1. Home
  2. Cruise Styles
  3. River Cruises Cruise Reviews
Cruise Ratings
2,086
349
191
156
100
See Reviews For
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2013
We booked an 8 day cruise on Viking Europe (in late April 2013), departing from Paris overland to Dijon and thence to Chalon, where we boarded the ship. We were disappointed with our experience from the moment we boarded this ship. The ... Read More
We booked an 8 day cruise on Viking Europe (in late April 2013), departing from Paris overland to Dijon and thence to Chalon, where we boarded the ship. We were disappointed with our experience from the moment we boarded this ship. The vessel was poorly maintained -- dirty conditions, frayed carpets and general sloppiness everywhere. Viking Europe's crew and hotel staff (with a few notable exceptions at the steward/waiter level) were poorly motivated, rude, surly and uniformly unhelpful. I think the problem had more to do with attitude than competence, but either way the passengers were poorly treated. "Service with a snarl" is the phrase that comes to mind when I reflect upon our experience on Viking Europe. Very little attention seems to have been paid to important service concerns on board Viking Europe and fundamental issues relating to passenger comfort and convenience seem not to have been properly thought through. Tours and excursions were poorly organized and the staff seemed to suffer from a lack of focus. The cuisine was pedestrian at best and our dining experience was very disappointing in many respects: for example, the hot items on the breakfast buffet were always served cold and croissants and other pastries were almost always over baked. Although encompassed by my initial comment about the poor attitude of Viking Europe's crew and hotel staff generally, it bears special mention that service in the dining room was exceptionally awful. I should not have had to chase down a waiter in order to get a cup of coffee, as I had to do every morning at breakfast, for example. Our experience was even more disappointing because it followed a companion cruise on the River Seine aboard the Viking Spirit that was wonderful in all respects. It is apparent to me that Viking has significant management problems that are reflected in uneven standards of maintenance, service, organization, passenger satisfaction, etc. among its many ships. The lesson that I take away from this is that I will never travel aboard a Viking vessel again. If you are not convinced and are willing to take a chance on a Viking cruise, I strongly recommend that you very carefully research the vessel involved to be certain that it is not a poorly maintained and managed one like Viking Europe.   Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
My wife and I love cruises in general and European river cruises in particular. These cruises are a great way to explore Europe with the benefit of staying in the 1st class hotel (your state room). We had done many different cruises and ... Read More
My wife and I love cruises in general and European river cruises in particular. These cruises are a great way to explore Europe with the benefit of staying in the 1st class hotel (your state room). We had done many different cruises and know a bad one when we "see" it. The one on Viking was our first with them and it was BAD. It went wrong right away. When our large group arrived to the embarkation port of Chalon-sur-Sa'ne our ship wasn't there. The Viking's rep informed us that due to the high level of Sa'ne the ship couldn't get there, so it is waiting for us in Lyon. And how are we supposed to get there? Well, we didn't book our transfers with Viking, so our group lead had to negotiate with the bus company that arranged for our transfer from Paris to take us to Lyon. Shouldn't it be Viking's responsibility? Under the normal circumstances Viking's buses should have been waiting for us right there, but they weren't. We finally got on board. The ship looks OK, nice size, clean state room. We were exited. Until dinner time. The menu variety was yucky, but the food was even worse. Our appetizer told us everything there was to know about a quality of food and head chef's abilities. Unfortunately our first impression was the right one. We are not snobs, but we do know our food - Viking's food was of poor variety and quality. One would expect great French cuisine experience on the river cruise in France. We've got neither French, nor good one. They couldn't cook over-easy eggs in that kitchen without overcooking them. That's how bad it was. The only thing I can't complain about were breads and smocked salmon - thanks God they didn't need to prepare it, or they would mess it up too. Entertainment was virtually non existent. Sure they had a piano player/singer on board. But the guy had a personality of a tofu (if you know what I mean), with the cheap musical repertoire of the "YMCA" and "Celebration Times". We felt like at a cheap wedding every time he "entertained" us. Not sure if he made his own music choices, or Viking forced him to play this garbage, but either way it was not pretty. They did bring a French band once - the lady singer was very good. On our other river cruises (we sailed with Uniworld previously), local musicians were entertaining us almost every night. Cruise director on the cruise was doing his job, but to the minimum. There was no "going extra mile" in him. His MO was "I do what they require of me and that's it". Although itinerary was pretty decent, most of the local city guides were of a poor quality with very bad English. We made best effort to listen to them, but some of them were so bad we just turned off our ear pieces. There were some exceptions though. Sure there were positives. The ship, although fairly old, was nice and clean, with plenty of well appointed common areas. State rooms were nice sized, well maintained, clean, with high-end bathroom stuff (soap, lotion, etc.). Most of the crew were absolutely great folks. State room stewards were invisible while doing great job of keeping our room in order. Waiting staff was friendly and tried very hard to make our meals enjoyable. Too bad they couldn't make up for the bad food. Purser desk personnel was friendly and helpful. So no complaints here. They offered free WiFi, which was great. But, unfortunately, it was very unstable. I don't blame Viking for that - satellite connection can be tricky - but think I should mention it. To sum up our cruise experience - we weren't happy with Viking and will think twice before booking our next cruise with them. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2013
We were so looking forward to the cruise which took us from Chalon in Burgundy down to Avignon through several of the major wine regions in France However the brochure and the advertising were extremely misleading - they suggested that we ... Read More
We were so looking forward to the cruise which took us from Chalon in Burgundy down to Avignon through several of the major wine regions in France However the brochure and the advertising were extremely misleading - they suggested that we would enjoy the best the region had to offer in food & drink as well as sights and all this whilst enjoying the luxury of their boat. It's diffcult to know where to start but i'll start with before we even got to France - our booking went very smoothly - very helpful person who said he would be our pre-cruise manager but unfortunately when we needed him he was on his honeymoon and no replacement had been specifically assigned - this was an issue as when we were trying to find out where our tickets were (we had been told we would have them 4-6 weeks before we left) we got many different people ALL of whom told us that they had been sent and we would get them by the end of the week - instead we got them Easter Saturday when we were due to leave early on the Tuesday after Easter - not good for pre-holiday nerves! When we arrived at Lyon airport, we and about 50 other people on the same flight were met by an efficient lady who told us we had to wait for a few more people on another flight - she implied this would be a short wait - the area we were waiting in had few seats (despite the average age being 70+) and nowhere to get a drink or something to eat - our short wait turned out to be several hours waiting for 2 people - then she herded us all upstairs through an area of cafes, shops and restaurants on a long walk to the coach lugging out bags ourselves - no help for the elderly/infirm at all - and then we waited on the coach for another hour for someone else! -- why we couldnt have been requested to wait in the area with shops and cafes was never explained when we finally arrived at the boat (after nearly 2 hours when we had been told 45 mins) we were quickly shown to our cabins and give a pack of information and told we needed to attend a meeting to have everything explained to us - the meeting told us nothing that wasnt in the pack - and failed to mention that when you leave the boat you had to check out with reception (and back in when you return) - we were treated like naughty schoolchildren for not knowing this. Our cabin was a good size, neat and clean and our cabin girl was very helpful and friendly - great towel sculptures daily - the main problem with the cabin was that the aircon vents were on the window sill behind the curtains which meant if the curtains were shut the aircon was useless - this may seem trivial but most of the time we were in port we were either against the dock with people looking in or against another ship window to window - same problem!! The bed was fairly hard as the mattress was very thin - didnt help the back at all. A another problem was the piped music/ships announcements - if you turned the music down or off you didnt get the announcements at all - on previous cruises announcements have come over loud and clear even when the music is switched off. The food was good - no fixed tables so a bit of a rush to get where you wanted to sit but we met some nice people both fellow passengers and the waiting staff The problem was the wine - the brochure led us to expect good wine - it suggested local wines - the free house wine was undrinkable (if you are used to good wine - prob no more than £3.99 in a uk supermaket) and the other options (the silver spirits package) were also well below expectations - only one or two that were what we found drinkable and the few wines offered above this level were well overpriced - we ended up shopping in Chalon for some wine - we paid less than £20 a bottle and got incredibly good wine - the bar staff were helpful in providing ice buckets & corkscrews when needed but didnt know how to handle good wine themselves - they opened bottles by sticking the corkscrew in the top and spinning the wine bottle vigourously - brusing the wine and shaking up any sediment in it! Even after my husband explained how to open it gently, they continued to spin the wine so we opened the wine ourselves after that There were multiple optional chargeable excursions at each port of call and some included ones - all of which required you to use a receiver and earpiece to hear the guide - these receivers were unreliable (i had 4 separate ones in 3 days) and the earpieces very large and uncomfortable - without these you couldnt hear the guides. Most of the guides walked rather quickly and if it hadnt been for the maps handed out by reception we would have been lost in several towns. One of our main issues was that we spent a lot of time crusiing but during most of that time we were unable to access the sundeck on top of the boat - this was not only the only allowed smoking area (my husband is a smoker) but was 70% of the shared space available on the boat. When the sundeck was closed (75% of time during crusing) everyone was either in their cabin or crammed into a bar which could not hold everyone comfortably and the seats were not only very narrow but right up against each other - no elbow room at all, especially when lunch was served in the bar. We were expected to attend nightly meeting to be talked through the next day - even though a ships newsletter gave all the information and was delivered to each cabin during dinner - a couple of nights before the end of the trip we were told everyone HAD to attend the evening meeting - this was to run through the leaving arrangements and collect your luggage tags - they spent over an hour waffling through but yet again all the information was in the newsletter and the luggage tags available throughout the evening! All in all the staff were compentent and helpful but the marketing of the cruise sets high expectations of everything and then the cruise fails miserably to live up to any of them. We complained to Viking on our return and our booking agent (now back) was concerned and apoligised and said he would forward our concerns to Customer Services - we heard nothing - we contacted them again a month or so later, our booking guy said he would chase - we chased again and finally 3.5 months after we got back we got a letter dismissing all of our points as not their problem. We spent over £3000 on this trip and without a discount it would have been over £4000 but it was the worst value for money of any holiday we have ever had. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2012
Speechless...that is how we feel. Do not take the Mississippi River Trip!!! The river is too low. The company knew that before we departed. The informed us our first night on the river that we would not make it to Vicksburg. That was the ... Read More
Speechless...that is how we feel. Do not take the Mississippi River Trip!!! The river is too low. The company knew that before we departed. The informed us our first night on the river that we would not make it to Vicksburg. That was the jewel destination for many of the passengers. They said they would bus us to Vicksburg and show us a good movie. Only made it as far as St. Francis villee. We were told another of their boats was broken down in Natchez so we needed to turn around and head back to Baton Rouge. Uh oh, now we have engine trouble and must return to New Orleans. Lies. The crew told us they knew the truth when we boarded. The very sad thing is, they are heading out tomorrow with another boat load of unlucky passengers who have paid $10,000 for a trip to no where!! The crew was wonderful. Found out they were also told lies when they hired on. old they would make a minimum of $800.00 a week. Not true. These young people are working 16 hours a day...seven days a week. OK, I enjoyed my food very much. My husband however, asked for vegetarian meals...did not happen. He was served the garnishes from the meat entreesA couple of nights the entertainment was very enjoyable. Again the staff has been friendly, but the owners of this company are thieves. We were informed it took only 7 couples to pay for the trip. The rest pure profit. We are not part of the 1%. I work for a nonprofit organization and live a modest life. Maybe other passengers are comfortable with throwing thousands of dollars into the pockets of greedy corporate millionairs. I am not. I may return to the boat tomorrow to warn the passengers. Beware...beware...beware of the Queen of the Mississippi. *************************END OF REVIEW****************************** Community Manager's Note: We have received the following official response from American Cruise Lines Public Relations Team (www.americancruiselines). It appears in italics below the bolded line in its entirety. _______________________________________________ It is unfortunate to hear this individual had a dissatisfactory experience aboard Queen of the Mississippi. It was a difficult trip due to the historic low water levels on the Mississippi River and an unforeseen breakdown of another vessel in Natchez. The broken down vessel in Natchez was not an American Cruise Lines vessel, and not in any way connected to American Cruise Lines. That vessel did, however, prevent Queen of the Mississippi from docking in Natchez. Due to the inability to dock there, Queen of the Mississippi made two additional unscheduled stops before returning to New Orleans â€" one at Houmas House Plantation in Darrow, LA, and another stop at Laura Plantation in Vacherie, LA, both of which were very much enjoyed by passengers. The suggestion that 7 couples, or 9% of the passengers, pay for the trip is obviously inaccurate and we think most people will realize that. Although most of the passengers were very pleased with their cruise experience (in fact, a number of them rebooked their next cruise with us before leaving the boat), it is disappointing to hear that this individual did not. As far as we can tell, American Cruise Lines has the highest repeat rate of any cruise line in the industry. The River level and conditions have improved somewhat and Queen of the Mississippi is currently running on schedule and is expected to make all stops........American Cruise Lines (www.americancruiselines.com) ____________________________________ Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2012
My wife and I took the Viking Odin Christmas Market trip over Christmas week. It was supposed to be a river cruise from Nuremberg to Budapest. We only made it to the first port. For the brief time we were on the ship things were ok. The ... Read More
My wife and I took the Viking Odin Christmas Market trip over Christmas week. It was supposed to be a river cruise from Nuremberg to Budapest. We only made it to the first port. For the brief time we were on the ship things were ok. The staterooms are nice as are most of the staff. The food was just ok and the onboard entertainment was poor. Once we were told that the ship could not go any further due to changes in the river water level, the trip became a horrible experience. We were taken by bus, for 3-4 hours at a time, to the next stops on the itinerary. Once at a new stop we were placed into a hotel. So much for the luxury cruise. Most of the amenities expected on the trip ceased the moment we left the ship. Many elements of the itinerary were lost; such as, - Although we booked the Christmas Market cruise, the Christmas Markets were closed in all but Nuremberg. - The ship did not go to Passau. Instead we had a 3-hour round trip bus ride that resulted in reduced touring time. - We had a limited tour of Melk and a poor lunch. - We did not experience the "scenic cruising" through the Wachau Valley due to the bus ride. - The optional concert in Vienna was moved to a different night, again limiting our tour time. - We did not have the "Captain's Farewell Reception and Dinner." We also lost the amenities of the ship, such as, - We had free Wifi on the ship. There was no Wifi on the bus and the Wifi in the hotel was limited to 1 hour and could only be accessed in the lobby. This significantly limited our ability to have needed contact with our home. - We had to unpack and repack several times. One of the key selling points of the cruise is that we only have to unpack once. We also had to get up very early as the buses left at 8am - so much for leisure time. - We lost the companionship of our fellow passengers as we were stuck on busses for many hours. - We had originally purchased the bar package on board which provided our drinks at reduced prices. In order to continue to enjoy social time with our fellow passengers, we had to pay full price at the hotel bar. - On the ship we had choices at every meal. Once we left the ship for the substitute itinerary we were provided with no choices and meals were served banquet style with a take it or leave it attitude. Although we spoke with Viking personnel on board the ship and at the hotel many times to express our dissatisfaction, nothing was offered or done. When we returned we contacted Viking both in writing and by phone to no avail. We asked for either a refund or a replacement cruise. They refused. Although their brochure speaks of a satisfaction guarantee, it isn't worth the paper it is printed on. They clearly failed to provide a comparable experience once we left the ship, and then failed to take responsibility. We certainly will never cruise Viking again and strongly encourage others to avoid them as well. The true measure of a company is not in how they handle things when they are going well but in how they respond when things do not go well - Viking has a lot to learn about customer service. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2012
We were due to sail aboard the Viking Odin on a New Years Cruise between Budapest and Nuremburg, we actually only sailed from Passau to Nuremburg. The problems started a day before we were due to leave, when we received a phone call at ... Read More
We were due to sail aboard the Viking Odin on a New Years Cruise between Budapest and Nuremburg, we actually only sailed from Passau to Nuremburg. The problems started a day before we were due to leave, when we received a phone call at home stating that due to high water on the Danube we would have to spend the first night in hotel in Budapest. We actually spent 3 nights in hotels, 2 nights of which were spent in a Vienna Airport Hotel. We were coached from place to place living out of a suitcase. No choice of meals at lunch. Buffet evening meals at hotels. Only one drink allowed with meals. Then back on a coach next day to continue the tour. The fact remains that Viking knew that the potential for major disruption to our cruise but decided not to notify us of the potential for over half the cruise to be affected. Whilst they were informing us of 1 night problem they were booking hotels to cover the 3 nights, to say they were economical with the truth is an understatement. The fact also remains that the ship was moored in Regensburg for over a week during the xmas period before our arrival due to the high waters 350 miles away from Budapest. You can imagine the chaos and congestion and the hours travelling on a coach and this is not what I planned I wanted a relaxed cruise on the Danube and not a coach tour around Hungary, Austria and Germany.To say I am disappointed with Viking is an under statement. Now that we have returned home they do not care less in assisting to resolve the situation. To finally round things off when we did eventually get on the ship due to an administration error they did not remove our on board credit, so I also had that issue to sort out to which they replied that they would add it onto our next on board account when we travelled with them again. They have got to be kidding!!!! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2012
The good: The boat is beautiful. Cruising down the Mississippi from Saint Louis to New Orleans was a wonderful experience. The entertainment throughout the boat, performers and musicians, was excellent. The land tours were very good, ... Read More
The good: The boat is beautiful. Cruising down the Mississippi from Saint Louis to New Orleans was a wonderful experience. The entertainment throughout the boat, performers and musicians, was excellent. The land tours were very good, the hop on, hop off tour concept is a great idea allowing you to tour a town at your own pace. The small towns we visited were delightful, the people very welcoming and friendly. The Riverlorian was excellent; he really knew the river and did a great job of answering questions and explaining navigation and maneuvering on the river. Our stateroom attendant was excellent, always smiling and ready to help with any requests. The cruise director did a very good job. Nadia, the hostess, bartender and waitress in the Front Porch was great. The bad: The service in the main dining room was very uneven. Some of the wait staff were very professional and enthusiastic in doing their job; others seemed like trainees just going through the paces with no enthusiasm. The food preparation was very uneven too. Often the food was either undercooked or over cooked. The first dinner on board one of my wife's quail was almost raw inside and my braised short rib was dry and not very tender. Another time one of my wife's lamb chops was way too rare. I tried a crab cake egg Benedict one morning and the poached egg on top was hard boiled. Even the Captain's Dinner, which is supposed to be the best meal of the cruise, was not up to par. One of the two oysters in my appetizer of Oysters Rockefeller was the size of a shriveled grape. For the main course we both had the lobster, mine was fine, with a nice crab sauce on top but my wife's was dry and tough with no sauce. The main dining room was just not the 5 star operation it should be. The complimentary wine program was really a puzzle too. While they are featuring regional food on the cruise most of the wines were from foreign countries, Italy, Chile and Germany with a few California wines thrown in. Missouri alone has 111 wineries, why not feature regional wines to go with the meals? I'm sure there are any number of wineries along the Mississippi that would love to have their wines served on board. The ugly: Disembarkation was a total disaster. Because we were going to be staying in New Orleans for a few days we were on our own as far as transportation goes. I asked one of the tour directors that morning if it was necessary to call a taxi. She replied that there would be plenty of taxis waiting at the cruise terminal. Those, like us who were traveling independently were the last ones to be allowed off the boat. When we got to the bottom of the ramp our luggage was waiting there but there were no taxis. Another passenger who was traveling independently was coming from the bus loading area and told us that not only were no taxis but the taxis were not allowed in the terminal so we would have to take our luggage outside the terminal to get a taxi. This meant going completely around the outside of the terminal to the street. The only person from the ship, in sight, was one of the porters. I asked him if he could help us with our luggage but he said because we were traveling independently he was not allowed to help us. There were none of the cruise staff anywhere in sight. We had 2 large bags and 4 small ones and no choice but to haul them ourselves. My wife is 79 years old and weighs about 100 pounds, this was outrageous. My wife took one of the small bags and pulled a large one; I took the other three small bags and pulled the other large one. We had to stop every couple of hundred feet so my wife could rest. This went on for a while until it just became too much for my wife. My wife stayed with the luggage while I went ahead to see how much further we had to go. We had made it about half way to the street, a young man offered to help so I paid him to haul my wife's luggage. We finally made it to the street, almost a quarter mile from where we started, and to the Hilton hotel across the street where the doorman was kind enough to get us a taxi. This is just not acceptable from what is supposed to be a five star operation. We were literally just dumped at the end of the cruise. I have been going on cruises, both ocean and river, for 50 years and this is the most expensive on a cost per day basis that I have taken and it is nowhere near the best. The cost per day for the 2 of us was more than $1,100.00 and I have taken cruises for less than a third of that that were as good or better. To put it in perspective, at the end of the cruise we spent 5 days and 4 nights in New Orleans. The total cost for that stay, including a good hotel, all meals including an excellent dinner at Commander's Palace, tours and transportation, cost less than 1 day on the American Queen. The dining room staff on the American Queen should take lessons from the staff at Commander's Palace, which is truly a first class operation from beginning to end. Their customer service is a joke, I called the customer service number on their website 4 times and was never able to speak to a customer service representative. The first time I called was 3 days before my cruise with a question and I got voice mail. The call wasn't returned before my cruise, they left a message on my home phone some time while I was gone. The second time I called the day after disembarkation because of the major problem I had the day before. The call was answered by David Everitt, head of cruise reservations. I told him about the problem I had and he said he would have, Joann Romeier, the head of customer relations contact me. Because I was staying in New Orleans for a few days after the cruise I left my email address so she could contact me on my laptop. A week later on Monday I had still not heard from her so I called again, this time the operator said she would email Joanne and have her contact me. Another week went by and no one contacted me. I called the following Tuesday and this time I was told that their system had crashed and my phone number was lost. They had my email address, why not email me? I was given an email address for Joanne. I finally spoke with her on Friday, two and a half weeks after my first call about the disembarkation problem. She said she would check and see what the problem was and get back to me, that was over 3 weeks ago and I haven't heard back from her yet. As it turns out, although they have a customer service phone number on their website, there is no customer service department per se, Joanne is head of guest relations. I was told that pre cruise and cruise problems are handled by the reservations department and post cruise and other problems are handled by the guest relations. So in my case both parties thought the other party was taking care of it and nothing was done to get to the bottom of the problem. I also wrote letters to Jeff Krida, CEO of American Queen Steamboat Company and John Waggoner, CEO of HMS Global Maritime the parent company of American Queen Steamboat Company. A month later I haven't had a response from either of them. Evidently the lack of concern about customer service extends from the top down in this company. They just don't care! The one star is because of dumping us at the end of the cruise and complete lack of customer service and response to my letters. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2012
American Cruise Lines -- Queen of the Mississippi -- St Louis roundtrip 9/15 Day 1: St Louis: Already had to clean the bathroom door something red all over NOT sure what it was and I'm not sure why they couldn't have ... Read More
American Cruise Lines -- Queen of the Mississippi -- St Louis roundtrip 9/15 Day 1: St Louis: Already had to clean the bathroom door something red all over NOT sure what it was and I'm not sure why they couldn't have cleaned it. Cabin - SMALL very small. The decor was BLAND and the room looked like a cheap hospital room right down to the square overhead fluorescent light. All that was missing was a monitor or two next to the bed. NO curtains just mini blinds. There was nothing private about the veranda you could see anyone on either side of you and hear all their conversations. Bathroom - don't even ask even smaller. The light in the shower was full of dead bugs which is not something you want to see first thing in the morning. NOW the good news.. WE are stranded in St Louis.. some thing has happened on the MS north of us and we can't leave.. Don't know how long we are here for or if we are even leaving. HATE it so far. They have told us nothing and from what we have heard from the crew the accident happened on Friday meaning that they knew about it before we boarded this morning. People have asked to get off and have been told that there would be an update by 9:30AM tomorrow. See note below about what time we left (7:30AM) so all those people were PISSED. They should have given us the chance to make other plans or updated us on what was going on. NOTHING ever came at any time. Day 2: St Louis -- To Chester: Well here it is day 2 and we finally set sail at 7:30AM. We are sailing south to NO WHERE until they can tell us if we can sail north to our ports of call. There are no updates. More or less rumor mill at the moment. As of last nights dinner I am the talk of the boat already. I GOT NOTHING to eat.. they ran out of food. And what they did serve everyone was HORRIBLE. You should hear the complaining and more complaining. For example: The menu said Oysters Rockefeller see the s at the end of the word OYSTER WELL you only got ONE oyster and it was so small it would fit on your finger nail. Desert was a joke too. Everyone was still talking about the CREAM PUFFS from Wal-Mart. Breakfast was good though Eggs Benedict but the quiche get ready for this, was the size of a half dollar.. It was that small. And if you wanted a ham and cheese omelet you could NOT have it. They used up the ham for the quiche.. Can you believe that one? NO HAM and we just left. THIS IS NOT WORTH THE MONEY WE PAID... We have seen nothing but muddy old man river and rusty barges and the level is so low it makes it even uglier. They make you pre order for lunch and dinner in the morning so they know how much to make for the day. YEP and I got nothing last night so that tells you how great that works out I will never suggest this at anytime for anyone, even mom is upset as are 90 % of the passengers right now. MUNITY!! Day 3: Chester: Well here we are still don't know anything!!! Stuck in Popeye town!! All we have heard thru the grapevine(rumor after rumor) is that we are leaving at 11:30AM but to where no one knows. At least the food as improved and I did get dinner last night. The one meal the do good is breakfast!! Update. Well we are now going DOWN river again.. Still going no where close to our ports of call I can't even begin to pronounce this next one. If I were suicidal in anyway I would have slit my wrists by now. I can't imagine that anyone is enjoying this. I don't know if I can stand another day of this.. all we do is sit around and wait for food and than everyone runs for that.. OK with this crowd they limp along to that but boy they don't miss a feeding.. Think the Dawn of the Dead or Night of the living dead movies and you have this crowd.. the smell of OLD is every where.. I have never felt so trapped.. I should have just worked from this trip we haven't gone anywhere.. What a waste of time and money.. I could have been laying on a beach or doing anything but this.. I mean we toured the Wal-Mart and McDonalds and saw 3 prisons.. I mean come on.. this is just horrible. PRAY for us.. Day 4: Chester to Cape Girardeau: Day 4 we are still heading south .. we are currently in Cape Girardeau MO home of Rush Limbaugh.. or as I like to say ANTIQUE row.. there is nothing here once again. We will be leaving at 11:30 PM for Paducah KY(Yes you are seeing that correctly KY) No one is happy about all this and we have no idea from hour to hour of what we are doing or why or anything. Now for your laugh of the day last nights entertainment.. Get ready.. Banjo guy.. BUT wait he didn't just play EVERYONE had to sing along.. YES. 40 minutes of pure He**.. I have finally figured out what this cruise is.. If you took an assisted living facility and placed it on a barge bottom and pushed it down the Mississippi you have it. These people are rude and circle food and booze like it is going out of style for some reason. They will knock you over to be first in the dining room and don't even block there way to the happy hour.. You know how other cruises go by so fast. NOT THIS ONE!!!! The only high points have been the guy doing Mark Twain and Dustin Fox the waiter we try to sit with everyday. And that is it. They have decided to give us all the tours now for free so we took the first one today what a BUST it was to a closed down mill and covered bridge under construction. Boring. Day 5: Cape Girardeau: See day 4 above Day 6: Cape Girardeau to Paducah: Well here we are now on the Ohio River trying to get to Paducah KY.. We have spent over 4 hours sitting at a lock ... than once we got in they decided to work on the lock doors and now we are TRAPPED inside of the lock.. I'm running out of words to use to describe how horrible this has been.. Now people are starting to get sick.. PLEASE god don't let it be norovirus.. but with our luck it probably will be I just wish they would turn us around and go back to St Louis and let us go home.. WE are all so bored there is nothing to do The boat is horribly decorated.. I told someone today.. That even Rhett and Scarlet would have asked to be let off .. NO grand staircase no wood nothing that would make you think you were on a paddle wheeler. Did I tell you the best part.. the paddle wheel is a JOKE it isn't even hooked up.. so we really aren't sailing on a paddle wheeler.. Day 7: Cruising to St Louis: OK.. it is now 2PM and we are heading back up to St Louis. No idea when we will get back but assume sometime Friday.. Spent the day on a bus driving around looking at old run down houses and than on to the QUILT MUSEUM.. yes you heard me the Quilt museum.. I have to admit it was interesting, if I had to pay that would be a different story The high point was getting filmed for the local PBS station special.. just loved my comments on the quilts go figure.. In my spare time, and there is lots and lots of that, I have totally redecorated this boat in my head and will suggest a few changes when I get back. There is truly only one place on this NURSING HOME barge that even comes close to what you would have expected. So much wasted space for something so small Well I have to run .. the excitement continues this afternoon with KITE flying off the top deck.. YES kite flying and scenery watching( sounds like Alaska right) .. I will be forever scared by this cruise and it will take a lot of arm twisting before I would ever try small ship cruising(or as I like to call it) Assisted living cruising again.. Day 8: St Louis: Arrived back in St Louis sometime after 10PM or so. We were all so happy to get off the boat you have no idea. BUT guess what they forgot about the Alzheimer's run that closed down the road in front of the Arch. They had trouble getting the buses and taxis in to get us out. It just figures one last mess up. And the GUESS what bus to ride game was fun too. They must have moved our luggage around 5 times and had to go back and forth on what bus was going where so many times they finally had the bus drivers confused. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2012
Give American Cruise Lines marketing staff an A+---but the hype is very close to fraud, based on my recent experience. Where do I begin to tell you of all the disappointments---first, the Rolls Royce stabilizers were nowhere to be seen, ... Read More
Give American Cruise Lines marketing staff an A+---but the hype is very close to fraud, based on my recent experience. Where do I begin to tell you of all the disappointments---first, the Rolls Royce stabilizers were nowhere to be seen, about 2 hours out of Portland, just as we finished lunch, and the ship started rocking side-to-side (so much that it was impossible to walk without weaving and stumbling)---2/3rds of the passengers got seasick (including my travel companion---but not me) and upchucked their lunch; only 1/3 of the passengers made it to dinner that night, and only 10 of us were able to come to the lounge at 8:15 for the talk by the naturalist. When the ship started rocking, there was no storm, and the waves didn't look that big to me (I'm a sailboat owner). When we got into bays and on rivers, there was no rocking. There are no phones in the room---even for intra-ship/room communication---no ice,no refrigerator, no bottled water (the bathroom faucet has potable water). The 2nd floor lounge, where all meetings are held, and tables are set up for one hour each day to serve as a bar, has an ice-machine, a cappucino/hot water dispenser, tea bags (but if you go to the lounge in the afternoon for a cup of tea, and the dispenser has no water in its tank, there is no phone or communications system for the passenger to ask a staff member to come and fill the tank). The first day there was a bowl of fruit on the counter, which was not refilled during the cruise, and midway through, there were flies hovering around the rotted fruit in the bottom of the bowl! There were warm cans of soda (and a sink/faucet with potable water). The only public restroom (unisex) on the ship is also on the second floor; the dining room is on the first floor. There is a small elevator (4 thin people max) on the ship. The fourth floor deck has chairs for sunbathing, but no staff member assigned to wipe the morning dew off of them; no bathtowels; no beverage or food server; no room service at all on the ship. Wine and Beer are available at lunch and dinner, and liquor available at the makeshift bar from 5:30-6:30 only; the hors d'oeuvres were minimal, and one night, featured COLD quiche passed by one of the young servers (several of them told me that they were recent high school graduates and had not had server jobs before). I identified each of the staff members (including EVERYBODY, but the captain) as having at least two jobs; for example, immediately after breakfast, the servers started cleaning the staterooms (on a seven day cruise,beginning on Saturday, they change the sheets and vacuum on Wed. of each week---other days, they make the beds and clean the bathrooms (there is a sign in the bathroom asking you to use your towels more than once if possible---but if you put them on the floor, they will give you dry, clean ones). Now, moving on to the food---this had been billed as a 'lobster cruise', and we seldom had any lobster, however, that may have been for the best, since the cook did NOT know how to cook lobster, which astounded all of us---the one night that they served a whole lobster, the people at my table couldn't figure out why the carapace was so hard and blackened (did he bake/broil/boil them rather than steam them??) and the meat dry and tough!**!! Then, the last night, we had 'stuffed lobster tails' and beef tenderloin----once again, the lobster had been overcooked, AND the tail meat not loosened or removed from the shell----the stuffing just perched on top...most of us did not each the lobster---but we enjoyed the tenderloin. We had excellent lobster OFF THE SHIP at a shore excursion 'lobster bake', ($35) where a caterer had steamed the lobster---YUM! Except at breakfast, there was no fresh fruit or vegetables to be found on the ship---and both my traveling companion and I had been cheerily assured by the marketing rep in Guilford, CT. that they catered to special food requests (I had requested fresh vegetables and fruit), and that meals were cooked to order---SO MISLEADING! This cost of this 7 day cruise was $5,000. Most of the passengers were over 65 (there were two couples that had adult children in their 30s with them); many were in their 80s, and one deflightful set of sisters were aged 90 and 92! I talked with a dozen couples for whom this was a celebration of 50 years of marriage. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2012
We selected this cruise because we had signed on with Public TV. It was a theme cruise on the Civil War. I still do not know what is civil about any war. We arrived in New Orleans and walked over to the French Quarter and had a very ... Read More
We selected this cruise because we had signed on with Public TV. It was a theme cruise on the Civil War. I still do not know what is civil about any war. We arrived in New Orleans and walked over to the French Quarter and had a very nice meal at NOLA'S. A nice hotel, The Sheraton and then we were told that the river was too shallow for the boat to come into New Orleans. We were bussed to Vicksburg, MS and had a tour of the battlefield and the monuments. No water was available except in the water fountains (and this is a National Park) mind you. There wasn't any on the bus either. The ship line put us up in a hotel in Jackson Ms. We listened to a guide all that day who droned on with this date and that date The next day we got back on the bus and this time we had a guide who was was just as knowedgeable as the first one but he had a sense of humor and did make it interesting. He was the preacher on the boat. Let me tell you about the good things on the boat. The riverlorian was wonderful. He was always there to answer questions and he was always pleasant and so knowledgeable. The music and shows were super. The theater was a gem. The shows were excellent. Now the not so good. The dining--I felt as if we were in a culinary school and they were learning on our time. I loved the fresh fruits and vegetables. With buffets for lunch how about some labels instead of the guessing game. Do you know what that is? Our room stewardess was a love. When I told her that my side of the bed was always filled with black bugs she had the room fumigated. She changed the light bulbs so that we could see in bed and the bathroom but she also felt so close to us that she didn't feel the need to knock before she inserted the key and entered. We did have a shipboard credit and the only place to spend it was in the gift shop. What did they have in the gift shop? Everything with the logo American Queen. Would I bring home souveniers for my sons with that logo? Finally, did we have a good time? Very definely yes. I cannot blame the company for the river being low. Was it worth the price -No. Would we do it again. No. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2012
Overall Opinion: Considering all the points below, we will stay away from Viking and use other means to see Europe. For the prices they charge for their cruises, you can travel in first class on Canard's or other luxury cruise ... Read More
Overall Opinion: Considering all the points below, we will stay away from Viking and use other means to see Europe. For the prices they charge for their cruises, you can travel in first class on Canard's or other luxury cruise lines for the same or lower costs. Value ($) The cost of our 15 day river cruise was just under $17k. This is equal or more per day to the top tier luxury cruise lines. You can use other options to see major Cities and still enjoy the river cruise experience. Security: Basically there are no security procedures on the Viking boats. Anyone can board and walk thru the boats. In our stateroom, our door was opened during the night by unknown person(s). When we woke up the next morning the stateroom door was open. When we brought this to the attention of the Front Desk the staff advised us that it was our fault. After asking for the Captain, we were greeted by the Hotel Manager, Gerald Hauswirth. Gerald accompanied us to our stateroom to check the door lock system. After several attempts that confirmed the defect, he apologized for the behavior of his staff. He was able to reset the door lock. The key to remember there are no means of locking your stateroom door if someone has a key card or the lock system fails. Accommodations: We selected the AA Veranda Suite ( 324 ). The room was very nice for a river boat. However in the hallway the Viking boat has electrical panels in-between the Suites on the starboard side. During the day and night, we would hear a loud buzzer sound in the stateroom. Three or four times each night we work up to the buzzing noise. The response from the Viking staff was "that is one of the issues on the long boats! Dinning: On the Viking, there are no seat assignments. Thus the quality of the service was a function of the waiter. It went from excellent to very poor. The concept of enjoying your meal and talking to your fellow guests . The waiters are focused on serving you the food as fast as possible. The require you give them the full order ( appetizers, entre, desert). There are no substitutions. Thus, you are pressured to finish the meal and leave. Lounge: Unfortunately, the lounge is the only place to sit down and talk to fellow guest. The upper deck is closed for most of the trip. This is caused by the 80 locks you go thru. Drink Package offer: Viking has a "Drink Package" that you can buy before your trip or on board. We did this only to to realize the service staff avoids asking you for drinks. My recommendation is not to buy it Overall Service There are 2 to 3 waiters that are assigned to the Lounge. Most of the time, they are behind the Bar talking to each other. So to get drinks you have to go to the bar and order. Bottom line their service level is "Poor" Excursions: At each port ( one per day), they have free excursions. Most involve "walking tours" with contract tour guides. If you like seeing every Castle, Church and Statue, then this is a great feature. We decided to go to the City Center and do it ourselves. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2012
My husband and I are avid cruisers. We were on the May 14 cruise of Viking in the Ukraine. We upgraded to a mid level room. That was the first thing ROOM: Viking does not tell you that there is no difference between the room ... Read More
My husband and I are avid cruisers. We were on the May 14 cruise of Viking in the Ukraine. We upgraded to a mid level room. That was the first thing ROOM: Viking does not tell you that there is no difference between the room categories unless you get a suite. The difference of the other rooms is their position on the boat. The cheapest is bottom level, small window, port side, next level is same room on river side, next category is one floor up, same room port side with a walking path in front of your room (floor three). The room is tiny, tiny, two small beds, cot size and a bathroom that is SSS, . poop, shower, shave with a curtain to separate the towels so they do not get wet. The shower is actually a hand held attached to the sink. The closet is an armoire with the bar running from front to back, which means you need to move everything to get anything. There is one small drawer. When you enter there is a mirror with a small shelf underneath. The room is the worse I have ever had even though it was not inexpensive $2,800 per person. If you want a normal cruise ship room you must get what they call a suite. FOOD: The breakfast and lunch were best. Dinner looked good but in most cases was tasteless. The standard wine was awful. One day they brought three bottles of the same wine to the table, each one was another color. TOURS: Were well done, not too much to see between Odessa and Kiev, lots of Lenin statues and gray towns. Odessa and Kiev were OK. SHIP: Has no place to sit or "lobby". By each staircase there is a couch which looks like it is 1940's. There is a bar, but you feel like you should buy a drink, The library requires no noise. Each room can seat 30 or so. There is a sun deck, but how about rain?STAFF: Tries to do their best but there is lots of down time with nothing to do. EMBARKATION: If you want to save money take a taxi. Their charges are outrageous. We had to do our own transportation, cost about $40 from Ukraine airport.....bad part, no sign and the ship was behind another we drove by 2 times finally saw some other people standing and we followed them. Awful embarkation. SUMMARY: There are 2,200 ships on the Danube in one day, there is one on the Denpier, and the Ukraine government requires Viking to rent it from them. If you don't have a compeling reason to take this cruise do another. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2012
The trip that we thought would be the trip of a lifetime turned into the trip from Hell! Viking is not doing anyone a favor by not disclosing the details of this trip. Any one with any medical conditions, ie. difficulty walking, heart ... Read More
The trip that we thought would be the trip of a lifetime turned into the trip from Hell! Viking is not doing anyone a favor by not disclosing the details of this trip. Any one with any medical conditions, ie. difficulty walking, heart condition or respiratory condition, should not even consider this trip. It is very fast paced and there is alot of walking over uneven ground on 2000 year old cobblestones. The first day out we walked 5 miles, which they didn't tell us until we were on the bus going there. The bus drops you off and picks you up at the other end. There is no way to "opt out" once you get off the bus. You spend alot of time flying from one destination to another. Alot of the restaurants they took us to were dirty. Two of them had mangy cats on the table when we arrived. One had dead cockroaches on the floor. Guess we should be glad they weren't alive! Many of them I didn't eat the food they were so dirty. Viking claims in their information that they personally select the restaurants, so I guess someone is not doing their job! My overall impression of China is that it is dirty, the bathrooms (except in the hotels where we stayed) were disgusting. Some of them smelled so bad even the guys wouldn't use them. Most of them only have squat toilets. I'd never heard of them before I went to China. I wish I still hadn't. The people there are rude and very pushy. There is always some trying to sell you something, no matter where you go and they are very aggressive. This trip goes to Tibet which is at 13,000 feet. About 1/3 of our group had altitude sickness so severe that they had to have IV treatments. 2 people were never able to leave the hotel. Our guide was telling people not to take the medication their doctors had given them to take as a precaution. He said we would not need it. Boy was he wrong! I wished I had not listened to him. I think it was totally inappropriate for him to have done that. After Tibet we got on the boat for the "cruise" part of the trip. They claim that the Emerald is a totally remodeled cruise boat. I was not impressed. They tried to hide the uneven floors, ect. but it is a "chinese owned" boat, so there was probably only so much they could do. By the time we got to the boat, people were starting to get sick and it spread thru the ship like wildfire. I spent the entire 5 days in my cabin, other than to go to meals. Overall, I was very disappointed in Viking because they obviously haven't done a very good job of letting people know what the trip entails. They definitely haven't done their homework as far as providing a safe environment for their clients and ensuring them safe food to eat. This would be the perfect trip for "Undercover Boss"! I'd love to see the CEO of Viking eating in the restaurants they took us to. My advice to anyone considering this trip is DON"T DO IT!!!!!! We complained to Viking when we got back and their only response was to offer us a "coupon" toward the next cruise we took with them. Like that is going to happen. They didn't even care what our complaints were. They just send you the coupon and refuse to respond to any more emails. If anyone thinks I was the only one VERY unhappy by the end of the trip, I wasn't. Everyone was pretty upset about the way were were treated and what we were exposed to. I doubt very many of the 200 people on the trip will be repeat cruisers with Viking! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2012
We have traveled extensively. In the past ten years, we've done 20 cruises. We had great expectations for AMA Waterways. This cruise did not live up to our expectations in any way. If you have an opportunity to book an ... Read More
We have traveled extensively. In the past ten years, we've done 20 cruises. We had great expectations for AMA Waterways. This cruise did not live up to our expectations in any way. If you have an opportunity to book an alternative cuise company (Viking, et al) I would recommmend it. Here is my analysis: - Food selections at breakfast, lunch and dinner were unimaginative. Breakfast, particularly, was repetitive. We were grateful when we finally reached Prague as the host hotel (Hilton) has more options and the food offerings were better. - Check-in at host hotels was disorganized and lacked pre-planning. Two busses of guests (probably about 60 people) arrived. The Cruise Director and a local guide just spread out the card keys on a table and asked passengers to "look for their name" (and card key). We've take a previous river cruise where card keys were distributed on the bus prior to the arrival -- which meant absolutely no drama at the hotel when we arrived. In this case, it was every man for himself. Ridiculous. Both the "arriving" and "departing" guests crossed-paths at Regensburg, Germany. It would have been very easy to send the card keys for the guests "checking in" with the Cruise Director accompanying the guests "checking out" from Prague, but nobody seemed to have that insight. - Friends and family of ours ordered two bottles of wine to be delivered to our stateroom at disembarkation. Unfortunately, only one bottle made it to our stateroom. This seemed to be a sign of the apparent lack of "attention to detail" that our entire cruise suffered from. - Our reservations for our three night stay in Prague was lost. When we got to the host hotel we had no reservation. We had to check-in at the main desk on our own. Even then the host hotel (Old Town Prague Hilton) tried to book us direct for two days of our stay (that we had booked via AMA Waterways). - Two guests fell down the stairs because the stairs were only painted ( no anti-slip coating). The crew seemed surprised -- though I'm doubtful it's the first time it's happened). This is not the first time this ship has been on this intinerary in early spring. Moisture on the stairways should not be a surprise. The anti-skid product from 3M is readily available, yet the onwers of this cruise line seem unwilling to take those steps to protect their guests. Unbelievable. - The shore excursion "briefing" was delayed for more than 30 minutes while 12 guests "toured" the wheelhouse. Many had set their alarms and awoken from naps to attend the briefing scheduled for 2:00 PM that never occurred. - The AMA Waterways marketing materials indicated that there would be audio-assisted guides in every port. Indeed there was audio receiving devices in our staterooms. In one port, our "local" guide was handed a receiver instead of a transmitter. We spent the entire tour wondering why we weren't able to hear his narrative. He was talking into a receiver (the same device we were holding). No one in the crew seemed to understand that he was holding (and speaking into) the wrong device. On a positive side: - The wine sommelier was incredible. She was knowledgeable and very responsive. - Our room steward was nothing short of perfect. She was there when we needed her. She left the stateroom incredibly organized (and yet not intrusive). Probably the best experience with a room butler/room attendant we've ever had. - The ship was clean and well maintained. The bottom line: We spent about $6,200 (plus airfare) and didn't feel that we receive the value for our investment. If you want to use this cruise line, fine -- but expect to be fairly unimpressed. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2011
We had the most horrible travel experience of our lives on the Avalon Panorama Christmas cruise in December of 2011. From beginning to end, this trip was a nightmare. Avalon began by making a mess of our airline reservations. Had to pay ... Read More
We had the most horrible travel experience of our lives on the Avalon Panorama Christmas cruise in December of 2011. From beginning to end, this trip was a nightmare. Avalon began by making a mess of our airline reservations. Had to pay a penalty to cancel their airline reservations and make our own. When we finally got aboard the Panorama in Nuremberg, we were herded like cattle into the main room where we had to wait interminably to be assigned our rooms. This was after a very tiring bus ride from Prague to Nuremberg. When we were finally settled in our cabin, we found that the elevator didn't work on the ship, and we are both senior citizens and found it very difficult to get around on the ship because of this. We were promised ethnic food aboard and that never materialized. The food service was like a cattle call. It was impossible to order only one course and have it served in a timely way. After arriving at Regensburg, we were given a heads up that we might not be able to go down the river due to the water level. That is exactly what happened, and we were driven all over by bus and missed the ports we were promised and were at last driven to Bratislava, not on our itinerary, and not to Vienna where we were supposed to end our cruise. I had purchased several extra days in Vienna, and had also purchased tickets to the Spanish Riding School over 14 months before the tour. We had to leave the tour after being taken to Bratislava in order to be in Vienna for the performance we had so looked forward to. The tour director, Robert, refused to help us get an extra night in Vienna, so we had to telephone directly to the hotel and they extorted 259 euros for that extra night. Then they charged us an extra 100 euros to stay in the same room for the extra nights. Avalon knew in advance that we wouldn't be able to sail down the river. Other cruise lines informed their passengers before leaving their homes and gave them options. Avalon did not do this even though they knew we couldn't have the cruise we paid for. We had purchased travel insurance and could have recouped all of our money had we known in advance that we couldn't sail down the river. Avalon has refunded two days of our cruise, but that doesn't even begin to repay us for the terrible bus rides, loss of several ports we were promised, and their general uncaring about the passengers' needs. We spent most of the time on crowded buses and in my opinion were robbed of what was supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime cruise. My warning to future river cruisers is to book with anyone but Avalon. Viking informed their passengers ahead of time and I was told that other cruise companies did the same. Avalon did not!!!! Also, don't bother with trip insurance. I bought expensive trip insurance and tried to collect for the extra costs in Vienna due to trip interruption, and have heard nothing from the trip insurers. I feel that we were treated unfairly by Avalon and they have been giving us the runaround since we got back about what they were going to do to rectify this situation. A group of passengers on this cruise have been emailing back and forth, and the general consensus is that Avalon owes us four days worth of repayment due to the lost portions of our trip. They have told us that they need four to six weeks to "investigate" this situation. Why? They know what happened. Also, I was informed that those of us who wrote letters to Globus and Avalon would be treated differently from the rest of the passengers. Is this fair? I don't think so. My advice to any would-be river cruiser is to AVOID AVALON LIKE THE PLAGUE! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2011
Port of embarkation was Clarkston, Wa. on 10/22. I have to say, this is our 2nd cruise with American Cruise Lines and it was terribly disappointing. The cabins were awful - a little decor goes a long way instead of everything being a ... Read More
Port of embarkation was Clarkston, Wa. on 10/22. I have to say, this is our 2nd cruise with American Cruise Lines and it was terribly disappointing. The cabins were awful - a little decor goes a long way instead of everything being a bland beige. The food was beyond awful. Everyone on the boat was complaining (bitterly) by the end of the week. Food was either not hot, undercooked,or badly prepared, with miniscule portions. We had rice almost every, single night. Any bread product served was always dry and cold (and supposed to be grilled or hot); muffins in the a.m. were always the same and dry as paper. cocktail hour hors d'euvres were extremely skimpy; sometimes we got nothing passed around to us except crudites. If the waiter's platter ran out, you'd never see him again, even tho he promised to come back with more. Cabins were not that clean. I dusted and cleaned it myself. Toiletries in bathroom were not automatically replenished daily; used glasses in room, hardly ever removed and replaced. You had to specifically ask for whatever it was. Lecturer on board was outstanding. This was the Lewis & Clark expedition cruise. Will not cruise with ACL again. Was looking forward to going in 2012 on the new Mississippie River boat that is being built by ACL - now we will book with another cruise line that also came out with brand new ship. PS: This was NOT a cheap cruise, either. For $8,500 for the week,add to that $1,000 in off-ship side trips, they could have at least given us edible meals and better service. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2011
We took this cruise August, 2011(St. Petersburg to Moscow). First, let me say that I have only been on 2 ocean cruises prior to this Viking cruise and cruising is not my preferred vacation style. That being said, we were invited by dear ... Read More
We took this cruise August, 2011(St. Petersburg to Moscow). First, let me say that I have only been on 2 ocean cruises prior to this Viking cruise and cruising is not my preferred vacation style. That being said, we were invited by dear friends to join them on this river cruise in Russia. I read the various trip reports and I am amazed how my opinion differs from many reviewers. The ship I was on (Pakhomov) looks like it has been renamed in 2012 to Ingva. On other cruise lines there appear to be a variety of nationalities on board - but our ship was exclusively Americans. Given the way you are herded back and forth on buses - you could actually spend 13 days in Russia and never speak to anyone but an American (unless of course you get away from the ship/bus and make your own way - which we did). My companions and I found the food barely tolerable. When in major cities (St. Petersburg and Moscow) we only ate breakfast on the ship. Although my expectations were low - they were not low enough and paying for our meals was the least of our issues. My #1 complaint is the extreme distance river cruise ships have to dock from the major ports. This is a complete waste of your vacation time and sitting in gridlocked traffic in Moscow for hours will make you scream. We quickly learned the excellent St. Petersburg and Moscow metro systems and used the ship more as just a place to sleep. The hardest part of the trip was the 5 day cruise between major cities. I though river cruising would be smooth - however when we went across major lakes - the ship rocked so hard and created such loud noise in our cabin (#428) we were awake most of the night. Finally, do NOT take the airport transfer ripoff. In Moscow, they wanted us to board the bus at 8am for a 2pm flight. We skipped the bus ($120) and took a 10:30am taxi ($45) to the airport and arrived easily in time for the flight. We ran into others from our ship that had been sitting in the airport for 5 HOURS. If you really want to experience Russia - don't take this river cruise. Get a good travel agent with local contacts and get out to meet the Russian people. They are amazing.... Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2011
A scenic River Cruise sounded great, but, in the end, it was one of the worst experiences of our lives (and definitely the most expensive). The Queen of the West is an old renovated ship and did not have many (or should I say ... Read More
A scenic River Cruise sounded great, but, in the end, it was one of the worst experiences of our lives (and definitely the most expensive). The Queen of the West is an old renovated ship and did not have many (or should I say "any"??)amenities. The "exercise facility" consisted of one stationary bicycle and one elliptical which were found on the top deck in a public seating area. The rooms were TINY and the staff was extremely inexperienced. Staff were all college kids and nice enough, but with very little experience. The cost of the cruise was EXORBITANT. No choices for Shore excursions--You either went or you didn't, with no options. Staying on the boat was not really an option either since there was NOTHING to do--no shops, no cafes, just a makeshift library with one computer (which was never available)and two lounges with chairs and magazines. Shore excursions were pricey and definitely tailored to the elderly. NO active excursion options for kids. Entertainment after dinner consisted of an hour or so of local musicians. By 8:30 PM the entertainment was over and evidently, it was bedtime for all!!! Food was sub-par, but, in all fairness, did get better as the week progressed. I am appalled at how much money I paid for this family vacation. Definitely NOT worth the price. Will NEVER cruise with this company again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2010
Our letter to Viking following the cruise was 2 full pages and was practically ignored. They offered us $500 each credit on a future cruise with them (which will never happen). I will reduce it here for you. My wife has been in the travel ... Read More
Our letter to Viking following the cruise was 2 full pages and was practically ignored. They offered us $500 each credit on a future cruise with them (which will never happen). I will reduce it here for you. My wife has been in the travel business for 30 years and this is the first negative review we have EVER written. Some problems were minor but altogether, this was just bad. By the way, the cruise started in Antwerp and ended in Basel - a nice itinerary. They sent us information prior to the cruise for the wrong cruise. Rather than courier the correct info, they mailed it and we were already on our way to catch the cruise. The food was of the lowest quality, not cooked well and there was little choice. Dining room service was fine as long as you didn't require anything extra or different, such as a second glass of water. The boat was understaffed to the point that staff would not meet your eyes fearing you might ask for something. There was no maitre d', leaving guests to line up prior to dining room opening and rushing for a choice table - like high school. Not once in 14 days were we called by name and this ship had only 200 guests. They skipped one stop on the itinerary because another Viking ship had the dock that day and they would not pay for a second spot. We had a 2nd Viking ship docked alongside us on 4 days, which meant that we could not open our blinds of our rooms or lose all privacy from the room literally 3 feet away on the other ship. Also, that side of the dining room was dark on those days as that ship blocked all light. There was no security to get onto the ship (there was a warning to Americans in Europe the day before we set sail). Almost all excursions were to "the old town" and to "the cathedral". Very little diversity. Tour guides were anywhere from 2 out of 10 to 10 out of 10. The main lounge was too small for everyone to fit in and the design was not condusive for ease of listening to lectures. The staterooms were small but fine. Nothing special but not a problem. There was the occasional smell of fuel at night while the ship travelled. For others, it was every night and their bed was like a massage bed when the engines started up. They advertised that the fares were 2 for 1, which was a total lie. If so, this would have been a $700 per day per person cruise, more than what you can pay on a 6 star cruise today. It seems like Viking is in trouble and cut corners where possible, lower quality food, less staff, cheap tours (places with no entrance fees). Do yourself a favour and book another river cruise line. I'd be concerned with losing your deposit. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2010
As we had heard from others that traveled with Viking was of the same quality and service as AMA Waterways and they had the itinerary that we wanted, we booked a cruise with them. On 9/3/10 we embarked on Viking MS Maribelle in Lyon on ... Read More
As we had heard from others that traveled with Viking was of the same quality and service as AMA Waterways and they had the itinerary that we wanted, we booked a cruise with them. On 9/3/10 we embarked on Viking MS Maribelle in Lyon on their Southern France Serenade 8 day cruise on the Rhone and Saone Rivers. Our first impression of the ship was that it was an old ship and that it did not have the luxury appearance of their Neptune ship. When we got to our stateroom, we were disappointed to see that it did not have a bed, but had two small couches which turned into separate small twin beds with hard mattresses. This was the same setup throught the ship. My husband who is tall could barely fit and if you turned too quickly, you hit the wall. Next came the very small shower that when you turned on the water, the curtain stuck to your body. The dinning experience can be described as the same level and quality as eating at a Denny's restaurant. The food was without taste and of poor quality. They added so much ice to their orange juice that when it melted, it was more water then orange juice. They served their left over smoked fish from the night before for their breakfast. You got the feeling that they were rationing their food throughout the trip, not that it matter as it was of poor taste that you did not want large portions anyway. They offered wine with dinner at no cost, but it was cheap wine, so you were not too eager to drink much of it. The cruise director though friendly, provided minimal service. He did not go out of his way to provide more service then required. Some of the waiters had a difficult time understanding English and made it hard to get service from them. The maitre'd came across as very rigid and strict with rules that it made you feel uncomfortable asking for service. The stateroom cleaning staff, however, were very good. They service your room efficiently and left your room sparkling clean. The entertainment was very poor. The one musician aboard played the same beat to every song in a Hungarian tone. This was not conducive to wanting to stay and enjoy hearing him play or enjoy dancing to the music. The one thing that was good about this cruise, were the port and shore excursions. We saw some very beautiful areas of France and sites. During the cruise, we heard that Viking leased the ship Ms Maribelle and it's crew as there was a high demand for this itinerary. In my opinion they were more concerned with making money, then providing quality and excellent service. Throughout our trip, we heard the same complains from a number of passengers and it became a joke to talk about the quality and service of the ship. We could not wait to get off the ship. It was very upsetting to feel this way after having travel so far and having spend the money and receive this kind of treatment. In summary, we would not recommend this cruise to anyone and would not recommend Viking as it appears they cared more about making money and little about the service and quality they provide. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2010
The river cruise and tour was with GCT on the River Harmony. It was 5 days pre-cruise in the Alps, from Lucerne, then 14 days on the Rhine and Mosel rivers, then 4 days post-cruise in Brugge. The pre-cruise and post cruise were good; nice ... Read More
The river cruise and tour was with GCT on the River Harmony. It was 5 days pre-cruise in the Alps, from Lucerne, then 14 days on the Rhine and Mosel rivers, then 4 days post-cruise in Brugge. The pre-cruise and post cruise were good; nice hotels and good tours, but the river cruise was not my cup of tea. It was very regimented with tight schedules and too many ports. I think we visited 11 or 12 ports but I lost count. I much prefer setting my own schedule, stopping to smell the roses and being able experience each port's uniqueness. In talking with many towards the end of the cruise, few could recall one port from the next. The schedule was; up at 7:00-7:30, go eat breakfast, pick up transmitters, meet guide ashore to do 2+- hour walking tour of each village. Then, back to boat for lunch, then back to village on my own as there was nothing to do on the ship, then meet for the next day's preview talk at 6:45 while we sail for next village, then dinner at 7:00, then nothing to do but go to bed with nothing on TV but 2 old movies which were supposed to be appropriate to the tour; i.e. war movies like Anne Frank. The food, though presented well, was German, Swiss, Belgian food featuring blood sausage, over cooked meat with gravy over everything, sauerkraut, beets, cabbage, over cooked vegetables...you get the idea...old world food! There were no chops, no steaks, and the only seafood was overcooked, previously frozen fish. Both lunch and dinner seemed hurried with standing in line for the lunch buffet. Midway through the trip, I started staying ashore after the walking tour and searching out brew pubs to sample the local beer and then trying to find a pizza parlor for lunch! GCT sells only to Americans so for me, it would have made more sense to serve us the type of food we are used to with a sprinkling of the old world. The wine served with dinner was very poor quality. Even the bartenders remarked about it. I opted to buy a wine package and also buy wine ashore. There was no pool or spa on the sun deck. I was one of only three people who lay in the sun but after the heat wave in Switzerland and part of Germany, most of the time it was cloudy and cool. I believe I was the only person to use the spa on the lower deck but only used it once as only one jet worked. The ship was very well kept and clean. I had a cabin on the top deck with a small veranda. My cabin was small but at least the bed was good. The Captain and other staff personnel were great and so were the tour directors. They were definitely a high point. So, my bottom line is; River cruising is definitely not for me and I doubt that I will ever do another. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2010
We debated long and hard whether or not to spend the money on this trip. We believed all VRC advertised and decided that it would be the trip of a lifetime. It WAS...the worst trip of our lifetime. We were on the Pakhomov. We are WELL ... Read More
We debated long and hard whether or not to spend the money on this trip. We believed all VRC advertised and decided that it would be the trip of a lifetime. It WAS...the worst trip of our lifetime. We were on the Pakhomov. We are WELL heeled world travellers and had SOOO many problems with Viking. They claimed they "didn't know about the closings for Russian Independence Day"???????? They are in Russia, how could they not know that. We had a Cat A Deluxe cabin. Lots of problems with heat and air regulation-no A/C as advertised, windows that wouldn't open,almost no TV reception and internet spotty at best. Our deluxe cabin advertised as comparable to the finest hotel room was shabby, old and not at all what was promised. The bed was AWFUL!!! Some had plumbing problems the whole cruise. And everyone had issues with the cleanliness...not how it looked, but that is was not at all sanitized-several of us watched carefully because we were concerned. Many of us watched and never saw anyone wiping down the handrails. OK, maybe it was done at night, but should have been done continuously. The stairs on the ship are very risky to navigate, especially for anyone with mobility issues. The room maid wiped everyone's in room glassware out daily with a dry cloth (the same one)...we checked it out. At least 2/3 of the passengers on the ship were very ill with a virus (us, too, but not as much as some). Some were even hospitalized. The common areas were toatally inadequate for the number of people on the ship. Sometimes they asked that only one person from a cabin come to briefings. WHAT!!! The included ballet performance was specifically aimed at tourists and performed by an amateur troup. We were very pushed to buy souvenirs and several times "taken" to where we were encouraged to buy. These trips were included tours. Worst of all were the included tours. They were literally "tourist herds". I am not exagerrating. For the money we paid I really expected much much more. I have done tours for less money and been in small groups of 20 or less. Too many optionals...more should have been included for the price. Sure we could have gone off on our own...some did...but we paid so much for the cruise that it seemed it would have been adding insult to injury. VRC states with them there is no standing in line or sitting on busses. Total lie!!! Every time we tried to politely express our concerns to someone on the staff, we were told "Sorry, there is nothing we can do". On the plus side-we had wonderful servers at dinner-who spoke almost no English. The food was adequate...nothing to rave over at all but nice presentations. VCR promised 5 couse gourmet meals. We had exactly 2 and in my opinion they were NOT gourmet. We were assigned a dining room so did not get to mingle with everyone at meals as touted. But...best- we made some wonderful new friends and have all agreed that we will travel together again...just not on Viking. We all agreed on that. VRC deletes all negative posts on Facebook so all you read are the positives. Oh...and Helsinki. $900 apiece for 3 nights in a mundane hotel room, a 2 hour walking tour and a 6 hour uncomfortable train trip to St. Petersburg. Everything in Helsinki was mega-expensive, so be prepared to drop a wad if you go. FYI...I have been travelling worldwide for 30 years-2 or more trips per year-my travel partner also. We are not just griping. It was a VERY disappointing trip. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
With anticipation, we looked forward to experiencing the Christmas spirit in Germany and Czech Republic. The promise of the brochures of the wonderful Viking River Cruise looks great in brochures, but reality did not meet the expectation. ... Read More
With anticipation, we looked forward to experiencing the Christmas spirit in Germany and Czech Republic. The promise of the brochures of the wonderful Viking River Cruise looks great in brochures, but reality did not meet the expectation. First, we allowed Viking to book our flight. Originally booked on another airline, Viking switched us to Air France. In Paris our flight was cancelled as well as the next 3 flights we were booked on. Arriving more than 24 hours late, missing our first port and tour, we were told to take a taxi. Transportation was supposed to be provided. We had no Euros, etc. The worst part is our luggage never did arrive. We had to hammer the ship's managers to call on our behalf, which was an imposition on them to check on our bags. The weather was cold as well as our room. The heater would not warm our room. The electricity went off several times, as did the water supply. The food was average, unlike most of the other cruises we have taken. The menu was set and you had a choice of one of two items. The service was provided by a young staff, much like chain restaurants with high school and college waiters. We did enjoy them however. The plague hit our boat and 90% of the cruisers got sick before the end of the trip! Our port excursions were cut short because the tour guides did not dress properly for the cold weather, and talked faster than an auctioneer. The boat was basic, unlike other fabulous ships we have experienced. Somewhat dated in dEcor, it provided rooms, restaurant and bar.. that's it. We called Viking requesting a partial refund since what we received is not the picture they painted. They promised to get back with us. Had to go before a committee, taking 3 weeks. Never heard back. Called and were promised a call back. Never received it. Said they emailed us. Never received it. They must all be lawyers, as lawyers make the best liars. Suggestion, if you pick Viking, don't have any expectations of a nice trip and you won't be disappointed. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2009
My wife and I booked our honeymoon on Viking Cruise lines in October, a nine day cruise down the Rhine River from Amsterdam to Basel with daily stops along the way. We had never tried river cruising before but had heard good things about ... Read More
My wife and I booked our honeymoon on Viking Cruise lines in October, a nine day cruise down the Rhine River from Amsterdam to Basel with daily stops along the way. We had never tried river cruising before but had heard good things about it and were anxiously looking forward to the trip. After much research we were down to choosing Viking River Cruises or Uniworld and in the end decided on Viking because their itinerary included the Black Forest which my wife had always wanted to visit and Heidelberg which I had always wanted to visit. Unfortunately the cruise did not turn out as we had expected; after leaving Amsterdam we cruised for just two days then stopped in Koblenz Germany and were informed that the water levels on the river were too low and we could go no further. Viking then did a one day cruise down the Mosul River to a beautiful little village, unfortunately we had roughly two and a half hours to explore before we had to rush back to the boat and return to Koblenz were we remained tied up for the remainder of the week while they bussed us to various locations were had been scheduled to visit. Because we spent hours on buses we only got to visit two of those locations, missing out on the remaining three. And even at the two we did visit; Heidelberg and Strasbourg, were very brief, we had just a few hours free time in Heidelberg and less than two hours in Strasbourg. We were then buses to our final destination; Basel, a day early and that was that. Needless to say, I realize that Viking River Cruises has no control over the level of the river and no reasonable person could blame them for that. I do however blame them for the way in which they handled the entire trip; The company later admitted that they knew before we ever left Amsterdam that we would almost certainly be unable to complete the cruise due to the low water levels, yet they still got us on the ship where they could control us and cruise for at least a day or two, thus being able to state that they had tried their best. And during the cruise itself they lied to us about this, claiming that they had thought the river levels would rise due to rain! It was only after we'd returned and I wrote to the company that they admitted the truth. They never gave us the option of deciding what we would like to do (they cancelled the cruise the following week and gave those passengers the choice of re-scheduling their trip or receiving a refund). I would have gladly taken even a partial refund and left the ship in Koblenz. We paid a handsome sum of money for an 8 day river cruise and instead received a three day cruise and a series of long bus trips and short visits to only a few of our scheduled stops. For this the company offered us 30% off another cruise but only if we took it within the next year. I might add that this was at a time when they were offering two for one deals and large discounts in airfare to anyone off the street! The crew paid no mind to what we, the paying passengers, wanted to do. During an on board meeting when they finally admitted that we could not continue on the river the majority of passengers expressed the desire to visit the Black Forest instead of Strasbourg, this was ignored by the crew because Strasbourg was more convenient for them to then bus us to Basel and be rid of us. So Strasbourg it was, for an hour or so anyway! The crews demeanor throughout the trip was abrupt to the point of being rude, this was so apparent that it became a running joke among the passengers, not a funny one either. Their attitude was; "this is what we are doing so be quiet and like it". And on a more general note; the food was just fair and the service at meal times left much to be desired, the wait staff was undermanned and did little more than put the food in front of you and run off. If you asked for anything extra you would have thought you had asked them to move the earth for you. The ship was obviously understaffed. Upon returning home I wrote a long, thoughtful letter to Viking expressing my displeasure and pointing out that basically, my wife and I had paid $9,000 for a short cruise and a series of very long bus trips. And that I did not think their offering 30% off another cruise IF taken within a year was sufficient compensation for that. Several months later I received a form letter explaining how the water levels on the Rhine work and basically saying that they were sorry but it is what it is, get over it and hey, we hope you sail with us again very soon! Viking sends out DVD's and brochures and letters from their chairman touting their high level of service and how much they care for their passengers. This was a far cry from the Viking that we experienced. I would urge all of you to take their claims of sterling service with a very large grain of salt and, if you should be planning a river cruise then seriously consider Uniworld or Globus and avoid Viking all together. Our experience may or may not have been the norm but, do you want to spend that kind of money to find out? Read Less
Sail Date: September 2009
we just got back from a Viking Cruise , 14 days, from Brussels to Basil. This was our first Viking experience and it will be our last. They advertise as a 4 star but are maybe a 2 star. The reason for this rating by me is mainly due to ... Read More
we just got back from a Viking Cruise , 14 days, from Brussels to Basil. This was our first Viking experience and it will be our last. They advertise as a 4 star but are maybe a 2 star. The reason for this rating by me is mainly due to the food quality, the unfriendly ship crew, and the total over all service, and the lack of help under some unusual medical situations. First, breakfast is breakfast but they cannot even make an omlet without burning it, the pancakes and waffles come cold without butter, the eggs cannot be prepared as asked and the eggs in the buffet are spongy and over cooked, the bacon is baked and overcooked stinking together in 3's and 4 pieces, people line up at the 1 toaster and wait, and the butter at the buffet come in individual packages that are not soft but frozen or cold. The lunch preparation is by far the best of the 3 meals. The lunch in the dinning room is good and the variety of choices are good but the upstairs buffet is below average with poor choices of small sandwiches and salads. The soups are very good but the rest is below average. You cannot get a hamburger or hot dog at any time. You can not get good mustard and mayonnaise is not offered and cannot be ordered. I did not know the procedure at this upper buffet the second day and walked up to get a beer and saw the assortment of cheeses next to the bar, I got myself a plate and started to put a few pieces of cheese on the plate and the bar tender jumped all over me for taking cheese before the noon time opening. I was shocked at his attitude and put the plate on the bar. He actually said to me "Now what am I to do with that".. I wanted to tell him he could put it where the sun does not shine but being my second day kept my mouth shut. Sorry, back to dinner. The dinners were just plain bad. The main chief was off ship for the first 7 days but this is no excuse for serving main course meals that would not make it in Denny's. When the chief came back it did pick up a few notch's. Service, before I get into the negatives, let me give the positives. The cabin service, even though there is no room service for food or drinks, the cabin cleaning person was very very good. The service in the dinning room was very good but very rushed as they are completely understaffed and have to use outside bar staff and wait staff to man the dinning room. This lack of qualified serving help surely shows in the dire rush to help the passengers. They try very hard but one can see the drain on there faces for extra request for more bread, butter, wine, drinks, gravy, ect.. The bar help, except for one exceptional young women, seem to be doing you a favor rather than you being the customer. One passenger actually was told that he had already gotten ice for his room and he could not get more. The ship has no help up on the sun deck for drinks, and if you take your lunch plate up there to eat you must usually bring the plates downstairs to the lounge yourself. The lounge chairs and tables are old and weathered. The ship is so understaffed on ratio to passengers, they cannot keep up. It must be also told they false advertise in the brochures and letters. The first is in their advertised Alcohol package. They sell it cheaper on the ship, do not sign up 15 days in advance. I think my space is out. No I can keep going. They will not credit you for paying more early. About a $100 cheaper on the ship. They do not offer Premium Wines in this package as advertise. It is there private label wine and two cheap others. The free bottle of champagne is a sparkling private label. We signed up as we were told that they serve premium regional wines, NO THEY DO NOT. A Fellow passenger took a terrible fall and hit her head badly at the end of a tour. The lack of concern from the help was appalling. They would not stop at the hospital emergency when requested, even though we were at a stop light right in front of the hospital. They told her she could walk to emergency, about a half mile from the ship. They offered no taxi or help to accompany her , She did go to emergency and was checked out by a wonderful doctor but the ship offered no help. This lack of concern was inexcusable. I could go on but will stop. Do not take Viking, there are a lot better river cruise lines out there. Read Less

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise