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Sail Date: September 2009
we just got back from a Viking Cruise , 14 days, from Brussels to Basil. This was our first Viking experience and it will be our last. They advertise as a 4 star but are maybe a 2 star. The reason for this rating by me is mainly due to ... Read More
we just got back from a Viking Cruise , 14 days, from Brussels to Basil. This was our first Viking experience and it will be our last. They advertise as a 4 star but are maybe a 2 star. The reason for this rating by me is mainly due to the food quality, the unfriendly ship crew, and the total over all service, and the lack of help under some unusual medical situations. First, breakfast is breakfast but they cannot even make an omlet without burning it, the pancakes and waffles come cold without butter, the eggs cannot be prepared as asked and the eggs in the buffet are spongy and over cooked, the bacon is baked and overcooked stinking together in 3's and 4 pieces, people line up at the 1 toaster and wait, and the butter at the buffet come in individual packages that are not soft but frozen or cold. The lunch preparation is by far the best of the 3 meals. The lunch in the dinning room is good and the variety of choices are good but the upstairs buffet is below average with poor choices of small sandwiches and salads. The soups are very good but the rest is below average. You cannot get a hamburger or hot dog at any time. You can not get good mustard and mayonnaise is not offered and cannot be ordered. I did not know the procedure at this upper buffet the second day and walked up to get a beer and saw the assortment of cheeses next to the bar, I got myself a plate and started to put a few pieces of cheese on the plate and the bar tender jumped all over me for taking cheese before the noon time opening. I was shocked at his attitude and put the plate on the bar. He actually said to me "Now what am I to do with that".. I wanted to tell him he could put it where the sun does not shine but being my second day kept my mouth shut. Sorry, back to dinner. The dinners were just plain bad. The main chief was off ship for the first 7 days but this is no excuse for serving main course meals that would not make it in Denny's. When the chief came back it did pick up a few notch's. Service, before I get into the negatives, let me give the positives. The cabin service, even though there is no room service for food or drinks, the cabin cleaning person was very very good. The service in the dinning room was very good but very rushed as they are completely understaffed and have to use outside bar staff and wait staff to man the dinning room. This lack of qualified serving help surely shows in the dire rush to help the passengers. They try very hard but one can see the drain on there faces for extra request for more bread, butter, wine, drinks, gravy, ect.. The bar help, except for one exceptional young women, seem to be doing you a favor rather than you being the customer. One passenger actually was told that he had already gotten ice for his room and he could not get more. The ship has no help up on the sun deck for drinks, and if you take your lunch plate up there to eat you must usually bring the plates downstairs to the lounge yourself. The lounge chairs and tables are old and weathered. The ship is so understaffed on ratio to passengers, they cannot keep up. It must be also told they false advertise in the brochures and letters. The first is in their advertised Alcohol package. They sell it cheaper on the ship, do not sign up 15 days in advance. I think my space is out. No I can keep going. They will not credit you for paying more early. About a $100 cheaper on the ship. They do not offer Premium Wines in this package as advertise. It is there private label wine and two cheap others. The free bottle of champagne is a sparkling private label. We signed up as we were told that they serve premium regional wines, NO THEY DO NOT. A Fellow passenger took a terrible fall and hit her head badly at the end of a tour. The lack of concern from the help was appalling. They would not stop at the hospital emergency when requested, even though we were at a stop light right in front of the hospital. They told her she could walk to emergency, about a half mile from the ship. They offered no taxi or help to accompany her , She did go to emergency and was checked out by a wonderful doctor but the ship offered no help. This lack of concern was inexcusable. I could go on but will stop. Do not take Viking, there are a lot better river cruise lines out there. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2007
After traveling on three Viking River Cruises, my husband and I were excited to try the Belgium to Switzerland 12 night tour on the Viking Sun during the Christmas/New Years Holiday 2007. We booked our cruise/air package about 6 weeks ... Read More
After traveling on three Viking River Cruises, my husband and I were excited to try the Belgium to Switzerland 12 night tour on the Viking Sun during the Christmas/New Years Holiday 2007. We booked our cruise/air package about 6 weeks before departure. Having had bad experiences before with incorrect travel documents, I checked them closely and noticed the actual airline tickets (not e-tickets) had us going to Nurenberg instead of Brussels. After telling me it was not their responsibility to verify the accuracy of the tickets, Viking River sent me the correct airline tickets. Yeah! Potential disaster averted. Our airport to ship transfer was supposed to be provided by Viking River. When we arrived at the airport in Brussels, we waited about two hours for the Viking River transfer that was to be waiting for us. I finally decided to call the transfer company. Unfortunately, the transfer company phone number provided by Viking River cruises was to a transfer company in Amsterdam, not Brussels. So I then called the Viking Sun ship directly and was told the ship personnel had been given inaccurate information by Viking River. We then took a taxi to the ship, but lost the afternoon we had planned for sightseeing. The Viking Sun ship was very nice, as were the other Viking ships we have cruised before. The ship was very clean, modern and the reception was quite nice. Our cabin was immaculate. Because of their several hour snafu with the transfer, there was no time for us to go into the town. The food was beautifully prepared and presented throughout the entire cruise. Service was very attentive without being intrusive. Our cruise was the final one for the year, so the cruise personnel were very anxious to be going home. The dining staff was quite efficient at getting everyone served quickly. Brugge was a wonderful visit. Lots of walking and sightseeing, but not too much. Everyone seemed to enjoy it immensely. Our tour guide was articulate and kept us moving at a nice pace. The brochure said we would have time in Antwerp, but there wasn't time. Delft was also a walking tour and a factory tour. Most of the tours required guests to be in reasonably good physical condition. Unfortunately, some guests could not keep up the pace. Because of the holidays, most of the stops were pretty quiet with shops and pubs closed. Most of the Christmas Markets were also over for the year. There were a couple that were open, but the ship personnel said they would also be closed so most people did not even bother to walk into the towns. Most of the optional tours were not offered. They didn't even bother to have a sign up sheet for the Kroller-Muller Museum since they seldom had any interest in it. My option was to take a taxi. Cologne is a delightful stop with something for everyone. The ship provided tour was very informative. I would also recommend the Roman artifacts museum, as well as the Cathedral and Old city. Much of the city was destroyed, but the reconstruction is lovely. We ran out of time before we could see the National socialism documentation centre which was the headquarters of the Cologne gestapo. Cochem was a pleasant walking town, but most things were closed. Most everything was also closed in Koblenz. Marksburg castle was interesting and had great views. People who have trouble walking may find the steps slippery. Throughout the tour I helped several people who were having problems with the cobblestones and slick steps at most stops. While cruising the Rhine, our Cruise Manager seemed to be bored with the entire trip. Several people commented that it seemed so strange that someone who doesn't enjoy people was in that position. He was even asked a couple of times if something was wrong and to pretend he was having fun by smiling. We were thinking maybe he just wanted this final cruise to be over. Rudesheim looked like it would be an interesting place if things were open. Again, there was nothing to do but look in the shop windows after the museum tour. Several of us left the musical instrument tour early. Heidelberg required lots of walking and was a fascinating stop. The shops were closed, but the decorations were worth the walk down the main shopping area. Speyer was lively with ice skating, Old Gate and the Christmas Market. The church was amazing and had a lovely nativity. Our cruise director said everything would be closed and since it was about a 10 minute walk, many people did not walk into the center. We found it quite magical and filled with local families. When we got to Strasbourg, we were told the tour would be cut short to combine it with the Black Forest tour that same day. We skipped the Black Forest tour and enjoyed the entire day in Strasbourg. The markets were open, ice skating and places to enjoy food and drink. We found out later the locks were going to take the entire next day so they had to do the Black Forest tour in the afternoon. We heard from other cruisemates that the Black Forest tour was extremely boring and nothing was open. They all wished they stayed in Strasbourg. Our final day of cruising was spent going through several locks. The locks were on a reduced schedule so it took hours longer than normal. No activities were planned on the ship for that day either. When we got to Basel after dark, the ship's docking location was taken so they had to dock a long ways from the town. There was no way for anyone to do any sightseeing in Basel that late at night. The next morning we had to go out in the dark to identify our luggage and then walk up a steep, slippery bank, over the railroad tracks to the bus to the airport. We helped a few ladies that were afraid of falling since they could not see where they were walking. On a scale of 1-5 (highest), I would rate this Belgium to Switzerland Viking Sun cruise a 3, although the meals and service on ship were excellent. We were very disappointed with the normally excellent Viking River cruise experience. If you are considering this cruise, you may want to go at least a couple weeks before Christmas and verify what will be open. Read Less

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