I have to preface this review by saying that I have cruised every brand: from the super cheap to Seabourn and have been on 20+ cruises all over the world - usually crusing with the top-end: Seabourn, Silversea, Crystal, etc.
We sailed on the Danube River from Budapest to Nuremberg and had to change ships due to low water levels like a few others had mentioned. There were many things that made me irritated about this cruise. I will delineate them:
1. The Viking Company: Viking knew we had to change ships but did not notify the guests until days before our sailing - just like one of the other reviews mentioned just recently. I was told by the crew on the ship that this had been going on for months! Really, Viking?! We are in a world where we can forecast rain well in advance (this affects the water levels, right?!), and they are in the River business and clearly can predict water levels and could have notified guests well in advance so that we could cancel and reschedule. Stop the games and fraudulent activity by not letting customers know in advance that they have to change ships in the middle of the cruise! And as an experienced cruiser, I don’t like having to pack and unpack and leave bags out in the middle of the night in the middle of my cruise! I especially didn’t appreciate the long bus ride to the next port instead of seeing part of the Danube by ship! The Tour Director said in one of his cruise briefings: “Be happy that you were not on the other bus going the other way, as they had to spend 3 1/2 hours on a bus!” Yes, spending 3 hours total (not 3 1/2) on a bus did make us happier... more about our Cruise Director later.
2. The staff: Most of them were very UNaccommodating! I was traveling with a group, and we all shared the same consensus about the horrific level of service independent of one another. You think I was asking for a million dollars when I asked a few staff members over the course of the cruise a few basic things that I neeeded. The attitude was just plain disgusting. My comment to Viking: If your staff members hate their jobs, get rid of them. There were so many who clearly hated working on the ship and were forgetting that they were hired to provide great service to their guests - novel concept for a “high-end” ship. The staff needs and overhaul! Basically, I never asked for anything again after a couple of days since I didn’t want to “inconvenience” your staff.
The suite: Now seriously, what does it take to clean the balcony and the furniture on it? There were so many spider webs and spiders that I did not want to spend any time on the balcony! I paid a premium for the balcony but deemed it “unusable.” Inside the stateroom, there were bug splatters on the ceilings and walls where people have taken insect control in their own hands - it was just simply gross! Viking: Just clean your staterooms from the ground up - literally! How much effort does this take?
The food: I’ve had better and more creative meals at Denny’s. I understand that feeding 180+ passengers is a lot of work and expensive, so stop trying to “save money by going “cheap” and fast with your meals. My poor husband’s ribeye steak was gray (yes, as it was “old”) and 1/2 inch thick. I get it: If you want to feed two people one ribeye steak, then cut it in half - lengthwise! What a great way to save money and fool your guest that they are getting a real ribeye! Most of the dinners were “edible,” but heaven forbid if you asked for anything outside of each passengers’ quota for an appetizer, entree, and dessert. Don’t get me started on this one: I lost weight on this cruise (not by choice) - yes, that’s a first!
The Cruise Director (Anthony): He was very funny when he was entertaining the guests but, one-on-one, he was not so accommodating. Again, the bad attitude - and appeared to be annoyed if you asked him anything. I saw enough of his interactions with other passengers (and me) to come up with this suggestion.
It is clear that I will never sail with Viking again. Don’t waste your money or valuable vacation time. What a huge disappointment!