I am a repeat customer to Viking River Cruises. I will from now on highly recommend ABV (anyone but Viking) most of all due to the lack of customer service in spite of 5 notes to TellUs@Viking.com. We were given less than 24 hours of ... Read More
I am a repeat customer to Viking River Cruises. I will from now on highly recommend ABV (anyone but Viking) most of all due to the lack of customer service in spite of 5 notes to TellUs@Viking.com. We were given less than 24 hours of notice that low water would mean late embarkation onto boat. Not a problem as far as I was concerned before we set out. However, this was the beginning of a horrible and stressful experience (I can not call this a vacation). If you wish to see how poorly Viking treats their customers after they have paid up, please read my story below. It involves ZERO travel assistance in spite of paying extra for it, horrible accomodations, limited food choices, no working toilets, skipped ports of call, accomodations far from tourist areas with no shuttle service, no daylight river cruising on the ship, long hours spent in buses on autobahns, and finally, no contact from Viking representatives even after writing 5 emails.
My elderly uncle and mother paid Viking Travel to arrange their business class travel to and from a Viking Danube Waltz Cruise on Aug. 4, 2018. This was their last trip overseas, and due to their physical capabilities, specifically booked business class with Viking for that final special cruise.
My mom and uncle flew in from Denver and arrived in Munich 3 hours after I arrived In from Houston. When I arrived, I found out our connecting flight to Budapest was canceled. For the next 12 hours, I attempted to contact all of the travel and emergency numbers Viking gave us in the brochures to assist with getting us all to Budapest. U.S. phone numbers were only open at U.S. Pacific time... Viking cruises in EUROPE! My mom and uncle were automatically rebooked on a flight to Warsaw, Poland with a 40 MINUTE layover in Munich where they were supposed to get through passport control and then change terminals. All other flights were overbooked.
Since Viking travel was unavailable at any number I attempted, I worked with a very nice airline representative in the lounge who literally spent 1 1/2 hours on the phone arranging a message to my relative’s inbound plane from the U.S. We arranged a mobility pickup so that they were first off their plane, fast assisted through passport control, and then driven in a private airport car directly to our Warsaw bound plane, which was not parked at a gate.
Once in Warsaw, we were with a different airline to get to Budapest, and unbelievably for a second time that day, our flight was canceled. Again, I tried all my Viking numbers including the ship’s number and email which with we were provided, but again, no responses. After a stressful time standing in lines and arranging flights for all of us to Budapest (without Viking assistance), I was finally able to get a hold of Viking travel representative, somewhere on the west coast of the U.S. as it was finally morning in Pacific time before we boarded. They had no idea of our “new” travel plans, nor did they know what hotel we were to go to. They suggested we get our own taxi to where another Viking ship was docked and to ask them where we to go. We arrived late in Budapest, where I stood in line to report lost bags (of course, none of our bags arrived at the airport) and finally, we made it our hotel in Budapest. This was Day 1 of the cruise, and we had no dinner and no assistance from any Viking representatives.
The next morning, an impromptu Viking desk was finally manned at the hotel at 8AM, but this hourly worker said she could not help us with our lost bags, told us meals were not included that evening, but that we should meet in lobby for our included Budapest tour in 45 minutes. On the bus, there were no Viking representatives, but only contracted tour guides. We finally met with the program director of our ship, Viking Legend at 1 PM after the tour, and for the first time was able to get assistance with finding our lost bags and assurances that our dinner was free at the hotel.
We found out 75% of our fellow cruise guests were booked in the Intercontinental Hotel Budapest, right on the Danube in the middle of the tourist area. Our hotel, the Corinthia was on the second major traffic circle away from the Danube River, too far to walk. No shuttle service was offered for those of us staying in the Corinthia. Viking arranged a lunch after our tour at a restaurant which offered 1 food choice, a chicken breast with sauce and mashed potatoes. Our dinner that night at the Corinthia hotel had 1 offering only, chicken breast with sauce and mashed potatoes. The food was NOT up to Viking standards.
The next day we were bused 1 1/2 hours to Bratislava and finally embarked on the ship, Viking Legend. We cruised to Vienna in the middle of the night between 9 PM and 3 AM while we were sleeping. This was to be our only Danube cruising on our ship. Our Vienna tour happened according to plan. However, that evening when we were to cruise overnight to our next stop, Krems, it was announced there was an electrical generator problem, but that it was being worked. We awoke the next morning still in Vienna and were told problem was still being worked (and since the toilets didn’t flush, we could use sister ships public toilets docked on either side of us). Breakfast no longer offered menu items, as cooking was limited due to the electrical problem. Buses were arranged to take us on our next included tour, the Krems abbey, an 1 1/2 hour drive one way. Unfortunately, my mom tripped when traipsing through 2 other Viking boats to get onto the dock to board the bus, and cut open her eye. Viking representatives called an ambulance and we spent the next 3 1/2 hours in the Vienna ER where her eye was bandaged. Back on the boat in the afternoon, specialists were still working on the electrical problem. Announcements occurred frequently saying they hoped we could sail sometime in the night. The plan was to cruise overnight to start of Wachau Valley past Krems and wait until morning, and then cruise through what is the highlight of a Danube cruise.
We awoke still docked in Vienna. Electrical testing throughout the morning again meant limited breakfast AND lunch and walking to another ship to use the toilets. We couldn’t get off boat in the morning, because departure was supposed to be imminent as soon as problem was fixed. By lunchtime, they gave up, and we were told to pack our bags, eat a quick lunch (limited offerings due to electrical problem), and then board buses. Viking tried to salvage a tiny portion of Wachau Valley viewing by busing us 2 hours to near Krems where we were herded down a busy tourist pedestrian road to a dock where we boarded a public tourist boat for a 45 minute cruise down the Danube. It was very crowded as we were sharing with non-Viking tourists, and the boat had very few seats outside to see both sides of the river. Understand that on this entire 8 day Viking Danube Cruise, 45 minutes was the sum total of actual cruising on the Danube River in the daylight!
Back on the bus we were driven nearly 3 hours to a “resort” hotel 43 km away from Passau, our intended cruise destination. Since this was last minute accommodations, rooms were limited. Our room was in an annex furthest from reception and had no AC nor fan (this was August). The room was over 90 degrees when we arrived and 1 of two windows was bolted shut. I asked for another room immediately and was told there were none. Our room never got below 82 degrees F for the 2 nights we slept there. Viking representatives told us they would try to get window fixed, but nothing was done by the hotel. Drive time to Passau for our included tour was a 45 min. bus ride one way, and our lunch was arranged at a Passau restaurant, where again, due to the last minute arrangements, no choices were offered.
Our cruise entirely bypassed the city of Linz and the intended included tour, where for personal reasons, I had most wanted to visit.
During and after the cruise, I wrote 5 notes to Viking customer service at TellUs@Viking.com. During and after the cruise, they replied 3 times and assured me I would be contacted when I got home. The last night at the hotel outside of Passau, a letter was slipped under the door in the middle of the night. In it, we were offered a 25% discount off a future cruise good for 1 year (my Mom and Uncle can’t use this and I certainly won’t use it), and a 25% refund on the cruise portion only. Even after we “received” this offer, I wrote customer service about this, and they assured me someone would still contact me. It has been 2 weeks since returning home, and NO ONE from Viking has contacted me, but I do get almost daily advertisements for costly Viking cruises.
Please PLEASE reconsider booking anything with Viking. Read Less