We were the first group to sail on the Hlin from Amsterdam to Budapest. There were issues from day one when the boat was delayed due to construction on one of the bridges. Instead of docking in our first port of call, we were bused there ... Read More
We were the first group to sail on the Hlin from Amsterdam to Budapest. There were issues from day one when the boat was delayed due to construction on one of the bridges. Instead of docking in our first port of call, we were bused there and back.
The major problem started on the second day. While entering a lock, our ship stopped and we were told there was a problem with the lock. The ship backed out of the lock and stayed off shore where we stayed for many hours. Again we were told there was a problem with the lock, but we could see other ships going through the lock with no issues. It turned out there was a major problem with the Hlin's software, and they could not continue the cruise, but the staff continued to tell us the problem was a problem with the lock.
This delay turned a river cruise into a bus tours often with the bus rides up to 2 hours one way, with returns to our floating hotel while we were docked in ugly industrial parks. The delays also cut into our free time in the destinations, and it seems the tour guides were told to hurry through the tours. Many time we had to ask the guides to slow down both their presentation and the pace. Additionally, as we made our way through the lock, the top deck had to be closed for at least 5 days, depriving everyone of the only opportunity to get any exercise as the top deck had the walking path, mini gold and shuffle board, and of course, the best views. Had I known that, I probably would not have booked this tour.
We finally caught up about 2/3 through the tour and the rest of the trip was wonderful. It was terrific to dock in a city and be able to explore it and then return to the ship.
We were told that these types of delays are very common with river cruises, low or high water, issue with locks can impact a schedule. However, our delay was due to an issue with the Viking ship, yet it was never acknowledged and no compensation was offered. I felt cheated and the cruise did not deliver what had been promised, in fact when referring to the evaluation,it was commented: "pls remember we are the conductors of the tour not the composers"
On the positive side, the rooms were very clean and comfortable, the staff and service exceptional. The food was good, although dinner service was slow and there were some odd things in the food (corn on Cesar salad, cinnamon on corn cobs, fennel seeds in fajitas) Read Less