We just returned from a viking river cruise on Nov 9 2018. It was a huge disappointment from start to finish. Yes, we knew about the low water levels. But what we didn't expect was the poor way Viking handled the situation. We had 3 ... Read More
We just returned from a viking river cruise on Nov 9 2018. It was a huge disappointment from start to finish. Yes, we knew about the low water levels. But what we didn't expect was the poor way Viking handled the situation. We had 3 different ships on this trip. yes 3, which means we had to pack and unpack for each ship. We lost almost the whole day in Budapes t because of a lengthy bus ride. In fact, we spent more time on a bus than on the boat during the day. We never saw the Wachau Valley,it was totally dark and impossible to see anything by the time we actually left. We were misinformed, lied to, and kept in the dark about what was going on with the itinerary. The tour guides did not tell us accurate information about events in the towns we did get to go to. The food was OK . We were on a Holland America cruise in May and the food was much better. This washer first River Cruise.We have been on 8 other ocean cruises. This was by far the worst cruise experience that we have ever encountered. I would look at other lines and not make Viking your first choice. I did read other reviews like this before I left and thought to myself, really how bad can it be? Well I am here to tell you it was that bad. We felt cheated and taken advantage of by Viking Read Less
I booked this cruise after seeing great ratings on cruise critic...We were bused everywhere and the ship was only used as a floating hotel....We only had One day of scenic cruising on Viking....We were told by the company that the problem ... Read More
I booked this cruise after seeing great ratings on cruise critic...We were bused everywhere and the ship was only used as a floating hotel....We only had One day of scenic cruising on Viking....We were told by the company that the problem was due to low water levels,however, senior offices advised that the bus trips have been ongoing since August....We were not given any opportunity to cancel the cruise,however i saw a posting from a travel agent who viking contacted and invited him to get a refund...Wow talk about selective attitude to patrons....The whole cruise was terrible,made worse by constant changes to itineraries and times of departures...The first day we spent 9 hours on a 3 star coach .....The poor staff are sick of making excuses for the companies lack of ethics....We have a long experience with Ocean cruising over 500 days on the water.We can honestly say this is by far our worse experience on the water or BUS... Read Less
Overall the cruise was very disappointing. Due to the low water in the Rhine, the ship was not able to dock at any of the ports on the itinerary. We were bused to all the cites which took away from the convenience of getting on and off ... Read More
Overall the cruise was very disappointing. Due to the low water in the Rhine, the ship was not able to dock at any of the ports on the itinerary. We were bused to all the cites which took away from the convenience of getting on and off the ship during the day. We did a ship swap on the 3rd day and spent 8 hours on a bus getting to towns and the next ship. For 4 days the ship was docked at a commercial area near Cologne, Germany along with many other ships. The ships were all joined side by side together – at one point we were 4th in a group of 6. When we opened our cabin curtains all we saw was the side of another ship, or the inside of someone else’s cabin. Could not use the balcony! I know that Viking is trying to do their best with the low water situation, but in my opinion the best would be to cancel the trips until the water levels are back up. Its not right to pay for a cruise, but receive a bus tour. Read Less
I recently took the Viking Rhine Getaway Riverboat Cruise, sailing Oct 20-27 2018. Thought I’d share my impressions and experience on this cruise.
Some background information. I am a 52 year old married gay man. I offer this ... Read More
I recently took the Viking Rhine Getaway Riverboat Cruise, sailing Oct 20-27 2018. Thought I’d share my impressions and experience on this cruise.
Some background information. I am a 52 year old married gay man. I offer this because it was a non-issue, on Viking. We happened to celebrate an anniversary, and were treated just the same as the many other people who had birthdays and anniversaries.
This was the third Viking riverboat cruise we’ve taken, although the first on the ‘Long Ships’. My overall impressions of Viking, and this cruise in particular, are extremely positive. So much so that we came home and immediately started considering a Viking Ocean Alaska cruise. That said, I thought I’d be honest about how things went, and where we did, and did not, enjoy things. That way everyone would receive my honest opinion of the cruise.
We cruised from Amsterdam to Basel. We arrived in Amsterdam 5 days before the cruise, and visited Amsterdam on our own. It’s a beautiful city, so I advise taking the time to visit it. Viking sent out multiple emails about problems with the low water on the Rhine. We were forewarned that we would have to do a ‘Boat Swap’. A ‘boat swap’ is when you pack up and are taken to another boat, and continue sailing on the new boat. The two boats are mirror images of each other. One of the emails was a mistake, but it was quickly corrected. On the day of embarkation we very easily found our boat, without help from Viking.
Our first stop was Kinderdijk- a historic group of 18th century working windmills. We also added the optional ‘Cheese Making’ excursion. The cheese making excursion was great, and we still were able to get the full free excursion of the windmills. Guide was great and it was not a lot of bus traveling.
Day three was Cologne. We took the standard Tour of the city, with some extra time. I have to say I was a bit disappointed with Cologne. The cathedral is beautiful, but we only had 15 minutes inside, and the guides were not allowed in with us. That was not enough time. The rest of the tour was primarily talking about current events, and the fact that most of cologne has been rebuilt, or replaced with modern features. I wish we could have had a guided tour of the cathedral, and less time wandering. We had some free time, and took a later bus back to the boat. That worked out ok for us.
We also did the optional Kolsch Dinner excursion. This was a lot of fun. Lots of beer and great, silly, young guys as guide. Really got the feeling of what it was like to go out on a beer crawl. I have to say I thought the price was very expensive, especially since we were giving up a paid for dinner, on board. Otherwise I really enjoyed this. We did have a bus problem – the bus was late. This was cleverly mediated by the guides using their power to secure some additional Kolsch to drink on the streets until the bus arrived – really felt like a German, after a football game!!! Thanks, guys.
Day four was supposed to be Koblenz. Here’s where the low water of the Rhine made it necessary to do a ‘boat swap’. This mean much longer bus rides (like 5 plus hours total), BUT, Viking was able to mostly salvage the day. Yes we did have to pack and leave the boat very early, but we still visited Marksburg Castle and do our scenic cruising through the Rhine Gorge (lots of castles). What we could not do was any optional excursions and we did not stop in either Koblenz or Rudesheim. We did not choose any of these optional excursions, so we were ok. Others may not have been so happy.
We were bused to Marksburg Castle, and then to a day boat, for Rhine Gorge cruising. There were two upsides to this: 1. The Rhine Gorge was virtually free of traffic, so the speed of travel, and the views were pristine. 2. We ended up in Strasbourg for an extra day (more later). The down side was that it was an exhausting day (5 plus hours of bus rides), started far too early, and the lunch and quality of the day boat was nowhere near up to Viking’s standards. That said…we did get our scenic Rhine cruise! Good for Viking.
Day 5 was Heidelberg. We opted out. We did this for two reasons. The bus ride to get there was increased by an hour because we were not docked in Strasbourg. Also, Strasbourg was the number one reason we booked the cruise, so an extra day in Strasbourg was a very big PLUS, to us. We also don’t always like to follow, so a day on our own was exactly what was called for.
Viking did a good job at accommodating buses to and from Strasbourg, since we were not that close to the historic portion of the city. Boy did we have a good day. We were primed with information, and the crew was very helpful with providing a few choice shopping and eating recommendation. It was a great day!! For our particular needs and desires, this change in plans worked in our favor.
Day 6 was our planned day in Strasbourg, and we did the full day, optional, food tour. This was a very good tour. We tasted our way through gingerbread, kougelhoph, macarons, cheese, bread, pretzels, tarte flambé, wine and pastries. It was fun. There was some free time, and a tour of La Petite France, and the Cathedral. Our guide was very good. When we returned to our boat, it had moved, and was far enough from the bus that they had provided taxi’s to get us the rest of the way. Nice touch.
Day 7 was Breisach, Germany. In the morning we took an optional tour of the town of Colmar, France. This was well organized and timed. I was disappointed with Colmar which is not as charming as the brochures would want you to think. La Petite France, in Strasbourg was more charming. Not Viking’s fault, just my opinion.
In the afternoon, the tour was a bus trip to the Black Forrest, and to an inn, where you watched demonstrations of Cuckoo Clocks, Glass, or Cake making. It seemed a bit too commercial, and at this point we had had enough of the bus trips. So we stayed on the boat and walked up the big hill to Breisach. This is a charming town, with great views, a small gothic church, and a lovely sense of how real people live. It was a nice option to the standard tour.
The last day we arrived in Basel Switzerland, and were taxied to a hotel, where we spent 4 days on our own.
Some comments on the Viking:
The staff and crew are really well prepared and excellent at their job. Our Cruise Director, Morgan, worked like mad to make everything as smooth as possible. He really helped steer the group past the few bumps really well, and should be commended. There was some sense of detachment to the crew, because we switched boats. Morgan came with us, but we otherwise had two crews. Usually, Viking is amazing at getting to know the guests. Here we had two crews, so we didn’t have the usual bonding.
The food is generally quite good. Better than I remember from previous cruises. My only complaint is there are only large tables in the restaurant, and the guest are forced to all eat at once, at appointed times. We opted for many meals in the Aquavit Lounge, where a few small tables were available. IMHO, it is a much better option to the raucous atmosphere of the main dining room. I acknowledge that my opinion might not be the norm. Judging from the number of people that wanted to eat in the quieter lounge, there should be a bit more space for that.
The rooms: We had a Veranda Stateroom, with a balcony, on the third floor. The room is small, but sufficient. The balcony would have been nicer if we had not had to switch ships, but we liked it a lot. What boarders on unacceptable is the bathroom. While decently appointed, it is WAY TOO SMALL. The shower especially. Nothing you can do, I suspect – it will always be a problem. Just be aware that this is the trade off if you want to do a river cruise.
The low water did cause some issues. The ship swapping meant a very long day, and having to pack and unpack an extra time. This, of course, negates that best reason for riverboat cursing- not have to pack/repack in between each stop. It was out of Vikings control, and they did the best they could. Also, the docking locations were VERY industrial, and in one case we were docked where Viking leaves their ships, over the winter. There were some really precarious stairs to navigate. My guess is that the disruption, due to the low water levels, made it difficult to secure the best, and closest docking locations. I was glad we got to where we needed to go, but there were some lousy docking locations.
Regarding the optional excursions, they were excellent, however, I did feel they were overly expensive. We did a number of them, and generally really like them. I would always recommend that a guest do as many as they can afford and interest them. I suspect the high costs causes some people to not book them.
Finally, we met a number of people that seemed annoyed at the amount of activity, and the early starts for some of the excursions. The Viking Longboats are beautiful, but the purpose of a riverboat cruse is to get out and do. Sometimes there is a slight feeling of a forced march, but that’s what riverboat cruising is all about, I think. So buyer beware!
So to recap, we had a trip interruption, due to water levels, which Viking handled about as well as they could. It caused a tiring day, and some excursions and stops were not possible. That said, I think the overall trip was really great. Looking forward to our next Viking cruise – maybe a switch to try the ocean ships- maybe Alaska? Read Less
My friend and I have just returned from the Viking river cruise (Romantic Danube) and sadly to say it was not the holiday that they advertised. The firm had knowledge of the low water levels for a few months but, as we have found out, ... Read More
My friend and I have just returned from the Viking river cruise (Romantic Danube) and sadly to say it was not the holiday that they advertised. The firm had knowledge of the low water levels for a few months but, as we have found out, continue to charge full price for an experience that they could not fulfil.
We were given 12 hours prior to our flight, to decide whether we cancelled with full refund or continue with our holiday plans, being offered 25% off our next booking. Had we have known the full implications of how our cruise would be affected our decision may have been very different. As such, we ended up with a “cruise” that really wasn’t a cruise and, we believe, nowhere near being value for the money paid and that the information provided in order for us to make a decision was limited if not deceitful. The offer of 25% wassimply touting for future business and not offering any recompense for the disruption and disappointment felt by the customers who ended up in 3 ships, many long bus journeys and only had 4 daylight hours of river cruising in one week!
The excursions, the ships themselves and the staff we have no complaints about, they provided excellent service. Until the last day the organisation of our transfer to the airport was poor and left us with a hair raising drive through Budapest and only managing to catch the plane, with the assistance of the Viking Rep, as it was being boarded. We had no apology for the lateness of this transfer from the staff on the Viking Var when I had approached them a few times with my concerns they left me feeling as if I was making “a fuss over nothing”. A very stressful end to a disappointing holiday.
We do not wish to accept the 25% offered (as we have no intention of ever travelling with them again) but have requested it as a monetary token acknowledging the disruption caused to our holiday. However we are not keeping hopes up that this will ever happen. Read Less
An old adage says, “If a man deceives me once, shame on him, if twice, shame on me.
Not exactly true when it comes to dealing with Viking Cruises. You can cancel your Viking cruise but even with “cancel for any reason” ... Read More
An old adage says, “If a man deceives me once, shame on him, if twice, shame on me.
Not exactly true when it comes to dealing with Viking Cruises. You can cancel your Viking cruise but even with “cancel for any reason” insurance with Viking’s Tripmate, you will pay more. You will only get a voucher for that cancellation, and with that voucher amount you will have to start over (including your air travel and the costs involved with speaking to the air agent for upgrading your travel), for insurance, and for whatever other costs are involved for your trip.
If you cancel your Danube River cruise because the water levels will turn the trip into a bus trip. (Not exactly the vacation you envisioned.) And you decide that you will try to reschedule in the Spring since there would be a better chance for higher water levels, the cost will be at least $1000 to $1500 more. So, try for the fall next year. The cost will be at least $500 more—per person. On top of that you will have to buy new insurance if you want that trip covered. You have only 12-15 months after cancelling to reschedule so you don’t want to blow the opportunity. Viking insurance only allows for rescheduling; the company does not give refunds.
Solution: Buy insurance outside of Viking for refunds.
Keep in mind that your contract of carriage indicates that the Provider may change your itinerary. What Viking does is to give you assurances up to the last minute that your itinerary stays the same or close to it even though they know it will not. This does not give you adequate time to reconsider. And it especially does not give you adequate time when you have already left for the trip.
How do we know, it happened to us.
After five phone calls to Viking wherein we were assured that everything would be fine (oh, maybe one bus trip and one ship swap), we opted to go ahead and take the trip. Instead of the “only unpack once” concept, we packed and repacked for 7 or 8 days because we were on a boat, a bus, in a hotel, a bus, etc. We did not get an upgraded hotel room or an upgraded bus seat for the upgraded cabin for which we paid; we got only the same sort of bus trip and hotel everyone else got. So, Viking gave us a voucher, not a refund. Now we have a voucher for future travel on Viking. Do we really want to chance it again? There are those who were on the same trip who are delighted. I am guessing they believed everything Viking told them and think they are getting the deal of a lifetime.
Our argument with Viking is not that the water levels were low. The argument lies with the lack of transparency and intentional vague and obscure manner of communication.
About a year ago, we sailed on Viking to Cuba (one of their first soirees there). We booked it because we would dock in Havana, go to Belize and Cozumel. None of that happened. We docked in Cienfuegos. That was it, and we were bussed to Havana. I thought that this was Viking’s naiveté with Ocean cruising. Now I know it is the M.O.
For this river cruise The Romantic Danube, yes, the water level on the Danube was the cause of the river cruise changes. Viking knew in early summer what was coming. In fact numerous passengers from other vessels told us the same story—this had been going on for a month. Viking prepared to fend off cancellations and complaints. What Viking should have offered was as follows:
1. Viking should alert passengers far earlier than one week prior when many may have already left the country.
2. Cash back for cancellations.
3. Cash reductions for those opting to go on a bus tour, or cash back for those opting to leave the tour.
4. Hotel upgrades for persons who had suites or Veranda cabins.
5. Dining at finer restaurants instead of roadside McDonalds or places of Vikings’ choosing wherein everyone got the same meal.
Viking Customer Service admitted knowing of a problem and told us “we work with people.” We are still awaiting a resolution which, for us, would be a cash back solution. So far Viking is not “working with us.” Read Less
We had never seen this part of Europe and wanted to see it. We were met at the airport in Zurich by the Viking representative and had a nice drive to Lucerne, where we stayed for 3 days prior to embarking in Basel. Lucerne was ... Read More
We had never seen this part of Europe and wanted to see it. We were met at the airport in Zurich by the Viking representative and had a nice drive to Lucerne, where we stayed for 3 days prior to embarking in Basel. Lucerne was delightful, we stayed at the Hotel Schweizerhof, a deluxe hotel by the lake and by the chapel bridge. Viking guides there were excellent, Jacqueline showed us Lucerne and kept us up to date on Viking, and she was excellent. Her tour of Lucerne did a marvelous job of covering the most notable features, and she was very informative about Switzerland. The next day we took a trip up the Stanserhorn, which was spectacular (we had good weather). You got incredible views of the countryside and Switzerland, and our guide, Jim was very knowledgeable about the area and gave us a lot of interesting background on Switzerland. Some walking is involved but it was moderate, and the trails were excellent. At the end of this, Jim took us to the ship in Basel and gave us an extremely interesting and informative account of how Switzerland handles many government functions, such as health car. Between Jim and Jacqueline I felt we got a superb tour of Lucerne and the area, and acquired a lot of current information about Switzerland.
The rest of the cruise went well. Due to low water on the Rhine, we had to get off at Breisach take a bus to Heidelberg, where we had a nice tour and then we got on the Ksavir at Koblenz (they used a sister ship, the Idi from Basel to Breisach). This was accomplished smoothly and the next day we saw the part of the Rhine we missed on a shallow draft sightseeing boat. While this was a nuisance, since the Rhine was at the lowest level ever recorded, Viking's problems were understandable. The rest of the tour went well, the guides were excellent, the areas visited were interesting and enjoyable (Cologne cathedral was especially notable) and I would definitely give the cruise high ratings. But, as I said at the start, the beginning excursion in Switzerland was what really set it apart. Read Less
Anniversary We we did Budapest to Amsterdam sept 13 sailing with extensions in Prauge and Amsterdam. Long bus from Prauge to Budapest. Got on Viking Modi, embarkation was easy except after numerous times tellng them it was an anniversary ... Read More
Anniversary We we did Budapest to Amsterdam sept 13 sailing with extensions in Prauge and Amsterdam. Long bus from Prauge to Budapest. Got on Viking Modi, embarkation was easy except after numerous times tellng them it was an anniversary cruise not birthday and date correction. We immediately had to travel upstream due to low water then bus back to Budapest to tour. The crew including barstaff were excellent. After 7 days we had to repack and move to a different ship.Viking Skinir. Bar staff which happened to be our wait staff as we dined on the aquavit were rude and never called us by name. Then they almost didnt bring a cake for our anniversary but a fellow traveller went to the cruise director and advised and out they come with a BIRTHDAY CAKE and started singing Happy Birthday UGH and we spent this much money why. Tours were good except in Cologne where the Turkish Presidnet was there and protests all over and we asked if it would disrupt the pm tour to hunting lodge and palace and they assured us it wouldnt WELL got by the airport and sat in traffic. Tour guide asked if we wanted to go on and could maybe salvage the palace so we kept going then (no fault of Viking) and critical accident but we ended up driving 4 1/2 hours driving around on a bus. Corporate,the tour company, and the Cruise Director shouldve cancelled tour. I think they have traffic reports. We had a Balcony room and most of time parked in industrial area, wall, or against another boat.VERY Disappointing!!!Disembarcation in Amsterdam to the hotel and the luggage was promised by 11 am well it didnt show up until 430 and the weather got really bad that afternoon but our extra clothing had not shown up yet so another day wasted and we went to do hop on hop off tour but didnt have the right clothes. We spent how much money ( the most out of 30 cruises and it was a HUGE dissapointment) They gave a 15% discount towards another river cruise but that is an insult. They should maybe consider cancelling cruises if there is continued low water. Oh and dont hurt yourself cause there is not a bandaid on board or a doctor... Cruise was a disaster, rude staff on Skinir, bus rides for hours Read Less
Viking Cruises, Community Team has responded
Thank you, PattyCruise, for taking the time to share your recent Viking experience with the cruising community. The events you’ve described regarding your onboard anniversary as well as the impact to your onshore exploration due to local events are unusual, and we regret any inconveniences experienced as a result. Additionally, we recognize that you are one of the many affected by the itinerary changes implemented in response to the historically low waters that plagued Europe this year. Though Viking makes every effort to preserve the original program, we understand that the resulting deviations may fall below some guests’ expectations. All journey adjustments are made with our passengers’ best interests in mind, and accordingly we are committed to collecting and understanding all resulting feedback so that we may grow and enhance our product for more enjoyable future experiences. All of your constructive comments have been recorded for review by our Executive Team, however should you like to share more we would be happy to continue the discussion at TellUs@vikingcruises.com. Thank you, and have a wonderful day.
I was extremely disappointed with this trip and it was # 1 on my bucket list for many years. Viking knew that the Danube was getting lower and lower by the day due to a severe drought. Instead of allowing us to postpone the trip to next ... Read More
I was extremely disappointed with this trip and it was # 1 on my bucket list for many years. Viking knew that the Danube was getting lower and lower by the day due to a severe drought. Instead of allowing us to postpone the trip to next year we were forced to disembark in Vienna and take a 4+ hour bus ride to Budapest. By the time we finished lunch we had only a couple of hours to tour the city by bus. The reason I took this tour was because I wanted to see Budapest. All I have are photos shot from the bus window and some lovely pics of the castle where we were left to go shopping.
We signed up for the leisure tours because my husband has some mobility issues. I had to run up and tell the tour guide to slow down various times because half of the group were 3 blocks behind.
Aside from a few good meals the food was horrible and the pastries were tasteless. There was a horrible stench of sewage being dumped in the river.
I cut my finger on a very sharp knife that was left on the buffet for us to cut the bread. Why couldn't the bread be cut by one of the chefs? According to my doctor I have a 50% chance that it will heal correctly.
If Viking is the best river cruise I would hate to see the worst. Read Less
We chose the cruise for the same reasons as Judhess. Because of the low water, our trip was a big disappointment. After the first night spent on the Viking Idun in Budapest, we made our first transition to another Viking Ship (this time ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the same reasons as Judhess. Because of the low water, our trip was a big disappointment. After the first night spent on the Viking Idun in Budapest, we made our first transition to another Viking Ship (this time the Magni). And, still, after a few days we made a change to another ship and then the last night to a hotel in Amsterdam.
We spent many hours being transported by busses to go on excursions we had signed up for and some that the staff selected for us. A big disappointment was arriving in Cologne for a tour of the Cathedral only to find that our arrival was timed during a time when the cathedral was closed to tours. We had a tour that was dismal, ate lunch at a restaurant and then on the 20 minutes after lunch on our way to the bus, we slipped into the Cathedral for about 8 minutes. Terrible planning. We also missed the windmills. Originally we were offered at voucher for our next trip of 25% of what we paid for our GrandEuropean trip. Upon arriving home, that voucher was canceled and we did receive a voucher for our next Viking Cruise with the value of half the expense of our cruise. Likely they read the surveys, which if like ours were quite negative.
It is too bad that Viking was not honest up front, had refunded our money and we could have chosen a cruise of our choice with out all of the monkey business. We know of other cruise lines that have done that when they could not provide the services they originally offered.
Tour guides for excursions were mostly outstanding except for... Cologne and Nuremberg. Food was marginal to very good. Service was good.Kaitlyn, our activity director was wonderful, but ended up having to spend a lot of time trying to figure out what we were going to do next.
Friends of ours took a similar cruise on AMA waterways in June and raved about the food, the service the tours and VIKING, TAKE NOTICE... the outstanding evening entertainment...
they had folk lore dancers, music that was not mostly opera. They did not play three nights worth of trivia games. On the night they were in Budapest, the ship even cruised the docking area so they could see the illuminations of lights. The German night was the most fun in the dining room.
Of course, we will use our 50% voucher from our past trip, and all I can say is, Viking should have refunded the 50% of our money AND, we only hope, the next trip is as good as we have heard Viking cruises can be!
Getting on each ship was handled well, but the first night we learned we were moving to the magni the next day! Read Less