Viking Modi Cruise Review by help32250
- Sail Date: August 2015
- Destination: Europe River
- Cabin Type: Veranda Stateroom
First the good (read that as the ship-board and tour part of our cruise experience):
The itinerary, the ship, the cabin, the food, and particularly our Cruise Director (Marek Snelly) were wonderful. The land tours were well-organized and thorough. The first 3 nights of dinners were fabulous and then just very good thereafter.
Because of water levels we had to transfer ships from the Skirnir to the Modi to get to Nuremburg. I know what you are thinking. This review started off as a MODI review so what's this stuff about the SKIRNIR? (See the "bad" comments) The Skirnir and Modi are identical. The entire ship is very well planned and efficient. We are used to Ocean Cruising (having taken 19 cruises on Princess alone) so we are accustomed to much larger (232 sq ft) cabins than the Skirnir/Modi's 180 sq ft. But Viking's are so well designed that, other than the amount of space at the foot of the bed, it actually seemed bigger and more usable. The closet doors have automatic lighting when you open them and are "soft" closing. The toilet seat is also soft closing (ladies you will love that) and the bathroom has a floor level string light for making night time trips to it safe. The shower is longer, skinnier, and somewhat trapezoidal in shape and has a shower wand ... features that are far better than what we have been accustomed to on most ocean liners. Even the built in refridgerator seems larger. The in-cabin safe is wonderful. Our balcony was a bit skinnier in depth than those we have had on ocean liners but very usable.
The public areas of Viking are also smaller but very efficient. The main dining room has floor to ceiling windows on both sides and tables for 6 to a dozen. You can sit anywhere but we found that, like us, most people ended up making new friends and sitting with the same group night after night. The wait staff is assigned by table areas so you get to know them, and them you, and what you like or don't like. Our server on the Modi was particularly good. The styling of the Skirnir/Modi is "Scandinavian Design" at its optimum and best ... clean, simple, and elegantly frugal on space.
The first 3 night's dinners were to die for. Then they went from being fabulous to just being very good. The one thing they could do to really improve them is to make sure that the hot foods are served hot. I got tired of sending things back and just put up with it. My wife had never had better Veal Medallions. Their salmon is always wonderful. But the "Reduction" Beef Wellington is unrecognizable as a Beef Wellington and I just sent it back and ordered a salmon. But when you see how SMALL their kitchen is you will be surprised that they can make meals for 20 let alone 190 !
All of the people on-board the Viking were very polite and wanting to do literally anything to please. This far exceeded anything we have witnessed on over 25 ocean cruises. But our Cruise Director "Marek" was particularly exceptional. There are no words to describe just how incredible a job he did. And ALL of them knew our names within one day !!!
Now for the bad:
Let me preface my comments by telling you that I am a dinosaur ... coming from both my upbringing as well as 34 years at a Fortune 10 Company where ETHICS, telling the TRUTH, and FOLLOWUP were demanded and key to your business and of primary measure of you as a person. Candidly, Viking (CORPORATE ONLY) falls so far short in this area it is disgusting.
When I booked the cruise, I made sure our booking agent knew how important it was for us not to be seated in the back of a large plane and that this was key to our booking. He assured me that the people at Viking that booked the flights could/would accommodate us. They did not. And help ended the moment he had my charge account number.
Above our repeated requests over a 4 week period we were assigned seats in the second to the last row of a 747's middle 4 section (3-4-3 layout)! And everytime I pleaded for reassignment I was hit with something they call "codeshare". Funny but brand new passengers on the flights could buy upgrades ... which I tried to do ... but was told by Viking, Delta, and KLM that it was not possible. In my life I was led to believe that there is a word that describes not being allowed to buy something that others can: DESCRIMINATION. With determination I literally "sat" on the airline websites so as to find a way, albeit at last minute on the 10 hour flight from LAX to Amsterdam segment to be able to swap seats. I was able to purchase "Economy Plus" seats on KLM for the return flight.
But it turns out that Viking was only charged $625 round-trip for each of us to fly round trip from Los Angeles! $625??? Have you ever tried to buy a round trip economy ticket to Europe? It's at least $1500-$2000. So I guess that's why you should expect to have the worst seats possible when you book through Viking. You are now forewarned.
We were greeted at the Budapest airport by Viking-assigned personnel (on-ship people as far as I was concerned and excellent) and transferred in a lovely Mercedes bus to the dock ... only to find out that we would be on the Skirnir, not the Modi! The river levels near Nuremburg were too low so we had to re-pack our clothes and be bused to the next port, just to be bused back to Nuremburg for the land tour of that port. And at the end of our cruise we docked in Rotterdam, not Amsterdam! It turned out that Viking corporate was not aware that "Sail Amsterdam" (an every-5-year-celebration) did not allow them to do it ... and that this was a "surprise"! What? Viking knew about it for at least 4 years and 11 months and it was a surprise??? They are either brain dead or lying. I think they lied.
The point that I am trying to make is that if someone tries to hide things that are out of their control (like the Danube River level), how comfortable are you with what they will do in explaining things that are under their control?
We were told when I booked the cruise that we were buying the very last cabin on the ship. Funny, but I talked with at least 4 other couples on our cruise that were told the same exact thing. Bottom line I don't think the word "honesty" is in Viking corporate's vocabulary.
I also must say that one of the main reasons for taking a cruise is to only unpack and re-pack once. While this was caused by something outside of Viking's controls, it makes me seriously question ever doing another river cruise
Everything about the cruise itself was wonderful BUT make sure you book Viking with your eyes open. I suggest you obtain trip insurance but not from Viking. I used Squaremouth, fyi, and you should expect to pay about 5% of your total cruise/airline/hotel costs to get a rough idea of what reasonable trip insurance should cost.
And if you use frequent flier miles to book your flights, understand that travel insurance does not cover that ... as you didn't "pay" anything for it. But what if you used frequent flier miles and Viking cancelled the cruise ... what would you do?
I guess I should be very happy. Many cruises by Viking were cancelled as well as by other carriers. Many, as ours, had bus detours. But don't you expect your cruise company to be "up front" and "forthright" in how they deal with these things? It would have been SO simple for Viking just to tell everybody, up front, that it changing ships was a real probability. I would have accepted that. But even Viking's website never acknowledged that our cruise was ... or ever would be ... affected.
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The shower was trapezoidal, with a shower wand, and clear shower doors (not a curtain). Very nice.
The cabin steward serviced the room seamlessly and seemlingly invisibly. We'd go to breakfast and even if it was only for a few minutes the cabin had been serviced.
And there was an ice dispenser just a few feet down from our cabin. No noise and so convenient. And NO room service tip either!