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50 Budapest to Europe - River Cruise Reviews

This is the end of the Embla saga - on arrival at the Embla in Budapest on 11 September 2019 we were confronted by a vessel with an odd large boxed item next to the bridge. Wondering why it was there and how it would survive low bridges ... Read More
This is the end of the Embla saga - on arrival at the Embla in Budapest on 11 September 2019 we were confronted by a vessel with an odd large boxed item next to the bridge. Wondering why it was there and how it would survive low bridges unless it could be lowered and raised like the captain’s bridge, we went to our cabin where we found the 06 September 2019 letter – not good timing on Viking's part as we were already on board. Once we got to Linz, we had to disembark to end up at a golf resort - Bad Griesbach - for two nights.Note that we had already received a “low water on the Danube” excuse notification from 29 August 2019. From the golf resort I went on the two hour plus Viking bus ride to Regensburg . After the city tour I wandered back towards the bus park that is adjacent to a canal – I had wondered earlier how vessels made their way through Regensburg and now I was to find out as a cruise vessel, same size and (likely) same 1.7 m draught as Viking vessels, stopped to allow guests off to walk into the city – much nicer than a 2 hour bus ride there and back. So was the 29 August notice a smoke screen for the Embla’s generator replacement? And, if the generator replacement was known and urgent, for whose convenience did Embla sail in the first place? How would Viking have dealt with a situation had the vessel broken down 50 miles from the nearest large town? Clearly, passenger comfort and safety is not as high on Viking's priority list as one once imagined. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We paid for our cruise with all the expectations of neophyte river cruisers and are crushed that our river cruise of a lifetime ended up being a horrible bus ride through Eastern Europe. Due to mechanical malfunctions on the Viking ... Read More
We paid for our cruise with all the expectations of neophyte river cruisers and are crushed that our river cruise of a lifetime ended up being a horrible bus ride through Eastern Europe. Due to mechanical malfunctions on the Viking Embla our tour was unable to hold to schedule resulting in canceled excursions, creative docking at unknown sites (we even had to break through a factory fence at one point in order to re-board our ship) closed locks, restricted use of the sun deck, after dark "scenic cruising", and days of sailing without stopping for excursions in order to "get back on schedule". We thought the staff was superb, they tried valiently to make us happy and service was impeccable, however after day 10 or 12 I began to think I was suffering from 'Stockholm Syndrome'. Our on board program director explained daily what was going to happen the next day, because of where the ship was in relation to where it should have been this excursion or that excursion was cancelled but we are offering a substitute or we could "stay on board with us..lunch will be at 12:0 in the in dining room...etc. " After several of these substituted excursions many of us stopped going as the excursions involved hours of bus rides each way. We wanted our cruise, not a bus ride. Viking is not making a significant compensation offer to us, in fact their offer shows little respect or understanding of our ruined trip. They seem not to care about customer satisfaction. We want our money back, Viking should have given us a full refund and canceled the cruise rather than take all of us down the river to the bus embarkation points. Viking knew before we boarded that the Embla could not deliver the cruise as promised. The schedule disruption was not due to river depth rather it was the Embla's malfunctioning engine and Viking's money grubbing refusal to cancel the cruise and refund our tickets. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This is was our first river cruise. We are seasoned ocean cruise travelers. This cruise started with a delay in boarding the ship of one day due to maintenance problems on the previous cruise. We only had one day that we went to a port and ... Read More
This is was our first river cruise. We are seasoned ocean cruise travelers. This cruise started with a delay in boarding the ship of one day due to maintenance problems on the previous cruise. We only had one day that we went to a port and got off the ship and toured the venue. That was on day 12 when we visited Cologne Germany. All the other days we spent more time on buses than at the scheduled venue. We had an additional day when the ship was put in dry dock. Thus we were now 2 days behind. In order to make up time scheduled venues were skipped. The crew and staff were excellent, but the cruise was very bad. One of the highlights of the cruise is to cruise the Rhine and see all the mid evil castles. When we got to that point on the cruise it was 8:30 at night and dark! No castles I was notified via “form” letter 4 days after returning off the cruise that Viking was sorry and that they would give us 25% off our next cruise. Who would ever go on another cruise and get this type of cruise. Viking must think I am stupid. To spend $14,000.00 for this and get no compensation is totally wrong. Viking should be ashamed. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This cruise was a nightmare. Insufficient air conditioning in the room and on the excursion buses. They were not equipped to deal with the heat factor. I realize the weather is unpredictable; however, Viking should have been able to keep ... Read More
This cruise was a nightmare. Insufficient air conditioning in the room and on the excursion buses. They were not equipped to deal with the heat factor. I realize the weather is unpredictable; however, Viking should have been able to keep their passengers comfortable on the ship, as well as on the buses. There was virtually no entertainment. The balcony was unable to be used due to docking right next to another river boat or next to a wall. It was a very expensive trip and nothing about it was acceptable. The Viking advertisements are very distorted and it was nothing like we expected. We are retirees and live on a fixed income. We thought this costly trip was going to be a trip if a lifetime. It was anything but. Very disappointed in this holiday and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. If you are considering a Viking cruise, think twice. Wa Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Review Are you under 70? Do you like an active lifestyle? Do you enjoy great food and wine? Do you like to socialize with well educated and cultured travelers? If so, DO NOT CRUISE WITH EMERALD WATERWAYS. We did the Danube River from ... Read More
Review Are you under 70? Do you like an active lifestyle? Do you enjoy great food and wine? Do you like to socialize with well educated and cultured travelers? If so, DO NOT CRUISE WITH EMERALD WATERWAYS. We did the Danube River from Budapest to Bucharest. The average passenger was British, 75 years old, had difficulty walking, and complained about everything. I was prevented from taking a morning walk on the sun deck walking track because my footsteps (at 3.6 mph) disturbed someone on the deck below. I would have been happy to use a treadmill, but alas, the “gym” didn’t have one, just three never-used recumbent bicycles. We could never get the in-cabin movies to work until the final day of the cruise, despite being in an owner’s suite. We barely saw our butler (a glorified cabin maid), and although we purchased the inclusive alcohol package, it apparently did not include premium wine. The offerings were horrible local wines. Food choices were limited. Beef was usually tough and overcooked, the chicken was dry, and desserts were uninspiring. It is really too bad that the ship, which is quite beautiful, is staffed by a crew that still needs to learn a lot about service and accommodation. Maybe they should rename it Emerald Walker-ways. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Because it was advertise as a luxury cruise with 5 stars all inclusive beverage offer....and we like to stay in the same room for 2 weeks and not relocate our luggage (4 times in this cruise !) We chose a Royal Panamera Suite and we ... Read More
Because it was advertise as a luxury cruise with 5 stars all inclusive beverage offer....and we like to stay in the same room for 2 weeks and not relocate our luggage (4 times in this cruise !) We chose a Royal Panamera Suite and we had the same food and beverage as others in a different deck Notice of low water was send by email the day of departure after we had inquire 2 weeks before and everything was supposed to be ok Hotel in Budapest was not as we were told. We were supposed to have a Premium Deluxe suite as confirmed by Scenic Under expectation....ordinary wine, no more Maccallen after one day, food was serve too fast, dining room like a cafeteria with bright lights, etc.. Had to change ships 3 times Pearl, Opal and Amber Service was not equal on every boat Did not see the Butler or inadequate On the Amber the waiter was impolite ....throw fork and knife on my table the last night, nearly agressive Guided tours were very limited to a walk in the city and no visit except for Melk and Wurzburg Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose Uniworld after being told by the travel agent and the Uniworld rep. that the trip that they offer would meet our "bucket list" vacation as well as our anniversary. We were told that the ships, service, excursions, etc. ... Read More
We chose Uniworld after being told by the travel agent and the Uniworld rep. that the trip that they offer would meet our "bucket list" vacation as well as our anniversary. We were told that the ships, service, excursions, etc. were first rate and all of our dreams would be fulfilled. They took our deposit in March 2017 and the $15000 trip for my wife and me was paid by June 2018. When we arrived in Budapest in October, we were told by the Uniworld rep that the water levels were low and that we would need to change ships the 2nd day. We would again change ships another time during the vacation. We found out from the captains of 2 ships that the problems were going on for over 5 weeks. Yet, we heard nothing from the Company or our travel agent prior to the trip. In fact, another passenger had an email from a rep at Uniworld 2 weeks before the trip stating there was no issues on any of the rivers. In addition, the CEO of Uniworld sent a note to all passengers the 2nd week offering 200 dollars to use on the ship and 1500 credit for a trip taken in 2019. For your information, there is a limited area for all passengers to purchase anything. We bought an overpriced swiss army knife and woman's watch. It is doubtful we or any of the passengers we spoke with will use the cruise credit. We ended up taking bus tours more than cruising. We had itineraries change. Missed at least 4 of the ports we were supposed to see. Excursions were cut short. Oftentimes, the guides weren't aware we were coming. Excuses became the norm. Nobody from Uniworld corporate came. Even after returning and writing the CEO, Ellen Bettridge, we received a canned response a month after the letter was sent. The Company took the "low road" in not meeting our expectations and not alerting us of the water issues. They could have told us. Their reps could have alerted us, but they didn't. Says a lot about the Company. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
An old adage says, “If a man deceives me once, shame on him, if twice, shame on me. Not exactly true when it comes to dealing with Viking Cruises. You can cancel your Viking cruise but even with “cancel for any reason” insurance ... Read More
An old adage says, “If a man deceives me once, shame on him, if twice, shame on me. Not exactly true when it comes to dealing with Viking Cruises. You can cancel your Viking cruise but even with “cancel for any reason” insurance with Viking’s Tripmate, you will pay more. You will only get a voucher for that cancellation, and with that voucher amount you will have to start over (including your air travel and the costs involved with speaking to the air agent for upgrading your travel), for insurance, and for whatever other costs are involved for your trip. If you cancel your Danube River cruise because the water levels will turn the trip into a bus trip. (Not exactly the vacation you envisioned.) And you decide that you will try to reschedule in the Spring since there would be a better chance for higher water levels, the cost will be at least $1000 to $1500 more. So, try for the fall next year. The cost will be at least $500 more—per person. On top of that you will have to buy new insurance if you want that trip covered. You have only 12-15 months after cancelling to reschedule so you don’t want to blow the opportunity. Viking insurance only allows for rescheduling; the company does not give refunds. Solution: Buy insurance outside of Viking for refunds. Keep in mind that your contract of carriage indicates that the Provider may change your itinerary. What Viking does is to give you assurances up to the last minute that your itinerary stays the same or close to it even though they know it will not. This does not give you adequate time to reconsider. And it especially does not give you adequate time when you have already left for the trip. How do we know, it happened to us. After five phone calls to Viking wherein we were assured that everything would be fine (oh, maybe one bus trip and one ship swap), we opted to go ahead and take the trip. Instead of the “only unpack once” concept, we packed and repacked for 7 or 8 days because we were on a boat, a bus, in a hotel, a bus, etc. We did not get an upgraded hotel room or an upgraded bus seat for the upgraded cabin for which we paid; we got only the same sort of bus trip and hotel everyone else got. So, Viking gave us a voucher, not a refund. Now we have a voucher for future travel on Viking. Do we really want to chance it again? There are those who were on the same trip who are delighted. I am guessing they believed everything Viking told them and think they are getting the deal of a lifetime. Our argument with Viking is not that the water levels were low. The argument lies with the lack of transparency and intentional vague and obscure manner of communication. About a year ago, we sailed on Viking to Cuba (one of their first soirees there). We booked it because we would dock in Havana, go to Belize and Cozumel. None of that happened. We docked in Cienfuegos. That was it, and we were bussed to Havana. I thought that this was Viking’s naiveté with Ocean cruising. Now I know it is the M.O. For this river cruise The Romantic Danube, yes, the water level on the Danube was the cause of the river cruise changes. Viking knew in early summer what was coming. In fact numerous passengers from other vessels told us the same story—this had been going on for a month. Viking prepared to fend off cancellations and complaints. What Viking should have offered was as follows: 1. Viking should alert passengers far earlier than one week prior when many may have already left the country. 2. Cash back for cancellations. 3. Cash reductions for those opting to go on a bus tour, or cash back for those opting to leave the tour. 4. Hotel upgrades for persons who had suites or Veranda cabins. 5. Dining at finer restaurants instead of roadside McDonalds or places of Vikings’ choosing wherein everyone got the same meal. Viking Customer Service admitted knowing of a problem and told us “we work with people.” We are still awaiting a resolution which, for us, would be a cash back solution. So far Viking is not “working with us.” Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We had taken a Viking cruise from Budapest to Bucharest two years earlier, and thought that two weeks on a ship from Budapest to Amsterdam, passing through some areas that we had not visited before or had seen decades earlier, would be ... Read More
We had taken a Viking cruise from Budapest to Bucharest two years earlier, and thought that two weeks on a ship from Budapest to Amsterdam, passing through some areas that we had not visited before or had seen decades earlier, would be pleasant. Little did we know that Europe would experience five months without rain, that the rivers would be too low for the ships to sail, and that two-thirds of this cruise would be done on buses, including a final six-hour ride from Mainz to Amsterdam on a bus filled with coughing, hacking disgruntled fellow passengers. So much for the view of Budapest's chain bridge at night, or a cruise past Bratislava on the way to Vienna, or any cruising on the Rhine at all. At least we caught a glimpse of the Rhine when we crossed it on bridges. Viking could not do anything about the weather, so it cannot be faulted for the low river levels. But several other aspects of the cruise did not meet the expectations we had for a river cruise. Viking gives the impression that sailing through the heart of European cities means that you dock in the cities and can disembark and reembark at your leisure. That would have been true in Budapest, had a ship been there, and was true in Vienna, but then things changed. In Passau, where the ship was supposed to spend one night but actually stayed two, the ship stopped in the center so passengers could disembark, but then in the afternoon moved to a docking location out of town to which a person could not walk, but rather had to wait for a bus transfer. The cruise to Regensburg was a bus trip from Passau to Regensburg and then back to Passau, so there was no chance to simply walk off the ship and explore on one's own. The cruise to Nuremberg was a bus trip from Passau right past Regensburg on to Nuremberg. At Nuremberg a ship was waiting, and could sail on the lock-controlled waters of the Main-Danube canal. The next port was Bamberg, but did the ship stop conveniently in the center of town? No, it went beyond town to an industrial port from which people were bused to town. And was the ship there at the end of the day? No, it sailed on, and the passengers took buses to a small port further down the canal. So much for walking on and off the ship and exploring at leisure . The next port was Wuerzburg. As the ship sailed in we saw another Viking ship docked right in the center, with Viking banners and a red carpet, and assumed that we would dock beside it. Instead our ship sailed another five miles down the canal to dock in what appeared to be an oil terminal, from which people were bused back to the city for an abbreviated visit. Meanwhile another Viking ship passed going in the opposite direction and docked in town. The Grand European Tour is supposed to be Viking's premier cruise, yet it had the worst possible docking position. The words to describe that situation come from the barnyard. In Wertheim the ship docked in town, but then departed as soon as the passengers got off, so there was another bus trip to catch up to the ship. If a person tired early, there was no going back to the ship to relax. When the Main river joined the Rhine, the cruise ended. The ship docked in Mainz for two days, and then came the bus trip to Amsterdam. Viking did offer an excursion that included a short river trip to see the Lorelei, and the bus to Amsterdam stopped in Cologne for lunch and a quick tour, but there was no Koblenz, nor a cruise past the Drachenfels through Bonn to Cologne, nor a cruise on down the Rhine, nor any windmills in Holland. So what has Viking done for the passengers on this cruise? Certainly not a partial cash refund for the missed cruise experience. It has offered a voucher, valid for a year, worth fifty percent of the fare paid to be used toward a future Viking cruise. That is of no benefit to the people for who this was to be their final cruise, perhaps for health reasons or because they have cruised all of Viking's other offerings, or for people who for reasons of logistics or finances cannot make a decision within a year. It is Viking's cold, cruel calculation that most people will not use the voucher, and the company will pocket the money and continue its advertisements showing ships sailing through European cities. Just remember, their may sail through, but they don't necessarily stop there. Adding further insult, when refunding money paid in advance for optional tours that were canceled, Viking converted the dollar amounts paid to euros (the currency used on board the ship), and then reconverted it to dollars to make the refunds. As the exchange rate had changed, the dollar amount refunded was less that the amount originally paid. Finally, I do not wish to disparage the crews on the ships, nor the people on the ships responsible for the entertainment and the tours. They worked extremely hard under difficult and demoralizing circumstances as passengers became increasingly irritated and depressed, and appeared to have no support from Viking's headquarters, which was just over an hour's train trip up the Rhine from Mainz. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We've had done 4 European river cruises over the years - 2 with Viking and 2 with other companies and we wanted to do the 2-week Grand European River Cruise as part of a relaxing October vacation. This trip, however, turned out to be ... Read More
We've had done 4 European river cruises over the years - 2 with Viking and 2 with other companies and we wanted to do the 2-week Grand European River Cruise as part of a relaxing October vacation. This trip, however, turned out to be a total disaster from start to finish - anything but relaxing! Viking has yet to offer us adequate compensation for our ruined vacation. and until they make things right, I cannot recommend this once-leading company any more. On the Grand European River Cruise, buyers need to prepared for itinerary changes, canceled side trips, ship swaps, and many segments of the trip done by bus rather than on the water. There is also high likelihood that even when you do arrive at a city by ship, you will not be docked "in the heart of the city", but out by some oil storage depot where you cannot come and go on foot but need to be bused in and out on a particular schedule. Most of the cruising is done at night when you can't see anything Two of the three Viking river cruises that we've taken have had shortened itineraries and bus trips substituted for river cruising. and the few times that we've docked in or near a city, we've been double- or triple- docked with other boats so our pricey balcony was useless. This latest "cruise" had 65% of the itinerary covered by bus, and 35% by water, and was only a thin piece of what was advertised. . . Our troubles on this cruise began the day before we were arriving in Budapest to meet the ship. I was emailed to say that the ship wouldn't make it to Budapest due to low water, and that we'd be put up in a hotel for the first night - but the Viking management didn't know which hotel it would be - and then we would be transferred by bus up to to Vienna, skipping the river cruising. Not knowing where to go in Budapest, we stopped by the Sofitel, (which Viking had used in the past), and fortunately we found a rep there who said we should go to the Marriott. We did, but nobody there knew where the Viking people were, and we didn't see a rep until the following morning (the second day of our supposed cruise) when a bus came to pick us up. We spent day 2 of the cruise sitting a bus to Vienna, where we actually did get to board a ship. Despite assurances that our luggage would be in our stateroom when we got there, I found I was missing one critical suitcase with my medications, (which staff eventually found in another stateroom).I The rest of the cruise followed in the same disorganized vein: cruise a few days, then more busing. Switch ships, cruise a day or so, then more busing. Eventually the ship made it to Mainz which was it's "end-of-the line", and we had to be bused all the way up to Amsterdam where we had another chaotic hotel check-in. On bus days - there were many - we had group lunches at so-so- restaurants, and occasional highway rest stops for which we had dig out our own change to pay for rest rooms (Viking should have passed out Euros to everyone for this!) Most of the pre-paid-for side trips were cancelled, and while we eventually (2 months later) got a refund for ours, it wasn't the full amount we'd paid. By the end of this so-called "cruise", I think most of the crew were demoralized and the passengers were glad to say goodbye. As I said, this once-noble company has to make this one right before I can recommend them! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Our Viking river cruise was a disappointing experience; marred by poor customer service and misleading information. While I appreciate there is a drought and hence impact to the cruise that is out of Viking’s control, how the situation ... Read More
Our Viking river cruise was a disappointing experience; marred by poor customer service and misleading information. While I appreciate there is a drought and hence impact to the cruise that is out of Viking’s control, how the situation was handled by Viking —delays in shuttling between destinations, multiple accommodation changes, excursions cancelled and lack of transparency/misleading communications by Viking before/during the trip— is unacceptable. This is my fifth cruise; first cruise on Viking. The cruise was an all around disappointing experience and not what I would expect from a luxury cruise line. Given the inability to cruise due to water levels on the Danube, Viking should have informed guests prior to the trip —AND provided an honest representation during the trip (this is the 4th month of fraught conditions). Instead, Viking withheld information until the night before (daily update meetings before dinner to inform guests of next day changes to schedule) and in certain cases were dishonest in communications. Viking river boats are not designed to handle situations such as low water levels as there are no activities for guests that may choose to remain on the boat. Food is fair and service is poor in relation to cost: no room service; special ordered food at breakfast that came out as prepared for buffet; noted this was a cruise to celebrate a birthday during cruise- no acknowledgement; Viking cancelled pre-scheduled excursions without communicating the change directly; needed something printed and front desk unable to deliver to room, etc. As others have stated, balaconies are a waste of $ as the majority of time we were docked and stacked with other boats with immediate views into other rooms. Not only did we not use the balconies, we kept our drapes drawn for privacy. The Viking river cruise was such a bad experience that we disembarked two days early, took the train to the final destination, and checked into a hotel. Viking staff made no offer to assist in coordinating this change nor would assist with luggage transfer. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
I have to preface this review by saying that I have cruised every brand: from the super cheap to Seabourn and have been on 20+ cruises all over the world - usually crusing with the top-end: Seabourn, Silversea, Crystal, etc. We sailed ... Read More
I have to preface this review by saying that I have cruised every brand: from the super cheap to Seabourn and have been on 20+ cruises all over the world - usually crusing with the top-end: Seabourn, Silversea, Crystal, etc. We sailed on the Danube River from Budapest to Nuremberg and had to change ships due to low water levels like a few others had mentioned. There were many things that made me irritated about this cruise. I will delineate them: 1. The Viking Company: Viking knew we had to change ships but did not notify the guests until days before our sailing - just like one of the other reviews mentioned just recently. I was told by the crew on the ship that this had been going on for months! Really, Viking?! We are in a world where we can forecast rain well in advance (this affects the water levels, right?!), and they are in the River business and clearly can predict water levels and could have notified guests well in advance so that we could cancel and reschedule. Stop the games and fraudulent activity by not letting customers know in advance that they have to change ships in the middle of the cruise! And as an experienced cruiser, I don’t like having to pack and unpack and leave bags out in the middle of the night in the middle of my cruise! I especially didn’t appreciate the long bus ride to the next port instead of seeing part of the Danube by ship! The Tour Director said in one of his cruise briefings: “Be happy that you were not on the other bus going the other way, as they had to spend 3 1/2 hours on a bus!” Yes, spending 3 hours total (not 3 1/2) on a bus did make us happier... more about our Cruise Director later. 2. The staff: Most of them were very UNaccommodating! I was traveling with a group, and we all shared the same consensus about the horrific level of service independent of one another. You think I was asking for a million dollars when I asked a few staff members over the course of the cruise a few basic things that I neeeded. The attitude was just plain disgusting. My comment to Viking: If your staff members hate their jobs, get rid of them. There were so many who clearly hated working on the ship and were forgetting that they were hired to provide great service to their guests - novel concept for a “high-end” ship. The staff needs and overhaul! Basically, I never asked for anything again after a couple of days since I didn’t want to “inconvenience” your staff. The suite: Now seriously, what does it take to clean the balcony and the furniture on it? There were so many spider webs and spiders that I did not want to spend any time on the balcony! I paid a premium for the balcony but deemed it “unusable.” Inside the stateroom, there were bug splatters on the ceilings and walls where people have taken insect control in their own hands - it was just simply gross! Viking: Just clean your staterooms from the ground up - literally! How much effort does this take? The food: I’ve had better and more creative meals at Denny’s. I understand that feeding 180+ passengers is a lot of work and expensive, so stop trying to “save money by going “cheap” and fast with your meals. My poor husband’s ribeye steak was gray (yes, as it was “old”) and 1/2 inch thick. I get it: If you want to feed two people one ribeye steak, then cut it in half - lengthwise! What a great way to save money and fool your guest that they are getting a real ribeye! Most of the dinners were “edible,” but heaven forbid if you asked for anything outside of each passengers’ quota for an appetizer, entree, and dessert. Don’t get me started on this one: I lost weight on this cruise (not by choice) - yes, that’s a first! The Cruise Director (Anthony): He was very funny when he was entertaining the guests but, one-on-one, he was not so accommodating. Again, the bad attitude - and appeared to be annoyed if you asked him anything. I saw enough of his interactions with other passengers (and me) to come up with this suggestion. It is clear that I will never sail with Viking again. Don’t waste your money or valuable vacation time. What a huge disappointment! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Chose Scenic based on online reviews etc. Considered it to be one of the top river cruise companies. We were very disappointed at service levels and food. Breakfast and lunch were major disappointments with minimal options and ... Read More
Chose Scenic based on online reviews etc. Considered it to be one of the top river cruise companies. We were very disappointed at service levels and food. Breakfast and lunch were major disappointments with minimal options and “cafeteria-feel” in the restaurant area. Our first lunch on the ship offered salads and the only hot food option : “liver balls”! For the money paid to take the trip, definitely disappointing. The water levels on the Danube were low and so bus travel dominated the first few days of our trip. Overall, Scenic tours include excursions with bus rides that are too long, example : trip to Salzburg. Also quality of docking areas are very poor : ours were generally in industrial areas or areas not near downtown or old core areas of the cities we were visiting. Tour guides were ok but duration of tours were either too short or too long. We felt that some tours included visiting a few spots that were just tossed in to make up some time. Also, most guides didn’t use their microphones properly so we were unable to hear them very well. Visit to Budapest was disappointing. Sailed into the city in the morning and really only had an afternoon to visit “Budapest in depth”, as Scenic called it. They brought us to a piano recital (which was good), but upon leaving our bus broke down and we were forced to wait in a hot bus for over 1/2 hour. Needless to say, the remaining tour consisted of a quick visit to one other site and then back to the ship. Communication among company, employees and customers was very poor. Even though the company knew water levels were low, they provided few details as to how this would impact our trip. They basically only told us that our ship was changing from the Amber to the Pearl (an older ship). This included a room downgrade in our case and it was only when I pointed this out to the tour director did they consider offering some form of compensation. We didn’t understand why they would set up an early breakfast in one location of the ship, then change it to the formal dining area and then back to the early breakfast location for late risers. Doesn’t make sense and annoys travelers. Overall, tour was not worth the money and we were totally disappointed with the company, service and tour quality. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
It has now been one year since we completed our cruise on the viling Lif from Budapest to Amsterdam. With some perdpsective that a year offers, I can say without qualification that this cruise was my worst travel experience in over 45 ... Read More
It has now been one year since we completed our cruise on the viling Lif from Budapest to Amsterdam. With some perdpsective that a year offers, I can say without qualification that this cruise was my worst travel experience in over 45 years of worls travel and cruising. The upper deck was closed for over half the cruise, we docked in industrial areas miles away from the [ports listed in our itinerary, had to switch vessels once and spent most of our time on shuttle buses rather than exploring the areas we came to see. We xould not enjoy the port talks in the lounge as the lounde was too small to avccomodate all of the passengers. The only explanation for all opf tthe problems we heard from the onboard staff was that our travel agent should have advised us of the problemsthe djhip encountered. We spent over $7,000.00 on what was no more than a glorified bus tour that wasn'r woth half what we paid. The final touch for Viking Cruises was the customer service department offering us vouchers for future travel that we never received. Never again will I have anything to do with this company. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Viking was suggested by my sister-in-law and I read reviews here on TripAdvisor before deciding to go. I couldn't be more disappointed. Prior to our trip we had heard from a german neighbor that the river levels were low. We called ... Read More
Viking was suggested by my sister-in-law and I read reviews here on TripAdvisor before deciding to go. I couldn't be more disappointed. Prior to our trip we had heard from a german neighbor that the river levels were low. We called Viking who told us, that rain was coming and that they were well versed on how to handle the situation and if not to our satisfaction we would be fairly compensated for ANY inconvenience. The first sign things were going awry was when they told us we would be on the Mimir, not the Vili that we were originally slated to be on in our contract. For all the ports on the Rhine and Main, we were NOT docked at city ports, we were at ugly industrial areas far from the ports that were advertised in the brochure and had to be bussed to them on supposedly "short" bus rides. With the elderly population on the boat, it always took at least 2 hours for this transport. Two hours each day of our valuable vacation time for most days of our 15 days on Viking. It did appear that other river cruise lines were docked in the towns. When we got to the Danube, we were told that we were to transfer to the Vili. Again this consumed valuable vacation times to re-pack and re-unpack. Vienna and Budapest were the ONLY two ports that we were docked in town, not at some ugly industrial port that we were then bussed to and from. There were other disappointments but these were the major ones. When we called Viking customer service to register our complaints and ask for compensation and told them that we recorded the promise of possible compensation, we were threatened with being sued for recording the conversation. Many lies, many misleading statements, and being threatened. Their people are trained well to deflect. They are focused on quantity, not quality and making money, NOT customer satisfaction. We may take another river cruise but Viking would have to make this up to us for us to chose them again. With global warning and more drought they need to change their practices. I wish I had seen a review like this, prior to our decision to take Viking. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Beware the excellent marketing pitch given by Viking Cruise line. To see their commercials you imagine days of luxurious vistas and exclusive sightseeing. What we got on our 14-day cruise on the Danube and Rhine were hotels, ship changes ... Read More
Beware the excellent marketing pitch given by Viking Cruise line. To see their commercials you imagine days of luxurious vistas and exclusive sightseeing. What we got on our 14-day cruise on the Danube and Rhine were hotels, ship changes and a dozen bus rides. When we were on board, we were often tied to boats three abreast or moored in industrial shipyards. The view from our patio was the patio of the ship tied up to us. Viking spokesmen blamed this on the drought and shallow river beds which they did not disclose to us until five days before our vacation. In reality this had been going on for several months. For our inconvenience, we were offered a 25% credit on a future cruise which will never happen in my lifetime. This is billed as a high-end vacation but was actually shuttling with mobs of people to crowded tourist areas in Hungary, Austria, Germany and the Netherlands. Buyer beware! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Chose this cruise to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. It became a bus tour because Grand Circle did not give us the option to postpone this cruise to a time when the water level would not be low. We did not cruise and had a bus ... Read More
Chose this cruise to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. It became a bus tour because Grand Circle did not give us the option to postpone this cruise to a time when the water level would not be low. We did not cruise and had a bus tour for $12,000. They were aware of the water level problem because they had a prepared presentation regarding the water level. Terrible disappointment and we were offered a $200 credit for a future cruise to take before August of 2019. We paid for a river cruise this time! The owner, Harriet Lewis, and CEO, Chris Zagmont, do not even respond to personal letters to understand how disappointing this trip was and they do not care! An optional tour of the Salt Mine presented in our personalized booklet was not offered due to low number of passengers. They knew how many passengers were on this tour before they printed the booklet and showed it as an option.We had to unpack before they told us our ship could not sail, bused up to another ship where we unpacked and then were told this ship could not sail either![ Stayed in hotels where cruise experience of socialization, dance, wine, which was supposed to be included, were not available. We would have gone by bus if we wanted a bus tour but Grand Circle Travel decided that we did not need this river cruise and took our money anyway knowing they could not provide what was promised. Murphy beds in abins prevent spouses to sleep together. Curtains had to be closed since ships park close togetherf. Dark room all the time. No compensation for window room when sent to hotel. Go on another line!!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Viking Danube Waltz River Cruise August 2018. First two days in hotel due to low water levels. Fourth day in Vienna and ship broke down.p, generator failed. Spent three days trying to fix it but couldn’t. . Bussed to Germany and two ... Read More
Viking Danube Waltz River Cruise August 2018. First two days in hotel due to low water levels. Fourth day in Vienna and ship broke down.p, generator failed. Spent three days trying to fix it but couldn’t. . Bussed to Germany and two more days in hotel. Viking and TripMate insurance will not acknowledge ship broke down. It is as if the ship never existed. Received 25% refund and future voucher. Further compensation denied by both stating that LOW WATER LEVELS resulted in itinerary changes. A COMPLETE LIE. The only low water levels were in Budapest at start of trip. We splurged and paid $12,000 for a suite since it was our 50th anniversary and would be our last big trip due to health issues and our only view on the ship was the stateroom of the boat parked next to us. In all my calls and correspondence not once was the ship Legend mentioned and that it had broken down. I got the silent treatment when I brought it up. We missed two destinations, Krems and Linz and never cruised an inch. We could not use the 25% off voucher for a future cruise and that was all Iwe was trying to get compensation for. I have never dealt with anyone as dishonest as Viking. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Don’t book book Viking river cruises. We bought the 7-day Danube Waltz from Aug 5 – 12, 2018, and spent one night cruising. Viking gave us a bus tour with hotel stays. Their boat broke down – couldn’t flush the toilets a lot of ... Read More
Don’t book book Viking river cruises. We bought the 7-day Danube Waltz from Aug 5 – 12, 2018, and spent one night cruising. Viking gave us a bus tour with hotel stays. Their boat broke down – couldn’t flush the toilets a lot of the time – and their compensation is 25 percent of our paid cruise fare, not including the airfare we had to pay to get there. We had low water at the start in Budpest and no boat, but even tough the water had been down for a month, they didn’t reschedule the cruise. For the low water, they gave us a 25 percent future cruise voucher that expires in one year. But the rest of the nonexistent cruise was Viking not taking care of its boat. I feel as though Viking is the car salesman who sells you a Mercedes, but delivers you a Yugo, and then says he will give you a discount on your next Mercedes. By withholding an appropriate refund, Viking is asking us to cover the cost of its repairs and to pick up the tab for a cruise they failed to deliver. I wrote the chairman, Torstein Hagen, but Viking said the 25 percent refund is the best they will do. Sounds like a bait-and-switch scam. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Our first river cruise and it was certainly our LAST with Viking. Our trip started off on the wrong foot with awful flight arrangements by Viking on Air Canada. Our original flight was cancelled and it took over 3 hours and 2 re-bookings ... Read More
Our first river cruise and it was certainly our LAST with Viking. Our trip started off on the wrong foot with awful flight arrangements by Viking on Air Canada. Our original flight was cancelled and it took over 3 hours and 2 re-bookings to make new flight arrangements (first rebooking did not have enough time catching a connecting flight). Next, Viking staff was not at the airport to transfer us to the boat even though we provided the 800# and emailed the ship of our new flight arrangements. The trip turned into a river/bus trip due to Danube water levels. We had a ship swap - Viking Tor hands down a better experience than Viking Var. Var staff not as friendly and did not have enough staff. Food on both boats was average. Our flight arrangements home was another terrible experience again with Air Canada (Rouge). Overall we had a nice time and enjoyed our trip as we were with good friends and made the most of it. But the Viking customer experience was poor and we did not feel valued as customers. We will take our future business elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Awful waste of money and a ruined trip of a life time, appears Viking ships can't cruise where APT can. Was warned day before embarkation of technical issues due to low water levels. Taken from Budapest airport to Slovakia direct ... Read More
Awful waste of money and a ruined trip of a life time, appears Viking ships can't cruise where APT can. Was warned day before embarkation of technical issues due to low water levels. Taken from Budapest airport to Slovakia direct in non descript mooringand boarded the EMBLA, must say the staff were great and freindly with excellent service, then a coach 90mins each way back again to Budapesr for a day tour the next day. After 2 nights we eventually cruised to Vienna via Brataslava at early hours. Moored at Vienna over night. Then onto Melk, so far so good. At Passau we moored up in city mooring for tour, then coached again to another town and a dreadful industrial mooring, again for 2 nights. This is where we coached to Regensburg, 90 mins each way for a day tour then back to our silo and unique views! Then the ship was staying we had to disembark and transfer to Nuremburg 3 hours plus on a coach then as the new ship the Lif, which wasn't ready and still wasn't ready for passengers, we dumped our hand luggage as cases went separately. The Nuremburg tour straight after this tiring trip was too much so I led on the top deck mostly roped off as railings not up and dozed on a sun bed, again out of town mooring, not like the adverts!. The ship then cruised via various German picturesque city's and towns and after Koblenz we moored in Cologne and stayed there. After a day tour of the city got back, stayed an extra night, AGAIN! As they stated we couldn't sail any further due to water levels a ^ hour transfer to Amsterdam, with a comfort stop at a drive through MacDonalds and a 2 hour tour of Kinderdyke on way. Saw the EIR another Viking ship go under a bridge on way which didn't help, put up at an airport hotel out side city at Schipol before flight home next morning. Would never trust or cruise with over priced and non caring outfit again, Wish I had taken full refund, but a pultry compensation is insulting!! They have never expailed how APT cruised the same route the same dates and no Coach Transfers, despicable! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Recommended by travel agent. The ship allowed an obviously sick man to board and infect numerous passengers and the crew. He should because of that person, I was infected with the flu and missed 80% of the cruise and tours, being ... Read More
Recommended by travel agent. The ship allowed an obviously sick man to board and infect numerous passengers and the crew. He should because of that person, I was infected with the flu and missed 80% of the cruise and tours, being confined to may stateroom because of illness caused by the sick individual. It was very unfair. One of the tours had to be cancelled because of a river closure. Viking refunded $40 of the $49 and kept $9. The air reservations were made by incompetent people who don't how to allow for time to get off on plane, go through security and customs and make the connecting flight. We missed the connecting flight and had to wait for a much later flight. We arrived in Budapest after midnight. Viking did not meet us at the airport. They said it was too late (their fault) and could not inconvenience an employee. Only passengers should be inconvenienced. That was the attitude throughout the trip. We had to take a taxi from the airport to the ship and Viking refused to refund the tip we had to pay the taxi driver. This was the worst cruise ship experience I have ever had. I will never travel with Viking and again. What was good? The food and consideration of the chef for my inability to eat anything solid for days. The chef made me fresh ginger tea, than broth until I could eat solid food. I have high praise for the chef. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I would never recommend Emerald River Cruises. First I would recommend more options for pre/post cruise tours. I would also recommend narration of the sites on the way to the ship even if it’s a transfer. Once onboard a lot more ... Read More
I would never recommend Emerald River Cruises. First I would recommend more options for pre/post cruise tours. I would also recommend narration of the sites on the way to the ship even if it’s a transfer. Once onboard a lot more info on what to expect and someone to answer questions, like your cabin steward whom we didn’t see until the second day. This doesn’t improve, if you miss a port talk you are completely in the dark. The owners suite is small compared to other cruise/River ships. No tv in bedroom so bring binoculars to see it in the sitting room. Expect to hear your neighbors as the rooms have very thin walls. No ice offered unless you get a glass of ice at the bar. If you want a drink you must go to the bar and it’s like asking for a favor. With the premium package you get whatever bottle they have open, and if it’s a good wine, expect it to runout quickly! The cabin steward left our used towels because we didn’t throw them on the floor. Who knew? as this was never communicated. Emerald assured us we wouldn’t hear joggers above our suite but you definitely do, at 6am. They told us we had to put up with it for four days. The crew told us this was the last cruise and they didn’t know if the ship was returning or they had jobs. How sad for them and to bad for us. We sat at the Captains table which was very nice. The food should of been exceptional which I can’t say was the case. I’m really trying to be positive but so far the experience hasn’t lived up to our expectations. The included guided tours have been managed well and you see a lot of the cities you visit. The food is probably the biggest disappointment. No variety and mainly the same theme throughout the whole cruise. The buffet menu was offered only on a couple days, but don’t expect the classics these are only offered when it is a dinner menu night. The soups are either consommé or bouillon and nothing special. When a buffet is offered expect complete chaos. No formal direction just one big free for all. I went on the bike trip from Durnstein to Melk. They did try to talk us out of it but the reviews were to good for me to skip it. The guide was young and worked with her farther who brought up the rear. We did the 20 miles in 3 hours with a half hour lunch break and 5 photo opts. The pace was way to fast and that was because the guide did double duty and needed to get back for the Abby tour. Two folks had to get a cab (52 euro) to get back to the ship. Active is one description but this is Tourist de France. Nothing offered after dinner. OK, my wife and I can’t complain anymore. So much is wrong about this experience we just decided to give in and let it happen. They will not change so we go with the flow but will never ever make the same mistake. Emerald is at best a 2 Star and needs improving. Anyone who travels knows what expectations should be provided and they have a long way to go. Hope this review enlightens your decision. So choose well and happy travels. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
To be honest, my bad, I did not do my research. I was told this was a 5 star experience and book based on my thoughts of what 5 star meant. Therefore, This is a difficult review to write. The staff was excellent, helpful, friendly, ... Read More
To be honest, my bad, I did not do my research. I was told this was a 5 star experience and book based on my thoughts of what 5 star meant. Therefore, This is a difficult review to write. The staff was excellent, helpful, friendly, experienced, a pleasure to be around. If I was 80, it would have been a good trip. But I'm 60, also known as the new 40. Tauck does not cater to 40 year olds. Tauck caters to the geriatric group that likes all-inclusive programs. It was extremely expensive and disappointing. Not at all good for young families. The workout room is in the bottom of the boat, what little equipment there is it's failing, it is hot, no view, lots of tv's but no individual sound system, very noisy, tiny. The Massage therapy room is next to the workout room. Very little room for the therapist to work, noisy due to proximity of workout room, being on the bottom of the boat, and toilets flushing. The food is adequate, but I would not put it high on my list of places to eat. We ate ashore as often as possible. So much for that all-inclusive price! I will say the Indonesian chef cooking makes great Indonesian food!! Our cabin is excellent and the service we have gotten has been fabulous!! But again, it better be! We paid an exorbitant price for it! Seriously, look on Tauck tours and see what category 7 cost! There are 10 bikes available, 3 broke making it 7, for 118 people. Talk about first come first serve! And that is given you get a chance to ride! I think we will get 5 days out of 15. On the day we were stuck on the boat for over 24 hrs (not good for active baby boomers) we were told no biking. There would be no place to stop. Although the boat captain was able to pick up and drop off entertainment during the day along the way. FYI, our group on bikes was faster then the boat on water. We would most certainly have beat the boat to the meeting location. All-inclusive! I know what that means now! You can have all the bad wine you want!! Tauck saves the good stuff for the cruises that are not all inclusive! We are foodies and wine goes with that. I would gladly pay a premium additional for a good glass of wine. But again, if you knew the price I paid, you would have expected it to include fine wines. Entertainment has been a 50/50 proposition. Some was really bad and some was...ok. Some has been very informative. I traveled with my husband and a large group from Budapest to Amsterdam in October. (Currently on cruise) October north is a bad idea in itself. Wet cold rainy and a bit dreary. And the price was the same for this week as it was for two weeks ago going south. My bad. So, you know what twenty 60 yearolds due when locked up on a cruise on a rainy day? Drink. And then cause problems and by now day 11 would all jump ship if we could!! I do not blame the staff or crew for this disappointing cruise. They have been excellent! They are only working within the confines of Tauck policy and procedures. I did not do my research. I hate all-inclusive destination resorts, not sure why I thought this would be better/different! Bottom line, Tauck needs to hear this... They are not catering to a generation with money that has another good 10-20 years of active traveling! The idea of not having to pack everyday to move on to next town is attractive, but I will be looking to other cruise and travel companies for my next vacation. It won't be Tauck. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We were informed our first night of embarkation that a lock was damaged on the river, which meant our original trip and itinerary may be slightly altered. Much time was spent on the border of Hungary and Slovakia, not moving by ship at ... Read More
We were informed our first night of embarkation that a lock was damaged on the river, which meant our original trip and itinerary may be slightly altered. Much time was spent on the border of Hungary and Slovakia, not moving by ship at all. After missing most of Vienna, including the Mozart concert, missing a highlight of the trip, Cesky Krumlov , after being bused hours to destinations, including places the staff on board had not even heard of, being docked next to other ships, destroying our third floor French balcony view and solitude, we quickly realized Viking was not giving us the experience we had hoped and paid for. Upon our return , we were offered a 15% to 20% voucher for future trips on Viking. We have since received multiple e mails , mass flyers, and magazines advertising for Viking, including discounted trips. Mass marketing seems to be what they do best. Viking needs to focus on their customers and dealing with unexpected situations that can still make it a good experience, including proper reimbursement. What an expensive and disheartening lesson. Why would we choose to go on a Viking river cruise again? Read Less
Sail Date September 2016

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