It is two weeks since returning from our Grand European Tour.
For some background information, we have been on 15 ocean cruises with 5 different cruise lines, consequently we have a base line of expectations. This was our first River Cruise because:
!. River Cruises are two and one half times more expensive than an ocean cruise and
2. We want to be sure we chose the right cruise line after two years of research.
(a) The service staff was very good
(b) Cruise Director Debra Thomas was excellent.
Now, the Disappointments:
We were told to expect a pre-cruise kit containing luggage tags etc. along with booklets explaining what to expect and do. The kit was in the mail upon our return. Prior to our leaving we had contacted not only our travel agent but Viking two times to ascertain what the problem was. We feel Viking should have covered this issue by sending a kit directly to us via next day delivery. More
Viking should have contacted the travel agent to ensure better service.
The flight to Amsterdam was uneventful. Upon arrival at 1.00 p.m. we had been told we were to be met by a Viking Representative. There was no rep there and, after numerous inquiries, we were directed to a large checkerboard cube to wait. One and one-hours later a rep arrived, then another one directed us to an outdoor bar and asked us to wait another 45 minutes for other arrivals. Great, we were hoping to get settled so we could at least tour a bit of Amsterdam before dinner, however after the bus ride to the ship and checking in it was too late to do anything!!!!
We suspected Sky was an older ship as soon as we checked in and given, not modern day key cards, but a real key attached to an aluminum block the size of a brick. It was two days before we realized the doors were not self-locking as in most hotels and cruise ships.
We read the following colourful comment about the Viking Sky amenities:
Viking Sky, which sails itineraries on a variety of European rivers, features larger-than-average cabins (all outside views) along with a handful of suites (cabins with connecting doors, a living room, and an additional bathroom with tub). Amenities include a restaurant, lounge, bar, sun deck, swimming pool, sauna, whirlpool and elevator.
When we purchased the tour we paid more for Category A thinking we would have a sizeable room. The shock was instant!!!
1. It was the smallest room we have ever experienced in 15 cruises. Room for only one chair with no comfortable space to place it.
2. The bathroom was also a shocker. My elbow would hit the shower door while trying to comb my hair.
3. When sitting on the “throne” the position of the toilet paper holder (behind my shoulder) forced me to be a contortionist while attempting to reach for the toilet paper made of recycled cardboard. (Interesting moment when we noticed a few guests bringing on board a large package of toilet paper – wonder why????) Since we had wire clothes hangers I was able to fashion a holder for the toilet paper and conveniently hang it from the towel rack in front of the toilet!!!!!!!
4. The vanity and shelves are so small that once we placed items on the shelves we could barely see the mirror.
5. The hairdryer was the lowest watt dryer we have ever used, taking forever to dry hair.
6. The shower provided no pressure or adequate hot water.
7. The closet was equipped with 5 wooden hangers. We did request and received wire hangers but the closet was so small it was hardly adequate for a 14 day cruise, never mind a 4 day cruise. (the majority of our clothes were kept in our luggage)
8. Online information said there would be 120 and 240 electrical power. We only had an adapter at first, almost burnt up the curling iron. Upon request we received one converter (one plug in for charging two kindles, a laptop, tablet, camera, shaver, curling iron, tooth brush. We felt like we were camping.
9. The bed was made up of two small mattresses, side by side, each bed individually made with separate sheets and duvets, but one bedspread covered the two beds. Not a satisfactory comfortable way to sleep (a lesson could be learned on how to make a bed by viewing the ocean cruise ships’ beds).
10. Dining times were adequate but the layout of the tables was less than comfortable. Once seated, if you were by a window, you had to ask the two adjacent guests to get up and let you out so you could go to the buffet. Very inconvenient for all.
11. Food was mediocre, however hot food was either warm or cold , never hot as it should be – we sent a total of 4 meals and many soups back for reheating. It became too embarrassing to make any more issues about the lack of properly prepared food.
12. The swimming pool – what a laugh – the water was so cold – could not be used. The sauna and whirlpool – where????
13. Guided tours – many of the guides had such a strong accent it was difficult to understand them.
14. Important – guests should have been informed while taking in land tours if they want to use a public WC (water closet) there may be a cost and they should carry Euros for that purpose.
15. Another shocker was when we woke up one morning, zipped open the drapes and found other people staring at us from their cabin. We were tied up (right tight) to another ship. Pretty embarrassing when you are naked. This tying up business happened another 3 times. Naturally it cut our view of the countryside we paid to see for 4 days out of 14. Is this what we paid for???
We had discussed our concerns with many of the guests on the ship. We learned they, too, had many complaints and concerns. We feel Viking’s advertising about the “Sky” was overblown and misleading. It is no wonder it is being retired this Fall. Under the circumstances we feel we are due some form of compensation as we certainly did not receive value for the $15,000.00 spent.