This was our third Viking cruise. Previously we have been on a river cruise to China and an ocean cruise to the Mediterrean. Viking is a wonderful cruise line. Things are as they say they will be and if there is a change, because of things they can not control such as high water in the river, they clearly communicate. Remember, you are on a river and mother nature is in control. We took the two day extension before the cruise started in Amsterdam. The Hotel Okura is just blocks from the tram stop. Line 24 just reopened after being close for many years due to construction and takes you straight to the city center. Watch out for killer bicycles! We had a man on our ship sustain a major injury to his face after encountering a bicycle. Viking offers a tour to Keukenoff which unfortunately, we did not know about as it wasn't on the website (weird) and a walking tour the first morning. We had pre arranged our own tour and it was lovely. We toured Amsterdam the day we departed and just took the tram to the port. Ask at the hotel or call Viking to find out which port the ship will be located as there are many ports. If you want to see the Van Gogh Museum, or Ann Franks House, book your tickets in advance online!
Cabins are small but clear and efficient. Refrigerators, hair dryers, lots of drawers and large closet. Bathrooms are tight but it is a small ship! Don't overpack! I took 3 pair of pants, 2 walking shoes (lots of cobblestones which get slippery when it rains) and one pair of black flats for evening. I brought 5 tops, jacket, and a warm fleece for under the jacket on cool days. Don't bother with a dress. They can do your laundry and all seemed pleased with the results as they return your clean clothes in a box. It took on average two days to return the clean clothes. I washed undies out in the sink so bring a small amout of detergent and throw it at the end of the trip.
Excursions were great. I read lots of people complaining about the amount of walking. I disagree. Amount was perfect as you want to see things and buses can't go everywhere. Truly, most needed to get in better physical shape before traveling. They always had a G group for gentle which entailed less walking. At Schonnbrunn in Vienna, I would not recommend the optional tour as it only the basic tour. Go on your own via the fantastic subway and take the more extensive tour with audioguide for far less money.
Food was my only complaint. Breakfast and lunch were wonderful but dinner was lacking. There is little variety-one regular choice, one fish and one vegetarian and that is it. I left many nights hungry and started taking meat and cheese at other meals to make a sandwich at night. They offer a "buffet" on the Aquavit terrace at night but they had smoked salmon up there every night and that was it. I don't know why they don't juist offer a salad bar, soup, and sandwiches at night for those who want a light dinner.
If you get ill, they are very good about bringing your a tray to your room. surprisingly, many got a cold on the trip but there were pharmacies everywhere and many used their services!
Staff are very attentive and kind. Program Director, David, was amazing as were Hotel Manager, and cabin steward. On this ship. we saw the Captain everywhere! He was overseeing the laying of the gangways so we could get off the ship safely and you could see him overseeing the tying up of the ship when we got into port. That man never slept.
Traveling down the Rhine, Main, and Danube are amazing. If you never get off the ship, you have seen a lot. The history! The castles, the vineyards, the villages! Stunning! The locks are amazing and truly an experience. Cruising allows you to see all of this and arrive at a new port each morning all without packing your bag!
This is not a cruise with casinos, spas, swimming, etc. This is a enrichment experience. There is entertainment in some form everynight. We had a singing/piano duo, local bands, dancing, singing, enrichment lectures, and trivia. I can't tell you how hard we laughed during the trivia. All were fun and well done. Traveling on a river cruise is very intimate so you meet a lot of people-nice people and have fun with them. I'd do it again, especially if they fix the dinner issue.