2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Backgound: My wife (57) and I (60) travelled the Passage to Eastern Europe itinerary (Bucharest-Budapest) on the Viking Modi in April. While seasoned ocean cruise travelers, this was our first river cruise and inaugural trip with Viking. ... Read More
Backgound: My wife (57) and I (60) travelled the Passage to Eastern Europe itinerary (Bucharest-Budapest) on the Viking Modi in April. While seasoned ocean cruise travelers, this was our first river cruise and inaugural trip with Viking. Eastern Europe appealed to us as neither had been to the five countries of the itinerary. We were both in the military stationed in Germany during the late 80s and were prohibited to take vacations behind the Iron Curtain. So this was an opportunity to see some of the old vestiges of communism and how these new democratic countries were integrating into the rest of Europe. Notes: Day 1 Bucharest Romania: Viking arranged flight from Tampa to Bucharest was on Lufthansa with a connection in Frankfurt. We were met at Bucharest airport by a Viking rep with bottled water and towelette. There was somewhat of a duffle bag drag in Bucharest Airport due to configuration of airport and where the bus could park. The check in at Sheraton Bucharest at 1800 was smooth and room was on quiet side of hotel. There was a lack of dinner recommendations by Viking rep but we found a nice crepe restaurant close by that was open on Sunday night. Many guests just ate in the hotel restaurant or the Pizza Hut next door. Day 2 Bucharest/Giurgu Romania: Nice breakfast buffet in hotel. Luggage out by 0730, had stateroom tags on bags as they were delivered to our room on the Modi in Giurgu. At 0900 boarded buses for city tour, visit to the Parliament Palace and the Village Museum. Highlight was the Parliament Palace (second to the Pentagon as the largest admin building in the world and a lot nicer inside than the 5 sided one). Parliament tour was by government guide and was outstanding as we had access to the main rooms and halls of the Palace, no restrictions on video or photos. Village Museum represented historic houses/churches from the three regions of Romania. The tour was interesting but light rain put a damper on this outdoor activity. Local ladies had a table with painted eggs for sale that were a popular buy for our tour group. After the Village tour we went to a local restaurant (Pescarus), for the included 4 course lunch (cabbage Salad, vegetable soup, beef stew over potatoes, apple strudel). Good hearty food on a rainy day. After lunch we drove 90 mins to Giurgu and boarded the Modi. Check in was smooth and the luggage was awaiting in the stateroom. Welcome briefing, safety drill and port talk was that evening. After dinner we sailed across the river to Russe, Bulgaria Day 3 Russe Bulgaria: Russe was our tour departure point to Arbanasi and Veliko Tarnovo. Great tour guide covered a lot of Bulgarian history/culture during our 90 minute bus ride. Stopped at a hotel for tea and restroom break. Tour of Arbanasi included an ottoman style house, church and shop to sample local liqueurs. Included 4 course lunch in at the Izvora (cucumber/tomato/goat cheese salad, vegetable soup, chicken clay pot dish, desert). Highly recommend the desert (yogurt with honey and walnuts). After lunch we drove to Veliko Tarnovo. Were given free time to either shop in town or walk the Tsarevets Fortress grounds. We chose the fortress and walked to the top of the hill and into the Patriarchal Church. Dating to the 12th century, this strategic fortress is one of two highly fortified hills that protected Bulgarian rulers living on the site in the tsar’s palace. Today it provides great views of the town and countryside. Upon departure from Veliko Tarnovo we drove to Svistov where the Modi had moved up river to meet us. That evening we sailed to Vidin. Day 4 Vidin Bulgaria: Vidin was our departure point for Belogradchik Rocks and Fortress. After bus tour of Vidin it was a 90 minute drive to Belogradchik which included a hotel stop for coffee and cookies. Fortress included rock formations that you could climb through a series of stairs. Luckily it was a sunny dry day as rocks have moss covering and would have been difficult footing if wet. We had one hour on site and it was one hour back to ship. After lunch on the ship we walked down to the Baba Vida Fortress in Vidin. Back on the ship there was a sponsored afternoon talk with two girl high school students and a show by children's dance group. Departure at 1800. Day 5 Cruise through Iron Gate: Set clocks back one hour. Went through one lock during night and one during day. Very windy going into the gorge between the Carpathian and Balkan Mountains. Passed the Viking Alta heading downriver. Went by the stone monument to Dacian King Decebalus and the monastery. Took a tour of the wheelhouse, loved all the electronics. Afternoon tea in the lounge with Apple Strudel making session. Lounge talk about other Viking cruises with $200 for $100 credit offer on future cruises. Day 6 Belgrade Serbia: Arrived at 0600 in Belgrade and tour start 0830. Had to have passports when off boat. 4 hour tour included: city tour, crypt visit to St. Sava church, one hour in pedestrian zone (Knez Mihailova) for shopping and walking tour of Kalemegdan Fortress. After lunch onboard, walked up to pedestrian zone in afternoon for more shopping. Late afternoon was a fascinating guest lecture on Serbia-history and today. Dinner was Balkan food either served or buffet. Serbian folklore band and dancing after dinner was great. 2300 left Belgrade for Vukovar. Day 7 Vukovar Croatia: Morning cruising, walked on sun deck. Croatian Tamburica Band played before lunch and was great. After lunch and docking there was a bus tour of Vukovar. Signs of the 1990s conflict where evident as the town was the epicenter of the Serb/Croatian war. Toured the fortress in Osijek which is now used for academic and commercial purposes. Visited church and heard young lady sing. In small groups we visited houses in Imish. We visited a house where the lady had a cake making business, weren't we lucky. After a great conversation with our host we headed back to the ship. Day 8 Kalocsa and Puszta Hungary: Early morning passport check on board as we entered Hungary at Mohacs. Morning cruising included a movie on the European Union. 1230 docked in Kalocsa. 1330 Tour of town included a visit to the Assumption Cathedral in Holy Trinity Square for a organ recital. After we drove 20 minutes into the country side to Puszta where the Hungarian cowboys (csikos) put on a show of horsemanship. Make sure you visit the animal stables to see the horses. They also have a breed of pig (Mangalica) that has curly wool like sheep and sheep (Racka) that have antelope style spiral horns. That night we had a final farewell talk as we sailed to Budapest. Day 9 Budapest: Luggage outside stateroom by 0830 as it will be delivered directly to the hotel. Close out ship accounts. Vacate stateroom by 0830 and await 0930 tour of Budapest. Tour of city with stop on Buda side at Fisherman's Bastion and tour of Matthias Church. After is a visit to the Central Market and free time for shopping and to have lunch on own. 1530 check-in to hotel which was the Radisson Blu Beke Hotel in Pest. This is my only true criticism of the trip. As much as Viking got right, I can't believe they picked this hotel. When we originally got our itinerary they listed the Hilton on Buda side as our hotel which got rave reviews. We then got an email saying they changed our hotel to the Radisson. The issue with the Radisson is that it has been under renovation for the last 5 months and this had to be known to Viking when they made the switch of hotels. Many of us were on the second floor of the Radisson with jackhammering occurring on the floor below. The vibration would rattle your teeth. We were in one of the renovated rooms which the cable went out the first night and the shower pressure would decrease as you made the water hotter. So obviously some bugs to work out in the rooms that have already been renovated. Went out for a city walk late afternoon to get out of hotel. Walked to the Parliament, along the Danube, over the Chain Bridge and back and through Liberty Square. Nice evening. Day 10 Budapest: Breakfast in makeshift ball room as café under construction. Got out of hotel early before renovation worked started. Bought 24 hour transportation pass and rode tram and bus up to Buda Hill. Had Fisherman's Bastion free of crowds, took great pictures. Went to Harry Houdini's Museum as he was originally from Budapest. Took bus down to Pest side and start of Deák Ferenc utra and Vaci utra which are the pedestrian shopping streets. Revisited the Central Market for some souvenirs. Took the Metro back to a stop close to the hotel. Day 11 Trip Home: Baggage placed outside of hotel room at 0945 for trip to airport at 1030. Bus to airport was uneventful. Budapest is a modern airport with a nice food court. Lufthansa flight was Budapest-Munich-Newark. Then United to Tampa. Arrived home after midnight and was glad to find my bed. Cruise tips: - Stick with the included tours since you paid for them; unless of course there is a culinary or wine tour that you must do. We found all the included tours went to great locations with very knowledgeable guides that spoke good English. Utilization of the QuietVox system allows space to spread out the tour group. We recommend tipping the bus drivers/local guides if you enjoyed the tour. - Local currency. Each of the five countries visited retains its own currency even if they are members of the European Union. We did not ATM withdrawal or exchange for any Levs, Kuna or Forints. We found all the tourist shops/restaurants either took credit cards, euros and in some cases dollars. We tipped the local guides in Euros. - We found the food on the cruise to be of higher quality than experienced on Princess or Holland America cruises of the past. There was always a three course selection of local cuisine available for dinner and we would recommend you consider this first. Service was outstanding as there was never a long wait time to be served or in between courses. Most of our meals were taken in the dining room. We had one dinner and two lunches on the Aquavit Terrace. This was attributed to the outside seating was only open one afternoon due to the weather and inside seating is rather limited. - Your passports are secured by guest services upon arrival on the ship and you receive them back at the end of the cruise. The only time we were required to have them was getting off the ship in Belgrade Serbia for the day. There is also a passport photo check with immigration officials on board when you cross into Hungary as you are entering the Shengren Area of the EU. - This is an enrichment cruise and the on-board entertainment is reflective of that. We found the local musical groups/dance tropes to be very talented. The lecture by the university professor in Belgrade was not to be missed. As well the reflections of "growing up behind the Iron Curtain" by the cruise director Nikolay and hotel manger Frank were entertaining and informative. Nice father and daughter duo that provided nightly music. - Viking is very cognizant of the age demographic of its guests and this is reflective in the opportunities for utilization of restrooms on the tours. While most restrooms on the cruise tours are free, the restrooms in Budapest are not. Both at the Matthias Church/Fisherman's Bastion site and the Central Market Place there is a 1 Euro charge to use the restroom. Therefore, best to have some change available to use the loo. Overall is was a fantastic cruise and hopefully you will get a chance to experience it too. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We have been on 70+ ocean cruises and decided to try a river cruise due to the ports of call and the positive reports we had from friends on their Viking experience. Maybe we didn't do enough homework, but this trip was a total ... Read More
We have been on 70+ ocean cruises and decided to try a river cruise due to the ports of call and the positive reports we had from friends on their Viking experience. Maybe we didn't do enough homework, but this trip was a total disappointment. We booked the Explorer Suite for the Passages to Eastern Europe cruise (It was a special occasion). We also booked our business class air with Viking. Viking did an excellent job communicating before and during the trip. We were impressed with their detail and excellent information. -Transfers: We had private transfers because we were in the Explorer Suite. They were timely and professional. -Budapest Hotel: There were many people checking in at the same time at the Bucharest Intercontinental. It was quite disorganized. We waited in line for a long time and were finally assigned a room. It was in a bad location and even though we offered to pay an upgrade for a "river view" room, we were told there were none available. The hotel was very nice, in a great location, and the breakfast was the best of any during the entire trip. It was a great beginning and then we boarded to boat. -Suite: The Explorer Suite was disappointing in that it was so noisy (it sits above the engines) we couldn't leave the windows open and there was terrible vibration whenever the boat was moving. The amenities were nice including having laundry done within a day and very neatly folded and returned. While room service for breakfast was included, there really is no place to eat except to lean over the little table. We knew the rooms are not comparable to ocean liners, but we thought that 445 square feet would make for a comfortable experience. The suite is long and narrow and not very easy to maneuver.... though I know it is quite large in comparison to the regular cabins on Viking Long Ships. -Food: I don't know if it was because of where we were sailing or the chef, but the food was poor to satisfactory. There was nothing good --not even the local specials. We found the dining room service to be just OK-- nothing special-- nor did they attempt to be accommodating. The bar tenders were great! Excursions: Our bad... we did not expect to have such long bus trips. Several days included being on the bus from 8:30 am until 7:00 pm. The busses were cramped and not comfortable. The local guides were excellent; the Viking guides were not. Most cities were too far away to go and explore on your own. We should have done better research. We included the post-cruise extension to Transylvania. We spent almost the entire 3 days on a bus, arriving late in the evening to the hotels. Enrichment: The local performers and lecturers were mediocre at best. Fellow Passengers: Maybe this was unusual, but this boat was filled with the most unfriendly people we have experienced. There was little laughter or conversation. People were pushy getting to be first on the bus each day (they wanted a special seat and there was no seat rotation) and people rushed into the dining room to save their favorite table and pushed and shoved. Rarely did anyone even say hello as you passed in the corridor or greet you with a hello or good morning. Very strange. Poor attention to illness: On day 2 of the cruise many people became ill with a flu/cold virus. People were coughing everywhere and you could see how sick they were. We got the crud on day 3. I was running a fever and literally spent 3 days in bed. Viking did NOTHING to accommodate the ill passengers, even though there were at least 50+ sick passengers. We knew there was no medical center on this little boat, but there wasn't even any cough syrup or cough drops to purchase. One passenger was at the front desk asking for assistance and the answer was, we can arrange to have a taxi take you into the town, but it will be at your own expense. Couldn't they even go to a pharmacy and pick up some cough medicine when the boat and busses were like being in a sanitarium for TB patients? Shame on the Viking crew. Hotel in Bucharest: The Raddison Blu was a nice "convention type" hotel. Some will read this review and assume that because we became ill, our trip was spoiled and we were therefore disappointed. I assure you this was not the case. It was not the illness that spoiled the trip, it was the Viking experience. We acknowledge that perhaps we are not meant to take river cruises and perhaps a different itinerary, other than Eastern Europe would be different. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
I booked this cruise after seeing great ratings on cruise critic...We were bused everywhere and the ship was only used as a floating hotel....We only had One day of scenic cruising on Viking....We were told by the company that the problem ... Read More
I booked this cruise after seeing great ratings on cruise critic...We were bused everywhere and the ship was only used as a floating hotel....We only had One day of scenic cruising on Viking....We were told by the company that the problem was due to low water levels,however, senior offices advised that the bus trips have been ongoing since August....We were not given any opportunity to cancel the cruise,however i saw a posting from a travel agent who viking contacted and invited him to get a refund...Wow talk about selective attitude to patrons....The whole cruise was terrible,made worse by constant changes to itineraries and times of departures...The first day we spent 9 hours on a 3 star coach .....The poor staff are sick of making excuses for the companies lack of ethics....We have a long experience with Ocean cruising over 500 days on the water.We can honestly say this is by far our worse experience on the water or BUS... Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
A few days prior to our departure we were advised by Viking that the river levels were low and we might have to change ships, transfer from ship to ship by motor coach and might have to spend a night in a hotel. Sure enough this all took ... Read More
A few days prior to our departure we were advised by Viking that the river levels were low and we might have to change ships, transfer from ship to ship by motor coach and might have to spend a night in a hotel. Sure enough this all took place. Our outstanding and very professional your director, Marie, accompanied us every step of the way. Viking did an excellent job under very adverse conditions over which they had no control but we're extremely well prepared for. With there large number of wonderful identical ships, there were no problems. We had the same room number on both ships. Our last night in Budapest was spent in a shout star hotel. Again, Marie was with us and we felt very well cared for. When we had got skip one port, she arranged for a substitute tour. While we were docked in Vienna, along with 30 or so other ships, I had a chance to walk along and look at other ships. I did not see any ship that I thought was as good as it better than the Viking ships. Our ship was bright, fresh, spotless at all times and the entire crew, with no exceptions, was wonderful. The layout of the ship was excellent. We loved the lounge, where we could relax with our rea, coffee or hot chocolate and enjoy the scenery through the full length windows. We could eat at the buffet there or go down to the dining room. The good was outstanding. Every evening before dinner our tour director briefed us for the next day's events and then the chief would brief us on the evening's menus. We always had three complete menus to choose from - the features menu, a menu with foods typical of the area we were in and a standard menu with steaks and more American selections. We could choose whatever we wanted and it was all excellent. Rooms in all river boats are small due to the size restrictions of the ship. We were in the smallest room and were quite comfortable as we spent little time there as, when we weren't sleeping, we were out enjoying the scenery. The included yours were guided by locals and were excellent. We were all given "quiervoxes" which enabled us to hear the guide from a distance. Overall, Viking is THE BEST. In spite of the problems caused by the low river levels, we felt well cared for and got out money's worth. We were already planning our next Viking cruise when we received a letter informing us that we would be given a discount on our next cruise. We booked that cruise the next day. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Viking Cruise line, in my opinion, is the low end cruise line. The food was served late and at best was just ok. The staff was very nice. The room was clean. After dinner, usually about 9PM there was little to do unless we were in a port ... Read More
Viking Cruise line, in my opinion, is the low end cruise line. The food was served late and at best was just ok. The staff was very nice. The room was clean. After dinner, usually about 9PM there was little to do unless we were in a port where we could get off the ship. That was not often. Do not pay for a Balcony because you probably won't use it. The cruise ships are lined up side by side so you are looking into another boat's stateroom. You will have to keep your drapes closed when in port. I did walk aboard some of the other ships that were lined up with ours and they were the same size but they had gyms and pools, hot tubs and saunas. We paid for flight up grades and insurance. We had to pay 2700 dollars to change our flights due to the hurricane and we could only change through Viking. We paid for upgrade on our flights and then when we go to Frankfurt we did not have the upgrade! The cabins are so small you are constantly stepping on your room mate and just think after dinner if you don't want to sit in the bar, you are stuck in that little room. Ultimately we spent $20,000.00 on this trip and it was not worth it. Do your self a favor and choose a different cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
I keep meaning to post a review of our Grand European Tour on the Viking Modi and the Viking Skirnir - we had a ship swap - but I've only just gotten around to doing it. Unlike so many reviewers, we had a splendid cruise - simply ... Read More
I keep meaning to post a review of our Grand European Tour on the Viking Modi and the Viking Skirnir - we had a ship swap - but I've only just gotten around to doing it. Unlike so many reviewers, we had a splendid cruise - simply fabulous - despite the water level issues, bus rides and the ship swap (we only had one). I'd been reading about the drought situation and the water levels since they started around June 2018, so I had an idea of what to expect. Seems like a lot of people don't know that Viking posts updates on their website, since so many were surprised about the situation. I kept checking frequently, so again I knew what to expect. This was our second Viking river cruise, and we knew Viking would do their best - and in our opinion they did,. I was glad that we were able to board the Modi in Budapest. There was some question at the time whether we could sail from that port. We did have to leave that night, instead of the next day, but we were treated to the spectacular nighttime sail with all the lights. We had to bus back to Budapest if you wanted to do the tour. It wasn't a bad ride and the buses are comfortable. Our guide was great. The bonus from this was extra time in Vienna, which was lovely. I got to ride the World's Largest Ferris Wheel - something I might not have had time for. We were able to sail all the way to Passau, then had to do Regensburg by bus. I was going to skip it and just stay with the ship - which was an option, but everyone in the group of people we had become friendly with were going, so we went. In the rain. And had a wonderful day, despite it. We had to pack up that night, but they had let us know this was a distinct possibility when we boarded. Anthony, our Program Director - who is an absolute GEM - also told us that was what likely would happen. I'd brought packing cubes. Only unpacked half our clothes into packing cubes in the drawers. I zipped them up, plopped them in the suitcases and was set to go. The bus ride to Nuremburg was so much more pleasant than I'd anticipated. The Modi crew was able to move the ship in the morning so we could be closer to the buses (it was raining) and a little closer to Nuremberg. On the bus we had water and cookies, crossword and suduku puzzles if you wanted. The guide pointed things of interest out, but didn't talk the whole way so people napped. I was too busy looking out the window. And we were riding on the Autobahn! We stopped once at a rest stop. There was a shop where you could get a snack, a beer, a magazine or a cup of coffee. Before we knew it we were pulling up alongside the Skirnir in time for lunch! The rest of our cruise went as planned and we had a great time. It was cold and windy in the Rhine Gorge, so the crew brought up blankets, hot chocolate and coffee with some warming ingredients like Bailey's and Amaretto! The crew of both ships were fabulous, though we liked the Modi crew a bit better. Oddly enough I spoke with someone who started on the Skirnir and switched to our ship in the same swap. She liked the Skirnir crew better. Anthony our Program Director was simply marvelous! He was funny, going constantly with a smile on his face like the Enegizer Bunny. He's a keeper, Viking! Unlike other recent reviewers, we liked the food a lot. We thought most dishes were quite good and often went with the local specialties. Again the Modi gets a few more points than the Skirnir, but perhaps it's just a comparison thing. The food was just as good and tasty as it was on our Rhine cruise in 2016. We really enjoyed the local talent and the trivia games in the lounge after dinner. We're not big show people, so the local entertainment was just fine, and actually very entertaining. I noticed references to the rafting of ships in port. We had a Veranda room and had no problem with it. When you are in port, you are mostly off the ship anyway. The only docking area that bothered me was the one in Cologne. I don't know where we were, but we rode slowly through some high walled canals to get there and then we had to climb a steep embankment to get to where the buses were. On our Rhine cruise we were out by the Zoo Bridge and this was even further away. I'd hoped to see Cologne lit up at night. We would absolutely do this cruise again, despite the hitches. Travel is an adventure and that's the way we look at it. We really, genuinely had a wonderful, fantastic trip from start to finish. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
Our friends were already booked on it and told us Viking cruises are wonderful. WE looked forward to seeing Europe from the water perspective as well. First cruise for us and overall, our experience was very good. Food was ... Read More
Our friends were already booked on it and told us Viking cruises are wonderful. WE looked forward to seeing Europe from the water perspective as well. First cruise for us and overall, our experience was very good. Food was excellent. Service also was top rate. Thought some ports could have used extra time. Excursions were on the whole quite good. Very informative guides. Would have liked more opportunities to bike in some of these ports. Also, would have been nice to have a small gym with weights available. WEights and perhaps an exercise bike and stair stepper. My husband and I are in our early 50's and I realize the average age of your passengers may be older. I do think Viking is starting to attract a younger adult crowd though and making some accomodations to satisfy that age demographic would be nice. Would definitely travel with Viking again though. Overall, we enjoyed it. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I chose Viking for the Grand European River Tour (14 day Amsterdam to Budapest) because I thought it was top of the line as per their ads on TV. It was to be the trip of a life time. As a retiree on a limited budget and with limited ... Read More
I chose Viking for the Grand European River Tour (14 day Amsterdam to Budapest) because I thought it was top of the line as per their ads on TV. It was to be the trip of a life time. As a retiree on a limited budget and with limited mobility ( I use a walker) I knew this was to be my last hoorah, it was now or never. I dreamed of this trip for several years. It was expensive but I was sure it would be well worth it. However! due to the extreme heat & drought, the water levels were extremely low & we were unable to travel on the water for the whole trip. The staff was constantly ducking, bobbing & weaving as to what the next step would be though I am sure it was all well planned out ahead of time. They knew early on that the low water levels were going to make sailing difficult. We were put on hot uncomfortable motor coaches for 3 hour jaunts to several different cities. At some points, the original port of call was bypassed entirely and excursions cancelled. When we were actually in the water on the Rhine, we went through at least 68 locks, bumping & banging our way through. The top deck was not accessible for half of the trip. We were moored in inaccessible & not very picturesque sites to the city . . . not at all as advertised & seen in the ads! . . . & had to be bussed, yet again, to the city center. We had to change boats 3 different times (the packing & unpacking added to the other inconveniences). This was NOT at all what we had paid for & expected. It was NOT the leisurely relaxing trip we wanted. It was exhausting & frustrating. The trip should have been cancelled from the get go. The food quality was mediocre with not too many options. The boat staff was excellent nevertheless. Overall not a "referrable moment" & I wouldn't recommend them to anyone, especially since their only response to our feedback thus far has been to offer a discount on a future cruise. This is useless to me as I do not plan to ever travel like that again. DO NOT choose VIKING! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We are writing this review to express our dissatisfaction with our recent Grand European Tour “river cruise". On July 30, three days prior to beginning our journey, we received notification that we would embark on the Viking ... Read More
We are writing this review to express our dissatisfaction with our recent Grand European Tour “river cruise". On July 30, three days prior to beginning our journey, we received notification that we would embark on the Viking Skirnir in Amsterdam, rather than Modi due to low river levels. On Aug. 3, at 9:20 p.m., we received notification that our cruise would not sail as described when we booked it, and the Skirnir was not able to make it to Amsterdam. We were not given the choice to cancel, and frankly, it would have been too late, as we had already left for Amsterdam to begin our 3 day extension. While understanding that Viking has no control over the weather, we cannot be convinced that the company knew nothing of the drought affecting the rivers we were to sail months in advance of our trip. We were told by locals in every city on the cruise that there had been no significant rainfall since May. This fact should have been communicated to the travelers who paid well in advance for a river cruise that was almost certain not to happen as advertised! We should have been given the option to: 1. accept the situation and continue our trip 2. apply the amount to a future cruise when the conditions were favorable for actually cruising the rivers as advertised, or 3. receive a full refund. We believe Viking was deceptive by not fully disclosing this information long prior to the day we already began our travels! The information we received once at the hotel (Hyatt Regency, Amsterdam) was remarkably inconsistent and the Viking representatives were ill-informed. We were told to attend a meeting on Aug. 5 at 6:30 for a briefing about the changes, only to find halfway through the meeting it was for a different ship with the same itinerary. We were not the only Modi people there, so we know the information was miscommunicated to others, as well. We were told our meeting was the following day. When we asked the Viking representatives the following morning about the time of the meeting, we were told it had been canceled. Later that night, we received correspondence in our room detailing the next day’s events, luggage pickup, etc. No mention of our Kinderdijk optional excursion, just a group number of the bus we were to board. Next morning we found out there HAD BEEN a meeting, and we missed some important details. The ineffectiveness of the representatives at that hotel was shameful! As it stood, we were bussed 1.5 hours to Kinderdijk, (misinformation caused us to be in the wrong group for the optional barge tour and we missed it), then 3 hours to Cologne, missing the entire river cruise on the Rhine between these cities. We sailed on the Skirnir for a while, but other than in Cologne, didn’t dock in cities where we could disembark and experience the ports as advertised. We purchased a suite with balcony, only to have the incredibly disappointing view of ugly harbors, recycling stations, and industrial holding areas! Not what we paid for! In addition to this, our ship often dropped us off and then left for another port to dock, so we spent a lot of time being bussed from ship to city to new port (generally ugly, sometimes sandwiched between ships so our view was a mirror image of our own balcony). We were told this was necessary because the ship had to make up for time lost in the never-ending series of locks, which took forever to traverse because of the water levels. This unfortunately cut into the amount of time we spent in the cities (which were all wonderful, by the way, and guides were overall very good). We really could have done without the almost unbearably boring restaurants we visited as a group with our lunch vouchers. There were so many other restaurants and cafes we would have enjoyed exploring. Instead, we were coerced into eating predetermined meals of, frankly, unappealing dishes, with no menu options, prepared in huge quantities and served by wait staff who clearly had no use for Viking and their vouchers! Our top deck was inaccessible for the entire time we spent on the Rhine. I expected a bit of this, but the entire river?? After Nuremburg, we were told we would be bussed clear out to Passau, by-passing Regensburg. This meant if anyone wanted to see this city, it would again require a 2-hour each-way bus trip. Honestly, if we had wanted to take a bus tour through the region, we could have saved ourselves a small fortune and just booked one. When we boarded the Viking Modi in Passau, I asked if the rest of the trip would go as planned, and was delighted to hear a definite affirmative from the desk representative! Things were looking up, and the cruise proceeded down the Danube with sundeck open and beautiful weather, stopping in ports with a view (except when we were double and triple tied off other ships, and were unable to use our balconies or open our blinds) and had access to the cities, just as we had expected for the entire cruise. It was quite lovely at this point! But then the rumor mill kicked in, and stories of other cruisers being bussed to and from Budapest filtered through the proverbial grapevine. Still, the crew said nothing, alluded to nothing, admitted nothing - until they had to the day before we were supposed to sail. So our trip would end with another 3.5 hour bus ride into Budapest…but the good news, according to the crew, was we would be docked on the Hermod at the Chain Bridge, at the very foot and center of the city! So great for exploring. Except that didn’t happen – we were docked two bridges up-river, where only taxis could transport the adventurous. There was no advantage to being on the ship, which was stifling inside. We were told that out of NINE ships stuck in Vienna, the Modi passengers were the only ones who would get to go to a ship. Woohoo. We would have preferred being put up in a hotel (5 stars, as we heard from other Viking travelers) at that point. At least we would have been in the city center. In a nutshell, this was not the trip we booked, not the trip that was advertised, and certainly not the trip we paid for. And nearly everyone onboard agreed. I will be sending this letter to those who provided their email addresses, and we will be expecting compensation for what was clearly a misrepresentation of what we could expect. A refund commensurate with our true experience may convince some to book another cruise with Viking…maybe. This episode has left many with a very bad taste in their mouths. We, ourselves acknowledge that if not for the Mediterranean Odyssey ocean cruise we took with Viking in 2017, we would turn our backs and look for another luxury cruise company. There are certainly many to choose from. That said, we hope that Viking will uphold their reputation and do what is right by their guests. They have offered a 50% voucher on the NEXT trip. We are asking for a 50% refund on this trip, not a voucher for the next, since for many there will be no “next”. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
I had never been to Europe and this gave me a variety of countries without hopping different hotels.. The accommodations, the cruise director, the Captain and crew all made it memorable. The sight seeing excursions couldn’t have been ... Read More
I had never been to Europe and this gave me a variety of countries without hopping different hotels.. The accommodations, the cruise director, the Captain and crew all made it memorable. The sight seeing excursions couldn’t have been better. The food was good, entertainment in the lounge was very enjoyable. Weather was unusually warm but very accommodating for our excursions. Budapest was one of my favorite places. The amazing architecture of all the different places just continued to be totally awe inspiring. To think we could dine in a place that was built in 800 ad was mind boggling. It was probably the absolute best trip for the money. Highly recommend it for any one who is considering a river cruise. I cannot say enough good about the Viking cruise line. They took exceptionally good care of us in the light of the worst conditions they had encountered on these waters. The drought conditions made parts of the Rhine and Danube unpassable and they handled it with professionalism and poise. Thank you Viking! Read Less
Viking Modi Ratings
Category Editor Member

Find a Viking Modi Cruise

Email me when prices drop