Viking ran an incredible deal $2499 for 14-day Grand European River Cruise. I dreamed of this trip for YEARS but didn't have anyone to be my roommate. This Memorial Weekend special 2016 was so cheap that I called Viking and spoke ... Read More
Viking ran an incredible deal $2499 for 14-day Grand European River Cruise. I dreamed of this trip for YEARS but didn't have anyone to be my roommate. This Memorial Weekend special 2016 was so cheap that I called Viking and spoke to agent and told her I wanted to pay an additional $2499 for the ghost person for single occupancy and was willing to pay $5000 to have solo cabin. She snapped "NO! This promotion is for double occupancy only! For you to have a cabin yourself you have to pay $9000!"
I am a travel beginner, I didn't know any better but to believe her. So, I ran an ad in Travel MeetUps for a NON-snoring roommate.
Too much detail to type here, but I got railroaded by another Viking agent to room with a lady I never heard of, who saw my MeetUp post, and called Viking to call me with her on the line. She lied to me about snoring and after we paid, she admitted she had sleep apnea but didn't qualify for the C-PAP machine. She SNORED LIKE A HARLEY! On top of that, she was soooo critical, condescending, and judgmental of little details of my rooming with her too numerous to list, like where I hung my towel. She insisted on turning AC to 68 which gave me a bad cold and asthma for the rest of my trip and 2 weeks after (I extended it), even tho I told her many times, she snuck it up, and told me room service did it. But Room service said they NEVER touch passenger's AC settings. She screamed at me just because I asked her how her tour was, because I "interrupted her movie and she was writing an email at the same time", when I was just trying to be nice and acknowledging her when I came in. IT GOT SO I WAS AFRAID TO GO TO MY CABIN!!!
On the 10th day, Harley snored so loud that I told the concierge that I was thinking about bailing ship and forfeiting the rest of the cruise even tho the best excursions I already paid for, were yet to come, but I didn't know how to get from where the ship was, to Budapest where I had extended stay reservations. Everyone said the ship was full, but Hotel Manager offered me my own cabin for an additional 100 Euros a night (400 Euros). I wish I had done that sooner, as 100 euros/night extra was still cheaper than $5000 I was willing to pay, but Viking agent didn't let me.
My anger against Viking telling me I had to pay $9000 to have my own cabin MADE ME CHEATED, increased exponentially, when later, ALL travel agents told me you never pay more than double. One even posed as consumer and while I was holding, she called a Viking agent, said she wanted to go on same cruise solo, and agent entered "1 person", and computer came back with same price as the double occupancy price, and it was NOT $9000.
I felt even MORE CHEATED and DUPED when on the ship, I met a 92 year old man who had a cabin a few doors down the hall from mine (same price level) to himself for which he said he paid $5000. "How did you do that?", I asked, "Viking told me I had to pay $9000". He said "I don't know, my travel agent handled it for me". So here was what Travel agents told me, that you never pay more than double, was true.
When I got home, I filed a complaint with Viking about being told I had to pay $9000. Viking backed what the first Viking booking agent told me, and refused to acknowledge fault or look into the 92 year old man. Viking offered me only $500 “Good Will” credit for a future booking within 12 months. I did not accept it because I felt Viking was tossing me “crumbs”, and then I would be obligated to using Viking, AGAIN. People later told me I should have hung up and called again to get another agent, but I was very inexperienced at traveling, and that first agent was SOOO ADAMANT and forceful in her voice "NO, FOR YOU TO HAVE A CABIN TO YOURSELF, YOU HAVE TO PAY $9000!", I did not question further.
Though Viking did not pick my roommate for me, I ended up with “cruel and condescending Harley” ONLY because that first booking agent was so adamant that I had to pay $9000 for solo. Agent would not allow me to pay 2 x $2499 for solo cabin even tho I tried to convince her Viking would be saving money, cos they do not have to pay for ghost’s food, and excursions, but they still got the full fare. My overall trip “1 star – Awful” is due to the horrible roommate I was forced to travel with, because of what she told me about having to pay $9000 instead of $5000 to have a solo room. I feel "cheated" .
As for the cruise itself, I am a Foodie and the food was pretty good. They served some of my favorite dishes, such as osso bucco and did a great job with that. The steaks were pretty good, but all at my tables agreed, the cook overcooked the fish. We had chilean sea bass and swordfish, two of my faves, but they were overcooked. Overcooked fish is the reason for 4 stars vs 5 stars. I ate TWO different main dishes, most times.
Most of the tour guides for the included tours were 4+, except one had strong B.O., that I felt I had to hold my breath all the time, following him, even outdoors.
The highlight of the entire cruise, was something that was at whim, and not a planned event. The Concierge had done this before, so she was offering to do it for our cruise. She organized a bike rental outfit to provide decent bikes for about $22, and we biked 31 kilometers from one town to another, along the River, to meet the ship. We rode through very small towns and many grape orchards, and even cemetaries. Took us about 4 hours.
I felt that the Program Director was somewhat overly effusive (kinda fake). He was only age 26. But I give 5 stars to the Concierge and the Hotel Manager, because they found a way to give me my own cabin the last 4 nights, even tho I had to pay 400 euros for the 4 remaining nights.
I felt the two most beautiful things I saw on my Viking Grand European Tour was oddly, the ship itself (1 year old) AND one of the buses we took to Regansburg. The grace of the longship floating through the water like a swan, and the design of the roof and windows on that white bus (the modern "lines") with the Viking ship on the side of the bus, were soooo beautiful to me.
My ratings above 1 star are when I did not have to be with Harley. I have very bad feelings when I think about Viking saying I have to pay $4000 ABOVE the cost of paying for 2 people. My memories of my trip feel sad, rather than good memories. Read Less