Viking tried to make the best of a bad/tragic situation. Result was more a bus tour than a cruise and not at all what we expected. I trust that Viking will do right by the passengers in terms of compensation, but that remains to be determined.
We had the unfortunate experience of being tied up to a concrete pier next to a recycling station for over two days -- we spent the time listening to concrete or something being crushed and seeing dust. As my husband and I are 88 and 83 three years old respectively, once we got on the boat we decided that we wanted to do only one excursion and that was the one scheduled on Friday to see the Hungarian Horsemen. Obviously that never happened and that was a big disappointment as we had owned horses at one time. While we were docked by the recycling station, our family got taxis and went into Roth and visited a museum and went to lunch. We were on the boat with our three children and spouses so there were eight of us. We arranged this trip to Roth on our own.
I realize that Viking had no control over the lock problem, however, I think the ensuing two days could have been handled much better and I think your people need additional training on how to deal with passengers in a difficult situation, We received much misinformation and condescending attitudes on the part of the people in charge of keeping us informed. They did a very poor job and the result was that many passengers were very angry.
However, I would like to compliment the crew as they were congenial and well trained and the food was excellent.
You have given a credit on future voyages to the passengers on this unfortunate trip but, because of our ages, that will not benefit us.
I will not recommend Viking. If anyone asks, I will suggest that they check other cruise lines to see how they have handled difficult situations such as we experienced. Four of us had to leave the boat on Friday morning because of our flight schedules and four stayed on the boat until Saturday.
Romantic Danube - Nuremburg to Budapest
Sail Date: /
Traveled As: Large Group
We recently took the Viking Romantic Danube cruise – it was the maiden voyage from Nuremburg to Budapest. We were picked up at the airport and delivered to the ship hassle free. I would like to start by warning there were several “issues” they blamed for being the maiden voyage, I would suggest not taking the 1st cruise of the season. There were no issues with the water level this time of year; however, I would have liked to sit more on the sun deck to enjoy the scenery. The temperatures got to the high 50’s – 60’s, but at 9am it was still only in the 30’s – which is too cold to enjoy the sundeck, also very cold for the included morning tours. Most of the trees & foliage were not budded out yet – still seemed like winter. We have taken quite a few ocean cruises so my comparison is based on a larger cruise ship. As far as the Ship - the crew was excellent & the Program Director gave nightly “briefings” for the next day’s tours. However, the WiFi did not work for 2 days; there is a bar, but for non-drinkers there was no place where our group could sit at a table to play card games - as the only entertainment after dinner was piano music. On a few occasions they brought aboard some locals, and had a “game night” that lasted about 45 minutes. The Program Director gave a “narration” while we cruised thru the wine country - this could only be heard on the sundeck, once again too cold to be up there, even in the afternoons. As for the food – even though there are only 200 guests, dinner still took 2+ hours & didn’t start until 7pm. I would like to suggest that they have 2 dinner seating’s. The food is “European style” – meaning my meat was served “very rare”, not to my taste; there seemed to be an issue to get it cooked well done, also not like an ocean cruise ship where you could order several appetizers - this confused our waiter who brought only soup OR salad. Breakfast had a good selection of items (eggs, cereal, fruits & breads); lunch was usually something characteristic to the area we were traveling. My review of our stateroom is below. Lastly the “included tours” – it was very nice to have tours at every port included – but because we did a few “paid” tours we could see the difference in the quality of tour guides. (the optional tour guides were much better). There was never enough “free” time to shop or explore on our own & our biggest complaint was in Vienna, the ship docks 30+ minutes by bus from the old town & center for shopping. Our morning tour took us to old town and back to the ship – there were no shuttles to go back into Vienna in the afternoon, we were on our own by either subway or taxi. Their "suggested" gratuities seemed to be pressured to add when closing our account. The last day we had to get up at 2:45am to get to the airport for our return flight to the US - we had trouble at the airport finding our flight as we were dropped at the door and not informed as what airline we were using. (we booked our flights thru Viking). All in all, it was a very unique cruise in comparison to the large ocean ships – we got to know a lot of the crew and the passengers. I don’t know how to plan the right time for a river cruise as in the warmer months it seems to be an issue with the water levels, this is something we don’t have to be concerned with on an ocean cruise. We also noticed that this type of cruise was adult oriented - definitely not for children. Mostly the retired age.
Romantic Danube, nothing romantic about it!
Sail Date: /
Traveled As: Singles/Friends
I was on the Romantic Danube trip from Budapest to Nuremberg 11/14/2015 to 11/21/2015. I will never travel with Viking again! Viking's management only cares about filling out the capacity of the each cruise ship. I have listed a few of my issues with the company below...
1) Safety on board is a huge concern, especially since the audience for these cruises is largely American. No checks for identification when entering the boat.
2) Food handling is another concern. All passengers are allowed to handle the serving utensils. On other cruises, within the first 48 hours, all food is served in individual servings or served by staff. This alleviates any viruses brought on board by any passengers to be passed on to others. Many passengers on my cruise got seriously ill with the norovirus. The hand-sanitizer located outside the dining hall does not work against the norovirus.
3) Withholding information about the itinerary for the week was very frustrating. Passengers were told only the night before when we were to change boats. On my trip, we were on 3 different ships! Packing up after dinner and then having to get up early to get on a bus is not my idea of a relaxing vacation. I am only in my 50's and I came back home exhausted!
4) The 2 meals provided off-ship were horrible. The first one was at a 5 star restaurant. What you find out when you get there is you are in a banquet hall upstairs of the 5 star restaurant. The food you are served is worse than a 1970's mid-western athletic banquet. The second meal I skipped, but I heard that a number of passengers were seated in a basement for their luncheon meal. I was happy that I had made alternate plans for my mid-day meal.
5) One night we were docked/tethered to another Viking cruise boat. My veranda looked directly into a stateroom of the other ship. Nice to see an elderly man passed out on his bed. He was obviously too exhausted from all the shuttling around that he could not bother to close his curtains. Poor thing.
6) Staff if poorly trained. A lot of eye rolling and rude comments to the passengers. (just another whining passenger)! Our tour director was terrible. He was always on his computer or phone playing video games. Never a nice greeting. And he has been with Viking for 13 years!
7) I paid way too much to be transferred by bus and then in Nuremberg we were docked so far out of town (in a shipyard) where there are no taxis or public transportation. I have e-mailed the company and I have called to voice my complaints. All I got was a small credit for another cruise! I am told that is their good-will gesture! I did meet some passengers from another cruise line (Ama Waterways) that had a wonderful experience on their trip even though the river was low. They were put up in nice hotels in the cities that were on their original itinerary. Viking's excuse about the water level is just that...an excuse.
The ship was wonderful. Unfortunately\, the Danube waters were to high for us to actually make it to the river. The service on board was fabulous as were the stateroom accommodations. Every effort was made to create the best possible experience for the guests and attention was paid to dietary issues. However\, once we left the ship\, there was no effort to maintain this level of service as far as meals were concerned.
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