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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2014
We have traveled quite a bit but this was our first Riverboat Cruise! It was a wonderful experience and a great way to some of European cities we hear so much about plus some smaller towns that you don't hear so much about. The ... Read More
We have traveled quite a bit but this was our first Riverboat Cruise! It was a wonderful experience and a great way to some of European cities we hear so much about plus some smaller towns that you don't hear so much about. The service, the food, to cabin, and the excursions were all well thought out and executed. We had lovely weather which allowed us to enjoy the upper deck a lot! So nice to be floating along just enjoying the scenery for awhile and then exploring a town without having to pack and unpack or figure out where to eat that day! The locks were interesting to experience and see and the captain and his crew have our utmost respect. We would highly recommend Viking! My only suggestion is to offer bike riding along the Danube as an excursion. We saw folks gathering for a ride while walking to the bus for one of our excursions. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
We had heard very good things about Viking River Cruises and we anxious to give it a try. Our travel experience has been with luxury and premium cruise lines and we love to travel independently, making our own way via rental car, and ... Read More
We had heard very good things about Viking River Cruises and we anxious to give it a try. Our travel experience has been with luxury and premium cruise lines and we love to travel independently, making our own way via rental car, and private guides. We found the experience of Viking on their Bucharest to Budapest route to be closer aligned to a bus tour on a boat. The itinerary was less than wonderful - no way to get into a town in some places unless you took the long bus tours. Everything is done as a group: Excursions that lasted many hours on packed buses. Dinner with everyone heading to the dining room at 7pm - and no ability to have a quiet table for 2. Very loud dining room because the ceilings are so low. Unlike larger ships with 300-700 people, there was no attempt on this ship to learn the names of passengers or learn their likes or interests. Everyone is treated as a member of "the group". Corporate could initiate some low or no cost amenities that could make this a better experience for guests: 1. Encourage staff to learn some of the guests names. We were told by one officer who we had just handled our shore card with our names, on a day when we did not go on the tour, that "he couldn't be expected to know all 175 names of guests" 2. Encourage officers to mingle with guests when they have time. Especially if the ship is empty, when most are on a tour. 3. Provide a morning coffee or afternoon tea in the lounge for those staying on board and not going on the tours. Make it special - This would be a welcome activity for those guest who choose to stay onboard. Have officers who are not doing anything sit and talk with guests during this period. Simply bring the cookies near the coffee machine into the lounge and serve the coffee or tea. We found no fault with our cabin, it was comfortable and well decorated. Food onboard was quite good, but the buffets at breakfast and lunch were so crowded with people moving constantly. And the buffet area is right in the middle of the dining room. Overall it was a very disappointing experience for us. But then again, most people onboard enjoyed the trip and the Viking Experience. Just not a good fit for people who like independent travel   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2013
I've just returned from the September 17-29 Viking Rurik Waterways of the Czars cruise. The ship was a pleasant surprise, considering some of the reviews I'd read here. It has been remodelled and is more attractive than its ... Read More
I've just returned from the September 17-29 Viking Rurik Waterways of the Czars cruise. The ship was a pleasant surprise, considering some of the reviews I'd read here. It has been remodelled and is more attractive than its sister ship, Viking Truvor, in the areas I saw. (We were tied up with Truvor on several occasions, and walked through.) Our BX cabin in the mid-range of the 300 range was quite well-appointed and comfortable, with excellent housekeeping by Rosa. The only downside is that the walls are thin, and on two or three nights, neighbors were obviously Skyping family in the literal middle of the night, and we felt we should say hello as well. I also heard from fellow passengers that some cabins on the 200 level are very noisy and prone to vibration, particularly EX classes. The dining room was arranged with a good choice of small and large tables, and one could be social or not as one desired without being constrained by the set-up. The food was much better than I expected from other reviews, and included a number of excellent Russian specialities. Our waitstaff was excellent and personable. Norman, in particular, was a joy with his youthful ebullience. The bars were small, and the Sky Bar could not accommodate all passengers for events such as meeting the staff. Lectures were given twice for half the clients at a time. Panorama Bar was lovely, but also small. Bar staff Charlene and Jefruna (?) were charming. Included excursions were very well organized and passengers were escorted in groups of about 30 by permanent staff and local guides. Staff member Alexey and local guide Dina did a miraculous job of not losing any of us on a Metro trip to the center of Moscow for a walking tour! Guide Sasha made the initial trip from airport to ship in Moscow bearable, but the traffic was incredible every day, and a lot of time is wasted getting to venues in Moscow because of this. I would recommend a pre-trip hotel extension, or one of the cruises that starts with a central hotel stay, though this is only done on sister ships that are probably not as nice as the Rurik. Lectures on history and politics by guides Alexey, Elena and Sasha were interesting, and available on internal TV if you wished to stay in the cabin rather than go to the Sky Bar. TV reception of BBV, CNN, Bloomberg, etc. was generally excellent, and wireless worked reasonably well, particularly early and late in the day (unfortunately so, in view of the Skyping!). We arranged for an evening at the ballet in St. Petersburg, and the taxi and restaurant reservations made by the management staff worked flawlessly. On the down side, we could not get to Kizhi due to rough weather on Lake Onega, and we also had to set a sea anchor for 12 hours on Ladoga due to rough weather. This delay was compensated for by taking the passengers into St. Petersburg by hydrofoils as soon as we got into the Neva, and giving us a brief but good tour of the Peter and Paul Cathedral and exterior of Spilled Blood while the Rurik got itself into port. The Peterhof excursion, usually optional and extra cost, was subsequently provided free of charge to all passengers. The major disappointment has to be the time spent in horrendous traffic in Moscow, with the rough weather a second. The unusual cold snap was the third, but Viking, of course, was not responsible for any of these. I would certainly advise doing the trip in the Moscow to St. Petersburg direction, to leave a better aftertaste, and to consider June or late August. All in all, though, a wonderful time.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2013
Our total trip, land + river, was 12 days. A viking representative met us at the airport in Shanghai and from that point on we were superbly cared for until a Viking rep dropped us at the airport in Beijing. The attention to detail, the ... Read More
Our total trip, land + river, was 12 days. A viking representative met us at the airport in Shanghai and from that point on we were superbly cared for until a Viking rep dropped us at the airport in Beijing. The attention to detail, the very personal care, the knowledge of our guide, the friendships we made - all exceptional. Quality 5 Star hotels, no cuing in lines for tourist sites, spectacular World Heritage tours. The Viking ship, Emerald, was good - not great....it's a little tired and could use some updating, but again the service of the Viking employees was exceptional. Breakfast and lunch buffet were excellent, but chef could use a course in preparation of western cuisine. When local fare was prepared, it was wonderful, but the kitchen struggled a bit with anything out of their traditional comfort zone (Chilean Sea Bass cooked till dry as wood chips) And cookies! How difficult would it be to offer a simple Toll House Chocolate Chip instead of dried compressed sawdust. But if those are the only two things that weren't up to par they were more than compensated for by the overall excellence of our experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2013
We, along with 188 other passengers anticipated our Viking River Cruise on the Idun departing Nuremberg on June 1. The cruise turned into a very expensive and deceptive bus trip through Europe. Unfortunately, the passengers had not done ... Read More
We, along with 188 other passengers anticipated our Viking River Cruise on the Idun departing Nuremberg on June 1. The cruise turned into a very expensive and deceptive bus trip through Europe. Unfortunately, the passengers had not done full due diligence prior to arriving to realize that the Danube river was ALREADY closed to river traffic and the ship would NOT be able to depart the canal it was on. The crew professed no prior knowledge of this and each day we had to see what the contingency plan was for the next day. The ship actually departed the canal dock in Nuremberg and sailed a short distance to Redensberg where we then proceeded to bus to either planned destinations or destinations such as Munich that VRC offered to keep everyone busy. The horrible part was the lack of information by the crew to the passengers and a continued message of optimism that the water levels would lower and we would sail. This was impossible as they did not even crest until after our 'cruise' had ended. VRC acted irresponsibly in transferring all guest by motor coach ( over 7 hours ) to Bratislava, Slovakia to the Viking Njord which was holed up in a totally flooded commercial shipping slip where passengers had to access the trip through a flooded parking lot walking on railroad ties and on a corrugated tin utility access cover that covered the electrical controls for the gantry crane that ran beside the ships. At 50 we were probably the youngest on the trip and there were many with disabilities that had to either stay on the ship or chance the path. VRC dropped one passengers suitcase in the water and did not even inform them. They used the Njord as a 'hotel' for us for two nights and bussed us back and forth to Vienna from Bratislava instead of DOING THE RIGHT THING and putting people in a hotel in Vienna instead of saving money this way and wasting even more of our time on busses. Everyone was empathetic to the situation the crew was in HOWEVER, the cruise that was scheduled to sail the next day from ours gave the passengers the option to go home / full refund or take the 'bus cruise'. VRC should have or fully knew the situation and pushed to get us through the system and out the back door. VRC offered passengers a 75% cruise credit (time expired in 2015) to people that saved years for this trip and/or will never do another river cruise again. A few communications with VRC in California resulted in a reinforcing letter that they feel they did everything to accommodate and compensate according and that they will not move from this position. BEWARE OF VIKING RIVER CRUISES. Competitive cruise lines did the right thing and cancelled cruises and/or offered refunds and compensation where VRC weight the options of the impact on its business and made a fiscal decision, not a customer focused decision. Boat was good. Crew was good. Food was good. If the water was fine, it would have been good however a corporation is judged by how it reacts when things to WRONG and there are hundreds of very disappointed and upset passengers that feel that we were tossed along like hot potatoes, outright lied to and misled by the crew ( even to the point that the transfer to Bratislava was with the 'hope' that we would sail to Budapest form there ( THEY KNEW THE RIVER WAS CLOSED AND RISING ) but did not communicate that to the passengers. The cost of doing the right thing would have been much less than the loss of business they will encounter from this. Even a partial refund in cash vs a time expired credit would have been the right thing. Peed off in the North Read Less
Sail Date: August 2012
Hats off to Viking River Boat cruises for designing and flawlessly carrying out the most amazing trip of a lifetime. From the time we arrived at the airport in Shanghai till we bid farewell for our return flight back to the US from Hong ... Read More
Hats off to Viking River Boat cruises for designing and flawlessly carrying out the most amazing trip of a lifetime. From the time we arrived at the airport in Shanghai till we bid farewell for our return flight back to the US from Hong Kong we were accompanied by a phenomenal guide named Peter who gave us every possible consideration. We saw and experienced so much that upon return and reviewing our photos it would be hard to imagine we could have been that many places, experienced that many things in such a short time. We spent a variety of days before and after our actual cruise in exquisite five star hotels in Shanghai, Beijing, Wuhan, Guilan and HongKong all included and arranged in the Viking trip plan. We boarded the actual river boat in Wuhan and disembarked in Chongking. This was not a trip for anyone looking to rest and dally along the way. We were in movement and experiencing the many flavors, sights and sounds of this country I really knew very little about. The food was great, the included tours delightful and the sights will probably not be measured against anything I've ever experienced before. If you have the chance do not miss this trip. Probably the only change i would make knowing what I know now is the time of the year weather wise. We didn't have rain but every day was either 100 or close and very high humidity. Knowing what I know now, I probably would recommend making this trip in September. But whenever you go, it will rank as a trip of a lifetime... Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
We had previously done river Cruises with Viking on the Rhine and the Seine. Having had very good experiences in the past we were really looking forward to our cruise through the Netherlands on a new ship the Viking Njord. Upon boarding ... Read More
We had previously done river Cruises with Viking on the Rhine and the Seine. Having had very good experiences in the past we were really looking forward to our cruise through the Netherlands on a new ship the Viking Njord. Upon boarding we, got into our "new" room and found it to be clean but very tight, as it was only 139 sq.ft. The bathroom appeared to be a nice improvement over previous bathrooms as the shower was bigger. One of the features of the shower, however, was one which allowed the wall facing the bedroom to become transparent. Consequently if you hit the wrong button your shower became public. This would have been a interesting feature 40+ years ago on our honeymoon, but it clearly missed the demographic on the cruise ship. The closet was another issue as it had a bump out at the back of it that did not allow the hangars to fit so it made accommodating hanging clothes very difficult. The room had only one very small stool under the vanity with no back for support and it was virtually impossible to use anyway because the room was so compact. These, however were fairly minor issues compared to the cruise itinerary and the ship's lounge. As it turned out, due to delays, this was the ship's maiden voyage. The itinerary we received was not followed. While we understand the Cruise line reserves the right to alter the itinerary, the problem on this cruise was that no revised itinerary was every published, despite repeated requests from the passengers. We were advised the night before at the daily briefings where we would be going the next day. That presented major problems as well. Everyone was expected to attend the daily briefings, but the lounge could only accommodate about 60% of the less than 200 passengers. In our opinion this was yet another design flaw with this ship. Why book two hundred passengers and then only accommodate 60% for all of the community activities which included briefings and entertainment? If one intended to catch up on cruise pictures, the itinerary or ports of call, using the new flat screen TVs, that was impossible also. Although the TV menu listed all of these features/programs none of them ever became available during the entire cruise. Our cruise was entiled Tulips and Windmills and by and large we missed the tulip fields. Our cruise began in Amsterdam and should have begun with a tour of the Tulip Gardens. Instead it was the very last day of our cruise. Our guide for the Garden tour began by telling us that had we been there a week earlier we would have gotten to experience a lot more of the garden's beauty. The one part of cruise which was superb was the ding room team. The food was very good and our wait staff, especially Ronaldo, was an absolute pleasure to be around. They were all well trained, efficient and most accommodating. We enjoyed them immensely and credit them with making our meals most enjoyable. I should note that our cruise ship staff seemed a bit harried. Perhaps it was the fact that this was the maiden voyage and there were a lot of questions, especially about the itinerary that they were unable to answer. We had not experienced anything like that in our other two Viking cruises. We are planning a trip on the Danube and also a Russian Cruise and were certain we would continue cruising with Viking, but we are exploring other Cruise lines now. In an effort to be helpful to Viking, I wrote a 7 page critique of our experience and submitted it on the last day of the cruise. Weeks later I received a call from Viking when we were not available to answer it. In the message, I was told there was no need to return the call as they had a record of my concerns. As A loyal Viking Cruiser I had higher expectations in terms of their interst in my feedback. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
My husband and I are usually solo travelers, with a full agenda of art, antiquities and scenic wonders to see, and food to sample, taking photographs as opportunities present. Some places are not so easy for the solo traveler. For two of ... Read More
My husband and I are usually solo travelers, with a full agenda of art, antiquities and scenic wonders to see, and food to sample, taking photographs as opportunities present. Some places are not so easy for the solo traveler. For two of those, Russia and China (so far), we've had outstanding experiences on Viking. Our Waterways of the Czars cruise on the Viking Kirov (now renamed Truvor) was exceptional. The Kirov was very comfortable: not too big, recently updated, good wi-fi reception throughout, and ample seating inside and out; the food was very good with lots of choices; and service throughout was attentive. Ours was the last cruise of the season (October 9 to 22), which gave us stunning foliage, many glorious cool days interspersed with some rain and even some snow, which we could enjoy without the crush of other tourists. There are many treasures to see and much history and culture to absorb in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and at ports in between. Viking seems to attract informed and curious travelers, and it makes every effort to ensure that everyone can do and see as much and as thoroughly as they wish. The guides (there were 6 who accompanied the trip from beginning to end, each responsible for approximately 26 passengers), were well educated and informed, and were refreshingly candid in discussing Russia's recent past and present. The tour director and her staff were very helpful (and quite entertaining). It was a great trip! We look forward to seeing more of Russia on Viking. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2011
I have to start ou by saying that the Viking River Cruise Roof of the World is not just a cruise, but a land expedition as well. This is NOT a trip for anyone who has trouble walking or is disabled. China is NOT a handicapped accessible ... Read More
I have to start ou by saying that the Viking River Cruise Roof of the World is not just a cruise, but a land expedition as well. This is NOT a trip for anyone who has trouble walking or is disabled. China is NOT a handicapped accessible country. We started out with a grueling 16 hour flight from the New York area and flew into Beijing. We were met by our Viking Guide, Terry Lei and I cannot say enough good things about our guide! His English was flawless, his sense of humor great and his knowledge astounding. We had three days in Beijing where. We went to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City there was a alot of walking and then after a local lunch we went to the Summer Palace which was incredible but entailed a lot more walking. That night we had dinner in our hotel and I should mention all our hotels were 5 star hotels and simply the best after walking all day! With the exception of your hotels, you MUST carry your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer with you at all times! Restaurants, public buildings, etc DO NOT have toilet paper, and often did not have soap or paper towels to dry your hands. Up early the next day and off to The Great Wall at Badaling and much to my surprise involved walking up lots of steps and very steep inclines. The wall offers incredible views and it was just amazing ro see. Another local lunch and then we went to the Ming tombs started in 1436 there are 36 huge stone statues. You walk the length of the Sacred Way. Yes, there has been lots of walking! Dinner was Peking Duck and then the Peking Opera. Fantastic! Net day up early once again to the Hutong Alleys, we rode a rickshaw and had a lovely visit with a local family. we saw the Great Wall- which had a considerable amount of walking mostly uphill and up fairly steep stairs. We also visited Tianamin Square and the forbidden CityThen we flew about 1 /2 hours to Xian. here we finally had a few hours to rest before we went to dinner and saw the Tang Dynasty Show. Another wonder experience. Up early and off to see the Terra Cotta Warriors.I cannot even begin to tell you how fantastic this was and the buildings housing the warriors are HUGE! Local dim sum dinner and then off to Xian's night market. Back at our hotel quite late but had to get up at 4:30AM to catch our flight to Lhasa, Tibet. A 4 1/2 hour flight later saw us land in Lhasa. We were told to take diamox (prescription) 48 hours before getting to Tibet, some did, some did not, we all felt the altitude. Two people in our group needed medical assistance ( our guide Terry) was on call for all of us 24/7. The next morning all but one of our 16 were able to ontinue. But you DO KNOW you are not breathing right. Hotels have oxygen in all the rooms. To Jokhang Square and the Palace. More walking and we all were going slow do to the elevation. It is. 12500 feet. Highest city in the world. Lots of great shopping for prayer wheels, prayer beads and scarves. then to the Sera Monestary some of our group opted to stay in the bus rather than walk up the steep hill to the monastery itself. Lots of pilgrims and monks here. Dinner at the Mad Yak where we were treated to another show that was quite interesting. Net day the Potola Palace once home of the Dali Lama. Beautiful building with 365 steep steps o the top. Lots of our group did not make it, steps were steep, uneven and you were constantly short of breath due to the elevation. Got to relax at a local families home where we were served yak butter tea and snacks. Then off to the Museum. Now we fly 3 hours to Chongquing where we board our cruise down the Yangtze River. Now here is where I get a bit critical. once the bus stops, you take your carry ons and climb down 86or so steps to the water level then you walk across floating pontoons to board the ship. REALLY. the locals actually carry your suitcases on their backs, one at a time down the steps and across the pontoons to the ship. Honestly, there must be a better way! The Emerald ship itself was fine, staterooms were fairly roomy and every room has a balcony. I was a bit disappointed in the cruise lines dinner selections, we had already had several days of local Chinese food and I had hoped that there would be more food to choose from they did offer chicken Breast, but other than that food served was Chinese. (not Americanized Chinese food either). The cruise was relaxing and every day we had some shore tour, temples, schools, three gorges dam and locks, a secondary cruise on the Daning River. Our guide stayed with us the entire cruise also. The cruise part was five days and we ended the cruise in Wushan and then flew to Shanghai. Shanghai was one of the highlights that I did not expect. Just and incredible city. We extended our cruise with a side trip with Viking and our tour guide also. Flew to Guilin where we went on another river trip on the Li River. Then we flew to Hong Kong. 21 days and 9 flights later we were tired and ready to head home. The trip was fatastic and I think everyone that is able bodied should do this. But there is a LOT of walking a LOT of steps and the altitude posed a problem for everyone in our group some more than others but we all felt it! Would go on another Viking Tour in a minute. Loved Viking! Read Less
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