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Viking River Cruises
Viking River Cruises
Overall Satisfaction Rating
1.79/5
  • 5 stars
    22
  • 4 stars
    9
  • 3 stars
    11
  • 2 stars
    32
  • 1 stars
    124
Based on 198 ratings submitted in the last year
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Viking River Cruises

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History

Viking was founded in 1997 with the purchase of four ships in Russia. In 2000, the company purchased Europe’s KD River Cruises in order to grow its fleet, to leverage 40 years of river cruising experience and to acquire rights to prime docking locations in key European cities.

The company expanded into the American market in 2000, establishing US headquarters in Los Angeles, California. Through rapid expansion, the company has grown to be The World’s Leading River Cruise Line, with double-digit growth in recent years. And with the launch of its ocean fleet in 2015, the company has also become the leader in small ship ocean cruising.

With operational headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, Viking provides destination-focused itineraries designed for experienced travelers who have an interest in geography, culture and history. Each journey includes a shore excursion in every port, and an exclusive Viking Culture Curriculum program that provides deep immersion in the destination through performances of music and art, cooking demonstrations, informative port talks and carefully selected guest lecturers.

The company currently operates a fleet of more than 60 vessels, state-of-the-art ships that have received numerous accolades since their launch from industry experts and travelers alike. Viking was voted the #1 River Cruise Line by Condé Nast Traveler in their 2017 Readers’ Choice Awards, and for the third year in a row, has been named the #1 Ocean Cruise Line* by Travel + Leisure readers in the World’s Best Awards 2018.

River Ships and Itineraries

Sailing Europe’s storied rivers, the award-winning Viking Longships offer a variety of stateroom categories and true two-room suites with full-size verandas. Onboard amenities include a restaurant, bar and lounge, library and expansive sun deck. The ships feature al fresco dining on the Aquavit Terrace, an elegant Scandinavian design and “green” features, such as solar panels, an onboard organic herb garden and energy-efficient hybrid engines for a remarkably smooth ride.

River cruises range from 8 to 23 days, with itineraries featuring Europe’s Rhine, Main, Danube, Seine, Rhône, Douro, Moselle, Elbe, Dordogne, Garonne and Gironde Rivers; Russia’s Volga, Neva and Svir; Ukraine’s Dnieper; Egypt’s Nile; China’s Yangtze; and Southeast Asia’s Mekong.

Ocean Ships and Itineraries

In 2015, Viking introduced its first ocean ship with the christening of the 930-guest all-veranda Viking Star. One year later, Viking launched its second ocean ship, Viking Sea, which was joined by sister ships Viking Sky and Viking Sun in 2017 and by Viking Orion in 2018. The fleet welcomes Viking Jupiter in 2019. Four more yet-to-be-named ships are scheduled to launch by 2023.

The company’s award-winning ships are engineered at a size that allows direct access into most ports, so guests have easy and efficient embarkation and disembarkation. Each ship boasts a private veranda in every stateroom, a choice of restaurants offering a variety of fine dining options, the most al fresco dining at sea, an infinity pool, a Nordic-inspired spa, panoramic Explorers’ Lounge and thoughtfully curated book collections throughout the ship, and more—all designed in understated elegance.

Ocean itineraries are designed to maximize the amount of time travelers spend in their destination. These enriching itineraries include base and combination cruises sailing to Scandinavia and Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand, Asia, Alaska, North and South America, and Africa.

Viking Sun spent her maiden season sailing the company’s first-ever world cruise, spanning 141 days and visiting five continents. She will embark on two more global crossings in 2019: the 128-day 2019 Viking World Cruise and 245-day Viking Ultimate World Cruise. In 2018, Viking Orion embarked on journeys in the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Alaska. And in 2019, the newest addition to the fleet, Viking Jupiter, will begin her maiden season with voyages to the Mediterranean, Scandinavia, the Baltic and South America.

*Ship size category: 600–2,199 guests

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236 Viking River Cruises Consumer Reviews and Complaints

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Rated with 1 star
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 10, 2018

My husband and two of our friends booked a "once in a lifetime" cruise with Viking from Bucharest to Amsterdam in October 2018. This was the most expensive river cruise we have ever taken and we felt absolutely cheated by Viking. A couple of days before our trip was to begin, Viking sent us an email saying that there may be a problem with the water level between Passau and Regensburg and they would do everything they could to minimize our disruption.

What they didn't tell us was that Viking had not sailed from Bucharest to Amsterdam since May! In fact we had to take four boats and countless long and tedious bus rides during our trip. And the advertisements showing smiling passengers sailing up to cities and towns and being able to walk to their destinations was a farce. We saw most of the countryside from high-speed highways while traveling by bus.

Then there were the non-river depth problems. Since we couldn't dock at Regensburg, we were offered a 2 hour bus ride from some industrial area where we were docked to Regensburg. Many people, including my husband, elected to take this trip. Imagine their shock to arrive in Regensburg only to find that it was a holiday and everything was closed! So, after lunch he and his fellow passengers had a 4 hour wait until a bus brought them back to the boat! Had they been informed that the town was closed due to the holiday, they would not have gone on an all-day bus ride!

When we left Bucharest we found out that the ship was docked some 3 hours up river because of the water depth. So after a full day of sightseeing and an absolutely terrible lunch, we arrived at our ship well after dark. Our guide pointed out where the boat was and we could barely see the lights through the woods that we had to traverse to reach our boat. Our walk through an unlit wooded path led us to a gangplank that was so steep that I had to hold on to the ropes with both hands to keep myself from tumbling down the ramp. Others with us were older, used canes, and/or had carry-on luggage that they were trying to manage. It was not until some of the early arrivals told Viking that these people needed help that anyone left the ship to offer assistance.

We are not new to river cruises having taken more than a dozen over the years. The cultural enrichment offered by Viking was ridiculous. One interesting speaker was invited on board to discuss the Serbo-Croatian War from the perspective of the Serbs. The rest of the time, we were offered poorly produced videos or talks from our Program Director, who was very hard to understand. Both Vantage and Grand Circle provided excellent speakers who shared their views with us so we could learn about the countries through which we were traveling. My husband and I paid $22,000 for this trip and feel absolutely ripped off. Viking had information on this trip that would have affected our decision to take it. But, they kept this critical knowledge to themselves. And the $3800 credit toward another Viking cruise can't even begin to entice us to ever sail with Viking again.

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Be the first one to find this review helpful
Rated with 1 starResolution In Progress
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 9, 2018

We just returned from the Danube river cruise from Nuremberg to Budapest. The cruise was very disappointing for several reasons. Besides the water level issue which I will explain later, our room on the first ship was dirty upon arrival and needed to be re-cleaned. There was brown marks like chocolate on the floor and the bed headboard, side tables, and chairs all had brown sticky marks all over them like someone had spilled hot chocolate. When I showed the crew onboard the mess they brought someone in to re-clean the room. The person cleaning the room said “I guess some of you expect everything to be perfect”. I offered to clean the room myself.

The water level issue is very upsetting. Every port we went the guides as well as the crew onboard told us the water levels have been several feet low for over a year. This is something that Viking should have brought up when offering this river cruise, or Viking should not be selling the tickets at all knowing that there would be several issues. A week before our trip I received an email stating that if water levels do not improve we will need to take a bus from Vienna to Budapest, that is all. I called Viking to ask them what the current situation was and the person said they could not give me any info because the water could change an inch and we might be fine.

This was clearly not true that the water levels only needed to change an inch. We were told by Viking crew one of the Viking cruise ships, Oden, has been stuck in Budapest for over a year due to water levels being several feet too low. This was not the only location that was affected by low water levels which we were not informed of prior to the trip.

Due to water levels we needed to take a 2 hr bus ride in and out of Passau, losing out on 4 hours we should have had in Passau. We needed to take a 3 hour bus ride to another location outside of Krems to board a different ship. There was a tour in Krems that we did not go on because the crew onboard encouraged everyone to not go on the tour but rather stay on the boat while we sail to the Vienna. They told us that we would much rather see this part of the river and there would be commentary about the area. None of this happened because by the time we got on the new boat and started sailing it was too dark to see anything.

We spent one night onboard the new ship and then took a 3-hour bus ride to Budapest. Due to the time all tours were cancelled except the included tour. We missed half of a day in Budapest and got to spend 45 minutes in Buda before going to a hotel where we were to spent the night. We were told at the hotel that we would receive dinner and drinks. Several other travelers stayed and had drinks, we all had the Silver package, which we were told was included. The waiter asked for one of the rooms, we offered ours not thinking anything of it. When we checked out at 3am we got a bill for 76,328 HUF. A Viking representative told me that if we pay the bill Viking would reimburse me. Which never happened.

We requested a full refund for the trip. Viking has offered us 25% then 35% off on future cruises. They offered 50% if they do not have to reimburse us for the dinner and drinks we paid for that they were supposed to. We talked to a fellow traveler from the UK and he was called by Viking and offered a full refund for the trip prior leaving due to the water levels. When we asked the crew onboard why we were not called and offered the same deal we were told that the UK and US has different laws and therefore Viking was not required to call US passengers with this offer.

Dealing with Viking has been an absolute nightmare. Several guests on the cruise are in contact with one another to determine what is being offered. Viking customer service told me that they could care less that we are having a difficult time with their customer service and the fact that they are making various offers. Viking is also offering some couples who posted negative ads a 40% off if they sign an NDA. I would like to reiterate that it is very disappointing that Viking knew exactly what the water conditions were and choose to sell tickets to this cruise regardless. They knew that people would come back disappointed and their only option is to take a voucher to buy more products from Viking. This is FRAUD.

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Viking River Cruises response

We appreciate you bringing this matter to our attention, Kendall. While we’re happy to hear that we’ve had the opportunity to discuss your concerns, we regret to learn of your continued disappointment. To connect with an agent from our Customer Relations Department and to further review this matter, we welcome you to contact us at TellUs@vrc.com. We look forward to speaking, Kendall, and wish you a wonderful day.

5 people found this review helpful
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Rated with 3 stars
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 6, 2018

When we were given the paper evaluation of the Danube cruise we had just completed, we decided to wait until the entire cruise was over, and we were glad we did. The overall quality of the cruise deteriorated sharply at the end of the cruise. We were notified about a month before our cruise that there was the possibility that the water level might be too low to have a continuous journey. That would have been fine if this had truly been a rare occurrence. This has now happened with increasing frequency since 2015, and the notification came too late for us to replan our trip. We were required to switch ships twice and bus over two segments of our voyage.

This defeats one of our primary reasons for river cruising, the ability to unpack only once. Especially after the second transfer, the level of service fell sharply below the service we experienced during the rest of the trip. It felt like Viking “gave up” at that point. If this move had been a total surprise, we might have been more accommodating, but this situation has frequently occurred and in this situation, Viking had 36 hours to prepare for our arrival. When we were onboard, the lunch had limited service and selection. The remaining meals were also limited in quantity and selection of food and the final dinner was certainly not a huge celebration of our trip.

As first time Viking travelers, we were underwhelmed by the handling of what has now become an increasingly common situation, the lower waters. Viking simply did not adequately prepare — and they didn't lean forward. Perhaps the most glaring evidence of this uncaring was when we were on the second bus and we were charged a Euro to use the bathroom facilities by the truck stop on the bus route! Why didn’t Viking arrange for free toilets ahead of time? Why did we learn about the canceling of the last excursion for the first time when we viewed a bill showing a refund that was delivered to our stateroom? When asked about the credit charge, the reception staff said, “Well they told you yesterday that the excursion had been canceled.” They did not.

Also, several people had special excursions planned and would have given up the included excursion for a more meaningful experience. The option should have been available. These last few days destroyed the good feeling that was established earlier on the voyage and left us with a negative opinion of this cruise and Viking in general. The crew was scrambling with limited resources. Viking must do a much better job of dealing with these increasingly frequent disruptions. Fran and Adele ** Romantic Danube November 23-30, 2018.

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8 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 starResolution In Progress
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 5, 2018

My husband and I along with our dear friends heard about the 2 for 1 travel to Cuba on Viking Cruises. We thought this would be a great opportunity to jump on 'cause we have always wanted to visit Cuba. We purchased over seven months early to get what we thought was a "great deal". Well I want to warn anyone reading this, it's NOT true. Sadly, found out that other friends of ours that wanted to join us is getting better pricing buying same type of cabin at a much lower price than we paid! When I called to ask about this I was told I needed to speak to my sales agent at Viking, I tried over 4 times and left messages but never received a callback.

Today I finally just told another representative answering what I was calling about and she looked at my booking and admitted I was correct and said let me talk to a supervisor and see what they say. Sadly, after being on hold for a while, was told that under terms and conditions this sometimes just happens and nothing they can do. So I said well I was charged over $1,000 per person by buying early and anyone can buy same cabin type and pay less getting it today! She said "sorry there's nothing I can do, that's just the way it works". I said so "no credit, no on ship credits, nothing for this inflated price we're being charged for?"

I said, "Well I guess we were lied to and this is just a lesson learned!" So my advice is DO NOT purchase early because 2 for 1 that was claimed on their website, literature, etc. is not really 2 for 1. So please do NOT trust Viking's printed ads! I hope it will be a great trip because I feel very cheated and they did not handle customer service well at all.

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Viking River Cruises response

We thank you for your feedback, Sandra, although your pre-cruise disappointment is regrettable. Nevertheless we have every confidence that your Cuban voyage will be just as enjoyable as you’d hoped. While we assure you your comments have been noted for review by management, we would welcome a continued discussion at TellUs@vikingcruises.com should you wish to connect with a member of our Customer Relations team. Thank you, and have a lovely day.

6 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 starResolution In Progress
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 3, 2018

My husband and I decided to take a leap of “financial faith” and take a Viking River Cruise based on customer reviews and feedback from other people. The decision to use Viking River Cruises turned out to be the worst decision we could have made. It is at the top of one of the worst vacations we have ever taken. And to add to our disappointment, the $500 cruise voucher that has been offered, it is just an insult. We reached out to Viking but of course we never heard back!

We understand “Acts of God” (river being low) however the lack of communication from Viking was unprofessional and deceptive. Sending an email the week before the trip is not communication especially because Viking knew all summer about the river problems and they knew the amount of rain needed for the proper water levels had not occurred and would not improve before our scheduled departure date.

We would have expected your company to: 1) Cancel the trip; 2) offer a full refund; 3) inform guest that their money would be transferred to a future river or ocean cruise; or 4) make them fully aware of what they were getting into if we chose to take the trip. None of these things were offered. So, instead Viking decided to have a cruise of almost 200 disgruntled customers, who will now spread the word about their experience. Below are some of the issues/problems we experience with this trip that we feel warrants compensation from Viking, that is not the insulting $500 that was offered.

Air Service – Very disappointed with this service. Had we know about all of the hidden costs, we would have made my own travel arrangements. Which would have allowed us more time and saved us money. Don’t use! Viking Var – (Nuremberg, Regensburg and Passau). GOOD. Service staff was excellent. They were kind and friendly. Front desk not so much, when ask directly about the boat change, etc. that had been mentioned in the Port Talk, which we missed because of our late arrival. We were provided with incorrect information, which was rude.

Optional Tour Nuremberg – the guide was informative and provided good information. Optional Tour Regensburg – the guide for the walking tour was very informative and provided very good information. Optional Tour Passau – we did not see Passau. We paid for Salzburg Highlights. The bus driver “the Pope” was very funny and made the unbearable long bus ride a tad bit better. The guide for the walking tour was also good. BAD - Optional Tour Nuremberg – the bus portion of the tour was a complete waste of time. Driving around at normal speed with a great opportunity to take pictures did not make sense. And no printed information was provided about what we were seeing so that we could at least have some frame of reference.

UGLY. Optional Tour Nuremberg – Not enough free time to shop or explore the city. Rushing back to ship to leave did not make any sense. Optional Tour Regensburg – Spending an entire day in a city that is completed closed was an utter waste of time. We could have spent more time in Nuremberg. Optional Tour Passau/Salzburg – The Salzburg Highlight tour was not worth the money spent. And if we had been informed that the 3 hour total bus ride was now a 6 hour bus ride, we may have opted out. We were not informed of the change until we had already boarded the bus and were on our way.

The bus ride to and from was pure “hell”. That was too long to be a bus for a 3.5 hour excursion. A total shame! There were no lights to guide guest back to the ship once the bus dropped us off from the Salzburg tour. It was extremely dark and very hazardous. Guest had to use their cell phones to find their way back. Luckily no one was hurt.

Room Steward – In effort to clean our rooms before we could even leave the ship, the steward threw away my body buff that I use for bathing – not happy. Room Steward – The day of the bus ride, we went to breakfast and left our personal items on the bed. When we return to the room all of our items had been moved from the bed and the room had been cleaned. This is totally unacceptable! Our personal items should not have been touched under any circumstances and they could have waited another 20 minutes to clean the room.

Viking Tor (Vienna and Krems) - GOOD. Optional Tour Vienna – the walking tour was excellent. It was refreshing after sitting on the bus the day before. The guide did a great job and we had plenty of free time to explore. One of the only highlights of the trip. Paid Optional Tour Schonbrunn place – the guide was very informative. Service staff was excellent. They were kind and friendly.

BAD. After the long bus ride we decided not to go on the Gottweig Abbey optional tour. We stayed on the ship to take pictures of the Wachau Valley. However because of the lateness of the hour and the lock, were not able to get many pictures. It was very annoying that the commentary continued about what we were “not” seeing because it was dark out and could not make out anything. Yet another disappointment. Paid Optional Tour Schonbrunn place – The tour seemed very rush and for the amount of money we spent, we should have been able to see both parts of the palace not just the one section. We felt cheated. It would have been cheaper and easier to do it on our own.

UGLY. The 3 hour bus ride was horrific, especially after the 6 hour bus ride the day before. It was totally unacceptable. The stateroom bathroom was horrible. The shower had not been cleaned properly, had hair on the walls and the floor that was not ours. The bathroom toilet was not flushing when we arrived. An officer came to the room and checked and it would not flush for him either. About 5 to 10 minutes after he left the toilet starting flushing and then a “rude” engineer came to the room stating that it was working. However the water pressure was very low and it took several attempts to get the toilet to flush. The bathroom also smelled like urine. It was extremely offensive. We reported the issue to the desk, however they decided to give us a lesson on how to flush the toilet and did not address the horrific bathroom smells. It was not good.

Viking Hermod (Budapest) - GOOD. Service staff was excellent. They were kind and friendly. BAD. Optional Tour Budapest – the bus portion of the tour was a complete waste of time. Driving around at normal speed with a great opportunity to take pictures did not make sense. And no printed information was provided about what we were seeing so that we could at least have some frame of reference. The guide was not as good as the others and she kept pointing out highlights way before we got to them and people were missing them. There was not enough time to explore the beautiful city.

UGLY. Another 3 plus hour bus ride – just a nightmare. The bathroom stop, where we had to pay was ridiculous. This should have been covered by Viking. Fortunately, we still had some Euros in order to pay for the bathroom. We are extremely disappointed in the quality and value of service that was received from Viking. There was absolutely no value for the money spent. Viking failed us and the other guest. We could never recommend Viking Cruises to any our blog readers. We also have already told our family and friends not to cruise with Viking!

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Viking River Cruises response

We appreciate your candid review, Victoria, as it allows us to evaluate our processes and areas of improvement. Further, we are interested in addressing your concerns in detail. Should you wish to do the same, please contact us at TellUs@VikingCruises.com so we may connect you to a member of our Customer Relations team. We hope to hear from you and wish you a lovely Tuesday!

6 people found this review helpful
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Rated with 1 starResolution In Progress
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 3, 2018

Celebrating 50 years of marriage with a romantic River Cruise on the Danube. This was something we so looked forward to. This particular cruise was a long awaited destination. Our travel agent encouraged insurance which we paid along with a balcony expecting views and scenes as seen in the Viking commercials. This was not the case however... our trip turned out to be a frantic bus trip between locations. The hours spent in the bus capped off by road stops scrambling to pay to toilet. The balcony was replaced by a bus aisle seat. Several tours were canceled due to moving to three different boats. The joy of not unpacking throughout the trip was replaced with three different boat transfers with suitcases being placed out the night before.

The Viking staff was very apologetic and did everything to make up for this inconvenience. Dining with the captain one morning it became clear to us from him that this was the new normal. Perhaps if we had known this our insurance would have made it possible for us to reschedule or replan. The fiftieth is now a thing of the past and I have a sour taste in my mouth for this adventure. I would encourage those seeking a trip on Viking to reconsider. The promise of a meager discount to rehash this is unappealing to me. I will certainly caution anyone to reconsider river cruising at this point. I feel we were sold a trip that was not up to standard.

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Viking River Cruises response

We appreciate you reaching out, Janice, and are sorry to learn of your disappointment. While we hear your displeasure in the transportation arrangements, it’s worth noting that these modifications to your trip were necessary to preserve your itinerary given the low water levels. Further, we are interested in learning more about your experience. Kindly, send us your booking information to TellUs@VRC.com to connect you with a Customer Relations agent. We look forward to speaking soon.

11 people found this review helpful
Rated with 2 starsResolution In Progress
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 2, 2018

6 of us are traveling with Viking on their Romantic Danube in a few days. We are fans of the Viking experience, at least up to now. We were made aware of low river levels by a third party a couple of months before the dreaded "low water may impact your trip" notification email from Viking last week. We had sent Viking an e-mail through their website prior to this notice and never received a response. We have traveled with Viking on many cruises, ocean and river. I pride myself on planning and maximizing the experience and Viking has been exceptional on getting us to where we need to be. However, I am left nearly speechless in defending Viking to my travel mates when it appears from all reviews that Viking "drip feeds" information and eliminates our ability to preplan with what time we may have available.

I am hurriedly reviewing the internet to determine travel options I might have in order to maximize my experience in the cities we visit. Although a planner by nature and profession, I am amazed that the lack of actionable information from Viking has me scouring the web for detail such as direct bus service from Passau to Regensburg. I can only guess what other changes are in store. No mention has been made by Viking of a potential hotel stay in Budapest although another traveler on this cruise has said a Viking rep disclosed that fact to him. It makes all the difference in the world to know if you are staying on a boat in the center of town or maybe somewhere else where you will have to figure out how to get to town on your own. I know Viking monitors this site and sincerely hope Viking starts getting in front of the communication issue.

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Viking River Cruises response

While we’re delighted to hear that you’ve enjoyed past experiences as our guest, Tom, we regret to learn of your current disappointment. Although we’ve had to make a few adjustments to combat low water levels, every effort is made to preserve the scheduled itinerary and ensure guest comfort. To connect with a Customer Relations Agent upon your return home, we welcome you to contact us at TellUs@vrc.com with your booking details. We look forward to joining you soon, Tom, and wish you a great day.

8 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 2, 2018

Had my husband and I done our homework before choosing Viking for our first river cruise, we would have been aware of class action lawsuits against the company and complaints specifically about the “Romantic Danube” cruise. In June we booked our Nov. 10-17, 2018 “Romantic Danube” cruise from Nuremberg to Budapest. There was no mention by Viking of low water levels on the Danube. After returning home from a very frustrating trip, we read the reviews and now know that this had been a problem for many months. We were not to be told until receiving an email on Nov. 2nd that low water levels could force us to be bused between Regensburg and Passau.

Already in Prague for our pre-trip extension, we received a second email stating we would likely also be bused between Vienna and Budapest spending our last night in a hotel. Well, too late to cancel at this point. Once on board, it appeared the job of the crew, particularly the Program Director, was to dole out the bad news as close to the event as possible and to make us feel sorry for them that this act of God was out of their control and they hoped we would understand, make the best of it, and not let our frustration be reflected in our gratuities.

The first issue we had with Viking was the included transfer from Prague to Nuremberg. We had to check out of the hotel by 10:00 am but the bus didn’t leave until 1:00 pm. We were told to eat lunch before leaving because we would stop only for a bathroom break during the four hour ride. We eventually boarded the ship in Nuremberg close to 5:30 pm. We were the last group to arrive and by then we missed the Embarkation Lunch, Shuttle Service into Nuremberg and a Cheese and Wine Tasting. So, our time on the ship started with dinner, cheating us out of most of Day 1 of our cruise and half of our time to explore Nuremberg! There was no explanation offered as to why we were picked up in Prague so late in the day and no excuse.

Our itineraries for Days 2 – 3 continued as scheduled but during the Port Talk on our third night, it was finally confirmed that on Day 5 we would have to be bused further down the river and board a new ship. On Day 4, we docked in Straubing, Germany, in the middle of nowhere, and had to walk on a muddy path through a grove of trees to board buses for an hour plus ride each way to Passau. We arrived back at 4:40 and trekked across the muddy path back to the ship. We started packing, attended dinner, and returned to our stateroom to finish packing, skipping the evening lounge entertainment, so we could have our bags placed outside our stateroom door by 9:00 am ready to be transferred to our next ship.

On the morning of Day 5, instead of cruising the Scenic Wachau Valley and touring Krems, we boarded buses for a four hour ride to Ybbs to wait for our next ship, the Viking Gullveig, to arrive at 1:50 pm. After a late lunch poorly served by a skeleton crew, we had to make a choice: be bused to the Gottweig Abbey Tour or stay on the ship and enjoy our only hour and a half of daylight cruising time on the Danube before stopping at Pochlarn to wait for the passengers returning from the bus tour to Gottweig Abbey. Once they boarded the ship at 7:00 pm, we departed for Vienna, arriving at midnight, losing the time we would have had in the evening to explore the city.

On Day 7, we had to have our luggage at our door by 7:00 am so we could board buses for a 3 hour, 40 minute ride to Budapest. So, forget cruising the Danube Bend. The final straw was when we stopped for a restroom break; we had to scramble to have currency we could use to pay for the toilets! Since we had already paid for the bathroom in our staterooms which we no longer had access to, our Program Director should have been standing there with coins to hand us to use these toilets!

We arrived at our third ship, the Viking Hermod, in Budapest at 12:30 pm (does Viking leave this ship docked permanently now to serve as their “hotel”? ), went straight to the dining room for lunch, and boarded buses for our Panoramic Budapest Tour at 2:00 pm. The sun set at 4:08 pm, and we were returned to the ship at 4:45 pm. Our 4 hour tour was condensed to 2 hours, 45 minutes and this was our only time spent in Budapest! All other optional tours at this port were canceled.

So we spent 12 hours on buses riding by farms, industrial areas, or barriers that cut off any view whatsoever. No castles, etc. that Viking loves so much to show in advertisements. Our time in Nuremberg and Vienna was cut short and we had minimal time in Budapest. We packed bags after only four days on board. After that, everyone we spoke to chose to live out of suitcases shoved in every corner of our staterooms rather than unpack and repack two more times. People who paid extra for balconies and beverage packages took even more of a hit.

Viking has emailed us their intention of extending to us a 25% off voucher toward our next Viking Cruise to be used within a year. We have yet to receive the promised email with the actual voucher. After this experience, we have no intention of ever taking another Viking River Cruise nor can we afford to take another within that time frame even if we did. So this offer is useless to us.

Viking continues to book the “Romantic Danube” knowing they can’t deliver what they’re selling. The only fair compensation is a monetary refund which we will pursue. If not a complete refund, it should be easy to compute how much. Just figure out the percentage of the trip we missed and refund that percentage of our payment. I’ll be happy to compute this for them! Viking is getting away with a crime, but as long as it’s this easy for Viking to get away with it, we can only warn buyers to beware! Another piece of advice, check out the reviews of the other river cruise lines.

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14 people found this review helpful
Rated with 3 stars
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 1, 2018

We were aware several months before our river cruise was scheduled that low water levels might be a problem. A friend of ours had done a similar river cruise in August. Our November river cruise had some disruptions. Two cancelled optional tours which were promptly refunded and one ship swap halfway through our eight day cruise. The day of the ship swap we had a tour of the Marksburg Castle and in the afternoon, a river cruise along the Rhine Gorge on a substitute ship that could handle the low water levels. The ship swap went like clockwork, left our packed bags in our room. At the end of the day, our bags were in our new ship in our room. Some discomfort packing, then unpacking again but we managed it. All in all, Viking handled the situation as best as they could, and I feel most passengers were okay with how everything worked out.

6 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 starResolution In Progress
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Nov. 30, 2018

We returned on November 16 from our Romantic Danube River Cruise and just as many have complained, so must I as this was the most disappointing travel experience in all my days. I’ve been to 43 countries, on trains, boats and planes, but was really looking forward to this river experience. Clearly Viking knew of the problems and failed to be transparent with their customers - but in all fairness, one should not place all the blame on the provider. They cannot control the water level but to try to make an apple and orange, they just couldn’t do it. The bus tour was just horrible. I could have seen as much on I40 traveling through Tennessee. The road time cut into the walk about time and it gets dark at 4:30 PM this time of year.

So I say “buyer beware” because had we thought for a moment the river would not be navigable along with the early sunset, we would not have scheduled in late fall. Even had we been able to navigate the river, in the dark we wouldn’t have seen much. If rating the aspects of the experience: the staff was excellent; the food marginal; the room, tiny; the tours, so-so; the airline schedule, the pits. But, to be with my wife for 7 days celebrating her birthday without common distractions was excellent. A 25% discount on a future cruise won’t be necessary. My advice is to do your research. Question your agent on the details and caveat emptor.

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Viking River Cruises response

Thank you, William, for your candid post-voyage review. While your disappointment is regrettable, we are appreciative of this opportunity to collect valuable feedback for management review and connect with you. Because we are always striving for improvement, we would appreciate the opportunity to discuss your comments in detail. Kindly contact us at TellUs@VRC.com to address your concerns. We hope to hear from you and wish you a great day.

8 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 starResolution In Progress
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Nov. 30, 2018

I have no words that can express how disappointed I am in Viking Cruises. I was puzzled from the first announcement of, “Pack your bags, have them outside door no later than 8:00 am. You will be riding a bus for 4 hours and part of that time we will stop off at a gas station and wait for an hour while the next boat is cleaned.” We were implored to please remember that this was every bit as hard for the staff as it was for us. “Have some understanding” was the last thing that was asked of us before we went back to our rooms to pack our belongings.

Well, “understanding” was exactly what I intended to have when I finished this cruise. It felt like the announcement was intended to elicit compliant passengers and create an atmosphere of feeling it was shameful, or ungrateful to even address the issue of how this was not a good solution. I felt sorry for the crew, but I wondered if they had done this before. After getting the almost identical response from several crew members when I asked questions I became more alert to the possibility that this was routine for them. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. Did the company owners and executives know what they were requiring of the their passengers!?! They had to know that their passenger primarily consisted of senior citizens. They couldn’t possibly be doing this routinely!?! Had Viking schooled their crews on how to avoid telling the truth? These were just a few of the thoughts that were running through my mind.

The average age on board looked to me to be about 65-78yrs of age. How could Viking sell this cruise with no effective communication as to just how physically taxing this would be for the majority of their clientele? I wouldn’t have required someone I didn’t like to do what Viking was requiring of their elderly passengers if I had sold them a relaxing and thoughtful vacation.

The morning of our 3rd off itinerary bus transport and first ship swap, I pressed the issue farther by asking a crew member who appeared conflicted. “How long has this been going on?” A month?” The crew member looked down. He seemed embarrassed. “Longer than 2 months?” He shook his head... “3 months?” Again, shook his head, indicating longer. “How long! ?” His eyes looked distressed... “All year,” he replied... I was not sure if that meant all season or what that meant. But I had badgered him enough, and I felt sorry for him.

Fast forward to later that day and throughout the remainder of the cruise. Through the course of 3 different boats, 16 hours of bussing, 2 unexpected packing of bags and countless cancelled excursions, I came to understand that the crew had been doing this song and dance since June. One crew member indicated that it had actually been since March. Either way, It had been going on all season. Month after month the crew had been required to clean and work double time to prepare for ship swaps with no pay increase. The passengers had been lead to believe this was all “unpredictable” and yet it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that this smelled very wrong. It felt dishonest and premeditated. To say something is unpredictable when past ship logs would reflect a very consistent pattern is very suspect.

At the end of the cruise I looked around at all of the older passengers, they looked tired. Some looked downright exhausted. Many were silent and unwilling to step over the line of “good natured passenger” by asking questions. I assumed this was because of the tremendous burden they carried for the crew. However quiet they were I observed them one by one gathering amongst themselves wanting to know what Viking knew before they set sail. My parting words to one crew member as I boarded the taxi to my flight was, You need to talk to your superiors and try to reach the executives. This was wrong. You need to say something. You can change this for the passengers to come.

I have repeatedly tried to get a refund since arriving home this month. I have yet to be refunded. It’s easy to say you care but unless a company truly cares nothing will be done other than a voucher or fractional cash settlement. I am saddened by my discoveries. I am angered by the lack of genuine recompense. I have little faith left that this company will do the right thing. But I still have a little hope.

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Viking River Cruises response

We are in receipt of your review, M, though we regret it is not under more pleasing circumstances. We hear your concern for your fellow passengers as well as your wishes for recompense, and we would appreciate the opportunity to look into your individual trip in more detail. Though we understand you’ve reached out via another outlet, we would be happy to take a closer look at TellUs@vrc.com if you haven’t connected with us yet. We hope to hear from you soon, and thank you.

9 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Nov. 30, 2018

Updated on 12/04/2018: In a follow-up to my review I just dealt with a representative from Viking (Heather) who seemed to suggest that my poor experience was an anomaly -- this despite the poor reviews that have been shared on this same page. More disturbing yet, when I repeated the incident about the front desk getting a possible kick-back from the doctor who came aboard, she kept reiterating that she had never heard of any similar complaints. Implicit in her assertion was that my claim was somehow invalid since nobody else had had the problem. I did note that I had brought up the issue with the cruise director who said he would look into it. He never got back to me. Bottom line: She made things worse. #CaveatEmptor.

Original review: After having done a wonderful ocean cruise with Viking last year, my husband and I signed up in January for a river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest (Oct. 26-Nov 9). It was a MAJOR disappointment. We were informed about a week before the trip that we might have to be bussed in Germany because of low water levels on the Rhine. Fine. The reality was that the Danube was also low so that in addition to having to be on three different boats - and docking in an out-of-the-way "port" - we had to take buses 3-4 more times (which caused a bit of havoc for those of us who had made special arrangements in port cities). The balcony that we paid extra for was a waste of money since 4-5 times another boat was berthed right next to us (this is not the "occasionally" advertised in the brochure).

When many people fell sick with a respiratory illness, the front desk arranged for a doctor from Vienna to come aboard. After a misunderstanding regarding the fee (180 euros rather than 108 my husband thought he had heard quoted) the doctor allowed me to pay only 150. A minute after he left, the front desk called me to ask why I shortchanged the doctor! The obvious question here is, why was that her business unless she was getting a kickback? At the end of the cruise, the cruise director actually asked people for tips - the kind of sleazy activity you would expect of a third-rate cruise line. When all was said and done, Viking offered us about $1500 off toward another cruise - which we will NOT be using. Instead of canceling the cruise, the company showed themselves to be more concerned about making money than in maintaining their reputation for excellence. I will never use them again.

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3 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 starResolution In Progress
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Nov. 27, 2018

My husband and I just returned from our 8 day Romantic Danube Viking River Cruise which departed Nuremberg Nov 17 and ended in Budapest Nov 24. As others stated, the trip was chaotic with switching ships mid-week, long bus rides, and our final night of the river cruise spent in a hotel in Budapest instead of on the boat. We spent a lot of time on buses, and the free time we were given in each city was very restricted compared to the itinerary we initially received. The entire week was stressful due to having to wake up so early to catch a bus for an hour or more ride into a city or the necessary packing and unpacking required to move from ship to ship and then ship to hotel and then hotel to airport.

My husband was disappointed with the food on board ship - it was strictly average, nothing exceptional. We were expecting much better for the price we paid. As we prepared to leave the second ship to go to Budapest and stay in the hotel, we found out that other passengers from the UK were offered a 100% refund just prior to departure. They decided to sail anyway; other passengers had their beverage packages comped by Viking after they complained enough. All in all, it was very disappointing. Viking knew months in advance that water levels were too low to sail and would remain low through our scheduled journey. They took as few pains as possible to notify us of the situation, and only told us the day before our flight that we would have to stay in a hotel in Budapest.

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Viking River Cruises response

Thank you for reaching out to us, Katherine, and for allowing us the opportunity to address your concerns. Because we share your disappointment with your low-water impacted cruise, we have arranged for a member of our Customer Relations Team to contact you to discuss your comments and your overall experience. We look forward to connecting, and wish you a great day.

10 people found this review helpful
Rated with 2 starsResolution In Progress
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Nov. 27, 2018

My husband and I booked our early November river cruise in February, the occasion being a reunion with dear relatives who live far from us. As described by others, we received an email from Viking 5 days before departure, stating that our itinerary might be affected by river levels, and that one ship swap might be necessary. At this point we were unable to cancel and get a full refund or even change travel dates, although we later discovered that the company knew perfectly well that the Danube levels has been too low for sailing in many areas for months. We also booked the Budapest extension so that we would stay at a hotel in Buda for the first 3 nights, in order to rest from the long flight.

After 2 days, Viking changed this plan too, informing us that we would instead be transferred to a boat for the 3rd night, and depart the next day to Austria by bus. It turns out that our trip included 3 different boats in seven days. Further, we spent a great deal of time in very uncomfortable buses. The swaps involved waking up at 5-6 am to pack and leave early, making the trip feel like a chaotic forced march rather than the relaxing voyage promised. We are seniors, as were the majority of our fellow passengers, and the constant changes in plans caused a great deal of stress to many. In fact, upon returning home, we discovered that my husband experienced cardiac distress during the cruise, as recorded by an implanted device.

Importantly, Viking's description of docking areas near city centers allowing passengers to stroll into town at their pleasure is misleading. Many times our view was an empty Viking boat or a pile of shipping containers, and we were miles away from any cities, a situation that required using taxis to try and visit the places we wanted to see. We now received what Viking believes to be "compensation" for our exhausting and potentially dangerous trip: a voucher towards future cruises valid for a year, and worth a fraction of what we paid for all the hassle. That's far from adequate: at the minimum Viking owes us a refund, since we had no opportunity to cancel or change travel dates. And obviously, we do not intend to travel again with Viking.

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Viking River Cruises response

Thank you for reaching out, A. We hear your concerns as we, too, are disappointed that the originally scheduled program was unable to continue as planned due to low water on the rivers. Kindly, contact us at TellUs@VikingCruises.com with your booking information, so we can connect you to a Customer Relations Agent to discuss the details of your experience. We look forward to hearing from you and wish you a great day.

8 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 starResolution In Progress
profile pic of the author
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Nov. 27, 2018

We booked a cruise with Viking for April 2019. As we began to look at the logistics we were required to fly from Buffalo to Munich then board a bus for a 2.5 hour trip to Passau. They told us we could not into our room until 3pm. Due to the length of the trip we decided we would fly in the day before and stay at an airport hotel and just go to the baggage claim area and catch the bus to Passau the day the cruise starts. We were told if we did that we would be responsible to get to the ship or pay $120 per person for the vouchers.

What's the difference if I show up coming off the flight or arriving from a hotel? They wouldn't budge so we cancelled the 4 reservations. Nickel and dime the customer with policies that make no sense. What if I lived in Munich and didn't have a flight number for the company that does the transfers? Would they still make me pay for the trip to the ship? Ridiculous... We were looking forward to the trip but have made other arrangements with a company that is more customer friendly.

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Viking River Cruises response

We are disappointed to hear of your cancellation, Bill, and will miss cruising with you in April. Although we understand your concerns, we regret that your request for a modified transfer could not be accommodated, due to the regulations imposed by our third-party transportation company. We’ve noted your position, but encourage you to contact us directly at TellUs@vikingcruises.com if you wish to further discuss your comments. Have a great day.

8 people found this review helpful
Rated with 2 starsResolution In Progress
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Nov. 27, 2018

My husband, Gary, and I planned and paid for our first “river cruise” with Viking 15 months in advance of our October 17th departure date (we were supposed to cruise from October 22nd to October 29th). It took a great deal of pleading and cajoling on my part to convince Gary that this very expensive cruise with Viking would be worth the money! It was my sincere hope that he would enjoy the cruise so much that this would lead to future river cruises.

One can only imagine my despair when Viking first sent out an email 5 DAYS before we were scheduled to fly to Paris, telling us that we might not be able to sail, and then sent a second email less than 24 HOURS before our flight, that we would definitely not be sailing! After receiving both emails, I called Viking to plead with them to reschedule our cruise, and was told “No”. So, instead of a relaxing 7-day cruise from Luxembourg to Basel, Switzerland, we sat on buses for several hours each day, and were rushed through very short visits to the cities we were supposed to have a full day to explore! I returned home with severe sciatic nerve pain from spending so much time sitting on a bus!

It should be noted that the staff on board our ship, the Hild, did their very best to make our experience the best they could, given the difficult circumstances. It was not their fault that the Rhine River was too low to sail. Viking has offered us a voucher to be used on a future cruise that we have to book within the next year. Upon our return, we called Viking to express our disappointment with this resolution. They refused to speak directly with us, instead insisting that they would only discuss this with our travel agent. Really?! Then, our travel agent was apparently told that Viking would not be changing anything with respect to their offer. We feel as though we are being held hostage by Viking to give them more money, in order to recover a fraction of what we spent on this expensive vacation! Suffice it to say, Gary will not be agreeing to go on any future river cruises, especially not with Viking. Say, Gary will not be signing up for any future river cruises.

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Viking River Cruises response

We are sorry to hear that your cruise fell below expectation, Loreen, and regret to learn of your disappointment. Unfortunately, in order to protect our contract with Travel Agents, we are unable to discuss the monetary details of your cruise directly with you; however, we are open to negotiating compensation for your disappointments. Should you wish to be contacted by a member of our Customer Relations team, please contact us at TellUs@VRC.com with your booking information. Have a great day.

7 people found this review helpful
Rated with 2 starsResolution In Progress
profile pic of the author
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Nov. 25, 2018

Words cannot express how disappointed and cheated we felt on our recent Viking River Cruise on the Danube which ended November 22, 2018. It was very obvious that Viking River Cruises was well aware of low water levels on the Danube. We know that Viking knew of the situation of the low water on the Danube for months because of the feedback they were receiving from passengers who had taken the Danube cruise throughout the summer and fall, 2018. Viking should have informed everyone of this situation so passengers could have rescheduled or canceled. It should be noted that we were indeed notified beforehand (but only by a few days—and only by our travel agent, not Viking) of the possibility of changes to the river cruise itinerary. The information we were provided said that we would likely have to transfer to a motor coach for some of the tour.

However, as passengers were gathered each night to meet with the cruise director, she informed us that changes to the cruise travel schedule would likely keep being revised --which they were. Little did we know our Viking river cruise would turn into a miserable bus tour of the Autobahn, not the leisurely sightseeing cruise we paid for. We were cheated out of a day visit to Krems, Austria because of being hauled there by bus only to arrive there at dusk. We were also cheated out of most of the day in Budapest.

Again, because we had to be hauled for nearly a four hour bus ride from Vienna to Budapest. Because of the all the bus travel we had to pack, unpack, and pack again to travel to our destinations. We had planned to travel by a leisurely boat cruise with Viking. Viking: if you are seeing this, we request a refund (not a travel voucher on a future Viking river cruise) of the two days we missed touring --these being Krems and Budapest. I will be looking forward to a response.

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Viking River Cruises response

We appreciate you reaching out and offering us the opportunity to further address your concerns, William. To connect with an agent from our Customer Relations Department, we welcome you to contact us directly at TellUs@vrc.com with your booking details. While we’re sorry to hear that our voyage together did not meet your expectations, we look forward to continuing this conversation. Have a wonderful day, William.

8 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 starResolution In Progress
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Nov. 25, 2018

Recently returned from Viking Cruise. It had been planned for 10 months. It was absolutely the worst vacation I have ever had. We were not aware of any low river problems until one week prior to departing when I received an email stating that we might have to switch ships midweek. Two days prior to leaving another email was received stating that we might have to switch ships another time. Seems Viking has had the same problem since early summer and knew exactly how many times we would be moving. They just chose deception rather than honesty. We spent more time on buses than touring and we certainly didn't do any cruising through any scenic valleys & didn't get to sail into Budapest. Most of the time we were docked in industrial areas with views of shipping containers or in the middle of nowhere.

The bus rides were long and tedious and the second one had an added insult. We were told to make sure that we each had 50cents Euro to use the public bathrooms. Come on Viking you can't spring for toilet money for your passengers? We had purchased the silver beverage package and were not able to use it when not on a ship and by the last ship or shall I say floating houseboat, the premium liquor that we paid for was non-existent. I expected more gourmet dinners than we had and by the last boat we were being served stale bread and cheap wine.

This was one of the more expensive trips that I have taken but it was absolutely the worst experience ever. Viking did offer a 25% voucher towards a future cruise but when I inquired about a refund of the beverage package I was rudely told by customer service that it is not their fault that I chose not to use it several days when not on the ship and that it was out of their control as far as what the ship would have stocked. This whole company needs to take a good look at their practices. The 25% voucher is a joke , they not only will never get my business again but I will make sure that all my friends and colleagues hear all about the wonderful Viking cruise the world in luxury lie.

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Viking River Cruises response

While we appreciate the opportunity presented here to welcome you home, Gina, we’re sorry to learn of your disappointment with our recent voyage together. To discuss your experience in further detail with an agent from our Customer Relations Department, we welcome you to contact us directly at TellUs@vrc.com. We look forward to speaking with you through that outlet, and wish you a lovely day, Gina.

14 people found this review helpful
Rated with 2 starsResolution In Progress
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Nov. 25, 2018

We just returned from a Viking River Cruise in Europe (Romantic Danube). Good things first, The itinerary is fabulous. The natural and historic beauty is superb. The service staff on board the vessels is as experienced and pleasant as can be. They try to do the best that they can and they are well aware of the unhappiness of the people with the situation.

Now the ugly. There is no water in the Danube. To finish the itinerary we had to change ships 3 times. Although they do their best to make that easy, it still requires packing and unpacking several times in a constrained, very small room. Some ports are just not accessible. We did not get to experience the beautiful scenic cruise of Budapest. I understand that this is a natural event. The problem is that this has been going on for a long time. They never bring it up when you are making the reservations. They let you know (softly) a few weeks before the schedule departure. At least in my case, that is too late to change your schedule, plans, or even book something different.

As compensation you are offered a 25% voucher on future travel. In other words, you have to spend an additional 10 K within a year to get a $1500 discount. I personally would not like to be back on this cruise, and I recommend all my friends who travel to avoid it. I think that Viking could be more transparent upon booking. The 2 stars I gave are to recognize the excellent effort and service by the staff on board. I wish I could do different reviews for the staff and the company. Next time I want to go up the Danube, I'll drive or book a bus from the start.

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Viking River Cruises response

Welcome home, Fernando. While we’re thrilled to hear that the itinerary and your interactions with the staff were points of enjoyment for you, we regret to learn of your disappointment with other aspects of the voyage. To connect with an agent from our Customer Relations Department and continue this conversation, we welcome you to contact us at TellUs@vrc.com. We look forward to speaking with you further, Fernando, and thank you for reaching out.

9 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 starResolution In Progress
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Nov. 24, 2018

Due to the inability of Viking to provide the complete experience of this cruise, they offered a voucher for 25% of the cruise fee for future use. I wrote and told them a voucher does me no good since I am elderly and partially handicapped, and that I was also doubtful of being able to provide an additional $10,000+ to book a future cruise. Their unwillingness to accept my proposal of a cash refund is non-existent. Their best offer was the vouchers plus $500. I asked to speak with a management person who supposedly called and offered the same. He obviously was not a management person since his authority was the same as the clerk I previously spoke to. I have written to the chairman 3 times and have not had an acknowledgement of my issue. All I ask is an equitable cash settlement.

Viking River Cruises response

Hello, Robert. We appreciate you reaching out through this outlet, as well as the opportunity presented here to further address your concerns. While we regret to learn that you continue to remain disappointed after our continued correspondence, should you be interested, we welcome you to contact us at TellUs@vrc.com to connect with an agent. We look forward to speaking through that outlet, Robert, and wish you well.

9 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 starResolution In Progress
Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
Original review: Nov. 24, 2018

We just returned from a Viking River Cruise. Words cannot express how disappointed we were in Viking and our cruise from Zurich and the Swiss Alps to Paris. This was our first experience with Viking and probably our last. Prior to our departure we received, in our opinion, a very dishonest and misleading email from Viking. In the email dated November 2, 2018 (one week before we were to leave for the cruise) you stated, "While we strive to give you as much information regarding how your cruise may be impacted ahead of time, river conditions today may be very different than on the day you pass through the affected area. This means we cannot confirm exact details until closer to departure, or even possibly after."

This statement was very misleading in that it led us to believe that there was a chance that the river would be high enough to proceed with our itinerary as planned. However, even the captain on the Vidar stated that the river had been low since August so we believe that Viking knew ahead of our cruise that there was no possibility that the levels would be where they needed to be for this particular river cruise. We also found out during our "cruise" that Viking had been moving people from ship to ship for several months, but we were never informed of this and were never offered any opportunity to adjust our travel to a later date where we could receive what we had paid for; a river cruise, not a bus tour of the area.

Prior to our trip we wanted to put our cruise on hold and cruise at another time when the river conditions would be optimal for our cruise. We contacted our trip insurance carrier (Allianz through AAA) and confirmed that we would not be able to get a refund on this trip so if we didn't proceed to take the cruise we would be out thousands of dollars, and this was not something we are in a position to do.

Once we arrived for our cruise we were greeted by the Viking program director, Erna, who seemed very unwilling to share any information with us. The first day of our trip was supposed to include a boat tour of Lake Zurich. It simply was not mentioned and not included. We found out later from some other passengers that they had complained and were told that a provided tram ticket would get them on a boat as well, but this information was not conveyed to us. We did not get what was advertised and promised as an inclusion to our first day of the trip! There was no weather-related reason for this to not take place; the weather was beautiful. It just started out the trip with a bait-and-switch which continued throughout the tour.

We found this lack of communication to continue throughout the first half of our trip. The program director simply told us to take what we get and be happy, because Viking is doing the best that they can. We were not given the tour of Basel that was to begin the "cruise" portion of the trip. We had signed up for an optional tour to the Swiss Alps. We were not informed of the lengthy bus ride that was coming following this tour. Since the boat was not at Basel (it left while we were on the Alps tour), we had to go further upstream to meet the boat. We were not given time in the Alps to see anything. We assume this lack of time on the optional tour was shortened to accommodate the long bus ride required to meet the boat at an upstream location.

The next three nights were spent on the Vidar as a floating hotel and required long bus rides to the included walking tours of cities we were to be docked at. The tour to Speyer (where we should have walked off the boat) required a one and one-half hour bus ride to and another one and one-half hour bus ride back to the boat. This was to take a one and one-half hour walking tour. Rather than accepting questions, the Viking program director, Erna, was very rude and we often saw her berating crew, tour guides, and guests. Instead of "cruising" the Rhine river, we were stuck in uncomfortable buses for long stretches of time that eliminated any possibility to do sightseeing in any of the locations visited.

During an evening briefing from our program director one of the passengers asked about the scenic river cruise (an included tour highlight) that was to take place on the following day. Erna's (program director) response was that she had already spoken to this passenger privately about this. She asked why the question was brought up again. The passenger's response was that she wanted everyone to hear the reply. We did get the scenic river cruise the next day. There was never any weather issue and, in fact, we were told that they do this even in the pouring rain. Had the question not been raised in front of everyone, we believe this would have been eliminated just as the boat tour of Lake Zurich was!

Communication should not have to be initiated by passengers for items that are listed as included in the package that we paid good money to receive. We have never had to ask for items that are included with any other cruise or tour anywhere. This terrible customer service is not acceptable and resulted in the first half of our "cruise" being a total disappointment. We did not sign up for a bus tour!

While the food served on board was acceptable, the service was lacking due to a limited staff to handle the number of passengers. No snacks available throughout the day and a very limited list of beverage options also contributed to our disappointment. We purchased the "Silver Spirits" beverage package which we believed offered options, but it simply was inadequate. There were no snacks or beverages available during the many hours spent on buses and our beverage package was of no use during the many hours spent on buses which eliminated our river cruising time during which we could have taken advantage of beverage service. During one point the ship even ran out of Vodka. The beer and wine selections were very limited. Again, the advertising of this beverage package was misleading and it simply was not delivered.

Since the river cruise was not delivered until halfway through our trip, we would request a 50% refund of the tour price. A "voucher" for 25% off a future trip is not adequate. To create any goodwill with passengers, refunding the money for the trip that did not get delivered is the only option that will satisfy us. It would have been much better to tell us what the situation was ahead of the trip and give us the option of delaying our pre-paid cruise to a later date. Since we heard repeatedly how Viking is doing great as a company and is adding more and more ships, it seems to be a small concession to refund money to make a customer happy.

We do understand that Viking has no control over the water levels on any river. Viking does, however, have total control over how information is shared and how they choose to deal with the problems that arise due to water levels. We should not have to be writing a letter like this. We should not be returning from a trip that we felt was going to be a cruise of a lifetime and feel anything other than pure joy. Sadly, we are feeling disappointment and a feeling of being misled by Viking Cruise Line. Instead of being sad that the cruise was ending we were feeling excited to finally be going home! We have many friends and family members excited to discuss our trip with us; however, we are not looking forward to sharing our vacation experience regarding our Viking cruise with them. We don't believe this is what Viking intends for their passengers and hope they will do the right thing in refunding a portion of our cruise.

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Viking River Cruises response

Thank you for taking a moment to voice your concerns, Glen. Your disappointment is understandable, as your cruise was affected by the low water conditions of the river. Kindly, contact us at TellUs@VikingCruises.com with your booking information, so we can connect you to a member of our Customer Relations Department, so we can discuss your comments and explore our areas of improvement. Have a great weekend.

7 people found this review helpful
Rated with 5 stars
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Nov. 22, 2018

With the water levels in the Danube a very real issue at the time of our cruise, we set off on our cruise on the Hermod. Service on the cruise was so wonderful and we were so spoiled. Having a suite was a wonderful choice and I highly recommend them as the cabins are pretty small. Day by day we moved ever closer to Budapest without problem with the river. The weather got warmer and warmer as we went, so unusual at this time of the year. We crept into Budapest with our wonderful captain at the helm, we had only 30 cm of water under us!! Budapest, an extremely beautiful city, was lit up at midnight to greet our boat as we arrived at the end of our journey. Budapest had not seen an arrival in 2 weeks!! (We later heard it had been 6 weeks, but I was not able to verify this). We were soooo fortunate to get through on the beautiful Danube. Sure missed Sasha (room steward) and Valeri and Chocho (from the dining room).

10 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Nov. 20, 2018

My wife and I booked a once-in-a-lifetime vacation with friends on Viking’s Paris-Switzerland River Cruise. We chose Viking after some research - we were impressed with the company’s advertised reputation, and willing to pay top dollar for our special cruise with a high-quality, experienced company. On Friday, October 12 we received the following message from Viking: "This message is to advise you regarding low water levels on the Rhine River that may impact your itinerary... If water levels remain low, we may need to dock in alternate locations where our regular docking locations are adversely affected by the conditions or incorporate hotel stays to ensure you are able to see the sights you came to see."

On October 16, merely 42 hours before our departure, we received this message from Viking: "Unfortunately, conditions have further deteriorated since our last communication. At this time, we expect that Viking Hild will not be able to sail and will instead need to remain docked in Speyer for the duration of your journey... all included shore excursions are expected to operate by motorcoach from Speyer and we will do everything we can to make you comfortable along the way." But the implied suddenness of this situation was simply not true. Conditions did not deteriorate over those 4 days. As we discovered, this was a known problem in Europe and low water levels had been affecting Viking cruises for months (see BBB complaints). We can only conclude that these email communications from Viking were meant to leave us with no time to seek viable options before we had to depart for our trip.

As soon as we learned that the ship would be unable to sail as planned, we immediately attempted to cancel or reschedule our reservation. We called Viking to work out an acceptable rescheduling of our booking and even identified a similarly-priced Viking cruise leaving on the following day which had a number of open cabins, as an acceptable substitution -- but we received a rigid “no” to all of our requests, with Viking stating “We never do that”. However, we learned when we arrived at the cruise and spoke with others, that fully 22 bookings -- nearly 15% of the total cruise bookings -- had been allowed to cancel their reservations before departure and had received a 100% cash refund. But this was what we were told Viking “never does”! So, what we were told to this point already was not accurate.

During the communication we had with Viking representatives prior to departure, we were promised that every effort would be made to make our revised trip truly spectacular, and that Viking would provide comfortable European cruising buses to travel from point to point on the itinerary. Viking assured us these buses are well-known for their comfort and exceptional travel experience. Viking explicitly requested we “travel in good faith” and “give them a chance to provide us exceptional service”. With these explicit promises, and knowledge of the travel expertise Viking has, we departed with the expectation that, although the Rhine was low, Viking’s efforts coupled with their expertise would enable them to provide us a thoughtful and interesting travel experience for our long-anticipated vacation. So we departed in high spirits and open to having a wonderful vacation experience.

Viking’s advertising informs us, "Nothing compares to a River Cruise. River cruising is a relaxing, immersive and thoroughly enjoyable form of travel where you can enjoy ever-changing scenery along the banks of waterways such as the Danube, Rhine, Seine, Douro, Volga, and Yangtze. Unpack just once on an award-winning, state-of-the-art 190-guest Longship and journey into the very heart of iconic cities and charming towns."

Of course, we saw no “ever-changing scenery along the Moselle and Rhine Rivers” as our ship never moved an inch. Instead of “relaxing and immersing” we were made to spend ~7 hours per day crammed on an unexceptional bus - not a touring bus - so any and all comforts of their cruise were not available. We instead spent miserable hours driving back and forth to itinerary cities, not spending that time traveling between cities in comfort aboard our ship.

Most puzzling was that Viking’s promise to do “everything we can to make you comfortable along the way,” was fulfilled in any way: no snacks (after a meager snack parcel on the first day), no wifi, no lectures, no on-board historian or tour-guide, no amenities such as pillows or drinks, no additionally planned activities, no other offered comforts – nothing except water. They didn’t even try. There was no attempt to even slightly replicate the comfort or experience of the cruise ship on which we expected to travel.

Viking materials further promise: “On board, our informative lectures... and locally inspired menus are designed to enrich.” We had no informative lectures, and no “locally inspired” menus. This could not be due to the low water level of the Rhine. Award-winning Viking Longships deliver you to the center of small towns along the rivers so you can walk right off and immerse yourself in each destination.” At best, our visits included long lines for bathrooms (which needed Euros that many did not have), a rushed local tour, and no time at all left for “immersion” before we were hustled back on the bus. This rushing was simply due to poor planning on Viking’s part and, again, was not due to the low water level of the Rhine.

“We proudly partner with leading global cultural organizations to bring you a curated, enriching onboard experience that enhances your understanding of your destinations... with lectures from our Viking Resident Historians and guest lecturers.” Simply did not happen. Yet again, low water on the Rhine does not explain this omission. In short, our overall Viking experience was rushed, tiring, and miserable. We paid a great deal of money for a quality cruise with a company that claims a reputation which is “highest among all cruise lines”. We ended up with a confusing and depleting “if it’s Wednesday this must be Cochem” college-student-style bus tour. We did not get anything close to the vacation promised by Viking literature and for which we had paid. We arrived home exhausted, disappointed and angry. In short, we didn’t have a Viking River Cruise, or even any sort of relaxing vacation experience.

We know no one, and certainly not Viking, can control either weather or river levels. We accept that. But the fact is Viking’s solution to this anticipated natural situation was not thoughtful, creative, nor equal to the high-end experience promised. Instead, they chose to throw their customers under the bus so to speak, and they made no effort to improve the situation and provide us, their customer, a pleasant vacation experience. We are not interested in a partial voucher for a future cruise that expires within 1 year. We can not take another cruise within a year so that is worthless to us. We note that such a voucher is clearly good business for Viking as it forces us to ante up more cash for another cruise. We feel this “solution” serves Viking far more than its customers.

We sent a letter to Viking the day we returned which detailed our problems and requested a refund. Viking did not even respond to our letter, and so we called customer service. Their customer service representative responded, “According to our contract, we don’t have to do anything. So the voucher is our favor to you.” He also informed us that an Executive Board, whose names he refused to disclose, had reviewed the conditions of our specific cruise and decided not to offer any refunds to any passenger - which we already knew was not true as a number of cash refunds were given, as we stated above. We realized it is impossible to negotiate with a company representative who is not in possession of all the facts nor empowered to provide a real solution.

Notwithstanding the customer service rep’s response, we believe Viking did not deliver on their “contract” to provide a remarkable vacation. Bottom-line, Viking required payment in full for this cruise a full seven months in advance, then with our money securely in their hands, provided us with an unacceptable vacation experience. We request a full settlement, not a partial, non-transferable voucher with a one-year expiration date.

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21 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 starResolution In Progress
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Nov. 16, 2018

First, we were told that on the longer bus trips we would have a toilet on the bus for emergencies. Many of us are older people and it is important to drink water through the day. Some of the buses had toilets on, but we were told by the guides or bus drivers that they didn't and/or that they couldn't be used. One example is 4 people actually had an emergency and got off the bus on the opposite side of Rome from our meeting place at the Vatican, and had to find their own way to the Vatican. The bus HAD a toilet, but the guide told them it didn't. I was sitting right in front of it and tried to tell them, but the guide chose to not hear me. This was deplorable and a hardship for the people. Another passenger told me that their bus broke down and they had to wait for almost 2 hours. In this time, they were not permitted to use the toilet that was on the bus.

Again, deplorable. We need to have buses with usable toilets for emergencies, anything other than this is a horrible offense to us all. Many of us were talking about this lack throughout the cruise. Second, I needed to have the Venice port people order me a taxi in Venice upon disembarkation. I ended up begging the ship excursion people to please do this for me, as I have health issues. It was very difficult to have to beg for something that turned out to be so simple and worked beautifully on the day, due to the kind man at the port, Piero and the taxi driver Georgio. Up until we met Piero, I was still worried, that they had not really ordered me a taxi at all, because they had given me such a hard time about it. Third, We were NOT warned by the captain nor the Venice guide that there was flooding still in St. Mark's Square.

The guide left us before we even got to St Mark's. She lived in the area, and did not warn us that we could be walking on platforms if we went to the Square. None of this was explained, and we would have made different choices if we had the correct information. I am very disappointed with Viking, and after spending quite a lot of money on expensive large rooms on the ocean and river cruises, I do not intend to cruise with them again, and do not recommend them.

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Viking River Cruises response

While we regret to hear of your disappointment, Elizabeth, we appreciate the opportunity to address your concerns. To continue this conversation and discuss your experience with an agent from our Customer Relations Department, we welcome you to reach out to us at TellUs@vrc.com with your booking details. We look forward to hearing from you through that outlet, Elizabeth, and wish you a wonderful day.

10 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 starResolution In Progress
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Verified Reviewer
Original review: Nov. 16, 2018

My Aunt and I booked the Romantic Danube River Cruise and purchased the upgraded balcony room and upgraded trip insurance, as well as a pre and post cruise in Prague and Budapest. When we booked we were not informed that river water levels may be low at that time of year. We were also not offered to be a part of the air booking process, called Air Plus for a $50 fee per person. Viking booked us on three flights with so little time between flights we had to run to make our connections. From where we live, we could have taken two flights and spent 12 fewer hours flying. We arrived too in Prague for our 3 day pre cruise and were very pleased with the hotel and enjoyed our time. However, on the third morning just hours before we were to be taken to meet the ship in Nuremberg, we all received emails saying the ship was stuck in Passau and we would be bused there and our itinerary rearranged.

We were assured that we would not miss any ports and we would only miss sailing the first three days. For our trouble we were offered a 25% discount off a future sailing. We were extremely upset but felt that since we were already in Prague we should continue on. Had Viking informed us previously to leaving the US we would have used our trip insurance to change our dates. In the end, we only sailed on once. We were never docked in a port where we could get off and walk around. We were docked in very ugly industrial ports with other ships docked right next to us. We could not even open our blinds, much less sit on the balcony. We spent many hours every day being bused back and forth. We missed countless hours that could have been spent sightseeing. We spent additional money on lunches.

I understand that Viking cannot control the weather but they can control how they treat their passengers. We had upgraded trip insurance. Had they notified us before the trip we would have rescheduled. They lose nothing by offering a future sailing discount. I waited a few months to write this review because I have been reaching out to Viking customer service hoping to get a better resolution but after several calls and letters they are unwilling to offer anything realistic for our trouble. Very dissatisfied with their customer service.

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Viking River Cruises response

Thank you for reaching out to us, Laura. We regret to hear of your continued disappointment, and welcome you to contact us with your booking information at TellUs@VikingCruises.com, where we can look further into this matter and connect you with an agent from our Customer Relations Department. Have a wonderful day, Laura, and we look forward to hearing from you through that outlet.

12 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 starResolution In Progress
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Nov. 16, 2018

My sister and I booked this trip for her birthday. Traveling from Budapest to Nuremberg with a Prague extension sounded so exciting. Well...we’re currently on the Nuremberg Through History tour from another...bus (Don’t be fooled by the word coach... It’s a BUS). On the flight from LA to Toronto, we were not seated together even though we paid extra money to be able to. Called customer service from the plane, “Sorry, there are no guarantees of seating”. OK.

We received an email five days before saying we had to be in a hotel the first night in the city. Then a day a before we left saying we’d be on a ship. Just as a hotel. Because we’d have to bus to the next location. Hmmm. Ok. So, luggage out at 7 am and on a bus with a tour guide. From Budapest to Vienna. Hours and hours and hours. We were taken to a restaurant on a boat- not our boat- and it was disgusting.

On our way to Vienna, our guide told approximately 30 sexist and misogynistic jokes. Really awful. We get to Vienna and are told we'll spend that night and one more on this boat and we’ll switch boats again. In Krems, and my sister’s birthday, we were excited to do the bike tour. Oops- they didn’t have a bike to fit my sister- she’s 5’1 and petite. Nothing. She was pointed back to the direction of the ship.

By the time we got back, all other tours were gone. The guest relations rep pointed us in the direction of the “town” with no idea of what to do- hint- there wasn’t anything. We got an apology, a bottle of wine (I don’t drink) and a refund. Great. We spent the day on a docked ship. We’ve yet to sail. The next morning, luggage out at 7 am again, we set off for Salzburg. Well, it’s a 9.5 hour excursion. 4.5 hours of that are in a bus and 45 minutes at a rest stop. Unbelievable. When we arrived we had to be shown through the muddy woods to our boat by crew members and their flashlights.

Regensburg was cute. German food night was good. This is on our third and final boat. We were asked to give high marks on the survey. So no. Today, our last day on the “boat”— is another day on a bus. Nowhere does it describe this as a bus tour. Tomorrow is another looong bus ride to Prague. Viking needs to let us know there’s a possibility your river cruise will be a bus tour and you’ll sleep in the boat.

The only food always available is cookies. Cookies. That’s great the first night and terrible for the next six. Food is available at set times only, like how you feed your dog. We were told it would always be available. So far, we’ve just been misled at best and outright lied to at worst. 25% off the next cruise??? What next cruise? Take a bus, it would be cheaper.

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Viking River Cruises response

We regret to hear of your disappointment, Paula, and are interested in learning more about your experience. Upon your return home, we invite you to contact us at TellUs@VikingCruises.com with your booking information, so we can arrange for a member of our Customer Relations team to call you and discuss your comments in detail. Your feedback is valuable to us, Paula, and we look forward to continuing this conversation.

13 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 starResolution In Progress
profile pic of the author
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Nov. 15, 2018

My husband and I were passengers on the “Romantic Danube” river cruise from Nuremberg to Budapest this past October 12 through October 19, 2018. This was a long anticipated trip of a lifetime, a splurge and our first ever river cruise. We planned and reserved this trip almost a year and a half in advance and paid for it in full 9 months before our departure. We selected upgraded veranda staterooms in anticipation of enjoying our cruise experience to the fullest.

Well, our cruise ended up being a disappointment - more like a bus tour, using the boats as hotels. Five days prior to our embarkation, we received an “itinerary notification” about the low water levels. We were notified that there “may” be a “ship swap” and other alternate itinerary adjustments “may” be necessary. We later discovered that Viking must have known that these were not “maybes” but in fact an ongoing situation that had been affecting Danube river itineraries for perhaps a month or more. At this late notification, we were already traveling in Europe and did not have many other options, so we hoped for the best that these would be “maybe” situations and that Viking would strive to make the experience as positive as possible and compensate us appropriately if need be.

Another email had arrived 3 days prior to our trip offering a 25% of our paid fare voucher on a future cruise. We were told that we would be embarking on a sister ship, the Tor instead of the Var in Nuremberg. Again, the possibility, not certainty, of “ship swaps” was mentioned. Also, we were notified that if this were to happen, our last night in Budapest would be at a hotel (which did not turn out to be the case). Our cruise started on a positive note. We were welcomed on a clean, modern, stylishly decorated ship by a friendly and gracious crew. The beginning of our cruise was pleasant and held promise.

After that, things started to go downhill, including... The inconvenience of unpacking and packing twice extra due to being on a total of 3 ships, long and uncomfortable bus rides, missing some of the most beautiful scenery that we hoped to view from our veranda, not being able to fully relax and enjoy our paid beverage packages because of the excess time spent traveling by buses, and more.

Here is a summary of some of the issues we experienced: On our 4th day we were supposed to be in Passau, but to the water levels, we were docked in an unattractive area, Straubing. We had to take a lengthy bus ride, about 11/2 hours each way, to get to Passau. Because of this distance, instead of lunch on the boat, we had a marginal fixed menu lunch at a local restaurant.

We were notified that we would have to pack our suitcases for our first boat swap. The following morning, we had to awaken early, so that we could take the bus on a 3 1/2 hour ride to Krems. Our bus left 1 1/2 hours later than scheduled, during which time we were sitting on the bus waiting. We missed the beautiful scenery of the Danube Wachau valley, which we should have been viewing from our veranda. Lunch was not served until 2pm at a restaurant in Melk. The wait staff was rude and surly, and the fixed menu food was again marginal. Our 2nd boat was able to make it to the outskirts of Vienna. Other than the included tour, there were no complimentary shuttles offered to/from the city center.

Once again, we had to pack our suitcases for another swap to a 3rd ship. We went from Vienna to Budapest on another long and uncomfortable bus ride. Again, we missed some of the most beautiful highlights of the Danube - the Danube bend, Esztergom, Visegrad. Our 3rd ship in Budapest was a dismal disappointment. This was our last cruise night. The ship was noticeably older than the others. Furniture in the common areas and lounge was shabby, torn in areas, outdated and worn. The staff on the 3rd ship, with only a few exceptions, was surly and acted bored and disinterested in the guests. A bartender rudely sent us to sit down after taking our bar order. There was no last night entertainment - no pianist or anything special as a farewell to the cruise guests. In fact, lights were turned off, as if hinting to the guests to leave the lounge.

A hotel in Budapest, as mentioned in one of the emails, would have been a huge improvement. We had purchased the “Silver Spirits Beverage Package” which we were not fully able to take advantage of due to all the hours spent off the boat, riding on buses with cramped seats and limited leg space. We could have stayed in the least expensive staterooms. We paid significantly more for our veranda stateroom, hoping that we could enjoy the beautiful scenery in comfort during our cruising. This was not possible, because instead we were transported on cramped buses with limited views.

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Viking River Cruises response

Thank you for taking the time to write this detailed review, Annemarie. While we share in your disappointment at the river conditions encountered, our records indicate we've been in recent contact with you to address your experience. We appreciate the opportunity to work toward a resolution, and hope to restore your faith in traveling with us. Best wishes to you and yours during the coming holiday season.

18 people found this review helpful
Customer increased Rating by 2 stars!
Verified Reviewer
Resolution response: Nov. 28, 2018

I was contacted by the company and a compromise offer was made which I accepted. I appreciate Viking making contact and making an offer. The voucher offer was of shorter duration so not quite as generous as the first offer. I have booked a similar cruise and Viking has credited my account with this voucher. Hopefully we will have a much better experience this time.

Original review: Nov. 15, 2018

Based on unsatisfactory experiences on a previous Viking Cruise we were offered credits for future bookings with an expiration date. We accepted the offer and booked the Mediterranean Odyssey departing 11-15-18. We had to cancel due to my wife breaking an elbow. Viking is refusing to extend the credit for a future cruise since the credit expired. I assume the credit was extended to entice me to experience better service on a future cruise which I am willing to do. It was due to no unwillingness of my own that we were unable to accept the offer. Viking gets to keep my discounted approximately $12,000 without providing any service. I’m asking that the credit be extended, reoffered or a new credit be extended since I was unable to realize the benefits of the offer which I understand was Viking's original intent.

Viking River Cruises response

We are sorry to hear of your wife’s broken elbow, William, which unfortunately led to the cancellation of your cruise. Although vouchers are non-transferrable to other bookings, we understand your disappointment. Please contact us at TellUs@VikingCruises.com with your booking information, so we can arrange for a member of our Customer Relations Team to contact you and discuss your comments. Thank you for reaching out to us, William, and for allowing us to assist you. Have a great day.

9 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 starResolution In Progress
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Nov. 14, 2018

On our recent river cruise from Budapest to Bucharest on the Viking Aegir, it appears that customer safety and accident prevention is a very low priority with Viking. They also seem very reluctant to provide any details of their policy for accident/incident reporting. During a “Port Talk” presentation there was insufficient seating to accommodate all guests so folding chairs were provided as extra seating. Approximately 5 minutes into the presentation the folding chair my wife was sitting on collapsed (plastic hinge broke) leaving her on the floor, shaken, embarrassed and somewhat distressed.

Within another 5 minutes a second folding chair collapsed under another lady, very fortunately neither were seriously hurt. Despite there obviously being some issue with the chairs nothing was done to prevent the possibility of other people being seriously injured if further chairs collapsed and the presentation continued with the folding chairs still in use. We were very disappointed that there was no follow up by any of the crew later that night or the following day to make sure there were no delayed injuries after the shock had worn off.

On the following night the same folding chairs were once again used for the “Port Talk”, after the presentation we approached the Hotel Manager, and asked if he was aware that chairs had collapsed the previous night and what had been done to prevent it happening again. Unbelievably his response was that there is no issue with the chairs and at no time indicate there would be any investigation or follow up on the safety of these folding chairs. When pushed he agreed to send an accident form to our cabin for us to fill in (which we did), but indicated there were no incident/accident reports that the crew fill out. If this is the case how are any issues or potential issues resolved to ensure the safety of both guest and crew?

Once home I contacted Viking asking what their policy is on accident/incident reporting and what if any steps have been taken to ensure there will be no further chair collapses. Their reply was that the chairs which collapsed were removed from service and disposed. Since then all the others were checked again and new ones are already ordered for next year. This sounds fine however when I replied that I would still like to see their accident/incident policy and what was found to be the cause of the chairs collapsing and whether other ships have been audited, I have had no replies despite numerous requests over the last 2 months.

Their accident/incident policy, the cause of chair collapse and whether chairs on other ships were audited should all be information readily available to Viking, if you don’t know the cause of the chairs collapsing how do you check there was no issue with the others? This lack of response makes me wonder if they have something to hide, personally I wouldn’t risk another trip with Viking.

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Viking River Cruises response

We are sorry to hear of you wife’s fall, Peter, and are interested in learning the details of this incident. In order to address your concerns directly, please contact us at CustomerRelationsAU@VikingCruises.com with your booking information, so we may arrange for a phone call with a Representative. We hope to hear from you and wish you a lovely day.

10 people found this review helpful
Rated with 2 starsResolution In Progress
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Nov. 13, 2018

Our romantic Danube trip was a serious disappointment from the very start of our cruise (bus trips). We arrived in Nuremberg, Germany to start our cruise and were to have boarded our ship upon arrival. We were informed due to low water levels that our ship was located several hours away by bus in Passau, Germany. We should have been able to dine on our ship when we arrived in Nuremberg. Instead we were taken to a second class hotel and offered what was a very disapponting lunch. We waited over four hours at which time we boarded a bus for a three hour trip to our ship in Passau. A city we only should have reached on day three. This was following an almost 23 hour trip from Los Angeles to Germany with Viking Air.

We waited in Nuremberg for well over 4 hours without access to our luggage before we were bused 3 hours to Passau, Germany. Only to find out our ship was docked outside of Passau in an industrial area. The view was a series of large tanks and garbage bins. We spent the three days in this location. We were then informed we would be bused 3 hours back to Nuremberg the following day. And of course bused back to our ship another 3 hours still in the industrial dock location in Passau. Day three we were again bused back to Regensburg and back to Passau. I don't recall any option to visit Kelheim which was on our itinerary. Our ships crew was great as always, this was our 4th Viking cruise.

When we arrived home we received an email that we would receive a 25% credit off our Romantic Danube cruise which needed to be applied to a future cruise to be taken by September 2019. Since we already had another Viking cruise booked and fully paid for which was Lyon & Provence in June 2019 we inquired if Viking would apply the 25% credit to that cruise in the form of a refund. Viking agreed and we were told it would take six weeks and the fully 25% ($1,924.50) would be credited back to our original form of payment.

Several weeks later I called Viking and asked if we could change our Lyon river cruise to a much more expensive Viking ocean cruise Into The Midnight Sun up the coast of Norway. No problem. Our entire amount paid for the Lyon Cruise would be applied to our Norway cruise. And we would receive our refund in a few weeks.

Weeks passed and no refund as promised. I called Viking and they informed me they took away our refund because we changed cruises. No one ever informed us they would take away our Romantic Danube 25% cruise credit. I've called Viking and written a similar document of events as requested and still no response. Hopefully they will address this by following thru on the previously agreed refund. At present they are telling me I lost the credit. I can't believe they would treat a client that is now scheduled to take their fifth cruise with them this way. Help!

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Viking River Cruises response

We appreciate you reaching out, Ron, and are interested in learning the details of your Viking voyage. Although the modifications to your cruise were made to preserve your itinerary as much as possible, we understand your disappointment. Kindly, contact us at TellUs@VikingCruises.com with your booking information so we can connect you to a member of our Customer Relations team to discuss your overall experience. We hope to hear from you and wish you a lovely day.

14 people found this review helpful
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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.

Profile picture of Michelle Baran
Michelle Baran River Cruises Contributing Editor

Michelle Baran is a senior editor at Travel Weekly, where she has been reporting on the travel and river cruise industries since 2007. Baran has also written about river cruising for Travel + Leisure, Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia and Budget Travel, and co-authored Frommer’s "EasyGuide to River Cruising.” She received her Masters in Journalism from Northwestern University.

Viking River Cruises Company Information

Company Name:
Viking Cruises
Year Founded:
1997
Formerly Named:
Viking River Cruises
Address:
5700 Canoga Avenue
City:
Woodland Hills
State/Province:
CA
Postal Code:
91367
Country:
United States
Phone:
(877) 668-4546
Website:
www.vikingcruises.com
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