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In early June, a Viking ship ran into a lock on the Danube near Regensburg. The lock was closed for a few weeks but finally opened. We set sail from Nurnberg to Budapest on June 28. We spent the first two days of the cruise on an industrial canal near Nurnberg. When it came time to set sail to Regensburg, we were told that the same lock was re-damaged and we could not sail. Whether the damaged lock was ever fixed or whether it was new damage, we were not told how severe the damage was and that it would reduce our river cruise to, mostly, a series of bus trips. On the day we set sail to Regensburg, we sailed up to the first lock and stayed there in this same canal because the ship would not go through the initial lock since a lock further along was still damaged. Instead of sailing to Regensburg, we took a bus trip 2-hours each way. Aside from the inconvenience of sitting on a bus instead of sailing a river, we ended up losing 4 hours where we could have toured Regensburg instead of riding a bus. Viking kept telling us that the lock could be fixed at any time (probably to placate us), where I believe they were mostly certain that it would not be fixed in time for our vacation. The next day, we were supposed to sail into Passau, where we had scheduled an all-day tour of Salzburg. Instead, since Passau was a 3-hour bus ride from the canal in Roth (near Nurnberg), they cancelled the Salzburg excursion and people went to Passau on a horrible bus ride that took about 5 hours to return back to Roth (on an ugly, industrial canal). Viking seemed to put a lot of emphasis on getting everyone back to the ship each day for lunch, instead of arranging us to get more time in these picturesque cities. That night, Viking announced that they had a sister ship (Viking Var) on the other side of the broken lock and they bused us for 5 hours to the other ship (and bused the other ship's inhabitants to the Viking Tor). So, we spent 5 hours on the bus to get to the other ship, thereby losing all of the day until about 2 p.m. (don't worry....they made a point of getting us lunch on the new ship). After lunch, we set sail through the Wacha Valley (not sure of the spelling). The view was exceptional and it was the ONLY time in the whole week where we actually sailed during the day. We were supposed to see Krems that day, but arrived too late so we went straight to Vienna. Another picturesque city lost! Vienna was a very beautiful city and we spent the whole day waking around the city. That night, we were supposed to leave Vienna and arrive in Budapest the next morning. The Viking Var left about 45 minutes late so we did not get to Budapest by 8:30 as promised, so they had to drop us off at some other location to take a bus to Budapest. The ship did not get to Budapest until around 12:30 p.m.. We did not arrive to the city until almost 11:30 so we lost more valuable time. All of the crew on the ship was very nice and helpful and did their best to make the most of a horrible situation. I don't think Viking told us the truth about the broken lock. We spent more daylight hours on a bus than we did sailing. Somebody also mentioned that lock closures were not that unusual, and there are other potential issues with low water levels or high water levels. You might want to think twice before booking a river cruise. My wife and I have been on over 10 ocean cruises, but this was our first river cruise. By the way, Viking has yet to offer anything to compensate its customers for having a bus tour of the Danube.

Broken Lock Turns Viking River Cruise Into Bus Cruise

Viking Tor Cruise Review by buddytherealtor

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: June 2019
  • Destination: Europe
In early June, a Viking ship ran into a lock on the Danube near Regensburg. The lock was closed for a few weeks but finally opened. We set sail from Nurnberg to Budapest on June 28. We spent the first two days of the cruise on an industrial canal near Nurnberg. When it came time to set sail to Regensburg, we were told that the same lock was re-damaged and we could not sail. Whether the damaged lock was ever fixed or whether it was new damage, we were not told how severe the damage was and that it would reduce our river cruise to, mostly, a series of bus trips.

On the day we set sail to Regensburg, we sailed up to the first lock and stayed there in this same canal because the ship would not go through the initial lock since a lock further along was still damaged. Instead of sailing to Regensburg, we took a bus trip 2-hours each way. Aside from the inconvenience of sitting on a bus instead of sailing a river, we ended up losing 4 hours where we could have toured Regensburg instead of riding a bus. Viking kept telling us that the lock could be fixed at any time (probably to placate us), where I believe they were mostly certain that it would not be fixed in time for our vacation.

The next day, we were supposed to sail into Passau, where we had scheduled an all-day tour of Salzburg. Instead, since Passau was a 3-hour bus ride from the canal in Roth (near Nurnberg), they cancelled the Salzburg excursion and people went to Passau on a horrible bus ride that took about 5 hours to return back to Roth (on an ugly, industrial canal). Viking seemed to put a lot of emphasis on getting everyone back to the ship each day for lunch, instead of arranging us to get more time in these picturesque cities.

That night, Viking announced that they had a sister ship (Viking Var) on the other side of the broken lock and they bused us for 5 hours to the other ship (and bused the other ship's inhabitants to the Viking Tor). So, we spent 5 hours on the bus to get to the other ship, thereby losing all of the day until about 2 p.m. (don't worry....they made a point of getting us lunch on the new ship). After lunch, we set sail through the Wacha Valley (not sure of the spelling). The view was exceptional and it was the ONLY time in the whole week where we actually sailed during the day. We were supposed to see Krems that day, but arrived too late so we went straight to Vienna. Another picturesque city lost!

Vienna was a very beautiful city and we spent the whole day waking around the city. That night, we were supposed to leave Vienna and arrive in Budapest the next morning. The Viking Var left about 45 minutes late so we did not get to Budapest by 8:30 as promised, so they had to drop us off at some other location to take a bus to Budapest. The ship did not get to Budapest until around 12:30 p.m.. We did not arrive to the city until almost 11:30 so we lost more valuable time.

All of the crew on the ship was very nice and helpful and did their best to make the most of a horrible situation. I don't think Viking told us the truth about the broken lock. We spent more daylight hours on a bus than we did sailing. Somebody also mentioned that lock closures were not that unusual, and there are other potential issues with low water levels or high water levels. You might want to think twice before booking a river cruise.

My wife and I have been on over 10 ocean cruises, but this was our first river cruise. By the way, Viking has yet to offer anything to compensate its customers for having a bus tour of the Danube.
Viking Cruises, Community Team has responded
Thank you for taking the time to review your recent journey, buddytherealtor, though we are saddened to learn that your first river cruise was not met with more pleasing conditions. We regret your disappointment in the communication and itinerary adjustments made necessary by the lock closure. Your feedback has been recorded for review. Our records indicate that all guests on this sailing should have received a post-cruise email regarding their onboard experience with further information on next steps. If you haven’t received this, or wish to discuss your feedback in more detail, please don’t hesitate reach out to us at TellUs@vikingcruises.com so that we may put you in touch with a member of our Customer Relations team. We appreciate this opportunity to learn more about your voyage, and wish you a pleasant day.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of The Independent Traveler, Inc.
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The cabin was nothing extraordinary, but it was fine. The issue was the time spent on a bus.
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