We purchased the very over-priced Viking Romantic Danube cruise, departing from Nuremberg and "sailing" to Budapest on Nov. 18, 2018. During the weeks and months prior to our first river cruise date, members of our foursome ... Read More
We purchased the very over-priced Viking Romantic Danube cruise, departing from Nuremberg and "sailing" to Budapest on Nov. 18, 2018. During the weeks and months prior to our first river cruise date, members of our foursome contacted Viking to confirm conditions were still good for our cruise. We were told that if we hadn't received any notifications indicating otherwise, all was well. On Nov. 14, 2 days before our long flights from YYC, Viking sent notice that low water levels meant we would travel on a similar longship "with all the comfort and style" of the Atla and that " on the morning of Day 7, we will likely need to disembark the ship in Vienna and travel by motorcoach to Budapest (150 miles)". Our river cruise and upgraded flights were all paid for, so we moved forward - hopeful that we wouldn't have to trade the most beautiful and anticipated part of our river cruise - the Wachau Valley - for a tedious 4 hour bus tour. But, of course we did - and not only did we miss the Wachau Valley because we reached it in the evening, but we endured another 4 hour bus ride on the busy Autoban while being shuffled around 3 different ships! Every few nights we had to pack up our rooms and set our bags outside for transfer to our next Longship We are frequent ocean cruisers and realise river cruising is different, but neither our ships nor our "French Balcony" stateroom could be described as comfortable or stylish. Our French Balcony was an expensive security risk - usually we were docked with another longship wedged up beside us - curtains had to be kept closed and balcony door locked - it was claustrophobic in the tiny room. Since there are no exercise facilities on the Viking Longboats, I took along water-weights, hoping to work out in our room, but that was impossible, since bags had to be packed up frequently and the room was far too small to allow any movement. All optional tours in Budapest were cancelled, due to our late arrival. The highlight of our trip was the days before and after the Viking cruise that we spent on our own in Nuremberg and Budapest.
Our meals were good - nowhere near what we're used to on Ocean cruises (for a far less price). The rooms were clean. The staff were hardworking and friendly (so we paid the full recommended tips). The included shore excursions were good, however we only had opportunity to go on one optional excursion and that was very expensive but good, as well. Our upgraded liquor packages were not worth it, since they had run out of most of the wines we were told would be available to us, by the time we reached our last ship and they certainly weren't serving anything up on our bus hauls!
The worse is yet to come!...our follow up. Viking offered us a future cruise credit "because we believe your overall cruise experience may have been affected by an unexpected situation". In other words, purchase another Viking cruise and they would be willing to pay for a small part of it - provided you did it within a year. When I said "thanks but no thanks" I was contacted by phone by a very unprofessional Viking agent. Our call consisted of so many long, pregnant pauses that I finally had to ask why she had called. She said she didn't want to insult me but wanted to make a deal. She offered a slightly larger cruise credit. When I asked how many times she thought we had changed ships, she gave it some thought and said "Oh, on this trip - maybe 3 or 4". Obviously, she hadn't even read my written complaint, but so much for the "unexpected situation"! When I told her that our travelling companions and other guests had been offered more, she told me that we were "entitled to nothing" and that we "can't make a deal" and proceeded to hang up.
I can't imagine ever doing business with Viking again. Only their greed and confidence that they wouldn't be held liable could have allowed them to sell such a cruise (known low-water conditions) to unsuspecting fools like us. They were careful to keep the on-going situation hidden from us until the last days prior to sailing, and even more careful to include all kinds of self-serving protection in the fine print regarding "the carrier's rights". Read Less