Kudos to Viking

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#1
Pennsylvania
1,806 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
Earlier this week I posted our review of our "Tulips and Windmills" cruise on Viking. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1832424

Yesterday evening I received a phone call from Viking Customer Relations to discuss a concern raised in the review. I've done reviews on every cruise we've taken since the end of 2009 and no cruise line has ever called me about a review I've posted.

So I offer this compliment to Viking for monitoring cruise critic and responding to our concerns!
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284 cruising days and counting! (164 HAL, 71 'X', 49 others)

Past Cruises: (star ratings reflect our opinion of the on-board experience, not the port calls!)
2017: April/May - HAL Veendam - 15 Day Atlantic Coast ***1/2
2016: June/July - Caribbean Princess - British Isles ****/ Oct/Nov - Koningsdam inaugural trans-Atlantic**1/2
2015: May - HAL Zuiderdam Mediterranean Explorer **** / Aug/Sept - HAL Statendam 14 day Alaska Explorer **** / Dec/Jan - HAL Zaandam 21 day South America & Antarctica Explorer *****
2014: Feb - HAL Westerdam Eastern Caribbean ****1/2 / May/June - HAL Prinsendam Kiel Canal and Baltics **** / Oct - HAL Westerdam Panama Canal 15 days ***** / Celebrity Reflection Christmas in the Caribbean ***1/2
2013: Jan - HAL Zuiderdam Panama Canal Sunfarer **** / April - Viking Skadi "Tulips & Windmills" *** / Oct/Nov - Celebrity Constellation to Turkey & Greece ****
2012: Jan - HAL Eurodam to Eastern Caribbean ****1/2 / May - HAL Ryndam to the Fjords & North Cape ****1/2 / Sept/Oct - Celebrity Summit to Canada & Maine **
2011: Jan - Crown Princess to Western Caribbean ** / Mar - HAL Westerdam to Southern Caribbean ***** / Oct/Nov - Celebrity Solstice to Western Mediterranean ***1/2
2010: Feb - Celebrity Century to Key West & Grand Cayman ****1/2 / May - Celebrity Summit to Bermuda ***1/2 / Oct/Nov - Celebrity Infinity through the Panama Canal *****
2009: Aug - HAL Amsterdam to Alaska ***** / Nov - HAL Ryndam to Western Caribbean (central America) ****
1986: NCL Starward to Western Caribbean / 1988: NCL Starward to Southern Caribbean
1985: Commodore Cruise Line - Caribe to Eastern Caribbean
#2
Riverview, FL
2,158 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
Wow! I'm impressed! Good for them for taking an interest in their customers....good customer service is becoming more and more difficult to find. It is things like this that make me want to sail with them!
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#3
Woodland Hills, CA
730 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
Originally posted by StartrainDD
Earlier this week I posted our review of our "Tulips and Windmills" cruise on Viking. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1832424

Yesterday evening I received a phone call from Viking Customer Relations to discuss a concern raised in the review. I've done reviews on every cruise we've taken since the end of 2009 and no cruise line has ever called me about a review I've posted.

So I offer this compliment to Viking for monitoring cruise critic and responding to our concerns!
Hi StartrainDD,

We very much enjoyed reading your thorough Tulips and Windmills review and appreciate the feedback you shared. And we’re happy that our Customer Relations team was able to connect with you and discuss some of your concerns. If there’s anything else you’d like to share with us, please feel free to do so at [email protected]. We’ll always be happy to hear from you!

We hope to see you again aboard another Viking ship sometime very soon.

Kindest regards,
Viking River Cruises

P.S. Thank you for the kudos! We love being a part of this Cruise Critic community!
#4
Boston MA
5,788 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by StartrainDD
Earlier this week I posted our review of our "Tulips and Windmills" cruise on Viking. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1832424

Yesterday evening I received a phone call from Viking Customer Relations to discuss a concern raised in the review. I've done reviews on every cruise we've taken since the end of 2009 and no cruise line has ever called me about a review I've posted.

So I offer this compliment to Viking for monitoring cruise critic and responding to our concerns!
I've been called or contacted a couple of times because of comments I have made. Once, in the middle of a cruise, I commented here on CC on something minor that was a problem for me that I thought Viking should look into resolving down the line. Boy was I surprised! Within 24 hours, the crew was SCRAMBLING to fix my problem right then and there. Not what I had expected and not what I had in mind when I made the comment; and when the first try did not work, they just kept working on it until it did.

Startrain's experience is not a one-off; it happens on a regular basis. IMHO, Viking listens to its clients.
#5
Queens, NY
2,161 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
I agree! Had a "problem" on last year's Rhone River cruise - wasn't really Viking's - involved the train breaking down on the way from Paris to Chalon-sur-Saone where we boarded the ship.

My only "complaint" with Viking was that they wouldn't sell their bus transfers from Paris to Chalon unless you bought their pre-cruise package. There were almost 30 of us ont he train - DH called the ship and the fabulous Cruise Director returned his call with info about taking next train! Some of the other "train people" had also tried to buy transfers. People who took the pre-Paris + transfer said the bus was alsmost empty - so that was my minor complaint - and it was minor and certainly didn't spoil the cruise!! Mentioned it to Viking and they were fabulous - offering us a generous discount on next cruise!!

So I can attest to the fact that they DO listen to their passengers - and know the influence on CC!! (But we've heard that on other lines also!)
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Viking Forseti 10-4-2014 Bordeaux
Viking Rinda 12-7-2013 Christmas Markets
Viking Neptune 10-21-12 Rhone River
Celebrity Constellation 9-7-2011 Amsterdam-Istanbul
Celebrity Constellation 7-3-2010 Baltic
RCCL Voyager of the Seas 2-14-2010 Caribbean
Celebrity Summit 6-16-2008 Mediterranean
SS Rembrant 7-20-2000 St. Lawrence
M/V Atlantic 8-28-1988 Bermuda
#6
372 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
I agree too. Viking's customer service drastically improved over the last 2 years.
I have to say we seriously considered AMA for our summer vacation time but could not resist and booked another cruise with Viking.
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AT SEA: 16 cruises
RIVER:
2011 -- Viking Sun 'Rhine Getaway'
2012 -- Viking Primadonna 'Passage to Eastern Europe'
2013 -- Viking Odin 'Tulips & Windmills'
2013 -- Viking Lomonosov 'Footsteps of the Cossacks'
2013 -- Viking Spirit 'Paris & the Heart of Normandy'
2014 -- Viking Schumann 'Elegant Elbe'
2014 -- AMA Waterways 'Melodies of the Danube'
2014 -- Viking Hemming 'Portugal's River of Gold'
2015 -- American Eagle 'Lower Mississippi'
2016 -- Viking Forseti 'Chateaux, Rivers & Wine'
2016 -- Mekong Navigator 'Mekong River Cruise with Saigon & Siem Reap'
------- Next Up -----

------- Email me here: [email protected]
#7
Pittsburgh
55 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
They don't reach out for the "good" reviews though! Maybe next time I'll complain a little...
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#8
Nashville, TN
79 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Last year I was posting to CC from our cruise on the Viking Sky, and I casually commented that people should consider bringing a few wire coat hangers with them since we were a few hangers short of having enough to hang all our clothes.

The next day our cabin person showed up at our door with a handful of hangers and said, "I heard you might need these."

VRC does listen, even when you think they aren't!!
#9
Woodland Hills, CA
730 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
We are loving this thread – and remembering fondly some of the specific instances mentioned here that took place while Cruise Critic members were still on their cruise. A few more hangers needed? Yep, we remember that! Quietvox earbud issue? Got that in the memory bank too!

We understand that the feedback you all share here is written for each other, but we greatly appreciate it and truly are listening. Plus, whenever you then take the time to also share it with our Customer Relations team, it is a another way of helping us constantly refine and improve our product. And an opportunity for us to make amends, if needed, is also always appreciated. We say it a lot, but want to make sure that you all know that we can also be reached directly at [email protected] – and we do, sincerely, like it when you email us!

And huffy2k – we read every single one of your posts regarding your Portraits of Southern France cruise! We loved them—and are sorry for not having said it sooner! We even checked out the photos you linked to. Our personal favorite was the one with Karol. It looked like a fun group and a fun dinner. We hope you had a very happy anniversary cruise.

Thank you to everyone who has shared on this thread—you’ve made our day.
#10
Mississauga, Canada
474 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
My experience with Viking thus far has been very positive and we are looking forward to our first ever cruise at the end of June along the Duoro River in Portugal.

I have actually heard negative customer service reports following a recent Viking River of Gold cruise on the Duoro River, Portugal. I am quite surprised none of the recent impacted cruisers have posted as I understand the cruises were an absolute disaster.

Most of the blame can be attributed to mother nature, but it seems Viking's communication was not good.

Would love to see a post from any of those affected and their experience with Viking as a result.
#11
Boston MA
5,788 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by Huffy2k
They don't reach out for the "good" reviews though! Maybe next time I'll complain a little...
IMHO. I think while Viking is constantly vigilant of these threads, they do a good job of remaining out of the conversation, speaking up only when absolutely necessary. They understand that these threads belong to the passengers and not to them (as per CC guidelines) and that constantly interjecting into the conversation to thank us for a kind remark would change the dynamic.
#12
Boston MA
5,788 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by TravelBugM

Would love to see a post from any of those affected and their experience with Viking as a result.
It won't happen unless you start asking. Visit every thread having to do that cruise and ask your question. You can even start a thread about the topic and then visit the other threads asking anyone with a comment to make it on the new thread. Make sure to put a link to the new thread in the post because folks won't go looking for it; if all they have to do is click a link, they might be more willing to respond.
#13
372 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Let me add another suggestion to Viking from our current experience with the Custom Air. According to current VRC rules only travel agents can arrange flights if the booking was done with a TA. However it also complicates the whole process: I have to call/email TA and Viking about our Air preferences. TA has to call me and confirm the flights and then call Viking again, sometimes multiple times… Not to mention it is also an extra work and phone calls for Viking Custom Air reps. Still it could be easily avoided by skipping TA and allowing direct interaction with a customer.
From one side it is understandable: since TA gets commission from Viking makes sense to make them to do more “work”. I might be wrong but it is how I understand it
But from the other side it is just an extra headache for customers. Is it done to make them book directly with Viking to save time? I am afraid this assumption won’t work: much better approach would be eliminating TA commissions for let’s say customers who already sailed with Viking. Those savings would increase the revenue and part of those savings could be passed back to customers as an increased past guest discount. Sorry too many words, but I hope the idea is pretty clear.
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AT SEA: 16 cruises
RIVER:
2011 -- Viking Sun 'Rhine Getaway'
2012 -- Viking Primadonna 'Passage to Eastern Europe'
2013 -- Viking Odin 'Tulips & Windmills'
2013 -- Viking Lomonosov 'Footsteps of the Cossacks'
2013 -- Viking Spirit 'Paris & the Heart of Normandy'
2014 -- Viking Schumann 'Elegant Elbe'
2014 -- AMA Waterways 'Melodies of the Danube'
2014 -- Viking Hemming 'Portugal's River of Gold'
2015 -- American Eagle 'Lower Mississippi'
2016 -- Viking Forseti 'Chateaux, Rivers & Wine'
2016 -- Mekong Navigator 'Mekong River Cruise with Saigon & Siem Reap'
------- Next Up -----

------- Email me here: [email protected]
#14
Orangeville Ontario
1,719 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Originally posted by id est
Let me add another suggestion to Viking from our current experience with the Custom Air. According to current VRC rules only travel agents can arrange flights if the booking was done with a TA. However it also complicates the whole process: I have to call/email TA and Viking about our Air preferences. TA has to call me and confirm the flights and then call Viking again, sometimes multiple times… Not to mention it is also an extra work and phone calls for Viking Custom Air reps. Still it could be easily avoided by skipping TA and allowing direct interaction with a customer.
From one side it is understandable: since TA gets commission from Viking makes sense to make them to do more “work”. I might be wrong but it is how I understand it
But from the other side it is just an extra headache for customers. Is it done to make them book directly with Viking to save time? I am afraid this assumption won’t work: much better approach would be eliminating TA commissions for let’s say customers who already sailed with Viking. Those savings would increase the revenue and part of those savings could be passed back to customers as an increased past guest discount. Sorry too many words, but I hope the idea is pretty clear.
Interesting idea, and certainly we are allowed to book air directly with Choice Air on Azamara cruises even though we use a TA.

The downside? We always discuss the decision anyway with our TA just to make certain that we haven't overlooked a an obvious or potential problem. A second pair of eyes can be useful particularly in dealing with "hub" airports in Europe.

Secondly, I wonder what the TAs' interests would be in this policy. Certainly Viking couldn't afford to alienate them with a decision that impacts their remuneration. Perhaps a TA on this forum could comment.
#15
41 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
Originally posted by Viking River Cruises
We are loving this thread – and remembering fondly some of the specific instances mentioned here that took place while Cruise Critic members were still on their cruise. A few more hangers needed? Yep, we remember that! Quietvox earbud issue? Got that in the memory bank too!

We understand that the feedback you all share here is written for each other, but we greatly appreciate it and truly are listening. Plus, whenever you then take the time to also share it with our Customer Relations team, it is a another way of helping us constantly refine and improve our product. And an opportunity for us to make amends, if needed, is also always appreciated. We say it a lot, but want to make sure that you all know that we can also be reached directly at [email protected] – and we do, sincerely, like it when you email us!

And huffy2k – we read every single one of your posts regarding your Portraits of Southern France cruise! We loved them—and are sorry for not having said it sooner! We even checked out the photos you linked to. Our personal favorite was the one with Karol. It looked like a fun group and a fun dinner. We hope you had a very happy anniversary cruise.

Thank you to everyone who has shared on this thread—you’ve made our day.

This is a wonderful thread. We are taking our first Viking River Cruise in July for our retirement trip and my birthday. (Paris to Normandy, July 7, with pre-cruise Paris extension). We too have only taken larger ship cruises in the past--the last one being with Silversea. We have been eagerly looking forward to our trip. It's wonderful to hear that Viking reads and acts on posts, favorable or unfavorable. We are confident that we made the right decision in choosing Viking.
#16
Vancouver
2,050 Posts
Joined May 2008
After reading this we may give Viking another try. We were on the inaugural voyage of the Legend and that jaded our opinion of the cruise line. We had done the China cruise and were wowed by the cruise line and it was a real let down when we sailed on the Legend.
#17
NW Ohio
8,297 Posts
Joined Jan 2001
Originally posted by id est
Let me add another suggestion to Viking from our current experience with the Custom Air. According to current VRC rules only travel agents can arrange flights if the booking was done with a TA. However it also complicates the whole process: I have to call/email TA and Viking about our Air preferences. TA has to call me and confirm the flights and then call Viking again, sometimes multiple times… Not to mention it is also an extra work and phone calls for Viking Custom Air reps. Still it could be easily avoided by skipping TA and allowing direct interaction with a customer.
From one side it is understandable: since TA gets commission from Viking makes sense to make them to do more “work”. I might be wrong but it is how I understand it
But from the other side it is just an extra headache for customers. Is it done to make them book directly with Viking to save time? I am afraid this assumption won’t work: much better approach would be eliminating TA commissions for let’s say customers who already sailed with Viking. Those savings would increase the revenue and part of those savings could be passed back to customers as an increased past guest discount. Sorry too many words, but I hope the idea is pretty clear.
When we did our first Viking cruise last April, our TA did a conference call with Viking Air and me on the line. She first had me check out the flights I wanted and write down a few of my preferences so that could be discussed with Viking Air if needed. It was fairly seamless. I did decide to use Custom Air to get the flights I wanted, but it only took one call to Viking Air via a conf call. I liked having my TA on the line to run interference for me if possible, as I had not done this before, and she knew the Viking reps. I was pleased that that was not necessary, but it was a measure of comfort to me nonetheless.
#18
372 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Originally posted by rjscott
When we did our first Viking cruise last April, our TA did a conference call with Viking Air and me on the line. She first had me check out the flights I wanted and write down a few of my preferences so that could be discussed with Viking Air if needed. It was fairly seamless. I did decide to use Custom Air to get the flights I wanted, but it only took one call to Viking Air via a conf call. I liked having my TA on the line to run interference for me if possible, as I had not done this before, and she knew the Viking reps. I was pleased that that was not necessary, but it was a measure of comfort to me nonetheless.
See if I wanted our TA's help I'd call him and did exactly what you've done.
However I still think nobody can arrange my flights better than me. But I can't do anything according to weird VRC rule.
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AT SEA: 16 cruises
RIVER:
2011 -- Viking Sun 'Rhine Getaway'
2012 -- Viking Primadonna 'Passage to Eastern Europe'
2013 -- Viking Odin 'Tulips & Windmills'
2013 -- Viking Lomonosov 'Footsteps of the Cossacks'
2013 -- Viking Spirit 'Paris & the Heart of Normandy'
2014 -- Viking Schumann 'Elegant Elbe'
2014 -- AMA Waterways 'Melodies of the Danube'
2014 -- Viking Hemming 'Portugal's River of Gold'
2015 -- American Eagle 'Lower Mississippi'
2016 -- Viking Forseti 'Chateaux, Rivers & Wine'
2016 -- Mekong Navigator 'Mekong River Cruise with Saigon & Siem Reap'
------- Next Up -----

------- Email me here: [email protected]
#19
NW Ohio
8,297 Posts
Joined Jan 2001
Originally posted by id est
See if I wanted our TA's help I'd call him and did exactly what you've done.
However I still think nobody can arrange my flights better than me. But I can't do anything according to weird VRC rule.
Sorry. Guess I misunderstood your post.
#20
Chicago, Illinois
989 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
I recently returned from Russia and the Waterways of the Czars cruise on the Viking Helgi. I also booked my airfare through Viking as well. The whole experience was amazing and I will certainly book Viking again.

The staff and crew on the ship were all so professional and nice. The passenger always came first. The tour escorts on our ship were the best - my only disappointment is that we only had 3 escorts for 6 buses. That is the one thing I think Viking should consider changing. Emergencies that had a tour escort were handled very well, situations on buses that only had a local guide were not handled so well.

My cabin was clean, nice and I really enjoyed it. The ship, while older, was still clean and in good shape. The restaurant staff was excellent and the food - well I gained 4 pounds while on the cruise.

I love the fact that shore excursions were included in all of the ports and that there was a very nice selection of optional excursions as well. The history and cultural sessions onboard were very interesting and I learned a lot about Russia and its people.

Definitely kudos to Viking for this one!
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Melanie
Walk in Balance on Mother Earth