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100 River Cruise Reviews

The Viking River Cruise of the Douro that my wife and I took at the end of March did not call at a series of ports according to the planned “cruise”, and the only day of movement on the ship that we all experienced was the last day ... Read More
The Viking River Cruise of the Douro that my wife and I took at the end of March did not call at a series of ports according to the planned “cruise”, and the only day of movement on the ship that we all experienced was the last day when it was able to take advantage of the downstream current and cover over 100km in just over half a day. As happened last year, there was a high water problem on the Douro River. Our new ship, the Viking Hemming, overnighted in Porto, and on Monday there was a tour of the town (in the rain), and after lunch an optional excursion. This joined the ship again (it was a little late) at the deserted mooring of Bitetos. There is nothing in Bitetos except a car park and a cafe. We expected to set sail the next morning, but it was delayed a couple of hours and then later that day, and then indefinitely. The boat remained moored in Bitetos for three days. Regrettably Viking, who may or may not have known that this would happen, did not come clean, and kept promising that we would be moving soon, but that we were at the hands of the Port Authorities (not sure if they meant the river or the drink!). We were eventually offered excursions from Bitetos, but these were a diluted form of what we were expecting, and because of the location and the nature of the roads, necessitated long coach journeys. Whether or not it might have been a good idea to cut everyone’s losses and go back to Porto was never considered or offered. As passengers we were kept pretty much in the dark, being reassured that Viking was doing everything it could to assist passenger needs, but the one thing that was not happening was cruising. We spent 3 days with a great view of the mooring wall from our “state room”. It needs to be noted that the river destinations on the Douro are not the ‘inspiring’ ones promised by Viking literature. Some of the destinations, confirmed by the guidebooks, might only have one attraction, so a two hour journey to Pinhão on a coach was only to see the wonderful railway station with its decorated tile panels. One thing that Viking did was to get in visits to a series of vineyards such as the Quinta do Seixo where Sandeman comes from: this trip was not short of port-tasting opportunities. These helped provide some 'glowing' memories of the cruise, dulling some of the anger and disappointment. Eventually the ship moved (apparently at such short notice that one set of people who were passing the time walking the country roads were abandoned and were brought along subsequently by taxi) whilst most were on another coach trip, to the town of Regua. This is a main transport interchange, but the only thing really worth seeing is the Museum of the Douro. At last we could look out of our stateroom window, but that only lasted 6 hours, as another cruise boat of identical proportions, running the blockade, tied up alongside, and we were plunged into darkness. By this time it was clear that the cruise would never reach its final destination before coming back, and we were given poor choices for excursions on coaches. The choice we did not make was a four hour trip to Salamanca for a four hour stop (of which 1.5hrs was a lunch). Only 4 of 83 passengers chose to do that. So the good points were that the Viking Hemming is a brand new boat ( it was the maiden voyage) which is well kitted out with televisions and wifi in every room. The food was mostly good, being heavily influenced by local cuisine, and there was plenty of wine. In principle this could be a very interesting tour if it happened. The down side was that there was seemingly inadequate contingency planning, and the information given to passengers was of such poor quality that it resulted in excessive speculation and became the dominant topic of conversation of the trip. People started to compare disaster stories rather than enjoy the events. Whether or not Viking knew before departure that the trip would not be completed is debatable, but from hearsay, it seems that some of the crew knew that ships simply would not be moving that month. Towards the end of the trip all passengers received a standard letter indicating that there would be compensation from Viking. Even the Captain (who did not have a great command of English or public speaking) admitted that we had only had half a cruise. Tempers started to fray and a briefing meeting was impressed by some passengers who insisted, in strident tones, that we should have a 100% refund. Other passengers talked of failed river cruises where they had been given 75% off their next cruise. Before we had even completed our return to Porto, where the cruise had started, a letter had been sent out from Viking offices to our homes with a derisory offer of 25% of what we had paid (i.e. not the book price but the final negotiated price(+) against another cruise taken before the end of 2015. I hope this will be improved upon, as the company has done significant damage to its reputation, and came across as an organisation which we felt we might have difficulty in trusting. Whilst the ground part of the holiday worked fine in Lisbon, and we had a floating hotel, board and drink, and some of the excursions, this was not the holiday we signed up for. At the moment, subject to my further negotiation with Viking, it is difficult for me to feel that the company want to make me feel any better about this sad experience. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
American Queen New Year's Cruise departing Memphis to New Orleans December 28, 2013 It is unconscionable what has happened on this cruise. Especially one that costs almost $8000 for two persons -- very overpriced! This was supposed ... Read More
American Queen New Year's Cruise departing Memphis to New Orleans December 28, 2013 It is unconscionable what has happened on this cruise. Especially one that costs almost $8000 for two persons -- very overpriced! This was supposed to be a holiday cruise -- especially with Vicksburg and Natchez. One of then for New Year"s Eve fireworks. The cruise turned out to be a disaster -- except for the crew who were all gracious!! The ship left Memphis with at least one inoperable generator. There are two on the boat and there was another temporary generator on the bow of the ship. This should have been a clue that the ship had already had problems. I have no clue which one might have been inoperable when we departed Memphis. I believe the company knew there were problems, but this was the last cruise of the season and the ship probably had to get to New Orleans! Our first stop was Helena AK, an overnight sail but only 60 road miles from Memphis. We toured the city in the morning and then were to depart at 1pm. We backed out and, in 30 minutes we pulled back in. A meeting was called for all passengers at 5pm. We were told of the generator problem and that a repair crew was coming but wouldn't arrive until midnight. When we awoke the next morning, we were still tied to the tree at Helena! Another meeting at 10am where we were told that the repair crew could not fix the problem and they were looking at alternatives. Hence, we were stranded in Helena, a dump of a town. The alternative turned out to be to get a "pusher tug" to push us all the way to New Orleans. It took 30 hours to become that "barge", even though we were only 6 -12 hours from Memphis. We sailed with the "pusher"around midnight. There was no announcement about itinerary changes until the next day when we were told we would miss the two most important ports -- Vicksburg and Natchez due to the 30 hour delay. We were offered nothing except a free drink!! Having known this was going to be the case they should have offered passengers to disembark and bus them to Memphis instead of this terrible set of ports that were remaining. We never heard from American Queen Steamboat until 10 days after we returned home with a letter in the mail and a $500/person credit certificate on a future AQ cruise. I guess the President figured that 30 hours out of a planned 240 hours was 12.5% and hence he offered it! The company should have offered either a REFUND of 25% or a future cruise credit of 50%. Instead, everyone received this ridiculous offer no matter what they paid for the cruise. I would never recommend AQ Steamboat company to anyone. Again, we missed the two most important ports, Vicksburg and Natchez, including New Year's eve festivities there!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Absoutely the worst cruise I have ever been on, overpriced, poor food quality/selection, poor coordination by management and dirty rooms with peeling wallpaper, broken heaters, dirty floors and a bathroom door that had to be held open with ... Read More
Absoutely the worst cruise I have ever been on, overpriced, poor food quality/selection, poor coordination by management and dirty rooms with peeling wallpaper, broken heaters, dirty floors and a bathroom door that had to be held open with a waste basket. Arrived at their hotel choice on Friday for check in, which was a treat, they didn't seem to know anything about the cruise booking. Finally the desk contacted someone and was told we were part of a package program so they gave us keys and we went up to our room. Went over the literature from American and saw that we were supposed to have been given vouchers for breakfast, no one seemed to be aware of this. The following morning we inquired at the desk and was given the vouchers, we also "found out" from other travelers we were being picked up by bus at 10am to be transported to the ship. Went to lobby at 10 and the bus showed up at 10:30 and left for the ship at 10:45. It was quite the trip to the ship, three blocks. Dropped us off and told us to proceed to the ship through the Hilton Hotel Lobby. Followed the directions they gave us in our pack, got to the ship and was told by the security to come back at three for boarding. Returned at three checked in and found out they have meal periods and we were scheduled for late dining. Told them for health reasons we could not eat late and they advised us there was noting they could do. Finally after having to contact hotel manager he agreed to see if changes could be made after the first meal, he was kind enough to accommodate us. Also when we checked in we found out their was a tour of New Orleans that afternoon which we missed because the pack sent to us was incomplete. The bursar said he was sorry for our inconvenience and later called and gave us a 25.00 room credit this credit was not solicited and was more of an embarrassment. Went to our room, wow, what a surprise, peeling wall paper, dirty floors where you could see the vacuum cleaner didn't reach and old broken wicker furniture. Food very poor food handling procedures, no sneeze shields over the food, no refrigeration under the cold foods (mayonnaise based salads left out) staff working without gloves. Desserts left sitting out on counters all day including cream pies. Food choices very poor and portions in the main dining room very inconsistent. Had Cornish game hen one evening and was served a small half of one. Thanksgiving turkey was a joke, portion size about 2 oz at best. Breakfast was available both as a buffet or off the menu, our choice was buffet since we could choose what looked best. We did have fresh fruit the first couple days then we went to canned peaches pears and prunes. The overall condition of the ship is poor and the staff has the attitude they are doing you favors. It was not uncommon to have to wait for the staff to get their food at the front porch buffet. They do have a nice selection of books in the library but I never did find out who had the keys to open the bookcase. We did become friends with two other couples onboard and found the prices we paid varied by over 2000.00 even though we had the same cabinet and were located next to each other. The captain does not keep to the schedule and varies depending on whatever suits. We met many other couples on board and every one had similar disappointments, no one I spoke with would consider a return cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
After flying for 12+ hours, we were greeted at the airport in Basel, Switzerland by Viking employees who informed us that the river was too high in Basel and we couldn't board the ship there. We were going to be taken to the ship ... Read More
After flying for 12+ hours, we were greeted at the airport in Basel, Switzerland by Viking employees who informed us that the river was too high in Basel and we couldn't board the ship there. We were going to be taken to the ship which was docked in Breisach, Germany by bus. We waited 2 hours in the airport for the bus and then had another 1 hour ride. If Viking knew of this problem, why wasn't the transportation already waiting for us at the airport???? We arrived at the ship and took our luggage to cabin. We then proceeded to the lounge to try to get some lunch. When we arrived, they were clearing all of the food. They said that lunch was over. I said what do you mean? We haven't had anything to eat. Basically, I was told "too bad." We tried to find a restaurant open in Breisach within walking distance but could not. We waited until dinner. The food was HORRIBLE! The second night on the ship, we crashed into an embankment. We were told not to speak to the press who were waiting when we were escorted on to another ship to take us to a bus to drive us to Strousburg, France. This trip became more of a motor coach tour than anything. There is no entertainment whatsever on the ship. You are forced to talk to people you don't want to talk to. The service was horrible. The ship was in a very run down condition -- very old and dated. You expect opulence on a ship. You expect wonderful food. You expect to be pampered. This was absolutely not the case with Viking. Food portions were extremely small. Potato soup was red with hot dogs cut up. The chefs stood around drinking beer in the lounge during lunch time. When you save your money for a trip like this and you have nothing but aggravation and disappointment, it is a shame. Viking didn't care at all. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
If you have booked this cruise, you will have to go and enjoy which we tried to do, as was too late for us It is a FERRY BOAT not a cruise; the facilities ie so called swimming pool for which there is only one is 21 feet long, sunbeds are ... Read More
If you have booked this cruise, you will have to go and enjoy which we tried to do, as was too late for us It is a FERRY BOAT not a cruise; the facilities ie so called swimming pool for which there is only one is 21 feet long, sunbeds are 1.2 inch apart, people everywhere, 2 buffett restaurants which serve mainly the same food; terrible people eating everything in sight, hardly anything is cooked it is all packaged and put in the oven, the cabins are awful, together with the areas on the ferry boat. Entertainment team is just the ships entertainment team whom were very good, but do not expect too many other outside entertainment. They have a theatre, hurrendous pub and bingo on site(lovely); full of people with hardly any with any calibre or self respects, largest bellies ever; clothing was awful. The pricing is hurrendous for this cruise, when it is dearer than the top 5 proper cruise companies.... this is not a cruise in any shape or form. GOOD POINT: STaff are relatively friendly(not overboard), captain was present on a few occassions and praised all his team   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
It rained the first 3 days of the trip which was not the fault of ACL.This meant we could not go to Astoria. They didn't seam to know what to do and we traveled about 35 miles in 3 days. The cabins on this boat are so small that the ... Read More
It rained the first 3 days of the trip which was not the fault of ACL.This meant we could not go to Astoria. They didn't seam to know what to do and we traveled about 35 miles in 3 days. The cabins on this boat are so small that the bed takes up about 75% of the room. The tv is on desk next to the bed with no place to sit to watch it. A lamp next to the bed was connected to an extension that went across the room to a outlet. This was in front of the door that led to the small balcony. If you wanted to sit and read you had to go to the library as there was no room in the cabin. I called ACL twice to find out the cost of excursions and they said you will find out when you board the ship. The booklet said $20 to $90. They charged $40 to $120. The per diem cost of the cruise was more than some luxury cruises we have taken. Some the most scenic parts of this cruise were traveled at night or during a lunch or dinner hour. The food choice was minimal but basically well prepared The kids serving the meals also cleaned the rooms. They were hard working and enjoyable. In summary this the most over priced bare bones cruise we have ever gone on. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
I feel compelled to write a review after reading the latest review regarding this particular cruise. First, not everyone was satisfied, nor were we asked for our opinions, so perhaps it was Viking people who have submitted the review. Our ... Read More
I feel compelled to write a review after reading the latest review regarding this particular cruise. First, not everyone was satisfied, nor were we asked for our opinions, so perhaps it was Viking people who have submitted the review. Our "once in a lifetime cruise" was a complete disaster. The rain did delay the cruise, that we could have dealt with. The major problems began when the very young and inexperience captain hit an electrical cable leading to the town, causing a power outage but also the closing of the canal, He had missed the fact that the ships crane was up, after police finally cleared us to continue our cruise we had been delayed another couple of days. The Forseti was the same ship that had hit a barge the day before our cruise began. The delays caused us to miss several of the advertized stops and major attractions. The next major problem was when passengers started getting stomach viruses and colds.. Although there were a few hand santizers it was suggested by more than one passenger that more were needed and an announcement should have made during our daily updates. The staff member merely listened and then walked away. No announcement was made and people continued to get ill. We were very disappointed in the entire Viking cruise and are grateful to be home and will never cruise with Viking again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We arrived in Budapest at about 9:00pm on a flight from Zurich. We had confirmed with Viking our time and method of arrival. Viking told us where to get a taxi, the approximate cost, and very specifically identified the location of the ... Read More
We arrived in Budapest at about 9:00pm on a flight from Zurich. We had confirmed with Viking our time and method of arrival. Viking told us where to get a taxi, the approximate cost, and very specifically identified the location of the ship. We reconfirmed all of this by phone before leaving. As you probably guessed, after dismissing the taxi, we discovered the ship was not where it was supposed to be. We wondered around in the dark of the Budapest docks until a very nice English speaking young man helped us find the ship and carry our bags to it. Once on the ship he had another surprise: no food. For those who have cruised before and expect having access to food basically any time, be aware that Viking serves a communal dinner from 6 pm to 9 pm meaning if you want a seat at dinner you must be there at 7 and you must leave at 9 when the kitchen closes. During the same period you can choose one of five never-changing choices at the bar (club sandwich, baked potato, etc.) There is no room service. It was possible to leave the ship to dine ashore, but only at a few destinations as the ship is mostly under way at dinner time. The TV ads and the online videos tout the sun deck where passengers may stroll and where the chief grows herbs and were there is a solar array for the hybrid engines. We saw several Viking ships along the route but never saw a solar panel and the few herbs that were there were strictly for show. More importantly, the sun deck closes for 4 days during the cruise because the ship barely clears the bridges even with the sun deck closed and disassembled. Not being able to go outside together with the ship being under way most of the time and the regimented communal eating schedule give the experience a very claustrophobic feel. We made the mistake of booking the most expensive stern suite, called the explorer suite or something. Do not make this mistake. The engine noise and vibration make sleeping difficult even with ear plugs. And the crew's off duty station is just above and being mostly eastern European the smoke a lot and the smoke fills the expensive Explorer suites. We wished we had rented a car and explored on our own. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Here are the details of my complaint regarding the Viking Legend cruise from 8 – 15 September 2013. I. Silverware, plates, tablecloths hygiene was below standard. 1. From the first meal I noticed both the plates and silverware ... Read More
Here are the details of my complaint regarding the Viking Legend cruise from 8 – 15 September 2013. I. Silverware, plates, tablecloths hygiene was below standard. 1. From the first meal I noticed both the plates and silverware frequently had small particles of dried food which I subsequently popped off using my fingernail. Alternatively, the plates and silverware occasionally felt greasy. 2. Table linen was not changed after every meal, even if it was soiled. At one breakfast I noticed coffee/tea stains around the perimeter of my blue cloth placemat. When I picked up the placemat there was smeared chocolate syrup, food/drink stains, as well as crumbs concealed under the placemat. When I called this to the attention of the Restaurant Manager his only action was to say he would put it in his report. I subsequently saw this same procedure of table preparation repeated after the dinner meal when they set the table for breakfast. II. The quality of both the food and preparation was inconsistent. Some meals were excellent, other meals were mediocre to poor. 1. On two evenings my meat was chewy (tough). 2. On the final night I ordered salmon; it was dry, unappetizing. On this meal my entrée plate was unusually dirty, I did not finish this meal. 3. Bread. The only evening I recall quality bread/rolls served for dinner was our final supper. The reminder of suppers we were served very-soft-crusted, room temperature, sliced baguette-type bread; very unappetizing. What an opportunity to showcase and excel with good bread. Of note, we did have a good choice and range of breads/buns available for breakfast. No bread was ever served at lunch in the dining room. 4. Soups. Without exception, all the creamy soups were poor. Either they were watery without flavour and spicing, or overly thick without flavour and spices and tasted of flour thickening. This was true for both lunch and supper soups. 5. The ‘Austrian/German’ lunch buffet in the lounge. a. Only cutlery provided was very flimsy plastic forks and knives (ineffective to cut or spear food). The paper plates provided were very thin oval-type that I’ve usually seen to serve a single hot dog on a bun. Not appropriate for a lunch buffet. They could have used the same cutlery/plates they provided for lunch in the lounge. b. Dessert. The struddle-type custard-like-filled pastry was not sufficiently cooked. Although the outside was browned, the inside of the dough was gummy. c. Fried chicken. Was tasty but excessively greasy. III. Of significant concern was the conversation I overheard between two ship employees (they did not see me as I was around the corner sitting in dim-light using my laptop computer. This was the night passengers had the optional concert tour and upon return to the ship could have a goulash snack. One employee told the other that since XXX (I did not catch the name) arrived the kitchen was disastrous. They said the quality of the meat and what was purchased was not as good as before. When one was offered some of the goulash, the other said that it was so bad they would not even taste it. IV. Cabin # 100. 1. The carpet was quite badly soiled. I did mention this to the Program Director and I believe the concierge was also there; they said the carpet would be cleaned, but I never noticed a difference. 2. The vacuum system in the shower drain was incredibly noisy, not quite a loud as a lawn mower (that is how loud it was). This vacuum system was also activated when using the sink. When I mentioned this to the front desk I was told there was nothing they could do, the lower on the ship the louder the vacuum noise became. 3. From time to time there was the smell of sewage gas in the passageway between Cabin 100 and the stairs located amidships. V. Seamanship. I am aware of three occasions on different nights the ship bumped the side of lock. On the first occasion the ship also scraped the side of the lock for several seconds. I was told the next day (I did not see this) that there was a diver in the water checking the side of the ship. In conclusion, I was disappointed in the Viking Legend’s overall quality. I want to stress the front line service personnel were quite good and doing the very best they could under the environment established by the Viking Legend’s leadership.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
After reading all of the glowing reviews of the AMA Waterways European river cruises, we made reservations for the Legendary Danube cruise from Prague to Budapest on the AMA Lyra. We reserved a modestly priced cabin with a French balcony ... Read More
After reading all of the glowing reviews of the AMA Waterways European river cruises, we made reservations for the Legendary Danube cruise from Prague to Budapest on the AMA Lyra. We reserved a modestly priced cabin with a French balcony on the upper (Violin) deck. With a three day pre-cruise extension in Prague, the cost, not including airfare was close to $9000. We had great expectations and were so disappointed. In Prague, we stayed at the Intercontinental, an older hotel that has been nicely updated. The included breakfast there was excellent. We had a city tour on the first day, and it was fair, at best. The tour guide was difficult to understand due to her accent. We were rushed from site to site, a pattern that persisted through the trip. The following day we took the optional tour of Terezen. The bus ride was tiring, but the tour was excellent. The following day, we left by bus for our embarkation from Nuremberg. On the way we stopped for lunch and a brief tour of Karlovy Vary. The guide on our bus had such a pronounced accent that we understood very little of what he said. Our embarkation was smooth and the cabin, although small, as others have noted, was acceptable and adequate for our purposes. The housekeepers were friendly and did a excellent job of keeping it clean. We were promised bath robes; After numerous phone calls, they finally arrived 36 hours later. There were not enough electrical receptacles in the cabin, and the ones there were under the bedside tables, making access to them challenging. At the reception dinner, our disappointments escalated. Everyone was instructed to arrive simultaneously, so there was a delay finding seating. We met the waiter, who like most of the dining room staff was somewhere between surly and unhelpful. Requests were either denied or ignored. Smiles were nowhere to be seen. We finally found a pleasant, helpful water serving a corner table, so we managed to sit at his table throughout the remainder of the cruise. The staff in the lounge were similarly inadequate. We were never offered the opportunity to purchase a beverage. To get a drink, one had to walk to the bar and put in an order. We were never offered any beverage service on the sun deck. The bartender could be nasty. One day we returned from a late bus tour in the late afternoon. The afternoon tea was scheduled to open at 4 PM. Since we had missed lunch, we were anxious to have something to eat. The buffet was partially set up, and sandwiches were accessible. As I tried to take one, the staff person told me that food could not be touched until 4 o'clock. We were disappointed by much of the food. Breakfasts were adequate, although slow moving lines were common at the buffet and the omelet station. They did have lox and bagels, which I enjoyed. Lunches were poor. There was a salad bar with the usual slow moving lines. When I arrived at the food, several items had been consumed and were never refilled. The waiter rook orders for soups and entrees. Soups were excellent, the best of the food we had on the boat. Entrees were mediocre, at both lunch and dinner. Each meal included an offered fish dish. For seven days, it appeared that we were served the time fish with a different description, trout, bass, etc., all identical. Beef was similar. We were daily offered a different beef entree that seemed to always be the same dry tough cut of meat. Chicken dishes were similarly disappointing. The salad bar was often closed before we had finished our meals. We had daily bus tours on this "all inclusive" cruise. They seemed to consist of interminable bus rides with tour guides who were fair to good. We rapidly tired of rushing to get on a bus, riding to a site, having a brief tour, and then rushing back to the bus. The promised slow walker and strong walker tours never materialized, so with everyone walking at differing rates, the group was stretched out and the faster walkers had to wait for the slower ones. Even the fellow passengers on our tour were a problem. Many were form a large group, and as another reviewer has noted, many were brusque and unfriendly. The worst problem was our cruise director. She had an excuse as to why any request could not be fulfilled. She was constantly making announcements over the PA system, often in the early morning and late evening, announcing things that had already been clearly outlined in out daily hand-outs. Our impression was that she was always trying to impress us with how hard she was working and how important she was for our cruise.We cringed every time we heard her voice. Unfortunately, any question to the ladies at the reception desk were simply referred to the cruise director. Disembarkation presented another issue. We were offered a cab to our hotel in Budapest, where we pent another five days.What we received was a car service, which was very nice. We only later found that the fare was triple that of a taxi! We are experienced cruisers, but our disappointment (I keep using that word) with this cruise really turned us off toward river cruising. There were so many issues that I have not mentioned, but between brusque crew, poor food, and a terrible cruise director, AMA Waterways has lost our respect. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
Over the past 40 years I have traveled on a wide range of cruise ships....this being the worst cruise ship experience of my life...and for the money, most of my fellow passengers felt as though we had been "had" or cleverly duped ... Read More
Over the past 40 years I have traveled on a wide range of cruise ships....this being the worst cruise ship experience of my life...and for the money, most of my fellow passengers felt as though we had been "had" or cleverly duped by Paul Gauguin Cruises. I love to meet new people on cruises so I would try to sit at different people during meal times. By the end of the cruise all of the people I traveled with and met on the cruise (around 30) either wrote letters of complaint or returned ship surveys complaining. In return we received cookie-cutter letters telling us that there were only three letters of complaint and that most of the people on the cruise sent letters praising the cruise. From the first day, we felt there was something terribly wrong. Two of the staff even hinted that they were not entirely prepared to sail. The cruise director, officers, and staff were not professionally trained as seen in their social interactions communications, and dress. The two people I had knew on board and I felt uncertain and a bit uncomfortable at times especially when we saw some staff maintenance members rushing about at sea, as if there was an emergency. The food was awful! If it didn't taste like it came out of a can, it was stale or improperly cooked. A few years a go I was forced to eat at Denny's because I was stuck in a small town. That's how I felt on the Terre Moana....I was stuck on this ship and forced to eat the tough meat, cold soups, wilted salads, and stale breads until I got into port to have a decent meal. I don't think there was a professionally trained chef on board! Actually the food at Denny's was better. The entertainment was a HUGE disaster, so much so that it actually made most people feel very uncomfortable. After the second night most people did not show up for evening entertainment. I can go on and on how bad this experience was but it is too upsetting to continue. I am going to do everything I can to get the word out that this company Paul Gauguin is irresponsible and operates totally out of the realms of integrity!!! Most of the passengers on the cruise were professional/educated who flew across the world to take tis cruise and do not intend to let Paul Gauguin get away with this. The only consolation was the itinerary along Croatia. Phil   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
I don't want to go into details as to how BAD this trip was but here is the list. 1- First Hotel, Mildewy and dirty floors with wine spill that was never cleaned. 2- No Refrigerated water on a sweltering 115 degree weather, they ... Read More
I don't want to go into details as to how BAD this trip was but here is the list. 1- First Hotel, Mildewy and dirty floors with wine spill that was never cleaned. 2- No Refrigerated water on a sweltering 115 degree weather, they just don't believe in Ice. 3- Unfriendly trip Guide that did not like people but Loved the was somewhat nicer when it came to make sure that she is getting a good tip. 4- Substandard ship with old floors and that are mangled. 5- First day of arrival parts of engine was being repaired by four people on the same deck they were handing out Champagne. 6- Hot Salad and Cold food, Everybody lost weight on this ship including us. 7- Dirty glasses and plates which I took pictures of. 8- No snack or in cabin service, 3 meals and then you had an apple tray for the whole day. 9- Unfriendly guest service but a great and hard working waiters. 10- Meal packets for the excursions were two pieces of bread, on slice of meat, one slice of lettuce and a slice of tomato, hot bottled water. 11- Dirty transfer buses with people throwing up on the seat or baby poop, couldn't tell which. 12- initially charged for 2% Visa fee without our knowledge but after pushing them to take action they refunded it. This was the first time with Viking and it will be the last time. we thought we were getting what their main commercial shows but far from that. I will choose another cruise line to travel with and don't become a victim of a 10 grand scam. They treat their employees very poorly and the only thing they care is to sell you a substandard trip.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
I went on this trip with a travel friend of mine, we spent over a year planning this vacation. We wanted to take our time, since we just retired and had no kids with us, we expected to take everything in. With that, we have a lot to say, ... Read More
I went on this trip with a travel friend of mine, we spent over a year planning this vacation. We wanted to take our time, since we just retired and had no kids with us, we expected to take everything in. With that, we have a lot to say, unfortunately its mostly negative. First impression upon embarkment: Negative and cold Reason: No music on board, never, no plants for decoration other than 3 small orchids in the dining room, the walls were paneled from the 1970's, no decorations or painting on the walls, one common bathroom outside of the rooms which was located on the 3rd floor (there are 4 floors, 3 for vacationers), so if you are in a rush to make it to the bathroom--good luck! The Bedrooms: cramped in size, each room has a support pole in the middle of the room which is next to your bed so watch your feet because there is metal at the bottom of those poles and you will get hurt. The sheets had some very questionable stains of wish I don't want to imagine what they were! You could not open your window/port hole in the room, no place to put your suit case other than under your bed, just expect a small room that doesn't have a view you can truly enjoy. The Food: The food was subpar, breakfast was the best meal of the day. They took the same recipes and ingredients and changed them up a bit but basically you were eating the same versions of one meal. You don't feel like you had a lot to look forward to when it came time to eat, nothing to leave an impression on your palette! The Servers: all Filipinos' on the ship were very nice however even they would complain about Viking and how poorly they were treated as employees. The Crew: They were German crew that were cold to the vacationers, they made an announcement over their PA system which was heard throughout the ship expressing how we need to tip them!! Unbelievable and very unprofessional! That would be like going to a restaurant and your server is telling you how to tip him or her! This is a cruise, why are we being treated like pigs going to a slaughter house!? Also, we were refused to be allowed to go to the Armory, the crew allowed some to go but not everyone which is not fair and not right. The Tour Guides: Wow, talk about rude people! We were less than 10 minutes late getting back onto the bus from visiting sites and we were scolded in front of everyone. We were told we were late, everyone is hungry, they called the Captain on the ship, also that they've been waiting for you and pretty much forced to apologize to everyone for being such terrible untimely people. Seriously, we were less than 10 minutes late and were treated so poorly, as if we were children who did a bad thing not adults, seniors at that. Activities: There was a couple, who sang and played a piano; non of the guests danced because it wasn't exciting. The singer attempted to sing a Whitney Houston song and it was so bad, so off key the boat could have gone done like the Titanic; in other words she sucked and she should keep her day job. Other than that, there was nothing else to do unless you wanted to learn the Russian alphabet. Overall Impression: We were rushed from place to place, if you got to the bus minutes late, you were in big trouble. There was so much time spent being bored, the exciting thing to do was go to the gift shop which is pathetic when you are on a cruise! What matters to me most is that when you take the time to go on vacation, wanting leisurely time to do nice things, why are we being rushed? Its one thing to get back on a boat if it has so many fun activities to take advantage of but we were so bored on the boat and resent the cruise line for taking us away from enjoying the port since that was more of a highlight to us. Just think to yourself, as I do after the fact, all the time and effort you put into working overtime at your job, the sacrifices you make, the time you spent planning to create the perfect vacation; all to be wasted and give you such a bad taste in your mouth. All I can think is, I did my best in searching, to my regret, I should have researched more and I would have gone else where. I hope that to each person who reads this review, they will think twice on booking with Viking, go elsewhere and do your research!   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
First, instead of canceling the cruise due to high water they withheld information and convinced everyone that they would be sailing and moved them to the ship outside Budapest by bus. Later we found out that Viking had decided to cancel ... Read More
First, instead of canceling the cruise due to high water they withheld information and convinced everyone that they would be sailing and moved them to the ship outside Budapest by bus. Later we found out that Viking had decided to cancel the next weeks cruise the day we were taken to the ship. Once we were on the ship we were told misinformation and half-truths to keep us on board. We saw abbreviated tours of places that were on the itinerary without the optional tours that they said were offered. The boat did not move from its docking place in a small Slovakian town so we were bused hours in each direction to see short tours of Budapest, Bratislava, and Vienna. Second, I dont think they cared for our safety as they should. We were told that we were to be moved (evacuated) to Munich (not on the itinerary and a 12 hour bus ride). The passengers had to climb over flood barriers and sand bags to get to the buses for Munich. I felt that the passengers were placed in danger by waiting to the last moment to evacuate them. Several passengers were not that mobile and they had difficulty climbing over the sand bags. An emergency medical team was called as we were being moved on the bus but we were not told any details. Later that day my friends were told that the ship was inaccessible and later was told that the crew had to be evacuated by helicopter. The other Viking ship moored with us was safely evacuated the day before to Vienna. We were told we had to go to Munich since there werent any rooms in Vienna. Third, I have been to Budapest and Munich on business but had not been to Austria. Guess what country we saw very little of? I am so disappointed since I didnt get what I wanted; a restful river cruise, a better understanding about Austria or a Viking cruise that was up to standards. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
"It is harder to seek pardon afterwards than to be cautious beforehand", from "The Vikings' Guide to Good Business", offered for sale in the Viking Aegir gift shop. Perhaps the executives at Viking River Cruises ... Read More
"It is harder to seek pardon afterwards than to be cautious beforehand", from "The Vikings' Guide to Good Business", offered for sale in the Viking Aegir gift shop. Perhaps the executives at Viking River Cruises should make themselves familiar with this centuries-old book and the advice it contains. As a former executive manager, I always found that making the right decision at the right time was what set you apart from those who just drew a salary. In those cases where problems arose, maintaining a commitment to corporate integrity, ethics, and the simple acts of being open and truthful went a long way to meliorating the situation. Again, lessons that don't seem to be part of the Viking approach to business. The flooding on the Danube was an act of God. The decision that put us on this flooded river was an act of corporate ineptitude. Our planned 11 day river cruise, a celebration of our 25th wedding anniversary, turned into 6 days of confinement on a veritable prison barge with a mounting number of hours on poorly air-conditioned buses used to visit marginally interesting sites to take our minds off our situation. Our contracted "river view stateroom" offered us only the blackened curtains of another ship, tethered inches away from us. The only escape from the claustrophobic room/balcony was a choice between the outside deck (in 95 degree temperatures) or the lounge with a high-school level talent playing incessantly on the piano with Zombie-like patrons sitting around him staring off into space or asleep in the chairs. We were subjected to an orchestrated program of lies, half-truths, and deceptions designed (IMO) to keep the passengers from open revolt and, not coincidentally, to keep Viking within their contract obligations to avoid litigation. When the majority of on-board customers did threaten action, Viking first offered a 50% discount for a future cruise (followed by the tour director being booed off his perch). On the next day, Viking then offered a "full" refund for the trip, but was careful not to define what "full" meant. Upon our return home, we were provided with two emails -- the first giving us an exact dollar amount for the future discount; the second, another unspecified "full" refund. Upon a call to the Customer Retention office, and a two day wait for a return call, we were informed that "full" really meant we were still out of pocket for over $2,500. The Viking web site, prior to the trip, announced that the cruise would proceed as scheduled. Upon arrival in Budapest, we learned that the prior week's cruises had been canceled. We were then told that our second day in Budapest would be eliminated so that we could be bused for 6 hours to Novi Sad, where we would commence the trip. Once in Novi Sad (bypassing planned stops in Kalocsa, Hungary, and Osijek, Croatia), we were told that we could not sail until the water level dropped enough to transit a railroad bridge. When asked how fast the water was dropping, we were told by the cruise director that the water was still rising. Each day thereafter, there was the constant promise of departure as soon as the water levels dropped -- a promise which was ridiculed by the crew members of the tethered ships whose companies had canceled their own cruises. These other crews proved to be absolutely correct on when a sailing level would be reached, a piece of river knowledge which seems to have escaped Viking. Although we did reach Belgrade (by bus ride rather than by water), no other item on the itinerary list was achieved, unless you count the abbreviated cruise to some remote station in Romania that lasted about 24 hours and a so-called lunch in Bucharest which was served to us at 4:00 in the afternoon after another 6 hour bus ride. This lunch ended at 5:00, just prior to checking into the hotel for a quick dinner and an early to-bed evening preceding a 3:00 AM wake-up call for the airport. While in our six day confinement in Novi Sad (with bus trips with a daily itinerary of a fort and a church as a Groundhog Day kind of treatment), the mantra of "when the water drops below the bridge" became a point of hope for everyone. We all were highly amused, of course, when the final announcement came that the water was now low enough for transit.....but that the river authority had closed the waterway to traffic (maybe that's why we had seen nothing at all moving on the water in the 6 days we were there?). We had also been promised that despite missing out on all the scenic views up-river, that we would be dazzled by the beauty of the Iron Gate and the majesty of the carved face of the Dacian king, Decebalus -- and surely we would have been if we had not sailed past these points at 11 PM. As to the other things expected for a cruise experience, stateroom, food, service -- fail, fail, and fail. We were amazed that a room where so much attention was given to noise reduction (doors, drawers, and toilet lids that can't slam), could be so noisy. We were awakened every morning NLT 6:00 AM (some days, 5:45) by the noise coming from the exercise deck above us. The shower constantly clogged and flooded. The food had two levels of seasoning, none and horribly salty. We were served meat that was bloody rare or tough as shoe leather. We were made to feel as if we were in the way with staff spraying cleanser on the tables while the later diners were still at their meals; we watched staff putting silverware on seats just vacated by passenger butts and then returning that silverware to the table. Portions were small and everything, whether expected to be hot or cold, was served close to room temperature. I ordered eggs Benedict one morning and was served egg Benedict -- one lonely egg sitting on a huge plate with nary a hint of sauce and a soggy piece of bread under it. The only positive of the trip was the ability to order eggs to order (never Benedict again, however). This was negated by the state of the fruit trays with sadly mushy watermelon setting the tone for the other surprisingly over-age offerings put out for consumption. The staff ranged all over the place in level of service. Some did all that we expect from a cruise staff. Many others were surly and inattentive. We found it impossible to make a blanket tip for this type of experience and made individual tips to those who had earned it. On a related note, we were left wondering why we were constantly told of the very high unemployment rates of the places we visited and then found that a sizable number of staff on board were from the Philippines -- perhaps just another area of corporate ethics in which Viking is lacking.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We arrived at Budapest Airport in the afternoon of 2 June - full of hope for our first river cruise. (We have previously undertaken many Ocean cruises). The Viking rep was there to greet us at Arrivals. He told us that the river was a ... Read More
We arrived at Budapest Airport in the afternoon of 2 June - full of hope for our first river cruise. (We have previously undertaken many Ocean cruises). The Viking rep was there to greet us at Arrivals. He told us that the river was a little high right now but we'd be taken to a hotel for a short while, to get some refreshments and then we'd be taken to our boat/ship to begin our holiday. Hurrah! He didn't appear to be concerned so we weren't, we had no reason to doubt what he was telling us. On arrival at the hotel (very nice hotel) we got refreshments, met other passengers and heard from our Program Director, David. He said we shouldn't be there too long, then we'd be taken, by coach, to the Viking Legend, which had, had to be moved due to the river levels on The Danube. Our stay at the hotel was longer than anticipated but eventually we were on our way to the ship. I think we arrived at the ship about 8 30pm, so dinner was served immediately. At that stage we didn't have our luggage, so all went in to dine as we were. The food was - okay. During dinner, David spoke about our plans the next day - a trip in to Budapest by coach. He told us that we'd have a chance to lie in the next morning (a lot of us had, had very early starts - we were up at 3 30am). While we were in Budapest the ship would be moved, he didn't know where. We were still given the impression, at this stage, that we would be cruising soon. The next morning at 8 30am, David's voice came in to the cabin, to tell us that we would be leaving for Budapest at 9 30am - panic stations, so no leisurely lie in and we had to get breakfast. The day in Budapest was fine - we had lunch at a restaurant (the best service of anywhere on the whole trip) and we enjoyed it. The coach journey back to the ship, at it's new mooring, took around 2.5 hours. We were moored at a small, probably disused, industrial harbour in Kormano, Slovakia. It wasn't pretty. We were the inside ship of four tied together, the Viking Bragi was immediately next to us, then a German cruise ship and another we didn't find out about. We got back to our cabin, with Juliet Balcony, we paid extra for and now had a view of a Viking Bragi balcony, they'd already closed their curtains, we did the same - that was the end of daylight in the cabin. We had another minimal briefing from the Program Director and were told that the next day we would be coached in to Bratislava. The ship would remain where it was. We still had not been told that we would not be cruising anywhere on this holiday. The journey in to Bratislava was long the next day as we were obviously not in our intended mooring. The highlight of our journey in to Bratislava was a comfort stop at a petrol station, four coach loads of people, all stopping at the same time - two ladies toilets, facilities for the men. Guide said we should be back on the coach in ten minutes - no way, this stop took the best part of an hour. We had lunch in Bratislava, the service took two hours, shambolic. Our tour of Bratislava was not as long as it should have been, due to travelling distance, long lunch break and the comfort stop. On return to the ship it was evident that the water had risen quite significantly. The German cruise ship had been evacuated and we learnt that the Viking Bragi was being evacuated the next morning. At the briefing that night we were told that we'd be going to Vienna by coach the next morning and that plans were being made to take us to Munich the following day, where we'd spend three nights at a hotel. The Danube was now officially closed. Quite a few people were unhappy about going to Munich - I believe some people left the cruise. The next morning again, the river level had risen, the walkway to shore had been extended. Lots of sandbags around the buildings in the area. The Viking Bragi had been evacuated - we were to return for another night. The estimate of our coach trip to Vienna was out by two whole hours. It took about four hours each way. We had a wander round the city, with the guide on arrival. Then lunch. The service was so bad (2+ hours to get to the main course) that my husband and I left, so we'd have some free time in the city. Viking also ran a trip to Schönbrunn Palace for those interested. We were told it was a very quick visit due to the time constraints of getting back to the ship. That evening we had to pack for Munich. The suitcases had to be ready, outside our cabin, for 8 30am as they were going separately - so they'd be waiting for us in Munich on arrival. Once more on leaving the ship the following morning, the river had risen, the walkway had been extended as far as it could go, over the flooding water, it was really quite concerning. The coaches couldn't park as near, so to get to them we had to negotiate sandbags and an extremely steep, temporary, set of steps up and down. These were quite a challenge for me but positively frightening for some of the more elderly guests who weren't as confident on their feet. The journey time to Munich, by coach, we had been told was 6.5 hours plus stops. No one was happy about that but we had to get on with it (as the Americans like to say on the board we had no option but to 'make lemonade') We set off to Munich at 9 30am - we arrived at the hotel at 9 45pm - TWELVE HOURS LATER. Of course, our suitcases hadn't arrived either - because they were so late in arriving, some of the passengers, plus the Program Director & Viking Hotel Manager, had to sort them out. All we wanted to do was get to bed. The hotel in Munich was nice but a few of us were told that we were Viking customers, so were made to feel inferior to the 'normal' guests there. There was no choice at dinner. I asked for a single scoop of vanilla ice cream, instead of the chocolate mousse served and was told 'it's not possible for Viking customers to deviate from the set menu'. Even if I paid for it, no, not possible. If you wanted to eat lunch at the hotel, it was charged. The internet was at a premium charge. These things were included on the ship. During our time at the hotel a trip in to Munich, with a guide was organised. Also a lengthy trip to Salzburg (which had been part of the original itinerary I think) or by public demand an alternative was also set up to visit Dachau. Munich was chosen as our final destination because people who were not extending our holiday were mostly flying from Munich (the extension was to Prague, which I guess was another lengthy coach journey). We flew home from Munich. The fact that The Danube flooded was not Viking's fault - not the fault of anyone. It's an act of God. However, Viking have access to the finest weather reports, river condition reports and forecasts. This did not happen overnight and catch them out. Some other river cruise lines cancelled their cruises that were due to depart the same day, on a similar itinerary. Another cruise line departed Budapest on the same day as us, then aborted the cruise two days later, as they realised their cruise could not be completed on The Danube. Viking cancelled their return sailing of our cruise on the same day we departed. It was an expensive holiday which turned in to a series of extremely long, arduous, bus excursions. This cruise should never have taken place as it cruised NOWHERE. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We have just returned from a trip to Russia on the Viking River Cruises Viking Helgi ship a holiday ruined by mechanical noise, which ensured I was entirely unable to sleep in the stateroom we had booked. There was a consistent, loud and ... Read More
We have just returned from a trip to Russia on the Viking River Cruises Viking Helgi ship a holiday ruined by mechanical noise, which ensured I was entirely unable to sleep in the stateroom we had booked. There was a consistent, loud and incessant humming noise and vibration in our cabin present whether the boat was moving or docked, making it unpleasant to be in the cabin in the daytime, and impossible to sleep at night. I reported this noise and vibration as soon as we entered the cabin but was told there was nowhere else to move us to. I emailed Viking cruises and the only suggestion they made was to put in a complaint when I got home. Others were offered earplugs but I didnt even get that it would not have not helped anyway because the mechanical vibration being transmitted through the bed and pillow to my head was almost as bad as the noise. The whole of the front end of the boat was subject to this vibration and humming but in our room, 226, these were amplified by a boxed column resonating with the floor and the bed. The noise and vibrations were so bad that in desperation a couple of times I took a blanket and pillows up to the Panorama Bar and slept on the floor. Another passenger in a cabin almost opposite ours spent some of her nights reading and dozing in the library while her husband walked around. Our entire holiday was ruined by lack of sleep. I fell asleep in the lectures, I fell asleep on the coach and my mind was so befuddled by lack of sleep that I couldnt enjoy the excursions either. The Helgi is an old boat almost 30 years old that has clearly had a fortune spent on beautifying it cosmetically; however it is very apparent that, underneath, her engines and other mechanics are in dire need of updating. The daybeds on the sundeck had soot on them, puffed out by the old engines, ruining my white trousers. I assume that the noise and vibrations that we experienced were from an ancient generator that was never turned off. I am sure we would have enjoyed the whole cruise if we had been lucky enough to have a different cabin though not the ones other guests on our cruise were allocated, such as the one with the sawing noise overhead when the boat moved, or the one where the bed got wet when it rained or one of the staterooms with balconies that ended up moored against other Viking boats in St Petersburg and in Moscow thus making them useless. This was our fifth cruise with Viking and we have enjoyed all the others but this trip, and the response to our complaints both during the cruise and so far since our return really showed me that Viking arent quite the caring company I thought they were. Maybe I have just been lucky in the past.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We were due to leave Australia after the floods in Europe were well publicised. We continually rang Scenic Tours only to be told that there was no problem as far as they were concerned. The waters were receding and we would be boarding our ... Read More
We were due to leave Australia after the floods in Europe were well publicised. We continually rang Scenic Tours only to be told that there was no problem as far as they were concerned. The waters were receding and we would be boarding our scheduled cruise (Scenic Crystal) as organised. The Mayor of Prague has requested that tourists not visit his City due to the risk of disease. We informed Scenic of this, but they still said that no cancellation was going to happen and should we cancel no refund would be granted. On our arrival in Prague (we had 3 nights there), we were informed that the Scenic Crystal would not be available in Budapest, but we would be boarding the same in Vienna. This was not accepted terribly well, but we had no choice. We then coached around and were accommodated in hotels with no choice for dinners but buffets. On two separate occasions our lunch was at a roadside dinner, once again many complaints were made to no avail. On our arrival in Vienna the Scenic Crystal was not not moored and we were told we would be boarding in Linz. Our hotel in Linz was at best a 3 star and the food was not acceptable to us and others,but again hard luck. Some passengers were accommodated in smoking rooms. We eventually boarded the Scenic Ruby after 6 nights being accommodated in hotels. The Scenic Crystal was still in the Black Sea. Our accommodation was still not available as we had booked a Deluxe Cabin on the Danube deck. The difference has since been credited. I have written four letters to Scenic with my complaints regarding the standard of hotel accommodation and the quality of food provided. Scenic would have made money out of lack of suitable accommodation, but we have only been offered $500.00 p.p. The hotel in Linz for example could be organised for just over 110 Euros per night (we paid over $1000.00 per night for the River Cruise). Be aware that if anything goes wrong with any of the Scenic itineraries you will not be compensated with anywhere near the amount that you have paid. The same thing happened to us in Canada a couple of years ago and on that occasion instead of our luxury 5 star accommodation we were billeted in a motel on the main highway. Scenic appear to be quite happy to spend millions of dollars on advertising their product, but beware often things go wrong and it is no good complaining via numerous letters. One is continually told that you signed the Terms and Conditions, so hard luck. Be very aware of Scenic Tours   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Viking disappointed us from booking services thru conclusion of the trip. The booking included air reservations (without seat assignments), but Viking was of no help, when called several times for assistance, in making flight seat ... Read More
Viking disappointed us from booking services thru conclusion of the trip. The booking included air reservations (without seat assignments), but Viking was of no help, when called several times for assistance, in making flight seat arrangements and requesting wheelchair assistance with connecting flights. They simply referred us to the non-U.S. airlines that they had booked for us (but Viking provided no airline contact information nor correct reservation codes so that we could access our flights on-line to reserve seats). But airport meeting and transfers arranged by Viking were perfect.The boat was a disappointment. Public areas were barely sufficient for number of guests (our party of 4 generally had to be split up for dining room seating and for daily briefing sessions). Food was below par in comparison with our 29 former (ocean) cruises (perhaps a new low with the chef's experimental mustard soup and mustard-filled candy pastry one night). Wi-Fi was spotty at best, and generally inaccessible. We expected a bit more quality entertainment, even taking into account the small size of the boat. Room stewards provided minimal service -- on several days we had to ask for even essentials like soap and paper products. The biggest disappointment was the daily excursions to nearby towns. Those requiring busing were rushed. Only two local guides were both understandable and rich with information, and understood how to herd groups and keep us together and informed; most guides were poorly trained with little enriching information (other than directions to the WC) and a too-fast pace which split up our tour groups. Two had little command of English, and two gave little or confusing information on where/when to return/regroup for the buses. We were fortunate to have a Program Director (Diana van der Tuuk) who was superb, and managed to appear in multiple places almost at the same time to fix gliches, many of which were created from poorly trained guides. But expect very long bus rides -- almost 12 hours from the boat to Paris hotel (a ride including two short excursions/cit tours) for one! The hotel accommodations by Viking were excellent in Prague, but poor in Paris (room was shabby with drapes falling off rods, plumbing in disrepair, no city view whatsoever from assigned 4th floor room, and far distance from Paris tourist sites). Other more experienced river cruisers on board agreed that this was a below-par river cruise, but encouraged us to try another river cruise with another cruise company. But this will be our last river cruise -- ocean cruises offer much better value in our opinion. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We were on board the Tor sailing from Amsterdam to Budapest and then Prague on 26 May, 2013. Incredibly, the Viking Company sailed us right into the historic European flooding on the Rhine, Main, and Danube. As we left Amsterdam, it was ... Read More
We were on board the Tor sailing from Amsterdam to Budapest and then Prague on 26 May, 2013. Incredibly, the Viking Company sailed us right into the historic European flooding on the Rhine, Main, and Danube. As we left Amsterdam, it was already obvious to even casual observers that the Rhine was overflowing its banks and was at or nearing flood stage. By the 3rd day we were told we had to leave our ship because of high water for another ship, the Skadi. We were assured we would then continue our trip unimpeded. Instead we found the Skadi parked in an industrial canal in Bamberg and would never set sail again. We were bussed around and given walking tours in miserable cold rain, day after day. On another day we were informed to pack up again that we were leaving the Skadi for yet another ship in Passau and reassured once again that we would be able to resume our cruise on the Danube. That was changed hours later when someone learned that Passau was underwater. We were then told not to pack. Several hours later, we were told to pack up again and we would be moved to Munich via Regensburg. When we arrived in Regensburg we discovered the city was under siege from the flooding Danube. On our walking tour, again in the driving rain, we actually watched city crews building sandbag walls and flood barriers along the river front. It then became obvious that we would never be able to resume our cruise. All the area rivers were flooding. We read news accounts of emergency declarations, soldiers being mobilized, evacuations, highways and railroads shutting down, and people dying and missing. All along the Rhine, Main, and Danube cities were in full disaster preparedness. Even Prague was being hit hard. Sadly, the Viking Company never told us any of this and instead of keeping us informed and offering alternatives, they seemed intent on keeping silent and bussing us in and around the disaster. It is hard to imagine what the corporate strategy was. When we arrived in Munich, I and my travel companions decided that Viking was not acting responsibly nor in the best interest of its passengers. They offered us no further information or alternatives, choosing instead to keep us in the dark and inform us of their plans sometimes with only hours of notice. Our only information was that they would put us in hotels and eventually bus us to our final destinations.  Our 15 day cruise of a lifetime ended in disaster after only 3 days. We are especially disappointed that Viking has been so insensitive to the circumstances, extremely poor with communications, and developing a rapid alternative for its guests. In Munich, it became apparent the river cruise would never continue as planned and was in practice, if not fact, cancelled, although Viking refused to make that cancellation official. With Viking offering no information beyond 24 hours, we decided that the prudent and safe course would be to immediately leave the flooding and fly home from Munich. 11 days after the trip began, Viking still refuses to acknowledge the scope of the disaster and the horrible impact it had on its guests. Instead, we are being given standard corporate bureaucratic language and told to write them of our "concerns". We are hopeful that the Viking Company will soon realize that they need to quickly communicate with us, help us with the cancellation, and offer us help with another cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
The cruise to Normandy is just one of the many cruises i have been on. I am a well seasoned traveler and this will be the last adventure with amawaterways. As a single woman the intimate atmosphere of a river cruise appeals to me. The ... Read More
The cruise to Normandy is just one of the many cruises i have been on. I am a well seasoned traveler and this will be the last adventure with amawaterways. As a single woman the intimate atmosphere of a river cruise appeals to me. The issue is at dinner. They do abolutely nothing to make a single woman feel comfortable. The first night they seat you at captains table which is very gracious. It is all downhill from there. They have open seating. The head Matri 'D basically takes you around from table to table. Often occupied with family or friends, it starts to feel like a meat market. Can you imagine how it feels when a table of people shoo you off? It can be an excerize in rejection every night. I finally asked him to seat me with other solo travelers on board. His response was..I have no idea who they are? The rest of the trip I felt I had no choice,but to plant myself out of the way at a table in a corner. If you are a single female traveler, please take heed. This is an experience I would not recommend. I am a very seasoned traveler and have even gone to Japan myself. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
For corroboration of this trip review, please refer to the 5/13 review by the person who referred to the Viking Tor. We arrived in Basel, Switzerland and were met by Viking staff who advised that we would need to board a bus to Germany ... Read More
For corroboration of this trip review, please refer to the 5/13 review by the person who referred to the Viking Tor. We arrived in Basel, Switzerland and were met by Viking staff who advised that we would need to board a bus to Germany because the Forseti could not make it to Basel. That was the beginning of what turned out to be a week's worth of stringing along the passengers by moving them through Germany on a bus; always underestimating the travel times. We never left a dock onto the river during the entire week. The review of the Viking Tor is related since at some point, we were moved to the Viking Tor as an interim stopping point. It was docked in a scary industrial port which the bus driver got lost trying to find.While our fellow passengers were very reasonable in understanding the serious nature of the European floods, all recognized that Viking did little to notify passengers of the risk. They have now offered 75% cruise cost vouchers for upcoming trips. Unfortunately, that amount does little to reimburse the overall expenses of a trip like this.Before investing in a trip like this, you must consider the risks. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Our cruise left Amsterdam on May 29 headed for our final destination of Budapest on June 12. However, after 3 days of cruising our ship, the Viking Sky, was sent to Frankfurt, an unscheduled stop, because the rivers and locks had been ... Read More
Our cruise left Amsterdam on May 29 headed for our final destination of Budapest on June 12. However, after 3 days of cruising our ship, the Viking Sky, was sent to Frankfurt, an unscheduled stop, because the rivers and locks had been closed due to heavy rains and the associated flooding. Viking decided to start busing us to the cities and towns scheduled on the river cruise without asking any of the passengers if that is what they desired. When asked if we could discontinue the cruise in Frankfurt and fly home, Viking responded we certainly could but it would be at our expense and that if we decided to leave, they would not refund any of our money. In effect, Viking held the passengers of the Viking Sky hostage. Most of us figured out that Viking planned to get us to Budapest come hell or high water because this was our disembarkation city and where most of us would fly to our home destination or other planned site. In fact, Viking did get us to Budapest on June 11, 2013. Viking got there by bus. First, they bused us to several cities from Frankfurt and simply used the Viking Sky as a "floating hotel". They next bused us farther into Germany to another Viking ship which was also used a floating hotel. This location was not close to any major cities. Again we were bused to several cities from this location; most of these bus trips were 3 to 4 hours each way, thus we spent most of our time on the bus. Finally, Viking bused us to Vienna, about a 6 hour bus ride, where we spent the night in a hotel. We had to chase our luggage and the luggage service at the hotel was terrible. We had part of a day in Vienna and then got on the buses for another 5 to 6 hour trip to Budapest where we chased our luggage onto another floating Viking ship hotel. We had a day in Budapest and then departed for home or other destinations. Viking has offered and provided a 75 percent voucher, calculated based on what we paid for the failed cruise, to be used by the end of June 2014 on a Viking cruise of our choice. Most Viking Sky passengers I have had contact with believe that this in not an acceptable offer. We believe Viking should refund over 50 percent of the cruise cost as well as provide the voucher. We base this in part on what Viking has done for cruises cancelled after June 12, 2013. Passengers on these cruise received full refunds as well as the 75 percent voucher. This does not seem equitable and is not line with what other major cruise lines have done for similar situations.Viking was never honest with the passengers of the Viking Sky; they knew a lot more than they shared with us in their nightly briefings about plans for the next day. In short, most of us don't trust Viking and never will; we certainly will not tell our friends to take a Viking cruise Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
This was to be a luxurious celebration, 14 days and nights cruising the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers with excellent facilities, food and service, a tour planned over a year and anticipated fondly. That is not what happened. Heavy winter ... Read More
This was to be a luxurious celebration, 14 days and nights cruising the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers with excellent facilities, food and service, a tour planned over a year and anticipated fondly. That is not what happened. Heavy winter snow melted late and heavy spring rains fell. The rivers rose, flooded and then were closed to boat traffic. However, with knowledge of the flooding and the possibility of impassable rivers, Scenic Tours embarked our cruise. We were not offered a cancellation. We cruised for 2.5 days. After that we were moored in Mains for 5 days, then transferred by bus in an appalling comedy of errors lasting near 18 hours to Vienna and the Scenic Pearl. We swapped ships and were moored there for another 5 days. The last transfer was a long bus day to Budapest and a hotel. We did not get near most of the destinations and tours. We did not cruise. We sat on the river. Avalon Cruise passengers affected in the same way were given a 50% refund on their fares and a 50% discount on future bookings. Scenic have provided 5%. Yes, 5% on a 10,000 ticket. The ships are nice, the food is good, the staff excellent but Scenic must be avoided because of their policy of not informing passengers and their practice of starting a cruise that cannot be delivered as advertised. Their refund of 5% is offensive. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Last spring, my wife and I took a 15 day River Cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. We booked the cruise through our travel agent  choosing Avalon based on their strong recommendation. We paid ... Read More
Last spring, my wife and I took a 15 day River Cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. We booked the cruise through our travel agent  choosing Avalon based on their strong recommendation. We paid dearly for this trip and had high expectations for a peaceful high quality cruise down the Rhine/Danube. Well if you have read any of the other reviews for river cruises in Europe during June of 2013, you will quickly learn what happens when there are river water level problems. I'm not complaining about the fact that the flooding in Europe was beyond anyone's control. My disappointment is in the way that Avalon dealt with the situation. After an initial 4-5 days of river cruising as we had imagined, it became apparent that the river was very high and there would be problems ahead. Instead of telling the passengers the situation, Avalon chose to mislead us by promising a move to another ship further up stream where we could complete our cruise in style. In the meantime we began being bussed to the destination on the itinerary. In fact the alternative ship ended up being just a hotel along the route. Ultimately we were bussed from city to city, ship to hotel, hotel to ship until we hit most but not all of the requisite destinations (sum under water). Avalon never offered any other option to the passengers. Constant bussing spread a cold among the passengers to the point where most were sick a good portion of the trip. Avalon clearly had one agenda. Hit the destination promised no mater how poor the quality of the experience just to protect their revenue. In the end they offered a token refund falling far short of the quality lost. Since this experience, I have done some research about the river cruising industry and can offer the following cautions for those contemplating a trip like this. 1. The cruise lines have been building bigger and bigger ships to maximize revenue. 2. These big ships can only fit through locks, canals, under bridges, and shallow water under the best average conditions. 3. If water gets higher that average or lower that average at any point along the route, the ship will have to stop and wait for conditions to improve. 4. Once the ship stops, the cruise line will begin bussing you to reach the promised destinations so they can say they completed the trip as advertised. 5. In the end, the cruise line cares only about their revenue stream and will sacrifice your comfort and the quality of the experience. So if an expensive bus trip is your cup of tea, you should enjoy a river cruise. Just don't expect transparency or options should things go sour. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013

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