Sail Date: August 2018
We were interested in seeing more of Eastern Europe after having been to Prague on our last river cruise. We knew before we left that river levels were low. We did have to leave our ship early and were bused into Budapest. It would have ... Read More
We were interested in seeing more of Eastern Europe after having been to Prague on our last river cruise. We knew before we left that river levels were low. We did have to leave our ship early and were bused into Budapest. It would have been lovely to have cruised into beautiful Budapest! Food was not quite as good as our previous river cruise. I celebrated my birthday on the first day of the cruise. My husband had called Viking ahead and told them this. He also asked one of our servers at dinner about my birthday. He was told they were aware of it. They still managed to forget to acknowledge my birthday. The next day something showed up in our room. I was very disappointed and my husband was not happy. Not the service we expected! Budapest was the highlight of the ports. Beautiful city with lots to see! We have another river cruise booked for 2019. It will most likely be our last. We have done one Viking ocean cruise, and we much prefer the ocean to river cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
Heard many great things from many past Viking Guests. Wanted to go to Europe , Germany etc, thought I would give Viking a try. Our first week we were on another ship, then midweek we had to transfer to another ship Due to the low water ... Read More
Heard many great things from many past Viking Guests. Wanted to go to Europe , Germany etc, thought I would give Viking a try. Our first week we were on another ship, then midweek we had to transfer to another ship Due to the low water of the river. Really hated leaving the 1st ship. Loved the staff. The second ship the Embla was a little smaller stateroom. We were never on the Aegir. I forgot the name of the first ship. The transfer was painless and everyone was very professional. I give credit to our tour guide Stephen. Food and dining service fantastic and friendly. The only negative thing I have to say about the dinner, was that the dinners all started at 7 p. M. It would have been nice to have an earlier dinner, because by the time you were finished dinner, you had to go right to bed because you had to get up so early in the morning for the excursions.Ship clean and attractive. River Cruises are different from sea Cruises There is nothing to do on the ship of you don't go on the excursions. A small library, relaxing on the top sundeck where there is a walking track and a small putting green. The top deck is not accessible when the ship has to go under bridges for height restrictions. The only nightly entertainment they had was a lady singer who was very nice and a electric piano player. Every night everybody would gather into the lounge, where the tour guide would discuss the plans for the next day and the excursions. Sometimes they would have lectures the day before on specific details of the area that you were going to see the next day. They also had a couple of demonstrations, making Turkish coffee for instance. Beware of the excursions, where they say or easy or moderate, it's not exactly true to form. There are times where you have to walk up steep hills on cobblestones for quite a while just to get where you have to meet your guide. These excursions are for very healthy fit individuals that can do a lot of vigorous walking, at least three to four miles per day. Europe especially has lots of uneven cobblestones streets which can wreak havoc on your back. You are not allowed to bring any type of scooter on board. You are allowed to bring a wheelchair, someone even brought a motorized wheelchair but no scooters are allowed. I had a hard time keeping up with the groups. I am in my 50s, and unfortunately I could not keep up as much as I'd like to. Some excursions were better than others.My advice, if you wish to do excursions with any type of river cruise, is to make sure you're able to walk 3 or 4 miles on cobblestone streets which are prevalent in Europe. I'm glad I went on this Viking tour, however regarding the excursions, I don't think that they were very accommodating to people with any type of mobility issues. The walking tours that were included with Viking we're Fair. The ones I would recommend in Europe specially Germany is to go to all the Palaces. The interior of these palaces were tremendous. Unfortunately due to the restrictions you are not able to take photographs inside. would I travel with Viking again, yes I would if there was a particular place that I would like to go see, and also the price. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2017
Our journey via BA to Bucharest was uneventful. We stayed at the Athenee Palace which was OK. My wife did order Ravioli in Robertos restaurant there but was cold both times and she refused any more food then. The Danube is a rather ... Read More
Our journey via BA to Bucharest was uneventful. We stayed at the Athenee Palace which was OK. My wife did order Ravioli in Robertos restaurant there but was cold both times and she refused any more food then. The Danube is a rather pleasant way to travel through these parts. Viking Embla basically a smooth passage with only 2 locks, one at night. Entertainment on board limited . Excellent keyboard player Honario . Some added itinerant musicians arrived en route and were good. Cabins small but acceptable. Restaurants, 2, were generally good but occasionally we had things go wrong. One of our friends waited 10 mins for a beer. We had Chicken a la King which was cold and we sent it back. My wife had cold grilled Salmon, sent it back and it returned warm but atop original cold veg. We waited at breakfast 10 mins for French toast which duly arrived cold, sat in pass we suspect. Excursion to Parliament building in Bucharest brilliant. Best afternoon was with family in Croatia where we had a Q & A session with the local family. Best cooking demo was when we witnessed cooking Homemade Banitsa dish from a Bulgarian family in their home. Trips included visiting churches. Far too much detail and really impossible to remember or take in. One church , the Holy Cross church in Osijek, we had a keyboard vocalist called Martina who was absolutely brilliant. In Budapest we visited the Church atop Buda which was excellent if a little boring in detail. Next day we visited the Synagogue on our own saveing 100 euros by walking there. We also visited St Stephen's basilica . A remarkable building completed in 1905. Very interesting and well worth the visit. We also visited the house of Horrors in Budapest relating to the occupation by German and Russian forces. Descriptive and depressing. Our Hotel in Budapest was the Hilton, West End. A soulless unloved hotel. TV in our room froze. Bathroom door was impossible to close. Journey home by BA was good and Viking staff looked after us well at the airport. 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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Chosen for the size and the number of passengers it holds. We liked that it wasn't overly crowded.. All of the staff were very friendly and helpful with any questions. Thought the selection of the food was very good and also tasted ... Read More
Chosen for the size and the number of passengers it holds. We liked that it wasn't overly crowded.. All of the staff were very friendly and helpful with any questions. Thought the selection of the food was very good and also tasted great. We purchased the silver package which we enjoyed very much with our fellow travelers that were with us. The layout of the ship was very nice with both seating inside and outside. Sitting in the front of the ship in the outdoor area was an enjoyable way to view the scenery and relax. Spent a lot of time in the lounge area before and after dinner having drinks and talking about the days adventures and what we would be doing the next day. Cabin size was large enough where we didn't seem too crowded. Size didn't matter anyway as not much time spent there. The excursions which were included in the price were interesting and the guides for the most part were informative about the area we were visiting. All of the buses we used were clean and comfortable with good drivers. All in all we had a great time and are looking forward to booking our next adventure with Viking Cruise Line. 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
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
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
Sail Date: June 2014
We enjoyed good weather, a great crew, super Program Director, excellent food, nice accommodations, and minimal hiccups. Viking has obviously worked very hard to address issues posted in previous reviews, with one exception: they could ... Read More
We enjoyed good weather, a great crew, super Program Director, excellent food, nice accommodations, and minimal hiccups. Viking has obviously worked very hard to address issues posted in previous reviews, with one exception: they could still be more forthcoming regarding potential issues (i.e., need to change ships or busing). We booked the three-week European Sojourn cruise from Bucharest (Giurgiu), Romania to Amsterdam, Netherlands. We made separate arrangements for our three-day pre- and post-cruise experiences in Romania and The Netherlands. Although we determined all of our accommodations, our travel agent finalized all of our lodging and travel arrangements, which (in listening to some of our fellow passengers) saved us considerable frustration and expense. And, after learning about the frequency and levels of flooding along the Danube and Main Rivers in the past, we were glad to have had travel insurance (even though we didn't need it, this time). Our assigned Veranda Stateroom on the Upper (third) deck was quite comfortable. We had hoped to be upgraded to Veranda Suite, which would have given us a separate sitting room that would have been handy when our waking / reading schedules diverged; however, we learned that those rooms did not have as much drawer / storage spaces as ours did. We did have a bit of noise from the Sun deck when there were track walkers or passengers playing shuffle board; but, since the management asked everyone to limit those activities to mid-day, it was only a minor annoyance. Our room stewardess was extremely efficient and accommodating. We have often told friends that the "best thing about the cruise was the food" and that the "worst thing about the cruise was ALL of the food." We both had to learn some restraint in selecting from the buffets and ordering. The menus were nicely varied, only repeating a few items over the course of 21 days. Of any of the offerings, only the soups could use some improvement. The open seating plan led to our getting to know many of our fellow passengers. The evening "stampede" for desired tables and servers even became a bit comical. We took this cruise on the Danube, Main and Rhine Rivers because we had never been to this part of Eastern and Central Europe. We were fascinated by the history and relative economies of the various countries and regions. From our perspective, Viking has done a nice job of balancing organized tours, free time in the various ports of call, and daylight sailing through the picturesque countryside. That is not to say, however, that they don't need to continue to refine some of the excursions to get away from some of the corny, staged presentations like the Puszta horse show. A couple of observations regarding shipboard technology: (1) The free wi-fi was appreciated; however, Viking needs to enhance its bandwidth. When everyone was onboard and attempting to connect on-line (uploading photos, etc), their wi-fi slowed to a snail's crawl. (2) The various presentations in the lounge could be transmitted to all of the passenger rooms--however, only from the ceiling-mounted camera. Several of the presentations included photo or PowerPoint visuals that could be projected onto a screen in the lounge. The system needs to be programmed to allow for displaying these presentations on the stateroom TVs, as well. We definitely recommend a Viking river cruise to others. However, as with all travel planning, do your homework ... know what your are getting, and whether that meets your expectations. Having a few hiccups along the way is what makes travel an "adventure." Viking simply needs to keep in mind that it is charging a five-star fee ... and owes a five-star experience. All-in-all, we think they are doing a pretty good job at doing so.   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
First things first: I was traveling with my 82-year-old mother and 18-year-old daughter (I'm 50). We are all very experienced and fairly independent travelers but decided to go on our second cruise (our first was with Seabourn two ... Read More
First things first: I was traveling with my 82-year-old mother and 18-year-old daughter (I'm 50). We are all very experienced and fairly independent travelers but decided to go on our second cruise (our first was with Seabourn two years ago) in part because my mother has a hard time walking long distances and in part because the itinerary of this particular cruise would take us places we had never been and probably wouldn't go alone. The best thing about this cruise was in fact that itinerary, taking us to places in Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Croatia like Belogradshick, Veliko Tarnovo, Arabanasi, Belgrade, and Vukovar. We ended up in Budapest, an absolutely fabulous city where we would happily have spent several more days. The least good thing about the cruise was the way it was structured but that's why I titled this review "know before you go" because our experiences definitely aren't a knock on Viking per se. We just were unprepared for the dock-get-on-a-bus-go-on-a-tour-get-back-on-a-bus-get-back-on-the-boat daily grind, the lack of independence, and the forced togetherness both of the tours and the evenings. The rooms are great, the staff amazingly pleasant, efficient, and accommodating, and the food mostly quite good. But the group of people traveling -- mostly people between about 55 and 70 in couples or small groups, mostly from the US but almost all English-speaking, mostly not particularly curious or well educated about the history of the areas we were traveling in, and mostly people who don't do a lot of independent traveling -- were not really our speed and the traveling in a herd was not something we would ever choose to do again. Because the group was almost exclusively the 55 to 70 set, it also just wasn't the right trip for three generations to take together. So ... know that's the deal before you go. Unlike the Seabourn cruise we took, Viking doesn't publish when you'll arrive in various ports so its impossible to book independent tours. Also unlike Seabourn, there just aren't a lot of alternatives to being together in the lounge and the main restaurant because there just isn't a lot of other public space. If you do choose to go on this trip, here are a couple tips: 1) bring mosquito repellant because you are, after all on a river; 2) get a little bit of each local currency from your bank at home before you go in small denominations because there isn't a lot of opportunity to change money and not everywhere takes Euros or dollars; 3) have a lot of Euro coins for tips for tour guides and drivers; 4) do some reading about where you're going because the Viking folks aren't great at any real history and what they do share is pretty cheerful (as opposed to the real stories of these places that are pretty dark); 5) learn how to say hello and thank you in the languages of the countries you're visiting, as just these two words will go a long way; and 6) take every possible opportunity to go out and walk in the ports when you aren't scheduled to be somewhere. If you're traveling with someone who has a hard time with stairs or with walking distances, also know that Viking is really not set up for that ... several of the tour guides were really insensitive to my mother's needs and just getting up the sometimes quite steep gang planks and up the high steps of the buses was a real challenge most days. Finally, spend your day in Vukovar visiting the local museum and walking around town rather than going on the pretty dreadful trips to Osejik and a rural fisherman's home-turned-crap shack. The museum is fabulous (and not listed anywhere!). Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
We have taken nine cruises (this was our 10th) with Viking. We had not traveled to this part of Europe and we wanted to see these former Communist countries. Of course, Viking was superb however, the countries visited were for the most ... Read More
We have taken nine cruises (this was our 10th) with Viking. We had not traveled to this part of Europe and we wanted to see these former Communist countries. Of course, Viking was superb however, the countries visited were for the most part very depressing to see. Some of our fellow travelors were first timers with Viking, and were expressing their dismay. We tried to tell them that this was not the norm and to try another cruise before making any decisions about river cruising. It was very sad to see these beautiful countries falling under such corruption; to see wonderful old buildings decaying before our eyes because of corrupt governments. Roads, schools, buildings, etc., were in terrible condition and the impact of the Community regime is still very much prevelent. We saw bombed buildings that are left to crumble, from 20+ year's ago. Then, we saw the people, with smiles, greeting us, welcoming us to their country. Quite a difference. Several of us on the cruise talked about how the people would react if they could travel to the US and see what could and should be possible for them. The one cruising item that has changed for us over the years, is the huge number of river boats cruising European rivers today vs. when we started. I counted 17 different cruise ships in Budapest, when we were first in Budapest several years ago (our 2nd cruise) there were four (4) ships on the river bank, two of which were Viking. Also, the boats are larger now, and seem to be much more formal (i.e., crew does not interact as much with passengers as in the beginning), being more formal may appeal to some, but to long-time cruisers, this is not nearly as much fun and the atmosphere on the ship is somewhat strained as well. One of the best times we have had on Viking is when the crew becomes your "friend!." We have traveled more than once with the same crew members, and on meeting them the second time around, they remembered us, but were hesitant to interact with us as they did the first time due to "new rules." This is really unfortunate for Viiking, as this is what first attracted us to the Viking Cruise Line. I sincerely hope the management will re-think this change. We have scheduled another Viking cruise in 2014, a repeat of our very first cruise Tulips and Windmills. Not sure if we will continue with Viking, but we will see. We have always been treated fairly by Viking and I woundn' hesitate to recommend them, but would also tell them about the large number of river cruise boats currently occupying beautiful European rivers. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2012
First I want to say that the ship was exceptional. I can't think of one thing they could have done to make it more comfortable. The staff was great and the food excellent. That being said, I want to explain why this cruise was not for ... Read More
First I want to say that the ship was exceptional. I can't think of one thing they could have done to make it more comfortable. The staff was great and the food excellent. That being said, I want to explain why this cruise was not for me. I felt the activity level of the tours was for a much older crowd. Face it, most of the people were 20 years older than I was. So things went pretty slowly. After the first few days I just took a map of the town and ditched the guided tours. I highly recommend it. I saw more and was able to do what I wanted. As long as you get back to the boat before it sails, you can stay as long as you want on shore and eat there too. Don't rush back for lunch if you don't have to. Some ports you need to stay with the group though, to get into a museum or a church that requires tickets. I really hated the main dining room experience. (Not the food, I rate the food a 5+.) BUT there were no assigned seats and no tables for two or even four where you could unwind and relax after a full day of touring. Instead, you are seated with new people every night at a table of 6 or more. You are basically ON, having to interact, be pleasant and introduce yourself over and over again every night to new people. I am an introvert and this was just torture for me. Several nights and every breakfast I escaped to the Cafe on the Aquavit terrace where they had tables for two. But they also had a very limited menu with only 4 main course items that never changed. That would have been fine but none of the choices was just a basic salad. You could order Cesar salad in the main dining room anytime you wanted it but it wasn't available in the Cafe, which made no sense at all to me. Plus they always put out bread plates and knives but never gave you any bread! What was that all about? Not that I needed bread but it seemed so silly to have the plates there for nothing, LOL. I did eventually find some regulars to sit with in the main dining room, so I didn't need to escape to the Cafe as often. Well, some people must think I'm very anti-social after this post! But really, I went on the cruise to relax and this just wasn't relaxing for me. I was ready to go home after a week, I was so stressed out. 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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