Posted October 16th, 2013, 05:36 AM
The thing that I find most disturbing about threads like this one is that more and more posters are are assuming that because something didn't happen to them then it couldn't possibly have happened to the OP. Thus by inference the OP posted false information.
I don't think that is really what people are suggesting.
We all know that there were major problems earlier this year due to the flooding and that many people had a distinctly sub-standard holiday during that time, but how people reacted to that and their expectations of what Viking and other cruise lines could/should have done vary considerably.
At one extreme, for some, anything less than the perfect holiday they imagined based on the brochure pictures is a complete failure and should justify a 100% refund along with further compensation ...
On the other-hand, some accept that river cruising comes with certain variable risks, they made the best they could of what was going on, appreciated the efforts made to deal with the changes at short notice and were appreciative of the discount offers they received on future cruises.
Both groups of people had the same experience, they just reacted differently to it.
I have in the past managed large groups of customer service staff and currently I travel globally on a very regular basis so I get to both see service staff handling travel problems frequently and I've also in the past been able to review recordings of customer/staff interactions and I've learned a lot from this.
I will often observe a member of staff providing exemplary service delivery but be unable to give the customer what they want because it is either impossible or the customer is just not entitled to what they are asking for. In those cases the customer will frequently report the service delivery as 'rude', 'unhelpful' even 'arrogant' etc. when there really was nothing of that tone in the conversation at all.
When we don't get what we want it tends to color our perception of the interchange and there isn't a lot that can be done to change that.
So no, it is not that some deny the existence of problems for those reporting them, it is just a reflection of different expectation levels and different understanding of the product and what was reasonable or unreasonable.
For the OP, delayed flights followed by ham sandwiches are barely worth a mention, most likely a member of the reception staff tried to help out, without access to the normal process and procedures used by the catering staff to cope with specific dietary needs. If there had been no recognition of the notified special meal needs during main meal service that would have been a problem worthy of note, but even then only if it happened again after the first correction.
Chipped/cracked plates etc. should be reported, no food establishment should allow that to continue.
Balconies looking into other balconies is a normal situation on river cruises, made worse in this case by a lack of regular movement along the river, but still a fact of life at times.
So in short, was this a perfect experience for anyone? No, of course not, neither for those on holiday, nor for Viking having to pay for hotels and additional travel costs, but this doesn't mean all river cruises are like this or that all Viking cruises have these major variations.
I just read the complaints knowing that when bad things happen and people take it badly it becomes more likely that otherwise small issues will get blown up out of proportion and it becomes harder to get an accurate read on the reported quality of interactions with customer service staff.
Nobody is being accused of providing 'false information' just that their perception may be different from that of others looking at the same conversations.