6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
My husband and I decided to take a leap of “financial faith” and take a Viking River Cruise based on customer reviews and feedback from other people. The decision to use Viking River Cruises turned out to be the worst decision we ... Read More
My husband and I decided to take a leap of “financial faith” and take a Viking River Cruise based on customer reviews and feedback from other people. The decision to use Viking River Cruises turned out to be the worst decision we could have made. It is at the top of one of the worst vacations we have ever taken. And to add to our disappointment, the $500 cruise voucher that has been offered, it is just an insult. We reached out to Viking but of course we never heard back! We understand “Acts of God” (river being low) however the lack of communication from Viking was unprofessional and deceptive. Sending an email the week before the trip is not communication especially because Viking knew all summer about the river problems and they knew the amount of rain needed for the proper water levels had not occurred and would not improve before our scheduled departure date. We would have expected your company to: 1) Cancel the trip; 2) offer a full refund; 3) inform guest that their money would be transferred to a future river or ocean cruise; or 4) make the fully aware of what they were getting into if we chose to take the trip. None of these things were offered. So, instead Viking decided to have a cruise of almost 200 disgruntled customers, who will now spread the word about their experience. Below are some of the issues / problems we experience with this trip that we feel warrants compensation from Viking, that is not the insulting $500 that was offered. Air Service – Very disappointed with this service. Had we know about all of the hidden costs, we would have made my own travel arrangements. Which would have allowed us more time and saved us money. Don’t use! 3 total ships (VAR, TOR and Hemods) Viking Var – (Nuremberg, Regensburg and Passau) GOOD Service staff was excellent. They were kind and friendly. Front desk not so much, when ask directly about the boat change, etc. that had been mentioned in the Port Talk, which we missed because of our late arrival. We were provided with incorrect information, which was rude. Optional Tour Nuremberg– the guide was informative and provided good information Optional Tour Regensburg– the guide for the walking tour was very informative and provided very good information Optional Tour Passau – we did not see Passau. We paid for Salzburg Highlights. The bus driver “the Pope” was very funny and made the unbearable long bus ride a tad bit better. The guide for the walking tour was also good. BAD Optional Tour Nuremberg – the bus portion of the tour was a complete waste of time. Driving around at normal speed with a great opportunity to take pictures did not make sense. And no printed information was provided about what we were seeing so that we could at least have some frame of reference. UGLY Optional Tour Nuremberg – Not enough free time to shop or explore the city. Rushing back to ship to leave did not make any sense. Optional Tour Regensburg – Spending an entire day in a city that is completed closed was an utter waste of time. We could have spent more time in Nuremberg. Optional Tour Passau / Salzburg – The Salzburg Highlight tour was not worth the money spent. And if we had been informed that the 3 hour total bus ride was now a 6 hour bus ride, we may have opted out. We were not informed of the change until we had already boarded the bus and were on our way. The bus ride to and from was pure “hell” that was too long to be a bus for a 3.5 hour excursion. A total shame! There were no lights to guide guest back to the ship once the bus dropped us off from the Salzburg tour. It was extremely dark and very hazardous. Guest had to use their cell phones to find their way back. Luckily no one was hurt. Room Steward – In effort to clean our rooms before we could even leave the ship, the steward threw away my body buff that I use for bathing– not happy. Room Steward – The day of the bus ride, we went to breakfast and left our personal items on the bed. When we return to the room all of our items had been moved from the bed and the room had been cleaned. This is totally unacceptable! Our personally items should not have been touched under any circumstances and they could have waited another 20 minutes to clean the room. Viking Tor (Vienna and Krems) GOOD Optional Tour Vienna – the walking tour was excellent. It was refreshing after sitting on the bus the day before. The guide did a great job and we had plenty of free time to explore. One of the only highlights of the trip. Paid Optional Tour Schonbrunn place – the guide was very informative. Service staff was excellent. They were kind and friendly. BAD After the long bus ride we decided not to go on the Gottweig Abbey optional tour. We stayed on the ship to take pictures of the Wachau Valley. However because of the lateness of the hour and the lock, were not able to get many pictures. It was very annoying that the commentary continued about what we were “not” seeing because it was dark out and could not make out anything. Yet another disappointment. Paid Optional Tour Schonbrunn place –The tour seemed very rush and for the amount of money we spent, we should have been able to see both parts of the palace not just the one section. We felt cheated. It would have been cheaper and easier to do it on our own. UGLY The 3 hour bus ride was horrific, especially after the 6 hour bus ride the day before. It was totally unacceptable. The stateroom bathroom was horrible. The shower had not been cleaned properly, had hair on the walls and the floor that was not ours. The bathroom toilet was not flushing when we arrived. An officer came to the room and checked and it would not flush for him either. About 5 to 10 minutes after he left the toilet starting flushing and then a “rude” engineer came to the room stating that it was working. However the water pressure was very low and it took several attempts to get the toilet to flush. The bathroom also smelled like urine. It was extremely offensive. We reported the issue to the desk, however they decided to give us a lesson on how to flush the toilet and did not address the horrific bathroom smells. It was not good. Viking Hermod (Budapest) GOOD Service staff was excellent. They were kind and friendly. BAD Optional Tour Budapest– the bus portion of the tour was a complete waste of time. Driving around at normal speed with a great opportunity to take pictures did not make sense. And no printed information was provided about what we were seeing so that we could at least have some frame of reference. The guide was not as good as the others and she kept pointing out highlights way before we got to them and people were missing them. There was not enough time to explore the beautiful city. UGLY Another 3 plus hour bus ride – just a nightmare. The bathroom stop, where we had to pay was ridiculous. This should have been covered by Viking. Fortunately, we still had some Euros in order to pay for the bathroom. We are extremely disappointed in the quality and value of service that was received from Viking. There was absolutely no value for the money spent. Viking failed us and the other guest. We could never recommend Viking Cruises to any our blog readers. We also have already told our family and friends not to Cruise with Viking! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
BUYER BEWARE. The 2018 Romantic Danube Viking Rivers Cruises is a sham. You will not get what you signed up for. We "sailed" with Viking October 12 through October 19, 2018. Our "Romantic Danube River Cruise" ... Read More
BUYER BEWARE. The 2018 Romantic Danube Viking Rivers Cruises is a sham. You will not get what you signed up for. We "sailed" with Viking October 12 through October 19, 2018. Our "Romantic Danube River Cruise" turned into a very uncomfortable Danube Bus Tour". Due to low water levels on the Danube, which we now understand has been known by Viking for many months, Although we realize that Viking is not in control of the weather, Viking was well aware that the Romantic Danube River cruise could not navigate the river on over half the trip. We were motor coached to all our ports, except for Nuremberg, Regensburg and Vienna. We spent approximately 7 daylight hours cruising during our 8 day river cruise. The rest of the time was spent changing cruise ships ( 3 times we had to pack our bags and put them outside our door for early morning pickup) This was not a river cruise it was a bus tour. The river cruise was advertised as a romantic once in a life time adventure highlighting the scenic Wachau Valley We never saw the spectacular views of the Wachau Valley as we were traveling through the country side by bus for eight hours We became well acquainted with the European bus companies and rest stops. One bus driver did not know the exit to take to Roth, Our first tour guide didn’t have a charged audio system and had to try to shout out the interesting aspects of Regensburg. The same thing happened in Budapest. The guide said to leave the audio device on the bus and he would shout out the highlights. Then George showed up with a new device for our guide, but we no longer had our device as we left them on the bus and it was gone. On Monday October 15 while waiting on a pedestrian walkway for the “bus” pickup area in Passau, I was struck and knocked down by a bicyclist. Not having enough time to be treated in Passau we returned to the ship, hoping for some medical help there. The ship had nothing but a band aid for the cut above my eye. As we arrived back at the ship the Captain was standing at the receptions desk and I asked for assistance. Apparently he did not understand what I needed because he called someone else to help me. The only help they could do for me was call a cab. My husband and I spent three hours that evening in the emergency room in Straubing. The staff on the ship did not know that it would cost us 100 euros to be treated. The receptionist at the desk would not treat us without the money even though I had insurance coverage. We did not have that much with us. My husband had to find an ATM at 6 o’clock in the dark, in a city he knew nothing about. We spent over 3 hours at the emergency as I required 2 stiches above my eye. I would have expected a little more support from the staff on the ship. The accommodations on the 3 ships we were on were adequate. The food left us somewhat disappointed. Nothing was what I would call spectacular. The staff on the Viking Tor was really great and tried to make the best of a bad situation. On Thursday October 18 we were again transferred from the Viking Wihlelm to Budapest by bus. Budapest was a bust. We arrived in time for lunch on the Viking IDUM, then loaded in a bus for the tour of Budapest. The tour guide was none stop talking about the city. Almost like he didn’t have enough time to say what he wanted to say. Then when we departed the bus the Quietvox did not work. So the tour guide told us to leave ours on the bus and he would talk loudly on the walking tour. So we left the QuiteVox on the bus. Then George showed up, gave the tour guide a new Quietvox and we continued. Only those who had their Quietvox’s were able to hear. We left ours on the We got back to the bus with no time left to go to the marketplace, which I was looking forward to, as we should have had all afternoon to take in. That didn’t happen. On Friday October 19, we were told to have our luggage outside our door at 6:30am. Which we did. Went to breakfast which was served cold. It appeared the staff had put the food out for the earlier departures and did not heat for the later breakfast arrivals. After we went back to our rooms at 7:30 our luggage was still outside our doors. Finally at 8am we were again on a bus to go to the airport in Budapest (expected transportation). We sat on the bus loaded and ready to go, but the bus driver was not sure he had everyone as he did not have a list of passengers nor was there a Viking representative there to help him. One of the passengers gave him the list that we had received the night before. If it were not for our group of family and friends, this cruise/bus tour would have been unbearable. We feel Viking misled us over and over with their daily updates on how bad the low water level was, when in fact Viking knew this situation persisted months before our cruise. This is very unprofessional on Vikings part. They should have been honest with their customers and given us the option to postpone or cancel the cruise. Instead they had our money and they were not going to give it up, instead Viking thought a bus tour was adequate for a very the price we paid for an expensive river cruise. AAA and Viking did not represent their customers, they are in the business to sell cruises so buyer beware. Remember future travelers, AAA and Viking represent themselves not you. I will not recommend AAA or Viking to anyone that will be traveling. Also, remember we are in the age group that will be traveling. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
My family decided to do a special river cruise on the Viking Var sailing the Romantic Danube on August 17th. Like several others already noted, our experience was the worst we have ever experienced. I will not go into any farther detail ... Read More
My family decided to do a special river cruise on the Viking Var sailing the Romantic Danube on August 17th. Like several others already noted, our experience was the worst we have ever experienced. I will not go into any farther detail on doing very little sailing but a lot of bus rides since you can read others comments. My focus will be on how Viking did an extremely POOR job preparing and communicating to the circumstances of the low water issue. - receiving an email a couple of days prior to departure is ridiculous. They knew exactly the issue for over a month and should have given their CUSTOMERS a warning so they could decide any action they might like to take. VIKING decided their P&L more important. - The boats are not secure. ANYONE could walk on and off the boat. The only time there was ever security at the entrance of the boat was in Budapest. A gentleman/security sat outside on a bench. I actually went running and when I was returning to the boat my son FaceTimed me. The security guy was on the bench asleep. I actually turned my phone so my son could see him and get a good laugh at the level of security the boat has. VIKING open your eyes before something unfortunate happens and then you react. - Food was below average especially if you experienced an ocean cruise from other companies. I would say the service was average BUT lets be realistic. We were seeing different cruise employees since we were on 3 different boats. I'm sure it would be better if on same boat and you were building relationships and tipping for the trip was going to them. - My suite with oversized balcony could not be used due to spiders EVERYWHERE. Had to go to top verses use the view I paid for. - Communication was terrible. Kept saying they weren't sure of what we were doing at the end of the week. CUSTOMERS want to know, and VIKING simply didn't want to rock the boat. - I felt sorry for Director of the boat. You spend a lot of time on the boat not moving and she had to communicate all the bad news. WHERE"S THE CAPTAIN??? BOAT IS Not moving and she needs your support. Support your staff! - 25% is an absolute slap in the face AND IS ONLY ON THE CRUISING PART. Let's see: I spend over $18,000 and the initial offer is under $3,000 CREDIT on another cruise. WOW, I had such a terrible time let's do it again and at a rate that you make a lot of money on me again. Great deal - NOT!! My family reserved EVERY SUITE THEY HAD AVAILABLE. I talked with VIKING Customer Relations and made them aware that I was interested in giving them a chance to redeem themselves, that I would even stay in a suite but really thought they should step up to the plate more after I trusted them with an $18,000 investment. They did come up a little. Even 25% off my total Viking bill would have felt a lot better, but there is one simple reality to their offer: THEIR DECISION IS BASED OFF A P&L and not what is fair to their CUSTOMER. I even asked a Customer Service person if they were me would they be happy with what I was being offered, and all you get is silence, and then restating the offer. Without saying it, her answer was obviously NO. THAT SHOULD TELL VIKING SOMETHING. I believe VIKING must be fantastic when everything goes as planned. The reviews consistently say that. When things do not go as planned, they are far than at their best. - WARNING - WARNING - Do not sail VIKING's ROMANTIC Danube route in July or August!! I did not realize this is an ongoing seasonal issue. Go a different route our at a different time. - Want a POSITIVE: I noted issue with security, but loading and unloading is VERY SIMPLE. Congratulations for that. Also transportation to airport was done well. I will also say the customer service rep did a good job especially taking the beating she is taking over and over again. Unfortunately she is the messenger for VIKING and taking a pounding for them not taking care of CUSTOMERS. We had 5 suites and 2 other rooms for this cruise, and I believe I am the only one even considering giving VIKING another chance simply because the overall reviews are good. My wife is not on board with doing another cruise with VIKING, so not sure it will ever happen. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
Recommendations Supposed to go in the Var to Budapest. River was low so went on the Tor for one night transferred to the Var. We did cruise the Wachau Valley and then transferred to another Long boat at Vienna. Bus rides for most of the ... Read More
Recommendations Supposed to go in the Var to Budapest. River was low so went on the Tor for one night transferred to the Var. We did cruise the Wachau Valley and then transferred to another Long boat at Vienna. Bus rides for most of the supposed Danube trip ie. Regensberg to Passau and back. Regensberg to Vienna, Vienna to Budapest. Left the boat at 3:30 am to go to the airport. Dumped at the airport with no guidance to catch a 6:30 am plane to Brussels and then to Chicago. I left out that I had a IU infection and called a Dr. in Vienna. Did Viking follow up, NO! We have been on 28 cruises and enjoyed all but one. We were notified 8 hours in advance that the river was low and we might have unpack and go to another boat. We had booked a room in Kansas City and it was too late to change anything. We were informed in Budapest that the long boat had been stuck for 3 weeks and was serving as a one night hotel. It is obvious that Viking was only interested in the money and had no concerns about passenger rights. We were offered a cruise voucher for 25% off future cruises which infuriates me. I might mention that we did not pick a 3:30 trip to the airport for a 6:30 flight which means getting up a 2:00am. See the World in comfort, yeah right! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
We sailed with Viking previously on the Moselle and Rhine. We wanted to sail the Danube and chose Viking. We love how they take care of everything once you arrive. A barge accident blocked the Danube causing us to change ships. Viking ... Read More
We sailed with Viking previously on the Moselle and Rhine. We wanted to sail the Danube and chose Viking. We love how they take care of everything once you arrive. A barge accident blocked the Danube causing us to change ships. Viking handled everything and compensated for the lost cruise time. Excellent crew, guides and chef. The food is excellent with several choices at each meal. Viking also handled our flights and did a good job when a booking problem arose (Air Canada mistake). We would have liked more cruise time but the accident shortening cruise time was not Vikings fault. Viking hires energetic and friendly staff that learns your preferences and takes care of you. This even happened with our second ship crew which was amazing. We stayed in a French Veranda which is a bit small but not enough to feel cramped. We spent little time in our cabin and explored on land and participated in entertainment activities which were plentiful and enjoyable. We have cruised twice with Viking and hope to cruise with them again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
The Viking team took care of us from the moment our plane landed until we passed through airport security to return home. Everyone we came in contact with was great. The boat was beautiful. The room adequately sized but beautifully ... Read More
The Viking team took care of us from the moment our plane landed until we passed through airport security to return home. Everyone we came in contact with was great. The boat was beautiful. The room adequately sized but beautifully furnished. Food was incredible, over the top. Lots of it and all delicious. Meals from the regions we were visiting each day. Wines, too, from the regions we travelled to. The service was outstanding on all fronts. The airport team, the cruise manager, the people who greeted you every day, the wait staff, the chef, the housekeepers - everyone was courteous, friendly and accommodating. The tours were very informative. They were conducted by interesting and well educated tour guides who had a passion for their town and region. You had flexibility in your schedule, but there was always something happening. I would highly recommend Viking and will travel with them again! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
We wanted to cruise the Danube, and heard great things about Viking. The date worked out for us. Unlike other cruises, we had a full day in every port. The port talks on board let us know what to anticipate at each port, and in ... Read More
We wanted to cruise the Danube, and heard great things about Viking. The date worked out for us. Unlike other cruises, we had a full day in every port. The port talks on board let us know what to anticipate at each port, and in addition to a free excursion at each, we were offered really interesting options. We went on several free tours, generally great introductions to each town or city, but our favorite was an amazing concert just for Viking passengers one night in Vienna. It included a brilliant ten piece orchestra that sounded twice that large as well as two opera singers and two ballet dancers. The program was not only glorious but also interspersed with humor at times. There were several standing ovations toward the end. The food at every meal was absolutely delicious, with many entree choices as well as great buffets. Our cruise director, George, made the cruise so much fun. Along with local entertainers, George and his pianist Boris kept everyone dancing, and his humor as well as his singing was delightful. We were truly treated royally by the entire staff and can’t wait to go on another cruise with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
I finally did it and booked a river cruise. It exceeded my expectations. I chose 7 days which is perfect for me. I love the way the boats are configured to feel like you have so much space in a really limited size vessel. Loved the floor ... Read More
I finally did it and booked a river cruise. It exceeded my expectations. I chose 7 days which is perfect for me. I love the way the boats are configured to feel like you have so much space in a really limited size vessel. Loved the floor to ceiling windows. Every detail is thoughtfully executed. Great food, wine, people, entertainment. The included tours are great. You don't need to spend loads of money to have a delightful time. Well traveled folks who enjoy meeting each other. The crew work tirelessly to make the trip memorable. I will return at a future date for another cruise with Viking. I do thing you need to make sure that people are aware that when docked you may not be able to have a view from your cabin window. The ships tie up side by side and certain stops and also inside locks there is no view but concrete on those lower levels at times. It would have affected some peoples selections regarding cabin level I believe. I heard it discussed several times. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
I never had been on a river cruise and had heard how wonderful they are! I chose this particular one, because it went to the cities and the countries I wanted to experience. Viking did make the trip go very smoothly. My sister-in-law and ... Read More
I never had been on a river cruise and had heard how wonderful they are! I chose this particular one, because it went to the cities and the countries I wanted to experience. Viking did make the trip go very smoothly. My sister-in-law and I took all of the side tours we wanted, which added greatly to our cruise. We also elected to do a pre cruise extension in Prague. All of our connections went very smoothly with Viking meeting us at the airport, transferring us to our hotel which was the beautiful Art Nouveau Palace Hotel, and picking us up for our bus ride to our ship in Nuremberg. It made us feel very comfortable that all the details of our journey were organized and confirmed. We knew where we were going and how we were going to get there. We were able to add a couple of additional side tours onboard the ship, once we were aware of what our time restrictions we had. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Um no, no thanks. Never again. I signed up for a Viking River Cruise "Christmas in Germany" cruise in April 2017 for my mother's 50th birthday on assurances we would see "tons of Christmas markets" in Germany ... Read More
Um no, no thanks. Never again. I signed up for a Viking River Cruise "Christmas in Germany" cruise in April 2017 for my mother's 50th birthday on assurances we would see "tons of Christmas markets" in Germany - which was the ENTIRE point of the trip to Europe during Thanksgiving. Otherwise we'd have stayed home, it's cold, it rains, it's miserable but the Christmas markets are legendary and something my mother has always wanted to see. So for her birthday, I paid for this cruise. I booked the most expensive room - one of two Explorer Suites on the third level at the aft of the boat. Our ship was set to depart Nuremberg on 25 November with everyone embarking on 24 November for a 7-day cruise culminating with a final stop in Cologne. The brochure had the Nuremberg Christmas Market on it - one of the most famous in Germany. It spoke of all the Christmas merriment and smells of mulled cider and Christmas sights we'd see during our cruise. During our first nightly port meeting - our cruise director, George, informed us that the markets in Nuremberg, Bamberg, and Wurtzberg were all not yet open and were set to open the following week (after we'd all gone home). This meant of all the sights we'd see and places we'd stop - we would see only two markets over seven days - Koblenz and Cologne. Instantly pissed off. Now, during our cruise it rained and rained and rained. It was also freezing. So all our walking tours were miserable. And no markets. Also, because of all the rain, the water level was so high that our boat only barely moved once and we had to be bused long distances early in the morning from the boat. Hours on buses. Dinners in town at cheap places because we'd get back so late. This happened for about three days before we were eventually forced to disembark three days early (two nights left) and stay in a cheap hotel 40 minutes outside Cologne. Essentially, I did not get to stay in expensive suite I paid for for two nights, I didn't see the Christmas Markets I paid for (as they were not open yet no one checked the calendar), I did not get the food I paid for for several days (breakfast, lunch and dinner two days in the hotel) and then when we ate in town due to the 3.5 hour one way bus rides we ate at places that ONLY served beef and brat and cabbage - for two additional days lunch and then dinner not to mention the fully stocked fridge and snacks in our room that are complimentary which we did not have at the cheap hotel. I eat very healthy and expected the various menu options on the boat (fish, veggies, etc.) Viking is not cheap and I expected to get my money's worth. I did not. Not even close. Viking tried to make some things up to us - booking a stop in Miltenberg to shop (still no market) - and booking a cheaper option (fried chicken and soggy veggies for lunch) on a day boat to tour the Scenic Rhine - but it was too little too late for me as we'd spent HOURS on buses. You could also skip Wurzburg and the beautiful Wurzburg residence and go back to Bamberg for the Christmas market again another day - my mom wanted to see the historically rebuilt residence. Also, you could pay even more money (I'd already paid $10,000 for this cruise) to go on an extra excursion to Heidelberg and see their Christmas town (I don't think their market was open but they have an all-year store-type thing) which I chose not to do because, again, I'd already spent $10,000. Apparently you get bused a lot anyway during these - sometimes 2+ hours each way to these places. I thought the boats pulled into the towns. No. When I returned I demanded a partial refund - Viking initially offered me a standard $1100 in a future voucher. I said no. They then offered $3300 for a future cruise that I had to book in the next 12 months before it expired and wanted me to sign a non-disclosure. Are you kidding?! For a VOUCHER. They don't sell cruises that are cheap - so in order to see any compensation for this farce of a cruise I'd have to pay them MORE money. At this point - I never want to cruise with them again. Let alone give them thousands more. That is bad business and not a way to compensate customers for mistakes. Their customer service is awful and I have been put off by the entire experience. I expected better. They told me that they were only "offering" four Christmas markets during this cruise. News to me and everyone else I spoke to on the cruise, most of who flew on Thanksgiving night specifically for the Germany Christmas markets and were devastated not to get to see them and had verified with booking agents and customer service they would see ALL of them in every town we visited. Instead, we saw where they were being set up and would be open the following week for the next cruise. I mentioned that the most famous of the trip, Nuremberg, was on the first page of the cruise booklet and the agent, Rayna, who I spoke to, informed that the photo was simply for marketing purposes and we were never going to see that one, despite embarking and spending two days in Nuremberg. That is shameful. Well, of the four they "offered" - I got to see two of them. Even had they all been open, the schedules were so packed with bus rides, lunches, and walking tours of the cities, at best we had a hurried 30-60 minutes to walk the town by ourselves anyway. So the Christmas markets were never the main attraction - they were simply an afterthought. Extremely disappointing to my mother and I who planned the entire trip ONLY on the markets since she has wanted to see them her entire life. Otherwise, I could easily have visited Europe during warmer and less rainy and windy months when I could've enjoyed it. From Googling the company at this point I see this part of Germany has issues often with low or high water and clients being removed from boats and swapping to others. What a pain. Also, many complaints against Viking for cruises with issues where they refuse to try to make it right. I for one, plan never to use this company again and I would strongly encourage no one else to either. Viking continues to hold onto the flooding as my main concern in any interaction we've had - when really - it's more about misleading me about the Christmas markets and the calendar. I'd never have booked had I known I was only ever going to see 4 Christmas markets to begin with - they let everyone think the theme of the cruise was that and book according. Acts of God are one thing - but messing up Christmas market schedules and misleading customers then claiming they got to do "most of what was promised" (a direct quote from a snarky customer service agent who told me I had no recourse and they would not be discussing with me further) is simply not OK. Most of the individuals I saw on the cruise were elderly - extremely so - and probably take the vouchers for future cruises - don't complain - and don't go posting reviews all over the internet. I'm 33 years old and and I LOVE to travel and I travel 5x or more annually on luxury trips. I had hoped this experience would foster some loyalty for me with Viking and offer another way to travel for me and my friends and family. I had high expectations for them. I even had high expectations they would make this right when I got home and so far I have been nothing but massively disappointed. Bottom line - Viking River Cruises misrepresented what this cruise was about and is now refusing to offer compensation aside from vouchers (which will cost me more money to use and I am not accepting that) for my missed Christmas markets, two nights of missed accommodations and missed food services on a restricted diet. **Update 29 December 2017: I just spoke to the very polite and apologetic Viking agent who has been trying to contact me about this issue - I was now offered either 50% off a future cruise - or $500 in cash but both will require an NDA be signed. I'm not signing an NDA for a voucher Viking River Cruises. You owe me a cash refund and much more than $500. You misled every single passenger into thinking they were going to see all those Christmas markets and you are trying to cover the mistake up. There were a ton of elderly people on that cruise and most of them traveled on Thanksgiving day to be there. You should be ashamed. My mother and I spoke to dozens of people who were all furious and upset as they had only done this particular cruise for the markets. Now I'm being told Viking was only ever "offering" four. News to me. Even still, I only saw two. Do better. I appreciate the apology - but asking me to spend more money with you after a mistake this big - is nothing but bad business. **Update 30 December 2017: BUYER BEWARE - Viking River Cruises has shady social media, PR and customer service tactics involving having employees leave 5-star reviews and having multiple reviews left to push down bad ones. I have refused to sign an NDA as they will not refund my money - today they disabled their reviews on their Facebook site which seems a response to this review I posted on 27 December 2017 about a recent Christmas in Germany Cruise I took where they mis-represented the scheduled events - they can't delete it however - so the link below shows the original review - I've also posted it on my own FB page, on Yelp, here and made it public for all internet searches so it can be found. Bc it had so many comments and likes it was still at the top of the "Most Helpful Column" and they couldn't have that.... Original review link for Viking River Cruises on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alison.mccombs/posts/10104486688307539:0 Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
We had never taken a river cruise before, but we had very high expectations. We were both recently retired, two dear friends were traveling with us, and we were excited. That said, there was this quiet anxiety that maybe the trip was ... Read More
We had never taken a river cruise before, but we had very high expectations. We were both recently retired, two dear friends were traveling with us, and we were excited. That said, there was this quiet anxiety that maybe the trip was over-hyped and might disappoint. It did not! In fact, we could not have imagined the terrific experience we were about to enjoy. To put it simply, Viking staff and program exceeded our expectation at every turn. Our stateroom was clean, comfortable, quiet and attractive. The staff was UNBELIEVABLE! You'd think at least one would have "a bad hair day" once during the cruise. Never! They were on an A Game that did not stop - professional, courteous, friendly, helpful. The food was fantastic. The tours well organized with excellent guides. You get the picture. So here's just one example of the Viking standard of service. On the final day of our journey, a number of us needed to be at the Budapest airport for 6 am flights. This meant departing the Var at about 3 am. So what did the staff do? The served a breakfast for us at 2:00 am! They also provided a bar of cold cuts, cheeses and breads so that we could make sandwiches to carry onto our planes. This while the staff gathered our luggage and placed it on our bus to the airport. This was Wow Service with an exclamation point. We enjoyed every moment of our cruise from Nuremberg to Budapest. An experience we will long and happily remember. It was the experience of our lifetime! Until we sign up for another Viking cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
Itinerary, love Viking, our 2nd river and one ocean Montreal to NYC, wonderful. Highly recommend to everyone. Service is perfect, tours are well planned and interesting. The only point of disappointment was the 2 times we were parked ... Read More
Itinerary, love Viking, our 2nd river and one ocean Montreal to NYC, wonderful. Highly recommend to everyone. Service is perfect, tours are well planned and interesting. The only point of disappointment was the 2 times we were parked between 2 other Viking ships, no light in the rooms, couldn't use the balcony; the entire ship was dark. Tour manager was very knowledgable, loved the expert lectures on board. Food was always delicious and appealing. Service everywhere was perfect, always attentive, aware of what guests needed, swift and friendly ....in just the right amount. Room was kept very clean, service was perfect; asked once and they consistently provided what we needed without reminders. Front desk very helpful anytime we had a question. Especially helpful when we had to disembark at 3:30 am! Staff was out there, attentive and effecient. We had rainy weather, however, tours continued, can't control the weather. Thank you! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
We were invited by another couple to join them and it sounded like fun. We were so glad we went. From the beginning of being met at the airport we were looked out for and taken care of. All of the details had been prepared for and our ... Read More
We were invited by another couple to join them and it sounded like fun. We were so glad we went. From the beginning of being met at the airport we were looked out for and taken care of. All of the details had been prepared for and our needs were taken care of. The staff was courteous and considerate. The food was excellent (well, there was too much), the entertainment was great, and the onshore guides were great. We especially enjoyed the cruise through the Wachau Valley with the river surrounded by scenic vineyards interspersed with castles and were glad this was a scheduled feature of our trip rather than having transversed the valley at night. Arrangements for departure were all taken care of including early morning transport to the airport in plenty of time to catch our early flight with the guide even helping people print of their boarding passes. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Picked this cruise for the itinerary. 3 day pre cruise in Prague was great but I could have booked the Hilton for less than half the price on my own . The included hotel breakfast was excellent. The Viking experience was way below my ... Read More
Picked this cruise for the itinerary. 3 day pre cruise in Prague was great but I could have booked the Hilton for less than half the price on my own . The included hotel breakfast was excellent. The Viking experience was way below my expectations and very expensive. I am a vet cruiser, mostly on RCCL and Celebrity, first time on Viking. Our itinerary for the first 3 days was changed to accommodate ship maintenance for which no details were provided until after the fact "technical issue". The ship spent an entire day in dry dock and Viking claimed there would be no impact. The reality is that the 1st 3 days of the cruise was diminished to a bus tour rather than scenic river cruising to accelerate our travel to reach dry dock in order to "meet our appointment schedule". Most of our travel after excursions was by bus. I could have booked a bus tour for a lot less money. We never made it to Passua. The small cabin size was shocking, not enough storage for my wife and myself. Needed to live out of a suitcase under the bed. The food was marginal at best, as an example there was one evening where we were only offered 3 entrees. The food on Celebrity is significantly better. Given no scenery the first 3 days, not a whole lot to do. For our troubles they offered drinks one evening in the lounge but given we had the drink package that was a big zero for me. The additional excursions were nice but very expensive. Would very likely not repeat with Viking. Very nice itinerary, mediocre accommodations, marginal food and very expensive. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
In many ways I hate to give such a critical review because the boat itself, the food and the accommodations were all exceptional, The staff were unbelievable. the the program director, George was wonderful. We marveled at the consistent ... Read More
In many ways I hate to give such a critical review because the boat itself, the food and the accommodations were all exceptional, The staff were unbelievable. the the program director, George was wonderful. We marveled at the consistent high level of service they delivered. While the land tours were uneven, they were mostly good and helped you to get a flavor for the region. Night lecture by a Bavarian scholar was excellent. However, due to high demand for river cruises on the Danube the boats are often required to tie up 3 deep while in dock. The venting systems for the boats pool between the boats and creates an unbelievable stench that permeated throughout the boat. It was impossible to be on the upper decks if you wanted to breathe. The common areas in the center of the boat made us gag on several occasions. The smell was not so bad in the rooms but because we had another boat tied along side, our balcony abutted the other ship. Not only was the view obstructed but it necessitated keeping the drapes and darkening shades drawen or you had to either look at a show you didn't want or you gave a show you didn't intend. Not acceptable.. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
My husband and I traveled with 2 other couples. First time for all of us. We had a great time. Everything was excellent from shore excursions, to our meals and our rooms. The ship was very clean in all of the common areas, also. The ... Read More
My husband and I traveled with 2 other couples. First time for all of us. We had a great time. Everything was excellent from shore excursions, to our meals and our rooms. The ship was very clean in all of the common areas, also. The meals were awesome. I tried so many different foods. The presentation for every meal was very appealing. Our favorite port was Budapest. The finale to a great vacation was the night cruise into the cities, after dinner. The lights were beautiful and very romantic!!! I would also like to mention, the Viking Rep at the Budapest airport. She handled our passports/check-in and made sure we were in the correct line for our airline. All of Tour Guides in all of the ports, were very knowledgeable and interesting. Some were very amusing and made it fun! I mentioned your cruise to everyone back home and passed out your brochure. We would love to travel again with you, but we will have to save, maybe in 2019. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2017
We (my husband and I, both retired) thoroughly enjoyed this, our first, river cruise. Te ship was modern and very comfortable. Our room was a little tight but nice with the balcony, which we used often day and night. The food was ... Read More
We (my husband and I, both retired) thoroughly enjoyed this, our first, river cruise. Te ship was modern and very comfortable. Our room was a little tight but nice with the balcony, which we used often day and night. The food was excellent. I have a restrictive diet and the maitre de was more than willing to be sure I had plenty to eat right down to delicious gluten & lactose free deserts. The shore excursions were all led by very knowledgeable guides, most of whom were university professors. We have already planned our next adventure on the Viking Truvor from Moscow to St. Petersburg in June 2019. Excursions were included, so the price for the cruise was well worth it. A bottle of water was provided each excursion. Also, sodas, beer and wine were included in the price. We've sailed on 6 ocean cruises with another line and for the price, we couldn't match the value. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2017
We wanted to experience the Danube River and to begin the trip with an extension in Prague. We highly recommend spending several days in Prague. Touring the Jewish quarter was particularly meaningful for us. The service was ... Read More
We wanted to experience the Danube River and to begin the trip with an extension in Prague. We highly recommend spending several days in Prague. Touring the Jewish quarter was particularly meaningful for us. The service was attentive and reliable. We appreciated the extra effort from the dining room staff in celebrating our wedding anniversary. The ship is well designed. We enjoy having the full floor to ceiling window. I would have preferred more time in Nuremberg before departure. The guides are first rate. The food is consistently very good, particularly the appetizers and desserts. We enjoyed the excursions. For us, the walking tours are the most interesting. George was an enthusiastic and excellent program director. The pianist, Sylvia, was superb. The onboard lectures were interesting. The night cruise in Budapest on our last night was a highlight. We felt that we had a better sense of Budapest than Vienna. The opera performance onboard also was very entertaining. We look forward to another cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2017
This was our second Viking cruise and it won't be the last. This time we went with two other couples (their first time). Again, as with our first cruise on the Seine, we were not disappointed. The ship was great with all public ... Read More
This was our second Viking cruise and it won't be the last. This time we went with two other couples (their first time). Again, as with our first cruise on the Seine, we were not disappointed. The ship was great with all public areas easily accessible. Our cabin comfortable with all the comforts one could ask for on a cruise. I can't say enough about the unbelievable crew and staff! When it was time to disembark it was like saying good-bye to new friends. The shore excursions, programs on board and the entertainment on board were perfect. We had the best guides in the cities - as on our previous cruise from Paris to Normandy, these guides were friendly, efficient and so knowledgeable. Last but certainly not least, the food is out of this world on a Viking River Cruise. Every meal was something to look forward to. Vienna will always be one of my favorite cities and the Strauss/Mozart concert was wonderful. Our cruise ended in Budapest, our first time there. What a spectacular ending to a fabulous tour. We will always remember cruising up and down the Danube at night with the gorgeous city of Budapest all lit up. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2017
Although we are a seasoned cruise family, this was our first river cruise and our first venture with Viking. We were overwhelmed at virtually every aspect of our trip. Our room was well appointed and very comfortable. The on-board ... Read More
Although we are a seasoned cruise family, this was our first river cruise and our first venture with Viking. We were overwhelmed at virtually every aspect of our trip. Our room was well appointed and very comfortable. The on-board service was extraordinary, particularly the food service. My wife is highly allergic (anaphylactic) to shell fish, tuna and salmon. I alerted the food service director upon boarding of her situation. He took personal control of her dining needs. Each day he provided her options for the following day. Some of these decisions required special meals. At every meal and function where food was served, he found us immediately upon arrival and let her know what presentations she needed to avoid. This was quite helpful in situations where hors d'oeuvres were served, This associate went over and above the expected attention and level of service that we expected. Our trip was marked with numerous highlights too frequent to detail here. Contrary to a recent traveler's comments about stacking boats side by side, we found absolutely no issues with air quality while docked along side or between other Viking long boats. My wife, who is usually quite reserved with her lavish reviews called this "the best cruise by far that we have ever taken." Thanks Viking! To quote MacArthur, "We'll be back!" Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
My daughter and I just returned from a wonderful week visiting the Christmas Markets in Germany on the Viking Long ship, Var. After a little blip in air travel plans with Air Canada connections delayed to Toronto, we enjoyed what I would ... Read More
My daughter and I just returned from a wonderful week visiting the Christmas Markets in Germany on the Viking Long ship, Var. After a little blip in air travel plans with Air Canada connections delayed to Toronto, we enjoyed what I would say was a perfect experience. A call to the Viking hotline when we realized we were going to miss our transatlantic connection in Canada, resulted in a very quick response and rebooking to United to include a cab ride from Washington National to Dulles International. The rest of the flight was uneventful and we were happy to see the friendly Viking Cruise representative who met us in Nuremburg and encouraged us to relax after our long flight and to let Viking take care of everything from this point forward. She was right, Viking is extremely organized, we were able to settle in and not worry about another thing for the entire week. The Var is a beautiful ship, accommodating 180 passengers. We had a stateroom with balcony that felt roomy. The bathroom included heated floors and a strong shower (important to me). The complimentary shampoo, conditioner, lotion and body wash were of good quality so it’s not necessary to bring your own. A blow dryer was provided as well. Dress on the boat is relatively casual, even at night. I probably over packed. It’s winter in Germany so comfortable walking boots are essential for the cobblestone sidewalks as well as a warm coat, hat and gloves. Bring Euros for the markets and for tipping the guides, other larger stores and restaurants will accept credit cards. Each day we were in a different port that included a morning tour and then free time to explore the town and markets. We always had time to eat a good breakfast on the ship, either the standard American buffet with made to order eggs or a more European breakfast on the Aquavit deck that my daughter and I enjoyed. Most days we had lunch at the markets, sampling the different wursts and local treats. Every market provided a warm drink for about 3 Euros with a 3 Euro deposit if you wanted to keep the commemorative mug that was unique to each town and fun to collect. Stops included: Nuremburg-the largest market and famous for their wurst on a fresh roll and local mustard (to die for). The Christmas crafts were amazing! We bought little wooden ornaments. We were told that vendors are required to let buyers know if the items are not made in Germany so customers can feel confident that they are buying locally made products. The morning tour included a bus ride through the town with stops at the Nazi rally points and the Nuremburg castle. That night on the ship and every night we had a coordination meeting with our program director, Dan, who laid out the next day plans, introduced the ship officers and answered questions. I have to say that I have been on many large cruise ships but the more manageable ship size of river cruising is refreshing. It was nice to get to know the staff and other passengers more intimately. Dan was the most involved program director that I have ever seen. He accompanied us on all excursions, working hard to insure that everyone’s needs were completely fulfilled. Although the ship offers a full bar, most evenings we were offered complimentary champange, cordials or schnapps. Dinners were elegantly presented and tasty with an eye towards healthy eating. Portions were on the small size but adequate. I was looking forward to experiencing more regional cooking. Meals offered were somewhat traditional and included such things as Beef Wellington, Chateaubriand, Sea Bass and Scallops. Vegetarian choices were always an option. There was one German night that satisfied my need for German food and to improve the mood, we were serenaded by local musicians. Every night wine and beer was offered. We kept hearing about the local vineyards so I was surprised that the wine choices were from other countries, mostly Malbec and Sauvignon Blanc. Highlights from other ports included: Bamburg- charming medieval town. It is the home of smoked beer and a wonderful hot apple cider called “Apple Pie” which came highly recommended from our young tour guide. In Wurzburg we toured the elaborate palace in the morning and then were bused to the perfectly preserved town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Viking provided lunch at a traditional gasthaus called Glocke that included potato soup, bratwurst, mashed potatoes, and sauerkraut with apple strudel for dessert. It was so nice to come in from the cold to enjoy such a regional meal and what a pleasant surprise from Viking. Other points of interest in Rothenburg include the schnapps distillery, complete with tasting room. The tour guide suggested the raspberry and pear, although there were many flavors to sample. The original and largest Kathe Wohlfahrt store is located in this town as well as a large Steiff toy store. In the market we enjoyed hot chocolate with amaretto and another commemorative mug, yummm! Wertheim is a small town that has a small town community feel. The Christmas market includes a little renaissance fair complete with sword fights and medieval characters. Wertheim is known for glassblowing. Earlier in the day, Viking invited one of the more famous artisans to provide demonstrations on the ship. This day we spent more time cruising and were able to enjoy the scenery and to experience, during daylight, a few of the 31 locks negotiated during the cruise, which usually occurred during evening hours. The next morning we docked in Frankfurt and traveled to Heidelberg where we again visited the castle and took a walking tour of the town. Lunch was on our own so we had another opportunity to sample local cuisine and enjoy another Christmas Market. We returned late that evening expecting to pack and prepare for the next days departure, when one of our shipmates reported that the Frankfurt Christmas Market was in walking distance to the ship. They felt it was one of the best markets with a great vibe. Unfortunately, it was about this time that we were hearing reports of the Berlin terrorist attack and decided to stay on the ship. I would suggest saving some time and energy for the Frankfurt market for future travelers, sounds like we missed a good one. All in all, I can’t thank Viking enough for making this week enjoyable and stress free. It was such a treat to have had quality time with my daughter. For everyone considering a river cruise and waiting to hear what it’s like, I say go for it! Christmas is a magical time in Europe. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We had 4 couples travel together we a pre cruise in Prague. This was my 5th Viking cruise and knew what to expect. From the pickup at the Prague airport to the drop off at the Frankfurt airport, everything went smooth and no issues. The ... Read More
We had 4 couples travel together we a pre cruise in Prague. This was my 5th Viking cruise and knew what to expect. From the pickup at the Prague airport to the drop off at the Frankfurt airport, everything went smooth and no issues. The Prague Hilton where Viking had us stay is in the outskirts of Old Town but we didn't mind because we enjoyed walking around Prague every day. We opted for the Terazin day trip which was well worth the extra money, the guide was very knowledgeable and we had lunch in an exceptional Czech micro brewery. We were bused from Prague to Nuremberg and made it with time to unpack, have a drink and enjoy dinner. The following morning we had a bus trip around Nuremberg, saw the Zeppelin field, courthouse and the Castle on the hill. There was plenty of time for lunch, Christmas Market shopping and get a bus back to the ship in the afternoon. Once again we had a very knowledgeable guide, I think Viking had outstanding ones on this trip, at each stop they were funny, knowledgeable and communicated well. The next day was Bamburg, a short bus ride to town, a very witty and funny guide, who was a student took us around, the boat sailed at 1:15 PM so it gave us some time to shop around and sample the smokey dark beer that only Bamburg offers. I wish we had another hour or two here. The next day was filled with plenty of activities, first stop was Wurzburg Residenz, a walking tour with another great guide, then a bus trip to Rothenburg, a brief tour then 3 hours to spend exploring this picturesque town, a bus trip back to the ship, then a Taste of Germany buffet with local beer and wine. This dinner is outstanding and we all enjoyed it. The next day we cruised all morning, had a glass blowing demonstration, and arrived in Wertheim at 2:00 PM.The glass blower is very interesting, tells good stories and it is not to be missed.There is a small train that picks you up and drives you into the small town, we opted out of the train and guide, walked in ourselves, and hiked up to the castle on the hill.This is not to be missed, it is 2 euros to get in and you are on your own, plenty to explore up there. After our climb , we had beers in town and walked back to the ship. We cruise most of the night and were supposed to arrive in Frankfurt at 10 AM, there was heavy traffic on the river. At 11:00 AM we departed the boat and were bused to Heidelberg, you could have stayed on and gone to Frankfurt. This was my 3rd time to Heidelberg so when we arrived at the castle, we walked down the steps to downtown, did some shopping and had lunch too We were bused back to the boat in Frankfurt, had dinner on the ship and walked 3 blocks to the Christmas Market and explored Frankfurt. Our luggage had to be out the next day at 5 AM, with 6:15 AM bus ride to the airport. Viking stepped it up with the guides in each town, all were outstanding, spoke well and had great personalities. The wine selection was different each night, all were very good, and the food was very good to excellent. Out of 8 of us, 2 with dietary restrictions, we did not complain once or have a bad meal. The Maitre De on the boat came around to our 2 travelers at breakfast every morning, went over the lunch and dinner selection and made sure they were able to get what they wanted, both were gluten free and one was dairy free. There was a piano player-singer every day named Sylvia, she had a beautiful voice and played the piano very well. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We did the Romantic Danube from Nuremberg, Germany to Budapest, Hungary from 10/28 to 11/4/2016 (our first river cruise). The pre-trip in Prague, Czech Republic and post-trip in Budapest were well worth the money, especially the choice of ... Read More
We did the Romantic Danube from Nuremberg, Germany to Budapest, Hungary from 10/28 to 11/4/2016 (our first river cruise). The pre-trip in Prague, Czech Republic and post-trip in Budapest were well worth the money, especially the choice of hotels which were outstanding! The transfer from and to international airports were efficient and trouble free. The age group on this sailing was 30 to 80+. The younger group engaged the older ones after dinner in the lounge. There was a constant mix of getting to know each other. Best of all, was the staff on the Var from the captain to the cleaning staff - Outstanding!!. George, the Program Director and a very talented singer, went above and beyond to make sure everyone was taken care of. Stan, the concierge was always available with any questions; taking care of everyone needs with a lovely smile! The serving staff were most pleasant, especially Peter and Cazmir (spelling?).The tour guides and bus drivers were all excellent. The dining experience from breakfast to dinner, light snacks, etc. was A+!! The ship was more than we expected! All the latest comforts, even heated bathroom floors! The bus ride from Prague to the port in Germany was outstanding at this time of the year. So appreciated the fall colors and beautiful country side. Luckily, the Danube was high enough throughout the cruise, without out any offloading to another port, but if we had not, I am sure it would have been an experience to remember pleasantly due the staff on this ship - the VAR!! The included tours, plus the optional Wachu Valley to the Abbey tour were outstanding as was the Vienna Mozart concert tour! After such a fun, perfect cruise, afraid to take another river cruise as it will be hard set to live up to experience we had on the Var. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2016
We chose this cruise for the places and the price. We really enjoyed this trip so much that we were delighted and eager to return. Delicious food, amazing staff, A1 service, really recommend. The tour of the Danube river is simply ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the places and the price. We really enjoyed this trip so much that we were delighted and eager to return. Delicious food, amazing staff, A1 service, really recommend. The tour of the Danube river is simply wonderful, the freshness of the air indescribable, each place with a different history, small towns with a fantastic architecture full of culture and progress. From the moment of our arrival to Nuremberg we were met by a Viking employee with incredible kindness, from there we forgot our luggage, they even took care of leaving them in our cabin. Everything we were offered in the catalog we had and more. Our extended days in Hungary was a sensational, a hotel with an eye-catching view, all very friendly Viking employees who said goodbye when all the luggage was checked in at the airport and we were ready to board. I can only say thank you Viking for the excellent trip we had and see you in a new destination. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We took this Viking Var Romantic Danube River Cruise for my husband's birthday and our 25th wedding anniversary, from Nuremberg (well actually Erlangen) to Budapest. Having seen the beautiful Viking commercials on television for ... Read More
We took this Viking Var Romantic Danube River Cruise for my husband's birthday and our 25th wedding anniversary, from Nuremberg (well actually Erlangen) to Budapest. Having seen the beautiful Viking commercials on television for years, we were enticed. It was our first ever cruise and we wanted an 8 day river cruise due to the fact that we are both easily sea sick. However, the ads do NOT show the whole picture and the experience was also spoiled by no air conditioning for 3 days on our side of the boat, because they could not get the right part. No A/c in August meant 2 sleepless nights, as they could not provide us with a fan. One night we left the balcony door open for cool air but ended up with a cabin ceiling covered in black gnats! We went to the front desk as we did not know what to do with them and they brought a vacuum to suck them up expertly-obviously they had done this before! Our Romantic Danube cruise actually starts out on the Main Am Danube canal which is not very attractive (although interesting when you go through the 27 locks) -certainly not the vine-covered hills we were expecting to be looking at as we sat on our balcony. The first day we were tied up at an industrial dock opposite a recycling plant-see pics at Erlangen-half an hour from the pretty city of Nuremberg. We had paid extra for the balcony room, but did not use it that day as we did not want to sit looking at a corrugated iron fence for a whole day. It soon became apparent that the balcony was a waste of money as we could not use it 4/7days due to being tied up next to another boat which were exactly aligned so you could see into each other boat's cabins and no doubt touch hands on the balcony-hardly private and certainly not Romantic! The cabin was cosy but well appointed, with plenty of storage so that we could get our things put away. The bathroom was very compact, but again had good storage and sufficed for us, though we are not sure how large or tall men got into the shower! Although it was described in the brochures that wifi was available-it really was only available when docked and pretty sketchy at other times, although we did find one corner of the lounge (beneath the captain's bridge!) with better reception. Other indoor areas of the ship were attractive, which was fortunate as we were unable to sit on the sun deck for most of the trip due to the high water and the inability to get under bridges, unless they laid everything flat, which took the crew 3-4 hours to do apparently. Again something not really described in the brochure. Meals on board were indeed fine dining, but as big time foodies, we could not really classify the dinners as gourmet. For example, they never asked you how you liked your meat and at the first dinner they overcooked everyone's steak and fish. Moments of excellence however were the pastry chef's creations for tea and dinner and the breakfast and lunch buffets, with interesting salads, fresh fruit, and freshly prepared egg dishes or sandwiches and soups. The first day buffet lunch was a particularly nice welcome. Service was generally good and we quickly learned who were the best servers and most friendly. There were a few who were obviously in training (reaching across your plate when you were still eating etc) Meeting new people at dinner was one of the best aspects of the trip. We had thought at first, it would rather be like middle-school, trying to find someone to sit with in the dining room, but we found nearly every passenger to be open and friendly and we could easily find a topic to discuss. The tours were generally well run and interesting and we only had one guide (on a rainy day in Vienna) that was tiresome and confusing with his spiel about the Hapsburg dynasty (even for a history major like myself). Everyone else seemed to balance out the history and interesting facts about the area and country. The expensive optional tours, we chose: Cruising the Danube Narrows, Schoenbrunn Palace in Vienna and the Apricot Dumpling making at the Gottweig Abbey, were excellent. However, we felt the organization of the first days' tours were poor: we would have liked to have taken the optional tour of the Nuremberg WWII history but it was at the same time ( Saturday morning) as the included City tour, because we had to sail in the afternoon to get to the next dock. However, if, as we reported, we had spent the first day tied up in Nuremberg and started the whole cruise there, instead of Erlangen opposite the recycling plant, we could have Saturday afternoon to do the optional tour. We could have then sailed in the evening and night. We know this fact as we met a couple from California on the Sunday who had missed the first 2 days due to their plane from LA being cancelled and they had to try and get to the boat at Nuremburg , but the boat was not there and they had to be bussed on again to Regensburg-and they might have been able to join the boat on Saturday evening in Nuremberg. It should also be noted most of the tours left at 8-830 which did not invite a leisurely morning. In addition, since the boat was not docked in center of city (except for Budapest), it meant a bus ride of at least 30 minutes to get to the attraction. Due to the high water one day we were bussed 1 1/2 hours to the city of Regensburg- and then another 1/1/2 hours to rejoin the boat which finally was able to make its way down to the correct dock after sailing all day. My husband was so frustrated to have yet another long bus ride-he actually picked the option of staying on the boat, but of course missed his already- paid for tour. In fact, the commercial’s voice over "Spend more time being there and less time getting there...." kept going around in our heads through out the cruise! Entertainment on the boat in the evening was low key, but enjoyable with talks about the EU, the Canal, and coffee houses of Vienna, music and trivia quizzes and delightful musical entertainment from an opera group and Bavarian band, as well as the resident Sonya, singer and piano player. Tatiana, our program director kept the up beat spirit going through out the trip. Our last night in Budapest was probably the epitome of the commercial, when the captain took us for a "romantic" cruise around the illuminated sights of the city, narrated by Tatiana. The views were spectacular and we were glad that we ended with Budapest, rather than taking the cruise in the opposite direction, otherwise we would have felt we had gone from the "sublime to the ridiculous." We have travelled to Europe for over 25 years, due to having family still there, so have experienced many aspects of traveling abroad and while this cruise was enjoyable, it was certainly not the once-in-a lifetime trip that was advertised in their commercial and that we had long awaited. We feel that Viking should elaborate more on the exact details of the trip and the inconveniences of being tied up, alongside other boats, in industrial areas requiring a bus trip to the attraction. When we contacted Viking customer service on our return, they only would give us a future credit of a $1000 off another trip for the lack of air-conditioning for 3 days-so really not compensation for the most expensive trip we have ever taken. We are not sure we will repeat it for my decade birthday next year…..We wish we had read some of these reviews on this site beforehand. Read Less
Viking Var Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.4
Entertainment 3.0 3.9
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 1.0 3.2
Family 1.0 3.2
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.4
Enrichment 4.0 4.2
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 3.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 N/A

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