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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
My BF and I did this at the last minute because the price was right. The cruise started with 2 nights in Zurich. We were transferred to Basel on June 24 and boarded the ship. I admit my experience was influenced by the record heat wave ... Read More
My BF and I did this at the last minute because the price was right. The cruise started with 2 nights in Zurich. We were transferred to Basel on June 24 and boarded the ship. I admit my experience was influenced by the record heat wave coinciding with the cruise. However, the most disappointing aspect of the experience was the food. I expected some gourmet meals and there were none. The first section of the Rhine was boring, although the locks were interesting. The transfers were all excellent and we never had to wait to get into our rooms in Zurich or Paris. I didn’t like the location of the Paris La Meridian Hotel, as there was a lot of construction in the area. The included excursions were all good to very good, but they were outside walking tours and the temperatures were around 97 degrees. There was no air conditioning in any museums or restaurants, at least not the kind of AC we have in Texas where you are blasted by cool air whenever you go inside. I realize Viking has no control of the weather, but it seemed they could have adjusted the walking tours to occur in the early am or late evening when it was MUCH cooler. Dragging the very elderly passengers around in the afternoon heat was very risky I thought. Our guide in Speyer, Herman, was wonderful but he was in his mid 80s and I’m not sure how he made it through the day. Viking personnel did not sufficiently discuss the extreme heat, in my opinion. They NEVER mentioned there was an absence of AC in the towns and cities we visited, for example. I’ve been on well over 50 cruises and I’ve seen Ship Captains significantly adjust the cruises due to weather conditions to ensure the comfort of the passengers. I’m sure the local guides would have much preferred a morning or evening tour also. Crazy. Also, I developed breathing problems due to chronic asthma. This was not an emergency but I wanted a steroid shot so an emergency wouldn’t develop. We were in Mainz. Viking staff told me I had to go to the ER, no other option. They assured me I could pay with a credit card (wrong, cash only), they called me a taxi but the driver didn’t speak English and he dropped us off in the wrong location. It was a hospital but not the ER which we eventually learned was 3 blocks away. I huffed and puffed but made it OK. The ship apparently has NO medical support and no real information about medical care in the visited ports. I think this is irresponsible given the clientele they serve. I don’t expect medical care on board, but I do expect some support to obtain such. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
Stay away from this one! Viking....ugh. Worst cruise we have ever been on. Drought impacted the river levels and they SHOULD have cancelled the cruise but of course they didn't want to lose the money so they kept it going. Didn't ... Read More
Stay away from this one! Viking....ugh. Worst cruise we have ever been on. Drought impacted the river levels and they SHOULD have cancelled the cruise but of course they didn't want to lose the money so they kept it going. Didn't see many of the areas we were supposed to see on the shore excursions. Had to change boats middle of trip. Lengthy bus rides because couldn't get up the river. Minimal water and no food on the bus rides. Boat parked beside train tracks and loud trains rumbling past all night. And of course half the time they wouldn't tell us what was happening; probably because they knew people were getting more and more angry over the course of the trip with the changes to the itinerary vs what we had all paid for. The icing on the cake? Credit vouchers issued for a future cruise to make up for the disaster that was this trip. ...but then when you go to use them you find out that the vouchers aren't valid. Call guest relations and find out that they were "issued by mistake". Why didn't they tell you they were cancelling them? "They were issued due to a system error. We don't advise they were cancelled." So after you think weeelll, maybe I'll use the vouchers and give Viking another try, they show their true colors...that they don't give a flaming, flying furry rat's behind about customer service or doing the right thing. In contrast, a friend is traveling on another cruise line soon. That cruise line listed inaccurate pricing for their beverage package...people booked at the lower price (1/3 of what it should have been). The cruise line sent out a message to passengers advising of the error, and OWNING their mistake. Viking? Own their mistake? Their mistake in a horrible cruise? Their mistake in cancelling vouchers offered in compensation for the horrible cruise? Pfft. So long, Viking. In a world full of competition, you can bet your actions will serve to drive you to the bottom of the industry, where you belong. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I just learned something that surprised me about dealing with Viking River Cruises. We returned from their "Paris to the Swiss Alps" trip on the Hild a couple of days ago. As anyone who's been following the low water ... Read More
I just learned something that surprised me about dealing with Viking River Cruises. We returned from their "Paris to the Swiss Alps" trip on the Hild a couple of days ago. As anyone who's been following the low water levels on the Rhine knows, Viking is having to do ship swaps to get people up the river. They manage the swaps well since they are doing it so often. To placate the unhappy customers on these trips they offer a percentage off of a future cruise. In our case it was 25% off. I initially thought this meant 25% off the price of a future trip - not so. Was told by another traveler that the 25% off is based on what you paid for your particular trip (type of cabin, etc.). OK, so not as generous but still fair enough. Then we received an e-mail from Viking today that said we are getting what amounts to 13% off of what we paid for the trip. I called Viking and asked them to explain how they arrived at this number since I couldn't come up with it any way I sliced it. Turns out - behind the scenes Viking patched this trip together as about 50% of our cost for the land portion and 50% for the actual river portion. This wasn't on any invoicing or documentation we ever received. So their justification for the smaller future credit is based on the price of just the river portion. Suckers that we were, we bought Viking's vouchers (pay $100 and get $200 worth of credit) while onboard because we thought the 25% good will voucher would make it worthwhile. We had decided not to do another river cruise because the one we took in 2015 also involved a boat swap. Much prefer ocean cruises where we don't have to keep packing and unpacking. Now that I know we were just offered 13% I asked if we could get a credit for the two onboard purchased vouchers we bought. Nope. They are non-refundable. This feels a bit of a bait and switch to me. Tell unhappy customers you'll give them a 25% credit so they don't mutiny while on board and then let them find out after they are home what was really offered is half that. They didn't lie to us but since no one that I know of had the breakdown of the land and river portion of the trip it certainly was misleading! Just so the rest of you know what you are being offered if this happens to you. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
October 19, 2018—We are sitting at Speyer, Germany, having never left port due to low Rhine levels... no departure from Speyer is anticipated for the duration. Thus, every day includes long bus rides to the sites on the itinerary... ... Read More
October 19, 2018—We are sitting at Speyer, Germany, having never left port due to low Rhine levels... no departure from Speyer is anticipated for the duration. Thus, every day includes long bus rides to the sites on the itinerary... this should have been called the "Rhine bus tour." While the ship is beautiful and the food fine, we have been extremely frustrated with the vague and untimely communication. We understand the Rhine issues but feel that Viking should have been forthcoming at all times rather than pretending all would be well. Cruise should have been cancelled as conditions were known well ahead of time. Ship’s staff has done its best— Viking management, that arranges the scheduling, seems to care more about its bottom line than customer experience. The email we received just before departure from the states greatly downplayed the severity of Rhine status and its impact on the cruise. We’ve cruised the Rhine before so are only mildly disappointed—for those for whom this is their first European experience, it’s been devastating. WiFi is slower than slow—why is WiFi better on cruise ships in the middle of the ocean? The Hild itself is beautiful and well appointed -- it feels new and well thought through. The food is traditional river cruise fare and well executed, though it would be nice to have some food options available in the late afternoons as 7pm dinner is late for some. Cookies and nuts are available but that gets old on a week-long itinerary. Piano player/vocalist is terrific and we are enjoying time in the lounge with his music that is suited to boomer+ audiences. As we are experienced travelers, we are opting to do our own thing rather than ride a bus for hours every day, with rushed tours given reduced time in each city due. Europe's fine public transportation affords options for those willing to venture out. The Technical Museum in Speyer is fantastic! We paid the extra for a veranda but are staring into a river bank for the duration -- not a pleasant place for enjoying scenery. All in all, we are making the best of it and having a good week -- just not the week we'd anticipated. Again, we understand the realities of the historic low water levels -- the issue is with Viking, who knew well in advance (this issue has been dogging the Rhine since August) they could not provide the river cruise advertised. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
The financial value of the cruise. I am a widow and finances are important to me. I would take the same cruise again or another cruise in a second. EEVERYTHING was beyond my expectations. I was very hesitant to travel aboard with ... Read More
The financial value of the cruise. I am a widow and finances are important to me. I would take the same cruise again or another cruise in a second. EEVERYTHING was beyond my expectations. I was very hesitant to travel aboard with different languages, currency and traditions. The cruise director put me immediately at ease. Erna explained the daily events, what to expect and always answered any questions graciously. The entire crew were exceptionally helpful and caring. The daily excursions were wonderful and I only took one paid additional tours to the Alps. The guides used on the daily tours were wonderful. Very knowledge, friendly and seemed to enjoy sharing the knowledge of their communities and interact with their guests. The food and service was excellent and I enjoyed experiencing local foods as a choice on the nightly menu. Arriving in Paris after the cruise went very well at an excellent hotel. The hotel staff was very helpful to make the most of my first time in Paris. Arrangements to the airport in Paris was seamless and Viking continued to the end taking care of its guests. Thank you to the members of the Hild and Viking Company! Read Less
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