Sail Date: April 2018
I was invited by a friend, so I was going, just to be going somewhere on a vacation! Little did I know how much I would enjoy the trip and the history of the Netherlands and Belgium. The country is beautiful, the history of what these ... Read More
I was invited by a friend, so I was going, just to be going somewhere on a vacation! Little did I know how much I would enjoy the trip and the history of the Netherlands and Belgium. The country is beautiful, the history of what these people have done to survive the wars and north sea is a wonderful experience. The people are truly lovely. Local guides, showing and telling us the local history, plus today's understanding of Europe and was the best part. And oh the FLOWERS. Our visit included the grand gardens on the last day of our trip and it was the best it could be. The food and service was top of the line. The fact that it was a river cruise and a smaller boat was that at our evening meal time, we were able to move around and meet and get to know more than half of the ship... Unlike a ocean cruise. The people then became friends as we went on our group tours too. So I came with one friend and have pictures of almost 30 that I would travel with again! Our Tour guide Steen did a wonderful job of taking care of issues and requests. Viking is the way to go! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
Because of the itinerary. Met most of the folks on the ship. Loved the included shore excursions. Most of the city tours were very informative. Didn't like the Lipizzaner excursion. Waste of money. The included city tour saw ... Read More
Because of the itinerary. Met most of the folks on the ship. Loved the included shore excursions. Most of the city tours were very informative. Didn't like the Lipizzaner excursion. Waste of money. The included city tour saw more of the stallions than the optional excursion, and closer up. Meals, service, entertainment were great. Cabins on levels 2 and 3 are great, not on level 1. The staff in the bar and dining areas were great. Before the cruise, we spent the extra days in Amsterdam. Should have spent more time there. The transfers should be improved. Arrived in Amsterdam at 7:30, at the hotel by 9, but couldn't check in till 3. Leaving the ship in Budapest, we spent more than an hour in line to check in, then a LONG walk to the gate to leave. But the time on the ship was great. Would take this trip again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
I need to start this review by going to the end of the cruise first where we had booked the Prague extension from Budapest, before going home. If we had known this to be an 8 hr bus ride we would not have gone to Prague. This is too long ... Read More
I need to start this review by going to the end of the cruise first where we had booked the Prague extension from Budapest, before going home. If we had known this to be an 8 hr bus ride we would not have gone to Prague. This is too long to make any trip enjoyable. the Corinthia hotel is great but there were lots of frowny faces when we got off that bus. Viking never said a word about the distance, they should have. The other concern I have re the Viking management is the way my sister was treated who had just found out her house in Houston was possibly damaged due to hurrican Harvey. the Houston airport was closed of course, she asked the Viking Rep what to do, He said that she must follow the progrom and fly to Amsterdam where " we will see what will happen ! " Does that sound like something you would want to hear? Later they told her she could fly from Amsterdam to NY and then to Dallas where she could stay one night but that offer was only on the table for a short time! Does that sound caring? Travel insurance was with Viking. She wisely decided to stay at the Corinthia in Prague until the Houston airport was open again. KLM the air carrier agreed She never heard from viking again but I am sure they will hear from her .That said our Cruise was excellent .We had already made the lower Danube previously which was even better so were were not new to river cruises The Skadi and crew is a fine vessel and organization. Shore excursions were great My wife and brother inlaw are both severely handicapped but we were able to navigate most of the tours the staff were fantastic ,especially in the dining room This is a great cruise don;t miss it but watch out for management on- shore, it can leave a sour aftertaste.with misinformation or lack of any information. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
This Grand European river cruise has been on my wish list for a long time. We started in Budapest on Saturday, May 6, the Skadi is a lovely ship, our cabin was nice, it would have been nice to have two chairs instead of one chair and a ... Read More
This Grand European river cruise has been on my wish list for a long time. We started in Budapest on Saturday, May 6, the Skadi is a lovely ship, our cabin was nice, it would have been nice to have two chairs instead of one chair and a stool, but otherwise was comfortable. The dining was wonderful, I needed special foods because of allergies and Ivan was wonderful assisting me. The ship's entertainment was fun and the service outstanding. I was surprised at the many ships at each port we visited. Sometimes several ships had to raft and walk through to get ashore, once we had to climb up to the top deck and cross over the top deck of the adjacent ship, then descend down to get off the ship. The included shore excursions were great, those guides were outstanding and the choices of ports was good. I was disappointed in the paid excursion to the Lipizzaner horses, we did not realize we would not get to see them perform or exercise, instead we had a tour of the stables. For the price of euro 99, for "Behind the Scenes at the Lipizzans" it was not what I expected. The Ehrenbreitstein Fortress tour was a disappointment too. I could have taken the Cable Car and walked through the Fortress for 8 euros instead of euro 49 because the so called guide who did a ridiculous skit as we walked through the outside to the Bier Garden where he left us to go tour on our own. Had it not been for these two excursions this would have been a 5 star cruise. There is so much history about WWII to be seen on this tour, I had read about the shoes memorial left along the Danube River in Budapest. The Skadi was anchored nearby. Seeing it saddened me to think this was done by the Nazi's. I loved seeing the castles and homes along the rivers. Cruising down the rivers and going through the locks was wonderful, it was exciting to watch the ship rise up and cross the Continental Divide then descend through the Main to the Rhine River. Passing the Lorelai and hearing the story was wonderful. Seeing the Windmills at Kinderdijk was interesting, there were too many people inside the mill to be able tours upstairs. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Since the culture in Europe is changing so rapidly with immigration, I wanted to visit the Netherlands and Belgium now. The Skadi is one of the new Viking long ships and is very nice. Having traveled on a previous Viking cruise on an older ... Read More
Since the culture in Europe is changing so rapidly with immigration, I wanted to visit the Netherlands and Belgium now. The Skadi is one of the new Viking long ships and is very nice. Having traveled on a previous Viking cruise on an older ship, I was disappointed the window in our lower cabin was much smaller than the older ship. Be careful to point the shower head away from the shower door, or the bathroom floor will be wet. The bathroom sinks are very small, so do not turn the faucet on full force or the water will "jump" out of the bowl onto your feet. The staff were extremely caring and pleasant, meals were good, included excursions were well done (the home visit was very nice). Several had asked for a way to attend a religious service on Easter Sunday, either on board or in the city; but that did not happen. An alternative would have been to have offered a space and time for passengers to voluntarily meet to read the Easter story from the Bible, possibly sing a hymn, etc. We enjoyed the optional trip to the tulip farm which helped us to see the countryside and understand the tulip industry. We also enjoyed the trip to the farm which made cheese and took home some of their products. Having an interest in history, a trip to the optional Open Air Museum presented a wonderful collection of actual historical buildings that were reassembled at the park. Costumed guides in businesses such a fishing, linseed oil, dairy, peat, etc. were informative. My favorite house was from the 1700's which housed both the family and livestock. The weather was unseasonably cold and windy. Take warm outer clothing, gloves, and a hat just in case of cold weather. We spent the "full" day in Burgess, but were still able to take a Viking bus afterwards to Ghent where we walked 15 minutes to Gravensteen Castle which after April 1 is open until 6:00. It is unfurnished, but does give the feel of a medieval castle. After the 1400's, it was a center for justice and punishment and has an interesting collection of torture and punishment instruments (check website for cost) Underestimating my husband's interest in WWII history, I wish I had scheduled the optional tour which explored the military history of "A Bridge too Far" in Arnhem. Overall we had a great time and understand how dykes, windmills, Delta Works, etc. allow people to live many feet underneath sea level. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2017
I really enjoyed our cruise, our cabin was beautiful, the staff was amazing especially our cruise director. As we embarked early in the morning we were greeted with coffee and pastries, we were lucky enough to be the first cruise of the ... Read More
I really enjoyed our cruise, our cabin was beautiful, the staff was amazing especially our cruise director. As we embarked early in the morning we were greeted with coffee and pastries, we were lucky enough to be the first cruise of the season so we got to go straight to our rooms. Every night we were informed of the next days activities and everything always ran smoothly and efficiently when we left the ship and did our excursions. The Excursions were for the most part amazing, my only complaint is that we were not given enough free time to explore on our own. The guides would promise us time but it was always only at the most 1/2 an hour would be given to us. That is not enough time to explore even the smallest of towns. Most of the optional cruises were definitely worth the amount we paid, but again if we did the optional cruise we would not have time to explore the port. The dining room was first class, from the food to the service, from Breakfast to dinner, to late nights snacks at the coffee bar. I love Viking and we are already looking forward to our next sailing. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Our Viking Ship Skaadi provided a beautiful cabin, delicious food, and wonderful service. The views from our room were often breath-taking and, overall, the trip was magical. However, in several ports, we docked adjacent another Viking ... Read More
Our Viking Ship Skaadi provided a beautiful cabin, delicious food, and wonderful service. The views from our room were often breath-taking and, overall, the trip was magical. However, in several ports, we docked adjacent another Viking boat and the view was blocked. To have the advantage of seeing the Budapest skyline from our cabin only to have it blocked by our own cruise company was frustrating. Viking's personnel are amazing-- charming, charismatic, and devoted to providing a positive experience for their clients. We were highly impressed and noted that Viking must be an oustanding employer. Most of the excursions were high-quality with very knowledgeable guides. However, not all passengers heeded the physical requirements for some of the paid excursions, and a great deal of time was devoted to moving them along. I believe in being inclusive; however, my husband and I left one expensive tour and ventured out on our own because the pace was painfully slow. Overall, our Viking experience was beautiful and satisfyingly enriching. We will be taking more! (Our Grand European Cruise began in October and we had a good deal of rain with some uncomfortably cold days. I doubt that we will book a trip that late again.) Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2016
This was our first river cruise and we chose it because of its over all value. We had no expectations. At the end, we were very pleased with our experience. The crew was very cordial and polished. Everything was to our liking. The ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and we chose it because of its over all value. We had no expectations. At the end, we were very pleased with our experience. The crew was very cordial and polished. Everything was to our liking. The included excursions were excellent. The organization related to them were very good. The menu for each meal was varied. We always ate at the dining room and all the personnel was very pleasant. The meals were good. There was always a variety of items. The wines were very good. All the ports we visited, which were several, were very interesting. The disembarkation was also handled very professionally. We would recommend this cruise to anyone looking for their first River Cruise experience. We will also entertain the idea of going on a Viking Ocean Cruise in the future. We were presented a video depicting the ocean cruise and it seemed very appealing as well. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2016
We wanted to see the tulips and we had to meet our friends and this cruise fit into our schedule. Unfortunately, I got sick the third day and missed a tour I was counting on. This wasn't an anomaly as most of the passengers got sick ... Read More
We wanted to see the tulips and we had to meet our friends and this cruise fit into our schedule. Unfortunately, I got sick the third day and missed a tour I was counting on. This wasn't an anomaly as most of the passengers got sick at one time or another and my wife got sick a couple days before the end of the cruise. This was a 24 hour gastrointestinal bug that not only affected the passengers but the staff as well. My wife and I have been disappointed that Viking hasn't offered us any compensation for any future cruises. The other disappointment I have is that, with only a few weeks left, we asked our travel agent if there were any openings on the second or third decks as the only one we could originally get was on the lowest deck. We were able to get one on the second deck after paying $800 each for the upgrade. What we weren't told was that the staterooms on that deck aren't all the same and the center passageway is off center for the boat and we upgraded to a room which was much smaller than the one we had in November 2015 when we went to Germany. All in all the cruise was pleasurable, but the above issues were both negatives in our minds concerning the overall Viking experience Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
We booked our riverboat cruise one year before our departure date in order to get the dates we wanted. When we arrived at our home airport (Halifax) we were told that Viking had booked us on two flights on the Germany to Prague leg of ... Read More
We booked our riverboat cruise one year before our departure date in order to get the dates we wanted. When we arrived at our home airport (Halifax) we were told that Viking had booked us on two flights on the Germany to Prague leg of trip (we had booked 3 days in Prague through Viking, prior to our 'tour')... one from Munich airport and one from Frankfurt airport (we had a ticket for Munich) after one hour of dealing with airport staff that couldn't figure out what was happening, I phoned the 1-800 after hours number and they eventually saw Viking mistake and made the correction so that we would be sure to catch the correct flight to Prague. We just made it to our plane. After being on the go for 34 hours, we eventually made it to Prague and hit the sack. It took several days to get over the flights and lack of sleep. We did enjoy Prague, but the stay is a blur. We were bused to Budapest on the third day to catch our boat and do a tour of Budapest the next day. It was an amazing city and could have stayed longer. The cities we visited along our trip were amazing, so much history, so much to see in many, but we could have done without some cities in order to have stayed longer in others, in particular, Vienna. The boat was just that, a boat... the cruise should not be called 'cruise' as it was somewhat like a bus 'tour'. It was a little less than expected for the $14,000 we paid for the 'cruise' part of the trip, but we did enjoy it anyway. The food was excellent most evenings, some evenings it left something to be desired. The staff were polite and welcoming, but rushed us most of the time, other times we were left waiting for a long time for our meal, and then rushed us to finish. I have no idea why. The few nights they had entertainment it was good, a little boring one night (mostly opera/classical). Most nights it was a pianist playing in the background. Our room was small, as expected, and very noisy when going through the locks, mainly the nights when going through the River Main, there was no insulation in exterior wall to keep out noise, awake many times through the night. By the time we got to Western Germany on the last leg of our trip we were tired of church and castle tours. Would have liked to have a better variety as far as what there is to see in these beautiful cities. The cities we enjoyed the most were the cities we stayed in the longest... they were Prague 2 1/2 days (not part of Riverboat Tour), Budapest - overnight, Amsterdam 2 days (on our own). We did have to switch ships due to low water levels in one area, this was not a surprise as we had been told in information mailed to us that this was sometimes a possibility when doing Riverboat Cruises. It became very confusing for passengers around this time though, because rumours were rampant, but no honest information was coming from the staff as to what would be happening, even if they just said they wouldn't know anything for sure until the last minute. With regard to knowing what was happening itinary-wise (extra paying tours) one had to attend the briefing in the lounge every evening around 6'ish or read the itinary paper from the day before.. sometimes this was missed by us and we were left in the dark regarding the extra tours. When we did find out, there was no room left - apparently, it's not easy to get a bus to take a few more passengers on a tour, with the exception of Vienna, where they needed every passenger to attend, so therefore, there was no cut off point for submitting your name. I cannot classify this excursion as a 'cruise', it was definitely a 'riverboat tour' along the same vein as a bus tour, but not quite as tiring, still hectic. I do not regret taking the tour as I did get to see the beauty and history of Mid-Europe first hand, from Czeck Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Germany and Holland. The 'boat', service, cabin, food and tours were suitable, just not worth the $14,000 plus Cdn. for tour and airfare that we paid for the 14 days. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
Reading of low water problems before departure, an email from Viking while in Prague indicating a different embarkation point (Komarom, 60 mile west of Budapest), did not bode well. Some pre-cruise Prague passengers did receive the email ... Read More
Reading of low water problems before departure, an email from Viking while in Prague indicating a different embarkation point (Komarom, 60 mile west of Budapest), did not bode well. Some pre-cruise Prague passengers did receive the email and others did not. In any event, on the bus transfer to Budapest, 24 hrs later, we were informed that the Skadi did in fact make it to the departure point and the cruise was back on plan!! The departure at night from Budapest was magical with the parliament, castle and bridges lighting the way. The water levels had risen we were told and it was looking good that we would get to Amsterdam without having to change ships. However, that proved to be wishful thinking and at the end of the first week before arriving in Passau, we learned a ship change would be necessary. I have to say the ship transfer was well organized, even down to having the same suite number on a sister ship - no doubt they are well practiced in transferring boats. We were bused to Regensburg (some 1.5 hrs) for the day tour, then back again for that night. The next day we were bused about 3 hrs to Nuremburg for the day tours, then taken to the next ship, the Bragi. Other than having to pack bags, missing some of the river scenery and the extended busing, there was minimal disruption thanks to the Program Director Valantine, and Concierge Desi. If you are contemplating any European river cruise, I'd suggest investigation of any possible low or high water problems, recent climatic history along that route and your cruise line's policy on credits or refunds in those circumstances. On the other aspects of the cruise, the breakfasts and lunches on both ships were excellent, however the dinners, well some were really good and others very average!! The staff for the most part on both ships were very good. Nothing seemed to much trouble for the Skadi staff, whereas the Bragi restaurant mgmt invoked their policy of prohibiting restaurant dinner meals being taken/served in the Aquavit Terrace. Long story but in summary the management did not handle that situation very well for our party, where it wasn't an issue on the Skadi. The day tours were mostly good, but more variety/alternatives could have been available. Several times the included lunches were way too long and cut into the limited time in that town. Also for over 1/3rd of the cruise, the top deck was closed due to minimal bridge clearances, so the only exercise/fitness option (walking circuit) was unavailable, although a lot of walking happens anyway with the various town/stopovers, cobblestones not withstanding. Some other suggestions, if you are planning a pre-cruise extension in Prague, plan to arrive a few days earlier than the time assigned by Viking. For example, an extra 3 days/2 nights (we stayed in the Prague Marriott Old Town) allowed more time for sightseeing. The Viking walking tour allowed no time to spend at ANY particular point (e.g. Jewish quarter) other than noting it as you walked by! Also the Viking hotel for our pre-cruise extension, (Corinthia) is not conveniently close to the main attractions requiring bus or taxi transport. The Viking bus transfer between Prague and Budapest could also be improved. The lunch stop at a Marche truck stop was a not good. Mediocre food and confusing toilet refund vouchers (yes, you have to pay for many rest room facilities in Europe). A shorter toilet stop elsewhere and a box lunch would have allowed an earlier arrival and more time in Budapest. So much to see and so little time!! Vienna also, one day was way too little time in that beautiful city - 2 days are needed at least. It was fortunate that our cruise was minimally impacted by the low water issues compared to those on the Elbe river where boats didn't move at all and buses were substituted. Some other cruise ships shadowing us (APT for example) did make it thru the low water area and were not required to change ships. We have a friend travelling with Scenic later this month. Her schedule cruise Budapest/Amsterdam has been cancelled and rebooked on the Amsterdam/Budapest alternative. She was offered a full refund, but it remains to be seem whether it becomes a boat or bus cruise (combination). All in all, an enjoyable experience. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
We were very impressed with the service on Viking. At the Airport in Amsterday, we put our Viking sticker on and within a minute were met by an extremely friendly guide who took over our baggage and got us quickly the Mercedes Limo to ... Read More
We were very impressed with the service on Viking. At the Airport in Amsterday, we put our Viking sticker on and within a minute were met by an extremely friendly guide who took over our baggage and got us quickly the Mercedes Limo to take us to the ship. At the ship, we were the second on board, we were met by the Hotel Manager and Cruise Director who carried our luggage to our room (note: we were the first cruise of the year-so we got into our room immediately. Normally you have to wait til around 3PM for cleaning to finish). After being on an airplane or airport for all night, we were really hungry. The Hotel Manager personally saw to it that we were served a specially prepared breakfast to order. A few things uniques about Viking 1. No Gambling 2. I never smelled cigarette or cigar smoke. 3. Freely poured wine or beer for meals 4. Exceptional Service always at all times by every crew member-no exceptions 5. No hustling for their optional tours (note: included tours are very comprehensive. 6. All tour guides were very good-for included and optional. Things to Consider: 1. We went in late March-Cold and Wet, 2. Viking caters to older folks. we liked Bike and Barge with VBT better-A barge and Bike is the way to see the Netherlands. 3. the purpose of taking a river cruise is for scenery along the way-The scenery of this cruise is not very interesting - lots of industry and commercial 4. We were supposed to dock in Amsterday at a location near the Central Station-that was one of the reasons we took the cruise-because we could walk to the Central Station and get buses or trams everywhere in Amsterdam. BOTH time we docked in Amsterday, we were in a remote location where we had to take a shuttle which took a half hour to run and only ran every half hour. The last day the police prevented it from stopping at the Victoria Hotel-so it had no way to pick up folks to return to the ship-I don't know how they got back-probably by Taxi. The Viking crew blamed the problem on the Harbor Master. Whatever caused the problem, the dockage location (for us), severly restricted our abiltiy to see Amsterdam-It changed from a 10 minute walk to the Central Station to 1/2 hour shuttle ride which runs every hour or so, and can't stop to return you to the ship. 5. Viking doesn't force you to buy expensive drinks on board-beer was priced at a reasonable charge (3 Euros). You also can bring any kind of alcohol on board-with NO CORKAGE. Also we booked our flight through Viking. We flew from Atlanta to Newark, with several hour layover and from Newark to Amsterdam. We found out later that folks from Texas flew from Texas to Atlanta and from Atlanta to Amsterdam. WE COULD HAVE GOTTEN A DIRECT FLIGHT-if we had been SMART ENOUGH TO ASK FOR IT. Others on board said they were routed in a circuitous fashion (like us) and becase they requested a direct route-THEY GOT IT. SO BEWARE! So, in summary, I personally would not use Viking for a river cruise in the Netherlands-because we prefer a more active Bike and Barge-e.g., VBT. If you prefer a less active cruise where your every need is catered to and you want a central docking situation, find out FOR SURE if they have resolved this problem in Amsterdam. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2014
My husband and I were on the Grand European Cruise on Viking Skadi which departed from Budapest on May 17. We enjoyed it and consider ourselves lucky that the weather was mostly good and the cruise went mostly as expected, with a few ... Read More
My husband and I were on the Grand European Cruise on Viking Skadi which departed from Budapest on May 17. We enjoyed it and consider ourselves lucky that the weather was mostly good and the cruise went mostly as expected, with a few exceptions that were handled as best as they could be. Embarkation Embarkation was very smooth. My husband and I made our own arrangements for the flight (a lot less than what Viking was charging) and we took a taxi from Budapest airport to the Viking dock. The only issue was that we got off the taxi a little bit too far from the ship and had some difficulty carrying our suitcases over gravel / grass since there was no sidewalk. As soon as the Viking crew saw us they came and carried our bags. We got into the ship, gave our names, and were led straight to our cabin by the hotel manager. They didn't even check our ID to make sure we were who we said we were. Cabin We were in a stateroom with a "French balcony" (not really a balcony, but a floor-to-ceiling window which slides open). It's a tight squeeze in the room, but we expected that. I have a few complaints: (1) the pillows are too soft -- almost like having no pillows at all; (2) the toilet paper dispenser in the bathroom is a terrible design - I had to keep removing the toilet paper from it and just setting it on the shelf; (3) toilet paper is a bit rough; (4) not enough hangers in the closet. I had to hang three or more pieces of clothing on each hanger, and I used all the 3 drawers just for my things. My husband used the shelves in the other half of the closet to stack his clothes (folded, not on hangers). Well, we survived. Maybe I brought too many clothes! Finally (5) wi-fi internet access is very spotty in the rooms. Apart from these, I think the stateroom was fine. Bathroom amenities included La Occitane en Provence shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, and shower gel. The shower has good pressure and is a good size for a river cruise ship. I never heard noise from the rooms next to us or the hallway. There is a safe and several electrical outlets, both US and European. The room was always cleaned promptly, usually while we were having breakfast, and the bed was turned down while we had dinner. One day we got a towel bunny and another day we got chocolates (I wish it had been every day!). The TV in the room is a large flat screen, with just a few channels, a limited selection of movies, and all episodes of Downton Abbey. You can also get the weather forecast, a map of the ship's location, a lounge cam, and a bow cam. The lounge cam allows you to watch the daily briefing if you don't feel like going to the lounge for it. Ship Nice dining room, with tables set for six or eight. The lounge was a bright, comfortable place to relax at any time of day, and the best place to get wi-fi (a couple of laptops are also available for public use). There is a sun deck, but for more than half of our cruise it was closed. The water in the rivers was very high due to lots of recent rain, so the railings had to be dismantled, and all the tables and chairs removed so that the ship could go under the bridges. It was a bit scary sometimes to see that there was just a foot or less of clearance between the top of the ship and the bottom of a bridge! A few more inches and our cruise might have been canceled. Fortunately, for our departure from Budapest, as well as the most scenic parts of the cruise, the sun deck was available to us. Also on the sun deck (which has a shaded section) are a walking track, shuffleboard, and a giant chess board, as well as an herb garden for the kitchen's use. Apart from the lounge and sun deck, there are a few other small other public areas where one can sit and relax -- a little library, the outdoor Aquavit Terrace, and some sofas in the atrium. They are nice enough. Unfortunately our ship had a problem almost right from the start - water had gotten into the engine. This did not affect the first few days of the cruise, but we were told that instead of docking in Passau on Day 4, we would dock in Linz and would be taken to Passau by bus. While we were in Passau the ship would be repaired. Everybody had to get off the ship, whether they wanted to or not. Free lunch was provided at a restaurant in town (my husband and I decided to eat elsewhere, to save time so we could do more sightseeing). At the end of the day, the bus dropped us off at a different location so we could board the ship. The bus ride was an hour and a half each way, which meant significantly less time available to see the sights in Passau. In addition, for the next few days we had to disembark in industrial areas instead of the city, because the ship was behind schedule. To compensate for these inconveniences, there was one evening of open bar in the lounge. At another city, when the ship was delayed arriving at the port where we were to get back on, the cruise director offered free drinks at a bar in town (imagine the madhouse in the bar as a result). Well, stuff happens and this little engine crisis caused some inconvenience, but I think that Viking handled it well and I didn't hear any major grumbling about it from other passengers. Upon our return Viking sent us a voucher worth 25% of what we paid for this cruise, good for a future cruise. I hope to take advantage of this voucher next year. Food I would say that overall the food was very good. I enjoyed most of the meals, the main exception being the German-themed dinner when the pork was tough and dry. On a couple of evenings my husband said that the fish was overcooked. The portions are not large, so if you're a big eater you might want to order more food, but for me there was always more than enough. There was always a selection of several appetizers, entrees, and desserts, which changed every evening. And if you didn't want any of those, you could always have salmon, steak, or roast chicken. Caesar salad and a cheese plate were also always available. There were a couple of times when I couldn't decide which appetizer to have so I ordered two. On our last evening, the kitchen was apparently trying to get rid of an excess supply of asparagus, so there was asparagus in almost every selection except dessert! I didn't mind since I like asparagus and since it was the peak of the season, it was quite good, and rather funny. But for anyone who doesn't like asparagus, it was probably a disappointment. Wine, beer and soft drinks were included at both lunch and dinner. Lunch and breakfast were buffet style, but you could also order from a menu. It was very easy to overeat at these times. All meals are open seating. After a couple of days however we ended up eating with the same group of people for almost all meals. We met two other couples that we really liked and we all got along really well. We had our favorite table and favorite waiter who took good care of us. It's not really possible to reserve a table, so we tried to get to the dining room early to make sure we got our spot. Coffee, tea, and hot chocolate are always available from a machine. There were cookies for snacks. Croissants were also put out near the coffee/tea machine at breakfast time for anyone who doesn't like a big breakfast. One afternoon there was "German Tea Time" with a variety of cakes and a special coffee with cognac. Another afternoon there was a demonstration of how to make apple struedel, with slices of struedel given out afterwards. It was good and they gave the recipe, but too complicated for me plus I'm diabetic so shouldn't be eating it anyway. Staff It seems that in order to be a Viking employee, one important qualification is to always have a smile on your face. Everyone was very nice and friendly. About 1/4 of the staff were from the Philippines, the rest Eastern European, except for the program director, Matthew Shaw, who is British. I was impressed with his multi-tasking -- he coordinated the excursions, gave a briefing every evening on the next day's events, served as master of ceremonies during the evening entertainment as well as "game show" host, and even did a little cabaret one evening, singing different genres of songs. I only wish he hadn't tried to "honor" Luciano Pavarotti by singing a couple of songs in Italian, because his accent was horrendous! Our dining room waiter was a gem. We got to know him quite a bit and now he's my friend on Facebook! Excursions Short city tours (about 1 to 1.5 hours) were included in every stop, as well as some free time. The quality of local guides varied. We had a really good guide in Cologne, a middle school history teacher. Overall I was satisfied with the tour guides though I often felt that the tours were too short. On the other hand, it's a bit of a pain walking through a city with a large group of people. A few passengers abandoned the guided tours altogether, preferring to strike out on their own. My husband and I went on only one optional tour, to Rothenburg. It was worth it as Rothenburg is a lovely town, but it was way too short. We lost at least 45 minutes because of late arrival at the port (Wurzburg). My husband and I left the included lunch early so that we could have a bit more time to go to the all-year Christmas shop. In Cologne we also took the free optional extension to the Roman museum (entrance fee included, and only a few people took advantage of it). In some places we had only half a day to go sightseeing (and just a couple of hours at Kinderdijk). The city with the most free time was Vienna (not counting Budapest, where you can stay out all night on the first day if you like). After the short city tour in Vienna we had the whole afternoon and evening until 10 pm available. Note that when the Viking guide says "See the Opera House, Hofburg Palace, St. Stephen's Cathedral" etc you will see only the outside of these places, so the afternoon is a good time to see them on your own. Some people went the optional tour to see a concert after dinner. I happen to have a college friend in Vienna so took the time to see her. We went to a couple of off-the-beaten path places and had dinner in a nice restaurant with typical Austrian food. In Vienna, getting back to the ship requires a subway ride. When we got off the subway at 9:45 pm, we had no idea in which direction to go but fortunately someone showed us the way. It was about 10 minutes walk. In some cities the only way to and from the ship was via the Viking bus, so you had better be on time if you don't want to get left behind. However the Viking staff were good at counting everyone to make sure no one was actually left behind. A couple of people got a little scolding from the program director when they did not appear at the meeting place on time. Between Budapest and Amsterdam there are 67 locks. At the first one, many people went out to the sundeck to watch. After that it was generally a ho-hum event, but it could be interesting to see how different types of locks operated. The ship went through many of the locks at night while we were sleeping. Each lock takes about 20-30 minutes, but could be longer if another ship has to be accommodated at the same time. Occasionally we bumped hard into the sides of the locks, which can be very narrow -- just a little wider than the ship. Our waiter told me that on the previous sailing the ship never bumped into the lock walls, so it's not inevitable. Maybe we had a less experienced captain. We were very lucky with the weather! There was a brief period of rain in Budapest, and a few sprinkles in other cities (Viking provides large umbrellas, but I brought my own little one), but otherwise the weather was lovely. Average temperature was in the 60s, so I usually had to wear a sweater or jacket (some Canadians wore shorts). It was never more than 70 degrees. No sweat! We were told that the week before our cruise, it rained nonstop for several days. Even in Amsterdam, where it rains 200 days of the year, we had sunshine (though the cruise was over by then). Entertainment Most of the evenings the entertainment was just a lone musician singing and/or playing the piano. Other evenings we had: (1) songs and folk dances from Slovakia; (2) opera music; (3) a glass-blowing demonstration; (4) Matthew's cabaret; (5) team games on two nights (a 50s-60s quiz and a guess-the-meaning-of-the-word game). In addition during the German-themed dinner there were roaming musicians. During the day there were a few presentations: (1) the life of Mozart; (2) a history of locks and canals; (3) how locks work; (4) history of the European Union, with a guest lecturer; and (5) Dutch cheese and jenever ( a Dutch liqueur). Except for the one on the EU, the program director gave all the presentations, using Powerpoint. They were ok, a good way to pass the time during less-interesting scenery (no question-and-answer afterwards). Matthew also did some commentary on castles while we were on the Middle Rhine and in the Wachau Valleys. Passengers Viking caters to an English-speaking clientele. Most of the passengers were from the US and Canada; there were a few from Great Britain and Australia. In addition there were a few from Latin America. I would say that most people were in their 60s or 70s. I think there were only two people who were under 30 (not together, but traveling with older relatives). Disembarkation We arrived in Amsterdam early in the morning. Some people had very early flights but breakfast was available for them even at 4 am. Everyone got color-coded tags depending on their time of departure, so their bags could be taken by the staff from outside the staterooms. My husband and I were staying in Amsterdam for a few days, so we could disembark when we liked (but everyone had to leave their rooms by 9 am to allow for cleaning). The staff called a taxi for us (arranged the day before) and the taxi came on time. It was organized chaos as passengers departed and new ones came on board. We were sad to leave! My husband and I are hoping to do another river cruise next year.   Read Less
Viking Skadi Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.7
Entertainment 3.0 4.3
Public Rooms 4.0 4.7
Fitness Recreation 1.0 3.7
Family 1.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 5.0 4.6
Enrichment 4.0 4.5
Service 5.0 4.8
Value For Money 4.0 4.5
Rates 4.0 4.0

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