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Viking Herja Review

Paris to Basel .... Great staff on the ship; corporate office ruins trip every time

Review for Europe River Cruise on Viking Herja
kmick1922
10+ Cruises • Age 70s

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Sail Date: Sep 2023

The only places we haven't been to in Switzerland were Geneva and Zermatt, so this trip, with it's Alps extension, seemed like a good idea, and we had previously done Bucharest to Budapest, then flew to Paris to take this cruise. Let me begin by saying that the ship's staff was excellent, as they usually are. But every Viking cruise has come with issues, both Ocean and River. And the ship's staff are given no authority whatsoever, to deal with problems...everything must be handled by "corporate office...in California...on their time frame'. Our first problem, which should never have become an issue, was when we cancelled an excursion for the Paris pre-extension of our trip. In order to cancel within the allotted notfication time, we had to cancel while on the previous Viking Ship, Uller, while we were in Budapest. Had we waited until we arrived in Paris, it would have been too late. We did it in writing with the corporate office and received a return response saying, no problem, you have cancelled in time and you will receive a credit back to your credit card with which you paid. The next day yet another person sent a message saying the excursion ($535) was non-refundable , regardless of when we cancelled. We called and of course the person never called back. On multiple occasions. Just sent a nasty email when we pointed out that no where was that excursion, or any other excursion on the cruise, listed as "non refundable". Trying to get YOUR money back from Viking is nearly impossible. And they do so, in hopes you will give up and go away. We finally got our money back, and are holding on to the copy of the despicable email they sent along with their grudging agreement to refund our money. We've been on over 30 cruises and have traveled to 110 countries and all the continents. We are not newbies and we know the ropes. And we have NEVER been spoken to or written to, in the mean, rude, and condescending way that Viking "corporate" has done. Okay, so there's more. They lost my luggage on the previous river cruise, which we took just prior to this one. Guess what? Happened again! I watched my luggage get taken from the front steps of the hotel and placed under the bus we were riding in. But it never made it from the bus to the Herja!!! Again, with our four trips with Viking losing our luggage, we don't depend on their say so any longer, but on our Apple AirTags. When the bag didn't show up, we showed the staff that the bag was outside the ship, but not far, like in the parking lot. Impossible, they said! The bus has headed back to Paris. The next day my bag was still missing and my tracker showed it to be at a hotel parking lot in France, where the bus driver undoubtedly spent the night. Tracker gave the precise address of the hotel. But Viking said, like they did when they lost my luggage the week prior, that they no longer handled their baggage handling and they contracted it out. And NO ONE KNEW WHO TO CONTACT. Long story short, ONLY due to the wonderful cruise director, did I get my bag back, albeit a couple of days later. If I hadn't had the Apple tracker and provided the exact location of my bag, it was going back to Paris to a bus garage, and I'm sure I'd never have seen it again. Only due to the cruise director being a person who cared, when the company did not, was I able to get my bag. So they lost my bag TWICE within 5 days and do you think I heard a word about it? Nope. The staff all said they felt like Viking was two different companies...one for the ships and their staffs (I do believe they are very good to them and it shows, as they are excellent, from ship to ship) and another completely different company for their customers. They said Viking is cutting costs with baggage handling and they simply don't care, nor do they take responsibility for lost or damaged bags. No problems with the airlines, but lots of Viking problems. Viking lack of customer service decency from their corporate office aside, the trip was pleasant. We took the post extension to Geneva and Zermatt and it was excellent. Would I recommend this cruise? Yes, with caveats...have a tracker on all your luggage, as you will need it. AND, be careful about booking higher priced excursions that you aren't sure about, as it's nearly impossible to get your money back. They will never pay cash back, but try to give you future cruise credit, instead. Well, for us, there will be no future cruises, so that won't work, will it? Done with Viking. Just not worth the hassle. They're reasonably priced, with lovely ships and great staffs...but heaven help you if you have a problem, because it's worse than pulling teeth to work with them, and twice as painful.

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Suite cabin.

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