1. Home
  2. Cruise Styles
  3. River Cruises Cruise Reviews

100 River Cruise Reviews

This was our first river cruise and understood Viking was a top provider. BUT, we were very disappointed. The crew/staff were excellent, but after that things fell down. Getting a balcony is a waste of money as many times we were moored ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and understood Viking was a top provider. BUT, we were very disappointed. The crew/staff were excellent, but after that things fell down. Getting a balcony is a waste of money as many times we were moored next to another Viking ship's balcony which was just 2 feet away. No view or privacy! Breakfast was fine but other meals were poor. It became the joke many times to see what was served compared to what was ordered. Many times when we docked at a town we then had to be bussed. We were not able to simply get off the ship and walk around. A couple times we docked in industrial areas. On included tours guides were friendly and knowledgeable, but we were always rushed. Numerous times we had to move along as there was a group behind us. No time for questions (later) and photos. A typical tour was bussing, see a cathedral/palace/castle listen to some history/stories & then some free time. When you combine the amount of ships of Viking & it's competitors, tours become a herd! For the price do not recommend Viking. Will not use again. Viking may have been a class outfit, but possibly have lost control with expansion. Deep research needed for any river cruise. Have taken over a dozen land trips with success, but our ages require a more leisurely experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This cruise had been on our bucket list for the last couple of years. My husband and I with another couple had done European river cruises and thought that this would be similar. No way can ACL be compared with them. They may both be ... Read More
This cruise had been on our bucket list for the last couple of years. My husband and I with another couple had done European river cruises and thought that this would be similar. No way can ACL be compared with them. They may both be small boats as far as passengers but that is where the comparison stops. On this cruise the excursions were large bus trips where you stop only at highway rest areas. If you are on the wrong side of the bus you never see the point of interest. Dining options very limited and not up to other cruise lines. The young people in the dining room made the week with their friendly, helpful ways. The dining room itself needs an overhaul. The fabric chairs are stained as is the carpet. Our cabin was not luxury at all. Everything on the boat closes down at 9:00 pm, and no movies offered on the tv. I am sorry that this did not work out for us in our mid sixties, maybe we would have enjoyed it more fifteen years from now. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I would never recommend Emerald River Cruises. First I would recommend more options for pre/post cruise tours. I would also recommend narration of the sites on the way to the ship even if it’s a transfer. Once onboard a lot more ... Read More
I would never recommend Emerald River Cruises. First I would recommend more options for pre/post cruise tours. I would also recommend narration of the sites on the way to the ship even if it’s a transfer. Once onboard a lot more info on what to expect and someone to answer questions, like your cabin steward whom we didn’t see until the second day. This doesn’t improve, if you miss a port talk you are completely in the dark. The owners suite is small compared to other cruise/River ships. No tv in bedroom so bring binoculars to see it in the sitting room. Expect to hear your neighbors as the rooms have very thin walls. No ice offered unless you get a glass of ice at the bar. If you want a drink you must go to the bar and it’s like asking for a favor. With the premium package you get whatever bottle they have open, and if it’s a good wine, expect it to runout quickly! The cabin steward left our used towels because we didn’t throw them on the floor. Who knew? as this was never communicated. Emerald assured us we wouldn’t hear joggers above our suite but you definitely do, at 6am. They told us we had to put up with it for four days. The crew told us this was the last cruise and they didn’t know if the ship was returning or they had jobs. How sad for them and to bad for us. We sat at the Captains table which was very nice. The food should of been exceptional which I can’t say was the case. I’m really trying to be positive but so far the experience hasn’t lived up to our expectations. The included guided tours have been managed well and you see a lot of the cities you visit. The food is probably the biggest disappointment. No variety and mainly the same theme throughout the whole cruise. The buffet menu was offered only on a couple days, but don’t expect the classics these are only offered when it is a dinner menu night. The soups are either consommé or bouillon and nothing special. When a buffet is offered expect complete chaos. No formal direction just one big free for all. I went on the bike trip from Durnstein to Melk. They did try to talk us out of it but the reviews were to good for me to skip it. The guide was young and worked with her farther who brought up the rear. We did the 20 miles in 3 hours with a half hour lunch break and 5 photo opts. The pace was way to fast and that was because the guide did double duty and needed to get back for the Abby tour. Two folks had to get a cab (52 euro) to get back to the ship. Active is one description but this is Tourist de France. Nothing offered after dinner. OK, my wife and I can’t complain anymore. So much is wrong about this experience we just decided to give in and let it happen. They will not change so we go with the flow but will never ever make the same mistake. Emerald is at best a 2 Star and needs improving. Anyone who travels knows what expectations should be provided and they have a long way to go. Hope this review enlightens your decision. So choose well and happy travels. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
How does the saying go? Champage taste and beer pocket? This trip was champage price and….lets just say too disappointing for words! We had always wanted to do a river cruise as we had heard so many great reviews of this type of ... Read More
How does the saying go? Champage taste and beer pocket? This trip was champage price and….lets just say too disappointing for words! We had always wanted to do a river cruise as we had heard so many great reviews of this type of trip. We finally booked a 16-day cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest through Gate 1 Travel. Gate 1 put us up at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel for two nights prior to embarkation on to the “Monarch Queen”. On the day of embarkation, we had an early morning tour date, and we made arrangements with the bell hop at the hotel that we would handle our luggage ourselves. When we returned to the hotel our luggage was not in our room!. It appeared that someone from Gate 1 arranged for our suitcases to be delivered to the lobby. We had not finished packing and were clearly upset with this "invasion of privacy". As we boarded the ship it was immediately evident that this was not the luxury ship that we had anticipated. The ship appeared tired and dated. Our stateroom was basic. Upon first use of the bathroom sink, we noticed a strong sewer gas smell. It was putrid. We immediately reported the problem and after some time, a temporary fix was done. A few days later, the smell was back. Eventually they put enough chemicals down the sink to get rid of the smell. The food on this cruise was at best, mediocre. Most of the soups were cream-based soups and they all tasted like “cream of mushroom soup” even though they claimed to be different vegetable soups. There were main course options of fish, meat or vegetarian at every meal. All were mediocre. Often too salty, or not enough salt. The bread basket which was provided at dinner, was the same type of bread and, occasionally, they ran out of the grain bread and offered a lesser quality rye bread. In Europe, where the pastries and breads are so delicious, the limited selection of bread was surprising and disappointing. We often bought our own bread when out on excursions and brought it back to the boat. Bottled water seemed to be at a premium and only available in the cabin. The water which was served in the dining room must have come from a holding tank. The water tasted and smelled foul and was not drinkable. The service in the dining room was terrible. We understood that they were short staffed, but why should that become our problem? Getting a waiters attention for coffee refill at breakfast, or wine at dinner was next to impossible. We had asked for a decaf coffee one evening after dinner and were told we would have to go to the lounge and get it ourselves! The dining room wait staff was not properly trained. For example, women were not served first; wait staff reached in front of passengers to collect dirty dishes. One server wore a very strong perfume which was quite offensive. The dining room itself was not an elegant or classy room. The dishes were not quality china. In fact, many dishes were chipped. This was not fine dining. The lounge had a cappuccino/expresso machine and also a variety of teas were available. There were only cookies available for a snack. The television in our cabin was not working in the room. When the crew member came to repair the television, he accused us of pulling the tv out from the wall too far and thereby breaking the cable. We took exception to this accusation. The ship is not that old, but is not kept up. The walking track on the upper deck was covered with a rubber compound that was torn in some areas, presenting a potential tripping hazard. There was virtually NO shade on the top deck. There were some screen canopies, but they did not provide full shade. The tours were fine but they were not in-depth or well researched. The on-board lectures were equally not terribly interesting. The best crew member was our room steward. The room was always cleaned perfectly!!! And she was always willing to accommodate any request. Overall, this was probably one of the worst trips we had ever taken. The price of this cruise was excessive for what we got!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We had a TERRIFIC time on our GATE1 Danube River Cruise; THE stops were enjoyable and most of the tour guides were amazing: The best were Michael in Regensburg, Lyudmila in Melk, Gerhardt in Vienna, and Janko in Bratislava. The service ... Read More
We had a TERRIFIC time on our GATE1 Danube River Cruise; THE stops were enjoyable and most of the tour guides were amazing: The best were Michael in Regensburg, Lyudmila in Melk, Gerhardt in Vienna, and Janko in Bratislava. The service was impeccable and our room steward Daniel and all of the waiters and waitresses were awesome (Trix and Marius, especially, who took excellent care of us during lunch and dinner every day). The food was mostly delicious, and we enjoyed relaxing on the upper deck. I only liked only two evening activities, the Hungarian and Bavarian evenings. There was one BIG problem though: for several days, there was a horrific smell in our rooms on the 3rd floor. It smelled like a sewer. The lounge in the aft was unbearable to enter because of the smell the entire trip. The biggest issue was that I don't think it was handled well by Soma, the Tour Manager, and by Gate 1. To be offered "free sodas and alcohol at lunch" as a way of placating, or compensating the passengers for this terrible smell, doesn't really cut it. At one point we were told that Gate 1 was “flying in engineers to take care of the problem at the next port”. There was still a smell for one day after this happened. This ship was only a year old, and to have to spray the room with room spray, body mist and/or my perfume to make it bearable to sleep in, is unconscionable. I can't imagine people wanting to pay thousands of dollars to smell a foul sewer smell. I frankly believe all of the passengers affected should get some kind of major credit for their next Gate 1 trip. I would like to take another river cruise but because of this issue, I may try Viking or another company. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
This was a last- minute booking. We knew the ships could be outdated - and this one was (gaudy orange walls, green carpet and shiny gold ceilings) and that the majority of people on board would be French but decided to give this company a ... Read More
This was a last- minute booking. We knew the ships could be outdated - and this one was (gaudy orange walls, green carpet and shiny gold ceilings) and that the majority of people on board would be French but decided to give this company a try. Unlike other lines, Croisi Europe does not include any trips although they say that all drinks are included - this is true unless you want any liqueurs, branded spirits, decent wine or anything but very basic port. There are daily cocktails which appear to come ready mixed and don't seem to contain much alcohol. The wine we got with meals was cheap and nasty- we found one of the bottles for €3 in a local shop. Trips are expensive and you get the impression that things are included as time-fillers rather than because they are interesting. There are no allowances for slower walkers, as there are on other lines. Smoking is allowed in all outside areas which means that everyone has to suffer when someone smokes at the front of the sun deck, which they do all the time. There is nowhere to escape from the constant noisy chatter on board. There is no choice at mealtimes, although they try to offer alternatives if you let them know you don't like something. They do try to include regional specialities. Breakfast is largely continental and is the only meal served buffet style. There were eggs and a variety of weird sausages and we even had bacon one one occasion. The river is stunning with wild, remote areas and five dams with huge locks. The canopy on the sun deck had to be lowered each time we went through the locks and for low bridges and you have to be careful not to get wet when the ship passes under the guillotine gates from which water pours as you leave the locks. The only places where there is anything to see when you stop are Regua and Pinhao. Both are small places with a few shops and cafes but neither is anything special. If you go on the excursions, the ship moves on and you miss a lot of the beautiful scenery. Porto is interesting but very hilly. It has 30-odd port houses. We didn't feel that this cruise was good value because the trips were extra. By the time you add flights and transfers onto the basic cost, it didn't work out much different from other far superior lines and would have been more expensive if you went on the trips. We did see other Croisi Europe ships which appeared to be much nicer than ours and we were told that the ship is due a re-fit at the end of the 2017 season. This is long overdue! Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
What a way to visit Normandie and get a taste of Paris! This was our first cruise of any kind. We are very happy with our choice. From beginning to end all went well. The crew were welcoming, helpful, efficient and professional. ... Read More
What a way to visit Normandie and get a taste of Paris! This was our first cruise of any kind. We are very happy with our choice. From beginning to end all went well. The crew were welcoming, helpful, efficient and professional. They must be applying the 10/5 concept; eye contact at 10 feet and a hello at 5 feet. Whenever we would leave the ship for an excursion the Captain would bid us a good day and then a welcome back, something we were told rarely happens on other cruises. The stateroom was very well apportioned and always kept clean and tidy by our room steward. Dining in the morning, at noon,in the evening and at night was fantastic and plentiful and the wines were very good. The service on all fronts was excellent, albeit a bit slow at the bar at times; the entertainment also left something to be desired, except for the night the crew took to the stage. As for the shore excursions all of them were well guided, informative and always on schedule. Without taking anything away from other excursions the highlights for us were the D-Day landing beaches and the optional one to Honfleur, i.e., the location from where Champlain and company departed to settle the "new world". The sailing part of the cruise was not so much a sail per se as a glide along La Seine. Although there is always a current there is practically no wind to speak of, thus no waves. We delighted in watching the river banks and the towns and cities glide by, even at night with the lights of our room extinguished and curtains slightly opened, all until we gently fell asleep. This was truly a wonderful adventure. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
I want to start by saying that I take writing reviews seriously. As of this writing I have 18,895 Trip advisor readers that have read my reviews. This is my first review on Cruise critic.. We booked a trip on the Uniworld cruise ... Read More
I want to start by saying that I take writing reviews seriously. As of this writing I have 18,895 Trip advisor readers that have read my reviews. This is my first review on Cruise critic.. We booked a trip on the Uniworld cruise "Enchanting Danube" in September with two other couples. To say the trip was a disaster is an understatement...but more importantly Uniworld's management handling of the issues shows a total disregard for their passengers. I would NOT recommend using this company. The day we boarded the ship there was a known problem that prevented this ship from proceeding through the first bridge. Had we been informed that there was a possibility that this ship would never make the first scheduled stop or any stops for that matter, we could have made other arrangements and quite possibly cancel and reschedule our trip. The boat's management poorly communicated in the first few days and developed solutions that either required sitting on a bus tour for over two hours or sitting on the stationary boat. For those of you who are not familiar with a Uniworld cruise, there is nothing to do when sitting on the boat during the day. The boat management seemed clueless as to what to do. One day all passengers we ordered to stay on the boat. We were shocked that the management team did not try to offer something to entertain the passengers...wine tasting, bringing additional massage therapists as the one therapist was booked everyday, music on the deck, cooking class etc. After a few days, Uniworld realized that they could not proceed with the cruise. They called a meeting at 6PM and informed the passengers that they would have to disembark by 8:30 AM the following morning to begin a bus tour. Everyone had to pack that night and wake up early to leave the ship. A member of our party gets sick when traveling on a bus which is why we chose to do a river cruise in the first place. We could not agree to do the bus tour. We demanded that Uniworld find us a car service to take us to Prague, the last stop on our trip. They reluctantly agreed. We wanted to just go home. To make a long story short, Uniworld did not provide a rivercruise...they provided a bus tour. They knew of these issues when we boarded the boat and did not adequately communicate with the passengers. We never had a river cruise. Then when complaints arose, they sent a note stating."we have offered each guest a 50% per person refund of the cruise base fare (less all discounts), the category upgrade (if applicable), and port taxes, as well as a Future Cruise Credit of 50% off of the base cruise fare and category upgrade (subject to availability and excluding suites) in our 2016, 2017 or 2018 sailing seasons." On a $24K trip we received $7,200 for our troubles. Our travel agent and I reached out to the President of Uniworld with no adequate resolution. After 45 days of getting the run around I give up. I paid for a river cruse and was offered a bus tour that we could not do because a member of our party gets sick on buses. Some additional information, I would not recommend a Uniworld tour unless you are in your late 70's or early 80's. After dinner entertainment is like Bill Murray imitating a lounge singer on Saturday night live. Most people were sleeping by 9:30. I think this says it all. BEWARE!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Never take this cruise. They talk about some great tours and cancel many of them along the way. The food is not good, the service is mostly done by interns that are learning and it is super over priced for receiving close to nothing. ... Read More
Never take this cruise. They talk about some great tours and cancel many of them along the way. The food is not good, the service is mostly done by interns that are learning and it is super over priced for receiving close to nothing. Terrible and boring cruise up the Mississippi with almost know good entertainment or activities. The boat even crashed into a sand bar at night - took about 30 minutes of pushing back and forth to get off and woke everyone up- bent the paddle wheel and made them late to arrive in Memphis so they canceled the Memphis tour? If you want a good cruise go on a Viking River cruise. The difference is like a cubic to a diamond. Our only grace was we had planned a few days on our own in the start destination and the end destination so we saw those two locations and had fun there Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This was my first river cruise. We were originally scheduled to sail on the Kara from Amsterdam to Basel for a seven night cruise. However, a few days before we were to sail, we got an email telling us that we were going to be getting on ... Read More
This was my first river cruise. We were originally scheduled to sail on the Kara from Amsterdam to Basel for a seven night cruise. However, a few days before we were to sail, we got an email telling us that we were going to be getting on the Hlin in Amsterdam instead of the Kara. This did not really concern us since they seemed to be identical ships. The Hlin was initially docked at an industrial port in Amsterdam, Coenhaven, which is about 10 km outside of the city. It cost us $50 euro to get there. We could not walk to the city from here, and as a result,, we lost time in exploring the city. The worst thing is that Viking did not tell us where to go for the ship! It was not one of the three "possible" ports indicated on their website. We really enjoyed the first three nights on the Hlin. The chef was excellent, the crew was great and we had a happy ship. That all changed on day three when we were told to pack our bags and have them ready at our door at 9 am, we were going to be transferred by bus to the Kara and the Kara passengers were being transferred to the Hlin. OK so we were going to miss an evening in the lounge, I was not that upset. Sometimes you have to go with the flow. I wish I could say that was the end of our troubles. After our morning excursion to Marburg Castle, we got back on board the ship for lunch and a brief sailing on the Rhine. We were not allowed to return to our rooms and had to stay in the public areas. We were lucky it was a nice day and we could enjoy the top deck. This turned out to be the only time we actually sailed on the Rhine! For just 2 hours. We missed seeing the most beautiful part of the river. Of course they lied and told us that we would be missing nothing, that we would only miss seeing the part of the river they sail on when we are sleeping. Then they stopped at the side of the river and loaded us all on buses. They told us it would be a 2 hour bus trip to Kehl. It took almost 5 hours to get there! We stopped for the bathroom once and had to pay to use the toilet! The crew of the Kara had been told not to discuss how long they had been tied up at Kehl (over 2 weeks!). The ship seemed older than the Hlin and the service on the Kara was below par. It was if we were with a different tour company. We did not sail once we were at Kehl, but rather,we were bused everywhere! For the next four days. The cruise director said these circumstances were most unusual. We later learned this is a common occurrence. We completely skipped four of our port cities: Koblenz, Heidelberg, Breisach and Basel. We received no compensation for this deviation of itinerary. We were bused to some (not all) of these places but we did not sail to any of them. We paid extra to have a balcony. It was a waste of money. We never got to enjoy it. The view from my balcony in Amsterdam was of a highway. Would you want to sit on your deck looking at the cars flying by? Here's another thing they don't tell you: the ships are often stacked at ports. This happened to us twice! Can you imagine having a ship right next to your room? We could not see out of our window (as advertised) or sit on our balcony. In fact, I had to keep the curtains in the room closed if I didn't want someone to see in my room! We paid for a balcony and never got to use it. One of the things that Viking advertises is “Our ships gently carry you to the world’s greatest cities, deliver you to the center of charming towns and villages and connect you to your destination.” This never happened for us. In fact, not once did they "deliver us to the center of charming towns and villages" On the second night in Cologne, we were docked about ten kilometers from the city. We were told there were no docks in the city. But we saw many river cruise boats docked right in town including several competitor companies who were in Viking spots using Viking River Cruise ramps. And after that we were stuck in Kehl for the rest of the trip. Every day they lied to us. They lied about changing ships, the lied about how much time we would be on each bus (by at least an hour each day!), they lied about what we would be missing on the Rhine, they lied about the locks and they lied about the problems. And everyone on the ship felt the same way as we did. Not only has Viking not offered a refund, they only offered us 25% off of future cruises. We will never again sail on Viking. My ratings below are a combination of both ships. In general the Hlin was well run and, in general, the Kara was below par. The lies and lack of information was inexcusable. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
The rooms on this ship are tiny. Ours was a suite, which had a nice bathroom, but otherwise was about the same size as the regular rooms. The dining room was constantly over crowded. The food was mediocre at best and awful at worst. The ... Read More
The rooms on this ship are tiny. Ours was a suite, which had a nice bathroom, but otherwise was about the same size as the regular rooms. The dining room was constantly over crowded. The food was mediocre at best and awful at worst. The day was structured to force you to attend evening talks in a crowded bar area every night after which everyone on the ship went to dinner. As a result, the dining room was overwhelmed and it took 2 plus hours to eat every night. You can barely move around the breakfast and lunch buffets as the tables are so jammed together. Every event was preceded by a stampede of passengers. The lecturer speaking on the reformation started his talk about religion by saying he was an atheist and then read from note cards. We did complain and efforts were made to make things better for us, but frankly, not much could be done. This would have been our worst vacation ever had it not been for the wonderful staff on the ship. They always had a smile and made every effort to please. The experience is designed for travelers that do not want to explore on their own and that do not do their homework or try to learn about their destinations but want to be spoon fed. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
I enjoyed many aspects of my Viking "Grand European" bus tour. Which basically means I enjoyed the European towns we visited by bus. Viking offerred us a really sweet deal on their November "Grand European" river ... Read More
I enjoyed many aspects of my Viking "Grand European" bus tour. Which basically means I enjoyed the European towns we visited by bus. Viking offerred us a really sweet deal on their November "Grand European" river tour. Unfortunately they failed to mention to us that their boats couldn't sail due to low water levels on all the rivers we were supposed to sail, the Rhine, Main and Danube, and that we would be traveling far away from these scenic rivers, by buses. I take particular umbrage at the fact that they booked us knowing full well that the rivers were unsailable, and had been since early June, but never told us. When we arrived on our boat, everything just got worse. Everyday they lied to us. We were bused to four seperate boats on our 14 day extravanga, two of which never sailed. We had one afternoon of "scenic river cruising." We are younger retired people and travel about 4 months a year. I have simply never had a travel experience like this. I suspect Viking may think they can get away with their deceit because many of the people who take these cruises are elderly and were too overwhelmed by the experience to do anything but weakly complain. It was particularly galling to me to see what happened to the "leisurely" cruisers, those elderly people who booked the cruise so they could sail and see, while not able to walk and tour. These people were bused to restaurants, where they sat and waited for the bus to drive them to the next destination. Elderly handicapped people were forced to walk in the rain up and down boat ramps, up and down bus stairs, pack and repack. Their health and welfare were essentially endangered by Viking. Besides all of this, here are some other factoids about Viking: Did you read Vikings PR about how the chefs prepare "regional delicacies" from local markets? Malarky. I saw the canned food being trucked in one day while I stayed on the boat and everyone else was off on their bus. There were lots of canned onion rings, canned stale cookies, really mediocre food. Did you read about their free wifi? Malarky again. The wifi didn't work. They had two wired ship computers for "guests" which were infected with malware which infected everyone's computers who used them, a Viking gift that keeps on giving, even after you come home. Our last day was especially memorable. We were bused from Vienna to Slovakia where we had lunch in the cheesiest Holiday Inn you have ever seen, with really the worst meal anyone could remember. Steamed ice cream scoops of rice, and microwaved chicken breasts with no sauce. Slovakia had amazing food available at their Christmas markets and restaurants but we had a schedule to meet on our bus and had no time. We then were bused through Hungary where four buses, 186 people arrived at a Mc Donalds, I kid you not, to use the two available toilets. Really special. Thanks Viking! Viking gave us "free round trip airfare," except of course when the airline they booked us on went on strike. After one solid day in Budapest wrangling with Viking trying to arrange air transport home, they finally booked us on a flight from Munich to DC to home in San Diego, six hours before the flight departed. Unfortunately we were in Budapest with insufficient time to arrange transport to Munich. So we paid $4,500 to arrange our own last minute costly flight home. If all goes well on Viking, I hear it can be a very nice experience. If all doesn't go well, you are really out of luck. Please see yelp for more current reviews of the viking experience. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
We boarded this vessel along with several other couples we know. We didn't pick the dates-- HUGE MISTAKE!!! We set sail in October and encountered rain, dreary gray skies and weather cold enough to make a few of the passengers ill. ... Read More
We boarded this vessel along with several other couples we know. We didn't pick the dates-- HUGE MISTAKE!!! We set sail in October and encountered rain, dreary gray skies and weather cold enough to make a few of the passengers ill. Pumps on the locks weren't working properly in some cases (not necessarily the ship's fault), but it did shorten excursions that day and even canceled at least one of them. Food was good but with so little to do who needed the calories?? Far too surface of a treatment for the towns visited, except in two cases. We had the better staterooms and to be honest they were very small but all river cruiser rooms are small and unimpressive. To do over again I would have never agreed to go on this cruise and I won't even think about another "river cruise". They are for the birds! The ill-fit and well-healed but nearly demented set should do fine on them! Tremendous waste of money, and this comes from a veteran independent European traveler! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
My main issue with this cruise was that I had called prior to the cruise and specifically asked about the issue regarding water levels in the Danube. I was told that there was no problem with our trip at that time AND that, if there were, ... Read More
My main issue with this cruise was that I had called prior to the cruise and specifically asked about the issue regarding water levels in the Danube. I was told that there was no problem with our trip at that time AND that, if there were, we would be notified prior to leaving. This DID NOT HAPPEN. After we boarded the ship, we were told that there MIGHT be an issue on day 3. Well, come to find out that the issue had been happening all summer and, with no rain in the forecast, would continue to happen throughout. I started writing emails ( the wi fi was slower than dial up on the ship) on day 3 of the cruise. None of my emails were answered. I had to wait until I got home to call customer service. The person did apologize and offered me minimal compensation toward a future cruise. I will NEVER cruise with VIKING again unless I go free. This is analogous to the VOLKSWAGON issue to me. I was intentionally mislead and spend half of my vacation on buses. A river cruise with no river is not a river cruise at all. The correct course of action for VIKING, in my opinion, would have been to notify guests in advance via email that there were drought conditions in Europe and that there was a possibility that the trip might be altered. That way, people could have made an informed choice rather than being left feeling tricked. The ship was lovely although the staterooms and bathrooms were microscopic. AND expensive... This was supposed to be 5 star. I travel frequently and this trip was a major dissappointment. The shore excursions were variable. One excursion was included each day and when 180 people from our Viking ship along with another 400 from sister ships descended on a small medieval town it was a cross between a grade school field trip and attack of the geriatric body snatchers. Food was uniformly excellent. Staff worked very very hard but it was difficult to overcome the issues generated by the company. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
When we were in Prague as an add on to our river cruise we received a note in our door that the first 3 days the ship would be operating out of Passau (a 3.5 hour bus ride away) and that the excursions would be bus tours from there to ... Read More
When we were in Prague as an add on to our river cruise we received a note in our door that the first 3 days the ship would be operating out of Passau (a 3.5 hour bus ride away) and that the excursions would be bus tours from there to Nuremberg (2.5+hours) and Regensburg (1.5+hours) each way. Also the boat was now the Opal rather than the Jasper. We were not aware of this either. We were very unhappy as were all the fellow cruisers to whom we spoke. One of the joys of river cruising is, supposedly (as we never found out) sitting and watching the world go by. Instead we were stuck at a dock in a small cabin with a useless sunroom and with another boat rafted beside us. Therefore we had no light, no view, no air and no privacy. We then sailed to Komoron which is 2 hours outside of Budapest and has absolutely nothing to do or see. I would rather they had changed the itinerary to include cruising to some other part of the river rather than sit in port. Or, as other river cruise lines did, transfer us to boats in major ports on our itinerary and at least cut down on the hours of driving on a bus that smelled like urine. For the entire week we cruised during the day approximately 6 hours. The rest of the time the boat sailed at night or we remained rafted in our little dungeon. It would have been nice to at least use the hot tub but it was out of commission for all but the first day. Then there is the food. Definitely not five star in my opinion. Over cooked pork, raw chicken, soggy seafood and beef, overcooked vegetables, cornstarch filled soups with no flavour or substance, dried bread, cheap wines and very little flavour for everything. The seafood buffet held at one lunch time was all that I believe was satisfactory, although as mention the soup was tasteless except for the flavour of cornstarch. The cruise was run like a cheap bus tour. No sit down breakfast after 830, short lunch and dinner whenever the buses got back. The beer and wines were okay but not 5 star as were the drinks. No caesars to be found. The entertainment was limited and very disappointing. The cruise director and staff were not helpful when trying to book alternate excursions such as the hop on hop off bus. It stopped right outside the boat in Vienna but we didn't figure that our until we followed their recommendations to take a taxi into Vienna to book it. Which we did. Then found that the itinerary included a dock side stop right in front of our boat. We brought the brochures (from the booth outside of the ship at the bus stop) to the staff for further reference. As mentioned, included excursions required usually over 2 hours of bus time each way. The sundowner (happy hour) excursion included cheap white wine, no red wine or beer and a long walk from the bus(which was not mentioned) We had no problem with this but many of the other cruisers did. Also the night of so called elegance for a classical music concert at a palace in Vienna involved a long bus ride and then a long walk through the city on cobblestones so those that made the mistake of wearing the recommended "elegant wear". The so called self guided town and river devices did not work at times and they were very cumbersome. Also be aware that they asked us to leave the ear phones so they could be recycled (they were only cheap plastic for one ear). The overall lack of respect from the cruise director and the constant misinformation or lack of any information was disappointing to say the least. None of us on the cruise, that I am aware, had any prior information related to the changes. Also there appeared to be no attempt on behalf of Scenic to alter excursions or practice to improve the experience. We did not start the cruise where we were promised. We did not finish the cruise where promised. We do not believe we received 5 star service. However we believe that we had the most expensive 1 star bus tour to be had. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
My wife and I, along with friends, took a Viking Cruise on the Danube departing September 25th, 2015 from Nuremburg, Germany. It was planned to arrive in Budapest on October 1st. It did not. Our Viking Cruise was a total ... Read More
My wife and I, along with friends, took a Viking Cruise on the Danube departing September 25th, 2015 from Nuremburg, Germany. It was planned to arrive in Budapest on October 1st. It did not. Our Viking Cruise was a total disappointment, with a significant under delivery in overall customer experience due to: 1) the excessive use of bus transportation with “claimed” low waters in the Danube, 2) Viking’s lack of communication on this issue prior to our trip commencement and during its duration 3) a requirement to change ships (Viking Var/Tor) for the second half of the cruise, and 4) no completion of the trip in Budapest where we were promised an evening cruise to view this magnificent city by night. Viking well in advance of our departure knew of the low water levels. No option of canceling our trip was given. Here are the details. 1. We did not have a full and fulfilling River cruise, using bus transportation for the bulk of the trip to access towns and cities, including Passau, Melk and Budapest. Our cruise became the most expensive BUS trip we have ever experienced. The extent of our bus transportation reduced our time to experience these major cites to well below the quality that Viking committed to. One bus trip exceeded 4 hours. We even missed the first evening in Vienna and much more that was promised. 2. The extent of our river cruising on the Danube was approximately 90 minutes completing the Wachau Valley, disappointingly at the end of the day, in dark lighting. This was hardly the time to see this wonderful scenery, take great photos, and see the promised beauty of the rest of this leg of the river. This part of the cruise was promised to start at lunchtime. It did not. 3. Our trip was not completed. We did not finish our voyage with a promised evening River Cruise on the Danube in Budapest. Luckily, we had extended our trip, and purchased an evening cruise in Budapest with a local operator and experienced this magnificent city from the river, but incurred the additional cost. Viking could have figured out a way to deliver this end piece of the journey. We, as has many of our cruise colleagues have, informed Viking of our negative experiences with their Danube Viking Cruise, asking for refunds and credits. We have communicated via email to VP Customer Relations, Jason Pashko, Head of North America, and Torstein Hagen, CEO of Viking. We have heard no replies after requesting for personal phone calls to better describe our experience. We have been left with Customer Relations Case Managers who have offered us a 25% credit on a future trip. Consistent with Viking’s “divide and conquer” approach to customer complaints, they refuse requests for taking the issue to senior management, and have offered credits ranging from 20% to 35% on a future Viking Cruise for our cruise colleagues. This is ridiculous. Why would an organization the size of Viking offer differing compensation levels across customers on the same cruise, all experiencing the same shortfall in experience? How DISAPPOINTING!!!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
The Viking River Cruise longship from Amsterdam to Budapest doesn't go to Budapest it goes to Nuremberg, then to where you get to pack your bags again then get on a bus for three + hours to Passau where you get another barge. And ... Read More
The Viking River Cruise longship from Amsterdam to Budapest doesn't go to Budapest it goes to Nuremberg, then to where you get to pack your bags again then get on a bus for three + hours to Passau where you get another barge. And unpack your bags. That's right your Viking Longship is a barge. A self powered barge, but a barge just the same. Which is not all bad. Stable and roomy come to mind. All of the crew are great! But the people in charge of running the cruise are not. They lie by omission. Asking about barge changes will get you no where. They haven't run a single barge from Amsterdam to Budapest in over three months and they don't want you to know this. The office did not respond to a single inquiry. Other than a 'don't reply' acknowledgement of email receipt. They ( corporate headquarters) put all the burden on the crew aboard the barge. The barge also SKIPPED THE REGENSBURG STOP! unless you want to take another long bus ride. Then the second barge DOES NOT GO TO BUDAPEST IT GOES TO KORMARON 60 + miles TO BUDAPEST FOR THE FIRST OF THREE BUS TRIPS TO BUDAPEST. Over an hour and 15 minutes each way. To summarize, no single Viking boat is going from Amsterdam to Budapest, and hasn't for three months. Even the second boat goes only to KORMARON. The Viking company ( based in Switzerland) is keeping this really quiet. They sent me an email two days before departure saying this might happen. Never mentioning Kormaron. However most of the passengers onboard were completely shocked at this trip changing news. And I, like many passengers was already in Amsterdam. Making it too late to back out. Total failure for Viking. Also VERY IMPORTANT IF YOU ARE UNDER 65 DON'T TAKE THIS TRIP. All senior citizens are not infirm or stodgy but a sizable fraction are. I am 59 and quite probably the youngest guest. Also many days your boat will be sandwiched between other boats making the additional expense of veranda worthless. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We started poorly. The hotel in Paris was not able to have our rooms ready by the 3 p.m. deadline. Instead, we were not allowed into our room until well after 5 p.m. Our wake-up call did not materialize and thus we missed our assigned ... Read More
We started poorly. The hotel in Paris was not able to have our rooms ready by the 3 p.m. deadline. Instead, we were not allowed into our room until well after 5 p.m. Our wake-up call did not materialize and thus we missed our assigned bus ride to our port of embarkation, Trier. Our cruise should have lasted 6 nights. Instead, the Odin broke down and we were stranded at a small German town - Ashafenburg - if my spelling is correct, for three of those nights. Our river cruise turned into a bus tour - not what I signed up for! There was sporadic electric service, toilets did not flush, a/c was non-existent and the kitchen staff ultimately ran out of the food they had intended to serve. However, when the kitchen was running at full tilt, the food was very good. Tour guides tried their best and the staff in the dining room and the cabin crew did their best. The officers not so much. The captain did not speak English - this on a boat with 189 Americans aboard - and the Hotel Manager who translated for him, did not give us the captain's full explanation. I don't speak much German but I do know the word propeller. That was never mentioned in the translation. The entertainment on board was mediocre, the wine tasting, at an additional expense, was disappointing although the tour of Prague was well done. The final straw was that the plane, the flight arranged by Viking, from Prague to Heathrow was late in leaving Prague causing us to miss our connection back to the states. When we finally boarded the following day, we sat on the tarmac for 21/2 hours before departing. Altogether, the trip from _ _ _ _ !! Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
NEVER, EVER AGAIN! If you book a cruise after reading my review below, all I can say is “I warned you.” We booked back-to-back Mississippi River Cruises in August, 2015. First one was from St. Paul, MN to St. Louis, MO: the second ... Read More
NEVER, EVER AGAIN! If you book a cruise after reading my review below, all I can say is “I warned you.” We booked back-to-back Mississippi River Cruises in August, 2015. First one was from St. Paul, MN to St. Louis, MO: the second one from St. Louis to New Orleans. We had the same cabin for both cruises. As other travelers have mentioned, new passengers can come on board at 1030 a.m., but have to cool their heels in a lounge until the cabins are ready two hours later. Why not just push the boarding time back to 1230 and have the rooms ready? We got to our cabin, complete with an EIGHTEEN-inch TV. Really? 18-inch? My computer screen is larger. I had to clean the cobwebs off the sliding glass doors before my wife would go out on the “veranda”. Cobwebs and fingernail clippings on the floor of the veranda were good indications that this company doesn’t bother to clean the outside of the boat. On the second day we realized the crew only has one set of washcloths on board. You can’t get replacement washcloths until 330 p.m. each day, and bath towels are only available after 1030 a.m. For the first few days we told crew members, including the hotel manager, we needed replacement towels, and all said we would get them, but that didn’t happen. For first few days we had to go down and get our own. One day instead of two bath towels, we got two bathmats! Some days we got one washcloth and one hand towel per cabin. How much would it cost to have 2-3 sets on board? We had a Keurig-like coffee maker in our room but nothing to drink the coffee out of for first week. I decided to wait and see how long it would take before the steward noticed. It took a week. Other comments on the room: The cabin wasn’t vacuumed even once in the two weeks we were on board. The volume control on the wall for the public address system was stuck on full blast. Result: every time an announcement was made, I jumped about six inches off whatever I was resting on. While the wall switch supposedly gave us a choice of background music, etc., it was inoperable. The best thing about the room was Ivan Levashov’s painting of white irises. Amazing. Cruise staff told me that average age of passengers was 65-75. Not true by at least a decade. I know that American Cruise Lines has no control over who buys tickets, but the entertainment advertised should reflect that. We had World War 2 vets, Korean War vets (they wore hats advertising such), etc. One night’s entertainment was advertised as “Old Time Rock and Roll”, but the first tune we heard as we entered the room was “Bye Bye Blackbird”, followed by “I Fall to Pieces”, “In the Mood” and “Sentimental Journey”. Bluegrass another night act was not bluegrass music. I could go on and on, but that is illustrative. Even the cruise director admitted to me that they had “misrepresented” the entertainment. Some nights the talent advertised didn’t show up, and afternoon activities on three days included kite flying and BUBBLE BLOWING on the top deck. Be still my heart. PORTS OF CALL: Oh, boy! Where do I start? The ports they advertise only have a casual relationship with what you get. Personally, I don’t think three hours on land counts as a port call. Passengers are herded onto buses, sometime for three hours, with no breaks. Local tours too often are a tour bus driving up and down the streets of small towns, looking at the outsides of vintage houses and touring vacant lots and closed store fronts with the tour guide saying “This lot/store used to be……….” The highlight of a couple of tours was a stop at the top of a bluff overlooking the town. Almost every port call ended, like at Disneyland/ Disney World, at a gift shop. The first port of call was Red Wing, MN, home of the famous Red Wing Shoes, but we were there on a SUNDAY, when the factory and store are closed. Clearly American Cruise Line knows this. Result: a bus “tour” around this tiny town with a stop at a pottery-centered gift shop. We didn’t stop at Davenport, Iowa; Oak Alley, LA or Baton Rouge, LA, with no public acknowledgement of why. Instead we landed at tiny towns like Burlington, IA and St. Francisville, LA; both of which are ill equipped for and can not be considered an “attraction”. Don’t assume you are going to get to see Elvis’s bedroom at Graceland or the exhibits at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis where MLK, Jr. was killed. Didn’t happen. Also, excursion on another day was to a button museum. I couldn’t make this stuff up. ACL has no way of keeping track of which passengers are on the boat and who are not at any given stop. Consequently, for example, in Memphis, one passenger was left behind at the tour stop at St. Jude’s Hospital; a CREW member was left behind at the afternoon excursion, and a couple who had gone into town for dinner was left behind as the boat took off down the river at 7 p.m., instead of at the advertised time of 8 p.m. After sailing for 30 minutes, the boat had to turn around and go back to Memphis to pick the couple up. Crew error. When we told crew that we would be off the boat for one night, nothing (to my knowledge) was written down either upon our departure or return. A final insult was my wife and I being literally left in the parking lot in New Orleans as the shuttle to the airport drove away early. Again, crew error. Result: cruise director unsuccessfully chasing after shuttle on foot, followed by an 80-90 mph taxi ride to the airport to catch up with the bus which had our luggage. Most exciting and entertaining (although stressful) part of the trip. FOOD: Breakfast was well handled, but food to table for lunch and dinner occasionally had only a casual relationship with menu choices. Worst, the ice cream served was “soup” at every meal. Passengers complained on first half of cruise and ice cream was firm for next two days, followed by 10 days of melted ice cream. You could have consumed it with a straw. VALUE: For what we spent on two weeks with ACL on the Mississippi, we could have flown to Europe and had an all-inclusive river cruise or ocean cruise. Please note that ACL price doesn’t include tips or airline tickets. Those are on you. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This cruise was greatly anticipated after a fantastic experience on Silver Explorer in Antarctica. Started off badly with the hotel we stayed in as part of the package in Oslo. The Radisson Blu - what a dump. A tired and sad hotel in need ... Read More
This cruise was greatly anticipated after a fantastic experience on Silver Explorer in Antarctica. Started off badly with the hotel we stayed in as part of the package in Oslo. The Radisson Blu - what a dump. A tired and sad hotel in need of a lot of TLC. Poor room - too hot to sleep, terrible breakfast once you had fought your way through the swarms of people on coach tours. Poor service with baggage - not collected. Flight to Longyerbyan O K but had to sit apart from travelling companion. Embarkation OK. Not as slick as previous cruise. Found suite. Waited for baggage to arrive. Investigated suite. What ' no champagne' did have that waiting on previous cruise. No slippers - told run out. No passenger list. Had lunch then sailed away. The first few days in Svarlbard were O K but not really exciting. Zodiac landings where very few. Where we did land it was to see some old ruins. One place we were told not to walk off the path and not to touch anything. Some old huts with very new stainless steel flues! We're told the locals visit the place for picnics and overnight stays - so why were we cautioned about what we could do! Asked some questions about the place and was told by the Expedition Historian that there was nothing 'in the book about it'!, One place we visited to see Walruses we had to wait until evening to take a Zodiac Landing because another ship had got there first! We went to see another ruin! Did see some Polar Bears, and it came across that once we had had sightings of a bear then it was -'mission accomplished ' Missed out on the Bird cliffs and a Glacier Walk. Set off for 2 days at sea for Scoresby Sund. Did not get there. Captain decided there was too much ice so another day at sea to head for Iceland. Why could he not get the sh into the sound - if we had had Captain Adam we would have made it. Iceland - could not land at Grimsey. Siglufjord - lots of rain and herrings and a museum! Huskavik - bus trip- awful lunch at some outpost. This is supposed to be the Whale Watching capital so why did we not go out on aWhale Watchting tour. Akureyri - gardens in a town then left to wander around a fairly uninteresting town. Ground fjord- scheduled bus tour- not very inspiringly- poor lunch and around 85 per cent of passengers wanted to get back to ship early. By then almost everyone was well and truely fed up with bus trips. This was supposed to be an 'expedition cruise ' not a Saga cruise and when in port you pile into a bus for a moronic day out. The Expedition Team were not at all inspiring - just look at the blogs on Silverseas Website and compare them with those of the same cruise in 2014. If only we had had Peter Damisch and Micheala Mayer and captain Adam what a huge difference it would have been. All in all this cruise was a complete waste of time and an expensive mistake. Compared to the experience in Antactica this was so so very very poor. The ship in in need of a complete makeover. Lots of very worn upholstery in the public and private places. Paint peeling off ceilings in suites. Towels were old and worn. There were changes as to what you could eat in your suite if you did not want to dine in the restaurant.On previous cruises the same menu was available in your suite absinthe restaurant. Not now you can only choose from the menu used on the deck area. The wine was poor - Civan was great and had a superb personality and was able to persuade you that you could like the wine being served. Food was excellent thanks to Pia the head chef - if it was not for her the whole two weeks would have been a hundred per cent disaster. Staff on board were helpful and good fun. They worked hard and made a difference. This whole experience really does question my desire to take another Silverseas cruise. I bought an Expedition Cruise not a cruise with bus trips to some really uninspiring places. Why we could not have explored other parts of Greenland especially as this was a huge part of the cruise and a big incentive to take the cruise. Silverseas must have a credible fall back plan if plan A does to work out. Bus trips are a cop out and a very easy option. The tour operators in Iceland must have thought that all their Christmases had come at once . The tours were not arranged especially for us, they were bog standard bus tours operated every day in Iceland. The Expedition Team had a really easy time of it and even they were found to be dozing off in the buses. If Silverseas cannot make this a credible cruise then they should cut it out of their program Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We arrived in Berlin on July 9th to be informed that due to low water level in the Elbe that our river cruise had just become a bus tour. We were supposed to have been notified by e-mail on July 7th or 8th but were not. It is really a ... Read More
We arrived in Berlin on July 9th to be informed that due to low water level in the Elbe that our river cruise had just become a bus tour. We were supposed to have been notified by e-mail on July 7th or 8th but were not. It is really a travesty of justice that Viking never informed us or other people on our "cruise" that both Viking Elbe ships had been stranded since mid to late June. Also the ship's staff had been informed that neither ship will be able to sail until October 2015. No cash adjustment was offered other a minimal credit on a future cruise. Both ships were very nice and most of the staff were very friendly and helpful. The cruise director Bojan was great and went out of his way to help make the experience as pleasant as possible given the circumstances. The busses for the land tour were very comfortable but still did not make up for not cruising. Also, some of the tour guides were hard to understand and on the walking tours they were too fast for some of the older passengers. Hotels in Berlin and Prague were excellent, except for no WiFi in your room in Prague. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
I was more excited about this cruise before I went than any of the other 9 I have taken. It was highly recommended by my travel agent and all of the information I had received looked terrific. Viking's ads on TV painted a beautiful ... Read More
I was more excited about this cruise before I went than any of the other 9 I have taken. It was highly recommended by my travel agent and all of the information I had received looked terrific. Viking's ads on TV painted a beautiful picture but it was all false. They knew before we got on the ship that they had a problem with the generator. Every day we gathered for a meeting and everyday the story changed we might do this or maybe not so it was total confusion and drama for the entire trip. We spent 5 days on a hot buss without working air conditioning and 4 nights in hotels. The food was terrible it is the first time I actually lost weight on a cruise. I ask the waiter how does Viking manage to take ground meat for a hamburger and make it to tough to chew? Three nights I had the steak and they were all tough too it certainly was not prime beef which you would expect when you pay a premium price for a cruise. Very little entertainment other than the piano player. We were supposed to have unlimited wine with dinner but we didn't get that either when we were in the hotels it was a 2 glass limit and the meals in the hotels were limited to one choice if you didn't like chicken or were tired of chicken to bad. They did refund 25% and give us a voucher for 25% off a future cruise if you take it within one year. They must be smoking pot if they think anyone will get on another Viking ship within a year. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
I was more excited about this cruise before I went than any of the other 9 I have taken. It was highly recommended by my travel agent and all of the information I had received looked terrific. Viking's ads on TV painted a beautiful ... Read More
I was more excited about this cruise before I went than any of the other 9 I have taken. It was highly recommended by my travel agent and all of the information I had received looked terrific. Viking's ads on TV painted a beautiful picture but it was all false. They knew before we got on the ship that they had a problem with the generator. Every day we gathered for a meeting and everyday the story changed we might do this or maybe not so it was total confusion and drama for the entire trip. We spent 5 days on a hot buss without working air conditioning and 4 nights in hotels. The food was terrible it is the first time I actually lost weight on a cruise. I ask the waiter how does Viking manage to take ground meat for a hamburger and make it to tough to chew? Three nights I had the steak and they were all tough too it certainly was not prime beef which you would expect when you pay a premium price for a cruise. Very little entertainment other than the piano player. We were supposed to have unlimited wine with dinner but we didn't get that either when we were in the hotels it was a 2 glass limit and the meals in the hotels were limited to one choice if you didn't like chicken or were tired of chicken to bad. They did refund 25% and give us a voucher for 25% off a future cruise if you take it within one year. They must be smoking pot if they think anyone will get on another Viking ship within a year. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
I booked this trip as a RIVERBOAT CRUISE. The boat was only able to cruise for 1 1/2 days due crew error (crew on the boat informed us the boat was damaged the first night by backing into an object). Starting the fourth day of our trip the ... Read More
I booked this trip as a RIVERBOAT CRUISE. The boat was only able to cruise for 1 1/2 days due crew error (crew on the boat informed us the boat was damaged the first night by backing into an object). Starting the fourth day of our trip the boat became a very expensive hotel room and then things got worse. On day five we were offered the opportunity spend an entire day on a bus for the included tour and on day 6 we were bused to Avignon to stay in a hotel that is on par with a Holiday Inn. The trip did not meet what was promised by Viking in the following areas: 1. We were not provided with the scheduled river cruising for the majority of the trip. 2. We did not stay on the ship for 2 of the 7 nights. The hotel accommodations were significantly inferior to the suite we had booked on the ship. The food at the hotel was completely unacceptable and this is something that has been commented on numerous times by previous travelers so Viking is well aware of this fact. 3. We lost a complete day of our vacation by being bused from Lyon to Avignon. We wanted to spend time on the boat and river cruising, we had no intention of participating in the Arles tour but were forced to spend the entire day on a bus. 4. Starting on day 3 of the cruise we were constantly worried about what was occurring and how things were being handled. Having a very junior crew member handle the situation was completely unacceptable and stressful for the guests on the boat. 5. After the captain announced that the boat was ‘having problems’ we never saw her again until we were leaving the boat to be bused to Avignon. When asked where the captain was crew members responded that they did not know. We thought she had left! Having her stand at the end of the ramp as we were disembarking was laughable, she doesn’t speak English, the vast majority of the guests were English speaking and no one was there to translate. So the only interaction the captain had with guests during this entire time was to tell us the boat was broken and good bye. 6. We were assured by crew members numerous times that Viking would fully compensate us for our losses and ‘take care of us’. 7. We were advised by crew members that the hotel accommodations in Avignon would be similar to our room on the boat. The hotel accommodations were completely unacceptable, the room rate was in the range of 150 euro per night. 8. The hotel room in Avignon had 2 twin beds that could not be made into a single bed. No other rooms were available. We were advised that this was an error Viking made when booking our room. When we booked this cruise we requested a single bed, upon arrival we found that our room had 2 twin beds and we asked our stateroom attendent and reception to have the beds made into a single. The staff could not explain why this error occurred and just continued to apologize and assure us that Viking would ‘make things right for us’. The trip and Viking’s handling of this situation has been extremely disappointing. What is going on with Viking. We travel extensively having cruised many times with Azamara, Wind Star, Regent Seven Seas and Oceania. We have always had wonderful experiences and expected the same from Viking. I know Viking is attempting to break into this cruising market, however, with this type of customer service, I doubt this will be successful. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
My wife and I traveled with 16 friends on the Hermod. Our experience was a tale of two trips. During the time we were cruising and on the ship, our experience met expectations: a handsome ship, comfortable cabins, a choice of wonderful ... Read More
My wife and I traveled with 16 friends on the Hermod. Our experience was a tale of two trips. During the time we were cruising and on the ship, our experience met expectations: a handsome ship, comfortable cabins, a choice of wonderful dishes, pleasant service and a helpful staff. But as described below, the trip turned into a mediocre experience at best. Therefore, I must give the cruise a terrible rating for the failure of Viking to deal appropriately with the problems detailed below. To give some context as to our expectations for the trip, the Viking brochure describes the "Portraits of Southern France" trip as follows: "With its ancient towns, beautiful scenery and incredible food and wine, there is no place quite as evocative as southern France. On this magical 8-day voyage, sail the scenic Saone and Rhone Rivers, alongside some of France's most picturesque scenery. With its fabulous food and wine, you can look forward to a memorable journey of discovery." Our trip certainly didn't meet this description. We boarded the ship at Chalon-sur-Saone on Sunday, May 31 (Day 1). The ship did not actually leave Chalon until the afternoon of June 1 (Day 2) when it cruised to Tournus. Those who were on the afternoon bus excursion did not experience that cruising as the bus met the ship in Tournus. The ship then left Tournus at approximately 5:00 p.m., arriving at Macon at about 8:30 p.m. This brief period was the only daytime cruising we experienced. The ship left Macon after midnight and arrived in Lyon the next morning, June 2 (Day 3). At that time, we were informed that the ship had hit something, at least one of the propellers was damaged, and the staff was assessing the problem. The ship never left Lyon. Thus, the ship cruised only on two days, Days 2 and 3, and the amount of time actually spent moving on the river was less than a day, most of it at night while we slept. On Wednesday, June 3 (Day 4) instead of cruising to Vienne, we were taken by bus to Vienne for either of the two included, scheduled walking tours. On Thursday, June 4 (Day 5) we were offered two options: 1) a bus trip to Tournon for the included tour or 2) a guided tour of a Lyon art museum. There were 60 people on the museum tour with only one guide—totally insufficient for the size of the group. The tour in Tournon was supposed to include either 1) a morning tour of Tournon with chocolate and winetasting or 2) a steam train tour. However, the steam train tour was no longer offered as an included option. Because of the long bus ride to Tournon, the “morning” tour took all day rather than the half day it was supposed to have taken. And of course there was no afternoon scenic river cruising as shown on the original itinerary. By Day 6, we had not docked at Vienne, Tournon, Viviers, or Tarascon. Thus, we had no opportunity to view the scenery along the river or leisurely explore those towns as suggested by the original itinerary. On Thursday, June 4, we were told that we would leave the ship on the next morning and be taken by bus to Arles and then to Avignon where we would stay in a hotel for the rest of the trip. On Friday, June 5 (Day 6), after leaving the ship, we took a four and a half hour bus ride to Arles and were offered either of the two included tours of Arles. The afternoon was supposed to have been an optional tour to Les Baux and the St. Paul de Mausole hospital near St. Remy de Provence (which many of us had signed up for), but that optional tour was no longer offered due to the lengthy bus ride to Arles. Instead of having a wonderful lunch on the ship, we were taken to a large restaurant in a Best Western hotel for a group lunch of beef served over rice. We had virtually the identical dinner that evening in Avignon, beef served this time over pasta. In contrast to the meals on the ship, no choices were offered. Rather, one set meal was provided, and it was hardly the “Farewell Reception and Dinner” listed in our itinerary. When buses took us to our hotels in Avignon, our particular bus had no Viking personnel on it. After a full day of getting on and off the bus, a large group of us were left on a street corner just outside the city wall for almost 30 minutes waiting for a Viking representative to take us to our hotel. Our driver and none of us had any idea of where we were staying. While most of us are fit, there were several travelers who could not handle the trek. On Saturday, June 6 (Day 7) we had the scheduled walking tour in Avignon. A group lunch was provided in a nearby hotel restaurant, and again there was a fixed menu with no choice. Dinner was at our hotel again with a fixed menu, this time hamburgers. The Viking personnel in Basel, who apparently were handling our situation, provided no additional support to the Viking staff who accompanied us to Avignon. Our hard-working and very over-taxed program director and hotel manager did their best in a trying situation. They, however, were not given logistical support required to move passengers to four different hotels, inform guests of the next day’s activities, or provide details on leaving Avignon at the end of the trip. We want to emphasize that the problems with the ship were not due to low or high water levels, which would have been natural conditions beyond Viking’s control. Rather, our cruise was interrupted by a mechanical problem, and our ship never left Lyon where it arrived on Day 3. Viking put us in a hotel inferior to the accommodations on the ship. The meals that were provided after we left the ship in no way compared to the cuisine on the ship. After the scheduled stop in Lyon when our ship no longer cruised, we were denied the amenities that accompany cruising -- the picturesque scenery; the comfortable lounges and sun deck; the cultural enrichment programs; the entertainment; the variety, quantity, and quality of cuisine; complimentary wine, beer, and soft drinks; the assorted coffee and tea available 24/7; the convenience of unpacking once. The Viking brochure touts the benefits of river cruising as follows: "Nothing compares to a river. How else but on a river can you journey into the very heart of the world's greatest cities and most charming towns, strolling off to begin your exploration. How else but on a river would you travel with such ease, unpacking just once and enjoying the ever-changing scenery along the banks? Comfortable and convenient, river cruising offers a greater variety of destinations than you can find any other way. Spend less time getting there, and more time being there. Small wonder so many people have fallen in love with this relaxing, immersive and thoroughly enjoyable form of travel." Our experience falls well below these standards. We spent a lot of time “getting there” and much less time “being there.” As for compensation, Viking has provided a voucher valued at 25% of the fare that we paid for the Portraits of Southern France cruise for another cruise. The future cruise must be booked within a year. This is inadequate compensation for what we experienced. The voucher is little more than a promotional ploy, not much different than the discounts Viking regularly offers. Although there were good things about our trip, I must give Viking a terrible rating for mishandling the situation and not offering fair compensation. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click