My husband and I sailed on the Viking Skadi Longship from 24 June to 9 July, 2016. Here are major observations and comments:
- It was the BEST TRIP we have ever taken in our lives!
- The Viking longship, Skadi, was spotless and the crew took meticulous care to keep the entire ship clean and shining. On two separate occasions, I saw room attendants literally cleaning the grout of the shower with toothbrushes. They visited us 3 times a day to prepare our room for the day or evening. Their housekeeping staff is exceptional.
- Everything was superbly organized from start to finish. We were given clear instructions on each stop's disembarkation and embarkation procedures.
- Our local tour guides in all the cities were just great. With English as a second language, they were easy to understand and the use of the QuietVoxes allowed you to hear and not have to strain to listen.
- The Veranda Stateroom we had, had more than ample room with a hanging closet and several drawers in a dresser like cabinet. Bedside tables could hold magazines, books, etc.The bed was comfy with high quality duvet, bedding and pillows. Lots of space on which to place toiletries, makeup, etc. It came furnished with a hairdryer and high quality shampoos, conditioners, body lotion and body wash. It also had a safe for storage of extra money, passports, etc. The bathroom had a wonderful shower and overall provided the needed room to prepare in the morning without wasting space.
-The FOOD!!! Oh my gosh, I could write pages about this aspect alone. We ate primarily in the dining room for breakfast and dinner. Sometimes we would visit the Aquavit Terrace where they had a light meal buffet going during the same meal hours. The choices we had in the dining room always included a meat and/or fish and vegetarian dishes. We found the meals to be well prepared in terms of flavor, 'doneness" and portion size. If for any reason you wanted more of something, they were happy to provide it. Our wait staff was not only incredibly knowledgeable about the menu/food choices, but happy to try to accommodate alterations. Both wine and beer was provided at no extra charge and some of the wine was from local sources along the river.
Dress on the cruise -- i brought a couple of fancy tops to wear at dinner with slacks or skirts I wore during the day and felt completely comfortable. There was no formality to this cruise unless you wanted to dress up which was perfectly fine. During the day, wear comfortable clothes and most importantly, shoes. You will be walking a fair amount on most of the tours and many times on cobblestones in the older sections of towns. Anything that gives your feet good support and base to walk on should be fine. Mix and match as much as you can to make good use of your packing space. No one pays attention to what you wear every day so wear things multiple times just like you might at home. On board laundry services are available but we never felt we needed them.
- Viking Staff --- I cannot emphasize this enough. The Viking Staff were outstanding and truly exceptional at taking care of you. Our program director, Gary, was friendly, knowledgeable and was very precise in giving you instructions each day about boarding tour buses, getting back to the ship, etc. That and he was also just hilarious. Our cabin attendant was friendly, unobtrusive and a hard worker. She kept our room sparkling every day no matter how messy we were. Our wait staff...well, we fell in love with them. Courteous, fun, efficient, and their eyes were constantly on what they could do to make our dining experience even better. Reception and concierge staff -- Friendly, accommodating and available to help you with any unforeseen circumstance. Chef and Staff -- Executed and delivered every dish to perfection. On the 4th of July, the Pastry Chef even made a special USA Flag cake for us to celebrate our holiday with at dinner.
Entertainment - We didn't participate in a lot of the on-board entertainment as we were usually interested in just sitting outside on top of the boat when possible and having a drink. However, we did enjoy some local German opera singers that came on board to sing, watched a very interesting glass blowing demonstration, learned how to make apple strudel (perhaps enough to feed 150 people), and listened to one of the most fascinating lectures on the history of Austria. You can participate as much or as little as you choose. No one judges!
Shore Excursions - There were several people that had visited some of the ports before so they opted for additional excursions. We stuck to the ones included in the price of the trip and were not disappointed. In each port, we got to see significant places of interest, whether it was a castle, a cathedral, a quaint historic district, or a historic place like Hitler's Rally grounds in Nuremberg. Some were definitely more interesting than others, but all were done incredibly well. The visit to the Windmills at Kinderdijk was fascinating.
If you've made it this far in the review you can tell our experience was fantastic. The one area I haven't mentioned is the opportunity to meet some incredible fellow travelers. After about a week, we found ourselves being a part of a core group of 10 of us. We would have dinner together or tour together or just generally hang out on the boat together. These friendships have continued since we've been home even though we are spread out all over the U.S. We have even talked about trying to plan a trip together again. How better can you speak to an experience than to feel you have made unexpected friendships forced by the bond of a truly remarkable experience of traveling together on a Viking River Boat Cruise.
Wonderful Cabin. Exceptional space for storage. Very clean and equipped very well.
Would choose this cabin again if given the opportunity.