For lots of reasons we booked this Grand European Tour for mid October. We had a great time, but decided we probably won't do another river cruise right away, maybe not ever again. Not a knock on Viking, but a better understanding of who we are as travelers. So, the good and great. Incredibly clean, inviting atmosphere populated with helpful, gracious people, all of whom try to make your trip wonderful. And they are mostly successful. We absolutely loved our fourteen days. Our room was small but a great place to sleep and get ready for all the adventures. The dining room is an adventure. We are used to ocean cruises with assigned seating so the whole process of 'finding a table' at night was a bit of a challenge. My wife has some hearing issues, so the noise level was tough for her. All the tables at dinner are for six or eight, so you will be with folks and trying do the polite dinner conversation can be tough. Our problem, not anyone else's. Interestingly, many folks established groups and those groups became tough to breech. We sat with at least 60 different folks (we wrote down the names). There are about 190 on the ship so we felt we did okay. Dinners themselves were a mixed bag. Some were outstanding, some average, a few awful. German regional cuisine is a tough sell as well. The next to the last night our table of six all ordered a New York steak. Of the six, two were fine, two were mostly gristle and two were uncuttable. Other nights, wonderful stuff. Breakfast and lunch more pedestrian. Main courses were the best bets. Desserts were usually the disappointing part of the meal except the sorbets and the fruit plate. Free wine and beer at dinner was a hit, but at a price. Dinners are long. Starts at 7 p.m. and rarely ended before 9 p.m. Tough time for the senior set that makes up this ship's target audience. Meals are also available on the deck outside the lounge. Buffet for breakfast and lunch, with the occasional grilled lunch (think burgers, fish, chicken). The dinner up there is off the menu, but only seating for 16 and some folks planted themselves there and went no where else so finding a seat was not possible. A bit frustrating. Alex, our cruise director, was amazingly good. Personable, handsome, humorous, and organized. Made the trip for many of us. We saw him regularly in the lounge just before dinner as he gave the port talk for the next day, or a history lesson. The lounge was fine for a lounge, not big enough for a meeting room. We experienced some water level issues so had to accelerate down the river so we wouldn't need to change ships. This meant we went past our ports and bused back. Better than ship swapping, but buses aren't as much fun as walking into town from a ship docked on the river. That said, the organizational skill exhibited by Viking was amazing. Good guides in every port. Some had more material to work with than others, as not all the stops are historical 'wows' but all were fun to see. Great trip, glad we did it, ship was wonderful, made some friends, but we decided this isn't our kind of travel. It definitely has great appeal for lots of folks, they were on my ship, just not us. Try river cruising. You will love it, or you won't.
Absolutely immaculate, small cabin. Small ships have small cabins. Worked for us, although a few more feet on the window side would have been helpful. There is about 18 inches of room between the bed and wall/window. Small table on each side, no drawer, but a large opening at the bottom for magazines/computers. Light switches by bed, which works wonderfully. Long counter, three drawers only, two small, one large. Refrigerator, that does not come stocked thankfully. There is a television on the wall, which we used mainly for weather and music. Someone complained about program selection, but we used the window for our entertainment. Closets are fine with one side shelved and the other for hanging items. Small suggestion from my wife. Doors should be reversed so outside slider would be on the hanging side, not the shelf side. That inch and a half would be helpful. Best part of the cabin is the bathroom. Seriously small, but effective. Loved, loved, loved the heated floors. Small shower, but this is a small ship with lots of people, so thoughtful design makes small spaces work. Besides, you are cruising down the river (or up the river) so why be in your room for anything other than sleep and getting ready? Room was so clean. Noticed our attendant wiped the entire shower every day, right down to the soap tray. Stateside hotels could learn from this. This cabin (234) is the next to the last on the port side, so there is some vibration/engine feel. Not a big deal, but next time we'd book earlier and try to move up the hall closer to the bow. Up side is we got in lots of steps going to dinner and the lounge.
Loved Van Gogh museum, Ann Frank house, Corrie Ten Boom house (10 mile train ride) and some wonderful food. Hated being chased, hunted, harassed, and besieged by bicyclists.
Cute little town, best parts are the statue of the three little boys taking a leak and a castle above the town. Short, uphill walk. Guide worked hard to give us a good tour.
The Residence Palace and the bridge where folks drink wine in the afternoon were the highlights. Nice tour.
Took the walking tour and looped around the city hall built over a river. Nice views and a place where many decided to try the local smokey beer. Good shopping for those who were interested.
Double whammy here as we toured on Sunday, so shops were closed and we needed to be bussed from a distance. Toured the usual castle and found some nice churches.
Added the Jewish tour to the walking tour here. Guide, Hurbert, was great. Showed us the places in which Jews were impacted so visibly in the war.