39 Viking River Cruises Tour Reviews & Ratings

Viking River Cruises Tour Reviews & Ratings

39 Reviews
4.8 | Excellent
Excellent 37 Great 0 Average 0 Disappointing 0 Terrible 2
95% Recommend
Value:
4.8 Guide:
4.8 Activities:
4.9 Lodging:
4.8 Transportation:
4.8 Meals:
4.8

Tour Reviews

TV

Recommends

Tourico Vacations -Rhine River Cruise September 2021

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Rhine Getaway Itinerary:
We sailed from Basel, Switzerland up north on the Rhine River and ended at Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Viking also offers the same route in reverse, from Amsterdam to Basel so you can pick either. For a couple stops on the journey, boats running in opposite cities are docked together.

We had a wonderful time and especially loved how organized the entire Viking journey was, from pre-departure to on-board, everything was seamless. Also unlike many other cruises or guided tours, almost everything was included, which made it feel like a truly relaxing vacation.

Here’s a snapshot of our 7-day itinerary and what we got up to each day!

Day 1: Arrive in Basel, Switzerland

We arrived in the small, quaint town of Basel after our international flight. This was the general arrival / travel date so we expected to just check in and relax but discovered that Viking organized a guided walking tour of the town. That was a nice surprise!

There’s also the option to arrive a couple days early and/or stay a couple days late. If you are thinking of this, here’s a quick guide to the best hotels in Basel to help with accommodation.

Basel is an underrated tourist attraction and the third largest city in Switzerland. The town has a gorgeous Medieval center and plenty of world-class art museums. There’s a reason Art Basel is held here!

We checked out the Romanesque cathedral, took endless pictures of the colorful medieval buildings and headed back to our ship to relax and meet everyone for cocktails and dinner. A great first day!

Read more: An Afternoon in Basel, Switzerland’s Most Underrated City!

Day 2: Germany’s Black Forest & Colmar, France

On our second day, we sailed northward to dock at Breisach, Germany. In the morning, we learned how to make cuckoo-clocks, put together Black Forest cake and walked a bit throughout the Black Forest.

The wooded mountain range is the site of many local legends and populated all over with black fir trees. If you like hiking, the mountains are wonderful!

In the afternoon, we signed up for an optional tour to Colmar. Located in the Alsace Lorraine region, the town is part of France but throughout much of history, changed hands between Germany and France. You’ll find lots of German and French spoken as a result!

I highly recommend visiting this quaint medieval town. Every street looks perfectly preserved and it’s quite colorful. We wandered mostly on our own, ducking into gelato shops and chocolate stores while enjoying the colorful, medieval feel.

Read more: The Most Picturesque Alsatian Town of Colmar

Day 3: Strasbourg, France

If you skip the optional to Colmar, no worries! Strasbourg is its larger cousin and also located in Alsace, France.

We had a wonderful guide for this day who guided us throughout the small canals, pointing out colorful streets and letting us know about Strasbourg’s tangled history in the hands of Germany and France.

Strasbourg occupies a strategic position on the Rhine River and is the ninth largest city in France. It’s home to many European councils and organizations, like the European Court of Human Rights (a building built like a ship) and the Council of Europe.

For the most part, we stuck to the Old Medieval Town but drove through the modern section. Highly recommend a visit to the Cathedral!

Read more: 24 Hours in Strasbourg (coming soon)

Day 4: Heidelberg, Germany

Heidelberg is a university town with a energetic, small town feel. In the morning, we visited Heidelberg Castle, which perhaps should be called a ruined fortress, as much of it was destroyed by lightening, fires and war.

The ruins and castle are built high above the city and the observation terrace is well worth a look! Meanwhile, the city was almost entirely spared from bomb attacks during World War II and it’s narrow streets and baroque charm remain largely intact.

We explored Heidelberg’s Old Town (Altstadt) by walking along the main shopping street Hauptstrasse. This is actually the longest shopping street in Europe! For the most part, I spotted large chain stores & restaurants.

I actually recommend skipping this street to explore the quaint alleyways and backstreets instead. Much more picturesque!

Read more: The Best of Heidelberg Germany in 1 Day

Day 5: Rhine River Castles & Koblenz, Germany

By day 5, we had reached the middle Rhine and spent our morning above deck watching the gorgeous small German towns and castles along both sides of the Rhine River. Our Viking program director gave a guided tour along the way, pointing out castles left and right.

Many of them are situated high above local towns and we saw lots of German camper vans parked at the base. I recommend bringing a pair of binoculars for this part, as some of the castles can be set a bit farther away and the detail through a zoom is incredible.

By afternoon, we reached Koblenz, a city set at the mouth of two rivers. We explored Marksburg Castle and wandered a bit on our own after. This was another ruined fortress high above the river. Interesting history, but wear good shoes! The entire castle is unpaved, rocky and entirely uneven.

A couple others from the cruise did the optional dinner excursion on this day and raved about it.

Read more: A Photo Diary of Pretty Rhine Castles

Day 6: Cologne, Germany

During the Holy Roman Empire, Cologne was the largest medieval town in Europe. Naturally, it’s Gothic cathedral is the hallmark draw! The nice thing about this stop is the ship can dock right into town, so you can join the tour or explore on your own.

We explored the Kölner Dom’s interior and were suitably awed. If you want a great view, Viking offers an optional tour that takes you all the way to the very top! I had already been to Cologne on a previous trip so instead, we opted for a palace excursion.

We visited Augustusburg Castle, one of two gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage site classified as Bruhl Palaces. The castle was once home to the prince-archbishops of Cologne and is decked out in gold, marble and all-around extravagance.

I particularly liked the massive entryway staircase which was gilded and made my mouth drop open when we turned the corner. Highly recommend this day trip if you love castles half as much as I do!

The interiors were really unique and the guided tour was excellent. After the main palace, we did a quick tour of the hunting lodge as well, which was just as stunning.

Read more: Exploring Cologne (coming soon)

Day 7: Kinderdijk, The Netherlands

Kinderdijk is home to the Netherlands’ famous windmills. I’ll admit I didn’t know too much about the country outside of Amsterdam and our guide was quite helpful to explain the history of the nation and the purpose of its many windmills. Much of the Netherlands would sink, were it not for windmills to pump away water.

We even got to tour inside the home of a windmill keeper (see photos of a windmill interior here!). What I didn’t realize was that windmill caretakers actually lived inside them with their families!

I thought the interiors were particularly interesting and our guide mentioned that some Dutch families managed to fit 13 children inside.

They’re quite small so I noticed lots of hooks for hanging, curved bunk-bed type rooms and lots of stair ladders. The Dutch windmill keepers also had a number of really unique boats which I took too many pictures of!

Fun fact: Kinderdijk is in the region of Holland in the nation of The Netherlands where the people speak Dutch.

Read more: Visiting A Dutch Windmill Home (and other day trips from Amsterdam!)

The Rhine Getaway Cruise

One thing I liked about sailing with Viking is how leisurely the day to day pace is. There’s generally an opportunity to sight see in the morning and afternoon, with one included tour and one optional tour.

We chose to do 2 optionals and on the other days, relaxed on board or went into town to explore on our own! It was a well-balanced pace and I truly felt “on vacation”.

Here’s a recap of our daily itinerary with Viking:
Day 1 Arrive in Basel, Switzerland
Day 2 Morning: Sail to the Black Forest

Afternoon: Explore Colmar, France
Day 3 Explore Strasbourg, France
Day 4 Morning: Explore Heidelberg’s Castle and Old Town.

Evening: Stop in Rudesheim
Day 5 Morning: See German castles along the Rhine River

Afternoon: Visit Koblenz, Germany
Day 6 Morning: Visit Cologne, Germany

Afternoon: Day trip to Bruhl Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Day 7 See dutch windmills at Kinderdijk. Arrive in Amsterdam in late evening.
Watch video: Tourico Vacations Viking River Cruise

Read more

D

Recommends

Great time March 2019

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Took our first trip on a Viking River Cruise on the Danube and had a great time. Viking's included and optional tours were wonderful and having their own tour buses was a real plus as all were well maintained and clean. Some of the best tour guides we have ever encountered. Service was superb and the food was very good. One member of our party became quite ill and the staff did an excellent job ensuring their safety and providing assistance even after the cruise ended as they had to stay on at our last stop before being able to travel home. Cabins were very nice and clean. Would highly recommend them to anyone and we plan on another trip in the near future.
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M&P

Recommends

WONDERFUL STAFF & SEAMLESS ORGANIZATION February 2019

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
This was our first Viking cruise, and hopefully not our last. Wonderful staff and seamless organization. . . .The excursions were well planned and informative, and the local guides were well prepared. We would like to compliment some of the staff for their ever-smiling attention
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CP

Recommends

What a memorable trip! January 2019

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
A truly “golden” adventure. My sister and I took our first Viking cruise on the Passage to Eastern Europe and had been impressed with Viking’s service. For years, I’d wanted to explore the Douro River of Portugal, being interested in “roads”—or in this case, rivers—less traveled. This trip exceeded my expectations and proved without any doubt that Viking’s attention to service and to hiring a real “team” of happy crew members pays off for everyone on board. Not only were the excursions—both included and optional—excellent, as was the cuisine, but the camaraderie among the staff was obvious. What a memorable trip! Hopefully, every other passenger on this trip in the future will experience the beauty and history that the Douro River affords as well as Viking’s delightful and personal service.
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S

Recommends

wonderful memories on this trip December 2018

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
We just got home traveling down the Danube from Passau to Budapest. We did the pre stay in Prague. I must start by saying that we were extremely worried about this trip due to the low water situation. Everything about this trip was organized. All the Viking reps and guides were extremely knowledgeable and helpful to answer any questions we had.

Once on the boat we had a large group 18 people of all different ages and the staff took very good care of us. The waiters in the dining room took care of our family as if it was their own and paid close attention to our needs. If we suggested or asked for something it was there for us the next day. Of all the tour guides we had there were only 2 that weren’t that good. All the others were extremely knowledgeable and answered any questions we had. The only thing I would suggest to do different is cut out the 3 hrs we have in Slovakia and either add time to Vienna or Budapest. Those 2 cities are beautiful and it was hard to squeeze everything in. All in all my family had a great time and made wonderful memories on this trip.
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L

Recommends

Excellent December 2018

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
My wife and I sailed with Viking on their Romantic Danube river cruise from Nuremberg to Budapest, departing December 2. Although we were warned of low river water levels, 2 days of rain at the beginning of our cruise allowed our boat, the Jarl, to travel all of the way to Budapest on the river. This was our first cruise with Viking and will not be our last. The service, food, guided tours, programs, and overall attention to detail were excellent. We opted to spend two extra nights in Budapest, and Viking put us and others up in the Intercontinental, a wonderful and perfectly situated hotel. Viking had a desk in the hotel that was staffed during the day to take care of us. We cannot speak more highly of this cruise and would give more than 5 stars if possible.
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V

Recommends

Excellent service December 2018

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
We (A group of 6 women) just returned from the 12/2 sailing of the Christmas Market cruise on the Romantic Danube. I was in cabin 341. We did receive a notice earlier from Viking that the water levels were questionable but we decided to make it an adventure. We had made plans for the trip over a year ago. From the pre-trip to when we first embarked on the ship we were so pleased with the excellent service, the friendly staff and the great food. The whole crew made it a wonderful and fun experience of a lifetime. One that we almost considered canceling because of such negative reviews that we had read. I will never hesitate to travel with Viking both on their river and ocean cruises.
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V

Recommends

wonderful November 2018

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
With the water levels in the Danube a very real issue at the time of our cruise, we set off on our cruise on the Hermod. Service on the cruise was so wonderful and we were so spoiled. Having a suite was a wonderful choice and I highly recommend them as the cabins are pretty small. Day by day we moved ever closer to Budapest without problem with the river. The weather got warmer and warmer as we went, so unusual at this time of the year. We crept into Budapest with our wonderful captain at the helm, we had only 30 cm of water under us!! Budapest, an extremely beautiful city, was lit up at midnight to greet our boat as we arrived at the end of our journey. Budapest had not seen an arrival in 2 weeks!! (We later heard it had been 6 weeks, but I was not able to verify this). We were soooo fortunate to get through on the beautiful Danube. Sure missed Sasha (room steward) and Valeri and Chocho (from the dining room).

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L

Does Not Recommend

Misleading and often just plain dishonest. October 2018

1.0
  • Value 1.0
  • Guide 3.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 3.0
  • Transportation 1.0
  • Meals 3.0
We paid for a 3 week luxury river cruise but received a large group bus trip across Europe with many days of packing and unpacking. I called our Viking representative when we received an email message just 2 days prior to departure that mentioned a possibility of problems with low river levels. I was assured that everything was "normal" In reality, as we learned later from ship personnel, nothing has been normal for at least 3 months. About 2 weeks prior to departure, we received by mail, lovely personalized booklets describing all the details of our voyage on the Viking Lif, which we were to board in Russe, Romania. Instead, we boarded the Viking Aegir but not at Russe, because the Danube was too low. Instead we rode buses upstream to a port on the Romanian side directly opposite our first scheduled stop at Nikopol, Bulgaria. We had a beautiful cruise through the Iron gate gorge, but after three more scheduled stops in Bulgaria, Serbia, and Croatia, our voyage was terminated in Mohacs, Hungary, an unscheduled place two days short of reaching Budapest. So we were herded into buses for a 1.8 hour ride each way to our scheduled stop at Kalocsa. The next day we retraced the journey to Kalocsa and continued an extra 1.5 hours to reach Budapest. We lost the entire morning in Budapest and spent the night at the Marriott hotel. The next day we lost the entire afternoon in that city because we had to take a 4 hour bus ride to Vienna. Where we were put aboard the Viking Embla. Our voyage on that ship ended two steps later at Passau Germany. After a day in Passau we went upriver for a short distance and it seemed that we had entered the canal to take us to the Main river. But much to our surprise, it was a dead end channel for an industrial port. We spent two days there with our balcony room moored tightly against another Viking ship so there was nothing to look at but the scenery at that site was even worse than looking at someone else's window and the balcony was unusable anyway due to the unpleasant odors at that site. The pattern continued with a long round trip bus ride the next day to our scheduled stop at Regensburg and a 3 plus hour trip the following day to Nuremberg where we finally boarded the Viking Lif. A crew member told us that the Lif had not traveled east of Nuremberg for 3 months. We sailed from Nuremberg to scheduled stops in Bamberg, Wurzburg, and Werthiem and then our voyage terminated for good at an unscheduled port in Mainz. Once again we endured a long round trip journey to our next scheduled stop at Koblenz, followed by a 10 plus hour bus trip (with lunch and a walking tour in Cologne) to Amsterdam and a night in a hotel. Despite a promise that our bags would be in our rooms (they did take great care to provide us with tags so they could easily keep our bags organized) all the baggage was dumped in the hotel garage and it took a good 15 minutes of searching to find it and then take it to our rooms ourselves. There is much more, but it would only be more descriptive of the misery of this trip. We know Viking didn't cause the low river levels, but they did not need to lie to us and make us suffer because of it.
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J

Recommends

excellent August 2018

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
The service was excellent. The food was great. The included excursions were wonderful. Overall, well organized and well planned. They also provided complimentary wine with lunch and dinner which was a nice touch.
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P

Recommends

The cruise was wonderful August 2018

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
The cruise was wonderful, The staff were top notch - food delicious - side trips fun & interesting. Because of the size, it was a much more friendly cruise, we got to know many of our fellow passengers.
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D

Does Not Recommend

Viking Rescheduled my Flight to CHRISTMAS Without my Consent June 2018

1.0
  • Value 1.0
  • Guide 1.0
  • Activities 1.0
  • Lodging 1.0
  • Transportation 1.0
  • Meals 1.0
I received an email day before yesterday stating that my trip has been moved and now my flight will leave Denver on CHRISTMAS EVE and arrive in Cairo on CHRISTMAS.
And they are sorry if this causes me any inconvenience.
The young people who answer the phone cannot change my cruise to one of the same value since my dream New Years cruises are now unavailable. I spoke to three of them and each one just gives me an email address to send a complaint. No response as of yet. I feel so embarrassed for trusting this company. But I am grateful that I was able to see their true colors before I booked again. I as going to take a Mediterranean cruise with more availability a bit sooner because I was so excited. I feel sick now.
When we read in the disclosures that there may need to be some flexibility in the dates, no reasonable person actually believes that they would deliberately change the schedule in such a way to force you to miss spending Christmas with your family. But they did. And they did it by email. My $20,000 wasn’t even worth a phone call.
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D

Recommends

Absolute best! May 2018

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
I have been on many cruises and this was the absolute best! We cruised down the Rhine River and were just amazed at the beauty we saw! The staff of the Viking were the most professional, helpful staff we’ve ever encountered. The accommodations were great, the food was outstanding, but the staff made all the difference! We went on many adventures during the cruise and met lots of interesting folks! Worth every penny!
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A

Recommends

OUTSTANDING EXPERIENCE February 2018

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Just returned from our Danube cruise, Bucharest to Budapest, with an additional excursion in Prague. Outstanding experience which exceeded our expectations. Food, tours, onboard service, entertainment, hotels and coordination of travel arrangements at every step was excellent in every regard. Best cruise experience we ever had. Hats off to the staff and guides. We will be traveling on Viking again.

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P&J

Recommends

All tours really good January 2018

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Our first but not our last Viking river cruise. Food and stateroom were excellent and all tours really good. The cruise started in Bucharest and ended in Budapest. All stops along the Danube were fantastic.
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