First, I have to preface that I rely on others reviews so I am going to try to be as honest as possible.
Embarkation: Very smooth. Met at Amsterdam airport by Viking reps and moved to a bus that took us to our ship. Cabin wasn't ready when we arrived (admittedly it was 10 a.m.) but they said to wait in the lounge. We headed to Aquavit for a snack and less than 20 minutes later someone was approaching us with room keys (how did they know who we were?). Dropped off our bags and headed out to tour Amsterdam (Viking offers a brief walking tour but we chose to book a "free" walking tour instead).
Ship: Fabulous. Exactly as it looks on Viking's website. We were booked on the Gefjon but because of low water levels it couldn't get through so we were moved at the last minute to the Ve. Sister ships so really no difference in look and style of ship and location of cabins. We couldn't have been happier.
Cabin: We were on deck 1 (why spend more $$ when you are only in the room to sleep and shower). It was perfect. Actually a little cave-like and felt snug. Cabin was small but had everything we needed and enough room for clothes, luggage storage, etc. for 15 day cruise. Cabin was clean and no problems or issues. Our room steward, Ioan, was fantastic.
Dining: Food was fantastic - main dining room had a meat, seafood and vegetarian option every night along with several appetizers and the main staples of salmon, chicken and steak. Great desserts and free-flowing wine and beer too. Lunch was always a great experience too. Aquavit was a little less formal but not as many options (for dinner, same appetizers at all times and rotating entree as well as salmon, chicken and steak) but very casual and very intimate. Breakfast always had more than you wanted and the eggs were farm fresh (and very tasty).
Service: Everyone on the Viking Ve staff were spectacular. Inna the Hotel Manager was sophisticated and very professional at all times. Svenja at the front desk was probably the most friendliest face, always smiling, trying to do her best at anticipating your needs and always there - just a pleasure to speak with and be around. Sam, the program director, was very upbeat and personable (as he should be) and did a terrific job at organizing and making sure everyone was where they needed to be at the right time. Everyone in the dining rooms, bars, room stewards, etc. were always smiling and truly seemed to like what they were doing, no matter how trivial the task. Nuno the chef was always a pleasure to speak with (sorry we didn't get some restaurant recommendations like we said we were going to) and his menus and food (especially soups) were delicious. Some other staff that deserve mention are Edvard, Mirella, Glen and Tamas. Outstanding service overall.
Excursions: A guided walking tour was included in each city. No complaints here. All of our guides were informative and knowledgeable. As someone who is used to booking their own tours, etc. and doing all the research, it was a relief to have Viking do it for you. We were able to tour a city with a guide and then walk through on our own taking our time to absorb and get to know the culture.
Overall: I would not hesitate to recommend or take another Viking river cruise. While 15 days was long, we wished we had more time to explore. The weather could have been more accommodating (cloudy and rainy a lot of the time), we met some great people and had some spectacular experiences. We loved our Viking cruise.
Disembarkation: This was the only flaw in the entire trip. We had to leave at 3:30 a.m. for a 6:00 a.m flight. When I asked about printing boarding passes I was told "don't worry we handle that for you." They even hold a disembarkation talk several nights prior. However, if you are used to checking in for your flights yourself then I urge you to do so. Viking's "we'll handle that for you" was disastrous. We arrived at the airport and the Viking rep would walk up to you, ask you for your passport, and then walk away with it. Our rep, a female, would then go over to the self check-in kiosk and scan your passport. The problem - someone actually walked away with your passport in a foreign country. I had a problem with that and followed her. I got the passports and boarding passes back but our seats were in row 11 and 28 - we weren't together on our 3 hour flight to Paris from Budapest. We were able to resolve this when we checked our bags but if we had checked-in later we might not have been able to change seats. Also when we checked-in at the Budapest AirFrance counter we were told that we couldn't bring our "carry on" on the plane due to the number of passengers. For us it wasn't an issue because we had a small suitcase and a lock. Our friends however were told the same and had to check a soft sided overnight bag. This was unfair because others were clearly taking their "carry on" plus backpack on the plane. Fortunately all bags made it to our destination but if I had known this in advance I would have checked in on-line (like I always do) 24 hours in advance, gotten our seat assignments (in advance) and everything would have went much more smoothly. Why Viking says that they "hand" you the boarding passes for your flight I will never know (maybe the staff on the ships really don't know the process). In this respect don't trust them but rather check-in yourself. The only stressful part of our Viking vacation was disembarkation especially because they ask that your bags be outside your room and then you "claim" them before boarding the bus for the airport. One of our bags was missing because apparently someone else "claimed" the bag. Viking staff are supposed to check bags and names before loading them on the bus but in our case they did not. My advice is to move your bags yourself if possible.
My advice: Spend a few extra days in the beginning and end if you have the opportunity. Make sure you take time to sit outside (even in the cold weather like we had) to enjoy the scenery and the beauty of the rivers.
Deck 1, near the middle of the ship, back stairs and crew cabins. Very quiet (except when going through the locks - you will hear the thrusters of the ship when moving and definitely hear the water filling/emptying in the locks - sounded like a toilet flushing). Overall I wouldn't hesitate to book this exact cabin again. It had everything we needed, drawers for storage, closet, bathroom (shower was fabulous - great pressure) and amenities (no need to bring toiletries as the ones they provide are ample-wished I had known this advance).
Great tour through Pest and then Buda. Returned to ship for lunch and then toured on our own. Saw Parliament building and "changing of the guards". Went to St. Stephen's Basilica. Beautiful city and wished we had more more. Ship was docked just under the "chain bridge". Very convenient location.View All 353 City Tour Reviews
Great tour which ended at St. Stephen's Cathedral (which wasn't as spectacular as other churches in Vienna). We had 2 full days and it just wasn't enough time to see everything. Missed art museums, other spectacular sights. On day 2 toured Schonbrunn Palace on our own. Ticket kiosks made it easy to purchase and while we thought we would only be there a few hours wound up spending more than 5 hours. The grounds and gardens are lovely and even in 5 hours we didn't have time to see it all. Will definitely return.View All 169 City Tour Reviews
Melk Abbey was beautiful and historical. Town was small, not a lot to see or do and the walk back to the ship was brief and refreshing.View All 182 Melk Abbey Reviews
It was on a Sunday and it poured during our tour. We ended at the cathedral and attended mass. It was beautiful and we wandered around the town in no hurry to go anywhere. Beautiful.View All 218 Walking Tour Reviews
Wow! Beautiful medieval town, friendly people, lots of history, culture, food (definitely try the Wurstkursche). We walked everywhere (and probably still missed a lot). Regensburg was unforgettable.
History, beauty all in a city. We loved Nuremberg and of all the towns we visited would definitely return. We felt like we either drove past or walked by everything but yet we missed a lot.
Another beautiful city in Germany. Lots of history. Very walkable. Would definitely return to see more.
While the palace tour was great, we took an excursion to Rothenberg on this day. Wurzburg was another city in Germany with lots of history and beautiful buildings.
Beautiful castle, great tour. If you want to see Koblenz you'll need to get up early as the tours to the castle start early.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Out of all the towns we saw, Cologne was probably my least favorite. Other than the cathedral, there's not much to see and it's basically just a big city.View All 125 City Tour Reviews