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“A great holiday - once you're over the booking barrier” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of River Cruises

River Cruises
Book In Advance
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$107.71*
and up
Berlin Pass Including Entry to More Than 50 Attractions
Fareham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
196 reviews
53 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 310 helpful votes
“A great holiday - once you're over the booking barrier”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 10, 2013

I had taken a number of river cruises in Europe and I was familiar with the name Viking from the number of times I saw it on the jetties we passed.

One trip Viking advertised was the Imperial Jewels of China. This seemed to encompass all the places I wanted to see in China and included a five day cruise on the Yangtze river so my wife and I decided to go for it.

Booking was one of the most painful experiences of my life and I am sure I aged ten years during it. My phone is one of those which registers the duration of the call so I can say with certainty that the whole sorry episode took 40 minutes and 31 seconds.

After this we were expecting the worst. Instead, we got the best. Organisation from collecting our baggage at Shanghai airport to finally checking it in at Beijing was just superb. There were three internal flights in China and in every case our luggage was taken care of from one hotel room to the next. All you had to do was park it outside your hotel room door at the appointed time and in due course it appeared in the next room or your cabin. All the places we visited and the trips out were first class and the hotels were the best available, and in China that probably means the best available world wide. Performances at all the shows were viewed from the best seats and of the very highest quality; indeed, if I hadn't seen them I would have said that some of the activities of the artistes were physically impossible.

The ship was good as was the food, though possibly not up to Saga standards or quantity. Eating out was a bit of a lottery as the Chinese seem to love "poisoning" their food with spices. In most cases tables were equipped with Lazy Susan rotating tables so the rule was to sample a very small quantity before taking a full helping. Incidentally I set a trend with the Lazy Susans by using them as a rotating camera stand and videoing everyone on my table. The guests, particularly the Americans (of which there were plenty of nice ones) seemed particularly taken with that idea.

Such was the clout of the Viking organisation that when we visited the zoo they persuaded one of the keepers to entice the panda out of his home to take lunch right in front of us. Other attractions not already mentioned included the Terracotta Warriors, The Great Wall and Tiananmen Square. Time allowed was adequate without being overlong. One particularly good feature on all the trips was the use of Vox Walkie Talkies. You did the walking and the listening and the guides did the talking, so you received an informative commentary even if you were a hundred metres from the guide. We were even given a set of spare batteries each for them to make sure we missed nothing.

We have already booked our next Viking cruise. I'm sure it will be good. It is difficult to see that it can be any better.

One slight downside; all this pampering comes at a price, and the "suggested" tipping level was the highest I have ever encountered. You tip everyone, not just your guide. There are also the individual guides for all the trips plus the drivers of the coaches and, of course, everyone on the ship. That does add several hundred pounds to your budget so be prepared for it.

Visited September 2013
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10 Thank DoctorBrian2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Cape Town
Level Contributor
114 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“50/50”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 1, 2013 via mobile

Everytime we visit Berlin, we try to do something different. This time we decided to do a hour on the Spree river. I could see the attractions very clearly, but I really struggled to hear what were said over the loudspeakers. The noise of the engin, wind and the fellow tourists on the boat, talking& laughing... It really made the experience not very pleasant. I would rather recommend a tour with earphones and not loudspeakers. Or at least a rooftop to contain the sound.

Helpful?
2 Thank MarlenaduToit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
somerset
Level Contributor
21 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Anacolouthe hotel barge River Seine and Oise, Oct 2013”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 20, 2013

This is a converted river barge. There are about 48 passengers and the trip goes up or down the Seine through Paris and then up the Oise to Compiegne.
The staff were most helpful and attentive. The food prepared on board was excellent and there were two wines included with both lunch and dinner. The manager runs an excellent team
Two companies Saga and Great Rail Journeys offer the ship I went Great Rail. The excursions were included but were truncated and changed on our trip due to a lock being out of commission.
Check to make sure that what is offered in the brochure is what you get!
I give the barge 5 stars and the trips 3 stars so overall its 4 stars when it really should be 5 for the Anacolouthe!

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
6 Thank bradSomerset
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grants Pass, Oregon
Level Contributor
298 reviews
67 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 100 helpful votes
“Great experience with AVALON Cruises”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 5, 2013

We were traveling with a large group that took up the entire ship so our experience may have been different than the norm. We went from Basil to Amsterdam. Our food was great! The rooms were beautiful with the cabin boys coming morning and night. The staff took very good care of us. The ship was very clean and we were very spoiled. This is not the cruise for you if you party, gamble or expect a lot of on board entertainment.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
13 Thank flosser201
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
111 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Relaxing and fun way to see Berlin”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 26, 2013

We loved the river cruise - we took the one available outside/on museuminsel. It was fun and relaxing at the end of a day of sightseeing. They give you some basic history around buildings that you pass and the one we were on also served beer at the tables. We sat up top in the open. All in all, $ well spent.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank S T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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