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  #1  
Old June 29th, 2013, 04:02 PM
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Default Viking, the Good, the Bad and the very Ugly Part 2

Viking: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly Part 2

Our seven night Romantic Danube cruise was affected by the Central European floods. We had to ship swap. Coach trips were substituted for scheduled sailing and walking tours on one and a half days. Being moored in Vienna for forty eight hours meant that we only cruised/physically moved along the river for one afternoon (on leaving Nuremberg), two nights (Nuremberg to Regensburg, Regensburg to Passau) and one evening/night (Vienna to Budapest). A big disappointment, and not what we had paid for.

We lost one and a half full days on board and two lunches. Local hotel/restaurant meals were provided instead, but they were not to the ships standard and not what we had paid for.

Luggage was transported by Viking in a van between Passau and Vienna. At least three passengers found their luggage irreperably damaged on arrival in Vienna. My fathers case had the wheel and part of the base ripped off. Another passenger found the case handle broken off. Another passenger discovered a large hole ripped in the cases side. Although Viking replaced two of these cases, the replacements were not of the same size and quality as the originals.

Following the four hour coach trip from Passau to Vienna, one couple asked Viking to arrange flights for them back to the US, and left the ship.

My father fell between the ship and the quay in Vienna, whilst boarding. It was no fault of Vikings that the accident occurred. But, it happened in full view of crew members, and no one assisted. Instead, myself and a fellow passenger pulled him to safety. No one came to our cabin or spoke to us later to ask if he was alright or needed medical attention.

Whilst we had no issues with the food on board and enjoyed the meals prepared and restaurant service, others were not so complimentary. Their complaints included reconstituted chicken fillets, breakfast items kept under a heat lamp but not hot enough, tinned frankfurter sausages for lunch in the cafe lounge, and chicken nuggets served as hors d'oeuvres.

I wrote my first posting about this cruise on Thursday evening and posted it at midnight, European time. At nine am the following morning, I was told by the Njord hotel managed that 'LA wishes to speak with you this afternoon.' I explained we would be at the concert in Vienna, and that I'd be delighted to talk with 'LA' on Monday 1st July when I returned home.

On Saturday morning, whilst waiting to disembark, the Njord receptionist handed me a printed email, from one of Vikings Vice Presidents. It asked that I call them as soon as possible after reading the email, saying they were disappointed to read of my criticism of their staff and product. They said their hotel manager on the Idun was at fault for giving me false information. They went on to say they were reading carefully what i was posting online. The tone of the email was unpleasant and vaguely unsettling.

During my three days on board the Idun I never once spoke with the hotel manager. So, a factual inaccuracy. Secondly, attempting to lay blame on an innocent staff member in an email to a guest is totally unprofessional. Thirdly, despite requesting that they ring me on Monday, Viking interrupted my vacation a second time essentially to persuade me not to post online. It couldn't have been to help offer to put things right, because the trip was nearly over and the damage had been done!

Monetary recompense is not my objective. I simply wish to give fellow cruisers a taste of my Viking experience. Once again, I stress that whilst the events and occurrences related above are factual truths, my comments thereon can only be my subjective opinions. You must draw your own conclusions from what you read. When I hear Vikings response, I will be happy to share it with you here.
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  #2  
Old June 29th, 2013, 06:08 PM
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Please keep us updated!
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Old June 29th, 2013, 06:25 PM
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Thank you for your very thorough review. I think you are quite fair and honest. It will be interesting to see Viking's response.
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Old June 30th, 2013, 01:11 AM
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I wrote my first posting about this cruise on Thursday evening and posted it at midnight, European time. At nine am the following morning, I was told by the Njord hotel managed that 'LA wishes to speak with you this afternoon.' I explained we would be at the concert in Vienna, and that I'd be delighted to talk with 'LA' on Monday 1st July when I returned home.

On Saturday morning, whilst waiting to disembark, the Njord receptionist handed me a printed email, from one of Vikings Vice Presidents. It asked that I call them as soon as possible after reading the email, saying they were disappointed to read of my criticism of their staff and product. They said their hotel manager on the Idun was at fault for giving me false information. They went on to say they were reading carefully what i was posting online. The tone of the email was unpleasant and vaguely unsettling.

Phoebecat:

Is there a chance that Viking was just trying to connect with you while you were on board so they could attempt to resolve some of your issues BEFORE you left the ship?
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Old June 30th, 2013, 05:02 AM
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How do they know which passenger Phoebecat was? Appalled to hear about your poor Dad`s fall and lack of offers to help. Is this "Health and safety" gone mad? Are staff afraid to physically assist passengers for fear of some sort of legislation? or just burnt out, fed up staff who know there`s little chance of big tips any more?!
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Old June 30th, 2013, 05:26 AM
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Default They know who I am!!

Viking know who I am because I wrote a positive review of Viking Sun last year after our Rhine cruise. They got in touch, via CC and I was happy to say which passenger I was. I had, and have nothing to hide.

With regards the attempts to reach out to me whilst still on board, I agree with you remydiva, only that's not how it came across. By this point there was nothing that could be done to remedy the situation. And especially when the second email came through, as I was about to disembark. The tone suggested to me that Viking were concerned with what I might or might not say online. However, that was only my perception.

Now I'm home there is plenty of opportunity for them to reach out, and I sincerely look forward to hearing what they have to say.
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Old June 30th, 2013, 06:42 AM
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Thanks for sharing this.

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Old June 30th, 2013, 09:03 AM
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This sounds awful - I am so sorry! I hope your Dad is doing ok with the fall. I can't believe no one even came over to see if they needed assistance. Unbelievable!
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Old June 30th, 2013, 10:05 AM
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I would like to know where the Cruise Director was in all of your situations? I am new to River Cruising, but from what I learn here on CC, the CD either makes or breaks the river cruise.

Whom should one speak to if there are any issues that need remedying while on board if not the Cruise Director?

Phoebe, your review seems very balanced, and I am glad to know that the corporate heads realize that folks on CC will inform their fellow cruisers about their experiences.
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Old June 30th, 2013, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Got2Cruise View Post
I would like to know where the Cruise Director was in all of your situations? I am new to River Cruising, but from what I learn here on CC, the CD either makes or breaks the river cruise.

Whom should one speak to if there are any issues that need remedying while on board if not the Cruise Director?

Phoebe, your review seems very balanced, and I am glad to know that the corporate heads realize that folks on CC will inform their fellow cruisers about their experiences.
We lost our first cruise director after two days. His wife was involved in an accident in the UK and he had to leave to be with her. Our second cruise director came online, so to speak, immediately and took over. Both were very good and couldn't have done anymore than they did, I feel. It's not their place to tell fellow guests how to behave nor could they have stopped dad falling. Maybe I could have remonstrated with them that their staff weren't caring enough to ask after dad or help him, but by that stage, it was a bit too late. Either the staff help and care, or they don't. In this instance, they plainly didnt. Anita did assist with the damaged suitcase and I thanked her. However, the Viking staff who loaded those cases damaged at least three. A cruise director could not be expected to oversee the crew loading luggage. If they don't know how to treat guests belongings with respect, not much a CD can do.

On reflection, I feel that a CD can only do so much. They can't do all the crews jobs nor inform their attitudes. I feel the Viking malaise starts far higher up the food chain, with executive decision making thst CDs then have to put into practice, and which often, is not compatible with guest satisfaction eg: turning a river cruise into a partial coach tour.
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Old June 30th, 2013, 11:14 AM
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Phoebecat,

Thank you for your post. I remember reading your Viking Sun posts with delight since we were sailing on the Sun later that year (we equally had a great time on our Viking Sun cruise). I'm so sorry to hear that this experience didn't live up to that one for you and your father. It was disappointing to read some of your experiences. While I took some of the earlier posts at the beginning of the flood with a "grain of salt," objective posts such as yours and a few others make me start to question Viking. I have two cruises on the books with them next year, and I'm praying I encounter nothing like you and your father did. I hope that most of your experiences were due to some lingering effects of the flood situation and not a trend for Viking. I'll equally be looking forward to hearing Viking's response. Again, so sorry this cruise didn't live up to your expectations.

Tim
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Old June 30th, 2013, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phoebecat View Post
We lost our first cruise director after two days. His wife was involved in an accident in the UK and he had to leave to be with her. Our second cruise director came online, so to speak, immediately and took over. Both were very good and couldn't have done anymore than they did, I feel. It's not their place to tell fellow guests how to behave nor could they have stopped dad falling. Maybe I could have remonstrated with them that their staff weren't caring enough to ask after dad or help him, but by that stage, it was a bit too late. Either the staff help and care, or they don't. In this instance, they plainly didnt. Anita did assist with the damaged suitcase and I thanked her. However, the Viking staff who loaded those cases damaged at least three. A cruise director could not be expected to oversee the crew loading luggage. If they don't know how to treat guests belongings with respect, not much a CD can do.

On reflection, I feel that a CD can only do so much. They can't do all the crews jobs nor inform their attitudes. I feel the Viking malaise starts far higher up the food chain, with executive decision making thst CDs then have to put into practice, and which often, is not compatible with guest satisfaction eg: turning a river cruise into a partial coach tour.
I was not on your cruise, thank God, but it appears to me if guests are disruptive as you described, it is the Cruise Director's place to stop that sort of disruption. If it impacts the enjoyment of others on the cruise, it is the Cruise Director's responsibility to stop that sort of behavior.
It is one thing to be loud, but another when they start spraying champagne all over other passengers on the bus. If not the CD's responsibility, then whose?
Terri
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Old June 30th, 2013, 11:50 AM
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I was not on your cruise, thank God, but it appears to me if guests are disruptive as you described, it is the Cruise Director's place to stop that sort of disruption. If it impacts the enjoyment of others on the cruise, it is the Cruise Director's responsibility to stop that sort of behavior.
It is one thing to be loud, but another when they start spraying champagne all over other passengers on the bus. If not the CD's responsibility, then whose?
Terri
The CD may not have been on phoebecat's bus when the rowdy passenger incident happened. On our Dec viking Danube cruise, the CD was only on our bus for one excursion...all the other times it was some of the ? Hotel/reception staff who maybe were there just as a point of contact?
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Old June 30th, 2013, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by remydiva View Post
The CD may not have been on phoebecat's bus when the rowdy passenger incident happened. On our Dec viking Danube cruise, the CD was only on our bus for one excursion...all the other times it was some of the ? Hotel/reception staff who maybe were there just as a point of contact?
Wasn't somebody in charge? Or was it a free for all. Sounds like a school bus out of control.
Terri
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Old June 30th, 2013, 02:44 PM
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Put yourself in the person in charge position. You have 8 very rowdy drunk passengers. Could you discipline them yourselves at that time or would you wait until you had backup ? Having been in a situation not as bad, I waited for backup because the individuals that were causing the problems happened to be much taller, muscular and bigger than I was. The Captain should have dealt with the drunks when they returned to the ship.
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Old June 30th, 2013, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phoebecat View Post
Viking: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly Part 2


During my three days on board the Idun I never once spoke with the hotel manager. So, a factual inaccuracy. Secondly, attempting to lay blame on an innocent staff member in an email to a guest is totally unprofessional.

Monetary recompense is not my objective. I simply wish to give fellow cruisers a taste of my Viking experience. Once again, I stress that whilst the events and occurrences related above are factual truths, my comments thereon can only be my subjective opinions. You must draw your own conclusions from what you read. When I hear Vikings response, I will be happy to share it with you here.
I think you've made your point very clear about how you did not mean to put all people from NC in the same pot, and I hate to bring it up again, but I did want to say there is a particular group of people I've encountered who complain about every single thing. I cringe when I am around them. So there is something to be said about lumping people together! Although not from NC, I am American and have seen ugly Americans as well as ugly ___, (insert name of country).

Now to your recent comments. It concerns me about Viking. I took a Viking cruise to China a few years ago and loved it. We had a problem getting on a plane and because the Chinese government does not operate as it does in the US, we ended up waiting in a tiny airport for about 15 hrs. Viking was excellent about staying in communication with us and doing all they could to get us on a plane. We got to the ship about 2 hrs before our excursion was to start, and everyone was really exhausted, but the staff on the ship were professional, nice and friendly.

I am, however, reading some disturbing comments about Viking and am really getting concerned. If Viking is indeed reading the comments on here, then I hope they get their act together soon. They are expensive and having to pay in full when you book means you REALLY have to get what you pay for!

At least you have the chance to have a discussion about your experiences with Viking. I agree that blaming a staff member is horrible! That only separates the company into sections. Not "team-spirited", that's for sure.

Thank you for your posts. And by the way, I've not read further into the threads, but if you didn't answer the question asked previously, as to where the guide was when all the drinking and carrying on, please do answer.
Felicia
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Old July 1st, 2013, 02:31 AM
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Default No guide on bus

There was no guide on the bus or crew member, because this was NOT a tour. The bus was taking us from one ship, Idun, to the other, Njord, due to the need to ship swap.

We took our concierge with us, but he wasn't on our bus. Our cruise director from Idun had flown back to the UK that am due to a family emergency. Our new cruise director Anita either joined us in Vienna or was on one of the other buses. IF she was on ours and kept quiet I'd be horrified.

It's Monday 1st July and I'm looking forward to hearing from Viking today. Ill keep you all updated.
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Old July 1st, 2013, 09:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phoebecat View Post
There was no guide on the bus or crew member, because this was NOT a tour. The bus was taking us from one ship, Idun, to the other, Njord, due to the need to ship swap.

We took our concierge with us, but he wasn't on our bus. Our cruise director from Idun had flown back to the UK that am due to a family emergency. Our new cruise director Anita either joined us in Vienna or was on one of the other buses. IF she was on ours and kept quiet I'd be horrified.

It's Monday 1st July and I'm looking forward to hearing from Viking today. Ill keep you all updated.
Thank you for clarifying that. I could not imagine a tour director letting something like you describe continue.
Terri
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Old July 1st, 2013, 09:52 AM
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I am more concerned with the father falling in front of crew members and nobody coming to his aid than of the drunk passengers. The drunk passengers, though unfortunate, were using alcohol to make a bad situation better, and poor Phoebe happened to be sitting too close. I doubt that they purposely meant to spray her. Of course they should have apologized.

If my father had fallen and no staff came to his aid, I would have been sure to seek out somebody on the vessel to make it known what had happened. Simply stating, my elderly dad fell, and there were three crew members standing there, and not one offered to help him. Maybe there is a breakdown in communication from management to the ship, and this can't be addressed if the powers that be are not informed.
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Old July 1st, 2013, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Got2Cruise View Post
I am more concerned with the father falling in front of crew members and nobody coming to his aid than of the drunk passengers. The drunk passengers, though unfortunate, were using alcohol to make a bad situation better, and poor Phoebe happened to be sitting too close. I doubt that they purposely meant to spray her. Of course they should have apologized.

If my father had fallen and no staff came to his aid, I would have been sure to seek out somebody on the vessel to make it known what had happened. Simply stating, my elderly dad fell, and there were three crew members standing there, and not one offered to help him. Maybe there is a breakdown in communication from management to the ship, and this can't be addressed if the powers that be are not informed.
The drunk passengers, I can assure you, were not using alcohol to make a bad situation better. They were having a whale of a time, and didnt care one jot about the boat swapping or the comfort of other guests. To thst end, they were often found on Deck 2 in the early hours of the morning, standing outside each others cabins, drinks in hand, conversing loudly.

I'm sure they didn't mean to spray us, nor make such a nuisance of themselves to other passengers, instead, that was simply their normal modes operandi, and whoever got in the way, well, tough luck.

My dad fell in full view of many crew members and many more passengers. The crew were too busy handing out wet towels, drinks and apologising about the four hour bus trip to bother with an elderly man dangling between ship and quay. Dad is now home, and has restricted mobility in his hand where it was trapped, and his leg is bruised and cut. Being a man, with the pride of the elderly, he wouldn't admit at the time, that he had hurt himself. Not that any crew member came to see or ask after him.

I've been home nearly forty eight hours and have yet to hear from Viking either on here or by phone or email. I appreciate LA are nine hours behind UK time, but Viking have a London office which has been open since 9 am this morning. As a British customer of theirs, I'd have thought London staff would be the first to respond.

Interesting, that whilst I was on the ship and posting they were keen to get in touch, now I'm home they don't want to know.
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