Viking River Cruises

Viking River Cruises Review

Viking River Cruises creates the “thinking person’s cruise” as passengers immerse in each port of call’s food, culture, countryside and customs. While you’ll visit the iconic landmarks on a Viking river cruise, you’ll also get to experience local life with access to places that are otherwise difficult to access. Viking passengers get an insider’s view to world-class museums and cultural performances with ballet, folklore, opera and more. On board, the theme continues with a curated library focusing on the onshore excursions and guest lecturers, local cuisine complete with cooking demonstrations, wine from your destinations, and craft demonstrations from local artisans.

Pros
  • Named the Best over 35 times by Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler and Cruise Critic
  • Menus inspired by local cuisine with a tasting of vintage local wines
  • The most extensive fleet of river cruise vessels with 73 ships
Cons
  • Refunds based on the current exchange rate for advance purchase optional excursions, not the time-of-sale rate

What to Expect on a Viking River Cruises Ship

While each of Viking’s 73 river vessels is unique, all offer spacious staterooms and suites with full-size verandas, French balconies or half-height picture windows, and amenities comparable to those found in top-rated hotels. The ships feature a Culture Curriculum with art and history lectures for ports of call, and local music and entertainment.

Guests on each Viking ship get access to onboard curated libraries, panoramic windows and spacious sun decks. Other features depend on the boat assigned to your river cruise and include:

  • Health clubs and massage therapy
  • Observation lounges
  • Pools and spas
  • Putting greens
  • Walking tracks

Dining on Viking River Cruises

While Viking River Cruises does not boast any Michelin chefs, the food is plentiful and of excellent quality. Each menu is crafted with the locale in mind, bringing in traditional tastes of the area through main dishes, bread and pastries.

  • Breakfast is served buffet style with an extensive selection of eggs, meats, cheeses, fresh fruits and baked goods.
  • Order from the lunch menu or choose from the buffet.
  • Dinner is a multi-course affair that’s more casual compared to the pomp and circumstance found on ocean liners.
  • The lounge is a great place to grab a light breakfast or lunch.

You are free to dine with friends or make new acquaintances since there’s no assigned seating. If you would like to dine alfresco under the sun or stars, you’re welcome to take a plate to the sun deck.

 

Viking River Cruises Cost and Destinations

Viking River Cruises travels along the rivers of China, Egypt, Europe, Russia, and Southeast Asia throughout the year. Viking’s all-inclusive pricing includes river-view staterooms with luxury linens, port taxes and fees, one complimentary shore excursion at each port of call, visits to UNESCO locations, access to lectures and destination performances.

Viking River Cruises Destinations
Per Person Prices
Cruise Destination Countries Visited Days Starting Price
Asia 1 to 2 14 to 19 $3,499 to $4,999
Danube 3 to 8 8 to 23 $1,899 to $9,198
Douro / Portugal 2 10 $2,799
Egypt 1 12 $5,399
Elbe / Germany 2 10 $2,799
France 1 to 6 8 to 15 $1,999 to $6,498
Oberammergau 3 to 5 10 to 12 $4,599 to $5,199
Rhine 2 to 8 8 to 23 $1,999 to $6,899
Russia 1 13 $5,499
Ukraine 1 to 2 11 to 12 $3,699 to $3,799
Christmas Market 3 to 5 8 to 12 $1,899 to $3,499
River & Ocean 6 15 to 22 $6,498 to $9,198

 

How to Book a Viking River Cruise

Book a vacation with Viking River Cruises by visiting the website or calling the number on the site, or through a travel agent. You can see all available river cruises for the current and following year on Viking’s website with dates, itineraries, available suites and rooms, prices and airfare.

Viking River Cruises Complaints

Viking River Cruises has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau with 49 complaints in the past 12 months. However, the problems were often beyond the company’s control, such as low water levels due to drought conditions. Out of nearly 6,500 reader reviews on CruiseCritics, Viking River Cruises received close to 5,000 5-star ratings. We found Viking River Cruises representatives were quick to answer complaints, resolving many with a priority on customer satisfaction.

Viking River Cruises Q&A

  • Do Viking River Cruises bundle with airfare to get to and from the port of call?
    Viking partners with 16 airlines to offer round-trip transoceanic air travel, and you can buy tickets from Viking at the same time you purchase your river cruise. Viking River Cruises provides air travel at a discounted rate with free ground transfers.

  • Are tips included in a Viking River Cruises travel package?
    You can add an optional prepaid gratuity package to your trip using My Viking Journey on the website. The amount from the prepaid tips gets split among onboard staff. Otherwise, the amount you tip at the time of service is at your discretion.

  • What shore excursions can I expect on a Viking river cruise?
    Viking offers Local Life, Working World and optional Privileged Access experiences on shore, giving you a choice of activities and sightseeing. An onboard Viking Concierge helps passengers customize a trip at their request.

  • Are children allowed on Viking River Cruises longboats?
    Viking recently changed the minimum age policy to include only passengers who are 18 and older. The majority of passengers on Viking River Cruises are 50 years of age or older.

  • Do Viking River Cruises sail during a specific season?
    Viking’s river ships cruise to fewer destinations some months, but cruises operate all year round.

 

Conclusion

River cruising with Viking is an excellent option for travelers who want to experience different cultures. Viking River Cruises’ intimate, inclusive itineraries are specifically designed to help travelers explore and engage with destinations through fascinating on-land excursions and sightseeing with exposure to local customs, folklore and food.

Viking River Cruises Reviews

Recent Reviews

Featured Review
August 31 2019 7:27PM

I recently enjoyed a Viking Cruise from Amsterdam to Basel Switzerland. The cruise was nothing short of top-notch perfection in All Rights. The staff was impeccable even remembering my name after the first time meeting me. Everything went smooth comfortable enjoyable and just downright amazing.

I have recently booked another Viking Cruise bringing two friends so now three of us and myself are going to do the same cruise for two weeks. I also booked a Viking Cruise from Zurich to Paris in March for my son my mother and a friend. I'm a Viking Cruiser for life.

Jon L.
Lockport, NY
November 27 2022 12:17AM

Their customer service for booking has been terrible. We changed the date of our cruise due to potential low water on the Rhine. Cost us $400 more each. When I made the down payment it was applied to our cancelled cruise.

Called again and asked if we could get the free airfare offer. No problem I was told and was also told the first agent had messed up the original booking. No problem. I make the next payment with one remaining.

6 1/2 months before our sailing my wife calls to ask a question and is told we do not have airfare included. I call and the agent says he needs to escalate this to a supervisor. She tells me we are out of luck because we didn't contact them in time to tell them about their mistake.

I suggest strongly that since it is their error they need to honor our booking. She says she will investigate. I get an email a couple of days later telling me it was their error so they will honor it. No apologies for the mistakes or for the way she responded to me.

They then showed our final payment due of October 15th on an invoice dated November 19th. Got an email and a call that our payment was delinquent and our booking could be cancelled.

Forwarded the email showing a due date of November 30th. No apologies for their error again. Sure hope the service on the cruise is better than this.

Jeff T.
Bountiful, UT
August 28 2022 6:22PM

We recently returned from the river cruise, Oberammergau with Salzburg. The play was absolutely beautifully done and very meaningful. I can't over rate it, and made up for the disappointments of the other experiences. Viking has done away with all restrictions on covid.

Guests do not have to quarantine in their cabin if they're ill, no masks required, and no testing. As a result, by the time we deboarded the ship many of us were sick with the virus. We also wore masks, but they were ineffective against so many who were infected.

Secondly the Gottweig Abbey was a disappointment. We were looking forward to seeing the monks, or learning about their daily living. Instead it was a walk around explaining the architecture, grounds, etc.

We signed up for the thermal baths in Budapest, not knowing what it was other than reputed to be good for the body. There are very hot pools, very hot tubs, and sauna. We realized very shortly the breeding ground for every virus and bacteria and ended our time there.

I'm shocked that Viking would offer that as an excursion especially in this time of continuing pandemic.

In Krems we did a walking tour of the city, quite interesting and charming, and had several hours free to explore. We learned there was the Mauthausen Memorial (concentration camp) within a short drive. This had not been offered as an excursion trip, no info shared about this memorial.

We tried to take a Uber ($260 euros), or a bus or train that only went on certain times which would have made us late in returning. We were very disappointed this memorial was not provided as an alternative tour.

Upon returning to the ship and talking with guest services we were informed that it was offered and no one signed up for it. It was not offered, no info even given if a few couples wanted to go together on an uber, and not an excursion.

Finally the food was average, not great as in a previous river cruise last year Paris to Normandy and back. There certainly was plenty of food, and presentation nice, but quality not there.

Furthermore going through the locks was very interesting, and the Mozart & Strauss Concert in Vienna was outstanding. We hope to be able to cruise again with Viking, but until covid is handled differently by the cruise ship, we don't feel safe booking another trip.

Cheryl C.
Holland, MI
July 14 2022 10:04PM

False advertising. Viking advertises $25 deposit and then tells my travel agent that even though it is plainly stated in their advertisement that it doesn’t apply to this one specific cruise. I called Viking and a very nice lady tells me that the $25 deposit is for all cruises, no exclusions.

This is not my travel agents fault. By the way, currently have 5 cruises reserved with Viking. It’s not about the money, I just like dealing with honest people. We are looking to cancel the cruises where we can and try to book with Regents or another honest Cruise Line.

The short term gain that Viking thinks they are going to gain from this false advertising is going to have long term consequences.

Robert W.
Vestavia Hills, AL
May 22 2022 2:23PM

I’m a single traveler wanting to take the 4-month world cruise this December 2022 but there is no single supplement and my cost is more than double as a single traveler.

Viking doesn’t match single travelers who might want to “room together” in order to save costs. It feels a bit discriminating to want to travel as a single woman.

Jane B.
Wilmington, NC
May 07 2022 6:19AM

In 2019, my wife and I booked a Viking River Cruise for June 2020, from Amsterdam to Budapest before the outbreak of Covid. We used Viking for all the booking arrangements and even upgrades for the air flights plus we added a week's stay before and after the cruise.

We were talked into using the ACH (checking account) method of paying for the trip for a small discount. At the end of March 2020, we were notified due to Covid the trip was cancelled.

OK I can buy that, plus we get a letter telling us that they gave us a voucher worth 125% of what we paid toward a future cruise or if we didn't use the voucher within 2 years, they would refund our money.

They touted the extra 25% would cover a Pre/Post cruise extension; upgrade your stateroom category; or even upgrade to business class air. You also had to read the voucher where it states if you rebook and cancel you lose your money or if you book a cruise at a lesser amount of the voucher you also are out the extra funds.

Hah, as time went by, we continued to check on cruises only to find that Viking had increased the price of the same cruise to exceed the 125% voucher plus they changed their rules for sailing.

You had to be vaccinated, which I'm one in the category of throwing blood clots, so I can't be vaccinated. There are no exceptions with Viking. So, we just decided to forget the cruise with Viking and wait the 2 years for Viking to return our money.

A few weeks before the 2 years were up my wife called to ask when our money would be returned. She spoke to a very nice agent who assured her that he put her request into the system and it would be processed on March 30, 2022 and would take a couple of weeks for the refund but she could call back on that date and get more details.

A couple of weeks went by, still not March 20 yet, she called again and there was no record of her call. Assured once again we would be placed into their system for a refund. April 1, 2022, rolls around and called once again being told of no record of our request but they would add it to the system.

I got suspicious and started checking on Viking only to find that the owner, Hagen, had lost 66% of his wealth which the remaining 34% is probably in his inventory of ships. So since April 1, 2020, we called once a week and for the first 3 weeks we got the same answer.

April 20, 2022, I get an email telling us they are extending our voucher for another year so we can take advantage of the extra 25%.

I called immediately and talked to a nice agent and explained we couldn't sail with Viking due to their vaccination requirements and asked about our refund that was supposed to be in progress. There was no record of a refund but she would process it.

I waited a couple of days, called and the agent said they were processing the refund and he explained that the majority of the money would be sent back to the bank account it was sent from (ACH) and the credit card charge would be credited to the card account.

The credit card was used for the airlines upgrade. So approximately 2 months later we received a check from Viking for $860 with the notation of, "Voucher Refund." No credit card refund and no funds returned to the bank account they were taken from.

Even if Viking relaxed their rules I wouldn't book another cruise with them as I can't trust them and there are now way too many bad reviews for their service, lack of staff on the ships. Poor food and being bused from ship to ship instead of sailing up the river missing the towns and tours along the way.

David R.
Crescent City, CA 95531, CA
April 26 2022 12:09AM

Viking waited till literally the last minute to change the rules on their cruise. We just happened to check our email and saw the mask mandate. This is the second time. We canceled immediately.

My wife has been planning and replanning this cruise for weeks. Now we've lost $1K+ in Airbnb and prepays. It was for our 30 anniversary and it was down to 2 weeks till flying out. Screw you Viking and your poorly run petri dish.

Kevin H.
Terre Haute, IN
April 15 2022 2:51AM

If you need to get your money back or use a credit they give you, forget it. You will lose money. We booked and had to cancel and we received "credit". We were ready to rebook and found we had to use 10,000 credit on a 5500 cruise or we lose it. Never again for us!

Luann A.
Berkeley Heights, NJ
October 14 2021 5:06PM

My trip on the Vidar with Viking: Amsterdam to Bucharest My flight was changed three times due to the quarantine change with the Netherlands so I lost my flight on Icelandair. This made it difficult to get a PCR test on time for the flight as times kept changing; I had to reschedule four times!

The flight I took had me going to Newark New Jersey one of the least vaccinated places. Food was bland to bad, service laughable. Tours boring and overpriced. Staff lie and rip you off. Boat collisions, diesel exhaust and cigarette smoked piped into cabin, internet down for days.

Laundry over priced and inept. Left a pass key in room so you could rob other guests. No communication except lies and promises. Tiny bathroom with insects: spiders, green beetles, 4 inch thick lumpy mattress. No refund for last leg of trip despite promises.

For $25,000 avoid this crooked company. Insurance is worthless won't even get flight upgrade you pay for.

Robert D.
Orangeville, SELECT A STATE
October 08 2021 7:59PM

I was told I would have NO problems cancelling or making changes to my Romantic Danube cruise. They have made nothing but mistakes.

My husband's name was misspelled, the airport we are to leave and return to is hours away as opposed to the one I requested which is 1 hour away and we were seated 20 rows apart.

I called 3-4 times a week to get assistance with this and was put on hold for 1/2 - 3/4 of an hour. Working full time makes it impossible to stay on the phone. I left messages with the Viking agent every time for the past month and he has yet to return my call.

My cousin called multiple times for me and finally got a woman in Boston who got the name changed without having to pay 700 dollars (their offer to fix THEIR mistake).

We had to cancel our last 3 days since viking would not fix their mistake and they won't answer a call until 60 days prior to departure which, according to them< is too late to fix without the substantial penalty. I would not ever recommend viking to anyone.

Diane H.
Blairstown, NJ
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