We booked an 8 day cruise on Viking Europe (in late April 2013), departing from Paris overland to Dijon and thence to Chalon, where we boarded the ship. We were disappointed with our experience from the moment we boarded this ship.
The vessel was poorly maintained -- dirty conditions, frayed carpets and general sloppiness everywhere. Viking Europe's crew and hotel staff (with a few notable exceptions at the steward/waiter level) were poorly motivated, rude, surly and uniformly unhelpful. I think the problem had more to do with attitude than competence, but either way the passengers were poorly treated. "Service with a snarl" is the phrase that comes to mind when I reflect upon our experience on Viking Europe.
Very little attention seems to have been paid to important service concerns on board Viking Europe and fundamental issues relating to passenger comfort and convenience seem not to have been properly thought through. Tours and excursions were poorly organized and the staff seemed to suffer from a lack of focus. The cuisine was pedestrian at best and our dining experience was very disappointing in many respects: for example, the hot items on the breakfast buffet were always served cold and
croissants and other pastries were almost always over baked. Although encompassed by my initial comment about the poor attitude of Viking Europe's crew and hotel staff generally, it bears special mention that service in the dining room was exceptionally awful. I should not have had to chase down a waiter in order to get a cup of coffee, as I had to do every morning at breakfast, for example.
Our experience was even more disappointing because it followed a companion cruise on the River Seine aboard the Viking Spirit that was wonderful in all respects.
It is apparent to me that Viking has significant management problems that are reflected in uneven standards of maintenance, service, organization, passenger satisfaction, etc. among its many ships. The lesson that I take away from this is that I will never travel aboard a Viking vessel again. If you are not convinced and are willing to take a chance on a Viking cruise, I strongly recommend that you very carefully research the vessel involved to be certain that it is not a poorly maintained and managed one like Viking Europe.