A least 25% of trip the Viking Sky was tied up to either the port or starboard side of our ship, the Viking Freya. This resulted in completely blocking the view from our stateroom, #211. I suspect you plan this to save on various fees you may incur, however, I hope you realize this represents a very poor image for a company that advertises a unique and special experience. This same lack of view occurs in the dinning room. Instead of looking at a beautiful landscape we are looking at another ships hull. I found this whole docking side by side idea very disappointing and not representing the experience I thought I was paying for.
Our captain was very reclusive. On the occasion he was seen in the passenger area, he rarely spoke or smiled or otherwise communicated with the passengers. I have experience the opposite on two other cruises we have taken. Previous captains would intentionally walk through the dinning room during dinner and stop at various tables to ask how everyone is doing and does anyone have any questions about the ship or various ship functions. It felt good to think the captain actually cared about how his passengers were doing. It has been my impression that a ship's captain sets the tone for the cruise. It appeared Captain Simon just wanted us all to go away so he could maneuver his ship.
Our program director was just not a very practiced or well organized. Perhaps he was new at the job but he often was overwhelmed and made several mistakes during our cruise. I must say, he seemed to have a desire to please the passengers and took his responsibilities seriously, he just wasn't successful. One couple were put on the wrong tour. When they told Colin what happened, he asked them if they wouldn't mind paying for the optional tour. They did not and no apology was given. Of course, the misplaced couple came back unhappy that they had missed the optional tour for which they signed up. A mistake was made in the Viking Daily for the time of another excursion and my wife and I almost missed that trip.
The women at the reception desk were very nice, always said hello, but were not very knowledgeable when he came to answering various questions about time of tours, what time we might be getting into our next port, what things they might recommend in towns. They just seemed very inexperienced. After much discussion, my wife was allowed to pay our bill the evening before our departure. When I turned in our room card keys, I was told the bill was not paid. We had our receipt but could not find it just at that moment. (We have found it and I can send it to you if necessary). This caused a bus of twenty people bound for the Budapest airport to be rather upset with us for delaying the bus by at least ten minutes. Colin, to his credit, finally told the bus to go after the desk clerk said, "Oh yes, I remember her paying last night." Not a great way to leave the Viking Freya.
On last complaint, the lounge was either not big enough or was not furnished to maximize the space to hold all the passengers aboard at the same time. When we had general meetings some people had to stand outside the lounge area and could not fully hear the presentation. Probably nothing to be done about this logistical problem as it appears to be in the design of your ships.
Some positive notes, the serving staffs that we encountered were exceptional. They often remembered special requests at dinner. Norbert was particularly helpful in providing tea and honey for my wife afterhours to soothe her sore throat. Many staff remembered my wife was not feeling well and frequently inquired about her health. This was very nice and made us feel the crew cared about us.
Our housekeeper was such a delight. She was very hard working, kept our room immaculate, and no request was too big or too small for her attention. She helped make our trip better and I hope Viking recognizes her for her excellent service.
The bathrooms were superb for shipboard design. We always had instant hot water with never a hint that it might be running low. The valves were of superior quality and worked flawlessly. These engineering considerations made our river cruise more delightful as every morning we had a comfortable shower to start the day. The Viking Freya was an amazingly quite running vessel. My compliments on an excellent engineering design.
In summary, what could have been a truly exceptional experience turned out to be an adequate experience. The two things that distracted the most from making this trip superior was having the Viking Sky docked on our beam and The program directors inability to create an enthusiastic care free, and humorous atmosphere. I suspect if he was more relaxed and confident he would have been delightful person. Unfortunately, that was not the side of his personality that generally came through.
I have talked with friends that traveled with Viking before and they had highly recommended your company. I am sure there experience was better than ours