Viking vs. Competitors, Quality

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Redwood City, California
1 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
My wife and I receive many mailings from Viking River Cruises. Of course they list the amenities available, but how does their quality compare with other river cuise lines? We are impressed by the inclusion of all, or most all, shore excurions in their cost. Thanks, cabinboy1916
3,478 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
Avalon,AMA.Uniworld all include most of the excursions in their price. These 3 also include wine and beer with dinner.My faovrite is Avalon because I have cruised 2 times with them. All of us have our favorites.Avalon has the largest regular cabins on the rivers at 172 sq ft.

Viking is rated slightly below these 3.
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Coral Princess, Panama Canal, April 2017
Carnival Vista, Mediteranean,June 2016
Caribbean Princess,Norway,June 2015
Ruby Princess, British Isles,June 2014
Carnival Legend, Baltic,June 2013
Celebrity Equinox,Eastern Med, May 2012
Carnival Magic, Western Mediteranean, June 2011
Avalon Tranquility, Budapest to Amsterdam,2007
Avalon Scenery, Paris to Nice,2006
2,063 Posts
Joined May 2008
Viking is good. We found their China trip to be much better than the Grand European that we did after the China trip. They are launching a new ship for Europe next year and I would make sure that I took a ship that is true and tested before I would get on a new ship again.
14,432 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
AMA and Avalon both have large standard cabins, include wine with dinner, and include most tours. AMA also has bikes on board that guests can use to explore the ports. Both have a modern fleet.

I have only sailed on Avalon so far and found the overall experience very good. I would not want to cruise on an older ship with small cabins, murphy beds, etc. as that does not appeal to me. So value is in the eye of the beholder.

AMA is on our list to try and perhaps Tauck one day, if budget permits. We were docked next to one of their ships in Germany and it was really lovely.
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143 cruises since 1964, 15 on the river.
Looking forward to:
MS Joy - Magic of Advent, December 2017

Amadeus Silver III, May 2018
AmaKristina, Christmas Markets, December 2018
Scenic Eclipse, April, 2019

Our river cruising history:
Avalon Luminary B2B- Christmas Markets, 2009
Avalon Affinity - Christmas Markets 2010
Avalon Panorama - Danube New Years Cruise, 2011
AmaDante -Vineyards of the Rhine and Moselle 2012
AmaCerto - Budapest to Nuremburg, 2013
AmaBella - Tulip Time, 2014
AmaDagio - Provence, 2014
AmaReina - Holiday on the Rhine 2014
SS Catherine - Provence 2015
AmaSerena Christmas on the Rhine, 2015
Scenic Diamond, Bordeaux, April 2016
AmaVida, Douro, August. 2016
AmaSonata, Romantic Danube - Oct. 2016
Joie de Vivre, Paris and Normany - April 2017

Recent cruises:
Le Lyral, The Adriatic, September 2017
590 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Been on Avalon twice, once on the Danube and this spring on the Seine. Both ships were new and well run. The dinner meals are the only failing, in that you'd expect that what's essentially a European restaurant you'd get really good food - fortunately the portions were small [never thought that I'd say that]. Also the tour director on the Danube cruise was reminiscent of Basil Fawlty - only not funny.
In October will be on Viking so will report on the pros and cons etc. They also promise free wine at dinner [will help if sub-par cuisine].
Los Angeles, CA, USA
3,209 Posts
Joined Aug 2002

Just wanted to thank you for posting your wonderful blog about your recent tour of Europe. We just returned Sunday from a Rhine/Moselle rivercruise and it was truly a treat to view your beautiful photos and read your commentary as I sipped my first cup of coffee for the morning.

Orangeville Ontario
1,754 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Originally posted by cabinboy1916
My wife and I receive many mailings from Viking River Cruises. Of course they list the amenities available, but how does their quality compare with other river cuise lines? We are impressed by the inclusion of all, or most all, shore excurions in their cost. Thanks, cabinboy1916

Most river cruise lines offer a basic package of tours with a few optional thrown in as choices.

Having cruised on both Uniworld and Viking we'd be hard pressed to identify a clear distinction between the two. The key element of choice is the itinerary and how well it matches your interests. Another important factor is the CD and fellow crew members, but that is very difficult to control.

As far as the ststeroom layout, a few of the older Viking ships have a fold-down bed in some of their cabins. If it's an issue, it's easy to check in the brochures or on-line. We had hotel-style beds and found them very comfortable.

It is quite remarkable as to how loyal patrons are to their initial choice of cruise lines and I'm sure you'll feel the same at the end of your cruise.
Coastal NC
3,244 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
I have been on Viking, Uniworld, AMAwaterways, Gate 1 and Grand Circle. Not much difference in any of them. Grand Circle had the most optionals of any of the cruise lines. Our CD on Uniworld was awful, but that didn't affect our trip. Would cruise with any of them again.
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Viking, Portraits of Southern France. 2006
Uniworld, Castles Along the Rhine, 2007
Gate 1, Thanksgiving Cruise, 2007
AMA Waterways, Portugal on the Douro, 2008
Grand Circle: Romance of the Rhine and Mosel, 2010
Viking Emerald, China's Cultural Delights. 3/28/2011
Grand Circle: Old World Prague and the Blue Danube. September 7, 2011.
Viking Spirit, Paris to Normandy. 12/11/11.
Grand Circle's [i]Essence of the Elbe: 5/27/12/ to 6/11/12
Grand Circle Russia Revealed with pretrip to Helsinki and Tallinn , 2012. .
Viking Sun, Treasures of the Rhine. Nov 11, 2012.
AMACerto, Istanbul to Budapest. May 30, 2013.
Uniworld River Queen, Classic Christmas Markets, Nuremberg to Frankfurt. Dec 5, 2013.
Vantage Travel, Croatian Odyssey & Venice with Lake Bled, Slovenia pretrip. M/Y Harmony G
Grand Circle, Burma and the Irrawaddy, Thailand and Cambodia. Nov 25, 2014. RV Paukan 2012.
Grand Circle: Spain's Northern Coast & the Bay of Biscay. 4/30/2015 to 5/21/2015. Ship: Corinthian
AMAWaterways: Magnificent Europe. Aug 30 to Sept 14, 2015. AMACerto. Budapest to Amsterdam
Vantage: The Peruvian Amazon and Machu Picchu. 3/12/2016. Post trip to Lake Titicaca. Ship: RV Amazon Discovery
Grand Circle: Grand Baltic Sea Voyage. . 7/30/2016 to 8/15/2016. Ship: Corinthian
Viking: Castles & Legends. Munich to Budapest. 12/5/16 to 12/16/16. Viking Ve.
Viking Sky: Mediterranean Getaway, Rome to Barcelona, 2/25/17 to 3/4/17.

Grand Circle: Maritime Jewels of the British Isles. 7/23/17. Ship: Corinthian
Avalon Affinity: Burgundy & Provence with London, 10/2/17
Viking RA: Pharaohs & Pyramids. March 8, 2018
New York City
105 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
I love AMA and recommend them highly. You can read my review of our Danube cruise on the AMA Amadante under Member Reviews.
2,503 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
The itinerary is sooo important when cruising--river or ocean. Then size of boat. You need to look at the schematics on web sites or in brochures to see how many pax and ratio of crew to pax. Over 150 is a bit much for me on the rivers. We have been on the Viking Sun with 198 pax and thought it crowded in the lounge and on the sundeck. The CD on this trip was a true novice. Most of the boats are similar in cabin layout--ranging in size from 100-175 sq.ft. The more expensive the trip doesn't always mean a better cabin. Aslo check carefully if there are mobility problems of any kind--Viking only has a chair lift on the Schumann--no elevators. That can be a deal breaker for some folks. Some lines have real balconies, but that usually means smaller cabins.
We all have our favorite lines, so the should not determine which you pick. Another thought, if you are only comfortable travelling with Americans, then Grand Circle or Vantage are for you. If you like an English speaking international mix, try one of the other lines.
There is a wealth of info on these boards, so keep asking. Pat
Bear, DE
1,399 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
Within any river cruise company, the region you are talking about makes a huge difference. For example, we are going on a Viking Egypt Nile River cruise. In Egypt right now they use a Movenpick ship which has very large rooms, greater than 200 sq. ft. In China the ships are even larger. Bottom line, as has been already stated, is reading the details for each cruise.
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Link to spreadsheet with Roll Call and itinerary for Crystal Symphony South Pacific segments 8205-8206

Previous sailings: Carnival (1), NCL (4), Celebrity (5), Cunard-Queen Mary 2 (2), Oceania (2), Holland America (2), Viking (2), AMA Waterways (1), Princess (1), Un-Cruise (1), Voyages to Antiquities (1), Disney (1)

Most recent cruises:

15 Night Galapagos with Machu Picchu extension on Celebrity Xpedition 4/2/2017
3 Day Disney cruise to Bahamas (with our grandson!) 8/4/2017
Iceland, Greenland and Scotland Explorer on Holland America Prinsendam 8/18/2017

Christmas in Cuba and the Caribbean with Voyages to Antiquities 12/15/2017
Back to back Auckland to Valparaiso South Pacific on Crystal Symphony March 2018

More than 50 Countries visited to date