[Resolved] Viking River Cruises — grand european tour: amsterdam to budapest
From May 25 - Jun 8, 2018, my wife and I went on a Viking River Cruise: The Grand European Tour on the ship Viking Aegir. It started out in The Netherlands, and traversed through Germany, Austria, and Hungary.
I have deliberately waited about two weeks before summarizing the trip for anyone who might be thinking of taking a similar cruise. Rather than write in prose, I decided to put forth the cons and pros of the trip.
If you do not care to read this listing of cons and pros, let me simply summarize by noting that the Viking River Cruise advertisements and brochures naturally only paint the brightest of pictures; and, in all likelihood, deliberately hide much of the reality.
- I believe the ship was responsible for getting people sick, especially when fresh air was denied to guests during the "lock" downs of the upper deck. We were sick for one-half of the trip, with sore throats, non-stop coughing, and nasal congestion.
- There was no recognition or acknowledgment from the ship's staff, especially the program director who spoke to all the passengers each day, of the rampant viral infection circulating among the guests. Approximately one-half of the boat was sick with this infection. A simple acknowledgment would have gone a long way, as well as a reminder for people to sanitize their hands often.
- There was never any mention before the trip that the ship would be going through 69 different locks (canals) on the rivers. Due to low bridge clearance at these locks, the upper outdoor deck was closed for 5 straight days. This limited the amount of fresh air for the guests and very likely contributed to the viral infection that plagued half of the ship's guests and crew! We were "sardined" in the lounge area instead of enjoying the fresh air of the outdoors. We did notice that other Viking ships had their upper decks available. These were exactly the same ships.
- The Viking commercials show you a beautiful ship docked next to a magnificent castle or church…beautiful sights and scenery. As a result, we booked a "veranda suite" room with an outdoor balcony/veranda. What they failed to mention is that your boat is but only 1 of 4 other Viking boats visiting the same ports at the same time!! We would wake up, open the curtain to our veranda and be, literally, a few inches away from another Viking ship. What a rip-off! These other ships offered the same excursions at the same time as our ship, making it that much more crowded everywhere we went. Again, it is not what was in their advertising.
- There was not enough free time for many of the shore excursions to explore a city on your own. This was especially true in Salzburg. We had about 1.25 hours between the end of the guided tour and lunch….and then only 20 minutes after lunch. It would have been much better if the free time was all clumped together.
- The lunch banquet in Salzburg was extremely rushed and very crowded! There was no salad or appetizer course and no coffee after lunch was served. The waiters were practically running to get the food on and off the tables.See the Top 10 Worst Complaints in Huntington Station, NY
- Before we arrived in Vienna, Austria, we were informed the night before by the ship's program director of the many wonderful Austrian coffee houses that we could visit; however, there was no time available to enjoy a coffee house, due to the precious little time available to explore Vienna on your own.
- When the upper deck was opened, there were no umbrellas put up for shade. We had to use the rain umbrellas provided by the ship. Yet, other Viking ships that we saw had their crew put up umbrellas on the upper deck.
- In the Aquavit Terrace, one of the canopies (the middle one) that would provide shade could not open and was never fixed for the entirety of our 14-day trip.
- The advertisements and brochures claim that you could enjoy dinner on the Aquavit Terrace; however, what they do not tell you is that, there are only 6 tables set for dinner and that you need to secure those tables by 5:30p for a 7:15p dinner serving. In short, it was first-come, first-serve only. We never got the chance to eat dinner on this terrace.
- Not a big deal, but the wi-fi on the ship was much to be desired.
Not a Pro or a Con, but just a fact.
- The average age of the people on our Viking River Cruise (Grand European Tour) was about 75+: We are in our late 50's.
- When we went out to the local pharmacy to buy drugs for our sickness, we met the ship's hotel manager, who was buying drugs for the sick crew-members.
- The cities, sites, and scenery are beautiful and magnificent. We visited many cities that we would not have ever thought to visit on a vacation. It was truly breathtaking.
- The staff provided very good service and were always willing to help.
- The "veranda suite" room that we had was terrific. It had a separate living room/lounge and a balcony/veranda. The latter offered stunning views, when not docked a few inches from another Viking ship, which, unfortunately, was too often.
- Early in the trip, our shower overflowed into the bedroom. The staff was excellent in drying out the rug and made extra certain that all was okay. They even left us a bottle of champagne and chocolates for our troubles. Again, excellent customer service.
- The musical program during the banquet lunch in Salzburg was very entertaining.
- The tour guides for both the included and "extra" excursions were very good. They knew so much of the history of the cities, sites, etc. We learned a lot.
- The breakfast and lunch on board the ship was excellent. The dinner was good, although we expected better. The chef cooked local cuisine, depending on the city we had recently visited. We enjoyed tasting foods from different countries.
- The cleaning staff did a wonderful job cleaning our room and doing the laundry. They were very thorough and did an excellent job.
- The transfers to/from the airport and ship were extremely smooth. The drivers were waiting for you as you located your luggage. Plus, we had a private car to ourselves upon arriving from the U.S. to take us to the ship.
- We met some of the nicest people on board the ship. Everyone was extremely friendly.
Customer care service did everything in their power to resolve this complaint. All attempts to contact the complainant have failed. Therefore, this complaint has been annulled and must not be considered where image of the company in question and it's services are concerned.
Viking River Cruises Customer Care's Response, Jun 27, 2018
Dear Mr. Rojas,
Thank you for providing this thorough review and for recognizing our hardworking crew, informative tour guides, and smooth transfers to and from your ship. Additionally, we're glad to hear you've met treasured friends while traveling with us. While we regret to hear aspects of your cruise did not meet expectation, our records indicate you've been in touch with a Viking Customer Relations agent and a resolution is underway.
Should additional thoughts or suggestions come to mind, we welcome your feedback to [protected]@VikingCruises.com. We appreciate you joining us for a Rhine river cruise, Mr. Rojas, and wish you a lovely day.
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