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  #1  
Old July 6th, 2013, 02:59 PM
9stilton 9stilton is offline
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Default Viking River Cruises - Any Confidence?

I have read with horror at some of the experiences that many have encountered in the wake of the recent floods. I have a Viking river cruise to come in a few weeks time and certainly do not want to receive the treatment that has been handed out to many in the past few weeks. Neither do I want the ongoing hassle of seeking to get reasonable recompense for a sub standard holiday.

I realise that there are some unavoidable situations and Viking & others have to make the best of the hand they are dealt but I would want the confidence that my interests are looked after as opposed to those of the just the tour operator. I also realise that not everyone is complaining - however looking at wide range of postings there are common threads running through them all, namely:-
  • Despite seeking assurances before leaving home Viking ALWAYS tell customers all is well and cruise is fine.
  • It is only when the holiday has began that the problems unfold & only then AT THE LAST MINUTE. The staff are ALWAYS waiting for instruction & do not know what is happening!!
  • It seems that Vikings onboard staff assurances are also questionable -- I find it unthinkable to make an allowance for lunch only to give it back against onboard spend.
  • Viking are VERY SLOW in getting back with compensation deals
  • The MD of Viking NEVER answers correspondence
  • The Viking postings are ALWAYS platitudes & of no worth in responding to concerns of those posting
The above tell me a lot about Vikings company policy & certainly do not inspire me with confidence. Whilst many may have had a good experience to retell, I believe it is only in adversity & with problems that you see the real Company and its values.

I do not have a good feeling about what has happened / the forthcoming cruise I have booked & question if it ultimately results in a total lot of confidence. Even if I have a flawless cruise the poor experiences of so many will make me question if I have the confidence to spend yet more in the future with a company that has seemingly let down so many with little or no regret & recall.
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  #2  
Old July 6th, 2013, 03:17 PM
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We too are embarking on a river cruise with Viking in 1 weeks time (maybe we're on the same cruise !) However I'm a positive person and am hoping that our experience will be a good one. I have read all the reviews good and bad but I refuse to let it spoil my anticipation of my holiday. I'll be back here to post when we come home and I hope we will have been treated well. Viking cannot afford any more bad publicity. The travelling public will not forget !
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  #3  
Old July 6th, 2013, 04:17 PM
Mark_T Mark_T is offline
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We have a reservation with Viking in 2014 and we are not at all concerned.

Once the situation become clear Viking were canceling cruises and giving daily updates.

Most of the problems came from cruises right at the start of the flooding problems when information and certainty was in short supply.

I'm reasonably sure that what happened there was standard practice for the fairly regular high-water events that they have to deal with, once it became clear this was not just another normal occurrence they canceled cruises.

Beyond that you have the normal mix of reactions, from those who took the events in their stride and we happy with the large credit they were offered and those who were considerably less happy.

I always try to put myself in the place of senior management when these things happen and judge accordingly.

With hindsight it is easy to say what should have happened, much harder to get it right when you are in the middle of it all.

Nothing I've seen has caused me to doubt that we'll have a great time on our cruise next year.
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Old July 6th, 2013, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by 9stilton View Post
I have read with horror at some of the experiences that many have encountered in the wake of the recent floods. I have a Viking river cruise to come in a few weeks time and certainly do not want to receive the treatment that has been handed out to many in the past few weeks. Neither do I want the ongoing hassle of seeking to get reasonable recompense for a sub standard holiday.

I realise that there are some unavoidable situations and Viking & others have to make the best of the hand they are dealt but I would want the confidence that my interests are looked after as opposed to those of the just the tour operator. I also realise that not everyone is complaining - however looking at wide range of postings there are common threads running through them all, namely:-
  • Despite seeking assurances before leaving home Viking ALWAYS tell customers all is well and cruise is fine.
  • It is only when the holiday has began that the problems unfold & only then AT THE LAST MINUTE. The staff are ALWAYS waiting for instruction & do not know what is happening!!
  • It seems that Vikings onboard staff assurances are also questionable -- I find it unthinkable to make an allowance for lunch only to give it back against onboard spend.
  • Viking are VERY SLOW in getting back with compensation deals
  • The MD of Viking NEVER answers correspondence
  • The Viking postings are ALWAYS platitudes & of no worth in responding to concerns of those posting
The above tell me a lot about Vikings company policy & certainly do not inspire me with confidence. Whilst many may have had a good experience to retell, I believe it is only in adversity & with problems that you see the real Company and its values.

I do not have a good feeling about what has happened / the forthcoming cruise I have booked & question if it ultimately results in a total lot of confidence. Even if I have a flawless cruise the poor experiences of so many will make me question if I have the confidence to spend yet more in the future with a company that has seemingly let down so many with little or no regret & recall.
Seems like when it rains, it pours. I've read from a select few about Viking, but I have cruised with them and LOVED them! Remember, you have to take what people are saying with a grain of salt. Some of these comments, I really find difficult to believe....for example, the man who fell, people stared at him and NO ONE bothered to help, not even the passengers. People just aren't that cruel.

I hope you have a terrific time. Don't worry. People are just on a bandwagon, and looking for negative things.
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Old July 6th, 2013, 04:26 PM
Jayhawker1973 Jayhawker1973 is offline
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We have cruised frequently mainly on large ships, but some smaller ships in the Greek Islands. A river cruise seemed like a snap. Viking could have garnered a lot of positive response from us had they simply given us a choice: a choice with the TRUTH about river conditions and allowing us to reschedule our cruise; a choice of whether to continue once it was announced we would have to leave the Embla in Vienna.....that being 1)continuing with a 5 day bus trip 2) ending our trip and getting a reimbursement for unused cruise days 3) train or plane to next stop where we could reboard a ship

Instead, we were hearded onto buses, taken to unsuitable hotels (unairconditioned in high 90 to 100 degree temps); packing and repacking repeatedly from ships to hotels; not given the next day's itinerary until the night before. The only goal seemed to be to get us from Budapest to Amsterdam in any way possible....which would constitute completion of their "cruise contract" and leave passengers with little recourse. On shipboard, I can honestly say there were many mediocre levels of service: broken airconditioning in cabin which took 4 days to rectify, again in 90 to 100 degree heat; useless balconies as we docked within a foot of other river boats and so directly looked into windows of ship next to us.....had to keep drapes drawn to have any privacy and precluded use of balcony. Dining room understaffed, food mediocre banquet level, "wines of region" was same brand nightly of white or red......on all days of being on ship. Beds very uncomfortable, flattest pillows I've ever experienced...had to ask for 2 extras to make one good pillow. Cabin staff were nice; bartenders often surley; cruise directors were clueless and apologetic but announced daily they did not know what we would be doing next when changes in itinerary began to occur. High cost trip with poor quality.
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  #6  
Old July 6th, 2013, 06:48 PM
LIer LIer is offline
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Leaving on Viking cruise next week. There may still be a strike at the locks. Am not worried. Life is one big adventure. If I end up on a bus trip so be it. If someone is going to worry over what is going to happen buy insurance or don't sign up for a cruise.
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Old July 6th, 2013, 08:14 PM
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Leaving on Viking cruise next week. There may still be a strike at the locks. Am not worried. Life is one big adventure. If I end up on a bus trip so be it. If someone is going to worry over what is going to happen buy insurance or don't sign up for a cruise.
This is an excellent point! What a great attitude you have!
When I took Viking to China, our flight between 2 cities in China was delayed. And delayed. And delayed. Thirteen hrs we sat in a tiny airport. Certainly this, like the floods, was beyond the control of Viking.

I did not like that it happened, and I was pretty exhausted when we finally made it to the ship. But looking back on it, I experienced something unique to that trip.

No trip is ever perfect. Attitude is a lot of what makes the trip good.
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Old July 6th, 2013, 08:27 PM
Jayhawker1973 Jayhawker1973 is offline
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I also read some of the less than favorable reviews of Viking and discounted them.....decided we would have a great trip......I consider myself an experienced traveler who's seen the world. I do not blame Viking for the weather. I blame them for not giving their clients options when the originally booked trip cannot be carried out. I blame them for things they can control like mediocre food, broken cabin air-conditioning for days on end, poor quality cabin furnishings. I hope your trip is different.
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Old July 7th, 2013, 05:02 AM
9stilton 9stilton is offline
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I don't disagree with a lot of the comments made but IMHO what has happened in the past with Viking clearly spells out what you can expect to receive in the future.

IMHO as far as Viking River Cruises are concerned it would seem that providing all goes well then you should expect / get a great experience HOWEVER if their profit levels gets impacted then be aware that they will defend it at the expense of customer satisfaction. If you can live with that then fine, but if your are at the wrong end of the experience then you should accept the risk that you take.

I have experienced exactly the same situation with mainline cruise companies & know the nature of what to expect with who.

From what has been posted in recent weeks I believe it is right to question if there is any confidence in the future with a company given the allegations that have been made. Those allegations indicate they are not customer facing and will do everything possible to reduce their losses when thing go wrong --- even being prepared to ostracise customers as they believe there are many more 'fish in the pond'. "Customer facing" companies emanate from the top & when the MD refuses to respond to direct customer concerns raised with her then that in itself must tell you something.

So going full circle, unless I can be convinced otherwise, I am still questioning whether I am prepared to 'gamble' substantial future monies with a company know full well how they will respond to 'anything other than the norm'
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Old July 7th, 2013, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by 9stilton View Post
I don't disagree with a lot of the comments made but IMHO what has happened in the past with Viking clearly spells out what you can expect to receive in the future.

IMHO as far as Viking River Cruises are concerned it would seem that providing all goes well then you should expect / get a great experience HOWEVER if their profit levels gets impacted then be aware that they will defend it at the expense of customer satisfaction. If you can live with that then fine, but if your are at the wrong end of the experience then you should accept the risk that you take.

I have experienced exactly the same situation with mainline cruise companies & know the nature of what to expect with who.

From what has been posted in recent weeks I believe it is right to question if there is any confidence in the future with a company given the allegations that have been made. Those allegations indicate they are not customer facing and will do everything possible to reduce their losses when thing go wrong --- even being prepared to ostracise customers as they believe there are many more 'fish in the pond'. "Customer facing" companies emanate from the top & when the MD refuses to respond to direct customer concerns raised with her then that in itself must tell you something.

So going full circle, unless I can be convinced otherwise, I am still questioning whether I am prepared to 'gamble' substantial future monies with a company know full well how they will respond to 'anything other than the norm'
So you haven't actually booked w/ them? If not, then don't do it if you don't feel confident about them.
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Old July 7th, 2013, 10:53 AM
Mark_T Mark_T is offline
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IMHO as far as Viking River Cruises are concerned it would seem that providing all goes well then you should expect / get a great experience HOWEVER if their profit levels gets impacted then be aware that they will defend it at the expense of customer satisfaction.
Getting a little bored with these constant attacks on Viking.

The few cruises that were affected and not canceled due to the recent 500 year record flood levels seem to have received offers of a 75% cruise credit, those who were not happy with that seem to have been able to negotiate even better settlements on a one-to-one basis.

This does not appear to me to be a company defending its profits at all costs ...
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Old July 7th, 2013, 10:56 AM
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Getting a little bored with these constant attacks on Viking.

The few cruises that were affected and not canceled due to the recent 500 year record flood levels seem to have received offers of a 75% cruise credit, those who were not happy with that seem to have been able to negotiate even better settlements on a one-to-one basis.

This does not appear to me to be a company defending its profits at all costs ...
I agree, Mark. I've been a fan of Viking when something (out of their control) occurred because of the way it was handled.

It seems to me that people are attacking them by saying "defending its profits at all costs" when they aren't refunded due to something beyond Viking's control!

Why [i]should[i] Viking refund money to people due to the floods? That's what travel insurance is for.
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Old July 7th, 2013, 11:16 AM
Arizonasunshine Arizonasunshine is offline
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Originally Posted by 9stilton View Post
I don't disagree with a lot of the comments made but IMHO what has happened in the past with Viking clearly spells out what you can expect to receive in the future.

IMHO as far as Viking River Cruises are concerned it would seem that providing all goes well then you should expect / get a great experience HOWEVER if their profit levels gets impacted then be aware that they will defend it at the expense of customer satisfaction. If you can live with that then fine, but if your are at the wrong end of the experience then you should accept the risk that you take.

I have experienced exactly the same situation with mainline cruise companies & know the nature of what to expect with who.

From what has been posted in recent weeks I believe it is right to question if there is any confidence in the future with a company given the allegations that have been made. Those allegations indicate they are not customer facing and will do everything possible to reduce their losses when thing go wrong --- even being prepared to ostracise customers as they believe there are many more 'fish in the pond'. "Customer facing" companies emanate from the top & when the MD refuses to respond to direct customer concerns raised with her then that in itself must tell you something.

So going full circle, unless I can be convinced otherwise, I am still questioning whether I am prepared to 'gamble' substantial future monies with a company know full well how they will respond to 'anything other than the norm'
I agree. We are booked with Viking in January and are seriously considering canceling it. Viking has to know that there is a good deal of concern with customers who are booked or are considering upcoming cruises. It seems that Viking's attitude is to keep quiet and hope that it passes. Unfortunately this will probably happen.
I also have a problem with Viking dealing with customer "group" complaints one on one. If their customers were wronged they ALL should have been compensated fairly and equally, not just the ones who complained the most often and loudest.
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Old July 7th, 2013, 12:31 PM
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I am currently cruising on Viking from Budapest to Amsterdam and having a wonderful relaxing time. I don't think I could be happier with the staff and service we have so far received.
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Old July 7th, 2013, 12:32 PM
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We went on 2 cruises with Viking and were truly overjoyed with our experiences.
Two years ago Imperial Jewels and last year Grand European. We were on the Viking Embla exactly a year ago to the day. True we were concerned because of the rivers levels last year but all ended well. We sailed with no problems and Viking is our ship of choice.
I believe Viking has the attitude of the hopes that all will be well. Weather is no ones fault but understood folks would like the choice between a cruise or a bus tour. An adventurous attitude always helps and can make for some rather interesting memories!
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Old July 7th, 2013, 01:10 PM
9stilton 9stilton is offline
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So you haven't actually booked w/ them? If not, then don't do it if you don't feel confident about them.
Yes I have booked with them -- that is why I am asking these questions & airing these concerns!

It is because I have booked with them that I have closely followed, in the past few weeks, all the postings on social networking sites, message boards & cruise critic (good & far more not so good). Contrary to what has been stated this is not 'Viking bashing' because all the issues I have summarised here ARE FACT -- they are from experiences that many have posted about and played out in real life. Furthermore travel insurance (in the UK) does not cover cancellation for floods etc. The onus is on the Tour operator to do the honorable thing!!

If there was anything to learn from this, then I for one would want the option to cancel the holiday if a river cruise could not be provided. If I had wanted an exhausting bus tour then I would have booked one. I certainly would not want to be kept on the end of string as to what was happening & then given little option in terms of recompense, save that of a future money off voucher.

I am looking forward to my river cruise but I suspect I know what I may well get should mother nature intervene. I just hope that Viking River Cruises will listen to the many that have complained & change their approach / policy in order to add further to the numbers of satisfied customer they have.

Until that happens I really believe that such matters need to be bought out into the open & ALL views expressed.

PS: Well done to Britain's Andy Murray!!
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Old July 7th, 2013, 01:49 PM
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We have just returned from our first ever cruise sailing with Viking on the Douro River, Portugal. We had an absolutely fantastic time. From the first encounter to the last, everything was wonderful.

We have just booked another Viking cruise for next year, sailing along the Rhine. We were so thrilled with our experience, we are taking along my mother and possible my sister as well.

Would not hesitate for a second to recommend Viking.
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Old July 7th, 2013, 03:05 PM
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I also have a problem with Viking dealing with customer "group" complaints one on one. If their customers were wronged they ALL should have been compensated fairly and equally, not just the ones who complained the most often and loudest.
For the majority, the 75% credit offered probably was both fair and equal, but you have to recognize that not everyone had the same degree of dissatisfaction or of loss.

If people are not happy with what was offered then it is appropriate to negotiate one on one for what they believe represents satisfaction for their particular circumstances.

Nothing unusual or abnormal in this.
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Old July 7th, 2013, 03:55 PM
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Yes I have booked with them -- that is why I am asking these questions & airing these concerns!

It is because I have booked with them that I have closely followed, in the past few weeks, all the postings on social networking sites, message boards & cruise critic (good & far more not so good). Furthermore travel insurance (in the UK) does not cover cancellation for floods etc. The onus is on the Tour operator to do the honorable thing!!

If there was anything to learn from this, then I for one would want the option to cancel the holiday if a river cruise could not be provided.

I am looking forward to my river cruise but I suspect I know what I may well get should mother nature intervene. I just hope that Viking River Cruises will listen to the many that have complained & change their approach / policy in order to add further to the numbers of satisfied customer they have.
I didn't realize that you had booked your trip with Viking. I do think that you're anxious about something that cannot be changed, especially if your trip insurance doesn't cover cancellation due to "any reason". However, even if it did, I know you don't want to cancel. You just want to be sure you get this trip that you have looked forward to.

I think from what I've read that for the most part, things are back to normal. Since I didn't read that you had booked your trip, I didn't read when you are going. I hope it's not too terribly soon, and I hope your trip turns out to be everything you dreamed of.

Since you have expressed your concerns, please do let us know how everything turns out.
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Old July 7th, 2013, 03:56 PM
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I am currently cruising on Viking from Budapest to Amsterdam and having a wonderful relaxing time. I don't think I could be happier with the staff and service we have so far received.
That's wonderful news! It's great to hear someone say something positive about Viking at this time. Thank you for that.
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