We have done three other river cruises on Vantage Travel and loved them. We would have booked this on Vantage again, but we had an issue with being given the air discount so booked with Viking and actually saved a little money. We had ... Read More
We have done three other river cruises on Vantage Travel and loved them. We would have booked this on Vantage again, but we had an issue with being given the air discount so booked with Viking and actually saved a little money. We had Vantage to compare with and thought Vantage was above the high rating of Viking. Viking did not do the little things that Vantage does. First of all on Vantage you get a 10% discount for paying early, Viking a lowly 3%. We did the extension in Budapest, as we had been there twice before and missed some things to do. Vantage has a welcome dinner and meeting with the travelers and on post extensions does a farewell dinner. Viking did none of this, but had a program manager, but not sure why.
We were informed that we were suppose to be on the Gefjon, but due to low water we were shifted to the Ve. Both were the newest ships in their fleet. We went to the ship early on our own and had trouble finding our ship, as there were a number of Viking ships at the dock area. There were no signs or personnel to direct you. The ship was very nice, slightly above Vantage, but thought the rooms were smaller, as they add the veranda in the square footage. Having heated bathroom floors was a nice touch.
Dinner at times was good, but other times a disappointment. I perhaps had the worst dinner on this cruise than on any river cruise. The Chef for whatever reason, decided to present Chicken A' La King one night. It was not creamy and still had pieces of the chicken cartilage in the meal. This level of cruising never should have had this occur. The Chef would come up every night to recommend items for dinner. Seem he would have been better served to stay and prepare out meals. They seem to have less dinner selections than did Vantage, breakfast also lacked, no cheese offered at lunch. Dinner salads were always leaf lettuce, which I don't care for. I love soups and a good soup and small salad at lunch serves me fine. Soups were fairly good, but not unique at times.
Vantage provides a list of the passengers with home towns and name tags that helps in socializing, Viking did none of this. They also supplied no information about the 60 or so locks we went through. Vantage provided this and a map. You had to buy a map on Viking for 7 Euros. Viking did not reserve seats on the bus for handicap and no chairlift to the top deck as does Vantage.
At times you had to walk quite a distance to the coaches, seems they could have had a golf cart in these situations to aid the handicap, as I was. Coaches usually were owned by Viking and very nice. Charged 10% to convert money to Euros and had no US. money on board. Not the case with Vantage. Vantage impressed me by providing Euros to passengers not on tour to buy lunch as lunch was no being served on board, not the case with Viking. Vantage gives you cultural experiences sometimes having lunch in locals homes or with college students. Viking did none of this.
The highlight to the cruise was the cruise director. We had many problems and he worked his tail off to correct them and satisfy passengers. Instead of just a piano player in the lounge we had two lounge singers, who we enjoyed. Not much entertainment, but the cruise director did games at night that were fun. We were suppose to change ships halfway through the cruise but did not have to, to every ones pleasure. We saw the Gefjon go by in one of the canals.
We paid for many of the excursions, as we had been to most of these ports before. Many of them did not allow you to take pictures, so what is the sense to that? You cannot save your memories. We went to see the Lipizzaner Stallions and could not take any pictures, but was not told this when booking. They were suppose to have a slow group for handicap, but the tour guides seem to take off and never look back or slow down.
The ship was a little better than Vantage, but no workout facility as does Vantage. We did not think the staff understood English very well and had a few problems with that.
Many on the cruise raved about it and said it was the best cruise they had ever done, but they had nothing to compare it to, as we did. We had to have a luggage out at 4:30 a.m., which we did not know why and was inconvenient. Never had to do this before.
We are going on a Viking Ocean Cruise in November and hope we like it. We have done over 25 ocean cruises, so we have much to compare it to. Read Less