I sent Viking the following letter after returning home from a horrible cruise. The response after multiple emails, mail deliveries and finally a register letter had them offer me a 25% refund towards a future cruise if I sail in 12 months. My reply stating that wasn't sufficient had a "We are busy we'll get back to you in 10+ days." Just another example of their lack of concern regarding customers. This is the first time I have ever posted a bad review online.
"I am informing you of my extremely disappointing experience onboard the July 30 (2015) Danube River Cruise (to have left Nurenberg) on the Viking Gullveig. The Program Director Violetta told me the right way to complain is upon return and not onboard. This is not the way to end the unpacking but here I am.
You should be aware of the itinerary changes so I’m not going to give a complete catalog of them here. We were parked at an empty industrial dock for the first 3 nights of the ship. Missed the early scenic viewing. Our beautiful anticipated sailing became a bus marathon due to low water levels that were not unexpected as it was the third week in a row. Absolutely not what I planned for and bought. If I had wanted a much less expensive bus week, I would have stayed in prime locations and bused as needed.
A special trip as this was to have been is researched and selected carefully. The upper Danube was selected for the cruising which can’t be recovered by any bus trip.
Upon being greeted at 3pm on Thursday at the Nuremburg airport we were told of changes and that we’d have a 2.5-3 hour bus trip to Passau. The isolated, ugly alternate dock location was not mentioned. There was not even a bottle of water for us. The bus ride was a nightmare. We had to drive through a city at rush hour to pick up the concierge at the hotel. Why wasn’t she at the airport to avoid a bus load of customers after an overnight travel experience to lose yet more time until they could shower and rest. Then we waited a truck stop for 40 minutes for 2 passengers on a Viking shuttle to catch up with us. What a joke! We didn’t arrive at the ship until 7:55pm. We could have been put up in a hotel and taken the tour of Nurenberg while we were there but that would have cost more money but we’d already paid for that type of privileged trip. There was no concern or apology. Day 1 was gone and I was on a bus for 4+ hours! No café. Nothing. Not even time to shower.
Day two started with a 2.5 hour bus ride back to Reggensburg. Our walk from the bus was further than where the boats were docked. The return trip was 2 hours back to our industrial location. We experienced Reggensburg as all the other buses there. So much for an evening stroll through the town.
Day 3 moved the walking tour of Passau up. If we’d have been stranded at the dock with all of the other ships it wouldn’t have been such a bad first 3 day s – but it just rubbed salt in the wound. These people were enjoying the kind of trip I had booked, expected and paid for. They didn’t see the saw mill, dumpster, trailer park and parking lot outside their ship. Another 3 hours on the bus today as I chose not to spend 6 hours on the bus to go back to Nurenberg which was to have been a highlight of the trip. But by now, half the trip is gone and I’ve sailed maybe 30 minutes and spend 12 hours on a bus. The extra tours that were being arranged were limited capacity. No one had yet said I’m sorry. Just that it was out of their control.
When I said they should have enough capacity for all who wanted an extra add-on excursion due to our location I was told they couldn’t because it was all about the experience. I said no, it was about satisfied customers and I was told no it’s about the experience. They were right – it was about the experience and it wasn’t a good one. And they were right that it wasn’t about satisfied customers.
If you’ve read to this point of the letter, thank you. I imagine these letters are given a token glance as and maybe someone finally says “I’m sorry you paid for a special vacation and received a bus trip.” This was my third cruise. I had referred another couple to sail with you. I also had taken a new-to-Viking person on the Rhine River Christmas Markets cruise and never received a referral credit.
Bottom line is I’m not singing the praises of Viking I will point out what can happen on a river cruise and that the price you pay can still result in a bus trip of traffic, discomfort, waiting at truck stops, waiting for people to use the toilets, just waiting and waiting and waiting. That the commercials of cruising and laughing and stepping off the ship at night might happen on some but don’t count on it. I will not be speaking highly of your company.
I cruise once a year and take several vacations each year and had been looking forward to the Mekong River cruise on Viking as my next river cruise. At this point, it’s off my list. I could go on and on about the disappointment and lack of empathy on the part of the ship’s cruise. The situation was known for 3 weeks. It wasn’t shared. The docking situation for 3 nights was totally unacceptable. The missed cruising on the Danube can not be compensated by an opera and a happy hour. For my cruising dollar there are multiple options open that deliver better value.
I’ve waited until I returned home to write a letter or to visit the corporate office (which was also stated as a way to voice my opinion.) I wait for your response.
Product or Service Mentioned: Viking Cruises Cruise.
Reason of review: Bad quality.