Overall I would have to say that we enjoyed our travel upon the Viking Eir as it's a relaxing and slower paced 'cruise' than any we have been on to date. Give Kudos to the entire crew of the EIR as they are very efficient and well trained and attentive to your every need. One suggestion is to upgrade your bed and pillows as ours were not all that comfortable.
the trip over all was good but there were lots of good parts and not so good. Starting out positive, the crew and route was great. The people were very friendly and accommodating. The trip down the Rhine river was as beautiful as advertised. We ran in to an issue with the river being low and had to change ships as the ship could not pass. The crew handled it exceptional.
Now for the areas that could use "tweaking". With the price of the cruise the food and what the served could use some work. During the German day everything was Buffet and it took 20 minutes to get food through one line. They should have opened another line or serve red it as to order. Being that this was the last cruise of the season you could tell some of the people had already began thier vacation. The options were not very good and the buffet that they server during dinner is nothing more than help your self to what was being serverd in the dinning room. Snack and food was not available except during scheduled times so if you were not on thier time table you might go with out eating or have to leave the ship and fend for your self.
The ship Eir is brand new built in 2015, our top deck 3 - staterooms and our balconies were the best providing great views day and night. Our room steward was great and she kept it neat as a pin. Chef Klaus kept us all well fed with great international foods and all well presented. They had their own herb garden on the top deck. The Bar tenders Martin and Medread kept our glasses filled with exactly what we wanted greeting you each day by your first name with anything we wanted to drink all day and evening long. I highly recommend the unlimited luxury drink package for $300.00 per stateroom. The standard tours included in the cruise package were great and all we needed to enjoy lots of history, pictures and humor as the tour guides were outstanding. You could actually touch the concrete walls on the locks as the ship would be lowered some 30 feet several times a day and night. Great in room entertainment movies and music on a large flat screen TV. The dinning room service on white linens was outstanding with our waiter Darnko providing everything we would ask for as we liked to taste all of the appetizers and several of the main courses. Renee our Cruise Director had a briefing every evening before dinner going over what was scheduled for the next day and the evening entertainment. GiGi the piano player was great as well. I would recommend this cruise to anyone wanting to have a great time on a northern cruise from Basil to Amsterdam as its the only way to go. Did I mention the sunny weather was perfect.................
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.
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