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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise because of the extension of Zermatt and Geneva. We had been to Zermatt years before and the call of the Matterhorn was before us, We were not so interested in the small towns in Germany along the way so because of ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the extension of Zermatt and Geneva. We had been to Zermatt years before and the call of the Matterhorn was before us, We were not so interested in the small towns in Germany along the way so because of cold weather and rain, we stayed with the ship and did not go on walks in those towns. We disembarked in Basil and did a city bus tour. Places we have visted before have all, for better or worse, changed. Our last stop was Zurich before the extension. For the better part of the river cruise, I developed a cough. Passengers were very concerned and offered cough drops and we very caring. I asked our tour director, Boris, when we arrived at our hotel in Zurich, about where I could find a doctor. He didn't know and offered no assistance to answer my question. By then my condition was much worse. It was Raphael at our hotel who guided us to a pharmacy where physicians were great. After exrays and a blood test, my diagnosis was Pneumonia. The physician there warned that we were not to go on the extended trip and we did not. Viking found us a flight with Air Canada to Toronto and then to Philadelphia. It is the people who make your trip. It's not the sights, or the entertainment, but we have found that it is always people. Read Less
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
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
Backgound: My wife (57) and I (60) travelled the Passage to Eastern Europe itinerary (Bucharest-Budapest) on the Viking Modi in April. While seasoned ocean cruise travelers, this was our first river cruise and inaugural trip with Viking. ... Read More
Backgound: My wife (57) and I (60) travelled the Passage to Eastern Europe itinerary (Bucharest-Budapest) on the Viking Modi in April. While seasoned ocean cruise travelers, this was our first river cruise and inaugural trip with Viking. Eastern Europe appealed to us as neither had been to the five countries of the itinerary. We were both in the military stationed in Germany during the late 80s and were prohibited to take vacations behind the Iron Curtain. So this was an opportunity to see some of the old vestiges of communism and how these new democratic countries were integrating into the rest of Europe. Notes: Day 1 Bucharest Romania: Viking arranged flight from Tampa to Bucharest was on Lufthansa with a connection in Frankfurt. We were met at Bucharest airport by a Viking rep with bottled water and towelette. There was somewhat of a duffle bag drag in Bucharest Airport due to configuration of airport and where the bus could park. The check in at Sheraton Bucharest at 1800 was smooth and room was on quiet side of hotel. There was a lack of dinner recommendations by Viking rep but we found a nice crepe restaurant close by that was open on Sunday night. Many guests just ate in the hotel restaurant or the Pizza Hut next door. Day 2 Bucharest/Giurgu Romania: Nice breakfast buffet in hotel. Luggage out by 0730, had stateroom tags on bags as they were delivered to our room on the Modi in Giurgu. At 0900 boarded buses for city tour, visit to the Parliament Palace and the Village Museum. Highlight was the Parliament Palace (second to the Pentagon as the largest admin building in the world and a lot nicer inside than the 5 sided one). Parliament tour was by government guide and was outstanding as we had access to the main rooms and halls of the Palace, no restrictions on video or photos. Village Museum represented historic houses/churches from the three regions of Romania. The tour was interesting but light rain put a damper on this outdoor activity. Local ladies had a table with painted eggs for sale that were a popular buy for our tour group. After the Village tour we went to a local restaurant (Pescarus), for the included 4 course lunch (cabbage Salad, vegetable soup, beef stew over potatoes, apple strudel). Good hearty food on a rainy day. After lunch we drove 90 mins to Giurgu and boarded the Modi. Check in was smooth and the luggage was awaiting in the stateroom. Welcome briefing, safety drill and port talk was that evening. After dinner we sailed across the river to Russe, Bulgaria Day 3 Russe Bulgaria: Russe was our tour departure point to Arbanasi and Veliko Tarnovo. Great tour guide covered a lot of Bulgarian history/culture during our 90 minute bus ride. Stopped at a hotel for tea and restroom break. Tour of Arbanasi included an ottoman style house, church and shop to sample local liqueurs. Included 4 course lunch in at the Izvora (cucumber/tomato/goat cheese salad, vegetable soup, chicken clay pot dish, desert). Highly recommend the desert (yogurt with honey and walnuts). After lunch we drove to Veliko Tarnovo. Were given free time to either shop in town or walk the Tsarevets Fortress grounds. We chose the fortress and walked to the top of the hill and into the Patriarchal Church. Dating to the 12th century, this strategic fortress is one of two highly fortified hills that protected Bulgarian rulers living on the site in the tsar’s palace. Today it provides great views of the town and countryside. Upon departure from Veliko Tarnovo we drove to Svistov where the Modi had moved up river to meet us. That evening we sailed to Vidin. Day 4 Vidin Bulgaria: Vidin was our departure point for Belogradchik Rocks and Fortress. After bus tour of Vidin it was a 90 minute drive to Belogradchik which included a hotel stop for coffee and cookies. Fortress included rock formations that you could climb through a series of stairs. Luckily it was a sunny dry day as rocks have moss covering and would have been difficult footing if wet. We had one hour on site and it was one hour back to ship. After lunch on the ship we walked down to the Baba Vida Fortress in Vidin. Back on the ship there was a sponsored afternoon talk with two girl high school students and a show by children's dance group. Departure at 1800. Day 5 Cruise through Iron Gate: Set clocks back one hour. Went through one lock during night and one during day. Very windy going into the gorge between the Carpathian and Balkan Mountains. Passed the Viking Alta heading downriver. Went by the stone monument to Dacian King Decebalus and the monastery. Took a tour of the wheelhouse, loved all the electronics. Afternoon tea in the lounge with Apple Strudel making session. Lounge talk about other Viking cruises with $200 for $100 credit offer on future cruises. Day 6 Belgrade Serbia: Arrived at 0600 in Belgrade and tour start 0830. Had to have passports when off boat. 4 hour tour included: city tour, crypt visit to St. Sava church, one hour in pedestrian zone (Knez Mihailova) for shopping and walking tour of Kalemegdan Fortress. After lunch onboard, walked up to pedestrian zone in afternoon for more shopping. Late afternoon was a fascinating guest lecture on Serbia-history and today. Dinner was Balkan food either served or buffet. Serbian folklore band and dancing after dinner was great. 2300 left Belgrade for Vukovar. Day 7 Vukovar Croatia: Morning cruising, walked on sun deck. Croatian Tamburica Band played before lunch and was great. After lunch and docking there was a bus tour of Vukovar. Signs of the 1990s conflict where evident as the town was the epicenter of the Serb/Croatian war. Toured the fortress in Osijek which is now used for academic and commercial purposes. Visited church and heard young lady sing. In small groups we visited houses in Imish. We visited a house where the lady had a cake making business, weren't we lucky. After a great conversation with our host we headed back to the ship. Day 8 Kalocsa and Puszta Hungary: Early morning passport check on board as we entered Hungary at Mohacs. Morning cruising included a movie on the European Union. 1230 docked in Kalocsa. 1330 Tour of town included a visit to the Assumption Cathedral in Holy Trinity Square for a organ recital. After we drove 20 minutes into the country side to Puszta where the Hungarian cowboys (csikos) put on a show of horsemanship. Make sure you visit the animal stables to see the horses. They also have a breed of pig (Mangalica) that has curly wool like sheep and sheep (Racka) that have antelope style spiral horns. That night we had a final farewell talk as we sailed to Budapest. Day 9 Budapest: Luggage outside stateroom by 0830 as it will be delivered directly to the hotel. Close out ship accounts. Vacate stateroom by 0830 and await 0930 tour of Budapest. Tour of city with stop on Buda side at Fisherman's Bastion and tour of Matthias Church. After is a visit to the Central Market and free time for shopping and to have lunch on own. 1530 check-in to hotel which was the Radisson Blu Beke Hotel in Pest. This is my only true criticism of the trip. As much as Viking got right, I can't believe they picked this hotel. When we originally got our itinerary they listed the Hilton on Buda side as our hotel which got rave reviews. We then got an email saying they changed our hotel to the Radisson. The issue with the Radisson is that it has been under renovation for the last 5 months and this had to be known to Viking when they made the switch of hotels. Many of us were on the second floor of the Radisson with jackhammering occurring on the floor below. The vibration would rattle your teeth. We were in one of the renovated rooms which the cable went out the first night and the shower pressure would decrease as you made the water hotter. So obviously some bugs to work out in the rooms that have already been renovated. Went out for a city walk late afternoon to get out of hotel. Walked to the Parliament, along the Danube, over the Chain Bridge and back and through Liberty Square. Nice evening. Day 10 Budapest: Breakfast in makeshift ball room as café under construction. Got out of hotel early before renovation worked started. Bought 24 hour transportation pass and rode tram and bus up to Buda Hill. Had Fisherman's Bastion free of crowds, took great pictures. Went to Harry Houdini's Museum as he was originally from Budapest. Took bus down to Pest side and start of Deák Ferenc utra and Vaci utra which are the pedestrian shopping streets. Revisited the Central Market for some souvenirs. Took the Metro back to a stop close to the hotel. Day 11 Trip Home: Baggage placed outside of hotel room at 0945 for trip to airport at 1030. Bus to airport was uneventful. Budapest is a modern airport with a nice food court. Lufthansa flight was Budapest-Munich-Newark. Then United to Tampa. Arrived home after midnight and was glad to find my bed. Cruise tips: - Stick with the included tours since you paid for them; unless of course there is a culinary or wine tour that you must do. We found all the included tours went to great locations with very knowledgeable guides that spoke good English. Utilization of the QuietVox system allows space to spread out the tour group. We recommend tipping the bus drivers/local guides if you enjoyed the tour. - Local currency. Each of the five countries visited retains its own currency even if they are members of the European Union. We did not ATM withdrawal or exchange for any Levs, Kuna or Forints. We found all the tourist shops/restaurants either took credit cards, euros and in some cases dollars. We tipped the local guides in Euros. - We found the food on the cruise to be of higher quality than experienced on Princess or Holland America cruises of the past. There was always a three course selection of local cuisine available for dinner and we would recommend you consider this first. Service was outstanding as there was never a long wait time to be served or in between courses. Most of our meals were taken in the dining room. We had one dinner and two lunches on the Aquavit Terrace. This was attributed to the outside seating was only open one afternoon due to the weather and inside seating is rather limited. - Your passports are secured by guest services upon arrival on the ship and you receive them back at the end of the cruise. The only time we were required to have them was getting off the ship in Belgrade Serbia for the day. There is also a passport photo check with immigration officials on board when you cross into Hungary as you are entering the Shengren Area of the EU. - This is an enrichment cruise and the on-board entertainment is reflective of that. We found the local musical groups/dance tropes to be very talented. The lecture by the university professor in Belgrade was not to be missed. As well the reflections of "growing up behind the Iron Curtain" by the cruise director Nikolay and hotel manger Frank were entertaining and informative. Nice father and daughter duo that provided nightly music. - Viking is very cognizant of the age demographic of its guests and this is reflective in the opportunities for utilization of restrooms on the tours. While most restrooms on the cruise tours are free, the restrooms in Budapest are not. Both at the Matthias Church/Fisherman's Bastion site and the Central Market Place there is a 1 Euro charge to use the restroom. Therefore, best to have some change available to use the loo. Overall is was a fantastic cruise and hopefully you will get a chance to experience it too. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
Having resisted river cruising for many years, we finally capitulated (ran out of excuses for not taking one) and booked a Provence cruise on the Viking Delling. The booking and upfront experience was good. The website was easy to ... Read More
Having resisted river cruising for many years, we finally capitulated (ran out of excuses for not taking one) and booked a Provence cruise on the Viking Delling. The booking and upfront experience was good. The website was easy to navigate and the cruise materials arrived in plenty of time with luggage tags, cruise book and other information. Good first impression. Our package included free air arranged by Viking. As a first timer was not real informed on their customization program that carries an add on cost. Wish I had as that way would have had more controlled over the connecting flights. The outbound flights Viking booked carried high risk of missed connections (via IAD and FRA) and sure enough we missed the flight from FRA to LYS. No problem though as the airline rebooked us. However the real issue is that apparently Viking doesn't monitor their passenger's while in transit (which other companies we have used do and modify transfers without being contacted). Viking's materials say to contact them should we experience a delay and give numbers to call and the ship's email address. When we arrived in Lyon, we were a bit surprised to find no Viking rep and no transfer there. So we tried to call Viking (we don't have an international calling plan and both help centers at the airport were unable to call for us). Sent an email to the address given but no response there. So ended up face timing daughter back in the States who called Viking and was told we could take a taxi and be reimbursed. Had thought of that earlier but in our documents, Viking identified three potential berths for the ship. Equipped with the berthing info, we grabbed a cab and four days later (after three tries), we got our fare refunded. Not a great first impression. But apart from that: Room was good. We booked the least expensive and it was fine. The steward (Peter) did a great job keeping it tidy, replenishing towels). Easy access to the restaurant. Small shower but good water pressure and little fluctuation in temperature. TV reception was ok (only channel that consistently was not available was FOX). Food was ok. Breakfast selections was good, Liked cooked to order eggs. The french toast was a tad bit soggy for me. Oatmeal was good and they do bacon well. Lunch in the restaurant typically had a pasta selection and a daily special. Ate a lot of hot dogs and french fries. Dinner also had a daily special, an alternative and then every day available ones. The quality varied day by day so. The service though was excellent. Front Desk: indifferent at best. Being a bit cold outside, I asked at the front desk if they had blankets we could use outside the Aquafit area. Was told they were up there to which I told them I just came from there and didn't see any. I was dismissed with a 'oh well'. On my way back I did locate them hidden behind a chair. But would have been nice if they had helped me rather than wave me off. Tour Director: was good and worked hard and long hours. Included Tours: very good. Lots of walking though would not recommend this trip for anyone with mobility issues. Busses used were all top notch. Itinerary/Rhone River: would have preferred to spend more time in Avignon and less time in Lyon. Would not recommend this for first time travelers to Europe as there's not a lot of variety in the area (do Rhine or Danube). Hotel Manager: so by now you know I was not too impressed with how he handled my transfer issue (day one - I needed to complete a form but he didn't have one), day two - waited for him to give me the form, day 3 - got a form from the desk, told to come back after 5 when manager would be there, he didn't have the money (it was 'upstairs') come back tomorrow, day 4: got money.). Other staff: everyone else went out of the way to say something. Good job there. Glad we went and experienced river cruising. Will we do it again? Most likely not. 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
After more than 10 cruises with Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean me and my husband we decided to try something different. “Cruising the Eastern Europe” on board Viking LIF was our first river cruise and our first Viking cruise at ... Read More
After more than 10 cruises with Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean me and my husband we decided to try something different. “Cruising the Eastern Europe” on board Viking LIF was our first river cruise and our first Viking cruise at the same time. What can I say about the entire experience? I already booked another 2 cruises with Viking. Everything was above exceptional: the service, the ship, the excursions and the staff on board. The staff on board Viking Lif was exceptional. Martina and Bart in the restaurant and lounge were perfect, always smiling and with great manners. Our room attendant Maya was a very nice girl with a lovely positive attitude and our cabin was always impeccable. We fall in love with the reception staff (Suzy and Johnny) always helpful and smiling and Capitan Anna was incredible: charming and always available to answer to any questions. Joseph the Hotel Director was one of the best we ever meet, solving any problems or requests we hand, nothing was too much for him. But the most impressive was our Cruise Director Leonard. His encyclopaedical knowledge, sense of humour and dedication made this trip unforgettable. Leonard was everywhere and sometimes we thought that he had 3 or 4 clones on board to be always smiling and ready to assist from 5AM to 1PM, every day. I wish I could record his commentary during the Iron Gate sea day when the amount of historical, geographical and social information mixed with a lot of legends and local traditions plus a fantastic sense of humour reminded me of a National Geographic documentary. He really made this trip unforgettable for us! Can’t wait for our next cruise with Viking Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
This was a beautiful trip up the Rhone river from Avignon to Lyon, France. First, the flight from the USA to France. If possible upgrade your seats and connections. We upgraded our seats to United’s economy plus, which was fairly ... Read More
This was a beautiful trip up the Rhone river from Avignon to Lyon, France. First, the flight from the USA to France. If possible upgrade your seats and connections. We upgraded our seats to United’s economy plus, which was fairly comfortable. Wish we had upgraded our connections for a more direct flight both ways. Learned in Brussels that the common practice in Europe seemed to be to post the next connection about twenty minutes prior to the plane door closing. Once in Marseille we were met at baggage claim by Viking staff, and shepherded to the bus for the forty minute ride to the riverboat. Unless you’re a very experienced European traveler, use the Viking transfer service at both ends of your cruise. Another suggestion, especially at the start of your trip, do the trip extension to help with the jet lag. Viking river does not post departure times or arrival times on their website as other ocean cruise lines do. I suspect they must stay as flexible as the rivers are. Check your daily planner each night for the next days timing for everything. For our stop in Arles we moored in Tarascon, and were bussed a half hour south. The light is amazingly special there. No wonder van Gogh painted there. The Roman amphitheater was amazing. Got back to the riverboat in time for lunch. The garlic soup was wonderful! All the food was top notch cruise quality. Each day Chef Alex had a regional recommendation, using local ingredients, and herbs grown on the top deck! One of my standards is a smoked salmon benedict. So good I had it twice. As with most cruise ships, they offered some standards available every day. They even made a hotdog for my wife that looked awesome. On Friday for Lent, They made us her favorite, a peanut butter, lettuce, and mayo sandwich. I was glad we had the first day in Avignon to rest from the trip over the ocean. When we returned Tuesday, we had the first of many long walks in our ports. Spoiler alert, the palace of the popes was neat to see, but had most statuary and church decor removed. Don’t be too concerned about the 200 step warning as there are plenty of stops on the walk to rest. Back for a late lunch, including another standard of mine, bouillabaisse, and it was great. We wanted to walk out onto the Pont d’Avignon bridge, just north of our mooring. Not easy to do. When you get close, you need to go through the city wall, and follow the signs to the left. You’ll see the ticket office eventually. It costs four euros to get in, after a wand search. Yes it is worth it. You’ll see a chapel and have a unique view of your riverboat. My favorite food of the cruise, crepes suzette. It doesn’t get more french, or delicious than chef Alex’s version. Our next stop, Viviers, was the most classic town we visited. It rained hard at times, but was still neat. At the tour end we stayed in town and visited the pottery shop. The couple that owns the shop signs their art before firing it. My wife’s bowl made it home , my cup is being glued. Each evening we were well entertained in the lounge by a great piano player. Big note here, every town had cobblestone streets, as I learned shortly into our first walk in Arles. Be sure to watch your step so you don’t twist your ankle! The included tour in Tournon was a steam train ride that was fun. As we got further north on our trip the weather got cooler. We were ready with layers. The next day we spent most of doing scenic cruising, which we enjoyed. We made an unscheduled stop due to a fallen tree, and arrived late in Vienne. Our next two days we spent in Lyon. The included tour on Friday was a great bus tour of the city with a stop at the Basilica of Notre Dame. (there are several Notre dame cathedrals in France). Our last day was one of our highlights, with a trip to the countryside to visit a Beaujolais vineyard. Wine was great, but the dog stole the show! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
It was recommended by several friends that had already taken it. It was important for us that it was a small cruise oriented to more mature people, navigated on a river, offered excursions in every Port, and everything was practically ... Read More
It was recommended by several friends that had already taken it. It was important for us that it was a small cruise oriented to more mature people, navigated on a river, offered excursions in every Port, and everything was practically included. It was easy making reservations and getting more detailed information from the very professional travel agent from Viking. The ship was elegantly set, with many inviting seating arrangements, an upper Deck geared to socialize. Our suit Veranda AA was so comfortable with all the necessary amenities, and a lovely balcony. Dinning was compared to a five stars restaurant, at breakfast, lunch and dinner, the food was incredibly exquisite. The attention of the staff was also beyond expectations, not only they learned all our names, but they had a genuine smile on their faces at all times, and were so attentive and gracious. The entertainment after dinner was lovely and so much fun. We went with one of our daughters and son in law, in spite of being the youngest ones on the trip they also had a terrific time. The cities in the different countries visited, and the excursions on very comfortable buses, were a phenomenal cultured experience, completed by the expertise of the tour guides. Viking made the whole trip from beginning to end smoothly, enjoyable, and unforgettable. We are looking forward the next one. Read Less
3 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
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