Viking River Cruises vs St Hilda Sea Adventures - Tour Companies Compared

Compare details and see what other travelers are saying.

Rating Breakdown
Overall — 3.5
Value — 3.7
Guide — 4.0
Activities — 4.3
Lodging — 3.8
Transportation — 3.7
Meals — 4.0
Overall — 5
Value — 4.9
Guide — 4.9
Activities — 4.9
Lodging — 4.9
Transportation — 4.9
Meals — 4.9
Recent Reviews

Misleading and often just plain dishonest.

1.0 October 2018
L
Does Not Recommend
  • Value 1.0
  • Guide 3.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 3.0
  • Transportation 1.0
  • Meals 3.0
We paid for a 3 week luxury river cruise but received a large group bus trip across Europe with many days of packing and unpacking. I called our Viking representative when we received an email message just 2 days prior to departure that mentioned a possibility of problems with low river levels. I was assured that everything was "normal" In reality, as we learned later from ship personnel, nothing has been normal for at least 3 months. About 2 weeks prior to departure, we received by mail, lovely personalized booklets describing all the details of our voyage on the Viking Lif, which we were to board in Russe, Romania. Instead, we boarded the Viking Aegir but not at Russe, because the Danube was too low. Instead we rode buses upstream to a port on the Romanian side directly opposite our first scheduled stop at Nikopol, Bulgaria. We had a beautiful cruise through the Iron gate gorge, but after three more scheduled stops in Bulgaria, Serbia, and Croatia, our voyage was terminated in Mohacs, Hungary, an unscheduled place two days short of reaching Budapest. So we were herded into buses for a 1.8 hour ride each way to our scheduled stop at Kalocsa. The next day we retraced the journey to Kalocsa and continued an extra 1.5 hours to reach Budapest. We lost the entire morning in Budapest and spent the night at the Marriott hotel. The next day we lost the entire afternoon in that city because we had to take a 4 hour bus ride to Vienna. Where we were put aboard the Viking Embla. Our voyage on that ship ended two steps later at Passau Germany. After a day in Passau we went upriver for a short distance and it seemed that we had entered the canal to take us to the Main river. But much to our surprise, it was a dead end channel for an industrial port. We spent two days there with our balcony room moored tightly against another Viking ship so there was nothing to look at but the scenery at that site was even worse than looking at someone else's window and the balcony was unusable anyway due to the unpleasant odors at that site. The pattern continued with a long round trip bus ride the next day to our scheduled stop at Regensburg and a 3 plus hour trip the following day to Nuremberg where we finally boarded the Viking Lif. A crew member told us that the Lif had not traveled east of Nuremberg for 3 months. We sailed from Nuremberg to scheduled stops in Bamberg, Wurzburg, and Werthiem and then our voyage terminated for good at an unscheduled port in Mainz. Once again we endured a long round trip journey to our next scheduled stop at Koblenz, followed by a 10 plus hour bus trip (with lunch and a walking tour in Cologne) to Amsterdam and a night in a hotel. Despite a promise that our bags would be in our rooms (they did take great care to provide us with tags so they could easily keep our bags organized) all the baggage was dumped in the hotel garage and it took a good 15 minutes of searching to find it and then take it to our rooms ourselves. There is much more, but it would only be more descriptive of the misery of this trip. We know Viking didn't cause the low river levels, but they did not need to lie to us and make us suffer because of it.
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Viking Rescheduled my Flight to CHRISTMAS Without my Consent

1.0 June 2018
D
Does Not Recommend
  • Value 1.0
  • Transportation 1.0
  • Guide 1.0
  • Activities 1.0
  • Lodging 1.0
  • Meals 1.0
I received an email day before yesterday stating that my trip has been moved and now my flight will leave Denver on CHRISTMAS EVE and arrive in Cairo on CHRISTMAS.
And they are sorry if this causes me any inconvenience.
The young people who answer the phone cannot change my cruise to one of the same value since my dream New Years cruises are now unavailable. I spoke to three of them and each one just gives me an email address to send a complaint. No response as of yet. I feel so embarrassed for trusting this company. But I am grateful that I was able to see their true colors before I booked again. I as going to take a Mediterranean cruise with more availability a bit sooner because I was so excited. I feel sick now.
When we read in the disclosures that there may need to be some flexibility in the dates, no reasonable person actually believes that they would deliberately change the schedule in such a way to force you to miss spending Christmas with your family. But they did. And they did it by email. My $20,000 wasn’t even worth a phone call.
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We enjoyed the entire experience

5.0 August 2015
R&F
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
We enjoyed the entire experience; Normandy and Omaha Beach were especially moving. The food and service deserve praise too. This is our third Viking cruise and we'll do it again. Viking does it first rate all the way. Keep it up.
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Life-changing and enjoyable!

5.0 October 2017
A
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
This is a holiday gave me a chance to slow down, and take the time to feel part of the natural world: the sun, to notice the hook-beaked oyster catchers and families of rare seals, to enjoy the wonderful food, the sunshine, scudding clouds, waves lapping and the feeling of being held safely by the St Hilda whilst being at the mercy of winds, tides and waves. It was fun to share tasks with fellow passengers and to laugh. I haven't laughed so much for years. And I loved seeing beautiful coastal parts of Scotland for the first time from the sea, gaining the chance to wonder at the histories and cultures that have flourished, been lost and yet live on in the remote, unusual places where we moored. I discovered my sea-legs, but I found much more - the pleasure of a little bit of distance from land, the new perspectives it gives and sheer joy of experiencing the sea, and its role in revealing new dreams and uncovering old ones. All this was in the company of knowledgeable crew - sea-farers who made the whole cruise delightful from start to finish and easy-peasy for a land-lubber like myself.
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A Delight

5.0 October 2017
A
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
This was a fantastic holiday - there is something magical about being in a ship, relying on wind and waves, seeing beautiful scenery, eating lovely food, helping sail the ship and enjoying the experience with a group of witty, friendly, knowledgeable people.
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It's fascinating to be on a slow journey

5.0 October 2017
A
Recommends
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
This holiday was like no other: it was stepping into another world where the wind, sun and sea mattered because our lives were held by the ship and these big elemental forces. It was a realm of sea faring lore, laughter and fun, where the elements - water, wind and tides - mattered and shaped and influenced our journey. It's easy to laugh on a ship because you are sharing the camaraderie of crew and ocean and somehow the sea is lighter than the land. Instead you have the myths and stories of sea and mysteries of the deep - Moby Dick, Jonah, Noah's Ark and Ring of Bright Water! It's fascinating to be on a slow journey with time to reflect and to be looking at the strange, populated and then depopulated, fought over Scottish coastal landscape from a new perspectives. It's fun to work with the charming, witty, friendly skippers and fellow crew hauling anchors and sails. But, most of all, it's a joy to be on, and in, and feeling the elemental ocean. I felt safe and found my sea-legs, but I also stumbled into a new world, one that enriches and ignites dreams.
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Tour St Hilda Sea Adventures Company Reviews

Tours 18 Trips 8 Trips
Average Trip Price Per Day $ 277 $ 166
Operator Type River Cruise Line Small Ship & Expedition Cruise Line
Size Global Operator Local Specialist
Trip Types
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
  • River Cruises
  • Private Guided Trips
  • Small Ship & Expedition Cruises
  • Custom Itineraries
Service Level Luxury Standard
Regions
  • Rivers & Seas
  • Asia
  • Europe
  • Rivers & Seas
  • Europe
Known For
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
  • Luxury
  • 50+
  • 18 - 35
  • Solo & Singles Travel
  • Eco Travel
  • Adventure
  • Sailing
Headquarters Woodland Hills, California, USA Oban, Scotland
Year Established 1997 N/A
Solo Friendly N/A Good for singles
Tour Languages N/A N/A
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    About Viking River Cruises

    Founded in 1997 as a line offering Russian river cruises to Europeans, Viking expanded to the North American market in 2000. 

    What Makes Them Stand Out?

    Since 2007, Viking River Cruises has zoomed from carrying one-fifth to one-half of all passengers in the fast-growing European river cruise market. Not only is Viking the world’s largest river cruise line with some 66 ships now in service around the globe, but the line is operating at near full capacity in Europe, with many itineraries sold out months in advance.

    Who Travels With Them?

    They cater primarily to “culturally curious” English-speaking Americans, Canadians, British, Australians, and New Zealanders aged 55-plus. (Think sophisticated viewers of PBS’ “Downton Abbey,” which its helps to sponsor.)

    Where Do They Operate?

    Besides European rivers such as the Rhine, Danube, Moselle, Seine, Duoro, and the waterways of Russia between Moscow and St. Petersburg, Viking now cruises three rivers in Southeast Asia -- the Yangtze, Mekong, and Irrawaddy -- and along the Nile in Egypt.

    Why Travel With Them?

    While they may not rank as the most luxurious river ships, many of Viking’s vessels are sleek, innovative, and freshly minted: the line has added 18 new ships in 2014 alone. Overall, Viking has established a reputation for offering an incredible value - high-quality service, food, and guided shore excursions at competitive prices, all adding up to strong repeat customer loyalty rates.

    About St Hilda Sea Adventures

    St. Hilda Sea Adventures provide the unique experience to see Scotland from the sea. They offer many activities and private excursions - a perfect travel experience for families, older travellers, and small multi-gen groups.

    What Makes Them Stand Out?

    Taking only up to 11 guests (6 on St Hilda and 11 on Seahorse II), their tours are incredibly unique, as you cruise aboard a classic ex-tall ship (St Hilda) or a proper small ship (Seahorse II). Activities include sailing, swimming, sea kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, rock pooling, and lobster potting. Or, you can simply choose to just relax and watch the spectacular wildlife and scenery float by.

    Who Travels With Them?

    All ages and all types enjoy traveling with St. Hilda Sea Adventures. Families, couples, and solo passengers are all welcome. Passengers can choose to do as much or as little as they like. This is a great trip for young kids to enjoy as well, for the thrill of hoisting the sails like a true sailor.

    Where Do They Operate?

    The West Coast of Scotland is where they specialize, the Outer and Inner Hebrides specifically. Such a niche focus is a huge positive for those interested in getting a unique view of this part of the world.

    Why Travel With Them?

    Their Scottish cruises give you the opportunity to see extraordinary wildlife and to cruise aboard a small ship with skipper and chef and a small group of passengers. All food is included, and there are many opportunities for interesting excursions. Some excursions are included in the price however, you can also arrange excursions based on your interests. These are not included but allow for a wonderful amount of personalization to your travel experience with St. Hilda Sea Adventures.

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