Viking Idi Cruise Ship Review - Viking River Cruises
Sail Date: November 13 - 21 2015
By Raye & Marty
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We went exploring castles, cities and
Viking River Cruises, Rhine Getaway
experience highlights the legendary Rhine in
just 8 days. In Germany, we sailed past castles
commanding the riverbanks, and toured both Marksburg Castle and the ruins of Heidelberg
Castle. We toured Cologne, the jewel of the
Rhine, with its awe-inspiring Dom, and witnessed
the lush landscape of the Black Forest region.
We had time to explore Amsterdam and Holland’s famous
windmills and waterworks, and encountered
multicultural Strasbourg in France.
Day 1 Amsterdam: We arrived around 8:30am, fresh off our overnight
flight from the US. Viking representatives were at the reception hall, after we
had cleared customs and immigration. They had our names on a manifest and
quickly loaded our luggage on carts. Off we went to the waiting motorcoach for
transfer to our ship, the Viking Idi. When we arrived, the ship was
serving breakfast to the disembarking passengers who sailed up from Basil. The
Restaurant Manager invited all arriving guests to join the others for breakfast.
After breakfast, you have several choices. You can tour downtown Amsterdam on
your own, as the ship is within walking distance of many sites. You can relax in
the public rooms until your stateroom is ready, or take a complimentary guided
walking tour later in the day. Staterooms normally are not ready for occupancy
until 3pm., but we were able to use our stateroom by late morning. Later
we chose to join the others on the guided walking tour of Amsterdam. With its
tranquil waterways and gabled homes, Amsterdam is a delight to explore on foot.
Our guided walking tour of Amsterdam was our first-time use of Viking's
QuietVox audio system. Two QuietVox audio receivers with lanyards and their
charges are in each stateroom aboard Viking River Cruises' Viking Idi. Earbuds
are in the plastic bag.
The QuietVox audio system is used on nearly all shore excursions offered by
the cruise line. They're easy to use. A single earbud to use on your
left or right ear, is plugged into the receiver, and you just hang the whole
thing over your neck and you're good to go. The devices are small, so you can
slip them into a pocket, and just have the single earbud visible. You can
hear your guide loud and clear via the QuietVox headsets, and you have the
freedom to move around while on tour. No need to be right on top of the guide to
hear the commentary.
Built on a confluence of concentric canals, Amsterdam
remains the City of Canals, on nearly every street you'll find old and new -
side by side.
With just around 831,000 inhabitants, 179 nationalities, and with almost
everything a short 10-minute bike ride away.
Its Museum District houses works by Rembrandt and Vermeer. World-renowned
paintings from the Dutch Golden Age are displayed at the national museum the
Rijksmuseum. You can also tour the Van Gogh Museum and modern art at the
Stedelijk. Cycling is key to the city’s character, and there are 400km of cycle
paths. Famous Amsterdam residents included Anne Frank the diarist, the artists
Rembrandt van Rijn and Vincent van Gogh and the philosopher Baruch Spinoza. You
can tour the Anne Frank House, a historic house and biographical museum
dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank. The building is located on a
canal called the Prinsengracht, close to the Westerkerk, in central Amsterdam.
You can walk there from your ship. However, you should plan on purchasing
tickets at ( Adults € 9.50 ) well in
advance of your trip, as it is one of the most visited places in Amsterdam and
getting tickets on the day your arrive, in height of the season, are almost
Amsterdam, when compared with other major European cities, is uniquely
defined by its houses. With 7,000 registered monuments, most of which began as
the residences and warehouses of humble merchants, set on 160 man-made canals
and traversed by 1,500 or so bridges, Amsterdam has the largest historical inner
city in Europe. Its famous circle of waterways, the Grachtengordel, is a
17th-century urban expansion plan for the rich and a lasting testament to the
city's Golden Age, the 17th century.
After our walking tour, We took a short nap to recover from jet lag,
then met in the lounge for a glass of wine and the ship's Program Director
Chris Schmitz ( like the cruise director on ocean going ships ) gave us a review of the
next day’s events before dinner.
There are about 180 people on board the
Viking Idi, so that all passengers can be served in one dining room at the same time.
The smallest tables accommodate 6. Other 8 or 10. Romantic tables for 2 are not available. So,
dining is a real social event. You can sit wherever you want, as there are no
reserved seats. After a couple of days, we formed a little group of 8 new
friends and dined together throughout the remainder of the cruise.
Viking Cruises includes beer, wine and soft drinks with meals at no charge. If
you are a heavy drinker, you can purchase
for € 150.00 a week, ( $210.00 US ) all on-board drinks, including
specialty wines ordered with dinner and drinks ordered in the lounge before and
after dinner. You can review the
Europe Bar Menu. Water, tea and coffee are included with meals, and many
ships have a 24-hour coffee station. Complimentary bottled water is supplied
daily in your stateroom.
Dress is casual and comfortable, both on board and ashore. Because the
weather can be unpredictable, it is best to bring layers. It is recommended that
you have a sweater or light jacket for spring and summer, and a heavier jacket
for chillier months. Rain can happen at any time, so a collapsible umbrella is a
There are no “formal nights” on board, but there was the Captain’s Welcome
Dinner and on the last night, the Farewell Dinner. On some itineraries, you
may attend a concert,
ballet performance or other dressier event. For these evenings, you might like
to bring “dressy casual” wear.
River cruising involves a fair amount of " walking" shore excursions and in
the old towns of Europe, most of these walks are along cobbled streets and
cobbled steps. If you are unable to traverse these streets, you will not be able
to take the shore excursions. You will definitely want sturdy, comfortable
walking shoes that grip the ground. If you use a walker, scooter, cane, or
wheelchair, read about
Mobility Issues and River Cruising.
Day 2 Kinderdijk: We had left Amsterdam during the night and we
arrived in Kinderdijk in the morning, and docked right next to 19 windmills
built in 1740's. We choose to catch the complementary walking tour and were able
to hear the history and workings of the windmills.
The windmills at Kinderdijk were built to move water out of flooded areas to
keep farm and home sites high and dry, as the land is below sea level. Today,
modern massive turbines, get the job done. The site illustrates all the typical
features associated with this technology – dykes, reservoirs, pumping stations,
administrative buildings and a series of beautifully preserved windmills. Some
of the windmills are still in service, and are home to the caretakers and their
families. You can visit a windmill, tour the outside and inside to see how
the mechanism's work and the living arrangements inside the windmill. Not a lot
of living space. There's a small gift shop, museum and workshop as well.
If you want to experience Kinderdijk in a more active way? Rent a bicycle, as
the city is criss-crossed by multiple bike paths. Bikes can be rented at the
souvenir store on top of the dike. Cost about € 3.5.
Day 3 Cologne: Continuing along the Rhine this morning; we arrived in
On our guided walking tour, we strolled through Old Town past St. Martin’s
Church, and spend some time inside Cologne’s Dom, a remarkable Gothic cathedral
with its stunning Gothic architecture and exquisite stained glass windows.
Construction on the cathedral started in 1248 and was completed in 1880.
time to explore the taverns, cafés and shops on our own. Our Program
Director Chris and Viking Concierge, Michael were very helpful in planning our
To learn more about Cologne,
Day 4 Koblenz & Rüdesheim
We sailed along the most beautiful part of the Rhine
River, where century’s old hilltop castles are just
about around every turn of the river, and our
Program Director Chris provided commentary about the
history and current status of each one. Along
the way we marveled at the steep hills along the
river banks dotted with vineyards. We
docked in Koblenz and then headed out by tour bus to Marksburg Castle in the village of Braubach,
one of the many castles we had seen on our morning sail.
On the Rhine's right bank, set up high on a
hill above the town of Braubach is Marksburg
Castle. Built in 1117, is the only Rhine fortress
that has never been destroyed, allowing you to
witness its original labyrinth of rooms. The castle has been lived
in for over 700 years.
( Marksburg Castle,
along the Rhine River )
Beginning with the construction in the 12th
century, the castle grew into its present shape
throughout succeeding centuries. In the Middle Ages,
the strengthening of the castle's defenses became
essential and urgent by improvements made to
firearms. Huge outworks date from this time, as does
the conversion of a gateway in the outer wall to a
strong bastion. It is mainly due to these extra
defense works that the castle was never seriously
attacked. In more peaceful times, it was used mainly
as a state prison. This impressive castle, home of
the German Castles Association set up to preserve
such ancient monuments, presents a host of
fascinating artifacts that brings the Middle Ages to
life. You will have to ascend a long winding
walkway up to the castle and almost all of the
interior grounds are covered in uneven cobblestones
and steep walkways. The castles entry is well
fortified with multiple archways, high stone walls
and cannons pointing towards the river. This “castle” was not a home for
royalty. More like a "fortress" it was built to
protect the residents of Braubach. As other castles
along the Rhine, it was a source of revenue by
collecting tolls from traffic on the river.
Along the hour long guided tour of the castle,
you'll view a huge kitchen, with a hearth displaying antique cooking tools, bedrooms with
the shortest canopy bed we've ever seen. The guide
told us that the inhabitants were superstitious.
They would not lie on their back in the
Middle Ages, so they slept sitting up. How uncomfortable that would be.
We toured the great room where they gathered for
lavish feasts. The armory with a great
display of the changes in armor over centuries, a wine cellar, a blacksmith shop
and a room filled
with torture devices. Either actual artifacts and
reproductions take you back in time. The castle is a UNESCO World Heritage
Site. Learn more about
Day 5 - Heidelberg &
through the morning ,
enjoyed breakfast with
six new found friends
and the viewed the
passing scenery. We
arrived in Mannheim and
disembarked for a tour
of Heidelberg to see
university, founded in
Then, visited the
ruins of imposing
and took in the scenery
of the Neckar River
Valley and the city’s
many red rooftops from
this hilltop post. We
continued with a walking
tour through Old Town to
Nestled up in the
hills, some 300 feet
above the city of
Heidelberg stands the
Castle. The castle is a
combination of several
buildings surrounding an
inner courtyard, put
together over time with
no concern for
building highlights a
different period of
The castle has a history
almost as old as the
city itself. The first
parts of the castle were
constructed around 1300,
but it wasn’t before
Prince Elector Ruprecht
III (1398 – 1410) that
the castle was used as a
regal residence. Until
it was destroyed by
lightning in 1764
leaving it permanently
castle was the residence
for most of the Prince
Electors. In 1800, Count
Charles de Graimberg
began the difficult task
of conserving the castle
ruins. Up until this
time, the citizens of
Heidelberg had used the
castle stones to build
We saw the Heidelberg
Tun, or the “World’s
Largest Wine Barrel”. It
was built in 1751 by
Prince Elector Karl
Theodor to house the
wine paid as taxes by
the wine growers of the
Palatine. It stands
seven meters high, is
eight and a half meters
wide, holds 220,000
liters (58,124 gallons)
of wine, and has a dance
floor built on top of
it. The court jester who
guarded the cask during
the reign of Prince
Elector Carl Philip, a
nick-named Perkeo, was
supposedly known for his
ability to drink large
quantities of wine.
Legend has it that he
died when he mistakenly
drank a glass of water.
Just as breath-taking as
the castle is from the
city, so too is the city
from the castle. From
either the Great Terrace
or the gardens, one has
an amazing view of
Heidelberg, the Neckar
River, and the Neckar
valley far into the
Rhine plain. On a clear
day, Mannheim is even
visible on the horizon.
Day 6 Strasbourg: We docked this morning in Kehl, Germany
boarded buses and
disembarked early for a guided walking tour of Strasbourg.
Just across the bridge from
where we were docked. Along the way, we say the home of the European
Parliament and toured the interior of the city’s famed Notre-Dame Cathedral.
This Gothic cathedral is famous for its enormous astronomical clock,
built in the
Renaissance period and mechanism dating back to 1842 is a masterpiece in itself,
a monumental organ has a remarkable cabinet decorated with automated figures and
incredibly tall spires reaching high in to the sky. Learn more about
"A prodigy of the
gigantesque and the delicate," as Victor Hugo claimed. Strasbourg Cathedral
(1015-1439) is an absolute masterpiece of Gothic art. The 142 m high spire looks
incredibly lightweight and made the Cathedral the highest edifice in all
Christianity until the 19th century. Three high-spots make the visit
unforgettable. Outside, the facade is the greatest "book" of images the Middle
Ages has to offer. Hundreds of sculptures stand out from the wall accentuating
the effects of shadow and light. The 12th- to 14th-century stained-glass windows
and the rose window are impressive.
Our local tour guide took us through "The Petite France Quarter". This is the
most picturesque district of old Strasbourg. Fishermen, millers and tanners once
lived and worked in this part of town where the streets have been built level
with the waterways. The magnificent half-timbered houses date from the 16th and
17th centuries. Walking the narrow lanes, canals and locks, The Petite France
Quarter is where artisans plied their trades in the Middle Ages. The
half-timbered houses, sprouting veritable thickets of scarlet geraniums in
summer, and the riverside parks attract the masses, but the area has Alsatian
Strasburg born guide provided a personal recount of his family’s life under
Prussian, French, German, and then back to French rule.
Upon return to the boat we had lunch and returned via a shuttle service provided
free of charge by Viking, to Strasburg for some Christmas shopping. The
town was already decked out for the holidays, and the "Christmas Markets" were
being built in the town square to open a few days past Thanksgiving. Downtown
stores were already decorated and the spirit of the holidays was abound.
Dinner this evening was a real unexpected treat. As most passengers were from
America, the Chef prepared a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey and all the
trimmings! Alternate entrees were also available.
Day 7 Breisach: Today’s tour was to the Black Forest. The Black
Forest, a mountainous region in southwest Germany, bordering France, is known
for its dense evergreen forests and picturesque villages, which inspired some of
the Brothers Grimm fairy tales. It's also renowned for the cuckoo clocks
produced in the region since the 1700s. Black Forest ham originated from this
region, and so, by name and reputation at least, did the Black Forest gâteau. It
is also known as "Black Forest Cherry Cake" or "Black Forest Cake" and is made
with chocolate cake, cream, sour cherries and Kirsch. Learn more about the
Our motorcoach took to the back roads
through several picturesque small villages while our local guide described the
life and history of people living in the area. Many parts of the Black Forest
are isolated and thinly populated. People took to making cuckoo clocks during
harsh winters. Deep into the forest, we took a break and stopped at a shopping
complex that had a cuckoo clock building demonstration,
a glass blowing demonstration, and a Black Forest Cake making demonstration. We
had some coffee and a slice of the traditional Black Forest Cake. Taste so good!
( Black Forest Cake Demonstration )
We returned to the ship for lunch, and then took the optional tour to
visit the World War II Colmar Pocket Memorial, and tribute to
Audie Murphy, the most decorated American combat soldier of WW II,
he received the Medal of Honor after single-handedly holding off an entire
company of German soldiers on the outskirts of Holtzwihr, France at the Colmar
Pocket in January 1945, then leading a successful counterattack while wounded.
By the end of the war, Murphy had received two Bronze Stars, the Distinguished
Service Cross, two Silver Stars, three Purple Hearts and the Legion of
Merit–making him the most decorated American soldier during World War II.
( Audie Murphy Memorial )
Others on the ship chose to visit the Alsatian town of Colmar, France. Just across the Rhine River from Breisach, Germany.
Rising above vineyards and the Rhine, Breisach is where the Black Forest spills
into Alsace. Wandering about Colmar's old streets in the medieval section of the
city is the best way to explore it. There is a variety of shops of different
sorts. The Alsatian cuisine is also omnipresent (in restaurants as well
as specialist stores). Take a boat trip on the canal from Little Venice.
On our last night onboard, the chef prepared a multi-course menu for our Farewell Dinner, that was
absolutely superb (as were all the meals!). We said our goodbyes to our
6 newfound friends from California, Washington State and Utah, because we would be leaving the ship at
4:00 am in order to
catch a very early flight home.
Viking was well prepared for early departures.
Buses were along the quay and the crew's luggage handling was spot on. When we
arrived at Euro Airport Basel-Mulhouse=Freiburg, the international airport in
France that is 3.5 km northwest of Basel in Switzerland, Viking had a guide to
help us navigate the airport for a flawless check-in.
We arrived home with a lifetime of great memories, stories and photos to share with
you and our family.
About the Ship : Viking IDI
Viking’s Longships® ( over 45 identical ships, including the Viking IDi
) were designed by Scandinavian naval architects Yran & Storbraaten who have
also designed for Silversea, the Yachts of Seabourn, Disney and Regent Seven
Seas. The ships are sophisticated and elegant, with furnishings crafted from
fine wood and wools, cottons, cashmeres and linens in a neutral palette. Because
of an exclusive patented design, the Viking Longships offer river cruising’s
first-ever true Suite: two full-size rooms, complete with a full-size veranda
and French balcony. Viking offers elegantly appointed all-outside staterooms
featuring European linens and duvets. Viking Longships have a selection of
staterooms from Explorer Suites to staterooms with a veranda or French balcony
complete with a floor-to-ceiling sliding glass door.
Viking Longships integrate a patented corridor design and cutting-edge
technology with comfortable amenities that reflect guest preferences and current
travel trends. These features include a revolutionary all-weather indoor/outdoor
Aquavit Terrace that reinvents the onboard lounge experience by bringing the
panoramic outdoor river scenery indoors with retractable floor-to-ceiling glass
doors and allows guests to enjoy the views and dine al fresco.
Accommodating 190 passengers in 95 staterooms, Viking Longships have a patented
layout that allows for two Explorer Suites – the largest river cruise suites in
Europe – as well as seven two-room Veranda Suites with a full-size veranda in
the living room and a French balcony in the bedroom; 39 Veranda Staterooms with
full-size verandas; and 22 French Balcony Staterooms. Additionally, all
Longships have sustainability upgrades, such as onboard solar panels and organic
herb gardens, and energy-efficient hybrid engines that also reduce vibrations
for a remarkably smooth ride.
Onboard amenities include a restaurant, bar, lounge, library, sun deck,
onboard boutique and laundry service. Viking features non-smoking interiors on all ships.
When you travel with Viking, there are no surprises or hidden fees. The price
you pay covers just about everything—port charges, Wi-Fi, meals, lectures,
activities and shore excursions—as well as hotel accommodations on their
cruisetour itineraries. So all you have to do is relax and enjoy a great journey
that is also a great value:
•At least one included excursion per port
•All onboard meals created by our Swiss-trained chefs featuring fresh
ingredients and regional specialties, served in a variety of settings including
al fresco dining
•Complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks with our onboard dinner and lunch
service; bottled water and complimentary cappuccino, coffee and tea at a
24-hour hot beverage bar
Revolutionary in concept and design, this spacious indoor/outdoor seating area,
with a lovely open-air cafe at the bow of the ship is perfect for having a
casual meal al fresco, meeting friends for drinks or reading a book, all while
enjoying breathtaking views and basking in the fresh air.
Light and airy, the ship's soaring atrium-style lobby rivals those of the finest
Gaze at breathtaking scenery through the Restaurant’s panoramic windows as you
dine on regional specialties and contemporary cuisine. The atmosphere is casual
yet elegant, with high-quality table linens, china, cutlery and glassware at
Longship staterooms offer hotel-style beds in either single or double
configuration and all have a private bathroom. 40" flat-screen stateroom TVs offer CNN and other
English-language programming, as well as region-specific movies and
documentaries. In Europe, programming includes CNBC, ESPN, FOX, National
Geographic and more. Every stateroom comes with a view on Viking's Longships, as
there are no interior cabins. You have a choice of Oceanview, French
Balcony, Verandah and Suite accommodations. Cabin lighting, includes
built-in dimmers, bedside controls and mirrored vanities There are four
American (110 volt) outlets, two bedside and two at the desk, and two
European (220 volt) outlets in addition to one European outlet for charging the
Every cabin is equipped with a safe, a small refrigerator and a handheld hair
dryer. Bath products are L'Occitane. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available in your
stateroom, as well as throughout the ship. On our Rhine river cruise, it was
working most of the time, at reasonable speed.
( our French Balcony stateroom )
Boasting sweeping river views, the Veranda Staterooms are comfortable and airy,
with hotel-style beds, a private bathroom, roomy closets and storage space, and
amenities like flat-panel TVs and premium bath products.
Exceptional accommodations aboard the newest, most deluxe river cruise fleet
include our spacious Explorer Suites - featuring separate sleeping and sitting
quarters, a wraparound veranda with 270° views, a French balcony and modern
95 comfortable outside
staterooms (2 Explorer Suites, 7 Veranda Suites, 39
Veranda Staterooms, 22 French Balcony Staterooms, 25
All suites feature two
rooms with a veranda off the living room and a
French balcony in the bedroom
Sun deck with
360-degree views and shaded sitting area; organic
herb garden and solar panels; putting green, and
Aquavit Terrace with a
revolutionary indoor/outdoor viewing area at the bow
of the ship and grills for al fresco dining
The Lounge and bar with
floor-to-ceiling glass doors
floor-to-ceiling windows for panoramic views
Library corner and
Elevator from Middle to
Upper Deck only; no elevator access for categories F
Free ship wide wireless
hybrid engines producing less vibrations for a
River cruises attract passengers 60 and older, but on our cruise there were a
number guests in their mid-forties. Even a 70+ honeymoon couple from Utah,
that booked the Explorer Suite and joined our dinner table each night.
You'll find most staterooms slightly smaller than ocean-going vessels,
ranging from 135 square feet to 205 square feet.
The chefs created a variety of tasty offerings for us, with freshly prepared
seasonal local vegetables, European specialties adapted to satisfy the tastes of
guests and homemade soups are prepared daily. For breakfast, you can choose from
a selection of pastries, cereals, breakfast meats, egg dishes, fresh fruit and
selected cheeses. At lunch, we could select from the soup and sandwich bar, or a choice
of entrées and dessert. And for dinner, we were treated to a five-course menu
with regional specialties. You may also select from a red or white regional
wine, or beer ( complimentary ) to perfectly complement your meal.
Meals are served in a single, open-seating at set times. Breakfast is choice
of a buffet, or ordering from a menu. The buffet area in the center of the
room includes a choice of cereal, oatmeal with toppings, lox, yogurt,
cheeses and meats. You toast your own bread, including bagels. There's also an
omelet station, or you can order from the menu; pancakes, French toast or eggs
cooked to your taste. Lunch includes a soup pasta station and salad bar. Again,
you also have a choice of ordering from a menu with a featured sandwich,
Dinner features a full multi-course menu with hot or cold appetizers and
three entrees, featuring a fish, meat or vegetarian choice that changes daily.
The sweet desserts, are incredible. Available every day choices include grilled
salmon, charbroiled New York-cut steak and Caesar salad.
Always available, are two coffee and tea stations that have self-service
machines, where you can have a regular coffee, as well as lattes and
cappuccinos, with mini-pastries offered in the morning and cookies in the
Tips to the crew are not included in your cruise fare. At the end of
the cruise, you'll get two envelopes in your stateroom. One for the Program
Director, and the other to be shared with the general crew. You can tip in
cash or by credit card. (Euros are the onboard currency, but dollars are also
accepted for gratuities.)
We found the service onboard to be beyond the ordinary. Many of the crew that
we often encountered, remembered our names and greeted us accordingly every day.
A great "personal touch " not found on large ocean-going cruise ships.
The recommended amount on Viking's Europe cruises is € 12 per passenger, per
day, for the the crew and € 2 per passenger per day for the Program Director.
Our Program Director, Chris did a great job and deserved extra recognition.
Hands-on demonstrations, cooking classes, traditional dance performances, and
local tastings. These in-depth experiences are included as an essential part of
discovering more about the places through which we cruised, and each activity is
planned specifically to illuminate each itinerary. The ship offered a series of
onboard multimedia talks to shed light on the history and culture of the places
we visited. Topics included the Dutch Masters or French impressionists, castles
along the Rhine Valley, the formation of the European Union, the life and works
of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the wine and cuisine of southern France, and key
words and phrases in the local language wherever we were traveling. These
presentations provide a context for our own observations, enhancing our travel
An onboard daily newsletter, Viking Daily, featuring information
about daily activities, shore excursions and tour departure times is delivered
to your stateroom every evening.
River Cruises don't offer elaborate production shows, don't have a casino.
There's no big promenade shopping mall, no midnight buffet, nor any waterslides,
ice skating rinks or rock climbing walls. River Cruises do transport you " back
in time" to visit the people, places and events, where Europe's rich history
comes alive in hundred's of historic sites, classical cities and towns.
Located on the upper atrium level is a spacious, large windowed lounge.
This room is the social hub of the ship. Everyone gathers there each evening,
for cocktails prior to dinner. There's a modern bar and a small dance floor.
The ship's Program Director reviews next day's program prior to dinner.
Entertainment onboard is limited. The lounge features a baby grand piano,
where a pianist plays both classical and modern tunes during cocktail hour.
Regional performers occasionally come onboard to provide additional
As an an example, in Cologne, musicians from Cologne's
Academy of Music and Dance and WDR Symphony Orchestra presented an ensemble of
German, European and international classics.
Want to reserve a table at local restaurant? Arrange for a private
guide? Just like a hotel concierge, the Viking Concierge holds regular
desk hours and can handle these and other requests.
The company has grown to a fleet of 60 river vessels (in 2015) offering
scenic cruising along the rivers of Europe, Russia, Egypt, China, and Southeast
Asia. Viking has been honored multiple times in Travel + Leisure’s
“World’s Best” Awards and Condé Nast Traveler’s “Gold List” as well as
recognized by the editors of Cruise Critic as “Best River Cruise Line,” with the
entire Viking Longships® fleet being named “Best New River Ships” in the
website’s Editors’ Picks Awards. The travel trade has ranked Viking as the “Best
River Cruise Line” by Travel Weekly, Recommend and Travel
Agent magazines, “Best Cruise Line for Luxury River Cruises” at the
Luxury Travel Advisor Awards of Excellence and as “Best Overall Cruise Line
for River Cruising,” “Best New River Cruise Ship” for the sixth consecutive
River water levels dictate what happens for your cruise. If the river water
level is too low or too high, your river cruise may be delayed, ships changed,
or overland adjustments made. Europe experienced much less rain this
summer, than in past years and as result all the river cruise companies have had
to make alternate arrangements, like changing ships half way during your
itinerary. The real measure of how well a cruise line performs is when something
out of the ordinary happens. On our trip we did need the change ships, from the
Viking IDi to the Viking Kvasir. The transition was carried out in an
efficient manner with only minor interruption to our itinerary.
We've traveled all around the world on over 40 ocean cruises, but this
was our first river cruise and we were pleasantly surprised. The crew and staff
really worked hard and were a step or two above most ocean-going ship crews. The
food was excellent, on par with luxury cruise ships. The sightseeing tours were
well managed, and the local guides were well versed on local history and
We had an excellent experience and are looking forward to another cruise with
Viking in the near future.
P.S. We flew to Amsterdam on the day of the Paris terrorist attacks. Needless
to say, it was part of the conversation, almost daily on the ship. On our tours
at the ports-of-call we felt very safe and on our cruise we only experienced
traffic delays at the boarder check points between Germany and France.
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