Anyone out there not sailing Viking?

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#1
Wht Mts, NH - Gulf Coast, FL
2,705 Posts
Joined Jun 2004
I have been lurking on this forum for a while and have noticed, of late, that everyone seems to be sailing on Viking. (Guess the floods did not do much to damage their business,lol!)
I would love to pass the dreary winter days in New England, by hearing about where you are sailing this year and what you are looking forward to.
We are sailing the Romantic Danube itinerary in July with AMA. We will be traveling in a group of 14, a few experienced river cruisers, and mostly newbies (self included).
I have been surprised by the fact that most river cruisers rely entriely on the ships' tours (perhaps because they are included). I am used to researching private tours and guides and feel quite useless as we wait. I am looking forward to our extra days in Prague and Budapest, where we will be planning DIY rather than AMA's extensions.
Looking forward to hearing from others.
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Past Cruises:
Celebrity Reflection - Med & Greek Isles
Coral Princess - Partial Transit Panama Canal
Celebrity Silhouette - TA
Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas - Arctic Circle
Disney Fantasy - Souhern Caribbean
AMAPrima - Danube, Prague to Budapest
Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas - Southern Carib.
Carnival Imagination - Western Carib.
Carnival Valor - Southern Carib.
Norwegian Sun - Baltics, Copenhagen, St Petersburg
Royal Caribbean Brilliance - Mediterranean, Spain Italy
Celebrity Infinity - Alaska
Royal Caribbean - Voyager of the Seas, Western Carib.
Royal Caribbean Nordic Prince - Bermuda
#2
California
438 Posts
Joined Oct 2011
Well, we're looking forward to our third trip with Uniworld, down the Rhine this fall. In the process of selecting a hotel for three nights post-cruise in Amsterdam.
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Celebrity Summit Aug. - Sept. 2005 Alaska
Victoria Queen Oct. 2007 Yangtze River
Princess Crown Nov. 2008 Eastern Caribbean
Uniworld Beatrice June 2010 Danube River
Holland America Maasdam Oct 2011 Eastern Canada & NE
Uniworld River Victoria May 2012 Russia
Regent Seven Seas Voyager Nov 2013 Venice-Istanbul
Uniworld Antoinette Oct 2014 Castles Along the Rhine
Uniworld River Baroness & SS Catherine April 26 2015 Grand France
Uniworld River Tosca January 2017 Egypt
Uniworld Maria Theresa Christmas and New Years December 2018 Danube
#3
Mackay Australia
786 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
I too thought this had turned into a Viking board ..... I guess they're offering a product that is very competitive on paper.

We're off on our 2nd Tauck cruise in late August. This time we chose their French Escapade - Paris to Monte Carlo cruise on the Rhone. It's a part of our 40th Wedding Anniversary holiday. We all choose different companies for many and varied reasons but the end result should always be that everyone has a great cruise.

I had a ton of fun planning this holiday and now the hard part is still to come as we wait and countdown the many days still ahead.

Rod
#4
Ontario, Canada
2,733 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
We are doing south of France with Avalon this year --> starting by spending 3 nights in Nice before going to Monte Carlo for a night before we get on the boat. (The night in Monte Carlo is part of the package...). This will be our first cruise with Avalon - but our 8th river cruise. Our 9th is booked next year.... with Viking.

We do tend to do the included excursions as the local guides are usually quite knowledgeable. I do some research before we go, so that I can make sure I don't miss something "special" if there is free time. For example, am going to be asking if anyone has done this cruise - northbound - with Avalon - to see how much "free" time we will have in Tain l'Hermitage.... Hoping to get to the Valrhona chocolate store!!!

If time permits, we will spend a day or two before and/or after the cruise - and that is when we tend to book private guides. I found a tour in Budapest that involved a visit to Memento Park --> we were picked up at our hotel in a Trabant. My husband was *very* excited... (especially when they let him drive!!)

We also booked a private guide in Nuremberg - and when we were in Moscow and had an entire day "free". We booked a walking tour (WWII history) in Amsterdam that was very interesting as well.

Enjoy your planning!!! And, enjoy the trip. We have done that route twice --> once with AMA, and once with Scenic.

Fran
#5
San Diego, CA
93 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
I'm just getting back on CruiseCritic after not visiting it for a few years. My wife and I are planning our May 9 Avalon cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam with pre-cruise in Prague and post-cruise and our 30th anniversary in Paris. It will be our first river cruise.

We picked Avalon mainly because of the full cabin-width french balconies, plus we hear the food is a little better. But with all the Viking ads we initially were planning that, and it would have been cheaper.

A few months back there wasn't a roll-call yet for it here, but I'll check now. With only something like 135 passengers I'm sure the roll-calls will be small.

We have only done independent tours, but with included tours we'll probably do many of them to use what we are paying for. I just emailed our TA today for flights and hotel reservations.

Boyd
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boyd_san_diego at yahoo dot com

Prior Cruises:
Tahitian Princess 5/27/2004 French Polynesia/Cook Islands
Star Princess 8/31/2008 Seattle-Alaska-Victoria-Seattle
Ruby Princess 5/16/2009 Mediterranean Sea (Italy x4, Greece, Turkey, Monte Carlo, Barcelona)

Future Cruises:
Avalon Affinity 5/9/2014 Magnificent Europe
#6
Orlando
71 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
We're doing the Danube on Avalon in May. So far no one on the roll calls is on our cruise.

We're (probably) flying into Munich, doing a couple days there, going on the cruise to Budapest, spending a couple of days there then off to somewhere else (still undecided) for a couple of day and then home.

It's our first river cruise, should be fun!
#7
832 Posts
Joined Sep 2003
We are doing our first river cruise on the Rhine and Moselle with Uniworld Amsterdam - Basel this fall. We didn't even consider Viking but they do seem popular. I do read the posts about the sites along the Rhine regardless of the cruise line because I assume the tours are very similar and many of the stops seem to be the same. We are also used to doing our own private tours so we will see how the first couple of ports go. I am generally not a fan of big busses!
#8
Michigan
1,026 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
jklc123
please share where you have decide to stay in Amsterdam. We too are still trying to decide. will be there 2 night first part of October after Budapest to Amsterdam on Viking. Will be with another couple.
#9
Long Island, NY
6,344 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
Hi, we sailed Avalon on the Seine last summer, and are doing the Basel to Amsterdam route this summer. We were very pleased with Avalon, and met some very lovely people on the cruise. To be honest, Viking is the only brand I have ever heard of until I did some research here on Cruise Critic. Viking has all of the commercials during Downton Abbey.
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Got2Cruise
Planning the cruise is half the fun.
#10
Tulsa OK
7,405 Posts
Joined May 2006
We have done two AMA cruise and have another booked. Very happy with them.
#11
Santa Paula CA
3,415 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
We have done a number of river cruises with Vantage and have been very happy with them. The stories and pictures are on our website. We are always happy to answer questions
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It serves no purpose to list all the cruises I have been on chronologically. Many of the lines or ships do not exist any more, or have been renamed. I have sailed on NCL,Bermuda Star, Regency, Royal, Silverseas, Mississippi Queen, Vantage, Marco Polo, Scottish Highlander, Princess, Victoria, Hebridean Princess, Paul Gauguin, Regent, Oceania, Cunard, Rembrandt, and Lev Tolstoy.
#12
New York
7,786 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
We did AMA's Amsterdam-Basel (plus Lucerne and Zurich) cruise last summer, and had a great time. We had never been to any of the stops (except Amsterdam) before, so we were happy to use their included tours. If we had hired a private guide, I don't know how we would have found anyone better than the guides they had [except one].

We will be doing AMA's Lyon-Arles cruise next year, as the centerpiece of a 3-week fly-drive. We will tour DIY on all the driving parts (love Rick Steves!), but again since we haven't visited any of the stops from Lyon to Arles we will happily use AMA's included tours for that part.

In the future if we take a river cruise that goes to places we have already been, we would consider hiring a guide to take us further afield -- but on the first visit AMA's tours offer a reliable default option.
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Email me: [email protected]
Blogs: Jazzbeaux Blogs

I am not an employee of Cruise Critic and I don't speak for Cruise Critic. All opinions are mine alone. Also, I'm only a Host on the various River forums -- everywhere else I'm "just plain Jazz."

Booked:
Crown Princess Classic Canada & New England 10-2017
Azamara Quest Costa Rica 1-2018
AMA Discover Africa 5-2018
Viking Sun British Isles Explorer 8-2018
Celebrity Edge Caribbean B2B 1-2019

Completed:
Norwegian Pride of America Hawaii 10-2016; Azamara Quest Norwegian Fjords 8-2016; Celebrity Constellation Greek Isles 5-2016; AmaDagio Provence 9-2015; Celebrity Xpedition Galapagos 5-2015; Celebrity Eclipse Southern Carib 3-2015; Fresco Tours A Kinder Camino walking tour 9-2014; Crystal Serenity Mediterranean 5-2014; Coral Princess Panama Canal 1-2014; AmaCello Rhine 8-2013; Coral Princess Alaska 6-2013; Ireland Fly-Drive 9-2012; Norwegian Dawn Caribbean 3-2013 / Celebrity Summit Caribbean 1-2012 / Oceania Insignia Mediterranean 5-2011 / Fair Dinkum (Erie Canal bareboat) 7-2003 / Costa Italia Caribbean 5-1974
#13
Bathurst, NSW Australia
64 Posts
Joined Jun 2012
We are taking the AMA (APT Australian) Grand European Tour from Monte Carlo to Prague from June 2nd to July 8th 2014. This tour consists of 3 different River Cruises & starts with 3 nights in Monte Carlo pre cruise, then 7 nights Arles to Lyon. The 2nd 7 night cruise then goes from Basel to Amsterdam where we have a 2 night hotel stay. The 3rd leg is from Amsterdam to Budapest over 14 nights, where we are transferred to Prague for a 3 night stay before flying back to Sydney Aus.

We are recently retired & this is to be our first River Cruise experience. We are getting very excited as the date draws nearer & I am an avid reader of these boards. Thank you all for the great reviews & tips which I am sure we will find useful. Hopefully I can complete my own review when we return.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
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#14
Australia
151 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Hi we are doing our first River Cruise with Avalon from Amsterdam to Paris leaving May 4th. We have 2 nights pre cruise in Amsterdam and 4 nights post cruise in Paris. From there we are doing 5 nights in London then a bus tour of UK, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. It is our first time in this part of the world so we are very excited, and have been reading everything I can.
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#15
Australia
1,174 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
We are also doing 3 B2B river cruises in September/October this year. We are doing Prague for 4 nights on our own then training to Budapest where we cruise for 14 nights to Amsterdam. After 4 nights post cruise in Amsterdam we train to Bruges for 2 nights then train to Paris where we board a 10 night Gems of the Seine cruise. We then spend 3 nights post/pre nights in Paris before joining a 12 night South of France river cruise. We have 2 nights post cruise in Nice.

I am almost afraid to mention that we a travelling with Scenic. :-)

We are getting really excited - 229 days till we leave. We are spending a couple of weeks in the UK before Prague.
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Strath


HAL Ms Zuiderdam Alaska 05/25/2013
Scenic Jade - Jewels of Europe 09/17/2014
Scenic Gem - Gems of the Seine 10/06/2014
Scenic Emerald - South of France 10/19/2014
HAL Ms Zuiderdam Mediterranean 04/14/2015
HAL Ms Noordam Aust/NZ 03/25/2016
#17
Bathurst, NSW Australia
64 Posts
Joined Jun 2012
Originally posted by Stratheden
We are also doing 3 B2B river cruises in September/October this year. We are doing Prague for 4 nights on our own then training to Budapest where we cruise for 14 nights to Amsterdam. After 4 nights post cruise in Amsterdam we train to Bruges for 2 nights then train to Paris where we board a 10 night Gems of the Seine cruise. We then spend 3 nights post/pre nights in Paris before joining a 12 night South of France river cruise. We have 2 nights post cruise in Nice.

I am almost afraid to mention that we a travelling with Scenic. :-)

We are getting really excited - 229 days till we leave. We are spending a couple of weeks in the UK before Prague.
Hello fellow Aussie
Looks like you are also of the opinion that if we travel such a long distance, we might as well stay quite awhile. What I failed to mention is that we are doing a 14 night Mediterranean Ocean Cruise prior to starting our River Cruising. Yes we are spending the kids inheritance!

The only reason we are not going with Scenic, is their dates didn't fit in with our Ocean Cruise. Booking from Oz, I think APT & Scenic have very similar pricing structures & we had already narrowed our choices to these two despite recent reviews. I have friends who did a similar trip with Scenic last September & loved every minute of their trip.

I am sure we shall all have a wonderful time, River levels permitting


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
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#18
Australia
1,174 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
Yes Crochet Queen that is exactly our thinking. It is so far from here to anywhere that we usually combine a few things to make it worthwhile.

Last year our travel time to Toronto, Ca was 28 hours door to door.

I'm sure you will enjoy your time away also.
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Strath


HAL Ms Zuiderdam Alaska 05/25/2013
Scenic Jade - Jewels of Europe 09/17/2014
Scenic Gem - Gems of the Seine 10/06/2014
Scenic Emerald - South of France 10/19/2014
HAL Ms Zuiderdam Mediterranean 04/14/2015
HAL Ms Noordam Aust/NZ 03/25/2016
#19
Long Island, New York
4,494 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
Originally posted by Stratheden
Yes Crochet Queen that is exactly our thinking. It is so far from here to anywhere that we usually combine a few things to make it worthwhile.

Last year our travel time to Toronto, Ca was 28 hours door to door.

I'm sure you will enjoy your time away also.
We've met quite a few Aussies on European and American travels and everyone of them as been spending around 2 months here. I think if I went to Australia (and I'd love to) I would plan on seeing everything in one trip because it's so far.

As to thread topic: we're doing our 6th with Vantage this year (7th booked for 2015) starting with 5 days in Prague and Bratislava and then Budapest to the Black Sea. Budapest to Amsterdam was our very first river cruise and we loved it.
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Sailed:
Greek Islands and Turkey, Louis Perla, October, 2006
Castles on Rhine, Vantage, Aug/Sept. 2008
Egypt and Jordan, Vantage, Jan/Feb. 2009
Holland and Belgium, Vantage, April/May 2010
Alaska, HAL Statendam, June, 2011
Costa Rica, Star Flyer,Vantage, Feb. 2011
Russia and Ukraine, Vantage, Aug/Sept. 2012
Panama Canal, Celebrity Infinity, April/May 2013
Columbia & Snake Rivers, ACL , June, 2013
Gateway to the Black Sea, Vantage, June/July 2014
Trans Canada Rail Odyssey ,Vantage, June 2015
Switzerland Rhine & Mozelle, Vantage, August 2015
Southern Caribbean, Celebrity Eclipse, March 2016
Canada-New England, Celebrity Summit, Oct 2016
Caribbean, RCI Grandeur of the Seas, Jan, 2017

Other:
England
Bermuda
Italy
France
Monaco
Greece
Turkey
Iceland

Not yet Sailed:
Scandinavia-Russia, Celebrity Eclipse, Aug, 2017
Norway Fjords, Celebrity Eclipse, Aug, 2017
South America & Antarctica, Infinity, Feb. 2018
British Isles, Celebrity, August, 2018
Transatlantic Barcelona to FLL, HAL, October 2018
#20
Rhine, Germany
1,891 Posts
Joined Oct 2013
Hello,

I live on the river Rhine and have cruised the river Danube with Transocean, a German company. I could have sailed with Viking Flusskreuzfahrten. Viking river cruises did not market to Germans, in fact I could not even book a cruise through my TA. Viking Flusskreuzfahrten seized to exist on 31 December 2013, so its competitors will divide that share of the market among them, I should think. However, as mentioned in another thread Viking markets the Russian cruises in Germany.

I am currently not looking at the Viking cruises but I am considering Arosa, Transocean, TUI, CroisiEurope and Tauck for a cruise this Spring or Autumn. They appeal to me more as they also offer itineraries that are shorter than 7 days and also often include other ports than Viking.

For my Danube cruise I booked an optional package of trips, which were mostly guided tours. I did not book all the tours so as to leave sparetime in ports or for a refreshing short sleep in the afternoon.

notamermaid
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Transocean Belvedere Danube April 2013
English Channel Crossings 1984 to present:
Calais - Dover
Ostend - Dover
Dutch island hopping 1980's
Many Rhine river short trips