Posted January 15th, 2013, 11:37 AM
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.
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.