April 2015 - Viking Eir to Europe
This was the 2nd Viking cruise we have been on the first was the Danube. The itinerary was great, but the schedule was hectic. with not enough time to truly enjoy the cities if you book an optional tour. It was not as relaxing as the Danube, nor was there as much scenery to view sitting atop the ship. The exception being the day we went by 12-15 castles. The service was exceptional from the moment you arrive, you never have to worry about your luggage, where to eat, visit etc. My suggestion is to book the Anne Frank house well in advance (like months) as the online tickets are sold out. The concierge Ivan was able to get us tickets at 7:20 pm and a river cruise. The wait in line was 2 hours if you d not have tickets. During the day it ca be 4 hours. Regardless it will still take over 1 hour to do the tour, much of which is waiting for the line to move.The river cruise is worth it and you can book anytime as there are many boats to choose from. I do recommend the optional tour of Colmar, which is a neat city. You can see more about it on the Rick Steves on PBS. We also enjoyed Black Forest included tour.
We did the extended cruise in Amsterdam, which was enough for us. It is a frenetic city, especially around the red light district, where marijuana is everywhere. Also thought that the hotel was not representative for the price paid. From what I heard everyone loved the Bruge extended tour.We were disappointed that the EIR docked away from the center of the city, so in most cases a shuttle was needed. There were other boats that were docked in the city center and I spent too much time in buses, although they were very comfortable. over, the tour guides were all excellent, with the exception of the first day in Basel.
I was also disappointed that the attire in the restaurants had become exceedingly casual, allowing jeans and tee shirt and 1 guy showed up in the lounge barefooted. Kinderldijk was great and make sure to tour the windmills. It was fascinating. Many of the tours only became available once on the ship. We did a combined Alsatian wine tasting and tour of Obernai. Because it was before May, the vineyards were not part of the tour, so all we did was see the wine barrels and taste wine. Obernai was quaint but again not enough time to browse around. So I would recommend waiting for the full wine tour. Overall, if you have a choice of one Viking cruise, I would recommend the Danube. If you do the Rhine itinerary, I would suggest starting in Amsterdam, as you have more time at this end of the tour to et over jet lag.