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6 comments

My husband and I were recently aboard the Viking Skirnir for the Grand European Tour beginning September 26 and ending October 10.This was our “Swan Song,” because due to our age, we knew we couldn’t take another trip like this.

When we arrived in Vienna, my husband became suddenly and extremely ill with what we later learned was pneumonia. The doctor that Verona, the concierge, called came to our stateroom, observed my husband on the floor and said, “I’m a doctor. I don’t pick people up.” Then he charged me 100 Euros, leaving me with three Euros. I asked him to call an ambulance, which he did, because my husband was feverish and unable to rise from the floor.

He is nearing 90, so of course, I was extremely worried about him, and I was sick, too. Verona did nothing to help us in any way. She told me I would have to find my own way back to the US. I asked her how I should do that, and she said to call my travel agent.

Viking was my travel agent! She also said I would have to find a way to get to Budapest to pack up our things and get them back to Vienna. She told me that a taxi would be too expensive, and I should take a train, but didn’t tell me where I could find a train station. She made no suggestion where I might find a hotel in Vienna, or anyone I could call to get some advice as to how I might manage alone in Vienna.

Nor did she call my emergency number to notify my daughter what had happened to us. Why do we give emergency contacts to Viking? Our children were terrified. Meanwhile, on the third day, Verona called me to say I could pick up my belongings when the ship made its return trip to Vienna.

She knew all along that the ship was coming back, but she let me worry over how I was going to get to Budapest to get our things. My blood pressure was 228/110 and I had to make two trips to the emergency room for IVs to try to lower it. I’ve never been so alone and so worried in my life. My husband was in the hospital for 10 days, when we were finally discharged to return home, but unfortunately I have only the memory of being an old woman completely helpless in Vienna without even a hint of concern or assistance and unable to speak the language.

Would Verona have wanted her mother to have been put in this situation?

My letter to Viking about this was sent a month ago, but it has has gone unanswered.No one takes a cruise thinking there would be an emergency, but Verona surely could have recommended a hotel in Vienna or had someone accompany us to translate.

This reviewer shared experience about poor customer service and wants this business to issue a partial refund. WHITTLETREE is overall dissatisfied with Viking Cruises. Reviewer wants customer support to reach our to him or her ASAP for further discussion of this matter.

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Anonymous
Kirkland, Washington, United States #1271396

our viking star cruise in 2015 I got became ill with a lung issue from fumes in spa and stateroom. on way home from airport went to ER found I had peumonia and was treated 9 months later breathing problems was found I had IPF a terminal lung disease the lung biopsy showed a bacterial cause now the drug to slow down the lung dying costs $90,000 a year

Anonymous
to Anonymous Rancho Santa Margarita, California, United States #1271443

I'm so sorry to hear of your problems.It makes ours look very small.

My husband is having trouble recovering from the pneumonia, but we think he will in time.I wish you the very best and hope there'll be better news for you in the future.

VikingCruises
Los Angeles, California, United States #1256166
Viking Cruises Verified Representative

Dear Whittletree,

We appreciate the opportunity to respond to your comments and hope your husband has fully recovered from his illness.Please send him our best wishes!

The experience you describe is understandably disappointing and undoubtedly jarring.

We are truly sorry that you and your husband had to endure such an event – especially in an unfamiliar city.

Although we recognize you were sent to the hospital in a hurry and with limited information, our records indicate that, during your hotel stay in Vienna, a Viking representative contacted you directly in an effort to reunite you with your luggage and connect you with your travel insurance company to arrange transportation home.

Whittletree, we’ve now had the pleasure of reviewing the details of your experience and collecting feedback from both you and your daughter. Rest assured that your candid comments, provided here and during our telephone conversations, are appreciated and have been documented for future coaching opportunities.

Now that our representative has assisted you in opening a claim with your insurance company, we encourage you to await the outcome. If there is anything we can do anything to further assist with your claim or if you remain dissatisfied once you receive the outcome, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at TellUs@vikingcruises.com. Thank you again for the opportunity to respond, Whittletree.

We wish you and your family a lovely...

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Anonymous
to VikingCruises Riverside, California, United States #1268736

I have still received nothing from the insurance company, other than a postcard acknowledging receipt of or papers.We usually spend our winters in Palm Desert, CA and that is where we are now.

However, my husband continues to deal with the after effects of his pneumonia and we will be going back home next week to be near his doctor.

I'm shocked that you would be satisfied with the fact that Verona, the concierge contacted me after I finally found a hotel. What happened AFTER those first three days was of no help to me. The critical time was when I was told by her that I would have to find my way to Budapest to pick up our things, that I would have to make my own arrangements for our return trip and do all this with no hotel, no money and no suggestions of how I could manage all this on my own. It was only after those first three days that she called me and said the ship would be coming back to Vienna so that I could get my clothes then.

Meanwhile, I was frantic trying to find a place to stay, find an ATM, spend my time at the hospital caring for my husband, who didn't speak German, and who didn't know what was happening to him.

Our illnesses were no fault of Viking, but the stress and trauma of that initial time was most definitely in the lap of Verona, Viking's representative.

h.kitchener
Columbia, South Carolina, United States #1253747

When you are in a foreign land and have serious problems, the best thing to do is contact the nearest US embassy or consulate and ask for assistance.That's part of what they do, helping Americans in trouble in foreign countries.

Hindsight is great isn't it? However, hope all is well with both you and your husband and many thanks for the heads-up on Viking Cruises.

We will avoid them next summer.We don't need the hassle or trouble they seem to allow.

Anonymous
to h.kitchener Walla Walla, Washington, United States #1253766

Thank you for your comments.I was so concerned about my husband I couldn't think straight.

My daughter made the same suggestion as you, but by then I found a hotel and was so sick (cough and sore throat), I just didn't follow up. Fortunately, my husband made a complete recovery. You're right about hindsight.

I sure would have done things differently - like shoving Verona off the boat.

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