Numerous friends recommended Viking River Cruises. We decided to treat ourselves to the Romanic Danube Cruise. The Viking brochure states, "It's pure pleasure to travel with such ease..to unpack just once and relax to an ever-changing canvas of breathtaking landscapes...to dock in the center of small towns and stroll right off to begin your exploration." This is what we were expecting, however, not what Viking produced.
Ten days before our trip we called Viking because we were hearing there were problems with low water levels. We were told, "Your trip will be just fine." Two days before our flight is scheduled, we receive an email from Viking stating there will be a mid-cruise "ship swap" and we will be transferred by motor coach to an identical ship.
Our next email from Viking arrived while we were flying to Munich/Brussels/Budapest. It informed us due to low water we will be spending the night in a hotel in Budapest instead of on Gullveig and will be transported to Vienna by motor coach(150 miles) the next day.
Our dream vacation became a bus/river cruise that was exhausting. We were able to enjoy the upper deck one time sailing through the Wachau Valley. The only port that we were able to stroll right off the longship was in Regensburg.
We were able to participate in most of the tours that were scheduled. However, once again motor coach rides up to 1 1/2 hours were necessary to get into the city. Most of our tour guides were extremely knowledgeable.
During Manager Jurgen"s farewell speech he stated that our specific cruise was the 2nd worse Danube Cruise of the year. Even the Program Director, Debra Thomas, suggested we communicate with Viking so they would be aware of our disappointments.
"Because we believe your overall cruise experience may have been affected by an unexpected situation" we were offered a 25% discount on our next cruise which expires in one year. A 25% voucher is not sufficient compensation for what we experienced.
Viking knows our cruise experience was indeed affected. They also know it was not an unexpected situation. The water levels have been low since August.
I wish Viking would have shared exactly what changes would occur in our cruise, and given us the choice to cancel, or reschedule our trip. We feel that Viking was dishonest and manipulative.
Now that our cruise is over, Viking states in an email to me, "We regret to hear that your recent cruise was impacted by severely low water levels, and are sorry to hear of your disappointment in the necessitated changes.
If you have a November, Danube cruise scheduled with Viking, and you have travel insurance cancel your trip! If you want to go on any river cruise do your research regarding the best time of year to go.
Word of mouth is powerful advertisement! After all, that is why we chose Viking. I will be using my voice to let others know they should consider other cruise companies if their vacation dream is a river cruise.
Loved the heated bathroom floor!
Nice to have a TV with some English channels.