We chose a river cruise because we wanted to travel by boat and expected to enjoy the views along the river and have the luxury of not unpacking daily. the reality of our vacation was that viking was not upfront with us about the water levels along the danube. we called the week before our departure and were told that there were no changes to our itinerary. we received an email thirty minutes before boarding our flight to europe stating that we were going on a different longship because of the low water levels. like other travelers that have posted reviews about low water levels, we feel that we were deceived by viking personnel. Each time that we were unable to make it to the next port, we were informed the night before with the comment “just a few inches makes all the difference!” well, here is my observation....those bushes that are growing in the middle of the danube did not just pop up over night! viking has been pulling the wool over traveler’s eyes for a long time! they string the customer along day by day and pretend as if this is something new. One day we spent three hours traveling on a bus to go from one ship to another. it also took us two and a half hours on the bus to go see passau from the remote location of the ship. in fact, in two days we rode for 6 hours on a bus! Another day passengers had to ride a bus for one and a half hours to budapest and then back to the boat that evening. Ten people from our group decided we could not take another bus ride. we decided not to take the 90 minute bus ride to budapest and opted instead to walk around the town where we were docked. (komarno, slovakia) our captain and activities director met with us the night before and said we would be docked until the next evening. the following day when the others were bussing to budapest, we took a tour in komarno and had lunch before walking back to the ship. we were shocked to discover that our ship had sailed without us, knowing that they had briefed the passengers that we would be at this location until the evening. they knew we were off the ship, but they sailed anyway with only 4 passengers. We had to take taxis to the new location and were quite upset.
The point of this review is not the there were low water levels, it’s that viking is deceptive in their approach. viking tells people daily that there are no changes to the itinerary when they know they are never going to make the schedule as planned. yes, you will get to the cities, but you will be logging a lot of bus time and not very much sailing time.
After returning home, i contacted viking customer service. i was not satisfied with our conversation. they seem to take the approach that they can’t control the water levels. what they can control is their approach and they should be less deceptive! it appears that they offer some of their dissatisfied customers different “deals.” based on their perception of your inconvenience, some customers get a higher percentage off of a future cruise and some are even offered a shipboard credit.
Response from VikingS, Community Team