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A Viking Cruise

October 13th, 2017 · 4 Comments

We’ve done ocean cruises before, and even a couple of river cruises, but this is our first Viking river cruise. Here are come comments.

There are only 190 passengers on this ship, compared to 3000 – 5000 or more on the big ocean cruise ships. That makes a big difference, and depending on your taste you might prefer one or the other.

If you really enjoy the shows on the big cruise ships, then this might not be for you. There is a little entertainment every night, but it is not up to the level of the big cruises. There are talks, though, and they have been pretty good, explaining how the river locks work, or the history of Austria, etc.

Everyone eats dinner at the same time; there is seating for the full 190 people in the dining room. There are no assigned tables, and we’ve had dinner with different people each night. That can be good or bad. Most of the time we’ve enjoyed our dinner table companions, but we’ve met one or two who think everyone at the table wants to listen to only them, and the one-sided conversation can be tiring. But you learn to avoid those people for the next meal.

The food has been excellent, with usually a red meat dish, a fish dish and a vegetarian dish each night. There is usually something typical of the region we happen to be passing through, and a local dessert too. No complaints about the food.

The cabins seem to be a little smaller than ocean cruise cabins, or so we heard from the other guests. We decided to splurge, considering that we would be locked up together for 2 weeks, and we got a mini-suite. It has 2 rooms; a bedroom and a living room, and the bathroom is also larger. Some of the other guests have commented that two people can’t pass each other by the foot of the bed, so they sound really cramped. We justified the suite by noting that the October prices made the suite about as cheap as a veranda room would normally be in high season. We have really enjoyed the extra room and recommend it.


One thing that really stands out on this cruise is the age of the guests. I would guess that the average age is about 65, and the youngest guests might be as old as 50. There are certainly many guests in their mid-70s and I’m sure some in their 80s. That means that queues to load the bus, etc., move pretty slowly. Sometimes at dinner I feel I am with people my age, and sometimes I feel like I’m eating in my mother’s assisted living dining room. But everyone has been nice, even the conversation dominators, so it’s not bad. At least there are no kids running up and down the halls.

The included tours have been really good and that’s all we’ve done at most stops. The tour guides have been excellent. They all speak really good English and know their subject. The only downside is that most of the guests on the ship also settle for the included tours, and even though they break us up into 3 or 4 buses and groups, each with a guide, they are still really large groups. We all have listening devices so it’s easy to hear the guide, so it’s really not a problem. When we have taken an optional tour, at times there were only 15 or so guests, and that was more fun. But the included tours were pretty good anyway.

In summary, the main difference seems to be the size of the ship. I like seeing the same people every day and getting to know them by name. I am not too excited by the entertainment on the big ships, but Gisele misses it. And I don’t get as much exercise climbing one flight of stairs to go to dinner as I would on a big ship where it might be 6 or 8 floors. But all in all I think it’s a great experience and most of the guests we’ve talked to agree.

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4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Donna // Oct 13, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    This cruise wasn’t advertised as “senior” was it? Maybe the time of year is more geared toward the older crowd, and the summer cruises might be a bit younger or family oriented. I think I would enjoy the quieter pace, but would miss the fun side that a younger crowd adds. I also enjoy cruise entertainment.
    I would like the fact that so many shore excursions are included in the cruise package. Those really add up when you book them separately. This whole river cruise really appeals to me, but haven’t found anyone who wants to go with me. (I did ask a couple friends about it.) Maybe I’ll keep looking.

  • 2 Dale // Oct 13, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    Good thing they use listening devices – most of the passengers are probably hard of hearing.😗

  • 3 Don // Oct 14, 2017 at 9:18 am

    Donna, you should ask Dale to go with you. He would love it and so would you!

  • 4 Daryl // Oct 15, 2017 at 3:42 am

    Donna, I heard they have a rule against any passengers under the age of 16. I probably read that but don’t remember. That eliminates young families.
    It certainly is no Carnival cruise.

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