7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We love Avalon Waterways, have had great experiences with their ships! Embarking and disembarking smooth as can be, love the way you can place your suitcase at end of cruise for early morning pickup and not midnight like big ships! 2 ... Read More
We love Avalon Waterways, have had great experiences with their ships! Embarking and disembarking smooth as can be, love the way you can place your suitcase at end of cruise for early morning pickup and not midnight like big ships! 2 nights in Prague before boarding the ship was a good start. Cabins have plenty of room, love the full glass sliding doors with bed facing the doors. Dining room beautiful with terrific service, flowing wine, and many food choices at all meals! Great room with coffee/snacks available at back of ship all day. The staff and cruise director Tony on our cruise were exceptional! All ports and shore excursions were so well planned, afternoons at leisure to go off on your own, easy access on and off boat. If thinking about river cruising, don't wait any longer!! We really loved our trip and will definitely sail again with Avalon! Read Less
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
I have always wanted to do a European River Cruise and this cruise came up on some spam e-mail and the price was so good we booked it but were sceptical as we had never heard of Gate 1. They are new to Australia but have many fans in the ... Read More
I have always wanted to do a European River Cruise and this cruise came up on some spam e-mail and the price was so good we booked it but were sceptical as we had never heard of Gate 1. They are new to Australia but have many fans in the US. We were pleasantly surprised that we were taken care of from the moment of arrival at Prague and was so well organised. Part of the package was 3 nights in Prague and then we were picked up to go the ship port at Regensburg. Embarkation was so quick and easy and as we have only ever done ocean cruising previously where you have to wait for hours to embark and disembark because of the volume of passengers, only having around 140 passengers meant it so was much more personal. The ship is nice and the cabin was nice with a french balcony. To be honest that's all you need as you don't have 'sea days' and really don't have time to spend on the balcony as every day there is exciting things to do. The shower was a little awkward being triangular. The food was lovely and the wait staff Goran and Palmene were great so we tried to get their section when we could. Gate 1 really knew that best things to do and had good guides in each port and we were pleasantly surprised at the included tours and we did the optional excursions of Schonbrunn Palace and the dinner in the woods with folkloric band and dancers both of which were great. The other passengers were mainly from the US but this cruise also had a group from Israel and there was another couple of Aussies on board. Everyone was really fun and we enjoyed sitting with new people for each meal. I would definitely travel Gate 1 again. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
Overall the river cruise was very good, it was just misleading in selling to us that all cabins are balcony, when in fact the level one was not. The several ports visited was more than what I expected. There was race discrimination ... Read More
Overall the river cruise was very good, it was just misleading in selling to us that all cabins are balcony, when in fact the level one was not. The several ports visited was more than what I expected. There was race discrimination on service especially the head of the dining or banquet including a female server. People were already seated and having their wine and were asked to leave and transfer to another table because this favored race came in. The hotel in Prague on their breakfast servers were also very rude. These people in hospitality industry should know how to treat with people of various colors of their skin!! The food was good and with just right serving amount, not too much and overwhelming. The cabin was clean all the time. The embarkation and disembarkation process were smooth. Being the first river cruise and comparing it to the regular cruises that we have experienced, it has its pluses and minuses. The broader tours are the big plus. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2016
Friends had told us that Prague was a must see city, and we had always wanted to visit Berlin. The Elegant Elbe seemed a perfect way to combine a history lesson and our desire to leisurely travel. The Astrild was a very new ship and with ... Read More
Friends had told us that Prague was a must see city, and we had always wanted to visit Berlin. The Elegant Elbe seemed a perfect way to combine a history lesson and our desire to leisurely travel. The Astrild was a very new ship and with a maximum capacity of 99 (we only had 79)- was just what we were looking for. Travelling through what had been East Germany and learning through the shore excursions and the enhancement discussions when locals came on board was very rewarding. We are not big "entertainment fans" but the local cultural activities were well done. Our favourite memories are of our Program Director Vikki who was with us on both extensions in Prague and Berlin, she provided great insight to both cities and on our daily excursions. Vikki took pictures of us on our outings - so we have a great USB key of not only the sites we visited but of some of the folks we were travelling with. I also have to give a shout out to Chef Bobby who provided an excellent bill of fare, and willingly made custom breakfast omelettes to set the stage for day. We are happily repeat Viking customers and can hardly wait for our next trip France's Finest. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2016
If you want to cover a lot of ground with ease and not having to plan out every travel detail, then this is the vacation for you! Staff is extremely accommodating, polite, professional, friendly, and FUN! Schedule allows flexibility to ... Read More
If you want to cover a lot of ground with ease and not having to plan out every travel detail, then this is the vacation for you! Staff is extremely accommodating, polite, professional, friendly, and FUN! Schedule allows flexibility to everyone on what they choose to explore - guided tours, on your own, or a balance of both. Food is delicious, the riverboat is beautiful, and it's a wonderful "home away from home" on water. For feedback: would be nice to have an option for a cruise in which only covers breakfast and dinner, unless there are travel days in which you cannot leave the boat during lunch. With most days being docked and having excursions or time to explore, I didn't want to take the time to return to the ship to eat lunch. I would rather spend the time in the city to see how and where the locals eat and enjoy cuisine off ship. I chose to do this on my trip, but knew I was forfeiting my already paid for lunch. It would be nice to offer a slightly discounted plan to remove the lunch portion. (and if I would choose to eat on board then, like with any bar expenses, give my room number and be charged for my lunch) Other feedback would be better descriptions of the excursions - it was not always clear how long an excursion was and IF IT WAS ON A BUS. I do NOT like bus excursions, and while I understand that these are ideal for some, I would have not signed up for some had I known. I can't see and explore a city from a bus seat. Lastly, more bathroom breaks would be helpful on excursions... many are in the morning and many people on board I heard complaining about this due to us just filling up on morning coffee. Otherwise I highly recommend Avalon and would love to travel with Avalon again in the future. (And DO the extended trips - our 3 day stay in Prague was amazing! I only wish I had signed up to do the same for the end of the Danube trip and stayed longer in Budapest!) Read Less
Sail Date: August 2016
Beautiful cruise. Excellent organization. Food and service superb. Very good cruise director Radim. We were very well taken care of. Embarkation process was very smooth. We had excellent shore excursions with the great guides. Our guide in ... Read More
Beautiful cruise. Excellent organization. Food and service superb. Very good cruise director Radim. We were very well taken care of. Embarkation process was very smooth. We had excellent shore excursions with the great guides. Our guide in Bamberg was the best ever. Dining room service went above and beyond our expectations. Food was very well prepared and very beautifully served. Dining room staff was very friendly and attentive. cleaning cru did a very good job. Ship and cabins were spotless. Captain and cru handled the unexpected situation really well, passengers were provided with very thoughtful options and compensation. we felt that we were very special. Port of calls tours were very well organized and a lot of fun. Special thanks to the bus drivers. Trier skills are absolutely outstanding. Also we had very good accommodations in Prague and Paris. cabins are on a small side but that to be expected. Also evening entertainment could use some improvement. All in all we had great time and we appreciate all the efforts of Viking to make our vacation a memorable one. Thanks Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2016
From pick up at the airport in Prague until drop-off at the airport in Paris, we were treated like royalty. The crew is excellent, from room stewards to captain. I was worried there would be too much down time while on the boat. Just the ... Read More
From pick up at the airport in Prague until drop-off at the airport in Paris, we were treated like royalty. The crew is excellent, from room stewards to captain. I was worried there would be too much down time while on the boat. Just the opposite. There was always an activity to join if you wished. Ship accommodations were five star. Bus drivers were friendly, and took passenger safety very seriously. Tours were well managed and guides were very knowledgeable. If I were to make changes to our itenarary, it would be to NOT do as many extra excursions. We would have enjoyed just wandering the locations on our own after the tours if we had planned more free time for ourselves. Our cruise director, Claudia, was a gem. So thoughtful yet fun. Can't believe the skill of the Captain taking us under bridges at a very high water mark. Michael, the Hotel Manager, made every sailing moment a fun experience. Four thumbs ups from this pair of Viking Cruisers! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
Friends chose Viking based on recommendations -- we chose to follow them. Cruise was wonderful - saw beautiful old German Cities along the way. Our stay in Prague was wonderful to see a "mini-Paris" Our stay in Paris was ... Read More
Friends chose Viking based on recommendations -- we chose to follow them. Cruise was wonderful - saw beautiful old German Cities along the way. Our stay in Prague was wonderful to see a "mini-Paris" Our stay in Paris was also wonderful ... the advertised veranda views along the river - duh,,,,,,, only cruised during the day once, so the veranda was not a feature. Crew members (save 1) were all wonderful and tried to make the cruise feel like family. The shore excursions were wonderful - the guides were extremely knowledgeable and conversant. The tour buses were "tour buses", not much else to say other than they got us from point A to B. The added wine tasting excursion was NOT worth the money - only 4 shot glasses of mediocre wine -- i.e. selling for 6 euros per bottle. the experience going through the locks was neat and to see how the ship was built to accomodate going under the bridges. One night while docked, another ship tied up to us -- had to use our common area to disembark,,,,,,,,, and outside our room their generator was so noisy at night that we had trouble sleeping -- our crew said "sorry, it has to be"........ Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2016
After avoiding Viking for several years because we could not stand their TV adverts, our minds were changed by the very positive recommendations of several friends. We were not disappointed. The only reason we did not award five stars was ... Read More
After avoiding Viking for several years because we could not stand their TV adverts, our minds were changed by the very positive recommendations of several friends. We were not disappointed. The only reason we did not award five stars was the tiny cabin with two single beds, but we were adv ised that this ship s being withdrawn at the ned of the 2016 season. We had the opportunity to wander around a new Viking boat and the acommodation seemed to be up to a much better standard. Other than the cabin issue, we could not fault the cruise. The staff and Cruise Director could not be more helpful, the food was excellent and the tours well thought through with very good guides. Although we lost a days cruising (but not a day on board) due to low water in the Elbe, we were advied that the new ships have less draught and the itineraries are being revised for next season. Would we travel again with Viking? We've already booked! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We went with two other couples. One couple has been on many Viking cruises and have not been on the Beyla before. So we chose this ship. Our experience was wonderful from start to finish. Our airport transfers were included and worth it! ... Read More
We went with two other couples. One couple has been on many Viking cruises and have not been on the Beyla before. So we chose this ship. Our experience was wonderful from start to finish. Our airport transfers were included and worth it! The Viking staff was wonderful. They were very attentive. We always felt as if we were number one! The staff learned our wants and needs and were always there to accommodate us. Our room was very comfortable. The food was excellent. Our excursions were well planned. We used the individual ear phones on our tours which made it so easy to follow our guide. Our tour guides were very well versed. They walked and talked at a great speed. We didn't feel as if we had to keep up. The programs that our activity person planned for the evenings were fun and informative. We are looking forward to taking another Viking cruise in the future. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We wanted to go somewhere we had not been before so we chose the Elbe River. It was a wonderful cruise, I can't give it enough cudos. The crew were super and the Captain was the best. The Captsin was around all the time when we got ... Read More
We wanted to go somewhere we had not been before so we chose the Elbe River. It was a wonderful cruise, I can't give it enough cudos. The crew were super and the Captain was the best. The Captsin was around all the time when we got off the ship and returned. The food and wine were excellent and the waitstaff were very attentive. We had a balcony you cabin that was great, very comfortable with plenty of storage space. The cabins are not real wide and the bathrooms are small but there is excellent use of space. Our tour director was very energetic and enthusiastic. There was always water available on our way to a tour and umbrellas if needed. Upon our return we were greeted with a drink and a welcoming crew. The ports were excellent, some we had been to before but we saw new things each time. I was a little hesitant in choosing this particular trip as it was a small river but I would do it again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2016
The ship was very comfortable but the staff were amazing. They were fantastic. Our cabin was much larger than expected and was well furnished. The balcony was a joy and had two chairs we used often. The public areas of the ship were ... Read More
The ship was very comfortable but the staff were amazing. They were fantastic. Our cabin was much larger than expected and was well furnished. The balcony was a joy and had two chairs we used often. The public areas of the ship were roomy and comfortable. Had a great time in the lounge area sightseeing and enjoying the views. The furniture was very comfortable and the lounge staff was marvelous. The evening entertainment was interesting and, well, entertaining! The staff, from the food service staff, the housekeeping staff, the concierge and Captain, were highly competent and very friendly. We enjoyed out interactions with each of them. Our cruise director was also amazing. She kept us well informed and was extremely familiar with the areas we visited. She helped make the trip exceptional. Great personality! The daily excursions were well thought out and the local experts were both knowledgeable about their subject and fun to be with. We enjoyed out trip so much we have scheduled another for 2017. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2016
Excellent service, outstanding food, very comfortable room and beautiful boat. The service was outstanding, I felt pampered and spoiled. I want to explicitly acknowledge our coordinator, Titiana Iancu, not only because we share our ... Read More
Excellent service, outstanding food, very comfortable room and beautiful boat. The service was outstanding, I felt pampered and spoiled. I want to explicitly acknowledge our coordinator, Titiana Iancu, not only because we share our country of origin but because she created an atmosphere of enthusiasm, joy and awe every time she presented our next day program and also on all our outings where she was always present with a smile and a nice tip. I'm not sure if I'll be able to be on another river cruise, but I will cherish the memories of this last one forever. I also want to mention how wonderful it was to have the crew from different parts of the world. Just like we, vacationers, came from all over the world, so did our crew and we were all able to find someone to wink to and chat with during our scrumptious meals. And speaking of food...the only thing missing was food without calories. Which brings me to the suggestion of a small gym on your boat. Thank you for the memories. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This was a long awaited cruise as our booking last year was cancelled due to lack of water in the river. It was well worth waiting for.The ship although one of the older ones in the fleet is immaculate.The staff and crew are excellent, ... Read More
This was a long awaited cruise as our booking last year was cancelled due to lack of water in the river. It was well worth waiting for.The ship although one of the older ones in the fleet is immaculate.The staff and crew are excellent, efficient, caring, and friendly. The program of visits is excellent with lots of variety and interest with extremely well informed guides. Some of the visits proved quite strenuous for some passengers but were enjoyed and appreciated by everyone. As usual all arrangements were taken care of by Viking, so everything worked like clockwork.Food on board was varied and of excellent quality and presentation.Lectures on board covered a wide range of subjects and were often presented by people with local and personal experience of the areas covered, from lace making to living through reunification.Add to all this the beauty of the country side and you have a perfect holiday. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We don't speak Czech, Hungarian, Serbian, or Romanian so we thought we would let Viking show us around. They were great! First Class, nothing bad to say about anything. Very comfortable cabin, excellent food, and wonderful staff all ... Read More
We don't speak Czech, Hungarian, Serbian, or Romanian so we thought we would let Viking show us around. They were great! First Class, nothing bad to say about anything. Very comfortable cabin, excellent food, and wonderful staff all around. Great excursions and guides. Transfers were very smooth and professional all the way. Staff all showed how much they liked their jobs and were truly happy that we were there. They made the effort to learn our names and really looked forward to seeing us daily and helping out when ever they could. Would go again in a heartbeat. We started in the magic city of Prague which we lasted visited in 1968! Beautiful city with wonderful concerts and people. Budapest stole our hearts and we want to go back soon. It was so interesting talking to people about their lives now that they are no longer under Communism. Very enlightening and thought provoking. Looking forward to planning our next trip with Viking which was a very easy and enjoyable process. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2016
Our purpose in selecting this particular cruise was to learn about the culture, history, geography, customs, traditions, and food and drink of the German People; and to experience a Viking Cruise for the first time. . All of these ... Read More
Our purpose in selecting this particular cruise was to learn about the culture, history, geography, customs, traditions, and food and drink of the German People; and to experience a Viking Cruise for the first time. . All of these facets were adequately covered. The guides were most knowledgeable, informative, and entertaining at each port and shore excursion, and the personnel on the ship made us feel so special, attending to our every need in a very friendly manner. . The itinerary was perfect, including wonderful variations of the many areas of Germany. Embarkation and disembarkation from each city were well organized and went smoothly. The food on board was fabulous, plentiful, tasty and varied, and the service was worthy of praise. The Cabin was kept neat and clean every day. We met a fabulous group of fellow travelers and would certainly love to travel on a similar cruise again in the near future. The free wine and beer during lunch and dinner was plentiful and of very good quality. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2016
Went on the Cities of Light river cruise. From beginning to end, the staff, especially the program director, Stephanie, took amazing care of us. Stephanie was with us from the time we got to the Prague Hilton, at every excursion, and saw ... Read More
Went on the Cities of Light river cruise. From beginning to end, the staff, especially the program director, Stephanie, took amazing care of us. Stephanie was with us from the time we got to the Prague Hilton, at every excursion, and saw us off in Paris. Even witnessed the captain unloading/loading bags, cleaning the walkways, etc.-something you never see on an ocean cruise. All local guides and drivers were great, too, with nice comfortable buses taking us to the various towns. My husband did not realize he left all his medications in the hotel room in Prague until we were on the ship. The Viking staff contacted the hotel, which said they could not get the meds to us in time, found a doctor in Wurzberg to re-write the prescriptions, took my husband to a pharmacy, and scheduled 3 different taxi rides to get there with a staff member with him at all times to interpret; without all the help he would have been in bad shape. Even when we got to the Paris airport to leave, there was a staff member who walked us thru the entire process of getting on our flight; without them, it would have been totally confusing. The ship was small and comfy which made meeting new people easy - did not feel like just one of the masses. Loved being so close to shore the whole trip with a bird's eye view of the beautiful sites, especially the many castles. We are already planning our next Viking river cruise and can't wait. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
Our November Elbe cruise only sailed one day due to low water of the river, but it was an excellent trip. The entire Viking staff and crew met our every need and arranged memorable tours and programs. Victoria Selig, our program director, ... Read More
Our November Elbe cruise only sailed one day due to low water of the river, but it was an excellent trip. The entire Viking staff and crew met our every need and arranged memorable tours and programs. Victoria Selig, our program director, was engaging, knowledgeable, and relentless in tracking down our lost luggage (left in JFK). The quality of the tours, tour guides, and information sessions are particularly enjoyable and informative. As history buffs, we look forward to all kinds of interactions.In addition, there was never a lack of delicious food and beverages. We met many wonderful fellow travelers and will book other trips in the future. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
We went cruising to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. Some of the things we experienced are: Very good food with the chef giving some demonstrations of special treats Very social environment. We were encouraged to meet with ... Read More
We went cruising to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. Some of the things we experienced are: Very good food with the chef giving some demonstrations of special treats Very social environment. We were encouraged to meet with other cruisers Great tours. We signed up for every extra tours. This meant that we were up at 6 am every day, eating breakfast at 7 and touring at 8 or 9. For our anniversary, we were given 2 bottles of sparkling wine. We arrived in Prague and stayed at the Prague Hilton. The hotel was decent. Walking tours were provided that evening and the next day. The third day we spent a long time on the bus touring Nuremberg and then arrived in Bamburg where we embarked. A lot of time was spent on buses. Buses can move between towns faster than the boat. Many days we were bused to a town farther down river and then met the boat. The German cities were great. Beautiful, informative, and fun. We were not impressed by the city Luxembourg but the visit to the WWII cemetery was moving. Then came the 5 hour bus ride to Paris. We stayed at the Le Meridian Etois. It is located near the Arc de Triumph. Debarkation was not as organized as it should have been. Our bus had to be changed in Luxembourg due to a mechanical problem. It took hours to get our luggage in the hotel. Some people didn't get their luggage until 2 am. The Paris tour the next day was fair. It was mostly by bus with a tour of the Notre Dame cathedral. We stopped for 15 minutes near the Eiffel Tower. Normally, you would leave the day after that. We extended our trip 2 days but not through Viking. I highly recommend that. Paris is a city that would take weeks to see. We were able to see more of Paris and do some shopping. We will return to Paris and now know what we would like to see. The computers were down at the hotel when we wanted to checkout. Since we paid for our extensions ourselves, that meant we gave them our credit card and had to let them apply charges later. They emailed the receipt. I didn't like that but there was nothing that could be done. One final thought about the cruise. The majority of the passengers are over 60 (as are we). 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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We cruised on AmaSerena on the Dnaube during September and thoroughly enjoyed it. The ship was new and well laid out. Our Crusie Director, Dejan Stancic was outstanding....professional, pleasant, helpful and a delight to deal with. Our ... Read More
We cruised on AmaSerena on the Dnaube during September and thoroughly enjoyed it. The ship was new and well laid out. Our Crusie Director, Dejan Stancic was outstanding....professional, pleasant, helpful and a delight to deal with. Our cabin on the lower deck was comfortable and well planned. The bathroom had a spacious shower despite its small size. The staff and crew onboard were unfailingly wonderful. There were many nice touches such as serving food or drink that were a specialty of the area in which we were cruising. The meals were delicious,fresh, well prepared and the selection was very good. We particularly enjoyed our server, Viorel ,in the dining room. Wonderful service with a great sense of humour. They were very generous with the wines and beer at mealtime and we appreciated having local wines along the way. We enjoyed all the tours ,most of which were included with a choice of activity levels. The itinerary was well paced and interesting. The ship has a shallow draft and unlike many other ships that were unable to get into Budapset due to low water levels on the Danube,ours did. The highlight for us was the "Illumination Tour" of Budapest. It was a wonderful vacation and we look forward to cruising with Amawaterways again in the future. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
My husband and I had been on previous cruises with Viking and had wonderful experiences and fond memories, so we were confident that it would be enjoyable on this one. Our cabin and steward were excellent and the food served was delicious! ... Read More
My husband and I had been on previous cruises with Viking and had wonderful experiences and fond memories, so we were confident that it would be enjoyable on this one. Our cabin and steward were excellent and the food served was delicious! The excursions were impressive! I was awestruck when we visited the cemetery in Luxumberg and realized the many brave men who sacrificed their life during World War II. The many sights we visited in Germany were enjoyable even though we had visited a few of them on a prior Viking River Cruise in Germany. Viking had all the fine details planned for everyone's enjoyment during our voyage. Everything went like clockwork thanks to the expertise of the Viking crew! They recommended restaurants to visit on our free time and the hotel stays were excellent! Any question we had they were available to answer it. They were very people oriented! We also looked forward to ending up in Paris for a few days for additional sightseeing. Unfortunately, my younger sister died unexpectedly when we arrived in Paris, and necessitated our return home. Viking personnel were so very, very helpful and kind to me and were fantastic arranging my early return home! I will be forever greatful for all their help and concern for me in my time of grief and sorrow. They worked with my husband to arrange everything for our flight home which was a Godsend. They took such good care of us!! I highly recommend them to take the best of care of their passengers. I would give them an A+ for the whole experience. Even though our cruise ended on an extremely sad note, I have fond memories of the trip, all thanks to Viking! They are truly the very best!!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
Pick your time of the season to cruise the rivers, and do not expect to cruise the Elbe after mid June, but do expect to pay a lot for a very small room as you travel by bus to see what was formerly East Germany. We had previously ... Read More
Pick your time of the season to cruise the rivers, and do not expect to cruise the Elbe after mid June, but do expect to pay a lot for a very small room as you travel by bus to see what was formerly East Germany. We had previously enjoyed Viking cruises on the Rhine and Rhone. The summer of 2015 saw insufficient water in the Elbe for Viking to cruise successfully after midJune. We became aware of the problem after reading reports on the Internet. We were NOT alerted to the problem by Viking. In mid July I called the service line and discussed the issue with the Viking rep, who was very noncommittal and expressed hope that rain would fall and fill the river. I learned from reading on the Internet that a succession of angry travelers had discovered that the "cruise" would be a bus trip after they had checked in to the hotel in Berlin in late June and July . Most of the comments expressed displeasure at not being told of the doubtful state of affairs prior to arriving at the embarcation point. A few had discovered the problem earlier and had contacted Viking before leaving home, and were told they could cancel without penalty. Viking did not offer this option to me until I asked point blank about it, and was told that in fact I could cancel. My travel group elected not to cancel after out voting me and we went on the trip. The staff was outstanding, the food was adequate, and seeing the former East Germany was a tremendous learning experience. The tour guides were very good. The tiny room on Beyla was smaller than our rooms on previous Viking cruises. We could have taken a Tauck land tour with a similar itinerary, traveled by bus, and stayed in 4-5 star hotels for about the same money. Viking adds value by cruising, not bus tours. I consider the value of this trip was reduced by 50% without the cruise. It would follow that an adjustment in the cruise fare would be in order. Viking's compensation was to offer a $1000 discount from our "next cruise". I am confident that there will not be a "next cruise" on Viking for our group. My takeaway message for readers: on the big rivers, cruise late in the season to avoid too much water in the rivers which may interrupt a cruise; on the smaller rivers, cruise early(May or June) and hope that there will be adequate water in the river. And , frequently check Cruise Critic and other internet sources in the time before your trip to spot problems with your upcoming trip to allow for changes. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
We joined the Jasper from spending 3 nights pre-cruise in Prague, which was a beautiful city and the Marriott was quite nice and perfectly located in old town area. Didn't depart our hotel on a 4 hour bus ride to our ship docked in ... Read More
We joined the Jasper from spending 3 nights pre-cruise in Prague, which was a beautiful city and the Marriott was quite nice and perfectly located in old town area. Didn't depart our hotel on a 4 hour bus ride to our ship docked in Passau/Vilshofen, and would have been nicer for either an earlier departure or shorter ride. All aspects of this cruise were very good, with service, public areas, and cabins being considered to be top-notch. A beautiful and new ship, with a crew who are really doing their best to make it a 5-star experience. The food was quite good, with plentiful quantities and well-prepared. The breakfast and lunch buffets were outstanding every day--some of the best we have had. The dinners started out a bit below par for the Scenic objective of being a premier cruise line, but got consistently better each evening. They could improve by having a more varied menu and a few more local selections from the areas we visited. Our cabin steward and butler were totally awesome and consistently went over-and-above in providing exceptional service. Our captain did an outstanding job navigating the low water levels in the Danube, but really didn't see much of him or the hotel manager other than leaving/returning to ship each day after our shore excursions. Would have been nice to see them a bit more as they were quite friendly. Our cruise director did a good job in spite of a few curves thrown at him by some of the ships local tour guides- which he seemed to handle very well. He was quite personable and took care of all of our minor issues, but he appeared a bit overworked and could have used some help from some of the many talented and energetic ship's staff, possibly Scenic needs to create a "trainee CD" program like we saw on our prior cruises with Uniworld, to help assist in herding the flock while ashore. The shore excursions were considered "very good" to "excellent" and will only get better as this new ship and staff get more familiar with the local stops and local guides. Overall, this was a very enjoyable cruise and we would love to try Scenic again in the future. Next time we'll cruise in spring or fall as it was blazing hot each day which had a little bit of an impact on our overall enjoyment of shore excursions and on-deck time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
While water levels on the Elbe River precluded sailing, it was Viking's unforgivable failure to notify its customers of the situation in a timely fashion that makes their reputation seem suspect if not undeserved. Many passengers ... Read More
While water levels on the Elbe River precluded sailing, it was Viking's unforgivable failure to notify its customers of the situation in a timely fashion that makes their reputation seem suspect if not undeserved. Many passengers received e-mails from Viking saying there were problems on the Elbe with only about 24 hours notice and in some cases only after they'd already arrived in Europe. Further it appeared that inaccurate or incomplete information was provided to the ship-board personnel who had to face irate customers asking about modified itineraries, etc. Initially no Viking representative could definitively answer whether passengers would sail at any point and it goes without saying that there was no one available to explain customer alternatives such as cancellation or postponement. Basically, you were "stuck". Viking's solution was to first motor coach passengers to one ship (Viking Astrild serving as a floating hotel) on which they were lodged for three days then to motor coach passenger farther down the river to another ship (Viking Beyla serving as floating hotel number two) for another three days. Tours to featured sites were done by bus using the ships as home base. At no time did any Viking customer sail on any Viking ship. The crews of both vessels were superlative and to be honest, the sites visited went a long way toward mitigating the inconvenience. But, WITH LITTLE OR NO PRIOR NOTICE, a bus tour was foisted on folks who had purchased and expected a river cruise. A negative feeling hung over the entire trip. Viking's gesture of good will was to offer one thousand dollar vouchers to be used against the cost of a future Viking cruise. I believe most people considered this as tantamount to an insult. While Viking's equipment and on board staffing continue to be exceptional, its administration and customer relations - which is distinctly unresponsive - are a dismal failure. Read Less

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