3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We don't speak Czech, Hungarian, Serbian, or Romanian so we thought we would let Viking show us around. They were great! First Class, nothing bad to say about anything. Very comfortable cabin, excellent food, and wonderful staff all ... Read More
We don't speak Czech, Hungarian, Serbian, or Romanian so we thought we would let Viking show us around. They were great! First Class, nothing bad to say about anything. Very comfortable cabin, excellent food, and wonderful staff all around. Great excursions and guides. Transfers were very smooth and professional all the way. Staff all showed how much they liked their jobs and were truly happy that we were there. They made the effort to learn our names and really looked forward to seeing us daily and helping out when ever they could. Would go again in a heartbeat. We started in the magic city of Prague which we lasted visited in 1968! Beautiful city with wonderful concerts and people. Budapest stole our hearts and we want to go back soon. It was so interesting talking to people about their lives now that they are no longer under Communism. Very enlightening and thought provoking. Looking forward to planning our next trip with Viking which was a very easy and enjoyable process. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2016
This cruise stopped at a lot of places I have always wanted to see. We had taken a cruise of the Eastern part of the Danube, but not the Western part. This cruise offered us a combination of three rivers and many beautiful stops. We ... Read More
This cruise stopped at a lot of places I have always wanted to see. We had taken a cruise of the Eastern part of the Danube, but not the Western part. This cruise offered us a combination of three rivers and many beautiful stops. We picked a veranda cabin this time, and even though the weather was not as warm on this trip, we used the veranda many times and really enjoyed the beautiful view as we went along the rivers. It was so nice to sit outside and sip a glass of wine, listening to music from the cabin, and enjoying the great views. Most of the excruisions were great, but one was way too long, and left us with nothing to do for too much time. The weather was a factor, but even in better weather, we would have been happier with only four hours, and then back to the ship. All in all, it was great. Food is very good, service exceptional from the cabin staff and waiters. We had a bad experience with the concieriege, but she was new and not experienced in good customer service. In spite of that problem, we really enjoyed the cruise and have since booked another. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
With this being my first cruise, I don't have any other cruises to base my experience on. Bu, I can relate this cruise to my other holidays where I stayed at a hotel and found tourist thing to do. I've stayed at the Four ... Read More
With this being my first cruise, I don't have any other cruises to base my experience on. Bu, I can relate this cruise to my other holidays where I stayed at a hotel and found tourist thing to do. I've stayed at the Four Seasons in Seattle and Maui, at the Del Coronado in San Diego, and at Nayara Hotel, Spa & Garden, Costa Rica. These places were fabulous to stay and the staff were fantastic to a fault. The crew and Viking Cruise, particularly the Grand European river cruise, now fall into the same category. I can't say enough about the staff and their leader, consierge and program director. Every detail was covered. And when I wanted to move from the the plan of the cruise, all I had to do was ask. If I wanted some a little different, no problem. If I wanted to see something more, they asked which direction I wanted to go in. No extra cost. No extra trouble. Not any problem at all. The rooms aren't like I have at home, but I on a boat. Accommodations are going to be short on size and space. My bartender, Sorin, knew what I liked and how before we ever left Amsterdam. And all through the trip we had develop[ed a wonderful relationship. The housekeeper for our section was attentive to every detail. Our servers (Rommel and Paul) really made our dining experience fun. But the most important thing was that my Mother had the best of times. Thank you all very much (the crew of the Viking Embla). You really know you had a great time when you actually miss the people. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2016
I cannot say enough good things about this cruise. Great tours, great room, great food. The ship's crew were the best, friendly and helpful. I like the idea of having tours adjustable to one's walking ability. The tour ... Read More
I cannot say enough good things about this cruise. Great tours, great room, great food. The ship's crew were the best, friendly and helpful. I like the idea of having tours adjustable to one's walking ability. The tour guides were knowledgable, able to answer questions. Ship personnel were available to answer questions and take care of any situations that occured. I was unfortunate enough to become ill with a breathing problem and I received excellent care from emergency people plus staff members getting medicine for me. Then taking their time to check up on me, even while in Budapest. I certaainly could never thank Viking enough for their courtesies shown me. This was my third Viking river cruise and am in the process of choosing another river destination. I have been on a larger cruise ship to visit the Baltic countries. Looking over the information, I feel that using the river cruise I will get a better feel for the countries visited. I wouldn't choose to be a repeat customer if I were not a satisfied consumer. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2015
Our local travel agent had a great affordable offer, so we were eager to take a weeklong cruise on the Main River to see several of the famous German Christmas Markets (in Nuremberg, Bamberg, Rothenberg, Frankfurt, Wertheim, Wurzburg and ... Read More
Our local travel agent had a great affordable offer, so we were eager to take a weeklong cruise on the Main River to see several of the famous German Christmas Markets (in Nuremberg, Bamberg, Rothenberg, Frankfurt, Wertheim, Wurzburg and Heidelberg). Weather was generally pleasant considering it was winter. Due to the weather and high water levels, the upper deck was closed for safety reasons since the boat passed under a number of low bridges. Both the walking and bus tours were highly informative, with excellent tour guides in each city. Reached the Christmas Markets in Rothenberg and Heidelberg via coach, and saw many charming and interesting sights along the way. The boat, the Viking staff, and especially the cuisine were outstanding. In particular, they did a Bavarian buffet dinner that was amazing. The tour ended at Frankfurt and we were efficiently transported to the airport (30 minutes away) to make our connections back home. In all, we were very pleased with every aspect of our cruise and would highly recommend Viking River Cruises to everyone. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
Shall I start with the positive or the negative of my experience? Three Boats, never saw the one I was supposed to be on. Three weeks before departure I started tracking the Viking Mimir the boat I was supposed to be on, and noticed ... Read More
Shall I start with the positive or the negative of my experience? Three Boats, never saw the one I was supposed to be on. Three weeks before departure I started tracking the Viking Mimir the boat I was supposed to be on, and noticed that it was not moving in the direction it needed to be to board. I started asking my Travel Agent to get into contact with Viking to find out if there were going to be changes to our trip and if there were going to be issues with Water Levels or anything else. After saving money for THREE YEARS to go on a once in a lifetime trip and as I am an anxious traveler and I have high levels of anxiety. I kept getting the typical PR Responses that all would be fine. Needless to say we got on our Plane to Amsterdam on November the 10th. NOVEMBER 11 2015 at 12:22 in the Afternoon Mountain Standard Time WE GET AN EMAIL ASKING US IF WE WANTED TO CANCEL OUR TRIP AFTER ALREADY ARRIVING IN AMSTERDAM! Too Late now we are already in another country where we have no way to call and talk to anyone. We had already been gone for over 18 hours. Way to go Viking you really excelled at communication there. This is why I called every day and bugged my Travel Agent every day for a week before we left. Day 2 in Extended stay in Amsterdam, we joined the walking tour it was nice and informative. I talked with the Viking Representatives at the Hotel and found out that people who had arrived were canceling and returning home just as angry as I was. I heard others talking about how they got on-board ship credit for use on this cruise for the inconvenience. I promptly sent an email to my Travel Agent and Demanded that she call Viking and get the same for me I felt I was owed that much at least for lack of communication from Viking before I left the country. I eventually did get this on-board ship credit and it did soften the blow. Others got the Silver Drink Package for no Charge, Others got $200 each traveler on-board ship credit, some got 25% off vouchers. I got late communication and 15% off. NOT including my airfare. Yeah I was mad, livid is more like it. Day 3. I had booked an outside tour of the Jewish Museums, and Anne Frank house. Before I booked this alternate tour I called Viking directly and asked when I needed to be on board the ship. I was told as long as we made it back to the ship before 11:30 Departure we would be ok to tour Amsterdam. (NOT TRUE) The Viking Representatives at the Hotel told me I had to be on board for a 6:45 Daily Briefing and that it was Mandatory. Well my tour was not over till 8:00 that night. So I missed this Mandatory Briefing. Again another communication breakdown from the left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing. We boarded the Viking Eistla on Friday the 13th. All was well. I got to know the staff. There are several Staff members that I would like to pay tribute too. Vana our room Matron on the Eistla and Baldur. Vana went the extra mile to make our stay special. She had a wonderful energy and was always so nice to see. She gives great hugs and she made the trip positive for me. With the special little room gestures from one ship to another. She remembered the Extra Blanket that was needed and had it ready on the next boat so I did not have to ask for it again. I hope that I get to see her again on a future cruise. The Maitre'd Aryan (I think I am spelling his name right) has made every day on the ship memorable, Kurt and Lucas at the Front Desk, Vanya and Mary and Marlon in the Dining Room, Kristyan at the Bar, Ohna at the Bar were all excellent in their jobs and I enjoyed interacting with all of them. Monday the 16th we were switching ships. I appreciate all the hard work the staff did to help us switch ships. I am thankful that Viking booked a Scenic Cruise from Braubach to Bingen so we would not miss the beauty and splendor of the Rhine. I am grateful that we were able to do this instead of being bused. So I give Viking Cruise Director Rob a big thumbs up for coordinating this for us. We arrived the Baldur and everything was seamless and very nice. It was a lot better than I expected. This ship was exactly like the Eistla and so I did not notice any difference. Sunday November 22nd Switching Ships Again. Sadly I had to say Goodbye to Vana our Room Matron who again I must say was the most positive and wonderful staff members I have ever come across. Time to go to the Viking Embla. After a long day out and about we got to our room. As I was unpacking I noticed a constant humming coming from the bathroom. It was non stop and very annoying. This ship is showing signs of wear and tear. While I was unpacking my suitcase I pulled out the beside table to put down a glass of water. Instead in Stateroom 225 the bedside table pulled out and fell off right on my foot. I have a lovely bruise that is fading but it was painful. The closet door in the room would not stay shut and it would open and close on its own at all hours of the night. The temperature in the Shower was not consistent. Anytime someone flushed a toilet the water would turn scalding hot and I actually got a burn on my chest from the water and a blister from the water in the Shower. The Embla did not have the same amenities that we had in the other two ships. (No USB Port and Outlets were fewer) No under light in the bathroom and no lights in the closet that worked. Needless to say it was a disappointment from the other two ships. And that constant humming noise and closet doors opening on their own, this room was a little bit annoying to say the least. (FIX THOSE THINGS FOR FUTURE TRAVELERS) Now that we are home and going over the memories we are very pleased with the experience for the most part. However finding that others we cruised with got more than 15% off for a future cruise, some are getting 25-30% off. Considering it took us THREE Years to save for this cruise we would like to give Viking another try but we are taken back that we have to use this voucher in less than a year. So I would like something done about that. Considering I did not get 100% of what I paid for I expect some form of compensation that is not a complete and total slap in the face especially since I repeatedly asked for information before I left, and I would have canceled and re-booked for a later date when Water Levels were better. But the experience even though several ports were cut short due to water levels and some of our free time was taken away it was a good trip. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
I enjoyed many aspects of my Viking "Grand European" bus tour. Which basically means I enjoyed the European towns we visited by bus. Viking offerred us a really sweet deal on their November "Grand European" river ... Read More
I enjoyed many aspects of my Viking "Grand European" bus tour. Which basically means I enjoyed the European towns we visited by bus. Viking offerred us a really sweet deal on their November "Grand European" river tour. Unfortunately they failed to mention to us that their boats couldn't sail due to low water levels on all the rivers we were supposed to sail, the Rhine, Main and Danube, and that we would be traveling far away from these scenic rivers, by buses. I take particular umbrage at the fact that they booked us knowing full well that the rivers were unsailable, and had been since early June, but never told us. When we arrived on our boat, everything just got worse. Everyday they lied to us. We were bused to four seperate boats on our 14 day extravanga, two of which never sailed. We had one afternoon of "scenic river cruising." We are younger retired people and travel about 4 months a year. I have simply never had a travel experience like this. I suspect Viking may think they can get away with their deceit because many of the people who take these cruises are elderly and were too overwhelmed by the experience to do anything but weakly complain. It was particularly galling to me to see what happened to the "leisurely" cruisers, those elderly people who booked the cruise so they could sail and see, while not able to walk and tour. These people were bused to restaurants, where they sat and waited for the bus to drive them to the next destination. Elderly handicapped people were forced to walk in the rain up and down boat ramps, up and down bus stairs, pack and repack. Their health and welfare were essentially endangered by Viking. Besides all of this, here are some other factoids about Viking: Did you read Vikings PR about how the chefs prepare "regional delicacies" from local markets? Malarky. I saw the canned food being trucked in one day while I stayed on the boat and everyone else was off on their bus. There were lots of canned onion rings, canned stale cookies, really mediocre food. Did you read about their free wifi? Malarky again. The wifi didn't work. They had two wired ship computers for "guests" which were infected with malware which infected everyone's computers who used them, a Viking gift that keeps on giving, even after you come home. Our last day was especially memorable. We were bused from Vienna to Slovakia where we had lunch in the cheesiest Holiday Inn you have ever seen, with really the worst meal anyone could remember. Steamed ice cream scoops of rice, and microwaved chicken breasts with no sauce. Slovakia had amazing food available at their Christmas markets and restaurants but we had a schedule to meet on our bus and had no time. We then were bused through Hungary where four buses, 186 people arrived at a Mc Donalds, I kid you not, to use the two available toilets. Really special. Thanks Viking! Viking gave us "free round trip airfare," except of course when the airline they booked us on went on strike. After one solid day in Budapest wrangling with Viking trying to arrange air transport home, they finally booked us on a flight from Munich to DC to home in San Diego, six hours before the flight departed. Unfortunately we were in Budapest with insufficient time to arrange transport to Munich. So we paid $4,500 to arrange our own last minute costly flight home. If all goes well on Viking, I hear it can be a very nice experience. If all doesn't go well, you are really out of luck. Please see yelp for more current reviews of the viking experience. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
My wife and I took our first river cruise of 15 days with Viking from Budapest to Amsterdam in early November 2015. Overall it was an excellent vacation and for the most part an exceptional experience on both Viking ships Embla and Aegir. ... Read More
My wife and I took our first river cruise of 15 days with Viking from Budapest to Amsterdam in early November 2015. Overall it was an excellent vacation and for the most part an exceptional experience on both Viking ships Embla and Aegir. That of course is another part of the story to be continued later. I often consult Cruise Critic for trip tips prior to a vacation so hopefully some folks especially new river cruisers will find my observations helpful. So if you don't want to read the whole novelette here are the bullet points: It is an awesome trip. Go to Great Market Hall in Budapest. See a concert in Vienna and get a chocolate torte. Passau is best city to shop. Go on the Nuremburg, Rothenburg, and Pub Crawl in Cologne tours. All of these are special Viking offerings that are not included as free excursions. Make sure you are on the upper (sun) deck when sailing through the Wachua and Rhine valleys. For Ocean cruisers there are hurricanes. For river cruisers there are high water, low water or broken locks. Although it will be well handled, your trip could easily become a land tour. No, you don't need a balcony. Itinerary tips: Budapest: Hungarian doesn't derive from other European languages so signage is difficult. Most vendors accept euros but give change in forint. So use small euros unless you plan to do more shopping. The Great Market Hall is a two bridge walk away from the Chain Bridge where the ships dock. It is a definite must see. Good inexpensive but appreciated gifts are Hungarian Paprika and painted decorative eggs. Traveling upriver from the Chain Bridge is the Hungarian Parliament building which is worth a walk around. Look for the Shoes on the Danube Bank memorial. Vienna: After your included tour you easily can go back to Stephansplatz using the subway. The station is about 3 blocks from the dock and costs about 2.5 euros per trip. Purchase your ticket from the kiosk and make sure you validate your ticket prior to entering the boarding area. Big fines if not validated. The subways are clean and safe and Stephansplatz is 4 stops away. So a good afternoon can be spent at the Albertina art museum which is a few blocks from Stephansplatz and next to the Sacher Hotel one of the originators of the famous Vienna chocolate torte. Stop there for the Sacher Torte. Yes expensive and crowded with tourists but worth it. We loved the 3 story grocery store located just a block off the plaza and it is worth a walk through. The ship offered limited tickets to a Mozart/Strauss concert at the Opera House. Everyone said it was very good that had been able to book tickets. We were interested in attending a classical music concert in Vienna so bought tickets to the Vienna Royal Orchestra that played Mozart/Straus at fest hall at the Haus der Industrie. We were a little nervous about buying on the square but we got a 20 euro discount per person, they said because it was nearing the end of the day. We split a taxi with some other people from our ship. We were very glad we went. So if you are unable to attend the ships offering this alternative is worth checking out. Passau -buy stuff here! Passau is where all the ship's crew shops. Best selection and pricing and you have the most free time here. If your looking for beer steins for gifts there is a mom and pop store (Heidi and Peter) that will ship for you. We wanted to have them shipped to the States and therefore we did not have to pay the VAT. Shipping was guaranteed and the cost was offset by the tax avoidance. According to our guide no one in Germany owns a Coo Coo Clock and the greatest concentration of said clocks are in Florida and Arizona. Regensburg: a must snack stop is the famous Sausage Kitchen near the city entrance to the Stone Bridge. Nuremburg: Viking offers an alternative WWII excursion that is not an included tour. Zepplin Field, The Documentation Center, and Courtroom 600 are visited. For obvious reasons this is not necessarily uplifting but it was extremely worthwhile. You will have to speed visit The Documentation Center exhibits. Nuremburg is a good place to take a break from the usual touring. Make sure you sample the Nuremburg sausages and sauerkraut. Rothenburg ob der Tauber: Viking offers this trip to Rothenburg a medieval town as an "extra" excursion. You take a bus trip over the Romantic Road through the beautiful small towns and German countryside. This was worthwhile excursion. Our guide suggested avoiding Schneeballs. (a pastry the size of a softball) Visit the Christmas Store and Torture Museum. Walk around the town on the wall. Wurzburg: You get to see here how important a role the Monument Men played in preserving great works. As you are going back to the ship stop at the little wine store at the end of the bridge and buy a bottle of a Silvaner Franken Wine...or grab a glass. Check out the crowd of folks socializing and drinking wine on the bridge. Better yet, join them. Bamberg: Another beautiful German town to restored much to original. Check out the smoke flavored beer. The original pub has a unique window service. Don't forget to return your glass for your deposit. There is a gift shop in the back by the WC where no 0.5 euro is required. Cologne: 4711 Eau de Cologne is a popular gift. Taste ein Berliner (jelly doughnut) made famous by JFK. An optional Viking Tour is the Pub Crawl in Cologne. This was a favorite. It is not very expensive and full of culture. Who knew many Cologne pubs come with a Confessional Booth? This is not Barvaria. Do not bring your steins and dress in lederhosen or dirnl. The beer is Kolsch and it is served in small glasses. Your guide will take you to 4 or 5 pubs and you will sample the Kolsch beer brewed by each pub. Be forewarned. The waiters are rude by tradition but efficient. The riverboat dice roll and other things to know: If asked if a balcony room is necessary, I would say no. The best place to view the river valley is the upper deck. Perhaps it was due to the time of year but we only spent a few minutes on our balcony. You travel with about 200 guests with a much smaller crew than when on an ocean cruise. You really need to stay informed and attentive especially when your itinerary is altered or delayed. We missed an announcement and missed a tour. The buses were not in sight of the ship and staff was not around to ask directions. Our bad but we were disappointed. There is a lot of locks many of which you pass through at night. The bump may wake you out of your sleep and it may be unsettling to see a massive wet wall 15 cm from your balcony window. You get used to this by the end of the trip. Some of the ocean cruisers on their first river cruise missed the evening entertainment options. Viking had very good cultural entertainment scheduled at every port. However the lounge area really was not big enough to seat everyone so at least 25% of the audience had obstructed or no view. If you want to engage in an interesting conversation about high technology river cruising, ask someone on the crew about the 2 liter water bottle. Your trip is subject to water levels. Low, well you run aground. At one point our cruise director announced we had 15 cm of water under the keel. Highwater, passing underneath bridges can be a problem. There were 68 locks on this trip. Broken locks can delay trips as well. Choose a cruise line with a lot of ships traveling in both directions. In November the water on the Rhine and Danube was very low. On our trip we bused to visit cities on two days and then traded ships with the southbound passengers on the Aegir so we could continue past a low water blockage. Viking gave us a free tour and a 15% future discount for our trouble. Everything went very smoothly but if we missed sailing through the Wachau and Rhine valleys we would have been seriously disappointed. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
We'd never been anywhere in Eastern Europe and wanted to see Budapest and some of the other places we've always heard of. The river connected all of them and was an easy way to get a glimpse. We arrived in Budapest by overnight ... Read More
We'd never been anywhere in Eastern Europe and wanted to see Budapest and some of the other places we've always heard of. The river connected all of them and was an easy way to get a glimpse. We arrived in Budapest by overnight train from Prague (not a Viking extension--on our own) and showed up at the pre-cruise hotel, the Hilton Budapest, at about 9:30 AM. Viking had two reps already at the welcome desk, so we could check in with them right then. They let us know about an afternoon walking tour, suggested that we check with the hotel to see if they had a room we could check into early (the hotel did), gave us some info on the neighborhood and we were on our way! Viking includes one tour each day of your trip and offers just a few optional excursions for extra cost, but only 10's of dollars, not 100's! We went on one of them and had a very enjoyable afternoon. After two nights at the Hilton, we were taken to the ship (a different one than scheduled, but identical). After lunch, we had the afternoon to run around on our own and got helpful advice from the ship's concierge. The ship sailed right after dinner and we were treated to the night-time river tour we had missed due to misty/rainy weather. Budapest at night is glorious! The ship was moored just downriver from the parliament building and cruised slowly upriver past it--beautiful. We had a wonderful view of Castle Hill as well. Each of the cruise stops included at least one included excursion and all were interesting. Some were in towns and cities, others out into the countryside, some were both. A couple of tours included lunch at a location other than the ship and all included at least one refreshment (and restroom) stop. Only complaint: almost too much to take in! Our stateroom (a french balcony) was small, but more than adequate and convenient. The bathroom had a very efficient design, so we had no problems there, either. Wi-Fi and satellite TV kept us in touch with the world when we wanted to be. Food served in the main dining room and in the Aquavit Terrace was very good with a good selection every meal. One could go through a buffet line or order off a menu in either venue. The Terrace selections were slightly more limited than the main dining room's. We had lunch up on the Terrace and dinner in the main dining room and were more than happy with both. Beer and wine (included) at both meals were welcomed, also. All in all, a great way to see a little bit of the world. We've already booked our next Viking rivercruise Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
We had always dreamed on going on a Viking River Cruise when we retired and we did it! It was incredible! From the well appointed rooms to the excellent food and great staff, we thoroughly enjoyed it. The ship was well maintained, ... Read More
We had always dreamed on going on a Viking River Cruise when we retired and we did it! It was incredible! From the well appointed rooms to the excellent food and great staff, we thoroughly enjoyed it. The ship was well maintained, extremely clean and the staff were, in particular on the LIF, very friendly, courteous and helpful. Each day, the chef would come out before dinner to give us his recommendations. Great touch! We started our trip by staying in Amsterdam a couple of days prior to leaving on the cruise. The hotel accommodations were very good. Due to the SAIL in Amsterdam we had to be bused to Rotterdam to leave from there instead. We didn't mind that the trip had to start in Rotterdam as we were able to see yet another city in the Netherlands. Each day there were organized tours of the key areas of the city. These were well organized. The guides were extremely knowledgeable, with most being students of history or geography. Most had a good sense of humour and were able to keep the attention of the group. On the excursions that included lunch, the restaurants or pubs chosen served delicious food which also included free wine, beer and soft drinks. There was so much history and the architecture in the different countries was unbelievable. We could not have asked for more! When we got to Budapest, we also stayed here for an additional two days at the Hilton. We thoroughly enjoyed walking around and certainly got a lot of exercise! There were a couple of times that we had to get off the ship and be bussed to another location and/or ship, but we understood that the water levels were extremely low and it was no one's fault. We felt we were compensated fairly for the inconvenience. We will definitely consider doing another Viking Cruise in the future! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2015
My husband and I sailed on Viking this past August, 2015, from Amsterdam to Budapest. It was not what I expected. Many of us on this cruise called it the ABC tour, (another bloody castle, another bloody church). The boat we were ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on Viking this past August, 2015, from Amsterdam to Budapest. It was not what I expected. Many of us on this cruise called it the ABC tour, (another bloody castle, another bloody church). The boat we were supposed to be on was not the boat they put us on initially. We booked for the Embla, and started out on the Leaf. Too bad we could not stay on that boat as the staff were extremely nice. Then after three days, we had to switch boat back to the Embla. The tour director was very stoic, and was biased against women. Very autocratic! One of the main reasons we choose this tour was because of the Nuremberg tour. You are not able to sign up in advance for a tour. So, when they announced at dinner that we could sign up, we immediately went to do so after dinner, only to be told that the tour was full. Imagine that!! It was limited to 50 people. Many of us were very upset by this and complained bitterly. Finally, the tour director said he would look into seeing if the company would put on another bus. It was not until the night before the tour ( 2 days later) that we were informed that another bus was secured. The entire tour is not for anyone with any physical impairments. The boat is not really handicap accessible. The elevator only goes one floor. If you want to access the sun deck, you had to climb a flight of stairs. There are no amenities on Viking, such as hot tubs, etc. . The cabins are very small. I guess I am more accustomed to the ocean cruise lines. On a positive note, we did enjoy the history and the people we met. Budapest was the best part of this tour. We did the three day post excursion land tour, and wished we could have stayed longer. There are many river cruise lines available, with better facilities and cabins. I would look into other cruise lines if I were to take another river cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
My husband and I decided to take our first river cruise in celebration of our 45th wedding anniversary. Several different friends had tried Viking's river cruises and loved them. When we were growing up, most of the countries visited ... Read More
My husband and I decided to take our first river cruise in celebration of our 45th wedding anniversary. Several different friends had tried Viking's river cruises and loved them. When we were growing up, most of the countries visited on this cruise were ruled first by the Nazis and then the Communists, so we were really interested in visiting these places that had been closed to the West for so long. (Also, I had visited Holland and East Berlin 50 years ago, just before the Wall, so wanted to see how they had changed.) We arrive in Bucharest 2 days early to recover from jet lag. The Viking representatives in our hotel were very friendly and answered our questions about getting to the ship and boarding. The Elba is a beautiful ship. Everything looked new, and the managers and crew couldn't have been more competent and helpful. We enjoyed seeing the beautiful views of villages, landscapes, and even some wildlife from our veranda stateroom. The dining room was comfortable, and seats were not assigned, so we were free get acquainted with many of our shipmates and re-join those we found compatible. Food was plentiful and delicious, with many options, on or off the menus. Room service also was offered. The summer heat (close to 100 degrees) and drought (Danube about 6 feet lower than normal) were major challenges that the staff handled expertly. Leonard, our amazing program director, kept us informed of every development as early as possible. When the river's level finally was too low for the ship to proceed through the locks, we were told to leave our packed suitcases outside our rooms in the morning before boarding buses for our city tour of Nuremburg. When the tour ended that afternoon, the buses delivered us to the Viking Lis, where we boarded and found our luggage already delivered to a stateroom almost identical to the one we had left, and with the same number. The entire exchange had been seamless. Even better, Leonard and the concierge from Elba transferred with us! So we missed only the Elba's delightful hotel manager and expert chef and dining room manager (each just enough better than those at the Lis for us to notice a slight difference). We can't say enough good about Leonard. I don't know when the man managed to sleep, as he arranged all the excursions, accompanied most of them (rotating among the buses), took photos of everyone on the tours, gave a pre-dinner video presentation of the next day's schedule and events, and arranged and introduced an hour's entertainment every evening at 9 p.m. He also wrote and printed an informative newsletter about each next day's ports-of-call, which we found on our beds after dinner. On the days we went through locks or didn't have all-day excursions, he gave a running commentary on the sights we were passing, including interesting anecdotes related to their history and tales associated with them. We appreciated the bottles of water offered before every excursion and the optional excursions to accommodate different interests and physical abilities. There were walking tours as well as bus tours, opportunities to visit homes of local residents as well as churches and museums, and many options for sampling local cuisine and experiencing the arts (visual and performing). The Elba's concierge also was very helpful in arranging a couple of personal excursions for us. When one turned out to be disappointing because the guide ignored our preferences, the concierge discussed the problem with the local contractor and took steps to be certain that this would not happen to a Viking passenger again. We're now looking forward to both an ocean and a river cruise with Viking to explore Northern and Eastern Europe in September. It won't be as warm, but we were assured that the water level won't be a problem then. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
Although we have been on a number of ocean cruises, this was our first river cruise. It will not be our last. We had heard nothing but rave reviews about Viking and the river cruise experience. This cruise surpassed our expectations. ... Read More
Although we have been on a number of ocean cruises, this was our first river cruise. It will not be our last. We had heard nothing but rave reviews about Viking and the river cruise experience. This cruise surpassed our expectations. From the time we walked out of customs at Amsterdam's airport until the time we checked in for our flight home, there was always a Viking representative there to take care of us. We never felt alone in a foreign country. The ship's accommodations and meals exceeded our hopes. The dinning and hotel staffs were pleasant and did everything possible to ensure the trip was enjoyable. The food was excellent and the portions were just right. The idea of changing tables every meal and meeting different people was great. No matter who we dined with, our wait staff of Jaycee, Josh, and Gilbert were always there to provide great service. The shore excursions were varied to the point of having something for everyone. The concierge was exceptional. He was able to arrange a private side trip from Cologne to Margraten, NL for us. The driver he arranged for us was friendly and knowledgeable. Leonard, the program director, was also very good. He had great commentary about the local scenes as we cruised the river. The man is full of energy and he spread it among the passengers. We are looking forward to more Viking cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
This was my first river cruise but it won't be my last. I had taken several ocean cruises and did not know what to expect on a river cruise. It was much better than any previous cruise. The crew of the Embla was wonderful from Maya ... Read More
This was my first river cruise but it won't be my last. I had taken several ocean cruises and did not know what to expect on a river cruise. It was much better than any previous cruise. The crew of the Embla was wonderful from Maya who cleaned our room to Leonard , the program director, your wait staff and the Maitre D. There was not one negative thing about this experience. I traveled with my granddaughter on her first trip to Europe and she, too, was thrilled. The shore excursions were excellent with very knowledgeable guides in every port at which we stopped. The food was excellent as was the on board entertainment. Everyone on the crew with whom we came in contact made us feel welcome. The dining system of six to a table and changing tables with every meal or staying with one group was a wonderful idea and we made many new friends as a result of this. We are looking forward to taking another Viking cruise. Right now I have my eye set on the ocean cruise of the Scandinavian countries, Estonia, Poland, Germany and Russia, while she is hoping for something that includes Paris. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
Very good cruise. The staff made all the difference. We felt the staff were one of the best aspects of the cruise line. The excursions were interesting although in some stops there was not much to see. On board entertainment fun and ... Read More
Very good cruise. The staff made all the difference. We felt the staff were one of the best aspects of the cruise line. The excursions were interesting although in some stops there was not much to see. On board entertainment fun and dining very good. Free seating a great idea, although some people saving lots of seats annoying in lounge area. Would travel with Viking again, and like the idea of the new ocean cruises. A beauty/hairdresser or massage room would be nice. Great fun though overall. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
We had been watching the Viking River cruise promotions on TV for months, with a mix of fantasy, disbelief and thought this was too good to be true. Seeing is believing! So we, impulsively booked a cabin with a verandah. To our amazement, ... Read More
We had been watching the Viking River cruise promotions on TV for months, with a mix of fantasy, disbelief and thought this was too good to be true. Seeing is believing! So we, impulsively booked a cabin with a verandah. To our amazement, our experience on Viking Embla, surpassed our wildest expectations and we are ready to sing their praises, out loud.This was our first river cruise, from Amsterdam to Budapest; and it left us with a longing for another one, sooner than later. The ship was beautiful, comfortable, clean and had space for everyone to enjoy the view. The library and computer terminals were a great feature. The exceptional staff and crew were professional, very helpful and always cheerful. The tour director Leonard had the perfect charisma to lead us on this great adventure down the Rhine and Danube. He was knowledgeable and humourous, with a great DJ's voice that accompanied a bubbly and enthusiastic personality. He gave us interesting commentaries and shared unique legends, as we sailed along the ever-changing landscapes. 15 minutes before dinner, we were invited to the lounge to attend a briefing and power point presentation of the next day's itinerary. This helped to refresh our minds and prepare the way for tomorrow. Many levels of included and optional tours were offered, to accommodate most needs. Each evening after dinner, there would be entertainment in the lounge. Often, we would participate in an intriguing presentation of the art, music, culture or cuisine of the town that we were going to experience the following day. After which, we could relax in the lounge listening to the charming on-board pianist, or go back to the cabin and watch a movie or listen to a wide selection of music. While we were at dinner, a detailed printed itinerary for the next day would be left in our room. The whole tour was well organized and efficiently handled. Even though we hit some hurdles with the water level being too low, during the heat wave, the captain worked creatively with the staff and managed to give us a complete river cruise, whereas other ships had to coach their passengers from port to port. The food on board was varied, well-presented and relevant to the country in which we were docked. This gave us an opportunity to taste local delicacies, both in town and on the ship. The wait staff were impeccable and in a few days learnt the passengers likes and preferences giving one the feeling of personalized service. With no fixed sitting for meals, we were encouraged to reach out to new friends each day. Special onboard activities included games, glass blowing, coffee and strudel preparation, local musicians and dancers entertained us as well. It was such fun. The shore tours were much anticipated with local guides using "quiet boxes" to add extra flavour. Travel to embarkation and disembarkation points was flawless. Throughout our stay on Embla, we were made to feel "at home". I highly recommend adding a Viking River cruise to your bucket list. You will not be disappointed. In fact you will be fulfilled. A dream come true; A fantasy into reality! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
This cruise was certainly the best trip i have ever taken . The cost was very affordable ! The staff was very helpful. they as a group and individually did everything to make the experience enjoyable. The program director mr ... Read More
This cruise was certainly the best trip i have ever taken . The cost was very affordable ! The staff was very helpful. they as a group and individually did everything to make the experience enjoyable. The program director mr leonard miron was very professional while making the whole experience comfortable and exciting.when it came to the "taking care of us passenger" he was the best. He was terrific. i would certainly go on a another excursion with him anywhere . Overall performance was great. 1) Accommodations Top Rate 2) room attendants could not ask for better. 3) hotel manager - professional and very good . 4) Concierge - The Best 5) Purser - Excellent 6) Head Chef - Great Food served prefectlly 7) waiter and waitress- amazing - i felt treated like a king. 8) captains were great and made the trip exciting and safe. Bravo! Once again this cruise confirmed my expectation. Viking is the best. Thank you to all the staff on my terrific cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2015
Overall we enjoyed this cruise and would recommend the cruise and Viking to anyone. However, we think there are significant areas for improvement and it started badly when our luggage was delayed when we arrived in Bucharest (late in ... Read More
Overall we enjoyed this cruise and would recommend the cruise and Viking to anyone. However, we think there are significant areas for improvement and it started badly when our luggage was delayed when we arrived in Bucharest (late in the night). Then the airport to hotel transfer driver took us to the wrong hotel. We were then forced to find an ATM to get money for a taxi to the correct hotel (at nearly 1 am in the morning). The reason for the wrong hotel was the fault of our local Viking agent. The next morning our luggage hadn't arrived so we waited at the hotel (InterContinental) and skipped the first part of the city tour. The local Viking ground man managed to locate our luggage and after a quick change he drove us, in his personal car, to catch up with the tour. Along the way he made a quick stop at another hotel to collect some audio-gear. Pulling into that hotel he was involved in a minor car accident (not his fault, someone ran into the rear of his car). My wife and I appeared unharmed (only to find later that she suffered a from whip-lash neck injury that caused her significant and continual headaches for the next 2 weeks). His car was not drive-able so the Viking man put us in a taxi (which we had to pay for) and sent us to catch up with the tour group (and deliver his audio gear). The most disappointing thing about this experience was that it was not recorded by Viking - we know this because when my wife's head aches were not improving we asked Katjia (the cruise hotel manager) if she or Viking had any record of the event in case we needed to make a claim. Poor personal liability management on Viking's part. Other areas for improvement would be more local ethnic cuisine each day. A large part of the enjoyment of traveling is to experience different cultures and foods. While the food on the boat was of a high standard, it was generally just the normal "international" type cuisine that you can get anywhere. We would have liked at few more choices each day of local cuisine. Another major area of concern to us was the local guides. Generally speaking they spent far too much time talking about the details and history of their town. While this was happening we just stood there and looked at nothing. This often left too little time for walking about the towns and to take in the culture. What I think would be better is for them to give the highlights and spend more time actually looking. People can always ask for more information, people can not always revisit the towns. Finally potential cruisers should be clearly told that the sun-deck will be out of action for a few days as we travel through the lock areas. Other than that we had fun. Thank you Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
Budapest to Bucharest was a great trip itinerary. Stay in Romania was especially good with extension up to Brasov. Distance into cities which we thought we would actually be docked inside was disappointing. Cruise Director programs were ... Read More
Budapest to Bucharest was a great trip itinerary. Stay in Romania was especially good with extension up to Brasov. Distance into cities which we thought we would actually be docked inside was disappointing. Cruise Director programs were really good. Food was below cruise ship quality. Tours were good, but some of the tour guides were very poor. Home tour in Croatia was fantastic. Serbia and Western Bulgaria were depressing; Eastern Bulgaria very impressive. Scenery was really fantastic. Cruise ship staff on Embla was good, but not as good as on preceding cruise on Alsvin. Hotels in Budapest, and Bucharest were quite good as was Brasov. The Director for Extension in Romania was exceptional in his knowledge, helpfulness, and desire to teach you about the area. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
The dining room seats 180 people. On our previous river cruises, there were only 120 passengers, not 180. The ceiling in the Embla's dining room is very low. This produces a terrible sound quality. It was so noisy I had to shout ... Read More
The dining room seats 180 people. On our previous river cruises, there were only 120 passengers, not 180. The ceiling in the Embla's dining room is very low. This produces a terrible sound quality. It was so noisy I had to shout to be heard by the person sitting right next to me. However, the service and the food were excellent. There is actually only one day of river cruising on this river cruise. That is the day the ship sails through "The Iron Gates." This is a very beautiful part of the Danube and this day was very relaxing. The rest of the week, the ship cruises at night when you are asleep. During the day, you are on excursions to destinations which are frequently far away from where the ship docks and require long bus rides. This is not relaxing. It is exhausting. The parts of the cruise I enjoyed the most were the Putszta horsemanship show and the home visit in Croatia. The 2-night stay in the Budapest Hilton was amazing. We were a stone's throw from the Fisherman's Bastion and had an incredible view from our room of all of Pest including the Parliament and the Chain Bridge. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
This was our first cruise on Viking River Cruises. We went from Bucharest to Budapest which is the direction I would recommend for anyone that hasn't been in Eastern Europe before. Our prior cruises have all been ocean cruises and we ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Viking River Cruises. We went from Bucharest to Budapest which is the direction I would recommend for anyone that hasn't been in Eastern Europe before. Our prior cruises have all been ocean cruises and we loved the more intimate feel and personal attention of the river cruise. I believe that Viking does an exceptional job in this regard. We opted to extend our stay an additional 20 days which Viking allowed us to do. We arranged our own transportation form Budapest, Hungary (the end of our tour) to Bonn, Germany. Viking made our flight arrangements from Germany back to the USA for us. This allowed us to stay with friends in Germany for that additional time. We enjoyed our river cruise so much that we will probably forgo ocean cruises for now. We enjoyed the smaller number of people and the personal attention that we received. When we departed Budapest, Hungary on our own to Germany, the Viking staff were very helpful even though their responsibilities to us had ended. The shore excursions were great. We are usually interested in learning about the countries and people we visit and these were very informational and well done. Not to mention the opportunities to interact with people. I think the most extraordinary thing about visiting this part of the world earlier this year was that the immigration problems that Europe and especially Hungary began facing several months later were so much clearer to us. We felt that we have a greater understanding of the situation and problems. It turned into an incredible eyeopener for us. This was a unique trip at a unique time. We enjoyed the great service and personable staff. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
The cruise from Bucharest (port was 1 hour drive away) to Budapest in May 2015 was excellent. We have been on 16 cruises (2 with Viking) and the food on this ship was the best that we have ever had. Our original ship, the Lif, was not ... Read More
The cruise from Bucharest (port was 1 hour drive away) to Budapest in May 2015 was excellent. We have been on 16 cruises (2 with Viking) and the food on this ship was the best that we have ever had. Our original ship, the Lif, was not able to get to our port near Bucharest due to high water levels on the other side of Budapest on the Danube so the Embla was substituted. The ships are identical so this was no big deal. In fact Viking is getting rid of their older river boats and changing them to the Longships so if river levels are a problem, they can bus people from one ship to another if they cannot get under a bridge. So you pack up on one ship and they transfer everything to the other ship and you are on your way again. This is a great move by Viking to keep the water complaints down over which they have no control. The boat's crew were always helpful and the excursions and the guides were excellent. We did the 3 day extension in Bucharest which included a overnight stay at a Ramada on the way to Dracula's castle. The Hilton Athenee Hotel in Bucharest where we stayed a total of 3 nights is a beautiful hotel which was changed from the Radisson Blu that is right across the street and is not as nice a hotel. The Budapest hotel where we stayed for 2 nights was the Marriott where all rooms look out on the river and look toward the Buda side. This was also a very nice hotel and right in the middle of everything in Budapest. The only complaint I have with Viking is that you have to pay for the cruise a year in advance. Also I originally booked the 3 day extension to Prague with Viking but they changed the hotel from the Hilton to the Corinthia Hotel which is not located near the city center (although Viking did provide a shuttle). Since I wanted to stay near the city center, I cancelled the extension and this apparently made me ineligible for the bus transfer from Budapest to Prague according to the Los Angeles office. So I booked RailEurope train tickets for 2 for $330.00. When I was at the hotel in Budapest, I spoke to the Viking reps at the hospitality desk and asked if I could get on the bus with the other extension people to go to Prague instead of taking the train. They said OK and I just filled out a credit card authorization form for $240.00. So next I had to take a taxi to the train station in Budapest to get my train tickets stamped NOT USED and then had to mail them back to RailEurope when I got home. Might get about 60% of the cost of the train tickets back eventually after they deduct from their handling charges and shipping charges. there were 20 empty seats on the 8 hour bus trip to Prague so capacity was not an issue. Viking should change their policy on this and allow anyone to take their transfers whether or not you are staying in their hotel. The Four Seasons hotel that we stayed in in Prague was the same price as the hotel that Viking booked people into. Looking online you could book the Corinthia hotel for about 110 Euros and Viking was charging about $1600 for the 3 day stay in Prague and the only extra was a city tour that they provided. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
Our first river cruise. Previous cruises were on typical medium size ships to Caribbean, Alaska, Bermuda and Greek Islands. We liked the Viking Embla best. It was built in 2012 but looked brand new; not a speck of dust in any corner of the ... Read More
Our first river cruise. Previous cruises were on typical medium size ships to Caribbean, Alaska, Bermuda and Greek Islands. We liked the Viking Embla best. It was built in 2012 but looked brand new; not a speck of dust in any corner of the cabin. Entertainment on board was limited but fun. Hotels (Intercontinental, Hilton) were excellent and well located. A dinner cruise in Budapest (suggested, but not operated by Viking) was inconvenient because of the long walk from the meeting point to the boat. The optional excursions were mostly worthwhile, but anyone who has been to Vienna or Versailles could skip Godollo. The included attractions, guides, and land travel were all good. Dining was convenient and the food well above average for buffet service. Every Viking emplyee we met was competent, friendly, and helpful. When we left our hotel at 4:30 AM, uniformed Viking staffers were waiting in the lobby and took good care of us all the way to the airport check-in counter. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
This was our first river cruise and we booked Viking River Cruises' longest cruise which is actually two cruises together (Amsterdam to Budapest and Budapest to Bucharest). Not cheap but worth it. The ships are beautiful with clean, ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and we booked Viking River Cruises' longest cruise which is actually two cruises together (Amsterdam to Budapest and Budapest to Bucharest). Not cheap but worth it. The ships are beautiful with clean, Nordic design and no waste. Our cabin was perfectly sized for two (good sized) people. Effective air conditioning, heated floor in bathroom, plenty of storage, bar fridge and water replenished daily. Our cabin person kept our room neat and spotless and always ready for us. We just walked onto the ship the first day, picked up our keys and we were on our way. No muss or fuss. Meals were flawless with fantastic waitstaff who just could not do enough for us. We had fun with our servers and even the kitchen staff came out from time to time to see how we enjoyed the special meals they made for us a few times. (We got some special Filipino cuisine treats!) We never missed a meal and the between meal treats were fresh and plentiful. If you are looking to eat like a "cruise ship pig" at a buffet you might miss the "groaning table" food supply of a cruise ship but our servers never said no to second or even third helpings if you could handle it. No need to leave hungry! The bar staff in the lounge were always friendly and attentive and everyone on board seemed to be enjoying being there. They worked hard and got their work done but were always ready if something else was needed. The cruise director was exceptional. Knowledgeable, approachable and fun with a wide range of interests he kept things going on, which is no mean feat when you have a couple hundred mature adults to keep entertained. At each stop busses were waiting to whisk us away for perfect, introductory explorations of that day's locale. All the busses were new, well equipped and comfortable and the guides knew their stuff and in most cases managed to make it all seem fresh and interesting. Our last night, Bucharest, the bus took us right to the Intercontinental and our luggage was waiting (including four cases or wine we had brought along). Never a false step. I should mention a couple of things: First, and I have never had this ever happen on any cruise before, the day before we were due to arrive in Vienna the Cruise Director and Captain advised us that due to the Vienna Marathon the city would be virtually closed the day we were due to dock so they suggested we sail PAST Vienna, visit Bratislava out of sequence, and then sail back to Vienna the next day! A brilliant idea complicated by the fact that we were scheduled for a concert in Vienna the first night anyway. But they came through with busses to whisk us to Vienna for the evening and then back to our ship in Slovakia so we could sail BACK to Vienna for the next day! It sounds complicated but it all came off perfectly and resulted in us having perfect days in both Vienna and Bratislava (home of the world's best hot chocolate at Bon Bon!). Second, watch out for Slovakia; the Slovak women are very special! Anyway, I can't remember ever spending three weeks without a disappointment but Viking River Cruises managed it. Two things to keep in mind if you decide to take a long cruise such as the "European Sojourn" as we did on the Viking Embla. We travelled in April when the itinerary wasn't at peak season so the ports and the sites were not jammed. We didn't have to wait and the people all along the way had time and energy to deal with us. I would expect the busier parts of the season to be more packed everywhere. The other suggestion would be to consider the reverse route to our Amsterdam/Bucharest itinerary. It is very difficult for the Budapest/Bucharest portion of the cruise to compete with the Amsterdam/Budapest portion. Sailing from Bucharest you would experience the wonderful people and sights of Eastern Europe and then finish up with the glories of Austria, Germany and The Netherlands. Just a suggestion, but either way you will see and experience people and places you will never forget. Our three weeks on the Embla will be a tough act for any cruise line to follow, even Viking. We liked so much about our time onboard the Embla and while the ship is magnificent it was the people working on the Embla which really put our time "over the top". They were, and are, magnificent! Read Less
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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