May 2014 - Viking Rinda to Europe
I recently returned from the Viking River Cruise, “Passage to Eastern Europe.” The cruise was generally good, with very good service, better food than we expected, and excellent tour guides. The destinations were often not particularly great, but we knew that before booking.
Unfortunately the few problems we encountered were upsetting enough that, in the future, I am likely to try the competition and very unlikely to return to Viking. First and foremost is their poorly thought out policy of not allowing shipboard credit to be used towards gratuities, as every other cruise line we’ve been on allows. That meant we would have to take an optional excursion, which were few, far between, and of no interest to us. We could also use it towards drinks, but we are not big drinkers and the wine and beer served at lunch and dinner were more than sufficient. Our final option was to buy limited, overpriced, and mostly unneeded items from the small gift shop.
Their “suggested” gratuities are higher than other cruise lines we’ve been on, and I have never before been asked to tip the Program Director. I firmly believe that at his level, I should not be asked to pay part of his salary.
The cabin is, to say the least, small although the shower is an unusually good size.
Dinner (and, to a lesser extent, lunch) was only one seating, and the noise level could make it difficult to have a conversation.
Although both the suggested gratuities and the limited use of shipboard credit are mentioned, they are clearly not meant to be very obvious and visible. Although minor, this significantly customer unfriendly attitude is why I would prefer, in the future, not to deal with a company such as Viking.