Viking Tor Cruise Review by Julie.Leitch
- Sail Date: July 2018
- Destination: Europe River
- Cabin Type: French Balcony
I chose Viking cruises as i believed that they were of superior quality and thought they would be a good experience, little did i know.....
I am appalled at the lack of transparency Viking has given and continues to give its customers in respect of the water levels on the Danube that adversely affects Vikings ability to navigate the route as described in the itinery. From what I have since learnt low water levels on the Danube are not unusual at this time of year yet your company continues to offer holidays knowing that they are unable to fulfil the expectation of their customers.
We received an e-mail from Viking on 25th July 2018 that stated:
“This message is to let you know that the Danube River is currently experiencing unusually low water levels that may impact your itinerary.
When the water levels are too low, navigation on the river is restricted, making it impossible to sail through the affected areas. While you will still embark your original ship, Viking Tor, Viking operates identical ships traveling in opposite directions along the river so that we can execute what we call a ship swap part way through your itinerary. In these instances, you will be transferred by coach from your original ship to an identical sister ship, Viking Var, stationed further along the river so that you can resume your itinerary with minimal impact.
Exact details are not available at this point, but our nautical department, which monitors all the rivers we sail on, will update your Captain during your cruise if it becomes necessary to enact the mid cruise ship swap. Your Program Director will in turn inform you of any program changes we need to make as a result.
We are confident that you will enjoy your journey with us whether the mid cruise swap takes place or not, but wanted to make you aware of the circumstances as soon as we ourselves learned”
I question the fact that Viking “were not aware of the exact details at this point”as I understand that the river has been low for quite a while now and on perusal of the weather forecast, it wouldn’t take a genius to realise that the cruise was going to be affected massively. If we read the other reviews written about Viking TOR July 2018 you will see that Viking were already experiencing problems.
I have an elderly distant relative who in her working life worked for a cruise company on
What concerned me further was what was witnessed at the end of our holiday.The Viking representatives , were in my opinion being minimal with the truth with the new arrivals and again were not being transparent in that their cruise was not going to be as expected. I heard them say that they were awaiting an update and they will let the new arrivals know accordingly.
This was exactly how we were treated. We were “ drip fed” the bad news throughout the holiday when staff knew full well that the cruise was not going to happen as promised.On the Passau trip the guide said that it will take 8 days of heavy rain for the rivers to regain a level to allow the boats to navigate. You only have to peruse the weather forecast to see that this is nowhere to be seen on the horizon.
A resume of our holiday is as follows:
I consider that the holiday started well, visiting Nurenburg and Resenburg,
At this stage we knew there was a potential problem of the river levels being low and that there was a possibility of a ship swop as per email - we had no idea how badly this would affect our trip and that this was not going to be the only hitch, we spent the majority of the time on busses.
Our first crew on the Tor were fantastic,however the second crew on the Var were not as attentive.
The food was good - not fabulous but good – aside from the Bavarian sausage night which was awful.
The bottom sheet used on our bed on Var had a large hole, I didn’t bother to inform staff as I felt quite sorry for them, it must be horrendous for them having to work under these circumstances, I think this can be seen in the lack of attentiveness we received from the staff on the second ship, they all must be very tired.
Monday - July 30 - STRAUBING (Supposed to be in Passau)
Water levels were low so we ended up in Straubing. No tours in Straubing only Passau, so we were bussed 1.5 hours into Passau. 3 hours in total on coaches.
Tuesday, July 31 - YBBS – On the Tuesday we were transferred from Straubing to Ybbs on a 3 hour coach ride. Upon our arrival at the dock we found that the boat wasn’t there as expected but was advised by the Tour Director that the boat was just on the other side of the lock.We were left stranded for another 1.5 hours on the dock side in the blistering heat.We arrived in YBBS around 1pm so was expecting lunch at this time. My husband is diabetic and so timing meal times is crucial for him. We eventually received “lunch” at 3.30pm when we embarked onto our new boat with dinner a few hours later. The unfortunate part other than being stranded was the entire town was shut down so we did not have anywhere to go, nor could we access any food/drinks ourselves. There were no toilet facilities to be found, only the toilets on the coach which were undesirable as you can imagine in the heat.
The only positive I can say about this day was the fact that we had around 2.5 hours of scenic cruising along the Wachau Valley.
We were however supposed to be docked in Krems which I wanted to see but due to being on coaches for the majority of the time we were unable to dock, we just sailed right past. We missed the Gotweig Abbey Tour so that we could actually cruise the Wachau Valley. Whilst I am disappointed that we missed the Abbey as it did look stunning, the decision we made led us to experience the only 2.5 hours of “Quality cruising” of the entire cruise with commentary from the cruise director. Having been on numerous other river and Ocean cruises I knew what to expect and so feel let down that we didn’t get what we paid for A RIVER CRUISE!
Wednesday - August 1 - VIENNA
Due to being docked outside of the scheduled area we were again put on the coach for another 1.5 hours into Vienna. We then set sail from Vienna to Komaron.
Thursday - August 2 - Komaron
We were supposed to be sailing to Budapest on this day but instead was taken to Komaron, two places that couldn’t be more poles apart (see attached photos) Due to the boat not sailing we missed the Danube Bend scenic cruising highlighted aa a special moment of the cruise. We were taken into Budepest by coach, again another 1.5 hours journey each way.
Friday - August 3
On the Friday we were transferred to Budapest, another 1.5 hour coach ride.
This for us was the highlight of the holiday. The Inter-Continental Hotel was GREAT! We paid privately for a dinner and cruise evening so we did get to cruise around Budepest, no thanks to Viking!
I think it should also be pointed out that being transferred by coach led to us having to get up early each morning. It also took away the ability to make choices for what we chose to do for example, if you are moored in a main town/city you can get on and off the boat as you wish, go back to the boat for a rest when you choose. Being placed so far away from the main areas it would be impossible to do anything independently.
At the end of the trip our Cruise Director said we would be receiving a call from Viking to make reparation for our disappointment. The holiday felt more like a coach tour than a cruise, and considering the cost I would have been better off considering city breaks that would have been far better organised and a lot cheaper!
I am fully aware Viking could not control the water levels, however:
1) I am of the opinion that they should not offer this cruise during the late summer months when the probability of low water levels are high and not unusual. People have travelled from all over the world to “Cruise the Romantic Danube” There is nothing remotely romantic about being herded on and off coaches.
2) Viking should better communicate and be transparent about the difficulties, the locations and distances of the ports to the city centres and be open and honest from the start as to how this would impact on our holiday.
3) I also begrudge having to spend my time penning a complaint when I should be resting as I continue to be on annual leave, I work full time and so my spare time is very precious!
My husband and I are approaching retirement age and so hopefully have many more cruising holidays to look forward to in the future.
Would we consider cruising with Viking again, I would say no.
Would we recommend Viking? Again I would say no.
Do we trust that Viking can deliver, NO.
Viking, in my opinion lack any integrity.
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