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19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I will begin this by saying, this trip was booked for the sole purpose of visiting the Christmas Markets. My mother had been to Germany several times, and I was anxious to see the wonderful sights she had seen while visiting the Christmas ... Read More
I will begin this by saying, this trip was booked for the sole purpose of visiting the Christmas Markets. My mother had been to Germany several times, and I was anxious to see the wonderful sights she had seen while visiting the Christmas Markets previously. We have traveled on several cruises together through the years, but always pn ocean liners. We researched the trip. We researched the destinations. We definitely did our homework. That being said, I will refer to a particular evening when our Cruise Director was going over the following day's itinerary. I heard a passenger lament that we were going to "Another Christmas Market" with a groan and eyeroll as she said it. I turned to my mother and said, "How could she be upset about that? This was advertised as a Christmas Market Cruise!" I heard many of these rumblings throughout the trip. I was somewhat offended, because I will cherish the trip, the memories and the people we met for the rest of my life. I had an awesome trip, so I found it a little hard to stomach the ones that were saying such rude things. I found the ship and crew warm and welcoming. The staff bent over backward to make us feel at home. Many of the crew members filled multiple roles. They did so with efficiency and kindness. As I said previously, we had been on several cruises. They were ocean cruises. This was the first river cruise I'd been on. I knew that the grandeur of a ocean cruise ship would not be found on a river cruise. I knew there would be no casino, no nightclub, no nightly shows. I knew there would be no midnight buffets with ice sculptures. I don't care about those things. We booked this trip to add to a lifetime of memories that my mom and I have been making together. We were not disappointed. I found the ship to provide for every necessity we had, and provide well. The ship was well kept, it was lovely and when I compared it to other ships we saw cruising the Rhine I was pleasantly pleased that our ship was amongst the nicest. Dining. I heard quite a few people complaining about the fare. I heard some rather needless and unkind things being said. So here is my assessment of the food and dining experience. I found the food to be good, plentiful and very tailored to the passenger pool. If we were to take a walking trip around the meal bar you would find: fresh cheeses, sliced meats, salad options, fruits, bread, desserts, hot and cold cereals, soups, rice, fish, sandwiches, hot veggies, meat choices, usually a pasta choice, omelettes to order at breakfast and the list goes on. If you want a lighter fare you can visit the lounge and enjoy a pancake, french toast, soup, pasta or sandwich at breakfast or lunch. At dinner the menu also plentiful. Typically there were 2 choices of appetizer, a soup, a featured item as main course and a dessert. If you did not care of the featured main course there was a choice of chicken, steak, fish or Ceasar Salad every night, as well. No, you will not find the vast array of food you'd find on an ocean cruise. That being said, if you find fault in the food on this cruise then I would say you should have booked a Cuisine Cruise instead. I found the food to be delicious, and I thought the Chef was wonderful. Entertainment and Activities were not a huge priority to us. We did not book this cruise to be entertained and party. We were on this trip to enjoy time spent with each other and any new friends we would meet, and we did meet some wonderful people. We thoroughly enjoyed the glassblower, the cookie making, the musical entertainment, the movie nights, disco night and trivia. They were wonderfully presented and fun to attend. Service. The ENTIRE staff bent over backwards to help us. If I were going to say anything on the downside, it would be that my mother and I are not alcohol drinkers. I found it a bit difficult at first to get a soft drink. The wait staff have to go to a different location to get a soft drink so it throws off their service rhythm. Which I totally understand. Dining on a smaller scale ship is like a well thought out ballet. Everything has it's place because of limited space. They are super organized and efficient. I felt I was inconveniencing them to ask for a soft drink. They are pronto with the alcohol, but soft drinks not so much. I worked it out by mid cruise, I began ordering my soft drinks two at a time so that I wouldn't have to ask for a refill later in the meal. Ironically, the majority of the ladies we sat with began doing the same so we became known as the soda drinkers. We also made sure to sit in the areas of the dining room that we knew the waiters were a bit more flexible. From the Captain on down to the room stewards, everyone was wonderful. Ports, docking and excursions. Ports were wonderful. Transportation from the ship to our destinations was quick and efficient. I enjoyed the all the places we visited. I absolutely LOVED Rothenberg, which in our package was an excursion. It was my absolute favorite. If we had thought it through more, we would have gotten an earlier flight to Nuremberg and visited the Market there before boarding the ship. We enjoyed a diverse choice of stops with the commonality of the Christmas Markets, which we loved. If I was going to find a downside, I would have to say the arrival times to the Market locations. I had anticipated this experience for so long. After researching the destinations and seeing pictures of the marketplaces at each, I had a very clear vision in my head. I was mildly disappointed that the majority of the markets we visited weren't even open when we arrived, because we arrived in the mornings. I was excited to experience the markets in the evening when they were lit up to get the full effect of Christmas time festivities. I was grateful to get to see them, but would have loved to see them all at night. I understand we were at the mercy of our port time and sail schedule, but that would be the only thing I would say was disappointing. Overall, this was the trip of a lifetime and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I would do it again and again, and I would sail with Emerald again to do it. It was a great way to "sample" some locations to possibly revisit so that I can spend more time in the places that truly stood out to me. In an nutshell: I loved the entire trip. What I didn't love was the bashing being done by some of the other passengers. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
After several longer river cruises (i.e., Budapest to Amsterdam) we thought that we might like what would be a much shorter trip (Douro river is only what, 125 miles long?) and kind of quirky itinerary; small towns and wineries with time ... Read More
After several longer river cruises (i.e., Budapest to Amsterdam) we thought that we might like what would be a much shorter trip (Douro river is only what, 125 miles long?) and kind of quirky itinerary; small towns and wineries with time to walk and explore. Wow did we like it! Beautiful countryside in Fall colors, visits to often tiny towns, and so on. Castelo Rodrigo, for example, is a hilltop hamlet with about 48 residents. We had time on our own in some very small towns to just wander. Very restful, actually Quite different from say, Vienna! I don't recommend this for one's "first cruise". Take a longer one, or several, with Viking and then try The Douro. Doing that really helped us notice the differences and fully appreciate the laid back leisurely nature of this trip. It is very well thought out and complete. I think you'll find it wonderful. As always with Viking there are little extras; to be met back at the ship with a Port wine toast, local foods acquired almost every day, and some unique entertainments. Portuguese Fado music. for instance. I HIGHLY recommend the post-river add-on trip to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. The shrine of Saint James is not only the ending point of "The Way" pilgrimages, but also a UNESCO Heritage center. We loved the city and its foods. Tapas three times a day! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We did the pre-cruise Lisbon two days and that added to the two days that Viking puts you in a hotel for two days in Lisbon gave us 4 days. Our mistake was not taking one of those days to go to Fatima. We paid to have tours from Lisbon ... Read More
We did the pre-cruise Lisbon two days and that added to the two days that Viking puts you in a hotel for two days in Lisbon gave us 4 days. Our mistake was not taking one of those days to go to Fatima. We paid to have tours from Lisbon to Porto (bus) and Fatima was one of the stops - what we didn't realize was that we would have approximately 45 minutes total in Fatima - not near enough. So my suggestion is to skip paying Viking for the extra stops on a bus ride you are going to be making anyway, take the free Viking transfer, and spend a day in Fatima on your own or pay for a private tour. Meals is Lisbon will cost you at least 40 euros per couple - not fancy places. Once on the boat in Porto we sat and rode buses for two days. Finally moving on the boat but each day is buses. Very little "cruising". Meals were so-so. Cabin seemed smaller than on our other Viking trips (this was our 5th trip). Could not see out the "porthole" because on this ship they have it covered with frosted plexiglass. Entertainment - how do you have a trip to Portugal and Spain and not have Fado? You do have a lecture on cork and a chance to buy cork products and a lecture on olive oil and a chance to buy olive oil but no Fado. Like I said this was our 5th so we are big fans of Viking - this trip was our most expensive but I rate it as 4th best. English is absolutely no problem in Portugal and since the cruising part of the trip is minimal one may be better off doing a land trip on their own. We also did the the two day post in Santiago and enjoyed the Cathedral and other sights; but once again English is no problem so one may consider doing it on your own. Meals in Santiago will run you at least 40 euros per couple. Airline - direct flight to Lisbon from Miami on TAP - seat arm rest was broken - very minimal English entertainment - food was horrible. Return flight - up at 5:30 to put luggage out and then to Vigo to catch flight to Madrid with only one hour to make next flight - we made it but they were getting ready to shut the door to the aircraft - this could have been avoided as there was a flight from Vigo to Madrid one hour earlier and as we had to sit in the Vigo airport for two hours waiting for our flight we could have been booked on the earlier flight. We had to literally run to make our flight connection in Madrid - no fun. Walking - get heavy duty comfortable shoes that are anti-slip (sidewalks can be a bit slippery when wet). So in summary - a good trip and glad we did it. We are booked on one of their ocean ships in March and looking forward to that. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Paris is always a draw but we were particularly focused on seeing Normandy. This cruise did all of this and more. The time spent in Paris was fun and well spent. We were quickly caught up on France's great history. The Louvre and ... Read More
Paris is always a draw but we were particularly focused on seeing Normandy. This cruise did all of this and more. The time spent in Paris was fun and well spent. We were quickly caught up on France's great history. The Louvre and Notre Dame were great. Traveling on the river to Normandy presented great excursions. Visiting the farm in Rouen was a particular highlight and Monet's gardens and home were a real treat. Normandy was a very special experience, especially the visit to Omaha Beach. Looking at the geography of the beach, one has to wonder how our great soldiers were able to overcome the odds by making it up that wide expanse of a beach and then up the hills beyond. This has to be seen to understand how difficult a time they must of had. The ceremony at the Memorial and the walk through the cemetery fulfilled our purpose for taking this cruise. As always, the food was wonderfully prepared and served. Our servers quickly became our friends and their entertaining capability made each meal more than just a food experience. The ease of coming and going throughout the whole trip is much appreciated. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Hild and capt johann were awesome. would repeat again. cruise program director emma was awesome. staff was great. food was great. Viking did a magnificent job on the river cruise. 5 stars or more. My "rub" was with the ... Read More
Hild and capt johann were awesome. would repeat again. cruise program director emma was awesome. staff was great. food was great. Viking did a magnificent job on the river cruise. 5 stars or more. My "rub" was with the hotels before and after the cruise. in zurich, the renaissance was located away from the city center and we were forced to wait in the lobby for three hours after we arrived before we could enter our room. so, a 12 hour flight experience to get to zurich and a 3 hour wait in a hotel lobby. come on viking!!! Our hotel in paris, the pullman, was past its prime. yes it is next to the eiffel tower, but the room was more 2 star than anything else. Note to viking; the passengers filled out the cruise survey without any feedback on the last two days in parish after disembarking. there is a gap there and if viking really wants feedback then figure out this gap. We are big viking fans and have already booked our next cruise. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We had never tried river cruising before, and it seemed to have some possibilities, so we gave it a shot. At first, with such a small boat (relative to our Previous 38 ocean cruises) it seemed small. But that was exactly the point for ... Read More
We had never tried river cruising before, and it seemed to have some possibilities, so we gave it a shot. At first, with such a small boat (relative to our Previous 38 ocean cruises) it seemed small. But that was exactly the point for Viking. You get to MEET and dine and take excursions with the same people and get to know them, and vice versa. We have forged some friendships with people from all over. As a result of the "coziness" these ships offer we will be going salmon fishing in Alaska this summer with fellow ship mates. But back to the cruise: the meals were a notch up from other cruises we have taken. Everything was done to perfection. The daily excursions are (mostly) included. And we had evening entertainment that was up close and personal. It's not everyday that you get to witness a virtuoso violinist from one of Europes most prestigious Philhormonic orchestras play a 350 year old fiddle. She didn't need any backups. And on another night we were treated to an Oom Pas Pas German group. Overall, the Viking Mani, her wonderful crew from Captain Helmut to George our cruise director, the meals, excursions and unequalled show of cruise customers' interests were why we have already signed up for another Viking River Cruise. I give Viking a double thumbs up, a standing ovation, and a hearty BRAVO.! Job well done Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Very pleased with overall performance . The included shore excursions were well planned & executed . The most outstanding comment each day was HOW HARD & DILIGENT the program director was. I saw him from morning to evening at ... Read More
Very pleased with overall performance . The included shore excursions were well planned & executed . The most outstanding comment each day was HOW HARD & DILIGENT the program director was. I saw him from morning to evening at every event - observing, directing & controlling the entire program. His onboard & general knowledge of the entire trip was a amazing. ( without any notes). I only know of him as JOE. He is certainly an asset to this company. I would like to know of any other Viking cruises he is on , as i would definitely consider booking it. Everyone i talked with were completely satisfied with all aspects of the cruise. I will definitely consider another Viking cruise. River cruising has a distinct advantage over ocean cruising in the ability to view more of the country side as you are underway and very important -- the lack of "sea sick "movement of the ship. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
WE went on this river cruise because it's something I always wanted to do after a dozen big ships it certainly was different,we had a ball the crew were fantastic the food was great the cabin could do with some updating, the ensuite ... Read More
WE went on this river cruise because it's something I always wanted to do after a dozen big ships it certainly was different,we had a ball the crew were fantastic the food was great the cabin could do with some updating, the ensuite had mould around the shower and the towels needed to be replaced getting a bit on the thin side. We went with Gate1 travel after friends recommended it and we weren't disappointed. The cruise director was excellent in arranging all the tours seeing the castle's on the Rhine Danube and Maine rivers was fascinating the towns we visited so much history amazing. There is a big difference between river cruising and ocean cruising that is on the ocean cruise you get a lot more time to relax where as on the river cruise you seem to be on the go all the time there's a lot of walking involved which we enjoy anyway but but at the end of each day we were certainly tired. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose Emerald because of recommendations on line. They were offering good on board credit and other discounts. The Radiance is a beautiful ship and the staterooms are stunning. The lounge is good but the bar is too big leaving only room ... Read More
We chose Emerald because of recommendations on line. They were offering good on board credit and other discounts. The Radiance is a beautiful ship and the staterooms are stunning. The lounge is good but the bar is too big leaving only room for sitting. There was no space if anyone wanted to dance. The bar is the wrong place. The Entertainment could have been better . There was the resident pianist and one evening a local group played. Having travelled with other river cruise companies this was poor compared with them. The crew however were amazing and made the trip very enjoyable. It is a full on trip with a very busy programme during the day. The weather was amazing which greatly enhanced our enjoyment. The food was very good but it is necessary to enjoy meat. Servings of meat were huge although vegetables were in short supply at the evening dinner. Fish was available as an alternative. We purchased a drinks package which meant drinks were available all day. Other than this we spent very little, which meant while the trip might have appeared expensive everything was included for us. We spent 3 extra days in Lisbon which was great and wished we had stayed longer in Porto as it is quite beautiful. Transfers between Cities, hotels and the ship went very smoothly. I would recommend the Douro as the countryside was some of the most stunning we had seen. Not too many locks and all praise for the Captain as the river in some areas was very narrow and navigation must have been difficult. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We picked this cruise from three other possibilities as we liked the itinerary and the option to have free time to do our own thing. The passengers were mainly 60 plus and my husband and I are 51 and 48. The passengers were a pleasant ... Read More
We picked this cruise from three other possibilities as we liked the itinerary and the option to have free time to do our own thing. The passengers were mainly 60 plus and my husband and I are 51 and 48. The passengers were a pleasant mix of mainly American, Canadian and Australian. From my observation everyone was very friendly and mingled well. Everything went very smoothly from airport pickup to airport departure. We had one minor hiccup with our baggage being misplaced at the end of our tour at the hotel and this was sorted quickly with very minimal fuss. Our cruise director Patricia was excellent. Nothing was ever too much trouble and made sure everything ran smoothly. The dining was spot on. Buffet breakfasts and lunch and five course sit down dinners with endless wine. Special thanks to Eldar (Eddie) and his offsider (I'm so sorry can't remember your name) they were always very attentive, polite and great fun. Our cabin was always very well maintained by Aulia who was friendly and always greeted us by name with a smile. The ports and shore excursions were well thought out. A map with clearly marked points of interest were always handed out with a complimentary bottle of water. We did an optional tour to Rothenburg and special thanks to Renee (Renate) as she organised a tasting tour as we walked through the main street. This was for me a real highlight to try foods from the local businesses. A great touch. All in all we had a great cruising experience. We have cruised before on the ocean but this was our first river cruise experience and would absolutely do another. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
In general, cruises have never appealed to us. However, the idea of being on a river and getting off each day to explore and the specific itinerary convinced us to give it a try. We were not disappointed. In fact, we had a trip beyond our ... Read More
In general, cruises have never appealed to us. However, the idea of being on a river and getting off each day to explore and the specific itinerary convinced us to give it a try. We were not disappointed. In fact, we had a trip beyond our expectations. The local guides were superb! We enjoyed their in-depth knowledge as well as the personal anecdotes they shared. The ship's crew was an unanticipated surprise. Although we expected them to be polite and helpful, this crew was totally engaged with the passengers and really provided an extra level of service and comfort. Being somewhat of a neatnik and a planner, I was delighted by the level of organization and all the little things that were planned for and thought of by the crew and Viking. Last but not least at all, France and all the excursions were fantastic! We went non-stop and enjoyed a mix of included excursions, purchased excursions and exploring on our own. The food was excellent and provided a lot of choice for all palates. I'm already thinking about where my Viking River Cruise will take me. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
I would never recommend Emerald River Cruises. First I would recommend more options for pre/post cruise tours. I would also recommend narration of the sites on the way to the ship even if it’s a transfer. Once onboard a lot more ... Read More
I would never recommend Emerald River Cruises. First I would recommend more options for pre/post cruise tours. I would also recommend narration of the sites on the way to the ship even if it’s a transfer. Once onboard a lot more info on what to expect and someone to answer questions, like your cabin steward whom we didn’t see until the second day. This doesn’t improve, if you miss a port talk you are completely in the dark. The owners suite is small compared to other cruise/River ships. No tv in bedroom so bring binoculars to see it in the sitting room. Expect to hear your neighbors as the rooms have very thin walls. No ice offered unless you get a glass of ice at the bar. If you want a drink you must go to the bar and it’s like asking for a favor. With the premium package you get whatever bottle they have open, and if it’s a good wine, expect it to runout quickly! The cabin steward left our used towels because we didn’t throw them on the floor. Who knew? as this was never communicated. Emerald assured us we wouldn’t hear joggers above our suite but you definitely do, at 6am. They told us we had to put up with it for four days. The crew told us this was the last cruise and they didn’t know if the ship was returning or they had jobs. How sad for them and to bad for us. We sat at the Captains table which was very nice. The food should of been exceptional which I can’t say was the case. I’m really trying to be positive but so far the experience hasn’t lived up to our expectations. The included guided tours have been managed well and you see a lot of the cities you visit. The food is probably the biggest disappointment. No variety and mainly the same theme throughout the whole cruise. The buffet menu was offered only on a couple days, but don’t expect the classics these are only offered when it is a dinner menu night. The soups are either consommé or bouillon and nothing special. When a buffet is offered expect complete chaos. No formal direction just one big free for all. I went on the bike trip from Durnstein to Melk. They did try to talk us out of it but the reviews were to good for me to skip it. The guide was young and worked with her farther who brought up the rear. We did the 20 miles in 3 hours with a half hour lunch break and 5 photo opts. The pace was way to fast and that was because the guide did double duty and needed to get back for the Abby tour. Two folks had to get a cab (52 euro) to get back to the ship. Active is one description but this is Tourist de France. Nothing offered after dinner. OK, my wife and I can’t complain anymore. So much is wrong about this experience we just decided to give in and let it happen. They will not change so we go with the flow but will never ever make the same mistake. Emerald is at best a 2 Star and needs improving. Anyone who travels knows what expectations should be provided and they have a long way to go. Hope this review enlightens your decision. So choose well and happy travels. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We were attracted to the design of the ship, especially the drop down balcony area. On receiving the brochure it was difficult to choose a trip because they all looked so good. The Rhone/ Soane are was chosen for the scenery, the history ... Read More
We were attracted to the design of the ship, especially the drop down balcony area. On receiving the brochure it was difficult to choose a trip because they all looked so good. The Rhone/ Soane are was chosen for the scenery, the history and the culture of the area. Wine growing was an advantage. Each day the morning walking trip with expert guides was included in the cost and well worth doing. Group 1 was always available for a slower paced walk. Walking poles and umbrellas are provided in cabins but we did not need them. After lunch on board, excellent with all dietary needs catered for, there was always an optional extra trip you could pay for. We took part in 3 and felt they were worth it but one other trip friends took part in was felt to be less interesting than the description given implied. As part of Emerald Active there were bikes on board to borrow at each stop and the tow paths were very well maintained. Regular cyclists were able to do 15-30k rides with a guide meeting the boat at the next port on the afternoon we cruised. Entertainment was limited but enjoyable with a pianist during meals, We were lucky in having Darren as our cruise director. He was very efficient with all the arrangements and was great entertainment being a natural comic. We also had a French singer one night and music to listen or dance to in late evening though the dance area was very small. The swimming pool was small but for exercise at the flick of a switch you could swim as long as you wished without moving forward. This are became a cinema after 9pm most nights and had it's own bar and tea station. We didn't use the gym but a massage went down well after all the walking. there was a hairdresser and beautician also. With a small library and table games as well as the putting green and walking track on deck there really was not enough time to try every thing available. Our cabin was compact as the bed was huge and we had 2 chairs and a table in the balcony area plenty of cupboard and drawer space and the best shower I've seen even in a hotel. There was a safe and TV but no kettle but tea etc was always available with good choice. It was plenty big enough as your balcony are is inside the electric drop down windows. This was an advantage over conventional doors as no chance of things rolling or blowing into the river. Our cabin attendant was very good. All the staff were friendly, efficient and professional often multi tasking. We enjoyed the informality of talking to the Captain and other staff. Catering was excellent with plenty of choice and drinks included with meals. Don't worry if you have food intolerance as they mark up a menu for you so you can make informed choices. Overall the trip was great and the ship brand newbut we did find Emerald inflexible to deal with prior to the trip and as we booked 18 months ahead some details had changed but we were not informed.We will book again though. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
After numerous ocean cruises, we decided it was time to try a European river cruise and friends suggested Avalon. Choose the Blue Danube Budapest-Prague itinerary for mid-Oct based on the sites, included pre and post-cruise hotels, the ... Read More
After numerous ocean cruises, we decided it was time to try a European river cruise and friends suggested Avalon. Choose the Blue Danube Budapest-Prague itinerary for mid-Oct based on the sites, included pre and post-cruise hotels, the price of a Royal Suite and hopes for fall colors. Overall, we were delighted with the stay in Budapest and Prague, the included city tours and the awesome fall colors along the Danube. Biggest disappointments included the lack of any on-board amenities for a suite, mediocre food and entertainment, an egotistical Cruise Director, poor communications and policies before and during the cruise. Specifics include poor excursion policies, pricing where excursions booked on-line cannot be changed beyond four days prior to the cruise. After listening to the Cruise Director's on board review I met with him to request changes including canceling and adding some. While able to add excursions, he immediately disclaimed any association with pre-booked excursions and would not cancel. Find this very disappointing, frustrating so warn others not to book pre-cruise as there were always plenty, but pricey, openings. Also, unlike suites on ocean cruises, we did not have any on-board amenities. In fact, while we could get only a continental breakfast delivered they charged $2 pp! With 137 passengers we only saw the officers at the first and last cocktail receptions! Overall, think ocean cruises on small ships offers much more than river boats! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
The timing was ideal. Central Europe was beautiful. The weather was ideal, as the vineyard leaves were showing fall colors. The cruise schedule was the right combination of scenic cruising and off-vessel tours. Our tour Director always ... Read More
The timing was ideal. Central Europe was beautiful. The weather was ideal, as the vineyard leaves were showing fall colors. The cruise schedule was the right combination of scenic cruising and off-vessel tours. Our tour Director always had the answers and kept us informed in a fun way. Entertainment during the evenings on board was delightful, exciting and educational. Dining always included a choice of locally inspired dishes and desserts. Room service was superb. Ports and shore excursions were just the right combination of activity, education and fun. We participated in all included tours and several optional tours. The staff always greeted us and often recognized us by name. We are two seniors on a honeymoon. We enjoyed dining with many different groups. We would go again. Travel arrangements were very well managed. We were met at the Amsterdam Airport by Viking Guides giving us immediate confidence that it was going to be a great trip. We are planning another river cruise! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Everthing about the cruise was perfect. Scenic did everything for us. Our flights before and after went smoothly without any hitches. We were picked up and delivered before and after right on schedule. On board the cabin was quite ... Read More
Everthing about the cruise was perfect. Scenic did everything for us. Our flights before and after went smoothly without any hitches. We were picked up and delivered before and after right on schedule. On board the cabin was quite comfortable. It was always cleaned up daily. The food on board as excellent. Service was impeccable. Our cruise director Sonia was phenomenal. She provided daily updates and arranged plenty of fun times.Our side trips were well organized and most enjoyable. Entertainment on board was very good. The sailing down the Rhine, Main and Danube we most scenic. We enjoyed the many stops and ventures through the towns. There were many extras that were provided free of charge. Even the 200 euros that we got were well used. The Taylor made gps were quite useful. We enjoyed the company of many passengers from around the world. All total we won give Scenic an A++ Read Less
42 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Without a doubt one of the best vacations we have ever been on. i was worried because we had taken the viking river cruise up the rhine and the bar was set pretty high. gate 1 met and at times exceeded the bar. the moment we entered the ... Read More
Without a doubt one of the best vacations we have ever been on. i was worried because we had taken the viking river cruise up the rhine and the bar was set pretty high. gate 1 met and at times exceeded the bar. the moment we entered the airport in prague to be transferred to the hotel until the moment we were transferred to the departure airport in budapest everyone and everything was fantastic. mari in prague was a great initial point of contact for gate 1 and gave us tips and suggestions that were perfect. she was there for us and any of the rest of the group 24/7. the imperial hotel was above and beyond our expectations, and for a first time gate 1 traveler, left an appetite for more. the transfers from the airport, hotel to the ship and the departing airport were coordinated perfectly. then there was the cruise. what a trip!!!!! the stops and tours were out of this world. gate 1 really stepped up the game and again we were pleasantly surprised at the quality of the tours and the tour guides. michael in regensburg, gerhardt in salzburg and nora in bratislava. the crew on the ship was without a doubt the best team we had ever cruised with. the following individuals need mentioning: captain peter, hotel manager cristian, 1st receptionist nicoleta, ex chef miro, maître d marcin, housekeeping samsudin, cruise director karol, activity host saber, room steward veri, head waitress baloga, 2nd waiter marius and richard the piano man. there were many more and they all deserve a big hand. the cabin we chose was comfortable and roomy, i stand 6'5" and the issue i have with these ships is the bathroom and shower. not this time!!! it was very efficient and the shower was the perfect fit. we were in room 215 and it wasn't a suite. the food was gourmet every night and the breakfast was as you want it. there was entertainment on the ship every night thanks to karol and saber. saber had nightly trivia contest and they were very entertaining, especially the battle of the sexes. karol arranged for local groups on the ship to sing and dance the local specialties along with a couple of nights of local refreshments. karol also narrated the wachau valley tour on the ship as we cruised down to vienna and spoke on the danube river and the locks. and cristina was always there to help with any request. the individual stops and tours at regensburg, melk abbey, salzburg, passau, vienna, bratislava and budapest were well organized and the quality of the tour guides were top notch. i always say that if you walk away learning more than you knew at the start you were doing good. i learned more than i ever expected. this was a very educational trip as well as an enjoyable learning experience. Everyone asks me what was my favorite part? the whole trip!!! i could go on and on but the only way anyone would understand is to experience it themselves. this is the first of gate 1 new ships with more to come. this is a must trip and this is the must company to use. thank you all for a great time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
Lovely ship and so clean.. Sadly on the first evening for dinner it was a right " shambles ". Didn't know where to que for what and then couldn't fine a place to sit. Should have had staff to help sort it out. Also on ... Read More
Lovely ship and so clean.. Sadly on the first evening for dinner it was a right " shambles ". Didn't know where to que for what and then couldn't fine a place to sit. Should have had staff to help sort it out. Also on many evenings at dinner ,when you needed another glass of wine the staff didn't seem to notice . But, other than that ,, it was lovely. The ports of call were great and loved the day we went to have tea with a local family. Would loved to have tried the pool but wasn't brave enough . Due to the weather. Nina our tour guide was always there to answer any questions. Had a massage and it was just " wonderful. Please enjoy your cruise and have fun. Would go with Emerald again . So go go go go go ,fun fun fun . Xx Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
My husband and I love cruises but we wanted something a little different than the usual island hopping. Friends of ours had recommended Viking and we decided the time had come for us to give it a try. We arrived on the Budapest after ... Read More
My husband and I love cruises but we wanted something a little different than the usual island hopping. Friends of ours had recommended Viking and we decided the time had come for us to give it a try. We arrived on the Budapest after over twelve hours of traveling. We were tired from our trip and ready to collapse. The Viking staff picked us up at the airport and got us to the Gullveig with a minimum of fuss. Once aboard, we were told to expect our room to be ready by 1pm. Jaded travelers that we are we thought we'd actually be allowed in at 3 but the staff was as good as their word, at 1pm we were in the door able to finally relax. That was the first of many promises kept over the course of the week. When the Maitre'D Panayot found out I was a diabetic, he gave me a card with the number "5" on it. For the rest of the cruise, every time I sat down to eat, I'd just put the card on the table and Panayot would come and personally make sure my dietary needs were met. He kept entrees from being seasoned with sauces that might not be good for me and made sure desserts like fresh fruit with whipped cream were there for me every day. Other aspects of the service were equally excellent. Each day, the Captain was there to personally greet the guests as they returned aboard ship. When we wanted to see parts of Prague that were not covered on the normal tour. The tour director was able to make special arrangements and find a guide and transportation for us. The food was exquisite and the waiters and waitress were friendly and professional. The small size of the ship made the experience intimate and friendly. By the end of the cruise we knew almost everyone aboard. Then there was sailing up the Danube watching the lovely countryside glide by us as we made our way leisurely up river. We would get off the ship and go on beautifully orchestrated tours that had the memory cards of our cameras filled and the soles of our shoes noticeably thinner. Exhausting at times but well worth every minute! As I've said before, my husband and I are the veteran of many cruises but this was by far the best. We can't wait to do this again! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
After a very positive experience on the Seine with Scenic, this cruise was an easy choice. Traveling with a small group, we were able to enjoy the company of our friends, and of many other new friends. I would identify the passengers ... Read More
After a very positive experience on the Seine with Scenic, this cruise was an easy choice. Traveling with a small group, we were able to enjoy the company of our friends, and of many other new friends. I would identify the passengers on the Opal as fairly young group, and the staff embraced, and encouraged, our wish to have fun on the ship, as well as off. As previously experienced, our excursions with Scenic were interesting, and well guided. The outings were perhaps a bit short, part day tours, due to a need for the Opal to cover the distance to the next stop. This is not a criticism of the cruise, but a characteristic of this cruise. The crew were vey capable of ensuring the time spent on the Opal passed quickly. The food and the ship were excellent, as we now expect with Scenic. Our balcony was perhaps underutilized, but that relates to the fall weather, and meeting our group in the lounge, or dining room, instead of watching the sights as a couple from our balcony. Enough cannot be said about the staff on the ship. I believe every Scenic ship is well designed and appointed, but the effort and care of the Opal staff ensured this cruise has established a very high standard for our Scenic cruises that are likely to follow. A few days were well spent in Amsterdam before the cruise, to adjust to the time change and enjoy Dutch culture. Touring in and around around Zurich after the cruise is expensive, but wound out the trip nicely. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Arrival in Basel was a bit convoluted, something that could have been avoided if Vantage had told us in advance to exit our baggage claim into Switzerland. This caused some delay as some travelers were wandering about seeking transport to ... Read More
Arrival in Basel was a bit convoluted, something that could have been avoided if Vantage had told us in advance to exit our baggage claim into Switzerland. This caused some delay as some travelers were wandering about seeking transport to the ship. It was one of the few weak spots in the trip. We were welcomed to the ship with lunch while cabin preparation was being completed. Food service was excellent and provided by an engaging young staff. Meals were varied and attempted to meet local fare. We did not have a meal I did not like and especially came to love the daily soup options. The ship was the nicest of the ships we have been exposed to in seven Vantage cruises. It is fairly new and it showed. Our cabin was larger than previous ships although clothes storage was a bit of a challenge. Our cabin attendant was excellent and friendly. Laundary service was particulary efficient. One small negative was the absence of a piano player onboard. In his place was a jukebox and some local entertainers, nice but more limited. The daily tours were interesting and I learned a great deal, for me an important standard for a cruise. I now wonder how I have missed the excellent German wines for so long. Both the Moselle River and Luxembourg were new to us and we were move at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and loved the Moselle Valley. Our dock spots were often away from our destinations but that s partly due to the size of some places visited. I can’t this of a tour I did not enjoy. This was a vey good trip, Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
This was a lovely cruise on a smallish classy boat, with a hugely attentive and friendly local crew, Food and cabin were good, but most important of all the ambiance and feeling on the trip was wonderful with the Douro being a truly ... Read More
This was a lovely cruise on a smallish classy boat, with a hugely attentive and friendly local crew, Food and cabin were good, but most important of all the ambiance and feeling on the trip was wonderful with the Douro being a truly unspoilt and magnificent destination. The excursions were well organised with entertaining and knowledgeable guides. It of course helped that the weather (October) was neither too hot nor too cold. In summary we would highly recommend - it wasn't cheap but the inclusive nature, alcohol and tours, made it better value for money than it seemed on the ticket price. The flights were via Portuguese airlines, which were both surprisingly pleasant and punctual. The transfers were fine, albeit the traffic from Porto airport to the ship was awful. Overall highly recommended on this our second scenic tour - they have developed a way of employing good staff who seem genuinely to enjoy helping all their passengers. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
A river cruise provided the perfect medium for my wife and myself to visit some of the beautiful and iconic cities of this region. The concept of typically traveling from location to location at night and visiting our destinations during ... Read More
A river cruise provided the perfect medium for my wife and myself to visit some of the beautiful and iconic cities of this region. The concept of typically traveling from location to location at night and visiting our destinations during the day provided the most economical means of maximizing our time. We were very pleased with the extreme organization of every aspect of our trip: the flights; the transportation to and from the airports; the excellent accommodations at our book-end city stays; the comfortable and efficient buses during our on shore visits; and the excellent tour guides who were very friendly and exceptionally knowledgeable. The information that they provided at each of our tour locations was thorough, interesting and very informative. It was nice that they shared stories of their life experiences in their home areas during our tours. We were extremely pleased with the quality, quantity, and variety of food that was available. We especially found the availability of the optional "light" lunch very pleasing. We enjoyed the coffee machines and pastries/cookies always available in the lobby. With open seating available at all meals, we were able to dine with so many fellow passengers which provided the opportunity to meet so many new people. All of the waiters & staff were very friendly, helpful, and accommodating in responding to special requests. Our cruise director, Boris, did a terrific job of reviewing the available activities, both on and off of the ship, for each day. The Entertainment available on the ship was enjoyable and often added the perfect finishing touch to the end of the day. This cruise provided everything we had hoped for and set the standard for any of our future cruise tours. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
Friends highly recommended this Rhine river cruise. Their take was exactly everything they expressed and more. So much to see & do! The castles & cathedrals were amazing. Each tour was full of interesting facts and beautiful ... Read More
Friends highly recommended this Rhine river cruise. Their take was exactly everything they expressed and more. So much to see & do! The castles & cathedrals were amazing. Each tour was full of interesting facts and beautiful squares with so much history. . Our only disappointment was the Lucerne 2 day extension. The weather was not cooperative for our journey to the Alps. Our tour guide made the remaining part of our tour very enjoyable & full of interesting facts. Our cheese making was full of many laughs. Our group made this experience one of the most memorable. The fondue finale was exactly what was needed to close a rough start to the day! The staff & crew were very gracious & eager to please. Our chef was amazing, especially the tour of the galley. So little space to prepare such amazing dishes. Rooms were very comfortable. Our cabin boy took such good care of us. Replenished our water continuously plus made us feel special. Met so many wonderful people which we have kept in touch with since our voyage. First class operation. For our first European adventure we were overly pleased. Planning another in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
The first cruise on Scenic was Basal to Amsterdam. We throughly enjoyed the whole trip. This time we chose to start in Amsterdam for a few days and then cruise down the Rhine and Danube ending in Budapest. Enjoyed time in Budapest post ... Read More
The first cruise on Scenic was Basal to Amsterdam. We throughly enjoyed the whole trip. This time we chose to start in Amsterdam for a few days and then cruise down the Rhine and Danube ending in Budapest. Enjoyed time in Budapest post cruise. It was the same ship and some of the same crew/staff were aboard. As usual, a fabulous trip from accommodations, food, drinks, excursions and other wonderful passengers. We will be sailing with Scenic next April as well. Starting in Porto and sailing round trip down/up the Douro. We discovered Scenic through our travel agent. It is not as well know in the US and the passengers were mostly Australian, Canadian, New Zealanders. That made for a wonderful mix of people with plenty to chat about beside the day's events. We loved that there was a choice of different excursions everyday. As well as excursions for gentle walkers, average walkers and bicycle riders. We also loved that the cruise is all inclusive. One price included everything. Read Less

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