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Viking River Cruises
Viking River Cruises
Overall Satisfaction Rating
1.79/5
  • 5 stars
    26
  • 4 stars
    11
  • 3 stars
    12
  • 2 stars
    33
  • 1 stars
    146
Based on 228 ratings submitted in the last year
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Viking River Cruises

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HISTORY

In 1997, Viking was founded in Russia. Through rapid expansion, the company has grown to be a leader in both river and small ship ocean cruising, with US headquarters in Los Angeles, California, and operational headquarters in Basel, Switzerland. Today, Viking operates more than 70 state-of-the-art river ships and an award-winning ocean fleet, providing destination-focused, culturally enriching itineraries designed for travelers with an interest in geography, culture and history.

RIVER CRUISES

On Europe’s rivers, the award-winning Viking Longships offer a variety of staterooms, including true (two-room) suites, along with a restaurant, a bar and lounge, a library, an expansive sun deck and al fresco dining on the Aquavit Terrace.

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

OCEAN CRUISES

In 2015, Viking introduced its first 930-guest ocean ship. Over the next three years, the fleet grew to five sister ships. The sixth, Viking Jupiter, joins them in 2019 with four more yet-to-be-named ships scheduled to launch by 2023. Each boasts a private veranda in every stateroom, a choice of restaurants, the most al fresco dining at sea, an infinity pool, a Nordic-inspired spa, thoughtfully curated book collections throughout the ship and more.

Designed to maximize the amount of time travelers spend in their destination, ocean itineraries include base and combination cruises sailing to Scandinavia and Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand, Asia, Alaska, the Americas and Africa.

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Viking River Cruises
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275 Viking River Cruises Consumer Reviews and Complaints

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Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 20, 2018

We missed our flight into Amsterdam, arriving later in the afternoon. We emailed to Viking when we would arrive but no one met us. We phoned the contacted given numbers with no success. No answer or the phone or was answered, then hung up. After taking a 125 euro cab to the three locations on the waterfront as stated by Viking, we stopped at a competing ship. The captain was nice and located a contact with Viking which stated the ship was unable to come to Amsterdam. The next day, we rode the bus for about four hours. Stopped at a rest area, the cost to use the restroom was .75 euro which we did not have. We had to pack and move to another ship. We paid for an excursion to a farmers market; had to walk a mile to the subway and then another mile to the market. We had to pay for a cab to return to the ship.

We stated the problem to the tour director and his remark was we booked on the internet, NOT his problem. We had to bus 1 1/2 hours to Budapest and back. The next morning we had to leave for the airport at 4 AM to ride 1 1/2 hr back to airport. This became a bus tour. We were told that there had been no rain all summer so Viking knew ahead of time that the rivers were very low. It is unfortunate that Viking puts profits ahead of customer service. We should have been informed of the lack of water and given alternative choices. It was our first and last European river cruise. We were expecting much more and were very disappointed.

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Viking River Cruises response

Thank you for contacting us, Dale, and for allowing us to address your comments. We are sorry to hear that your cruise was affected by the low-water conditions of the European rivers. Kindly, contact us at TellUs@VikingCruises.com with your booking information, so we can further look into your concerns. We hope to hear from you and wish you a great day.

21 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 19, 2018

Our Budapest to Passau cruise was exactly 24 hours. We were forced to evacuate the ship due to generator failure which could not be rectified. Our compensation was a 25% refund of the cruise portion of the trip which is irresponsible on the part of Viking. Between my travel agent and myself we have placed over 20 phone calls to different customer service representatives to no avail. Please head caution when dealing with this company.

Viking River Cruises response

We appreciate you reaching out, Donna, and regret to hear that your cruise was interrupted by generator failure on the ship. In order for us to look into your comments further, please contact us at TellUs@VikingCruises.com with your booking information. We hope to hear from you, and wish you a great day.

30 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
profile pic of the author
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 17, 2018

If the cruise lines are like the accounting dept avoid this cruise line. I paid for a trip in advance by 12 months and my wife became ill after 6 months and I canceled. I AM ENTITLED TO A FULL REFUND LESS 200.00 AND THEY AGREE BUT IT IS 6 WEEKS LATER AND THE HAVE NOT REFUNDED ME. Beware. They will lie to you. Their service is awful. They must be having cash flow problems. It is now Dec 17th.

Viking River Cruises response

We apologize for the delay in your refund, Dan, as we are currently working through an unexpected high volume of adjustments. As of today, our records show your refund has been processed, and funds should be available in your account in the next day or two. Should you have any additional comments, we welcome you to reach out to us at Tellus@VikingCruises.com. Thank you for bringing this to our attention, and have a great day.

33 people found this review helpful
Rated with 5 stars
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 16, 2018

My wife and I sailed with Viking on their Romantic Danube river cruise from Nuremberg to Budapest, departing December 2. Although we were warned of low river water levels, 2 days of rain at the beginning of our cruise allowed our boat, the Jarl, to travel all of the way to Budapest on the river. This was our first cruise with Viking and will not be our last. The service, food, guided tours, programs, and overall attention to detail were excellent. We opted to spend two extra nights in Budapest, and Viking put us and others up in the Intercontinental, a wonderful and perfectly situated hotel. Viking had a desk in the hotel that was staffed during the day to take care of us. We cannot speak more highly of this cruise and would give more than 5 stars if possible.

Viking River Cruises response

It was an absolute pleasure cruising with you, Guy, and are excited to know that we will see you again. We are delighted to read your review in appreciation of our wonderful crew, staff and tour guides, along with your culinary experience and time on port. Wishing you both a lovely week, and looking forward to many more travels together!

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

My wife and I took the Rhine getaway cruise the first week of November 2018. This was our 5th cruise with Viking all of which had been exceptional. However, the Rhine trip was not. We flew from London to Basel in Switzerland to board our ship. We expected to have a tour of the city as had happened on previous cruises. Didn't happen. Although our flight from the UK only took 1 hour 20 minutes, we apparently arrived too late for the city tour. Our ship the Vidar was not quite up to the standard of previous ships. The décor looked a little "tired". We found the evening briefs too long and boring. For the first time in our experience, at each briefing, the head chef gave a long talk on the coming evening meal. His talk unnecessary in our opinion.

We found the food disappointing, broken eggs for breakfast, having to ask for ketchup. Apart from one excellent steak on our first night, the remaining evening meals were not of the quality we had previously experienced with Viking. The main disappointment was that 90% of the cruise was at night. We were not made aware of this in our cruise documentation. Why we pick river cruises is that a great part of the enjoyment is up on deck watching the scenery go by. We had to change ships mid cruise due to low water levels in the Rhine, however, we were told this "might" happen. Clearly Viking knew this well in advance as alternative arrangements looked part of the norm.

Our 2nd ship the Lofn was much better, although the evening briefings were also much too long. Thankfully the head chefs brief was "brief" and the food was of a higher quality. However, we still had to ask for items like ketchup etc. It felt like this was the last cruise of the ship this year and rations were being run down. Still more disappointing night cruising. The final straw was that on reaching Amsterdam there was no time to see the city. We arrived very early in the morning and it felt like Viking could not get us all off the ship fast enough. It was straight on the coach to the airport. 45 minute flight to London; we were home for lunch. Not happy Viking, did not get value for our not inconsiderable money.

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Viking River Cruises response

Thank you, Gerald, for your review. We regret that there were aspects of your recent journey that left you feeling disappointed, and we hear your wishes for more advanced communication. Though we make every effort to preserve the original program, we understand that the resulting deviations may fall below some guests’ expectations. Your constructive comments have been noted for review, however should you like to share more we would welcome a discussion.

18 people found this review helpful
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Rated with 5 stars
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 12, 2018

We (A group of 6 women) just returned from the 12/2 sailing of the Christmas Market cruise on the Romantic Danube. I was in cabin 341. We did receive a notice earlier from Viking that the water levels were questionable but we decided to make it an adventure. We had made plans for the trip over a year ago. From the pre-trip to when we first embarked on the ship we were so pleased with the excellent service, the friendly staff and the great food. The whole crew made it a wonderful and fun experience of a lifetime. One that we almost considered canceling because of such negative reviews that we had read. I will never hesitate to travel with Viking both on their river and ocean cruises.

Viking River Cruises response

Thank you for your candid review, Valerie. We are beyond delighted to learn that you and your group had such a wonderful time on board, and that our crew and staff are the culprits of your memorable experience! We are happy to hear that our commitment to providing excellent service translates into an experience of a lifetime for our guests. We hope to see you again in the future!

12 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 11, 2018

We were on the Romantic Danube cruise November 10 - 17 Nuremberg to Budapest. I see all the other reviews telling our experience so I will not go into the same details, what other passengers are saying is true and Viking is a dishonest company. We had three boats and tons of bus travel, not a river cruise at all. We actually had two hours of daylight cruising time. I believe Viking has been and continues to be dishonest about the water level of the Danube. They have known for a very long time that the river was impassable but failed to let us know. Viking should have contacted all passengers well in advance of the cruise date and offered to cancel or change dates.

There was no communication from Viking until 4 days prior of us leaving for our trip. We also experienced cancelled tours and long bus transfers. The ship ran out of bar snacks too on our last night on the Egil boat, proving again they knew we would not complete our trip on one boat. Like many other passengers this was a trip of a lifetime for my parents that were traveling with us. Most likely they will not have the opportunity to experience a trip like this one should have been. It's honestly sad that such a company like Viking would do this to families and take advantage of peoples precious time and hard earned money.

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Viking River Cruises response

Thank you for reaching out, Sheila. We’re disappointed to hear that your cruise suffered itinerary changes due to the effects of uncooperative weather. We would appreciate the opportunity to further review your comments and discuss your experience directly with you, and welcome you to contact us at Tellus@VikingCruises.com. We look forward to hearing from you through that outlet.

20 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Dec. 11, 2018

Due to not having proper visa for Brazil, we weren’t allowed to board the ship. Viking rep. told us prior, after we had our visa expedited that we could go on the cruise just not get off the ship in Brazil. Visa’s came too late so we had to come home. Very poor customer service with one exception but we are out over $16000.00 and the compensation they offered us was insulting.

Viking River Cruises response

Thank you for reaching out, Claire, and allowing us the opportunity to address your comments. We recognize your disappointment, and are equally disappointed that incomplete travel documentation prevented you from taking your long-awaited cruise. We’re hopeful that you will travel with us in the future, and welcome you to contact us should you need assistance or have questions about a future voyage. Have a great day.

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

I am very disappointed with the payment arrangements with Viking. This is our 5th cruise between river and ocean cruising. We have had several couples join us and may still have another couple join us for a Nov 2020 cruise. However we have been told that our trip for the Southern Atlantic 20 day cruise leaving Nov 2020 has to be paid in full by June 30th 2019. This is outrageous since we have been frequent passengers and I think this is not appropriate to treat us like this. Please reconsider payment options. Thank you.

29 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
profile pic of the author
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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Viking River Cruises response

Thank you for reaching out to us, Diane. Although water levels are outside of Viking’s control, we understand your disappointment in not being able to sail throughout your journey. Rest assured, the alternate accommodations and transportation means were arranged in order to preserve your itinerary as much as possible. To discuss your experience in detail, please contact us at TellUs@VikingCruises.com with your booking information. We would like to speak with you directly. Have a great day.

17 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
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.

28 people found this review helpful
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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Viking River Cruises response

Thank you, Adele, for allowing us this opportunity to learn more about your voyage. We are pleased to learn that we were able to come to a more agreeable resolution, however should you wish to share any additional feedback please know we are always available at TellUs@vikingcruises.com. We appreciate this chance to connect with you, and wish you a lovely day.

23 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
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.

16 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
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!

16 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
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.

20 people found this review helpful
Rated with 2 stars
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.

15 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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Viking River Cruises response

While we regret to hear of your disappointment, Jane, our records indicate that we've recently been able to connect with you to discuss your concerns. Should you wish to continue this conversation or require any additional assistance, we welcome you to contact the handling agent from our Customer Relations Department directly. We appreciate you bringing this matter to our attention, Jane, and wish you a wonderful day.

28 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.

11 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
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.

13 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
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.

18 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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Viking River Cruises response

We appreciate your update, Robin, and we sincerely regret that the attempt to address your post-cruise concerns fell below the Viking customer service standard. This unusual instance has been reported to the appropriate internal entities, and we have arranged for a seasoned member of our Customer Relations team to contact you as soon as feasible. We look forward to connecting, and hope to restore your faith in Viking.

8 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
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.

15 people found this review helpful
Rated with 2 stars
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.

10 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
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.

13 people found this review helpful
Rated with 2 stars
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.

9 people found this review helpful
Rated with 2 stars
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.

11 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
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.

18 people found this review helpful
Rated with 2 stars
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.

10 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
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.

13 people found this review helpful
Rated with 1 star
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.

10 people found this review helpful
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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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