27 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This was our first river cruise and understood Viking was a top provider. BUT, we were very disappointed. The crew/staff were excellent, but after that things fell down. Getting a balcony is a waste of money as many times we were moored ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and understood Viking was a top provider. BUT, we were very disappointed. The crew/staff were excellent, but after that things fell down. Getting a balcony is a waste of money as many times we were moored next to another Viking ship's balcony which was just 2 feet away. No view or privacy! Breakfast was fine but other meals were poor. It became the joke many times to see what was served compared to what was ordered. Many times when we docked at a town we then had to be bussed. We were not able to simply get off the ship and walk around. A couple times we docked in industrial areas. On included tours guides were friendly and knowledgeable, but we were always rushed. Numerous times we had to move along as there was a group behind us. No time for questions (later) and photos. A typical tour was bussing, see a cathedral/palace/castle listen to some history/stories & then some free time. When you combine the amount of ships of Viking & it's competitors, tours become a herd! For the price do not recommend Viking. Will not use again. Viking may have been a class outfit, but possibly have lost control with expansion. Deep research needed for any river cruise. Have taken over a dozen land trips with success, but our ages require a more leisurely experience. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
This was our 2nd Viking cruise, the other being in 2014 in Russia for 14 days was wonderful and exciting, now comes my coparison. This cruise "The Grand European Tour" from Budapest to Amsterdam on the Embla was average at best. ... Read More
This was our 2nd Viking cruise, the other being in 2014 in Russia for 14 days was wonderful and exciting, now comes my coparison. This cruise "The Grand European Tour" from Budapest to Amsterdam on the Embla was average at best. We did the pre and post cruise extensions. Lack of local entertainment on board, 2 of which were musical and very nice and a local glass blower who was more about selling his goods. Each night at 6:45 there was a briefing for the next days included and optional excursions where the program director was in the zone for selling the optional tours. The first night she went on and on about the upcoming optional tours like an encyclopedia salesman. The dining staff was short staffed at best, very rushed, twice we had to ask where our food was. a few nights we were finishing dinner and wanted another glass of wine and just chat with friends and low and behold the wine is gone and they are setting up for breakfast with clanging dishes, just horrible service. then I was not feeling well with a chest cold nad canceled one of our optional tours for the next day which I explained to the concierge at the front desk and he knew I was sick. He had told me he couldn't do anything because we booked online and when we got home just call Viking for a refund and they would confirm I was sick. Not so! Called viking and was told that the policy is no refunds under any circumstances. all in all it was an expensive lesson I will never repeat and our plan after our Viking river cruise was a Viking cruise every other year. Not happening now. They really nickle and dime you. Theyt have grown to fast over the last couple of years in my opinion. Sorry Viking, you reap what you sow. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
Our Eastern European cruise along the Danube was fabulous from start to finish and everything in between. Viking representatives were waiting for us at the airport and gave us a lovely informative tour on our way to the Hilton. When we ... Read More
Our Eastern European cruise along the Danube was fabulous from start to finish and everything in between. Viking representatives were waiting for us at the airport and gave us a lovely informative tour on our way to the Hilton. When we arrived, more representatives came outside to greet us, take our luggage in and explained the itinerary to us. The next day we went on a city tour of Buda and Pest in the morning and asked the driver of the coach to let us off in town so we could explore more of it on our own, instead of going back to the hotel. We had just been on another tour where we spent time in the castle area where the Hilton is located so wanted to see some other areas. The next day we checked out of the hotel and boarded the coach to embark the ship. They had a lovely lunch ready for us as the rooms weren't quite ready, as the previous tour group had disembarked that morning. We were very happy with our room and found it to have plenty of space for the 2 of us. The heated floors in the bathroom were a nice touch. We loved having a balcony and spent lots of time on it enjoyed the beautiful scenery. The entire staff of the Embla were professional, friendly, and would do absolutely anything to make your stay special. Our tour director, Sonja, was especially attentive, and was incredibly organized and saw that everything on the ship ran smoothly. The meals were delicious and they were very generous with the wine! The ship was spacious, bright and spotlessly clean and because of the floor to ceiling windows, anywhere you chose to sit you had a wonderful view. We met some great people and always looked forward to getting together for dinner and sharing stories of what we did that day. We enjoyed the included daily excursions and especially enjoyed having coffee and cake in the home of a family in Croatia. All in all, we had a truly wonderful time and are left with many happy memories. The only thing that could be improved on in our opinion, was the connecting flight within Europe where we had to take 2 flights via Prague from Frankfurt to Budapest whereas there was a direct flight with Lufthansa. We feel that this shouldn't have happened as we paid for the flights many months in advance. Aside from this issue, we were extremely happy with our experience with Viking. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2016
This was our first Viking cruise, but it CERTAINLY won't be our last! We've done several ocean cruises on different lines, but we hit the jackpot on our first river cruise. We sailed from Bucharest, Romania to Amsterdam with the ... Read More
This was our first Viking cruise, but it CERTAINLY won't be our last! We've done several ocean cruises on different lines, but we hit the jackpot on our first river cruise. We sailed from Bucharest, Romania to Amsterdam with the most impressive crew we've ever encountered. When we told the waiter during our first meal that my wife has a shellfish allergy, he immediately brought over the Maitre d' who not only took my wife's order for that and subsequent meals, ensuring no entre she wanted contained something she shouldn't eat, but he typically served them as well. The Concierge was equally exceptional. When my laptop computer 'died' during the cruise, she took it into the next port of call and had it repaired while my wife and I were on a shore excursion. The entire crew was the epitome of outstanding customer service! Our cabin was always spotless, the food superb. Shore excursions were well thought out and masterfully executed. No detail was too small to be overlooked. An absolutely phenomenal experience! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We don't speak Czech, Hungarian, Serbian, or Romanian so we thought we would let Viking show us around. They were great! First Class, nothing bad to say about anything. Very comfortable cabin, excellent food, and wonderful staff all ... Read More
We don't speak Czech, Hungarian, Serbian, or Romanian so we thought we would let Viking show us around. They were great! First Class, nothing bad to say about anything. Very comfortable cabin, excellent food, and wonderful staff all around. Great excursions and guides. Transfers were very smooth and professional all the way. Staff all showed how much they liked their jobs and were truly happy that we were there. They made the effort to learn our names and really looked forward to seeing us daily and helping out when ever they could. Would go again in a heartbeat. We started in the magic city of Prague which we lasted visited in 1968! Beautiful city with wonderful concerts and people. Budapest stole our hearts and we want to go back soon. It was so interesting talking to people about their lives now that they are no longer under Communism. Very enlightening and thought provoking. Looking forward to planning our next trip with Viking which was a very easy and enjoyable process. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2016
This cruise stopped at a lot of places I have always wanted to see. We had taken a cruise of the Eastern part of the Danube, but not the Western part. This cruise offered us a combination of three rivers and many beautiful stops. We ... Read More
This cruise stopped at a lot of places I have always wanted to see. We had taken a cruise of the Eastern part of the Danube, but not the Western part. This cruise offered us a combination of three rivers and many beautiful stops. We picked a veranda cabin this time, and even though the weather was not as warm on this trip, we used the veranda many times and really enjoyed the beautiful view as we went along the rivers. It was so nice to sit outside and sip a glass of wine, listening to music from the cabin, and enjoying the great views. Most of the excruisions were great, but one was way too long, and left us with nothing to do for too much time. The weather was a factor, but even in better weather, we would have been happier with only four hours, and then back to the ship. All in all, it was great. Food is very good, service exceptional from the cabin staff and waiters. We had a bad experience with the concieriege, but she was new and not experienced in good customer service. In spite of that problem, we really enjoyed the cruise and have since booked another. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
With this being my first cruise, I don't have any other cruises to base my experience on. Bu, I can relate this cruise to my other holidays where I stayed at a hotel and found tourist thing to do. I've stayed at the Four ... Read More
With this being my first cruise, I don't have any other cruises to base my experience on. Bu, I can relate this cruise to my other holidays where I stayed at a hotel and found tourist thing to do. I've stayed at the Four Seasons in Seattle and Maui, at the Del Coronado in San Diego, and at Nayara Hotel, Spa & Garden, Costa Rica. These places were fabulous to stay and the staff were fantastic to a fault. The crew and Viking Cruise, particularly the Grand European river cruise, now fall into the same category. I can't say enough about the staff and their leader, consierge and program director. Every detail was covered. And when I wanted to move from the the plan of the cruise, all I had to do was ask. If I wanted some a little different, no problem. If I wanted to see something more, they asked which direction I wanted to go in. No extra cost. No extra trouble. Not any problem at all. The rooms aren't like I have at home, but I on a boat. Accommodations are going to be short on size and space. My bartender, Sorin, knew what I liked and how before we ever left Amsterdam. And all through the trip we had develop[ed a wonderful relationship. The housekeeper for our section was attentive to every detail. Our servers (Rommel and Paul) really made our dining experience fun. But the most important thing was that my Mother had the best of times. Thank you all very much (the crew of the Viking Embla). You really know you had a great time when you actually miss the people. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
I enjoyed many aspects of my Viking "Grand European" bus tour. Which basically means I enjoyed the European towns we visited by bus. Viking offerred us a really sweet deal on their November "Grand European" river ... Read More
I enjoyed many aspects of my Viking "Grand European" bus tour. Which basically means I enjoyed the European towns we visited by bus. Viking offerred us a really sweet deal on their November "Grand European" river tour. Unfortunately they failed to mention to us that their boats couldn't sail due to low water levels on all the rivers we were supposed to sail, the Rhine, Main and Danube, and that we would be traveling far away from these scenic rivers, by buses. I take particular umbrage at the fact that they booked us knowing full well that the rivers were unsailable, and had been since early June, but never told us. When we arrived on our boat, everything just got worse. Everyday they lied to us. We were bused to four seperate boats on our 14 day extravanga, two of which never sailed. We had one afternoon of "scenic river cruising." We are younger retired people and travel about 4 months a year. I have simply never had a travel experience like this. I suspect Viking may think they can get away with their deceit because many of the people who take these cruises are elderly and were too overwhelmed by the experience to do anything but weakly complain. It was particularly galling to me to see what happened to the "leisurely" cruisers, those elderly people who booked the cruise so they could sail and see, while not able to walk and tour. These people were bused to restaurants, where they sat and waited for the bus to drive them to the next destination. Elderly handicapped people were forced to walk in the rain up and down boat ramps, up and down bus stairs, pack and repack. Their health and welfare were essentially endangered by Viking. Besides all of this, here are some other factoids about Viking: Did you read Vikings PR about how the chefs prepare "regional delicacies" from local markets? Malarky. I saw the canned food being trucked in one day while I stayed on the boat and everyone else was off on their bus. There were lots of canned onion rings, canned stale cookies, really mediocre food. Did you read about their free wifi? Malarky again. The wifi didn't work. They had two wired ship computers for "guests" which were infected with malware which infected everyone's computers who used them, a Viking gift that keeps on giving, even after you come home. Our last day was especially memorable. We were bused from Vienna to Slovakia where we had lunch in the cheesiest Holiday Inn you have ever seen, with really the worst meal anyone could remember. Steamed ice cream scoops of rice, and microwaved chicken breasts with no sauce. Slovakia had amazing food available at their Christmas markets and restaurants but we had a schedule to meet on our bus and had no time. We then were bused through Hungary where four buses, 186 people arrived at a Mc Donalds, I kid you not, to use the two available toilets. Really special. Thanks Viking! Viking gave us "free round trip airfare," except of course when the airline they booked us on went on strike. After one solid day in Budapest wrangling with Viking trying to arrange air transport home, they finally booked us on a flight from Munich to DC to home in San Diego, six hours before the flight departed. Unfortunately we were in Budapest with insufficient time to arrange transport to Munich. So we paid $4,500 to arrange our own last minute costly flight home. If all goes well on Viking, I hear it can be a very nice experience. If all doesn't go well, you are really out of luck. Please see yelp for more current reviews of the viking experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
We'd never been anywhere in Eastern Europe and wanted to see Budapest and some of the other places we've always heard of. The river connected all of them and was an easy way to get a glimpse. We arrived in Budapest by overnight ... Read More
We'd never been anywhere in Eastern Europe and wanted to see Budapest and some of the other places we've always heard of. The river connected all of them and was an easy way to get a glimpse. We arrived in Budapest by overnight train from Prague (not a Viking extension--on our own) and showed up at the pre-cruise hotel, the Hilton Budapest, at about 9:30 AM. Viking had two reps already at the welcome desk, so we could check in with them right then. They let us know about an afternoon walking tour, suggested that we check with the hotel to see if they had a room we could check into early (the hotel did), gave us some info on the neighborhood and we were on our way! Viking includes one tour each day of your trip and offers just a few optional excursions for extra cost, but only 10's of dollars, not 100's! We went on one of them and had a very enjoyable afternoon. After two nights at the Hilton, we were taken to the ship (a different one than scheduled, but identical). After lunch, we had the afternoon to run around on our own and got helpful advice from the ship's concierge. The ship sailed right after dinner and we were treated to the night-time river tour we had missed due to misty/rainy weather. Budapest at night is glorious! The ship was moored just downriver from the parliament building and cruised slowly upriver past it--beautiful. We had a wonderful view of Castle Hill as well. Each of the cruise stops included at least one included excursion and all were interesting. Some were in towns and cities, others out into the countryside, some were both. A couple of tours included lunch at a location other than the ship and all included at least one refreshment (and restroom) stop. Only complaint: almost too much to take in! Our stateroom (a french balcony) was small, but more than adequate and convenient. The bathroom had a very efficient design, so we had no problems there, either. Wi-Fi and satellite TV kept us in touch with the world when we wanted to be. Food served in the main dining room and in the Aquavit Terrace was very good with a good selection every meal. One could go through a buffet line or order off a menu in either venue. The Terrace selections were slightly more limited than the main dining room's. We had lunch up on the Terrace and dinner in the main dining room and were more than happy with both. Beer and wine (included) at both meals were welcomed, also. All in all, a great way to see a little bit of the world. We've already booked our next Viking rivercruise Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
We had always dreamed on going on a Viking River Cruise when we retired and we did it! It was incredible! From the well appointed rooms to the excellent food and great staff, we thoroughly enjoyed it. The ship was well maintained, ... Read More
We had always dreamed on going on a Viking River Cruise when we retired and we did it! It was incredible! From the well appointed rooms to the excellent food and great staff, we thoroughly enjoyed it. The ship was well maintained, extremely clean and the staff were, in particular on the LIF, very friendly, courteous and helpful. Each day, the chef would come out before dinner to give us his recommendations. Great touch! We started our trip by staying in Amsterdam a couple of days prior to leaving on the cruise. The hotel accommodations were very good. Due to the SAIL in Amsterdam we had to be bused to Rotterdam to leave from there instead. We didn't mind that the trip had to start in Rotterdam as we were able to see yet another city in the Netherlands. Each day there were organized tours of the key areas of the city. These were well organized. The guides were extremely knowledgeable, with most being students of history or geography. Most had a good sense of humour and were able to keep the attention of the group. On the excursions that included lunch, the restaurants or pubs chosen served delicious food which also included free wine, beer and soft drinks. There was so much history and the architecture in the different countries was unbelievable. We could not have asked for more! When we got to Budapest, we also stayed here for an additional two days at the Hilton. We thoroughly enjoyed walking around and certainly got a lot of exercise! There were a couple of times that we had to get off the ship and be bussed to another location and/or ship, but we understood that the water levels were extremely low and it was no one's fault. We felt we were compensated fairly for the inconvenience. We will definitely consider doing another Viking Cruise in the future! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
My husband and I decided to take our first river cruise in celebration of our 45th wedding anniversary. Several different friends had tried Viking's river cruises and loved them. When we were growing up, most of the countries visited ... Read More
My husband and I decided to take our first river cruise in celebration of our 45th wedding anniversary. Several different friends had tried Viking's river cruises and loved them. When we were growing up, most of the countries visited on this cruise were ruled first by the Nazis and then the Communists, so we were really interested in visiting these places that had been closed to the West for so long. (Also, I had visited Holland and East Berlin 50 years ago, just before the Wall, so wanted to see how they had changed.) We arrive in Bucharest 2 days early to recover from jet lag. The Viking representatives in our hotel were very friendly and answered our questions about getting to the ship and boarding. The Elba is a beautiful ship. Everything looked new, and the managers and crew couldn't have been more competent and helpful. We enjoyed seeing the beautiful views of villages, landscapes, and even some wildlife from our veranda stateroom. The dining room was comfortable, and seats were not assigned, so we were free get acquainted with many of our shipmates and re-join those we found compatible. Food was plentiful and delicious, with many options, on or off the menus. Room service also was offered. The summer heat (close to 100 degrees) and drought (Danube about 6 feet lower than normal) were major challenges that the staff handled expertly. Leonard, our amazing program director, kept us informed of every development as early as possible. When the river's level finally was too low for the ship to proceed through the locks, we were told to leave our packed suitcases outside our rooms in the morning before boarding buses for our city tour of Nuremburg. When the tour ended that afternoon, the buses delivered us to the Viking Lis, where we boarded and found our luggage already delivered to a stateroom almost identical to the one we had left, and with the same number. The entire exchange had been seamless. Even better, Leonard and the concierge from Elba transferred with us! So we missed only the Elba's delightful hotel manager and expert chef and dining room manager (each just enough better than those at the Lis for us to notice a slight difference). We can't say enough good about Leonard. I don't know when the man managed to sleep, as he arranged all the excursions, accompanied most of them (rotating among the buses), took photos of everyone on the tours, gave a pre-dinner video presentation of the next day's schedule and events, and arranged and introduced an hour's entertainment every evening at 9 p.m. He also wrote and printed an informative newsletter about each next day's ports-of-call, which we found on our beds after dinner. On the days we went through locks or didn't have all-day excursions, he gave a running commentary on the sights we were passing, including interesting anecdotes related to their history and tales associated with them. We appreciated the bottles of water offered before every excursion and the optional excursions to accommodate different interests and physical abilities. There were walking tours as well as bus tours, opportunities to visit homes of local residents as well as churches and museums, and many options for sampling local cuisine and experiencing the arts (visual and performing). The Elba's concierge also was very helpful in arranging a couple of personal excursions for us. When one turned out to be disappointing because the guide ignored our preferences, the concierge discussed the problem with the local contractor and took steps to be certain that this would not happen to a Viking passenger again. We're now looking forward to both an ocean and a river cruise with Viking to explore Northern and Eastern Europe in September. It won't be as warm, but we were assured that the water level won't be a problem then. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
This was our first cruise on Viking River Cruises. We went from Bucharest to Budapest which is the direction I would recommend for anyone that hasn't been in Eastern Europe before. Our prior cruises have all been ocean cruises and we ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Viking River Cruises. We went from Bucharest to Budapest which is the direction I would recommend for anyone that hasn't been in Eastern Europe before. Our prior cruises have all been ocean cruises and we loved the more intimate feel and personal attention of the river cruise. I believe that Viking does an exceptional job in this regard. We opted to extend our stay an additional 20 days which Viking allowed us to do. We arranged our own transportation form Budapest, Hungary (the end of our tour) to Bonn, Germany. Viking made our flight arrangements from Germany back to the USA for us. This allowed us to stay with friends in Germany for that additional time. We enjoyed our river cruise so much that we will probably forgo ocean cruises for now. We enjoyed the smaller number of people and the personal attention that we received. When we departed Budapest, Hungary on our own to Germany, the Viking staff were very helpful even though their responsibilities to us had ended. The shore excursions were great. We are usually interested in learning about the countries and people we visit and these were very informational and well done. Not to mention the opportunities to interact with people. I think the most extraordinary thing about visiting this part of the world earlier this year was that the immigration problems that Europe and especially Hungary began facing several months later were so much clearer to us. We felt that we have a greater understanding of the situation and problems. It turned into an incredible eyeopener for us. This was a unique trip at a unique time. We enjoyed the great service and personable staff. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
The cruise from Bucharest (port was 1 hour drive away) to Budapest in May 2015 was excellent. We have been on 16 cruises (2 with Viking) and the food on this ship was the best that we have ever had. Our original ship, the Lif, was not ... Read More
The cruise from Bucharest (port was 1 hour drive away) to Budapest in May 2015 was excellent. We have been on 16 cruises (2 with Viking) and the food on this ship was the best that we have ever had. Our original ship, the Lif, was not able to get to our port near Bucharest due to high water levels on the other side of Budapest on the Danube so the Embla was substituted. The ships are identical so this was no big deal. In fact Viking is getting rid of their older river boats and changing them to the Longships so if river levels are a problem, they can bus people from one ship to another if they cannot get under a bridge. So you pack up on one ship and they transfer everything to the other ship and you are on your way again. This is a great move by Viking to keep the water complaints down over which they have no control. The boat's crew were always helpful and the excursions and the guides were excellent. We did the 3 day extension in Bucharest which included a overnight stay at a Ramada on the way to Dracula's castle. The Hilton Athenee Hotel in Bucharest where we stayed a total of 3 nights is a beautiful hotel which was changed from the Radisson Blu that is right across the street and is not as nice a hotel. The Budapest hotel where we stayed for 2 nights was the Marriott where all rooms look out on the river and look toward the Buda side. This was also a very nice hotel and right in the middle of everything in Budapest. The only complaint I have with Viking is that you have to pay for the cruise a year in advance. Also I originally booked the 3 day extension to Prague with Viking but they changed the hotel from the Hilton to the Corinthia Hotel which is not located near the city center (although Viking did provide a shuttle). Since I wanted to stay near the city center, I cancelled the extension and this apparently made me ineligible for the bus transfer from Budapest to Prague according to the Los Angeles office. So I booked RailEurope train tickets for 2 for $330.00. When I was at the hotel in Budapest, I spoke to the Viking reps at the hospitality desk and asked if I could get on the bus with the other extension people to go to Prague instead of taking the train. They said OK and I just filled out a credit card authorization form for $240.00. So next I had to take a taxi to the train station in Budapest to get my train tickets stamped NOT USED and then had to mail them back to RailEurope when I got home. Might get about 60% of the cost of the train tickets back eventually after they deduct from their handling charges and shipping charges. there were 20 empty seats on the 8 hour bus trip to Prague so capacity was not an issue. Viking should change their policy on this and allow anyone to take their transfers whether or not you are staying in their hotel. The Four Seasons hotel that we stayed in in Prague was the same price as the hotel that Viking booked people into. Looking online you could book the Corinthia hotel for about 110 Euros and Viking was charging about $1600 for the 3 day stay in Prague and the only extra was a city tour that they provided. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
Our first river cruise. Previous cruises were on typical medium size ships to Caribbean, Alaska, Bermuda and Greek Islands. We liked the Viking Embla best. It was built in 2012 but looked brand new; not a speck of dust in any corner of the ... Read More
Our first river cruise. Previous cruises were on typical medium size ships to Caribbean, Alaska, Bermuda and Greek Islands. We liked the Viking Embla best. It was built in 2012 but looked brand new; not a speck of dust in any corner of the cabin. Entertainment on board was limited but fun. Hotels (Intercontinental, Hilton) were excellent and well located. A dinner cruise in Budapest (suggested, but not operated by Viking) was inconvenient because of the long walk from the meeting point to the boat. The optional excursions were mostly worthwhile, but anyone who has been to Vienna or Versailles could skip Godollo. The included attractions, guides, and land travel were all good. Dining was convenient and the food well above average for buffet service. Every Viking emplyee we met was competent, friendly, and helpful. When we left our hotel at 4:30 AM, uniformed Viking staffers were waiting in the lobby and took good care of us all the way to the airport check-in counter. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
This was our first river cruise and we booked Viking River Cruises' longest cruise which is actually two cruises together (Amsterdam to Budapest and Budapest to Bucharest). Not cheap but worth it. The ships are beautiful with clean, ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and we booked Viking River Cruises' longest cruise which is actually two cruises together (Amsterdam to Budapest and Budapest to Bucharest). Not cheap but worth it. The ships are beautiful with clean, Nordic design and no waste. Our cabin was perfectly sized for two (good sized) people. Effective air conditioning, heated floor in bathroom, plenty of storage, bar fridge and water replenished daily. Our cabin person kept our room neat and spotless and always ready for us. We just walked onto the ship the first day, picked up our keys and we were on our way. No muss or fuss. Meals were flawless with fantastic waitstaff who just could not do enough for us. We had fun with our servers and even the kitchen staff came out from time to time to see how we enjoyed the special meals they made for us a few times. (We got some special Filipino cuisine treats!) We never missed a meal and the between meal treats were fresh and plentiful. If you are looking to eat like a "cruise ship pig" at a buffet you might miss the "groaning table" food supply of a cruise ship but our servers never said no to second or even third helpings if you could handle it. No need to leave hungry! The bar staff in the lounge were always friendly and attentive and everyone on board seemed to be enjoying being there. They worked hard and got their work done but were always ready if something else was needed. The cruise director was exceptional. Knowledgeable, approachable and fun with a wide range of interests he kept things going on, which is no mean feat when you have a couple hundred mature adults to keep entertained. At each stop busses were waiting to whisk us away for perfect, introductory explorations of that day's locale. All the busses were new, well equipped and comfortable and the guides knew their stuff and in most cases managed to make it all seem fresh and interesting. Our last night, Bucharest, the bus took us right to the Intercontinental and our luggage was waiting (including four cases or wine we had brought along). Never a false step. I should mention a couple of things: First, and I have never had this ever happen on any cruise before, the day before we were due to arrive in Vienna the Cruise Director and Captain advised us that due to the Vienna Marathon the city would be virtually closed the day we were due to dock so they suggested we sail PAST Vienna, visit Bratislava out of sequence, and then sail back to Vienna the next day! A brilliant idea complicated by the fact that we were scheduled for a concert in Vienna the first night anyway. But they came through with busses to whisk us to Vienna for the evening and then back to our ship in Slovakia so we could sail BACK to Vienna for the next day! It sounds complicated but it all came off perfectly and resulted in us having perfect days in both Vienna and Bratislava (home of the world's best hot chocolate at Bon Bon!). Second, watch out for Slovakia; the Slovak women are very special! Anyway, I can't remember ever spending three weeks without a disappointment but Viking River Cruises managed it. Two things to keep in mind if you decide to take a long cruise such as the "European Sojourn" as we did on the Viking Embla. We travelled in April when the itinerary wasn't at peak season so the ports and the sites were not jammed. We didn't have to wait and the people all along the way had time and energy to deal with us. I would expect the busier parts of the season to be more packed everywhere. The other suggestion would be to consider the reverse route to our Amsterdam/Bucharest itinerary. It is very difficult for the Budapest/Bucharest portion of the cruise to compete with the Amsterdam/Budapest portion. Sailing from Bucharest you would experience the wonderful people and sights of Eastern Europe and then finish up with the glories of Austria, Germany and The Netherlands. Just a suggestion, but either way you will see and experience people and places you will never forget. Our three weeks on the Embla will be a tough act for any cruise line to follow, even Viking. We liked so much about our time onboard the Embla and while the ship is magnificent it was the people working on the Embla which really put our time "over the top". They were, and are, magnificent! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
It was a good deal financially -including cheap airfares. It offered a chance to visit lots of varied places. The cruise went from Budapest to Amsterdam. The cabins were roomy with good en suite facilities. There was a wide selection ... Read More
It was a good deal financially -including cheap airfares. It offered a chance to visit lots of varied places. The cruise went from Budapest to Amsterdam. The cabins were roomy with good en suite facilities. There was a wide selection of films available for viewing in the cabin. Every day passengers received an information sheet describing the whole day's events and times plus interesting local information. The nightly entertainment was very good and varied from a classical concert to dance demonstrations. There was live piano music every night. The outdoor dining area was very nice and spacious. The food served was of an exceptional standard throughout. The crew were exceptionally helpful and friendly. Nothing was too much trouble. We were all made to feel special guests. Our waiter Alex was charming and very helpful. Our Guide/MC Leonard was both funny and knowledgeable. He was extremely helpful and was a great part of making the cruise such an enjoyable experience. The on shore excursions were very interesting and optional excursions catered for individual tastes and interests. I have only a few complaints .Firstly the internet connection was very poor and unreliable. This problem should be addressed urgently. Secondly there was not the opportunity to do daily exercise. For the first two mornings I went for brisk early morning walk/ run around the walking track on the top deck,as is my habit at home but was unable to continue doing this due to complaints from passengers in cabins below about been disturbed. Leonard requested there be no early morning walking from then on. This was very frustrating given that the walking track was a lovely place to exercise. Thirdly, I would have liked to have a copy the USB containing all the photos taken by crew of the whole trip but was told there were very few of these and they should have been ordered at the start of the cruise but no mention was made about that at the initial briefing. The poor internet connection was annoying and frustration as it made it difficult to check emails and complete internet banking transactions. However all in all it was the best holiday I have ever had. I enjoyed the cruise so much and everything was of such a high standard that we are going on another Viking cruise this year and recommending it to our family and friends. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2014
Many comments on this Viking River Cruise were very much like our recent cruise with them. We traveled from Bucharest to Budapest. I won't provide as much detail as most of you have done but briefly try to 'compare notes'. ... Read More
Many comments on this Viking River Cruise were very much like our recent cruise with them. We traveled from Bucharest to Budapest. I won't provide as much detail as most of you have done but briefly try to 'compare notes'. Pre-cruise: Since we have extensive experience in cruising we felt Viking was very over hyped to us and made all pre-cruise experiences as unaccommodating as possible. This includes giving me a hard time in making our regular travel agent our agent of record, requiring we not contact them about anything and only get information from our agent, not working with us to obtain satisfactory air transport via their resources we were using. Like you, our Viking hotel representative at our 1st hotel was also not properly trained in customer relations. The person in front of my wife in line for information from this person had a substantial complaint and was not picked up at the airport. Instead of just apologizing and trying to make up for this, the Viking hotel person arrogantly and loudly made it this woman's fault totally and worse she carried her bad attitude into my wife's questions. Our 1st night hotel of the cruise was quite nice, available at 1:00 PM and service was extremely good. We were not so concerned about the ships exterior as you but found the interior design poor. We have done a lot of 'luxury' level cruising and weren't expecting that but found the 'sliding' door to the bathroom very noisy. The closet door was very difficult for my wife to use and not having an electrical outlet near the cabin's mirror was very inconvenient. Dining is such a personal matter and saying what is good really reflects one's own tastes and cultural background. We did not expect 'luxury' level dining but what we received was satisfactory. Just not much special to talk about other than the waiter, Jorge, who I surfaced early on with a little interviewing. Jorge, made sure our wine glasses were always kept full during dinner. I should note that this cruise was the last of the season for the ship and crew and was only half full. Your comments on inappropriate timing hit home with me. During the cruise we were awoken at 3:30 AM to be ready for a mandatory face to face passport check going into Hungary. Why couldn't we have waited a couple of hours so this could have been done during breakfast? Also, most all of our scheduled excursions were also inappropriately scheduled, often so that during the last hour or two of our excursion we were in total darkness. Yes, really! Our departure times were much like yours, extremely inconvenient, but this sometimes is just because scheduled airline departure times seem to run early going to the USA. In conclusion, I can say that Viking does an excellent job on the destination part of cruising. Their concept of sort of putting all the excursions together that you would find on an ocean cruise into a 1 day longer excursion is really a great way to immerse yourself into a new adventure. We particularly liked the excursion we had with a 'local' family. Their tour guides were excellent. However, we have found that the more we travel the more we savor the "journey" to a "destination" as much as seeing more new destinations. Since Viking did not help us do this, in fact, made it difficult for us, we also do not think we will travel with them again.   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
The ship was clean, attractive and the crew outstanding. That said, much was negative. The dining experience was dreadful. One seating for 180 people in a crowded, noisy room made for a rude crush when the dining room doors opened. There ... Read More
The ship was clean, attractive and the crew outstanding. That said, much was negative. The dining experience was dreadful. One seating for 180 people in a crowded, noisy room made for a rude crush when the dining room doors opened. There was one table for 4, none for 2; the rest were for 6 or 8. If you weren't with an already formed group it seemed like you'd have to beg for 2 empty seats. We gave up on dinner in the main dining room and ate in the Aqavit lounge nightly. In addition to the space disaster, the food was only fair. The ship closed the sundeck for 6 days! This caused crowding in the already busy lounge. With this large group, there was nowhere else to go except your cabin. The noise level was awful. How nice it would have been to have more lounge spaces. We will not take another River cruise no will we recommend Viking to others. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
We enjoyed good weather, a great crew, super Program Director, excellent food, nice accommodations, and minimal hiccups. Viking has obviously worked very hard to address issues posted in previous reviews, with one exception: they could ... Read More
We enjoyed good weather, a great crew, super Program Director, excellent food, nice accommodations, and minimal hiccups. Viking has obviously worked very hard to address issues posted in previous reviews, with one exception: they could still be more forthcoming regarding potential issues (i.e., need to change ships or busing). We booked the three-week European Sojourn cruise from Bucharest (Giurgiu), Romania to Amsterdam, Netherlands. We made separate arrangements for our three-day pre- and post-cruise experiences in Romania and The Netherlands. Although we determined all of our accommodations, our travel agent finalized all of our lodging and travel arrangements, which (in listening to some of our fellow passengers) saved us considerable frustration and expense. And, after learning about the frequency and levels of flooding along the Danube and Main Rivers in the past, we were glad to have had travel insurance (even though we didn't need it, this time). Our assigned Veranda Stateroom on the Upper (third) deck was quite comfortable. We had hoped to be upgraded to Veranda Suite, which would have given us a separate sitting room that would have been handy when our waking / reading schedules diverged; however, we learned that those rooms did not have as much drawer / storage spaces as ours did. We did have a bit of noise from the Sun deck when there were track walkers or passengers playing shuffle board; but, since the management asked everyone to limit those activities to mid-day, it was only a minor annoyance. Our room stewardess was extremely efficient and accommodating. We have often told friends that the "best thing about the cruise was the food" and that the "worst thing about the cruise was ALL of the food." We both had to learn some restraint in selecting from the buffets and ordering. The menus were nicely varied, only repeating a few items over the course of 21 days. Of any of the offerings, only the soups could use some improvement. The open seating plan led to our getting to know many of our fellow passengers. The evening "stampede" for desired tables and servers even became a bit comical. We took this cruise on the Danube, Main and Rhine Rivers because we had never been to this part of Eastern and Central Europe. We were fascinated by the history and relative economies of the various countries and regions. From our perspective, Viking has done a nice job of balancing organized tours, free time in the various ports of call, and daylight sailing through the picturesque countryside. That is not to say, however, that they don't need to continue to refine some of the excursions to get away from some of the corny, staged presentations like the Puszta horse show. A couple of observations regarding shipboard technology: (1) The free wi-fi was appreciated; however, Viking needs to enhance its bandwidth. When everyone was onboard and attempting to connect on-line (uploading photos, etc), their wi-fi slowed to a snail's crawl. (2) The various presentations in the lounge could be transmitted to all of the passenger rooms--however, only from the ceiling-mounted camera. Several of the presentations included photo or PowerPoint visuals that could be projected onto a screen in the lounge. The system needs to be programmed to allow for displaying these presentations on the stateroom TVs, as well. We definitely recommend a Viking river cruise to others. However, as with all travel planning, do your homework ... know what your are getting, and whether that meets your expectations. Having a few hiccups along the way is what makes travel an "adventure." Viking simply needs to keep in mind that it is charging a five-star fee ... and owes a five-star experience. All-in-all, we think they are doing a pretty good job at doing so.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2014
Having just completed my first Viking River Cruise from Bucharest to Amsterdam I can only say it was an awesome trip. The Viking organization did a tremendous job. Their service and attention to passenger needs went far beyond what I ... Read More
Having just completed my first Viking River Cruise from Bucharest to Amsterdam I can only say it was an awesome trip. The Viking organization did a tremendous job. Their service and attention to passenger needs went far beyond what I expected. I dont know what to say about the food other than I now have to lose several pounds which tells you it was pretty good. We decided to go with a full balcony and though it was nice I cant say we actually used it very much as we spent more time up on the top deck. The other thing is that when you are in port you may be tied up to one or more ships and you never know whether your ship will be on the inside, middle or outside and so your view may be blocked. On our next trip I might just go with the French balcony. Another positive for Viking is the fact that they have a lot of ships. After reaching Vienna we were told that there wasn't enough water in the river to proceed for a short stretch but it proved not to be a problem as we simply switched ships with one going the other direction. The day of the switch we proceeded as normal with our tour of Melk and then took a bus to Regensberg. While this was happening the crew moved all our baggage and installed us in the same room number on the other side so it was pretty painless. The next day they took us back to Passau so we wouldnt miss any ports or tours and actually gave us a credit of 25 euros per person for lunch since we couldnt get lunch on the ship. There is not much you can do about Mother Nature but Viking really handled it well. The only negative I have is that the flight home was through the States which made it a much longer trip than necessary. It would be nice if they could route the Canadians through Canadian gateways but then again this might be a pricing issue. Other than that we saw a lot, learned a lot ( they had interesting lectures and performances along the way), ate and drank a lot (oh yes and the wine and beer with lunch and dinner was unlimited), and made some new friends. For anyone thinking about a river cruise I would highly recommend Viking. We definitely plan to go again once we pick an itinerary--who knows maybe China or one of their ocean cruises combined with a river cruise Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
We have taken nine cruises (this was our 10th) with Viking. We had not traveled to this part of Europe and we wanted to see these former Communist countries. Of course, Viking was superb however, the countries visited were for the most ... Read More
We have taken nine cruises (this was our 10th) with Viking. We had not traveled to this part of Europe and we wanted to see these former Communist countries. Of course, Viking was superb however, the countries visited were for the most part very depressing to see. Some of our fellow travelors were first timers with Viking, and were expressing their dismay. We tried to tell them that this was not the norm and to try another cruise before making any decisions about river cruising. It was very sad to see these beautiful countries falling under such corruption; to see wonderful old buildings decaying before our eyes because of corrupt governments. Roads, schools, buildings, etc., were in terrible condition and the impact of the Community regime is still very much prevelent. We saw bombed buildings that are left to crumble, from 20+ year's ago. Then, we saw the people, with smiles, greeting us, welcoming us to their country. Quite a difference. Several of us on the cruise talked about how the people would react if they could travel to the US and see what could and should be possible for them. The one cruising item that has changed for us over the years, is the huge number of river boats cruising European rivers today vs. when we started. I counted 17 different cruise ships in Budapest, when we were first in Budapest several years ago (our 2nd cruise) there were four (4) ships on the river bank, two of which were Viking. Also, the boats are larger now, and seem to be much more formal (i.e., crew does not interact as much with passengers as in the beginning), being more formal may appeal to some, but to long-time cruisers, this is not nearly as much fun and the atmosphere on the ship is somewhat strained as well. One of the best times we have had on Viking is when the crew becomes your "friend!." We have traveled more than once with the same crew members, and on meeting them the second time around, they remembered us, but were hesitant to interact with us as they did the first time due to "new rules." This is really unfortunate for Viiking, as this is what first attracted us to the Viking Cruise Line. I sincerely hope the management will re-think this change. We have scheduled another Viking cruise in 2014, a repeat of our very first cruise Tulips and Windmills. Not sure if we will continue with Viking, but we will see. We have always been treated fairly by Viking and I woundn' hesitate to recommend them, but would also tell them about the large number of river cruise boats currently occupying beautiful European rivers. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
Sailed from Bucharest to Budapest; visited former Communist controlled countries. Many of these countries are struggling, still, due to corruption in governments, unemployment, little to no infrastructure, etc. However, found people were ... Read More
Sailed from Bucharest to Budapest; visited former Communist controlled countries. Many of these countries are struggling, still, due to corruption in governments, unemployment, little to no infrastructure, etc. However, found people were wonderful. It was depressing to see so many "left-overs" from the Communist regime, i.e., falling-down buildings, little to no new construction or housing, etc. Cruise ship, Elba, is one of the new long ships. She was beautiful. But, we have been cruising with Viking since 2005; this was our 9th cruise, and we have found, that over the years, Viking has changed, some to to better, some not so much so. In the beginning, there were smaller ships, much FEWER ships on the rivers, and we felt like a part of the Viking family. Staff, in the beginning, interacted more with passengers, and it was more fun. There were fun activities on-board with the crew. In fact, we have since sailed with some crew more than twice. We have seen a definite difference in how the crew and staff are allowed to interact with passengers. One instance, one of the staff wanted to show us a picture on the cell phone, but he said he had to be careful not be seen doing this by his "boss." This would not have happened in the beginning. When we docked in Budapest, I personally counted 17-different cruise ships docked. In the first few years, we were lucky to see one or two ships docked at our same location, and more often, they were Vikings. I understand that Viking needs to catch up, but in so doing, Viking has also lost the intimacy of the cruise that first attracted us. We have scheduled one more trip, Tulips and Windmills, a repeat of our very first cruise with Viking. But, I fear this will be our last. We like the smaller ships, more interaction with staff and crew, and also with Captain and his staff. I remember one cruise where the Captain actually came into the lounge and sat with us for quite a long time. Never happen on the long ships...   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2014
Background: My husband and I have done one other river cruise – Viking’s Imperial Jewels of China which was excellent. We have been on 18 ocean cruises. We are in our middle 60’s, very active and avid walkers. Itinerary: The cities ... Read More
Background: My husband and I have done one other river cruise – Viking’s Imperial Jewels of China which was excellent. We have been on 18 ocean cruises. We are in our middle 60’s, very active and avid walkers. Itinerary: The cities of Budapest and Bucharest were amazing. The other ports in between were not very exciting or interesting. If I had it to do over - I would save this itinerary until after I’d cruised the more scenic rivers in Europe. The included excursions in Budapest and Bucharest were well done. Viking did a good job with their excursions in the smaller ports under the circumstances but there were several ports that we felt were not worth getting off the boat for. Boat: The Embla was beautiful and in excellent condition. The Aquavit Lounge and the other public rooms and areas were comfortable. The dining room was lovely but very noisy and as others on this board have suggested – we tried to get a table at either end of the dining room where the noise level was not so high. Wi-fi worked well throughout the ship in the public rooms. We were in cabin D208 which was fairly close to reception but I could only get a signal by our door and in the bathroom. The two coffee/tea/cookie stations were very convenient. In addition to oatmeal and double chocolate cookies, the pastry chef would also feature “local” cookies which were excellent. There were ice machines on each floor. Cabin: Our French Balcony stateroom was small – tiny compared to ocean cruise ship cabins – but quite comfortable and had plenty of storage. I’m a bath person and dreaded having only a shower during the cruise but the shower was great. The shower was a reasonable size and had glass doors instead of flimsy shower curtains. The water pressure was excellent and we never ran out of hot water. We found the beds quite comfortable and we enjoyed the in-room entertainment system with on-demand movies, TV shows and music. The 110 volt outlets at the nightstands allowed us to easily recharge our electronics. There is also a 110 outlet by the sliding glass door to plug in a hairdryer or curling iron. I’m always warm so I was impressed at how well I was able to control the temperature in our room. While I’m sure everyone else had their heaters on – I was able to turn on the a/c and set the temperature to a comfortable 68 degrees. Food: Food is very subjective. We are good, happy and not picky eaters. The food was pretty good but not great. The dinner menu always included 3 entrees – one meat, one fish and one vegetarian dish in addition to the always available items of salmon (very good), steak (very good) and chicken breast. We were impressed by the selection and quality of the appetizers each night. There were a total of 4 to choose from. There were several nights when we would have liked to order more than one but there just did not seem to be enough time for the wait staff to handle multiple first courses. The one occasion my DH did order 2 appetizers – the second one was never delivered. Rather than keep the rest of our table waiting – we ordered only one each night. Dinner took a full 2 to 2 ½ hours every night. Service was very slow the first four days but improved by the end of the cruise. The soups (except for the New England Clam Chowder and Chili) – were very good. We enjoyed them especially for lunch in the Aquavit Lounge. There was a pasta station each day for lunch in the dining room along with a salad bar and several miscellaneous items like pre-made sandwiches. There was also a menu for breakfast and lunch that you could order from in addition to the buffets. The breakfast buffet featured an egg station that you could custom order eggs and omelets from. There was always bacon, different kinds of sausage, cereal, breads and fresh fruit available. Entertainment: I believe 5 out of 8 days/nights we were treated to folkloric shows both on board the boat and on shore. On several nights we had lectures and not very interesting ones at that. Really? I know the average age of the passengers was over 70 but there must be other forms of entertainment available for us “age-challenged” passengers. The one night we played Name That Tune was great fun. The pianist was excellent and had a great voice but he was under-utilized throughout the trip. Hotels: The hotels Viking used were excellent. The Budapest Marriott Hotel and the Bucharest Radisson Blu were beautiful and within walking distance or metro to many attractions. The included breakfasts were wonderful with many choices. Miscellaneous: The staff were friendly and very accommodating. Our cabin steward did a great job. As previously mentioned, the dining room staff got off to a really slow start but improved as the cruise progressed. Since this was the first cruise of the season for the Embla, it was understandable that there was a learning curve.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
We had heard very good things about Viking River Cruises and we anxious to give it a try. Our travel experience has been with luxury and premium cruise lines and we love to travel independently, making our own way via rental car, and ... Read More
We had heard very good things about Viking River Cruises and we anxious to give it a try. Our travel experience has been with luxury and premium cruise lines and we love to travel independently, making our own way via rental car, and private guides. We found the experience of Viking on their Bucharest to Budapest route to be closer aligned to a bus tour on a boat. The itinerary was less than wonderful - no way to get into a town in some places unless you took the long bus tours. Everything is done as a group: Excursions that lasted many hours on packed buses. Dinner with everyone heading to the dining room at 7pm - and no ability to have a quiet table for 2. Very loud dining room because the ceilings are so low. Unlike larger ships with 300-700 people, there was no attempt on this ship to learn the names of passengers or learn their likes or interests. Everyone is treated as a member of "the group". Corporate could initiate some low or no cost amenities that could make this a better experience for guests: 1. Encourage staff to learn some of the guests names. We were told by one officer who we had just handled our shore card with our names, on a day when we did not go on the tour, that "he couldn't be expected to know all 175 names of guests" 2. Encourage officers to mingle with guests when they have time. Especially if the ship is empty, when most are on a tour. 3. Provide a morning coffee or afternoon tea in the lounge for those staying on board and not going on the tours. Make it special - This would be a welcome activity for those guest who choose to stay onboard. Have officers who are not doing anything sit and talk with guests during this period. Simply bring the cookies near the coffee machine into the lounge and serve the coffee or tea. We found no fault with our cabin, it was comfortable and well decorated. Food onboard was quite good, but the buffets at breakfast and lunch were so crowded with people moving constantly. And the buffet area is right in the middle of the dining room. Overall it was a very disappointing experience for us. But then again, most people onboard enjoyed the trip and the Viking Experience. Just not a good fit for people who like independent travel   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2013
The Embla is one of Vikings newest cruise ships, known as 'long boats' Our Embla cruise was from Budapest to Romania (billed as "Budapest to Bucharest", but not strictly speaking to Bucharest itself since it is inland). ... Read More
The Embla is one of Vikings newest cruise ships, known as 'long boats' Our Embla cruise was from Budapest to Romania (billed as "Budapest to Bucharest", but not strictly speaking to Bucharest itself since it is inland). This portion of the Danube is less developed than its upper reaches and this cruise was leisurely, but not packed with memorable experiences. Rather, the pleasure was in getting to know other passengers, in becoming acquainted with the crew, and in spending time together, something our every day lives does not always permit. Our precruise hotel was the Budapest Le Meridien. I've reviewed this hotel for Trip Advisor and will not go into detail here other than to note that it was excellent and was about four blocks from where the ship docked so we were able to walk to the ship (baggage was transferred by Viking). We arrived early because my partner had heard that a glass blowing class was being offered on board and she wanted to ensure a place for herself. There was no class (the crew explained that the glass blowing class was offered only on the longer cruises offered up river) so we had some lunch on the glassed in after deck and then walked around Budapest's pedestrian mall for a while. We boarded in the later afternoon and the ship departed around dark. We had a truly spectacular sail down the river through Budapest with the lights along the river providing a wonderful display (there is also a laser show from the roof of one of the buildings). The Embla is a very well designed ship that offers efficient public spaces and cabins, although both are quite small. There was a total passenger group of less than 200 and one seating only for dinner. A buffet is offered on the after deck for lunch and dinner, but essentially the same food is provided at both locations. The Embla is a new ship and so everything is fresh and functions very well. Cabins are of a modern design, although at times the design is a little too cunning for its own good. It took a day or two, for example, to figure out how to use the shower without getting water all over the floor (the trick: close the doors after entering the shower and bring them together simultaneously to make a tight seal. The shower has two levers, one an off on with one below it to regulate heat. Set the heat dial to the preferred level and then just turn the water on after closing the doors). Service on the Embla was superb and actually better than on better ocean cruise lines. The passenger group is small and it was very easy to get to know the crew as individuals, which I believe resulted in better service.. My partner's birthday was just before cruise departure. The Maitre D independently found out about that and approached me the first night of the cruise to offer her a cake in celebration. We found this very thoughtful and symbolic of the level and type of service offered by the Embla crew. Dinner is provided with table service. Lunch offers a buffet with served entrée options. Breakfast was buffet but pancakes were available on order. All of the food was excellent. Wine was included at both lunch and dinner. There was one red and one white choice, both very nice Hungarian wines, with more expensive options available for purchase by the glass. Beer and whiskey were also available. There were very few on board activities and limited shore excursions. Generally there was a single excursion included in the cost each day with optional excursions at some stops. As this cruise was off the beaten path few of the ports were noteworthy visits for positive reasons. Vukovar in Croatia still suffers from the results of the wars in the 1990s, has war damage in many buildings, and has a 40 percent unemployment rate. Belgrade, once the capital of Yugoslavia, remains stunted by the war and was generally shabby. Bulgaria and Romania were much more interesting. Disembarkation was handled smoothly via a motor coach trip to Bucharest. We stayed at the Radisson Blu in Bucharest, which I also reviewed on Trip Advisor. In general embarkation was handled much more smoothly than debarkation. The Viking staff in Bucharest seemed disinterested and lacked knowledge. There was little information provided about the process of getting from the hotel to the airport and if we had not proactively made sure our luggage was in the lobby and that we had arrived well ahead of time I am not sure that we would have caught the bus to the airport. As an example, we paid for room service for breakfast because there was no information provided that we saw concerning a bag breakfast provided by the hotel. In summary, we really enjoyed our vacation on the Embla and are looking forward to another Viking cruise on another itinerary another time. Read Less
Viking Embla Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 3.0 3.6
Public Rooms 5.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 1.0 2.8
Family 1.0 2.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.0
Enrichment 4.0 3.9
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 3.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 3.7

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