4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
My husband and I decided to take a leap of “financial faith” and take a Viking River Cruise based on customer reviews and feedback from other people. The decision to use Viking River Cruises turned out to be the worst decision we ... Read More
My husband and I decided to take a leap of “financial faith” and take a Viking River Cruise based on customer reviews and feedback from other people. The decision to use Viking River Cruises turned out to be the worst decision we could have made. It is at the top of one of the worst vacations we have ever taken. And to add to our disappointment, the $500 cruise voucher that has been offered, it is just an insult. We reached out to Viking but of course we never heard back! We understand “Acts of God” (river being low) however the lack of communication from Viking was unprofessional and deceptive. Sending an email the week before the trip is not communication especially because Viking knew all summer about the river problems and they knew the amount of rain needed for the proper water levels had not occurred and would not improve before our scheduled departure date. We would have expected your company to: 1) Cancel the trip; 2) offer a full refund; 3) inform guest that their money would be transferred to a future river or ocean cruise; or 4) make the fully aware of what they were getting into if we chose to take the trip. None of these things were offered. So, instead Viking decided to have a cruise of almost 200 disgruntled customers, who will now spread the word about their experience. Below are some of the issues / problems we experience with this trip that we feel warrants compensation from Viking, that is not the insulting $500 that was offered. Air Service – Very disappointed with this service. Had we know about all of the hidden costs, we would have made my own travel arrangements. Which would have allowed us more time and saved us money. Don’t use! 3 total ships (VAR, TOR and Hemods) Viking Var – (Nuremberg, Regensburg and Passau) GOOD Service staff was excellent. They were kind and friendly. Front desk not so much, when ask directly about the boat change, etc. that had been mentioned in the Port Talk, which we missed because of our late arrival. We were provided with incorrect information, which was rude. Optional Tour Nuremberg– the guide was informative and provided good information Optional Tour Regensburg– the guide for the walking tour was very informative and provided very good information Optional Tour Passau – we did not see Passau. We paid for Salzburg Highlights. The bus driver “the Pope” was very funny and made the unbearable long bus ride a tad bit better. The guide for the walking tour was also good. BAD Optional Tour Nuremberg – the bus portion of the tour was a complete waste of time. Driving around at normal speed with a great opportunity to take pictures did not make sense. And no printed information was provided about what we were seeing so that we could at least have some frame of reference. UGLY Optional Tour Nuremberg – Not enough free time to shop or explore the city. Rushing back to ship to leave did not make any sense. Optional Tour Regensburg – Spending an entire day in a city that is completed closed was an utter waste of time. We could have spent more time in Nuremberg. Optional Tour Passau / Salzburg – The Salzburg Highlight tour was not worth the money spent. And if we had been informed that the 3 hour total bus ride was now a 6 hour bus ride, we may have opted out. We were not informed of the change until we had already boarded the bus and were on our way. The bus ride to and from was pure “hell” that was too long to be a bus for a 3.5 hour excursion. A total shame! There were no lights to guide guest back to the ship once the bus dropped us off from the Salzburg tour. It was extremely dark and very hazardous. Guest had to use their cell phones to find their way back. Luckily no one was hurt. Room Steward – In effort to clean our rooms before we could even leave the ship, the steward threw away my body buff that I use for bathing– not happy. Room Steward – The day of the bus ride, we went to breakfast and left our personal items on the bed. When we return to the room all of our items had been moved from the bed and the room had been cleaned. This is totally unacceptable! Our personally items should not have been touched under any circumstances and they could have waited another 20 minutes to clean the room. Viking Tor (Vienna and Krems) GOOD Optional Tour Vienna – the walking tour was excellent. It was refreshing after sitting on the bus the day before. The guide did a great job and we had plenty of free time to explore. One of the only highlights of the trip. Paid Optional Tour Schonbrunn place – the guide was very informative. Service staff was excellent. They were kind and friendly. BAD After the long bus ride we decided not to go on the Gottweig Abbey optional tour. We stayed on the ship to take pictures of the Wachau Valley. However because of the lateness of the hour and the lock, were not able to get many pictures. It was very annoying that the commentary continued about what we were “not” seeing because it was dark out and could not make out anything. Yet another disappointment. Paid Optional Tour Schonbrunn place –The tour seemed very rush and for the amount of money we spent, we should have been able to see both parts of the palace not just the one section. We felt cheated. It would have been cheaper and easier to do it on our own. UGLY The 3 hour bus ride was horrific, especially after the 6 hour bus ride the day before. It was totally unacceptable. The stateroom bathroom was horrible. The shower had not been cleaned properly, had hair on the walls and the floor that was not ours. The bathroom toilet was not flushing when we arrived. An officer came to the room and checked and it would not flush for him either. About 5 to 10 minutes after he left the toilet starting flushing and then a “rude” engineer came to the room stating that it was working. However the water pressure was very low and it took several attempts to get the toilet to flush. The bathroom also smelled like urine. It was extremely offensive. We reported the issue to the desk, however they decided to give us a lesson on how to flush the toilet and did not address the horrific bathroom smells. It was not good. Viking Hermod (Budapest) GOOD Service staff was excellent. They were kind and friendly. BAD Optional Tour Budapest– the bus portion of the tour was a complete waste of time. Driving around at normal speed with a great opportunity to take pictures did not make sense. And no printed information was provided about what we were seeing so that we could at least have some frame of reference. The guide was not as good as the others and she kept pointing out highlights way before we got to them and people were missing them. There was not enough time to explore the beautiful city. UGLY Another 3 plus hour bus ride – just a nightmare. The bathroom stop, where we had to pay was ridiculous. This should have been covered by Viking. Fortunately, we still had some Euros in order to pay for the bathroom. We are extremely disappointed in the quality and value of service that was received from Viking. There was absolutely no value for the money spent. Viking failed us and the other guest. We could never recommend Viking Cruises to any our blog readers. We also have already told our family and friends not to Cruise with Viking! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
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
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We "sailed" with Viking October 12 through October 19, 2018 with a three-day extension in Prague, starting on October 9. In short, our "Romantic Danube River Cruise" turned into a "Stressful Danube Bus ... Read More
We "sailed" with Viking October 12 through October 19, 2018 with a three-day extension in Prague, starting on October 9. In short, our "Romantic Danube River Cruise" turned into a "Stressful Danube Bus Tour". Due to low water levels on the Danube, which we now understand has been known by Viking for many months, we were bussed to all our ports, except for Nuremberg (an industrial port with cargo "scenery"), Regensburg and Passau (another industrial port actually located in Sausburg). We never experienced the beautiful river sites of the Wachau Valley, the Danube bend, or Budapest's extraordinary architecture. However, we did experience a boat hotel/restaurant experience on three different ships (not the Var as originally scheduled)--the Tor, the Wilhelm and the Idun--having to unpack and repack our luggage several times and in time for very early bus departures to our next city. A few of the "highlights" of our bus tour included: - Absolutely no leisure time to explore Vienna or Budapest - A lunch of overdone pot roast and tator tots at a Melk hotel restaurant - Becoming experts in European bus companies and rest stops (After all, Viking does market itself as a "thinking person's" cruise company, and we certainly did learn a lot about bus travel!) - Two cabin bathrooms that smelled of urine, one broken toilet seat, one clogged shower drain, three very dirty balconies - Cancelled optional excursions in Budapest - Balcony sites that included cargo, foul smelling water, other ships cabins (Many ships docked in tandem so that you can see into others cabins) - A bus driver who almost got us all killed by challenging two tractor trailers to a skirmish (Viking does advertise an "exciting trip"!) - Unorganized disembarkation -- oh, I mean bus departures -- due to unprepared staff; in fact, we almost missed our flights home due to miscommunication between the ship and the bus driver - An Austrian bus tour guide who could not speak or understand English (Well, I guess Viking does advertise a truly “in-country” experience) - A Tour Director who constantly touted the excellent service and scenery which should translate into gratuities for the staff. He was certainly laser focused on getting his tip! - A farewell captain's speech that summarized why we should buy from Viking again (Can you say ‘tone deaf?) Ahhh, but the most memorable highlight of all was the Tour Director lecturing us on why we should be happy with our circumstances, because "after all, you could be a victim of hurricane Michael." (I kid you not!) Again, Viking has known for many months about the low river levels and chose not to notify their customers/passengers in a timely, honest manner. After some online research and talking with other Viking passengers, we have also learned that Viking consistently performs misleading advertising and unethical business practices. Basically, they lie to their customers in return for profits. Viking has offered us a 25% discount on our next cruise, but what about our current cruise? We did NOT get what Viking promised. Viking, why not start demonstrating some integrity and provide a minimum 50% discount on the "cruise" we just took? We're about to retire and thought we would be travelling numerous times with Viking. But based on the way they have mishandled this cruise, we will book with their competitors like Crystal, AMA or Avalon. In short, #MYVIKINGSTORY: NEVER AGAIN! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
BUYER BEWARE. The 2018 Romantic Danube Viking Rivers Cruises is a sham. You will not get what you signed up for. We "sailed" with Viking October 12 through October 19, 2018. Our "Romantic Danube River Cruise" ... Read More
BUYER BEWARE. The 2018 Romantic Danube Viking Rivers Cruises is a sham. You will not get what you signed up for. We "sailed" with Viking October 12 through October 19, 2018. Our "Romantic Danube River Cruise" turned into a very uncomfortable Danube Bus Tour". Due to low water levels on the Danube, which we now understand has been known by Viking for many months, Although we realize that Viking is not in control of the weather, Viking was well aware that the Romantic Danube River cruise could not navigate the river on over half the trip. We were motor coached to all our ports, except for Nuremberg, Regensburg and Vienna. We spent approximately 7 daylight hours cruising during our 8 day river cruise. The rest of the time was spent changing cruise ships ( 3 times we had to pack our bags and put them outside our door for early morning pickup) This was not a river cruise it was a bus tour. The river cruise was advertised as a romantic once in a life time adventure highlighting the scenic Wachau Valley We never saw the spectacular views of the Wachau Valley as we were traveling through the country side by bus for eight hours We became well acquainted with the European bus companies and rest stops. One bus driver did not know the exit to take to Roth, Our first tour guide didn’t have a charged audio system and had to try to shout out the interesting aspects of Regensburg. The same thing happened in Budapest. The guide said to leave the audio device on the bus and he would shout out the highlights. Then George showed up with a new device for our guide, but we no longer had our device as we left them on the bus and it was gone. On Monday October 15 while waiting on a pedestrian walkway for the “bus” pickup area in Passau, I was struck and knocked down by a bicyclist. Not having enough time to be treated in Passau we returned to the ship, hoping for some medical help there. The ship had nothing but a band aid for the cut above my eye. As we arrived back at the ship the Captain was standing at the receptions desk and I asked for assistance. Apparently he did not understand what I needed because he called someone else to help me. The only help they could do for me was call a cab. My husband and I spent three hours that evening in the emergency room in Straubing. The staff on the ship did not know that it would cost us 100 euros to be treated. The receptionist at the desk would not treat us without the money even though I had insurance coverage. We did not have that much with us. My husband had to find an ATM at 6 o’clock in the dark, in a city he knew nothing about. We spent over 3 hours at the emergency as I required 2 stiches above my eye. I would have expected a little more support from the staff on the ship. The accommodations on the 3 ships we were on were adequate. The food left us somewhat disappointed. Nothing was what I would call spectacular. The staff on the Viking Tor was really great and tried to make the best of a bad situation. On Thursday October 18 we were again transferred from the Viking Wihlelm to Budapest by bus. Budapest was a bust. We arrived in time for lunch on the Viking IDUM, then loaded in a bus for the tour of Budapest. The tour guide was none stop talking about the city. Almost like he didn’t have enough time to say what he wanted to say. Then when we departed the bus the Quietvox did not work. So the tour guide told us to leave ours on the bus and he would talk loudly on the walking tour. So we left the QuiteVox on the bus. Then George showed up, gave the tour guide a new Quietvox and we continued. Only those who had their Quietvox’s were able to hear. We left ours on the We got back to the bus with no time left to go to the marketplace, which I was looking forward to, as we should have had all afternoon to take in. That didn’t happen. On Friday October 19, we were told to have our luggage outside our door at 6:30am. Which we did. Went to breakfast which was served cold. It appeared the staff had put the food out for the earlier departures and did not heat for the later breakfast arrivals. After we went back to our rooms at 7:30 our luggage was still outside our doors. Finally at 8am we were again on a bus to go to the airport in Budapest (expected transportation). We sat on the bus loaded and ready to go, but the bus driver was not sure he had everyone as he did not have a list of passengers nor was there a Viking representative there to help him. One of the passengers gave him the list that we had received the night before. If it were not for our group of family and friends, this cruise/bus tour would have been unbearable. We feel Viking misled us over and over with their daily updates on how bad the low water level was, when in fact Viking knew this situation persisted months before our cruise. This is very unprofessional on Vikings part. They should have been honest with their customers and given us the option to postpone or cancel the cruise. Instead they had our money and they were not going to give it up, instead Viking thought a bus tour was adequate for a very the price we paid for an expensive river cruise. AAA and Viking did not represent their customers, they are in the business to sell cruises so buyer beware. Remember future travelers, AAA and Viking represent themselves not you. I will not recommend AAA or Viking to anyone that will be traveling. Also, remember we are in the age group that will be traveling. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
My family decided to do a special river cruise on the Viking Var sailing the Romantic Danube on August 17th. Like several others already noted, our experience was the worst we have ever experienced. I will not go into any farther detail ... Read More
My family decided to do a special river cruise on the Viking Var sailing the Romantic Danube on August 17th. Like several others already noted, our experience was the worst we have ever experienced. I will not go into any farther detail on doing very little sailing but a lot of bus rides since you can read others comments. My focus will be on how Viking did an extremely POOR job preparing and communicating to the circumstances of the low water issue. - receiving an email a couple of days prior to departure is ridiculous. They knew exactly the issue for over a month and should have given their CUSTOMERS a warning so they could decide any action they might like to take. VIKING decided their P&L more important. - The boats are not secure. ANYONE could walk on and off the boat. The only time there was ever security at the entrance of the boat was in Budapest. A gentleman/security sat outside on a bench. I actually went running and when I was returning to the boat my son FaceTimed me. The security guy was on the bench asleep. I actually turned my phone so my son could see him and get a good laugh at the level of security the boat has. VIKING open your eyes before something unfortunate happens and then you react. - Food was below average especially if you experienced an ocean cruise from other companies. I would say the service was average BUT lets be realistic. We were seeing different cruise employees since we were on 3 different boats. I'm sure it would be better if on same boat and you were building relationships and tipping for the trip was going to them. - My suite with oversized balcony could not be used due to spiders EVERYWHERE. Had to go to top verses use the view I paid for. - Communication was terrible. Kept saying they weren't sure of what we were doing at the end of the week. CUSTOMERS want to know, and VIKING simply didn't want to rock the boat. - I felt sorry for Director of the boat. You spend a lot of time on the boat not moving and she had to communicate all the bad news. WHERE"S THE CAPTAIN??? BOAT IS Not moving and she needs your support. Support your staff! - 25% is an absolute slap in the face AND IS ONLY ON THE CRUISING PART. Let's see: I spend over $18,000 and the initial offer is under $3,000 CREDIT on another cruise. WOW, I had such a terrible time let's do it again and at a rate that you make a lot of money on me again. Great deal - NOT!! My family reserved EVERY SUITE THEY HAD AVAILABLE. I talked with VIKING Customer Relations and made them aware that I was interested in giving them a chance to redeem themselves, that I would even stay in a suite but really thought they should step up to the plate more after I trusted them with an $18,000 investment. They did come up a little. Even 25% off my total Viking bill would have felt a lot better, but there is one simple reality to their offer: THEIR DECISION IS BASED OFF A P&L and not what is fair to their CUSTOMER. I even asked a Customer Service person if they were me would they be happy with what I was being offered, and all you get is silence, and then restating the offer. Without saying it, her answer was obviously NO. THAT SHOULD TELL VIKING SOMETHING. I believe VIKING must be fantastic when everything goes as planned. The reviews consistently say that. When things do not go as planned, they are far than at their best. - WARNING - WARNING - Do not sail VIKING's ROMANTIC Danube route in July or August!! I did not realize this is an ongoing seasonal issue. Go a different route our at a different time. - Want a POSITIVE: I noted issue with security, but loading and unloading is VERY SIMPLE. Congratulations for that. Also transportation to airport was done well. I will also say the customer service rep did a good job especially taking the beating she is taking over and over again. Unfortunately she is the messenger for VIKING and taking a pounding for them not taking care of CUSTOMERS. We had 5 suites and 2 other rooms for this cruise, and I believe I am the only one even considering giving VIKING another chance simply because the overall reviews are good. My wife is not on board with doing another cruise with VIKING, so not sure it will ever happen. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
Recommendations Supposed to go in the Var to Budapest. River was low so went on the Tor for one night transferred to the Var. We did cruise the Wachau Valley and then transferred to another Long boat at Vienna. Bus rides for most of the ... Read More
Recommendations Supposed to go in the Var to Budapest. River was low so went on the Tor for one night transferred to the Var. We did cruise the Wachau Valley and then transferred to another Long boat at Vienna. Bus rides for most of the supposed Danube trip ie. Regensberg to Passau and back. Regensberg to Vienna, Vienna to Budapest. Left the boat at 3:30 am to go to the airport. Dumped at the airport with no guidance to catch a 6:30 am plane to Brussels and then to Chicago. I left out that I had a IU infection and called a Dr. in Vienna. Did Viking follow up, NO! We have been on 28 cruises and enjoyed all but one. We were notified 8 hours in advance that the river was low and we might have unpack and go to another boat. We had booked a room in Kansas City and it was too late to change anything. We were informed in Budapest that the long boat had been stuck for 3 weeks and was serving as a one night hotel. It is obvious that Viking was only interested in the money and had no concerns about passenger rights. We were offered a cruise voucher for 25% off future cruises which infuriates me. I might mention that we did not pick a 3:30 trip to the airport for a 6:30 flight which means getting up a 2:00am. See the World in comfort, yeah right! Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Um no, no thanks. Never again. I signed up for a Viking River Cruise "Christmas in Germany" cruise in April 2017 for my mother's 50th birthday on assurances we would see "tons of Christmas markets" in Germany ... Read More
Um no, no thanks. Never again. I signed up for a Viking River Cruise "Christmas in Germany" cruise in April 2017 for my mother's 50th birthday on assurances we would see "tons of Christmas markets" in Germany - which was the ENTIRE point of the trip to Europe during Thanksgiving. Otherwise we'd have stayed home, it's cold, it rains, it's miserable but the Christmas markets are legendary and something my mother has always wanted to see. So for her birthday, I paid for this cruise. I booked the most expensive room - one of two Explorer Suites on the third level at the aft of the boat. Our ship was set to depart Nuremberg on 25 November with everyone embarking on 24 November for a 7-day cruise culminating with a final stop in Cologne. The brochure had the Nuremberg Christmas Market on it - one of the most famous in Germany. It spoke of all the Christmas merriment and smells of mulled cider and Christmas sights we'd see during our cruise. During our first nightly port meeting - our cruise director, George, informed us that the markets in Nuremberg, Bamberg, and Wurtzberg were all not yet open and were set to open the following week (after we'd all gone home). This meant of all the sights we'd see and places we'd stop - we would see only two markets over seven days - Koblenz and Cologne. Instantly pissed off. Now, during our cruise it rained and rained and rained. It was also freezing. So all our walking tours were miserable. And no markets. Also, because of all the rain, the water level was so high that our boat only barely moved once and we had to be bused long distances early in the morning from the boat. Hours on buses. Dinners in town at cheap places because we'd get back so late. This happened for about three days before we were eventually forced to disembark three days early (two nights left) and stay in a cheap hotel 40 minutes outside Cologne. Essentially, I did not get to stay in expensive suite I paid for for two nights, I didn't see the Christmas Markets I paid for (as they were not open yet no one checked the calendar), I did not get the food I paid for for several days (breakfast, lunch and dinner two days in the hotel) and then when we ate in town due to the 3.5 hour one way bus rides we ate at places that ONLY served beef and brat and cabbage - for two additional days lunch and then dinner not to mention the fully stocked fridge and snacks in our room that are complimentary which we did not have at the cheap hotel. I eat very healthy and expected the various menu options on the boat (fish, veggies, etc.) Viking is not cheap and I expected to get my money's worth. I did not. Not even close. Viking tried to make some things up to us - booking a stop in Miltenberg to shop (still no market) - and booking a cheaper option (fried chicken and soggy veggies for lunch) on a day boat to tour the Scenic Rhine - but it was too little too late for me as we'd spent HOURS on buses. You could also skip Wurzburg and the beautiful Wurzburg residence and go back to Bamberg for the Christmas market again another day - my mom wanted to see the historically rebuilt residence. Also, you could pay even more money (I'd already paid $10,000 for this cruise) to go on an extra excursion to Heidelberg and see their Christmas town (I don't think their market was open but they have an all-year store-type thing) which I chose not to do because, again, I'd already spent $10,000. Apparently you get bused a lot anyway during these - sometimes 2+ hours each way to these places. I thought the boats pulled into the towns. No. When I returned I demanded a partial refund - Viking initially offered me a standard $1100 in a future voucher. I said no. They then offered $3300 for a future cruise that I had to book in the next 12 months before it expired and wanted me to sign a non-disclosure. Are you kidding?! For a VOUCHER. They don't sell cruises that are cheap - so in order to see any compensation for this farce of a cruise I'd have to pay them MORE money. At this point - I never want to cruise with them again. Let alone give them thousands more. That is bad business and not a way to compensate customers for mistakes. Their customer service is awful and I have been put off by the entire experience. I expected better. They told me that they were only "offering" four Christmas markets during this cruise. News to me and everyone else I spoke to on the cruise, most of who flew on Thanksgiving night specifically for the Germany Christmas markets and were devastated not to get to see them and had verified with booking agents and customer service they would see ALL of them in every town we visited. Instead, we saw where they were being set up and would be open the following week for the next cruise. I mentioned that the most famous of the trip, Nuremberg, was on the first page of the cruise booklet and the agent, Rayna, who I spoke to, informed that the photo was simply for marketing purposes and we were never going to see that one, despite embarking and spending two days in Nuremberg. That is shameful. Well, of the four they "offered" - I got to see two of them. Even had they all been open, the schedules were so packed with bus rides, lunches, and walking tours of the cities, at best we had a hurried 30-60 minutes to walk the town by ourselves anyway. So the Christmas markets were never the main attraction - they were simply an afterthought. Extremely disappointing to my mother and I who planned the entire trip ONLY on the markets since she has wanted to see them her entire life. Otherwise, I could easily have visited Europe during warmer and less rainy and windy months when I could've enjoyed it. From Googling the company at this point I see this part of Germany has issues often with low or high water and clients being removed from boats and swapping to others. What a pain. Also, many complaints against Viking for cruises with issues where they refuse to try to make it right. I for one, plan never to use this company again and I would strongly encourage no one else to either. Viking continues to hold onto the flooding as my main concern in any interaction we've had - when really - it's more about misleading me about the Christmas markets and the calendar. I'd never have booked had I known I was only ever going to see 4 Christmas markets to begin with - they let everyone think the theme of the cruise was that and book according. Acts of God are one thing - but messing up Christmas market schedules and misleading customers then claiming they got to do "most of what was promised" (a direct quote from a snarky customer service agent who told me I had no recourse and they would not be discussing with me further) is simply not OK. Most of the individuals I saw on the cruise were elderly - extremely so - and probably take the vouchers for future cruises - don't complain - and don't go posting reviews all over the internet. I'm 33 years old and and I LOVE to travel and I travel 5x or more annually on luxury trips. I had hoped this experience would foster some loyalty for me with Viking and offer another way to travel for me and my friends and family. I had high expectations for them. I even had high expectations they would make this right when I got home and so far I have been nothing but massively disappointed. Bottom line - Viking River Cruises misrepresented what this cruise was about and is now refusing to offer compensation aside from vouchers (which will cost me more money to use and I am not accepting that) for my missed Christmas markets, two nights of missed accommodations and missed food services on a restricted diet. **Update 29 December 2017: I just spoke to the very polite and apologetic Viking agent who has been trying to contact me about this issue - I was now offered either 50% off a future cruise - or $500 in cash but both will require an NDA be signed. I'm not signing an NDA for a voucher Viking River Cruises. You owe me a cash refund and much more than $500. You misled every single passenger into thinking they were going to see all those Christmas markets and you are trying to cover the mistake up. There were a ton of elderly people on that cruise and most of them traveled on Thanksgiving day to be there. You should be ashamed. My mother and I spoke to dozens of people who were all furious and upset as they had only done this particular cruise for the markets. Now I'm being told Viking was only ever "offering" four. News to me. Even still, I only saw two. Do better. I appreciate the apology - but asking me to spend more money with you after a mistake this big - is nothing but bad business. **Update 30 December 2017: BUYER BEWARE - Viking River Cruises has shady social media, PR and customer service tactics involving having employees leave 5-star reviews and having multiple reviews left to push down bad ones. I have refused to sign an NDA as they will not refund my money - today they disabled their reviews on their Facebook site which seems a response to this review I posted on 27 December 2017 about a recent Christmas in Germany Cruise I took where they mis-represented the scheduled events - they can't delete it however - so the link below shows the original review - I've also posted it on my own FB page, on Yelp, here and made it public for all internet searches so it can be found. Bc it had so many comments and likes it was still at the top of the "Most Helpful Column" and they couldn't have that.... Original review link for Viking River Cruises on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alison.mccombs/posts/10104486688307539:0 Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
We just returned from a Viking cruise down the Danube, from Nuremberg to Budapest. It was a disaster. Here are highlights: • The embarkation point was changed from Erlangen to Nuremberg (40 min drive) and no one told us! • Two of ... Read More
We just returned from a Viking cruise down the Danube, from Nuremberg to Budapest. It was a disaster. Here are highlights: • The embarkation point was changed from Erlangen to Nuremberg (40 min drive) and no one told us! • Two of the five cities we were supposed to see by boat were traveled to instead by bus. • One of the reasons given was that the river was impassable between Regensburg and Passau, yet when we arrived by bus in Passau we found another Viking boat that had just sailed from Regensburg! • This is part of a pattern of consistent misinformation and lies. Almost everything we were told turned out not to be true. • These changes led to additional changes in our cruise schedule so that we had extremely little cruise time (on only two days out of seven) during daylight hours. • We paid extra money to get a stateroom with a balcony, yet well more than 50% of the time that we were docked in port there was another boat docked next to us that blocked our balcony. That, plus very limited cruise time during waking hours, made the balcony virtually useless. • The schedule changes also dramatically cut our time in Vienna and Budapest. For example, we were supposed to awake in Budapest, yet we didn’t arrive until 11:30 am (and the last 90 min was a third bus ride), missing half of our one day in this destination. • We had to change boats! One of the values of a cruise is to stay put for the duration. Instead, we had a >4 hr bus ride between Regensburg and Melk. (We started on the Var and switched to the Tor. The staff on the latter was much better.) • And the day of that bus ride, our luggage didn’t arrive in Melk until 10:30 pm! • The schedule changes triggered earlier tour times, several days as early as 8:15 am. That’s awfully early if you don’t get your luggage until 10:30 pm the night before. • Viking brags about wireless internet on board. This was essentially non-functional. It was out more than half the time and, when it was “on”, it wasn’t fast enough to make it operable. (The staff complained to us about this as well, so it’s clearly a chronic problem.) • Several staff members on the boats were shockingly rude—particularly on the Var. • Bottom line: If you want to take a river cruise, do not go with Viking. Read Less
Viking Var Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 1.0 0.0
Family 1.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 3.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 N/A

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