Posted May 5th, 2013, 04:37 PM
Please accept our apologies for the ways in which your itinerary needed to be altered due to MS Vienna’s
technical issues. From your account it sounds like at times schedule alterations were made even more challenging by unfortunate circumstances like traffic. It also sounds as though the crew worked hard to get necessary repairs as quickly as possible and still maintain the itinerary for guests, but were unable to clear every hurdle presented to them. Frustrating and disappointing, for sure, and again, we do sincerely apologize.
Your feedback regarding the communication of schedule changes is very helpful for us to hear. You and your fellow travelers will all be contacted by Customer Relations upon returning home. We very much hope to be able to make amends and as you said, regain the trust of our guests. We know that currently you are traveling back to the U.S., but between arriving home and being contacted by Customer Relations, if you would like to contact us with questions, concerns or additional feedback, we’d welcome hearing from you at TellUs@vikingrivercruises.com
Thank you for having joined us on our Cities of Light
itinerary last year and now Romantic Danube
. We hope to see you aboard yet another ship on another river sometime soon.
Viking River Cruises
I left off my last post stating that in an effort to get back on schedule, the Vienna planned do disembark people at Deggendorf for a 1 hour bus ride to Regensburg.
We were over an hour late getting to Deggendorf, so our Regensburg tour didn’t start until around 11:30 a.m. We did a 1.5 hour tour before having lunch at another Ratskellar restaurant at 1:00 p.m. We also learned that the boat would be in Regensburg, but in a little town of Bach, 20 km back down the river, so we had another (significantly shorter) bus ride. Since we were waiting for the boat, we had a long afternoon in Regensburg (buses left at 5:15 p.m.).
Regensburg is a beautiful city with a gothic church (a nice break from the baroque churches we’d seen in Melk and Regensburg. The old city wasn’t bombed at all during the war, so everything was original. In our walk around the city, we tried to visit the Keppler house, but it’s only open on Saturday and Sunday. We did manage to do a lot of sightseeing and had coffee and cake at the Princess Café/Konditerei—reputedly the oldest café in Germany.
The ride back to the boat went well, but once we were back everything was off schedule. We were still running late. We were told that we weren't scheduled to arrive in Nuremberg until 2:30 p.m. Saturday, so the WWII tour was cancelled, and the tour that was scheduled to start right after lunch won’t be over until 6:30.
It was a pleasant ride on the Main-Danube canal. We’ve gone through some very deep locks. The boat barely clears the bridges, so the sun deck was closed, although the captain took people up on the deck inside one of the locks.
We ran into traffic at the locks, and soon our arrival time was moved to 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. Of course, we didn't get docked until after 5:00. There was a very quick tour that didn't have time to really seen anything of Nuremberg.
Since we'd done the full tour last year on our Trier to Nuremberg cruise, we just took a cab downtown to visit a shop before it closed at 6:00 (barely made it) and eat at a restaurant we liked there.
Even though we'd already eaten, we went down to dinner, and people were really upset about the tour. For some, seeing Nuremberg had been what they were looking forward to the entire trip. Many were saying that they'd never do Viking again. We didn't intend to be cheerleaders, but we told people about our cruise last year where everything went perfectly.
Looking back, I believe that the cruise staff made a fatal mistake. They repeatedly over-promised and under-delivered. After our engine problems we missed EVERY revised arrival time--not the original times, but the times that were revised to adjust for our already late schedule. This caused increasing tension among the passengers that was easily observed. This morning at the final breakfast we sat with different people and found the same disappointment we'd seen at dinner last night. I think that people realized that Viking couldn't help the engine problems, but they were very frustrated with the way that Viking handled the problem. There wasn't enough communication. People were anxiously waiting for news, and very little was passed on. Also, the inaccuracy of the information they were given caused more anxiety and frustration.
We will probably cruise Viking again, but the line will have to work hard to rewin the trust of most of the passengers on this cruise.