The River of Gold cruise and the excursions were both wonderful. The cuisine was so poor that we couldn't wait to dock so that we could eat something off the boat that we would enjoy. From uncooked rice to rare pork chops to uncooked Perch to something greesy that somewhat resembled bacon to cold dishes which should have been served warm and the opposite. We can go on and on! We and many others continued to voice our complaints to the Matre'd as well as to the waiters who were the innocent victims in the middle of this dilemma. We learned from someone that the head chef had been terminated at the end of our cruise. Slot of good that did for us. As I explained to the customer service rep over the phone, we take these and other cruises for the enjoyment of the scenery visiting wonderful places etc, the pleasures of relaxation and being catered to, and for good Cuisine. Accordingly, we are prepared to spend a decent sum to obtain these services and expect nothing less! Especially following Vikings long standing reputation in all aspects of a cruise vacation. This was our first cruise with Viking and may have been our last. Viking has given my wife and I two cruise vouchers for $750 each to be used for any cruise with them during the upcoming year. When asked what we felt would be a fair compensation for our dissatisfaction with the food we advised that we would anticipate vouchers for a minimum of 50% or $4000 for the two of us. That would be fair and ensure our future booking. Viking didn't shock me when they declined and said that the $750 or slightly less than 10% would be their max. They proved to me that they are no better than others at what they do and have a long way to go to raise the bar.
Total Passengers: 106
Total Crew: 36
Crew to Passenger Ratio: 2.94
Number of Decks: 4
Total Cabins: 0
Cabin Categories: 8
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Appreciate the good service, and enjoy yourself! One thing I would like to mention: On this cruise, unlike the other three we've been on, there was ample free time provided at several ports to shop. Portugal is know for its vineyards, olive trees, almond trees, tile and pottery making. And everything you see has "made in Portugal" clearly stamped on it, and often the names of the artists. We did not see a single "made in China" item in Portugal!
Only sail if you have limited mobility and are elder. There are many cruise itineraries that are far superior to this one.
The Hemming is quiet and comfortable. A wonderful boat.