1 Viking River Viking Gefjon Cruise Reviews

Seduced by masterful advertising we decided on a Viking cruise of the Danube. As a result of posted concerns about river levels, I waited until virtually the last minute before booking. Ten days before our intended cruise on September 4 I ... Read More
Seduced by masterful advertising we decided on a Viking cruise of the Danube. As a result of posted concerns about river levels, I waited until virtually the last minute before booking. Ten days before our intended cruise on September 4 I called Viking and asked if there were any problems with river levels. I was assured that there were not. Just to be sure, I asked our travel agent to confirm this with Viking before we committed. Our agent also received assurances from Viking that there were no problems. Only after receiving these assurances did we book our cruise. Four days later we received an e-mail from Viking advising that due to "unusually dry" weather there were historic low water levels on the Danube. As a result we might have to take buses between ports. This was the situation we had sought to avoid by waiting to the last minute before booking and by checking with Viking before committing. Upon receipt of the e-mail warning from Viking, we immediately called our agent and asked to postpone our cruise until the following Spring when there would be less chance of low river levels. Our agent called Viking only to be informed that we had signed a contract and that we were therefore bound to take the cruise scheduled for less than a week later. We did not ask for a cancellation of our contract, merely that we be allowed to reschedule our cruise. Viking refused to allow us to reschedule. We did in fact have to bus and to change ships during our cruise. In fact the staff on both Viking ships we were on informed us that, due to low water levels, ship transfers and busing between ports had been required all Summer on the Danube. Clearly the customer service people at Viking ought to have known this. To be fair, the onboard staff handled the required ship transfer very well and the general level of service onboard the two Viking ships we were on was very good. However, we felt deceived by the reservation staff of Viking and by its bullying that we had to take the September 4 cruise or lose the total amount we had paid, which was over $20,000. I don't know if this is a common occurrence or was somehow connected to the low river levels but on at least 4 occasions we were rafted to another Viking ship which resulted in our veranda being unusable as were were mere inches away from another stateroom. In fact we had to keep our curtains closed so as to have privacy from the stateroom on the other Viking ships. Having paid extra for a veranda, it was very frustrating not to be able to use it. Instead of tying up at idyllic villages and watching river traffic floating past us, when we were not rafted up to other ships and therefore able to see out our veranda window, we were on several occasions tied up at industrial areas looking at lorries, cement mixers and other unappealing sights. This is not what we expected from Viking's advertising of its river cruises. In addition to the foregoing annoyances, when we arrived in Amsterdam Viking would not allow us to board the half empty bus leaving for the airport advising us that, as we had booked a "deviatiion" return airfare, we were not eligible for the bus ride to the airport. This despite the fact we had paid extra for the deviation; we had to go to the airport to pick up our rental car as we were staying in Europe for an extra ten days; the bus put on by Viking was going to the airport anyway and was half empty. This was a minor annoyance admittedly but having paid over $20,000 for a misrepresented cruise I naively still expected better from Viking. Would I take another Viking cruise? Perhaps, after the sour taste from this one has evaporated. The onboard staff were excellent, the meals were very good. The house wines were generally good. All this suggests we should give Viking another try. However, the on board scenic commentary and entertainment, such as it was, was very average. Before booking another cruise with Viking I would undertake more thorough due diligence and I would definitely not rely on representations made by the customer service and reservations staff with Viking. It is my impression from our experience and from reading other posts on this site that Viking's modus operandi is to sign up as many customers as possible and then hold them to their contracts despite problems with water levels and Viking not being able to offer the cruise as advertised. Viking's apparent policy of offering a 25% discount to disgruntled customers who raise a fuss seems less than generous when that discount only applies to a portion of the total fare and must be used within one year. How many people are financially able and are prepared to take two expensive cruises within a one year period? I expect very few people are able to take Viking up on this offer and therefore Viking comes out a winner achieving a considerable profit on the original cruise and only a slightly less profit from the few passengers who take the marginally discounted cruise the following year. I urge anyone considering Viking, or another river cruise line for that matter, to undertake thorough due diligence before booking. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Viking Gefjon Ratings
Category Editor Member

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