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8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
Six of us booked the 14 days titled France's Finest. We got only as far as Lyon on day two of the second half of that trip on the Viking Hermod. As told by other people, the ship was rendered not able to continue because the ship ... Read More
Six of us booked the 14 days titled France's Finest. We got only as far as Lyon on day two of the second half of that trip on the Viking Hermod. As told by other people, the ship was rendered not able to continue because the ship hit something.. We all felt the jolt during the nite and even light in our bathroom went out. That was the end of our cruising. After two more nights aboard, we were bused to Avignon to different hotels. 1. There was obviously no set plan when an emergency occurs...it would seem that Viking would have a written Disaster Plan. It would have been helpful to crew and passengers! 2. The hotels and food offered were sub par and again not what we had experienced before. 3. The weather was very hot and many people had a really hard time as many of us are older! 4. We were told we would be compensated....and first we got a wrong email talking about water levels and offering 25 per cent off any Viking Cruise. Then we received an email saying first email was wrong and we would be receiving a voucher. We did receive a voucher for $663.88!!! We divided cost of this part of cruise and divided by seven and then multiplied by four and was $2800! We expected that compensation at least or a voucher for a future cruise...we spoke with another couple who experienced water level problem last year and they did not expect anything and received a 75 per cent voucher for another cruise.. 5. Not sure what has happened to Viking and their reputation. They have grown so much in last year and it seems quality of care of their passengers has really declined. Not sure about cause of accident, but what happened to us after that was not what we expected from Viking. 6. This was a special trip for us and we do not do a lot of trips and planning a year in advance is what we do. I do hope Viking reconsiders their small compensation. We were very disappointed Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
My wife and I highly recommend this cruise. We enjoyed the many tours (and the organization of groups according to their fitness level) and the valuable information provided by the tour guides. We had plenty of time to wander about by ... Read More
My wife and I highly recommend this cruise. We enjoyed the many tours (and the organization of groups according to their fitness level) and the valuable information provided by the tour guides. We had plenty of time to wander about by ourselves and at all times buses were on time to take us back to the boat. We also can't say enough about the humorous tour director (Valentine), courteous staff and excellent cuisine. The morning news schedules and afternoon meetings were most helpful in preparing us for the day's schedule. Our lower cabin was clean and comfortable. The smaller boat lends itself to a more intimate experience. The scenery the whole way is absolutely beautiful and we were impressed that the boat arrived as scheduled each day. Only thing we would recommend is greater laundry facilities and a place where we could iron clothes. Your prices are way to expensive. The pre-cruise itinerary sent was extremely helpful!! Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We sailed from Amsterdam on the Eir and enjoyed the first four nights. The trip was to be seven nights, ending in Basel.The chef was excellent and we had a happy ship. Due to high water we were transferred by bus to the Mani and the Mani ... Read More
We sailed from Amsterdam on the Eir and enjoyed the first four nights. The trip was to be seven nights, ending in Basel.The chef was excellent and we had a happy ship. Due to high water we were transferred by bus to the Mani and the Mani passengers were transferred to the Eir. The crew of the Mani had been told not to discuss how long they had been tied up at their location on the river. They finally, reluctantly, admitted the Mani and two other ships had been in that location for three nights, with the passengers being bussed everywhere. The food and service on the Mani were below par. We did not sail to Basel, but rather, were bussed. The cruise director said these circumstances were most unusual. We later learned this is a common occurrence. Viking knew before both the Eir and Mani sailed that there would be trouble due to the waters, but none of the Eir passengers were advised of anything until time to switch ships. We were even told not to ask questions. Not only has Viking not offered a refund, they didn't even offer to buy a drink. We will never again sail on Viking. My ratings below are a combination of both ships. In general the Eir was well run and, in general, the Mani was below par. The lack of information was inexcusable. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We were on the second trip of the Viking Gefjon, and also had room 205. Our trip was totally different than Ralphster. Due to high water, the ship was stuck at Kehl/Strasbourg for 5 nights. Each day, we would gather at 7 pm to hear what ... Read More
We were on the second trip of the Viking Gefjon, and also had room 205. Our trip was totally different than Ralphster. Due to high water, the ship was stuck at Kehl/Strasbourg for 5 nights. Each day, we would gather at 7 pm to hear what was going to happen the next day. Some days it was close to what the itinerary promised. Most of the time it wasn't. Each day there was a 20 minute walk to get on a bus to go somewhere with a church and a market square. No other options. There were problems with the bus tours, as buses were late, got lost, and had tour guides who couldn't work headsets. We even had a bus driver who was texting while driving on the Autobahn. The last night, we got our hopes up, as we were told the ship would be leaving at 10 pm and we would at least get to cruise one time. 10 pm came and went and the ship didn't move. The next day, we were bused to the middle Rhein where we had an hour and a half boatride. The worst part of the ride was that 2 other Viking Longships passed us - taking the cruise vacation we were supposed to have. I'm not blaming the ship's crew. But they were very new and inexperienced, and did not know how to calm people down, much less try to lighten a very disappointing vacation. Dinner service took over 2 hours each night, not that we had anything else to do. Being handed warm mineral water as we left the ship each day didn't improve peoples moods. We observed another ship who was in the same predicament as we were, docked a little down from us. Their crew was outside greeting them whenever they returned from a bus trip. The sad part is, I could have really enjoyed this trip. We took it to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary and we were eagerly looking forward to a nice vacation. We enjoyed ( for the most part) the open seating and getting to know other passengers. The room was nice, even though only one person could cross the foot of the bed at a time. I appreciated the night light in the bathroom. The much talked about heated bathroom floor didn't work. The movie selection was adequate, but not long enough. The balcony would have been lovely if the ship moved at all. I understand that flooding occurs often on the rivers that these ships travel. By now, management should have devised alternatives for their guests that didn't involve continually waiting to see what the next day would bring. If the ship had been proactive, it could have gone much further downstream when the flooding started and thus not gotten stuck at a point of no movement. Alternate tours and options should have been provided. On board entertainment could have been upgraded from accordion players. More than one free drink would have helped. When we returned, there was a 25% credit towards a future cruise emailed to us, as if 75% of the trip went well and 25% didn't. I don't know if I am going to use it. I'm not recommending this cruiseline. I think the company has grown too fast and not given enough thought to the problems that will occur. They have concentrated on expansion and not on customer relations. Even the customer service rep I talked to sounded tired of it all. Read Less
38 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
We booked a French waterways cruise south from Lyon to Monaco. Poor weather interrupted the boat and prohibited the ship from sailing. We booked a category 7 cabin and added the additional stay in Paris. After the second day on the boat we ... Read More
We booked a French waterways cruise south from Lyon to Monaco. Poor weather interrupted the boat and prohibited the ship from sailing. We booked a category 7 cabin and added the additional stay in Paris. After the second day on the boat we were advised that we would not be able to sail, hence we began a "coach tour", Most definitely not what we had signed up for. We consulted with Tauck staff to ascertain what remedial options we had. They put us off for 3 days saying we would be leaving in the evening, no, we would be leaving in the morning, no. Etc. each day the coach travel became longer and longer until we were on buses for up to 7 hrs a day. Each day we inquired we were told to wait. Having purchased the Tauck insurance we felt we might have recourse, the stress and anxiety was overwhelming. Finally at 6 pm on Day 4 they announced an alternate arrangement that required we decide immediately and leave the ship by 8am. When we asked if we had other options we were told yes but they had no details as to what they were. What kind of answer is that? We were completely held hostage! Tauck provided little compensation, merely a 1500. 00 cruise credit towards future travel with an expiry date attached. Regardless of your trip investment everyone received the same compensation. Category 7 or category below water! Itinerary was not fulfilled and the customer service post cruise has been unresponsive and complacent. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
We wanted to see the Tulips and the Flower Festival. The weather turned out to be terrible, we had rain, hail, cold, winds... even the guides commented about the weather. Husband came down with pneumonia and the staff and crew offered ... Read More
We wanted to see the Tulips and the Flower Festival. The weather turned out to be terrible, we had rain, hail, cold, winds... even the guides commented about the weather. Husband came down with pneumonia and the staff and crew offered NO HELP. I had to complain and complain to get them to take me to a pharmacy in town on the last day or so before we finished the cruise. River cruises, according to what we were told by Viking, have no medical facilities on board, not even aspirin or cold medications. Because they are so close to towns they say they don't need to. I disagree. He came home to a case of double pneumonia and had to be on antibiotics for two rounds. Not only that but each time we docked we were either up against another ship or up against a rusty pier and could not use our veranda for which we paid extra. Worst cruise I have ever been on. The excursion were fine except for walking in pouring rain. the people we met were fun. But as far as the staff - no thank you. I have a credit waiting for me to be used on a future Viking cruise and will not use it. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
We booked and paid for the cruise over 9 months prior to departure to ensure we had a confirmed early dinner booking as one of the party has a medical condition that prevents them from eating late at night. On arrival we were given our ... Read More
We booked and paid for the cruise over 9 months prior to departure to ensure we had a confirmed early dinner booking as one of the party has a medical condition that prevents them from eating late at night. On arrival we were given our cruise cards which had early sitting printed on them. The Purser told us that we were scheduled for late dinner sitting. We showed him our cruise cards which he turned over and showed us the word "late" in texta on the back. We were told that all the groups wanted the early sitting so we had been moved. Our dining venue was the café. A limited range of cold dishes and only a small table outside where it was freezing cold and the wind so strong it blew the food off our forks. We spoke to the purser about the cold food and were told that soup and chicken were not meant to be served hot. staff in the café handled food with their bare hands, cutlery and crockery were consistently dirty. We came across a number of other passengers who had their early dinner settings altered to suit the groups, all Australians and Canadians. The food presentation in the Restaurant looked amazing and I am sure the people rating their food so highly always ate in the Restaurant and never in the café. These cruises are extremely expensive compared to any other cruise we have been on or investigated but the service and particularly the food and its presentation was by far the worst we have ever experienced. Staff were rude and arrogant. If you travel in a group you will probably have a good cruise but if travelling as individuals forget it, you can get a top class 4 week cruise anywhere else for the same money. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
We went on this cruise specifically to see the total eclipse of the sun and since that was a natural phenomena I am pleased to say that it was great. However In almost every other respect the cruise was a disappointment. It was so poor ... Read More
We went on this cruise specifically to see the total eclipse of the sun and since that was a natural phenomena I am pleased to say that it was great. However In almost every other respect the cruise was a disappointment. It was so poor in fact that we complained officially to our travel agent and P&O. We wrote to P&O on April 12th, received an acknowledgement a month later, after our travel agent had chased them for a response, and received a final reply dated May 27th, which totally failed to address any specifics and read like a mission statement for P&O! So to specifics.... the ship arrived late in Southampton....no information in terminal except word of mouth from other passengers suggesting engine problems. On board late afternoon. Pretty hungry as we had not eaten since breakfast. Evening meal was to be 8.30 pm so we looked for a snack and drink. Found Conservatory. This is self service Caff/canteen. Seating was dirty. No food available! Looked over the rest of the ship. Public areas generally were scruffy and the Ladies' room I visited had one cubicle shut (out of order) and the whole area was noticeably dirty! Not a good start, but we tried to remain hopeful. Lifeboat drill....shambolic...no check on whether passengers attended, no details of lifeboat station, no checks of lifejackets. We hoped there would not be an emergency! First evening dining...soup cold and watery, hot sweet chilled (could it have been frozen?). White wine warm. We continued to remain hopeful but our optimism was misplaced. The food continued to be poor. I don't think we saw anything approaching a fresh vegetable for 2 weeks! No fresh berries (strawberry, raspberry, blueberry). The menus were pretty uninspired. The highlight one lunchtime was faggots! Worse than this the ship continued to be dirty. Our corridor outside the cabin had a thick layer of dust down each side, and the handrails were sticky underneath...ugh! The entertainment was not good. We gathered from other passengers that all P@O ships' Headliners shows are standard to all the ships so many people would look at the day's offering and say "I saw that on Arcadia". Not much originality then, and the performance was more dance school than West End. There was a good lecturer talking about the eclipse. The officers, Captain included, were not in evidence at all, and the information available from the bridge was minimal. Many passengers had joined the cruise to see the Northern Lights. There were specific excursions (pretty pricey) to do so and they were fine, but there were several occasions when the lights could be seen from the ship. It would have been helpful if there could have been announcements when that was the case, since one was unlikely to be on deck late at night in freezing temperatures on the off chance! We have been on a ship for 32 days, (with 6/7 sea days at a time) and not been bored. On this ship we found time hung heavily on sea days and in the evenings. The crew were not rude but neither were they cordial. We had been used to seeing smiling faces and friendly greetings from crew members on other lines, and to seeing cleaning, polishing, painting and maintenance going on at all times. The most we saw on Oriana was someone with a bucket of water and a cloth sloshing hopefully on table-tops (spraying the chair upholstery). This only after we had been advised that there was MORE sickness on board! The increased vigilance after that announcement seemed to involve turning off the washroom hand-driers. I'm not sure why. Our cabin was kept cleaner than some other areas of the ship, but the broken shower gel dispenser was still there when we left, and the toilet seat broke, was replaced by an old one (stained underneath) which then broke to be replaced at last by a new seat. The ship had engine problems throughout the voyage. We left the final port (Stavanger) with only the starboard engine functioning. When we reached Southampton we crashed into the wrong dock. This was because of the weather, we were told, but strangely all the other ships around had docked happily, and the bad weather had been forcast. Perhaps not having your engines working might have made the difference. We spent a further 24 hours on board. We could have left after 11pm on the day we should have disembarked, but by the time that possibility was mooted it was too late to get accommodation in Southampton, or to drive home (a 6/7 hour journey in our case). We were so glad to get home! Incidentally we had chest infections by the time we got back. Most passengers were unwell, it seemed, in one way or another. P@O have offered us a credit against another cruise. They cannot be serious! Never again! Just spent a week on Marco Polo (Cruise and Maritime) to restore our faith. They get 4/5 stars across the board. We really do enjoy our holidays normally, it takes a great deal to make us unhappy! Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
We took a Tauck tour "Cruising Down Under." This was a new tour for Tauck and they chose L'Austral starting in Auckland, New Zealand and ending in Melbourne, Australia for 12 days. Let me say that we have traveled twice on ... Read More
We took a Tauck tour "Cruising Down Under." This was a new tour for Tauck and they chose L'Austral starting in Auckland, New Zealand and ending in Melbourne, Australia for 12 days. Let me say that we have traveled twice on the Regent Seven Seas through the Panama Canal and Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia, twice on the Paul Gauguin in the South Seas, once on the Silver Seas - Silver Cloud from Istanbul to Cyprus and twice on the Windstar – once in the Caribbean and once on the Adriatic, and NEVER had a problem. Our complaints arise with the L’Austral. The food on this ship was not up to Tauck standards. As a matter of fact it was awful. Many people on the tour complained about the food and said they would write to Tauck which I have also done. Dinner on Deck 2 in Le Coromandel was bland and uninviting. One instance of poor food was the Rib Eye Steak which was very tough, and when I complained to the maître d he said the steak was from New Zealand and therefore not under their control. Has anyone ever heard of ordering from another supplier? If so many people complained in a restaurant and the restaurant did nothing about it – it would be closed. Well the ship had a captive audience. Both Captain’s Dinners were pre-set menus. When we asked the waiter what would happen if we didn’t like the meal, he told us, “Don’t eat it.” The serving sizes were very small and of poor quality. For example, for an appetizer we had “one” scallop; the second course was “one” lobster medallion about the size of a quarter. We had monkfish one night, which was about two inches and wouldn’t feed a child. This is a French ship and we had to continually ask for a French dinner. We asked for Escargot and got it once. We asked for French Onion Soup and all the chef did was sauté onions and plopped them in beef bouillon. No crusty bread in the soup and no cheese on top. Should I have offered to give the chef the recipe for French Onion Soup? We asked for a soufflé for dessert and we were told that there were not enough cooks in the kitchen to make soufflés. Could this be possible??? On Deck 6 the casual Le Rodrigues was a buffet and was another culinary experience. The first night we chose to eat in this restaurant because we were tired and wanted a shorter dining time. One gastronomical delight was a hamburger not even fit for a dog. We were told that Tauck suggested hamburgers because most of their tour group was Americans. The average age of our group was about 65 and for the most part well-travelled people who paid a great deal for this trip. Do you honestly think we were looking for hamburgers? The rest of the buffet was sparse and tasteless. The fish was tough, the pork medallions were dry and I could get better spaghetti and meatballs in an Atlantic City, NJ buffet table. The bathroom in our cabin and in every cabin consisted of two rooms – a water closet with a bowl and no sink. You have to leave the water closet and then go into the portion of the bathroom with a sink and a shower. This is so unsanitary that I felt that I was in an airport bathroom. How could this renowned ship have a water closet with no sink to wash your hands before you opened the door to leave this portion of the bathroom? As a matter of fact there were many people on board the ship who were sick with bad colds and flu-like symptoms. The ship’s doctor said that there was an epidemic of bad colds and flu-like symptoms on the cruise before ours. It seems that the ship was not sanitized before we got on board. The Wi Fi on the ship was barely existent. If you managed to log on, you were bounced off in two minutes. We were told that their connection to the satellite was weak – well upgrade. When we were in port we were told that you could not get a connection because the buildings interfered with the connection. We were supposedly connecting to a satellite and not a tower – so how could the buildings get in the way. We paid almost $40,000 for this vacation. The most we have ever spent on any vacation and I am sure a large portion of this was due to the L’Austral. I would like to talk to the group that made the decision to use this ship and ask them if they actually took the voyage and actually ate the same food that was served to us. This ship is supposed to be a luxury cruise ship. It was not luxury but sub par. I have seen other reviews which give this ship and food a decent rating. I can't understand why.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
This cruise was advertised as sailing from Avonmouth to Avonmouth with a refurbished ship. Three days before we sailed we received an email to say the ship had left late from its refit in Lisbon and due to the tides it would not be able to ... Read More
This cruise was advertised as sailing from Avonmouth to Avonmouth with a refurbished ship. Three days before we sailed we received an email to say the ship had left late from its refit in Lisbon and due to the tides it would not be able to get back to Avonmouth for the Monday morning embarkation. Instead it was sailing from Plymouth and coaches would be available to transfer customers from Avonmouth to Plymouth. I decided that this was not for me so I paid for a taxi to transfer me from the hotel I was staying at in Clevedon, to Plymouth at a cost of £160.00.This turned out to be a good move as the coaching operation was fraught with errors and problems resulting in some passengers not getting their luggage until 11pm.The ship had if fact been in Plymouth since the early hours of Sunday morning , so why it could not make Avonmouth for Monday morning was a mystery. On boarding the vessel it was apparent that not much money had been spent on the restoration with the only visible refurbishment being crockery in the Acores motif and a coat of paint on the outside in its new livery, of which much was missing by the time we arrived in the Caribbean. The air conditioning did not work resulting in unacceptably hot cabins. We asked for an engineer to check our cabin and he came and removed the air filter from the system and turned it up full manually and that is how it was left. In the public rooms, the dining room was far too hot ranging to cold in the auditorium where you need a blanket. Many cabin safes were either not lockable or once set up and locked you could not open them again. When questioned we were told that the safe engineer was not on board and they were trying to contact him in Spain for the security codes. The Wi Fi did not work on the outward journey and was switched off on the Wednesday we were supposed to be home. The next fiasco was our first tender port where five lifeboats broke down, resulting in myself and my wife having fifteen minutes ashore before we had to get the last lifeboat back to the ship so we could keep up with the schedule. This was the ship that had just rock and rolled (and I mean Rocked and rolled) across the Atlantic ocean with over 400 passengers aboard and only three serviceable lifeboats out of eight! The captain came over the tannoy to apologise for the situation and the following day we had another tender port and lifeboat No 5 again broke down for one and a half hours, resulting in us having just one hour ashore before having to return to the ship. Two Islands missed, the only two we had been to before! The whole ship seemed to be poorly maintained with officers speaking to staff appallingly in front of passengers resulting in poor staff moral. We sailed on regardless, making the most of the situation and then we received a letter on the 20th of February 2015 the contents of which is below. I would point out that at that time we had not had any bad weather and we were on course and did arrive on schedule at Ponta Delgada in the Azores on the 21st of February 2015. The letter read; To Whom it may concern. Please be advised that passengers in possession of this letter were aboard cruise ship Azores operated by Cruise and Maritime Voyages. Due to severe sea conditions experienced over the last few days the ship docked later than originally planned at Bristol Avonmouth Cruise terminal on Wednesday 25th of February at 11.30 hrs, thus causing a delay to our passengers onward travel arrangements. As passengers on the vessel had very restricted communication access they were unable to make changes to their travel arrangements in person, as insisted upon by most travel insurance providers. We would therefore kindly request you amend their booking, free of charge, to enable them to travel to their destination on an alternative train or coach. Thanks you for your assistance with regard to this matter. Signed T.J Jerrard Shortly after leaving the Azores the Captain announced further changes to or arrival date as he was taking us to Lisbon to avoid a storm. This resulted in another letter detailing our arrival would now be 2.30pm on Saturday 28th February 2015 in Avonmouth. We finally arrived in Portland Dorset on Friday 27th at noon, with more coaches arranged to get people back to Avonmouth. Once more I got a taxi at £160.00 to take me to Clevedon where our car was parked . However to their credit the show team were excellent with lively shows each evening , and particular credit to Jordan who was a last minute addition to the cruise and at just 21 was breath of fresh air around the ship. Lectures were disappointing with two of them repeating lectures they had given on the way out, on the way back, and the ship relying on passengers for four lectures on the cruise. Food was at best average with much pre-prepared produce used and no fresh food and fruit appearing to be taken on in the Caribbean. Wines in particular were very expensive at an average of £23.00 per bottle for very mediocre wines. The overall feeling I have for Cruise and Maritime is that they have no consideration for customers and use their reception staff as a barrier to avoid you speaking to senior officers who could and should have given clearer and more accurate information as to the delays and the changes of port. We will not be sailing with Cruise and Maritime again. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
Our 14 night Irrawaddy river cruise from Yangon by Pandaw Cruise Co. was a disappointing experience to say the least. Perhaps our pre cruise expectation was unrealistic. ( We imagined Myanmar to be full of untouched mountains/trees, ... Read More
Our 14 night Irrawaddy river cruise from Yangon by Pandaw Cruise Co. was a disappointing experience to say the least. Perhaps our pre cruise expectation was unrealistic. ( We imagined Myanmar to be full of untouched mountains/trees, streams , wild birds,animals and of course Buddhistic culture. ) Yes, there were stupas and temples. ( We had to see these on almost every excursion.) But more than anything else we were disappointed at the service and the lack of professionalism shown by the Pandaw cruise Co. 1. I could not drink the coffee they serve on the ship. ( too stale ) The food they serve was one of the poorest in quality . 2. I see staff member eating his breakfast when we have our breakfast. They clean the ceiling of the dining room while there are open plates around for breakfast. 3. The brochure says the price includes tipping of the crew, yet they suggest tipping of $ 5 per day per person. 4. The safety of the passengers are not taken seriously. One passenger fell to the ditch during the trishaw excursion. The trishaw and the driver were on top of this passenger when they fell unto the ditch. I do not know how she was not seriously injured! Other passenger fell and hit her head on the ship. She had a 10cm laceration on her scalp. They brought a doctor who did not know what to do with this problem. I as a surgeon had to clean the wound with Vodka and sew the laceration up with the kit the another passenger brought . 5. I joined their post cruise program. It was very expensive considering the service we received. Yet they booked us the flight which was not a direct flight to Yangon ( to save money ? )   Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2014
This shockingly poor experience on American Cruiselines really should be told to warn future travelers just how bad a simple cruise can be. The first obvious situation we encountered was the totally untrained staff which included a brand ... Read More
This shockingly poor experience on American Cruiselines really should be told to warn future travelers just how bad a simple cruise can be. The first obvious situation we encountered was the totally untrained staff which included a brand new cruise director (who was snippy, sarcastic and unresponsive to our simplest request to provide us with an extra chair) and servers who were fresh out of school. They were quite pleasant but didn't know much about serving. What they Did know about was that they weren't getting their tips. We paid our bill an added a large amount on our credit card for staff tips and are Very Upset that this money is not being passed on to these needy people, several of whom are leaving their jobs. The chef was an abomination. Two portions of soup taught us that we couldn't possibly order that item again as it was filled with corn starch so thick that one had to work at stirring the contents and,worse yet, the salt content was so enormous in that and the rest of the food, that I came home up 6 pounds with swollen ankles. In 2 days it had all come off but it was very uncomfortable. (Eating salads does Not put on weight.) Another kitchen problem was that they kept running out of food. The waiters told us that management had hired this chef to use up everything in the kitchen and Not buy any more food as the ship was headed for dry dock. Toward the end of the week, the portions were miniscule. Interestingly, this company charges fares comparable to the luxury cruise lines but provides mediocre vessels with minimal service. No phones in the rooms, no notepaper or pen, and cheap furniture. On the only other cruise we sailed with them in the Owner's Suite, we were treated to little pastries every night; on this cruise, they brought some strawberries on only 2 nights. The entertainment was pretty poor. Only one performer out of several was a professional. One night they substituted entertainment with Bingo of all things! The brochure said we were traveling from Charleston to Jacksonville, Fla. However, when we arrived in Charleston, there was No city tour. We sailed out of there immediately. We finished the tour without ever reaching Jacksonville, debarking from an island instead. We had to pay a significant per person fee for transferring to Jacksonville without ever seeing that city either. I call this deceptive advertising. Comparing it with our other cruise with them again, we began in Seattle and were, of course, treated to a city tour before sailing. We are left with the feeling that the company cut corners in every way possible and that, based on what we paid, this was a huge ripoff! In addition, it was so unpleasant in so many ways. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
First, we were told when we booked that the average age is 65. The actual average age is 80-82+. On board the cruise director told us she couldn't understand why we were told that? She said the cruise we were on is actually a bit ... Read More
First, we were told when we booked that the average age is 65. The actual average age is 80-82+. On board the cruise director told us she couldn't understand why we were told that? She said the cruise we were on is actually a bit younger than normal. So, then we see all the wheel chairs, walkers, canes, scooters sitting outside the dining room at our first meal, then we knew we made a bad decision. The ship is 4 years old, but on the inside it looked straight out of the '70s. The decor was unappealing. Much of the upholstered furniture was torn or soiled, probably from the wheel chairs, etc. This cruise costs $10,000 per couple which is absolutely outrageous for what it was. The food was mostly averge and sub par. In 7 days, we had two decent meals. All they do over and over is try and get you to book the next trip, and get some discount. They charge for all the land tours. We didn't do any, as we figured out how to do things on our own. We ate on land as much as possible to avoid the mediocre food. We felt like we had moved into an average assisted living home for the week, and it was way too long. Had we not spent that much money, we would have gotten off the boat after the first day. Again, for what you get, it's outrageously expensive!! They use young, completely inexperienced staff that complained to us about how management was not honest with them and were forced to sign contracts for 12 weeks. They make $30 per day, and clean the toilets when they are done in the kitchen. This is slave labor. Awful!!!! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2014
We looked forward to taking a cruise on the "Queen of the Mississippi". We decided to go on the trip for our 25th wedding anniversary. The trip was from New Orleans to Memphis. What a HUGE disappointment, to say the least. First ... Read More
We looked forward to taking a cruise on the "Queen of the Mississippi". We decided to go on the trip for our 25th wedding anniversary. The trip was from New Orleans to Memphis. What a HUGE disappointment, to say the least. First of all, we traveled on only one z-drive engine so we had to go slow and we were in each port just long enough to go on their tour. The tour in Vicksburg gave us ONLY 15 mins. to view the gun boat AND the museum. We got to Memphis so late that the tour was in the dark and a waste of time - you could hardly see anything - it was a joke. The "authentic" paddle wheeler" was not working and two staff members told us that they were waiting for parts. Conversation with the owner stated that the wheel slows the boat down so they don't use it (it was disconnected from the hydrolic drive). He also said the boat missed a resupply stop becasue of the slow speed, therefore they ran out of some simple things such as reg milk, cranberry juice, etc. and dessert - we were offered only ice cream. The fish was NOT fresh and the lamb was gamey and some food was served COLD. The food should have been outstanding for the price you pay for the trip. This was by far the WORST trip we have ever been on and our warning to you is DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY!!! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
Well I am not quite sure where to start. 5 days into the cruise we were advised that we would need to change ships to fit their winter schedule. That was the first surprise. After we switched to the Bragi it broke down on the second day ... Read More
Well I am not quite sure where to start. 5 days into the cruise we were advised that we would need to change ships to fit their winter schedule. That was the first surprise. After we switched to the Bragi it broke down on the second day and we had to adjust all our excursions. This led to lots of extra bus time. The washrooms were not working for one day. We then had to cut our trip one day short so they could get the ship to dry dock to repair. That day we spent from 8am to 630 pm on the bus. We then arrived back where the ship was supposed to be but it did not arrive for 2 hours later. Another ship was docked and we were allowed to sit in the back waiting. For the money involved the food was poor, the service was very average and the ship did not perform. Be vary careful when using this cruise company. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
We were the first group to sail on the Hlin from Amsterdam to Budapest. There were issues from day one when the boat was delayed due to construction on one of the bridges. Instead of docking in our first port of call, we were bused there ... Read More
We were the first group to sail on the Hlin from Amsterdam to Budapest. There were issues from day one when the boat was delayed due to construction on one of the bridges. Instead of docking in our first port of call, we were bused there and back. The major problem started on the second day. While entering a lock, our ship stopped and we were told there was a problem with the lock. The ship backed out of the lock and stayed off shore where we stayed for many hours. Again we were told there was a problem with the lock, but we could see other ships going through the lock with no issues. It turned out there was a major problem with the Hlin's software, and they could not continue the cruise, but the staff continued to tell us the problem was a problem with the lock. This delay turned a river cruise into a bus tours often with the bus rides up to 2 hours one way, with returns to our floating hotel while we were docked in ugly industrial parks. The delays also cut into our free time in the destinations, and it seems the tour guides were told to hurry through the tours. Many time we had to ask the guides to slow down both their presentation and the pace. Additionally, as we made our way through the lock, the top deck had to be closed for at least 5 days, depriving everyone of the only opportunity to get any exercise as the top deck had the walking path, mini gold and shuffle board, and of course, the best views. Had I known that, I probably would not have booked this tour. We finally caught up about 2/3 through the tour and the rest of the trip was wonderful. It was terrific to dock in a city and be able to explore it and then return to the ship. We were told that these types of delays are very common with river cruises, low or high water, issue with locks can impact a schedule. However, our delay was due to an issue with the Viking ship, yet it was never acknowledged and no compensation was offered. I felt cheated and the cruise did not deliver what had been promised, in fact when referring to the evaluation,it was commented: "pls remember we are the conductors of the tour not the composers" On the positive side, the rooms were very clean and comfortable, the staff and service exceptional. The food was good, although dinner service was slow and there were some odd things in the food (corn on Cesar salad, cinnamon on corn cobs, fennel seeds in fajitas) Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2014
Viking's advertising misleading. Promises of food and comfortable river cruise experience far from truth. This is a coach tour disguised as river cruise! More time spent in being herded and rushed on and off buses than river cruising. ... Read More
Viking's advertising misleading. Promises of food and comfortable river cruise experience far from truth. This is a coach tour disguised as river cruise! More time spent in being herded and rushed on and off buses than river cruising. Food adequate, mass produced, certainly not the delights advertised. Signed up for premium liquor service but choices not available. Top suite category (AA) under running track. Only sailed one of seven days as "river too high to sail under bridges". The river is often too high, wrong boat. No information from crew, Captain didn't speak English. Last two days spent moored against sister Viking ship so view from Starboard side was looking into another ship. No explanation or apology. The list goes on but suffice it to say that we would not advise anyone to make the very expensive mistake which we made, at a cost of US Dollars $12,000 excluding airfares. Viking offered us a derisory US$500 each off our next Viking cruise with them, but even if they offered us a free cruise we would never go with them again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
We went as a group of 6 for a get together that was centred on the dining experience. My wife is a Vegetarian of 26 years. We had seen a poor review before booking and our friend that did the booking and ourselves were both reassured that ... Read More
We went as a group of 6 for a get together that was centred on the dining experience. My wife is a Vegetarian of 26 years. We had seen a poor review before booking and our friend that did the booking and ourselves were both reassured that being Vegetarian was no problem and she would have a great holiday. Reassured we set off for our cruise. Dinner An amuse-bouche was offered daily, usually non vegetarian and no alternatives offered. The menu offered nightly, usually contained 3 meals one of which was a Vegetarian option. If the set meal was not to your liking 4 alternatives were always available being Ceasar salad (containing anchovies), Chicken, steak or salmon. So if the sole offered choice was not to your liking ... tough. Then there was an Austrian extravaganza evening, a true meat feast. However, despite the multitude of offerings for us carnivores, a single bean based vegetarian side dish was offered as her main. An evening in Vienna and we went to the concert with the promise of a hot supper on our return ... but not if you are a vegetarian. The chef refused anything. A visit to the manager was needed to get a simple pasta dish made. The main gala dinner of the week, the Captains dinner, was a seven course extravaganza, but not for a vegetarian. Not a single course on the entire menu offered an appropriate course. After a week of cruising I took it out on the waiter and pointed out they had all week to know a vegetarian meal was required and having paid the same full price I expected my wife to have a food course served at every course. A meal of sorts was cobbled together, but included contaminated dishes. The Ceasar salad was presented but distinctive taste from where it had been and removed and so was inedible. Lunch Lunch time was just as haphazard. Often no appropriate dish was available. The MD visited once when our meal was finished to say he had something available, but clearly not communicated to his staff as we had finished our lunch by the time he appeared. Another day a "vegetarian" soup was offered and accepted to which my wife had a physical reaction. We later found from the distributed menu card that it had a chicken stock! Summary We are really shocked to find such an inhospitable climate in the modern age to what is such a mainstream dietary requirement. To clarify my wife will not eat anything that has to be killed to be eaten so neither meat nor fish is acceptable which is as we understand the main definition of vegetarianism. My wife was deeply embarrassed at the "fuss" needed to get a meal and didn't want to say anything to avoid upset - but words had to be had to get a suitable meal just too many times. Despite formally complaining directly on our return, the response was directed via our travel agent rather than direct. A derisory offer of a £200.00 discount off a future Viking cruise was offered. As they had abused my wife on one holiday we fail to understand why they would think for one moment that we would want to return to be abused again and that a voucher would be suitable recompense. The voucher has now been replaced by a cheque "in full and final settlement" for the same amount. Bearing in mind the cost of the holiday and the upset they caused it is hardly reasonable recompense. Our experience would also mean that anyone requiring a special dietary need satisfying should not consider Viking a suitable holiday given the poor food discipline resulting in contaminated food being presented. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
Our “Splendours of Europe” cruise on Emerald Star (Emerald Waterways’ ship, new in 2014) was extremely disappointing and did not live up to the advertised standard. Our expectations were not unrealistic, based on previous experience ... Read More
Our “Splendours of Europe” cruise on Emerald Star (Emerald Waterways’ ship, new in 2014) was extremely disappointing and did not live up to the advertised standard. Our expectations were not unrealistic, based on previous experience - this was our fifth river cruise – but we felt very badly let down: • Our flights from the UK were arranged by Emerald Waterways – at an extra of £129 each to the cruise cost, for the ‘regional connection’ from Newcastle via Amsterdam. The connection time in Amsterdam proved inadequate as our slightly delayed departure from Newcastle resulted in our missing the connecting flight and having a 7½ hour wait for the next flight. Arriving on board ship after midnight after a day like that was not a good start and no apology was forthcoming. • We had been given to understand that the cruise started in Budapest, but the majority of passengers had boarded in Prague a week earlier and had coalesced into large, friendly, impenetrable and noisy groups before we joined. There were no quiet areas in the public rooms. • Most of the passengers were Australians who had been sold the cruise as an “Evergreen Retirement Cruise”, for Australians only. They were surprised to find British people joining them and there was bias and preferential treatment to them. This should have been notified to ‘others’ before booking. • The brochure clearly states that a jacket and tie/smart casual dress code would be applied for evening dining, with shorts and thongs unacceptable. This was completely disregarded by most passengers, with no enforcement by the staff. • Our cabin was advertised as having a large picture window, but turned out to have had a design change so that there was only a small, high level window through which a view could be gained only by standing on tip-toe. • Our letter of complaint to Emerald Waterways elicited no useful response. They will have to do better at those prices!!   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2014
Food was mediocre, cabins were average. Problem was that the river was low so the boat could not get through one of the overpasses...so they made us pack up and took an all day bus to our next ship which was much older and not very nice. ... Read More
Food was mediocre, cabins were average. Problem was that the river was low so the boat could not get through one of the overpasses...so they made us pack up and took an all day bus to our next ship which was much older and not very nice. No compensation. Passengers were boorish (including screaming to the locals who were walking on the overpasses to "jump"; using terms one should not hear about the US President). I couldn't get off the boat fast enough. Do not expect luxury, do not expect a quiet and sophisticated cruise. Tour guides were well educated; and we got lucky because our hotel in Prague (we paid for an extra visit to Prague after the tour) was full, so we got much nicer accommodations. Getting off the boat was the highlight of the trip. After the tour (because they probably got such bad reviews) we were offered a lot of promotions (buy 1 get one free; additional 25% off, etc.) to go on another cruise...never again. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2014
My wife and I have taken 16 cruises and this was the worst one yet. But before I get to the problems, I will cover the general items. This cruise started in Cincinnati with an over night stay at the Hilton on June 27 then cruised the Ohio ... Read More
My wife and I have taken 16 cruises and this was the worst one yet. But before I get to the problems, I will cover the general items. This cruise started in Cincinnati with an over night stay at the Hilton on June 27 then cruised the Ohio river to Pittsburg on July 4. We picked this cruise because we were looking for something different from ocean cruising and European river cruises. When we noted it stopped in Wheeling WV, we signed on immediately because this is where my wife's ancestors settled when they came to the USA from Ireland in the early 1800s. She has three generations buried there and had been working with a historian at the library there doing research. After singing up for the cruise, we hired a historian to drive we around town to the different sights relating to my wife's ancestors. The Hilton is a nice old hotel downtown just a few blocks from where the AQ docks. I was extremely noisy until 11:30 because of bands playing at Fountain square just across the street. At check in we were told of an hospitality desk where AQ was checking people in. After standing in a hot line with no seating for over an hour, we find out that AQ is just trying to upsell excursions even though we have already selected them on line and that check in in the morning early. The next morning we go to check in and get our sea pass, picture taken, credit card scanned and pick our dining preference even though we have don it on line. Then, you guessed it , Back to the excursion desk again to try to up sale us some more. We were taking the pre-cruise tour of Cincinnati an were told to wait for the bus on the street. The hotel was trying to clear the sidewalk and get every one to wait inside but the lobby is in the second floor an you can not see when the busses are loading. The busses arrived with the passengers from the pervious cruise. That is where we found out the paddle wheel shaft had broken several days before and that the repair crew was disassembling the paddle wheel. The AQ looks nice. The State rooms are small as expected but they are nice. Food was barely average and portions were small. So I would order an extra vegetable. The front porch had a buffet with about the same foods but had a problem keeping food hot. Food service was poor. Bar tenders seem to be good but I do not use them much. Cabin stewards were ok. Bingo was good with all the money going to the prize pool. Entertainment was very good, Much better than I expected. The house band was very good and the special shows were good. THEN THE TROUBLE STARTS. The caption introduced himself at the 7:00 show and tells us we have not left port yet. (duh) He said that not only is the paddle wheel shaft broken but a generator is inoperable and we are waiting for parts from New Orleans. He also said a crew member was injured working on the generator and was taken to thr hospital. I started seeing red flags because I have read several reports of AQ generator problems on Cruise Cretic. The next day about mid morning the captain announces that we are seven hours behind schedule and will skip our first port, Maysville, Kentucky. Red flags again! We were only three or four hours late departing Cincinnati, why are we seven hours late? We pass Maysville an three hours later the boat turns around an heads back down stream, no explanation! At the seven o'clock show the captain reports a z-drive failure we will return to Maysville for repairs. Parts will be shipped from Louisiana and we might be in Maysville for two days. The red flags are getting bigger. They push the AQ op against the bank and tie it to a tree. We sign up for the premium tour to Washington, KY in the morning and were told we could do the HOHO in Maysville in the evening. But come to find out everything closed around because it was not a cruise day. At show time the captain announced that we would leave about seven am after Coast Guard inspection. We would have a tow boat to help us with speed but WOULD SKIP ALL REMANING PORTS. For compensation AQ offered: *Free bar -not much value unless you drink a lot and wine is already complimentary at dinner * $100 on board credit -bar is free, no more excursions, the only thing you can spend it on is the Spa and gift shop--- very little cost to AQ * 25% of the cost of the cruise toward a future cruise-- the think I am going to spend more money with AQ * A free return trip to Cincinnati - not a bad deal for those the can take it but again very little cost to AQ the sailing is not full therefore the only cost to AQ is a little extra food. To sum it all up I FEEL CHEATED! AQ knew several days before departure in Cincinnati that the paddle wheel world be inoperable and they made no attempt to contact us so we would have the option of canceling or postponing. In my opinion, AQ would not have been able to make the ports they advertises with the paddle wheel out of service and no other problems. The compensation AQ offered is a slap in the face after missing 75% of our ports.   Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2014
I returned on 7/5 from a 12 night cruise on the Viking Ingvar from St. Petersburg to Moscow. This was the worst cruise I have ever been on for a variety of reasons. Viking's ads look so wonderful and tempting, so four of us signed up ... Read More
I returned on 7/5 from a 12 night cruise on the Viking Ingvar from St. Petersburg to Moscow. This was the worst cruise I have ever been on for a variety of reasons. Viking's ads look so wonderful and tempting, so four of us signed up for the cruise. Unfortunately, reality doesn't jive with their ads. Our ship looked like a dinner cruise, not a high end cruise. Our cabins were very nice. However, our balcony was next to the public access door, and there was no way to lock the divider to keep people from coming on to our balcony. The lock was on the side of the public access door. I asked for a top sheet for my bed, because sometimes the duvet is too heavy. I received the sheet, but I had to make my bed to add the sheet in the beginning of the cruise and when they did a sheet change. Bathrooms and showers were nice size. We had some air conditioning issues and a night stand fell off the track. Maintenance fixed the problem quickly. Viking advertises restrooms on their coaches, but what they don't tell you is that they are locked and you can't use them. This caused several people significant discomfort. We dehydrated ourselves because we never knew when we would have an available restroom. When we expressed our displeasure with this, Alina, the program director, told us that she couldn't speak to the driver because he had driven off. I mentioned Viking's Service Guarantee to her and to the Stephan Busch, the Hotel Manager. Viking's Service Guarantee gives passengers 24 hours after boarding the ship to inform them of a problem and then they have 24 hours to rectify the problem and if they don't, passengers receive 100% of the cruise fare returned, but must arrange for their own transportation home. Neither on of them rectified the situation or even mentioned it to us again, so much for offering a guarantee. The lack of bathroom availability and lack of follow up from anyone on the shop is inexcusable and ruined the cruise for us. The food on the ship was awful. There was no creativity and not much choice on entrees. Omelets and jams were excellent. The fruit selection was sparse with a wide range of ripeness. Lunch and dinner entrees were horrible. If we ordered off the everyday options, which were salmon, chicken or filet, all three entrees came with the same three sauces on your plate, two zucchini slices, a small dollop of mashed potatoes, which were like lead, and caramelized onions. We would have appreciated more steamed vegetables and a wider variety of sauces. The chicken was frequently dry and rubbery. The filet was a great piece of beef, but lacked flavor. After speaking with the maitre d' Nik, our food prep was no longer over cooked. Nik bent over backwards to try and make us happy. However, corporate sets the menu, so there isn't room for creativity. The omelets, soups and some of the salads were good. The desserts were pathetic. The ship has a complimentary coffee, hot chocolate and tea station offering a very low end type of tea. It would have been nice to have complimentary soft drinks also available. The Filipino wait staff were excellent, especially Joey, Joanne, Darryl and Christopher. Nik, Joey, Joanne, Darryl and Christopher are too good to be working on a ship of this caliber. I asked one Russian server Vayla for a Diet Coke twice and she told me "No" twice. On another day, I asked her if one of the salads had fish and she told me that it didn't, when in fact it did, and I don't eat fish. Would it be so hard to put a sign next to the salads on the buffet line? Pasta selections were horrible. The ship has cookies available in the afternoon. The cookies were Otis Spunkmeyer cookies that you can buy at a 7 Eleven store. I would be embarrassed to serve them and the majority of the food on the ship, especially at a cruise of this price point. I had better food on my flight on Delta from Moscow to JFK. We even ate at McDonald's three days in a row and we never eat there when we are home. St. Petersburg and Moscow are beautiful cities, but I would skip going to the other ports and have more time in each city. The days cruising down the river were boring with not much entertainment on the ship. There was no gym, no DVD players in the cabins. The movies the ship showed on two channels didn't air at the same time as indicated on the TV sheet. How hard is it to get that right? The lectures by the tour guides were excellent and would be nice if they were recorded and could be viewed in the cabin. My roommate got sick and wanted some cough drops. She went to the ship's store and was told by Anastasia "She was done for the day, and were the cough drops and emergency?" My roommate waited until the next day to purchase them. Is this the definition of good customer service? I don't think so. I dropped my guidebook on the gangway and not one crew member standing there offered to help. If you asked on of them a question, they responded, "Don't speak English". I don't have a problem having Russian crew members, but they shouldn't be in an area where passengers are looking to them to answer questions. Christina and Elena at Reception were very nice and helpful in explaining how to get to the subway station. The city tours drove my sites, but you couldn't go into them. Since we had already been to Peterhof on previous trip to St. Petersburg, we took the Metro on our own one day to see the Faberge Museum, St. Issac's Cathedral and the Church of Our Savior of the Spilled Blood. These places are must see destinations. I thought the ballet was going to be at the Mariinsky. Had I known the ballet wasn't there, I would have booked a tour just to see the theater. I also wanted to see the ballet at the Bolshoi, but unfortunately, the ballet wasn't performing that night. I thought about going to the opera, but another late night with a long flight home kept us from going. The Catherine Palace tour was good and so was the Hermitage Tour. However the Privileged Tour of the Hermitage was a disappointment and a waste of money. We had expected to see some restoration in progress and not just a warehouse. The lunch they served was even worse than the food on the ship. The stop in Mandrogy was a waste of time. It was man made tourist attraction for cruise ships. The Kizhi Tour was good. The Krillo-Belozersky Tour and a visit to a local school were a waste of time, especially the visit to the school. The tours in Yaroslavl and Uglich were nice. The Kremlin Armory Tour and the Moscow at Night Tours were great. We added on the Diamond Fund tour on our own and it was spectacular. Given the cost of the cruise, we had expected a quality product, which we did not receive. If the cruise had been in $1000 range, we would not have had such high expectations. If the corporate office is setting the menus, there is nothing the crew can do to improve on the food. I would not recommend Viking Cruises to anyone. We have traveled frequently, I worked in the travel and hospitality industry, the only quality I saw in Viking were the following employees, Nik, Joey, Joanne, Daryl, Christopher, Christina, and Elena. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2014
I have delayed my review until after settlement of my financial claim against Emerald Waterways., but I am now able to write my review. Some of the points have already been covered in the earlier 3 star reviews but potential travellers do ... Read More
I have delayed my review until after settlement of my financial claim against Emerald Waterways., but I am now able to write my review. Some of the points have already been covered in the earlier 3 star reviews but potential travellers do need to be warned against travelling with this line. Our trip was from Budapest to Nuremberg and the first problems occurred after our collection from Budapest airport, this was booked as a package so the vast majority of passengers were on the same early flight. We were met at the airport and transported to the ship(unusually without a guide) when we arrived at the ship the cases were unloaded and we were expected to carry them up the gangway. We were then ushered into a lounge, given a flavoured soft drink and left there with no announcements. We were expecting lunch as is normal but after half an hour we went to search of lunch to be told that the first meal was dinner and no local restaurants were open.After much complaining some food was reluctantly found but the majority of passengers were given nothing, we were allowed into our cabins at about 3pm. One of the major selling points of this cruise line is a swimming pool with a retractable roof, however the roof was not opened once during the cruise, the excuse being that this would result in debris being deposited in the pool, so you are left with a small indoor pool, not good enough, if debris accumulates the pool should be cleaned. Another selling point is the covering of the swimming pool to create a cinema in the evening. Unfortunately the equipment went wrong after the first night and there was no attempt to rectify the situation, so no cinema for the rest of the cruise. Worse was to follow for me, first I slipped on a wet gangway on the way back from a trip, luckily I was unhurt but the gangplank should have been covered as soon as it started to rain. Second on the last night of the cruise I left my mobile phone on charge in my cabin and when I returned later in the evening it had gone.The theft has been dealt with subsequently but at first the line sought to deny any liability saying that I should have left the phone in the safe which seems to imply that theft is the norm on their ships. The claim has now been settled. I associate myself with the comments made in earlier postings about the cabins and dining room acoustics.The food was in the main good although service was extremely variable and in some instances very amateurish. There other problems of a minor nature which I will not dwell upon, suffice to say that this was a very expensive cruise and failed in most ways to live up to expectations. In a line's first year of operation you would expect them to pull out all the stops to build up a good reputation, not so Emerald and if they continue to offer such a substandard product they will surely fail in what is a very competitive market.   Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
We booked the cruise to coincide with our Golden Wedding Anniversary. Viking cruises are not cheap. This cruise on the Rhine worked out at over £500, per day, for the two of us. We expected, I think quite rightly, a degree of luxury for ... Read More
We booked the cruise to coincide with our Golden Wedding Anniversary. Viking cruises are not cheap. This cruise on the Rhine worked out at over £500, per day, for the two of us. We expected, I think quite rightly, a degree of luxury for this price. we did tell Viking it would be our Golden Wedding before we left. We got an email from their head office to congratulate us. However, this information was not passed on to the ship, and when my husband mentioned it at reception, they denied all knowledge of our anniversary.. We did eventually get a cheesecake and a bottle of Cava!. We thought that the food was OK, but no better than that The wine with lunch and dinner was also OK. It won't win any awards though.! There was not any room service, nor any beverage facilities in the room. We had to forgo our usual early morning cup of tea. We could have got dressed and gone to make our own in the bar area, but that didn't seem worth it to us. Also there is no lift. Most of the passengers were well over 60, and many found it very difficult to climb the stairs. There are three flights of stairs between the bottom deck and the sun deck. The cabin was small, and we expected that, but there was no luxury about it at all. The shower room was utilitarian with an awful plastic shower curtain, that wrapped itself around me every day. Ugh. The mainly Eastern European staff kept the cabin very clean though. Full marks for that. There's little or no entertainment on board. There's a very good piano player, there were run of the mill quizzes on two evenings and also visiting duos on two evenings. There was also a lecture on the European Union one night! This is an holiday for goodness sake! This talk, unsurprisingly, was very badly attended. There were no more than 20 people attending. The tours were quite well organised and we really enjoyed Strasbourg. The excursions were, without doubt, the best bit of an otherwise lacklustre cruise. We were upset at the very hard sell, George, the Cruise director, gave on the last night at the disembarkation meeting. He requested that we leave 168 euros for the general staff and 28 euros for him! He made us feel like we'd be cheapskates if we didn't do this. The way that this was said, left a very nasty taste in our mouths. We took this fact of a hard sell up twice, with Viking on our return, but they were not interested! Overall, a disappointing cruise. We met many lovely people on the cruise. This went some way to make up for all of the shortcomings. Would we cruise with Viking again? NO! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
It is two weeks since returning from our Grand European Tour. For some background information, we have been on 15 ocean cruises with 5 different cruise lines, consequently we have a base line of expectations. This was our first River ... Read More
It is two weeks since returning from our Grand European Tour. For some background information, we have been on 15 ocean cruises with 5 different cruise lines, consequently we have a base line of expectations. This was our first River Cruise because: !. River Cruises are two and one half times more expensive than an ocean cruise and 2. We want to be sure we chose the right cruise line after two years of research. First, Bouquets: (a) The service staff was very good (b) Cruise Director Debra Thomas was excellent. Now, the Disappointments: We were told to expect a pre-cruise kit containing luggage tags etc. along with booklets explaining what to expect and do. The kit was in the mail upon our return. Prior to our leaving we had contacted not only our travel agent but Viking two times to ascertain what the problem was. We feel Viking should have covered this issue by sending a kit directly to us via next day delivery. Viking should have contacted the travel agent to ensure better service. The flight to Amsterdam was uneventful. Upon arrival at 1.00 p.m. we had been told we were to be met by a Viking Representative. There was no rep there and, after numerous inquiries, we were directed to a large checkerboard cube to wait. One and one-hours later a rep arrived, then another one directed us to an outdoor bar and asked us to wait another 45 minutes for other arrivals. Great, we were hoping to get settled so we could at least tour a bit of Amsterdam before dinner, however after the bus ride to the ship and checking in it was too late to do anything!!!! We suspected Sky was an older ship as soon as we checked in and given, not modern day key cards, but a real key attached to an aluminum block the size of a brick. It was two days before we realized the doors were not self-locking as in most hotels and cruise ships. We read the following colourful comment about the Viking Sky amenities: Viking Sky, which sails itineraries on a variety of European rivers, features larger-than-average cabins (all outside views) along with a handful of suites (cabins with connecting doors, a living room, and an additional bathroom with tub). Amenities include a restaurant, lounge, bar, sun deck, swimming pool, sauna, whirlpool and elevator. When we purchased the tour we paid more for Category A thinking we would have a sizeable room. The shock was instant!!! 1. It was the smallest room we have ever experienced in 15 cruises. Room for only one chair with no comfortable space to place it. 2. The bathroom was also a shocker. My elbow would hit the shower door while trying to comb my hair. 3. When sitting on the “throne” the position of the toilet paper holder (behind my shoulder) forced me to be a contortionist while attempting to reach for the toilet paper made of recycled cardboard. (Interesting moment when we noticed a few guests bringing on board a large package of toilet paper – wonder why????) Since we had wire clothes hangers I was able to fashion a holder for the toilet paper and conveniently hang it from the towel rack in front of the toilet!!!!!!! 4. The vanity and shelves are so small that once we placed items on the shelves we could barely see the mirror. 5. The hairdryer was the lowest watt dryer we have ever used, taking forever to dry hair. 6. The shower provided no pressure or adequate hot water. 7. The closet was equipped with 5 wooden hangers. We did request and received wire hangers but the closet was so small it was hardly adequate for a 14 day cruise, never mind a 4 day cruise. (the majority of our clothes were kept in our luggage) 8. Online information said there would be 120 and 240 electrical power. We only had an adapter at first, almost burnt up the curling iron. Upon request we received one converter (one plug in for charging two kindles, a laptop, tablet, camera, shaver, curling iron, tooth brush. We felt like we were camping. 9. The bed was made up of two small mattresses, side by side, each bed individually made with separate sheets and duvets, but one bedspread covered the two beds. Not a satisfactory comfortable way to sleep (a lesson could be learned on how to make a bed by viewing the ocean cruise ships’ beds). 10. Dining times were adequate but the layout of the tables was less than comfortable. Once seated, if you were by a window, you had to ask the two adjacent guests to get up and let you out so you could go to the buffet. Very inconvenient for all. 11. Food was mediocre, however hot food was either warm or cold , never hot as it should be – we sent a total of 4 meals and many soups back for reheating. It became too embarrassing to make any more issues about the lack of properly prepared food. 12. The swimming pool – what a laugh – the water was so cold – could not be used. The sauna and whirlpool – where???? 13. Guided tours – many of the guides had such a strong accent it was difficult to understand them. 14. Important – guests should have been informed while taking in land tours if they want to use a public WC (water closet) there may be a cost and they should carry Euros for that purpose. 15. Another shocker was when we woke up one morning, zipped open the drapes and found other people staring at us from their cabin. We were tied up (right tight) to another ship. Pretty embarrassing when you are naked. This tying up business happened another 3 times. Naturally it cut our view of the countryside we paid to see for 4 days out of 14. Is this what we paid for??? We had discussed our concerns with many of the guests on the ship. We learned they, too, had many complaints and concerns. We feel Viking’s advertising about the “Sky” was overblown and misleading. It is no wonder it is being retired this Fall. Under the circumstances we feel we are due some form of compensation as we certainly did not receive value for the $15,000.00 spent. Joseph and May Chabros   Read Less

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