10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
This was our first cruise and we chose to take a Viking River Cruise down the Rhine River. We chose a pre-cruise extension and made all of the arrangements on our own, spending two nights in Amsterdam before boarding the Viking ship Hlin. ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we chose to take a Viking River Cruise down the Rhine River. We chose a pre-cruise extension and made all of the arrangements on our own, spending two nights in Amsterdam before boarding the Viking ship Hlin. Our first impressions with the ship and crew were...Wow!! The ship was amazing and the crew friendly and helpful no matter what we asked or requested. Our stateroom steward made us feel as though we were her only customers! The rest of the staff was just as wonderful and at the welcome dinner we were informed that the water levels were good and we should have no problems with our cruise to Basel. The atmosphere onboard is casual and we saw everything from t-shirts to jacket and ties, and the ages ranged from early/mid 30's to early 80's. We did get rained on during our first two ports (windmills and Koln), but when you take a European cruise in early April, that is to be expected. There is a lot of walking on some of the tours and the guides were wonderful. Trust the ship's classification of tours as strenuous or easy, they are very accurate! I suppose my only complaint would be that a couple of the tours seemed a little rushed and it would have been nice to have a little extra time to spend at some of the locations. The Black Forest tour was one where it would have been nice to have an extra hour. Yes, we would take another cruise with Viking and we are already looking for our next cruise! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
My Mother and I have just completed a river cruise on the Viking Skirnir and Lofn from Amsterdam to Budapest. At 85 years of age, this was the pinnacle of her 'bucket list' and an epic journey from Australia to Europe. I have ... Read More
My Mother and I have just completed a river cruise on the Viking Skirnir and Lofn from Amsterdam to Budapest. At 85 years of age, this was the pinnacle of her 'bucket list' and an epic journey from Australia to Europe. I have been on many ocean cruises before but never a river cruise. I found river cruising very different to what I have experienced on ocean cruises. Firstly embarkation - forget lining up with the hoards - we arrived at the cruise terminal in Amsterdam about 3pm and were taken to the ship. No lines - straight onboard and greeted warmly by the reception staff. We were taken to our cabin and given an overview and our luggage was delivered promptly. We booked a full balcony cabin and my first impression was that it was extremely small - much smaller than any ocean liner cabin I have ever been in. However, it was well equipped and had plenty of storage space for the both of us. The heated bathroom floor was a nice touch in the chilly weather. After unpacking, we acquainted ourselves with our home for the next 14 nights. Both the Skirnir and the Lofn are beautiful new ships and very well appointed. Due to low water levels in the Rhine and Danube, we faced the possibility of 3 ship changes during our journey. However, luck was on our side and we only had one change after 3 days from the Skirnir to the Lofn. This was handled beautifully by the staff and when we arrived to board the Lofn, our luggage was in the same room as previously and we just had to unpack once more. The ship was identical in every way except for the name on the side. My Mother has very limited mobility and uses a walker. In hindsight, although this cruise was her dream, it was really not for her. River cruises are far from a relaxing journey. You are in a different port every day and most of the tours are walking tours. With the low river levels, the gangway was very steep and just getting her to the top was a major effort. All of these old cities have cobblestone streets which are not conducive to walker or wheelchair use. Consequently, she had to stay onboard many days and missed a lot of the tours. Our cruise director was amazing. He arranged for us to use the onboard wheelchair so that I could take her onshore to have a look around at some of the ports. This was not without resistance from the hotel manager who insisted that the wheelchair was to stay onboard for emergency use. I am fairly fit but it was not an easy task negotiating ancient cobblestone streets with the wheelchair. The food onboard was amazing - much better than on any ocean liner I have been on. The variety was fantastic and we did not have any dish repeated in the 14 days. The staff were wonderful and nothing was too much trouble. They took wonderful care of Mum. There was an elevator onboard that took us from deck 2 (where our cabin was) up to deck 3 where the lounge was situated. There was no elevator to the top deck but it was really too cold to go up there anyway. As I said previously, most of the tours are walking tours. They do have a 'leisurely tour' each day for those who are not as able as others. However, these tours still involve a lot of walking and I heard complaints from many people who struggled with them. We finally decided that Mum was not going to see much at all, so arranged for the Concierge to have a taxi waiting for us in each port to show us around. This worked out very well and we had excellent drivers who spoke English and were very knowledgeable. These cost us around 30 euros per hour each time. As a tour is included each day at no extra cost, this was an added charge for us but the only way that Mum was going to experience any of the towns at all. Wine, beer, etc is included with every meal including champagne with breakfast for those who wish to partake. I did not always like the wine so tipped the waiter 5 euros and was able to have anything I wanted. Drinks outside of meal times are reasonably priced and I found them substantially cheaper than our previous Celebrity ocean cruises. Entertainment is lacking with just a piano player in the evenings. One day we had a glass blower on board and he was very entertaining. We also had opera singers one night (totally not my cup of tea) and some German dancers (ditto). Again disembarkation is totally different to the big ocean liners. Our flight out of Budapest did not leave until 3pm, so we were able to stay onboard until noon (after vacating our room at 9am) and use all of the facilities. We had breakfast and also a light lunch before our taxi driver came to collect us. So to summarise - these cruises are not everyone and particularly not for anyone with mobility issues of any kind. You are on the go every day and it is quite tiring. Don't expect to be entertained onboard. Most of the cruising is done at night but if you cruise during the day, just expect to sit and watch the world go by. This is just my personal opinion but river cruising (at the moment) is not for me. I will continue to do ocean cruises for many years to come. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
Shall I start with the positive or the negative of my experience? Three Boats, never saw the one I was supposed to be on. Three weeks before departure I started tracking the Viking Mimir the boat I was supposed to be on, and noticed ... Read More
Shall I start with the positive or the negative of my experience? Three Boats, never saw the one I was supposed to be on. Three weeks before departure I started tracking the Viking Mimir the boat I was supposed to be on, and noticed that it was not moving in the direction it needed to be to board. I started asking my Travel Agent to get into contact with Viking to find out if there were going to be changes to our trip and if there were going to be issues with Water Levels or anything else. After saving money for THREE YEARS to go on a once in a lifetime trip and as I am an anxious traveler and I have high levels of anxiety. I kept getting the typical PR Responses that all would be fine. Needless to say we got on our Plane to Amsterdam on November the 10th. NOVEMBER 11 2015 at 12:22 in the Afternoon Mountain Standard Time WE GET AN EMAIL ASKING US IF WE WANTED TO CANCEL OUR TRIP AFTER ALREADY ARRIVING IN AMSTERDAM! Too Late now we are already in another country where we have no way to call and talk to anyone. We had already been gone for over 18 hours. Way to go Viking you really excelled at communication there. This is why I called every day and bugged my Travel Agent every day for a week before we left. Day 2 in Extended stay in Amsterdam, we joined the walking tour it was nice and informative. I talked with the Viking Representatives at the Hotel and found out that people who had arrived were canceling and returning home just as angry as I was. I heard others talking about how they got on-board ship credit for use on this cruise for the inconvenience. I promptly sent an email to my Travel Agent and Demanded that she call Viking and get the same for me I felt I was owed that much at least for lack of communication from Viking before I left the country. I eventually did get this on-board ship credit and it did soften the blow. Others got the Silver Drink Package for no Charge, Others got $200 each traveler on-board ship credit, some got 25% off vouchers. I got late communication and 15% off. NOT including my airfare. Yeah I was mad, livid is more like it. Day 3. I had booked an outside tour of the Jewish Museums, and Anne Frank house. Before I booked this alternate tour I called Viking directly and asked when I needed to be on board the ship. I was told as long as we made it back to the ship before 11:30 Departure we would be ok to tour Amsterdam. (NOT TRUE) The Viking Representatives at the Hotel told me I had to be on board for a 6:45 Daily Briefing and that it was Mandatory. Well my tour was not over till 8:00 that night. So I missed this Mandatory Briefing. Again another communication breakdown from the left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing. We boarded the Viking Eistla on Friday the 13th. All was well. I got to know the staff. There are several Staff members that I would like to pay tribute too. Vana our room Matron on the Eistla and Baldur. Vana went the extra mile to make our stay special. She had a wonderful energy and was always so nice to see. She gives great hugs and she made the trip positive for me. With the special little room gestures from one ship to another. She remembered the Extra Blanket that was needed and had it ready on the next boat so I did not have to ask for it again. I hope that I get to see her again on a future cruise. The Maitre'd Aryan (I think I am spelling his name right) has made every day on the ship memorable, Kurt and Lucas at the Front Desk, Vanya and Mary and Marlon in the Dining Room, Kristyan at the Bar, Ohna at the Bar were all excellent in their jobs and I enjoyed interacting with all of them. Monday the 16th we were switching ships. I appreciate all the hard work the staff did to help us switch ships. I am thankful that Viking booked a Scenic Cruise from Braubach to Bingen so we would not miss the beauty and splendor of the Rhine. I am grateful that we were able to do this instead of being bused. So I give Viking Cruise Director Rob a big thumbs up for coordinating this for us. We arrived the Baldur and everything was seamless and very nice. It was a lot better than I expected. This ship was exactly like the Eistla and so I did not notice any difference. Sunday November 22nd Switching Ships Again. Sadly I had to say Goodbye to Vana our Room Matron who again I must say was the most positive and wonderful staff members I have ever come across. Time to go to the Viking Embla. After a long day out and about we got to our room. As I was unpacking I noticed a constant humming coming from the bathroom. It was non stop and very annoying. This ship is showing signs of wear and tear. While I was unpacking my suitcase I pulled out the beside table to put down a glass of water. Instead in Stateroom 225 the bedside table pulled out and fell off right on my foot. I have a lovely bruise that is fading but it was painful. The closet door in the room would not stay shut and it would open and close on its own at all hours of the night. The temperature in the Shower was not consistent. Anytime someone flushed a toilet the water would turn scalding hot and I actually got a burn on my chest from the water and a blister from the water in the Shower. The Embla did not have the same amenities that we had in the other two ships. (No USB Port and Outlets were fewer) No under light in the bathroom and no lights in the closet that worked. Needless to say it was a disappointment from the other two ships. And that constant humming noise and closet doors opening on their own, this room was a little bit annoying to say the least. (FIX THOSE THINGS FOR FUTURE TRAVELERS) Now that we are home and going over the memories we are very pleased with the experience for the most part. However finding that others we cruised with got more than 15% off for a future cruise, some are getting 25-30% off. Considering it took us THREE Years to save for this cruise we would like to give Viking another try but we are taken back that we have to use this voucher in less than a year. So I would like something done about that. Considering I did not get 100% of what I paid for I expect some form of compensation that is not a complete and total slap in the face especially since I repeatedly asked for information before I left, and I would have canceled and re-booked for a later date when Water Levels were better. But the experience even though several ports were cut short due to water levels and some of our free time was taken away it was a good trip. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Our 7-day Rhine river cruise was our first, after having taken many ocean cruises. As we expected, the experience is quite different. The river cruise affords the opportunity to see a lot more; the ship is essentially a floating mobile ... Read More
Our 7-day Rhine river cruise was our first, after having taken many ocean cruises. As we expected, the experience is quite different. The river cruise affords the opportunity to see a lot more; the ship is essentially a floating mobile hotel from which one takes tours of nearby cities and towns. Most of these tours involve buses, and several ended at a different point on the river, where the ship met up with us. Unlike an ocean cruise, the ship experience is rather simple: it's basically a hotel with a restaurant, bar and lounge. The food was surprisingly good; not as varied as the ocean cruises, but fresh and well prepared. Menus offering local specialties was a nice touch. The included beer and wine offerings (lunch and dinner) were not fancy, but adequate. BYOB is perfectly acceptable in the bar or restaurant as well, with no extra charge. Cabins are compact as expected and well designed. There was almost no noise, except occasionally some churn from passing ships. The service and crew were outstanding, especially the program director who oversaw the tours and was quite knowledgeable about many of the stops as well as the river traffic. The passengers were nearly all American, reflecting Viking's marketing strategy. The very few non-Americans were British and Australian. The only downside was the October weather, hardly the fault of Viking. I would strongly advise paying the extra expense for a May or June cruise, when you can enjoy the open decks and have far more light. Summer could be OK as well, except for larger crowds at some major attractions, like Cologne cathedral. The local tour guides, who seem to work mostly for tips, were also very good. The headsets allow for stress free strolling during the tours. Be aware that the river scene will not generally resemble the marketing photos. Except for one spectacular section of the Rhine in Germany taking about half a day, most of the river is nondescript or industrial, with high embankments to prevent flooding and which restrict the view a bit. This is really not very important as most of your sightseeing will be off the river on the tours, some of which go quite some distance from the river itself. Overall: well worthwhile and highly recommended. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
This was our first river cruise - the Rhine River from Amsterdam to Basel. We spent 4 days in Amsterdam and I definitely recommend a few days before embarkation. Jet lag is tricky and we pay so much for the cruise we wanted to truly ... Read More
This was our first river cruise - the Rhine River from Amsterdam to Basel. We spent 4 days in Amsterdam and I definitely recommend a few days before embarkation. Jet lag is tricky and we pay so much for the cruise we wanted to truly enjoy it. We stayed in the Marriott by the docks and loved. We are the type of couple who like to just wander around and we did. Our only scheduled events were the Van Gogh museum (get your tickets online ahead of time) and a dinner cannal cruise (also got tickets ahead of time and we loved it.). Second only to Paris I think Amsterdam is beautiful. Take time to appreciate it all. The Amercerto We had an AA stateroom (314) with French and real balcony. It was worth it for us. There was plenty of room, plenty of storage, and we are not tiny people. Be smart and think ahead. We went in October and took lots of UnderArmor. It was the perfect selection. We had jeans washed and laundry was ultra reasonable. We took black pants or black jeans for dinner with long sleeves, collars, and fancy scarves. No fancy clothes necessary. We spent a lot of time on our own. Our first excursion - Cologne- we went with the guide. Because of low water we were late and missed going into the cathedral. That was a huge disappointment. Other than our Heidelberg Tour, we went off on our own and had a fabulous time. Our guide on Heidelberg was great. We also decided that if something was important, like the Cologne Cathedral we were doing it on our own. We never had trouble finding our way back to our motor coaches to return to the ship. We loved the Chef's Table, eating there twice. The other dinners were just mediocre to us. Our favorite nights were when we had cheese, crackers, and fruit in our room and watched a movie. Great down time and togetherness. Our cruise director was very good. We liked his lectures every night. We also found that people who did not know were really at a loss the next morning. One irritating factor were the guests who did not take the QuietVox systems for the tours. The rest of the guests who did listen to the CD and remembered theirs had to wait up to 30 minutes while these others were taken care of. The staff were unbeatable. One night my husband had back problems and we were staying in out room. I was in sweats getting hot chocolate and at least 4 staff members asked if we were eating dinner and if not going to the dining room could they send a try to our room. And remember there is no room service on AMA! I also loved talking Spurs basketball with the Purser Christian. He was a delight. My husband has already booked the Douro cruise for next year. What a surprise! I made us go on this cruise and it turns out he loves the life. Believe me when I say you can be as social or antisocial as you want. The cruise is to make of it what you want. Oh, and before I forget, the Rhine Gorge might be the most unforgettable thing I will ever experience! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2015
This was our first cruise and we were not sure what to expect. Our prior experiences were all inclusive ocean cruises with Silversea. Overall, the river cruise was fabulous and exceeded our expectations. Great experiences in most ports, ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we were not sure what to expect. Our prior experiences were all inclusive ocean cruises with Silversea. Overall, the river cruise was fabulous and exceeded our expectations. Great experiences in most ports, energetic staff and excellent cruise director (Barry) who found creative solutions to issues that arose and was always there with us, making sure everything went well. The Alsvin Longship was beautiful and we enjoyed our balcony room on the middle deck (200 level). The restaurant menu was different every night and all dishes were delicious and nicely presented by staff who did everything they could to please guests. Wine and beer included with lunch and dinner and they were generous. The chef was also fabulous and we enjoyed going with him to market for an excursion in one of the ports. The cruise itinerary was engaging and provided some interesting options that we enjoyed, such as the amazing concert in Vienna. We would have liked more time in Vienna, it is truly amazing! Less time in some ports might provide this extra time. We even think a day not in a port might be nice as you are always on the go for the shore excursions, but some people just skipped a tour which is worth considering, but we hated to miss anything. It turns out we were very lucky because we were able to stay on the same ship throughout the cruise, but many people on other cruise ships (Viking and others such as Uniworld) had to switch ships mid cruise due to low river conditions. Thanks to our very resourceful Ship Captain, we were able to make it through when other cruise ships did not! People we talked to in towns during excursions grumbled about being bused around and having to pack and unpack to switch ships. For us, the most disappointing thing on the river cruise ship was the limited lounge music genre. Only one person provided lounge entertainment and he provided 90% slow songs even when faster music was requested by numerous guests. The entertainment that was brought on for some evenings (opera singing, cultural music, etc) from local entertainers was outstanding however. All in all, it was a fabulous experience and we look forward to another cruise, but will consider a different time of year to avoid the low river conditions in late August, early September. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2015
Our 15 day Viking River Cruise was both a joy and a heartbreak. The trip was unfortunately hit by the failure of one of the main engines. We were told about this breakdown the first day. We were kept appraised of the problem and the ... Read More
Our 15 day Viking River Cruise was both a joy and a heartbreak. The trip was unfortunately hit by the failure of one of the main engines. We were told about this breakdown the first day. We were kept appraised of the problem and the corrective action plan on a daily basis. The plan was to have the trip proceed as normal for the first ten days and then we would all leave the boat and proceed the last five days on land. The first ten days: This part of the trip was a complete joy. The accommodations were excellent, the cabin staff were well trained and performed their duties to the letter with a smile and cheerful attitude. On the boat the food and food service was without fault. We enjoyed every meal. And we enjoyed the boat's crew. Off the boat the accommodations were okay but not as good as the boat. The travel by bus was very uncomfortable and not what we paid for. Off the boat meals were less than even 2nd class. Poorly prepared and poorly served. The "Rating" points listed and filled out below apply to the time on the boat only. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
Had a lovely time on the Magellan sailing to Amsterdam and Antwerp, a very nice ship.. Very good prices in the bars, food was very nice especially the evening meals..Beds were really comfortable... I can't really see why people are so ... Read More
Had a lovely time on the Magellan sailing to Amsterdam and Antwerp, a very nice ship.. Very good prices in the bars, food was very nice especially the evening meals..Beds were really comfortable... I can't really see why people are so negative about this ship... this was myself and my daughters first cruise and we enjoyed it very much... We would definitely go on this ship again... Lovely!! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
We had a great cruise on Viking's new ship the Ve. The room was comfortable but a little tight. We had a small outside balcony which was adequate. The bathroom was small but very usable and the shower was great. Lighting was excellent ... Read More
We had a great cruise on Viking's new ship the Ve. The room was comfortable but a little tight. We had a small outside balcony which was adequate. The bathroom was small but very usable and the shower was great. Lighting was excellent in the room. Wifi was available in our room but was way too slow !! (satellite connection) TV was large and had decent programing including cameras in the ship. The food was good and plentiful but not very creative and rather bland to the taste. Unfortunately the only drinks that were part of the all inclusive package was WITH the meals. (pretty chincy) The shore trips were all very nice and "adequate". The use of what they call a quiet box was fantastic for the shore trips. There were numerous extra cost shore trip options. Fair amount of free time to explore on your own. We felt that the 14 day trip that spent a lot of time in Germany was just a lot of seeing the same things. All our stops were picture perfect but became monotonous! One stop in Germany for this type of trip would have been enough !! Our program director Kane was excellent and made the trip better than expected. Everybody on the crew was very friendly, gracious and helpful. I was very impressed by the consistency of their training. Too many old folks as guests though not enough of an age mix. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
The river cruise was the first part of a multi-week vacation to Europe. After being greeted at the airport by a friendly and new face, we started the adventure. Much to our surprise, our first day included a walking tour of Amsterdam and ... Read More
The river cruise was the first part of a multi-week vacation to Europe. After being greeted at the airport by a friendly and new face, we started the adventure. Much to our surprise, our first day included a walking tour of Amsterdam and lunch on board. From that point things just got better. Wonderful meals, great tours and lots of time to adventure at all of the stops along the way. the tours were well planned and the time given at each stop were great. We enjoyed many times on and off the ship at the many ports of call. The cabin was comfortable, well laid out and very clean. Each day we received many wonderful services form the small and friendly staff. By the end of the week we came to know many of the staff. We looked forward each evening after supper for the newsletter outlining the activities of the next day. The presentations on the areas we visited were very good. The local tour guides gave an informed and entertaining experience. Being on such a quality ship, with the newest of amenities was great. Arrivals and departures at each port were seamless. Getting on the road for the tours was efficient. Our departure , though bitter sweet was quick and painless. In summary we are looking forward to our next Viking River Cruise Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We travelled May 3/2015 from Amsterdam to Basel. We have travelled the large cruise lines in past,but wanted to experience what a River Cruise would be like. Because we were traveling from Canada we decided to land in Amsterdam on the ... Read More
We travelled May 3/2015 from Amsterdam to Basel. We have travelled the large cruise lines in past,but wanted to experience what a River Cruise would be like. Because we were traveling from Canada we decided to land in Amsterdam on the Friday before we would set sail Sunday. This was good decision to help with jet lag & also to get a good taste of Amsterdam. When we arrived at the airport Viking reps met us & we said that we weren't sailing for a few days but they helped guide us to the train & were more than helpful. Our hotel Movenpick seemed to be a hub for Viking for many different ships & we were able to get information as our embarking port had changed (everyone so helpful). When we arrived on board we were greeted by many Viking Crew members, one who walked us to our rooms ( Demeter also our favourite bartender)& our luggage followed in minutes. Our room was on the first floor (125)and it was very compact. We spent very little time there. Meals were good and our excursions were interesting. We purchased extra excursions which we felt were good value. The water levels were high as there was rain in Switzerland for over a week. This caused some disruption but for us, it was all part of the adventure. We were bussed to our excursions & once ate in Strasbourg instead of going back to the ship because of timelines. Viking took care of all of this. All hands on deck when we came back on board, stewards, hotel manager, & even the captain greeted us. They were appreciative of our understanding as itinerary changed, and we could feel it. It was a wonderful journey. Boyon was our cruise director & he was AMAZING. He & the hotel manager kept us up to date on any changes.Our consierge was also very helpful.I would highly recommend Viking & would travel again. Three couples travelled together & had a great adventure. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
Had never done a river cruise before so wasn't sure if it would enjoyable, though as an enthusiastic traveller I figured we'd be doing enough that what happened on board wouldn't matter. To my astonishment had a fantastic ... Read More
Had never done a river cruise before so wasn't sure if it would enjoyable, though as an enthusiastic traveller I figured we'd be doing enough that what happened on board wouldn't matter. To my astonishment had a fantastic time on board, enjoyed the company of other travelers, outstanding food (cooked up by chef Florian) and the professionalism of the crew (Valerie et al.) The cabin was comfortable, and my wife and I enjoyed sitting not he balcony as we skimmed the Rhine. The cabin attendant did a stellar job keeping everything clean and tidy. The only weak point for me on board was the Wi-Fi which was abysmal. Most of the shore excursions were interesting but some of the logistics in getting to where we were going made our time brief at some of the destinations. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
The urber large cruise ships have never appealed to us and have avoided joining friends on trips. We thought a europe river curise would be the best way to tour and get a taste of cruising. Booked a 8 day Rhein river curise on the Viking ... Read More
The urber large cruise ships have never appealed to us and have avoided joining friends on trips. We thought a europe river curise would be the best way to tour and get a taste of cruising. Booked a 8 day Rhein river curise on the Viking Sun. For the most part the trip was very good experience. The ship was clean and well kept. The service was very good. The excursions were good and well excuted. The activity directors were very good. Particulary Damionano and Arturo, both represented Viking very well.The food, was just okay. Choices were limited and although the food quality was good it didnt meet our expectations for fine dining on a cruise ship. The major diapointment however was about 20% of our trip was cut short because of hi water levels on the Rhein. Major flooding on all the europiean rivers. Our big cruse vacation of a life time turned into a bus tour. Obvisouly river conditions are not Vikings fault however, this was no suprise to Viking. Now that we know about "Cruse Critic" we see similar reviews from over a year ago. Water levels will affect your curise!! We feel Viking in good faith should have communicated this condition to us and given us the option to reschedule or cancel. We felt bad for the people coming aboard for the next cruse, as the flooding was getting worse. Viking did however gives us a 50% discount on another curise and did comp drinks and other services. Not sure we would book with Viking again. Advice from a first time cruiser: Buyers beware! It's up to you to check river conditions. Don't expect Viking to inform you of conditions and be sure to check cancelation policy before you book your trip. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
As you can see from my title, this was our first river cruise. We had tried 1 Caribbean cruise before and we weren't too crazy about our experience with that. We selected Viking because of the Rhine itinerary (been to some of the ... Read More
As you can see from my title, this was our first river cruise. We had tried 1 Caribbean cruise before and we weren't too crazy about our experience with that. We selected Viking because of the Rhine itinerary (been to some of the places before on a Globus tour) and wanted to spend more time in places like Cologne and Heidelberg. Also Viking had a price that was in our range. Pre-trip. We are a couple in our 50's. We took our 24 yo daughter and 35 yo niece along. The Viking sales agent Alex was very helpful and made several great suggestions. We went with special Viking air and transfers and were extremely pleased with our flights. Viking even called 3 weeks before departure and asked if we had any questions. We elected to go with 2 standard rooms and a post-trip extension to Lucerne. Arrival. Our plane landed early and we were taken to the Helvetia about 10am. We were greeted by the Cruise Director George who took us onboard. Although our rooms would have been ready by 11am, we elected to have a hot beverage and then head out and explore Amsterdam. Check in went smoothly when we returned at 5pm. Ship. We liked our standard room. The size was perfect and the bed was very comfortable. We would probably stay on a higher deck next time. Being on the bottom deck, we could hear toilets flush throughout the ship. We could feel vibrations from time to time but really did not experience much loud noise. The layout of the ship was good. Most people would have very little walking to get from cabin to lounge or dining room. Even though it was only April, the river was starting to fill up with cruises. A Viking longship and 2 Avalon ships seemed to follow our every move on the Rhine. A few times we had to cross through another ship to get to shore. Food. Food ranged from okay to excellent. I thought they did a good job with choices considering that they had 180 people to feed -- all ordering at once. They had a choice of meat, fish, or vegetarian for every meal. Sometimes it was chaotic with some tables seeming to get served faster than others. They had usually a local specialty at each port. The wine was good -- not much selection but it seemed to change each day. We consider ourselves wine snobs, it wasn't Bordeaux but it was still good. One evening, I asked the waiter why they hadn't poured a Riesling yet (we were in Germany after all). He said if I had purchased the extra spirits plan then I could have a bottle. I hadn't but he brought me a bottle anyway. The servers worked extremely hard (a bit understaffed) and tried to accommodate everyone's wishes. Breakfast and lunch were basically buffets, but they did have a few items that could be ordered from the menu. A hot beverage bar was always open, usually stocked with fresh cookies. Excursions. The highlight of the trip. The Middle Rhine is absolutely gorgeous. Viking had 4 brand new buses that they had purchased to follow us the whole trip. They used them for transfers to and from the airport and the regular and optional excursions. The local guides I thought were all enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Viking left several hours of free time in each port for exploring on one's own. Maps were made available. The concierge on board the ship was always available to help you book things on the side. Staff. The staff was fantastic. Everyone had to multitask and work long hours but they had a smile on their face the whole time. I think they could have used 5 more people for meals to ease the confusion. I'm sure they are trained to be polite but I swear they remembered our names instantly. The rooms were spotless. The Cruise Director George Nakos was fun and made friends with everyone. The Captain Florian Sulzer seemed to always be helping out with various tasks. I think Viking deserves an A Plus for the staff and crew. Post Trip. The Rhine levels were too high for our last day so we had to be bused the last 20 miles to Basel or wherever everyone was scheduled to go. Viking even took care of the people who had not booked transfers with them. Viking representatives were everywhere -- at the post trip hotel and even the airport to make sure we got to our gate. Pros. The Staff. The Itinerary. All the small details being taken care of. We will do a Viking Cruise again. Cons. Can't really think of anything. Entertainment was average but honestly we went to bed by 10 every night. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2012
This was our first River Boat Cruise, so we really did not know what to expect. We have been "big ship" cruisers for 20 years. The staff, cruise director and captain of Visionary are exceptional. They are all very involved ... Read More
This was our first River Boat Cruise, so we really did not know what to expect. We have been "big ship" cruisers for 20 years. The staff, cruise director and captain of Visionary are exceptional. They are all very involved with you and your cruise. The captain played his trumpet as we passed the Lorelei and the crew did a talent show which was such fun! The meals onboard were very good with a nice variety. One tip, check the breakfast and lunch specials each day before going to the buffet. Dinner was great. Six of us travelled together and were able to sit together without a problem each night. Wine at dinner was wonderful and we had more than our share. The included excursions were great. I was in a walking boot due to a foot problem but was able to keep up without a problem. You will receive earphones and a receiving device on each excursion. The guide then transmits the details of the excursion as you walk. This enabled all of us to hear without a problem and was excellent for my husband who wears hearing aids. My only regret was that we didn't have more "free time" in the cities. Our guides were fun and informative. I would strongly recommend the optional trips to Alsace and Colmar. For the small cost, these excursions really gave you a flavor of the area. Also, make sure you are on deck when going through the locks (at least one). We travelled through the Panama Canal on a "big ship" and enjoyed the locks. But on this small vessel, it is really "up close and personal", a real treat. I have three minor "complaints". The bar did not stock bourbon, only CC and Jack Daniels. But since the wine was so good, it really didn't matter. Rafting is a real bummer, but necessary evil. On the third day of our trip, I awoke and opened our curtains only to be looking at the vessel we had rafted with. This occurred 4 times for us so basically rendered our French balcony worthless. Finally, it would be nice to know a basic time for the itinerary. Example, we had a flight delay to Amsterdam (7 hours!). We arrived at 4PM versus 9AM on Sunday 6/10. However, from the brochure, I thought we had all day in Amsterdam on Monday. No, the boat left at noon so I only had 4 hours in Amsterdam. I would strongly recommend adding a day (minimum) to the front of your cruise. Post cruise, we spent 3 days in Lucerne. We all had a marvelous time with Avalon and I would recommend them highly. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
This was my first cruise so I wasn't sure what to expect but it was a pleasant surprise. My friend and I booked a balcony room which was ample enough space for being on a ship. I was a little nervous about getting seasick, but ... Read More
This was my first cruise so I wasn't sure what to expect but it was a pleasant surprise. My friend and I booked a balcony room which was ample enough space for being on a ship. I was a little nervous about getting seasick, but didn't have any issues until the second night we were sailing due to the rough northern Baltic waves. I really liked the cruise staff and they made me feel at home. They were extremely friendly, helpful, and enthusiastic. Our waiter and assistant waiter had a lot of interesting stories to share with us. Our cabin was also immaculate every time we came back from anywhere on the ship or a port because our stateroom attendant took really good care of us. I also liked the ship's entertainers and performers. We saw them several times hanging out in the ship and would strike up a conversation with them. The ports we visited were beautiful and breathtaking. I don't think I was able to see much due to the limited amount of time we had so my biggest takeaway is to make sure that you book an excursion when visiting. We took wonderful pictures in Geiranger and Olden. Alesund and Bergen could have been explored more in depth if we knew where we were going. We did hit Bergen on their Constitution Day so that was interesting seeing everyone in their national costumes. Overall, I liked how well kept the ship was and the amount of massive windows where you can look out to sea. It was peaceful and relaxing and I loved seeing the frothiness of the waves. I would definitely go back on a cruise again with Royal Caribbean because it left a great impression on me. Perhaps next time, I will try a Caribbean or Alaskan or Mediterranean cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
15 days, started in Amsterdam and ended in Budapest. All in all, an enjoyable experience, wait staff was excellent (thanks Martin and Jana) and with one exception, food was great. Cabin was clean and well kept. Beds ok, toiletries ok, hair ... Read More
15 days, started in Amsterdam and ended in Budapest. All in all, an enjoyable experience, wait staff was excellent (thanks Martin and Jana) and with one exception, food was great. Cabin was clean and well kept. Beds ok, toiletries ok, hair dryer ok, no exercise room though. Clean towels morning and evening if needed. Had both a 110 and 220 plug in the room for recharging camera batteries. Managed to fit the empty suitcases in the closet, but if they don't fit, the crew will store them in another part of the ship. One note of caution, rooms 214 and 215 are right under the gangplank when docked, and depending on which side the ship is docked on, your view will be obstructed while docking, you will also be entertained by noise from some sort of pump kicking on and off almost continuously. Shore excursions were good although some of the local guides were a bit dull, but with the headsets that are issued you can wander and explore quite a distance from the tour guide and still hear every word without having to be withing earshot of the guide (Sonnenbrunnen , Vienna, in winter probably isn't worth the tour price, you can catch the public transport and pay the 12-14 Euro entrance fee, rather than the 44 Euro tour price fee if you really, really haven't seen enough palaces yet, although in summer it's probably very pretty). With the exception of Vienna, and Koblenz, there was sufficient time to explore on your own at most stops. My main complaints would be the Program (Cruise) Director staff, none had the personality I would look for when hiring for this position. There were a few nightly activities organized by the Program Director (i.e. glass blowing, local music demonstrations) but other entertainment activities weren't carried out as well as they could have been, any prizes were generally a bottle of Viking Champagne, which in all honesty, wasn't very good. The raffle also was disappointing, if memory serves, raffle items included Viking T Shirts, Sweat Tops and Caps, a jar of mustard and Viking Champagne, in my view, non worth the price of a raffle ticket (if anyone from Viking reads this, you may want to consider caps and Ts as freebies, great low cost advertisement). My second complaint is the internet connectivity on board. More often it did not work, even when in the middle of a city. I was counting on the internet to make hotel and train reservations after the cruise, but simply couldn't get on line, so ended up paying walk in rack rate at a hotel in Budapest instead of the internet rate, also missed out on the sale of an unexpected stock jump that would have paid for half of the cruise because of non access to the net. Excluding the above negatives, we enjoyed the cruise and will in all probability take another. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
This was our first ever cruise and we chose to sail the Constellation simply because it sailed from Amsterdam and seeing we live in the Netherlands, this was the perfect departure point. Moreover, travelling with a 10-month-old, it was the ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise and we chose to sail the Constellation simply because it sailed from Amsterdam and seeing we live in the Netherlands, this was the perfect departure point. Moreover, travelling with a 10-month-old, it was the obvious choice. When we checked in, we were given a sheet of paper with some information, but it wasn't until we had sat down with some fellow Cruise Critics that we understood that there was a virus on board the Constellation. The Norovirus had decided to rear its ugly head on the cruise prior to ours and all the staff on board the Connie were working hard to clean her up. In the meantime, all passengers were given a lunch bag with a sandwich, juice, muffin and chocolate bar to eat. Bottled water was also available for those who wanted that. Finally at 3:00pm boarding began and it seemed to have gone rather smoothly. We were informed that the staterooms weren't ready, so we had to stay in the public areas. The complementary drink when entering was a good way to start the cruise. When the staterooms were given the all clear, we were able to get our stuff settled in and just had to wait to go to supper. Our luggage arrived during the course of the evening. Supper in the MDR (San Marco) was exceptional! The chefs certainly know what they are doing, although I felt that the pasta was a bit too overcooked. As an Italian, I can be rather picky about how pasta is prepared. Other than that, all the other food was beyond my expectations. The staff were all very friendly, helpful and more than willing to talk to us. It also helped that they all loved our daughter and did everything to shower her with attention. They would entertain her when we ate. Our stateroom attendant was also very quick to help us when we needed him. I don't think we could have survived the 2 or 3 episodes of baby vomit on the bed if he hadn't changed the sheets so quickly. The activities on board was very well organised. There was so much to do and so much variety in what they offered. There was simply not enough time to participate in all the activities. I had heard from the Cruise Director, Allan King, that someone complained about there being too many trivia games offered, but I felt the offer was good enough. The live shows and bands were amazing! I absolutely loved hearing Free-4-All, the ship's a capella group. The 4 young men are very talented and have amazing voices. As for the singers and dancers, one word: WOW! The shows simply took my breath away. Finally, I loved the other live shows offered (Ric Ceisler and Livewire). Despite the Norovirus, which had gripped quite a few cruisers on our cruise, we still managed to enjoy ourselves. I was very satisfied with the extra precautions taken to minimise the spread of the virus, although it is not entirely possible to stop it from going around. I was just so relieved that my 10-month-old didn't catch it. We were spared. The crew did their best to inform us of how best to minimise the risk of spreading the virus. Hats off to them. My husband and I agree that the cruise made a lasting impression on us, even if the ports of call passed by in a blur. I've made many friends on board the Connie and hope one day to return to meet with them again! Read Less

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