Viking Kara Cruise Review by autumnriver
- Sail Date: October 2015
- Destination: Europe River
Unlike an ocean cruise, the ship experience is rather simple: it's basically a hotel with a restaurant, bar and lounge. The food was surprisingly good; not as varied as the ocean cruises, but fresh and well prepared. Menus offering local specialties was a nice touch. The included beer and wine offerings (lunch and dinner) were not fancy, but adequate. BYOB is perfectly acceptable in the bar or restaurant as well, with no extra charge.
Cabins are compact as expected and well designed. There was almost no noise, except occasionally some churn from passing ships.
The service and crew were outstanding, especially the program director who oversaw the tours and was quite knowledgeable about many of the stops as well as the river traffic.
The passengers were nearly all American, reflecting Viking's marketing strategy. The very few non-Americans were British and Australian.
The only downside was the October weather, hardly the fault of Viking. I would strongly advise paying the extra expense for a May or June cruise, when you can enjoy the open decks and have far more light. Summer could be OK as well, except for larger crowds at some major attractions, like Cologne cathedral.
The local tour guides, who seem to work mostly for tips, were also very good. The headsets allow for stress free strolling during the tours.
Be aware that the river scene will not generally resemble the marketing photos. Except for one spectacular section of the Rhine in Germany taking about half a day, most of the river is nondescript or industrial, with high embankments to prevent flooding and which restrict the view a bit. This is really not very important as most of your sightseeing will be off the river on the tours, some of which go quite some distance from the river itself.
Overall: well worthwhile and highly recommended.
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