Sail Date: July 2019
We chose Avalon since we had sailed the Rhine with them 10 years ago and had a wonderful experience. We chose this Blue Danube cruise because it was 2 nights in Budapest, over night in Vienna and 2 nights in Prague. We had a first class ... Read More
We chose Avalon since we had sailed the Rhine with them 10 years ago and had a wonderful experience. We chose this Blue Danube cruise because it was 2 nights in Budapest, over night in Vienna and 2 nights in Prague. We had a first class experience again! Everything was phenomenal from the cabin to the food to the excursions we picked. We highly recommend all the excursions that have to do with food and wine both afternoon tours for tastings and evening tours for dinners and folk shows. We also ordered a basic Anniversary celebration package and it was wonderful. We had a special table in the dining room with 6 guests (folks we had met on the cruise). Our guests received beautiful invitations, our table was decorated, we had champagne and a cake and then our cabin as also decorated and we had champagne, flowers, candy and fruit in the cabin. All of which made this anniversary especially memorable. Avalon also came through with a free excursion to Salzburg and a free lunch in Regensberg when they were forced to change our itinerary due to low water on the Danube that prevented us from getting to Nuremberg. The speed with which they changed arrangements for 150 people some of whom were flying out of Nuremberg was amazing. None of the passengers could have asked for better customer service. Should we chose to do another river cruise it will definitely be on Avalon. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
As travel agent, we wanted to try out the Emerald service, and we are convinced, that the service is fabulous and excellent. We sailed from Nuremberg to Amsterdam, in July 2019. After arriving from the airport we got on board in minutes. ... Read More
As travel agent, we wanted to try out the Emerald service, and we are convinced, that the service is fabulous and excellent. We sailed from Nuremberg to Amsterdam, in July 2019. After arriving from the airport we got on board in minutes. The staff is extremely polite, and nice at the reception, in the restaurant, in the bar etc.. The pool has a relaxing atmosphere. The city tours have been well organized with professional guides, comfortable couches. We had great opportunity to visit the most important places, monuments, castles and churches. During our free time we have been good advised to explore the cities in an independent way. Every evening we had various entertaining programs with a lot of fun and laughing moments. The whole crew made our trip enjoyable, comfortable and memorable. We enjoyed our breakfast buffet every morning and 4 courses dinner each evening as well as our lunch combining buffet and menu. Additionally we had joyful teatime and late night snack. All food was fresh and well prepared. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We have been to the Viking River. We are happy with the cruising along the River Danube. The cabin is small, the entertainment is OK, could be better - mainly piano playing, One time the cruise director Dawn gave a nice concert, a ... Read More
We have been to the Viking River. We are happy with the cruising along the River Danube. The cabin is small, the entertainment is OK, could be better - mainly piano playing, One time the cruise director Dawn gave a nice concert, a Sparano solo -the only best concert. Another time a team of two GERMAN musicians playing the accordion. Food is nutrition with limited choice in the menu. The ship Viking Tor is very new. Port excursion consists of a lot of walking. Viking puts out lots of optional excursions. Viking river cruise does not welcome children, probably person more than 21 cannot drink any alcoholic beverage, also there is no children's program in the ship. Viking Cruise company gives out lots of incentive for a passenger to return for another cruise in the future, like $200 onboard credit if returning within 2 years. I probably would go back. I enjoy the river cruises over the ocean cruises. The service & staff are excellent, very friendly. The ports & shore excursions are excellent & well organized. the reasons-smaller ship, more intimate atmosphere, more personal care, less line up for everything, wine & drink is included during mealtime, no formal wear ( makes it easier to pack.), we get to go ashore every day, the ship disembarks right in the city center. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We had been planning for our Romantic Danube cruise on the Viking Var for over a year. Eight of us were traveling together to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. We have never spent this much money on a vacation ($12,000) before and we ... Read More
We had been planning for our Romantic Danube cruise on the Viking Var for over a year. Eight of us were traveling together to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. We have never spent this much money on a vacation ($12,000) before and we were so excited to cruise from Budapest to Nuremburg. The first four days of our trip was a dream. The crew on the Var was fabulous and we could not have been happier. On the 4th day, rumors started circulating around the ship that we were going to have to change ships. We understood from our contract with Viking that river levels or other issues could cause a change in itinerary, but how Viking handled the change is completely unacceptable. Viking has known a lock on the Danube between Regensburg and Nuremburg was broken since a Viking ship broke it on June 5th. We did not sail until June 28th, Viking knew about this itinerary change and did not notify its customers. We were told the night before a ship change that we had to have all our things packed and outside our cabin doors by 8:15 am to be transferred to a new ship. Here’s where it got worse: 1) We were bussed (1.5 hours) to Passau, Germany for that day’s tour and then bussed for 4 hours to Roth, Germany where our new ship, the Viking Tor, was docked in a dirty industrial canal. 2) When we boarded our new ship after four hours on a bus, not a single crew member apologized, a drink wasn’t offered…nothing. 3) At that night’s port talk, we were told that if we wanted to go to Regensburg, we would have to be bussed 1.5 hours each way for a two-hour city tour. We declined to take that tour and found our own way to the Roth train station and made our way to Nuremburg on our own and at our own expense. We were only 30 minutes from Nuremberg and the Viking crew would not help us arrange something different than what they had planned. 4) We then sat in Roth, in a dirty industrial canal for two days. 5) We sailed to another industrial canal in Nuremburg and disembarked the next day. Upon arriving home, I contacted Viking Customer Service to provide feedback and to ask for compensation for spending a third of our “Romantic Danube” cruise on dirty canals. I was told by the Agent for Viking that Viking Executives were reviewing compensation for all of the passengers. He told me that after I received that communication if I was not happy, I should call him back. About two hours later, I received an email from Viking offering us each a $250 voucher for another cruise. That is roughly 4% of the cost of our trip when we spent almost a third of our trip either on a bus or a dirty canal. What an insult from Viking. All of Viking’s advertising touts their world class service…that’s all true when everything is going fine, but when issues arise, Viking takes no responsibility or accountability with their customers. When I called the Agent back, he confirmed that $250 was the offer and that it was “more than generous”. He also explained to me how itinerary changes are made by Viking and that the experience I explained to him was not what had happened. He offered me $500 each for an ocean cruise, “but, that is the best I can do and we are at an impasse.” He was nice in our first call and very rude in our second. Here’s the truth: 1) Viking knew about the lock before we boarded our ship. They chose not to disclose it. Other river cruise companies did and one cruise line even put their passengers up in a 5 star hotel rather than make them spend days on a dirty canal. 2) Viking gave us 10 hours’ notice of the change. No one ever apologized. If they would have offered everyone a free drink in the bar that night after a 4 hour bus ride, that would have gone a long way. 3) We spent one-third of our vacation in a dirty canal and Viking could care less. I will never take a Viking cruise again, I will never recommend Viking, I will proactively tell my friends and family to never take a Viking cruise and I will use all social media and cruise review sites I can to tell my story. What a truly disappointing experience. Viking is dishonest and does not care about its customers…plain and simple. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
We had done the Rhine and couldn't wait to go again. I can't believe this is even the same cruise line. The crew was very standoff-ish. But, we made nice friends and the first few days were decent. Then, at Gottwieg Abby, we ... Read More
We had done the Rhine and couldn't wait to go again. I can't believe this is even the same cruise line. The crew was very standoff-ish. But, we made nice friends and the first few days were decent. Then, at Gottwieg Abby, we were informed that due to a broken lock, we would have to do a boat swap with Tor that night. We'd pack, they would transfer our luggage to another boat while we were touring, we'd return to the new boat and be on our way. What happened is that they stuck us on a 6-hour bus ride and delivered us to Tor - parked in an industrial waste site, complete with rumbling dump trucks and trash. There we stayed for 3 days! We found out it had already been there for 3 days prior! Most of our tours were canceled for two days. If we wanted to do anything we had to be up at 5:30 AM and on a bus for a 2-3 hour bus ride to a faraway city....where we would get to spend a whole hour touring! We finally mutinied and told them we were staying till 4 and they had better come and get us. They did...but at 5:45! Yet, we met other Viking passengers who had boat-swapped with little disruption. We understood the lock issue... until they tied us up for 3 days! No explanation. Calls to Viking upon return home were met with the rudest, nastiest treatment imaginable. "What do you want, lady?" I paid $10,000 for half a cruise. I would expect decent compensation. Nope, they acted as if we should have been grateful that they said, 'sorry.' Our Rhine had lectures and classes...this one had nothing! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Bucket list trip to see Budapest & Prague for my wife & I, we have taken 4 ocean liner cruises but this was our first river cruise. We arrived in Budapest the day before the cruise started & we arranged for Avalon to transfer ... Read More
Bucket list trip to see Budapest & Prague for my wife & I, we have taken 4 ocean liner cruises but this was our first river cruise. We arrived in Budapest the day before the cruise started & we arranged for Avalon to transfer us from the airport to the hotel. The morning of our trip departure Avalon had a bus shuttle us & many other passengers from the hotel to the Visionary ship. Check in went smooth and we were very pleased with the cleanliness of the ship & our cabin. The daily Happy Hour (HR) was great with drinks 1/2 off, & the service during HR was excellent & since there's only (1) bar we were able to meet new people & make friends. Overall the dining was pretty good & the service was outstanding, the entire staff went out of their way to accommodate you. I loved the sauerkraut soup but that was the only soup I liked, if I had to give a bad grade out it would be for the soups, they all tasted like potato water, & the couple of nights we had seafood it was nothing special & the desserts could have been better. We tried different wines every night and most of them were very good. Shore Excursions were very good, of course some of the guides were better than others. It was a very busy day doing the included shore excursions in the morning & then going out on (3) of the optional afternoon excursions. It was so nice that Avalon had a "gentle walkers" excursion group for those that moved slower. It seemed like we stayed very busy getting up early for the morning excursions, attending the nightly next day info meetings during HR, then dinner was 7-9, so every day we felt like we were on a schedule. I would have liked more down time cruising on the river taking in the sites and I didn't like it that we couldn't sleep with the patio door open at night due to the bright lights from going thru the river locks & waking up docked to another ship right outside our window blocking any potential view. Unfortunately several people (12 that I know of) caught the chest respiratory bug that was going around, including myself and several people we met including my wife had to seek medical treatment & were bed ridden for a few days. Maybe adding another hand sanitizer station after you walked into the dining would have helped, but this is always a concern when you have 120 people plus staff contained on a boat. We stayed in Prague an extra day & also arranged for Avalon to transfer us from our hotel to the airport & again the driver was friendly & prompt. In summary it was a nice vacation and I would do another river cruise with Avalon now that I know what they’re about, they are very accommodating & much more personable than the ocean liner cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
My wife and I thought this was an easy way to experience Europe without a lot of pressure on us and we were right. From the start Scenic was fantastic. Pick up at airport in Budapest was the one thing we were nervous about but a Scenic ... Read More
My wife and I thought this was an easy way to experience Europe without a lot of pressure on us and we were right. From the start Scenic was fantastic. Pick up at airport in Budapest was the one thing we were nervous about but a Scenic employee was waiting for us in the arrival hall. A light lunch was being prepared for us when we reached Scenic Amber, which we were pleasantly surprised about, after being up for 30 hours. The ship was very clean and we were welcomed by Mauricio the hotel manager. The entire crew was awesome. From JJ the cruise director to the lounge and wait staff. We loved this group of people. It didn't take them long to know what our drink order was or "Egg benedict?" for breakfast. This group was truly fantastic. Food was great!! I have read some negative reviews about food and they make no sense to me. My wife is a picky eater and she was so proud of herself for all the unique and new foods she ate. Chef Istvan is very proud of his work and he should be. They make the bread on board and I had to have some every day. Great choices of fish or different meats that tied into the area we were traveling. Well done! We were on the Jewel Deck in a small cabin but it was fine. We liked the extra storage on the "shelf" next to the picture window...ran the whole length of the cabin. Very helpful in a tight room. Room was just a place to flop. Great shower though! The excursions were great. I loved having time, other than Budapest, to be able to go off on our own for at least 90 minutes. Plenty of shopping and sightseeing was done. The concert in Vienna was awesome as was Schoenbrunn Palace in Vienna, Melk Abbey, and the trip to Salzburg. Regensburg was so much better than expected. Entertainment seemed fine. We watched a little of it. People seemed to be enjoying it. My wife and I liked hanging out in the evening air on the top deck and watching the river and lights. Again, the service by this crew couldn't have been better. We wanted to take a few of them home with us. I love friendly banter and this crew is allowed to be themselves so hats off to Mauricio and JJ for that. The crew was very attentive and made sure your glasses were full if you wanted them to be. We definitely hope to go on a Scenic cruise again...maybe the Rhine next time...after we get the two kids out of college! Well done Scenic Amber!!! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Avalon river cruise is absolutely the way to go. Avalon is a first class river cruise line at very reasonable prices. The ship is beautiful, with glass french door walls that open to give you a view of the river, local towns and castles. ... Read More
Avalon river cruise is absolutely the way to go. Avalon is a first class river cruise line at very reasonable prices. The ship is beautiful, with glass french door walls that open to give you a view of the river, local towns and castles. This was our first river cruise and we traveled with 25 friends and family. Taking a river cruise with friends and family is the way to go, sharing every moment together with members of the group, yet always having the flexibility to wander off on your own. Food on the ship was outstanding, and the crew under the leadership of the Captain felt like an extension of our family. They operated like a well oiled machine.. They were all so cordial, joked, very attentive, and so helpful. Avalon's Cruise Director Monika was so knowledgeable and helpful. She was outstanding and quick to help find out information if needed. All the tours and activities were well organized. What we liked most about the river cruise was the ability to dock next to the town, and go for walks whenever you wanted and wherever you wanted. Avalon also was very considerate of the different type of travelers. If you were older and more limited in walking, they had a gente traveler arrangement and would provide the equivalent of a golf cart in some locations to help ease the touring. Then for those of us that were more active, we could take beautiful hikes, or use the bikes on the ship to go bike riding through the towns and local area. Plus they had the classical tours for the average traveler. Everything was so well thought out. Almost everyone in our group took the top cabin deck and found the views beautiful. At night we would sit on the top ship deck and watch the towns and castles go by all lite up. It was so smooth, like riding on glass. What a change from ocean cruises that are always so crowded and not smooth, plus you have to take tenders to get to the towns your visiting which takes time. If you are thinking about taking a river cruise, everyone in our group highly recommends Avalon. We are already looking at planning another river cruise with Avalon. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose Emerald from a friend's recommendation and were not disappointed. We made our own flight arrangements and flew into Budapest 3 days prior to our departure to meet up with our friends and explore the city. What a ... Read More
We chose Emerald from a friend's recommendation and were not disappointed. We made our own flight arrangements and flew into Budapest 3 days prior to our departure to meet up with our friends and explore the city. What a fabulous destination; steeped in history with fantastic shopping and food. We checked into Emerald on departure day and were warmly greeted. All our luggage showed up in our spacious room and cocktails were served. Awesome start. The food was fresh, innovative, hearty and always personalized with amazing service from every single staff member....without exception The Emerald team made EVERYONE feel they were the most important customer. Take advantage of every excursion and active adventure that Emerald offers. Great tour guides (fluent English), incredible history, scenery and sights in all ports of call. The Emerald Active selections were a lot of fun and helped keep some of the inevitable weight gain at bay. We highly recommend Emerald and the Danube Delights agenda...we would do it all over again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Had been on Ama (wonderful), Uniworld (good) and wanted to try Scenic. Also wanted Danube cruise that went to Salzburg. The service was excellent, room kept very clean, and excursions good. Wine far better than we were expecting but ... Read More
Had been on Ama (wonderful), Uniworld (good) and wanted to try Scenic. Also wanted Danube cruise that went to Salzburg. The service was excellent, room kept very clean, and excursions good. Wine far better than we were expecting but food was a disappointment. Beate, the cruise director went out of her way to help everyone but she was leaving at the end of our cruise for a private job opportunity. Some of the excursions groups were too big and they should have hired another guide or 2 to keep the groups smaller. The new system for the headset didn’t work well all the time, but that was due to too large groups. The biggest disappointment was the food. Breakfast was a 10 but lunch and dinner fell short. Sometimes the food was lukewarm. The veal schnitzel was almost inedible. There were no wow factors. The salmon and tenderloin that you could always order were under seasoned. The gala night had Canadian lobster tail and beef Wellington and it was very good. Then the closing night was turkey. The turkey was good but it doesn’t seem like a luxury dinner on the last night of a luxury cruise. They could Improve by doing a grill on deck with bratwurst and cheeseburgers! Soups were generally pretty good. Desserts were average except for ice cream. We are excellent home cooks so food is very important to us. I will stick with Ama for future cruises. Or try Crystal. But Scenic and Uniworld are out. If you are a foodie, go with Ama. I’ve attached pictures of menus and wine lists and daily plans. I wish I could have received this information in advance so hope it helps others. Mark, the musician, was excellent. The dancers were ok. The concert in Vienna was very nice. Portobellos had excellent appetizers and desserts but mediocre entree. Have to submit photos separately because they don’t attach from an iPad. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We have returned from a 14 day Classic River cruise on the Monarch Governess starting from Budapest to Amsterdam. I couldn’t find any information on this cruise ship so I decided to write about our wonderful experience. We booked ... Read More
We have returned from a 14 day Classic River cruise on the Monarch Governess starting from Budapest to Amsterdam. I couldn’t find any information on this cruise ship so I decided to write about our wonderful experience. We booked the Suite and if this can be an option it is well worth the extra money for a bigger room and bathroom. Let me start with the wonderful staff. They were all exceptional; especially Gary and Nad who made our time on the ship fun and run smoothly. All the staff greeted you and made you feel special each day. The food was fantastic along with all the wine and beer you can possibly consume with your evening meal. You can have alcohol in your room that has a bar fridge or the drinks are reasonable at the bar. Being from Australia, there was a few of us on board who sang and danced most nights along with American’s, Canadians and a sprinkling of other Nationalities. All the tours ran according to plan and we had booked all the optional tours which were worth it except for the Classical concert, which was staged for the tourists and not worth the money. I would highly recommend Gate1 Travel over all the other river cruises as they are much cheaper but still go to all the same places and dock in the same spot as all the other far more expensive companies such as Viking and Scenic. Little bonuses are you don’t have to dress up for dinner, you can do as much or as little as you want, you never feel like there’s so many people around (in fact there was 120 people on board and even after 1 week I still didn’t recognise them all) you can be as sociable as you like and you can join in the nightly activities and have a great time. I loved everything on board the Monarch Governess and all the staff at Gate1 Travel should be proud of running a fantastic cruise. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I'm going to break my review into some basic areas that really are the things most folks look for on river cruise. The Tours, Food, Accommodations, Ambiance and staff. Let me start with the easiest first...Staff. Staff: Uniworld ... Read More
I'm going to break my review into some basic areas that really are the things most folks look for on river cruise. The Tours, Food, Accommodations, Ambiance and staff. Let me start with the easiest first...Staff. Staff: Uniworld certainly knows what it's doing when it comes to hiring the "best of the best" as we found each and every person on board to be kind, engaging, fun, service oriented and just lovely. In particular Adrian, our Waiter, was Amazing, as was a bar waitress named Sylvia. Always a smile, they remembered the smallest details: How you like your drink, or the type of coffee you enjoyed. Our stewardess kept the cabin SPOTLESS and we were so impressed with how quickly they did their work. Can't praise them enough! Food: Meal quality was a little uneven. In particular Uniworld always has some basics on the menu in case you can't find anything you like in the daily featured dishes at dinner. The "Everyday" menu included things like Chicken and Steaks and Salmon and while prepared pretty well, the quality of the ingredients seemed to be lacking a bit. Strongly suggest they look to their purveyors to up that quality of the proteins on board. The breakfast and Lunches are all buffets and they were really excellent always plenty of choices. The dining room is a bit tight with big comfy chairs but overall a very pleasant place to spend a good portion of the evening. Again, the staff shined with complimentary wine flowing. Overall dinners were OK, just not at the level we were expecting at this price point. Tours: This is where I feel Uniworld really shines and is totally the reason to pay a little more for Uniworld. We saw other lines with huge groups of people but Uniworld had these small intimate group tours around the various cities. We couldn't have been more impressed with the guides (they get the best of the best) and loved the 'do as the locals do" visiting markets, riding public transit with our guide and learning ever so much, about the daily lives of the locals. A++++. Accommodations: So Uniworld claims to have the best beds on the rivers and indeed they do. Seriously it's no joke, these beds are off the chart. It's like sleeping in a gloved hand, resting on a cloud. I could go on and on but suffice to say, you will want to try, as we did, to figure out how to get this bed home with you! The decor is really quite something, shall I say " Over the Top". Makes you feel like you are staying in one of the palaces that you've toured each day. Initially I was a bit taken aback, but quickly realized it was replicating the experience of old Europe and very quickly I fell in love with it all the tufts and frills. while I wouldn't decorate my home this way, the style and glamour immersed you in the European style and we loved it! Ambiance: Sadly on our sailing there wasn't a piano player in the lounge and that was a miss, as a little music during cocktail hour and afterwards would have made the product come to life a little more. Uniworld does bring on entertainment in some of the ports but would have loved a little more consistency in this area. I found the other guest on board to be quite social and we met tons of new friends. Bottom Line: It's worth the extra $$. You will be wowed and super comfy! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We have been on several Viking River cruises before. Sadly-the Legend is an old, tired, leased ship and is nothing like the Viking owned ships. No aquavit lounge for starters, so no great place to sit outside. No outdoor balcony in our ... Read More
We have been on several Viking River cruises before. Sadly-the Legend is an old, tired, leased ship and is nothing like the Viking owned ships. No aquavit lounge for starters, so no great place to sit outside. No outdoor balcony in our suite-which was really expensive. There’s no service on the rooftop-which is the only outdoor seating. And then there’s the food. The dinners are just not good. I’m not a picky eater-and I haven’t finished 1 meal because they are just not tasty. Breakfast and lunch have been fine. The furniture is worn out and the main lounge is set up like an old cocktail lounge from the 70’s. Viking-shame on you for compromising your standards and proving that your growth is now changing your standards. You leased a substandard ship for your loyal passengers rather than holding off until you had a nice ship available. The cabin had none of the usual Viking electrical outlet choices, so I couldn’t plug in my curling iron! I will say the staff has been very good. The included tours have been good and we’ve had a couple of really fabulous tour guides. Viking should send some secret shoppers on their cruises to see what’s going on and to eat the food. I think the senior management would be shocked if they spent a week on the Legend. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
I am an airline employee and received information from ID 90 and they shared a special that looked like something we wanted to try. It turned out to be really great and we loved the crew and ship! Would definitely do it again. We took ... Read More
I am an airline employee and received information from ID 90 and they shared a special that looked like something we wanted to try. It turned out to be really great and we loved the crew and ship! Would definitely do it again. We took another couple and they agreed it was a great time! The ship was one of the newest, very pretty and our cabin was very nice. Dining was great and even had Hungarian goulash available when we came back late from our private concert while in Vienna.~ Loved the greeting with the hot towels and our cabin was always made up and cleaned when we returned from being out and about! Would we do it again, YES!!! We were invited to sit the last evening at the captain's table. We found Jasper to be quite experienced and would hope to have him lead the ship again should we have the opportunity to be so lucky to have him. Also shout out to Maria, the head of the cabins and we also thought that Balegio was superb at leading all of us on announcements and directions. Loved it!!! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
This cruise was magical on the Avalon Panorama, thanks to the wonderful, attentive crew, especially our tour director, István. Passengers were mostly Americans and Australians/New Zealanders in their 60s or later. The daily included tours ... Read More
This cruise was magical on the Avalon Panorama, thanks to the wonderful, attentive crew, especially our tour director, István. Passengers were mostly Americans and Australians/New Zealanders in their 60s or later. The daily included tours were usually morning gentle walking tours of the cities within a small radius of where the ship was docked. Optional included hikes up hill to local castles were also available. The extra tours were well priced, I thought, and were unforgettable. Avalon gave us all kinds of happy surprises, like local drinks as we sailed the Middle Rhein, local exclusive concerts, and special tours of sights along the rivers. The chef did an amazing job with local delicacies. This was the best dining I’ve experienced in 40 plus cruises. Quality local wines and beer plentiful at lunch and dinner. We sailed from Budapest after a full day there, and the night trip through the city was fantastic. In fact, the sailing schedule seemed to maximize our time seeing the best parts of the rivers. Our stops included picturesque and historical towns, including Melk, Dürnstein, Regensburg, Bamberg, Bratislava, Vienna, Nuremberg, Miltenberg, Würzburg, Rüdesheim, Cologne and Amsterdam, where we spent 2 days. István did a great job with the local guides, who were very informative and enthusiastic. If you paid attention, you’d have gotten a good course in Central European history. While my wife was on a Sound of Music tour in Austria, I took an optional tour to Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic and the guide gave us an extraordinary history of German/Czech relations over the centuries. I checked out their brand new cruiser bikes three times for scenic trips along the many bike paths along the river. Housekeeping was always friendly and punctual. We liked not being “nickel/dimed” into extra expenses. We were happy, however, to pay extra tips for the crew and tour leader at the end. Without describing each tour stop, I’ll just conclude that this is our best river cruise ever. Avalon has become our favorite river tour operator. István is worth his weight in gold. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
March 31, 2019 on Viking Magni River Cruise Budapest to Passau. First suggestion, do your homework. We booked a French “Balcony” (sliding door) on 3rd Fl. Very small. Just enough room for a double bed. No chairs so reading or TV ... Read More
March 31, 2019 on Viking Magni River Cruise Budapest to Passau. First suggestion, do your homework. We booked a French “Balcony” (sliding door) on 3rd Fl. Very small. Just enough room for a double bed. No chairs so reading or TV is lying on bed. Small bathroom. Very efficient but claustrophobic. Room has fridge but only useful for bringing in shore beverages or food. Hint. Don’t upgrade the liquor package. Buy duty free or in town and save $$ as you can bring this on board and no corkage. Fridge is useless otherwise as no room service and cannot bring any bottles from bar into room (even with their best upgraded liquor package!). WiFi is free as it should be because it was terrible. With modern service I’m sure this could be improved if they wanted to but would increase expenses. Service was impeccable from everyone. As were the excursions, even those included. That is the expectation and the standard for this caliber of cruise. The entrees we had were all good but not exceptional. Superb buffet is always in addition to table menu service. Best meal was grilled sea bass served on last day. Meals are mostly served in main dining room with tables of 6-8+. Great opportunity to build friendships and share conversations with fellow travelers. Still good value and a we hope to go again but equipped with new knowledge to fine tune our experience. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We were on the Iconic Christmas Markets Cruise during Christmas Week, and purchased the additional two nights in Prague though Ama. We have traveled extensively through the years, including ocean cruises, but this was our first river ... Read More
We were on the Iconic Christmas Markets Cruise during Christmas Week, and purchased the additional two nights in Prague though Ama. We have traveled extensively through the years, including ocean cruises, but this was our first river cruise. To say we were completely pleased is an understatement. The entire experience was top notch from the moment we landed in Budapest until our departure from Prague. We traveled with our two children, who are in their 20s. The Boat: Overall, the ship was extremely clean, and the rooms were comfortable. We had two rooms on the Cello Deck (mid-level) with a French balcony and outside balcony. It was too cold to use the outside balcony, but it made the room brighter. Our Housekeeper cleaned the room at least twice a day, including turn down service. The room was quiet and we slept well with nice linens and pillows. Since the boat is small, everything is a short walk and we never felt rushed to get to dinner or to the lounge. The Food: Excellent! Breakfast was primarily buffet style with a great selection of meats, cheeses, fruits, juices, eggs to order, and a huge pastry table. There were a couple of menu options, like Eggs Benedict. There was also a light breakfast option, pastries, in the lounge for late risers. Lunch was primarily buffet too, with different soups and main courses available. We could also order some items off of the menu, like cheeseburgers, which were delicious. Beer and wine were included with lunch, along with different desserts. Dinner was the highlight of the day. Each night featured a different 5 course menu with a couple of choices for each course. The main courses varied from beef to fish to chicken to lamb. We had dinner one night at the Chef’s Table Restaurant, and it was awesome. Beer and different wines included at dinner. Entertainment: There is only one lounge, and it was the meeting place at all hours of the day. There was a coffee/tea/chocolate maker that was available all the time. As far as I could tell, there was always a bartender on duty. People gathered in the lounge to read, socialize, and view the stunning countryside. At night there were some local entertainers, and there was a piano player/DJ to keep the guests entertained. In the rooms, the entertainment system didn’t always work, but it was not a problem for us. Wi-Fi was also spotty in some areas, but we enjoyed the views as we floated up the Danube. The gym is very small, but it was fine. The Cities and Tours: In order, Budapest, Vienna, Melk, Passau, Regensburg, Nuremberg. The Illuminations Cruise in Budapest was amazing. Since it was Christmas week, we only had Christmas markets in Budapest and Vienna (also Prague, but more on that later). The Christmas Markets were fantastic, and having cash was preferable for smaller purchases, like food and drink. Each stop had its own magic and charm. The contracted tour guides in each stop were incredibly knowledgeable. Since this cruise was over Christmas, most shops in the towns visited from December 24th – 26th (Melk, Passau, Regensburg) were closed as Christmas was being observed. Regardless, each was still charming to walk through and some coffee shops and restaurants were open. Each location was also busy with locals out strolling. On Christmas Day, anyone wanting to attend Mass could do so at the Cathedral in Passau, about 10 minutes’ walk from the ship. The Crew: Even though this group had been working for months and had encountered a couple of thousand guests and were almost done for the season, they were all amazingly friendly and helpful and patient. Every crew member I encountered smiled and greeted me and took the time to answer my questions graciously. The service was as good as any we have encountered in our journeys. Due to high water in Germany, the cruise was slightly modified, requiring us to spend the final full day at sail – no stops. The crew adjusted well, hosting a Bavarian themed lunch and ice cream party. We did not mind at all. The Captain and Cruise Manager provided briefings to the passengers on river conditions. Post Cruise Tour: We purchased two nights in Prague for a reasonable price. We were transported by bus from Nuremberg, and were treated to a top hotel, the Cosmopolitan. The Cruise Manager accompanied our group, which was great. The hotel was located just a few minutes from the Christmas Market and historical center of the city. Even though it was after Christmas, the Christmas Market was still open as the holiday is celebrated through January 6th in Prague. The package also included breakfast in the very nice hotel restaurant, and a walking tour of historic Prague. Transfer Service: We purchased from the airport in Budapest to the ship; and from the Cosmopolitan Hotel to the airport in Prague. Both experiences were great. In Budapest, we were greeted by Ama reps and transported in a roomy bus. They had bottled water, which was a godsend after the long trip. In Prague, our Cruise Manager greeted us as we left, even though it was 4:30 AM, and gave us a boxed meal to go. At the airport, an Ama rep met us and guided us through check in, which was much appreciated. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I wanted something special as a graduation gift for my son! The cruise was even nicer than I ever dreamed. The service was superb, as each crew member was so kind and responsive. The cruise director was amazing, always finding ... Read More
I wanted something special as a graduation gift for my son! The cruise was even nicer than I ever dreamed. The service was superb, as each crew member was so kind and responsive. The cruise director was amazing, always finding solutions to any challenges that presented themselves. The chef and his staff were very talented in creating delicious and beautiful meals. The scenery and towns visited were like a dream! The guides did a great job of introducing us to the cities we visited each day. The concierge was extremely organized, keeping track of the location of each guest, to ensure no one stayed behind. Local guides were authentic and knowledgeable, adding a local insight to what we were seeing, and giving us tips on where to buy the best souvenirs and the best prices. We would love to return someday, or take other cruises in the U.S. Thanks Viking! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We booked this far in advance in order to see both the sights and the Christmas Markets. Viking did a great job keeping us informed about the low water levels and the workarounds (buses). But even after the “final” ship/bus itinerary ... Read More
We booked this far in advance in order to see both the sights and the Christmas Markets. Viking did a great job keeping us informed about the low water levels and the workarounds (buses). But even after the “final” ship/bus itinerary was announced, we were fortunate to get enough last-minute rain (8 feel of water added to the river in 48 hours) that the original all-cruise itinerary could be maintained. Kudos to Viking for what had to be a lot of behind-the-scenes logistics! The three-day pre-cruise addition in Prague was well worth it, and the Art Noveau Palace hotel had a great location (easy walk to the Old City Square), excellent room amenities (more electrical outlets than a typical American hotel), and a fabulous breakfast buffet (including multiple gluten free and vegan offerings). This being our second Viking river cruise, we expected top notch friendly shipboard service from the crew and first-rate food. We were not disappointed in either of those two respects. The one-star rating for Fitness & Recreation is not Viking’s fault. It was just too cold to use the sun deck at all, which was empty throughout the trip. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We started out on the Viking Jarl. The staff was excellent and if our whole cruise had stayed on the Jarl we would have had our dream vacation in spite of the low water levels. The Captain, Hotel Manager, Program Director, wait staff, ... Read More
We started out on the Viking Jarl. The staff was excellent and if our whole cruise had stayed on the Jarl we would have had our dream vacation in spite of the low water levels. The Captain, Hotel Manager, Program Director, wait staff, bartender, room steward and all other staff we came in contact with was excellent. But the moment we changed onto the Atla the staff was rude, had an attitude, food service was bad bad (Banana pudding was a small, hard muffin with hint of banana, not a creamy, delicious pudding), food was ok but not like the great food we had on the Jarl. All in all the whole experience on the Atla was terrible. We were made to feel like an inconvenience and they could hardly wait until the next day when they could pass us off to the Bragia. When we transferred on Saturday to the Bragia it started out fine. We were greeted well. But the wait staff was clearly lacking. The Aquavit Terrace had the food for breakfast laid out but the entire time we were eating we never saw any wait staff to help us. The final night was the breaking point. We had experienced a bad tour with a guide we could not understand, it was cold and we were tired. When we arrived for dinner we were advised that the regional Hungarian menu was ALL we could order from!! The staff was extremely rude when we requested other choices. Finally the matre de allowed my husband who cant have spicy food to have a plain hamburger and french fries. It was like they couldn't get rid of us fast enough. The next morning we were staying at a hotel in Budapest we had arranged. Although our bags had been out by 7:15 as told, when we got ready to leave at 8:30 they were not upstairs. We had to ask for them to be brought us and a taxi called. We previously had been told by friends what a great cruise line Viking was. This trip was terrible. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
Danube Waltz - the cities we were going to with the rich history in each was the leading factor. Seeing the comfort of being on the ship and cruising down the river was total enticing. Unfortunately, we arrived when the river was ... Read More
Danube Waltz - the cities we were going to with the rich history in each was the leading factor. Seeing the comfort of being on the ship and cruising down the river was total enticing. Unfortunately, we arrived when the river was historically low and did not get to spend the afternoon in Budapest. We got a panoramic bus ride then bused all the way to Vienna by passing Bratislava. We were bused back for a panoramic bus ride tour of the city and no free time again. Had to get back on ship. Next day awoke in Krems and had to move with the water going down more. We moved to Melk and were bused back to the Gotweig Abby. Lots of busing for the first 4 days! The Viking staff and program director bent over backwards trying to please everyone. Lesson learned - Viking should cancel when mother nature is in control. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We just returned from a “Romantic Danube” river cruise, which not only did not meet our expectations, but left us feeling miss-led. I say that because we were communicating with friends taking similar Viking itineraries weeks before ... Read More
We just returned from a “Romantic Danube” river cruise, which not only did not meet our expectations, but left us feeling miss-led. I say that because we were communicating with friends taking similar Viking itineraries weeks before our travel who made us aware of the nightmares they were experiencing. Nightmares as defined by numerous bus trips and lack of cruising time and being on board of a stagnant boat for accommodation purposes only. As we heard of these nightmares we contacted our travel agent and asked to cancel the cruise due to the low river levels. Our agent talked directly with Viking to understand the situation. We were then assured there would be only one bus ride for a three-hour duration from the Passau region to Vienna. The fact of the matter is the first bus ride was five hours, followed by a second bus ride into Budapest that took another 4 ½ hours. Combined with the numerous bus rides comes the task of packing and unpacking two more times than planned, which is a huge inconvenience. Once we reached Budapest we boarded an older boat that did not leave the dock – not much of a river cruise. While I understand Viking cannot control mother nature, you can control communications with honesty and integrity. It is quite apparent the revenue derived from your efforts is more important than customer satisfaction. My complaint is simple; we made our intentions clear; if there was any chance of additional bus rides and or lack of cruising time on the river we wanted to execute our insurance policy and obtain a full refund. That request is well documented with email communications more than two weeks prior to travel. We are now demanding a full refund for the cruise portion of the trip. We are not looking for a discount for future travel. Viking and Travel Leaders has lost our trust. As the previous President of my own company I would want to know about and work with dissatisfied customers. Which is the reason I’m writing a high-level executive and asking for more than a discount on a future Viking cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
Avalon delivered a top notch vacation and attended to every detail to give us a most memorable and stress free vacation. The hotels in Budapest and Prague were superior. The cruise director, Sabine, worked tirelessly to ensure ... Read More
Avalon delivered a top notch vacation and attended to every detail to give us a most memorable and stress free vacation. The hotels in Budapest and Prague were superior. The cruise director, Sabine, worked tirelessly to ensure everyone's concerns were properly addressed. Despite historically low water levels on the Danube, Avalon did everything they could to make our vacation pleasurable. Everything was well thought out to provide the best possible experience for all passengers. From the hotels, to the guided tours, to the ship staff, to the food and entertainment, to the cabins, all met our highest expectations. Our only disappointment would be at port as we were usually double docked along side another ship. We never got to enjoy the views of the port cities and had to keep our curtains closed most of the time. We have traveled on other cruise lines in the past and would definitely recommend Avalon to anyone considering a river cruise. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Numerous friends recommended Viking River Cruises. We decided to treat ourselves to the Romanic Danube Cruise. The Viking brochure states, "It's pure pleasure to travel with such ease..to unpack just once and relax to an ... Read More
Numerous friends recommended Viking River Cruises. We decided to treat ourselves to the Romanic Danube Cruise. The Viking brochure states, "It's pure pleasure to travel with such ease..to unpack just once and relax to an ever-changing canvas of breathtaking landscapes...to dock in the center of small towns and stroll right off to begin your exploration." This is what we were expecting, however, not what Viking produced. Ten days before our trip we called Viking because we were hearing there were problems with low water levels. We were told, "Your trip will be just fine." Two days before our flight is scheduled, we receive an email from Viking stating there will be a mid-cruise "ship swap" and we will be transferred by motor coach to an identical ship. Our next email from Viking arrived while we were flying to Munich/Brussels/Budapest. It informed us due to low water we will be spending the night in a hotel in Budapest instead of on Gullveig and will be transported to Vienna by motor coach(150 miles) the next day. Our dream vacation became a bus/river cruise that was exhausting. We were able to enjoy the upper deck one time sailing through the Wachau Valley. The only port that we were able to stroll right off the longship was in Regensburg. We were able to participate in most of the tours that were scheduled. However, once again motor coach rides up to 1 1/2 hours were necessary to get into the city. Most of our tour guides were extremely knowledgeable. During Manager Jurgen"s farewell speech he stated that our specific cruise was the 2nd worse Danube Cruise of the year. Even the Program Director, Debra Thomas, suggested we communicate with Viking so they would be aware of our disappointments. "Because we believe your overall cruise experience may have been affected by an unexpected situation" we were offered a 25% discount on our next cruise which expires in one year. A 25% voucher is not sufficient compensation for what we experienced. Viking knows our cruise experience was indeed affected. They also know it was not an unexpected situation. The water levels have been low since August. I wish Viking would have shared exactly what changes would occur in our cruise, and given us the choice to cancel, or reschedule our trip. We feel that Viking was dishonest and manipulative. Now that our cruise is over, Viking states in an email to me, "We regret to hear that your recent cruise was impacted by severely low water levels, and are sorry to hear of your disappointment in the necessitated changes. If you have a November, Danube cruise scheduled with Viking, and you have travel insurance cancel your trip! If you want to go on any river cruise do your research regarding the best time of year to go. Word of mouth is powerful advertisement! After all, that is why we chose Viking. I will be using my voice to let others know they should consider other cruise companies if their vacation dream is a river cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose AmaWaterways Melodies of the Danube river cruise to celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary, and we could not have made a better choice. We were to embark in Budapest, but unfortunately, due to low water levels on the Danube, ... Read More
We chose AmaWaterways Melodies of the Danube river cruise to celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary, and we could not have made a better choice. We were to embark in Budapest, but unfortunately, due to low water levels on the Danube, Budadpest closed its ports, and the ship was in Vienna. This was at no fault of AmaWaterways. Although we were disappointed, AmaWaterways and our cruise manager, Sebastien, made sure that we did not miss a meal, excursion, or port due to the closure. We had arrived in Budapest two days prior to our cruise, and upon learning of the port closure, AmaWaterways arranged a room for us in the Budapest Ritz Carlton. It was here that we met Sebastien and soon realized how valuable he would be to the success of our cruise. He was very knowledgeable of the ports and excursions, and extremely organized. With his guidance, we were bused to Vienna where we embarked the AmaSerena, and the cruise continued its schedule unimpeded. The AmaSerena was impeccably maintained, and AmaWaterways commitment to safety, comfort, and service was at the highest level. Cleanliness was a high priority throughout the ship. The crew of the ship was very friendly and helpful, and exuded a pleasantness that made you feel like family. Our cabin, though on the small side, was very clean and well stocked. Our cabin stewardess was very efficient and timely in maintaining our room. Meals were well organized, and the food was of the highest quality utilizing many locally grown products from the area near our ports. The ship has two dining areas; one being open seating, and the Chef's Table Restaurant, requiring reservations and providing a wonderful fine dining experience. Following meals, entertainment was provided in the lounge for both listening and dancing. Local musicians and entertainers were brought on board to provide a taste of the local culture. AmaWaterways even provided an exclusive "Oktoberfest" in a tent on the pier next to our ship in Vilshofen, Germany, the terminus of our cruise. Lastly, excursions were well planned and used local guides knowledgeable in the customs and history of the city being visited. A brief description of the next day's excursion was placed in our cabin nightly. We could not have been happier with our AmaWaterways anniversary cruise on the AmaSerena. Service was top notch from beginning to end. Read Less

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