7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
I just have to say it - we had an amazing time on the Rinda. All the staff worked hard to please the passengers. The food was excellent, the rooms were fine. Service over all was a 4 or 5. However, as wonderful as the experience on ... Read More
I just have to say it - we had an amazing time on the Rinda. All the staff worked hard to please the passengers. The food was excellent, the rooms were fine. Service over all was a 4 or 5. However, as wonderful as the experience on the ship was, it was overshadowed by the terrible customer service provided by Viking's customer service. You already know (if you've read other reviews) that the advertisements for Paris & the Heart of Normandy Tour did not really dock in Paris as expected by the advertising. They actually send you a letter after you book informing you that they were denied a docking permit. News flash: unless you take their airport transfers their answer on how to get to the ship is to spend approx. 50 Euros to take a cab from Paris (more if directly from the airport). Our experience is that we were flying in a few days early, and declined paying for Viking's Paris extension. We were delighted to see on the website a few days before we left that there was now a shuttle bus provided to take ship passengers to Paris, and back to the ship so a day of shopping could be enjoyed. We called Viking to confirm that we would be accepted on the shuttle, and after three phone calls had confirmed the time and location (which turned out to be incorrect). On the proper day, we were at the site, however no bus. Three more phone calls to Viking (now at international minutes on our cell phone) netted three hangups, even though we provided our cell phone number on the third call. We finally took a cab to the ship. While on the way to the ship I turned on the data on my cell phone, and discovered that someone had written me back (not called - did they care that I was standing in the cold?) to tell me that there was no shuttle from a hotel (that's not what I asked for), and that I should take a cab. Once at the ship, they were distressed to learn that I was given the incorrect location, and that they saw no reason why we couldn't be included on the shuttle. They also reimbursed our cab fare. I actually spoke to the customer service rep that emailed me after that cruise was over, strictly by chance when I called Viking to complain. His position was that the shuttle would not have let me on anyway, since I hadn't paid for a transfer, and that the prior customer service reps that I spoke to before the trip had no right to give me that information. My position is that if a company provides false advertising as to the location of their ship, they should provide transportation from where the ship should have been located to where it really was. And if the folks at Viking send you an email with times and locations, you need to back it up. Also, even if you book your air through Viking air, you will never hear from them if the airline changes the itinerary (and they did for many of us). Viking clearly states it in their booklet, so keep checking the airline website regarding your reservation. Moral of the story: If you're going to go with Viking, do it all with Viking. The folks who did had fewer complaints. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
This was our second Viking River Cruise and we were excited at the beginning because our first cruise had been such a delight. We took the Portraits of Southern France cruise in late September/early October 2015. We were warmly welcomed ... Read More
This was our second Viking River Cruise and we were excited at the beginning because our first cruise had been such a delight. We took the Portraits of Southern France cruise in late September/early October 2015. We were warmly welcomed when we boarded the Viking Buri in Chalon sur Saone. Within hours, the ship’s management informed us that passengers boarding from another Viking cruise had contracted and/or been exposed to Gastroenteritis. As a result, Viking suspended coffee station service and lunch buffet service, and passengers were not permitted to serve themselves anything at any meal. On day six of the cruise, the program director announced that GI illness was no longer a concern. Notwithstanding, Viking never resumed those services. Things went seriously awry on day 3 as a result of the failure of one of the ship’s engine generators. It took 36 hours for the program director to advise the passengers that there was an issue and how it would be resolved. As a result, the ship spent three days docked in Lyon while we waited for a part to arrive to effect the repair. Viking arranged for us to visit the other scheduled stops on the itinerary, which meant they put us on buses and bused us around France. For example, part of the appeal of this cruise’s itinerary was a full-day visit to Arles. Instead we spent almost 2-1/2 hours on a bus to Arles and almost two hours, again on a bus, to re-board the Buri. Because the ship was continually a day behind the schedule and not docked at the places we were visiting, passengers did not have access to the ship during most of the shore excursions. As a result, quite a few passengers elected not to take the shore excursions because the bused versions of the excursions were too physically demanding – not because of the sites visited but because of the extensive periods of time on the bus. In an effort to make up time after finally leaving Lyon, the Buri cruised at night, which meant we never got to enjoy sitting on deck and watching the river during the day. On the positive side, the Buri, like the other Viking long ship we traveled on, is comfortable, clean and well-organized. The staff is very professional, and everyone extended themselves to make us comfortable. The food was excellent as were the guides for shore excursions. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
I am asking for a refund of my entire trip on the Viking Pride, Paris and the Beaches of Normandy, 12-19 April (including air travel which began on 11 April). The ship was in an accident the day before our arrival (11 April, 3 p.m. Paris ... Read More
I am asking for a refund of my entire trip on the Viking Pride, Paris and the Beaches of Normandy, 12-19 April (including air travel which began on 11 April). The ship was in an accident the day before our arrival (11 April, 3 p.m. Paris = 9 a.m. New York). We were not notified until two days after our arrival and our embarking on the ship that we would not be sailing, due to the French authorities not allowing the Pride to sail with passengers in such a condition. We were bused instead to our first destination, and our bus was in an accident immediately upon leaving the port area. The bus smashed a small white car up against a phone pole on the side of the highway. The side door to the bus was crushed, not allowing any emergency exit should there have been a need. Upon arrival at Giverny, the bus was changed out for a new bus and our belongings were transferred. There were missing items. Time was abbreviated at each destination (:58 minutes to run through Monet's gardens and house); we never got to Vernon as promised. We were also bused to a hotel on the outskirts of Paris where we had to endure bad food and pay for phone usage ($56.95), not to mention having to pack, unpack, repack, and load our own bags on and off the ship and to the buses and to the hotel and to and from our rooms at the Marriott. We were bused for 2 hours and 20 minutes to get to the Pride, now docked in Rouen at the repair yard. Our views were industrial all around, with loud noise from repairs being completed as we ate our lunch on the sundeck breathing in and ingesting all the dust from the charcoal factory next to us. Again, we were bused to town and time was cut short due to transportation issues from where we were supposed to be docked and the repair shipyard where we had no internet service as well. When we finally sailed our first centimeter out of the shipyard, we gathered on the deck, only to find crew members with sanding belts, loudly sanding off the paint on the bow area, dust flying at us in every direction. I have video with audio for your perusal if you desire. We had to go into the lounge, where instead of watching the ship progress down the Seine, we watched the crew sand, hose down, and then paint the bow in front of us, as we cruised. In summary, Viking River Cruises practiced deceit in not informing me that the ship was inoperable, instead deceiving me into "embarking" onto the ship, as your contract states, so that I was at your mercy in your alternate arrangements. I argue that Viking had enough time and should have had the decent courtesy to clearly inform me of the situation so that I could have made my own decision about traveling. I did not choose a Viking Bus Tour for my once-a-year holiday! Besides my extreme disappointment with your business practices, I am embarrassed to have talked my friend into going with me. She had been saving for six years to go on a vacation. I also believe you treated the ship's employees poorly, as they kept telling us they did not know anything further about the situation. It seems to me to be a clear case of "get them on the ship and keep stringing them along..." That is outrageous and inexcusable. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
My friend and I took the Paris & Heart of Normandy Tour departing July 4. I was disappointed with this tour and have already advised at least three people who were considering Viking to go with a different cruise line. First, my ... Read More
My friend and I took the Paris & Heart of Normandy Tour departing July 4. I was disappointed with this tour and have already advised at least three people who were considering Viking to go with a different cruise line. First, my friend and I had a problem getting updates and documentation. One of us lives in NYC and the other in Houston. First, all emails were sent to Texas, even though several of them should have been directed to NYC, then, when documentation was sent, it all went to NYC. Only after calling and having duplicate documentation sent did Texas receive paperwork. We booked transfers through Viking. My flight arrived, and I found the Viking rep with no problem. However, seven people were supposed to have arrived, but I was the only one. I had to wait for 40 minutes and finally, when the other six had not yet arrived, I said that I was tired of waiting and wanted to go to the ship. Otherwise, I would have still been sitting at the airport. I was tired, having flown from Houston, my friend had arrived in Paris hours earlier, and it wasn't my fault about the other people. There was little entertainment on board, and I especially regretted that the last afternoon of our cruise, when it took seven hours to float to Paris from Conflans, the only entertainment was how to make a chocolate lava cake. This was the last day of our cruise! On other days, there was also very little in the way of entertainment, and, as I am hard-or-hearing and the TVs were not close-captioned, I couldn't even watch TV. In each port, local tour guides were used. When we went to Giverny, one of the tour guides didn't show up, so my friend ended up in a group that should have been halved, and the tour guide left several people, including my friend who is handicapped, behind. I could only understand one or two of the guides, even with the audio system provided. Think you will see Paris? Forget it. We got out of the bus for a view of the Eiffel Tower (which can be seen from the ship), and other than that, all pictures had to be taken out of a moving bus window on a day when it was raining. There was a little free time to go exploring but was on the first day of the tour (the day that I finally arrived at the ship at 3 PM, was tired, and wanted dinner at 7), or the evening before we all left the ship to go home. Since we didn't get into Paris until 7 PM and dinner was at 7:15, that didn't leave much time as my transfer to the airport was at 4:45 AM. Also, my friend uses a walker, and no-one told us that, in Paris, there were about 50 metal steps from the quay to street level. We had to enlist the help of strangers. We thought there was very little time to shop or explore. For example, when we were in Vernon, it was Sunday, and the few shops there were were closed, except for the pastry shops. After coming home, people have asked how the French people were. I have to say that I honestly don't know since I didn't have much interaction with them. The food was OK, probably above average but not extraordinary. However, although wine was included at lunch and dinner, all of the white was Chardonnay and all the red was Merlot. These are not my favorite varieties, so by the end of the cruise, I was drinking Diet Coke. Petty maybe, but the carpets were stained and either needed a good cleaning or to be replaced. It was so chilly and rainy in France, in July, that we didn't get to enjoy the deck at all. One of the good things was the wonderful server we had in the dining room, Simone. She was attentive, remembered us, and was exceptional. Also, the program director, Karine, did go out of her way to accommodate my friend on the tour of the American Cemetery and Omaha Beach by reserving a front seat for us so that she could easily get on/off/on the bus. However, having traveled with another line previously, I would not book another cruise with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
After spending a week on the Viking Spirit, an older ship, boarding the Hermod took your breath away. The public rooms and dining room were beautiful. The cabin was pretty as well but the size left a lot to be desired. A nice wall mounted ... Read More
After spending a week on the Viking Spirit, an older ship, boarding the Hermod took your breath away. The public rooms and dining room were beautiful. The cabin was pretty as well but the size left a lot to be desired. A nice wall mounted flat screen TV, good shower and full length mirror but the cabin was just too small-a good 50 sq. ft. smaller than on the Spirit. The staff with the exception of the wait staff acted as though we were bothering them when asking for anything. The hotel manager is the responsible party for the staff and he and the staff should learn from the Spirit crew who were outstanding. A dirty tissue was in the hallway and stayed there all day until finally removed. There's no excuse for this lack of caring by the crew. The main lounge had two big screen tv's but the channels were so limited, we couldn't get Wimbeldon or the World Cup. The Viking needs to opt for better programming. Again, only one after dinner program with the other nights you were on your own. The food on the Spirit was much better than on the Hermod even with the menu being the same in the evenings. Again, a 7 day cycle for the meals even though 3/4 of the guests on the shop were on the Spirit. Viking needs to correct this oversight when the trip was sold as one cruise. Majority of the guests that were on the Spirit felt the same way about the Hermod and the crew. Newer isn't always better. The hotel mgr. and Maitre D were never too visible and left a lot to be desired. At one port, it was a steep ramp to the get off the ship and I had to ask the Maitre D to have a crew member assist those who had difficulty walking up the ramp-they should have known this-lack of customer service. We had engine trouble at the beginning of the trip and we were delayed 5+ hours and ended up missing one port-the program manager nor hotel mgr apologized for the delay and didn't even offer a free drink or something to compensate us. The Hermod was a real disappointment. Looking forward to my next ocean cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2014
This was our 4 trip with Viking--all except this one have been absolutely terrific!! We were on the Spirit and then moved to the Hermod. First thing we noticed was how bright and upscale the reception area was, very impressive. Next thing ... Read More
This was our 4 trip with Viking--all except this one have been absolutely terrific!! We were on the Spirit and then moved to the Hermod. First thing we noticed was how bright and upscale the reception area was, very impressive. Next thing was how tight our room was compared to the Spirit. Shelf/drawer space was less and the shower was tight due to being tile/glass doors, therefore easy to hit with elbows. The other big thing we noticed was that the staff just hasn't seemed to "gel" together yet. There was not the warmth nor helpfulness shown as on the other 3 ships we've been on. Another disappointment was that nearly all menu items were a repeat of the first week on the Spirit. Other than that food issue, the breakfasts and lunches were fine for variety. There were frequent times when it was difficult to flag down a waiter just to be served water. As per usual for Viking the included excursions were all good, with good to outstanding guides. Disembarkation was a disaster for our group of 4. It was 0400 and very dark, with no crew from the Viking to light the way plus the sprinkler system along the sidewalk to the bus turned on showering us. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2014
We just returned from our 3rd Tauck trip and in the past we could never say a bad word about them - this trip sure changed that. The Tauck land portion was up to their usual standards, but unfortunately the Swiss Emerald was certainly ... Read More
We just returned from our 3rd Tauck trip and in the past we could never say a bad word about them - this trip sure changed that. The Tauck land portion was up to their usual standards, but unfortunately the Swiss Emerald was certainly not. The staff was very uncaring, and not at all what we expected. Our room wasn't cleaned several times during the cruise and when we complained the response was, in a word, surly. Service in the restaurant was very poor. Once they took your order you didn't see the staff again until the food was served, and then if there was anything you needed (like a 2nd glass of wine) you had to literally get up and go find someone. Also, the menu was very limited with only two choices of entree's most nights, no salads, and the only appetizer was of their choice. There are many other choices on the rivers in Europe but Tauck shouldn't be one of them.   Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
This was a well organized, relaxing, and enjoyable cruise. It was my second cruise on the Viking The on the Viking River Cruise line. They never disappoint. The communications prior to the trip were detailed and beautifully presented. ... Read More
This was a well organized, relaxing, and enjoyable cruise. It was my second cruise on the Viking The on the Viking River Cruise line. They never disappoint. The communications prior to the trip were detailed and beautifully presented. The hotel in Paris was very good, served a full breakfast and was not far from the Metro Our room overlooked the Eifffel Tower. What a view! Transfers to the ship embarkation were timely and well organized. The ship was beautiful and very clean. Dining room was beautiful. Activities, entertainment, and shore excursions were very appropriate for the guests. Cabin was small but we spent very little time in except to change clothes and sleep. Beds were very comfortable. Beautiful views from our window, The food was the best ever. Kudos to the chef and his staff for their preparation. The entire staff was friendly and always accommodating. They were very eager to meet the guests needs. Service was exemplary. Disembarkation was perfectly arranged and uncomplicated. Absolutely cannot wait until I take my next cruise. They continue to impress me. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
Where do I begin?...Well to begin with, Viking River Cruises claims to be the "World's Leading Cruise Line...By Far." However, after my trip aboard the Viking Pride during "Paris and the Heart of Normandy," I have ... Read More
Where do I begin?...Well to begin with, Viking River Cruises claims to be the "World's Leading Cruise Line...By Far." However, after my trip aboard the Viking Pride during "Paris and the Heart of Normandy," I have since learned otherwise. I will break-down the experience into sections: ARRIVAL/Embarkation: Okay, my son (18) and I had been in Paris for a couple days before the cruise was set to embark. We took a taxi from our hotel to the port the ship was docked at. Note: Some taxi drivers do not know how to find the docking area, and taxis just do not line up at the dock afterwards either--you must pre-arrange one (which reception handles). The overall appearance of the ship's exterior is nice, as the crew cleans the outside areas daily. The inside was pretty clean as well, with some of the furniture (in the dining room mainly) being in need of a cleaning to remove food stains. The receptionists are nice to deal with when you board the ship; however, you have to wait for your room to become available after it is cleaned. So, the top-priced rooms (i.e. the high level) are cleaned more promptly. The passenger clientele is primarily around the 50-70+ range (my son was one of the youngest at 18). It is much more intimate than Ocean Cruises I have been on, with around 140 passengers. There is a coffee/tea area set up for 24 hours/daily by the lobby. The machine is a powder-based one--so the beverages were of relatively low quality and were disappointing for the price Viking charges at close to ~$1,000 a day. Lunch is served as you board on the first day in the lounge. Drinks (including sodas and wines/beers are "complimentary" at meals only. STAFF: Our program director was not very impressive by all means. In fact, my son and I found him rather rude--we tried to ask him questions; he said he would address them later. I think the program director (and all staff) is there to SERVE YOU--it is their job. Also, some of the staff members seemed really on edge and apprehensive. This is because at the end of the cruise, Viking asks you to complete several hefty-length review forms and surveys. These are "used" to make improvements and changed in the company's operation, so crew members are also evaluated accordingly and are worried about gratuities and performance standard issues. The captain did not attend the "Captain's Dinner," which I found very unusual--as I have been on several cruises where this is not the case. The 2nd Captain did not speak much English, so he never associated with passengers much. Some of the dining room waiters were much better than others, depending on where you sit, as there are no assigned seats. Also, the tables are arranged in 4, 6, or larger sets--so there are no private tables for two. You end up knowing a lot of the guests, as each night you meet new people which was nice. The service was usually pretty quick. FOOD/Offerings: In terms of the food, the coffee in the dining room was good. The house wine was just okay. Viking offers a premium "Silver Spirits" package, which allows you to order more wines and cocktails. The food was decent. Every day, I really enjoyed the soups (Pear-Ginger, Tomato-Basil, etc.). Breakfast was standard, with bacon, sausage, eggs, and the other usual American items. *I really expected more traditional French cooking, as we were, indeed, in FRANCE. One afternoon at lunch, they ha hot dogs in the lounge buffet. The dining room had better food. At that price for a cruise--I did not travel there to eat hot dogs; very few passengers ate there. In the room, they offer a bottle of water each day; the water is German, which is not overly impressive since I expected to drink French bottles like Evian (for purchase only), Badoit, Vittel, Volvic. Lastly, my son was disappointed on the last night when the Tuna Tartare he ordered was made with imitation crab! In a region with tons of seafood, fresh crab would be an expectation! At $1,000 per day, I think that would be a reasonable request. EXCURSIONS/Guides: The ship does not sail on the first day, leaves at dinner (7:00 PM) the next day. The distance traveled is relatively small (around 160km if that) for 6 days--as the 6 locks gone through take lots of time. We docked at Rouen, Giverny, Paris. Some excursions were included (Normandy Beaches, Paris City Walk, Rouen Tour, etc.), while others were "optional" where the program director sells you the package. We did the Versailles one, as we wanted to see it. However, Viking really makes a great profit off of them, as Versailles's half-day tour was ~80 Euros per person. Admission there costs ~22 Euros. The bus ride from the ship there was around an hour. To Normandy, the bus ride was 2 hours and a bit. Some of the tour guides were much better than others. Some did not really care, while others were very knowledgeable and polite. And, they like tips at the end too, so they recount tons of information to impress you. I wish more of the basics were reiterated--less "fluff." Some of the tours require you waking up early--6:00 AM at times. And, some of the tour guides were very slow to guide the groups (they split you up into several groups, usually A, B, and C). They also counted the number of people on the buses several times, and constantly seemed apprehensive about managing the group which I guess was because they want to reduce any liability on their part. They need a fast group for people who would like to be more adventurous--not everyone was 80 on-board or disabled. ROOM: The cabin was very small--which we anticipated, as we got the last room on the ship due to a cancellation in March--the cruise was June 26. The bathroom was adequate with L'Occitane ammentities. The beds had dismal linens, just a duvet cover. The pillows were not very usable--they were too soft and had no support. There is a desk area with a chair. It is difficult to store suitcases, but we just shoved them under the desk. The heating/cooling vent is behind the curtain by the window--a little unusual. The housekeeper we had was efficient and kind; they fold towels into shapes at night during turn-down while your at dinner. They likewise make-up the room in the morning as you eat breakfast. The sundeck was nice (when open), except for when people chose to smoke and the smoke emanated across the deck. I would also have loved a fitness room to be on the ship somewhere. Problems: Upon checkout, we forgot our camera battery charger plugged into the desk-area outlet. However, we immediately called the ship to inform them. They were relatively unhelpful, denied the charger being in the room (even though we know if was there), and said they take no responsibility. The hotel manager said they "thoroughly check rooms as they are cleaned." I doubt that! And, several guests had issues with the in-room safes: ours did NOT work at all. I went to the front desk and told them--they did nothing to rectify that. The fact that they were dishonest about the charger is the part that concerns me--I do not care about the charger as much as I do the lack of integrity and respect for guests once they are off the ship and no longer are a potential profit. And, when I called Viking, it is very difficult to deal with any customer service, as there really is not any. They refuse to give you phone numbers of any high official and take no part in helping you. As soon as the cruise ends, the tone towards you is modified--as you are no longer paying them; thus, are not a focus. SYNOPSIS: The entertainment was a pianist. That was it except for the last night with opera singers on-board. A couple games in the atrium--nothing else. Other passengers agreed that it could be made more upbeat, with more post-dinner activities (even BINGO would have been a change!). At this price, I would not travel with Viking again. Principle goes a long way these days. They are not the best cruise line "by far." Take your money and enjoy a vacation elsewhere, such as with Crystal Cruises, Grand Circle Cruise Lines (based in America), or Croisi Europe (more authentic). Read Less
Sail Date: August 2012
This was our 5th European river cruise and our second Viking river cruise. Our first choice was to go with Uniworld,but they were sold out. We decided to go with Viking because we'd had a wonderful experience with them in China. We ... Read More
This was our 5th European river cruise and our second Viking river cruise. Our first choice was to go with Uniworld,but they were sold out. We decided to go with Viking because we'd had a wonderful experience with them in China. We took this cruise primarily for the Normandy Region and the history of D-Day. Viking notes the Pride was renovated in 2009 but it's appearance is still dated and tired. The deck furniture is stiff and uncomfortable. We were told the ship is going to be replaced in 2014. Pros 1-Met wonderful people 2-Overall ship service was very good, with hats off to the housekeeping. Cons 1-Bath robes and slippers provided only on request, really that screams we're cutting corners. 2-Dinning room service is a major problem, more problems that I can list. Bottom line; dinning room is short staffed waiters must also bus tables, staff training is seriously needed; inconsistent service; improper serving and removal of dishes, explaining order substitutions,timeliness of greeting guests, and the list goes on. The Hotel/Dinning Room Manager should have been monitoring the dinning room service was no where to be found. 3-In Paris Viking charges extra "optional excursion fee" for Palace of Versailles that should be included in the cruise price. 4-Paris City Tour guide was fabulous, knowledgeable, engaging and mixed current local tidbits with the standard tour information. Unfortunately, the subsequent tour guides were no where near as good and were more like walking recordings of the local sites. On two occasions we left our tour guide within the the first 15 minutes out of boredom. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2010
The ship, Viking Neptune, was clean and comfortable and we were very glad to reach it after a very tiring journey from St. Pancras to Chalons-sur-Saone. A change of trains at Paris was organised by a Viking Representative, but at the ... Read More
The ship, Viking Neptune, was clean and comfortable and we were very glad to reach it after a very tiring journey from St. Pancras to Chalons-sur-Saone. A change of trains at Paris was organised by a Viking Representative, but at the second change in Dijon we were left to manage trains, platforms and luggage with no help or inforamtion. At first the food seemed plentiful and good, but we quickly realised that none of it was really fresh. As we stopped at towns with some of the finest food in France, everything we ate came from the freezer. Fruit was unripe and bread was sometimes still frozen at the centre. Tours were organised daily, but half of them were 'optional' and extra fees were charged. Guides were knowdegable, but a great deal of walking was involved, and this prevented many of the older and less able passengers from participating. On-board entertainment was minimal, with little attempt to create an atmmosphere of enjoyment, and lectures were less than gripping - a talk on mustard, for example. TV offerings were minimal and old. The majority of the crew were German, as were most of the pasengers, and announcements in heavily accented English were difficult to understand. Those crew members managing the reception desk were often less than courteous, and quite unhelpful at times. Cabin and waiting staff were very pleasant and efficient. This was our first river cruise, and will be our last with Viking. Read Less

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