4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We paid for our cruise with all the expectations of neophyte river cruisers and are crushed that our river cruise of a lifetime ended up being a horrible bus ride through Eastern Europe. Due to mechanical malfunctions on the Viking ... Read More
We paid for our cruise with all the expectations of neophyte river cruisers and are crushed that our river cruise of a lifetime ended up being a horrible bus ride through Eastern Europe. Due to mechanical malfunctions on the Viking Embla our tour was unable to hold to schedule resulting in canceled excursions, creative docking at unknown sites (we even had to break through a factory fence at one point in order to re-board our ship) closed locks, restricted use of the sun deck, after dark "scenic cruising", and days of sailing without stopping for excursions in order to "get back on schedule". We thought the staff was superb, they tried valiently to make us happy and service was impeccable, however after day 10 or 12 I began to think I was suffering from 'Stockholm Syndrome'. Our on board program director explained daily what was going to happen the next day, because of where the ship was in relation to where it should have been this excursion or that excursion was cancelled but we are offering a substitute or we could "stay on board with us..lunch will be at 12:0 in the in dining room...etc. " After several of these substituted excursions many of us stopped going as the excursions involved hours of bus rides each way. We wanted our cruise, not a bus ride. Viking is not making a significant compensation offer to us, in fact their offer shows little respect or understanding of our ruined trip. They seem not to care about customer satisfaction. We want our money back, Viking should have given us a full refund and canceled the cruise rather than take all of us down the river to the bus embarkation points. Viking knew before we boarded that the Embla could not deliver the cruise as promised. The schedule disruption was not due to river depth rather it was the Embla's malfunctioning engine and Viking's money grubbing refusal to cancel the cruise and refund our tickets. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This is was our first river cruise. We are seasoned ocean cruise travelers. This cruise started with a delay in boarding the ship of one day due to maintenance problems on the previous cruise. We only had one day that we went to a port and ... Read More
This is was our first river cruise. We are seasoned ocean cruise travelers. This cruise started with a delay in boarding the ship of one day due to maintenance problems on the previous cruise. We only had one day that we went to a port and got off the ship and toured the venue. That was on day 12 when we visited Cologne Germany. All the other days we spent more time on buses than at the scheduled venue. We had an additional day when the ship was put in dry dock. Thus we were now 2 days behind. In order to make up time scheduled venues were skipped. The crew and staff were excellent, but the cruise was very bad. One of the highlights of the cruise is to cruise the Rhine and see all the mid evil castles. When we got to that point on the cruise it was 8:30 at night and dark! No castles I was notified via “form” letter 4 days after returning off the cruise that Viking was sorry and that they would give us 25% off our next cruise. Who would ever go on another cruise and get this type of cruise. Viking must think I am stupid. To spend $14,000.00 for this and get no compensation is totally wrong. Viking should be ashamed. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Viking River Cruise on “Embla:” Bucharest to Budapest w/ 3-nt Prague Add-On Overall: Terrible experience with Viking aboard their boat Embla due to major maintenance issues known to them before our cruise started. Half speed at ... Read More
Viking River Cruise on “Embla:” Bucharest to Budapest w/ 3-nt Prague Add-On Overall: Terrible experience with Viking aboard their boat Embla due to major maintenance issues known to them before our cruise started. Half speed at best; little to no air-conditioning with room temperatures ranging from the high 70s into the 90s. The dining room felt even hotter with everyone assembled. This was a boat maintenance issue, NOT a river problem. We did not have a river cruise; the boat stayed in Russe, Bulgaria for 3 days. Then we were on buses for the rest of the trip. No choice/options as to what we ate. Viking gave minimal refund and never answered my emails to Customer Relations and several senior management personnel. Specifics: Immediately after boarding we were informed that: • The boat would be going slower than normal because the river level was low and that caused the water to be warmer which had a negative effect on engine cooling. A crew member later told us that the boat had previously hit a submerged object and had to travel slow coming to Bucharest because of propulsion problems. We saw other longboats passing us (on the one day we “cruised” from Russe to Lom); the “warm” water did not affect them! We also saw tugboats pushing loaded barges which rode much lower in the river than our boat. – We were misled from beginning!! Viking was aware of problems with Embla before we even boarded. Viking could/should have told us in Bucharest that the ship could only sail at half speed and that we would not be able to make our ports on time. They could have offered to cancel our cruise, receive a full refund for the cruise and Prague portion, and given us one more night in a hotel in Bucharest to make travel arrangements. Instead, Viking elected to hide the problem and have us board a ship that could only travel at a very slow speed with 50% a/c capacity, and sent us to spend 3 days in the small town of Russe. • We should not open our balcony doors, especially during the evening & night, as the mosquitos were very bad. This was also the case on the open upper deck. Thus, outside air was not a solution for the 80-90 degree (F) temperatures in our staterooms. The first day in Russe we elected to stay on the boat and not walk into town. We went to the dining room for lunch and were told lunch would only be available in the small eating area in front of the lounge. This “meal” consisted of a buffet of soup, cocktail sandwiches, and Bulgarian meatloaf; not exactly what you expect on a cruise. The next day we were told that we could stay on the boat, but there would be no a/c for several hours. We opted to go on a 3-hr tour of the old and new city squares of Russe. Once on the tour we were told that we would be eating lunch in Russe after the tour. Following lunch, we were informed that we must not return to the boat. We would tour 3 museums, attend a piano recital (at least it was in an air-conditioned room) and then have dinner at the same restaurant where we had lunch. At both lunch and dinner we were given what they wanted us to eat; no menu to select from. Again, not what one expects when traveling on a cruise. The boat set sail from Russe after midnight that night. The next day (Saturday, 27 July) we cruised at a very slow speed all day. This is the day we were supposed to be “scenic cruising past the Iron Gates.” That is one of the reasons we selected this Viking itinerary; we wanted to see the Iron Gates – this did not happen! We had lunch and dinner in the dining room. There was no ice cream available for dessert at dinner; the chef said the freezer was turned off. We were told before dinner that we would be getting off the boat the next morning in Lom. We were told that we would be driven by buses to Belgrade and then to Budapest. Keep in mind, temperature in the staterooms was 80-90 defrees (F). The rest of the boat (lounge, dining room, etc.) was even hotter. Sun, 28 July: After sailing over 36 hours and not even getting to Viden, we boarded buses in Lom and less than 3 hours later stopped for lunch with a distant view of the Belogradchik Rocks. That’s as close as we got to them and the Fortress (tours touted in the Viking literature). The lunch was a small buffet, no “ordering from a menu.” After a 12-hour day on a bus we arrived at the hotel in Belgrade. We had dinner around 9pm (more than 9 hours after we had lunch). Mon, 29 July: Spent the day in Belgrade. Had lunch in Old Town and dinner at the hotel. Again, we did not get to order from a menu. Tues, 30 July: Departed Belgrade via bus. Had noticed on the internet that it was a 4-to-5 hr bus ride to Budapest. Instead, Viking bussed us through Croatia where we had lunch in various private homes. We did not choose this; Viking did. When given the option prior to the cruise to have meals in private homes, we declined. This is not something we preferred to do. We, once again, did not get to select our meal. We were not offered the choice of a 4 or 5 hour bus ride vice a 12 hour bus day! After arriving at the hotel in Budapest around 9pm we had another buffet dinner. Wed, 31 July: Following two 12-hr bus ride days, two of our party were in poor physical condition and could not attend the included “Panoramic Budapest” tour. We were not meeting the objectives we had when we selected this itinerary. Since two members of our group were not on the tour, they were not provided lunch by Viking; the rest of us ate, once again, what & where Viking prescribed. Thurs, 1 Aug: Spent the day recuperating at the hotel. Note: Since we arrived in Budapest a day earlier than planned, we could not stay at the InterContinental Hotel as originally planned. This hotel is very conveniently located to Old Town, the river, and most the popular tourist attractions. Instead we were assigned a hotel that was not within walking distance of the tourist areas. Fri, 2 Aug: Took a 9-hr bus ride to Prague. Had this been our first “bus day,” we would have been in much better physical condition upon arriving in Prague. As it was, taking this 9-hr ride after the previous two 12-hr bus days was too much. This whole trip was a miserable, painful, terrible experience. As disastrous as it was, the Embla Captain never addressed the passengers and apprised us of the situation; it was like he was hiding. We were not consulted about what we might have wanted; we were not given any options. It was strictly, “Do what Viking says!” This was supposed to be “the vacation of a lifetime.” When we planned it, we did not choose a bus tour of Eastern Europe. We have several reasons for NOT wanting to spend hours riding a bus. We did not get to enjoy any of the advantages of a cruise. The few days/nights we spent on Embla were extremely uncomfortable. We chose a balcony room, and upon boarding, were told not to open the balcony doors in the evenings or nights! We only had a few meals in the Embla dining room where we got to select our meal from a menu. The rest of the time we had no choice as to what we ate. We all ate more meals consisting of chicken and potatoes than we ever thought possible when on a “cruise vacation.” We spent $13,494 on this cruise (two were refunded a small amount since they used their frequent flyer miles for the air travel), four of us paid an additional $50 each so we could choose our airline flights and seats, and we paid various amounts (average was approximately $1000/couple due to differing age) for travel insurance. Each couple spent approximately $15,000 to spend a miserable two weeks on a poorly-functioning boat and a bus. We were unable to enjoy places like Budapest and Prague because Viking’s choices had us so exhausted and physically impaired. To make matters worse, Viking has refunded $3,999 and claims that is 50% of our cost. Viking can most likely justify this with some “creative accounting.” $4,000 per couple does not come close to compensating us for our expenditures and the pain and suffering we endured. If you do book Viking, I recommend that you ask for a maintenance record of the boat. Specifically, for Embla: ask for the maintenance they performed after July 28, 2019 in order to fix the problems that led to our ‘bus tour”. I would also ask for the exact cost breakdown that they show for the trip to be sent directly to you, not just the travel agent so you are aware how they are pricing it. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
I don't know where to begin with this review. Before we started the cruise we understood that low water levels may sometimes affect the itinerary so we were prepared for that. What we were not prepared for is what actually did ... Read More
I don't know where to begin with this review. Before we started the cruise we understood that low water levels may sometimes affect the itinerary so we were prepared for that. What we were not prepared for is what actually did happen. From the time we boarded the Embla to the time we got off the buses in Budapest the trip was a disaster. Viking knew before we ever boarded the ship that it was broke but wanted us to board so they could still get their money for the cruise. We could tell something was not right when we went to our room and the a/c was not working properly and all the other passengers were complaining about it as well and the common areas were just plain hot. We departed that night at 11pm and literally crossed the river and docked again. We were then informed that the boat had a generator problem and they were bringing in a technician to repair the problem. After 2 days stuck there with no a/c or toilets we finally attempted to sail further. The ship made it 1 day and traveled only a short way so we docked again in a small town where we were put on buses and bused to Belgrade a 12 hour bus trip with just 2 stops. 1 bathroom break and 1 stop for lunch. The toilet on our bus was broke and backed up making our bus smell awful. By the time we reached Belgrade it was after 9pm and they offered a buffet dinner at 9pm at night. After 2 nights and 5 buffet meals later we were again loaded on buses and this time it was 13 hours on a bus to get us to Budapest. During the trip one of the buses broke down and one of the Viking crew members used his belt to make a temporary repair. Our bus was leaking very bad during a rain storm and a passenger actually used a umbrella to stay somewhat dry. We finally arrived in Budapest after 9pm and again they served us a buffet dinner late at night. The next 2 days were again all buffet style meals that you can get at Golden Corral. We were told by a Viking represenative that we would be contacted by Viking shortly after we arrived home. That did not happen. They just refunded a portion of the cruise only amount back into our bank account without ever discussing this with us. The amount was not even close to what we actually paid for the cruise and when I called customer service he explained that it was for the river portion only because we were provided the hotels precruise and post cruise. We were refunded 50% of the river portion and a 25% discount on a future cruise. Why would we ever consider a future cruise. Ridicoulous. The representative told me Viking considered this a very fair offer but they would up the 25% discount to 35% for us if we signed a disclosure agreement to keep our mouths shut. Vikng from start to finish was never honest with us and could care less about the safety of the passengers. They knew from the very beginning the ship had issues and we should not have ever boarded the ship. We never received a safety drill prior to sailing which we only did 1 day of. When we returned home we reseached the Viking Embla and saw that on a previous cruise in June just before our cruise the ship had been involved in a accident that damaged the generator. The same problem we had which apparently never was fixed properly. This cruise was supposed to be a trip of a lifetime and we had heard many good things about Viking in the past but they apparently now only care more about the money than the safety and experience their passengers receive. My wife and I have been on many Ocean cruises, some good and some great but this trip was a disaster from start to finish and beyond. If Viking had done the right thing and refunded us 100% of the cost of the cruise we would have absolutely considered cruising with them again. If you are one of the lucky ones who had a great cruise with Viking congratulations but if you happen to be one of the ones that the cruise turns into a disaster do not expect Viking customer service to do the right thing. Beware. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We shared this information with Viking. Nothing significant was done. We booked through and they have also been advocating for our group (3 couples). Customer service at Viking is not empowered to do anything. A decision was made ... Read More
We shared this information with Viking. Nothing significant was done. We booked through and they have also been advocating for our group (3 couples). Customer service at Viking is not empowered to do anything. A decision was made “by Executive”, that provided 50% of our “cruise fare” as a refund. Unfortunately, there is no backup or detail on any billing to indicate what “Cruise Fare” is. It looks like they inflate the shoreside hotel prices in order to reduce their exposure on the refund. No proper explanation is given. After many phone calls, they reluctantly agreed to increase the voucher on future cruises to 35% from 25%. Why would we ever cruise with Viking again?? No Value in that. The reluctantly refunded our prepaid drinks package, but refused to refund prepaid onboard gratuities. We were only on the vessel for 2 days…. Cruise critic readers – read on and beware. There are many choices on river cruises. Many are much better than Viking. As you can read from other passengers the much touted Viking Experience we see on PBS is largely a marketing myth. I wanted to share our experiences with Viking on this cruise. We are experienced ocean cruisers (approximately 10 cruises on 3 lines – Princess, NCL and RCCL) and had looked forward to the change to a river cruise. We booked this event with two other couples with whom we frequently travel. Being subscribers to our local PBS affiliate, we were very impressed with Vikings promotions around Masterpiece Theater and eagerly anticipated a wonderful experience. We would describe ourselves as active seniors, still working, but nearing retirement age. I believe we tend to be relaxed travelers and we fully understand that occasionally issues can and do arise when travelling. Further, we have never felt the need to write to any of our other cruise hosts before. However, simply filling out your survey forms would not be enough to express our feelings on this cruise. The following feedback may help Viking in the future. Please read it carefully. Unfortunately, this is a competitive business and at this point we do not envision we will be joining your company - river or ocean on any future cruises. Booking and travel to Embla We were very pleased with the booking process, materials received, outbound flights, the arrival process, hotel and tours in Bucharest on the first day. Everything was handled well; Viking personnel were helpful and courteous. Checking in to Embla The port facility at Juju in Romania was very rudimentary with a steep gangway. Passengers lined up in a very clumsy, poorly managed serpentine line in the main reception area. It was the poorest reception we have ever experienced. Check in was very slow. There was no seating available for those who could not stand for long periods. No refreshments were offered. Benchmark Princess if you want to understand best practice in this area. In addition, security at the dock was non-existent. We never felt unsafe, but there was nothing to deter anyone from Boarding Embla. Ship and Stateroom We really liked the design and layout of the Embla. There was very good use of space, well thought out. Our stateroom was clean and comfortable and our cabin steward, Helen was fine. As compared to ocean cruises, it was apparent at check in and on the first day that Embla is very short staffed. The normal short meeting and greeting with key members like cabin staff did not occur. We were surprised that robes and slippers were not available in the staterooms. This is a normal offering among premium cruise lines and was missed. Dining and Lounge Again – short staffed. There were too few waiters. Drinks had to be carried from the bar due to insufficient bar staff. Bar staff courtesy was wide ranging. One was outstanding, the others bordered on rude and with no sense of urgency. Again, this was far below expectations. The food quality was quite good and the waiter, Executive Chef, and the Maitre D’ were outstanding. They were personable and engaging. We travelled with a gluten free friend and the Maitre D' went out of his way to be helpful. These crew members deserve special recognition. However, it was clear that our waiter, had little assistance and too many tables to attend to. During several meals we had to ask 2 and 3 times for service (coffee, wine, dessert). Frustrations We learned from your Program Director , and several other crew members, that Embla had been experiencing diminished power on the downriver journey to Bucharest. As the Danube has about a 3-knot current, this was less of a factor down bound, but a significant hindrance when travelling upriver. By day 2 it became obvious that there were significant problems effecting travel speed and air conditioning. Knowing this before embarkation would have been preferable and had Viking been communicative and transparent the frustration and stress levels would have been more manageable. We also understand that Embla was sailing without a key officer – Hotel Manager. Compounding this situation was the fact that the Captain has very limited English skills. This left the entire communication responsibility to the Cruise Director. One, very dedicated, hard-working person trying to appease 180 plus passengers who were growing more frustrated by the hour. The Cruise Director worked diligently to assist passengers and create optional logistics for this cruise. She was not or could not be as transparent as we feel the situation required. In addition, required safety drills never occurred. There appeared to be a cooling system modification arranged on the rear deck of Embla. Frankly, Viking chose to sail an unsafe, non-seaworthy vessel. Among our group, we have great empathy for the Cruise Director. It was clear to us that she was not sufficiently empowered or informed and was left to largely “wing it”. We are sure that somewhere at Viking, there were persons assisting. We feel strongly, however, that Viking needs an emergency management plan and contingency plans. Ideally, it would have helped if senior representatives of Viking were dispatched immediately to Embla simply to help communicate and assist passengers. Again – one person cannot do this. The bus tours we went on were generally good, but on Wednesday, the tour was extended three times in order to keep people off the ship. It wasn’t until a passenger on the bus demanded to be taken back to the ship that we were informed there was no power on the ship and that everyone was taken off. We should have been continually informed of the condition of and on the ship. We felt like hostages, shuttled around to whatever facility in Russe, Bulgaria could accommodate our numbers. We were subjected to a short piano recital in a musty, poorly air-conditioned house. The talent level was adequate, but the piano was severely out of tune. There were insufficient chairs to sit on and the air was full of dust. It should also be noted that we were provided with the same meal – cucumber and tomato salad, vegetable soup, and meat stew for both lunch and dinner two days in a row. We were served lunch and dinner in the same restaurant that day and it had no toilets, just holes in the floor. This was not acceptable given the age of the many of the travelers and their physical limitations. When we finally returned and sailed that evening, it was clear that Embla was not making enough speed. Despite this, nothing was said to passengers until almost 18 hours later. At that point the trip was turned into a hastily arranged bus trip to Belgrade, Serbia (almost 10 hours). We received a letter in our stateroom as we prepared to board the busses to Belgrade Basically, it said, don’t ask about compensation, a basic don’t call us, we will call you response…. This was hardly reassuring given Vikings performance up to that point. Of course, we did receive our bill and an insistence that we settle it before getting on the bus. Fellow passengers were not charged for their bar bills, but nothing was said to those of us that had purchased the beverage package about receiving a refund. This approach appeared to be quite one sided. We have experienced an unfortunate weather delay on another cruise line (Princess). As it was safety related, the Captain chose to stay in port for 3 days. It was an unfortunate, but unavoidable decision. Even though Princess had zero actual culpability for the weather, the entire crew sprang into action, arranging tours, entertainment etc. Most importantly, a very generous compensation offer was received before we departed. By being proactive, Princess turned a difficult situation into a customer loyalty generator. We immediately booked another cruise and have booked several others since that time. We had hoped to develop a similar loyalty relationship with Viking. Moving off Embla was relatively efficient, at the expense of service in the dining room. Tables were not cleared, and it was a mess. We were served on dirty tablecloths and not given napkins. On the epic journey to Serbia, the bus had to detour because of closed roads and stop at a small petrol station (2 stalls) for a rest stop. To say this was disorganized would be a gross understatement. A better option would have been to cancel the trip day 1 and arrange everyone safe onward passage home from Bucharest or assist in making alternate travel plans. The trip to Belgrade was uneventful but long. Lunch was an adequate but uninteresting buffet. Having arrived in Belgrade we checked into the Hyatt Regency. The check in was efficient and fast and the rooms were quite nice. The dinner buffet and the breakfast for the next two days were at best mediocre. As seasoned business travelers, we would rate the food as basic convention food. On the first night each diner was restricted to a single glass of wine or beer of modest quality. Viking made no effort to provide the type of dining experience or entertainment that we would expect on Embla. Any additional drinks or food we wanted we paid for out of pocket despite having the Viking beverage package. The tour of Belgrade was well done and the lunch at Two Deer’s restaurant was very good. As mentioned, this was followed by a mediocre dinner without any effort to entertain or accommodate the guests. Our fellow traveler with the gluten intolerance was at this point left to fend for herself. The bus trip to Budapest was long and arduous. Over 3 hours were wasted at border crossings. The busses had no WIFI and no electrical connection points. For people travelling who had a need to keep in touch with work or relatives back home, this situation was unacceptable. Lunch at the local village homes was decent but rushed due to the delays at the Croatian border. No dietary accommodations were made. We faced a pouring rainstorm in Croatia where it was discovered that the bus roof escape hatch leaked. The bus toilet on this leg of the trip was also out of service. It should be noted that by this time in the journey the poor Cruise Director was beyond shattered. She had lost her voice. More importantly, she had lost her ability to be at all empathetic. She was simply trying to endure until we arrived in Budapest. They failed over 180 passengers as well as failing several dedicated Viking employees. By this time information flow for us and the onward Amsterdam travelers had gone to zero. We just rode on busses. Vikings motto is “Travelling the World in Comfort”. This was an epic failure. We basically felt like we were kept in the dark and held hostage by Viking for almost the entire trip. Once in Budapest we got somewhat back on track. However, our accommodation was changed from the Hotel Intercontinental to the Corinthia. Corinthia is a nice hotel but is not situated along the river and is a long walk from most major attractions. The food served by Corinthia was largely uninteresting and the service was mediocre. The Maitre D’ informed us that he was not given much time to prepare and react and as a result was waiting tables himself. In fact, the exact same meal was provided at the Spoon Restaurant while on tour at lunch and then again in the hotel dining room. Again – Viking was simply reacting, not planning. Upon retiring for the evening, we discovered that our room had no air conditioning. We spoke to Viking’s Desk at the Hotel the next morning. The young man quickly pointed out that the hotel was “completely booked”. Another young lady from Viking stepped in and said she would have a word with the hotel. Upon return that evening, the problem persisted. We went directly to the hotel and they dispatched repairman that evening. Again – Viking staffs’ lack of urgency and total apathy was appalling. We understand that a Vice President of Viking came to Budapest and conducted a meeting for those people that were continuing to Amsterdam. At that time, they were offered compensation. Why was a meeting not held for the rest of us? Total silence is all we received. No apology, no compassion for what we were experiencing, no recognition of our disappointment due to what we anticipated versus what we were experiencing. Upon departure from Budapest for the airport, we were met by Viking staff and rode the Viking bus. The young lady who met us at the airport told us to line up in que 1, 2 or 3 which reflected our airline status (premium economy and Star Alliance Premier Access). Upon opening the check in, the airport officials redirected us to the end of the long economy que. Another nuisance reflecting the lack of training of Viking staff. Of course, by that time, Viking staff had departed the airport, so we got in line and waited. Recommendation – never sail with Viking. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We had a good experience on a Viking Ocean Cruise and had not done a river cruise before. Viking gets high marks in that category, so we were excited to try it. However, we have been very disappointed. Our ship, The Embla, has been ... Read More
We had a good experience on a Viking Ocean Cruise and had not done a river cruise before. Viking gets high marks in that category, so we were excited to try it. However, we have been very disappointed. Our ship, The Embla, has been experiencing severe mechanical issues, that Viking was well aware of, prior to our boarding. In the interest of “the bottom line”, they didn’t disclose this, they put us on the ship anyhow. Our stateroom and all the others, had no air conditioning on our arrival and throughout the few days that we were kept on the ship (Tim sent you a photo of the thermostat in our cabin, showing 96F degrees ). We sailed, literally, across the river, and with no transparency, Viking strung us along in an ugly, smelly dockage for more than two and a half days. We could all, quite literally, give tours of Russe, for as much time as we spent there. The Embla finally sailed at 11 pm on the 3rd night, at a crawl, (less than 4 knots we figure), not making it even half way to our first port of Vidin. We were disembarked in Lom or Silistra, Bulgaria. We then had a bus trip complete with 11 and 12 hours on the bus with en mass bathroom breaks at malls and gas stations, (not fun when only 4 stalls and 5 buses worth of passengers) buffet lunches, hot sandwiches that were meant to be cold, and water on the bus only the first day. Our bus driver’s skills were questionable and our bus broke down. Excursions were abbreviated and virtually, all by bus or eliminated completely. They took us hours out of the way to make a brief lunch with locals in Croatia, that added at least 4 hours to our second day on the bus and added an unnecessary second border crossing, which took in excess of an hour in itself. We felt like going hours out of the way for 1 hour off the bus lunch, was probably an attempt by Viking to go through the motions of making it to Croatia. Read Less
27 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This was our first river cruise and understood Viking was a top provider. BUT, we were very disappointed. The crew/staff were excellent, but after that things fell down. Getting a balcony is a waste of money as many times we were moored ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and understood Viking was a top provider. BUT, we were very disappointed. The crew/staff were excellent, but after that things fell down. Getting a balcony is a waste of money as many times we were moored next to another Viking ship's balcony which was just 2 feet away. No view or privacy! Breakfast was fine but other meals were poor. It became the joke many times to see what was served compared to what was ordered. Many times when we docked at a town we then had to be bussed. We were not able to simply get off the ship and walk around. A couple times we docked in industrial areas. On included tours guides were friendly and knowledgeable, but we were always rushed. Numerous times we had to move along as there was a group behind us. No time for questions (later) and photos. A typical tour was bussing, see a cathedral/palace/castle listen to some history/stories & then some free time. When you combine the amount of ships of Viking & it's competitors, tours become a herd! For the price do not recommend Viking. Will not use again. Viking may have been a class outfit, but possibly have lost control with expansion. Deep research needed for any river cruise. Have taken over a dozen land trips with success, but our ages require a more leisurely experience. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Worst cruise we have ever been on. Food was bland. Had beef tenderloin one night..couldn't cut it..too tough. Food was so unappetizing that we ate as many meals off the boat as we could. Miserly entertainment on board. Cocky wait ... Read More
Worst cruise we have ever been on. Food was bland. Had beef tenderloin one night..couldn't cut it..too tough. Food was so unappetizing that we ate as many meals off the boat as we could. Miserly entertainment on board. Cocky wait staff in bar. Viking used to dock close to downtown spots so you could walk around. This trip, most dockings were in commercial shipping warehouse areas. Room was so small, I had to crawl across bed to get in and out of it. Wine selection at dinner was an insult, a cheap red and cheaper white. Both were undrinkable. Several staff members seemed to be on their first cruise...inexperienced. Shore excursions were rushed, couldn't really delve into the locations. We didn't take any extra-cost excursions this time as they were terribly overpriced. I could go on, but why bother. We will never go on Viking again. They used to be a lot better. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We had never done a river cruise, although we've done many ocean cruises. We thought this would be a great way to see the Eastern bloc countries of Europe. We had many issues trying to book this tour and almost gave up. If we had ... Read More
We had never done a river cruise, although we've done many ocean cruises. We thought this would be a great way to see the Eastern bloc countries of Europe. We had many issues trying to book this tour and almost gave up. If we had not been traveling with friends, we would not have gone! Since stairs are a problem for me, I asked if there was an elevator and was told yes. The elevator, however, did not go to our cabin's floor. Our room was so noisy due to plumbing problems that sleep was almost impossible! The room smelled like a sewer and the shower bubbled up. Disgusting. When reported, we were told they had tried to fix it and added crystals for the odor. The noise and gurgling continued; the smell improved slightly. Meals were rushed, wine served was horrid, and dining room extremely loud and chaotic! We discovered a smaller place to dine which lacked the noise and was not rushed. Shore excursions by ship were fine! Entertainment on ship was so so. We had booked an extension to Prague and had been told it would involve an approx. 2 hour bus ride. When we inquired on the ship about the transfer we were told we would be informed later. We felt they were holding back something. Yes, they later informed us it was a 5 and a half hour bus ride. This meant two full days rather than 3 days in Prague. Hotels before and after sailing through ship were great! Security on the ship was non-existent. Anyone could have walked on. We will DEFINITELY NOT GO ON VIKING again. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
I enjoyed many aspects of my Viking "Grand European" bus tour. Which basically means I enjoyed the European towns we visited by bus. Viking offerred us a really sweet deal on their November "Grand European" river ... Read More
I enjoyed many aspects of my Viking "Grand European" bus tour. Which basically means I enjoyed the European towns we visited by bus. Viking offerred us a really sweet deal on their November "Grand European" river tour. Unfortunately they failed to mention to us that their boats couldn't sail due to low water levels on all the rivers we were supposed to sail, the Rhine, Main and Danube, and that we would be traveling far away from these scenic rivers, by buses. I take particular umbrage at the fact that they booked us knowing full well that the rivers were unsailable, and had been since early June, but never told us. When we arrived on our boat, everything just got worse. Everyday they lied to us. We were bused to four seperate boats on our 14 day extravanga, two of which never sailed. We had one afternoon of "scenic river cruising." We are younger retired people and travel about 4 months a year. I have simply never had a travel experience like this. I suspect Viking may think they can get away with their deceit because many of the people who take these cruises are elderly and were too overwhelmed by the experience to do anything but weakly complain. It was particularly galling to me to see what happened to the "leisurely" cruisers, those elderly people who booked the cruise so they could sail and see, while not able to walk and tour. These people were bused to restaurants, where they sat and waited for the bus to drive them to the next destination. Elderly handicapped people were forced to walk in the rain up and down boat ramps, up and down bus stairs, pack and repack. Their health and welfare were essentially endangered by Viking. Besides all of this, here are some other factoids about Viking: Did you read Vikings PR about how the chefs prepare "regional delicacies" from local markets? Malarky. I saw the canned food being trucked in one day while I stayed on the boat and everyone else was off on their bus. There were lots of canned onion rings, canned stale cookies, really mediocre food. Did you read about their free wifi? Malarky again. The wifi didn't work. They had two wired ship computers for "guests" which were infected with malware which infected everyone's computers who used them, a Viking gift that keeps on giving, even after you come home. Our last day was especially memorable. We were bused from Vienna to Slovakia where we had lunch in the cheesiest Holiday Inn you have ever seen, with really the worst meal anyone could remember. Steamed ice cream scoops of rice, and microwaved chicken breasts with no sauce. Slovakia had amazing food available at their Christmas markets and restaurants but we had a schedule to meet on our bus and had no time. We then were bused through Hungary where four buses, 186 people arrived at a Mc Donalds, I kid you not, to use the two available toilets. Really special. Thanks Viking! Viking gave us "free round trip airfare," except of course when the airline they booked us on went on strike. After one solid day in Budapest wrangling with Viking trying to arrange air transport home, they finally booked us on a flight from Munich to DC to home in San Diego, six hours before the flight departed. Unfortunately we were in Budapest with insufficient time to arrange transport to Munich. So we paid $4,500 to arrange our own last minute costly flight home. If all goes well on Viking, I hear it can be a very nice experience. If all doesn't go well, you are really out of luck. Please see yelp for more current reviews of the viking experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2014
We booked the two week grand european cruise and looked forward to what the brochures called, "scenic cruising" and "lovely walks" in cities along the way. What we got was one day of scenic cruising with the rest of the ... Read More
We booked the two week grand european cruise and looked forward to what the brochures called, "scenic cruising" and "lovely walks" in cities along the way. What we got was one day of scenic cruising with the rest of the time being bused to an itinerary with 180 other people and when we returned to the boat the sundeck was closed for six days straight because Viking built these boats too high to go under the bridges. False advertising on both of these important items. Information was given out little by little in an attempt to keep people from getting too upset, but in reality, at each meal as soon as we sat down the complaining would begin with people angry. The first three days the captain could not go through a lock without knocking everyone around almost knocking us out of bed a few times. The staff acted like the passengers were unwelcome and in the way. Then, after ten days, we were told we had to pack up immediately put our luggage out and get off the boat to be bused to a hotel for a two night stay and then bused to the next to the last stop. What Viking did was kick our group off to put on another group from The Aegir. Their luggage went on when ours went off. The food on the boat was also not any better than an all you can eat buffet but it was truly horrible in the hotel basement where there was no choice in menu or wine. All along this trip there was never any evidence that the customers were valued. Instead, we were treated like children and lied to repeatedly. Read Less
Viking Embla Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 3.0 3.6
Public Rooms 5.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 1.0 2.8
Family 1.0 2.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.0
Enrichment 4.0 3.9
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 3.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 3.7

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