Viking Freya Cruise Review by Colin S: Not suitable for vegetarians! (nor for special dietary requirements)
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Not suitable for vegetarians! (nor for special dietary requirements)
We went as a group of 6 for a get together that was centred on the dining experience. My wife is a Vegetarian of 26 years. We had seen a poor review before booking and our friend that did the booking and ourselves were both reassured that being Vegetarian was no problem and she would have a great holiday. Reassured we set off for our cruise.
An amuse-bouche was offered daily, usually non vegetarian and no alternatives offered.
The menu offered nightly, usually contained 3 meals one of which was a Vegetarian option. If the set meal was not to your liking 4 alternatives were always available being Ceasar salad (containing anchovies), Chicken, steak or salmon. So if the sole offered choice was not to your liking ... tough.
Then there was an Austrian extravaganza evening, a true meat feast. However, despite the multitude of offerings for us carnivores, a single bean based vegetarian side dish was offered as her main.
An evening in Vienna More and we went to the concert with the promise of a hot supper on our return ... but not if you are a vegetarian. The chef refused anything. A visit to the manager was needed to get a simple pasta dish made.
The main gala dinner of the week, the Captains dinner, was a seven course extravaganza, but not for a vegetarian. Not a single course on the entire menu offered an appropriate course. After a week of cruising I took it out on the waiter and pointed out they had all week to know a vegetarian meal was required and having paid the same full price I expected my wife to have a food course served at every course.
A meal of sorts was cobbled together, but included contaminated dishes. The Ceasar salad was presented but distinctive taste from where it had been and removed and so was inedible.
Lunch time was just as haphazard. Often no appropriate dish was available. The MD visited once when our meal was finished to say he had something available, but clearly not communicated to his staff as we had finished our lunch by the time he appeared.
Another day a "vegetarian" soup was offered and accepted to which my wife had a physical reaction. We later found from the distributed menu card that it had a chicken stock!
We are really shocked to find such an inhospitable climate in the modern age to what is such a mainstream dietary requirement. To clarify my wife will not eat anything that has to be killed to be eaten so neither meat nor fish is acceptable which is as we understand the main definition of vegetarianism. My wife was deeply embarrassed at the "fuss" needed to get a meal and didn't want to say anything to avoid upset - but words had to be had to get a suitable meal just too many times.
Despite formally complaining directly on our return, the response was directed via our travel agent rather than direct. A derisory offer of a £200.00 discount off a future Viking cruise was offered. As they had abused my wife on one holiday we fail to understand why they would think for one moment that we would want to return to be abused again and that a voucher would be suitable recompense. The voucher has now been replaced by a cheque "in full and final settlement" for the same amount. Bearing in mind the cost of the holiday and the upset they caused it is hardly reasonable recompense.
Our experience would also mean that anyone requiring a special dietary need satisfying should not consider Viking a suitable holiday given the poor food discipline resulting in contaminated food being presented. Less
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