We just returned from the Danube river cruise from Nuremberg to Budapest. The cruise was very disappointing for several reasons. Besides the water level issue which I will explain later, our room on the first ship was dirty upon arrival and needed to be re-cleaned. There was brown marks like chocolate on the floor and the bed headboard, side tables, and chairs all had all had brown sticky marks all over them like someone had spilled hot chocolate. When I showed the crew on board the mess they brought someone in to re-clean the room. The person cleaning the room said “I guess some of you expect everything to be perfect”. I offered to clean the room myself.
The water level issue is very upsetting. Every port we went the guides as well as the crew on board told us the water levels have been several feet low for over a year. This is something that Viking should have brought up when offering this river cruise, or Viking should not be selling the tickets at all knowing that there would be several issues. A week before our trip I received an email stating that if water levels do not improve we will need to take a bus from Vienna to Budapest, that is all. I called Viking to ask them what the current situation was and the person said they could not give me any info because the water could change an inch and we might be fine. This was clearly not true that the water levels only needed to change an inch. We were told by Viking crew one of the Viking cruise ships, Oden, has been stuck in Budapest for over a year due to water levels being several feet too low. This was not the only location that was affected by low water levels which we were not informed of prior to the trip.
Due to water levels we needed to take a 2 hr bus ride in and out of Passau, loosing out on 4 hours we should have had in Passau. We needed to take a 3 hour bus ride to another location outside of Krems to board a different ship. There was a tour in Krems that we did not go on because the crew onboard encouraged everyone to not go on the tour but rather stay on the boat while we sail to the Vienna. They told us the we would much rather see this part of the river and there would be commentary about the area. None of this happened because by the time we got on the new boat and started sailing it was too dark to see anything. We spent one night onboard the new ship and then took a 3 hour bus ride to Budapest. Due to the time all tours were cancelled except the included tour. We missed half of a day in Budapest and got to spend 45 minuted in Buda before going to a hotel where we were to spent the night. We were told at the hotel that we would receive dinner and drinks. Several other travelers stayed and had drinks, we all had the Silver package, which we were told was included. The waiter asked for one of the rooms, we offered ours not thinking anything if it. When we checked out at 3am we got a bill for 76,328 HUF. A Viking representative told me that if we pay the bill Viking would reimburse me. Which never happened.
We requested a full refund for the trip. Viking as offered us 25% then 35% off on future cruises. They offered 50% if they do not have to reimburse us for the dinner and drinks we paid for that they were supposed to. We talked to a fellow traveler from the UK and he was called by Viking and offered a full refund for the trip prior leaving due to the water levels. When we asked the crew onboard why we were not called and offered the same deal we were told that the UK and US has different laws and therefor Viking was not required to call US passengers with this offer.
Deailing with Viking has been an absolute nightmare. Several guests on the cruise are in contact with one another to determine what is being offered. Viking customer service told me that they could care less that they we are having a difficult time with their customer suervice and the fact that they are making various offers. Viking is also offering some couples who posted negitive adds a 40% off if they sign an NDA. I would like to reiterate that it is very disappointing that Viking knew exactly what the water conditions were and choose to sell tickets to this cruise regardless. They knew that people would come back dissapointed and their only option is to take a voucher to buy more products form Viking. This is FRAUD.