Paid for a River Cruise, Not a Bus Tour

Viking Beyla Cruise Review to Europe

Cruises: 2-3 cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 41

Overall rating:

2 out of 5
Viking Beyla

9 Night Elegant Elbe Westbound (Prague To Berlin)

Sail date: July 25, 2015

Ship: Viking Beyla

Cabin type: Oceanview

Cabin number: 224

Traveled as: Family (older children)

Reviewed: 6 years ago

Review summary

One day before departure I received an email by Viking regarding the low water river conditions.  I contacted Viking Customer Service and was told that there was a possibility that the cruising would begin on Wednesday based on the amount of rain and the release of water from Prague. 

We had no choice but to take this cruise.  Once we arrived in Prague, the Program Director, could not offer us any additional information.  We were told that a decision whether to cruise would be made by the Captain of the Beyla on Tuesday.  Regarding the weather conditions--It did rain Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, with an occasional downpour during the late evening hours.  We were driven by bus to Dresden where the Beyla was dry docked and we stayed until Wednesday, July 29th.  The day trips consisted of bus tours.  Once Tuesday, July 28th came, we were told by the Captain that we would need to repack and move to the Viking Astrild.  Something we all did not expect.  It was the Captain of the Astrild who told us definitively that no cruising would take place.

Once in Wittenberg, we were subjected to disgusting and unbearable conditions.  The Viking Astrild was dry docked, whereby the ship was surrounded by mounds of dirt, port-a-potties, rocks, rubble, etc.  The smell made it difficult to open the cabin doors or to stay on deck.  No human should be subjected to these conditions.  The days continued with lengthy bus rides.  In short, I paid for a river cruise, not a bus tour.

A group of 22 guests spent over two hours on the evening of Thursday, July 30th to report these conditions to Customer Service while on the ship and spoke to, a customer service case manager in the LA office.  We were told that Viking would address each complaint individually post cruise. 

Upon arrival home, I contacted Viking Customer Service to discuss my experience.  He told me he was aware of what was happening, but offered no consolation.

Viking knew of the low water level conditions for months and did not run other cruises since mid-June. Making the decision to run this so-called “River Cruise” under false pretenses and not allowing guests the option to cancel with full reimbursement is poor and unethical business practice.  

Offering vouchers for future Viking trips is not a solution.  This cruise should have been cancelled from the onset. 

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

3 out of 5

Onboard Activities

1 out of 5


1 out of 5

Children's Programs

1 out of 5

Service and Staff

3 out of 5

Ship Quality

3 out of 5

Cabin / Stateroom

3 out of 5

Ship tip

Ship is new and clean. Staff is professional and cordial. But not being able to cruise was very disappointing. Original itinerary was altered. Bus rides were too long. Viking corporate staff should be ashamed of themselves.

Ports of call

Prague, Czech Republic

3 out of 5

Melnik, Czech Republic

1 out of 5

Litomerice, Czech Republic

3 out of 5

Bad Schandau, Germany

3 out of 5


3 out of 5

Dresden, Germany

3 out of 5

Meissen, Germany

3 out of 5

Torgau, Germany

3 out of 5

Wittenberg, Germany

3 out of 5

Magdeburg, Germany

1 out of 5

End Of Vacation

1 out of 5
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