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How should we use our Viking voucher?


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It will be a while before I'm over my frustration as a passenger on the July 25 Viking Oceans cruise. That said, my husband, thinks it would be a real waste to not use our voucher. I don't want this to turn into a "Viking Rivers" thread, but could really use advice. We've already done Viking's Egypt and China itineraries. Is there a Viking cruise in Europe that was your favorite? Thanks for helping us choose.

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If you haven't been there before, we really enjoyed the 14-day (or might have been 12-day) Rhine cruise from Basel to Amsterdam. It was a great central/western European cruise. We too have been to China; although not with Viking, the itinerary was about the same. And we did Russia with Uniworld (my favorite so far), so we decided to do Eastern Europe. We really enjoyed the Dalmatian coast on the Oceans cruise (we did lots of private tours on that leg) so we thought we'd see more of that part of the world. But if you haven't been on the Rhine, I would suggest that.

 

We agree, we didn't just want to leave the voucher sitting on the table. But we didn't want to be guinea pigs again, so we opted for a river cruise Viking has had lots of practice with.

 

I would suggest the Bordeaux cruise, but because of the tidal nature of that river system, there's lots of adjustments to the schedule from cruise to cruise and you've had enough of that. Some cruises end up being more or less docked in Bordeaux and bussed a lot. Other cruises seem to go off as planned, but some times not.

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It will be a while before I'm over my frustration as a passenger on the July 25 Viking Oceans cruise. That said, my husband, thinks it would be a real waste to not use our voucher. I don't want this to turn into a "Viking Rivers" thread, but could really use advice. We've already done Viking's Egypt and China itineraries. Is there a Viking cruise in Europe that was your favorite? Thanks for helping us choose.

 

My husband and I chose this one from Nuremburg to Budapest. We arrived early to take advantage of the day and to go to the Documentation Center in Nuremburg. It would be a shame to miss the place, and Viking allows about a half day for Nuremburg. This is not enough time to visit the Center: you will have to arrive early. A cab can easily be arranged from the ship to the Center, and someone at the Center will call for a cab back to the ship or into town.

 

We enjoyed every port and did a lot of walking on our own. At the time, Melk was a stop, but it is not now.

 

This itinerary allows a full day in Vienna, and we rode their subway to an art museum. There was also a very small trip to the equivalent of a farmers' market offered by the chef on the boat that was very interesting and worthwhile (not to be missed). I do not recommend the symphony offered by the ship as it's for tourists only (no locals). The music was very good, but we didn't like the specially arranged event just for tourists.

 

We also went independently from Budapest to Prague and enjoyed 3 days in an easily managed city. We stayed just outside of the Old City and had the benefit of an enthusiastic and helpful manager of a small hotel (Trip Advisor recommended). My father and my son stayed at the place before we did, so we were confident in the choice.

 

I agree with your sentiments and your husband's thoughts on the vouchers and am facing the same quandary.

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How about VR Elegant Elbe Berlin<=>Prague? Does it suffer from the variable river depth issue? We're thinking of doing that a year or two after our Viking Homeland next year. Figured we could skip the day long trip to Berlin and do it more completely as a post or pre extension.

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Thanks everyone! Hope you'll keep the suggestions coming! Definitely want to avoid bussing because of low/high water levels. For those of you who are loyal Viking River fans, what has been your very most favorite trip?

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Thanks everyone! Hope you'll keep the suggestions coming! Definitely want to avoid bussing because of low/high water levels. For those of you who are loyal Viking River fans, what has been your very most favorite trip?

 

We are not necessarily "loyal", we really enjoyed the "Tulips and Windmills" (if I have the name correct) cruise in the Netherlands and Belgium in the spring.

 

If you go towards the mid to end of April, you stand a good chance of seeing the full bloom of tulips/daffodils at the Keukenhof Gardens. Truly breathtakng. There are other interesting sites as well.

 

I believe that water levels issues would be a very, very unlikely issue on this itinerary.

 

In terms of those issues, The Danube and Elbe seem to encounter the more serious concerns. But they can certainly happen on other rivers.

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It will be a while before I'm over my frustration as a passenger on the July 25 Viking Oceans cruise. That said, my husband, thinks it would be a real waste to not use our voucher. I don't want this to turn into a "Viking Rivers" thread, but could really use advice. We've already done Viking's Egypt and China itineraries. Is there a Viking cruise in Europe that was your favorite? Thanks for helping us choose.

 

I was going to start a thread just like this. Sorry we missed the meet and greet and did not get to talk to our fellow CC travelers. We are not river cruisers but don't want to waste the vouchers either. On the other hand, we don't want to throw away good money after bad. With that in mind, our strategy is to stay with cruises that the vouchers will almost totally cover (shorter sojourns). We don't even know if we will like river cruising versus ocean. Given the fact that we still have out of pocket air fare expense, we will extend our stay on either end of the river cruise and tour around on our own to maximize our vacation so we are looking for cities that have good air/rail connections to the rest of Europe.

 

 

I did some research on line for the "most scenic" of the river tours. The Rhine, Moselle and Douro appear often. Amsterdam and Basel seem like great hopping on/off towns. Any input would be great since we are novices at river cruising.

 

By the way, thank you Elizabeth for all the great advice you gave. Really appreciated the time and effort you took from your travels to share you experience.

Edited by TERRIER1
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Thanks everyone! Hope you'll keep the suggestions coming! Definitely want to avoid bussing because of low/high water levels. For those of you who are loyal Viking River fans, what has been your very most favorite trip?

 

We did the Grand European Trip in April 2013 with Viking from Budapest to Amsterdam and absolutely loved it! We arrived early and spent 2 nights in Budapest which is a beautiful city with lots to do. We also did (mind you through another company), southern France on the Rhone River and really enjoyed that as well. It was 8 days and we went early as well and spent the 2 nights in Nice and then went by bus to Arles where the cruise began. Viking has that trip as well. It ended in Paris. I hope your next trip will be enjoyable for you both.

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We had several; one being the Tulips and Windmills on the old Viking Sky in Mar 2008. We love art and on the day that everyone saw tulips we took the train to the Hague to the Mauritshuis Gallery to see "The Girl With the Pearl Earring". Amsterdam also has the Anne Frank House which is a must see.

The second was our June 2009 down the Dnieper on the old Viking Sun. It gave us a glimpse of the old communism system that is still alive and well; and the youth that are trying hard to break free. We had a special treat. Our cruise director arranged for us to be allowed for us to get off our tour bus to meet the parents of our next door neighbor. He took us to their apartment outside of Stavastopol where he and his wife gave us a special meal. We had entertained Olaf and his wife in our home in NC and the experience was a highlight for us. Olaf then arranged to take us back to the Viking Sun. One English Russian dictionary, much homemade wine and good food. Thank goodness Olaf had a designated driver for it was a Yugo style auto of questionable vintage with no seat belts. Walker and I have looked at the Douro River cruise for a long time and that was one of the things that appealed to us about the VO cruise. It hit on Spain and Portugal.

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We did the Viking grand European last June, it was enjoyable but I wasn't thrilled. I'm not sure if River cruises are for me but I haven't ruled out doing another.

 

I would spend a couple hours researching dates and airfare pricing , try to find the cheapest and most convenient match to possible cruises. I used to do this when we were awash in Marriott points as there was no advantage to booking a "free" hotel stay if the air was inconvenient or very expensive.

Try to pull in mileage, points, cash and points, cash and miles for air and hotel.

As a matter of principle I would spend minimal money once on board.

 

Definitely research a DIY mini trip before or after the cruise, considering air and hotel prices.

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Terrier1 - Really sorry we never were able to get together. It got so hectic those last few days. Glad to hear from you again on CC. One of the best parts of the July 25 cruise were the CC passengers we did get to know.

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We have done the Danube from Budapest to Neurenberg and the Rhine from Basel to Amsterdam. We enjoyed them both. We had "aquarium level" cabins on both ships. If you plan on getting the least expensive cabin to use up most of your voucher, I would recommend that you look at an older ship. The new longboats only have portholes.....the older boat we were on had fairly large windows. We had no problems being in the lower level.....the people down there were a very friendly bunch. As for water levels, we sailed around mid-May both trips and we had no issues but some people who sailed a little before or after us did. That is totally beyond Viking's control obviously and just a risk you take when you go on a river cruise. We really enjoyed getting to know the other people on both of those cruises- with less than 200, you interact a lot! We extended both of our 7 day cruises by doing a week in Paris and then flying to Budapest for the Danube and then we did a week in Rome and flew to Basel for the Danube. We really enjoyed doing those side trips on our own.

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We've done 6 river cruises with Viking as well as going with other companies off and on. Our favorite was our first Viking trip, Imperial Jewels of China in 2011, excellent if you have an interest. Viking did a wonderful job logistically of getting us around including 2 intra-China flights, very nice accommodations, IMHO and we saw so much. Just excellent.

 

As to water levels and being bussed or changing ships mid-trip, I'd say most of the rivers in Europe can be a crapshoot, they can become too low or high in a very short amount of time.

 

Good luck in your choices.

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We also loved our 'Tulips & Windmills'. Lots of opportunities to just walk off the ship and begin your tours. Beautiful small towns in The Netherlands with lots of history. We did the optional tour to Delft and it was a picture-perfect town, with its town square, shops and churches. So pretty. Kinderdiyk with the many windmills and Keukenhof with the many, many beautiful tulips just made our cruise. The staff and tour guides were wonderful and our stops in Belgium, Antwerp and Bruges, were just perfect.

 

Becki

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I think that anyone counting on the port of Istanbul, right now anyway, should be monitoring the situation for cruise ships. I see that a Celebrity Cruise just cancelled this port 14 hours ago, due to safety.

 

But....Virginia may be more dangerous!

 

We have accepted the fact now, as our contact with our TA and with Viking seems done.....that we have vouchers to use that are non transferable. So we are looking also at the best use. But we will avoid any Tour that stops in Istanbul, until things settle down. It is not the safety concern so much as the disappointment we all know from the Aug. 25th sailing, that sets in when a port is cancelled.

 

Between the concern with high, then low water levels on River Cruises, a general fugue around mechanical issues on Ocean, and now safety/security in Istanbul

I am feeling that the vouchers are a heavy burden on my shoulders.

 

I need to get my sense of adventure back for travel...or at least count my blessings!

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We were on one of the ill-fated June2013 Viking River cruises. We waited until the last minute to exercise the 75% credit we had and finally settled on a Viking Ocean cruise. We head out in 6 or 7 weeks. If this trip goes bad, I'll be done chasing credit usage.

The River credit goes a long way on an Ocean cruise, so I doubt an Ocean credit would go very far on a River cruise.

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How about VR Elegant Elbe Berlin<=>Prague? Does it suffer from the variable river depth issue? We're thinking of doing that a year or two after our Viking Homeland next year. Figured we could skip the day long trip to Berlin and do it more completely as a post or pre extension.

Water level prevented cruising. Nice bus trip. Little notice from Viking.

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How about VR Elegant Elbe Berlin<=>Prague? Does it suffer from the variable river depth issue? We're thinking of doing that a year or two after our Viking Homeland next year. Figured we could skip the day long trip to Berlin and do it more completely as a post or pre extension.

 

 

Yes it does.

Visit http://www.vikingrivercruises.co.uk/my-trip/about-my-cruise/current-sailings.html

For details of changes to schedules due to low water levels in Europe.

Budapest is a great place to start or end a trip. We did Budapest to Amsterdam. Just pick the right month, rivers can suffer from draughts and floods.

We are doing Berlin to Prague in October and like you did not do Berlin this June on the Star. There is plenty to do without the 3 hour drive to Berlin.

Yours Ingra Tor

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We wnjoyed the Russian Eivwr ceuise from St. petersburg to Moscow more than the Danube as it was more interesting to us. Our favorite river cruise wasn't with Viking, rather AMA Waterways, on the Mekong River. I think Viking now does it too.

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Has anyone any experience with the Rhine cruises? Thanks.

 

My cousin did a Rhine cruise a year ago April when we did our Passage to Eastern Europe cruise. It was her & her husband's first river cruise and they thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

Becki

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Has anyone any experience with the Rhine cruises? Thanks.

 

 

Also did the Grand European from Budapest to Amsterdam on the Atla summer of 2014 and LOVED it! Had some nerves during the weeks leading up to it, reading about the water level issues near Regensburg. However, by the time we got there, we seemed to luck out. Skirting just ahead of the opposite situation - too MUCH water (just as bad as too little) - as we glided up through the And the lock that got stuck and then unstuck as we approached Nuremberg broke for real (no idea how many days it took to fix) a few hours after we left. Our boat seemed to be charmed.

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