8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This review is to voice our concerns about what I believe to be unethical and dishonest tactics of Viking River Cruise sales. We recently booked a Grand European river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. This was a last-minute booking. We ... Read More
This review is to voice our concerns about what I believe to be unethical and dishonest tactics of Viking River Cruise sales. We recently booked a Grand European river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. This was a last-minute booking. We booked our cruise only a few weeks before the cruise sailing date. The sales agent sold us this trip as listed in the brochure. It wasn’t until right before the trip that we found out about the problems with the river levels and that we would be transferring ships and spending hours on busses. We even called the sales agent that sold us the trip and ask about the river levels and were told not to worry, just a little rain and the river levels would be ok. I do not blame Viking for the weather and if we would have been booked out for some time, I would have just thought our bad luck. But after we got to Amsterdam, we found out that the river conditions and boat transfers had been taking place before the date we booked our cruise. I believe Viking should have been straight forward and advised us of this river condition before we booked. The thing that drew us to this cruise was that we would not be packing, and unpacking and we would not be spending hours on buses. Also, two of the cities we were most interested in seeing were Vienna and Budapest, time spent at both cities was severely curtailed due to boat movement, remote docking locations and long bus rides. All total we had to transfer boats 3 times. Again, I am not blaming Viking on the weather or the river levels, but they knew of these conditions at the time we booked our cruise, and nothing was said. We would have not booked this trip if we knew of the river conditions, but maybe that’s why Viking was not honest with us. I will say that most of the Viking crew were very pleasant and helpful and did a great job. We enjoyed them very much although our Crews Director stretched the truth about how much time we would be on a bus, the bus ride was always longer then he said. One final comment, we filled out our commit sheets on the boat and voiced our disappointment and I also sent an e-mail to Viking and got no response from either. Oh well, Viking got their money and we got a disappointing vacation that was supposed to be our dream vacation. I do not think I could ever recommend Viking to anyone. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
In our opinion Viking pulled a bait and switch as they knew well in advance that they were not going to be able to deliver the experience touted in their advertising. This was affirmed by my conversations with crew members on all 4 ships ... Read More
In our opinion Viking pulled a bait and switch as they knew well in advance that they were not going to be able to deliver the experience touted in their advertising. This was affirmed by my conversations with crew members on all 4 ships and by the local tour guides. All admitted that it had been over 2 months since Viking had been able to provide what was advertised. The Program Director also admitted to me that Viking should have given guests a better idea of the changes planned for the cruise prior to sailing and given guests the option to reschedule or cancel. He agreed that Viking knew more than one ship change was going to be extremely likely-well we ended up on 4 different ships for sleeping and 5 if you include the 2-3 hour daytime cruise on 10/23/18. That means packing and unpacking 6 extra times in addition to having to get up very early and have our bags outside our door very early on 3 days. I do not do well on busses due to getting car sick and the extensive bussing we had to take left me either nauseated and with a migraine (on days I did not take any medication for car sickness) or fatigued and wrung out (as a side effect of the anti-nausea medication I took on other days). I would definitely have cancelled if I had known how much bussing was involved (3.5 hours Budapest to Vienna on 10/14, 1.5 hours each way for a total of 3 hours to Regensburg on 10/18, 3.5 hours to Nuremberg 10/19, 1.5 hours to a smaller boat for a couple hours cruising then 2.5 hours drive to Cologne for a total of 4 hours on 10/23). That meant that 4 of the 14 days were I felt crappy due to bussing. I will recap the trip in our eyes: 10/12: Arrived in Budapest and boarded the Idun. The ship seemed "tired and worn". Informed no cruising to Vienna. They made it seem like this was a last minute change but the crew confirmed the ship had been there for weeks. 10/13: Budapest sightseeing 10/14: Up at crack of dawn to ride bus 3.5 hours to Vienna (sucked as stated above) and boarded boat #2, the Vili. Walked around Vienna sightseeing. 10/15: Sight seeing Vienna day 2 interrupted by ship leaving port early at 6:30pm instead of 11:30pm. Our evening plans were ruined. I got a panic text from my uncle at 5:50pm just as we were being served at the Sacher Hotel informing us the ship's plan had changed and we needed to be on board before 6:30pm. We threw money on the table (37 euro) to cover the bill and made a mad dash across the city back to the boat arriving at 6:29pm. My uncle informed the Program Director that we were high-tailing it back to the ship but they failed to inform us or him that they were making a back up plan in case we did not make it in time. So we were totally panicked. When we did arrive (just in the nick of time) the Hotel Manager and Program Director had the gall to actually yell at US because we were upset. They did not see a problem because "we had a back-up plan if you did not make the ship". They did not understand why we would be upset. They failed to communicate said back-up plan to us or my uncle for him to communicate it to me via text. You cannot imagine how anxious we were trying to race back to the ship. They also made no attempt to contact us when they made the decision to leave early-leaving that chore to my uncle. We missed out on our evening plans in Vienna, were out 37 euro for the Sacher tortes/Viennese coffee we never got to enjoy and were totally panicked on our way back to port. No apology has been made or effort to offer us compensation for the money we paid for food we never got to enjoy in Vienna or the panic caused by Viking that day. Program Director and Hotel Manager stated to us it would be addressed and that they were emailing Viking corporate on our behalf but when I tried to follow up on this I was given very vague assurances (which I did not believe) that it would be taken care of after the cruise. I asked to be CC'd on the email and have not received any. I know 37 euro is not a large sum but it is the principle of the thing. 10/16: Pleasant cruise of the Wachau Valley to Melk. Sight seeing at the Melk Abbey. Nighttime cruising to Passau. 10/17: Woke up to a beautiful view (sarcasm here) of cranes, industrial tanks, bull dozers and dumpsters in Passau. Notified no cruising to Regensburg and that we would be staying in this industrial port until 10/19. Sightseeing in Passau. 10/18: Bussed to Regensburg, sight seeing in Regensburg (excellent tour guide). No ability to explore on our own as planned due to need for bussing back and forth. The lunch arranged was salty and substandard in quality. Bus ride back to the industrial port. 10/19: Forced to be up early to vacate the boat and board bus for 3.5 hour ride to Nuremberg. 1/2 day of sight seeing in Nuremberg with no ability to or time to explore on our own as planned due to bussing. Substandard lunch. Boarded boat #3 the Gefjon. 10/20: Sight seeing in Bamberg in morning followed by a pleasant cruise in the afternoon/overnight to Wurzberg through locks. 10/21: Woke up with pretty view of Wurzberg. Sightseeing on our own in the morning with a guided walking tour in the afternoon (very good guide). 10/22: Sightseeing in Wertheim (excellent guide), glass blower talk on ship in afternoon, cruising on Main River in afternoon. 10/23: Up to pack for the 4th boat change. 1.5 hour bus ride to a smaller boat for a 2-3 hour cruise and a substandard lunch. Excellent tour of Marksburg Castle. 2.5 hour bus ride to Cologne (nausea and migraine). Boarded boat #4, the Mimir in yet another industrial zone ("lovely" industrial piping, power plant and tank views) 4+ miles from town. Needed to change from an 8 person table to an adjoining 10 person table (to accommodate all those in our party who had returned for dinner that night at one table) while the waiter was in the process of taking our orders. He was visibly "pissy" and rude about the change. 10/24: Cologne guided tour was OK. Needed to walk 4+ miles from industrial dock to town to explore on our own in the afternoon/evening. Viking did provide a shuttle service but only between 2:30 and 5:30 pm even though the boat was at the dock until 10:00pm. 10/25: Cruising Waal River, very good tour of Kinderdijk windmills. 10/26: Disembarkation in Amsterdam was smooth. When each bus ride was announced they underestimated the time spent on each bus by anywhere from 30-60 minutes. General comments on service, food: Idun: average service in dining room, average quality of food, very poor dessert quality (cakes very dry/overcooked), good cabin service. Vili: excellent service in dining room and cabins, very polite staff everywhere, food quality was fair to mediocre at best, desserts remained poor Gefjon: dining room service was substandard: many mistakes in orders, bread would be served but had to ask for butter, hot water for tea but no tea bag or sugar brought so had to ask, quality of food was better than on the Vili but not by much Mimir: Maitre D was very attentive but serving staff was downright rude and surly, order mix-ups continued and the bread butter tea issues were the same, quality of food was mediocre but the desserts did improve Bar service on the Aquavit terrace was spotty on all ships Few vegetables were on the menus/came with meals. Some in our party routinely asked for extra vegetables and the waiters were visibly put out by these requests. Only 2 meals the entire trip were what we would consider really good quality: the chateaubriand and the duck. Lastly (I know this is very long winded), we never got to explore several of the ports independently as we had planned and Koblenz was skipped entirely in all the bussing and ship changes. If I wanted a bus trip of Europe I would have booked a bus trip (never going to happen). We did enjoy our traveling companions and other passengers on board. Viking has offered 50% of what we paid for this cruise as a credit toward a future cruise, but that is off full price. Nobody pays full price and the standard actual price paid is 2 for 1 so they are not really offering anything to compensate us for this bait and switch trip. In fact they would make 25% more on a subsequent cruise fair with the "deal" they are offering. We paid over $9000 for the 2 for 1 so the full price was over $18,000. They are offering $4500 off so that would result in us paying $13,500 for a future cruise which is a ridiculous offer. As an alternative they offered $250 cash each if we signed a nondisclosure agreement. I have emailed 2 separate Viking representatives (Stephanie Maldonado and Larry Rice) and called one representative Larry Rice and left messages twice but have not heard anything back from them since the email offering the above. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
Food was superb. Crew was very congenial, helpful, and accommodating.Ports of call were as good as they could have been. Local tour guides were passionate about their work/leadership. On board educational services were excellent. Crew ... Read More
Food was superb. Crew was very congenial, helpful, and accommodating.Ports of call were as good as they could have been. Local tour guides were passionate about their work/leadership. On board educational services were excellent. Crew personnel went out of their way to be hospitable and friendly. Tour director, Marek, was so wonderful we wanted to take him home with us!! The issues with low water were handled superbly. I didn't;t see them as an inconvenience and I feel that Viking was more than fair in refunding 50% of the cruise cost towards a future cruise. More businesses should be so generous!!! We also felt that two weeks was a good length for a vacation. It often takes at least a week just to unwind and get into 'vacation mode.' WOUld have opted for more time in Amsterdam after discovering how much there was to see and do. Have to go back. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose the 14 Night cruise for its length, first of all. And also for the countries it would traverse. We opted for additional time at both ends of the cruise: Amsterdam and Prague, and were very glad we did. We'd never been in ... Read More
We chose the 14 Night cruise for its length, first of all. And also for the countries it would traverse. We opted for additional time at both ends of the cruise: Amsterdam and Prague, and were very glad we did. We'd never been in either city - or any of the others along the way, for that matter. Each experience was wonderful. The local guides were extremely informative and delightful. We decided that our 50th Anniversary cruise ought to be a blow-out, so we booked a suite. Again, we chose well and were delighted with all the amenities that were included. The service was outstanding, from all departments. We enjoyed getting to know some of the crew, learning where they were from and who they are. Meals were delicious. We were particularly pleased that the menus were divided into more traditional American fare AND local foods. I ordered only local foods so I could explore new tastes and was never once disappointed! There were more entertainment opportunities and activities than we could participate in. For active folks, there was never a dull moment - and for those who prefer a more relaxed pace, it was easy just to opt out. We loved the live music provided by Tina and John, a very talented couple. Gary, our activities director, was a wealth of information, very funny and very efficient. He did his best to see that everyone was well cared for. I have finally discovered that there can be such a thing as too many shore excursions. This was new for me... perhaps a function of age? Naaaaah, couldn't be true! I found the excursions to be well organized, enjoyable and very informative. Couldn't have asked for anything more. Even the problem of the draught-induced low water levels were handled impeccably. We were able to trade with an identical ship. We started out on Mimir and traded to Vili, which had been unable to get to Amsterdam for the start of our cruise. The shift was easy and efficiently handled. Couldn't have been done any better. Would have preferred not to have to trade ships, but there was simply no other option, given the water levels! The down-side of this was that we had become fond of our crew and had to leave them halfway through the cruise. The other crew was excellent too. We didn't enjoy have to raft with up to two other ships. We frequently had no view from our stateroom and didn't feel comfortable using our balcony. My husband was disappointed that our ship only once tied up within walking distance of a town - Passau. He loved being able to leave the ship whenever he chose and not have to take a bus on a schedule. More of that would have been greatly appreciated. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
It was our 25th wedding anniversary present to each other. We decided on a river cruise and always wanted to do a Viking River Cruise. With all the was included and nothing for us to do but show up at the airport, Viking was top notch ... Read More
It was our 25th wedding anniversary present to each other. We decided on a river cruise and always wanted to do a Viking River Cruise. With all the was included and nothing for us to do but show up at the airport, Viking was top notch all the way. We NEVER worried about anything as they took care of everything for us. From the second we arrive, we felt like family from the beginning. Every day seemed to be better than the last until we finally had to say good-bye. The final evening in Budapest was one of the best spectacle we had ever seen with the city lit up along the river. Every tour and guide were top notch and the buses were clean and owned by viking themselves. The cabin was perfect and the Villi/Mimir was hands down the best ship we saw along the river. If we ever get the chance again, we will be doing another Viking River Cruise! Worth every cent! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
Viking does a great job of running the vessel and accommodating the needs and interests of is passengers. Pre- and post-cruise hotel stays are booked in very nice upscale properties. Throughout the city stays, cruise, and shore excursions, ... Read More
Viking does a great job of running the vessel and accommodating the needs and interests of is passengers. Pre- and post-cruise hotel stays are booked in very nice upscale properties. Throughout the city stays, cruise, and shore excursions, Viking is there to help. Not surprisingly, even a company such as Viking cannot ensure that things off the ship will run smoothly. Some shore excursions - due to the time of year and popularity - were at destinations that were so crowded that they were not enjoyable. And although Viking did an excellent job of meeting us upon arrival in Amsterdam and taking us to the hotel, airport assistance failed miserably at Budapest. The agent was not there to meet us, and chaotic conditions in the check-in area made the experience miserable. Admittedly, this is not under Viking's control, but the absence of an agent left us without guidance on how to best proceed. We had a balcony cabin which was nice. But in several ports Viking moored two or three vessels alongside each other at the pier, so our view was often into a cabin on an adjacent vessel. These cruises are focused on the scenery and the shore experience. Do not expect much in terms of onboard entertainment or activities. If you want peace and quiet, this is the place to be, with the quiet enhanced by the absence of children. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
My husband and I chose Viking for our first European river cruise after having done about 10 Ocean Cruises on various lines (Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity & Oceania). We heard wonderful things and had high expectations. ... Read More
My husband and I chose Viking for our first European river cruise after having done about 10 Ocean Cruises on various lines (Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity & Oceania). We heard wonderful things and had high expectations. Overall it was a wonderful trip but we felt that there were some things travelers should know about. Viking is spoken of very highly here in the U.S. where we live. We booked a category AA Veranda Suite so that we would have a sitting area separate from the bedroom. We were not assigned a cabin upfront and while travelling to Amsterdam received a call from our travel agent that we were upgraded to one of the Explorer suites. We were elated. When we arrived, there was NO ONE around the ship at our small docking area. We actually held the taxi in case the driver made a mistake! We boarded the ship and found the Grand reception area. Again, there was NO ONE around. Finally, a crew member came out from behind a door, asked our names and confirmed our cabin and said welcome aboard. That was it! There were no security checks like on large ocean cruises. We were then escorted to our cabin. Our Explorer suite was lovely with a separate living room with two floor to ceiling sliding doors leading to a wrap around balcony that enhanced our cruise experience. HOWEVER...we did have two issues with this suite. We want future travelers to know that river ships travel primarily at night and the Explorer suites are at the back of the ship DIRECTLY ABOVE the engines. The vibration was something you can get used to but they appear to have two settings, full throttle and idle. Our second issue was that our mattress was horrible. It was very firm yet incredibly lumpy and uncomfortable! We told our steward and she exchanged our "topper" for another lumpy one. We started our cruise on a different ship (the Viking Mimir) due to low water levels and switched to our ship (the Vili) in Nuremberg. We had the same issues on the Vili. We felt the food on board could have been better. Breakfast was always excellent with a wonderful buffet suitable for Americans and Europeans with a cook to order egg station. We always had lunch at the Aquavit terrace to enjoy AL Fresco dining. The choices were more limited but there was always a salad, some side dishes and a meat option and of course, desserts. Dinner in the dining room was nice but the service a little slow. The dining menu is heavy towards regional cuisine and spending so much time in Germany and having local dishes during our shore excursions, I chose to opt for something off the "regular menu" side which always consisted of a steak, chicken and salmon choice. The salmon was very fishy, the steak was of poor quality and tough and the chicken bland. For staple menu items, they were disappointing. My husband did like the regional cuisine. As wine drinkers, one thing that allured us to Viking is that they include it during lunch and dinner. We felt the quality of the included wine was quite poor. The varietals would change each day and we always tried this to see if it would be acceptable. On occasion, we drank the free option but because we also had the silver spirits beverage package, we often chose something different. However, it always took a long time for the servers to get a different choice and they did not have any California Chardonnays or Cabernet's on board. This is somewhat understandable since we were in Europe but as highly popular wines in the US and the cruise line catering to Americans, we were disappointed. We also asked for Sambuca after dinner in the bar and they did not have it on board. We felt the options were very limited. All the passengers would meet in the lounge before dinner for our "next day Port update". Service in this area was adequate but we often times had to flag down a server or get up and go to the bar to get a drink. The Included shore excursions were always wonderful. The wireless hearing devices are great. They allow you to hear your guide without having to stay right next to them to hear what they say. Many were walking tours in the cities which would end with a little free time to explore on your own. For the tours that required bus transportation, the quality and cleanliness of these were exceptional. We enjoyed all our excursions and found that this is one area that Viking excelled in. One thing to note for any new river cruise travelers is that there is an extensive lock system on these European rivers. We traveled through about 60 locks during our two week journey. During the first half, from Amsterdam to Nuremberg, there were Five days where the upper deck was COMPLETELY closed in order to allow the ship to pass below many bridges. This meant that the walking track was unavailable. The river ships are very small and there was little to do during these five days while on board other than sit in the lounge and admire the views (which is, of course, why you do the river cruises but I wanted to mention this for anyone expecting activities/entertainment). We feel fortunate to have been given the Explorer suite and enjoyed the extra space. The visits to all of the European ports were wonderful. It was an amazing trip. Despite the low quality food and beverage choices, the bad mattress and lack luster service we enjoyed the cruise very much. However, if we have the option to do it again, we will try a different cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose Viking for our first cruise, and now we are spoiled. It was a celebration of our 50th Wedding Anniversary. Our Cruise Director, Gary, was most enjoyable. Entertainment on board was enjoyable especially the glass blowing ... Read More
We chose Viking for our first cruise, and now we are spoiled. It was a celebration of our 50th Wedding Anniversary. Our Cruise Director, Gary, was most enjoyable. Entertainment on board was enjoyable especially the glass blowing demonstration. The apple strudel demonstration was a gastronomic sensation. The river was impassable at one point which caused all of us to be moved from the Viking Mimir which picked us up in Amsterdam and took us to the impasse. We disembarked and went on a scheduled day excursion and the bus returned us to the Viking Vili with our luggage. We continued on the Vili all the way to Budapest. The extensions at both ends of our river cruise were top notch accommodations. Please Note: I spent over 27 years in the US Army, and my last seven serving as a Sergeant Major. I have been trained to look for and spot items out of place or needing attention. I could not - repeat could not - find one thing to criticize, improve, or correct on our Viking Grand European River Cruise. Our ship swap was an example of military precision. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
Cruise director Gary was very nice, but a bit sarcastic at times, which I was fine with, but my have put off others. He was an asset, in any event. Nightly entertainment was in need of improvement. Those brought in for special nights were ... Read More
Cruise director Gary was very nice, but a bit sarcastic at times, which I was fine with, but my have put off others. He was an asset, in any event. Nightly entertainment was in need of improvement. Those brought in for special nights were good, but the "lounge players" could have been better. We were on the Villi and then changed to the Meli, because of low water. Both lounges singers were marginal at best, although the male counterparts who played piano and other instruments were better. The female singers need to go back for vocal training. Many tour guides were very variable in quality. Some good, some marginal, several poor, but I can not be specific because did not keep a record. Few were excellent. I was very annoyed Viking would not let us use the onboard promotional for dollars off future cruises toward previous booked cruises. (buy 100 get 100 free up to $800) We have a Barcelona to Copenhagen cruise that we booked several months prior to the river cruise sailing, but were not permitted to use that incentive toward the actual cost of the next cruise, because we had already booked. I would suggest they amend that so your patrons who booked within the past 6 months can still have that advantage. I understand it is offered as an incentive for new bookings, but to get your cabin of choice, bookings need to be at least 18 months in advance and therefore I do not feel we should be "penalized" due to advanced planning. I will likely take at least one more river cruise, although I think they need to expand Cruise destination options. I keep getting emails about taking cruises with the same ports I have already been which shows no attention to detail recording individual passenger. I would definitely continue the wine and beer offerings at lunch and dinner, as that is part of what sets Viking apart from their competition, amongst other things. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
We wanted to experience the Danube and ports by water. The river and ports were beyond belief...charming, historic, packed with great restaurants, shops and very interesting churches, and cathedrals to visit. The crew on board made us feel ... Read More
We wanted to experience the Danube and ports by water. The river and ports were beyond belief...charming, historic, packed with great restaurants, shops and very interesting churches, and cathedrals to visit. The crew on board made us feel very special. Everyone did an outstanding job. We especially appreciate all of the tour guides in each port. They are well educated and know everything about their respective area of expertise. Our room was well appointed. We especially like having a separate bedroom and bathroom and balcony. The group meetings were great and the information that was dispersed was very useful. It helped to prepare us for the next days excursion. All of the meals were very tasty. There were plenty of choices to accommodate any palate. The service was timely. We would definitely recommend Viking Cruises to our friends and family. We are looking forward to our Viking Ocean Cruise on the Aegean Sea in the future! Read Less
Viking Vili Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 1.0 0.0
Family 1.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 5.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 5.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0

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