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  #1  
Old August 20th, 2013, 09:48 PM
IT industry vet IT industry vet is offline
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Default Good Danube cruise with Viking

Hi. I'm new to this forum and was on a Viking Romantic Danube cruise in June. I've seen a number of complaints about Viking and wanted to post some positive feedback. (I'm not sure whether I should have posted this in another category.)

I've travelled extensively, and I think I'm reasonably picky about standards. I have read that Viking is not top of the line and I have not been on any other river cruises (so I can't compare), but I was happy with the Viking cruise that I was on.

The staff members were very good, and the cruise director and concierge were exceptional. The ship was spotless. I'm sure that there are lines with more gourmet food, but I thought the food was good, and I didn't hear any concerns from the people we travelled with. Portions were plenty big enough for me: I know that there are endless buffets on ocean ships, but that wasn't important to me.

Regarding the included excursions: the local guides ranged from reasonably good to very good. The evening entertainment was a bit dry or amateurish a couple of times, but the rest was fine. I wasn't expecting any evening entertainment, actually--something else that wasn't important to me.

I've heard some concerns about WiFi. Inside the boat, the only time I had an issue with WiFi was when we were going through locks. It was unavailable on the sun deck, which was disappointing. I survived, though, and I'm very attached to my laptop/iPad.

Regarding the open seating: I was with my spouse and another couple. We hooked up with some other couples throughout the cruise and ate with them. I guess it depends on how much privacy you want, but I found it interesting to talk with other people with different backgrounds.

Regarding the flooding: Trips just before ours were cancelled due to flooding. We were not expecting to get to Passau. We did, but we docked in a different place. No biggie. Think of the locals who had their houses and business flooded. There was also a broken lock. We couldn't sail east, and a sister ship couldn't sail west. We had to pack up our stuff, be bused around the broken lock, and be put on the sister ship (in the same room). Yes, that was inconvenient, and we were disappointed to miss a picturesque stretch of river. But I cannot blame Viking for that. We would not have cancelled the cruise based on that problem (not that I had the option), and we got a 25% credit for a future cruise.

The bottom line is that we were satisfied enough to rebook for 2014, with another couple. (I do wonder whether the "half-price" deals are really permanent sales. I don't like that kind of sales tactic. Does anyone pay "full price" for these cruises?)

Last edited by IT industry vet; August 20th, 2013 at 09:49 PM.
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  #2  
Old August 20th, 2013, 09:55 PM
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Great to hear something good from the other side. Thanks for posting, it was great!

PS welcome to Cruise Critic, it's great to hear from a first time poster and get a happy review and not a complaint
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Last edited by nana541; August 20th, 2013 at 09:57 PM.
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  #3  
Old August 20th, 2013, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by IT industry vet View Post
I do wonder whether the "half-price" deals are really permanent sales. I don't like that kind of sales tactic. Does anyone pay "full price" for these cruises?
I have never seen Viking NOT offering half-price deals. This is an unfortunate trend within the cruise industry. Hopefully some "truth in advertising" group will put a stop to it.
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  #4  
Old August 21st, 2013, 02:49 PM
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Thanks for posting IT. We are doing Nuremburg to Budapest with Viking in November and your review is very encouraging. I think the 25% credit because of the broken lock seems generous to me.

I'm glad you had a good time.
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  #5  
Old August 21st, 2013, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IT industry vet View Post
Hi. I'm new to this forum and was on a Viking Romantic Danube cruise in June. I've seen a number of complaints about Viking and wanted to post some positive feedback. (I'm not sure whether I should have posted this in another category.)

I've travelled extensively, and I think I'm reasonably picky about standards. I have read that Viking is not top of the line and I have not been on any other river cruises (so I can't compare), but I was happy with the Viking cruise that I was on.

The staff members were very good, and the cruise director and concierge were exceptional. The ship was spotless. I'm sure that there are lines with more gourmet food, but I thought the food was good, and I didn't hear any concerns from the people we travelled with. Portions were plenty big enough for me: I know that there are endless buffets on ocean ships, but that wasn't important to me.

Regarding the included excursions: the local guides ranged from reasonably good to very good. The evening entertainment was a bit dry or amateurish a couple of times, but the rest was fine. I wasn't expecting any evening entertainment, actually--something else that wasn't important to me.

I've heard some concerns about WiFi. Inside the boat, the only time I had an issue with WiFi was when we were going through locks. It was unavailable on the sun deck, which was disappointing. I survived, though, and I'm very attached to my laptop/iPad.

Regarding the open seating: I was with my spouse and another couple. We hooked up with some other couples throughout the cruise and ate with them. I guess it depends on how much privacy you want, but I found it interesting to talk with other people with different backgrounds.

Regarding the flooding: Trips just before ours were cancelled due to flooding. We were not expecting to get to Passau. We did, but we docked in a different place. No biggie. Think of the locals who had their houses and business flooded. There was also a broken lock. We couldn't sail east, and a sister ship couldn't sail west. We had to pack up our stuff, be bused around the broken lock, and be put on the sister ship (in the same room). Yes, that was inconvenient, and we were disappointed to miss a picturesque stretch of river. But I cannot blame Viking for that. We would not have cancelled the cruise based on that problem (not that I had the option), and we got a 25% credit for a future cruise.

The bottom line is that we were satisfied enough to rebook for 2014, with another couple. (I do wonder whether the "half-price" deals are really permanent sales. I don't like that kind of sales tactic. Does anyone pay "full price" for these cruises?)
We are doing Viking Danube in Oct. so was pleased to read that you were happy and I think the 25% compensation was very fair. I will post when we get back and hopefully it's the first of many future river cruises.
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Old August 21st, 2013, 08:43 PM
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Dear IT_industry_vet,

We’re happy to hear that you enjoyed your cruise! Many thanks for mentioning the exceptional service our staff provided and for sharing your candid feedback about the ship you sailed on. We already looking forward to another journey with you in 2014. If you’d like to share more details with us regarding what you thought we did well and what you thought we could improve upon (evening entertainment, for example), we’d very much like to hear it. We can be reached directly at TellUs@vikingcruises.com —and we hope to hear from you soon.

Best,
Viking Cruises


Quote:
Originally Posted by IT industry vet View Post
Hi. I'm new to this forum and was on a Viking Romantic Danube cruise in June. I've seen a number of complaints about Viking and wanted to post some positive feedback. (I'm not sure whether I should have posted this in another category.)

I've travelled extensively, and I think I'm reasonably picky about standards. I have read that Viking is not top of the line and I have not been on any other river cruises (so I can't compare), but I was happy with the Viking cruise that I was on.

The staff members were very good, and the cruise director and concierge were exceptional. The ship was spotless. I'm sure that there are lines with more gourmet food, but I thought the food was good, and I didn't hear any concerns from the people we travelled with. Portions were plenty big enough for me: I know that there are endless buffets on ocean ships, but that wasn't important to me.

Regarding the included excursions: the local guides ranged from reasonably good to very good. The evening entertainment was a bit dry or amateurish a couple of times, but the rest was fine. I wasn't expecting any evening entertainment, actually--something else that wasn't important to me.

I've heard some concerns about WiFi. Inside the boat, the only time I had an issue with WiFi was when we were going through locks. It was unavailable on the sun deck, which was disappointing. I survived, though, and I'm very attached to my laptop/iPad.

Regarding the open seating: I was with my spouse and another couple. We hooked up with some other couples throughout the cruise and ate with them. I guess it depends on how much privacy you want, but I found it interesting to talk with other people with different backgrounds.

Regarding the flooding: Trips just before ours were cancelled due to flooding. We were not expecting to get to Passau. We did, but we docked in a different place. No biggie. Think of the locals who had their houses and business flooded. There was also a broken lock. We couldn't sail east, and a sister ship couldn't sail west. We had to pack up our stuff, be bused around the broken lock, and be put on the sister ship (in the same room). Yes, that was inconvenient, and we were disappointed to miss a picturesque stretch of river. But I cannot blame Viking for that. We would not have cancelled the cruise based on that problem (not that I had the option), and we got a 25% credit for a future cruise.

The bottom line is that we were satisfied enough to rebook for 2014, with another couple. (I do wonder whether the "half-price" deals are really permanent sales. I don't like that kind of sales tactic. Does anyone pay "full price" for these cruises?)
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  #7  
Old August 24th, 2013, 09:46 AM
rich4karen rich4karen is offline
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Default Romantic Danube

We might have been on the same cruise. We agree the cruise was excellent. Minor glitches ,yes, however no complaints. We even got to see Paul Mcartney concert in Vienna!( just by dumb luck) . This was our first river cruise. Can not compare to any other river cruise line. The CD David and concierge Mercedes did a wonderful job.
We cruise often mostly on Princess. River cruise is a different experience.
We did pre cruise to Praque , all went well, Viking staff at hotel all day long if you needed help.
Payment policy( especially so far in advance) and tipping suggestions are not to are liking,but that is a personal decision.
We did like having Viking reps at Budapest airport to assist, when finishing the cruise.
We started on the Var with a balcony( this was because of the floods). Finished on the Legend with French balcony. Our opinion French balcony was just fine, no need for balcony.
On the food, I am a fussy,non experimenting eater, so when something on the menu did not look to my liking the alternative steak was excellent.
I take some of the other complaints I have read may be justified, but we loved the cruise and the service.
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  #8  
Old August 24th, 2013, 11:39 PM
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Hi rich4karen,

We were on a different cruise. We were on the Idun and then the Njord, with a different CD and concierge. I am glad to hear that you also had a good experience, though. That shows some consistency of quality.
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  #9  
Old December 2nd, 2013, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by IT industry vet View Post
Hi rich4karen,

We were on a different cruise. We were on the Idun and then the Njord, with a different CD and concierge. I am glad to hear that you also had a good experience, though. That shows some consistency of quality.
Do you (or anyone else) recall who the CD is on the Njord this year?
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Old December 4th, 2013, 12:26 PM
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Do you (or anyone else) recall who the CD is on the Njord this year?
Just got off the Njord last weekend - Ray Bauer was the program director. He was fabulous. He did tell me however, that everyone would be receiving word this week or next of where they would be the coming year. He was hoping to stay one of the Danube river sailings/ships.
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Old December 4th, 2013, 02:14 PM
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We will be embarking on our fifth Viking cruise in about two weeks (Portugal) and cannot say enough about the wonderful service we have enjoyed on evey trip! We have another booked on the Viking Star in 2015 and are thinking seriously about booking a trip this summer as well ... yes, we are hooked!
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Old December 5th, 2013, 09:30 AM
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Thanks for the name aharris, I'll tell him he got a big thumbs up on the message boards. We're sailing the last trip of the year on Dec 28th, and we did that last year on the Helvetia Rhine cruise with Rene "Ciao for now".

It was kind of fun, and I think the excitement of the crew finishing up their contract made them have more fun with us all (maybe?). We saw several crew depart at stops along the way, and I think our Maitre'd Daniel was "promoted" to the top spot for the final week or two.

It was a blast! Looking forward to Dec 28th!
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Old December 5th, 2013, 08:35 PM
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I have never seen Viking NOT offering half-price deals. This is an unfortunate trend within the cruise industry. Hopefully some "truth in advertising" group will put a stop to it.
Cruise lines have had "brochure" fares for decades that nobody ever pays so this is not something new or a trend. The fact that Viking markets theirs as 2 for 1 or half price is how they choose to do it (and in the past have seen a few cruises offered at better than 2 for 1). Not sure why there is a question of truth in advertising issue as you are getting a quoted price, pay it, and go on the cruise. It's not like you are hit with a $500 extra fee later on that you weren't quoted up front.
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Old December 6th, 2013, 12:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarEagle76 View Post
Cruise lines have had "brochure" fares for decades that nobody ever pays so this is not something new or a trend. The fact that Viking markets theirs as 2 for 1 or half price is how they choose to do it (and in the past have seen a few cruises offered at better than 2 for 1). Not sure why there is a question of truth in advertising issue as you are getting a quoted price, pay it, and go on the cruise. It's not like you are hit with a $500 extra fee later on that you weren't quoted up front.
I realise it is not wise to get into a debate with one who bleeds Viking blood but you're wrong. It is false advertising because you do not get two people in the cabin for the price of one. The price quoted as 2 for 1 is actually the price you normally pay for two thus it is false advertising. It is blatently such false advertising that Viking can not use that sales pitch in Australia because it is in breach of our Trade Practices Act. Down here you cannot blatently increase the price of one person to pretend that your making yourself a great deal buy taking the deal for two. If future Viking customers actually believe they are truly getting a 2 for 1 deal then I have a bridge in Sydney that I can sell you for half price.

Last edited by Ozjohnno; December 6th, 2013 at 12:07 AM.
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Old December 6th, 2013, 08:03 AM
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On our Viking cruise in August I met a couple from the UK who had to pay full price. They said the 2 for 1 wasn't available for them. I don't know if the pricing structure they got was different or they did actually pay the original price, just surprised by their comment.
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Old December 6th, 2013, 09:45 AM
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As far as Australia or UK marketing guidelines, I can’t comment on those as I live in the U.S. where 2-for-1 marketing is used in advertising all the time. I can do the math and comparison shop and figure out if I’m getting a good deal or not. As far as having to pay up front at time of booking for the cruise (another complaint of Viking mentioned often on these pages), we do it all the time for airline flights, theatre tickets, etc., and don’t book unless we have the money to do so at the time of booking so this “supposed” issue doesn’t make a difference for us either. I'm sure if bookings begin to fall as a result of either of these marketing tactics, they will be changed.

As far as “bleeding” Viking blood, we’ve been on four Viking River cruises with our fifth scheduled this month. For us the pricing, product, our experience and at this point familiarity, keeps us going back to Viking, and we’ve not been given a reason to try another river cruise line. I’ve been reading and posting on CC for 7 years and only have 600+ posts as I only post on what I experience, not what I presume or think to be true, and hope that others can benefit from it. I don’t believe I’ve ever written anything negative about a vendor I haven’t experienced and am sure there are other good river cruise products out there. Believe me, if I have a bad Viking (or any vendor for that matter) experience, I’ll post it. Should there be an itinerary offered we want to take that Viking doesn’t provide, or should Viking’s level of service deteriorate in the future, we would look a choosing someone else for our river cruises.
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Old December 6th, 2013, 03:57 PM
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I guess I'm bleeding Viking blood as well as I am a cheerleader of the company having had a wonderful experience with them on our Duoro River cruise and are very much looking forward to our Rhine River cruise with them next June.
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Old December 6th, 2013, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarEagle76 View Post
As far as Australia or UK marketing guidelines, I can’t comment on those as I live in the U.S. where 2-for-1 marketing is used in advertising all the time. I can do the math and comparison shop and figure out if I’m getting a good deal or not. As far as having to pay up front at time of booking for the cruise (another complaint of Viking mentioned often on these pages), we do it all the time for airline flights, theatre tickets, etc., and don’t book unless we have the money to do so at the time of booking so this “supposed” issue doesn’t make a difference for us either. I'm sure if bookings begin to fall as a result of either of these marketing tactics, they will be changed.

As far as “bleeding” Viking blood, we’ve been on four Viking River cruises with our fifth scheduled this month. For us the pricing, product, our experience and at this point familiarity, keeps us going back to Viking, and we’ve not been given a reason to try another river cruise line. I’ve been reading and posting on CC for 7 years and only have 600+ posts as I only post on what I experience, not what I presume or think to be true, and hope that others can benefit from it. I don’t believe I’ve ever written anything negative about a vendor I haven’t experienced and am sure there are other good river cruise products out there. Believe me, if I have a bad Viking (or any vendor for that matter) experience, I’ll post it. Should there be an itinerary offered we want to take that Viking doesn’t provide, or should Viking’s level of service deteriorate in the future, we would look a choosing someone else for our river cruises.
Well stated.
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Old December 6th, 2013, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarEagle76 View Post
As far as Australia or UK marketing guidelines, I can’t comment on those as I live in the U.S. where 2-for-1 marketing is used in advertising all the time. I can do the math and comparison shop and figure out if I’m getting a good deal or not. As far as having to pay up front at time of booking for the cruise (another complaint of Viking mentioned often on these pages), we do it all the time for airline flights, theatre tickets, etc., and don’t book unless we have the money to do so at the time of booking so this “supposed” issue doesn’t make a difference for us either. I'm sure if bookings begin to fall as a result of either of these marketing tactics, they will be changed.

As far as “bleeding” Viking blood, we’ve been on four Viking River cruises with our fifth scheduled this month. For us the pricing, product, our experience and at this point familiarity, keeps us going back to Viking, and we’ve not been given a reason to try another river cruise line. I’ve been reading and posting on CC for 7 years and only have 600+ posts as I only post on what I experience, not what I presume or think to be true, and hope that others can benefit from it. I don’t believe I’ve ever written anything negative about a vendor I haven’t experienced and am sure there are other good river cruise products out there. Believe me, if I have a bad Viking (or any vendor for that matter) experience, I’ll post it. Should there be an itinerary offered we want to take that Viking doesn’t provide, or should Viking’s level of service deteriorate in the future, we would look a choosing someone else for our river cruises.
You may well be able to do the math but notwithstanding your mathematical prowess the Viking advertising 2 for 1 is both misleading and false and nothing you repeat will change that fact. I was not commenting on Viking's ability to provide a great river cruise holiday only stating the obvious that their advertising is false and blatently misleading.
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Old December 6th, 2013, 06:15 PM
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Well, since my post from August has been revived (to be reviled ), let me point out that I wasn't singling out Viking -- Oceania and others also do this constant 2-for-1 base price.

But only the cruise industry gets away with this in the US. Retail stores used to do it, but the FTC decided it was deceptive and forced them to stop. Now they can't claim a % discount unless they can document that the product was at some point sold at the 100% price.

My view is that this should be applied to cruises as well. Start with a rack rate, then discount from there.

And include port fees and taxes as well, since they are not optional. [One of the major ocean lines used to do this -- I think is was Celebrity -- but since no one else did, it put them at a disadvantage so they stopped.] Everyone should be able to know the real price of the cruise from the first webpage.
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Just completed:
Walking the Camino de Santiago (4 Star Guided Tour) --https://jazzbeauxcamino2014.shutterfly.com/pictures/5

Booked:
Celebrity Eclipse Southern Carib 3-1-2015
Celebrity Xpedition Galapagos 5-10-2015
AMA Provence 9-3-2015
Azamara Quest Norwegian Fjords 8-11-2016
Norwegian Pride of America Hawaii 10-8-2016

Sailed:
Crystal Serenity Mediterranean 5-7-2014 / Coral Princess Panama Canal 1-19-2014 / AmaCello Rhine 8-30-2013 / Coral Princess Alaska 6-26-2013 / Norwegian Dawn Caribbean 3-3-2013 / Celebrity Summit Caribbean 1-28-2012 / Oceania Insignia Mediterranean 5-17-2011 / Fair Dinkum (Erie Canal bareboat) 7-18-2003 / Costa Italia Caribbean 5-18-1974

Last edited by Host Jazzbeau; December 6th, 2013 at 06:16 PM.
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