Way too much bus riding, average age is 70 on this ship!
Viking Hemming Cruise Review to River Cruises - Europe
9 Night Portugal's River Of Gold (Lisbon To Porto)
Sail date: June 02, 2017
Ship: Viking Hemming
Cabin type: Suite
Cabin number: 316
Traveled as: Couple
Reviewed: 3 years ago
Review summaryViking ship: Know this, other than a young blind woman and her guide, we were the only people under the age of 60. The average age is around 70, with many close to or over 80 on this cruise. What this means is that (among other issues this creates) the tours are geared at people that cannot handle much. A 15 minute walk is advertised highly, to encourage all to attend and know it is not too much. What this means is that tours tend to be dry and boring. The pace of walking is more than sluggish and the amount you see is minimum outside of the coach. The guides are not at all interesting and, being an extensive traveler, I have never been so bored in my lifetime. Each day means 2-4 hours on the bus, as there is nothing close by. You MUST go on their tours and deal with extremely uncomfortable long bus rides. There is literally nothing to do on this ship, so staying back behind is not a option and there are no towns at the “ports”. The “pool” is about 10 feet long and 2-3 feet deep. There are 3 steps to get to the bottom of it, if it tells you anything. What a total waste. There is no gym (Viking does tell you this) and, further, you may not run along the top, as the people can hear you in their rooms. You must concede to no exercise at all on their cruise and you won’t make it up in walking, as you see much of what you do from the bus. The scenery you sail is very beautiful, but there really is not much to do except visit wineries. If you do not like port, which is a very sweet wine, that makes for a very boring vacation. Your ship moves as your bus does, so you get little of the sailing time through the valley since you are on the bus much of the time the boat is sailing. TV: Warning, you lose satellite quite often during the trip. Since there is nothing to do on the ship, this is problematic. Their list of movies is garbage, which was also a bummer. We also had some issues with our TV, as it would sometimes not work and they were constantly trying to fix it. They had the opportunity to at least have some current features, which were not available, to pass the time when you are trapped on ship with nothing else to do. This also goes to wireless availability and cellular service. They all drop off for long periods during the sailing. Do not book extra excursions prior to boarding. They have plenty of places and cannot do a refund on the ship, which causes issues. They told us to get a refund on line and the on line system didn’t allow it either. We will now need to fight with Viking upon our return to the states. Staff: Many are wonderful. Our guide (bus 1C from the June 4th sailing in 2017, however, seemed impatient and with attitude. The reception staff were requested of things and would just force us to follow up over and over again, never following through on their own. The program director said she would try and set up somethings for my husband and I , tired of the bus. We heard nothing from her again. The matra de was wonderful and the wait staff was very accommodating. The chef was very friendly and with a sense of humor Food: . I was told by many that had been on other Viking cruises that this cruise did not match the normal Viking river dining experience, which was a bummer for us. Mediocre at best. Good fruits like berries are not present and they make their own yogurt, which is watery and gross. Not sure why they don’t just buy local yogurt like most do. Night one, we had steak as the special, but it was slightly overcooked. The dessert special was amazing. We were told the steak would come medium rare and it did not. Night two was the lamb chops. They were OK, but not great and there was little to the dish. Dessert was a marscapone and it was terrible. Night 3 was a peppered chicken. It had way too much in pepper on the skins and it was not pleasant to eat. The waiter also did not understand the dish, as I asked about the potatoes served with it and he said a thick piece of potato and it was actually more like a hash brown. I am not certain how they cannot know what is being served. Dessert that night was a banana split, which was a banana cut in half with one scoop of vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce, whipped cream and almonds on it. It was OK, but certainly not worth the calories. The next night was a pork tenderloin special, which was not good. The dessert was a sort of custard advertised with berries. It came with 2 small blueberries and when we all asked for more, we were told they ran out. How can you have a dessert based on blueberries and run out? Breakfast too, was mediocre. They have the waiters making eggs and they tried twice to get me eggs over lightly and both times they broke them. Even the chef made eggs one morning and needed 2 hands to crack them (awkwardly) and broke one! Salmanaca night the menu was horrible and almost 100% of our table ordered the rib eye instead. The mashed potatoes came out ice cold (not warm, truly cold). The dessert again was subpar. They seem to do a lot of custard type desserts and not one was good, so they need to figure something out. The next night’s menu was good and I ordered the filet mignon, which was cooked perfectly. Dessert, again, we a disappointment. Lunches have been a struggle for most of the cruisers. They just don’t have the basic menu they need and try to be too fancy…..and cannot seem to handle that either. I would recommend they come up with a basic menu for lunch that is always available, full of “normal” eating, which they lack right now. They did have Gluten free pasta and options, which was nice. I will give the chef kudos for the last night’s meal, a veal dish. It, along with the starters, were excellent the last day. Had the food been this good throughout, we would have been more than satisfied!
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Only sail if you have limited mobility and are elder. There are many cruise itineraries that are far superior to this one.
Ports of call
VILA NOVA DE GAIA (PORTO), PORTUGAL
Barca D'Alva, Portugal