August 2014 - Viking Bestla to Europe
We just finished our 14-day Grand European river cruise. The cruise itself was fantastic. The entire staff of the Bestla ship was friendly, courteous, and did their best to satisfy your needs. The entire staff made you feel like you were VIP's throughout the entire cruise. On our departure day, two of the staff members even followed us out to the waiting taxi even thought it was raining. The dinners were OK, but not every meal was to our liking. They have several (always available) back up items on the menu that I ordered up several times. Breakfast was always filled with lots of choices that fit everyone's taste.
Cons: Booking with Viking Air service:
Since we booked the cruise directly with Viking, we were offered a discounted airfare. When I asked about the airline and number of stops that we would have to make, I was told to pay up in advance before any airline discussions would take place. I was told that we would save approx. $600. per person. I charged the airfare on my credit card, and then called the Viking air department. First of all, I asked if their were any direct flights from San Francisco to Amsterdam. They said no. Since that is the only thing they do is book airfares, I trusted their response. I booked a flight from SFO to London, then London to Amsterdam. When I received mu updated Viking invoice, I noticed that several fees were added to my bill making the airfare $6180.00. The extra fees were an air deviation fee of $200. since I was going a few days early and not booking a hotel with Viking. Also a custom air service fee of $100., then a CNF transoceanic flight fee of $200.00, a pick your seat fee of $300.00, and finally a British air surcharge fee of $250.00. When I noticed all those extra fees, I immediately called and cancelled all the airline reservations that Viking made on my behalf. I then called British airways myself and made the same exact reservations that Viking had made for me. Total cost was $4895.96 for the exact same seats on the exact same flights. I saved myself $1,284.04 by booking the airfare myself. Bottom line; do not book your airfare using the Viking Air service department.