In 1997, Viking was founded in Russia. Through rapid expansion, the company has grown to be a leader in both river and small ship ocean cruising, with US headquarters in Los Angeles, California, and operational headquarters in Basel, Switzerland. Today, Viking operates more than 70 state-of-the-art river ships and an award-winning ocean fleet, providing destination-focused, culturally enriching itineraries designed for travelers with an interest in geography, culture and history.
On Europe’s rivers, the award-winning Viking Longships offer a variety of staterooms, including true (two-room) suites, along with a restaurant, a bar and lounge, a library, an expansive sun deck and al fresco dining on the Aquavit Terrace.
Ranging from 8 to 23 days, river itineraries feature Europe’s Rhine, Main, Danube, Seine, Rhône, Douro, Moselle, Elbe, Dordogne, Garonne and Gironde; Russia’s Volga, Neva and Svir; Ukraine’s Dnieper; Egypt’s Nile; China’s Yangtze; and Southeast Asia’s Mekong.
In 2015, Viking introduced its first 930-guest ocean ship. Over the next three years, the fleet grew to five sister ships. The sixth, Viking Jupiter, joins them in 2019 with four more yet-to-be-named ships scheduled to launch by 2023. Each boasts a private veranda in every stateroom, a choice of restaurants, the most al fresco dining at sea, an infinity pool, a Nordic-inspired spa, thoughtfully curated book collections throughout the ship and more.
Designed to maximize the amount of time travelers spend in their destination, ocean itineraries include base and combination cruises sailing to Scandinavia and Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand, Asia, Alaska, the Americas and Africa.
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We booked a Rhine Getaway over a year in advance of our departure. We purchased from Viking both the cruise and airfare, including transfers, to make it a worry free vacation. Viking had booked us on flights to Newark and then on to Munich and finally Basel for the river cruise. When we arrived at the airport the departure time was on time. As we approached the departure time, we were told departure would be delayed 15 minutes because of weather in Newark. Then, we were told the departure time would be delayed to an hour, but the plane was at the gate and we expected to take off shortly, able to make our connecting flight in Newark.
Next came additional departure delays of 2 and 3 more hours so I called Viking to inform them that we may not make the connection. The Viking representative told me that since I had already checked into my flight, that they could not help me. They offered no assistance of any type and simply told me I would have to deal with the airline. I was appalled. We booked a cruise and airfare with Viking. Viking selected the airline and route, and knows where the ship will be and what cities (airports) are close to the ship, but they would not assist me at all.
Finally our flight was cancelled. By the time our flight was cancelled, they were booking at least two days out because of the massive backlog of cancelled flights. I said that my cruise ship would have left Basel by then, so she asked me where I wanted to fly to. I did not know what would be best since our ship would leave Basel before we could even be rescheduled to depart. Since there was no way to catch our cruise ship in Basel, I told the airline I had to find out where we should go. I called Viking’s after hours service this time and spoke with them for over 20 minutes. I was again told that since I had checked into my flight, that they could not assist me. I asked if they could at least tell me what city I should try to fly to in order to catch the ship for either Sunday or Monday depending when I could get in.
I was told, after several cities were mentioned, that Frankfort was the best place to fly into to catch up with the cruise whenever I could get there. I was told from Frankfort that I could get about anywhere. There was no mention of how I would get from Frankfort to the ship, how I could figure out where to go, how to get to the ship or who to use to go there. Viking simply made me feel like I had no options but to wing it on my own and figure out how to catch a moving ship in a foreign country. No suggestions were made to assist me. I was told that Viking “hoped I had travel insurance”. My call was disconnected when the air department was transferring me to the cruise ship department. I spoke to the cruise department who had left a voicemail for me to return the call while I was collecting my luggage. I received no help from the cruise department either.
I could not imagine trying to get myself to a moving ship somewhere in Germany on my own. I had called to cancel my pick up in Basel as the papers I received had told me to do. When the Viking agent asked me if I wanted to cancel my cruise, I felt that I had no other choice. He never told me that I would lose all of the money I paid. He only said that he hoped I had travel insurance. It was simply too much to try to figure out with my limited knowledge of where I was and without any assistance, so I canceled. Yes, Viking kept all of the money too.
My sister and I purchased a Rhine Getaway River Cruise package last summer. One week before we left we received an email stating that our trip MIGHT be interrupted because of possible low water levels which might necessitate switching ships. On arrival in Germany we were informed by our airport transportation that we would indeed have to change ships. Viking ships had not been able to navigate the Middle Rhine for several months! That was a total surprise. We arrived on Saturday evening and on Tuesday morning we had to have our bags out at 7am. We endured a 6 hour bus tour before arriving at our new ship.
We were informed on Wednesday we had to ride another bus 3 hours before being herded onto a crowded day cruise boat with poor quality food for lunch in order to "cruise" the Middle Rhine which was suppose to be the highlight of the trip. This cruise only lasted about 90 minutes then we were herded back off the day "cruise" boat for another 3 hour bus drive to arrive back on the second ship. Our ship was docked in an industrial area so our view was other cruise boats sandwiched together and we had to walk across the boats to get to land. The only day of scenic cruising was the last day. Our primary complaint with Viking is the company's total lack of transparency starting with the booking agent and ending with the cruise program director.
The booking agent made absolutely no reference to the water level problem which was definitely negatively impacting river cruises including the one we booked. The pretense presented by every Viking representative was that all the undesirable changes to our trip were not expected detours however we later learned that this had been occurring all summer. The cruise program director always minimized the time that we would be on the bus and refused to take questions during his port talks.
I have sent you two letters by the postal service, one from my sister and me and the other from my brother, a recently retired attorney who paid for our trip as a gift for caring for our deceased mother in her final few years of life. We looked forward to this trip so much. What a disappointment. Donna **. Ruth **. Booking number-**. Trip dates- October 27-November 3, 2018
Thank you for reaching out, Donna. We’re disappointed to hear that your cruise suffered itinerary changes due to uncooperative weather. While we appreciate the opportunity to discuss your experience further, your information has been redacted by this forum. We've sent you a private message with our contact information, and hope to hear from you.
We are considering our 4th cruise with Viking, but are a bit hesitant to book. We were on the Danube in December for a Christmas Market cruise. About 2 weeks before we sailed we received an email letting us know the water levels were low and we may not be able to sail into all ports. A 25% credit was offered. That sounded great. However, the reality was - according to message boards - that this had been ongoing since June or July. We fully understand that Viking is not responsible for record drought conditions, but why not be more forthcoming with information. Two days of our cruise was spent on tour buses and 2 excursions were canceled. As late as 2 nights before the end of the cruise, we were told that we "may not be able to sail into Budapest. We'll let you know as soon as we know." The truth was they already knew. The 25% credit should be a 33% credit or a 25% refund.
Thanks for reaching out, Yvonne, and for your loyalty. We regret to learn of your disappointment, and we hear your wish for more advanced communications. Though Viking took strides to keep to the original program during the historic European drought in 2018, we understand some necessary changes did not live up to your expectations as an experienced cruiser. To discuss your feedback more directly, please contact us at the email provided via private message. We look forward to hearing from you.
My wife and I booked our Rhine River Cruise (with full - cancel for any reason purchased as well) in April of 2018. Our cruise was set for June of this (2019) year - paid for in full to include first class air in June of 2018. As with any plans made that far in advance - life happens. Fast forward to January of this year when it became necessary to cancel our cruise.
After Viking's own 'policy' of refunding within 21 working days - we are still waiting. And the real reason for this vent (despite the obvious nearly $11,000 - we have received our $4200 airfare back) is the lack of communication from them regarding the refund. After three attempts, the response was "You should be receiving your refund soon". Unacceptable. Payments in full when booked are understandably required. To be expected to wait this long for reimbursement when - as I mentioned 'when life happens' is not. Quite certain we are reconsidering another cruise line when we again - book for Europe.
Thank you for reaching out, David, and for this chance to engage with you. The delay in refund you’ve outlined here is regrettable, and we would appreciate the opportunity to investigate and address these circumstances with you directly. We hope to hear from you soon, and wish you a pleasant weekend.
I have not yet taken the cruise which is scheduled for May 2019; however, I need to review Viking's ploy in which to get people to sign up for a cruise. I had been wanting to take a cruise with my sister for some time to St. Petersburg. When I was researching cruises, I came across a "2 for 1" "deal" at Viking. I went to my travel agent and signed up--very excited that we had gotten what I thought was a terrific deal. I was SO wrong. The quoted price for the cruise was $4,700/person. OK--so, silly me, I think that means we both get to take the cruise for that price. Nope! Not so.
When I look at the pricing on my receipt, this is what I see: EACH person is charged $9,598. And then THAT price is halved so that, in reality, we are each paying the going rate of $4,799. Not a "deal" at all. Interesting too, that if you look at fares for their cruises even without their so-called 2 for 1, the prices are the same. No discount. Just a big come on. I will take the cruise since it has been paid for. My sister and I will enjoy ourselves, but I can pretty much guarantee I will not be taking another Viking cruise. Lesson learned.
We appreciate you reaching out to us, Linda, and regret to hear that you’re unhappy about your booking even before your cruise. Although we are certain that you will have an outstanding onboard experience, we hope for the chance to chat with you about your disappointment. Kindly, send us your booking number so we may arrange for a member of our Customer Relations team to contact you promptly. Have a lovely day!
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I am finally recovered from the anger about Viking’s unprofessional and deceptive business conducts; and be able to share my experience with Viking. We took our first “dream” cruise with Viking, from Amsterdam to Budapest for 15 days in October 2018. It turned out to be the most overpriced “coach tour” and the worst ever vacation we’ve had. We felt cheated and ripped off. Viking had to know the low water level that made the ship not passable on the Rhine and Danube rivers as this water problem throughout past couple years was referenced to by almost all of the local guides. Viking chose to keep their money and let the couple hundreds of guests keep their miseries. Moreover, we were treated like ignorant people as the Program Director kept announcing the change of plan during the preview meeting for the following day with a disclaimer that he was just told about it or just found out…
We stayed first day and night at hotel with cheap lunch/dinner, packed and unpacked 4 times, sitting in buses to catch the next ships or for excursions. Instead of leisurely sitting on the boat cruising the rivers, watching the beautiful sceneries, walking up to the beautiful cities/towns as what Viking advertised; we had to rush to take countless long and tedious bus rides either to catch the boat at the far away docks in seemly industrial areas, or to the excursion sites. We saw high speed highways instead of tranquil seaside sceneries. No cultural enrichment was offered before arriving the next cities either, except one glass blowing session, one history lecture on Austria and Viking chefs’ demonstration of how to make strudels. See below of the summary of our expensive 15-day Grand European River Cruise.
Day 1 –overnight hotel in Amsterdam, all excursions cancelled, unpack & pack, cheap lunch & dinner & breakfast. Day 2 - early morning, 5 hrs. motorcoach to Mainz to embark Viking Skirnir, with a stop in Cologne for short walking tour and lunch. Day 3 – early morning motorcoach to Rudesheim for sightseeing tours, and return by motorcoach. Day 4 – city tour and sailing to next port. Day 5 -walking tour, afternoon motorcoach to catch Viking Skirnir at the next port. Day 6 –as scheduled.
Day 7 – afternoon motorcoach to Bamberg for short walking tour and back to another port to catch Viking Skirnir. Packed for swapping ship. Day 8 – afternoon motorcoach to Passau to embark on Modi, unpacked. Day 9 – as scheduled. Day 10 – 6 hrs round trip optional excursion to overprice Salzburg Highlights for 2 hours. Day 11 – only one that’s leisurely cruising- sailing through Wachua Valley, live demonstration of cooking apple strudel. Shuttle bus to city for walking tour. Day 12 – as scheduled. Day 13 – enrichment lecture on Austrian history. Guests that had early morning departure to airport on Day 15 had to pack to swap ship, Viking Bragi that docked at Budapest. Day 14 – 2 ½ hrs motorcoach to Viking Bragi that docked at Budapest for a cheap lunch, 2-3 hr, sightseeing in town, 2 ½ hrs motorcoach back to Viking Modi in Vienna. Disembarkation day- 3 hrs motorcoach to airport in Budapest.
As a responsible and ethical business entity, Viking should have informed all passengers what the “journey” would look like at least 3 to 6 months, not by sending an email a week before the start of the trip. I now found that this low level water problem has been happening since 2015. As such, Viking should have offered options for the passengers: 1) to continue to take the trip, knowing what they would get themselves into, or 2) cancel the trip and take a full refund or 3) cancel the trip and transfer all fares to a future river/ocean cruise. Adding another insult to the injury, at end of the trip, Viking offered a 25% (later 50%) of the fare to be applied to future Viking cruises with one year time limit.
By the way, they cancelled the optional excursion on Day 3 that I paid the listed US$ amount in full by credit card a month prior to the cruise. After the cancellation was announced on that day, they said that the refund would be credited to our payment method immediately. Nothing happened for over 2 months after the trip. I had to call several times to follow up. When it was issued, it was less than the original US$ amount that I paid as they said that it was the currency exchange rate! It’s a shame that Viking continues to market their European river cruises with deceptive advertisements of what enticed us into taking Viking European cruises. They cannot deliver what they advertise. So, please beware!
Thank you for reaching out to us, Sai, and for allowing us the opportunity to respond to your comments. We regret to hear that your long awaited cruise was impacted by the drought in Europe. In order to address your concerns directly, kindly contact us with your booking information, so we can better discuss your overall experience. We hope to hear from you, and wish you a great day.
My husband and I took a holiday cruise on Viking this year. My husband got very ill on the last day of the Cruise and ended up in a coma on the ship. The ship's policy is not to let people die on the ship, so instead of making my husband comfortable until we docked in Miami and letting the chips fall where they may, they dumped my husband and myself in Cuba with no help. Cuba of course has no diplomatic relations with the US, has sub par medical facilities, does not take American currency and no one speaks English. I was told by Viking that they had a rep in Cuba who was bilingual but no effort was made to put that rep in contact with me.
There I was with my husband dying with no ability to talk to the medical staff, no accommodations for myself and no usable money for food or anything else. An hour later, my husband died and I have spent weeks getting his remains back, the death certificates and dealing with the Viking on travel insurance. And after a month I still have heard nothing on the status of my insurance claims, even though I had to front a lot of money that I lost. Viking is not the kind of company I would ever do business with again. Beware, if you have a problem on board they are not there for you... And show that they couldn't care less about their passengers. All they are worried about is their company name.
We appreciate you reaching out during this incredibly difficult time, Linda, and offer our sincere condolences to you and your loved ones. In an effort to assist, we have arranged for a seasoned member of our Customer Relations team to contact you directly, to discuss your comments and connect with the travel insurance company on the status of your claim. If there’s anything else we can do, please don’t hesitate to contact us; we hope to provide support wherever possible.
We took the Romantic Danube River cruise back in August. We were made aware of "possible" changes in our itinerary as we heard our BOARDING CALL from the airline. Our experience was better than some worse than others - you've read the highs and lows here. I have been waiting 6 months now for a $384 refund of excursions that were cancelled - by VIKING.
I now have made 14 different contacts phone/email and am still waiting for our refund. The Customer Relations people say all the right things. I have been promised that a check would be sent 10/19/18 - nope didn't happen (my name/reservation had not been forwarded to accounting for payment by the ship - **). I was told that my information was handed to accounting on 11/14/18 for payment. I contacted CR again on 12/19/18 and rec'd an email that included "Can you please check on the status of the RSBC refund for Mr. **, and expedite his refund check if it has not been sent already?" My refund was ESCALATED at that time - surely that would be enough (1. 5 months 2. Accounting has my info 3. refund request has been EXPEDITED & ESCALATED! Wow surely I'll see something now). NO!!! 1/23/19 contacted CR again and I was told that the refund was out of their hands and my refund would be by handled by accounting.
We sincerely apologize for your delayed refund, Victor, and can confirm that your payment has been expedited. Thank you for your patience; you can expect to receive a check in the mail tomorrow. Though we don’t anticipate it, should you experience any further delay, you may email us. We appreciate your follow-up, and wish you a lovely day.
I wrote to Viking customer relations concerning a cruise my husband and I took aboard the Empress of the Seas on a trip to China. The trip was terrific. The ship was not. I have been in correspondence about some compensation for the poor condition of the ship and its amenities and was offered a measly $800 of vouchers dated for one year on a cruise that cost us a total of $16,000. I have so far only received $400 in any event but have asked for the other $400 promised and that the vouchers be open ended as we cannot take a cruise this year.
I have not had any further communication from Viking and am frankly disgusted at the way I have been treated. They seemingly have brushed aside our complaints and ignored several emails and a phone call to try to resolve this matter. The ship was not anywhere near their supposed standards or in accord with their chairman’s statements on how the ships are and I quote - “Surpassing the highest standards has been a driving force throughout my career.” That is a direct quote from their chairman Torstein Hagen. Let me continue with another quote by the chairman, “Your Viking home will always been an elegant, calm, state-of-the-art ship that embodies the best of Scandinavian design, offering the amenities of a fine hotel.” Hardly, the ship did not meet any of this supposed criterion!
Thank you for reaching out, Lynn. We regret to hear that the quality of the ship on your recent sojourn did not meet expectation. We are interested in clarifying the details of your vouchers, as well as discussing your comments in further detail, and invite you to email us with your booking number should you wish to do the same. We appreciate the opportunity to respond and hope to hear from you soon.
We just completed our sixth cruise with Viking, three river and three ocean and I have to say that despite some weather required modifications we have been very pleased with Viking. We have sailed from Istanbul to Venice, from Stockholm to Oslo, from Rome to Barcelona with Viking Ocean and from Budapest to Amsterdam, from Paris to Normandy and Paris and the Porto River Cruise and have had some fabulous trips! The top four were Istanbul to Venice and Stockholm to Oslo on Viking's fantastic ocean ships and the Grand European Cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam and Paris to Normandy on Viking’s unique riverboats. The other two cruises were weather impacted and required Viking to make modifications for our safety and even then the results were excellent!
Viking’s approach to providing an excellent outcome has us looking forward to our next three, already booked, cruises! The food service is simply hard to describe other than it is wonderful! The other aspect of a Viking cruise that we enjoy is the “intellectual” stimulation provided by their Port Talks and their onboard professional historians or cultural presentations. Over the various cruises we have enjoyed many excellent excursions, a few ordinary excursions and only a couple of excursions that we felt were not up to Viking standards. Many days we have been able to take 2 or even three separate excursions and ended the day, tired but exhilarated!
Our cabin attendants have ALWAYS been exceptionally competent and clearly very focused on excellent service! The entertainment is another area where Viking shines. Overall, we love Viking and will continue to “travel well” with Viking. We are scheduled to spend our 50th wedding anniversary with Viking in China! Lastly, a special word of satisfaction with Manfredi’s, the Italian Steakhouse on Viking Ocean Ships. Never a bad experience, never a bad meal and never a bad waiter. Great Italian steak! And their “French Kiss” dessert is phenomenal! In our opinion, Viking is clearly a “cut above” the competition!
Thank you for the kind words, Bill. We are delighted to hear that our commitment to excellence has made you such a loyal guest. Your constructive feedback allows us to explore the areas of improvement that need some work, as well as evaluating our strengths in order to offer a better experience. We can't wait to continue exploring the world, and celebrating special days and milestones together!
We had a poor experience in 2017 on a cruise from Athens to Rome; weather prohibited landing on Crete but no alternate destination was substituted. The dining service on the ship was spotty with an evident need for kitchen and dining room training. Previously we had been on a Danube river cruise from Bucharest to Budapest which featured pre-made lunches with no option for ready made. Not a premium line's behavior.
As a compensation for the poor ocean cruise, Viking issued 2 vouchers that had to be used within a year, but as it was posited could be substituted for a later cruise. After we reserved a cruise for 9/19 well within the time for the voucher's expiration we had to revise the reservation due to a medical issue to a cruise in 2020, we were informed that the voucher had expired and would not be honored. This policy differed from the assurance that we had gotten that the voucher would just be continued for the revised reservation. After 3 weeks of phone tag we had no other option than to cancel and ask for our money to be returned. We are out the insurance and cancellation fee. Under these circumstances, we regard Viking's behavior as unethical and wish to have the insurance monies credited to us also. We have asked that we receive no more brochures or other mailings of all types. We will never use Viking again.
We regret to hear that medical circumstances required a change to your cruise plans, Stuart, and hope this message finds you well. Though the terms of the third-party insurance and insurance premium are not dictated by Viking, we do hear your concerns and understand your position. We recognize you’ve recently been in contact with us, however we would be happy to investigate the events you’ve described in more detail should you wish to share more. We hope to hear from you.
I offer this counter opinion to the several "one star" ratings. I have been on 10 Viking cruises (7 River + 3 Ocean) and am booked for two more into 2020. Although EVERY cruise was enjoyable and provided very friendly and attentive service, perhaps the MOST enjoyable was the second time on the "Elegant Elbe" from Prague to Berlin in 2015 (the earlier trip was in 2011). What made this second trip memorable and significantly more enjoyable than the first was that the Elbe river level was too low to permit the cruise so we spent the first few days aboard the Astrid and then were transferred to the Beyla and were bused from these docked ships to the itinerary destinations. Several passengers were vocally upset either because of the short notice (usually too late to change arrangements) or from the disappointment of not cruising.
Since my wife and I are more interested in destinations than being on a moving boat, the low water provided a significant bonus. Instead of cruising at a leisurely river pace from port to port, we were bused at German autobahn speeds and arrived at the destination ports in usually less than a fifth of the travel time. This meant we have MUCH more time at the destination than had we cruised. On our first trip, we arrived at several ports late in the day and the included excursions were in the dark of the evening leaving little to see nor little free time in port. Not so when arriving by bus! So why "cruise" instead of taking a bus based tour? We unpacked and repacked only when we changed ships, not at every destination. The porterage was efficient and essentially effortless. The staffs of both ships were somewhat apologetic for the circumstances and went out of their way to be friendly and provide great service -- even better than their usually superb level.
The meals and dining service were predictably excellent and comfortably on-board (vs finding a restaurant) but with enough time (because of bus instead of boat travel) to eat ashore if desired. For the inconvenience/short notice, Viking provided a voucher for use in future travel -- They might well have claimed "act of God" indemnity. Many of the critiques seem to have tainted any good experiences because of the non-cruise. As for us, if it were possible to book cruises where the water levels didn't permit cruising but provided all the other excellent aspects of Viking, we would be sure to sign up.
Thank you for contacting us, David, and we appreciate the accolade! It is Viking's mission to provide excellent experiences to our guests, and are delighted to hear that we have achieves just that with you. We hope to continuing exploring the world together, and hope for many more voyages in our future. Have a great week!
At least we were able to take the full cruise on the same ship but it was the worst of all the cruises we've taken. The food was bad and the tours mostly walking the cities. I would advise skipping the Viking tours and booking your own. The only meals we enjoyed on the boat were the breakfasts. Eat as many meals off the ship as possible. Also, don't let Viking book your air transportation. In both directions, we were unable to make the short connections and suffered through multiple screwups with Viking trying to fix the problem. We caught up to the boat on the second day of the cruise.
Thank you for contacting us, Lee, and for the opportunity to address your concerns. We are disappointed to learn that your experience didn't meet expectation, and are interested in discussing your comments in detail. Kindly, contact us with your booking information, so we can connect you to a member of our Customer Relations team. Your feedback will allow us to evaluate our areas of improvement, so we can provide a better experience to all our guests. We hope to hear from you.
Viking Hemming Dec 21 2018, itinerary was changed last minute, did not experience the itinerary we were sold. Entire cruise was on a bus, wasting our valuable Portugal time, last day we were taken to Mateus Palace for a 30 minute tour, given 2.5 hours free time with absolutely nothing to do! Then back on to bus to drive to ship that moved further away from us while we're at the palace, makes no sense. (Whole day wasted for that.)
Dining experience was poor, menu did not represent what was being served, what was served was not very good. My daughter was served a ice cold Eggs Benny with a mouldy English muffin (yes green mould on the bottom). Needless to say the Eggs Benny were served with toast after that. The cappuccino is made from powdered ingredients, they do not even have a real cappuccino machine onboard. The same wine was served every night, not good wine (3 euros in the gas station market). Ship ran out of several things early on in the cruise. Ketchup, milk/Cream, strawberry jam, lemons, Coke, oatmeal, lemon tea to name a few. Too many things to list.
My family of 4 paid over $18,000 for this 7 day cruise, huge disappointment/Ripoff. I called & explained my cruise experience, the agent begged to differ on a few things & offered an unacceptable Future cruise credit of $400.00 pp. Obviously Viking could care less if we cruise with them ever again. Please use extreme caution booking with Viking, study these reviews & be careful spending your hard earned money with Viking River Cruises. I might add Viking was the only riverboat operator on the Douro river at the time of year (the other operators must have known cruising at Xmas would not be an worthwhile cruise). Shame on Viking River Cruises, you can do better!
On 11/28, my mother and father and I attempted to check in at DFW airport to travel to San Francisco for a connection to Hong Kong for the Viking Australia cruise. The DFW American Airlines supervisor advised me they had no record of me being booked on the flight. After great efforts, we telephoned Viking and our travel agent and they were able to “persuade” American Airlines to allow me onto the plane to San Francisco although my entire flight reservation through to Bali, Indonesia had been cancelled.
The cancellation resulted by Viking error and negligence when my uncle, Billy **, was canceled a month before. The Viking Air people negligently and erroneously cancelled my entire reservation for the airfare. After much stress, turmoil and complaining, the American Airlines agents, including their crass supervisor, refused to issue boarding passes for my connecting flights from San Francisco through Hong Kong to Bali because I had been “removed” from their system as result of Viking’s error.
After much confusion, and almost missing our flight from Dallas to San Francisco, we arrived in San Francisco over an hour late because of alleged air traffic control delay. We arrived in San Francisco with less than 45 minutes to board the Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong. We rushed to the Cathay Pacific counter to obtain a boarding pass and were crassly and belligerently notified by the oriental Cathay supervisor, she would absolutely not issue a boarding pass to me because the counter was “closed.” The counter was not closed. There were no less than 12 oriental people standing around the counter.
I attempted to go to security to try to board the plane and was prevented from doing so by security because I did not have a boarding pass. I went back to the distasteful Cathay supervisor, who was still standing in the same place at the counter and she categorically and belligerently refused again. I missed the flight. We immediately went to the American Airlines counter, and counseled over 1 ½ hours with Ms. Lee ** and her supervisor Marcello who, despite their genuinely caring efforts, were unable to locate any alternate method to travel to Bali to timely meet the Viking ship. After much trauma, confusion, and emotional distress, we purchased American Airlines tickets back to DFW that morning at 1:00 a.m.
Viking’s error and negligence in cancelling my reservation caused me to miss the San Francisco flight and my elderly parents suffered much unnecessary emotional distress as a result. This would have been my 3rd Viking cruise. I have demanded full refund of 100% of both me and my parents, which is over $42,000 for myself, David ** and Judy **, my parents, for the 11/28/2018 Australia cruise cost plus the airfare I incurred to travel back to DFW from San Francisco. I will not request reimbursement for all of the related incidental expenses at this time, but if I am forced to collect the funds, they will be included, along with all incidental and consequential damages we incurred.
If I do not receive the full refund within 20 days of this correspondence, I will file suit to collect same. I have practiced law for 28 years and this incident is textbook service provider negligence. Everything I have written above, requires no affirmation. I am already under oath full time as a practicing attorney. Viking and the travel agents have all the data to corroborate my statement in their files.
My wife and I have been on two Viking River cruises and booked another for April, 2019 and an Ocean Cruise for April, 2020. In all my conversations with our Viking agent, NOTHING was mentioned about when a final payment would be due. I paid the April 2019 cruise early so we could get our airline tickets figured out, but then was informed that my entire $10K for the April 2020 cruise was due Dec. 31, 2019 - that is 16 months before the cruise leaves!
Viking's customer service simply replied that's what we told you on your printed contract. (I reminded them that few people plow through an entire contract for dates like that). Their supervisor, Amir, then informed me he could delay that payment for 60 days to Feb. 28, 2019. I told him that wasn't acceptable based on the standard of paying off cruise trips 90-120 days in advance of a cruise. When I told him this would be my last Viking cruise and I was going to write negative reviews for Viking, he then rescinded his offer to delay payment by two months. I don't know what's wrong with Viking, but they've gone from a friendly, service oriented company to a company desperate for money and lack of service. My advice is to never use Viking for any cruising.
Our ship NEVER left the dock because of low water levels, which Viking was aware of well in advance. Our veranda overlooked the embankment. Every day, we rode buses for hours and hours to ports along the Rhine, from Switzerland to France, dashing through each town, so not to miss the bus returning us to our sleeping quarters on the stranded boat. We traveled 100% of our "cruise" by Viking River BUS, an insufferable Plan B. Viking did not deliver on its promise, and its customer service representatives and top executives are not stepping up to make fair restitution to affected customers. They are offering partial (20%) vouchers for another cruise. Once wasn't bad enough? Why would we want to do business with this company ever again? Give me a reason, please.
Thank you for your review, Cynthia. While river conditions are out of our control, it's regrettable to hear that measures taken to preserve the integrity of your cruise did not meet expectation. Our records indicate you've been in recent contact with us, however, a mutually-agreeable resolution has yet to be attained. Should you wish to revisit the previous offer made, or review your experience further, you may reach out to the agent handling your case. Sending our best wishes for the new year.
They sell River Cruises they cannot deliver, and then substitute bus trips to get from city to city, and land hotels. Moreover, they do not disclose this fact in phone conversations, nor in their printed marketing materials. Deceptive advertising and smarmy unethical sales practices. I cite the Danube Cruise. If it does not rain enough, their cruise ships cannot get down the Danube. Despite their deception, they do not refund 100% of one’s $1,000 deposit. They keep $200, and say this is their “policy”. Multiple emails were required to even get our $800 back. Will never ever do business with them.
We regret to hear you felt deceived, Chris, as we assure you that was not our intention. While our Terms & Conditions do outline the fee schedule for all cancellations, we understand your position. Should you wish to discuss your individual circumstances further, we encourage you to contact us. Thank you, and have a happy new year.
I made a reservation passage to Eastern Europe. I allowed the company to debit my bank account. They debited my bank account 4 times. My trip will not start till 4/22/2019 but in mid-December 2018 they cancelled my reservation citing non-payment of balance. The trip was 4 months away. They deliberately want you to forget to pay so they can get the insurance money you paid as they are affiliated with the insurance company they use. The thing is I did not forget. I always have the impression that it is not due till 90 days before the trip. We spoke with the rep in November 2018 to upgrade my flights but he never mentioned about the balance due. The fact is they were authorized to debit money from my bank account. Very greedy people.
We are in receipt of your review, Harry, and are sorry to learn you will not be joining us in April. Although the final payment due date is listed on all guest invoices from the time of booking, we hear your concerns and regret the misunderstanding. Should you like to address your individual booking with a member of our Customer Relations team, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Paid over $25,000 for a 15 day European river tour, 1000 miles from Budapest, Hungary to Amsterdam. Spent 68% on buses, had to pack and unpack 4 times, and stayed two nights in hotels, the first was terrible with no running water for 4-5 hours and numerous filled roach motels.
We’re sorry to hear that you had a disappointing experience on your recent voyage with us, Raymond, and appreciate the opportunity presented here to address your concerns. Should you be interested in further discussing your experience, we welcome you to contact us. We look forward to communicating through that outlet, and wish you a wonderful day.
We were VERY fortunate to complete our cruise from Passau to Budapest as recent rains made the Danube passable. This review therefore concerns the normal Danube Waltz experience. The ship was beautiful and the crew were kind and helpful without exception (although the Program Director seemed distracted at times). Our cabin was efficiently arranged, though so small it seemed we were always in each other's way. Food was abundant and tasty.
My only complaint is that perhaps there should be a way that couples could dine privately...maybe a few tables for two? The cruise, though meant to be relaxing, can be quite strenuous as the excursions can easily fill the day (also, the weather was below freezing most of the time). Sometimes it would be nice to have a relaxing meal rather than an hour's enforced conversation.
One other minor complaint is that we missed the sailing past Budapest's lighted monuments due to being delayed in a lock. Would have been nice if we were given a quick sail past them the following evening. Also, many aspects of the "scenic" cruise are not so scenic when the weather is cold and grey. We loved the Christmas markets, but for scenery another time of year would be best.
Thank you, Terri, for allowing us to learn more about your recent Viking experience. We’re so pleased to learn of your satisfaction with the ship, dining and hardworking crew, and appreciate your feedback on aspects of the cruise that fell below expectations. Your suggestions and comments have been passed along, however we would welcome the opportunity to chat should you wish to share more. Thank you for sailing with us, and have a wonderful day!
My wife and I had our first experience with Viking this year on their Danube River Cruise with extensions in Budapest and Prague. It was wonderful and Viking was wonderful. We came home and looked to book out next adventure with Viking for an ocean cruise, Viking Homelands. We had a horrible time with Viking customer service (our original wonderful agent was no longer there). During our attempts to book they announced a new "policy." They want payment in FULL a year in advance. Their competitors are 90-120 days prior. Their response was that they are increasing their fleet. Am I really their FREE BANK? This really is ridiculous!
We just got home traveling down the Danube from Passau to Budapest. We did the pre stay in Prague. I must start by saying that we were extremely worried about this trip due to the low water situation. Everything about this trip was organized. All the Viking reps and guides were extremely knowledgeable and helpful to answer any questions we had.
Once on the boat we had a large group 18 people of all different ages and the staff took very good care of us. The waiters in the dining room took care of our family as if it was their own and paid close attention to our needs. If we suggested or asked for something it was there for us the next day. Of all the tour guides we had there were only 2 that weren’t that good. All the others were extremely knowledgeable and answered any questions we had. The only thing I would suggest to do different is cut out the 3 hrs we have in Slovakia and either add time to Vienna or Budapest. Those 2 cities are beautiful and it was hard to squeeze everything in. All in all my family had a great time and made wonderful memories on this trip.
What a joy it is to read your wonderful review, Sarah! We appreciate your candid feedback, and are happy to hear that your cruise, despite low water on the river, was a memorable experience. Further, your suggestion about timing on port is received with appreciation, and will be passed along to the appropriate team for review. Please don't hesitate to reach out should you wish to submit further comments; we're always happy to hear from you. Have a great day!
We missed our flight into Amsterdam, arriving later in the afternoon. We emailed to Viking when we would arrive but no one met us. We phoned the contacted given numbers with no success. No answer or the phone or was answered, then hung up. After taking a 125 euro cab to the three locations on the waterfront as stated by Viking, we stopped at a competing ship. The captain was nice and located a contact with Viking which stated the ship was unable to come to Amsterdam. The next day, we rode the bus for about four hours. Stopped at a rest area, the cost to use the restroom was .75 euro which we did not have. We had to pack and move to another ship. We paid for an excursion to a farmers market; had to walk a mile to the subway and then another mile to the market. We had to pay for a cab to return to the ship.
We stated the problem to the tour director and his remark was we booked on the internet, NOT his problem. We had to bus 1 1/2 hours to Budapest and back. The next morning we had to leave for the airport at 4 AM to ride 1 1/2 hr back to airport. This became a bus tour. We were told that there had been no rain all summer so Viking knew ahead of time that the rivers were very low. It is unfortunate that Viking puts profits ahead of customer service. We should have been informed of the lack of water and given alternative choices. It was our first and last European river cruise. We were expecting much more and were very disappointed.
Thank you for contacting us, Dale, and for allowing us to address your comments. We are sorry to hear that your cruise was affected by the low-water conditions of the European rivers. Kindly, contact us at TellUs@VikingCruises.com with your booking information, so we can further look into your concerns. We hope to hear from you and wish you a great day.
Our Budapest to Passau cruise was exactly 24 hours. We were forced to evacuate the ship due to generator failure which could not be rectified. Our compensation was a 25% refund of the cruise portion of the trip which is irresponsible on the part of Viking. Between my travel agent and myself we have placed over 20 phone calls to different customer service representatives to no avail. Please head caution when dealing with this company.
We appreciate you reaching out, Donna, and regret to hear that your cruise was interrupted by generator failure on the ship. In order for us to look into your comments further, please contact us at TellUs@VikingCruises.com with your booking information. We hope to hear from you, and wish you a great day.
If the cruise lines are like the accounting dept avoid this cruise line. I paid for a trip in advance by 12 months and my wife became ill after 6 months and I canceled. I AM ENTITLED TO A FULL REFUND LESS 200.00 AND THEY AGREE BUT IT IS 6 WEEKS LATER AND THE HAVE NOT REFUNDED ME. Beware. They will lie to you. Their service is awful. They must be having cash flow problems. It is now Dec 17th.
We apologize for the delay in your refund, Dan, as we are currently working through an unexpected high volume of adjustments. As of today, our records show your refund has been processed, and funds should be available in your account in the next day or two. Should you have any additional comments, we welcome you to reach out to us at Tellus@VikingCruises.com. Thank you for bringing this to our attention, and have a great day.
My wife and I sailed with Viking on their Romantic Danube river cruise from Nuremberg to Budapest, departing December 2. Although we were warned of low river water levels, 2 days of rain at the beginning of our cruise allowed our boat, the Jarl, to travel all of the way to Budapest on the river. This was our first cruise with Viking and will not be our last. The service, food, guided tours, programs, and overall attention to detail were excellent. We opted to spend two extra nights in Budapest, and Viking put us and others up in the Intercontinental, a wonderful and perfectly situated hotel. Viking had a desk in the hotel that was staffed during the day to take care of us. We cannot speak more highly of this cruise and would give more than 5 stars if possible.
It was an absolute pleasure cruising with you, Guy, and are excited to know that we will see you again. We are delighted to read your review in appreciation of our wonderful crew, staff and tour guides, along with your culinary experience and time on port. Wishing you both a lovely week, and looking forward to many more travels together!
My wife and I took the Rhine getaway cruise the first week of November 2018. This was our 5th cruise with Viking all of which had been exceptional. However, the Rhine trip was not. We flew from London to Basel in Switzerland to board our ship. We expected to have a tour of the city as had happened on previous cruises. Didn't happen. Although our flight from the UK only took 1 hour 20 minutes, we apparently arrived too late for the city tour. Our ship the Vidar was not quite up to the standard of previous ships. The décor looked a little "tired". We found the evening briefs too long and boring. For the first time in our experience, at each briefing, the head chef gave a long talk on the coming evening meal. His talk unnecessary in our opinion.
We found the food disappointing, broken eggs for breakfast, having to ask for ketchup. Apart from one excellent steak on our first night, the remaining evening meals were not of the quality we had previously experienced with Viking. The main disappointment was that 90% of the cruise was at night. We were not made aware of this in our cruise documentation. Why we pick river cruises is that a great part of the enjoyment is up on deck watching the scenery go by. We had to change ships mid cruise due to low water levels in the Rhine, however, we were told this "might" happen. Clearly Viking knew this well in advance as alternative arrangements looked part of the norm.
Our 2nd ship the Lofn was much better, although the evening briefings were also much too long. Thankfully the head chefs brief was "brief" and the food was of a higher quality. However, we still had to ask for items like ketchup etc. It felt like this was the last cruise of the ship this year and rations were being run down. Still more disappointing night cruising. The final straw was that on reaching Amsterdam there was no time to see the city. We arrived very early in the morning and it felt like Viking could not get us all off the ship fast enough. It was straight on the coach to the airport. 45 minute flight to London; we were home for lunch. Not happy Viking, did not get value for our not inconsiderable money.
Thank you, Gerald, for your review. We regret that there were aspects of your recent journey that left you feeling disappointed, and we hear your wishes for more advanced communication. Though we make every effort to preserve the original program, we understand that the resulting deviations may fall below some guests’ expectations. Your constructive comments have been noted for review, however should you like to share more we would welcome a discussion.
We (A group of 6 women) just returned from the 12/2 sailing of the Christmas Market cruise on the Romantic Danube. I was in cabin 341. We did receive a notice earlier from Viking that the water levels were questionable but we decided to make it an adventure. We had made plans for the trip over a year ago. From the pre-trip to when we first embarked on the ship we were so pleased with the excellent service, the friendly staff and the great food. The whole crew made it a wonderful and fun experience of a lifetime. One that we almost considered canceling because of such negative reviews that we had read. I will never hesitate to travel with Viking both on their river and ocean cruises.
Thank you for your candid review, Valerie. We are beyond delighted to learn that you and your group had such a wonderful time on board, and that our crew and staff are the culprits of your memorable experience! We are happy to hear that our commitment to providing excellent service translates into an experience of a lifetime for our guests. We hope to see you again in the future!
We were on the Romantic Danube cruise November 10 - 17 Nuremberg to Budapest. I see all the other reviews telling our experience so I will not go into the same details, what other passengers are saying is true and Viking is a dishonest company. We had three boats and tons of bus travel, not a river cruise at all. We actually had two hours of daylight cruising time. I believe Viking has been and continues to be dishonest about the water level of the Danube. They have known for a very long time that the river was impassable but failed to let us know. Viking should have contacted all passengers well in advance of the cruise date and offered to cancel or change dates.
There was no communication from Viking until 4 days prior of us leaving for our trip. We also experienced cancelled tours and long bus transfers. The ship ran out of bar snacks too on our last night on the Egil boat, proving again they knew we would not complete our trip on one boat. Like many other passengers this was a trip of a lifetime for my parents that were traveling with us. Most likely they will not have the opportunity to experience a trip like this one should have been. It's honestly sad that such a company like Viking would do this to families and take advantage of peoples precious time and hard earned money.
Thank you for reaching out, Sheila. We’re disappointed to hear that your cruise suffered itinerary changes due to the effects of uncooperative weather. We would appreciate the opportunity to further review your comments and discuss your experience directly with you, and welcome you to contact us at Tellus@VikingCruises.com. We look forward to hearing from you through that outlet.
Viking Cruises expert review by Michelle Baran
Viking River Cruises, which launched in 1997, has its U.S. headquarters in Los Angeles. It has more than 60 ships that cruise rivers all over the world and targets cruisers from the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom.
New U.S. cruise focus: While Viking has long offered rivers cruises in destinations such as Russia, Europe and Egypt, it is gearing up to launch a river cruise on the Mississippi in the United States by the year 2018. New Orleans will be its American home port.
Inclusiveness: Viking includes Wi-Fi service, hotel accommodations, daily excursions and port charges in its pricing.
Longship: The nearly identical Viking Longships that Viking has been churning out by the dozen in Europe evoke a sleek Nordic design, are energy-efficient and have a large variety of room sizes, both with and without verandas.
Wide range of itineraries: With the largest number of destinations of any river cruise line, Viking offers a cruise for nearly every part of the world.
Value: Viking’s notorious 2-for-1 deals offer a great value for river cruisers.
Best for: Viking River Cruises is best for older travelers.
Viking River Cruises Company Information
- Company Name:
- Viking Cruises
- Year Founded:
- Formerly Named:
- Viking River Cruises
- 5700 Canoga Avenue
- Woodland Hills
- Postal Code:
- United States
- (877) 668-4546