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  #1  
Old January 3rd, 2013, 11:37 AM
johnrodriguez1 johnrodriguez1 is offline
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Default First Time Viking River Cruisers and Others

Hello,

My wife and I have taken several river cruises on the various lines. We got a lot of help when we were looking into it from this forum and want to pay it forward. If you have any particular questions about the various companies or the itineraries feel free to ask and I'll try to help out with our experiences.

We prefer Viking and after going on AMA Waterwars, Avalon, and Uniworld have decided to stick with Viking. We just got back from the Russia one and are booked for the Christmas Markets next year already.

HAPPY CRUISING!
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  #2  
Old January 8th, 2013, 03:23 PM
castlewood castlewood is offline
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Hi -- What factors made you prefer Viking? What are the cabins like? The food? The service? We are considering a Viking cruise in 2014/Holland/tulip season. All of our cruising has been on big cruise ships thus far.

Thanks
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  #3  
Old January 11th, 2013, 02:33 PM
marco marco is offline
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I was looking at the reviews regarding river cruises trying to get a little more information regarding the Christmas market cruises, which we are also interested in trying, having been on several river cruises in warmer months. I was quite surprised that one review ranked the river cruise poorly (don't recall which line) because there were no tables for two in the dining room, and they were "forced to" eat with other passengers. We personally enjoy dining with fellow passengers, but ya....if that's that important to you, none of the river cruise lines we've sailed on had tables for two.
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  #4  
Old January 11th, 2013, 06:28 PM
swamp1sg swamp1sg is offline
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My husband and I have been on the exact lines that you have, but we would place AMA #1 for its great attention to detail. We did like Viking and would not hesitate to cruise with them again. Why would you choose Viking over AMA? Just curious not confrontational.
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  #5  
Old January 13th, 2013, 12:05 AM
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WarEagle76 WarEagle76 is offline
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We've been on four Viking cruises: Russia, China, Danube, and most recently Paris/Normandy this past October. To put it simply, based upon our experience, Viking has not given us a reason to try another line. On our most recent cruise, the food was good to excellent, the Internet was vastly improved over our Danube cruise, and the Program Director and Hotel Manager were phenomenal. We have yet to cruise on one of the new Long Ships but are looking forward to cruising on one in the future. The time in ports has suited us, usually being a local tour with free time to explore on our own, with the occasional optional tour available if desired. So for us, pricing, product, experience and at this point familiarity keeps us going back to Viking.
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  #6  
Old January 13th, 2013, 08:26 AM
pacmom pacmom is offline
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There is a reason for more than one river cruise line---personal taste. Mine would be AMA or Uniworld over all the others we have cruised--#16 coming up in June. Have not done Avalon, but are looking at their Mekong trip. We have made 4 Viking trips and China is their jewel IMHO. Am not the least bit excited about the new long ships--size of french balcony cabins smaller than Aquarium class doesn't appeal. We always have a balcony on ocean cruises, but have never wanted one on the river. We have chosen lines because of itineraries, amenities, things included and of course price. Good luck, but beware river cruising can be addictive. Pat
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Old January 14th, 2013, 03:13 PM
seveneleven seveneleven is offline
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Hope we enjoy Viking as much as you have. We are doing Prague to Berlin 10 Aug 2013. We are booked into Hilton by Viking in both cities. Any advice welcomed especially on currency and shopping.
Anyone else on this cruise???
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  #8  
Old January 14th, 2013, 08:21 PM
waverly waverly is offline
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I agree with you WarEagle - it's the same with us and AMA. We started river cruising with them; we were never disappointed and have therefor no reason to change. we are looking to go on our 4th river cruise with them - still pondering the destination.
One thing however should be considered when making reservations: check out the ship
(especially in Russia and on the Mekong) since some have a promenade in front of your window. So people walk by and look right into your room - unless you keep the curtains closed - and then you don't see the scenery. I was made aware of this on this forum when we booked our first cruise on the Russian rivers. AMA-Katarina was at the time the only ship without this in my opinion huge handicap.
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  #9  
Old January 15th, 2013, 10:37 AM
rjscott rjscott is online now
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Originally Posted by castlewood View Post
Hi -- What factors made you prefer Viking? What are the cabins like? The food? The service? We are considering a Viking cruise in 2014/Holland/tulip season. All of our cruising has been on big cruise ships thus far.

Thanks
We have only taken one river cruise and it was on Viking. Like you, we are seasoned ocean cruisers. However, we decided to try Viking for the 'Tulips & Windmills' cruise last April on one of their new longships, the Idun. We were so pleased with the Viking experience that we have just booked another Viking cruise for 2014. On our ocean cruises, we gravitated toward the port-intensive intineraries, and so the 'Tulips & Windmills' intinerary was perfect for us. For most ports,we were able to walk right off the ship and begin our walking tour, and when the walking tour was over,we had free time to explore on our own. The towns and villages we visited were so charming, and picture-postcard perfect! There were a couple of towns we had a bus ride to, but that only gave us time to visit with our fellow passengers or view the countryside along the way.
I found the windmills at Kinderdijk amazing, and the tulips at Keukenhof just spectacular. We loved the opportunity to explore Amsterdam,both on an included walking tour and also during free time on our own.
The weather during our mid-April cruise was unseasonably chilly,and so we did not get to often enjoy the lovely sun deck or Aquavit terrace on our longship, but we did enjoy the views as we cruised from our French balcony window or from the floor-to-ceiling windows in the dining room or the lounge. I thought the food was quite good; a good breakfast buffet,or you could order a few menu items made to order. For lunch, there was a salad buffet, but also a menu of sandwiches and soups to order, and fresh pasta on the buffet. Dinner choices were a nice variety; although portions were on the lighter side, servers would always bring additional servings or another choice if requested.
Our cabin was lovely, and although compact, it offered many nice amenities. Our bed was very comfortable, and there was room under the bed for luggage storage. There was a long counter across from the bed with a fridge underneath one end and a bench under the other. There were 220 and 110 outlets at each end of the counter for plugging in appliances. The cabins also had large flat-screen TV's with on-demand movies, and a few cable and news stations. The bathrooms had very nice showers, lots of plush towels and heated floors. A good amount of storage for clothing in the cabins as well.
The service on Viking was excellent, from the greeting at the airport to the Program Director, tour guides, drivers, room stewards and servers.
Hope this helps.
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  #10  
Old January 16th, 2013, 05:48 AM
caviargal caviargal is online now
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Originally Posted by pacmom View Post
There is a reason for more than one river cruise line---personal taste. Mine would be AMA or Uniworld over all the others we have cruised--#16 coming up in June. Have not done Avalon, but are looking at their Mekong trip. We have made 4 Viking trips and China is their jewel IMHO. Am not the least bit excited about the new long ships--size of french balcony cabins smaller than Aquarium class doesn't appeal. We always have a balcony on ocean cruises, but have never wanted one on the river. We have chosen lines because of itineraries, amenities, things included and of course price. Good luck, but beware river cruising can be addictive. Pat
I agree about the new Longships and we have no interest in them, as well as no interest in their earlier ships as the cabins are just too small and the boats too basic.

We started our river cruise history with Avalon, then 2 years ago discovered AMA. We have 6 total river cruises so far and are loyal AMA fans now. There is much about the overall experience that won us over, including the younger demographic and great entertainment. For us, it is not just about itinerary as so many lines offer similar trips. For the cost of a river cruise, we want one that fits our style and personality and AMA delivers. We are younger river cruisers and doubt we would have continued to cruise on the river had we not experienced AMA.
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  #11  
Old January 16th, 2013, 11:18 AM
franski franski is offline
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I agree about the new Longships and we have no interest in them, as well as no interest in their earlier ships as the cabins are just too small and the boats too basic.
I will be able to give my thoughts on the new Longships in May - as we are going on our first Viking cruise in just over 3 months. I had no interest in their older boats, as we will not do pullman style beds --> and that was the usual offering in Aquarium class (where we usually travel...)

We have travelled Uniworld, Scenic and AMA - and our AMA experience, while good, was not to the level that we had experienced on some of our other cruises. It may have been the CD, or the kitchen staff, or the tour guides they hired --> but what stood out was 3 other couples we connected with on the boat... not the food, or the tours etc. Perhaps another cruise with them would be better. And - I would travel with them again if we found what we wanted in their list of cruises.

I really enjoy the Uniworld package (we have travelled with them 3 times to date...) - and have another Scenic cruise booked later this year. I am interested to see how Viking compares... at least for our style of travel.

Fran

Last edited by franski; January 16th, 2013 at 11:19 AM.
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  #12  
Old January 16th, 2013, 03:10 PM
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WarEagle76 WarEagle76 is offline
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I will be able to give my thoughts on the new Longships in May - as we are going on our first Viking cruise in just over 3 months. I had no interest in their older boats, as we will not do pullman style beds --> and that was the usual offering in Aquarium class (where we usually travel...)

We have travelled Uniworld, Scenic and AMA - and our AMA experience, while good, was not to the level that we had experienced on some of our other cruises. It may have been the CD, or the kitchen staff, or the tour guides they hired --> but what stood out was 3 other couples we connected with on the boat... not the food, or the tours etc. Perhaps another cruise with them would be better. And - I would travel with them again if we found what we wanted in their list of cruises.

I really enjoy the Uniworld package (we have travelled with them 3 times to date...) - and have another Scenic cruise booked later this year. I am interested to see how Viking compares... at least for our style of travel.

Fran
Which cruises were you looking at? We had a hotel style bed on both Viking Pride and Sky. Believe on Pride only 12 of 75 cabins have pullman style beds, on Sky believe none do. The only pullman we had on Viking was on the Surkov in Russia in 2006 (and that was with the hand held shower in the tiny bathroom which was an interesting experience) and that boat is no longer in the fleet.
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  #13  
Old January 16th, 2013, 05:50 PM
franski franski is offline
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Which cruises were you looking at? We had a hotel style bed on both Viking Pride and Sky. Believe on Pride only 12 of 75 cabins have pullman style beds, on Sky believe none do. The only pullman we had on Viking was on the Surkov in Russia in 2006 (and that was with the hand held shower in the tiny bathroom which was an interesting experience) and that boat is no longer in the fleet.
Hi -

We are doing the Passage to Eastern Europe (Bucharest to Budapest) at the end of April, and this is one itinerary that had the pullman beds up until this year (when they switched to one of the Longships). The Elegant Elbe still has the older ships and the single beds.

When we were looking at Russia, I has resigned myself to "high end camping" - and was very pleased to see that hotel style beds are now available even in the lowest category.

I may be using "pullman" out of turn a bit, as some had pullman beds, and some have the single beds (ie: no double/queen) --> I look at the pictures of the staterooms - and if there are 2 single beds, I don't go any further. Hotel-style beds my only non-negotiable item at this time. That may change in the future... but lots of places to go that I can get the bed configuration that I want.

Fran

Last edited by franski; January 16th, 2013 at 05:53 PM.
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Old January 16th, 2013, 06:33 PM
rjscott rjscott is online now
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Hi -

We are doing the Passage to Eastern Europe (Bucharest to Budapest) at the end of April,
Fran
Fran, which ship have you booked? Will be interested to read how you liked this itinerary on Viking as this is what we have booked for 2014 on the Rinda.
Becki
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Old January 16th, 2013, 11:28 PM
franski franski is offline
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Fran, which ship have you booked? Will be interested to read how you liked this itinerary on Viking as this is what we have booked for 2014 on the Rinda.
Becki
Becki -

We are booked on the Viking Aegir. I will post when I come back - and perhaps along the way, if the internet connection is OK.

Fran
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Old January 17th, 2013, 09:45 AM
rjscott rjscott is online now
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Becki -

We are booked on the Viking Aegir. I will post when I come back - and perhaps along the way, if the internet connection is OK.

Fran
Fran,
That would be great! Although I'm sure it varies depending on the area, I found the wi-fi to be best early in the a.m. (I'm an early riser, and could lie in bed and check my email on my Nook, w/o disturbing my husband).

I also liked your comment about your one cruise being made better by the company of some of your fellow cruisers. We found that to be so true. In fact, we are cruising in '14 with a couple we met on our first river cruise. We enjoyed the company of several other couples on that cruise, but with this couple in particular, we just "clicked".
Becki
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Old January 17th, 2013, 10:58 PM
franski franski is offline
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Although I'm sure it varies depending on the area, I found the wi-fi to be best early in the a.m. (I'm an early riser, and could lie in bed and check my email on my Nook, w/o disturbing my husband).
I have found that the connections do depend on the area, and also the time of day. If you are going through locks, or under bridges - the connections are quite poor. We found it also depends on where you are in the boat. Some areas (ie: forward in the lounge) seem to be better than others.

We don't usually travel with a computer... I can find either a computer nook in the hotels we stay in, or a really reasonable internet cafe. Most river boats have one or 2 computers, and we don't usually have trouble accessing them - as so many people travel with a lap top or tablet these days... (We are in the minority in that we DON"T have one with us!!)

Have thought about an I-pad, but can't justify the cost when I am not working right now....

Fran
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Old January 18th, 2013, 10:42 AM
rjscott rjscott is online now
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I have found that the connections do depend on the area, and also the time of day. If you are going through locks, or under bridges - the connections are quite poor. We found it also depends on where you are in the boat. Some areas (ie: forward in the lounge) seem to be better than others.

We don't usually travel with a computer... I can find either a computer nook in the hotels we stay in, or a really reasonable internet cafe. Most river boats have one or 2 computers, and we don't usually have trouble accessing them - as so many people travel with a lap top or tablet these days... (We are in the minority in that we DON"T have one with us!!)

Have thought about an I-pad, but can't justify the cost when I am not working right now....

Fran
Fran, the Idun had 2 laptops for the passengers and two computer desk areas for their use(if you don't want to take one to your cabin). I had long resisted getting an e-reader, as I loved the printed page, but on our last ocean cruise, I had packed 3 books(we were having a book discussion on one sea day), one of which was a 1500-page hardback. So many people had touted the e-readers that I finally decided to get one, and had planned to get just the bare-bones reader. But, my husband, who is a gadget geek, really wanted to get me the Nook Tablet, and so, how could I say 'no'? I now am happy I have it, as I do use the wi-fi feature a lot when we travel.
Becki
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  #19  
Old January 19th, 2013, 07:14 PM
kmkasza kmkasza is offline
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Just curious why you say amawaterways is a younger group. We are just 60 and would like a cruise with similar age. Looking to do a France river cruise and it would be our first. Have done 8 ocean voyages 2 on Celebrity which we consider an older crowd.
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Old January 19th, 2013, 07:36 PM
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Just curious why you say amawaterways is a younger group. We are just 60 and would like a cruise with similar age. Looking to do a France river cruise and it would be our first. Have done 8 ocean voyages 2 on Celebrity which we consider an older crowd.
We have a similar concern about age groups. We are in our early 50's and are experienced ocean cruisers. Celebrity being our favorite. I have no experience with river cruising.

We are rather active and would prefer a more active experience. Any suggestions would certainly be appreciated.

Don
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