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18 Viking River Gay & Lesbian Cruise Reviews

We travelled on Viking 3 years ago and our friends have heard all the stories. 2 of them asked if we wanted to go again with them from Budapest to Amsterdam and there was no hesitation, we accepted. Our only problem was getting to ... Read More
We travelled on Viking 3 years ago and our friends have heard all the stories. 2 of them asked if we wanted to go again with them from Budapest to Amsterdam and there was no hesitation, we accepted. Our only problem was getting to Budapest, we were delayed leaving by 2 hours due to weather, and so missed our connection but we were rebooked on 2 new connections and arrived only 4 hours later than scheduled, though our luggage didn’t make it. No problem, the front desk was on it, I was on it from another angle and by morning we had our bags. The crew was fantastic. They got us robes, slippers, and toiletries as we didn’t know if/when the bags would show up. They also threw in free laundry while the bags were missing, though we didn’t need it in the end. Viking cabins are small, even the “larger” cabins, but that's OK because you are not in there except to sleep, change clothes, and shower. The lounge and sun deck are where most time is spent when on board and are more than adequate for the 190 or so guests on a full cruise. We had 178 on ours, which included a crew from Discovery Channel doing a show on our ship, to be aired in the fall. We were on the top deck of rooms and had a balcony, barely wide enough for a chair but still useable. We tried to sit at the same table every night or close by so that our wait staff could get to know us, and they did. Always friendly, efficient, and eager to get something for us. The food was very good and reasonable portions, though our chef tended to make dry cakes and other baked desserts. A fellow passenger mentioned it to him and he ignored her, blamed it on the recipes, yeah right. The bartenders in the lounge were also excellent. The waiters in the lounge were mixed. One lady and one guy were good but the others were hit or miss, frequently miss. Get to know your bartenders, you might find free wine/beer times with lunch and dinner get extended a bit and if you get them to join in late night dancing, they can be really fun and generous on your next pour of a drink at the bar. I usually don’t go for a lot of the entertainment, but it wasn’t bad and several local entertainers were brought on to give us local tastes in music or activities. There was a free walking tour included at every stop, which we found adequate. Our friends did some extra excursions that they enjoyed, but one of them was 4 hours each way on a bus so it was a long day for them whereas we relaxed after our walk and enjoyed the scenery and the quiet. We booked the trip a year in advance, and did get a more expensive room, but it was worth it. Breaking it down to a daily cost and remembering that our air fare was included, it wasn't that bad for a 2 week cruise that included excursions, food and some drinks, travel to each port, and hotel all on 1 ship. We each got a $100 voucher for another cruise, which turns into a $200 on board credit when we use it. No expiration date, transferable or refundable. You can’t go wrong. Also, nobody under 18 on board, so it's quieter than some cruises we have been on. My favorite? Cruising the Wachau Valley and the Rhine with all the castles, almost a new castle around every curve on the Rhine. DW Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Wanted to see part of Europe and a relative plus some friends told me about the cruise. Viking River Cruise on the Danube May 6 to May 19, 2018 Summary: On Sunday afternoon, May 6th flew from Dallas to Frankford, Germany then ... Read More
Wanted to see part of Europe and a relative plus some friends told me about the cruise. Viking River Cruise on the Danube May 6 to May 19, 2018 Summary: On Sunday afternoon, May 6th flew from Dallas to Frankford, Germany then after several hours layover we arrived in Budapest, Hungary the afternoon of May 7th. We stayed at the Hilton Budapest in the Castle District for a couple of days walking around the Castle District sightseeing. We took the subway to the famous Budapest Thermal Bath House, a huge place with many hot pools to soak in the healing water. Went to a few museums, the Grand Market Hall and enjoyed the amazing architecture everywhere. Then to the Viking Hermod ship where we stayed another night and day on the ship. Viking had a nice tour bus and guide for bus and walking tour on the 10th . Went inside St. Stephen’s Basilica, truly amazing inside as well as outside. That evening the ship took us through the first of 9 locks. The first lock has a 35 foot water rise. The ship only had 6 inches on either side of the walls, the ships were made as large as possible to fit in the locks and go under the bridges. The night of the 10th and the morning of the 11th we traveled to Bratislava, Slovakia. There was a bus tour of the city and Bratislava Castle and the gothic St. Martin’s Cathedral as well as a walking tour that afternoon. This was probably the less impressive place we visited but was still nice, it is just the other locations were fantastic. That evening we were entertained with instrumentalist, singers and dancers from Slovakian Music. We departed at 11pm. On the 12th we arrived in Vienna, Austria. That morning we had another guided bus and walking tour, Vienna is beautiful. After lunch we took an excursion for a tour of the Schonbrunn Palace of the Hapsburg Dynasty, it was built to rival the palace of Versailles. Truly unbelievable how they lived. Said it would take 2 ½ days to see the whole palace. We also took an outside tour on a horse and carriage ride around the gardens. The palace was over 1 ¼ miles long. Took 60 gardeners to maintain the grounds. That evening we went to a Mozart & Strauss Concert in a Viennese Palace. We departed at 11:30pm. On the 13th we arrived at Krems, Austria. We toured the Gottweig Abby, a 900 year old abbey where Benedictine monks work and worship on a hill top overlooking the Wachau Valley. The Abby was fit for a king, unbelievable wealth. They owned most of the, vineyards, orchards and forest in the area. This is a big wine production area. That afternoon we sailed the Wachau Valley enjoying the terraced vineyards and sloping forested hills passing several cute towns. On the 14th we arrived in Linz, Austria, known as the 1st century Roman castle settlement. Here we had an all day tour of Linz and the old Bohemia town going into Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic, a fairy-tale looking town on the Vltava River. On the 15th we arrived in Lindau, Germany. A tour bus took us to Passau, Germany (City of Three Rivers) during the tour we enjoyed an organ concert in the baroque St. Stephens Cathedral. It is the largest cathedral organ in the world and had an unbelievable 17,974 organ pipes. Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne the first Holy Roman Emperor there. That afternoon we had free time to walk around Passau. On the 16th we departed the boat and took a 4 hour bus ride to Prague, Czech Republic. There we stayed several days at the Corinthia Hotel. That afternoon we took a tour to the Lobkowicz Palace ending with a panoramic tour of Prague. On the 17th we took another bus tour of the city and walking tour of the Old Town Square where the world famous 15th century Astronomical Clock with its “Walk of the Apostles” was being cleaned, therefore not operational while we were there. Went to more museums, shopping and antiquing but did not buy much but if I had a truck I could have filled it up. On the 18th we walked a lot going to several beautiful museums (the museums were more spectacular than the exhibits, I took more photos of the building than what was on display), walked across the famous Charles Bridge several times, enjoyed outdoor sitting, eating and drinking beer on the square. On the 19th we got up early, Viking took us to the airport where we flew from Prague to Frankford then back to Dallas. Overall was a wonderful trip together we took over 2,300 pictures. I learned a lot of history which I should have learned in high school and college or I did just forget it? Viking took good care of us every leg of the trip from the time we got off the plane in Frankford until get got back on to go home. The food on the boat was great, the wine flowed freely, we could order from the menu plus they had a buffet every meal or you could have both. One evening the chef had a special dinner on the bow for only 18 people, we were lucky to be one of the 18 on the 2nd night. Met many nice people on the boat, were open tables at each meal so we sat and got to know a lot of people. Some interesting facts: even though these countries are in the EU they only want to take money from their country, only a few places would accept Euro’s and no one wanted US Dollars. Beer was cheaper than bottled water, they even serve beer in fast food places like McDonald’s and KFC. The drinking age is only 16 for beer and 18 for wine and liquor. English is taught in all of the schools and most people did speak English, so there were no language issues for us. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Friends who are regular Viking guests recommended this cruise. The experience was first class from beginning to end. The atmosphere was casual and comfortable on board. The food was excellent and service superb. We loved being able to dine ... Read More
Friends who are regular Viking guests recommended this cruise. The experience was first class from beginning to end. The atmosphere was casual and comfortable on board. The food was excellent and service superb. We loved being able to dine with new friends everyday. The cruises are definitely for the able bodied and active. We walked about 7 to 8 miles daily, which was awesome. We appreciated staying active in order to enjoy the excellent food and wine. The local guides were a delight and provided a true insiders perspective on the historical sights. We added on the Loire Valley to the beginning of our trip and enjoyed it immensely. Viking chooses beautiful historical sights to visit. The entertainment was average. One night we were treated to beautiful opera by singers who came on board, it was my favorite.I would recommend a Viking cruise to anyone. We already booked our next one for the Christmas markets 2019. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We chose this cruise as our third river experience, all with Viking, because we wanted another taste of reconstructed former Eastern Europe, and we were offered free air fare. We were in great hands from the moment we stepped off the plane ... Read More
We chose this cruise as our third river experience, all with Viking, because we wanted another taste of reconstructed former Eastern Europe, and we were offered free air fare. We were in great hands from the moment we stepped off the plane until we waved goodbye to come home. The ship, one of Viking's smaller, made for an intimate and very personable voyage downstream to Martin Luther's Wittenberg, and the service was outstanding, from the captain to every member of the crew. The entertainment aboard as well as the excursions that included entertainment were varied and reflected the rich Czech, Bohemian, and German cultures along the Elbe. We enjoyed the days in Prague and the immersion in Berlin's Cold-War history. My only disappointment was the "Prague by Night" excursion -- I had been expecting a pub crawl as we had had in Cologne two years earlier, instead of the panoramic tour we received, seeing the lights of the city from several viewpoints. I certainly plan to cruise Viking again, probably somewhere in Europe. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
WE just returned home from our first river cruise: 2 weeks Grand European Cruise with Viking was outstanding. We loved every minute. Relaxing, yet lots of history to see and learn about. I cannot say enough about the crew: they were the ... Read More
WE just returned home from our first river cruise: 2 weeks Grand European Cruise with Viking was outstanding. We loved every minute. Relaxing, yet lots of history to see and learn about. I cannot say enough about the crew: they were the best we have ever cruised with (previously 5 ocean cruises). 186 people are taken care of by 50 crew. That does not count the numbers of Viking employees or associates on land that made our land excursions so seamless and interesting. They definitely have the logistics down pat!! The cruise director was terrific and I would go anywhere with him again. The food was not fabulous, and I only gained 1 pound, but we chose to do as much walking as we could which was the only exercise we could get. Longships are limited in size by the lock systems on the European rivers, and by the shallow rivers we traveled on. Hence the lack of an exercise room. Since we booked air through Viking, we had greeters at our arrival airport, at the hotel of our pre-extension in Amsterdam, at the Budapest airport. WE felt special that Viking was able to make our vacation worry free. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We chose this cruise because we had never been to Portugal and we love Viking. This cruise was highly recommended to us by the crew during our Russia cruise. The crew of the Hemming was wonderful. Jens, the manager, could not have been ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had never been to Portugal and we love Viking. This cruise was highly recommended to us by the crew during our Russia cruise. The crew of the Hemming was wonderful. Jens, the manager, could not have been more helpful and delightful. Barbara, our program director, was excellent. She made sure that we were always informed about the particular tour we were taking. She took care of every detail during the tours and made sure that everyone was having a good time. The dining area crew and the cleaning crew were incredible. The entertainment on the ship was excellent. We thoroughly enjoyed the tours as well as the lectures on the ship. The olive oil tasting as well as the port tastings were most enjoyable. The trip was a huge success!!!!! I am very happy that we attended this cruise and would highly recommend it to friends. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We really wanted to see the American Memorial in .Normandy, France. Since Viking offered this cruise which included Paris, Monet's Giverny gardens, Rouen and most of the Normandy region. Also enjoyed great scenery in the Seine ... Read More
We really wanted to see the American Memorial in .Normandy, France. Since Viking offered this cruise which included Paris, Monet's Giverny gardens, Rouen and most of the Normandy region. Also enjoyed great scenery in the Seine valley. The dining was great. Foods were fresh and beautifully prepared. Staff is very helpful and always make sure all of your needs are met. Excursions were so interesting and full of knowledgeable information. After the cruise ended, we opted to spend some post-cruise days in the Loire valley. Was so worth it!! We visited chateaus in fine places-Chenonceaux, Amboise and Chambord and the cities of Tours and Orleans. So much beauty, so many nice French folks and such history! This was our second Viking cruise-first was the Romantic Danube-and they have continued to impress us with their service. We've discussed it several times and may even book our next cruise with Viking within the next 2 months! Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We wanted to sail down the Rhone River and sample Rhone wine. We like Viking cruises but we were disappointed with not getting to taste the various Rhone wine during our meals as we thought. They kept serving us this Merlot almost every ... Read More
We wanted to sail down the Rhone River and sample Rhone wine. We like Viking cruises but we were disappointed with not getting to taste the various Rhone wine during our meals as we thought. They kept serving us this Merlot almost every night. The excursions were all excellent. The night town tour in Viviers was excellent except the tour guide was going so fast, she left my husband and me behind. I just had knee surgery 7 months before so I was bit slow and they didn't have a leisure tor for this one. I found out that the French balcony was better value for us. I had a balcony this time and it was not worth it. We were also facing the street side rather than the river which was where the view was. All the places we visited were excellent. We stayed 3 extra days at the end in Nice and that was fabulous. We had an incredible view from our room of the Mediterranean Sea. We could see the sunrise and sunset from our balcony room. We took a day tour to St Paul de Vance and 2 other medieval towns and it was wonderful experience and our driver/tour guise was so accommodating. It was Viking's back up tour. The major one they used would not take just the 2 of us but their back up co. did. We had a private tour. When we left the Viking rep accompanied us to the airport right to the correct counter. I wasn't expecting that. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We have always wanted to try one of the river cruises as it is a much smaller ship and more intimate, and this was the right choice. The ship was great, easy to get around, choice of the main restaurant or the Aquavit Terrace (which we ... Read More
We have always wanted to try one of the river cruises as it is a much smaller ship and more intimate, and this was the right choice. The ship was great, easy to get around, choice of the main restaurant or the Aquavit Terrace (which we preferred). Great lounge area and loved the sun deck. The captain was very friendly and the cruise was incredibly smooth. Service is spectacular, you feel like royalty. Be prepared are for a lot of walking on the excursions, but well worth it. All of the guides knew their areas and made the trips very enjoyable. Don't go on a river cruise expecting non-stop entertainment, because that isn't what they are all about. There is low key entertainment in the evening, but not what you see on the ocean cruises. Cabins, as expected, are small, but have everything you need. Watch your step when entering the bathroom as there is a step up and in the dark, my husband stubbed his tow pretty bad. We upgraded to the silver service package for beverages and were very glad we did. We told the bartenders (who we all loved) that we were on the package on the first night and they never asked again. Great service! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
My husband and I sailed on the Viking Skadi Longship from 24 June to 9 July, 2016. Here are major observations and comments: - It was the BEST TRIP we have ever taken in our lives! - The Viking longship, Skadi, was spotless and the ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on the Viking Skadi Longship from 24 June to 9 July, 2016. Here are major observations and comments: - It was the BEST TRIP we have ever taken in our lives! - The Viking longship, Skadi, was spotless and the crew took meticulous care to keep the entire ship clean and shining. On two separate occasions, I saw room attendants literally cleaning the grout of the shower with toothbrushes. They visited us 3 times a day to prepare our room for the day or evening. Their housekeeping staff is exceptional. - Everything was superbly organized from start to finish. We were given clear instructions on each stop's disembarkation and embarkation procedures. - Our local tour guides in all the cities were just great. With English as a second language, they were easy to understand and the use of the QuietVoxes allowed you to hear and not have to strain to listen. - The Veranda Stateroom we had, had more than ample room with a hanging closet and several drawers in a dresser like cabinet. Bedside tables could hold magazines, books, etc.The bed was comfy with high quality duvet, bedding and pillows. Lots of space on which to place toiletries, makeup, etc. It came furnished with a hairdryer and high quality shampoos, conditioners, body lotion and body wash. It also had a safe for storage of extra money, passports, etc. The bathroom had a wonderful shower and overall provided the needed room to prepare in the morning without wasting space. -The FOOD!!! Oh my gosh, I could write pages about this aspect alone. We ate primarily in the dining room for breakfast and dinner. Sometimes we would visit the Aquavit Terrace where they had a light meal buffet going during the same meal hours. The choices we had in the dining room always included a meat and/or fish and vegetarian dishes. We found the meals to be well prepared in terms of flavor, 'doneness" and portion size. If for any reason you wanted more of something, they were happy to provide it. Our wait staff was not only incredibly knowledgeable about the menu/food choices, but happy to try to accommodate alterations. Both wine and beer was provided at no extra charge and some of the wine was from local sources along the river. Dress on the cruise -- i brought a couple of fancy tops to wear at dinner with slacks or skirts I wore during the day and felt completely comfortable. There was no formality to this cruise unless you wanted to dress up which was perfectly fine. During the day, wear comfortable clothes and most importantly, shoes. You will be walking a fair amount on most of the tours and many times on cobblestones in the older sections of towns. Anything that gives your feet good support and base to walk on should be fine. Mix and match as much as you can to make good use of your packing space. No one pays attention to what you wear every day so wear things multiple times just like you might at home. On board laundry services are available but we never felt we needed them. - Viking Staff --- I cannot emphasize this enough. The Viking Staff were outstanding and truly exceptional at taking care of you. Our program director, Gary, was friendly, knowledgeable and was very precise in giving you instructions each day about boarding tour buses, getting back to the ship, etc. That and he was also just hilarious. Our cabin attendant was friendly, unobtrusive and a hard worker. She kept our room sparkling every day no matter how messy we were. Our wait staff...well, we fell in love with them. Courteous, fun, efficient, and their eyes were constantly on what they could do to make our dining experience even better. Reception and concierge staff -- Friendly, accommodating and available to help you with any unforeseen circumstance. Chef and Staff -- Executed and delivered every dish to perfection. On the 4th of July, the Pastry Chef even made a special USA Flag cake for us to celebrate our holiday with at dinner. Entertainment - We didn't participate in a lot of the on-board entertainment as we were usually interested in just sitting outside on top of the boat when possible and having a drink. However, we did enjoy some local German opera singers that came on board to sing, watched a very interesting glass blowing demonstration, learned how to make apple strudel (perhaps enough to feed 150 people), and listened to one of the most fascinating lectures on the history of Austria. You can participate as much or as little as you choose. No one judges! Shore Excursions - There were several people that had visited some of the ports before so they opted for additional excursions. We stuck to the ones included in the price of the trip and were not disappointed. In each port, we got to see significant places of interest, whether it was a castle, a cathedral, a quaint historic district, or a historic place like Hitler's Rally grounds in Nuremberg. Some were definitely more interesting than others, but all were done incredibly well. The visit to the Windmills at Kinderdijk was fascinating. If you've made it this far in the review you can tell our experience was fantastic. The one area I haven't mentioned is the opportunity to meet some incredible fellow travelers. After about a week, we found ourselves being a part of a core group of 10 of us. We would have dinner together or tour together or just generally hang out on the boat together. These friendships have continued since we've been home even though we are spread out all over the U.S. We have even talked about trying to plan a trip together again. How better can you speak to an experience than to feel you have made unexpected friendships forced by the bond of a truly remarkable experience of traveling together on a Viking River Boat Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Never having been anywhere else in France besides Paris, we wanted to particularly see Normandy and all the history. Totally enjoyed the overnights in several ports and the included shore excursions. Paris to Normandy round trip was ... Read More
Never having been anywhere else in France besides Paris, we wanted to particularly see Normandy and all the history. Totally enjoyed the overnights in several ports and the included shore excursions. Paris to Normandy round trip was fabulous. From the start at embarkation, which there were no lines and only to show your passport and get your room key was out of the norm and greatly appreciated. The ship is new and well done in terms of layout and design and colors. The cabin was beautiful. Service on the entire cruise was outstanding. Food extraordinary, better than the last time we had sailed on Viking. They have upped their game. Entertainment was ok, nothing spectacular, but just enjoying dinner and the night air was enough for us. The only con I can think of is that a plunge pool would've been a nice touch. Even though the weather was slightly inclement, being able to take a quick dip would have been nice. Or even have a couple of hot tubs to ease those aching walking muscles. Definitely would recommend this to anyone who wants to see northern France and the WW2 history. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We loved our Viking cruise down the Danube the year prior. We have always wanted to see Prague and Paris so the City of Lights cruise from Bamberg to Trier was wonderful as expected. Viking surely has the right formula for accommodating ... Read More
We loved our Viking cruise down the Danube the year prior. We have always wanted to see Prague and Paris so the City of Lights cruise from Bamberg to Trier was wonderful as expected. Viking surely has the right formula for accommodating everyone onboard. The onboard entertainment is excellent. The crew is always on their A game and very friendly. For us, it is the right number of travelers on a ship. Everything is well orchestrated when disembarking on tours so that no group is too large. The few days pre and post cruise in Prague and Paris rounded out the vacation. Our only disappointment was the bus ride from Prague to Bamberg and then from Luxembourg City to Paris. While very comfortable Viking busses, the rides are too long and uneventful and cannot compare to our time on the ship. In the future, we will choose more wisely where there is only sailing involved. We will definitely try one of the Viking Ocean cruises and I am sure another river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
A small river boat from Budapest to Amsterdam. City tours every day, river cruise every night. Incredible staff, better food, and luxurious accommodations. I got an understanding of the history or the river valleys, the castles, the ... Read More
A small river boat from Budapest to Amsterdam. City tours every day, river cruise every night. Incredible staff, better food, and luxurious accommodations. I got an understanding of the history or the river valleys, the castles, the monasteries, the Prince Bishops and the stages of the agriculture, the wars, the religions, and economies over 2000 years. Detail: Embarkation and debarkation - The crew took care of everything. All we had to do was walk on board. Ship: 200 staterooms, three dining areas, rooftop lounge and walking track. Dining: Three gourmet meals a day, each spread over a wide time band, running into each other. Snacks and coffee/tea all the time. Often the lunches and dinners were themed, with excellent food based on where we were travelling. Local wines in abundance. Just when I was wondering how they could improved as the trip had five days to go, they went all out for a series of incredible meals. Entertainment and activities - Onboard, music and culture, electronically showing pictures reliving the day. Offboard, several trips every day with varying levels of effort, showing the best each city or region had to offer. Service - Sublime, personal, from new friends. Ports and excursions - We hit all the big cities, castles and monasteries,with great local guides pointing out their favorite points and the importance of what had happened. Also remember a trip to a family vineyard and wine bottling and selling operation, excellent in-town food, souvenirs and just time to ramble in town, waving to the ship staff going the other way in a small alley. We are already planning another viking cruise or two, probably Portugal and the Baltic Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We took the Grand European Tour and stayed in the Explorer Suite (a special occasion at great expense). This is a senior cruise, with the majority of guests over 65. Disabuse yourself of the idea that a river cruise is charming small ... Read More
We took the Grand European Tour and stayed in the Explorer Suite (a special occasion at great expense). This is a senior cruise, with the majority of guests over 65. Disabuse yourself of the idea that a river cruise is charming small ships sailing right into town. With the exception of Krems and Bamberg, all ships dock very far from the towns and a Viking shuttle bus takes you to the town center, often miles away; the docks are sometimes just cement landings in an industrial port area. This is an all English-speaking cruise, with 95% being Americans, with a few Canadians, Brits, and Australians. Also be prepared for the huge crowds of tours--river cruising has boomed tremendously. There were sometimes four Viking vessels docked, each with 200 people, along with a dozen other cruise boats from other companies. The tours groups are about 50 people each, so imagine how crowded that gets with all the tours going in the same places simultaneously. If you are thinking of getting the Explorer Suite, think again: these rooms (only two on each ship) are located directly over the ships' engines, and the balconies are basically unusable unless the ship is docked (and who wants to sit out there and look at cement?). The vibration from the engines is so loud and so severe that at one point I watched a glass vibrate its way across the glass table and fall off. This is especially true of an up-river cruise (Amsterdam to Budapest) as the engines are always working full-blast. Save your money and get a regular suite up toward the front of the ship where it's quiet. I think Mr. Hagen, Viking's founder, ought to spend two weeks in one of his Explorer Suites to see what it's like. The food is good, not great, but good. I have food allergies and the Maitre d' met with me each morning to go over the entire menu to make sure I wouldn't get sick, and I didn't. The service overall is beyond anything we've ever experienced--kind, helpful, friendly beyond belief, and the Viking crew seems to absolutely love their jobs. Very well done. We added the Prague Extension. Beware--the "transfer to Prague," which our sales agent told us was a few hours by bus, is an EIGHT hour drive via Slovakia (with a rest stop for lunch in what had to be the worst cafeteria food I've ever had), in essence losing an entire day (advertised as three days in Prague). Then, the only other complaint was the Soviet-era hotel called the Corinthia; Viking says "Hilton hotel or equivalent," supposedly a five-star hotel which is nothing of the sort. It's miles away from town in an industrial park, and there are shuttle buses--very nice ones--which take you to and from the old town square every half hour. The hotel's air conditioning did not work, and they "fixed" it by giving us a fan. The windows don't open. Many of us were miserable. If I were to do it all over again, I'd book a flight from Budapest to Prague and get a hotel in town--it would also save time and money. We are a gay couple in our 60s, and luckily found another couple to hang out with, because otherwise the clientele was frosty towards us at best and on at least two occasions people did not allow us to sit with them--always Americans, almost always from the South. My favorite moment at breakfast was when a woman from Alabama ended up sitting across from us--her husband had sat there first leaving only the chair across from me free for her--and under her breath muttered to him "why did you have to sit HERE?" She wouldn't speak to me and stared off into the distance acting as if there were a bad smell in the room. Variations on this occurred several times. Obviously this is a cruise for straight couples. Fortunately there were also some very decent couples, wonderful people, who were happy to sit with us. Sometimes, though, it was awkward. This is no fault of Viking's of course, just something to be aware of if you're a gay couple--bring friends along or be prepared to be shunned, not ever by Viking staff, but by your fellow travelers. On the plus side, the included tours are wonderful, though whirlwind fast, sometimes with a bit of time on your own (never more than a half hour though).. There are rechargeable "Quiet Vox" boxes in each room with an earpiece which one brings along. The highlights of the trip included an organ concert in Passau's cathedral, truly excellent; and when the captain took the ship out for a 90 minute cruise at night in Budapest--we've never seen anything like it in our lives, with all the big buildings in Pest and Buda (opposite sides of the Danube) all lit up. Absolutely mind-blowingly gorgeous. The other highlights were the small towns of Bamberg, Rothenburg, Miltenburg, and Krems. We quickly realized we liked the charm of the small towns more than the crowds and bustle of the big cities like Amsterdam and Vienna (also having been to both before). All in all a wonderful trip--Viking is possibly the best-managed cruise company we've ever seen and they really take care of you--with a few weird hiccups. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We took an Olivia Cruise and tour with the Viking cruise lines and had a great time. Great activities and tour guides were awesome. Not only was the personal guide that stayed with us the entire trip and the local guides were very ... Read More
We took an Olivia Cruise and tour with the Viking cruise lines and had a great time. Great activities and tour guides were awesome. Not only was the personal guide that stayed with us the entire trip and the local guides were very knowledgeable and helpful. The shore excursions were with the local guides were really well organized. Excellent service at airport transfers and the hotel were fabulous. This was one of the best tours that I have ever taken. The scenery is spectacular and the history is unbelievable. It is the only way to see China. Favorites sites we saw were the Forbidden City, the Terra Cotta Warriors, the Bund at Shanghai, the caves of Guilin, and the Giant Pandas at the zoo in ChongGong. A special feature of this tour was the visit to the elementary school and having the ability to interact with the children in a first grade class. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Out Viking Tor cruise along the Rhine, from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Basel, Switzerland, was filled with beautiful sights (and sites), wonderful food, and terrific people. From the windmills of Kinderdijk and cafes of Cologne to the ... Read More
Out Viking Tor cruise along the Rhine, from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Basel, Switzerland, was filled with beautiful sights (and sites), wonderful food, and terrific people. From the windmills of Kinderdijk and cafes of Cologne to the castles of Heidelburg, the beautiful streets of Strasbourg, this trip had something for everyone. Learning how to construct a Black Forest cake or simply catching the glorious view floating up the middle Rhine presented only two aspects of the trip. On board, the crew and staff were thoughtful, helpful, and fun to be around. The food was delicious and not like the overpowering piles found on those huge vessels. The intimacy of the Viking ship makde for a friendly, accessible atmosphere. Having gone as part of the Pied Piper group enhanced the atmosphere in which we could get to know our fellow travelers well enough to create some lifetime friendships. I highly recommend this cruise (and the Seine River cruise) to anyone. If you are queasy about being on the rough sea, there's no need. The rivers are smooth and steady. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This was a land and river escorted tour beginning in Shanghai for 2 nights and flying to Wuhan to board the ship, sailing for 5 nights on the Yangtze, disembarking in Chongqing, flying to Xian for an overnight and then flying to Beijing ... Read More
This was a land and river escorted tour beginning in Shanghai for 2 nights and flying to Wuhan to board the ship, sailing for 5 nights on the Yangtze, disembarking in Chongqing, flying to Xian for an overnight and then flying to Beijing for 3 nights. Accommodations: In Shanghai, the Pudong Shangri-La was superior. 5 star rooms, 5 star service. The riverboat was surprisingly excellent for a riverboat. Clean, superb staff catering to the needs of passengers. All cabins had balconies. Crew members at two occasions performed for the guests and did a better job than some of the paid performances attended on the tour. In Xian, the Golden Flower Hotel was excellent. Not quite as nice as Shanghai 4 star, but service was 5 star. In Beijing, Westin Chaoyan was the worst experienced in a long time. 5 star rooms, 1 star service. The tour guides were not allowed by the hotel to pick up room keys forcing all guests to register. 5 bus loads of guests arrived being forced to enter from the rear making a poor impression from the start. The one receptionist had difficulty registering guests and was finally joined by others to move the process along. Many elderly guests had to stand in line to register, for there were no chairs in the lobby for them. Once the room key card was given, there was a problem accessing the elevator to the upper floors. Above the 17th floor, the key card was required to punch in the floor. The elevator assistant had to enter the elevator to use his master card in order to get to the floor. The key did work for the room. The key card had to be returned to the desk for a new one, provided with no apology for the inconvenience of the guest. The staff at the Westin appeared to care less about guests' requests. A request for Chinese coins was met with frowns and "your bothering me, boy" attitude. Meals at the hotel were very good. The tour escort: The guide assigned to the group of 36 had an excellent command of the English language and culture. He was able to understand and answer questions with ease, some quite difficult questions about culture. He appeared to treat each guest as a friend and took care to ensure our trip was pleasurable. On the river cruise, one couple experienced medical problems. The gentleman was seen by the doctor on board and referred ashore for treatment. The escort departed the ship with the couple, acted as translator and assistant. He worked with the US Embassy to arrange medical treatment and accommodations. The seriousness of the medical problem prevented the couple from rejoining the tour. The guide rejoined the tour after about 2 days. The fellow tour guides filled in for him during his absence and were good to us. The guide provided us daily reports of the status of the gentleman. The fear that he had a 50-50 chance of living resulted in the cruise line flying their son to China. [As a note: he did recover and flew back to the States about 2 weeks after the tour was over.] Excursions: All were included in the tour except two. They were very exciting and informative. Being able to really see the rural aspect of China was limited and was mostly tourist spots and large cities. The cruise line does support one local school along the river in Yueyang. This was about a close to seeing the "real" China as we got. Half of the school children came to school on a Saturday, a day off for them, to greet us, give us a performance, and then join us in their classroom. This was very nice. Of course, the Terra Cotta soldiers in Xian and the Great Wall & Forbidden City were the reasons for going to China. The side trip to the Summer Palace was dull. The two optional excursions were the Tang Dynasty Dinner & Show in Xian and the Peking Duck Dinner & Peking Opera in Beijing. The Tang Dynasty event was excellent and well worth the cost. It is highly recommended. On the other hand, the Peking Duck Dinner was the worst meal had in China. Having had Peking duck dinners before, this one was a joke. Each guest was given a few slivers of duck breast along with lots of common dishes that were poorly presented and lacked the quality of even street food. The Peking Opera was not to my liking but if one likes opera, it would be of interest. We were ushered into the opera after the dinner and seated at the "VIP" tables instead of in seats with the rest of the audience. Snacks were provided along with tea. Only the tangerine were worth eating. Being bored by the opera and not having anything to do caused more boredom. It was not the way to end one's trip to China. If one were to collect coins from countries visited, in China one must start trying to obtain them upon arrival. They are not worth much and are not used in the main hotels. There is little free time to find an open bank either. My effort resulted in only about 2/3 of the types of coins used and took the entire tour to get 4 of the 6 coins. Viking River Cruises read my critique of the tour. I was refunded the price for the Peking Duck Dinner [if one had the nerve to call it that]. This was unexpected and appreciated. Since I collect coins and many in our group had young ones back home that would be thrilled to get Chinese coins, I suggested that the company give each guest some coins as a gift. One of each coin would cost them less than $0.30 and would be something the kids would appreciate back home. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Starting in Shanghai, the hotel was excellent, Pudong Shangri-La. A little on the expensive side, e.g. a martini, a Bailey's and coffee, and a small dessert was $55 where as dinner near by was only $35 for two including drinks. The ... Read More
Starting in Shanghai, the hotel was excellent, Pudong Shangri-La. A little on the expensive side, e.g. a martini, a Bailey's and coffee, and a small dessert was $55 where as dinner near by was only $35 for two including drinks. The guide was superior, excellent command of the English language and a very good understanding of American customs. In all, there were 3 flights in China. The guide demonstrated his expertise in managing the group of 36 with ease. Flights were nothing special but clean and well organized. Upon boarding the ship, the crew welcomed us with smiles and energy. Staterooms all had balconies and were well taken care of by the staff. Food on board was generally fine, family style was generally done with a big lazy susan for the 10/table. The waiters and waitresses were very good in paying attention to the guests and seeing to the needs. The bar had an exceptional variety of liquors, wines, and beers. I would suggest buying the beverage package if you would drink the equivalent of 2 martinis/day. Entertainment on board was good. On two nights we were treated with the crew performing for us and this was a real treat. Not only did we know our crew but marvelled in how well they performed on stage, nothing short of amazing. During the cruise, we visited the school supported by Viking River Cruises. I wished someone had informed us of this, for we would have brought some little gifts for the students. We arrived at the school on a Saturday and about half the student body come to school on their day off to perform for us and join us in their classrooms. It was fun seeing them. Disembarking from the ship, we went to the zoo in Chongqing. Of course, seeing pandas was the treat. At the end of the zoo tour, we visited an art shop on the zoo grounds and there were some fantastic pieces to buy. Not particularly inexpensive but very well done. Upon arrival in Xian, the hotel, Golden Flower by Shangri-La, was nice, not quite as nice as in Shanghai but clean. Visiting the Terra Cotta Warriors was the next treat. It was amazing how our guide was able to herd cats wandering about, but with skill he managed that feat. Following Xian, we arrived in Beijing. Our arrival at the hotel, Westin Chaoyang, was not a pleasant experience. To put it bluntly, if they offered me a suite for as long as I wished, I would not stay there again. It was a 5 star room with 2 star service. To begin with, the large number of guests arriving had to enter the hotel from the rear. Instead of the guides being allowed to pick up our room keys and hand them out to us, the hotel insisted each of us check in individually. Long lines, with initially only one clerk, and no seats in the lobby. A number of the guests were elderly and standing in a line was not something they would want to do. When we finally got our room key, we were on a floor requiring the room key to be placed in the elevator so to access our floor. It didn't work! A person from the hotel had to use his pass key to allow us to punch in our floor. The key did work in the room door but not the elevator which required a second trip to the front desk to be ignored for a while by staff. Like I said, I would find it difficult to accept even a free room at this hotel. One of the optional thing in Beijing was the Peking Duck Dinner. Forget that. If you have ever had Peking Duck before you will find this is like going to a burger joint and ordering Kobe steak. The dinner was the absolute worse on the whole trip. I will mention though that I was asked by Viking River Cruises how I like my trip and if I had any comments. I mentioned the poor dinner and they refunded me the charge. The trip to the Forbidden City was amazing. Again, the guide was able to keep us all in check and help us maneuver this large place. The trip to the Summer Palace was a little disappointing and would not have been missed by anyone if we hadn't gone. The trip to the Great Wall was yet another marvel. I cannot say enough good things about our guide who helped us in every way possible. One small thing on a personal note, we collect coins from countries we visit to be mounted. Going to China proved to be a place where we thought this hobby would be easily completed. It wasn't. Finding coins proved to be a very difficult task. Finding a bank to manage this was also difficult. Our guide did help with finding coins but I did not get all of them. Overall, the cruise was a surprise for us who were first time Viking guests. The guide made our stay in China feel like we were welcome. We did have an event while on the river cruise portion of the trip. A man became ill and the guide escorted him and his wife ashore to the hospital. There was an issue with the small hospital and dealing with Americans. The guide made contact with the Embassy and worked with them to get the man moved to a larger city with better facilities. At one point, we thought they would rejoin us, but as we neared the end of the tour, we were told on our daily briefings on them that he may not survive. Viking flew their son to China. The good news is that he recovered and was well enough to fly back to the States 2 weeks later. The guide took personal charge of seeing to their needs allowing other guides to manage his group for him. This personal service was well appreciated. The crew on the ship was equally wonderful. There were only two things to avoid, the Peking Duck dinner and the Westin Chaoyang Hotel. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
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