11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We started out on the Viking Jarl. The staff was excellent and if our whole cruise had stayed on the Jarl we would have had our dream vacation in spite of the low water levels. The Captain, Hotel Manager, Program Director, wait staff, ... Read More
We started out on the Viking Jarl. The staff was excellent and if our whole cruise had stayed on the Jarl we would have had our dream vacation in spite of the low water levels. The Captain, Hotel Manager, Program Director, wait staff, bartender, room steward and all other staff we came in contact with was excellent. But the moment we changed onto the Atla the staff was rude, had an attitude, food service was bad bad (Banana pudding was a small, hard muffin with hint of banana, not a creamy, delicious pudding), food was ok but not like the great food we had on the Jarl. All in all the whole experience on the Atla was terrible. We were made to feel like an inconvenience and they could hardly wait until the next day when they could pass us off to the Bragia. When we transferred on Saturday to the Bragia it started out fine. We were greeted well. But the wait staff was clearly lacking. The Aquavit Terrace had the food for breakfast laid out but the entire time we were eating we never saw any wait staff to help us. The final night was the breaking point. We had experienced a bad tour with a guide we could not understand, it was cold and we were tired. When we arrived for dinner we were advised that the regional Hungarian menu was ALL we could order from!! The staff was extremely rude when we requested other choices. Finally the matre de allowed my husband who cant have spicy food to have a plain hamburger and french fries. It was like they couldn't get rid of us fast enough. The next morning we were staying at a hotel in Budapest we had arranged. Although our bags had been out by 7:15 as told, when we got ready to leave at 8:30 they were not upstairs. We had to ask for them to be brought us and a taxi called. We previously had been told by friends what a great cruise line Viking was. This trip was terrible. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Wow! Where to start... after arriving in Europe we received an email from Viking stating it was ‘possible’ there could be an issue due to low water levels. This email was sent AFTER we were on our flight, which Viking arranged for us. ... Read More
Wow! Where to start... after arriving in Europe we received an email from Viking stating it was ‘possible’ there could be an issue due to low water levels. This email was sent AFTER we were on our flight, which Viking arranged for us. On our ride to our departure point, Nuremberg, Germany, our driver told us about a horror story one of his recent passengers shared about their Viking River Cruise. That’s when we started researching on Cruise Critic. What an eye opening read that was. These issues have been going on for over two months! We read horror stories about multiple ship swaps, long bus rides, missed ports, hotel stays, etc... it was enough to make us change our mind about cruising the “Romantic Danube” with Viking. Multiple reviews also mentioned that Viking sent them the same email, but only AFTER they were in Europe. This is clearly part of their MO of dishonest and manipulative behavior. After reading Viking’s so called “Satisfaction Guarantee”, we decided to invoke our rights and cancel our cruise immediately upon arrival at the ship. We spent hours with the Viking Jarl hotel manager and on the phone with Natasha Harris in Viking’s customer service office while our driver waited outside with our baggage. When we told Natasha in customer service that we wanted a refund, which is clearly stated as our right in their service guarantee, she told us we could leave the ship if we wanted, but she could not guarantee a refund. She said our claim would go in front of a review board AFTER we returned to the United States. We weren’t going to walk off the ship after paying thousands of dollars without any guarantee of a refund! That’s their whole plan. Who would pay for a trip and walk away without taking it without a refund? We were told once we set sail that (shockingly) we would have to stop the ship at a random port and take an hour and a half bus ride to and from Passau, Germany. Then we found out we would have a FOUR HOUR bus ride the following day, past Passau, and to another random port to SWITCH ships. Meanwhile, we are missing our first day in Vienna, the highlight of our trip! Today, our first night onboard the new ship, they tell us they will also be bussing us back and forth to Budapest, an hour and a half each way, 2 days in a row. This is NOT what we signed up for. This is not what we PAID for. From past reviews, we knew there would be major issues before we set foot on the first ship. That’s why we tried to get a refund from the beginning. Viking knew there would be issues well in advance and they CHOSE to keep that information from us. Their dishonesty upsets me as much as anything else. They keep their passengers in the dark until the last minute and then act surprised that there are issues. They are dishonest and manipulative. Just say NO to Viking. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We checked with Viking on water levels one week before we sailed and were told "no issues." 3 days before sailing the story became a possible "ship swap" between 2 ports. The problems were far greater. Viking apparently ... Read More
We checked with Viking on water levels one week before we sailed and were told "no issues." 3 days before sailing the story became a possible "ship swap" between 2 ports. The problems were far greater. Viking apparently had these issues for at least 6 prior weeks. Ship swap is a repackage for an 8am pickup then unpack after a 3 hour bus ride. Additionally, our 1.5 day stay in Vienna became .5 days. Our 1.5 day in Budapest (docked in the city) became a 1 hour city tour from a remote dock due to low water. it seemed we had to meet their needs and not ours. In 3 cities, excursions were either cancelled or minimally available. Cultural on board entertainment was a 1 hour session by musicians in Nuremburg and 3 slide shows. I kept thinking "Viking has to know they are providing far less than they advertised, what special event or alternative are they planning for us"? It never came. Instead upon our return home we received a letter offering us a credit of about $1,000 against a future cruise. Wow, what a deal. We spend another $7,500 on them and they reduce our fare by $1,000! How important do they think they are? I understand that low water levels created many of these issues, but they chose this route and possible consequences. Should they not bear some of the losses by extending other benefits to people who got less than advertised? It appears their bottom line was their most important consideration. As info, I checked with other river cruisers we met in cities we visited.Avalon went to Budapest, no issues. Tauck flipped in Nuremburg to a vessel that also went straight thru. Go figure! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We just returned from a "Romantic Danube" cruise. It was a total misrepresentation by Viking Cruises. The Danube water level is at the lowest it has been since 1933. Therefore the ships cannot sail. Instead we were bused from ... Read More
We just returned from a "Romantic Danube" cruise. It was a total misrepresentation by Viking Cruises. The Danube water level is at the lowest it has been since 1933. Therefore the ships cannot sail. Instead we were bused from city to city spending less than 1/4 of the week on the Danube sailing. The description touted the beautiful scenery onboard the ship while sailing. Never saw it. Some of our excursions were cancelled (oh, we will refund your money for cancelled excursion). The most disturbing part was that Viking knew about this for 1-2 months and did not notify us thereby not giving an option to change our cruise. They sent an email the day after we landed in Europe alerting us to the possibility that we may have to take buses at various places on the Danube due to the low water level. Couldn't change the cruise at that point. We contacted Viking upon return and their response was a slight discount on our next cruise. That is worthless as we will never take another cruise with Viking. Viking is unethical and dishonest - their decision to delay notifying their customers is despicable. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
This cruise was the worst holiday we have ever experienced. My husband is a survivor of abdominal cancer and we have a special needs daughter living with us. This was to be our trip of a lifetime. We only have 2-3 weeks per year to enjoy ... Read More
This cruise was the worst holiday we have ever experienced. My husband is a survivor of abdominal cancer and we have a special needs daughter living with us. This was to be our trip of a lifetime. We only have 2-3 weeks per year to enjoy an adult holiday together. The Cruise was a plethora of negative events, a TOTAL DISAPPOINTMENT. WATER LEVELS WERE LOW. Viking told us after we arrived in Europe, too late to change plans. Viking solution, take a bus to Passau, Vienna, Budapest. Cancel optional excursions, sleep on 3 different ships (not sail, SLEEP). Locals in Europe told us Viking has been doing this for 6 weeks, don't tell the passengers, pretend this just happened. Email from Viking "...as a precautionary measure, we may need to adjust our sailing speeds, which could result in slight delays. We may also need to dock in alternate locations in areas where our regular docking spots are adversely affected by the conditions". Service was substandard, on the third ship we even cleaned our own table, they are casual staff called in by Viking last minute. (Staff told us this). When we asked for dessert, they told us to wait until everybody has finished eating because "the cook is still making it". By the way, don't book a veranda, they park 2 and 3 ships beside each other. You walk into the next ship to get onto the dock. Plus make sure you always keep your curtains closed, or the passengers on the next ship can see directly into your cabin. Unfortunately, sometimes you will see too much. Viking only informs you about any issues the night before, too late to adjust your itinerary. Cabins are small, you cannot bypass one another at the end of the bed and when watching TV there is no room on either side of the bed to place a chair. Because we always had to keep the curtains closed, it really made the room seem very small. We paid $16,000 for the Viking Cruise plus $3000 for our daughters care at home. Their final offer $5000 credit towards another cruise. WE can't afford another cruise. WE were mislead and feel cheated. Do your own homework. Check everything out before you go because when you get there you might only be getting a poor quality bus ride like us. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We’ve all seen them - the inspirational Viking Cruise Lines advertisements - mature couples drinking wine on deck with wind blowing gently on their smiling faces amidst beautiful castles going by as they cruise luxuriously down the ... Read More
We’ve all seen them - the inspirational Viking Cruise Lines advertisements - mature couples drinking wine on deck with wind blowing gently on their smiling faces amidst beautiful castles going by as they cruise luxuriously down the exotic river. Enchanting villages where, said couples, are watching and bantering with the village folk while teaching them the secret techniques of their trade. Enrichment lectures onboard and destination performances at port so you can experience the culture live and in color. Irresistible, right? So irresistible, in fact, that we called Viking directly and after talking at length with the “Travel Consultant” about the “Romantic Danube” River Cruise and all that it included, we signed up with eager anticipation. My husband and I just completed our Viking “Romantic Danube” River cruise and found the reality to be altogether different. It was actually more of a BUS TRIP where we “cruised” down nondescript highways with occasional stops in places not on the itinerary (to make up for the places we didn’t go to that were on the itinerary) to catch a glimpse of our ship docked at some rundown, industrial site that is nowhere near our destination. My personal favorite was the gravel pit with the huge crane where we literally had to walk under the dangling cab to board our ship. This, of course, was one of those stops somewhere between cities we were supposed to visit but had to take a bus to get to. Rumor has it, from a reliable source who works for Viking, that these sites are actually chosen to avoid paying expensive docking fees in ports of call. But I digress… Unfortunately, our trip did not reflect what was advertised in the commercials, brochures or travel document verbiage. In fact, there was but a vestige of what the itinerary and brochure promised. Yes, the river level was down; and Yes, the itinerary needed to be altered; and Yes, there were buses to be organized and utilized, but the overarching problem with this trip for us was that Viking’s approach to all of this is to NOT FULLY DISCLOSE the information they had. This resulted in constant last minute changes, passenger confusion, misinformation, frustration and an overall feeling that we were having “the wool pulled over our eyes”, which then lead to multiple rumors about how Viking was greedily and knowingly taking advantage of its passengers. To top off this already difficult environment, the Program Director and his staff were arrogant, condescending, aloof and downright rude. When I asked, out of curiosity, why Viking ships were docked in port at Passau and moving down the river, yet we had a very long bus ride bus to get to Passau AND back that afternoon AND another 4.5 hour bus ride the next day to meet a ship to swap with, I was met with a very curt response from one of the managers, followed by the Program Director literally yelling at me and making extremely sarcastic and belittling comments to me within hearing distance of other passengers. Honestly, I was incredulous. This was TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE and UNPROFESSIONAL behavior. He did later apologize and said how stressed out he was, but that is just not what I expect when we’re paying THOUSANDS of dollars to take this trip. By Day 3 of the cruise, passengers were already talking openly about how upset they were about all of these changes were being handled; the lack of communication, the seeming chaos and poor decisions that were being made. These were not just people whom had not been on a Viking cruise before, this included people who had taken multiple cruises with Viking and were never going to step foot on another Viking ship after this one was done. By the time the trip was completed, that’s all we heard people talking about - how unethical, irresponsible, unconscionable and negligent Viking was to KNOWINGLY take our money and not fully disclose what the true impact on our trip might be. Based on the reviews we read prior to taking the trip, this water level issue had been going on for 4 months! We even called Viking 5 days prior to departure to ask if our trip was going to be impacted and if we could cancel if it was. They, of course, responded with NO, you can’t cancel, NO, they didn’t anticipate a problem as it had just rained and No, No, No, etc. It’s their favorite word, come to find out! And, if nondisclosure was not enough of an insult, we also encountered vast changes on what they did disclose. When we first booked our trip, we were told that we could upgrade for free if a balcony room became available. We called numerous times to see if there was a cancellation. Once onboard, we asked immediately for an upgrade. NO, it was not free (that word again!) and when first given an upgrade price of $400 (they told us this 3 separate times), when we went to pay just minutes after they quoted us, they charged us $480! Again, NO, we never said $400…our word against theirs. They didn’t even say, “We’re sorry for the misunderstanding” or any kind of courteous response, just NO! Rather than continue to recount our many disappointing moments, let me state factually the itinerary we experienced: Nuremburg - On Day 2, we were told that the boat apparently “needed” to start off down the Danube while we were on our tours and we had to be BUSSED to catch up with it - an additional 45 minutes on top of what the bussing time to and from Nuremburg was supposed to be Regensburg - the only port that we could access by the boat and no busses * Straubing - Not on the itinerary. A remote docking site to access Passau and other ports by BUS. From Passau to the boat: 3 hours roundtrip, shortening our time in port. For passengers, like my husband, who didn’t want to sit on a bus for 3 hours, he was faced with either sitting on the boat with no activities or easy access to the town of Straubing. * Ybbs - Not on the itinerary. The day after Passau, we were bussed 4.5 hours to this place to be boarded onto a new ship. No tours - we did cruise down the Wachau Valley starting at 4, which was beautiful, but this was supposed to be earlier in the day and we could have had a tour of Krems that day. Vienna - a disaster. We had just our morning tour and needed to get back on the boat because the water level was getting lower. Vienna was supposed to be a 2 day experience. Additional tours were cancelled and off we sailed by 2:00 that same day to head for our next port. Another aside: Viking advertises a side excursion to Salzburg for the day. What they DON’T tell you, is that it requires a 6.5 - 7 hour bus trip roundtrip! * Bratislava - Not on the itinerary. We stopped here for the night with no onshore tours or activities or even information about the port. * Komarom - Not on the itinerary. This was the closest we could come to Budapest. A 1.5 hour bus trip away. No town in site, just another very unattractive outpost. We had a city tour of Budapest in the morning followed by a lunch, but we were told we needed to get back to the boat as they were trying to figure out bussing for the optional tours and getting people to a hotel that had flights before 8am the next morning. DEPARTURE: The sad part of leaving was the fact that only a handful of people were put up in a hotel in Budapest to be closer to the airport. The rest of us had to bus back to the boat and wake up very early to catch yet another bus for another 2.5 hour ride into the airport. One of our acquaintances had to get up at 3am to be on the bus by 4:15am. WHY didn’t Viking put us all up in the hotel as a convenience and kind gesture? For us, our Viking Air arranged flight to Munich was cancelled. As we were standing in line waiting to see if we could even get out that day, another Viking ship had all of their people that were on that flight rebooked and were escorted to the gate they were rebooked to. We asked for help as well, but apparently it’s all ships for themselves! This was the worst group travel experience we have ever experienced. The Viking Brand does not deserve to have the reputation it does. Marketing can buy impressions, but then you have to live up to it. Viking, most certainly, did not do that. And for myself and my husband and many others onboard this trip…“You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
We were so disappointed in the response from Viking to the problems of the low water levels on the Danube. As others have said we had to change ships twice and spent two 1/2 days on buses, excursions were cancelled, we lived out of our ... Read More
We were so disappointed in the response from Viking to the problems of the low water levels on the Danube. As others have said we had to change ships twice and spent two 1/2 days on buses, excursions were cancelled, we lived out of our suitcase due to changing ships so much. Our balcony was unusable several days due to being parked next to other stranded ships or being parked near a swamp area. We understand that the water levels were out of Vikings control but notifying us two days before departure when they knew for over a month and then offerering no actual financial compensation (25% off your next cruise!) was unexceptable. Then three calls to customer service with no one with authority responding . We may have tried Viking again but the poor customer service has definitely been a deal breaker! I would pick a different cruise line! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We chose this cruise with two other couples who we had done a :"Portraits of Southern France" Viking Cruise with two years ago. We were interested in the ports and had had a great Viking experience two years ago. First off - ... Read More
We chose this cruise with two other couples who we had done a :"Portraits of Southern France" Viking Cruise with two years ago. We were interested in the ports and had had a great Viking experience two years ago. First off - the on-board crew could not have been more service oriented. From the Captain who was always welcoming and friendly to every waitstaff and housekeeper - they were great!! The food was generally good - some great meals - two mediocre. The ship was clean. However we were disappointed in several aspects of our trip: -We needed to pack and change ships midway through the cruise because of a water level problem the previous week. This altered our itinerary so we could accommodate the transfers. -In Vienna and Budapest - Viking docks ships 3 deep side by side. It makes it tough to enjoy one's balcony when copied up agains someone else's balcony on a different ship. - We took a $200 per person optional excursion To Salzburg. Don't do it! Two hours on a bus, a rest stop at Mc Donald's, a 45 minute rushed city tour, a little free time, mystery meat for lunch (about 80 minutes) and 45 minutes more free time. The "tour" should have been more extensive - castle, cathedral etc. Absolutely the worst excursion I have taken on any cruise ship at any time! -The included Vienna City tour was also precursors in nature. Also, all of the guides recommended spending an extra few hours in town rather than lunching on the ship (great idea) so everyone was forced to either cab it back, walk back or use public transportation. Viking should have provided buses to bring us back later in the afternoon. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
I must preface this review with the fact that this was my first river cruise. I have taken several ocean cruises, and therefore; my review will be somewhat biased because of the comparisons. My husband and I decided to take this type of ... Read More
I must preface this review with the fact that this was my first river cruise. I have taken several ocean cruises, and therefore; my review will be somewhat biased because of the comparisons. My husband and I decided to take this type of cruise because we had heard many good things about cruising on a small ship on the river. It seemed that it would be a unique experience and an intimate way to explore Europe. We were required to pay in full almost a year prior to our sailing date. After many months, information from the Viking office began to be received via e-mail. We were traveling with two other couples. We all wanted to extend our trip in Prague and continued to wait for information to arrive regarding booking that extension. By the time anything was published, the Prague extension was completely booked and our only option was Berlin. We were the only six people to extend in Berlin. We made several phone calls to Viking regarding excursions and were assured that a Viking representative would be at our disposal during our extra days once we arrived. That was not true. On the last day of our extension a representative finally appeared, totally unprepared. He had no transportation arranged for us to get to our destination so walked for hours in the rain and cold before we arrived at the destination. He bought our entrance tickets, told us how to catch a public bus back to the hotel (which was incorrect), and said good-bye. We paid a good amount of money for this extension and were disappointed at the disorganization on Viking's end of things. Our hotel was nice and had an amazing breakfast, but our money was not well spent. The actual Viking guide came in on the day that all the other Viking guests arrived. The icing on the cake was later on the ship while talking with other passengers, we discovered that those who booked full balcony cabins were offered the extensions when they initially booked the cruise. The six of us had only booked French balcony cabins. It makes a difference. When the confirmation information finally began arriving regarding our travel arrangements, the two other couples were ticketed immediately and were able to upgrade their airline seats. We tried to upgrade ours as well and were told that our tickets had not been issued so Delta could not upgrade our seats. I called Viking and inquired why our tickets had not been issued, especially since we had paid for them months in advance. All we got was that they had a wide window in which to issue the tickets and we could have a "early" issue if we wanted to pay a fee and risk huge monetary penalties if there were any changes to the tickets at all. I asked for an e-mail to be sent notifying us when the tickets were issued so we could pursue our upgraded seats for a 10 hour flight. "They said they would not do that. After weeks of continual checking the tickets were finally issued and the better upgrades were already sold. After reviewing our air itinerary, I had concerns about the short amount of time for transfer in Amsterdam. I voiced my concerns to Delta and they said it was not enough time for the transfer. When I voiced my concerns to Viking, they assured me 90 minutes was plenty of time. It was not! There was no one in Amsterdam to explain the process of going through immigration, the lines were unbelievable, my fitbit told me that it was one mile from our arrival gate to our departure gate, they only reason we made the connection at all, was an immigration employee finally came and took the passengers with short connections out of the line and to the immigration check point and then we ran the rest of the way. It was a nightmare. Going to our destination we were allowed two carry on bags and one checked bag. Coming back was a different story KLM (the connecting flight from Budapest to Amsterdam would not allow two carry on bags. We were not told it would be different coming back than going over. We were forced to check our carry-ons and, of course, there was breakage of special purchases. I was impress4ed with Delta Airlines. They were nice, attentive, had a good selection of entertainment, and we did not go hungry. We enjoyed all of the included excursions during our trip. Viking had purchased new listening devices for the passengers and that was a nightmare. The technology was not good and the guides were not well trained with the new devices. Many of them did not work and it took a day or so to get replacements. We paid $200 per person for a special excursion to Salzburg, Vienna, which I was very much looking forward to. As it turned out, my listening device did not work, there were no replacements, and the guides solution was to stay close to her during our tour. She was very soft-spoken, we were outside with all the traffic and people noises and I heard nothing. When I returned to the ship I told the cruise director I has very unhappy after having paid a lot of money for that tour and hearing none of the information because their device failed. I asked for some kind of compensation and was given a cheap box of candy. Something else that I learned during this cruise is that they are very weather driven. One of the selling points of river cruising is being on the upper deck to see the beauty of the scenery as you sail by. If it's raining and cold, that is not a viable option. If the water is too high, the boats cannot sail and have had to cancel tours completely. We were lucky and managed to make the sailing. If you cannot be out to see the scenery, there is nothing to do on these boats. They had a few "special" talks, one piano player, a small dance floor, and, if you are a drinker, plenty of booze that you pay for. I spent my "spare" time watching reruns of Downton Abby. If you take the included excursions, don't expect to do much shopping. There just isn't enough time allowed. In fact, although they build in free time in each excursion, if you want to get something to eat and hope to explore on your own, good luck. On our particular cruise, the most shopping time we got was our last day in Budapest. We had to be up and off the ship by 3:30 am the next morning to go the airport for our return trip. The on-board restaurant staff and cabin staff were wonderful. They were friendly, accommodating, and worked very hard. The dinner meals were very good. Breakfast and lunch was mediocre. However, the Viking corporate offices and their policies were extremely disappointing and I will never do business with them again. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Let me begin with my overall feeling about Viking, in case you do not read through the entire review: I will never go near Viking again. We did not get anywhere near value for our money; plus, the company has a real attitude about dealing ... Read More
Let me begin with my overall feeling about Viking, in case you do not read through the entire review: I will never go near Viking again. We did not get anywhere near value for our money; plus, the company has a real attitude about dealing with issues (they are very nice during the sales process). We decided on this trip very last minute and were “lucky” to get our cabin, due to a cancellation, so our research ahead of time was limited. We discovered, after the fact, that there are plenty of other choices and have heard some very good things regarding other brands. We had put off taking a cruise for fear of seasickness and thought that a river cruise would be calmer and a good way to "get our sea legs." We were right. The cruise (what there was of it) was calm. However, the long river boats (similar for all brands) are much smaller than ocean cruise ships, so if you are looking for all the bells and whistles of an ocean cruiser, such as a swimming pool, these much smaller boats may not be for you. The issues: We had to switch ships midstream and a lot of our time was spent on buses, getting from one port to another, rather than on the boat. We were told that there were dry river issues and various lock problems, which required us to switch ships. However, we found out that was not the case. A Viking crew member told me that the midstream change had nothing to do with river conditions – it had to do with logistics only. Viking needed to reshuffle the positioning of their fleet of river boats. In fact, we met a couple from another Viking ship that was traveling the same route during the same period of time who told us that they did not have to switch. After we were told about the need to switch at one of the regular evening briefing sessions, a few people spoke up and questioned the basis for the decision to switch boats. The program director told the group, in a very demeaning tone, that he will not discuss this any further. In fairness, I want to point out the positive. The crew – cleaning crew, front desk, kitchen, as well as the bus and tour guides – were friendly and diligent. The rooms were fine, and the showers more than satisfactory. The main issue was the occasional malfunctioning of the toilet, where the flush, which operated via a vacuum, would not work. This was a nuisance, especially late at night or early in the morning, but the staff would quickly fix the problem when it occurred (multiple times on both ships - the one we embarked on and the one we switched to midstream). There was also a slight sewage smell on both ships, but we couldn't tell if it was our room or from the river. Back home, we contacted Viking to get some compensation (for all the interrupted cruise time). All I could say is their response was extremely insulting. They would not, and have not, agreed to compensate us for anything. They offered a paltry, tiny discount on a future Viking trip, even though we told them that we were not planning on taking any future Viking cruises. And, if we took that discount, we would have to sign a waiver that we would not, among other things, write anything negatively on social media. Well, here we are… Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Spent 3 wonderful days in Prague before leaving for river boat in Nurenberg, Received notification that our boat was being changed to another ship with the same accommodations. Two days into trip, we were told to pack up we were ... Read More
Spent 3 wonderful days in Prague before leaving for river boat in Nurenberg, Received notification that our boat was being changed to another ship with the same accommodations. Two days into trip, we were told to pack up we were changing ships again. No explanation except the it was a corporate decision. We were bused at 8:30 in the morning to another port. Our day of planned tours were eliminated. Then because of traffic on the Danude we were delayed and passed our next stop and lost another tour destination. This was my 3rd cruise on a Viking ship. The river boat cruise is a gamble at best, but there were no environmental issues this time. In addition the food is only passable and uninspired. One evening steak was being offered and was so tough you could not cut it. It was offered the next evening in a soup, goulash, and still was tough. The crew did their best with the problems, however we were not pleased with how our cruised was handled and the rebate offered cannot erase a disappointing experience. We arrived in Budapest late and missed time on our extend trip. In retrospect if we eliminate the cruise and and only had experienced the wonderful dinners and tours in Prague and Budapest our vacation would of been perfect. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
Travel Dates: August 30, 2015 – September 6, 2015 Viking Boat: Jarl My husband and I, along with our friends (another couple) booked our Viking “Romantic Danube” cruise almost a year in advance. My husband lived in Germany ... Read More
Travel Dates: August 30, 2015 – September 6, 2015 Viking Boat: Jarl My husband and I, along with our friends (another couple) booked our Viking “Romantic Danube” cruise almost a year in advance. My husband lived in Germany for several years, and we have traveled a lot through the region, but had never cruised the Danube before. We wanted to see all of the beautiful towns along the way and to savor the relaxing feeling of cruising down the river while taking in all of the sights. This is what Viking advertises, and we believed them. We began the cruise on the Jarl in Budapest. A couple of days before the cruise our friends – but not us – received an email from Viking notifying them that the water levels were low and there may be a delay of the start of the cruise. They were directed to go to the Intercontinental Hotel in Budapest and await further instruction. Thankfully our friends received an email, otherwise we would not have known this crucial piece of information. We contacted the Viking representative at the Intercontinental Hotel and specifically asked her whether the boat would make it all the way to Nuremberg given the water levels. We specifically said we wanted to cruise- not be bussed from city to city. She assured us that the water levels were now fine and that the boat would leave on time – AND MAKE IT TO NUREMBERG. The boat did leave on time. And, for the first three days of the cruise it was lovely. The staff was amazing. They are professional, friendly, personable, and truly went out of their way to make the experience enjoyable. The tours of Budapest, Melk, Vienna and Passau were good. And then it all went downhill. On night four of the cruise the ship stopped for several hours for repairs. And, after Passau the ship stopped cruising for two days. Nights 5 and 6 were spent docked next to the road on the industrial side of Passau. Our balcony was level with the asphalt, looking at the gas station across the street. And we were the lucky ones. The people on the opposite side of the ship were looking into another Viking boat- they stack boats next to each other next to the shoreline so you are literally looking into another person’s cabin- for two days! The ship could not reach Regensburg on day 6 as scheduled. So, Viking bussed us 1.5 hours each way to the city. This is 3 hours taken out of our day, a day we were spending a lot of money in order to enjoy. On day 7, the day we were supposed to spend in Nuremberg, we were told that we would be bussed 3 hours each way in order to see the city, a total of 6 hours. Many people, including us, declined and stayed on the boat, parked next to the gas station in Passau, instead. The boat finally eked its way to Deggendorf on the last day of the cruise, and Regensburg by the final morning. This is still only a little more than half way of the distance we were supposed to cruise. We were not allowed to leave the boat during this period, except to go on the long bus rides to the next two cities, and in any event couldn’t have gone into the old city of Passau as it was across the river from us. The icing on the cake was the day of disembarkation. People, based on groups, were told to leave their luggage outside their rooms beginning at 3 a.m. The last group had to have their bags out by 5 a.m. We were put on buses at 8 a.m. and bussed for close to two hours to Nuremberg. Aside from the fact that the boat only cruised about half of the distance promised, there were other things which made us deeply regret having spent $7,000 on this cruise. For instance, despite the fact that we paid extra (several hundred dollars) for the upgraded liquor package, they ran out of ALL Cabernet Sauvignon by day 5, and all but the cheapest cognac by day 6. We could not understand why they couldn’t replenish their supplies when we were literally parked next to a city or why supplies couldn’t be taken from the other 5 or 6 Viking ships docked next to us! On day 5, when it had become clear that we were not going to travel any further up river – something we learned in private from the waiters and which was NEVER communicated by the ship administrators – we approached the program director and the hotel manager. We asked that we be permitted to disembark in Passau and that Viking refund the last two days of the cruise. He smirked condescendingly and told us that we were “free to do whatever we wanted,” but that the most they would do for us is help us find hotel reservations (at our own expense). We decided to stay on the ship to the bitter end. We had paid more than $1,000 a day and didn’t want to have to spend more money on accommodations and food for those last two days. The mood on the ship from day 5 onward was somber. Even the staff seemed down and it was reflected in the overall service they provided. In short, we are deeply disappointed in Viking. The cruise is nothing like we expected. Most of the cruising (what little of it there was) was done at night and there was literally only one day – going through the Wachau Valley – when we saw the beautiful sights advertised. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
After a wonderful pre-cruise in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Prague, we started our Viking cruise last Sunday, leaving from Nuremberg. The ship, Viking Jarl, is lovely, sleek and low key, spotlessly clean, with a ... Read More
After a wonderful pre-cruise in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Prague, we started our Viking cruise last Sunday, leaving from Nuremberg. The ship, Viking Jarl, is lovely, sleek and low key, spotlessly clean, with a reasonably sized stateroom and bathroom (for a cruise ship). The food is excellent. The very-well trained staff is attentive, professional and delightful. There is nothing about this particular ship or its staff that has contributed to my dissatisfaction. HOWEVER, the discrepancy lies in the deliverables as presented by Viking in their advertising and in the materials we have received. In my mind, the key differences between large ship ocean cruising and small ship cruising are twofold: the idea that in small ship cursing, there is the ability to use the availability of the river to dock in the middle of a city and the ongoing scenery as the ship goes from one place to another. Think about those Viking ads on PBS (like before "Downton Abbey") where they show amazing vistas as you cruise leisurely down the river. THE REALITY: As expected, we took a bus from Prague to Nuremberg (4hrs) where the cruise would start; it would end in Budapest. Unfortunately, the ship couldn't dock in Nuremberg because there were too few spaces and somehow our ship lost the toss and had to dock elsewhere. To do see the Justice Hall or any other WWII related sights, one had to select the optional tour, at an extra cost. This meant you could not participate in the included tour which was mostly on a bus, with the guide (who was well-versed), pointing out the window at the medieval aspects of the city plus a short stop at the castle. The first stop of the cruise, which was supposed to be in Regensburg, was actually on a desolate river bank in the middle of nowhere. Once again we had to be bused to the city. Some of these trips were as long as 40 minutes each way. For half the week, the cruising itself was mostly through locks which means seeing huge blank concrete walls. THE BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Midweek we were informed that there was a bridge repair going on in Bratislava that would necessitate our actual cruise ending in Vienna. Their version of the "good news" was that we would be spending an extra night in Vienna! This was because, instead of cruising overnight from Vienna to Budapest, arriving early the next morning, we would be boarding a bus the next morning to drive to Budapest, arriving in Budapest around lunchtime, thereby losing half of the one day in Budapest since the cruise ended the next morning. We would be put up in a hotel for the night. Included in the cruise package was to be a city tour during that morning we'd be driving and an evening cruise on our ship to see the beautiful harbor at night. We have not been informed yet on how they will provide these deliverables. WHAT HAS WORKED SO FAR: When we arrived in Passau, finally we docked in the city and could experience what was anticipated: a walking tour in the morning, lunch on the ship (if desired), and the ability to walk off the ship, stroll around all afternoon and decide when you wanted to head back to the ship. This afternoon, cruising from Melk to Vienna, for the first time, the scenery was magnificent, castles and vineyards and charming towns. FINAL COMMENT: The Viking Daube River cruise, which was significantly more expensive than a large ship cruise, was quite different than the literature had me anticipating. While, as stated earlier, I found the ship and crew to be superlative, this cannot compensate for my overall disappointment. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
Failed in the area of knowledgeable land guides. Although not Viking personnel, Viking is responsible for the experience. There was one good guide out of seven. High expectations for food; and the food was, at best, average. Failed at ... Read More
Failed in the area of knowledgeable land guides. Although not Viking personnel, Viking is responsible for the experience. There was one good guide out of seven. High expectations for food; and the food was, at best, average. Failed at ports of call. All but two ports required bus transportation, not walking distance as pictured in the brochures and on-line. Two ports were cement and cinder block manufacturing companies. Two days, our room was without some power. No a/c, no refrigerator, no TV/music, spotty internet. This will sound petty; but you must prepare for this, and we were not. You go through more than 20 locks. Two or three are interesting. The cabin was impossibly small. Evening briefings were painstakingly read, as were the "lectures" on local culture and attractions. Outstanding staff. Can not say enough about the staff. Beautifully appointed boat, two years old. Clean and well maintained. Some of the on-board "local" entertainment was really good. The rating below are based on the overall price of the cruise. It costs a whole lot more; and therefore, the expectations are a whole lot higher. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2014
The benefit of a river cruise, which we expected to be less crowds in ports and more personalized service, were evident; however there were many disappointments. First, we paid more than $1000.00 per day more than a year in advance on the ... Read More
The benefit of a river cruise, which we expected to be less crowds in ports and more personalized service, were evident; however there were many disappointments. First, we paid more than $1000.00 per day more than a year in advance on the premise that this was half price. Not so! The majority of the people we met paid less than half of what we paid, only a few weeks prior to the cruise. River cruising must be increasing In popularity but imagine the disappointment of opening the blinds to your balcony in the morning to find that you are looking into the room on the next boat! The food was not good, very, very salty, with limited vegetables, and often undercooked meat. The staff were friendly, but inflexible to accommodation requests, including medical restrictions. Wine included, but only with meals, and no selection, white or red, and generally one glass. Well organized for sure, but we would not do this again, not good value for the cost, and misleading advertising on the issue. I asked to be contacted at the end of the cruise (when specifically asked if we would like that), and had no opportunity to express concern, no contact was made. Buyer beware here! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
The cruise was advertised as the Romantic Danube. It was neither. First, we were anticipating enjoying the Danube River. Only one day was devoted to cruising the Danube. All other days were spent in port, because the cruising was done ... Read More
The cruise was advertised as the Romantic Danube. It was neither. First, we were anticipating enjoying the Danube River. Only one day was devoted to cruising the Danube. All other days were spent in port, because the cruising was done at night while it was both dark and/or we were sleeping. We didn't see much of the Blue Danube. We had booked the rear stateroom at a higher price so we could have a 180 degree view or the river and its shorelines. What we got was a 180 degree view of ports, which after several hours becomes rather boring. Some days we sat aboard the ship for five hours with nothing to do. Second, romance includes at least intimate dinners with one's spouse. The tour advertised open seating for dining. The picture we had was choosing to be by ourselves. Well, first, there were no two person tables. The smallest number was sic persons. The dining room seated 180, the number of people on the cruise. No separate seating when every seat is occupied. (By the way, I have a solution to this, in case Viking is interested.) Finally, there were few programs during the evening hours. A disappointment. They could do better. On the positive side, the personnel were awesome and we loved our stateroom. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
This cruise was not what we expected from the advertising. Very structured. Often the included excursions were basically narrated bus rides (we were on buses so much that my husband and I came up with the condition "bus butt.") ... Read More
This cruise was not what we expected from the advertising. Very structured. Often the included excursions were basically narrated bus rides (we were on buses so much that my husband and I came up with the condition "bus butt.") that simply drove by famous sites giving a glimpse from afar (example: golden Strauss statue used in ads-- it was pointed out to us from about 500 yards away as we drove down a main street of Vienna.) We chose to stay on the boat in Nuremberg rather than sit on a bus. A highlight of each excursion was being dropped by the most prominent local church. We were very disappointed at the "free time," which was often an hour or less. The best experience we had was a Mozart/Strauss concert in Vienna, which we had to purchase as an add-on, and since we reserved it before the trip because we were warned it might sell out (scare tactic!),they would not allow us to use the $400 or so we had on our account (we had already paid every cent for the cruise and air) and had to charge it to our credit card. I felt that was very tacky. We knew there was a possibility of water levels making it necessary to pack up and switch boats--which happened on our trip--but a Viking official told us it was very common. The food was the worst cruise food I have ever had--it was very salty at times, and the steak both my husband and I had one night was poor quality--tough and full of gristle. Only cookies were available outside of mealtimes. The wines served at both lunch and dinner, however, were very good. Dining staff couldn't have been better...superb.The tour guides ranged from excellent to so-so...it was the luck of the draw. All seemed to hate the communists but one seemed to have a soft spot for Hitler. I can't say enough good things about the staff on both boats--excellent! About the sulfur--you can't avoid it. If you're sensitive to it, you're probably going to be sick (happened to my husband). Getting from the airport to the boat and back was very efficient...Viking does an excellent job in this area. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
We are seasoned ocean cruisers and thought we should try river cruise having heard so much raving from friends and online reviews. Coming from the ocean cruise angle, river cruise is a bit small, bland, and boring. Due to the low water ... Read More
We are seasoned ocean cruisers and thought we should try river cruise having heard so much raving from friends and online reviews. Coming from the ocean cruise angle, river cruise is a bit small, bland, and boring. Due to the low water level, we were put in a hotel (Marriott) the first night at Budapest. Since we are gold elite member of Marriott, we were conveniently upgraded and had access to the concierge lounge which has a spectacular view of Budapest. Believe it or not, this was the highlight of our cruise! We were put back in the cruise after the first night and had to change ship eventually. The cruise staff did their very best to accomodate. Service was decent overall. However, if you are looking for food quality and entertainment, they are literally non existent compared to ocean cruises. Viking's saying that "spending less time getting there and more time being there" didn't hold true either. We didn't find the excursions any better than those of ocean cruises. I expected some in-depth immersion in each city's culture through the daily excursions. But I find the excursions lack of lustre. Or maybe I was hyped up too much by all the ravings and had too high an expectation. Entertainment is basically a one man band playing the piano. Food is short of variety and innovation. I couldn't remember even one meal or one dish that stands out. High tea was the worst. I definitely make better scones and cakes than the chef (and I'm only a mediocre cook)! Most of the time, the top deck is closed off due to passing under bridges. We're basically stuck in a very small vessel. At times when we docked, our vessel is parked side by side another one, meaning that we couldn't even open the blind. Coincidentally, we met another couple whom we acquainted in an earlier ocean cruise. They were seasoned ocean cruisers as well. They hold the same view as we do. That we won't be going to river cruise any time soon or in the foreseeable future. Having friendly cruise staff just doesn't cut as river cruises are expensive and expect more. PS By the way, I expected at least a small fitness center on board. But sorry, none! Read Less
Viking Jarl Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.6
Entertainment 3.0 4.0
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 1.0 3.3
Family 1.0 3.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.4
Enrichment 4.0 4.3
Service 4.0 4.8
Value For Money 3.0 4.2
Rates 4.0 5.0

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