liked to have had more time to experience sailing along the beautiful Moselle river. Although we had a full morning of sailing through the Rhine castle region (which is spectacular!!), our time on the Moselle was limited and we had to choose between going on the Trier excursion or staying on the ship while it sailed the Moselle to Trier. None of this detracted from the fabulous time we had on this cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
This is only the second cruise ever for my wife and me - our first was a brief ocean cruise from Florida to Bahamas on another major line, and we were not overly impressed. For years, though, we always wanted to try a river cruise, and ... Read More
This is only the second cruise ever for my wife and me - our first was a brief ocean cruise from Florida to Bahamas on another major line, and we were not overly impressed. For years, though, we always wanted to try a river cruise, and after years on Viking's mailing list, we decided to take the plunge. We are so glad we did - we thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We took the Grand European Tour, a 15-day river voyage down the Danube and Rhine from Budapest to Amsterdam, and every aspect of our trip was enjoyable. Each port of call was a fascinating visit, including Vienna, Nuremburg, Cologne, and some less well-known cities and towns such as Melk and Wertheim. We visited 12 cities for at least a day each. (Amsterdam was our disembarkation point so we only saw it from the shuttlle bus to the airport.) Each stop had a tour included as part of the package, as well as a few optional tours for an additional fee. (The only optional tours we took were the evening concert in Vienna and the wine country tour in the Moselle Valley.) Our guides were all excellent, but we were particularly impressed with our guides in Regensburg and Wertheim, who gave us a "Jewish history" tour. Also, since we are both in our late 60's and my wife was nursing a sore knee and recovering from a rib injury, we appreciated and sometimes took advantage of the "gentle tour" options. The cruise experience was everything we hoped for and more. If you are expecting an over-the-top experience like on some ocean cruises, you may be disappointed. You won't find wall-to-wall 24-hour buffets, Broadway-style musical reviews, "formal nights", noisy casinos, infiinty pools or mini-water parks. What you will find is a quieter, more low-key experience. The boat is only four decks, three of which have staterooms and suites, and accommodates less than 200 passengers. Delicious food, including international cuisine, is served three times a day, either buffet-style or table service. Meals include soft drinks and beer or house wine. You can pay for an optional "silver spirits" package which provides unlimited beverages, but we didn't choose this because we are not big drinkers.There is nightly entertainment in the Aquavit Lounge - the "house band" was a talented duo on guitar and piano, and on two evenings some talented local classical singers and musicians came to serenade us. We also welcomed a funny, fascinating and informative local glassblower, and enjoyed a Beatles sing-along night, as well as trivia and game nights (our team won the trivia contest). My wife also celebrated a birthday on board - the staff brought her a delicious little cake and sang to her, and we returned to the stateroom to find a birthday card and balloons on our bed. We met many very nice fellow passengers, most of whom were in our age range, and most American, though some were from Canada, Australia, and other countries. The staff was, without exception, courteous, friendly, and very attentive, from the reception desk to the restaurant, lounge and staterooms. And one couldn't ask for a better cruise director than David - very organized, informative and personable. Our voyage was smooth and scenic, with lovely towns, castles, churches and vineyards along the way. (We found the system of canals and locks along the rivers and the way they operated to be almost as fascinating as the scenery along the banks). The best views could be found from the top sundeck, although access was limited at times because we traveled under some rather low bridges. We were worried early on that due to low water on the rivers, there was a chance we might have to disembark for part of the tour and be transported by bus, but Mother Nature was kind to us, and despite a hot, dry summer in Europe, there was enough recent rain to eliminate that possiblity. Our weather was generally quite good - a bit hot at the beginning, but more temperate through the rest of the trip with only two days we would describe as rainy. Our package included free airfare, and we were lucky to get nonstop flights to and from our home airport in Philadelphia. The Viking staff were very helpful getting us to and from our ship upon arrival and departure. All in all, we had a wonderful time, and we're already thinking about booking another Viking cruise in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
First ... a shout out to our wonderful “included” tour guides. We especially enjoyed Sylvia Seifert whose extended tour in Regensburg (including Jewish history and the Stumbling Stones Project) was spectacular. Another terrific guide ... Read More
First ... a shout out to our wonderful “included” tour guides. We especially enjoyed Sylvia Seifert whose extended tour in Regensburg (including Jewish history and the Stumbling Stones Project) was spectacular. Another terrific guide -whom we were with today in Cologne- was Ralph (sorry no last name). His knowledge of history was extensive. In a very brief period we learned so very much. Finally and sadly (sorry!!!) we cannot recall the name of our Wertheim guide, another terrific individual (woman in her 60s) who brought her home town to life -past and present. For example she told us that her husband was 5 years old when US tanks rolled through town at the end of WW2: an image he has never forgotten. She shared a great deal of her own life experience as well as history and both helped us get a true flavor for her river town. Food was outstanding. Thank you Marc!! My husband is a vegetarian and there were excellent options and the chefs also made special meals for him which were great. Note: no special milk products like soy, cashew or almond milk on board. The staff took exquisite care of us. They took care of everything. We have loved our cruise experience (we have one more day). I have 2 items to critique: I would have liked another day in each of the larger cities: Vienna and Cologne. Of course I knew the schedule in advance. I would like Viking to know this preference however and will put this on the evaluation they provide. We did the pre-extension in Budapest and so we did have more time there. The second item is that for a good part of the cruise - maybe half - the sundeck was closed due to very low bridges. This is something that I would have liked to know about in advance. It would not have stopped me from coming. Still, if one does not have a private balcony, not having access to the sundeck makes a difference. Last but not least this trip is great if you are very active (you can hike and bike), if you have limited mobility and need to be in a “gentle” tour group or if you are anywhere in between. We were told the average age was 68 with a range from 20s- 83. A terrific experience. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Viking River Cruise on “Embla:” Bucharest to Budapest w/ 3-nt Prague Add-On Overall: Terrible experience with Viking aboard their boat Embla due to major maintenance issues known to them before our cruise started. Half speed at ... Read More
Viking River Cruise on “Embla:” Bucharest to Budapest w/ 3-nt Prague Add-On Overall: Terrible experience with Viking aboard their boat Embla due to major maintenance issues known to them before our cruise started. Half speed at best; little to no air-conditioning with room temperatures ranging from the high 70s into the 90s. The dining room felt even hotter with everyone assembled. This was a boat maintenance issue, NOT a river problem. We did not have a river cruise; the boat stayed in Russe, Bulgaria for 3 days. Then we were on buses for the rest of the trip. No choice/options as to what we ate. Viking gave minimal refund and never answered my emails to Customer Relations and several senior management personnel. Specifics: Immediately after boarding we were informed that: • The boat would be going slower than normal because the river level was low and that caused the water to be warmer which had a negative effect on engine cooling. A crew member later told us that the boat had previously hit a submerged object and had to travel slow coming to Bucharest because of propulsion problems. We saw other longboats passing us (on the one day we “cruised” from Russe to Lom); the “warm” water did not affect them! We also saw tugboats pushing loaded barges which rode much lower in the river than our boat. – We were misled from beginning!! Viking was aware of problems with Embla before we even boarded. Viking could/should have told us in Bucharest that the ship could only sail at half speed and that we would not be able to make our ports on time. They could have offered to cancel our cruise, receive a full refund for the cruise and Prague portion, and given us one more night in a hotel in Bucharest to make travel arrangements. Instead, Viking elected to hide the problem and have us board a ship that could only travel at a very slow speed with 50% a/c capacity, and sent us to spend 3 days in the small town of Russe. • We should not open our balcony doors, especially during the evening & night, as the mosquitos were very bad. This was also the case on the open upper deck. Thus, outside air was not a solution for the 80-90 degree (F) temperatures in our staterooms. The first day in Russe we elected to stay on the boat and not walk into town. We went to the dining room for lunch and were told lunch would only be available in the small eating area in front of the lounge. This “meal” consisted of a buffet of soup, cocktail sandwiches, and Bulgarian meatloaf; not exactly what you expect on a cruise. The next day we were told that we could stay on the boat, but there would be no a/c for several hours. We opted to go on a 3-hr tour of the old and new city squares of Russe. Once on the tour we were told that we would be eating lunch in Russe after the tour. Following lunch, we were informed that we must not return to the boat. We would tour 3 museums, attend a piano recital (at least it was in an air-conditioned room) and then have dinner at the same restaurant where we had lunch. At both lunch and dinner we were given what they wanted us to eat; no menu to select from. Again, not what one expects when traveling on a cruise. The boat set sail from Russe after midnight that night. The next day (Saturday, 27 July) we cruised at a very slow speed all day. This is the day we were supposed to be “scenic cruising past the Iron Gates.” That is one of the reasons we selected this Viking itinerary; we wanted to see the Iron Gates – this did not happen! We had lunch and dinner in the dining room. There was no ice cream available for dessert at dinner; the chef said the freezer was turned off. We were told before dinner that we would be getting off the boat the next morning in Lom. We were told that we would be driven by buses to Belgrade and then to Budapest. Keep in mind, temperature in the staterooms was 80-90 defrees (F). The rest of the boat (lounge, dining room, etc.) was even hotter. Sun, 28 July: After sailing over 36 hours and not even getting to Viden, we boarded buses in Lom and less than 3 hours later stopped for lunch with a distant view of the Belogradchik Rocks. That’s as close as we got to them and the Fortress (tours touted in the Viking literature). The lunch was a small buffet, no “ordering from a menu.” After a 12-hour day on a bus we arrived at the hotel in Belgrade. We had dinner around 9pm (more than 9 hours after we had lunch). Mon, 29 July: Spent the day in Belgrade. Had lunch in Old Town and dinner at the hotel. Again, we did not get to order from a menu. Tues, 30 July: Departed Belgrade via bus. Had noticed on the internet that it was a 4-to-5 hr bus ride to Budapest. Instead, Viking bussed us through Croatia where we had lunch in various private homes. We did not choose this; Viking did. When given the option prior to the cruise to have meals in private homes, we declined. This is not something we preferred to do. We, once again, did not get to select our meal. We were not offered the choice of a 4 or 5 hour bus ride vice a 12 hour bus day! After arriving at the hotel in Budapest around 9pm we had another buffet dinner. Wed, 31 July: Following two 12-hr bus ride days, two of our party were in poor physical condition and could not attend the included “Panoramic Budapest” tour. We were not meeting the objectives we had when we selected this itinerary. Since two members of our group were not on the tour, they were not provided lunch by Viking; the rest of us ate, once again, what & where Viking prescribed. Thurs, 1 Aug: Spent the day recuperating at the hotel. Note: Since we arrived in Budapest a day earlier than planned, we could not stay at the InterContinental Hotel as originally planned. This hotel is very conveniently located to Old Town, the river, and most the popular tourist attractions. Instead we were assigned a hotel that was not within walking distance of the tourist areas. Fri, 2 Aug: Took a 9-hr bus ride to Prague. Had this been our first “bus day,” we would have been in much better physical condition upon arriving in Prague. As it was, taking this 9-hr ride after the previous two 12-hr bus days was too much. This whole trip was a miserable, painful, terrible experience. As disastrous as it was, the Embla Captain never addressed the passengers and apprised us of the situation; it was like he was hiding. We were not consulted about what we might have wanted; we were not given any options. It was strictly, “Do what Viking says!” This was supposed to be “the vacation of a lifetime.” When we planned it, we did not choose a bus tour of Eastern Europe. We have several reasons for NOT wanting to spend hours riding a bus. We did not get to enjoy any of the advantages of a cruise. The few days/nights we spent on Embla were extremely uncomfortable. We chose a balcony room, and upon boarding, were told not to open the balcony doors in the evenings or nights! We only had a few meals in the Embla dining room where we got to select our meal from a menu. The rest of the time we had no choice as to what we ate. We all ate more meals consisting of chicken and potatoes than we ever thought possible when on a “cruise vacation.” We spent $13,494 on this cruise (two were refunded a small amount since they used their frequent flyer miles for the air travel), four of us paid an additional $50 each so we could choose our airline flights and seats, and we paid various amounts (average was approximately $1000/couple due to differing age) for travel insurance. Each couple spent approximately $15,000 to spend a miserable two weeks on a poorly-functioning boat and a bus. We were unable to enjoy places like Budapest and Prague because Viking’s choices had us so exhausted and physically impaired. To make matters worse, Viking has refunded $3,999 and claims that is 50% of our cost. Viking can most likely justify this with some “creative accounting.” $4,000 per couple does not come close to compensating us for our expenditures and the pain and suffering we endured. If you do book Viking, I recommend that you ask for a maintenance record of the boat. Specifically, for Embla: ask for the maintenance they performed after July 28, 2019 in order to fix the problems that led to our ‘bus tour”. I would also ask for the exact cost breakdown that they show for the trip to be sent directly to you, not just the travel agent so you are aware how they are pricing it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
My wife and I have recently returned from our Russia river cruise via Viking. We actually sailed on a combination of canals, rivers, and lakes from Moscow to St Petersburg on the Viking Helgi. The Helgi is larger than the ... Read More
My wife and I have recently returned from our Russia river cruise via Viking. We actually sailed on a combination of canals, rivers, and lakes from Moscow to St Petersburg on the Viking Helgi. The Helgi is larger than the “longboats” we’ve sailed in previously on the Danube. Though longer, they have two decks, while the Russian river boats have four. The Russian boats are certified to sail in the ocean—but not too far from land. This was good, because some of the lakes we crossed were enormous. There are quite a few of these boats, all based on the same design. The Helgi was built in 1984. Viking acquired five of the boats in 2008 and completely stripped the interiors and rebuilt them to reflect the standards that Viking passengers are familiar with. The difference between the Viking ships and the other Russian boats is very apparent. The boats frequently dock side by side—you often have to walk through one or even two boats to get to yours, especially in the larger cities. There’s a dramatic difference when first walking through a Russian boat then onto ours. The Russian boats are quite drab. All in all she’s a beautiful and comfortable ship. One thing Viking didn’t do when they redid the interiors was improve the sound baffling between the cabins. There doesn’t seem to be much. We could clearly hear conversations and other sounds (use your imagination) from the cabins next to us. The first night aboard, exhausted from long flights, I had to politely ask our neighbor if he’d please turn down his TV, which he quickly did. Otherwise our veranda cabin was great with a very comfortable bed, pillows, linens, etc. The bath was small, but worked well and had a surprising amount of storage. The food was wonderful—every meal was great. Dinner each night featured a menu of different Russian specialities: appetizer, entree, and dessert. There are more “continental” offerings on each menu as well. The chef onboard the Helgi is German—Herr Benjamin. Though not identified as such, many meals have featured German specialties (krautwirkel—cabbage rolls; pflaumen kuchen—plum cake). They and the Russian offerings have been delicious. We looked forward to every meal. Viking offers wine or beer with lunch and dinner with no charge. I was a bit skeptical when it was clear that the only wine and beer was going to be Russian. The beer is actually excellent. Wine (red and white) is surprisingly good too, although not as good as Washington state, Oregon, or California wines typically are. Servers aboard don’t like to see empty glasses; they keep refilling your glass until you ask them to stop. Service aboard was absolutely amazing. Our cabin was kept spotless. But most impressive was the service in the bars and dining room. Servers are a combination of Russian and Filipino. They were all very friendly and extremely attentive. By the third day aboard every server was calling us by name. We’re not special, they seemed to know every passenger’s name. It was pretty amazing. Our fellow passengers were all very much like us—all older, and frequent travelers. We started with three days in Moscow. We were surprised at how much we liked the city. It was safe, extremely clean, with parks and extensive gardens everywhere. We had a pretty hectic schedule for the three days we were there, but were grateful we saw as much as we did. The next five days we cruised making stops at various cities, towns, and UNESCO heritage sites. The Russian countryside we cruised by was beautiful. We selected this cruise because of the number of days it offered in St Petersburg—three with the boat as our hotel. We opted to add the extra two days in a hotel offered through a Viking post cruise extension. Even five days wasn’t enough for this beautiful city. We’d highly recommend this cruise. All in all Viking did everything extremely well. The only thing that could have been better was the transfer from our post cruise extension hotel to the airport. Ours from the hotel was a little... um ... undersupported. We were told to be in the lobby at 2:45 am where a Viking rep would meet us. We’re there on time (5 couples) and waited. There was a Viking shuttle out front but no one in it. When someone checked again after 10 minutes the driver was sitting in it and indicated he was waiting for us. So we all boarded and he drove us to the airport and dropped us with our luggage in front of a terminal. We stood and looked at each other wondering where to go. Someone asked the driver; he pointed in a direction, shut the door and drove off. We all struggled a bit to figure out where exactly we should go to check bags etc., but eventually figured it out and helped each other out each step as we learned something useful. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Our first river cruise; wife and I, and 2 grown girls wanted to see some of Europe and thought a river cruise was a good way to do it. Booked 1 of 2 suites for ourselves and I standard balcony room for kids. I booked with Viking because ... Read More
Our first river cruise; wife and I, and 2 grown girls wanted to see some of Europe and thought a river cruise was a good way to do it. Booked 1 of 2 suites for ourselves and I standard balcony room for kids. I booked with Viking because told "the best" and seemed to have good overall reviews. Expensive. Booked the airfare with Viking travel; excellent value and flexibility (started with a few days in London). Arrived in Budapest; Viking reps met us, and took us to ship. Included with the suite was a private car; gave us a van, which was ok since we had girls with us and they then came with us instead of bus. When checking into room, was told the "hotel manager" would take us to room (part of the "suite" deal). Manager was from previous cruise and begrudgingly took us and showed us room, all the time talking about how he was supposed to be on vacation now. Not a good start. Began with some excursions in Budapest; including a food tasting. That night my wife and I became ill, we assumed from the food, and stayed in the next morning. I attempted a walking tour in Bratislava that afternoon, became ill and passed out/hitting my head. Ended up in ER, but was OK. The guide was able to contact ship and advise my wife; they put her in a taxi to Hospital. We were basically on our own from that point; understand there are no doctors on board unless they are cruising with you! Fortunately there were very nice people on board who helped us out. Made it back to ship, not much from staff other than please fill out an accident report. Ship itself was clean and pretty nice. It seemed there may have been nicer ships on the river, but Viking seemed to be on the better side. Our suite was roomy and nice, but its in the very rear of ship and is noisy when moving. Cleaning staff excellent and very nice! Food was usually good; did return a few plates, with food overdone. Everyone eats meals at same time, so I can understand would be hard to serve that much at the same time. You don'd have much privacy at meals, tables seat at least 6. There is an optional spot upstairs however very limited seating as they only have 1 server there, so first come first serve, and was a popular option. Would be nice if they allowed mover service there. Waiters very nice, however some have limited English- not a big deal however some cruisers had difficulty communicating. Excursions were OK; we noticed later that many people did self-tour which I would have preferred, as I don't need all the details the guides sometimes over explain; sometimes I feel to fill the time. They want you to book early; however they always had space and were trying to get more people on them, so don't feel pressured to advance book. Towns very picturesque! Enjoyed walking around. Upon departure, they again supposed to take us in private car to Munich airport. They tried to put us and they people in other suite on 1 large bus by ourselves, because "the bus has to go to the airport anyway, so just go on the bus." The other suite complained enough to get a private car; we at this point didn't care so went on the bus (by ourselves); our kids had already left on another bus. That was unacceptable; we paid a lot for the suite that included the car. Overall, the managing staff on the ship mediocre at best. The working staff very nice and helpful. I would not do a Viking cruise again; the value not there. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We have been to the Viking River. We are happy with the cruising along the River Danube. The cabin is small, the entertainment is OK, could be better - mainly piano playing, One time the cruise director Dawn gave a nice concert, a ... Read More
We have been to the Viking River. We are happy with the cruising along the River Danube. The cabin is small, the entertainment is OK, could be better - mainly piano playing, One time the cruise director Dawn gave a nice concert, a Sparano solo -the only best concert. Another time a team of two GERMAN musicians playing the accordion. Food is nutrition with limited choice in the menu. The ship Viking Tor is very new. Port excursion consists of a lot of walking. Viking puts out lots of optional excursions. Viking river cruise does not welcome children, probably person more than 21 cannot drink any alcoholic beverage, also there is no children's program in the ship. Viking Cruise company gives out lots of incentive for a passenger to return for another cruise in the future, like $200 onboard credit if returning within 2 years. I probably would go back. I enjoy the river cruises over the ocean cruises. The service & staff are excellent, very friendly. The ports & shore excursions are excellent & well organized. the reasons-smaller ship, more intimate atmosphere, more personal care, less line up for everything, wine & drink is included during mealtime, no formal wear ( makes it easier to pack.), we get to go ashore every day, the ship disembarks right in the city center. 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
First time European river cruising for us. We loved it. Felt like an upscale floating hotel. Less than 200 people on board so you don’t fight the crowd of an ocean cruise. It takes a minute to reach the top deck for lounging, or dining ... Read More
First time European river cruising for us. We loved it. Felt like an upscale floating hotel. Less than 200 people on board so you don’t fight the crowd of an ocean cruise. It takes a minute to reach the top deck for lounging, or dining room for all meals, or Lounge area for music or bar. The staff is very friendly and professional. Our Program Director Alex was phenomenal and always accessible and organized for all off shore excursions. He is top notch in his field and Viiking is fortunate to have him. Same for the hotel manger Christine. Our room stewards kept the room immaculate and it was nice to have a clean and spacious balcony suite room after a busy day touring. Our trip started out on the Gefjon but a barge hit a lock and we did the usual procedure for this. Packed our bags and left them in our room for the staff to transport to the Sigyn on the other side of the damaged lock. All passengers were loaded onto a bus after an excursion and taken to our new ship. Bags were placed in same exact cabin number as old ship. It went flawlessly. Only downfall was the Gefjon staff had to stay on that ship, with luckily the exception of Alex. The new staff and crew were excellent also. This is just another reason to choose Viking. They have so many identical ships, switching ships is a remedy many other ship lines cannot perform. You cannot control lock breakdowns or water level so it’s benefical for a river cruise line to have this procedure. We cruised from Amsterdam to Budapest and saw beautiful sites throughout. Happy sailing. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We too had a bad experience due to a broken lock. We shared the horrible port with 3 other Viking ships. Cement factory working through the night. Homeless family living under bridge. Not the picturesque view we imagined to have. We ... Read More
We too had a bad experience due to a broken lock. We shared the horrible port with 3 other Viking ships. Cement factory working through the night. Homeless family living under bridge. Not the picturesque view we imagined to have. We spent three days traveling by bus from boat at dock. Sunday, we traveled 20 minutes each way to see sites ofcity of Nuremberg. Then Monday, Nuremberg to Regensburg(4 hours round trip) - back to horrible port, then Nuremberg to Passau (7 hours round trip)- back to horrible port, then on Wednesday finally on a bus once again Nuremberg to Ybbs(6 hours) to be transferred to Viking Gulliveg. Viking knew on June 22 locks were broken and contingency plans needed to be made. This was the best they could come up with?? Shame on them! More time on bus than traveling the river. Their response? A voucher to use for future travel. No credit for "time served" on buses. No apologies. Just matter of fact.. this is what we are offering. This was our first river cruise. Not sure what was more disappointing...The broken lock with our "port view", Viking's "best" contingency plan of more than 20+ hours on a bus, or Viking's response. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
In early June, a Viking ship ran into a lock on the Danube near Regensburg. The lock was closed for a few weeks but finally opened. We set sail from Nurnberg to Budapest on June 28. We spent the first two days of the cruise on an ... Read More
In early June, a Viking ship ran into a lock on the Danube near Regensburg. The lock was closed for a few weeks but finally opened. We set sail from Nurnberg to Budapest on June 28. We spent the first two days of the cruise on an industrial canal near Nurnberg. When it came time to set sail to Regensburg, we were told that the same lock was re-damaged and we could not sail. Whether the damaged lock was ever fixed or whether it was new damage, we were not told how severe the damage was and that it would reduce our river cruise to, mostly, a series of bus trips. On the day we set sail to Regensburg, we sailed up to the first lock and stayed there in this same canal because the ship would not go through the initial lock since a lock further along was still damaged. Instead of sailing to Regensburg, we took a bus trip 2-hours each way. Aside from the inconvenience of sitting on a bus instead of sailing a river, we ended up losing 4 hours where we could have toured Regensburg instead of riding a bus. Viking kept telling us that the lock could be fixed at any time (probably to placate us), where I believe they were mostly certain that it would not be fixed in time for our vacation. The next day, we were supposed to sail into Passau, where we had scheduled an all-day tour of Salzburg. Instead, since Passau was a 3-hour bus ride from the canal in Roth (near Nurnberg), they cancelled the Salzburg excursion and people went to Passau on a horrible bus ride that took about 5 hours to return back to Roth (on an ugly, industrial canal). Viking seemed to put a lot of emphasis on getting everyone back to the ship each day for lunch, instead of arranging us to get more time in these picturesque cities. That night, Viking announced that they had a sister ship (Viking Var) on the other side of the broken lock and they bused us for 5 hours to the other ship (and bused the other ship's inhabitants to the Viking Tor). So, we spent 5 hours on the bus to get to the other ship, thereby losing all of the day until about 2 p.m. (don't worry....they made a point of getting us lunch on the new ship). After lunch, we set sail through the Wacha Valley (not sure of the spelling). The view was exceptional and it was the ONLY time in the whole week where we actually sailed during the day. We were supposed to see Krems that day, but arrived too late so we went straight to Vienna. Another picturesque city lost! Vienna was a very beautiful city and we spent the whole day waking around the city. That night, we were supposed to leave Vienna and arrive in Budapest the next morning. The Viking Var left about 45 minutes late so we did not get to Budapest by 8:30 as promised, so they had to drop us off at some other location to take a bus to Budapest. The ship did not get to Budapest until around 12:30 p.m.. We did not arrive to the city until almost 11:30 so we lost more valuable time. All of the crew on the ship was very nice and helpful and did their best to make the most of a horrible situation. I don't think Viking told us the truth about the broken lock. We spent more daylight hours on a bus than we did sailing. Somebody also mentioned that lock closures were not that unusual, and there are other potential issues with low water levels or high water levels. You might want to think twice before booking a river cruise. My wife and I have been on over 10 ocean cruises, but this was our first river cruise. By the way, Viking has yet to offer anything to compensate its customers for having a bus tour of the Danube. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We had been planning for our Romantic Danube cruise on the Viking Var for over a year. Eight of us were traveling together to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. We have never spent this much money on a vacation ($12,000) before and we ... Read More
We had been planning for our Romantic Danube cruise on the Viking Var for over a year. Eight of us were traveling together to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. We have never spent this much money on a vacation ($12,000) before and we were so excited to cruise from Budapest to Nuremburg. The first four days of our trip was a dream. The crew on the Var was fabulous and we could not have been happier. On the 4th day, rumors started circulating around the ship that we were going to have to change ships. We understood from our contract with Viking that river levels or other issues could cause a change in itinerary, but how Viking handled the change is completely unacceptable. Viking has known a lock on the Danube between Regensburg and Nuremburg was broken since a Viking ship broke it on June 5th. We did not sail until June 28th, Viking knew about this itinerary change and did not notify its customers. We were told the night before a ship change that we had to have all our things packed and outside our cabin doors by 8:15 am to be transferred to a new ship. Here’s where it got worse: 1) We were bussed (1.5 hours) to Passau, Germany for that day’s tour and then bussed for 4 hours to Roth, Germany where our new ship, the Viking Tor, was docked in a dirty industrial canal. 2) When we boarded our new ship after four hours on a bus, not a single crew member apologized, a drink wasn’t offered…nothing. 3) At that night’s port talk, we were told that if we wanted to go to Regensburg, we would have to be bussed 1.5 hours each way for a two-hour city tour. We declined to take that tour and found our own way to the Roth train station and made our way to Nuremburg on our own and at our own expense. We were only 30 minutes from Nuremberg and the Viking crew would not help us arrange something different than what they had planned. 4) We then sat in Roth, in a dirty industrial canal for two days. 5) We sailed to another industrial canal in Nuremburg and disembarked the next day. Upon arriving home, I contacted Viking Customer Service to provide feedback and to ask for compensation for spending a third of our “Romantic Danube” cruise on dirty canals. I was told by the Agent for Viking that Viking Executives were reviewing compensation for all of the passengers. He told me that after I received that communication if I was not happy, I should call him back. About two hours later, I received an email from Viking offering us each a $250 voucher for another cruise. That is roughly 4% of the cost of our trip when we spent almost a third of our trip either on a bus or a dirty canal. What an insult from Viking. All of Viking’s advertising touts their world class service…that’s all true when everything is going fine, but when issues arise, Viking takes no responsibility or accountability with their customers. When I called the Agent back, he confirmed that $250 was the offer and that it was “more than generous”. He also explained to me how itinerary changes are made by Viking and that the experience I explained to him was not what had happened. He offered me $500 each for an ocean cruise, “but, that is the best I can do and we are at an impasse.” He was nice in our first call and very rude in our second. Here’s the truth: 1) Viking knew about the lock before we boarded our ship. They chose not to disclose it. Other river cruise companies did and one cruise line even put their passengers up in a 5 star hotel rather than make them spend days on a dirty canal. 2) Viking gave us 10 hours’ notice of the change. No one ever apologized. If they would have offered everyone a free drink in the bar that night after a 4 hour bus ride, that would have gone a long way. 3) We spent one-third of our vacation in a dirty canal and Viking could care less. I will never take a Viking cruise again, I will never recommend Viking, I will proactively tell my friends and family to never take a Viking cruise and I will use all social media and cruise review sites I can to tell my story. What a truly disappointing experience. Viking is dishonest and does not care about its customers…plain and simple. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We had done the Rhine and couldn't wait to go again. I can't believe this is even the same cruise line. The crew was very standoff-ish. But, we made nice friends and the first few days were decent. Then, at Gottwieg Abby, we ... Read More
We had done the Rhine and couldn't wait to go again. I can't believe this is even the same cruise line. The crew was very standoff-ish. But, we made nice friends and the first few days were decent. Then, at Gottwieg Abby, we were informed that due to a broken lock, we would have to do a boat swap with Tor that night. We'd pack, they would transfer our luggage to another boat while we were touring, we'd return to the new boat and be on our way. What happened is that they stuck us on a 6-hour bus ride and delivered us to Tor - parked in an industrial waste site, complete with rumbling dump trucks and trash. There we stayed for 3 days! We found out it had already been there for 3 days prior! Most of our tours were canceled for two days. If we wanted to do anything we had to be up at 5:30 AM and on a bus for a 2-3 hour bus ride to a faraway city....where we would get to spend a whole hour touring! We finally mutinied and told them we were staying till 4 and they had better come and get us. They did...but at 5:45! Yet, we met other Viking passengers who had boat-swapped with little disruption. We understood the lock issue... until they tied us up for 3 days! No explanation. Calls to Viking upon return home were met with the rudest, nastiest treatment imaginable. "What do you want, lady?" I paid $10,000 for half a cruise. I would expect decent compensation. Nope, they acted as if we should have been grateful that they said, 'sorry.' Our Rhine had lectures and classes...this one had nothing! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
I choose this cruise because I wanted to see Vienna but more so Budapest. We did add the Budapest extension and really loved Budapest and all we saw on our own. Viking hypes it's cruises as being the best but my past experience on ... Read More
I choose this cruise because I wanted to see Vienna but more so Budapest. We did add the Budapest extension and really loved Budapest and all we saw on our own. Viking hypes it's cruises as being the best but my past experience on another line was far superior. From the first day there were disappointments. Docked outside the city in Passau and had to use a bus to go into town. The room was very crammed. There were two wooden chairs in the room but almost impossible to sit on as there was no leg room. I suggest they take out the little table and one of the chairs. Closet was tiny for two people. Docking was a problem everywhere; we were either on the outskirts of cities or docked between two other boats with no view whatsoever. Most of the service was good but at all meals it was inconsistent; for instance we were never shown a breakfast menu during the whole week, so we assumed you had only the buffet. Having to be at lunch & dinner at a specific time only was a pain. I came in one day 10 minutes after the posted time and was told by the waitress that I was late. The food in general was mediocre, much like Viking Ocean cruises. The included tours were very good and all the local guides were interesting and spoke good English. Vienna however deserves more than a half day tour. It's a fabulous city with so much to see, Viking should consider docking for two days there. Entertainment was almost non existent on the Prestige. We had roving accordion player at dinner one night, a trio of Opera singers one evening and a guest speaker doing a slide show & talk about Austrian history who was quite funny but that was it except for the staff trying to entertain us a couple evenings. There was no gym and no games on the sun deck. As for the extension, we packed a lot in but the Hilton West End was very disappointing. No early check in, no wake up call, no bell hop at 4 AM to help with the bags, crumby towels and pillows. After we signed up for the Hilton in Buda and got this one in Pest it was sad. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
This was my first trip to Europe. I'm so happy I decided to do the river cruise, to work into my vacation slowly. My husband passed away 6 years ago at the time of my vacation. I needed to get away. I know he would have enjoyed ... Read More
This was my first trip to Europe. I'm so happy I decided to do the river cruise, to work into my vacation slowly. My husband passed away 6 years ago at the time of my vacation. I needed to get away. I know he would have enjoyed himself. Since this was first trip alone I was concerned about the flights. Working with my travel agent and she with Viking everything was excellent. We were welcomed in Budapest by the Viking representative. From that point on Viking handled our luggage , carry- on and we boarded their beautiful busses. Very comfortable. Arriving at the dock to board the boat, we were welcomed by the crew. The boat was very impressive immaculate! If you needed assistance walking onto the boat the staff was right there. From that point on I knew this was going to a fabulous trip. When we arrived to our cabin, our luggage was already there. I would recommend the French balcony. The cabin was accommodating for 2 people. Great shower's and their bath line is devine.! As far as the dining goes, OMG! So much to choose from. All meal were fabulous but dinner was the greatest You had a choice of 2 types on the menu. Entrée from the country we where in or if you prefer something else, on the menu it was available at no extra cost. Oh I almost forgot this! Wine is served with both lunch and dinner. The staff was amazing. Fore instance the Waite staff, they remembered how I like my mooring coffee. I would sit down for breakfast and my coffee was there just the way I liked it! George was our cruise director. He was outstanding. We were dancing, singing and having a great time. If you wanted to just sit back and relax there are plenty of areas on the boat to do just that. There is a coffee station 24/7, a library, and a consigliere at the front desk at all times. If I remember correctly the general manager, Harry, (?) not sure of his title and his staff kept the ship immaculate. It was great to see how everyone worked together to make our trip a pleasant experience. Departing the boat for our shore excursions were well organized. There were headsets in our cabin that you brought with you to hear the tour guide, telling us the points of interest. Upon return you put the headset back in the charger for the next day. This past April a group of us took the ocean cruise to Greece, the Viking Juniper, beautiful ship. We toured Greece, then up the Adriatic Sea Coast to Croaita then our final stop was in Venice. My birthday happened to fall when I was in Venice. I must say to the Viking Juniper staff, "Thank You." Most memorable!! In August of 2020 I will be taking an ocean cruise to Alaska. Looking forward to that trip. Viking of Course!! Thank You for the wonderul experience of travling. When someone will ask me what cruise ine I would recommend, I will only say "Viking." 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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Our original ship, the Lif was diverted just two days before our 3-week trip, to replace a Viking ship that hit and sunk a sightseeing boat in Budapest (28 lives lost). Our replacement, the Embla had a very excellent staff, but struck an ... Read More
Our original ship, the Lif was diverted just two days before our 3-week trip, to replace a Viking ship that hit and sunk a sightseeing boat in Budapest (28 lives lost). Our replacement, the Embla had a very excellent staff, but struck an anchored barge our first night out, and subsequently lost one of its generators (which power the electric motors) and 1/3 of its required speed. This cut short or eliminated our time to explore, and caused us to be bused ahead while the ship caught up. Viking management kept dodging responsibility, talking about how last year the water was too low and passengers had to be bused. They offered no simple apology (which is all we needed from them). They made no supportive gesture to us (would an open bar once a day have been too much?), and they kept blaming every late arrival on the locks. Thankfully, our time on the Embla was cut short when another Viking Longship disabled a lock at Nuremberg, shutting down all river traffic for nearly three weeks. (The captain of that ship had caused another accident just three months previously, raising questions in the press about Viking’s standards.) We were again bused past the broken lock and transferred to another ship, the Viking Aegir. While most of the staff was very good, we and several of our new friends had very bad experiences with some of the restaurant staff, the lounge staff, and the "Hotel Manager" who basically told us "this is my ship and I run it how I like." Our bathroom door had to remain shut to trap the raw sewage gases that came up through the shower drain (this was widely, if not universally experienced). Our shore experiences were terrific. The food onboard was above average. Overall we enjoyed our trip, making new friends aboard ship, seeing beautiful landscapes and Bavarian towns, and experiencing local cultures. Perhaps Viking has grown too fast and lost quality control. There are better cruise lines at about at the same price point—Avalon, Tauck, AmaWaterways. We will be returning to Crystal Cruises in the future—the somewhat higher price is more than made up for in accommodations, food quality, amenities, and top-rated service. 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
Celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. River cruise was on our bucket list. This cruise hit all the ports we wanted plus the pre and post extensions (Lake Como And Amsterdam) added to our trip. Turned out to be so much more than ... Read More
Celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. River cruise was on our bucket list. This cruise hit all the ports we wanted plus the pre and post extensions (Lake Como And Amsterdam) added to our trip. Turned out to be so much more than we expected. The Viking reputation was upheld by the entire crew. From our captain to our Hotel Manager, to our breakfast server. Every person was amazing. They knew our names by day 2! The long ship was spotless. The food was outstanding. Even our nightly entertainment was great for the 30 of us who stayed up past 9:30 pm. We even made life long friends with some our shipmates. Seriously, it was so nice to be on a ship that concentrates on making relationships and truly providing service, rather than just purely entertaining you to make money. The crew of the Loft loves what they do. They have so much pride in taking care of their guests it shows every day. I am in the Hospitality Business, so trust me, I understand how hard it is and how special this group of people are. TAKE THIS CRUISE! That is my recommendation. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
I chose this cruise because I saw pictures of the castles along the route and it included stops in cities I wanted to visit (ie Vienna, Amsterdam Passau). My sister accompanied me and we chose to add extra time in Amsterdam before the ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I saw pictures of the castles along the route and it included stops in cities I wanted to visit (ie Vienna, Amsterdam Passau). My sister accompanied me and we chose to add extra time in Amsterdam before the cruise. The welcome at the Amsterdam airport by Viking representatives was truly appreciated as we did not have to spend time figuring out what to do next. The walking tour and visit to the tulip garden was fantastic and we had free time to explore on our own. Once we got on board the ship and shown to our stateroom we explored the ship and relaxed with a drink before dinner. The ship was very clean and bright and our cabin, while small, was well appointed and contained everything we needed. The beds were comfortable and I loved lying on my bed by the open window and just enjoying the sounds of the river. So relaxing. We were served excellent meals by friendly and courteous wait staff. The shore excursions were well organized, interesting and the guides offered great stories about the areas we were visiting. I really can’t say I had a favourite. Due to high water levels on the river we had to abandon the ship at Regensburg and continue by bus. We were kept informed on alternate plans and the accommodation and meals they arranged were second to none. All staff on board the ship were polite, knowledgeable and fun. I loved the cruise and would love to go again. 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
Sail Date: May 2019
My husband and I chose this cruise because we could pair it with the cruise that followed that departed Paris on the Seine. We wanted to see the southeast area of France and had never taken a river cruise before. The rooms were very ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise because we could pair it with the cruise that followed that departed Paris on the Seine. We wanted to see the southeast area of France and had never taken a river cruise before. The rooms were very comfortable, the ship well laid out with plenty of seating options during the day. Dining was exceptional - staff fun and very well trained and interested, wonderful food that provided many options and overall the ship we experienced great service. Entertainment surprised us with the quality of voices and instrumentalists, not the 'normal' cruise ship shows, but intimate concerts and fun programs. Also the live music at the piano was always enjoyable. Excursions are also exceptional - Viking chooses experienced, knowledgeable and personable guides who could answer any question and provide us with so much information as to where we are and what we are seeing. So many memorable views, fascinating buildings, walks through medieval France - marvelous options! We would definitely go again, and are looking at other itineraries for our next trip! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise as we only wanted to unpack once. We heard from numerous people that they take care of you & every detail of your trip. We had 181 guests & 41 crew members so we never felt crowded or rushed. There are many ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we only wanted to unpack once. We heard from numerous people that they take care of you & every detail of your trip. We had 181 guests & 41 crew members so we never felt crowded or rushed. There are many options, depending on what you would like to do. Daily included off-shore trips & numerous additional trips each day. Much detail given before each trip so you know where to be extra cautious & what places that you must see. Consideration for your style of touring, leisurely perusing or jam-packed itinerary with small groups, each with it's own tour guide. Not much time for shopping, but this made my husband very happy. On board, there are various cultural activities each day. Plenty of places to sit & enjoy the scenery as you sail. The food is fabulous & so much of it! Consideration given to everyone's special dietary needs. Snacks & beverages available 24/7. We had a veranda room with loads of space to store our belongings. All personnel treated us like family with the utmost consideration & assistance. They want you to be happy & have everything that you need. We were able to take care of the financial parts before we left so we didn't have to use our credit cards in Europe. We look forward to our next trip with Viking! Read Less
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