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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Enjoyed the experience of having gone to Russia but would not cruise Viking ever again. Viking does have the best itinerary as far as river cruising to Russia is concerned and that was our reason for selecting them. Unfortunately the ... Read More
Enjoyed the experience of having gone to Russia but would not cruise Viking ever again. Viking does have the best itinerary as far as river cruising to Russia is concerned and that was our reason for selecting them. Unfortunately the shipboard experience fell far short of what was advertised and what we expected. Don’t believe the ads you see on tv. Food, mediocre at best. Service, the worst we experienced in our 50+ cruise experiences. Had very minor inconvenience on first day in dining room recognized by Assistant dining room staff and was blatantly ignored for the remaining 13 days of the cruise by Dining room manager and assistant. Management does not care about the customer experience, they chose to handle it by not addressing it. Ignore it and in 13 days it will go away. I expected a first class experience for the price we paid. We were totally underwhelmed. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2016
We wanted to see as much of Russia as possible in the 2 weeks time we had to spend. It looked on line like this cruise would offer us a lot to see. The flight started off great but after arriving at the airport in Russia it all went down ... Read More
We wanted to see as much of Russia as possible in the 2 weeks time we had to spend. It looked on line like this cruise would offer us a lot to see. The flight started off great but after arriving at the airport in Russia it all went down hill. We had to wait a long at the airport before being taken to the ship. Our cabin was not ready we we arrived at the ship. The food offered in the dining room was not what we had expected and not as good as other cruise lines we have been on. The entrainment on board was not very good. Every time you went on a shore excursion you were encouraged to tip everyone from the bus driver to the guides. It seemed you were encouraged to tip everyone on the ship at the end, I felt like I was paying part of there salary. Next time we take a cruise we will look for another cruise line besides Viking. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2014
Our first and last River Cruise with this company, who we have found aggressive in their various commercial dealings with customers. The boat/ship is obviously rather old but has been refurbed, although there is not great sound insulation ... Read More
Our first and last River Cruise with this company, who we have found aggressive in their various commercial dealings with customers. The boat/ship is obviously rather old but has been refurbed, although there is not great sound insulation between cabins. We could even hear a TV blaring from across a corridor. The restaurant service is a bit hit and miss, and there efforts to provide a table service is pretty uneven. Often you will be at a table where you may have to wait for your main course whilst others have finished theirs as the galley is unable to cope with the demands put upon it, so it can be awkward. My wife has a allergy but despite notifying the Maitre D, he just said we should always try to sit on the same table that a waiter would get to know our requirements, but of course this was not always possible. The staff themselves were always courteous and work hard, but the system seems a bit shambolick at busy times. The tours were fine and well run, but if you do this cruise be prepared for some waiting in a bus in traffic jams in the major cities. Not a big problem , but a sad fact of life. To sum up, a curates egg of a cruise with a company whom I doubt will see my custom again Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2010
The purpose of this review is to explain why, after our recent cruise in Russia, my husband and I will avoid Viking River Cruises in the future, and why we will advise others to avoid Viking, too. We are experienced travelers, and we ... Read More
The purpose of this review is to explain why, after our recent cruise in Russia, my husband and I will avoid Viking River Cruises in the future, and why we will advise others to avoid Viking, too. We are experienced travelers, and we understand that no trip is going to happen exactly as planned. We do, however, expect that as conditions change we will be kept informed. The number of variations between what was sold and what was delivered, coupled with the failure to keep us informed of significant changes in the itinerary (detailed below), were significant enough that the term "bait and switch" kept coming to mind. A certain amount of trust between the travel vendor and the traveler is necessary for a good travel experience. After this Russian cruise, we do not believe we can trust Viking River Cruises. In addition, in spite of three attempts to contact Viking about these issues (twice via e-mail and once by letter), no one at Viking has responded. This leaves me feeling that, once they have your money, they lose interest in you. First: The condition of the ship was not as described in Viking brochures. When I made the booking with Viking in November 2009, I was advised by the Viking agent that the Pakhomov was an "excellent choice because it has just been renovated," something which figured heavily in my decision to book this cruise. In fact, per Stephan Busch, Hotel Manager, the Pakhomov had been scheduled for renovation in late 2009, but this renovation was not done. Mr. Busch told me on June 13, 2010, that he and others had made Viking Cruise Lines aware of the discrepancies between the ship as it was and the ship as it was described in Viking literature, but that "nothing had been done." In my view, therefore, we were sold something that did not exist. Second: Viking withheld information from us. In November 2009, I also booked the Helsinki extension, mainly for the "scenic ride though the rolling landscape," described in the Viking literature. Two or three days before that extension was to start we were informed that there would be no trains running between St. Petersburg and Helsinki on the day the extension began, and that we would be flying from St. Petersburg to Helsinki. Since our primary reason for booking the extension was to see more of the countryside, we would have preferred to fly home instead of going to Helsinki, but by the time we were informed only very costly alternatives were available. However, our air tickets for St. Petersburg to Helsinki were purchased by Viking BEFORE WE LEFT THE U.S. TO BEGIN OUR TRIP. In addition we were finally told, again just before the Helsinki extension began, that we would be in Finland during a National holiday, and almost all museums and restaurants in Helsinki would be closed. No optional tours were offered to take advantage of the holiday: we were simply left with a lot of free time in a virtually empty city. We were told in Helsinki that this Holiday had been celebrated for over 50 years - so Viking should have been well aware of it, but they didn't share that information. Third, there were numerous small things that, individually, would not have been of much concern but added up to irritation: • The "Itinerary & Departure Information" brochure states on page 6 that "Porters will...take your luggage to the transfer buses. Instead, one of the Viking guides pointed to luggage carts saying that we would have "a ways to walk before we got to our bus." When the bus finally came, one of the Pakhomov sailors loaded our luggage into the bus as we brought it to him. When we were in the bus, the Viking guide reminded us to tip the sailor. • The brochure states on page 25 that dinner is "generally" at 7:00 p.m. In fact, dinner was at 7 p.m. only once. Dinner was at 7:30 seven times, 9:30 once, 8:00 once, 7:20 once and 5:00 once. • The brochures states on page 26 that smoking is not permitted indoors on the ship. This apparently does not apply to the crew area. Heavy cigarette odors almost always emanated from the crew's quarters. Happily, this often served to cover-up the smell of raw sewage that wafted through the ship on a regular basis. • Again on page 26, the brochure indicates that staterooms aboard the Viking Pakhomov have safes and telephones. They don't. • From page 27, "staterooms aboard...Viking Pakhomov have televisions featuring channels with some U.S. or English programming." There was a television in the room, but most of the time - even in port - there was "no signal" and nothing on the television except the channel advertising Viking cruises. • Per page 28 of the brochure, "when possible, we will notify you of changes to your itinerary prior to departure; when not possible, your Program Director will advise you of changes. See discussion above about the Helsinki land extension. • The on-line description of the Category A Deluxe stateroom (the kind of room we booked) says that each has, "hotel-style beds (can be separated); large picture windows that open; private bathroom with enclosed shower; air conditioning; space under bed for storing suitcases; roomy wardrobe with wooden hangers; converter in the bathroom outlet." In fact, most hotels would be ashamed of the beds, which were small and furnished with thin mattresses. There is a large picture window, but we were advised never to leave it open because of the mosquitoes. There is a private bathroom in the stateroom, but the only thing that "encloses" the shower is a plastic shower curtain; thus it is nearly impossible to take a shower without getting the rest of the bathroom wet, too. There is an air conditioning unit in the room, but the desired temperature can only be approximated. There is space under the bed for storing small suitcases, but the "roomy wardrobe" isn't very roomy, and we had to sign for extra hangers if we wanted more than the few supplied with the room. There is no converter in the bathroom outlet; in fact, there is no outlet in the bathroom at all. And one more thing: there are only two public rest rooms on the boat. That was not an issue until the last day when all of us were required to leave our rooms early in the day, but many of us were not taken to the airport until late afternoon. I do wish to emphasize that the crew of the Pakhomov were friendly, helpful, and well-organized. I do believe that is very unfair to the crew to expect them to deal with a number of customers who have promised something by "the head office" which the crew cannot deliver. Read Less
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