One of the best cruise we have taken. The food was top-notch. All Viking personnel were extremely professional. Local tour guides were very knowledgeable and answered all questions thoroughly. The included excursions were well plan, pace was just right, not tiring, and not too long. Would definitely recommend Viking river cruises.
The Viking boat experience itself was exceptional. Though some were exceptional (Avignon) the onshore excursions guides were somewhat disappointing in comparison to our previous cruise. Of particular note here was Arles, which was the optional included tour supposedly concentrating on Van Gogh. Our guide literally picked up postcards from a kiosk rack and said well he painted this here and that there, etc. Others abandoned the tour but we stuck with it thinking it had to get better.Having previously visited Arles and loved it we played up the visit to our friends. After that tour they questioned our advice on the visit. The food though was even better that our previous trip. The Viking employees were all great, especially our server Robert in the dining area. Our Nice extension guide was also exceptional and made that part of the visit.
We had been planning on taking a river cruise for 5 years, so imagine our surprise when on day 2 we not only did NOT leave the port... we were informed that the rivers were high and we probably would never sail. We were even more surprised when Viking acted like they were doing us a favor by busing us to another ship (repack everything up & then unpack again) that would also NEVER sail. They would never acknowledge that they should have told us at the beginning that we would never sail (we told them if we wanted to do a bus trip throughout France we would have signed up for one). They also didn't do a single thing to help the situation, the staff kept saying they could do nothing- but when we got back to the states we could call corporate. (AFTER our vacation and THOUSANDS of dollars).
Finally they had such a revolt on their hands that they told us we could get off the ship the next day, but everything was on our own. I spent 2 hours at the middle of the night trying to book new reservations including, hotel, car, etc. They could have cared less, didn't even offer us a single thing for the hassle of it all. To date (10 days later) no one has contacted us, processed a pro-rated refund, nothing. we are being told if we want a refund (only pro-rated) then we have to do all of the work. Let me tell you Viking spends all that money on advertising and then blows it by not being able to handle a bad situation,
They need to spend some money training their staff on the expectations that North Americans have (primarily everyone on the ship was US & Canada) on customer service and resolving issues. We have been on 10 cruises on other larger cruise ships and always had great customer service, and given the price point and small amount of people I thought this would be superior....not even close. So disappointed!!!!
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