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4 Viking River Hanoi Cruise Reviews

This was our second trip with Viking. We chose this cruise because we wanted to see Southeast Asia and we had had a great experience with Viking on our last cruise. This cruise exceeded our expectations and we would highly recommend it. I ... Read More
This was our second trip with Viking. We chose this cruise because we wanted to see Southeast Asia and we had had a great experience with Viking on our last cruise. This cruise exceeded our expectations and we would highly recommend it. I would say that this is a higher end cruise-specialty cruise. The cruise consists of both a land portion and a cruise on the Mekong. We started at Hanoi, then went to Seim Reap and then drove to the boat. Our last stop was Saigon. We added an additional package to Bangkok at the end. The Mekong Viking is a small (54 passenger) boat. The rooms are very small but nicely decorated. Each room opens up to an outside walkway around the boat. We had a least expensive stateroom but it was more than sufficient.The restaurant is on the main level and has windows to look out. There are long tables sitting about 10. These facilitate getting to know others. Seating is by choice. Breakfast and lunch were buffet style. There were generally three choices for dinner and they accommodated people with special health needs. Lunches included a wide variety of foods and some specialty items. Fried insects were served for dessert one night. We felt the food was excellent both on the ship and on the land portion. On the top floor of the boat, the sides are open but most of it is covered to protect from the sun. This is where everyone spend most of their time. There was also an enclosed bar. Usually there was nightly local entertainment. (Most people were older and tired at night so entertainment tended to be low key but good.) The ship had a mixture of people from the US, Britain, Canada, and Australia. On this cruise, all tours are included. The passengers were divided into two groups. Each group had a program manager for the duration of the trip. I can't say enough good things about ours-Kong. He was very knowledgeable, fun, resourceful and had a great personality. I know the other group also enjoyed their program manager. Kong was always with us and met our every need. We enjoyed all of the excursions. While on the river, we stopped at many small villages which gave us a more rounded picture of Vietnam and Cambodia. We had excellent tour guides-all local. Their personal insights and openness about their lives deeply enriched our experience, especially the guides in Cambodia. The hotels we stayed in were first class. The Metropole in Hanoi is a classic old French built hotel in downtown Hanoi. In Seim Reap, we stayed at the Sofitel Angkor Wat. In Saigon we also stayed at the Sofitel. We particularly liked the hotels in Hanoi and Angkor Wat. The breakfasts were huge buffets. The rooms were roomy, and beautifully designed. In Angkor Wat, for example, we had fresh fruit in the room. We had lunch poolside in Angkor Wat. Service in these hotels was excellent. We felt the hotel in Saigon was more dated in decor. Our only glitch was with Viking's air travel department which initially made the wrong airplane arrangements. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
I am interested in history, current culture and architecture. I was able to experience all on this cruise. The guides were locals and extremely knowledgeable. The tours of different areas were small so that you could ask questions as ... Read More
I am interested in history, current culture and architecture. I was able to experience all on this cruise. The guides were locals and extremely knowledgeable. The tours of different areas were small so that you could ask questions as you went along. The boat was small and intimate. You get to know everyone on the cruise. That was great because the other passengers were from all over the world. The staff was fantastic. Because on the smallness of the boat, they were able to anticipate your needs. The hotels when we were not on the boat were beautiful and really captured the area we were in. My only complaint about the trip has nothing to do with the actual cruise. The travel service was not helpful at all. We got our itinerary very late which made it hard to arrange work coverage. Our flight was cancelled and they did not help at all with different options. We spent 13 hours in the Philadelphia airport. Our luggage was lost for almost 1/2 of the trip. Again, no help. The hotels and our guides did most of the work. We did not want to spend our vacation hunting down our luggage. That was not the purpose of our trip. My whole purpose of travel is to learn. I learned so much on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We began our Mekong adventure by flying in early to Hanoi just before the Chinese New Year. The city of Hanoi was lit up like our Christmas lights all around the lake and in the neighborhoods. It was delightful! Everyone should experience ... Read More
We began our Mekong adventure by flying in early to Hanoi just before the Chinese New Year. The city of Hanoi was lit up like our Christmas lights all around the lake and in the neighborhoods. It was delightful! Everyone should experience Chinese New Year at least once in their lives in Hanoi. The next day we took the Viking extension to Ha Long Bay and saw the hundreds of rock islands. Beautiful and so different from anything we've ever seen. We then went back to Hanoi and began the Viking River tour, including Siem Reap, Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City. Our tour group consisted of approximately 40 people and we were split into two groups of 20 and spent the land portions of the tour in the same bus and with the same tour guide "Bob". By splitting into the same tour group we were able to get to know our fellow travelers better and become familiar with our guide. Bob was fabulous! Friendly, knowledgeable, great sense of humor - it was a great experience being part of "Bob's family" for 15 days. Our first experience getting onto the boat was eye-opening to us. We climbed over a short wall and crew members helped us climb down to the ship on dirt steps dug out of the hill. It was quite an introduction! Thankfully crew members carried anything we needed onto the ship and held our hands as we came down the make shift ramp. The food was great - no complaints in any way. It was fun to try Cambodian delicacies one evening (fried frogs, silk worm larvae, bugs), but you didn't have to join in - all the other food was aimed at American, Canadian, Australian, English tastes. There were so many activities along the way. All educational and new experiences for most of us. A wonderful time. I think one thing that surprised me was how tranquil it was sailing on the Mekong. Passing fishing villages, farms, fish pens - life on the Mekong is vibrant and awesome. I couldn't go inside to rest for our next adventure because I didn't want to miss any village or temple we were passing. One last significant note - the Cambodian & Vietnamese people are extremely friendly. Children would come out to wave to us. Parents didn't mind us taking their children's picture - and they would even invite us to come into their homes or boats to see how they lived. Lovely people! If Cambodia & Vietnam were not so far away - I'd be going back again and again. The only negative from our trip - I was eaten alive on my legs from the mosquitoes - even with bug spray on and wearing Off ankle strips. Take precautions if mosquitoes like you! Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Preface: I am a 'hard marker' and very critical where I think the tour operator could be better. Having said, I have absolutely ***NO*** substantive criticisms to make after our 2 week tour, starting in Hanoi. Our guide met us ... Read More
Preface: I am a 'hard marker' and very critical where I think the tour operator could be better. Having said, I have absolutely ***NO*** substantive criticisms to make after our 2 week tour, starting in Hanoi. Our guide met us at Hanoi airport late at night (having met other straggling incomers during the day) and this set a precedent for individual and collective caring under his shepherding for the next 2 weeks -- nothing short of superlative. From Florence Nightingale to facilitator to problem-solver to advice on restaurants to guiding itself, Thien's leadership was beyond-ordinary. We all felt very well looked-after and safe. If I have a criticism, it could be the micro-management of one's time so as to get everyone organized for each side-trip. However, if we weren't time-managed, we would never have seen and experienced as much of the sites and the local culture as we did in the time available. Take one's pick! As a previous commentator said (and I agree with just about 100% of what he said, (and I'm trying not to repeat it), there were some 'dodgy' landings in remote locations, but staff did their best. If you have disabilities, double-check before you leave. The side-trips they chose for us sounded very ho-hum in some instances (snack factory, brick plant???) but none of them was to be decried after the event. They have carefully chosen those that exemplify the local customs and everyday working lives of the locals to very good effect. If you go, don't opt out! You may be nicely surprised! There are many, many bright young children who (especially in Cambodia) are short of good teaching (largely because of the extermination of the professional, middle-classes by Pol Pot). Whereas I became a little "orphanaged-out" and not a little pressured as to the generosity I could willingly bestow to thoro'ly deserving causes, even I (as a hard-nosed bastard with Scottish blood) found my heart and soul touched. so much so that I plan to return a year hence to teach, as a volunteer, English & whatever else they can draw from me as a reasonably widely educated person in my 70s. If you don't want your heart and soul touched, don't go on these side-trips, but I challenge you! As to the "main-course" visits, such as Angkor Wat itself, museums, obligatory national monuments, etc., hang in there! The guides were very accomplished in informing you of the histories concerning each, and -- if you are willing to learn -- each paints a pixel in the big picture of what has forged these countries. Expect to come back exhausted, yet fulfilled, better educated and appreciative of these historic cultures and their evolution to the present day. R.K. Thank you Viking, and especially to our Thien. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
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