7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We just returned from a “Romantic Danube” river cruise, which not only did not meet our expectations, but left us feeling miss-led. I say that because we were communicating with friends taking similar Viking itineraries weeks before ... Read More
We just returned from a “Romantic Danube” river cruise, which not only did not meet our expectations, but left us feeling miss-led. I say that because we were communicating with friends taking similar Viking itineraries weeks before our travel who made us aware of the nightmares they were experiencing. Nightmares as defined by numerous bus trips and lack of cruising time and being on board of a stagnant boat for accommodation purposes only. As we heard of these nightmares we contacted our travel agent and asked to cancel the cruise due to the low river levels. Our agent talked directly with Viking to understand the situation. We were then assured there would be only one bus ride for a three-hour duration from the Passau region to Vienna. The fact of the matter is the first bus ride was five hours, followed by a second bus ride into Budapest that took another 4 ½ hours. Combined with the numerous bus rides comes the task of packing and unpacking two more times than planned, which is a huge inconvenience. Once we reached Budapest we boarded an older boat that did not leave the dock – not much of a river cruise. While I understand Viking cannot control mother nature, you can control communications with honesty and integrity. It is quite apparent the revenue derived from your efforts is more important than customer satisfaction. My complaint is simple; we made our intentions clear; if there was any chance of additional bus rides and or lack of cruising time on the river we wanted to execute our insurance policy and obtain a full refund. That request is well documented with email communications more than two weeks prior to travel. We are now demanding a full refund for the cruise portion of the trip. We are not looking for a discount for future travel. Viking and Travel Leaders has lost our trust. As the previous President of my own company I would want to know about and work with dissatisfied customers. Which is the reason I’m writing a high-level executive and asking for more than a discount on a future Viking cruise. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
In many ways I hate to give such a critical review because the boat itself, the food and the accommodations were all exceptional, The staff were unbelievable. the the program director, George was wonderful. We marveled at the consistent ... Read More
In many ways I hate to give such a critical review because the boat itself, the food and the accommodations were all exceptional, The staff were unbelievable. the the program director, George was wonderful. We marveled at the consistent high level of service they delivered. While the land tours were uneven, they were mostly good and helped you to get a flavor for the region. Night lecture by a Bavarian scholar was excellent. However, due to high demand for river cruises on the Danube the boats are often required to tie up 3 deep while in dock. The venting systems for the boats pool between the boats and creates an unbelievable stench that permeated throughout the boat. It was impossible to be on the upper decks if you wanted to breathe. The common areas in the center of the boat made us gag on several occasions. The smell was not so bad in the rooms but because we had another boat tied along side, our balcony abutted the other ship. Not only was the view obstructed but it necessitated keeping the drapes and darkening shades drawen or you had to either look at a show you didn't want or you gave a show you didn't intend. Not acceptable.. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Ship was great, though wi-fi in stateroom was poor. Food was excellent. Most shore excursions were good. Felt ripped off by day trip to Salzburg: Paid extra, then due to river traffic delays (locks), we arrived to port an hour late, ... Read More
Ship was great, though wi-fi in stateroom was poor. Food was excellent. Most shore excursions were good. Felt ripped off by day trip to Salzburg: Paid extra, then due to river traffic delays (locks), we arrived to port an hour late, then hit traffic due to highway construction. We detoured through a city which took even longer. Then we stopped at a roadside oasis for a bio break even though there was a toilet on the coach. Got to Salzburg and the local guides couldn't get the headsets to work so we had to strain to hear through the rushed tour. Lunch was then late, and then it was a coach ride back to the ship. Whilst we assured that "something would be done," we've heard nothing. Friend we met on board said they got £300 in vouchers. Tours in Budapest were great. Evening concert in Vienna was excellent. End point in Nürnberg was well out of town. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We took this Viking Var Romantic Danube River Cruise for my husband's birthday and our 25th wedding anniversary, from Nuremberg (well actually Erlangen) to Budapest. Having seen the beautiful Viking commercials on television for ... Read More
We took this Viking Var Romantic Danube River Cruise for my husband's birthday and our 25th wedding anniversary, from Nuremberg (well actually Erlangen) to Budapest. Having seen the beautiful Viking commercials on television for years, we were enticed. It was our first ever cruise and we wanted an 8 day river cruise due to the fact that we are both easily sea sick. However, the ads do NOT show the whole picture and the experience was also spoiled by no air conditioning for 3 days on our side of the boat, because they could not get the right part. No A/c in August meant 2 sleepless nights, as they could not provide us with a fan. One night we left the balcony door open for cool air but ended up with a cabin ceiling covered in black gnats! We went to the front desk as we did not know what to do with them and they brought a vacuum to suck them up expertly-obviously they had done this before! Our Romantic Danube cruise actually starts out on the Main Am Danube canal which is not very attractive (although interesting when you go through the 27 locks) -certainly not the vine-covered hills we were expecting to be looking at as we sat on our balcony. The first day we were tied up at an industrial dock opposite a recycling plant-see pics at Erlangen-half an hour from the pretty city of Nuremberg. We had paid extra for the balcony room, but did not use it that day as we did not want to sit looking at a corrugated iron fence for a whole day. It soon became apparent that the balcony was a waste of money as we could not use it 4/7days due to being tied up next to another boat which were exactly aligned so you could see into each other boat's cabins and no doubt touch hands on the balcony-hardly private and certainly not Romantic! The cabin was cosy but well appointed, with plenty of storage so that we could get our things put away. The bathroom was very compact, but again had good storage and sufficed for us, though we are not sure how large or tall men got into the shower! Although it was described in the brochures that wifi was available-it really was only available when docked and pretty sketchy at other times, although we did find one corner of the lounge (beneath the captain's bridge!) with better reception. Other indoor areas of the ship were attractive, which was fortunate as we were unable to sit on the sun deck for most of the trip due to the high water and the inability to get under bridges, unless they laid everything flat, which took the crew 3-4 hours to do apparently. Again something not really described in the brochure. Meals on board were indeed fine dining, but as big time foodies, we could not really classify the dinners as gourmet. For example, they never asked you how you liked your meat and at the first dinner they overcooked everyone's steak and fish. Moments of excellence however were the pastry chef's creations for tea and dinner and the breakfast and lunch buffets, with interesting salads, fresh fruit, and freshly prepared egg dishes or sandwiches and soups. The first day buffet lunch was a particularly nice welcome. Service was generally good and we quickly learned who were the best servers and most friendly. There were a few who were obviously in training (reaching across your plate when you were still eating etc) Meeting new people at dinner was one of the best aspects of the trip. We had thought at first, it would rather be like middle-school, trying to find someone to sit with in the dining room, but we found nearly every passenger to be open and friendly and we could easily find a topic to discuss. The tours were generally well run and interesting and we only had one guide (on a rainy day in Vienna) that was tiresome and confusing with his spiel about the Hapsburg dynasty (even for a history major like myself). Everyone else seemed to balance out the history and interesting facts about the area and country. The expensive optional tours, we chose: Cruising the Danube Narrows, Schoenbrunn Palace in Vienna and the Apricot Dumpling making at the Gottweig Abbey, were excellent. However, we felt the organization of the first days' tours were poor: we would have liked to have taken the optional tour of the Nuremberg WWII history but it was at the same time ( Saturday morning) as the included City tour, because we had to sail in the afternoon to get to the next dock. However, if, as we reported, we had spent the first day tied up in Nuremberg and started the whole cruise there, instead of Erlangen opposite the recycling plant, we could have Saturday afternoon to do the optional tour. We could have then sailed in the evening and night. We know this fact as we met a couple from California on the Sunday who had missed the first 2 days due to their plane from LA being cancelled and they had to try and get to the boat at Nuremburg , but the boat was not there and they had to be bussed on again to Regensburg-and they might have been able to join the boat on Saturday evening in Nuremberg. It should also be noted most of the tours left at 8-830 which did not invite a leisurely morning. In addition, since the boat was not docked in center of city (except for Budapest), it meant a bus ride of at least 30 minutes to get to the attraction. Due to the high water one day we were bussed 1 1/2 hours to the city of Regensburg- and then another 1/1/2 hours to rejoin the boat which finally was able to make its way down to the correct dock after sailing all day. My husband was so frustrated to have yet another long bus ride-he actually picked the option of staying on the boat, but of course missed his already- paid for tour. In fact, the commercial’s voice over "Spend more time being there and less time getting there...." kept going around in our heads through out the cruise! Entertainment on the boat in the evening was low key, but enjoyable with talks about the EU, the Canal, and coffee houses of Vienna, music and trivia quizzes and delightful musical entertainment from an opera group and Bavarian band, as well as the resident Sonya, singer and piano player. Tatiana, our program director kept the up beat spirit going through out the trip. Our last night in Budapest was probably the epitome of the commercial, when the captain took us for a "romantic" cruise around the illuminated sights of the city, narrated by Tatiana. The views were spectacular and we were glad that we ended with Budapest, rather than taking the cruise in the opposite direction, otherwise we would have felt we had gone from the "sublime to the ridiculous." We have travelled to Europe for over 25 years, due to having family still there, so have experienced many aspects of traveling abroad and while this cruise was enjoyable, it was certainly not the once-in-a lifetime trip that was advertised in their commercial and that we had long awaited. We feel that Viking should elaborate more on the exact details of the trip and the inconveniences of being tied up, alongside other boats, in industrial areas requiring a bus trip to the attraction. When we contacted Viking customer service on our return, they only would give us a future credit of a $1000 off another trip for the lack of air-conditioning for 3 days-so really not compensation for the most expensive trip we have ever taken. We are not sure we will repeat it for my decade birthday next year…..We wish we had read some of these reviews on this site beforehand. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
This was for our honeymoon and we both love Christmas Hence the Christmas Market Tour on Viking. The ship was fine, the staff and excursions were above average. What was not good were the meals. Dinner was close to atrocious. They served a ... Read More
This was for our honeymoon and we both love Christmas Hence the Christmas Market Tour on Viking. The ship was fine, the staff and excursions were above average. What was not good were the meals. Dinner was close to atrocious. They served a lot of foods that most people were opting out of and even their alternates were not good. I ate the chees plate several times just to have some type of food. The worst, was the dessert. You are in Germany, supposed to have a pastry chef who was introduced and you might as well had been eating nothing because it did not have taste. Because we were there over the holiday itself there were not as many options on land to eat. The few we got we took advantage of and the last night meals were little something or another that were smaller than your finger even if there were seven courses. Also no food was available after we had a shore excursion and they charged for everything if it was not mealtime including ice tea. If you take this cruise try to eat before boarding the ship and bring food with you because they won't have any. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
The cruise itself was good. The staff was excellent. The food was better some nights than others. I'm rating it as average not because of anything the staff could have done better, but because Viking blew it with pre-cruise ... Read More
The cruise itself was good. The staff was excellent. The food was better some nights than others. I'm rating it as average not because of anything the staff could have done better, but because Viking blew it with pre-cruise communication. We embarked on Viking Var and disembarked on Viking Tor. A heads up regarding the low water levels of the Danube would have been appreciated by most passengers. Bottom line, I still enjoyed myself. But many passengers have mobility issues and transferring them by bus to a new ship was uncomfortable. The staff managed irate passengers best they could. In fact, each and everyone deserves a raise in pay! We were told ours was the 10th cruise that had been diverted. So how come no one received a letter in advance? Passengers could have been more understanding of the situation had they been given a heads up in advance. Maybe they can better manage their expectations had the communication from Viking been better. Again, I personally had a good time. I met great people and took home wonderful memories of a trip with my mother. I get that Mother Nature interferes, but Viking needs to be held accountable for not communicating. I want to give George, the Viking Var Program Director, a huge shout out. George is a rock star and had a near impossible task of bearing the brunt of angry passenger resentments. George deserves a raise and a nice long holiday! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2015
Don't book through their travel department. Delta had to reissue tickets because flight was booked wrong. Paid for premium economy. Not worth cost. Viking knew about water levels. When I asked prior to trip they said no issues. ... Read More
Don't book through their travel department. Delta had to reissue tickets because flight was booked wrong. Paid for premium economy. Not worth cost. Viking knew about water levels. When I asked prior to trip they said no issues. Boat was nice, staff was excellent. Paid a lot of money for bus rides. Changed boats 4 hour bus ride to new boat 1.5 hour bus ride each way to Passau Best part of the trip was the 2 day extension in Budapest Will not be back Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
First the good. Viking has the best organized excursions I have ever been on. The employees were all excellent. The boat was beautiful. A river boat is the very best way to see central Europe. Next the OK. The food was OK. The ... Read More
First the good. Viking has the best organized excursions I have ever been on. The employees were all excellent. The boat was beautiful. A river boat is the very best way to see central Europe. Next the OK. The food was OK. The advertising pictures show couples sitting at tables for 2 or 4 people. If you want a very light meal you can eat in the bar at a table for 2. But if you want a substantial meal you must go to the dining room and sit a table for 6 or 8 people. Meeting new people at breakfast and making polite conversation when you haven't even had a cup of coffee can be painful. There was no room service. The food was well prepared. They served regional specialties: peasant food. The chef did an excellent job with the materials he had. Don't look for a lot of upscale seafood or expensive cuts of meat on these cruises. The wine was OK. We should have upgraded. We were a little tired of regional German/Austrian wines by the end of the trip. It would have been nice to have an Italian or French option, but we were traveling through Germany/Austria. Last, the bad. Viking Var Cabin 201 was VERY NOISY. We could hear plumbing noises that sounded like gurgling, flushing, splashing through the wall near the bathroom. It was a great itinerary with great excursions, but we paid $8000. for this cruise and I am not sure that it was a good price value. Read Less
Viking Var Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.4
Entertainment 3.0 3.9
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 1.0 3.2
Family 1.0 3.2
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.4
Enrichment 4.0 4.2
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 3.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 N/A

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