4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We paid for our cruise with all the expectations of neophyte river cruisers and are crushed that our river cruise of a lifetime ended up being a horrible bus ride through Eastern Europe. Due to mechanical malfunctions on the Viking ... Read More
We paid for our cruise with all the expectations of neophyte river cruisers and are crushed that our river cruise of a lifetime ended up being a horrible bus ride through Eastern Europe. Due to mechanical malfunctions on the Viking Embla our tour was unable to hold to schedule resulting in canceled excursions, creative docking at unknown sites (we even had to break through a factory fence at one point in order to re-board our ship) closed locks, restricted use of the sun deck, after dark "scenic cruising", and days of sailing without stopping for excursions in order to "get back on schedule". We thought the staff was superb, they tried valiently to make us happy and service was impeccable, however after day 10 or 12 I began to think I was suffering from 'Stockholm Syndrome'. Our on board program director explained daily what was going to happen the next day, because of where the ship was in relation to where it should have been this excursion or that excursion was cancelled but we are offering a substitute or we could "stay on board with us..lunch will be at 12:0 in the in dining room...etc. " After several of these substituted excursions many of us stopped going as the excursions involved hours of bus rides each way. We wanted our cruise, not a bus ride. Viking is not making a significant compensation offer to us, in fact their offer shows little respect or understanding of our ruined trip. They seem not to care about customer satisfaction. We want our money back, Viking should have given us a full refund and canceled the cruise rather than take all of us down the river to the bus embarkation points. Viking knew before we boarded that the Embla could not deliver the cruise as promised. The schedule disruption was not due to river depth rather it was the Embla's malfunctioning engine and Viking's money grubbing refusal to cancel the cruise and refund our tickets. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This is was our first river cruise. We are seasoned ocean cruise travelers. This cruise started with a delay in boarding the ship of one day due to maintenance problems on the previous cruise. We only had one day that we went to a port and ... Read More
This is was our first river cruise. We are seasoned ocean cruise travelers. This cruise started with a delay in boarding the ship of one day due to maintenance problems on the previous cruise. We only had one day that we went to a port and got off the ship and toured the venue. That was on day 12 when we visited Cologne Germany. All the other days we spent more time on buses than at the scheduled venue. We had an additional day when the ship was put in dry dock. Thus we were now 2 days behind. In order to make up time scheduled venues were skipped. The crew and staff were excellent, but the cruise was very bad. One of the highlights of the cruise is to cruise the Rhine and see all the mid evil castles. When we got to that point on the cruise it was 8:30 at night and dark! No castles I was notified via “form” letter 4 days after returning off the cruise that Viking was sorry and that they would give us 25% off our next cruise. Who would ever go on another cruise and get this type of cruise. Viking must think I am stupid. To spend $14,000.00 for this and get no compensation is totally wrong. Viking should be ashamed. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Viking River Cruise on “Embla:” Bucharest to Budapest w/ 3-nt Prague Add-On Overall: Terrible experience with Viking aboard their boat Embla due to major maintenance issues known to them before our cruise started. Half speed at ... Read More
Viking River Cruise on “Embla:” Bucharest to Budapest w/ 3-nt Prague Add-On Overall: Terrible experience with Viking aboard their boat Embla due to major maintenance issues known to them before our cruise started. Half speed at best; little to no air-conditioning with room temperatures ranging from the high 70s into the 90s. The dining room felt even hotter with everyone assembled. This was a boat maintenance issue, NOT a river problem. We did not have a river cruise; the boat stayed in Russe, Bulgaria for 3 days. Then we were on buses for the rest of the trip. No choice/options as to what we ate. Viking gave minimal refund and never answered my emails to Customer Relations and several senior management personnel. Specifics: Immediately after boarding we were informed that: • The boat would be going slower than normal because the river level was low and that caused the water to be warmer which had a negative effect on engine cooling. A crew member later told us that the boat had previously hit a submerged object and had to travel slow coming to Bucharest because of propulsion problems. We saw other longboats passing us (on the one day we “cruised” from Russe to Lom); the “warm” water did not affect them! We also saw tugboats pushing loaded barges which rode much lower in the river than our boat. – We were misled from beginning!! Viking was aware of problems with Embla before we even boarded. Viking could/should have told us in Bucharest that the ship could only sail at half speed and that we would not be able to make our ports on time. They could have offered to cancel our cruise, receive a full refund for the cruise and Prague portion, and given us one more night in a hotel in Bucharest to make travel arrangements. Instead, Viking elected to hide the problem and have us board a ship that could only travel at a very slow speed with 50% a/c capacity, and sent us to spend 3 days in the small town of Russe. • We should not open our balcony doors, especially during the evening & night, as the mosquitos were very bad. This was also the case on the open upper deck. Thus, outside air was not a solution for the 80-90 degree (F) temperatures in our staterooms. The first day in Russe we elected to stay on the boat and not walk into town. We went to the dining room for lunch and were told lunch would only be available in the small eating area in front of the lounge. This “meal” consisted of a buffet of soup, cocktail sandwiches, and Bulgarian meatloaf; not exactly what you expect on a cruise. The next day we were told that we could stay on the boat, but there would be no a/c for several hours. We opted to go on a 3-hr tour of the old and new city squares of Russe. Once on the tour we were told that we would be eating lunch in Russe after the tour. Following lunch, we were informed that we must not return to the boat. We would tour 3 museums, attend a piano recital (at least it was in an air-conditioned room) and then have dinner at the same restaurant where we had lunch. At both lunch and dinner we were given what they wanted us to eat; no menu to select from. Again, not what one expects when traveling on a cruise. The boat set sail from Russe after midnight that night. The next day (Saturday, 27 July) we cruised at a very slow speed all day. This is the day we were supposed to be “scenic cruising past the Iron Gates.” That is one of the reasons we selected this Viking itinerary; we wanted to see the Iron Gates – this did not happen! We had lunch and dinner in the dining room. There was no ice cream available for dessert at dinner; the chef said the freezer was turned off. We were told before dinner that we would be getting off the boat the next morning in Lom. We were told that we would be driven by buses to Belgrade and then to Budapest. Keep in mind, temperature in the staterooms was 80-90 defrees (F). The rest of the boat (lounge, dining room, etc.) was even hotter. Sun, 28 July: After sailing over 36 hours and not even getting to Viden, we boarded buses in Lom and less than 3 hours later stopped for lunch with a distant view of the Belogradchik Rocks. That’s as close as we got to them and the Fortress (tours touted in the Viking literature). The lunch was a small buffet, no “ordering from a menu.” After a 12-hour day on a bus we arrived at the hotel in Belgrade. We had dinner around 9pm (more than 9 hours after we had lunch). Mon, 29 July: Spent the day in Belgrade. Had lunch in Old Town and dinner at the hotel. Again, we did not get to order from a menu. Tues, 30 July: Departed Belgrade via bus. Had noticed on the internet that it was a 4-to-5 hr bus ride to Budapest. Instead, Viking bussed us through Croatia where we had lunch in various private homes. We did not choose this; Viking did. When given the option prior to the cruise to have meals in private homes, we declined. This is not something we preferred to do. We, once again, did not get to select our meal. We were not offered the choice of a 4 or 5 hour bus ride vice a 12 hour bus day! After arriving at the hotel in Budapest around 9pm we had another buffet dinner. Wed, 31 July: Following two 12-hr bus ride days, two of our party were in poor physical condition and could not attend the included “Panoramic Budapest” tour. We were not meeting the objectives we had when we selected this itinerary. Since two members of our group were not on the tour, they were not provided lunch by Viking; the rest of us ate, once again, what & where Viking prescribed. Thurs, 1 Aug: Spent the day recuperating at the hotel. Note: Since we arrived in Budapest a day earlier than planned, we could not stay at the InterContinental Hotel as originally planned. This hotel is very conveniently located to Old Town, the river, and most the popular tourist attractions. Instead we were assigned a hotel that was not within walking distance of the tourist areas. Fri, 2 Aug: Took a 9-hr bus ride to Prague. Had this been our first “bus day,” we would have been in much better physical condition upon arriving in Prague. As it was, taking this 9-hr ride after the previous two 12-hr bus days was too much. This whole trip was a miserable, painful, terrible experience. As disastrous as it was, the Embla Captain never addressed the passengers and apprised us of the situation; it was like he was hiding. We were not consulted about what we might have wanted; we were not given any options. It was strictly, “Do what Viking says!” This was supposed to be “the vacation of a lifetime.” When we planned it, we did not choose a bus tour of Eastern Europe. We have several reasons for NOT wanting to spend hours riding a bus. We did not get to enjoy any of the advantages of a cruise. The few days/nights we spent on Embla were extremely uncomfortable. We chose a balcony room, and upon boarding, were told not to open the balcony doors in the evenings or nights! We only had a few meals in the Embla dining room where we got to select our meal from a menu. The rest of the time we had no choice as to what we ate. We all ate more meals consisting of chicken and potatoes than we ever thought possible when on a “cruise vacation.” We spent $13,494 on this cruise (two were refunded a small amount since they used their frequent flyer miles for the air travel), four of us paid an additional $50 each so we could choose our airline flights and seats, and we paid various amounts (average was approximately $1000/couple due to differing age) for travel insurance. Each couple spent approximately $15,000 to spend a miserable two weeks on a poorly-functioning boat and a bus. We were unable to enjoy places like Budapest and Prague because Viking’s choices had us so exhausted and physically impaired. To make matters worse, Viking has refunded $3,999 and claims that is 50% of our cost. Viking can most likely justify this with some “creative accounting.” $4,000 per couple does not come close to compensating us for our expenditures and the pain and suffering we endured. If you do book Viking, I recommend that you ask for a maintenance record of the boat. Specifically, for Embla: ask for the maintenance they performed after July 28, 2019 in order to fix the problems that led to our ‘bus tour”. I would also ask for the exact cost breakdown that they show for the trip to be sent directly to you, not just the travel agent so you are aware how they are pricing it. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We just come back from a cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam with Viking and after reading all the opinions of other travellers we decided to have our input too. We travel with them exactly when the low water in Europe affected everybody ... Read More
We just come back from a cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam with Viking and after reading all the opinions of other travellers we decided to have our input too. We travel with them exactly when the low water in Europe affected everybody cruises and I think is fair to identify two different aspects of the issue. On one hand a big disappointment: you except Viking to be honest and transparent with their customers and inform them in advance about this type of issue which will bring ship changes, long bus rides, in general a discomfort for passengers. The only e-mail we got 8 days before the cruise was regarding the change of the ship: Viking Embla instead of Viking Lif. We contacted Viking office and we were told that will be no problems, that “everything is like was mentioned in the itinerary” and the “water is not a problem anymore”. Is it right Viking to lie to your customers just to avoid cancellations and compensations? On the other hand when we were on the boat and we started to experience problems with the water everything was perfectly organised smooth and with no stress and we reach Amsterdam after a 2 amazing weeks. In this case, when everything on the boat is so well planned and organised, having a minimum impact on our journey, was it so difficult to find the same level or respect and transparency when we call the Viking office? We travelled on 2 boats: Embla and Lif which supposed to be identical, but the reality was a little bit different. We liked Lif more being a newer ship, more comfortable and more spacious. But the massive difference was the service and the staff: while on Embla everybody was very professional on Lif we had the feeling that we landed on a “training vessel” with everybody trying to do their job but failing almost every time. Katja, the hotel manager on Embla, was always in control, always with the passengers and always efficient and smiling. Her leadership abilities reflected positive on her entire crew who was brilliant. On Lif Jeronimo, the hotel manager, was very arrogant, never interacting with the passengers and more interested in having a “good time” with the rest of the staff then acting to achieve a good service. We tried to speak with him about some on-board credit issues, but he was always busy, avoiding us and passing the problem to the reception. Not the expected level of customer service from Viking. George the restaurant manager was superb and everybody in Embla restaurant was perfect: remembering our names every lunch and dinner, impeccable service (we fall in love with Martina) and delicious food. On Lif we never had the chance to speak with the restaurant manager, the waiters giving us the feeling that they just learn the job, making mistake with orders, speaking in front of us in their own language and never check if an extra service was needed. We ended on Lif to have dinner in the lounge were Christian and Ivan were far more attentive and professional then others. The reception on Embla was extremely helpful, booking a lot of trips for us and helping everybody to find their way around. Especially Lucia was always kind and smiling and when she didn’t know the answer didn’t have a problem to ask the cruise director for the correct information. On Lif the two young men at the reception (didn’t make the effort to remember their name) were very unprofessional and arrogant with an attitude more appropriate to a cheap hostel than a Viking ship. At every question they were giving us the feeling that we were stupid, and this patronising way to answer was always topped with the wrong information. They were the worst receptionists ever!!! On the positive side the housekeeping on Lif was amazing with our steward Ivan very helpful and professional. While on Embla we never meet the Capitan, on Lif the Dutch Captain was a pleasure to meet and talk to and his evening presentation was informative and funny. The only constant exceptional experience for us on these two boats was the Program Director – Leonard. From the very first moment when we embark Embla in Budapest until the moment when we left Lif in Amsterdam Leonard was far above any expectations. His was an excellent organiser managing perfectly the guides, the coaches, the time tables, everything and everybody involved in changing the ships so well that for all of us was just a normal day not a major trauma or drama! During the long bus rides he was jumping from one coach to another, from one group to another to check if everything was fine and to solve any problems and he manage to find time during the transfer to buy to all of was a chocolate hart … how sweet! One day he was assisting a passengers with reduce mobility while he was giving information about best shopping in town and locating a lost cell phone and another day he was helping very professional (my husband is in ER) with a medical emergency (quite a ugly wound on somebody leg) while he was trying to help a passenger from another Viking ship left behind his group. Really ??? How many things you can do so well Leonard! Leonard knows the history, culture, tradition of any stone, city, castle and church on our itinerary and sometimes his explanations were better and more accessible than the guide’s ones! Each evening briefing and lecture was a unique opportunity to access in an easy, interesting and entertaining way complicated stories about history, art and culture. He had such a versatile personality: a strong organiser in the morning during the excursion, informative and efficient in the evening and fun and charming in the evening. What a joy to have him on board! For sure we will go back to Viking…they know how to make every moment special despite the fact that they still need to work on some issues (do something about Lif…is a beautiful ship with such low standards). And by the way we want Leonard as a Program Director! If anybody from Viking read our review, please send our massive “THANY YOU!” to Leonard for making this a vacation of a lifetime. He really is a “ Rockstar “ who made this so much fun and so Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
We really enjoyed our river cruise, as always. There is no other way to travel! Looking forward to new itineraries and cruising more!, I would like to have available a stretching, Pilates or yoga class. As a Pilates instructor I have had ... Read More
We really enjoyed our river cruise, as always. There is no other way to travel! Looking forward to new itineraries and cruising more!, I would like to have available a stretching, Pilates or yoga class. As a Pilates instructor I have had numerous fellow passengers want to join me when I am doing my exercises. I would gladly teach for a few dollars off our trip. After all the walking some stretching feels great! We enjoyed the excursions. One problem I see is there were some people who had trouble maneuvering stairs etc that were in our group for the excursions. They should put the more active people together and have another group for the people that can’t walk as far, as fast, etc The food was great and the waiters and waitresses are so accommodating! A lot of good choices for food and of course the wine was really good also. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
The cruise went from Budapest to Amsterdam. We normally never do tours, we always travel on our own. We Really loved this. We felt very taken care of. It was a really Super fun boat. People were the best including the Staff and the ... Read More
The cruise went from Budapest to Amsterdam. We normally never do tours, we always travel on our own. We Really loved this. We felt very taken care of. It was a really Super fun boat. People were the best including the Staff and the guests. We Made great friends. We Got completely spoiled. We had Great tour guides who were very knowledgeable. They had Fast and slow groups which accommodated all. There was Fab live music. The menu had Local foods and other great tasting meals. There were Excellent bartenders. Outside decks were breezy and comfortable. The Inside lounge areas had with plenty of room to relax. There happened to be a medical emergency and it was handled well. All the buses for the tours were very comfortable. I would have chosen another month because it was too hot for me in the port cities. I already have my eyes on other Viking tours. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
There isn’t a moment that I can think of that wasn’t superb: great food (especially the breads and breakfasts), wonderful varied entertainment (folk dancing and music); excellent meaningful lectures on Balkan politics and history on ... Read More
There isn’t a moment that I can think of that wasn’t superb: great food (especially the breads and breakfasts), wonderful varied entertainment (folk dancing and music); excellent meaningful lectures on Balkan politics and history on the boat and through the port excursions: nice people to meet through the open seating at meals; beautiful and varied scenery; knowledgeable guides on the port tours; friendly helpful staff- what more could one ask? My husband and I and our daughter and son-in-law found enough things to do together and other activities that we could do separately that made for a truly memorable trip. I never thought. I’d want to know that much Balkan history but I enjoyed each of the presentations and appreciate the level of understanding I gained that helped me understand world history and even international politics today. Highlights for us included the visit to the violin maker’s studio in Serbia and learning how one creates an instrument like a violin; the home visits to “B&B’s”; and the cooking class where I learned to make great Feta Cheese and Phyllo dessert. There were some surprise concerts from young people at some of the churches- an extra treat! I enjoyed the informality and the reasonable size of the boat. Every day was different but also relaxed. The Program staff on the Boat and Guides on Bus and Walking Tours we’re honest with their comments about a very contested history and certainly seemed honest with their interpretations of their excellent local knowledge. For example, I particularly enjoyed the two young girls just completing the “Gymasium”(High School) education who talked about their lives today and goals for the future. But the first specific story I keep telling was the Violin maker’s studio. The trip was so good that we have already reserved another trip next May with our other daughter and her husband. Traveling intergenerationally with our children gave the trip a double benefit for we shared experiences and created memories that will go beyond our own lives, Read Less
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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We selected this cruise because we lived near canals for two years and it looked like fun. The advertising promised convenient, in town docking locations, small tour groups and excellent dining. Instead, we discovered that there were ... Read More
We selected this cruise because we lived near canals for two years and it looked like fun. The advertising promised convenient, in town docking locations, small tour groups and excellent dining. Instead, we discovered that there were usually four to six Viking ships in town at a time. We often docked 20-30 minutes from town in a cargo area and were bused into town and back. This meant that the tours involved around 1,000 people - more if you included the ships from other companies. The next to last stop was supposed to be in Kinderdijk. Instead, we docked in Doordrect and rode on buses for 30 minutes each way. The food ranged from good to terrible. Several of the meals were inedible. They were bland beyond belief and often poorly prepared. The standard "always available" lunch entrees were a hamburger (overcooked and dry) or a hot dog. The local menus on the Danube were good. From that point on, the local menus ranged from standard sausage and kraut (good) to incredibly bland, and definitely not representative of local dishes. The Dutch ones were particularly horrible. Unlike anything available in the Netherlands. We also did not appreciate the overdone drinking culture. There were no non-alcoholic options available at the "free receptions" and the whole cruise seemed to revolve around alcoholic beverages. I guess that is one way to keep some gusts happy. The included shore excursions were mostly 1 1/2 hour walking tours through town. Some were interesting. The guide for the Vienna city tour was irritating. The two optional music activities in Vienna were the highlight. I would never do this itinerary. The four days cruising the Danube-Main Canal were the worst and mostly a waste of time. I would recommend choosing either the Rhine or the Danube (preferred) but not the Grand European. The entire environment was geared towards relatively untravelled Americans. It was too structured for our taste and lacked the international flavor we have enjoyed on other cruises. The crew worked incredibly hard and were efficient and friendly. The Program Director had to work constantly to compensate for Viking's disorganization and oversold activities. He was knowledgeable and certainly among the best in the business. Our French Balcony cabin was small, but worked fine, especially since we spent little time in it. The internet service was simply awful by any measure. The free internet on European trains works 100 times better. It was incredibly slow when it was semi-functional. Most of the time it was not, unless you tried it before 6:00 AM. The onboard WiFi system did not provide adequate coverage, the authentication system was buggy. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
This cruise was a dream come true. It was our first cruise and one we will always remember. My husband wanted to show me Eastern Europe where he worked many years. We decided to fly into Budapest two days early to recuperate from jet ... Read More
This cruise was a dream come true. It was our first cruise and one we will always remember. My husband wanted to show me Eastern Europe where he worked many years. We decided to fly into Budapest two days early to recuperate from jet lag and to walk around the city on our own. When we walked onto the Embla we were warmly greeted with smiling faces by the entire crew, and it remained that way throughout the cruise. The crew was first rate and many were from the countries we were visiting. Many of them had interesting stories to share if you asked. Violetta, our tour director, was amazing and put together tours and lectures that enriched and enhanced our Eastern European experience. I learned so much about this part of the world. All of tour guides were quite knowledgeable and obviously chosen with care.We loved the food, particularly the foods of each country we visited. Dinner was always special, but breakfast time was a great start with chef Jiggs serving his fantastic omelets. ( I did gain a few pounds, but it was worth it!) We also met some very interesting people and made some wonderful new friends. I would certainly urge anyone wishing to take a river cruise to travel with Viking. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
Overall trip was great. The arrival was handled with such ease and made it the start of a great trip. Ship was very well appointed and crew and staff did a great job of welcoming and very nicely setting boundary's. Ports of call ... Read More
Overall trip was great. The arrival was handled with such ease and made it the start of a great trip. Ship was very well appointed and crew and staff did a great job of welcoming and very nicely setting boundary's. Ports of call were very interesting someday's we wished we had more free time in cities, but we have made a list and are looking at how we can go on our own make this work. Service on board was beyond anything we had expected. Staff and crew were always neat, clean, friendly, and always willing to help. Who ever handles this for your company is outstanding. Dining was a fun time we like most settled in with "table mates" which almost included the wait staff.Food was very good the only thing I would have changed was when we went into Germany the wine was changed to a very sweet Riesling. Wish we had had choice. My wife and I are talking about other Viking trips we can take, Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
We had wanted to take a river cruise for a long time. After talking with friends about their experience on Viking, we decided to take one. We were not disappointed. From the meeting at the airport by Viking staff to the trip to the airport ... Read More
We had wanted to take a river cruise for a long time. After talking with friends about their experience on Viking, we decided to take one. We were not disappointed. From the meeting at the airport by Viking staff to the trip to the airport after our extended stay in Amsterdam, we were wonderfully taken care of by Viking staff. We really enjoyed the personal contact with the guides. Our on board cruise director was great. She was very informative in her knowledge of the places we went. She was very personable and knew who you were. In fact, all the staff knew the quests by name. The waiters new our choice of drinks with meals and brought them to us without even asking.The food was delicious with local dishes representing the places we visited. A representative of the cruise line was sailing on our cruise. He was very personable and had some meals with us. We also liked the pace of the cruise. Some of the shore landings were in the afternoon. That gave us time to sleep in and relax in the morning and enjoy the view of the countryside. The only two things we were a little disappointed about were (1) the brochure literature led us to believe we would be docked right in the heart of each city/town. We were not at some destinations and had to take motorcoaches in. (2) We had a veranda. At some docking, we were stacked side by side with another Viking ship obscuring our view (unless we liked looking at the side of another river boat). However, this did not preclude us from enjoying the cruise. In fact, we have booked another Viking cruise next year. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2017
Did Amsterdam to Budapest in 2016 and wanted to continue down the Danube to Bucharest. Viking gives wonderful views along the river and always has interesting excursions available. On board entertainment is excellent and special guests ... Read More
Did Amsterdam to Budapest in 2016 and wanted to continue down the Danube to Bucharest. Viking gives wonderful views along the river and always has interesting excursions available. On board entertainment is excellent and special guests almost nightly. Since we spent so little time in our cabin on our last trip, we settled for the the lower deck. As it turns out, these rooms are a little larger than the French Balcony rooms with additional space for storage in the window ledge. Everything you need is there. Service was the usual Viking standard of excellence. No problem they couldn't handle, not that we had any. Food was delicious and plentiful and the flexible dining meant we could meet new people or dine with recent friends. Ports of call on this trip had fewer amenities than our previous trip but it is Eastern Europe. Short bus trips took us to amazing sites and we gained insight into local history both ancient and recent. Well worth the trip. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
I wanted to go with my friend. i always wanted to tour these countries but a bus tour, checking into a new hotel every night and checking out next morning did not appeal to me. Also all that sitting on a bus would have been painful. ... Read More
I wanted to go with my friend. i always wanted to tour these countries but a bus tour, checking into a new hotel every night and checking out next morning did not appeal to me. Also all that sitting on a bus would have been painful. The disappointing things were: no wifi for first several days until router replaced, only day in Vienna was a Sunday and all stores were closed. Because of water in part of the Danube was too shallow, we were bused to many towns so many hours on a bus. None of the ships could sail between Passau and Nuremburg, so we were bused about 3 1/2 hours from Embla to Nuremburg to be transferred to Aegir for the balance of the cruise to Amsterdam. Embla crew was excellent, especially Stephan, the tour director and thankfully he came with us on the Aegir. Although I am not completely handicapped, many other passengers were and like myself could not participate in the many difficult shore excursions on cobblestone streets and many hours of walking. The shore excursions are geared to younger people with no physical difficulties. I will be very selective as to who I would recommend this trip to even though I loved seeing the places I did get to see. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2017
I chose this cruise because of my physical limitations. I could walk the easy tours but stay on the ship if I needed to. It was very easy to board and disembark. We loved Budapest, but did not like Amsterdam. We enjoyed the rest of ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of my physical limitations. I could walk the easy tours but stay on the ship if I needed to. It was very easy to board and disembark. We loved Budapest, but did not like Amsterdam. We enjoyed the rest of the tours. The passengers all became ill with a chest cold which we acquired our last 4 days on the trip. Must remember to bring along cold medication next trip. The crew and dining service was excellent. The ship was limited due to a bad engine and forward progress was limited. The crew did a good job of adjusting. It was quieter in the aft cabin with only one engine. We switched ships at the low water point and that went smoothly. We liked the Embla crew better but they all did very well. We are looking to do other Viking cruises in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2017
We chose this cruise because it covered countries that we had not visited yet. Hungary and Croatia were the highlights of the cruise. Romania and Bulgaria were disappointing and we could have skipped them. Some tours were very good and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it covered countries that we had not visited yet. Hungary and Croatia were the highlights of the cruise. Romania and Bulgaria were disappointing and we could have skipped them. Some tours were very good and interesting but others were a waste of time. Service aboard the Embla was good as expected since we had already cruised aboard the ship Odin and consider it the best choice. They seemed to have difficulty with fish dishes as they were not good. The time for the evening meal was a bit late for us seniors and they often competed with other activities in the lounge. On the day that we were to board there was great confusion and guests were required to sit in the lounge area for at least two hours before the cabins were ready for occupancy. I would have to think hard about taking another Viking river cruise since our six ocean cruises were definitely more enjoyable. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
It covered areas that we had not visited before or had not been exposed to that culture. We had sailed on the Oden previously from Paris to Prague and enjoyed that cruise even though there were snags in the itinerary. We would never ... Read More
It covered areas that we had not visited before or had not been exposed to that culture. We had sailed on the Oden previously from Paris to Prague and enjoyed that cruise even though there were snags in the itinerary. We would never have taken the cruise on the Embla if our experiences on the Oden had been the same. The first part of the cruise was in Budapest and enjoyable. Croatia was the only part worth going ashore for. The visit to a citizen home was a joy. Bulgaria and Bucharest were the worst of all tours. Food was just okay most of the time and the day of boarding the vessel was very disorganized and we had to find a place to sit in the dining are to await the preparation of our rooms. There were a few snacks but generally we waited without food or service. Considering the cost of Viking River Cruises, I think that I will stick to ocean cruises. Maybe try a Viking ocean cruise in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2017
The representative met us at the airport and took us to the ship. They were very courteous and gave us a mini tour on our way. Once on board we were greeted by a very friendly and helpful staff. Our cabin was very clean and easy to ... Read More
The representative met us at the airport and took us to the ship. They were very courteous and gave us a mini tour on our way. Once on board we were greeted by a very friendly and helpful staff. Our cabin was very clean and easy to maneuver. Plenty of storage and nice bathroom. Our shore excursions were very good guided tours with plenty of free time to shop,relax and sightsee further. The dining is top of the line with a very good selection of meals. The staff makes you feel right at home. I took a personal liking to many of them. The lounge and the restaurant have floor to ceiling Windows so as you cruise along the river you always have a wonderful view. I really enjoyed the upper deck very much. I probably spent more time up there so I had the ability to soak up the beautiful scenery along the way. Since there are only 190 passengers you soon make new friends. I could go on and on but I think you get my point. Will be booking another one for 2019. A trip so worth the money. No regrets except it ended.. I think I will be doing the 23 day cruise next. Although that one goes to many of the cities I already visited I don't mind because I could catch things I missed the last time. Viking is top notch. I think if you went on one of their cruises you would agree. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2017
Overall everything was better than I expected, the crew were super friendly and always making sure that you were having a good time. Facilities great. I will travel again with Vikings. Good size cabin for a cruise, we plan in expending ... Read More
Overall everything was better than I expected, the crew were super friendly and always making sure that you were having a good time. Facilities great. I will travel again with Vikings. Good size cabin for a cruise, we plan in expending time on the deck rather than the room. Food choices were great, excellent breakfast choices. Included excursions where great the guides were very energetic and kept you interested and attention, no to long no to short enough to get an idea of the town and get history, enough time to expend on your own. Service was excellent room was clean and organized all the time. Our Event organizer had everything under control. Getting to the ports, transportation and coming back to the ship was a very easy to go and comeback to the Ship. I have travel a lot all over the world, but was a great experience. Planning already in another River Cruise with Vikings of curse. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Having cruised on the high seas 15 times, I finally convinced my sister to splurge on a Viking River Cruise. We selected a unique itinerary, Passage to Eastern Europe, figuring it highly unlikely that we visit many of these countries on ... Read More
Having cruised on the high seas 15 times, I finally convinced my sister to splurge on a Viking River Cruise. We selected a unique itinerary, Passage to Eastern Europe, figuring it highly unlikely that we visit many of these countries on our own. The itinerary did not disappoint. It was not a trip filled with breathtaking scenery (although there were beautiful stretches along the Danube, particularly on the day cruising the Iron Gate), magnificent castles or world-class museums, but it offered a glimpse at the lives of people who live in former Iron Curtain countries, now a full generation removed from the end of the Communist period. The shore excursions and cultural shows (mostly singing and dancing) on-board while in port were the highlights of the trip. The Viking staff have logistics down to a science, from the airport transfers and hotel staff, to the ship's program director. All of the excursions were well executed, on-time and had excellent local guides who spoke very good English. A visit with a local Croatian family was fascinating as we sat in her dining room and enjoyed homemade strudel, coffee, tea and home-made fruit brandy while asking about her life during the communist times, during the war with Serbia in the 1990's and in the more recent past. Another highlight was a discussion with 2 Bulgarian teenagers about life in their little-discussed country. This discussion and other interactions with the younger generation offered me some hope for the future success of the region. As to the onboard experience, I must admit that my sister and I were somewhat disappointed. Perhaps we had different expectations, but we thought Viking would offer a higher-end cruise than we experienced. Some specifics: -The balcony stateroom was smaller than we expected. While the shower was ample for a cruise ship, the rest of the room seemed cramped and the single bed was very narrow. Unfortunately, the weather was largely too cool to make much use of the verandah. -There were few public areas where one could go to have some peace & quiet, play cards or a board game or just read quietly, beyond the large lounge. This might have been better had the weather permitted more use of the Sun Deck. There is no gym and only a small walking track on the Sun Deck. I understand many prefer the intimate size of a Viking long ship, but I prefer a bit more varied and larger public spaces that a larger cruise ship offers. -The cuisine was disappointing overall and had a relative lack of variety and ethnic diversity. While generally tasty, this was not a gourmet experience in the least, and no better than what we have experienced on Princess and Holland America. The free wines included at lunch and dinner were fine, and we did enjoy the included soft drinks at meals and no limit to or corkage fee for wine brought onboard. Breakfast was essentially identical each day, including the exact same 3 flaky pastries offered (no danish, no nut roll, no pain au chocolat, etc), the same pork sausages and American "streaky" bacon, etc each day. Lunch was fine with a combination of a buffet with a pasta and salad bar (with excellent tomatoes and cucumbers-why can't we find tasty tomatoes in the US other than in summer?), along with a few items you could order off the menu. Dinner had 3 main course offerings that were relatively routine with some real hits and misses (stringy beef, fishy-tasting fish). On several occasions, the bread appeared to be leftover from previous meals (including cut up hamburger buns and rock-hard bagels). Maybe this was a function of this being the final cruise of the season, but I've never experienced this on another cruise. -Dining service was inconsistent, ranging from rather cool and aloof to wonderful. We did find an excellent waiter, Vladimir, and rushed each evening to sit at one of his many tables (no reservations are possible, as open seating is available at every meal). On the special Balkan Evening theme meal, the overall experience was marred by a chaotic and not very well explained combination of a buffet and tasting plates ordered from the waiter both offering the exact same items. We suggested to the maitre d' that they call groups of table to the small buffet line (like at a wedding) to bring more order to the otherwise delicious and interesting food that evening. -The bar staff twice did not know that they offered a champagne (Drappier) by the glass (as it was not listed on the printed bar menu, but I had seen the bottle being stocked the first day and had seen it on another Viking ship's wine list online prior to the cruise). You would think that by the final cruise they would have been aware of this offering and that it would have been on the printed menus. -We had hoped for more organized activities after dinner beyond dancing to the tunes of the ship's musician. There was only one fun musical trivia/dance event on one of the last days of the cruise. We did suggest to the program director that additional activities like this should be offered on other days. Perhaps the lack of a larger cruise staff precludes such things. But we truly missed something to do after dinner besides dancing or drinking in the lounge or retreating to our rooms to read or watch one of 6 available TV stations. Couldn't additional cultural enrichment activities be offered, a crew talent show (as I've heard other Viking ships do) be performed, a trivia quiz or two (perhaps related to the region we were sailing in) be held or even a decent movie be shown? I don't wish to give the impression that we did not enjoy the cruise-we did immensely, but we had hoped for a better overall onboard experience, especially for the amount of money spent (double what we would typically pay on a Princess cruise, for example). There seemed to be some disappointment from other passengers who have done previous Viking river cruises. Based on our experience, I'm not sure I would do another Viking river cruise, unless it was to another unique or hard to get to region, but I might try one of their new ocean-going ships, mainly for the shore excursion and cultural experience they offer. 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
Sail Date: October 2016
We thought this cruise would offer the "best bang for the buck" and were not disappointed. The only disappointment was the optional tour to the horse farm in Hungry, which did not meet our expectations. I had been on a brief ... Read More
We thought this cruise would offer the "best bang for the buck" and were not disappointed. The only disappointment was the optional tour to the horse farm in Hungry, which did not meet our expectations. I had been on a brief ocean cruise and did not care for it, while I enjoyed every minute on the river boat. We didn't know we were moving unless we looked out the window. The staff was as wonderful as everything else. We are sold on river cruises as well as Viking and plan to travel the rivers of the world with them again. Having them book the flights so they picked us up and the airport and dropped us off at the gate with assistance at the airport were extras that we really appreciated. We were disappointed that we didn't get to see or spend any time in Amsterdam at the end of the tour. We wish that we would have had time to do the extension on that end. 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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