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50 Budapest to Europe - River Cruise Reviews

Before we booked this cruise, we had booked to do the same with Avalon but changes to our other tours and commitments saw us book with Scenic river cruises. We have used Scenic prior to this and had enjoyed their offerings but this was ... Read More
Before we booked this cruise, we had booked to do the same with Avalon but changes to our other tours and commitments saw us book with Scenic river cruises. We have used Scenic prior to this and had enjoyed their offerings but this was some time ago. Armed with all the hype after watching the advertising, we were expecting something really special. We arrived in Prague for the three day extension. This is really a con because one of the days is spent tightly crammed into a coach for the long day of driving to the ship in Budapest. For what we paid for this, I would never recommend it. Just do Prague on your own, you will not miss anything and will save heaps. We enjoyed Budapest but that is where it ended. While beyond Scenic's control at the outset, it is what followed that beggars belief. A lock on the river had been slightly damaged and ships we not able to proceed. Essentially what Scenic decided to do was to bus people to each of the destinations further on. This involved almost four hours on a crammed coach for 1hr 40 mins in Bratislava. But the next was a doozy, an almost 17hr day of coaching culminating in a show in Vienna! We and some others opted out for various reasons relating to physical capacity. Scenic did not offer us a viable alternative. When the lock finally opened, we simply sped past every port along the river just so the last couple of days might be on schedule! Go figure? A river cruise spent on a Coach! Of course, there could have been a better compromise but Scenic has the attitude that one size fits all. This is in spite of their claims that they offer "tailor made" experiences. In recognition of our loss of enjoyment, they have offered a paltry $1500 credit off a future river cruise. This represents around 10% of a single with flights and pre and post accommodation. Frequent travellers paying earlybird get this. I am not sure that many Aussies could even afford to do this trip,a second time. I am guessing the European passengers will find the discount a lot more attractive! I liaised with Scenic pointing out that they were the cause of much of our disappointment to absolutely no effect. For us, the premium paid for this experience is not justified. The butler service is nothing, the minibar means nothing, all drinks are included anyway. A small bag of washing is allowed for the two weeks and everything was returned shrunken. The food offerings were nothing exceptional at all. Our times on other cruises have been at least as enjoyable. Even the room design for our upgraded top level cabin was not as efficient as we have had and it suffered noise from the lobby area. The true measure of a company is what they do when things go wrong. Scenic failed us dismally. We will not be able to recommend them. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
I had heard this was a concierge cruise, but it turned out to be a floating infirmary. This was our first river cruise ever. We booked the Budapest to Amsterdam, August 25 – September 11, 2016, dates along with the pre and post ... Read More
I had heard this was a concierge cruise, but it turned out to be a floating infirmary. This was our first river cruise ever. We booked the Budapest to Amsterdam, August 25 – September 11, 2016, dates along with the pre and post cruise extensions tours. Though we found the rates for the 2-day extensions tours high, $600 per person in Budapest and $960 per person in Amsterdam, we expected they would be great tours with lovely hotel rooms. However, we were given a mediocre room in the Budapest Corinthia hotel and at the Amsterdam Movenpick hotel; both of which I found on-line to be under $200 for double occupancy. Nor were the tours, themselves of the anticipated quality. Our cruise commenced August 28th- September 11, 2016. Upon arrival, we learned from fellow cruise traveler that our cruise was a singles cruse and that there was no single occupancy supplement being charged for rooms with only one occupant. By doing this, Uniworld was effectively charging couples more for a shared room than they were charging a single person occupying the same room type. And, by not having to share the room, the single person was far more comfortable than we were in our room, while we paid twice the amount for the same room type. The cleaning was sloppy. Our glasses in the bathroom were left dirty for several days. I reported this to the front desk and the house keeping head apologized. Perhaps this lack of attention to cleanliness was why as the cruise unfolded, one-by-one, the crew became ill with a respiratory disease. Yet they still continued to service our cruise. Next, the guests became ill with a respiratory disease. By mid-cruise, 25% of the guests were sick with high fever, head congestion and coughing. An unknown number of crew was visibly coughing and sick as well. Five days before our final stop, Amsterdam, both my husband and I became ill. When we returned home, my husband was diagnosed with pneumonia. A few days later I followed with a temperature of over 105 degrees and I also was diagnosed with pneumonia. Given that this cruise with extensions cost close to $20K, I thought if I contacted Uniworld regarding our negative experience that they would be more than happy to offer good-wiil and offer some sort of discount or refund but I thought wrong, they were not. The entertainment had a mediocre singer during happy hour. A couple of guest entertainers. The dinners were ok and the "free" wine was not of the best quality. The red was not drinkable and the whites were ok, given that the cruse was in Germany mostly the north. The port excursions were interesting though some were canceled. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
So, the sad thing is that I know Viking wants to be the best in the business. But, they did not deliver what I purchased - a river cruise. A long-anticipated and saved-for vacation dream turned into a nightmare of long daily bus rides ... Read More
So, the sad thing is that I know Viking wants to be the best in the business. But, they did not deliver what I purchased - a river cruise. A long-anticipated and saved-for vacation dream turned into a nightmare of long daily bus rides less than halfway through the trip. So, the great food and great service didn't matter anymore. Since both the problems we encountered seemed avoidable to me*, and Viking's response to a ruined trip was to offer a discount if I spent more money on another trip (that might be just as disastrous), I cannot recommend this for your vacation cruise dream. (*Here's what happened to stop the river travel: First, Viking took a day of our trip to stop and repair some part of the engine that they knew about before the trip began. Then, a light rain in Passau caused the river to rise. Apparently their boats are built too tall to fit under a bridge if the river rises.) Here are things that went well and I would look for in another tour company: Embarkation was a breeze in Budapest, Hungary. Budapest tour was very good and the night tour was beautiful. The French balcony cabin is delightful - highly recommend the extra expense to get the full window. The intimate group of passengers and the open seating worked well to mix up people and ensure familiar faces everywhere you went. The walking tours were fine, but were rushed and shortened due to our bussing situation. The staff was exemplary and asked that we separate their service ratings from our overall unhappiness ratings! The food was fabulous, but we had to eat lunch in restaurants several days because the boat was miles away. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
I was on the Romantic Danube trip from Budapest to Nuremberg 11/14/2015 to 11/21/2015. I will never travel with Viking again! Viking's management only cares about filling out the capacity of the each cruise ship. I have listed a few ... Read More
I was on the Romantic Danube trip from Budapest to Nuremberg 11/14/2015 to 11/21/2015. I will never travel with Viking again! Viking's management only cares about filling out the capacity of the each cruise ship. I have listed a few of my issues with the company below. 1) Safety on board is a huge concern, especially since the audience for these cruises is largely American. No checks for identification when entering the boat. 2) Food handling is another concern. All passengers are allowed to handle the serving utensils. On other cruises, within the first 48 hours, all food is served in individual servings or served by staff. This alleviates any viruses brought on board by any passengers to be passed on to others. So many passengers on my cruise got seriously ill with the norovirus. The hand-sanitizer located outside the dining hall does not work against the norovirus. 3) Withholding information about the itinerary for the week was very frustrating. Passengers were told only the night before when we were to change boats. On my trip, we were on 3 different ships! Packing up after dinner and then having to get up early to get on a bus is not my idea of a relaxing vacation. I am only in my 50's and I came back home exhausted! 4) The 2 meals provided off-ship were horrible. The first one was at a 5 star restaurant. What you find out when you get there is you are in a banquet hall upstairs of the 5 star restaurant. The food you are served is worse than a 1970's mid-western athletic banquet. The second meal I skipped, but I heard that a number of passengers were seated in a basement for their luncheon meal. I was happy that I had made alternate plans for my mid-day meal. 5) One night we were docked/tethered to another Viking cruise boat. My veranda looked directly into a stateroom of the other ship. Nice to see an elderly man passed out on his bed. He was obviously too exhausted from all the shuttling around that he could not bother to close his curtains. Poor thing. 6) Staff if poorly trained. A lot of eye rolling and rude comments to the passengers. (just another whining passenger)! Our tour director was terrible. He was always on his computer or phone playing video games. Never a nice greeting. And he has been with Viking for 13 years! 7) I paid way too much to be transferred by bus and then in Nuremberg we were docked so far out of town (in a shipyard) where there are no taxis or public transportation. I have e-mailed the company and I have called to voice my complaints. All I got was a small credit for another cruise! I am told that is their good-will gesture! I did meet some passengers from another cruise line that had a wonderful experience on their trip even though the river was low. They were put up in nice hotels in the cities that were on their original itinerary. Viking's excuse about the water level is just that...an excuse. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
We cruised for about 3 days, On buses the rest of the time. Be cautious if cruising is a desire. We unpacked 3 times. Our Cruise started at a hotel in Budapest (Corinthia for Fri Night) rather than a Longship. Lots of bus rides ... Read More
We cruised for about 3 days, On buses the rest of the time. Be cautious if cruising is a desire. We unpacked 3 times. Our Cruise started at a hotel in Budapest (Corinthia for Fri Night) rather than a Longship. Lots of bus rides between docked house boats. What a joke for a cruise. If you want a bus tour through the Danube towns then this is for you. Viking Management knows all of this so they have seemingly stepped up the advertising to booked their ships years in advance. Viking does take care of you but things are deceiving as there it n0t much of a cruise due to "low water levels" but the levels have been low for months and they send you an email the night before you depart like it is new news. They say they hold out hope for rain but it would take a hurricane to make a difference. Viking is not doing themselves any favors. Apparently the Danube cruise is the one most first time customers take (including us). But a quick non scientific survey of people that we talked to will not be giving any more river cruise business to Viking after this one as it is sold as a river cruise but really a bus tour with a boat ride here and there. There is no reason to pay for a balcony, suite, etc. cause you all get the same hotel room and bus ride. Fri - Nov 6 -Arrival and check-in to Corinthia Hotel. Nice Hotel but not the cruise ship. Buffet style meals that were adequate but not a sit down dinner on the cruise ship. We were invited to a walking city tour but viking ran out of listening devices so we could not hear a thing. It turned out to not matter since we got the same info on the bus the next day. Sat Nov 7 - Bus Tour of Budapest with a couple of stops. then 4 hr bus ride to the ship with arrival at about 6 PM at Vienna. (another arrival and check-in). Dinner and intro to ship staff. Sun Nov 8 - Bus ride/tour around Vienna, Walking Tour of city center and some free time. Dinner on the boat. Boat left dock at 11:00 PM or so for the first time on a moving boat. Mon Nov 9 - Cruise through the gorge at about 0830, boat scraping the bottom. We arrived at Melk at 1000 or so and later learned that the Captain thought the water too low for subsequent trips. The group after us was bused to the gorge. Quick mid after noon tour at Melk with return to boat and departure later that evening for a couple hours of river cruising at night. Nov 10 Tues - Packed up, disembarked, got on bus for two hour ride to Passau, afternoon walking city tour of Passau and 2 hr bus ride to Regensburg to embark another boat in same cabin number. Had dinner aboard docked boat in harbor. Nov 11 - Weds - Walking Tour and free time in Regensburg (The boat stayed docked). Boat left at or shortly after lunch for our first day time river cruise (other than the 0830 gorge passage for 1 hr). We thought finally, some river cruising, only to learn that the rest of the journey was through a series of constructed locks. Nov 12 - Thurs AM - arrived in Nuremberg, free time in town for ~2 hrs, and optional afternoon WW2 tour (the best part of the entire trip) Nov 13 - disembark and go to the airport (boat did not move much) Long Ships were the Viking Tor and Viking Var (on one eve of Nov 7 to morning of Nov 9) other from evening of Nov 9 to morning of Nov 13. Specific Dining is difficult to review as we ate in the Hotel, a couple of restaurants, and two different ships. All the meals not on the ships were either buffet style or if we sat down in the restaurants it was the same meal for everyone. We traveled as a group (ship passengers of about 200) and ate together for the entire time. All the staff at all the venues were accommodating, polite, and mostly responsive to a group of passengers that thought they would be on 1 boat for the duration. In short, what a joke of a cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
We boarded this vessel along with several other couples we know. We didn't pick the dates-- HUGE MISTAKE!!! We set sail in October and encountered rain, dreary gray skies and weather cold enough to make a few of the passengers ill. ... Read More
We boarded this vessel along with several other couples we know. We didn't pick the dates-- HUGE MISTAKE!!! We set sail in October and encountered rain, dreary gray skies and weather cold enough to make a few of the passengers ill. Pumps on the locks weren't working properly in some cases (not necessarily the ship's fault), but it did shorten excursions that day and even canceled at least one of them. Food was good but with so little to do who needed the calories?? Far too surface of a treatment for the towns visited, except in two cases. We had the better staterooms and to be honest they were very small but all river cruiser rooms are small and unimpressive. To do over again I would have never agreed to go on this cruise and I won't even think about another "river cruise". They are for the birds! The ill-fit and well-healed but nearly demented set should do fine on them! Tremendous waste of money, and this comes from a veteran independent European traveler! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We are deeply disappointed in Viking. This was our first cruise with Viking and definitely our last. The cruise was not at all what we expected. We never felt the luxury they promote in their brochures and TV ads. Instead we paid a ... Read More
We are deeply disappointed in Viking. This was our first cruise with Viking and definitely our last. The cruise was not at all what we expected. We never felt the luxury they promote in their brochures and TV ads. Instead we paid a premium price of over $14,000 for two people and in exchange received substandard service and an exhausting and frustrating trip. We have traveled worldwide independently and were looking forward to being pampered in the lap of luxury with all our needs taken care of, no packing and up packing from city to city and upscale companion travelers. Instead we were herded through cities like cattle, kept to an aggressive time table if we wanted to see anything in port, forced to pack and unpack mid trip in order to change boats and accompanied by passengers who were for the most part unsophisticated retirees most of whom had saved up for this once in a life time trip for many years. Most of the cruising was done at night when you cannot see the beautiful idyllic settings advertised by Viking. We were often docked at unpleasant industrial sites. Luckily we were on a high floor and had our balcony level with asphalt. Those below us looked out on to a cement wall. No reason to sit out on the expensive balcony we splurged on. Instead of apologizing the staff made jokes about the view being modern art. In the daytime instead of being at the old city center, we were often far from the sites, due to so many other Viking boats in dock and were bused or walked long distances to the attractions often up many flights of stairs. Free time in ports was in most cases 1 hour, meaning you see very little and no time to shop. In many ports, the ships were stacked, boats next to each other next to the shoreline so you are literally looking into another person's cabin. No view from your room and sometimes none from the public spaces. The stateroom is uncomfortably small and cramped not to mention the unpleasant decor. The public spaces are beautifully designed but the staterooms were ignored, decorating with a prison cell gray color, tiny sinks and white bland tile. No softness anywhere. Stiff chair, horrid bed, backless stool at the desk, everything hard edged which forces you to leave your expensive room as frequently as possible. The art work throughout the boat is very acceptable but in the state room all we got was a stylized Viking framed logo to look at. Our bathroom on the first ship smelled of mildew but that was nothing compared to the many docks where the river smelled foul. I will spare you the details of the unpleasant toilet flush function on the Skadi ship. More importantly, Viking is not forthcoming with information when it concerns important issues. The ship administrators do not communicate enough with passengers. Their business model seems to be that passengers need not know anything until it is absolutely necessary and that Viking is never wrong, they do not apologize or admit to any wrong doing. Viking had experienced low river levels all summer, yet there was never a notice sent to us before we left regarding a change of boat or having to take buses. If we had received a notice we would have packed accordingly and been mentally prepared. Instead they told us one the day before, first that we were on a different ship and second that we needed to be bused to another ship mid cruise requiring us to pack and repack our bags. The change of ship required me to contact several local tour guides we had arranged on our own and notify them of the ship change, really annoying as the internet connections were so awful; my husband wasted hours trying to hook up a workable Internet. Viking attempted to make it up to us by having the crew on the deck with handmade signs saying welcome aboard, a free welcome drink and a free optional tour. None of this even began to make up for losing a quite morning sailing up the river, which is what was planned or spending an evening packing and an afternoon unpacking. We were put on a bus on a highway for over three hours with nothing of interest to see and a stop at a horrid gas station for a restroom break. Even though my bags were labeled and put out on time for the mid cruise ship change, Viking managed to lose one. When I reported it to three Viking employees, program director, hotel manager and desk manager, none apologized. Instead I was asked condescendingly if I really put it out, did I look in my closet, and then accused of not putting the proper luggage tag on my bag. In other words it was my fault, not Viking’s. Fortunately, as I didn’t trust them from the start, I took a picture of all my bags in the hall that morning, clearly showing all of my bags with the correct luggage tags. Only after seeing the photo did anyone attempt to locate the missing bag, which they ultimately did find. There were mechanical problems with the first boat. My husband and another passenger are engineers and noticed this almost from the time we boarded. Yet no communications about it. When someone asked the crew for an explanation for all the loud hammering and banging, they were told they weren’t allowed to say. For one day trip there were several busses and several Viking representatives. Instead of putting a Viking employee on each bus they choose to sit all together on one bus. Our bus was left unaccompanied with a German speaking driver and no one among the passengers who could communicate with him. Had there been an emergency I don’t know what we would have done. As it was, the driver delivered us to the wrong place forcing us to walk a very long distance and left on our own to find our ship, this after an already long day of walking. When we arrived at our ship, the bus with the Viking staff arrived right next to the ship. When I asked why we were dropped off so far away, when there was an obvious parking place closer, the Viking employee just shrugged his shoulders, said he didn’t know and walked away. No apology, no concern, not his problem, although he was the employee responsible for the day tour and the drivers. The vibrations of the ship, the noise of going through the locks and the ship bumping into the sides of the lock keeps you awake at night, not to mention the most uncomfortable bed I have ever slept in, which felt like a cement block. Ideally suited to the prison grey décor. I would estimate 80% of the passengers on our ship were sick mid-way through the cruise. Several needed to go to the local emergency room for breathing problems. The ship was so cold, even though we were sailing in Sept/Oct with outside temperatures in the 60’s, I asked the staff to turn down the AC in the lounge several times and they said they were unable to do it. The AC in the cabins can only be turned off when the balcony doors are open. Given that we were often stacked against another boat or the noise from the ship or the port was too loud or the smell too awful, we were forced to sleep in AC with no way to turn off the fan which is pointed directly to the head of the bed. We both developed very nasty head colds. The ship has no basic medications or hot water bottles or heating pads for passengers and so we were forced to spend valuable time in port searching for pharmacies to purchase OTC cold and sore throat medications, having to translate ingredients and find pharmacist who spoke English. The tipping suggestions in the cruise brochure recommended we leave over $400 per couple. We refused to tip that much. It was obvious that Viking pays lower salaries and gets away with it by promising the staff that high tip recommendations would be strongly suggested. We tipped individuals on staff that had provided service above and beyond the call of duty. We hated the constant staff interference at meals. We always felt rushed, the staff couldn’t wait to clear the table and get on with their other duties especially at lunch. They interrupted conversations and never asked the women for their orders first, just went around the table at their own convenience. When I waived one waitress away with my hand as she was constantly interrupting me during a conversation, offering wine, when I had already refused it, she made a rude gesture with her hand mimicking my brushing her aside. At several meals I asked for a drink multiple times, and waited more than 15 minutes for it to be served and on one occasion received the wrong drink. I asked a waiter for a menu three times the third time loudly thinking he might be deaf, and he shouted at me for raising my voice. While we had no complaints about the food the options were often limited especially if you wanted a light meal in the lounge. We ate mostly in the main dining room, however there are no tables for two and so you are forced to eat all meals with other passengers. Sometimes we just wanted to be alone and we felt we had nothing in common with the other passengers, many of them in large groups of friends or family, who sang drinking songs during diner. Dinner is scheduled from 7 to 9 but that does not mean you can walk in any time and be served. If you are not in the dining room at one minute before seven the only seats available are in the center of the room, not by a window. You really can only eat in the main dining room starting at 7 and ending at 9. This was too regimented for us. We thought, reading the schedule, we might be able to drop in any time between 7 and 9, not so. The after dinner entertainment was poor, local community theater groups and the lectures which were juvenile. On several nights they played games like I imagine they do in retirement communities. Several times the itinerary differed from the actual event. The captain’s dinner was listed for the Thursday evening but occurred on Wed three full days before the cruise ended. A glass blowing studio tour was promised in one port, something I was looking forward to but never materialized. When I mentioned it to the program director he spoke to me as if like I was an idiot and told me the studio was outside of town. Yet it was on the printed itinerary. He obviously had no knowledge of this, yet he was the program director. When we toured the kitchen we discovered that there were no dishwashers, that dishes were washed by hand. It was clear then why cups arrived at a freshly laid table with old lipstick stains on them and why so many of us were sick. Reading some of the other reviews I consider ourselves lucky. One ship had GI disorders among the passengers, another had half of their trip cancelled and a third missed Budapest all together, which we felt was a highlight. We were on new boats throughout and I understand the old ones are dreadful. Members of the Viking staff and local tour guides often commented on how quickly Viking is growing. Obviously they are experiencing growing pains. And if they are sitting fat and happy with all of their boats sold out then they are unlikely to pay careful attention to service and passenger complaints. No need to encourage passengers to be repeat customers when their waiting lists are already so long. I wrote this same review on the feedback form Viking provides passengers at the end of the cruise. I indicated that a senior customer service representative could phone me to discuss my concerns. I am writing this a week after we disembarked and no call yet. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
My wife and I just got off our first Viking River Cruise in Nuremberg from Budapest. Just want to preface this with the cost paid months in advance was about $5000 per person, 10M a couple. We flew on our own to Budapest 3 days in ... Read More
My wife and I just got off our first Viking River Cruise in Nuremberg from Budapest. Just want to preface this with the cost paid months in advance was about $5000 per person, 10M a couple. We flew on our own to Budapest 3 days in advance to see the city ourselves. It was a great city with lots to see. The hop on hop off bus was less that $70 dollars for two days. (I mention this as we received almost as much scenic value than any day on the Viking Cruise). Wow. When it came time to get on the boat we were informed we would be bused to the boat as the water of the river was not deep enough to make it to Budapest. So we were taken to a small town where 5 viking ships waited for their cattle. That's no joke. We were dragging suit cases across dusty gravel to get on the ship like it was a cow pasture. Meanwhile the trash was offloaded from the previous cruise in dumpsters on a hill in front of the ship. The ship was nice and the crew was knowledgeable and friendly so we still looked forward to that beautiful scene advertised on TV. The first day was spent being bused back to Budapest for a tour. (Notice no cruising). The next day we cruised to Passau, Germany. It was all that Viking had promised and I was optimistic for the rest of the trip. Then we were informed we would be taking a bus to the next port, Regensberg. (notice no cruising). The water was too low....but then the next day it was OK. Bottom line is we paid for a cruise and got a bus tour with a floating hotel. We ended up leaving a day early as we had arranged our own schedule to Cologne and then Amsterdam and did not want to leave at 5:30 in the morning to be bused to our train. The crew could not have been more gracious in trying to make up for the bad position the company put them in by knowingly putting their customers in this position week after week. Violetta was the director and she was awesome and the ship was nice....however Viking regularly pulls this same crap over and over on this trip with little to no compensation to customers for not receiving the contracted services of a cruise. We cruised 2 days out of an 8 day cruise and left a day early. 190 passengers times $5000 per is close to 1 million per cruise.....I could rent a yacht in the Caribbean for a week, I could take any ocean cruise including the Mediterranean and get a massage every day. There is a ton of fun that can be bought with $10,000.00 and Viking is not part of that menu. Visited September 2015 Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We booked our flight and cruise with Viking planning a river cruise starting in Budapest aboard the Bestla Ship.ending in Amsterdam. Alitia Airlines lost our luggage for 7 days. However the crew on Bestla ship was wonderful and ... Read More
We booked our flight and cruise with Viking planning a river cruise starting in Budapest aboard the Bestla Ship.ending in Amsterdam. Alitia Airlines lost our luggage for 7 days. However the crew on Bestla ship was wonderful and laundered our clothes and repeatedly tried to locate our luggage. After 7 days, we were told that the river was low and we must take a 3 hour bus drive to the twin ship Eistla. Upon boarding Eistla, I noticed the ship did not smell fresh. Entering our room there was a button on the floor, thought the vacuum missed it. Next morning was an early morning excursion, but our bathroom smelled . Thought all would be well later. Upon returning to room, smell was a disaster and the was a bubbling sound of foul gas coming from drain area of bathroom. Reported this and Captain for managing ship came. Asked immediately to be moved to another room. Was frightened for our health. She told me they had no other room. I was frantic. For the day we had no place to clean up or rest etc. At 9:30 p.m., we decided we need to check out the room. It smelled heavily of disinfectant. The same towels and bath mat were in the bathroom. There was disinfectant odor for three days. My husband had a sore throat on the last day of travel from ship. Had the ship management kept plumbing in order this would never had happened. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
While I understand that the circumstances described here are unusual I can assure you that my comments are an honest account of what we experienced We could not wait for our very first river cruise, having heard so much about Viking and ... Read More
While I understand that the circumstances described here are unusual I can assure you that my comments are an honest account of what we experienced We could not wait for our very first river cruise, having heard so much about Viking and all the beautiful towns we would be able to visit. Imagine our surprise to be told night two, that we would have to get of the ship for 3 days while it had a new generator installed in dry dock. Not to worry we were told, we would have a "good" experience etc. The trouble is Viking does not charge for "good" they charge for "great". Three miserable days being bused everywhere, including two nights in a very mediocre hotel with no AC (32c) were not confidence building as was the complete lack of honest communication with the very disappointed and angry passengers. On being returned to the ship we expected to complete our cruise itinerary to Amsterdam but while we did sleep on board, days consisted of being bused from the boat to which ever port we were supposed to be in for very abbreviated visits. We averaged two hours on a bus for every one hour on shore!!!! Out of 14 days the first two were the only days which met the itinerary the rest of the "cruise" was spent either in hotels and on buses. Seeing other Viking ships glide in and out of the ports where we were meant to be only added insult to injury. Given that we never actually were moored in any of the advertised ports there was no entertainment, or opportunity to explore on our own. What really frustrated us was that Viking knew four days before we left Canada that they could not meet their obligation to us or our expectations, but chose not to inform anyone until we had embarked. After ruining our vacation they offered us a 25% refund and a 25% discount on a future Viking cruise. An empty gesture considering that for us it was a total loss plus we will never take another viking cruise having had such a dismal experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We got on board in Budapest tired from the all night plane ride, but excited. The crew welcomed us aboard and showed us to our stateroom (3rd balcony). At the evening group meeting they informed us that one of the large generators has ... Read More
We got on board in Budapest tired from the all night plane ride, but excited. The crew welcomed us aboard and showed us to our stateroom (3rd balcony). At the evening group meeting they informed us that one of the large generators has failed. This was after we unpacked everything for a two week cruise to Amsterdam. They told us the ship will be dry docked for at least 3 days. We will be bused to two different hotels at two different locations. We thought this was some kind of joke. The joke was on us. People's reaction was shock and huge disappointment. We found out later that this problem existed five days before we arrived. From that point on we never made our destinations on time. The generator was replace in Linz, Austria on the following Sunday. For two weeks we essentially became a rushed bus tour. The crew on the Aegir were fantastic. They did the best they could. How did management let us on board without acknowledging they had a problem? They could of given us a choice. Two days before we reached Amsterdam with a new generator we found out the other large generator failed. We couldn't wait to get off this cursed ship. As you may know these cruises aren't inexpensive. This was a once in a life time adventure for many of us. They offered us a 25% refund and a 25% discount on our next cruise. Who in their right mind would go on another Viking Cruise!!! We feel a 50% refund is reasonable. I'm not the type of person who likes to complain. But when you meet wonderful people on board, some in their 80's, this will be their last big vacation. Management was never upfront with us before we arrived. Viking has a great reputation and I'm sure this experience is not the norm. But how can we recommend this cruise line after being treated like herded sheep. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
If I could provide 0 stars I would, based on Viking’s lack of customer service alone. We were on the 15-Day Grand European Tour on Viking (Eisla ship) in March, 2015 from Budapest to Amsterdam. The staff in general was good, and the ... Read More
If I could provide 0 stars I would, based on Viking’s lack of customer service alone. We were on the 15-Day Grand European Tour on Viking (Eisla ship) in March, 2015 from Budapest to Amsterdam. The staff in general was good, and the tours and food were definitely above average. My extremely negative review centers around the consistent problems we had with our room, the double stacking of ships at docks (which left no view from our upgraded room and balcony), and the Hotel Manager’s personal problem. We booked this trip with my parents 14 months in advance (with the paid cancellation policy), as my husband is in the military and never knows what his upcoming schedule will be. This was a “bucket list” trip with my 75 year old parents. We paid a lot of money (nearly $20,000) for one of the suites with a nice balcony. Unfortunately our room either had no air or no heat, depending upon the weather. Maintenance came in at least four times to fix it and nothing was ever settled. Our TV was completely non-functional in the bedroom for most of the trip. Our power outlets in the bathroom were not consistent with the hairdryers provided by Viking or any adapters we purchased (based upon what Viking suggested), so we had to get ready in our living room. Our bathroom smelled like stale urine the entire trip, even after it was cleaned each day. For approximately 40% of our trip, we had no view from our suite or balcony since other Viking ships were double stacked against us. I want to mention that we were told by several Viking staff that Viking saves money by double stacking so that they do not have to pay for extra docks. Thus, if I wanted to enjoy our balcony or open our blinds, I was looking straight into someone else’s room. This completely ruined our trip to Budapest, Koblenz, Cologne, Bratislava, etc. In addition, the Hotel Manager, who one would normally complain to, was unapproachable the entire cruise. All of the staff were complaining about him. My husband contacted Viking about this and their “executive team” contacted him for further information. They appeared to take this very seriously… at the time…. Boy, were we wrong. So, when we returned home, they have finally offered a discount on future cruises, even though we specifically requested for cash because my husband cannot plan months or years ahead for another cruise. And, after the horrible experience we had, why would we want to do another cruise with them?? Again, my husband is in the military and can deploy or be transferred at any time. We were told Viking would not honor our request and indicated that military or not, we could easily book a future trip. It is very disturbing how uncaring they are about their military customers. This is totally unacceptable and just shows how little they value their customers, especially those who are in the military. Please, I urge everyone to not use Viking Cruises for the simple reasons that you will be overpaying for what you receive and that they have no customer service or concern for their customers. Please review them on BBB.org. They currently have an F from the Better Business Bureau due to their customer service. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We recently came back from a Viking River Cruise starting in Budapest ending in Amsterdam. We boarded the Viking Ship called the Estila after looking for the Bestla which we did not know untill we got to the Ship. We found the staff on the ... Read More
We recently came back from a Viking River Cruise starting in Budapest ending in Amsterdam. We boarded the Viking Ship called the Estila after looking for the Bestla which we did not know untill we got to the Ship. We found the staff on the Esitla to be very welcoming and with pleasure served us. The Cabin we stayed in was not a good experience as the bathroom smelt like sewer. We ask for that to be looked at but nothing was done.Then seven days into the trip we were told to pack our bags because we were moving to the Bestla. The staff on this boat was not at all welcoming and never a smile from them. We were told we would have happy hour from 5:30 to midnight because of the move from one ship to the other. The staff on the Bestla said no way that is not going to happen.They were very unfriendly and seemed to care less about us. There were many compaints from the guests,the staff only changed a little bit. Our cabin on the Bestla was not great, the bathroom door kept getting stuck and the toilet would not always flush. We asked for that to be looked into, but nothing changed. Our overall experience on the boat Bestla was not acceptable. The food was acceptable but not memorable.On the Eistla and Bestla room 123 was quite noisy when travelling,as though there was a very strong wind going on outside ones home. The entertainment could have been better on both ships,especially after supper. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Well I am not quite sure where to start. 5 days into the cruise we were advised that we would need to change ships to fit their winter schedule. That was the first surprise. After we switched to the Bragi it broke down on the second day ... Read More
Well I am not quite sure where to start. 5 days into the cruise we were advised that we would need to change ships to fit their winter schedule. That was the first surprise. After we switched to the Bragi it broke down on the second day and we had to adjust all our excursions. This led to lots of extra bus time. The washrooms were not working for one day. We then had to cut our trip one day short so they could get the ship to dry dock to repair. That day we spent from 8am to 630 pm on the bus. We then arrived back where the ship was supposed to be but it did not arrive for 2 hours later. Another ship was docked and we were allowed to sit in the back waiting. For the money involved the food was poor, the service was very average and the ship did not perform. Be vary careful when using this cruise company. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Our “Splendours of Europe” cruise on Emerald Star (Emerald Waterways’ ship, new in 2014) was extremely disappointing and did not live up to the advertised standard. Our expectations were not unrealistic, based on previous experience ... Read More
Our “Splendours of Europe” cruise on Emerald Star (Emerald Waterways’ ship, new in 2014) was extremely disappointing and did not live up to the advertised standard. Our expectations were not unrealistic, based on previous experience - this was our fifth river cruise – but we felt very badly let down: • Our flights from the UK were arranged by Emerald Waterways – at an extra of £129 each to the cruise cost, for the ‘regional connection’ from Newcastle via Amsterdam. The connection time in Amsterdam proved inadequate as our slightly delayed departure from Newcastle resulted in our missing the connecting flight and having a 7½ hour wait for the next flight. Arriving on board ship after midnight after a day like that was not a good start and no apology was forthcoming. • We had been given to understand that the cruise started in Budapest, but the majority of passengers had boarded in Prague a week earlier and had coalesced into large, friendly, impenetrable and noisy groups before we joined. There were no quiet areas in the public rooms. • Most of the passengers were Australians who had been sold the cruise as an “Evergreen Retirement Cruise”, for Australians only. They were surprised to find British people joining them and there was bias and preferential treatment to them. This should have been notified to ‘others’ before booking. • The brochure clearly states that a jacket and tie/smart casual dress code would be applied for evening dining, with shorts and thongs unacceptable. This was completely disregarded by most passengers, with no enforcement by the staff. • Our cabin was advertised as having a large picture window, but turned out to have had a design change so that there was only a small, high level window through which a view could be gained only by standing on tip-toe. • Our letter of complaint to Emerald Waterways elicited no useful response. They will have to do better at those prices!!   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Food was mediocre, cabins were average. Problem was that the river was low so the boat could not get through one of the overpasses...so they made us pack up and took an all day bus to our next ship which was much older and not very nice. ... Read More
Food was mediocre, cabins were average. Problem was that the river was low so the boat could not get through one of the overpasses...so they made us pack up and took an all day bus to our next ship which was much older and not very nice. No compensation. Passengers were boorish (including screaming to the locals who were walking on the overpasses to "jump"; using terms one should not hear about the US President). I couldn't get off the boat fast enough. Do not expect luxury, do not expect a quiet and sophisticated cruise. Tour guides were well educated; and we got lucky because our hotel in Prague (we paid for an extra visit to Prague after the tour) was full, so we got much nicer accommodations. Getting off the boat was the highlight of the trip. After the tour (because they probably got such bad reviews) we were offered a lot of promotions (buy 1 get one free; additional 25% off, etc.) to go on another cruise...never again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
I have delayed my review until after settlement of my financial claim against Emerald Waterways., but I am now able to write my review. Some of the points have already been covered in the earlier 3 star reviews but potential travellers do ... Read More
I have delayed my review until after settlement of my financial claim against Emerald Waterways., but I am now able to write my review. Some of the points have already been covered in the earlier 3 star reviews but potential travellers do need to be warned against travelling with this line. Our trip was from Budapest to Nuremberg and the first problems occurred after our collection from Budapest airport, this was booked as a package so the vast majority of passengers were on the same early flight. We were met at the airport and transported to the ship(unusually without a guide) when we arrived at the ship the cases were unloaded and we were expected to carry them up the gangway. We were then ushered into a lounge, given a flavoured soft drink and left there with no announcements. We were expecting lunch as is normal but after half an hour we went to search of lunch to be told that the first meal was dinner and no local restaurants were open.After much complaining some food was reluctantly found but the majority of passengers were given nothing, we were allowed into our cabins at about 3pm. One of the major selling points of this cruise line is a swimming pool with a retractable roof, however the roof was not opened once during the cruise, the excuse being that this would result in debris being deposited in the pool, so you are left with a small indoor pool, not good enough, if debris accumulates the pool should be cleaned. Another selling point is the covering of the swimming pool to create a cinema in the evening. Unfortunately the equipment went wrong after the first night and there was no attempt to rectify the situation, so no cinema for the rest of the cruise. Worse was to follow for me, first I slipped on a wet gangway on the way back from a trip, luckily I was unhurt but the gangplank should have been covered as soon as it started to rain. Second on the last night of the cruise I left my mobile phone on charge in my cabin and when I returned later in the evening it had gone.The theft has been dealt with subsequently but at first the line sought to deny any liability saying that I should have left the phone in the safe which seems to imply that theft is the norm on their ships. The claim has now been settled. I associate myself with the comments made in earlier postings about the cabins and dining room acoustics.The food was in the main good although service was extremely variable and in some instances very amateurish. There other problems of a minor nature which I will not dwell upon, suffice to say that this was a very expensive cruise and failed in most ways to live up to expectations. In a line's first year of operation you would expect them to pull out all the stops to build up a good reputation, not so Emerald and if they continue to offer such a substandard product they will surely fail in what is a very competitive market.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Here are the details of my complaint regarding the Viking Legend cruise from 8 – 15 September 2013. I. Silverware, plates, tablecloths hygiene was below standard. 1. From the first meal I noticed both the plates and silverware ... Read More
Here are the details of my complaint regarding the Viking Legend cruise from 8 – 15 September 2013. I. Silverware, plates, tablecloths hygiene was below standard. 1. From the first meal I noticed both the plates and silverware frequently had small particles of dried food which I subsequently popped off using my fingernail. Alternatively, the plates and silverware occasionally felt greasy. 2. Table linen was not changed after every meal, even if it was soiled. At one breakfast I noticed coffee/tea stains around the perimeter of my blue cloth placemat. When I picked up the placemat there was smeared chocolate syrup, food/drink stains, as well as crumbs concealed under the placemat. When I called this to the attention of the Restaurant Manager his only action was to say he would put it in his report. I subsequently saw this same procedure of table preparation repeated after the dinner meal when they set the table for breakfast. II. The quality of both the food and preparation was inconsistent. Some meals were excellent, other meals were mediocre to poor. 1. On two evenings my meat was chewy (tough). 2. On the final night I ordered salmon; it was dry, unappetizing. On this meal my entrée plate was unusually dirty, I did not finish this meal. 3. Bread. The only evening I recall quality bread/rolls served for dinner was our final supper. The reminder of suppers we were served very-soft-crusted, room temperature, sliced baguette-type bread; very unappetizing. What an opportunity to showcase and excel with good bread. Of note, we did have a good choice and range of breads/buns available for breakfast. No bread was ever served at lunch in the dining room. 4. Soups. Without exception, all the creamy soups were poor. Either they were watery without flavour and spicing, or overly thick without flavour and spices and tasted of flour thickening. This was true for both lunch and supper soups. 5. The ‘Austrian/German’ lunch buffet in the lounge. a. Only cutlery provided was very flimsy plastic forks and knives (ineffective to cut or spear food). The paper plates provided were very thin oval-type that I’ve usually seen to serve a single hot dog on a bun. Not appropriate for a lunch buffet. They could have used the same cutlery/plates they provided for lunch in the lounge. b. Dessert. The struddle-type custard-like-filled pastry was not sufficiently cooked. Although the outside was browned, the inside of the dough was gummy. c. Fried chicken. Was tasty but excessively greasy. III. Of significant concern was the conversation I overheard between two ship employees (they did not see me as I was around the corner sitting in dim-light using my laptop computer. This was the night passengers had the optional concert tour and upon return to the ship could have a goulash snack. One employee told the other that since XXX (I did not catch the name) arrived the kitchen was disastrous. They said the quality of the meat and what was purchased was not as good as before. When one was offered some of the goulash, the other said that it was so bad they would not even taste it. IV. Cabin # 100. 1. The carpet was quite badly soiled. I did mention this to the Program Director and I believe the concierge was also there; they said the carpet would be cleaned, but I never noticed a difference. 2. The vacuum system in the shower drain was incredibly noisy, not quite a loud as a lawn mower (that is how loud it was). This vacuum system was also activated when using the sink. When I mentioned this to the front desk I was told there was nothing they could do, the lower on the ship the louder the vacuum noise became. 3. From time to time there was the smell of sewage gas in the passageway between Cabin 100 and the stairs located amidships. V. Seamanship. I am aware of three occasions on different nights the ship bumped the side of lock. On the first occasion the ship also scraped the side of the lock for several seconds. I was told the next day (I did not see this) that there was a diver in the water checking the side of the ship. In conclusion, I was disappointed in the Viking Legend’s overall quality. I want to stress the front line service personnel were quite good and doing the very best they could under the environment established by the Viking Legend’s leadership.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We arrived in Budapest at about 9:00pm on a flight from Zurich. We had confirmed with Viking our time and method of arrival. Viking told us where to get a taxi, the approximate cost, and very specifically identified the location of the ... Read More
We arrived in Budapest at about 9:00pm on a flight from Zurich. We had confirmed with Viking our time and method of arrival. Viking told us where to get a taxi, the approximate cost, and very specifically identified the location of the ship. We reconfirmed all of this by phone before leaving. As you probably guessed, after dismissing the taxi, we discovered the ship was not where it was supposed to be. We wondered around in the dark of the Budapest docks until a very nice English speaking young man helped us find the ship and carry our bags to it. Once on the ship he had another surprise: no food. For those who have cruised before and expect having access to food basically any time, be aware that Viking serves a communal dinner from 6 pm to 9 pm meaning if you want a seat at dinner you must be there at 7 and you must leave at 9 when the kitchen closes. During the same period you can choose one of five never-changing choices at the bar (club sandwich, baked potato, etc.) There is no room service. It was possible to leave the ship to dine ashore, but only at a few destinations as the ship is mostly under way at dinner time. The TV ads and the online videos tout the sun deck where passengers may stroll and where the chief grows herbs and were there is a solar array for the hybrid engines. We saw several Viking ships along the route but never saw a solar panel and the few herbs that were there were strictly for show. More importantly, the sun deck closes for 4 days during the cruise because the ship barely clears the bridges even with the sun deck closed and disassembled. Not being able to go outside together with the ship being under way most of the time and the regimented communal eating schedule give the experience a very claustrophobic feel. We made the mistake of booking the most expensive stern suite, called the explorer suite or something. Do not make this mistake. The engine noise and vibration make sleeping difficult even with ear plugs. And the crew's off duty station is just above and being mostly eastern European the smoke a lot and the smoke fills the expensive Explorer suites. We wished we had rented a car and explored on our own. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We arrived at Budapest Airport in the afternoon of 2 June - full of hope for our first river cruise. (We have previously undertaken many Ocean cruises). The Viking rep was there to greet us at Arrivals. He told us that the river was a ... Read More
We arrived at Budapest Airport in the afternoon of 2 June - full of hope for our first river cruise. (We have previously undertaken many Ocean cruises). The Viking rep was there to greet us at Arrivals. He told us that the river was a little high right now but we'd be taken to a hotel for a short while, to get some refreshments and then we'd be taken to our boat/ship to begin our holiday. Hurrah! He didn't appear to be concerned so we weren't, we had no reason to doubt what he was telling us. On arrival at the hotel (very nice hotel) we got refreshments, met other passengers and heard from our Program Director, David. He said we shouldn't be there too long, then we'd be taken, by coach, to the Viking Legend, which had, had to be moved due to the river levels on The Danube. Our stay at the hotel was longer than anticipated but eventually we were on our way to the ship. I think we arrived at the ship about 8 30pm, so dinner was served immediately. At that stage we didn't have our luggage, so all went in to dine as we were. The food was - okay. During dinner, David spoke about our plans the next day - a trip in to Budapest by coach. He told us that we'd have a chance to lie in the next morning (a lot of us had, had very early starts - we were up at 3 30am). While we were in Budapest the ship would be moved, he didn't know where. We were still given the impression, at this stage, that we would be cruising soon. The next morning at 8 30am, David's voice came in to the cabin, to tell us that we would be leaving for Budapest at 9 30am - panic stations, so no leisurely lie in and we had to get breakfast. The day in Budapest was fine - we had lunch at a restaurant (the best service of anywhere on the whole trip) and we enjoyed it. The coach journey back to the ship, at it's new mooring, took around 2.5 hours. We were moored at a small, probably disused, industrial harbour in Kormano, Slovakia. It wasn't pretty. We were the inside ship of four tied together, the Viking Bragi was immediately next to us, then a German cruise ship and another we didn't find out about. We got back to our cabin, with Juliet Balcony, we paid extra for and now had a view of a Viking Bragi balcony, they'd already closed their curtains, we did the same - that was the end of daylight in the cabin. We had another minimal briefing from the Program Director and were told that the next day we would be coached in to Bratislava. The ship would remain where it was. We still had not been told that we would not be cruising anywhere on this holiday. The journey in to Bratislava was long the next day as we were obviously not in our intended mooring. The highlight of our journey in to Bratislava was a comfort stop at a petrol station, four coach loads of people, all stopping at the same time - two ladies toilets, facilities for the men. Guide said we should be back on the coach in ten minutes - no way, this stop took the best part of an hour. We had lunch in Bratislava, the service took two hours, shambolic. Our tour of Bratislava was not as long as it should have been, due to travelling distance, long lunch break and the comfort stop. On return to the ship it was evident that the water had risen quite significantly. The German cruise ship had been evacuated and we learnt that the Viking Bragi was being evacuated the next morning. At the briefing that night we were told that we'd be going to Vienna by coach the next morning and that plans were being made to take us to Munich the following day, where we'd spend three nights at a hotel. The Danube was now officially closed. Quite a few people were unhappy about going to Munich - I believe some people left the cruise. The next morning again, the river level had risen, the walkway to shore had been extended. Lots of sandbags around the buildings in the area. The Viking Bragi had been evacuated - we were to return for another night. The estimate of our coach trip to Vienna was out by two whole hours. It took about four hours each way. We had a wander round the city, with the guide on arrival. Then lunch. The service was so bad (2+ hours to get to the main course) that my husband and I left, so we'd have some free time in the city. Viking also ran a trip to Schönbrunn Palace for those interested. We were told it was a very quick visit due to the time constraints of getting back to the ship. That evening we had to pack for Munich. The suitcases had to be ready, outside our cabin, for 8 30am as they were going separately - so they'd be waiting for us in Munich on arrival. Once more on leaving the ship the following morning, the river had risen, the walkway had been extended as far as it could go, over the flooding water, it was really quite concerning. The coaches couldn't park as near, so to get to them we had to negotiate sandbags and an extremely steep, temporary, set of steps up and down. These were quite a challenge for me but positively frightening for some of the more elderly guests who weren't as confident on their feet. The journey time to Munich, by coach, we had been told was 6.5 hours plus stops. No one was happy about that but we had to get on with it (as the Americans like to say on the board we had no option but to 'make lemonade') We set off to Munich at 9 30am - we arrived at the hotel at 9 45pm - TWELVE HOURS LATER. Of course, our suitcases hadn't arrived either - because they were so late in arriving, some of the passengers, plus the Program Director & Viking Hotel Manager, had to sort them out. All we wanted to do was get to bed. The hotel in Munich was nice but a few of us were told that we were Viking customers, so were made to feel inferior to the 'normal' guests there. There was no choice at dinner. I asked for a single scoop of vanilla ice cream, instead of the chocolate mousse served and was told 'it's not possible for Viking customers to deviate from the set menu'. Even if I paid for it, no, not possible. If you wanted to eat lunch at the hotel, it was charged. The internet was at a premium charge. These things were included on the ship. During our time at the hotel a trip in to Munich, with a guide was organised. Also a lengthy trip to Salzburg (which had been part of the original itinerary I think) or by public demand an alternative was also set up to visit Dachau. Munich was chosen as our final destination because people who were not extending our holiday were mostly flying from Munich (the extension was to Prague, which I guess was another lengthy coach journey). We flew home from Munich. The fact that The Danube flooded was not Viking's fault - not the fault of anyone. It's an act of God. However, Viking have access to the finest weather reports, river condition reports and forecasts. This did not happen overnight and catch them out. Some other river cruise lines cancelled their cruises that were due to depart the same day, on a similar itinerary. Another cruise line departed Budapest on the same day as us, then aborted the cruise two days later, as they realised their cruise could not be completed on The Danube. Viking cancelled their return sailing of our cruise on the same day we departed. It was an expensive holiday which turned in to a series of extremely long, arduous, bus excursions. This cruise should never have taken place as it cruised NOWHERE. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
"It is harder to seek pardon afterwards than to be cautious beforehand", from "The Vikings' Guide to Good Business", offered for sale in the Viking Aegir gift shop. Perhaps the executives at Viking River Cruises ... Read More
"It is harder to seek pardon afterwards than to be cautious beforehand", from "The Vikings' Guide to Good Business", offered for sale in the Viking Aegir gift shop. Perhaps the executives at Viking River Cruises should make themselves familiar with this centuries-old book and the advice it contains. As a former executive manager, I always found that making the right decision at the right time was what set you apart from those who just drew a salary. In those cases where problems arose, maintaining a commitment to corporate integrity, ethics, and the simple acts of being open and truthful went a long way to meliorating the situation. Again, lessons that don't seem to be part of the Viking approach to business. The flooding on the Danube was an act of God. The decision that put us on this flooded river was an act of corporate ineptitude. Our planned 11 day river cruise, a celebration of our 25th wedding anniversary, turned into 6 days of confinement on a veritable prison barge with a mounting number of hours on poorly air-conditioned buses used to visit marginally interesting sites to take our minds off our situation. Our contracted "river view stateroom" offered us only the blackened curtains of another ship, tethered inches away from us. The only escape from the claustrophobic room/balcony was a choice between the outside deck (in 95 degree temperatures) or the lounge with a high-school level talent playing incessantly on the piano with Zombie-like patrons sitting around him staring off into space or asleep in the chairs. We were subjected to an orchestrated program of lies, half-truths, and deceptions designed (IMO) to keep the passengers from open revolt and, not coincidentally, to keep Viking within their contract obligations to avoid litigation. When the majority of on-board customers did threaten action, Viking first offered a 50% discount for a future cruise (followed by the tour director being booed off his perch). On the next day, Viking then offered a "full" refund for the trip, but was careful not to define what "full" meant. Upon our return home, we were provided with two emails -- the first giving us an exact dollar amount for the future discount; the second, another unspecified "full" refund. Upon a call to the Customer Retention office, and a two day wait for a return call, we were informed that "full" really meant we were still out of pocket for over $2,500. The Viking web site, prior to the trip, announced that the cruise would proceed as scheduled. Upon arrival in Budapest, we learned that the prior week's cruises had been canceled. We were then told that our second day in Budapest would be eliminated so that we could be bused for 6 hours to Novi Sad, where we would commence the trip. Once in Novi Sad (bypassing planned stops in Kalocsa, Hungary, and Osijek, Croatia), we were told that we could not sail until the water level dropped enough to transit a railroad bridge. When asked how fast the water was dropping, we were told by the cruise director that the water was still rising. Each day thereafter, there was the constant promise of departure as soon as the water levels dropped -- a promise which was ridiculed by the crew members of the tethered ships whose companies had canceled their own cruises. These other crews proved to be absolutely correct on when a sailing level would be reached, a piece of river knowledge which seems to have escaped Viking. Although we did reach Belgrade (by bus ride rather than by water), no other item on the itinerary list was achieved, unless you count the abbreviated cruise to some remote station in Romania that lasted about 24 hours and a so-called lunch in Bucharest which was served to us at 4:00 in the afternoon after another 6 hour bus ride. This lunch ended at 5:00, just prior to checking into the hotel for a quick dinner and an early to-bed evening preceding a 3:00 AM wake-up call for the airport. While in our six day confinement in Novi Sad (with bus trips with a daily itinerary of a fort and a church as a Groundhog Day kind of treatment), the mantra of "when the water drops below the bridge" became a point of hope for everyone. We all were highly amused, of course, when the final announcement came that the water was now low enough for transit.....but that the river authority had closed the waterway to traffic (maybe that's why we had seen nothing at all moving on the water in the 6 days we were there?). We had also been promised that despite missing out on all the scenic views up-river, that we would be dazzled by the beauty of the Iron Gate and the majesty of the carved face of the Dacian king, Decebalus -- and surely we would have been if we had not sailed past these points at 11 PM. As to the other things expected for a cruise experience, stateroom, food, service -- fail, fail, and fail. We were amazed that a room where so much attention was given to noise reduction (doors, drawers, and toilet lids that can't slam), could be so noisy. We were awakened every morning NLT 6:00 AM (some days, 5:45) by the noise coming from the exercise deck above us. The shower constantly clogged and flooded. The food had two levels of seasoning, none and horribly salty. We were served meat that was bloody rare or tough as shoe leather. We were made to feel as if we were in the way with staff spraying cleanser on the tables while the later diners were still at their meals; we watched staff putting silverware on seats just vacated by passenger butts and then returning that silverware to the table. Portions were small and everything, whether expected to be hot or cold, was served close to room temperature. I ordered eggs Benedict one morning and was served egg Benedict -- one lonely egg sitting on a huge plate with nary a hint of sauce and a soggy piece of bread under it. The only positive of the trip was the ability to order eggs to order (never Benedict again, however). This was negated by the state of the fruit trays with sadly mushy watermelon setting the tone for the other surprisingly over-age offerings put out for consumption. The staff ranged all over the place in level of service. Some did all that we expect from a cruise staff. Many others were surly and inattentive. We found it impossible to make a blanket tip for this type of experience and made individual tips to those who had earned it. On a related note, we were left wondering why we were constantly told of the very high unemployment rates of the places we visited and then found that a sizable number of staff on board were from the Philippines -- perhaps just another area of corporate ethics in which Viking is lacking.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
First, instead of canceling the cruise due to high water they withheld information and convinced everyone that they would be sailing and moved them to the ship outside Budapest by bus. Later we found out that Viking had decided to cancel ... Read More
First, instead of canceling the cruise due to high water they withheld information and convinced everyone that they would be sailing and moved them to the ship outside Budapest by bus. Later we found out that Viking had decided to cancel the next weeks cruise the day we were taken to the ship. Once we were on the ship we were told misinformation and half-truths to keep us on board. We saw abbreviated tours of places that were on the itinerary without the optional tours that they said were offered. The boat did not move from its docking place in a small Slovakian town so we were bused hours in each direction to see short tours of Budapest, Bratislava, and Vienna. Second, I dont think they cared for our safety as they should. We were told that we were to be moved (evacuated) to Munich (not on the itinerary and a 12 hour bus ride). The passengers had to climb over flood barriers and sand bags to get to the buses for Munich. I felt that the passengers were placed in danger by waiting to the last moment to evacuate them. Several passengers were not that mobile and they had difficulty climbing over the sand bags. An emergency medical team was called as we were being moved on the bus but we were not told any details. Later that day my friends were told that the ship was inaccessible and later was told that the crew had to be evacuated by helicopter. The other Viking ship moored with us was safely evacuated the day before to Vienna. We were told we had to go to Munich since there werent any rooms in Vienna. Third, I have been to Budapest and Munich on business but had not been to Austria. Guess what country we saw very little of? I am so disappointed since I didnt get what I wanted; a restful river cruise, a better understanding about Austria or a Viking cruise that was up to standards. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We were due to sail aboard the Viking Odin on a New Years Cruise between Budapest and Nuremburg, we actually only sailed from Passau to Nuremburg. The problems started a day before we were due to leave, when we received a phone call at ... Read More
We were due to sail aboard the Viking Odin on a New Years Cruise between Budapest and Nuremburg, we actually only sailed from Passau to Nuremburg. The problems started a day before we were due to leave, when we received a phone call at home stating that due to high water on the Danube we would have to spend the first night in hotel in Budapest. We actually spent 3 nights in hotels, 2 nights of which were spent in a Vienna Airport Hotel. We were coached from place to place living out of a suitcase. No choice of meals at lunch. Buffet evening meals at hotels. Only one drink allowed with meals. Then back on a coach next day to continue the tour. The fact remains that Viking knew that the potential for major disruption to our cruise but decided not to notify us of the potential for over half the cruise to be affected. Whilst they were informing us of 1 night problem they were booking hotels to cover the 3 nights, to say they were economical with the truth is an understatement. The fact also remains that the ship was moored in Regensburg for over a week during the xmas period before our arrival due to the high waters 350 miles away from Budapest. You can imagine the chaos and congestion and the hours travelling on a coach and this is not what I planned I wanted a relaxed cruise on the Danube and not a coach tour around Hungary, Austria and Germany.To say I am disappointed with Viking is an under statement. Now that we have returned home they do not care less in assisting to resolve the situation. To finally round things off when we did eventually get on the ship due to an administration error they did not remove our on board credit, so I also had that issue to sort out to which they replied that they would add it onto our next on board account when we travelled with them again. They have got to be kidding!!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Overall Opinion: Considering all the points below, we will stay away from Viking and use other means to see Europe. For the prices they charge for their cruises, you can travel in first class on Canard's or other luxury cruise ... Read More
Overall Opinion: Considering all the points below, we will stay away from Viking and use other means to see Europe. For the prices they charge for their cruises, you can travel in first class on Canard's or other luxury cruise lines for the same or lower costs. Value ($) The cost of our 15 day river cruise was just under $17k. This is equal or more per day to the top tier luxury cruise lines. You can use other options to see major Cities and still enjoy the river cruise experience. Security: Basically there are no security procedures on the Viking boats. Anyone can board and walk thru the boats. In our stateroom, our door was opened during the night by unknown person(s). When we woke up the next morning the stateroom door was open. When we brought this to the attention of the Front Desk the staff advised us that it was our fault. After asking for the Captain, we were greeted by the Hotel Manager, Gerald Hauswirth. Gerald accompanied us to our stateroom to check the door lock system. After several attempts that confirmed the defect, he apologized for the behavior of his staff. He was able to reset the door lock. The key to remember there are no means of locking your stateroom door if someone has a key card or the lock system fails. Accommodations: We selected the AA Veranda Suite ( 324 ). The room was very nice for a river boat. However in the hallway the Viking boat has electrical panels in-between the Suites on the starboard side. During the day and night, we would hear a loud buzzer sound in the stateroom. Three or four times each night we work up to the buzzing noise. The response from the Viking staff was "that is one of the issues on the long boats! Dinning: On the Viking, there are no seat assignments. Thus the quality of the service was a function of the waiter. It went from excellent to very poor. The concept of enjoying your meal and talking to your fellow guests . The waiters are focused on serving you the food as fast as possible. The require you give them the full order ( appetizers, entre, desert). There are no substitutions. Thus, you are pressured to finish the meal and leave. Lounge: Unfortunately, the lounge is the only place to sit down and talk to fellow guest. The upper deck is closed for most of the trip. This is caused by the 80 locks you go thru. Drink Package offer: Viking has a "Drink Package" that you can buy before your trip or on board. We did this only to to realize the service staff avoids asking you for drinks. My recommendation is not to buy it Overall Service There are 2 to 3 waiters that are assigned to the Lounge. Most of the time, they are behind the Bar talking to each other. So to get drinks you have to go to the bar and order. Bottom line their service level is "Poor" Excursions: At each port ( one per day), they have free excursions. Most involve "walking tours" with contract tour guides. If you like seeing every Castle, Church and Statue, then this is a great feature. We decided to go to the City Center and do it ourselves. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We have traveled extensively. In the past ten years, we've done 20 cruises. We had great expectations for AMA Waterways. This cruise did not live up to our expectations in any way. If you have an opportunity to book an ... Read More
We have traveled extensively. In the past ten years, we've done 20 cruises. We had great expectations for AMA Waterways. This cruise did not live up to our expectations in any way. If you have an opportunity to book an alternative cuise company (Viking, et al) I would recommmend it. Here is my analysis: - Food selections at breakfast, lunch and dinner were unimaginative. Breakfast, particularly, was repetitive. We were grateful when we finally reached Prague as the host hotel (Hilton) has more options and the food offerings were better. - Check-in at host hotels was disorganized and lacked pre-planning. Two busses of guests (probably about 60 people) arrived. The Cruise Director and a local guide just spread out the card keys on a table and asked passengers to "look for their name" (and card key). We've take a previous river cruise where card keys were distributed on the bus prior to the arrival -- which meant absolutely no drama at the hotel when we arrived. In this case, it was every man for himself. Ridiculous. Both the "arriving" and "departing" guests crossed-paths at Regensburg, Germany. It would have been very easy to send the card keys for the guests "checking in" with the Cruise Director accompanying the guests "checking out" from Prague, but nobody seemed to have that insight. - Friends and family of ours ordered two bottles of wine to be delivered to our stateroom at disembarkation. Unfortunately, only one bottle made it to our stateroom. This seemed to be a sign of the apparent lack of "attention to detail" that our entire cruise suffered from. - Our reservations for our three night stay in Prague was lost. When we got to the host hotel we had no reservation. We had to check-in at the main desk on our own. Even then the host hotel (Old Town Prague Hilton) tried to book us direct for two days of our stay (that we had booked via AMA Waterways). - Two guests fell down the stairs because the stairs were only painted ( no anti-slip coating). The crew seemed surprised -- though I'm doubtful it's the first time it's happened). This is not the first time this ship has been on this intinerary in early spring. Moisture on the stairways should not be a surprise. The anti-skid product from 3M is readily available, yet the onwers of this cruise line seem unwilling to take those steps to protect their guests. Unbelievable. - The shore excursion "briefing" was delayed for more than 30 minutes while 12 guests "toured" the wheelhouse. Many had set their alarms and awoken from naps to attend the briefing scheduled for 2:00 PM that never occurred. - The AMA Waterways marketing materials indicated that there would be audio-assisted guides in every port. Indeed there was audio receiving devices in our staterooms. In one port, our "local" guide was handed a receiver instead of a transmitter. We spent the entire tour wondering why we weren't able to hear his narrative. He was talking into a receiver (the same device we were holding). No one in the crew seemed to understand that he was holding (and speaking into) the wrong device. On a positive side: - The wine sommelier was incredible. She was knowledgeable and very responsive. - Our room steward was nothing short of perfect. She was there when we needed her. She left the stateroom incredibly organized (and yet not intrusive). Probably the best experience with a room butler/room attendant we've ever had. - The ship was clean and well maintained. The bottom line: We spent about $6,200 (plus airfare) and didn't feel that we receive the value for our investment. If you want to use this cruise line, fine -- but expect to be fairly unimpressed. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012

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