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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
Airport transfers ( to/from) left a lot to be desired, i.e. poor. Bad first impression, made only worst with the last the last impression. Waited at the airport for almost two hours ( after having our luggage) before we left for the ship. ... Read More
Airport transfers ( to/from) left a lot to be desired, i.e. poor. Bad first impression, made only worst with the last the last impression. Waited at the airport for almost two hours ( after having our luggage) before we left for the ship. Still going back and forth with Viking on the transfer back to the airport. Viking made a mistake and they have yet to admit it. - very frustrating. Crew and the ship were great. Being on only the third cruise with this "new" ship was good. Meals were excellent. on board service excellent. The land tour guides were mixed; some were excellent others poor. Quite a distraction from the on board excellence service on the ship to some very poor tour guides who made you feel as though they were doing you a favor. When we did a river cruise with Avalon, every tour guide was " excellent". Viking needs to "up their game" Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We are not experienced cruisers, early 60's. This was our first river cruise and had been on one Caribbean cruise. We knew people who had cruised Viking, some multiple times. We heard only good so we booked Basel to Amsterdam with ... Read More
We are not experienced cruisers, early 60's. This was our first river cruise and had been on one Caribbean cruise. We knew people who had cruised Viking, some multiple times. We heard only good so we booked Basel to Amsterdam with extensions in both cities. Viking takes very good care of you in all manners of transportation, connections and when on extensions. The Egil is a new ship. We were the second cruise. The rooms are typical. Small but nice. Efficient bathroom. The staff did a superb job of freshening the room unobtrusively. We opted for a balcony/veranda. Nice, but we got little use of it. Either too cold or we were docked against another ship. Save a few bucks and pass. I'm not a foodie. Meat and potatoes. I found the food good but not a reason to take the cruise. Others raved about the food. You won't go hungry. But if that's your thing, keep looking, IMHO. At lunch and dinner wine or beer is include. All you can drink. The Lounge became a second home. Nice, all windows. Casual. They don't try to screw you too bad on drink prices (wine- 6 euros or so, mixed drinks (manhattans)- 9). Nobody is searching your bags if you want to bring something on board. Daily (almost) tours are included. Always in the morning then time to explore on your own. All ranged from very good to excellent. Guides were generally entertaining and knowledgeable. Our guide in Cologne was a hands down expert on the cathedral. Knew everything and more. Optional tours are available ($50-75/person?). Most not interesting to us but we did go to some 1300's village that was great. We had a total of 177 passengers. I'd say we were about average age (early 60's). Almost no "young" (under 50) people, Zero kids.The other passengers were great. We pal-ed up with several different wonderful groups/couples that added greatly to the experience. All walks of life, all terrific. The small ship experience is terrific. You bump into the same people over and over. I don't think I'll ever do a big ship again. The management and staff were all great. After the first day they delivered my manhattan and wifes white wine as soon as they saw us in the lounge. I would not classify this as "luxury". Just good, solid, well done mid class experience. We will cruise Viking again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Bordeaux is a beautiful city;we had been there before but enjoyed exploring more of it. It has the elegance of Paris without the traffic. Viking Forseti is a very comfortable boat with first class service. Everyone of the staff was ... Read More
Bordeaux is a beautiful city;we had been there before but enjoyed exploring more of it. It has the elegance of Paris without the traffic. Viking Forseti is a very comfortable boat with first class service. Everyone of the staff was extremely courteous. Touches such as the provision of umbrellas and a drink when we returned from excursions were appreciated.The food was ambitious and often a simpler meal would have been more successful. We enjoyed the upper deck lunches and would have enjoyed the dinners there even more if the starter could have been varied. The shore excursions were excellent, as were the majority of the guides. The evening tour of Bordeaux, the citadel at Blaye and the Gulf of Arcachon were particularly memorable.The scenery is not particularly striking on this cruise ( except at Arcachon) although river banks have their own calming influence as we hazarded guesses at the owners of large and small properties, but all the towns were fascinating. This was particularly important given some wet or grey days.There was a good balance between wine and chateaux. The onboard talks etc were less interesting and together with the briefings took up too much time which might have been spent reading and watching the world go by. it was always possible to skip the evening's entertainment but difficult then to find somewhere to sit and talk in a group without seeming rude. The cabins were too small to entertain friends. on warmer evenings it would obviously been possible to sit on deck. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2016
This cruise stopped at a lot of places I have always wanted to see. We had taken a cruise of the Eastern part of the Danube, but not the Western part. This cruise offered us a combination of three rivers and many beautiful stops. We ... Read More
This cruise stopped at a lot of places I have always wanted to see. We had taken a cruise of the Eastern part of the Danube, but not the Western part. This cruise offered us a combination of three rivers and many beautiful stops. We picked a veranda cabin this time, and even though the weather was not as warm on this trip, we used the veranda many times and really enjoyed the beautiful view as we went along the rivers. It was so nice to sit outside and sip a glass of wine, listening to music from the cabin, and enjoying the great views. Most of the excruisions were great, but one was way too long, and left us with nothing to do for too much time. The weather was a factor, but even in better weather, we would have been happier with only four hours, and then back to the ship. All in all, it was great. Food is very good, service exceptional from the cabin staff and waiters. We had a bad experience with the concieriege, but she was new and not experienced in good customer service. In spite of that problem, we really enjoyed the cruise and have since booked another. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
A wonderful experience, attention to every detail. The crew were incredible, we could not have asked for more. Our tour guide/ tour director was the most incredible person who took care of every last detail and more. The boat was ... Read More
A wonderful experience, attention to every detail. The crew were incredible, we could not have asked for more. Our tour guide/ tour director was the most incredible person who took care of every last detail and more. The boat was older but very classic, had everything one could want. The itinerary is so well thought out, a lot of variety and superb excursions, so much to learn, to see, to experience and enjoy. We had a downfall of being an exceptional small group, 11 passengers in total. Although there were many advantages of being this small group, the social and group demands were difficult at times. The meals were superb, a great mix of local ethnic and western choice. Always freshly prepared, beautifully presented and very plentiful. The staff catered to everybody and individual tastes and culinary preferences. Land arrangement both together with the cruise group as well as the add on trips were convenient and very well organized. Outstanding hotels, great locations allowed us so much more than an ocean cruise. We encountered so much human interaction and loved meeting villagers and city dwellers alike. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
We had about 20+ friends ( which included my sister and I) who traveled with on the Danube Waltz New Year's Eve trip this past Holiday. The trip did not begin great for some of us as flight arrangements made by Viking caused ... Read More
We had about 20+ friends ( which included my sister and I) who traveled with on the Danube Waltz New Year's Eve trip this past Holiday. The trip did not begin great for some of us as flight arrangements made by Viking caused long delays, missed direct flight to Munich from Philadelphia and a very long delay on Amsterdam. We missed the tour of Passau which was the first excursion. We barely arrived in time for dinner aboard ship the first night. Once we arrived on ship, the trip was fantastic. While the Chef and staff were terrific and very attentive, the meals were not as great as my Cities of Lights experience. The menu was not as varied as the Paris to Prague trip. Too many repeat items on this last trip. Also, the stock for the bar was not as plentiful as there were several liquors that were not available (along with mixes) the last 2 days. Nonetheless, I love traveling with Viking. I am very complimentary of Viking when speaking with other friends and family members. My sister traveled with me on the Danube Waltz trip and she is sold on Viking, We look forward to traveling with you in 2017. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
We love the river cruises because they are so relaxing and you see so much more of the countryside. We had been on the Grand European Cruise the year before and absolutely loved it, So we decided to go on another cruise. We always wanted ... Read More
We love the river cruises because they are so relaxing and you see so much more of the countryside. We had been on the Grand European Cruise the year before and absolutely loved it, So we decided to go on another cruise. We always wanted to go to Normandy so the is why we chose Paris to Normandy.. Were really enjoyed all the sights, especially Normandy. Normandy was very moving emotionally but very rewarding. We loved it. It was a long day, but totally worth it. Paris was wonderful and the sights are marvelous! We always had plenty of time on our own. The other ports were wonderful also. The food was delicious and the wines always complimented the food. The people on the cruise were all so nice and friendly. The crew was exceptional. They were so accommodating to us. The cruise line has the departure plan down to a science and it works beautifully. This was a wonderful cruise to celeste our 50th wedding anniversary. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
After three flights from Calgary, Alberta to Yangon, Myanmar met at the Yangon Airport by Mojo (Cruise Director Assistant). Asked Mojo about exchanging US dollars to chat and asked Mojo about an approximate amount, he suggested exchanging ... Read More
After three flights from Calgary, Alberta to Yangon, Myanmar met at the Yangon Airport by Mojo (Cruise Director Assistant). Asked Mojo about exchanging US dollars to chat and asked Mojo about an approximate amount, he suggested exchanging $300 US. Received 2 bundles, one of $5000.'s and one of $1000's. These funds lasted through the whole 14 days. Used chat to pay tips on board and $.50 per passenger for 1/2 day, $1 for full day, yes that is for the driver and his assistant total/together. Transfer with AMA Waterways to hotel Shang-ri-la. Offered an upgrade, which was an upgrade from floor 12 to floor 22. Great views and less noise. Room was excellent (for me), but did not upgrade on return to Yangon. Brunch (breakfast) is included in room cost, buffet for lunch $22.US and Buffet for supper was $27 US (approx.) I found as a single service was poor. Waited 20 minutes for someone to ask if I would like coffee/tea, and another 15 minutes for it to arrive even when DR was quiet. Discussion (as a tour is referred) day after arrival with a trip to a local market. Walking distance back to hotel, 2 blocks. After two nights we boarded two busses to start our adventure. Three stops along the way (for toilet, drinks at our cost) I believe this trip was 6.5 hours. Arrival at Pyay brought smiles to many faces. The ship looked great and the crew were ready to assist each of us going down the hill to the ship. We all needed assistance, steps are different heights, and steep at embarkation and disembarkation. The crew would be out making steps in the sand for us to climb. We did celebrate US Thanksgiving. Turkey was served the one thing missing was mashed potatoes (baked potatoe served), gravy and stuffing. We never left the DR hungry, if you did it was your choice. Four salads, great bread, sweet breads, condiments, WONDERFUL desserts (including 3 kinds of ice cream + toppings), fruit, cheese. Steak, chicken and one other item were served at request if you do not want the Chefs suggestions. Wonderful entertainment. Beautiful costumes. Our last night onboard with the crew entertainment was the best. The talent was exceptional, Crew showed another side that surprised many. Smith (DR) is a very quiet man, but with a mike in his hand, well he surprised us all. Disembarkation had us flying from Mandaly to Yangon. Luggage was placed in the hallway for 6:30-7:00, Breakfast served from 7:00-8:00, and we left the ship at 8:00. Flew by prop plane, which was excellent (and I hate to fly) and the flight was EARLY. We were taken back to the Shang-ri-la Hotel, after two tours. We had a small wait for rooms to be ready and Mojo reminded each of us our wake up call times and transfers. We were welcomed by a great group of people. This was a ship that gave a feeling of welcome to your home, and that was felt by many in the group. We did have a bug going through the ship and we think nine passengers became ill. Total number of passengers-29, with 2 couples and 1 single canceled. Country is poor and squat toilets are the norm, with the occasional American toilet. Yes on the ship toilet paper is put into the garbage, not in the toilet. We had a group of gals follow us on motor bikes to different stops to sell us items. They would not take our money without us making a purchase. Go with an open mind, this country is changing, but our expectations are different from theirs. Enjoy the smiles, hearing the children laughing, sliding down the sand embankments towards the water and the docking ship, Adults are washing and doing laundry as the ship is docking. Some move sooner then others. Enjoy. NowRose Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
Everything went smoothly and as planned despite the lower water level. They handled the ship swap brilliantly. The cruise director was great and always on top of everything. The ships are beautiful, good service, good food and wine ... Read More
Everything went smoothly and as planned despite the lower water level. They handled the ship swap brilliantly. The cruise director was great and always on top of everything. The ships are beautiful, good service, good food and wine and the local guides were delightful. I enjoyed going through the locks on the Romantic Danube itinerary and each port of call had several options to different interests. I can't praise Viking enough for the wonderful experience. If I were to do anything different would be to go earlier in the fall so that I could enjoy more time at the outdoor areas of the ship. But I did spent time at the lounge with it's beautiful and comfortable furnishings, enjoying a cup of coffee and letting the marvelous scenery passing by. The city tours were great and a pleasure to have the audio boxes so we could all hear the guide even at some distance. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
Love river cruising. Everything was convenient. The service was good and always helpful. We like the small ship and less walking for activities. The scenic views of the landscape were breathtaking. We had a illness while on board and ... Read More
Love river cruising. Everything was convenient. The service was good and always helpful. We like the small ship and less walking for activities. The scenic views of the landscape were breathtaking. We had a illness while on board and the director helped with finding a emergency room and accompanied the sick passenger to the doctor. We enjoy meeting all the guests and after a few days knowing most of the people we travel with. We will definitely take another river cruise.Our cabin was neat and tidy and we were never rushed out for cleaning. The ship was beautiful and we enjoyed the view from the front with the serving area for food. This was new to us from previous cruises. I thought the food was delicious and never had any thing I didn't like. The entertainment was okay. Sometimes better than other times. However, our director was just delightful. She always brightened up the evening no matter what. Our excursions were perfect with the built in hearing device. I really like that and find it makes our experience more complete. The only complaint I would have is the first day on arrival we walked the city of Basel and it was too taxing. After the long flight I should have rested and then later left ship. When returning our flights were scheduled to Minneapolis and then to Dallas. They timing was too close. We missed the Dallas flight because of customs and security lines were too long. We only had about an hour and 15 minutes to make it. The airport was so big we had to ride to the Dallas connection but missed the flight by about 5 minutes. Had to stay in Minneapolis over night. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
Uniworld is great! My wife & I spent 2 nights in Vienna pre cruise, then boarded the River Ambassador which stayed overnight in Vienna to give us another full day before sailing upstream on the Rhine. From the time we boarded until ... Read More
Uniworld is great! My wife & I spent 2 nights in Vienna pre cruise, then boarded the River Ambassador which stayed overnight in Vienna to give us another full day before sailing upstream on the Rhine. From the time we boarded until the end we were greeted by an ever gracious crew who really paid attention to every detail. I can't say enough about how good they were. From the first happy hour in their well appointed lounge area, the staff not only remembered our favorite cocktails, but would warmly greet us as we walked in, asking if we wanted a "Dewar's and water" or a "Vodka Tonic". Drinks and wine are included and we never had to ask for another, since they were right there anticipating our wants and needs. (I've found slow service on other "all inclusive" trips or where we've already paid for a beverage package. The very small stateroom (128 sq ft) was the only reason to give it 4 stars instead of 5. The River Ambassador is Uniworld's smallest ship (120 passengers) and it looks like the staterooms on their other ships are larger-we could have used the additional space. However, the housekeeping staff did an excellent job of keeping it spotless every day and night. Laundry service was reasonably priced and service was same day, depending on when we left the bag out. Food was as good as we've ever had on any ocean cruise, including specialty restaurants. Breakfast and Lunch buffet provided plenty of choices and variety (example meat or veggie lasagna when they had lasagna), along with the usual salad fixings. Dinners offered a different menu every evening, and the staff was always there to refill your wine glass. The house wines changed every day and seemed to be local. Talking about the staff, I cannot say enough about how sincerely friendly and attentive they were. This was the last cruise of the season and I did not get any indication that anyone was short timing. Jaroslav, the hotel manager, was very visible and was always the first to greet us when we reboarded from our daily shore excursions. Piet, the cruise manager, was always available on board and when we were on the excellent guided tours that he arranged for us. The captain was also very visible. He did an excellent job of navigating the low waters of the rivers and canals. There were some last minute changes of docking sites and shore excursions due to the low waters and Piet made everything seemless in that we hardly realized that any changes were made. I know he had to scramble to re arrange guides and buses so we could see everything and he did a superlative job. In summary, this was an excellent experience and I get the impression that not only was the staff and crew excellent, but the commitment to flawless service came from the corporate structure as well. I can't imagine doing a river cruise with any company other than Uniworld. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
We chose the cruise on the Elbe River to see a different part of Germany than we had seen on previous Danube and Rhine river cruises. The summer and fall of 2015 were very problematic for river cruises on the Elbe due to the extremely low ... Read More
We chose the cruise on the Elbe River to see a different part of Germany than we had seen on previous Danube and Rhine river cruises. The summer and fall of 2015 were very problematic for river cruises on the Elbe due to the extremely low water level. We were informed just 5 days before we were due to leave the USA that our itinerary would be greatly altered and that we might not actually sail. We were previously aware of the possibility but were a little frustrated by the lack of advance notice but found out that they were truly making the decisions to sail or not one day at a time. Viking offered us penalty free cancellation or a $1000 voucher if we chose to sail. As pleased past passengers on Viking, we chose to sail. We were pleasantly surprised when we got to the hotel for the overnight stay in Berlin to find that we would be sailing, how far to be determined on a day to day basis. We were fortunate to be able to sail the first half of the itinerary, ending the cruising portion of the trip in Dresden. Dresden was a beautiful city and we docked near the city center. The second half of the "cruise" we remained docked and took day trips to the planned destinations with slight modifications. By being able to sail half the route, we avoided a ship swap, Viking's way of handling cruises when the water level was not high enough to allow any sailing. While this was not the cruise we had planned, Viking and the individual crew members went out of their way to make it a great experience. There were only 37 passengers (out of a maximum of 112) so everyone was moved to staterooms on the upper deck. This meant an upgraded cabin for us and many others. Extra excursions were added like a paddle boat ride in Dresden to see a little more of the river where it was too shallow for the Schumann to sail. With the small number of passengers and the regular crew, we all got very personalized attention. Our city tour groups were very small as in most cities they kept the number of local tour guides the same despite our reduced numbers. It was interesting to learn about life in East Germany after WWII. Our local guides had parents and grandparent who had lived through the war. One guide, a religious scholar, related that his grandfather was in the German SS; he was not ashamed of this as his grandfather had no choice other than to join or be shot. The trip to Terezin, a Czech concentration camp, was sobering but served to remind us of the horrors of WWII. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
This was my first Viking cruise. I chose it because of the historical significance of visiting first hand all of the sites along the Rhine river. The ship and accommodations were excellent. More importantly, the information given each ... Read More
This was my first Viking cruise. I chose it because of the historical significance of visiting first hand all of the sites along the Rhine river. The ship and accommodations were excellent. More importantly, the information given each evening prior to reaching our next destination was superlative. The staff was first rate and service was superlative. I must give additional credit to the supervisor of the tour guides. Her name is Petra Hall. She was always available and at everyone's disposal. Her tour guides were also superlative. They knew every detail of information at the site we went to. Petra also went on a lot of the tours to make sure that the service was top notch. It is this kind of detail that will bring me back to another Viking cruise. I had two disappointments. The cuisine aboard was just so-so. Breakfast was excellent as one had many choices to choose from. lunch was usually ordinary, nothing special. Dinner was more disappointing. Food was usually overcooked or tasteless. Sauces were nothing special. I skipped dinner twice in the dining room. I hope you can fix this. I am a chef and fussy about food, however, serving food in a large atmosphere can be excellent everyday if food is fresh and sauces are not frozen or packaged. The Radisson Blu hotel at the end of our trip in Amsterdam had its issues too. While the hotel was conveniently located in the city, the room was nicely appointed and had comfortable beds. There was too little lighting and a hazardous entry to the bathroom. One had to step up to go into the bathroom and I tripped and fell twice as did my roommate. Combined with poor lighting this could have been tragic. My suggestion, pick another hotel and check out the rooms more carefully. The best part of the Radisson stay was the tour guide through the city. Her name was Hannakah. She watched out for us and was a wealth of Amsterdam information. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our trip along the Seine up to Normandy--at least until the Norovirus started hitting the passengers. I estimate that 10-25% of the passengers got sick at some point and their was NOTHING on board to ... Read More
My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our trip along the Seine up to Normandy--at least until the Norovirus started hitting the passengers. I estimate that 10-25% of the passengers got sick at some point and their was NOTHING on board to alleviate any symptoms. It was like we're all on our own. Infection rate could have been higher or lower because virtually nothing was said by the staff publicly and I would expect them to understate the problem. Do all river cruises experience Norovirus outbreaks? Other than that, I loved the cruise, particularly the casualness, friendliness of staff and passengers alike, and the food. I have no complaints about the cruise itself. The staff admitted that the Neptune was built in 2001 and this was the next to last cruise before it was sold to another company. I found it to be a worn but very comfortable ship Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
This was the smallest ship I have ever been on, and being in my mid to late thirties I was very skepticle in traveling on this ship, however it was a very enjoyable experience on the Pearl Mist. Cruising on a smaller ship is a much more ... Read More
This was the smallest ship I have ever been on, and being in my mid to late thirties I was very skepticle in traveling on this ship, however it was a very enjoyable experience on the Pearl Mist. Cruising on a smaller ship is a much more of a family,homey atmoshphere that being the only way I can describe it and although my cousin also in her thirties who I was travelling with was being asked what are you doing on here with us older folks we were truly happy to be there. Everyone was so friendly, the passengers, the crew, everyone!!! We stayed in stateroom 421, it was spaceous and had everything we could have possibly needed. The food was delicious, great choices all sit down meals. Our shore excirsions were included and it was only one tour in each port on the New England Fall Foliage Cruise. The only thing I wish there would have been more of was more activities on board such as maybe bingo more then one night or maybe organized card games, more entertainment then just the same singers in one lounge every night. That aspect of the ship has the potential to be much better. Overall we met great people on the Pearl Mist and had a great trip. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
Low water in the Elbe meant that Viking had not sailed for 3 months. Half of our passengers, when given the opportunity, cancelled their trip, in the expectation that the ship would not sail. We chose to go ahead and we were rewarded ... Read More
Low water in the Elbe meant that Viking had not sailed for 3 months. Half of our passengers, when given the opportunity, cancelled their trip, in the expectation that the ship would not sail. We chose to go ahead and we were rewarded with an actual sail, merely failing to sail to the last port. All excursions took place and the staff worked tirelessly to make the cruise a success. The tour director was excellent and really made it a memorable tour. The river, itself, is not very busy and the scenery is rather samey, but there are good sections to the river. The beauty of this tour is the visit to many areas which were previously in East Germany and behind the Iron Curtain. This was very interesting. We particularly enjoyed the visit to the Meissen factory, and a visit to the lovely and interesting city of Dresden. We wouldn't go back, but only because we have now seen all we want to on the River Elbe. Great food on board throughout. Visits from local activities providing an enriching experience. All excursions were included. The was great value for money. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
This was our first river cruise after many ocean cruises so some of our views may be influenced by this. We travelled independently to Prague but purchased the AMA transfer from Prague to the boat in Vilshofen. The transfer left the ... Read More
This was our first river cruise after many ocean cruises so some of our views may be influenced by this. We travelled independently to Prague but purchased the AMA transfer from Prague to the boat in Vilshofen. The transfer left the Hilton Old Town at 8 am stopping for a a lunch break and guided walk in Regensberg. The boat was lovely and immaculate. Our balcony cabin on deck 2 was very comfortable with just enough space. The bed was very comfortable and bathroom was one of the best we have seen on a ship. All staff were friendly and very efficient. Kata, the Cruise Director, worked very hard and was informative and helpful although we struggled to understand the tips we were meant to give her which would have given her over £2500 for 7 days. Food was very good and the Chefs table excellent. The timing and seating worked Ok. The ports and places visited were all very interesting. Tour choices were good as were tour guides. We ( and others) had problems with the quiet box communication system and had to change ours 3 times. A number of entertainers joined the boat and all were excellent. We had a balcony cabin but with hindsight wonder if this was worth the money as we only went on it twice. The weather was not over good but when we wanted to use it in port we were berthed next to other boats so couldn't use it. The other issue we had was that due to the poor weather the only place to go in the evening was the lounge. Unfortunately we were travelling with a large group of people from an American Golf club who were very inconsiderate of other passengers. One evening they were singing inappropriate and offensive rugby songs and only stopped when a passenger intervened. On other evenings one of the group took over the microphone and sang karaoke. On a bigger ship we would have a choice of venue but on this boat the only other option was the cabin. I don't think the crew were equipped to deal with this sort of behaviour. The other issue for us was the total lack of visible security. People were passing through our ship to get to theirs and vice versa. There was no checking of bags or of anything brought onto the boat. As we disembarked by pre- booked taxi we saw a pile of unattended luggage up on the road and piled next to our taxi. It would have been easy for anyone so inclined to help themselves to a couple of bags. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
It was a freezing sunny day when we boarded the Scenic Jewel, we were made to feel very welcome and our butler explained all amenities to us in great detail. We were on the top deck (diamond) and had choosen a junior suite. The cabin as ... Read More
It was a freezing sunny day when we boarded the Scenic Jewel, we were made to feel very welcome and our butler explained all amenities to us in great detail. We were on the top deck (diamond) and had choosen a junior suite. The cabin as with all river cruise lines was small with very little hanging space and one has to be a great packer to put everything away. However it was The bathroom that made us choose this suite as its larger and has a bath. The bathroom has plenty of room with a separate shower lots of space. Plus I had a hot bath at the end of almost evry day. There are lots of lovely bath salts and gels it was lovely. The Scenic Jewel is like a floating 5 star hotel, the decor, modern, simple and stylish. Everything is very clean and attention to detail sublime. The food is wonderful with plenty of choices, so much food. All drinks are served pretty much all day and are included in the tariff. If you wanted you could eat and drink all day long. There is a huge upper deck with ample deck & longe chairs. It was very cold during our trip but sunny not many clients braved the upper deck but we did and the views with all the castles were divine. All staff were first class and a credit to Scenic, in particular Raddo our barman who was very attentive to the point of when I got ill he made me a hot brandy lemon drink without prompting for my husband to bring to me in our cabin. Everyone on our cruise pretty much got sick, this was of NO fault of Scenic who went to great lenghts to explain to the guests why they needed to use hand sanatation but so many ignored this advise and those few morons infected us all. The day trips were plentiful with many great choices our only upset was we couldnt dock in Vienna (something about a bridge being fixed) this meant we had to moor 90 minutes away from Vienna and commute backwards and forwards. In a 18 hour space we spent a total of 7 hours on a bus meaning less time in Vienna. I was very disappointed with this as Vienna was the main reason we did this trip, however this was not Scenics fault so I cant blame them. The onboard entertainment is so bad its good. The entertainment brought on board at various cities excellent. The hairdresser and masseur were not as good as I usually have but they were certainly okay. If you want to get a wonderful overview of Europe in a 5 star floating hotel, with awesome staff, excellent food and unpack only once then I would suggest you take a river cruise, this one was our third (first with Scenic) and matched our expectations. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
We chose to cruise in October to celebrate my birthday. We had hoped for good weather but Mother Nature did not co-operate. All the days but one were cold, rainy and overcast. Of course Viking had no control over the weather. We chose ... Read More
We chose to cruise in October to celebrate my birthday. We had hoped for good weather but Mother Nature did not co-operate. All the days but one were cold, rainy and overcast. Of course Viking had no control over the weather. We chose the 2 day extension in Amsterdam and thoroughly enjoyed our time there. The hotel was very nice and we had a great tour of the city. The cruise started off with a glitch as the Viking Modi had run aground on her previous voyage and could not reach Amsterdam in time to pick up the passengers so we were bused to the ship. We were aware that there had been many problems with low water levels in the European rivers last year but decided to go on this cruise anyway. We were the first ship to make in all the way through without changing ships midway through the trip. Previously we had cruised on many larger ocean going ships. So this was a definite new experience for us. One of the positives is that you get to know the crew and fellow passengers very well. After the first few days of the trip my favorite waitress knew what I liked for breakfast and had it ordered before I sat down. The crew were all very attentive. We liked the open seating as it gave us a chance to meet many new friends. Compared to other cruises, the food was just OK. The entertainment was only so-so, mostly just piano music. We really prefer the entertainment on the larger ships. The excursions that were included were very nice, we learned a lot about the history of each of the ports. I highly recommend the optional excursion to Rothenburg, it was amazing. Another inconvenience we encountered was the closing of one of the bridges that forced us to pass Vienna and then get bused back into town. Viking did make up for it by paying for our admission to the symphony which was originally an optional tour that was not included. I will say that Viking always tried to please the passengers by making adjustments to the excursions and other arrangements. The last port was Budapest and I would suggest staying up when you arrive later in the evening to see the beautiful lights of the city. Very well done! I also personally missed not having a place to workout. There was a track available on the top deck, but it was cold and many days it was closed. Actually I may have been one of only a few passengers that missed a workout area as most of the passengers were older. We enjoyed the experience but will probably go back to ocean cruising. You can only visit so many churches and castles. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
We went on the Portraits of Southern France cruise on October 11, 2015. It was our 3rd Viking Cruise, and we have one more booked and others in planning. In short, we love Viking. In fact, our trip to China with them (May 2015) was the ... Read More
We went on the Portraits of Southern France cruise on October 11, 2015. It was our 3rd Viking Cruise, and we have one more booked and others in planning. In short, we love Viking. In fact, our trip to China with them (May 2015) was the best vacation we've ever taken, and we've been on 39 other vacations to foreign countries. But, now you know a little bit about us, a couple near 70, let me go over some of my thoughts about our France trip, which included a 3-day post-extension to Paris with Viking. The best part, as it always is on the Viking cruises, were the people we met. With open seating at the long, leisurely meals and with a small ship, meeting people becomes very easy to do, and the Viking travelers are quite varied in (generally retired) occupations and home towns. We made many good friends. Our tour director Julian was wonderful. The best things about him were his humor as well as his clear explanations of many choices we had each day. Actually the most fun we had on the cruise were a couple of crazy group games Julian lead on two nights. We all laughed hard as we competed vigorously in competitions that as best I can remember had no prizes whatsoever. The rest of the crew were fantastic and the service was great. They made us really feel at home. Ok, so you are expecting in a review to hear about places, not people. It's the wrong thing to look for, but I'll humor you by listing the cities visited in order of how much we enjoyed them. And, I'll throw a couple non-cities into the mix. They are (with the best first): Lyon, Avignon, Cruising on the rivers, Cluny, Paris, Auxerre, Beaune, Vienne, Steam train, Arles and Tournon. The food at breakfast, as it is on every Viking cruise, is always fantastic. The lunches and dinners on this cruise were a bit hit-and-miss but definitely mainly hits. The local guides varied widely. The best, as the guide in Vienne, knew how to entertain and to tell stories. The worse, as the guide in Paris, tried to machine-gun facts into our ears as rapidly as dryly as possible lest we fail the pop quiz that they appeared to be preparing us for. Sometimes, I turned off the headset and admired the wonderful views all around us. Viking could use a good guide training program. Overall we had an absolutely wonderful time. There were only two major drawbacks. One, don't go in the fall or later unless you have to. In mid-October, we frequently froze with temps starting in the upper 30s many days and only warming up to the 40s. We wore down jackets and sometimes thermal underwear. More than the cold, the skies were mainly overcast, which can turn pretty landscapes into pretty dreary landscapes. Second, until Viking changes hotels from the Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel, don't book the Paris extension. The room was tiny and in bad shape and had all the charm and uncomfortable furniture of a college dorm room. The breakfast room was hot, in a windowless basement with mediocre food and coffee that was never, ever hot. A terrible way to start each day. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Our trip had a lot going against it--we couldn't cruise due to low water and had cold, rainy weather. Even so, everyone worked hard to make it a memorable trip and ensure that we visited the scheduled sites and had a positive trip. ... Read More
Our trip had a lot going against it--we couldn't cruise due to low water and had cold, rainy weather. Even so, everyone worked hard to make it a memorable trip and ensure that we visited the scheduled sites and had a positive trip. We weren't sorry that we went but I don't think I'd do another non-sailing cruise should that possibility present itself in the future. It was fascinating to be in the former East Germany--we could see many of the remnants of Soviet rule in the large, boring buildings, even if they were now painted. Wittenberg was fascinating, Saxon Switzerland a revelation and we really loved Berlin and Prague--we even had a little sunshine in Prague. We did the trip to Terezen, which was very powerful. Because our numbers were down from the sold-out cruise we were expecting, we had particularly excellent service on the two identical ships. We did find that, due to the almost constant rain that closed the upper deck area, there were few places we could go to on the ships, which made them seem quite small. On my prior cruise several years ago, there was a morning exercise class--I was very disappointed that something like that was not offered this time. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
We had a great week on the American Spirit. I will admit that I was someone hesitant that this cruise was going to be anything other than mediocre after reading some of the reviews. I only have to surmise that those folks just can't ... Read More
We had a great week on the American Spirit. I will admit that I was someone hesitant that this cruise was going to be anything other than mediocre after reading some of the reviews. I only have to surmise that those folks just can't be pleased. Here are some overall comments from our experience. The most important being - my husband and I who are in our 50's had a wonderful week of peace and quiet. We took walks together when on shore and met some truly wonderful people. If you're looking for casinos and a 24 hour bar, this isn't the ship for you. But if you are looking for a perfect trip to shut off the phones and just watch some spectacular views from your balcony - this is the ship. This is a very understated cruise, which was perfect for us. 1. Food. Food was great. With the exception of a dry pork chop one night - overall the quality of the food was excellent. You are able to special order to some extent if you don't like what's on the menu. It is a set menu and you do make your choices in the morning. Keep in mind this is a small ship so they carry everything. 2. Activities. There is a speaker that goes on the cruise who is very educated about the area and gives talks at different points in the cruise. Our speaker also led several tours. The evening activities are kinda bad. So my best advice is to skip it and sit up on the observation deck or enjoy your balcony. Tours were good. 3. Service. This is where people get unnecessarily mean. The staff is comprised of college students who are serving 13 week internships. They are young and they will goof occasionally (forgetting your toast or serving right to left). But they are enthusiastic and hard working. Some will go on to terrific careers in the hospitality industry, others won't. One of our favorites on the ship is preparing to enter the Peace Corp. Another one was so excited to have landed his first big interview with an airline because of the internship and was excited to share that he had gotten his first car and apartment. It really is part of the charm of the cruise to interact with these young adults. 4. Management. Is excellent. Every effort is made to accommodate the passengers. The director of western operations made two different appearances on our cruise to inquire earnestly about where they could improve. My only response was "I want a coffee maker in my room." 5. WiFi. WiFi isn't particularly great. But we didn't have a problem because we used my husband's phone as a hotspot. Which would be my suggestion to all who need to get online. Overall we had such a great time. So good that we before the cruise was over we booked the Juneau roundtrip for 2017. Even booked the same room! There is always room for improvement - but overall we think it was money well spent. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Just back from an AMA Waterways river cruise from Paris to Prague. In summary, it was a great cruise and AMA certainly took care of its passengers. The cruise itself is seven nights from Luxembourg to Nuremburg and then we added on ... Read More
Just back from an AMA Waterways river cruise from Paris to Prague. In summary, it was a great cruise and AMA certainly took care of its passengers. The cruise itself is seven nights from Luxembourg to Nuremburg and then we added on extensions in Paris at the beginning and Prague at the end. Overall I would give the 14 days a 4+ Rating. We are Elite plus Captain Club members with Celebrity but this would be our first river cruise and we were somewhat apprehensive on what to expect. Talk about first impressions, we made our flight arrangements through AMA so transfers were included. We arrived in Paris at 6:30 a.m. and when we cleared customs there was our private driver picking us up to escort us to our hotel, the Pullman Montparnsse...and to top it off he drove us in a 2014 Jaguar...beautiful car...so far, oh so good. Check-in at the hotel was a breeze and even at 7:15 a.m. we were able to get right into our room....not everyone was so lucky as they had to wait until 3-4 pm to check-in. Big room pretty good location near a metro stop and restaurants. One complaint from people -- the shower was located in a very high step in tub...difficult to get in and out of. It was great to visit Paris again and after the city tour arranged by AMA we stayed downtown to walk on our own. Next big event was a high speed train (not a bus) to Luxembourg to pick up our river boat but first we boarded a bus in Luxembourg, did a city tour and stopped by the American Cemetery where General George Patton is buried and other soldiers from the Battle of the Bulge. We have been to Normandy before and this was just as impressive. Come to find out there was a lady on our trip (accompanied buy her daughter) whose first husband died in the Battle of the Bulge and was buried here. She met with the cemetery superintendent who escorted her to the gravesite where she placed flowers on the grave.....very moving. Grounds are immaculate. We then boarded the ship and there are only 139 of us. The one big thing about a river cruise vs. ocean cruise is with so few people, you practically get to know them all. Of the 139 who cruised, close to 100 were at the pre-cruise function in Paris and 110 ended up in Prague. Mostly Americans but others from Japan, Malaysia, Canada, and Brazil. Ages 40's to 90's with majority between 65-75. Food very good along with excellent service. Chef's table offered at no cost and everyone is afforded at least one opportunity to eat there...Entrees were lamb chops or wild salmon along with other tidbits pre and post main course. The wines offered (as well as beer) at NO CHARGE during lunch or dinner were German whites, French Cabernets or a French Bordeaux which easily would have cost $80-100 on a cruise ship...wines were outstanding. Cocktails (pre dinner) typically cost $7-8....two nights were on the captain. You would not leave hungry on one of these cruises. Staterooms were very nicely adorned and set up like a very nice hotel room....not opposite side sofas that converted to beds at night. Bathrooms were small but hot water plentiful, room cleanup always there, including nightly turndown. All crew members were very polite and helpful. English is the language of all AMA Waterways Ships. Internet and TV are offered in each cabin. Evening entertainment....(here's where we were really skeptical), but here is what was offered, a resident piano player is on board, classical group one night, a Mama Mia dance group another night, trip to a local coffee house or a local museum another. These were actually fun nights and offered something for everyone. Our group was very lively so we enjoyed the Mama Mia dance group and then the piano player filled in playing polkas and other dance songs on the off nights. Much much better than expected. City tours.....Tour guides: You you have to understand Europeans have a very historical insight/perspective into every city and monument and sometimes it can become overwhelming for most Americans. If you did not want the city bus tour one thing that AMA offers is a bike tour using 10-speed easy shifting bikes. Now these tours have 2 guides, one in front and one in back, and the easiest was 26km or about 17 miles taking 4-5 hours. Prague...Outstanding first class hotel Intercontinental only a five minute walk to city square. Breakfast provided at the hotel but lunch and dinner were on your own but the food was very reasonable in cost and very good. Had some rain and cold weather in Prague which did put a damper on the city activities. Attended an evening dance/local custom show in Prague...very good. Leaving for home, AMA had escorts greeting some people off from the hotel as early as 330 a.m. and then someone at the airport making sure you got to the right check-in terminal. Your hotel departure was based on your scheduled air flight home, so you were NOT all required to get up at hauled to the airport in one big bus . AMA was a first class act!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Rinda is clean, big and new. Excellent dining options. Staff is courteous, entertaining, knowledgeable and always willing to help. Our cruise director Michael is clearly enthusiastic about the subject matter (he's a history buff), and ... Read More
Rinda is clean, big and new. Excellent dining options. Staff is courteous, entertaining, knowledgeable and always willing to help. Our cruise director Michael is clearly enthusiastic about the subject matter (he's a history buff), and gave many informative lectures. The staff also gave up tips on our destinations - to expect huge crowd at Versailles and the Louvre, and how to budge our free time. You will learn a lot, see a lot, and do a lot on this cruise. Everything was excellent, except for the following nit-picks: Viking could only secure docking rights for their Long Ships at Le Pecq, so all our Paris excursions came with two hours' worth of commute, and that eats into our valuable time for exploration. Our second-to-last day excursion to Conflan, likewise, started at Le Pecq and took 1 1/2 hours away. It kind of defeats the purpose of being on a river cruise - where you can dock next to the city you're traveling to, and save time on getting there. The fact that Rinda is big also meant we got less chance to mingle with other cruisers. One of our favorite things about river cruising is that you get to know your fellow cruisers on a personal level - being trapped on a 150-passenger vessel for two weeks does that - but going on a short cruise on a big ship means we only got to know a few of our fellow cruisers well. Compared to our previous cruise (also with Viking, but on the Grand European Tour, on a smaller ship that has since been released from the fleet), the Paris and Normany cruise is certainly more comfortable, but lacks the charm that comes with riding a boat into all our destinations with a small group of like-minded travelers that we (eventually) know well. One more, even tinier beef: the Long Ship lacks an acoustic piano that travelers could use. In our last cruise, I enjoyed playing "on the beautiful blue Danube" on the beautiful blue Danube, but I was disappointed not to be able to play "under the Paris sky" under the Paris sky. :) Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
The Amadeus Royal is a mid-sized riverboat that has been kept in amazing shape. Everything was clean, recently painted and the crew was very attentive and fun to be around. The ship holds approximately 120 passengers and has a crew of ... Read More
The Amadeus Royal is a mid-sized riverboat that has been kept in amazing shape. Everything was clean, recently painted and the crew was very attentive and fun to be around. The ship holds approximately 120 passengers and has a crew of 40. She has a 1.4 meter draft and was able to make it up river to Passau when the larger boats (1.6 meter draft boats) had to turn back or transfer to a smaller boat. The only port we could not make to was Regensburg and Lueftner Cruises chartered a bus and bused us upriver (1.5 hours) and bought us lunch. The Amadeus Royal is available for charter and the tour group we were with, chartered the entire boat, so the tour company (Alki Tours) took care of all shore side activities (and did a great job!). The weather was perfect so most people spent a lot of time topside. But during evening the lounge could accommodate all 120 of us but it was a bit crowded. The food was good, but dinner usually took 2 hours to complete. The breakfast buffet was pretty much the same everyday but you could order off the menu for some variety. The whole crew and especially the cruise director (Andrea) did a great job making sure everything was to our liking. It was a wonderful cruise. Read Less

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