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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
After a wonderful pre-cruise in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Prague, we started our Viking cruise last Sunday, leaving from Nuremberg. The ship, Viking Jarl, is lovely, sleek and low key, spotlessly clean, with a ... Read More
After a wonderful pre-cruise in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Prague, we started our Viking cruise last Sunday, leaving from Nuremberg. The ship, Viking Jarl, is lovely, sleek and low key, spotlessly clean, with a reasonably sized stateroom and bathroom (for a cruise ship). The food is excellent. The very-well trained staff is attentive, professional and delightful. There is nothing about this particular ship or its staff that has contributed to my dissatisfaction. HOWEVER, the discrepancy lies in the deliverables as presented by Viking in their advertising and in the materials we have received. In my mind, the key differences between large ship ocean cruising and small ship cruising are twofold: the idea that in small ship cursing, there is the ability to use the availability of the river to dock in the middle of a city and the ongoing scenery as the ship goes from one place to another. Think about those Viking ads on PBS (like before "Downton Abbey") where they show amazing vistas as you cruise leisurely down the river. THE REALITY: As expected, we took a bus from Prague to Nuremberg (4hrs) where the cruise would start; it would end in Budapest. Unfortunately, the ship couldn't dock in Nuremberg because there were too few spaces and somehow our ship lost the toss and had to dock elsewhere. To do see the Justice Hall or any other WWII related sights, one had to select the optional tour, at an extra cost. This meant you could not participate in the included tour which was mostly on a bus, with the guide (who was well-versed), pointing out the window at the medieval aspects of the city plus a short stop at the castle. The first stop of the cruise, which was supposed to be in Regensburg, was actually on a desolate river bank in the middle of nowhere. Once again we had to be bused to the city. Some of these trips were as long as 40 minutes each way. For half the week, the cruising itself was mostly through locks which means seeing huge blank concrete walls. THE BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Midweek we were informed that there was a bridge repair going on in Bratislava that would necessitate our actual cruise ending in Vienna. Their version of the "good news" was that we would be spending an extra night in Vienna! This was because, instead of cruising overnight from Vienna to Budapest, arriving early the next morning, we would be boarding a bus the next morning to drive to Budapest, arriving in Budapest around lunchtime, thereby losing half of the one day in Budapest since the cruise ended the next morning. We would be put up in a hotel for the night. Included in the cruise package was to be a city tour during that morning we'd be driving and an evening cruise on our ship to see the beautiful harbor at night. We have not been informed yet on how they will provide these deliverables. WHAT HAS WORKED SO FAR: When we arrived in Passau, finally we docked in the city and could experience what was anticipated: a walking tour in the morning, lunch on the ship (if desired), and the ability to walk off the ship, stroll around all afternoon and decide when you wanted to head back to the ship. This afternoon, cruising from Melk to Vienna, for the first time, the scenery was magnificent, castles and vineyards and charming towns. FINAL COMMENT: The Viking Daube River cruise, which was significantly more expensive than a large ship cruise, was quite different than the literature had me anticipating. While, as stated earlier, I found the ship and crew to be superlative, this cannot compensate for my overall disappointment. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
Pick your time of the season to cruise the rivers, and do not expect to cruise the Elbe after mid June, but do expect to pay a lot for a very small room as you travel by bus to see what was formerly East Germany. We had previously ... Read More
Pick your time of the season to cruise the rivers, and do not expect to cruise the Elbe after mid June, but do expect to pay a lot for a very small room as you travel by bus to see what was formerly East Germany. We had previously enjoyed Viking cruises on the Rhine and Rhone. The summer of 2015 saw insufficient water in the Elbe for Viking to cruise successfully after midJune. We became aware of the problem after reading reports on the Internet. We were NOT alerted to the problem by Viking. In mid July I called the service line and discussed the issue with the Viking rep, who was very noncommittal and expressed hope that rain would fall and fill the river. I learned from reading on the Internet that a succession of angry travelers had discovered that the "cruise" would be a bus trip after they had checked in to the hotel in Berlin in late June and July . Most of the comments expressed displeasure at not being told of the doubtful state of affairs prior to arriving at the embarcation point. A few had discovered the problem earlier and had contacted Viking before leaving home, and were told they could cancel without penalty. Viking did not offer this option to me until I asked point blank about it, and was told that in fact I could cancel. My travel group elected not to cancel after out voting me and we went on the trip. The staff was outstanding, the food was adequate, and seeing the former East Germany was a tremendous learning experience. The tour guides were very good. The tiny room on Beyla was smaller than our rooms on previous Viking cruises. We could have taken a Tauck land tour with a similar itinerary, traveled by bus, and stayed in 4-5 star hotels for about the same money. Viking adds value by cruising, not bus tours. I consider the value of this trip was reduced by 50% without the cruise. It would follow that an adjustment in the cruise fare would be in order. Viking's compensation was to offer a $1000 discount from our "next cruise". I am confident that there will not be a "next cruise" on Viking for our group. My takeaway message for readers: on the big rivers, cruise late in the season to avoid too much water in the rivers which may interrupt a cruise; on the smaller rivers, cruise early(May or June) and hope that there will be adequate water in the river. And , frequently check Cruise Critic and other internet sources in the time before your trip to spot problems with your upcoming trip to allow for changes. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
We booked with Uniworld in a suite, category 1, room 403. The food was excellent, butler extremely efficient. The staff was just working. I'm not sure why they started this cruise knowing the river was low in certain sections ... Read More
We booked with Uniworld in a suite, category 1, room 403. The food was excellent, butler extremely efficient. The staff was just working. I'm not sure why they started this cruise knowing the river was low in certain sections and may not be able to complete the full trip due to low water levels.and that was the problem in a nutshell. Disregarding the desires of their clients. Guess they were hoping it rained. I think all the clients should have been informed of the situation and given a choice to re-book. I hated being bused the last 4 days, the climbing in and out , the discomfort. The packing and unpacking the change of itineries and missing the hearing enhancers.we were exhausted by the end of the trip. Actually 2 couples on the ship were called and told this before disembarking so the cruise line KNEW of the possibility. And as long as a possibility existed we as luxury paid clients should have been given that information. The rest of us had no idea until we had to leave the ship with 4 days left. Bused to Austria and Budapest. Put up in lower quality rooms and allowances for 3 meals along with many of our suite amenities not included at the lower quality hotels. Even though the food was good their handling of this enormous situation left us knowing we would never use Uniworld again. Barely evening entertainment to speak of. Almost everyday the top deck was not usable. The decor was in the style of Maria Theresa period gone wild. Mirror mirror everywhere. The dining room food was very good but the buffet and service stations were in the path of entering and leaving the dining room. As a result a lot of traffic incurred. I did not like open seating. I would rather be given a choice of sitting with or without company before randomly trying to find a place to sit .if you didn't get there exactly at 7 pm. Plus at 9:30 the staff turned on the lights and started cleaning up around us. We were not trilled with the cruise. Maybe because of the way it ended. It left us feeling taken advantage of. We have tried to speak with Uniworld, wrote letters to them and our agent. Everyone agrees we should be refunded for the last few days . If nothing else, don't go unless you are sure the ship will sail for the full amount of days you are planning. Be informed. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
This was our first Viking cruise, but NOT our first river cruise (we did Avalon on the Rhine in 2013). In my opinion, Viking compares very poorly to Avalon for a variety of reasons: the cabins on the Tor are smaller, the staff was far ... Read More
This was our first Viking cruise, but NOT our first river cruise (we did Avalon on the Rhine in 2013). In my opinion, Viking compares very poorly to Avalon for a variety of reasons: the cabins on the Tor are smaller, the staff was far less friendly (other than one waiter and Sorin the Program Director, he was funny!), the food was mediocre at best, very limited variety especially with lunch. Tours seemed disorganized. Information was lacking, especially with limited overhead announcements. The sundeck was closed down for a majority of the time. The same wines were offered every day, other than when they FINALLY gave us something different on the last day. We also were among those that had to be bussed to another port as the Tor could not sail through at Passau. So we were disappointed that we had to re-pack everything, bus to the next port, unpack again, etc. We didn't really lose any tour time, but the 2nd ship the Viking Var was FAR worse than the Tor. Staff on the Var were really not friendly at all. We were told there was Wifi access in every cabin, yet our cabin 212 had NO wifi on the Var, forcing me to have to go down to the lobby and use that, and that even was slow. The first night on the Var we were fed the very SAME meal we had the night before on the Tor. Our group of 4 couples were very disappointed with Viking. While I will "never say never", I have no desire to sail Viking ever again until less maybe if it was totally free (unlikely). Avalon is FAR better with food, staff, and organization! Read Less
71 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
For August 2015, we booked a 14-day cruise through Gate 1 on Luftner’s Amadeus Silver from Amsterdam to Budapest. Because of low water, the first 5 days were a bus tour and we boarded the ship in Passau. This review is not about the ... Read More
For August 2015, we booked a 14-day cruise through Gate 1 on Luftner’s Amadeus Silver from Amsterdam to Budapest. Because of low water, the first 5 days were a bus tour and we boarded the ship in Passau. This review is not about the substituted bus tour (which I will address in a separate posting). This review solely presents my comments and opinions about the 9-day cruise on the Danube from Passau to Budapest. This was our 54th cruise, but only our 3rd cruise on a small riverboat. It is a given that riverboats do not have the amenities and choices that are available on the ocean cruises, but this cruise was the least nice of all our preceding 51 ocean cruises and 2 river cruises. The cabin was fine in all respects. The temperature control for both cooling and heating was the best we ever had on any ship. We could make the room as cool or as warm as we wanted. Cabin size was 172 square feet, which I consider average. We upgraded to a French balcony, but realized during the cruise that this was a waste of money. While the novel power-operated window worked properly, and a French balcony is an interesting concept, we soon learned that we did not to open a cabin-wide window to hot air, humidity, bugs, etc. On a real balcony, you can sit outside with the door closed, which is not the case for a French balcony. The ship’s public areas were okay but not as fancy as on our two previous river cruises. Riverboats have few amenities compared with ocean-going ships and therefore cannot be compared with them. The Amadeus Silver’s public areas were nice, but not as nice as we experienced with Viking River Cruises or on any other ship. The food was wholesome and nicely presented. However, the value and selection of cuts and available food items were well below all of our previous 53 cruises. The breakfast offerings were unremarkable and seemed to be the same every day except for one item. The dinner offerings did not include any nice cuts of beef or lamb. The food was tasty for sure but no more than minimally adequate, and only 2- to 3-star value at best, and not the 5-stars we have always received in the past. The dining room seemed understaffed and the servers overworked. Service was unusually slow most nights. Two of the evening dinners were buffet style for which we had to serve ourselves. We never experienced this for dinner on any of our 53 prior cruises. This is not what a 4- or 5-star cruising should be about! For three of the nine days (33.3%), we were docked more than an hour away from where we wanted to be. For Vienna, we docked in Nussdorf, a distant suburb of Vienna. As written in the Luftner daily program, to reach Vienna one had to walk about 20 minutes along the river, then walk 200 meters from a bicycle store to a tunnel, then through the tunnel to Nussdofer Platz, and then to the nearest tram stop. When we add the time waiting for the next tram, and the tram ride into the city, this trip took approximately 1 hour 10 minutes for just one direction. To my count, there were 3 boats (two of Luftner’s) docked in distant Nussdorf, and 13 boats docked in Downtown Vienna. It turns out that (per a posted sign) Luftner owns the Nussdorf pier and property. Instead docking in Downtown Vienna, Luftner docks in the remote suburb of Nussdorf. This is cheap, cheap, cheap, and very inconvenient for ship passengers!!! Luftner Corporate later wrote me that Nussdorf is a prime location because of its proximity to the wine areas. In my opinion, that is not true from a practical perspective. To get to the wine villages, we had travel into Vienna to board the hop-on/hop-off bus going to the wine area. Docking in Nussdorf is cheap and undesirable. I suggest that you search the Internet for the Nussdorf dock and/or Vienna docking and see what other people are saying. Absolutely no one we spoke with on the ship wanted to be docked in Nussdorf. The onboard entertainment consisted of a female singer and her accompanying pianist. They were okay. Local entertainment was only brought on board for one of the nine nights. This was the worst quality entertainment offerings we have ever experienced in 54 cruises. This Luftner Amadeus Silver cruise had the lowest quality and value when compared to all of our 53 prior cruises. Overall, I rate the cruise we experienced to be about 2 to 3 stars, and the distant docking to be a terrible 0 stars. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
Background: This was our first river cruise. My wife and I have been on most major ocean cruises (45) to nearly all continents. Point being is that we are no novice at cruising. We have been on excellent to bad cruises and have rolled ... Read More
Background: This was our first river cruise. My wife and I have been on most major ocean cruises (45) to nearly all continents. Point being is that we are no novice at cruising. We have been on excellent to bad cruises and have rolled with the punches. We selected three day pre-cruise in Prague. The hotel Corinthia was not the newest but the accommodations were nice and Prague was one of the best cities I have ever been in. Highly recommend. Got an email from Viking that the river was low and we had to go to Passau to board the boat. I got this email only because the Corinthia Hotel had outstanding Wifi. I even made a face book call back to the USA in the bar which was a treat. Point being here was the email from Viking was the only warning that the trip was going south. Got bused to Passau. Viking should advertised this "cruise" as a sit in port then bus. We spend hours on various buses trying to "make the best of it". I came to hate the phrase as the Viking entertainment director seem to like it a lot. We sat in Passau next to an industrial site with a view of the dumpster for three days. My balcony view was a concrete wall. I requested to leave the ship and get credit. Was told by ship's personnel that they could not make that decision. Only "corporate" could make that decision and corporate would contact us 5 business days after the cruise. This meant the very distinct and as it turned out likely possibility of paying twice. Go back to Prague or stay on the ship was the choice. Did not have the guts to take a $7000 hit so stayed on the ship. After three days of a seven day cruise, we were not in the best of moods so that may have colored our judgement somewhat. Here are some other observations: Food : Poor to mediocre. Served hot dogs for lunch. Now that is real luxury dining for you. Viking gives the impression of gourmet dining. I have been on cheap ocean cruise ships serving 2,000 people that did a better job. I was served as an appetizer at dinner a half of a breaded chicken wing on a very large plate. Must be the large plate made it special. Could go on but you get the idea. Think the gourmet chef was on holiday. Room: Cabin was nice so no complaints. The cabin was even wired with 110 volt American style outlets. Entertainment: Small ship so did not expect much in the way of entertainment. Had a piano player that was good. Bar: Spend a lot of time at the bar as we were not cruising. Made a pretty good margarita. Main complaint is we lost three days of the cruise and have hear absolutely nothing from Viking. Seems this low river has been going on for six weeks prior to our arrival. If I had know that this was going on, I would have cancelled before I got there. Viking informed us the day after we arrived and we were told we "had to make the best of it". Very poor customer relations. Based on the food, lack of cruising, over priced for what you get, and poor customer relations, I recommend that you stay far away from Viking as you can. Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
The first 8 days were changed to the AmaVenita because of low water levels around Nurenburg...and changed to the Ama Reina for the last half of the trip....no problem there. Day one...we entered our cabin 204, Catagory T+ which gave us an ... Read More
The first 8 days were changed to the AmaVenita because of low water levels around Nurenburg...and changed to the Ama Reina for the last half of the trip....no problem there. Day one...we entered our cabin 204, Catagory T+ which gave us an outdoor balcony plus a French Balcony. Very nice, except that another ship was moored right along side us. so - no view except of a neighbouring cabin about 10cm from our balcony. This was to happen frequently during the trip, sometimes with ships moored on both sides of us for hours. When you consider that we paid $22,000 for the 15 days (airfares extra) - anyway -I decided we were quite often a 5star club sandwich. We were told by staff members that this was only going to get worse as more ships enter the tourist market in river cruising in Europe! O.k day nine - first morning on the AmaReina, we are still sleeping, it is 6.45am and in walked the cleaners to clean our room!!!! I did complain and was told that they got the wrong room - not acceptable , by my standards. We had also been led to believe, from the T.V commercials, brochures etc that most days we would be able to walk into towns/villages in our leasure time - this does not happen....mostly we were moored too far from towns, even for tours etc we were taken by bus, sometimes up to two hours, to get to the advertised daily excursion. Budapest was a very welcome exception - we were actually moored very close to town. Meals were plentiful, and very good. BUT, you did need to eat on call, no time to relax -because the days events were so over organized, be back at a certain time, lunch is now! ship is sailing now! Nurenburg was advertised that we could VISIT the Nazi War Courts - not so - we had this building pointed out to us as we went passed on the bus!! Just one of many advertised mis-informations in the brochures. Back to day one - arriving at Amsterdam airport we were met by an APT driver, however he picked up 2 others as well as us so we did not get the promised porterage - and that airport is huge.... The good points...well, if we had not done the trip we would not know that organized, regulated holidays are not for us. We will stick to our usual fly/drive holidays in Europe Entertainment on board was very good. Staff were so attentive that is became quite difficult to say 'good morning' a few dozen times. There was a 'gentle walk' available with most shore excursions - we took advantage of them..... Oh, Well, now I wonder if you will print this. I also wonder at only good reviews, there were many people on board with similar complaints....... Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
Forget about the marketing claims; this river cruise line cannot handle obstacles in an efficient manner. Had a very good pre-cruise to Prague & Bratislava but after getting on board, the Danube River water levels were low causing a ... Read More
Forget about the marketing claims; this river cruise line cannot handle obstacles in an efficient manner. Had a very good pre-cruise to Prague & Bratislava but after getting on board, the Danube River water levels were low causing a barge to run a ground. This event occurred on a Friday and from there things went downhill. For 5-days we were stuck in Passau Germany while the Vantage management decided what to do with us. On day 7 of our 14-day cruise, we were given a choice; fly home with a credit, or "continue with a re-arranged itinerary and stay in a 5 star hotel in Mainz Germany," according to the letter from Vantage management. The "re-arranged itinerary" was via daily bus rides to points of interest. The so called 5 star hotel was The Hilton in Mainz Germany; and unfortunately, Vantage never told us the hotel name until after we signed our intentions. The problem with Vantage is they mislead us as I cannot find a 5 star rating among many travel guidance sites. Our meals were all buffet style with a disappointing assortment. Additionally, the dinner meals on the ship included unlimited wine or beer at dinner, and the Hilton offering included one drink only. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
when the cruise worked, it was magical. unfortunately, when it didn't, the crew bungled the message, misled the guests, and hid the fact that we would spend more time on a bus than a boat. the cruise actually knew before we ... Read More
when the cruise worked, it was magical. unfortunately, when it didn't, the crew bungled the message, misled the guests, and hid the fact that we would spend more time on a bus than a boat. the cruise actually knew before we arrived that we would have difficulties, but the email we received from viking before the cruise stated there were minor adjustments that would have no impact on our trip, simply a change of ship. no problem, they substitute airplanes all the time and I don't notice a difference. well, what they knew but didn't explain was that the river was too low and the ships couldn't cross. their solution was to put us on a bus and drive us 2 hours over to the next excursion the following day and 2 hours back. the third day, we from 3.5 hours to the next excursion and 2 hours to a new ship which we had to pack all our suitcases up to transfer. finally, the last day, they dropped us off and bused us 1.5 hours into budapest. i spent a lot of time on a bus. one day, my husband and i took the train back which was 1/3 of the time, but the cruise line would not reimburse us. I understand the cruise can not help if the river was low, but they did a poor job of managing my expectations. they refused to give us more than 12 hour look into the future, despite the fact that they knew they whole time we would have to travel to and from the different excursions on a bus. if they would have simply explained the problem and discussed in detail the new itinerary the first night, most of the guests would have adjusted their expectations. the customer service was very poor. when you could travel to the town, disembark and see the town, it was truly magical. the towns were beautiful. if i did it again, i would take the itinerary and use the train. also, the tours and tour guides in the towns were great. if i took the river cruise i would check with authorities before going and cancel the cruise if the river was too high or too low. don't call viking though because they won't give you a straight answer Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
Trip of a lifetime for 2 ladies in late 60s. We had researched well and decided on a river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. Modern boats with excellent food , wifi, brilliant tv system great cabins with balconies. The first week was ... Read More
Trip of a lifetime for 2 ladies in late 60s. We had researched well and decided on a river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. Modern boats with excellent food , wifi, brilliant tv system great cabins with balconies. The first week was superb and exceeded our expectations.the low water level on the Danube then made it impossible for our boat to continue. We were offered a flight home or transfer to an equivalent boat. We chose the latter. Well the staff and food transferred with us - excellent- but the Boat was by no means equal- virtually no wifi ( imperative as my companions husband was in Peru on business), no English TV, poor cabins with sofa beds and stained carpet, poor plumbing. We complained on board as did many other guests and were assured we would be contacted upon our return home- total silence! Several letters were exchanged and we were offered 5% off our next cruise by very arrogant customer service personnel - totally unexceptable- this cruise was £3.800 each! Family bereavement unabled us to continue our dialogue and take the matter further but future travellers beware. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
Based on a wonderful Rhine cruise on Viking last year, we booked the Portraits of Southern France river cruise for this year. What a mistake. We arrived in France at the tail end of the European heat wave. The temperature was in the upper ... Read More
Based on a wonderful Rhine cruise on Viking last year, we booked the Portraits of Southern France river cruise for this year. What a mistake. We arrived in France at the tail end of the European heat wave. The temperature was in the upper 90s. The air conditioning on the ship was not functioning properly and the cabins/restaurant areas were very warm to the point of being uncomfortable. We were never addressed by the Captain to explain the problem. Various crew members gave different reasons. It was obvious that there had been some instruction not to comment to guests. I felt so sorry for the restaurant servers who had to work so hard in the heat. The problem was finally fixed on Day 5 of the trip. Thank goodness the weather broke and became cooler. On the evening before the problem was fixed, however, our cabin was 81 degrees. We could not open our doors because there was an invasion of spiders. The ship had to call for pest extermination. The we could not use the veranda since it had been sprayed with pesticide. The other not so great part was dinner in the restaurant. Again, some offerings were hit and miss. The serving portions were also very small. There was nothing available for snacks for that 9PM hunger attack. We were fortunate that we had a suite that was supplied with fruit. The ports of call were mostly great. Lyon was fantastic. The small French villages and cities were beautiful. We especially enjoyed our excursion to Beaune. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
While water levels on the Elbe River precluded sailing, it was Viking's unforgivable failure to notify its customers of the situation in a timely fashion that makes their reputation seem suspect if not undeserved. Many passengers ... Read More
While water levels on the Elbe River precluded sailing, it was Viking's unforgivable failure to notify its customers of the situation in a timely fashion that makes their reputation seem suspect if not undeserved. Many passengers received e-mails from Viking saying there were problems on the Elbe with only about 24 hours notice and in some cases only after they'd already arrived in Europe. Further it appeared that inaccurate or incomplete information was provided to the ship-board personnel who had to face irate customers asking about modified itineraries, etc. Initially no Viking representative could definitively answer whether passengers would sail at any point and it goes without saying that there was no one available to explain customer alternatives such as cancellation or postponement. Basically, you were "stuck". Viking's solution was to first motor coach passengers to one ship (Viking Astrild serving as a floating hotel) on which they were lodged for three days then to motor coach passenger farther down the river to another ship (Viking Beyla serving as floating hotel number two) for another three days. Tours to featured sites were done by bus using the ships as home base. At no time did any Viking customer sail on any Viking ship. The crews of both vessels were superlative and to be honest, the sites visited went a long way toward mitigating the inconvenience. But, WITH LITTLE OR NO PRIOR NOTICE, a bus tour was foisted on folks who had purchased and expected a river cruise. A negative feeling hung over the entire trip. Viking's gesture of good will was to offer one thousand dollar vouchers to be used against the cost of a future Viking cruise. I believe most people considered this as tantamount to an insult. While Viking's equipment and on board staffing continue to be exceptional, its administration and customer relations - which is distinctly unresponsive - are a dismal failure. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
The trip had its ups and downs, starting with the flight out of Philly: - the upgraded seats promised were not confirmed and they had no info about special meals (I am vegan, my daughter vegetarian) either, so they had no food I could ... Read More
The trip had its ups and downs, starting with the flight out of Philly: - the upgraded seats promised were not confirmed and they had no info about special meals (I am vegan, my daughter vegetarian) either, so they had no food I could eat - not a good start. Also, the 4 hours in-between flights in Paris ensured that we completely missed the first day in Budapest: while our fellow travelers were welcomed with cocktails in the morning, had lunch on the boat and an organized visit of Budapest, we were sitting down on the floor of an overcrowded terminal eating peanuts. Once we made it on the Freya, more bad news for me: although there were 3 vegans on board, the chef told me that they cannot accommodate individual preferences in food, so it was a lot of raw. unseasoned veggies and lettuces. 3 times we also had for dinner 3 transparent pieces of tofu with our veggies - not much in terms of protein, is it? Healthy overall, but so not worth the money I paid - NOT AT ALL! The other 2 vegans filled up on bread and olive oil - unlucky for me, I'm gluten intolerant, so cannot eat bread more than once a day without serious consequences. There were ample amounts of butter patisseries for breakfast (not vegan), so my husband went to the Chef toward the end of the cruise to ask him to make me once something I could eat at breakfast (muffins can be made with applesauce) in addition to the same 3 kinds of fruits I had had every day: the next morning I was brought a cup of very-VERY salty gooey rice. He meant to insult us and he did it - we never asked for anything after that. On the bright side, I lost 4 lbs on the trip, although I had most of my lunches on-land, in the places we visited - Europe is very accommodating for vegans, it's a shame that the cruise did not think our money was enough to feed us too. We had already visited two on the destinations (Vienna and Melk), but the guides there provided additional information and insights. The guide in Nuremberg was great too, the best by far. In Regensburg, we had a guide who was not one: she brought her very succinct info on little cards, and to all questions from our group she would answer: "ha-ha-ha, I don't know!" It was not funny though. She talked about Martin Luther and again, when someone asked when he lived, she said that it was funny, people asked that before, but she forgets to look it up. When I said early 16th, it did not seem right to her. It was a perfect waste of a morning. The kids were dismayed by the lack of on-board entertainment, the WIFI (you could connect to but did not work), and the absence of young people. There was a 13 year old with her mom and grandma, but that was it. Their typical customer is in their late 60's. We were all disappointed by the lack of entertainment: apart from the one opera night there was just a piano player at night playing his oldies but goldies (for the target audience). The most dismaying thing though was when the concierge told me she could not put me in touch with people whose cabin was on the 3rd floor (to go together to a concert) because "they're from the 3rd floor, you understand, they're really high up people". I might be wrong, but I probably spent more on 2 cabins on the lower floor than they did for their single one on the 3rd! The same concierge booked us to see a concert at the Golden Hall (Muskiverein), when I clearly told her that we wanted to be inside the Opera House at Opemring 2, Wiener Staatsoper, I repeated it for her - she just did not care. I really wanted to be inside the Opera: I studied opera, 3 of my relatives are opera singers, and on our first visit to Vienna years before we could not get tickets for that night's performance. When our taxi dropped us off at the Opera, where indeed there was a performance that night, and yes, they did have tix available, we were told our tickets were not for there - with the help of nice policemen we were directed to the Hall, where us and a good segment of the Chinese population watched musicians dressed like Mozart perform snippets from his concerts and operas. Not good and again, it shows how much Viking cares about you once you have paid. At the end of the cruise, when my husband asked the concierge about the cab we had ordered she told him she was too busy preparing for the next guests - it would have taken her the same time to tell us where cabs came. For the formal night at the end of the cruise, although we arrived at 7:03 in the dining room (dinner started at 7), none of the tables had more than 3 seats available. They could have asked people who were not a family or together to move to the next table to accommodate us, but instead we were told to move to the upstairs deck where we had our last dinner alone, away from the party, in our long gowns and pretty make-up. Somehow it was a fitting end to this cruise. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
After having done nearly 20 ocean cruises, and hearing so much praise about river cruising we thought we would enjoy an Amsterdam-Budapest river cruise. We booked APT Travelmarvel. What a disappointment. Overall it was disappointing and ... Read More
After having done nearly 20 ocean cruises, and hearing so much praise about river cruising we thought we would enjoy an Amsterdam-Budapest river cruise. We booked APT Travelmarvel. What a disappointment. Overall it was disappointing and definitely not value for money, although the scenery was interesting and the same as other ships experienced. The cabin was very adequate with floor to ceiling sliding doors and a surprisingly large bathroom, although naturally not as large as ocean liners. There was a fridge and safe in the cabin. There was only one dining area. The meals were average and although there was a very limited range of wine and beer at meal times, drinks at other times were not complimentary. Meal times were bedlam, particularly at dinner time. It was almost impossible to sit with friends and tables could not be reserved and other travellers rushed tables as soon as the dining room doors were open. Not that there is any problem dining with various people, some who were pleasant and some non-communicative and unfriendly. That is human nature. The waiters were very efficient and friendly, and the cruise director had incredible local knowledge of every port we visited. We did not feel there was enough free time at some stops and at others the stopping time was too short, and while local tour guides on the whole were very knowledgeable, several were downright boring. The novelty of the locks wore off after the first few. One of the major problems was NOISE. There were no quiet lounge areas where you could sit and talk with other passengers. The only lounge area seemed to continually have groups talking in the loudest of voices, making it difficult to concentrate on reading, using the internet or even engaging with other passengers. The local entertainment that came on board was superb, but after their show had finished the room seemed to be converted into a teen disco. Very loud disco music was played by the DJ/keyboardist. It was almost impossible as 60-70+ age group passengers crowded on to the dance floor solo (no partners required) and gyrated, yelled and threw their arms in the air. No conversations again were possible. And the more they drank the rowdier they became. So do no waste your money on a Travelmarvel river cruise which unbeknowns to us, was the bottom of the rung in the APT fleet. The bonus was that even though a poor cruise, it still went to most of the same ports as the more expensive cruises. From the people we spoke to, it appeared that those that enjoyed the cruise most were the noisy groups (majority) and those that had done little or no travel on ocean cruises. To top off our experiences was the issue with ship hygiene. About half the ship had colds and a severe cough which spread rapidly, almost becoming an epidemic. Hygiene was not addressed by ship’s officers at any time, in fact was totally ignored, expect when they had to order doctors on board to treat those infected. Even though there was hand sanitiser near the dining room, at no time was this mentioned or enforced and many passengers did not use it. Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
In Australia, we were happy to pay the $11,000 per person (excluding airfares) based on the fact that everything you could possibly need or want on tour was included in the tour price - "a five star, once in a lifetime luxurious ... Read More
In Australia, we were happy to pay the $11,000 per person (excluding airfares) based on the fact that everything you could possibly need or want on tour was included in the tour price - "a five star, once in a lifetime luxurious experience!" is what we were sold. This was supported by advertising propaganda provided to our travel agent, inserts in their Scenic Russia brochure and on-line advertising which states "travel without your wallet"! and shows pictures of a butler cleaning shoes, etc. On boarding the ship the story is very different, with passengers being asked to sign paperwork for their "on-board account" as soon as they board the ship. Nothing is at request, with access to food and drink only at meal times unless you pay. The only exception being tea and coffee which can be obtained from a machine at any time. Dispite being asked to provide dietary requirements months in advance, these are only catered for as an after-thought by removing what can't be eaten (no special meals) and if it can't be removed, expect to be offered very little to eat. There is no butler, no assistance for elderly passengers, no laundry, a Dr is on board but all medical services must be paid for. Rooms are modest. The fitness centre is a walking machine and a bike in the upstairs bar. Live entertainment is rare, most evenings this will entail the sad sight of a member of crew DJing. In no way the five star, once in a lifetime luxurious experience it was billed as being. In the very least, knowing the truth would have allowed us to pack and budget differently. But in reality had we known the truth about what was on offer, we would not have taken this tour. To say we are dissappointed is an understatement. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
Our first and last river cruise with Scenic. I totally agree with the poor review on this website. Our cruise was supposed to be a gastronomique and wine cruise in France. Well the classical French dishes were nowhere to be seen let alone ... Read More
Our first and last river cruise with Scenic. I totally agree with the poor review on this website. Our cruise was supposed to be a gastronomique and wine cruise in France. Well the classical French dishes were nowhere to be seen let alone resemble classical French dishes. Bouillibaise, French Onion soup, mussels, crepes suzettes, coq au vin etc where did they get the recipes from? The cabin was small in comparison with cruise ships. The waiters understood little English. One night we asked to see the Maitre D and got a pot of tea. We complained to the hotel manager about the food and was told that we cater mainly for Australians. Is that an insult to Australians or is it an insult to Brits, Canadians and Americans who were on the ship. As like the poor review we paid in excess on £11000 for what is classed as a luxury cruise and by far this is the worst cruise we have been on. This was our 15 cruise but our first river cruise. The company advertisers itself as top market. I would have thought that being if France the food would be as advertised in brochure, no where near. The chefs hands are tied by a moron in head office. The housekeeping and reception were excellent along with literally one or two waiters/butlers. Would I recommend Scenic, never in a month of Sundays Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We've recently sailed on American Eagle from New Orleans to Memphis. It was not a pleasant experience though: First of all and the most important: if you ever been on a river cruise in Europe/Asia with let’s saying Viking, ... Read More
We've recently sailed on American Eagle from New Orleans to Memphis. It was not a pleasant experience though: First of all and the most important: if you ever been on a river cruise in Europe/Asia with let’s saying Viking, AmaWaterways, Tauck, Avalon etc…- do not take this cruise: you’ll be vastly disappointed. But first let me briefly describe our trip: We stayed at a hotel next to the French Quarter, in the morning got to the New Orleans port and had a smooth on time check-in. For an unknown reason musicians already stopped the embarkation entertainment and all welcome drinks were gone. It was a first call something is wrong, but we realized it later. So here is what we experienced during this cruise and what defers it from let's say an ordinary Danube cruise: - Same people (mostly college students on a summer break) work as a housekeeping stuff and serve dishes in the dining room. That’s the source of all service issues. - Very limited breakfast selection and by menu only. So expect to spend twice much time than if there was a buffet. - No barbecue on top deck in spite of a mostly nice weather. - Overall very limited food selection: only American food. No such things as thematic dinners: let’s say French, Italian etc… - Mostly “Gallo family” wines used. (the cost is around $3 in our local Walmart store). - Minor thing but no wine service in the dining room: need to pour glasses by ourselves. Wine is already on a table. - As other reviewers already mentioned the acoustic in the dining room is terrible. - Our cabin was never vacuumed - Many cabins have dampness issues. Shame for a new ship and whoever designed it! - Slow wireless internet disappearing at the same time as your cellphone service. On top of that the American Cruise Lines did not even fulfill what was promised with no explanation given: we never visited Oak Alley Plantation as advertised in the day by day schedule on their website. Overall it was a 1 start cruise for us but thanks to the entertainment and included tours which were pretty good I am giving it 2 stars. Here is the summary: I'd recommend this cruise only if you absolutely do not care about the service you receive, your kin is impatiently waiting for your death and tons of money under your bed still needs to be spent. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We stayed at a hotel near the port in Memphis. The check-in process was smooth. The boat was in good condition and traveled on the river very well. Spending time on our balcony while going down the river was pleasant. The shore ... Read More
We stayed at a hotel near the port in Memphis. The check-in process was smooth. The boat was in good condition and traveled on the river very well. Spending time on our balcony while going down the river was pleasant. The shore excursions were very interesting and enjoyable The internet connection was slow, when available The meals were better on some days than others, but the one consistent thing was the food was served cold most of the time. Talking to the Kitchen Staff along with Management did not make a difference - their attitude was "you do not matter and take the meals as is". The Staff turned distant and aloof after our comments and complaints, making this cruise disappointing. Entertainment on the boat is nonexistent We enjoyed the time off the boat visiting the small cities This cruise is very expensive and did not live up to expectations Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
What a greeting we got the window to board was one hour we had come from Tokyo by bullet then a Taxi that did not know were the port was then we got out of the Taxi two crew took our bags and lead us to the gangway very nice touch, on ... Read More
What a greeting we got the window to board was one hour we had come from Tokyo by bullet then a Taxi that did not know were the port was then we got out of the Taxi two crew took our bags and lead us to the gangway very nice touch, on entering the Ship 23 min early we were treated to you are early sit there till your cabin is ready , our party was made up of a 86 year old a 70 & a 60 year old the attitude shown was rude abrupt discourteous and not a credit to the French people it followed on with the reception counter staff also French The cabin was great but no list is given on what is included in you package and what is paid for the most of the cabin crew & restaurant staff are great not French the off handed French restaurant manger falling over the French customers but keeping away from the Australians Food quality could not be described a fine dining it had its moment but over all was not up to P&O at half the cost P&O , Carnival Line & Princess Line are able to handle 2500 passengers boarding in four hours this boat could not handle 200 Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
Failed in the area of knowledgeable land guides. Although not Viking personnel, Viking is responsible for the experience. There was one good guide out of seven. High expectations for food; and the food was, at best, average. Failed at ... Read More
Failed in the area of knowledgeable land guides. Although not Viking personnel, Viking is responsible for the experience. There was one good guide out of seven. High expectations for food; and the food was, at best, average. Failed at ports of call. All but two ports required bus transportation, not walking distance as pictured in the brochures and on-line. Two ports were cement and cinder block manufacturing companies. Two days, our room was without some power. No a/c, no refrigerator, no TV/music, spotty internet. This will sound petty; but you must prepare for this, and we were not. You go through more than 20 locks. Two or three are interesting. The cabin was impossibly small. Evening briefings were painstakingly read, as were the "lectures" on local culture and attractions. Outstanding staff. Can not say enough about the staff. Beautifully appointed boat, two years old. Clean and well maintained. Some of the on-board "local" entertainment was really good. The rating below are based on the overall price of the cruise. It costs a whole lot more; and therefore, the expectations are a whole lot higher. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2015
This cruise was problematic in: - Lack of food to buy onboard between meals Room was strictly average in care and staff upkeep -Food was mediocre although it looked good, but poor quality -Staff was mediocre in politeness and ... Read More
This cruise was problematic in: - Lack of food to buy onboard between meals Room was strictly average in care and staff upkeep -Food was mediocre although it looked good, but poor quality -Staff was mediocre in politeness and helpfulness; unaccomodating -Half of the tour guides were above average, the rest mediocre and below average - Scarcity of onboard activities - Program director and her immediate staff were helpful and agreeable Comments by some staff members: When our shower flooded: "That happens sometimes on these ships". No apologies? nothing When I requested more food: "We don't have anymore- was thrown away" Ridiculous- no civility or manners. Much dismissiveness on our requests- who trained these people? - It might help if their English skills were better also. We paid a considerable amount of money for this trip- I can't believe how poor it was. -We have been on cruises to the Mediterranean, Alaska, and the Caribbean. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
On our way to the airport on May 5 we received an email from Viking River Cruises telling us that because of rising water levels, our ship, the Delling, would not be able cruise. We would be housed in a hotel, the Novotel, for at least 1 ... Read More
On our way to the airport on May 5 we received an email from Viking River Cruises telling us that because of rising water levels, our ship, the Delling, would not be able cruise. We would be housed in a hotel, the Novotel, for at least 1 night in Avignon. While we were disappointed we understood that this was something out of Viking's control. However, I was concerned that the Novotel would not meet the standards of a Viking Cruise and I called Viking from the airport asking them for more information and what steps they were taking to make sure we got our money's worth from this trip. The representative I spoke with would not give me any further information. Upon arrival in Avignon we were brought to the hotel via bus. The hotel was adequate the food less than adequate. We were served 5 meals at the Novotel, none of them close to the quality we expected from a Viking cruise. We spent 2 1/2 days at the hotel and instead of cruising to our daily destinations, we were bussed everywhere. Our guides were good but the trips to and from our destinations seemed interminable and were exactly what we hoped to avoid when we booked a river cruise. We finally were brought to the Delling on the 3rd night. The next morning it was back on the bus with lunch at a restaurant - not at all what was promised in the itinerary. We finally cruised from Vienne to Lyon for 2 1/2 hours. That was the full extent of being moving on the water. The bus trips were long and arduous, not at all relaxing. Again, we had lunch at restaurants that were just adequate. We had booked a 3 night extension to Paris. Because we couldn't cruise to our final destination, it took a 7 hour bus trip to get there, not arriving until 4:00. Most of the day was gone by the time we arrived. Our 5 star hotel turned out to be a tired Warwick Hotel that needed to refurbished and thoroughly cleaned. From the hair in the bathtub to no doorman most of the time, it was certainly not worth what we paid for it. I contacted Viking when I got home and was astounded that the customer service department was not available because they were all on a cruise! They would not be listening to their voice mail and would only check email periodically. It is over a week since we returned and have not heard anything from Viking. Not even a form letter apologizing for the circumstances of our cruise. We have subsequently found out that Viking knew of the problem a week before the cruise but didn't notify any of the passengers until it would be too late to cancel. It seems this happens frequently in the spring, but we were never told that this might happen. We would never have booked the trip if we knew that there was a good chance that it would not be allowed to embark. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
My wife and I booked the Viking river cruise in Europe for our 25th wedding anniversary and it turned out to be a bus tour of Europe! The river level was too high for the first four days so we couldn't leave Basel. Finally the ... Read More
My wife and I booked the Viking river cruise in Europe for our 25th wedding anniversary and it turned out to be a bus tour of Europe! The river level was too high for the first four days so we couldn't leave Basel. Finally the river level went down slightly and we began moving. Yippee! Oops, we only went about thirty miles then found out that the lock workers were on strike so we couldn't pass through the locks. Dead in the water... More bus tours... So we didn't get the experience of the river cruise, didn't get to use our balcony that we paid extra for. To Viking's credit they tried hard to "make things right". But we did not get what we paid for, not even close. They knew about these risks beforehand but did not inform us beforehand. There's a lot of money at stake from their end but they now have some very unhappy customers which will cost them more in the long run. They offered us a puny credit toward a future cruise. This is unacceptable in our view. I am pointing all of this out to prospective and returning Viking customers so you know what you may be getting yourselves into. Understand that YOU bear the brunt of these risks before you sign up. Viking will always win, just like a casino. Happy travels. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
I am asking for a refund of my entire trip on the Viking Pride, Paris and the Beaches of Normandy, 12-19 April (including air travel which began on 11 April). The ship was in an accident the day before our arrival (11 April, 3 p.m. Paris ... Read More
I am asking for a refund of my entire trip on the Viking Pride, Paris and the Beaches of Normandy, 12-19 April (including air travel which began on 11 April). The ship was in an accident the day before our arrival (11 April, 3 p.m. Paris = 9 a.m. New York). We were not notified until two days after our arrival and our embarking on the ship that we would not be sailing, due to the French authorities not allowing the Pride to sail with passengers in such a condition. We were bused instead to our first destination, and our bus was in an accident immediately upon leaving the port area. The bus smashed a small white car up against a phone pole on the side of the highway. The side door to the bus was crushed, not allowing any emergency exit should there have been a need. Upon arrival at Giverny, the bus was changed out for a new bus and our belongings were transferred. There were missing items. Time was abbreviated at each destination (:58 minutes to run through Monet's gardens and house); we never got to Vernon as promised. We were also bused to a hotel on the outskirts of Paris where we had to endure bad food and pay for phone usage ($56.95), not to mention having to pack, unpack, repack, and load our own bags on and off the ship and to the buses and to the hotel and to and from our rooms at the Marriott. We were bused for 2 hours and 20 minutes to get to the Pride, now docked in Rouen at the repair yard. Our views were industrial all around, with loud noise from repairs being completed as we ate our lunch on the sundeck breathing in and ingesting all the dust from the charcoal factory next to us. Again, we were bused to town and time was cut short due to transportation issues from where we were supposed to be docked and the repair shipyard where we had no internet service as well. When we finally sailed our first centimeter out of the shipyard, we gathered on the deck, only to find crew members with sanding belts, loudly sanding off the paint on the bow area, dust flying at us in every direction. I have video with audio for your perusal if you desire. We had to go into the lounge, where instead of watching the ship progress down the Seine, we watched the crew sand, hose down, and then paint the bow in front of us, as we cruised. In summary, Viking River Cruises practiced deceit in not informing me that the ship was inoperable, instead deceiving me into "embarking" onto the ship, as your contract states, so that I was at your mercy in your alternate arrangements. I argue that Viking had enough time and should have had the decent courtesy to clearly inform me of the situation so that I could have made my own decision about traveling. I did not choose a Viking Bus Tour for my once-a-year holiday! Besides my extreme disappointment with your business practices, I am embarrassed to have talked my friend into going with me. She had been saving for six years to go on a vacation. I also believe you treated the ship's employees poorly, as they kept telling us they did not know anything further about the situation. It seems to me to be a clear case of "get them on the ship and keep stringing them along..." That is outrageous and inexcusable. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
This is a nice boat but its like vacationing at an elementary school,kids running up and down the hallways,banging doors and anything else they can get their hands on.There is no supervision by any staff member so I guess some bodies going ... Read More
This is a nice boat but its like vacationing at an elementary school,kids running up and down the hallways,banging doors and anything else they can get their hands on.There is no supervision by any staff member so I guess some bodies going to have to get hurt before any proper supervision.Food is ok,buffet is maniacal with people charging every which way.The finer dining restaurants are good but pretentious.Getting off ship for an excursion is reminiscent of leaving Yankee stadium after a World Series game.Sitting in my room waiting for maintenance who was called to fix tv and open defective safe(been a half hour) missing the Masters next time a river cruise(only150 guests as opposed to 4000 with 2500 screaming kids) Thank God for the beverage package! Read Less

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