Viking Prestige Cruise Review by yogibear007: Viking Disappointment
Overall Member Rating
Destination: Europe - River Cruise
Viking disappointed us from booking services thru conclusion of the trip. The booking included air reservations (without seat assignments), but Viking was of no help, when called several times for assistance, in making flight seat arrangements and requesting wheelchair assistance with connecting flights. They simply referred us to the non-U.S. airlines that they had booked for us (but Viking provided no airline contact information nor correct reservation codes so that we could access our flights on-line to reserve seats). But airport meeting and transfers arranged by Viking were perfect.
The boat was a disappointment. Public areas were barely sufficient for number of guests (our party of 4 generally had to be split up for dining room seating and for daily briefing sessions). Food was below par in comparison with our 29 former (ocean) cruises (perhaps a new low with the chef's experimental mustard soup and mustard-filled candy pastry one night). Wi-Fi was spotty at best, and More generally inaccessible. We expected a bit more quality entertainment, even taking into account the small size of the boat. Room stewards provided minimal service -- on several days we had to ask for even essentials like soap and paper products.
The biggest disappointment was the daily excursions to nearby towns. Those requiring busing were rushed. Only two local guides were both understandable and rich with information, and understood how to herd groups and keep us together and informed; most guides were poorly trained with little enriching information (other than directions to the WC) and a too-fast pace which split up our tour groups. Two had little command of English, and two gave little or confusing information on where/when to return/regroup for the buses.
We were fortunate to have a Program Director (Diana van der Tuuk) who was superb, and managed to appear in multiple places almost at the same time to fix gliches, many of which were created from poorly trained guides. But expect very long bus rides -- almost 12 hours from the boat to Paris hotel (a ride including two short excursions/cit tours) for one!
The hotel accommodations by Viking were excellent in Prague, but poor in Paris (room was shabby with drapes falling off rods, plumbing in disrepair, no city view whatsoever from assigned 4th floor room, and far distance from Paris tourist sites).
Other more experienced river cruisers on board agreed that this was a below-par river cruise, but encouraged us to try another river cruise with another cruise company. But this will be our last river cruise -- ocean cruises offer much better value in our opinion.
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