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After a wonderful pre-cruise in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Prague, we started our Viking cruise last Sunday, leaving from Nuremberg. The ship, Viking Jarl, is lovely, sleek and low key, spotlessly clean, with a reasonably sized stateroom and bathroom (for a cruise ship). The food is excellent. The very-well trained staff is attentive, professional and delightful. There is nothing about this particular ship or its staff that has contributed to my dissatisfaction. HOWEVER, the discrepancy lies in the deliverables as presented by Viking in their advertising and in the materials we have received. In my mind, the key differences between large ship ocean cruising and small ship cruising are twofold: the idea that in small ship cursing, there is the ability to use the availability of the river to dock in the middle of a city and the ongoing scenery as the ship goes from one place to another. Think about those Viking ads on PBS (like before "Downton Abbey") where they show amazing vistas as you cruise leisurely down the river. THE REALITY: As expected, we took a bus from Prague to Nuremberg (4hrs) where the cruise would start; it would end in Budapest. Unfortunately, the ship couldn't dock in Nuremberg because there were too few spaces and somehow our ship lost the toss and had to dock elsewhere. To do see the Justice Hall or any other WWII related sights, one had to select the optional tour, at an extra cost. This meant you could not participate in the included tour which was mostly on a bus, with the guide (who was well-versed), pointing out the window at the medieval aspects of the city plus a short stop at the castle. The first stop of the cruise, which was supposed to be in Regensburg, was actually on a desolate river bank in the middle of nowhere. Once again we had to be bused to the city. Some of these trips were as long as 40 minutes each way. For half the week, the cruising itself was mostly through locks which means seeing huge blank concrete walls. THE BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Midweek we were informed that there was a bridge repair going on in Bratislava that would necessitate our actual cruise ending in Vienna. Their version of the "good news" was that we would be spending an extra night in Vienna! This was because, instead of cruising overnight from Vienna to Budapest, arriving early the next morning, we would be boarding a bus the next morning to drive to Budapest, arriving in Budapest around lunchtime, thereby losing half of the one day in Budapest since the cruise ended the next morning. We would be put up in a hotel for the night. Included in the cruise package was to be a city tour during that morning we'd be driving and an evening cruise on our ship to see the beautiful harbor at night. We have not been informed yet on how they will provide these deliverables. WHAT HAS WORKED SO FAR: When we arrived in Passau, finally we docked in the city and could experience what was anticipated: a walking tour in the morning, lunch on the ship (if desired), and the ability to walk off the ship, stroll around all afternoon and decide when you wanted to head back to the ship. This afternoon, cruising from Melk to Vienna, for the first time, the scenery was magnificent, castles and vineyards and charming towns. FINAL COMMENT: The Viking Daube River cruise, which was significantly more expensive than a large ship cruise, was quite different than the literature had me anticipating. While, as stated earlier, I found the ship and crew to be superlative, this cannot compensate for my overall disappointment.

Don't believe the hype!

Viking Jarl Cruise Review by Relliser

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2015
  • Destination: Europe River
  • Cabin Type: French Balcony
After a wonderful pre-cruise in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Prague, we started our Viking cruise last Sunday, leaving from Nuremberg. The ship, Viking Jarl, is lovely, sleek and low key, spotlessly clean, with a reasonably sized stateroom and bathroom (for a cruise ship). The food is excellent. The very-well trained staff is attentive, professional and delightful. There is nothing about this particular ship or its staff that has contributed to my dissatisfaction.

HOWEVER, the discrepancy lies in the deliverables as presented by Viking in their advertising and in the materials we have received. In my mind, the key differences between large ship ocean cruising and small ship cruising are twofold: the idea that in small ship cursing, there is the ability to use the availability of the river to dock in the middle of a city and the ongoing scenery as the ship goes from one place to another. Think about those Viking ads on PBS (like before "Downton Abbey") where they show amazing vistas as you cruise leisurely down the river.

THE REALITY: As expected, we took a bus from Prague to Nuremberg (4hrs) where the cruise would start; it would end in Budapest. Unfortunately, the ship couldn't dock in Nuremberg because there were too few spaces and somehow our ship lost the toss and had to dock elsewhere. To do see the Justice Hall or any other WWII related sights, one had to select the optional tour, at an extra cost. This meant you could not participate in the included tour which was mostly on a bus, with the guide (who was well-versed), pointing out the window at the medieval aspects of the city plus a short stop at the castle. The first stop of the cruise, which was supposed to be in Regensburg, was actually on a desolate river bank in the middle of nowhere. Once again we had to be bused to the city. Some of these trips were as long as 40 minutes each way. For half the week, the cruising itself was mostly through locks which means seeing huge blank concrete walls.

THE BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Midweek we were informed that there was a bridge repair going on in Bratislava that would necessitate our actual cruise ending in Vienna. Their version of the "good news" was that we would be spending an extra night in Vienna! This was because, instead of cruising overnight from Vienna to Budapest, arriving early the next morning, we would be boarding a bus the next morning to drive to Budapest, arriving in Budapest around lunchtime, thereby losing half of the one day in Budapest since the cruise ended the next morning. We would be put up in a hotel for the night. Included in the cruise package was to be a city tour during that morning we'd be driving and an evening cruise on our ship to see the beautiful harbor at night. We have not been informed yet on how they will provide these deliverables.

WHAT HAS WORKED SO FAR: When we arrived in Passau, finally we docked in the city and could experience what was anticipated: a walking tour in the morning, lunch on the ship (if desired), and the ability to walk off the ship, stroll around all afternoon and decide when you wanted to head back to the ship. This afternoon, cruising from Melk to Vienna, for the first time, the scenery was magnificent, castles and vineyards and charming towns.

FINAL COMMENT: The Viking Daube River cruise, which was significantly more expensive than a large ship cruise, was quite different than the literature had me anticipating. While, as stated earlier, I found the ship and crew to be superlative, this cannot compensate for my overall disappointment.
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