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12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
Being ardent Silversea and Seabourn cruisers we booked with Scenic because they appeared to be the nearest equivalent when it came to river cruising... wrong! Scenic are an old coach tour company (sorry coach holiday fans) with aspirations ... Read More
Being ardent Silversea and Seabourn cruisers we booked with Scenic because they appeared to be the nearest equivalent when it came to river cruising... wrong! Scenic are an old coach tour company (sorry coach holiday fans) with aspirations to be something they don't have the company mentality to be... a class act. We booked quickly when told their latest offer was due to expire that day, only to have an email sent a day or two later that extended their offer for another month... an offer which is still going on in some form or another. Having booked through a travel agent, who were ABTA members imagine my surprise when I discovered after booking that Scenic are not ABTA members... in fact of the top ten river cruise companies they are the only one that I can find who isn't a member. Not mega important you may think but should something go wrong (as in our case) at least with ABTA there is some code of conduct, which all their members must follow. So what went wrong? Well the cruise was the ship's inaugural cruise and so came with all the associated problems that you might expect... the real problem was Scenic didn't tell anyone beforehand that they were on a maiden voyage. So we paid just short of £12,000 to be guinea pigs and fault finders, of which there were many in our Royal Suite. 1. Constant smells from the toilet (ten days to fix) 2. No TV/entertainment/WiFi until we reached Vienna 3. Pictures which fell off the wall and struck my wife as she relaxed on the sofa( it was fastened to the wall with sticky tape!) 4.Noise and heavy vibrations through the night. 5. Shower not working correctly. But the best... sorry worst... was Scenic promise of an experience not to be missed... new for 2015 was their Scenic Sundowner where we were promised ( read the brochure its brilliant) we could watch the sun go down over the Danube whilst sipping cocktails and champagne and listening to the music of the masters... wonderful. WRONG again what we had was a windowless cellar, sat at a picnic table, with a bottle of white wine from a beer bottle listening to some octogenarian play the accordion whilst his equally aged wife sang such classics as 'Roll out the barrel' and 'Its a long way to Tipperary' ! And what was Scenic's response to all this. Well whilst on board they provided us with a plug-in air freshner and a bottle of champagne by way of an apology (yes that's what we thought as well... champagne was already free on board! Post cruise... well and this is something to remember for the future after my first letter of complaint I was called by their Customer Delivery Manager (great title by the way) who told me she would reply to my letter within 3 weeks. Well I did receive a short curt reply but not from her (I guess she was too busy delivering customers that day). When I phoned to speak with her and discuss the reply apart from ignoring my first three calls, eventually she sent a message to the person I was speaking to to say she wouldn't speak to me and if I had a reply to put it in writing. But the worst part of all was the fact that they appear to think that most of what happened ... well it never happened because the cruise director on board didn't put it in her log. This in spite of the fact that the ship's engineer was in our suite almost every day and stopped me in the corridor to tell me he'd be in the cabin and ripped out the toilet whilst we were out for the day and repaired the faulty pipes... but I must have imagined that because Scenic reckoned it never happened! Perhaps I had too had a blow on the head from another picture falling off the wall. So in summary: -Beware of what Scenic promise because in my experience it's all gloss and no substance. --Record everything because they will deny most claims and ALL liability. -They told me that it was MY responsibility to ask questions BEFORE I booked... questions like 'Is this a maiden voyage?' -Don't believe anything you read in the brochure. -Don't believe any of their 'offers must end by' -Don't book the 15 day Jewels of Europe cruise. On the Danube the scenery's better and you can stand/sit outside on the sundeck. - But most of all don't book with Scenic... if something goes wrong they are not ABTA members, they have no published complaints procedure and their customer service is appalling. Final point to be aware of is that Scenic and Emerald Waterways are one and the same company... oh they say they're different but the addresses of the two companies are the same and there one and only customer service person...Darren... works for both companies (he told me so himself when I phoned the Scenic number and he answered the call as Darren from Emerald Waterways! That's despite the same person telling me before we travelled that the two companies were wholly independent.) Mind you, at least it answered my queries... why there is such a long wait for anyone to answer the telephones? and why did Scenic's answering service tell me to visit the Emerald Web site if I needed more help!!! Don't be put off river cruising... it's just that I wouldn't ever book with Scenic again, you're not valued customers just profit. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
say 3 good thing first, 1st cruise for the season- cabin was ready at 10a.m., ship is beautifully, cabin arrangement was nice. now the disappointing part: because is the first cruise of the season, felt like the entire staff don't ... Read More
say 3 good thing first, 1st cruise for the season- cabin was ready at 10a.m., ship is beautifully, cabin arrangement was nice. now the disappointing part: because is the first cruise of the season, felt like the entire staff don't have clue what they are suppose to do. The staff are mainly eastern European, they don't speak or understand each other, especially in the dining room or the lounge. most workers at the front desk do not speak or understand Dutch. Cannot read a map or computer search. one person from our group needed a doctor, Viking does not have any pre contact with doctors from town that we visited, and do not know how to get hold of a doctor needed or do they know how to get to a hospital . I found the Viking Cruise extremely disorganized and lack of training. I blamed that on managements . Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
The ship was very nice, had the best crew. We lucked out on our first cruise with Vantage we got what we thought one of the best rooms onboard. This is a very laid back company, nobody is in a hurry to do anything. The tours are not all ... Read More
The ship was very nice, had the best crew. We lucked out on our first cruise with Vantage we got what we thought one of the best rooms onboard. This is a very laid back company, nobody is in a hurry to do anything. The tours are not all paid for. They never get around to leaving until 9 or after. Walking is a must. Some of the most historical places we didn't get to see. We had 172 onboard, we were all bused one right after another lined up in generally 4 buses. Guess the only thing to see is grape vines, and more grapevines. We did get to go to a goat cheese factory, which we got to sample, with more wine. If you like layed back cruises, and lots and lots of wine, this is the cruise for you. The people on the cruise couldn't have been better, and the food was good. The only thing wrong was the temperture. We thought the air-conditioner was turned off about 12 then turned back on about 5. Over half of the passengers got colds and coughed, thank goodness we took plenty of cold medicine, which we shared with all. The people got hot in the night, and caught colds. We asked the crew, they said no, but it probably was computerize control. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
AMA Waterways Myanmar I've just taken the 10 day cruise up the Irawaddy river. Although I have taken cruises with companies like Regent, Seabourn, Silversea, etc, this is my first river cruise. I chose AMA because my travel agent ... Read More
AMA Waterways Myanmar I've just taken the 10 day cruise up the Irawaddy river. Although I have taken cruises with companies like Regent, Seabourn, Silversea, etc, this is my first river cruise. I chose AMA because my travel agent said it was highly regarded for luxury river cruising and their literature promoted a "brand new" ship for this cruise whose maiden voyage was in November 2014. Sadly this does not appear to be the case at all. The ship looks very worn for just four months of service and surely must be a "refurbished" ship. The craftsmanship and finish is very poor and not at all up to the standards which one would expect; for example there are cracks in the ceilings and walls, old and messy caulking through the the ship, bathroom grout which is discolored in places and pieces of tile which are not even, pieces of molding which do not meet and are poorly installed, flooring which is discolored and shoddily varnished, light fixtures are old looking and many have paint overspray. There is very little insulation between rooms ( I heard my neighbor with a hacking cough for 10 days as if she were in my bathroom) and hallway noise and footsteps above are also quite loud. As far as upkeep and maintenance is concerned, it is obvious that AMA has not brought any of its European or international standards to its local operation here. There are spiderwebs on railings, the balcony outside my room is not clean and neither are the windows on the sliding glass doors, planters have weeds growing in them, flags are tattered and blackened, and bathroom towels are often worn and are soiled. Even more disturbing is the mold and mildew in the showers. It is obvious that no one has ever used a brush to clean it. What are they thinking? I've had cleaner bathrooms at a Motel 6. And some of the A/C vents are dirty and black, particularly in the dining room. All it takes is a moist towel to clean that off. I just don't get it. Food is mediocre but I'm sure they are doing the best with the ingredients they have. Do not expect the level and quality of food found on a luxury cruise. House wine is acceptable but does not change and becomes monotonous after a few days. I must say the staff members are extremely friendly and polite and try their best to please. But it is obvious they have not been properly trained in housekeeping and maintenance. I am astonished that AMA has not properly trained them because I'm sure hey have the potential to learn. I would not recommend this cruise to seasoned, high-end luxury travelers and I would be hesitant to consider any AMA Waterways ship in the future. If you want to see Burma, I would suggest a land-based trip to the highlights (Bagan and Inle Lake) or a luxury cruise which calls on the west coast or Rangoon with excursion options.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
We sailed March 13th. We arrived 3 days early and enjoyed New Orleans. The Hilton was expensive, and had lousy water pressure. The trip began well, but we were stunned at the noise levels for our cabin. Walls are paper thin. Maintenance ... Read More
We sailed March 13th. We arrived 3 days early and enjoyed New Orleans. The Hilton was expensive, and had lousy water pressure. The trip began well, but we were stunned at the noise levels for our cabin. Walls are paper thin. Maintenance overhead in the middle of the nite led to sleepless nites. Room service slow or non existent. Cabin attendant. Seemed nervous and pressured, as did dining room attendant. Morale not good with employees. Some very kind. Pursers office great. Dining room outrageous crowded. Food was fine, but service uneven. Talent on boat very good.The river was brown,sad looking,toxic looking.water was rising. Stops interesting, but some very depressed areas. 5 days in I caught the flu. Ran high fever , sick as a dog. Many people on the boat were sick, but no organized effort to get us well. From Wednesday to Saturday I couldn't get out of bed. My husband shouldered on! At Memphis checked into the westin . Found others also with the flu and high fevers from the boat. Couldn't go home early with out 1000 in change fees. My flu turned into pneumonia! This was such a happy trip! I've waited 10 days to post this, management on the boat knew how sick I was, I wanted to see if they would follow up with me, they didn't. Back in so cal now. Happy to be alive! But won't be on the river again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2014
We paid a lot of money for this cruise, way more than for a luxury ship. It left Charlotte, SC and was supposed to sail to Jacksonville, Fl. Instead, it stopped at Fernandina Beach. That messed up the connection plans of quite a few of the ... Read More
We paid a lot of money for this cruise, way more than for a luxury ship. It left Charlotte, SC and was supposed to sail to Jacksonville, Fl. Instead, it stopped at Fernandina Beach. That messed up the connection plans of quite a few of the people onboard. The ports were just not interesting. One had absolutely nothing to do. There was a drug store and a sub shop within 1/2 mile. That was it. Another, unless you were buying their $40 boat tour in the cold and wind to look at mosquitoes and alligators, you were stuck on the ship. The crew was pleasant but the company did not tell those of us on the cruise that the ship was being refurbished after this trip and the cook that was brought onboard had the assignment of using up the perishable food. Our meals were pretty dreadful and there were so many complaints heard. When you have people held captive on a ship you should have the meals be a highlight. These were anything but. We were mostly seasoned cruisers and we know how it should be done. This was our 3rd riverboat cruise, first with American, and we surely will not sail with them again. The things that wenr well were they upgraded us to a balcony room. The room was clean but the young staff was not into detail day to day. They did try. We felt like criminals asking for 4 towels a day. The balcony is very narrow and has 2 chairs and a small table. The public areas were clean and we had wifi in most public areas. The speaker they had onboard was informative if you were interested in ecology. Several people said he was a big flirt with some women and thought that was unprofessional. I did not witness anything improper. The captain was friendly. There was food at cocktail hour with free drinks everyday at 5:30. The wine was mediocre (Flip Flop brand). Lunch and dinner had free wine and beer. You could buy mixed drinks at those times. Our main complaint was the cost compared to what we got. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2014
The interior of the Independence, which was put into service in 2010, looks like the 60s. I assume the interior was designed to look like Americana, but it just looks tired with soiled and worn upholstery, and tacky carpets and ... Read More
The interior of the Independence, which was put into service in 2010, looks like the 60s. I assume the interior was designed to look like Americana, but it just looks tired with soiled and worn upholstery, and tacky carpets and furnishings. Some meals were better than others (and a few were downright inedible), but for the most part the food was tasty and nicely presented. Service was somewhat inconsistent; the cruise line hires young and inexperienced people who, apparently, are given a crash course in how to deal with the passengers and are expected to serve meals and clean cabins; they complained about being overworked and underpaid and many expressed resentment with management. Cabins are clean, spacious, and comfortable with plenty of drawer and closet space, and the daily service was pretty good. The cost of the 7-day cruise is way overpriced compared to similar cruises on other and nicer cruise lines. It appears that American Cruise Lines caters to seniors; the average age of passengers was 75, most were not active, and many were infirm or disabled. It's admirable that American Cruise Lines provides cruises for the elderly and infirm who may be unable to take other kinds of trips, but that should have been made clear to us before we booked and it was not. The dining room has tables for 6 or 8 and only one table for 4; the hotel manager and cruise director were most accommodating and arranged private dinners and private tours for four of us traveling together because they understood that we did not want to sit at tables for 8 or participate in the group shore excursions for 30 to 40. The "fitness area" on the upper deck is a joke, with just 3 pieces of equipment that didn't work properly and several free weights that were rusty. For exercise, we walked 30 to 50 laps around the upper deck but then heard others complain about the "noisy" footsteps! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2014
Many comments on this Viking River Cruise were very much like our recent cruise with them. We traveled from Bucharest to Budapest. I won't provide as much detail as most of you have done but briefly try to 'compare notes'. ... Read More
Many comments on this Viking River Cruise were very much like our recent cruise with them. We traveled from Bucharest to Budapest. I won't provide as much detail as most of you have done but briefly try to 'compare notes'. Pre-cruise: Since we have extensive experience in cruising we felt Viking was very over hyped to us and made all pre-cruise experiences as unaccommodating as possible. This includes giving me a hard time in making our regular travel agent our agent of record, requiring we not contact them about anything and only get information from our agent, not working with us to obtain satisfactory air transport via their resources we were using. Like you, our Viking hotel representative at our 1st hotel was also not properly trained in customer relations. The person in front of my wife in line for information from this person had a substantial complaint and was not picked up at the airport. Instead of just apologizing and trying to make up for this, the Viking hotel person arrogantly and loudly made it this woman's fault totally and worse she carried her bad attitude into my wife's questions. Our 1st night hotel of the cruise was quite nice, available at 1:00 PM and service was extremely good. We were not so concerned about the ships exterior as you but found the interior design poor. We have done a lot of 'luxury' level cruising and weren't expecting that but found the 'sliding' door to the bathroom very noisy. The closet door was very difficult for my wife to use and not having an electrical outlet near the cabin's mirror was very inconvenient. Dining is such a personal matter and saying what is good really reflects one's own tastes and cultural background. We did not expect 'luxury' level dining but what we received was satisfactory. Just not much special to talk about other than the waiter, Jorge, who I surfaced early on with a little interviewing. Jorge, made sure our wine glasses were always kept full during dinner. I should note that this cruise was the last of the season for the ship and crew and was only half full. Your comments on inappropriate timing hit home with me. During the cruise we were awoken at 3:30 AM to be ready for a mandatory face to face passport check going into Hungary. Why couldn't we have waited a couple of hours so this could have been done during breakfast? Also, most all of our scheduled excursions were also inappropriately scheduled, often so that during the last hour or two of our excursion we were in total darkness. Yes, really! Our departure times were much like yours, extremely inconvenient, but this sometimes is just because scheduled airline departure times seem to run early going to the USA. In conclusion, I can say that Viking does an excellent job on the destination part of cruising. Their concept of sort of putting all the excursions together that you would find on an ocean cruise into a 1 day longer excursion is really a great way to immerse yourself into a new adventure. We particularly liked the excursion we had with a 'local' family. Their tour guides were excellent. However, we have found that the more we travel the more we savor the "journey" to a "destination" as much as seeing more new destinations. Since Viking did not help us do this, in fact, made it difficult for us, we also do not think we will travel with them again.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
From the very beginning of this cruise things went wrong. Due to the changing of ports we missed the first nights dinner due to our late arrival, although they did serve us cold soup and a stale sandwich. Captain was aloof, restaurant ... Read More
From the very beginning of this cruise things went wrong. Due to the changing of ports we missed the first nights dinner due to our late arrival, although they did serve us cold soup and a stale sandwich. Captain was aloof, restaurant manager was rude and organization of excursions was day to day. The guides were hard to understand, rushed us through the sites and were not well informed. Some of our excursions took us over 2 hours to arrive. The food on the ship was very inconsistent. Steaks were good, but poultry and fish was overcooked and tasteless. We stayed in Lyon 3 days facing a graffiti riddled building-not the cruising we were promised. Only got to use the sundeck the last day due to high water. The entertainment consisted of a piano player that played the same music over and over again. Only one night did we get a break from this monotony. The complimentary wine was poor in quality and forced us to order from the partial wine list at our cost. We wrote a letter to complain about the quality and low price value. The only thing offered was a discount on our next cruise with Viking-the same discount offered to all other past guests. Why would we want to cruise again with Viking. They did not deliver and we will never use them again. Don't make the mistake of booking with Viking-AMA is a much better choice. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
A few things you should consider before taking the cruise. 1. Internet is poor. Viking will tell you the internet connection is great (I called twice beforehand), and you can place video calls and watch video. This is not the case. Their ... Read More
A few things you should consider before taking the cruise. 1. Internet is poor. Viking will tell you the internet connection is great (I called twice beforehand), and you can place video calls and watch video. This is not the case. Their connection is poor. Unfortunately, I was unable to conduct some business via internet as planned. Normally not a big deal but I wish they would have told me the truth. 2. Food is just Ok. No room service, and no "real" food except meal times. This was a issue for us as some of the excursions included dinner and the dinner was low quality. 3. Rooms are very small. I'm blessed to get a suite on most of my cruises and I had a main level suite with a balcony. It was right next to the lobby and very convenient. The pictures make the suites look bigger than reality. Be forewarned. 4. Security is non-existant. Like it or not we live in a dangerous world. Viking doesn't seem to be too concerned. Unlike most cruises I have been on, there is zero security. Nobody checking to see who gets in board. No key card checkin or out. The good news is you can bring booze on board. 5. Speaking of booze, the Silver Package is a bargain. Very reasonable for those that drink often. 6. Ports were pretty interesting. I went and it wasn't terrible but there are other options that are better and safer. I would not consider Viking again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2014
This is not a river cruise. The ship is used as your hotel and you are bused practically everything. It is also not a Wine Tour. In 7 days there were 3 wine tastings. The first one at Chateaux Lalond was excellent and the last at Sauterne ... Read More
This is not a river cruise. The ship is used as your hotel and you are bused practically everything. It is also not a Wine Tour. In 7 days there were 3 wine tastings. The first one at Chateaux Lalond was excellent and the last at Sauterne was very well done and educational. The one on board was pathetic. The tours were a mixed bag. The tour director seemed totally disengaged and never joined us on the local tours which varied greatly in quality. Sometimes it was not the guide's fault, there just wasn't that much to see. The free tours on 3 of the days were less than 2 hours long. The Arcachon tour was wonderful, but we paid an extra $2000 for the 4 of us to go. The ship is lovely, immaculate, very nice housekeeping staff and the food is good with free flowing wine at dinner. We paid extra for a balcony and were parked next to another boat at least half the nights, so close that I could touch it. No view at all. We really only cruised on the last day coming back into Bordeaux. That was lovely and reminded me of why I like river cruising. We were so excited about taking a Viking cruise. Had done the Avalon Budapest to Paris one 2 years ago and LOVED IT. Everyone said Viking was so much better, but it was not at all. A major disappointment. Morale: read the itinerary very, very closely. Do not assume the positive.   Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
This is the first time we ventured on a river cruise with a total of 18 friends in our group. Our group has travelled extensively both on land and ocean and live in 3 different continents: North America, Australia and Asia. The food ... Read More
This is the first time we ventured on a river cruise with a total of 18 friends in our group. Our group has travelled extensively both on land and ocean and live in 3 different continents: North America, Australia and Asia. The food quality was by far the biggest disappointment. There was very limited selection during breakfast and dinner. Breakfast options were the exact same 7 days straight. You could tell they recycled the leftover food from the morning and serve it at night. Also, they misrepresented the size of prawns and type of fish on their menu. The wine selection for the dining room was mediocre at best. At the bistro dinner, there was no wine pairing as was indicated and food portions were rather small and as a result we were still hungry afterwards. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
Hello. My husband and I were not “guests” but a paying customers on the Scenic Ruby (8/9/14 - 15/9/14). I was to complete the survey provided and return however putting a cross in a box could not express in detail all that should be ... Read More
Hello. My husband and I were not “guests” but a paying customers on the Scenic Ruby (8/9/14 - 15/9/14). I was to complete the survey provided and return however putting a cross in a box could not express in detail all that should be said. We were on tour Romantic Rhine and Moselle River cruise (code AMBA080914-2) that we booked. After a 8hr flight to Zurich we were transferred to Hotel Movenpick and left for 7 hrs in a room with chairs fit for a classroom with coffee facilitys. Once on the ship, both the room keys issued to us malfunctioned 4 times each. We were accused of keeping them next to a phone - NOT TRUE. Of the passengers that boarded 2 where visibly terribley sick with the flu. There was no attempt by the cruise director to address the prospect of infecting others. Others ships do so and retain those for a period to monitor in an infirmary. We were told after 2 days they were removed to hospital to intensive care and only returned on the last day of the cruise to fly home. It took a few days for 98% of those on board to get extremely ill (us included). When I tried to contact our private butler after being bed ridden for a day/night and explaining we had not eaten in this time, I was told that he was too busy as he was working in the dining room. The entertainment was an organ player suitable for a retirement village. The rooms appeared tidy and the bed comfortable. However the piece of blue material covering the bed foot was stained with what I could only call bodily fluid stains! The room staff where pleasant however some dining staff frowned when a request was made. You just about lost your voice trying to talk over the noise in the dining room. Food not 5 star - the same plain gravy with 3 totally different meats over 3 nights and 1 toaster for one hundred and so passengers. All passengers are invited to dine for an Italian meal at a dining area called Portabellos. I've had better Continental Cup minestrone soup, with more veg in it. The bus trip to Kaju Restaurant where we had a Swiss Cheese Fondue lunch consisted of 2 squares of bread to dip in the fondue and I had to get up to get my own drink of juice as the staff could not cope! - Not hard people. No one saw the 3 guys playing the Alp Horns on arrival as 3 bus loads of people with busting bladders tried to fit in 3 Female/ 3 Male toilets. Our guided tour of Strasburg had actually left 2 of the group there! Of the electric bicycles many did not work, neither did the GPS. We went out then without the GPS and took a map from the boat but the maps did not mark the locations of the sites - as you need the GPS to find them! The tour guides contracted to conduct the tours where blazay a least. The bike tour guides did not wait for the slow AND with no tool kits, they actually stopped at a residents house to ask for a spanner so as to adjust a seat for a rider! We were in Outside Stateroom: Cabin E110. Every time the Ruby entered a lock, it would fill with diesel fumes. An obvious lack of ventilation. Travelling time on board too long. We actually realised that we had turned and back tracked on the river. The last 2 days on board, the entire lower section reeked of raw sewerage (leaking sewerage container?) At this time staff where preparing for the next passengers. Our room was no longer serviced or stocked with toiletries (including toilet paper). Our bath robes were confiscated for cleaning for the next passengers and our tv/internet turned off. This tour is designed for those who wish to sink copious amounts of alcohol, spending time on a boat with 60% of industrial river views. PS take the earplugs if you don't wish to hear any rowdy neighbours. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
Please, please, please think very hard before you spend your hard earned money cruising on Viking Freya. My wife and I unfortunately spent almost £7000.00 for a seven night river cruise on the Danube. To be fair our flights to and from ... Read More
Please, please, please think very hard before you spend your hard earned money cruising on Viking Freya. My wife and I unfortunately spent almost £7000.00 for a seven night river cruise on the Danube. To be fair our flights to and from Belfast via London to Budapest with a two night hotal stay b/b basis before our cruise were included. We paid a lot extra for a balcony, recommended by Viking for the ultimate holiday. What they didn't say was that at almost every port of call another Viking boat moored alongside us and guess what, the only views we experienced was another balcony within arms reach, I kid you not!! Most of our journeys were at night so all the beautiful so-called views were obscured by darkness. When we didn't have a boat alongside we would have required rubber boots as our and the next door staterooms balcony were flooded ( have photos to verify) with two inches (50mm) water, apparently from a leaking downpipe from above. Our stateroom attendant had to mop this virtually daily. The response from the reception staff was literally, " we are very sorry but it's out of their control", in other words, live with it!! The week prior to our journey must have been another disaster for the passengers as the Captain apparently forgot to lower the wheelhouse when passing below a low bridge, and "whoops " no wheelhouse!! WHAT A MESS The main reason for this trip was because my wife and I had just hit another big "O" and according to the Viking brochures this was going to be a trip of a lifetime, which we had saved very hard. To be fair we knew what we had to pay and were taken in with Vikings very expensive television adverts, I now know that I have paid for quite a few of them. Vienna was supposed to be the highlight of our cruise, again rather than an overnight stay we were rushed about and the only highlight was a beautiful concert, which after paying almost £7000.00 had to fork out an other hundred plus for the privilege. The amount of people that I have put off cruising with Viking runs into double figures and If you are thinking river cruising please shop around or do what we intend to do is visit Vienna and take a local river cruise up and down the river, you will save thousands. There was little or no entertainment on board, the food was ok but nothing special. Our last night onboard was taken up mainly with the entertainment officer asking us for tips/gratuities not only for her and the other visual staff but for the crew in general, somehow I think they must be well paid. I have checked prices for cruise ship prices and we can get 21nights cruise on the Azamar (5star) for the same money, fully inclusive. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!! PS. I got a beautiful letter from Viking stating, how sorry they were and please come again, NO WAY. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
We travelled with a Gate 1 arranged river cruise on the Amadeus Royal on the Danube from Nuerenberg to Budapest this year. Gate one arranged cruises are cheaper than others, and there is a reason for it. The ships they use (from Lueftner, ... Read More
We travelled with a Gate 1 arranged river cruise on the Amadeus Royal on the Danube from Nuerenberg to Budapest this year. Gate one arranged cruises are cheaper than others, and there is a reason for it. The ships they use (from Lueftner, in our case) are older, in need of modernization, not as attractive an interior, old carpet, tired looking cabins, almost no space for your clothes, etc. This was our first Gate one arranged trip and our last. We will not travel with them again...and we cruise several times a year. For example, the promised internet worked intermittently, more often not. It never worked when underway, and frequently didn't work even in port. No excuse for that. Be wary of the cabin you get! The room we booked was a mid category, but we were shortchanged. The room itself was smaller than the others in the same category and the window was 25% smaller than others in the same category. When we complained to the Gate 1representatives on board, they shrugged their shoulders and told us to contact our travel agent. When we complained to the Lueftner front desk, they said that it wasn't their problem, it was a Gate 1 issue. After NUMEROUS letters, Gate 1 offered us $50 total refund, after paying more than $6000! We wanted the $500 upgrade fee we had paid to be returned, since we didn't have a truly upgraded cabin. If we had known what we were getting, we would have booked alternate dates, or in retrospect, with a different company. But they were not honest with us from the beginning with their description of the cabin. The room was immediately adjacent to the kitchen door, which was used by the crew 24 hours a day. When I say used, I mean slammed. No sleep for the first 3 nights. I complained the first night, and was told that it was in my imagination, that at 2 am there were no crew members going through the door. The next night, at 1 am, I went out into the hallway and saw the back of the crew member who had just gone through and slammed the door. I went up to the desk in my p.j.s to complain. To no avail. It wasn't until the next night's early morning wake up call and the arrival of the chief of the hotel for the shipping line, that something was finally done. He was great and finally solved the problem! The crew was forbidden to use the door after 10 pm. The rest of the trip I was able to sleep through the night. AVOID that cabin at all costs. The only bright spot was some of the Luftner's actual crew members (not the Gate 1 representatives, who were more interested in flirting with the crew members than taking care of the passengers and not particularly the Lueftner front desk staff who were flirting with the Gate 1 reps). The waiters, bar tenders, and cabin stewards were as good as any I have seen. The food ranged from very good to mediocre. No way to predict which evening meals would be good and which not. The port stops were fine. No complaints there. In summary, it depends on what is important to you: service and comfort or a cheap cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
This was my sixth VR River Cruise and it was by far, my least favorite. The food was mediocre, at best and there was very little to see at each of the stops along the way. The best part of the trip was the three day precruise trip thru the ... Read More
This was my sixth VR River Cruise and it was by far, my least favorite. The food was mediocre, at best and there was very little to see at each of the stops along the way. The best part of the trip was the three day precruise trip thru the Loire Valley. The Captain of the ship didn't even attend the Aquavit party for Viking Explorers. Everything on the trip seemed to be a little cheaper, e.g., the Silver Spirit Package did not include a hat nor a bag like it had, in the past. All of that being said, the boat and the crew (except for the Captain) were fantastic. This was my first trip on a Longship and the boat is far superior to the standard boats from the past. It was a shame to waste such a magnificent boat on such an ugly river. Distances were so short, sailing times never seemed to exceed two hours. This trip should not be included as a future Viking destination. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
Travelers (3): Ages 84, 77, 51, well seasoned travelers, ocean cruises 23, river cruise 1 (this one). We had 2 lower level cabins (the ones with the windows instead of the balcony, difference in price was $5K. Accommodations: Very nice ... Read More
Travelers (3): Ages 84, 77, 51, well seasoned travelers, ocean cruises 23, river cruise 1 (this one). We had 2 lower level cabins (the ones with the windows instead of the balcony, difference in price was $5K. Accommodations: Very nice as far as room (for a boat) plenty of closet space, nice bathroom, shower, heating/air, 110v and 220v outlets available, built in USB ports (ipod music easily plays through room speakers). Sound: Terrible. If you've ever wondered what fish in a fish tank feels like or hears...get a lower cabin. Bloop bloop bloop...all night. On the last night, it sounded like they were power washing the sides. You go through SEVERAL locks each day. If you're in your cabin, all you see out the window is a brick wall. It makes you feel like you're locked in. For good. Food: Above average. Nice selection. The set up a buffet for breakfast and lunch which fills with passengers and the line is about 30 minutes. It took us 2 days to realize that if you just go to a table and sit, the wait staff will bring you whatever is on the buffet. Wait Staff & Housekeeping: Service in the dining room is GREAT. Very friendly and hardworking! Within 2 days, they pretty much know everyones name and are very very eager to please. Housekeeping, same as above. Cruise Director: Chantal, was very new at this position (3 mos.) but did a good job overall. She lost us completely on the last evening when she thoroughly explained the importance of the survey. She even told us how to easily mark the 4-6 page document easily with 100% satisfied. I found that offensive. Also, considering the amount of money this cruise costs, the last thing I'm going to do is homework. The survey is seriously about 45-60 min worth of work. No thanks. She also needs to hone her public speaking skills and stop reading everything. Nobody likes to be read to. If you're going to read it, just hand it to me and I'll do it. Ports: Great! Tour guides were hit and miss 50/50. The ship asks us to review each one so that they can either continue to book them or not. Problem is most of them will tell you that this is a temporary or part time position (only for the summer or only till I get a real job). Some were fantastic some were horrible. Ports were all excellent but more free time at each port would have been great. Passengers: Everyone is well over 60 on this ship. We were prepared for that. That wasn't a problem at all, but if you're not prepared...it could be shocking. It really is like a nursing home on the water. No offense, but totally true. Passengers were all very friendly and very nice. First Aid: We needed an ace bandage and had to rummage through a first aid kit that had not been re-stocked in quite a while. I'm also VERY SHOCKED to hear that Viking ships DO NOT carry defibrillators! Considering the average age of the passengers... I think it would be very helpful to have a least 1 crew member trained and ready to go with the paddles. Also, if you have trouble walking at more than a stroll, this cruise is not for you. They did have a group for the "slow walkers" which wasn't very slow at all. We did both. Our travel guide even left 3 passengers behind in Vienna. One of them walked with a walker. Night Life: None Lounging Life: Lots, bring books, ipads, cards, knitting or anything that can entertain you. You will find most passengers sleeping in the main lounging area all day long. Watching them sleep makes you sleepy. Entertainment: None to speak of. There were presentations on coffee and struddle making both by staff members. Actual musical entertainment (2 evenings) were boring. If you're going for the entertainment, don't. Finally when analyzing the river cruise vs. ocean cruising...the cost differential is not worth it. We do not plan on doing another river cruise again.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
We have traveled with Viking on 2 previous cruises and had high expectations for this cruise. The 1st night was spent in a hotel because the Prestige had a generator problem. Once the issue was resolved and we were transported to the ship, ... Read More
We have traveled with Viking on 2 previous cruises and had high expectations for this cruise. The 1st night was spent in a hotel because the Prestige had a generator problem. Once the issue was resolved and we were transported to the ship, we expected the same caliber of service we has experienced on previous cruises. However, this was not the case. Issues were: Luggage was not on ship the day when we arrived. ( We had checked out of the hotel at 9 and spend the entire day in Passau therefore there had been plenty of time to load the ship); rooms and baths were lacking in amenities; food was less than expected; we stood in the rain for an hour waiting to board the vessel. Buses were not staggered on excursions and with everyone arriving back on the ship at the same time, it was very unorganized trying to get all 188 people checked in. The hotel manager (Roy) never explained the situation nor apologized for the inconvenience. The crew and staff seemed to be frustrated by the situation and it showed in the service. Later the ship developed a sewer issue and the rooms and corridors had a very bad odor. Again no apology from the staff. If the upper management had offered an apology and an explanation , then I think everyone would have been understanding and happier. We will never travel with Viking again nor will be recommend the company. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
The ship was clean, attractive and the crew outstanding. That said, much was negative. The dining experience was dreadful. One seating for 180 people in a crowded, noisy room made for a rude crush when the dining room doors opened. There ... Read More
The ship was clean, attractive and the crew outstanding. That said, much was negative. The dining experience was dreadful. One seating for 180 people in a crowded, noisy room made for a rude crush when the dining room doors opened. There was one table for 4, none for 2; the rest were for 6 or 8. If you weren't with an already formed group it seemed like you'd have to beg for 2 empty seats. We gave up on dinner in the main dining room and ate in the Aqavit lounge nightly. In addition to the space disaster, the food was only fair. The ship closed the sundeck for 6 days! This caused crowding in the already busy lounge. With this large group, there was nowhere else to go except your cabin. The noise level was awful. How nice it would have been to have more lounge spaces. We will not take another River cruise no will we recommend Viking to others. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2014
I was very disappointed in the cruise. I had been looking forward to it based on reviews read but they did not tell the whole story it seems. The ship is old and does not always function properly. The air conditioning in our room (311) was ... Read More
I was very disappointed in the cruise. I had been looking forward to it based on reviews read but they did not tell the whole story it seems. The ship is old and does not always function properly. The air conditioning in our room (311) was non existent 90% of the time and when questioned, the staff admitted "well it does not work too good on that side of the ship." It seems to work in the public areas and one side but not the other side of the ship Unless of course they want you to vacate an area and then it seems they turn it off completely in that area. The last night of the cruise the dining room got so hot at the end of the meal that everyone was using the menu's to fan themselves so of course they got their wish and people got up and left instead of being able to relax and visit after eating. The same thing was done the morning of debarkation to the rooms so people would vacate the rooms for cleaning. The food served was expertly cooked and tasted wonderful however the selection available was really limited and some very strange choices. We had one night where EVERYTHING was made with Mushrooms. Appetizers, Entrees, and even the desert ! They call it their theme night. From what I understand on the previous cruise the week earlier it was all Asparagus. The deserts were very limited selection and thank heavens they at least had vanilla ice cream available as an alternative if you asked. We had one night we tried to go the library at the back of the boat to play some cards and it was impossible to even hear each other with all the noise and the shaking of the boat as it cruised. I cannot even imagine what the people in the rooms in the back of the boat had to put up with. We had to leave the room just to get rid of the headache caused. The staff was Superior! They were very helpful and they arranged even our private transportation for debarkation. The staff in the dining room were very friendly and did the very best they could but unfortunately it appeared they did not have the staff necessary for the amount of tables. The first night was very good but after that you could not even get your water glass refilled let alone the wine that was supposed to be provided at the meals. Lunch was worse than dinner because they had some staff go to the lounge to assist with the buffet lunch served there. The lunch in the lounge varied day to day and there was no communication of what was being served. Most people missed the special 4th of July luncheon prepared with hamburgers, ribs, corn on the cob, apple pie and watermelon because there was absolutely no communication about it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
This cruise was extremely inconsistent in service, dining, entertainment and excursions For the amount of money we spent (over $8000) we expected to have outstanding service and dining. Real lobster crackers are a must for whole lobsters - ... Read More
This cruise was extremely inconsistent in service, dining, entertainment and excursions For the amount of money we spent (over $8000) we expected to have outstanding service and dining. Real lobster crackers are a must for whole lobsters - not nut crackers. I could only get to 1/2 of the meat. Poached eggs had to be sent back 3 times because the yolks were overcooked and hard. I had a meal of chicken parmesan which was inedible. The sauce and cheese I was able to pick up in one big hunk. The chicken itself was hard and dry and the risotto was hard and glue-like. Our server was in tears due to the chef attacking her in the kitchen. On several days we were in the cabin in the morning with the Do Not Disturb sign on the door. When we left on an excursion we took the sign off and expected the room to be cleaned- it was not. The ship is only 7 years old and is looking shabby. Now, that all being said, we spoke to the Hotel Manager, who was appreciative of our constructive criticism and had a discussion with the staff and the chef. Hopefully things will be corrected, but I do not think I could recommend American Cruise Lines to a friend. It is too bad because the itineraries are very interesting. Way too much money for the product delivered. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
My friend and I took the Paris & Heart of Normandy Tour departing July 4. I was disappointed with this tour and have already advised at least three people who were considering Viking to go with a different cruise line. First, my ... Read More
My friend and I took the Paris & Heart of Normandy Tour departing July 4. I was disappointed with this tour and have already advised at least three people who were considering Viking to go with a different cruise line. First, my friend and I had a problem getting updates and documentation. One of us lives in NYC and the other in Houston. First, all emails were sent to Texas, even though several of them should have been directed to NYC, then, when documentation was sent, it all went to NYC. Only after calling and having duplicate documentation sent did Texas receive paperwork. We booked transfers through Viking. My flight arrived, and I found the Viking rep with no problem. However, seven people were supposed to have arrived, but I was the only one. I had to wait for 40 minutes and finally, when the other six had not yet arrived, I said that I was tired of waiting and wanted to go to the ship. Otherwise, I would have still been sitting at the airport. I was tired, having flown from Houston, my friend had arrived in Paris hours earlier, and it wasn't my fault about the other people. There was little entertainment on board, and I especially regretted that the last afternoon of our cruise, when it took seven hours to float to Paris from Conflans, the only entertainment was how to make a chocolate lava cake. This was the last day of our cruise! On other days, there was also very little in the way of entertainment, and, as I am hard-or-hearing and the TVs were not close-captioned, I couldn't even watch TV. In each port, local tour guides were used. When we went to Giverny, one of the tour guides didn't show up, so my friend ended up in a group that should have been halved, and the tour guide left several people, including my friend who is handicapped, behind. I could only understand one or two of the guides, even with the audio system provided. Think you will see Paris? Forget it. We got out of the bus for a view of the Eiffel Tower (which can be seen from the ship), and other than that, all pictures had to be taken out of a moving bus window on a day when it was raining. There was a little free time to go exploring but was on the first day of the tour (the day that I finally arrived at the ship at 3 PM, was tired, and wanted dinner at 7), or the evening before we all left the ship to go home. Since we didn't get into Paris until 7 PM and dinner was at 7:15, that didn't leave much time as my transfer to the airport was at 4:45 AM. Also, my friend uses a walker, and no-one told us that, in Paris, there were about 50 metal steps from the quay to street level. We had to enlist the help of strangers. We thought there was very little time to shop or explore. For example, when we were in Vernon, it was Sunday, and the few shops there were were closed, except for the pastry shops. After coming home, people have asked how the French people were. I have to say that I honestly don't know since I didn't have much interaction with them. The food was OK, probably above average but not extraordinary. However, although wine was included at lunch and dinner, all of the white was Chardonnay and all the red was Merlot. These are not my favorite varieties, so by the end of the cruise, I was drinking Diet Coke. Petty maybe, but the carpets were stained and either needed a good cleaning or to be replaced. It was so chilly and rainy in France, in July, that we didn't get to enjoy the deck at all. One of the good things was the wonderful server we had in the dining room, Simone. She was attentive, remembered us, and was exceptional. Also, the program director, Karine, did go out of her way to accommodate my friend on the tour of the American Cemetery and Omaha Beach by reserving a front seat for us so that she could easily get on/off/on the bus. However, having traveled with another line previously, I would not book another cruise with Viking. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
I just returned home from 13 days with AMAwaterways. Seven days were spent on the AMAdagio and 3 days pre-cruise in Paris and 3 days post cruise in Barcelona. The Paris hotel was a disappointing choice, but compared to the comfort on board ... Read More
I just returned home from 13 days with AMAwaterways. Seven days were spent on the AMAdagio and 3 days pre-cruise in Paris and 3 days post cruise in Barcelona. The Paris hotel was a disappointing choice, but compared to the comfort on board the AMAdagio it was heaven. I expected a 5 star experience. At best I'll be generous and give it 3 stars. The cabins were tiny, as I expected, but I didn't expect a bed that was a torture device. The mattress was lumpy and we could feel the poorly placed slats below. Unfortunately, the water in the bathroom had a very unpleasant odor which added to the discomfort. I don't know if they can correct this problem. Overall, the "hotel" experience on board was that of an old hotel that was well passed its prime. The food was less than mediocre. The meats reminded me of the university dining hall. I was served overripe fruit and the pastries seemed like they were packaged (in France!). I was surprised that the day before we left the boat we were asked to surrender our bathrobes so the crew could start washing them for the next group. On the positive side the tours and guides were very good and the staff was attentive and pleasant. The trip ended in Barcelona at a good hotel in tourist friendly neighborhood. Overall, I feel the trip was a second class experience beginning with the hotel in Paris, the second class train ticket to Lyon, the bus with broken air conditioning from France to Barcelona, and the aged feeling on board the boat.   Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
Viking, well yes, they have great advertisements, and gorgeous photos of the new 'longboats', however here are the facts. 1). They must have your whole entire cruise fee payable immediately payable upon booking. 2). Watch out, ... Read More
Viking, well yes, they have great advertisements, and gorgeous photos of the new 'longboats', however here are the facts. 1). They must have your whole entire cruise fee payable immediately payable upon booking. 2). Watch out, depending upon where your cruise goes, look at the following : River swelling, lock strikes, time of year for river swelling ( and/or depleting) etc. ALL of those affect your cruise. 3). Speaking of which: those nice photos of your upper deck cruising through those lovely rivers, ahem, on our 8 day cruise recently, only ONE DAY was the upper deck open. Check it out people , Viking is misrepresenting their cruises, letting you think you can sit 'above the ship ' and watch the scenery, when in fact, on our last 2 Viking cruises,the UPPER DECK WAS 'CLOSED'. Yes, that means, NO nice viewing, cruising scenery like they show in their advertisements. And, if there are ANY swollen river delays, that can happen, well, guess what, you are put onto a ghastly bus , no fun, and bussed to the next destination, Our advise is: CAREFULLY CHECK, where are you going on your river cruise, what time of year, what are the rivers like ( heavy rains affect river cruise travel, people !!!), that means your boat STOPS until the river cooperates. I'd like to say that Viking is great, however I think they treat passengers like us ( active adult ) like children. I.e: not telling us "what is happening & when ". This , in my opinion , is their most serious flaw. For an example, our cruise was supposed to start in Chalon, France. So, we purchased the 3-day pre cruise Paris stay. Then, they told us at the Paris hotel, that instead of traveling to Chalon that we now would be bussed to Lyon,, due to ( take note : River swelling !). Okay. We were told 4 hours bus ride. We got on the bus and the lady told us 9-10 hour bus ride. ******VIKING: NOT OKAY! ***** We are not children ! and many people were upset by this. We could have just calmly had a quiet bus ride to Lyon, but no, a talkative ( microphone) lady kept us awake the whole time. And, because English was her second language, every 2nd word was ' uh uh uh ' .....it was PAINFUL. We finally arrived in Lyon missed 3 days of our cruise, people : watch out, that means Viking is dependent on RIVER WATER LEVELS!!!! They do not tell you this as you are sending them your full deposit amount $$$.... In addition, if Viking had told us that the bus ride was 9-10 hours, we would have taken the train(3+hours) and with no loud , bad, tour guide microphoning us for the whole way. On a positive note: the crew of the Viking Heimdal was superb. We do think, however, that the Viking Heimdal crew was very hard working and maybe overworked ? It seemed to us that they did not have enough crew members for that was required. The staff worked incredibly hard , many hours every day and night, however, we, as cruise guests, think they could use more staff. It almost seemed like they had a skeleton crew, just making due, until more staff could come aboard. Kudos to Kornelia, awesome hard work. Our suggestion is: check out Viking, but first, check out when , time of year, are you going, and what other river cruise line does the same itinerary, because , we saw river cruise boats that had their upper deck open while ours on Viking , was closed. Big thing as you are cruising European rivers ! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2014
We lost the expected afternoon in Avignon because Viking forgot it was Bastille Day and they had to move the ship north of some locks early in the day. While they offered a bus ride an hour back, it only offered 1 hour in Avignon versus a ... Read More
We lost the expected afternoon in Avignon because Viking forgot it was Bastille Day and they had to move the ship north of some locks early in the day. While they offered a bus ride an hour back, it only offered 1 hour in Avignon versus a full afternoon until an evening departure. We lost the evening in Vivien as promised - it seems Viking does not reserve docking space and we ended up spending the evening docked at a lock in the middle of noplace. When we arrived in Lyon (actually we were northbound, but CC did not let me say we started in Avignon), we were told that was the end of our cruising. The water was too high for our longship to pass under bridges north of Lyon. Everything was still offered, but will multiplehour long bus rides. We were docked for three days with a grafitti covered warehouse on one side and a sister thip on the other, so windows were useless on both sides. All the foreign competitors sailed right past, as their ships are one deck shorter. If you check other reviews, you will see this happens all year long on various portions of the Portraits of Southern France cruise and Viking is running four - yes four longships on this route. Can we say fraud? The historic river heights and bridge heights are not a surprise, and according to both senior crew and CC reports, this happens often all year long. Viking did a fine job otherwise as per usual. But, with the ships Viking chose to use, this cruise cannot be delivered with any certainty. Avoid Viking on this route. Other lines will be just fine. John MacBain Read Less

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