We joined the ship in Bucharest for originally a 21 day cruise to Amsterdam but had to vacate the ship in Budapest due to the flooding of the Danube. It it s beautiful ship and the general operational organisation of the ship is fghenerally very good.
We become very disappointed with both the service and food onboard. Because we were going to be onboard for three weeks we decided the take one of the Panorama Suites, the most expensive cabin on the ship. This came with an all inclusive premium wine and beverages package if we booked by a certain date with we did. The bar was always manner by the same staff. On the first night, I ssked them to fill the glass with ice when making my gin and tonic and give me a slice of lemon not lime. Every time there after I ordered my drink of the same guys I had to go through the same process. They got it wrong every time without fail. On every other ship I have been on (and I have been on plenty) when I go back to the same barman he has remembered my request and in most cases as I have walked into the bar for a drink before dinner he has seen me coming and is already preparing the drink.
Now to the dining room, well the staff were busy taking orders and serving as you could imagine. As they were asking the individuals if they wanted red or white wine I pointed out that I was on a premium wine package so could I see the wine list. Well, first of all they appeared to not knwo what I was talking about, then I was told they lost it and finally the found it and presented it to me. Seven wines were on the list mainly from Bulgaria and Romania. Hello!! has anyone heard of these wines? If you had to buy them they were 22 euro a bottle. Not too premium in my view. Anyway there was one bottle of Bordeaux wine a little loweer down seperated by from the others by a line. I picked that one which I was prompty told was not part of my package. Having spoken to the hotel manager I was told I could order as many bottles of this as I like in my cabin but not in the dining room. Are you serious? Accordingly he immediately sent one to my cabin which I did not open. I thinked him the following and advised that I now only had to arrange transport of the bottle to the dining room tonight to which ne promptly obliged. Are you serious? So the nonsence of ordering wine to my cabin and having transported to the dining room continued. Food, well whilst there was nothing wrong with the quality generally is was minimal in size and very limited in variety. Breakfast and Lunch became very boring and very ordinary in presentation.
Overall I think Viking have to educate themselves about the top end of the market if they are going to try and compete at that end. They need to understand what they demographic expect and receives on other ships. As a mass market product where you get the punters on at a low cost and then charge them for everything that move, they havea great product, but when you deal at the top end where the price is up at the front and then everyhting else is to flow faultlessly and above expectations , they have a bit of work to do. And finally there were the flies in the dining Room that I referrer to the hotel manager. I said to him one day, "is there any chance of fumigating the dining room one night as we all have a conversation with the flies buzz around and land on the glass rims every meal" his answer " yes it is bad I know, it the rural area we are in (meaning Romania, Bulgaria, Serbis and Croatia)" I replied, "well, I have sailed on a lot of ship even in China and I must say I have never had flies in the dining room before"
It's a pity because if they got it right it would be a great experience on their beautiful new ships. Maybe we just truck it unlucky with some nom so good staff But is has put us off. W were happy to get off at Budapest due to the flooding Danube.
And if you are thinking of taking a Panorama suite, don't. The soot from the engine stack landsall over the balcony at the rear of the boat so you cannot sit outside. The carpet in the suit is already ruined at the balcony door.