We are two retired college professor in our 70s, and this was our first river cruise. I cruise a lot, on Crystal, Seabourn, Celebrity and Princess. We would not river cruise again.
The Good: The crew on this ship is beyond wonderful. They do everything in their power to make your cruise worry-free and enjoyable. I particularly enjoyed the lounge piano player George, who added a welcome source of entertainment every day. The cabins were clean and well arranged, though very small. Pity the big guy who has to fit into the bathroom! The public spaces were well designed and furnished. They were well lit, clean, and comfortable at all times of the day. The Aquavit Lounge is a wonderful place to sit while sailing, and when in port. It was pretty much too cold to use the top deck, and it was closed the first three days due to bridges. At this time, however, you needed an extra sweater or jacket to sit there due to the cold temperatures. The embarkation was very smooth and welcoming. Each day getting on and off the ship was well organized and safe. The hotels in Prague and Paris were very nice, well-located, and with good amenities. The ship's program director gave very clear directions and extensive logistical information about each day's activities. We liked the little coffee bar that was always open.
The Disappointing: Small cabins and bathrooms (we had a Veranda A stateroom). Bed very lumpy and uncomfortable. Very little entertainment, and nothing that would embed you in the culture as is advertised by Viking. Long hours on the ship with little to do...not even a blackboard for cruisers to self-arrange card games or meetings for conversation. Tour guides were very average...no interesting stops to make a tour seem like a visit. This is mostly a bus tour: on the bus every day, plus to get from Prague to embarkation in Bamberg, and from Trier disembarkation to Paris 9-hour days on the bus. No room service. Only two dining options, and expected to arrive at very specific times to eat. No shuttle from cities to ship. Many hours on ship spent going through locks...not enjoyable in the least. Moorings always away from historic centers. Food very average. Bland. Only instant coffee and espresso...nothing brewed. Same red and white wine served for lunch and dinner for the entire cruise! One local wine served for one meal. No fitness or recreation offerings.
I expected to have a cultural adventure! This was not the case. One presenter during the entire cruise who gave an interesting lecture on the construction of the canal we were sailing on. Nothing about German wines or food, political, social or artistic history. Little or no explanation of the town structures, architecture, layout, or historic power/political structures. This is not a cruise for someone interested in finding out more about the destination.
The bad: internet service is terrible.
Recommendations for Viking: 1) Get some good lecturers and entertainers (even a singer added to lounge piano for evening cocktail hour would have been great). 2) Offer shuttle service to and from historic centers. 3) Institute room service. 4) Put up a place in the library where passengers can sign up for bridge, monopoly, whatever, discussion groups, affinity group meet and greets. 5) Try to find some activity daily that would enhance passenger understanding of the place being visited.
The cabin was small, but the veranda was a plus. I loved the floor to ceiling windows. Darkening curtains were great for the day you wanted to sleep in. Plenty of closet and drawer storage for clothing. Bathroom tiny. Beds hard and lumpy, need to be replaced! Chair comfortable. Ledge for tech stuff, cosmetics, etc was very narrow. Good strong hot and cold water for showering. 110 outlets for your stuff. Cabin staff excellent. Nice linens and towels. Good climate control. Good lighting. Quite quiet. Only occasional noise from hallway.