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staylor838

Read this before considering Viking

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Just got off the Kara from Basel to Amsterdam. We have been on both Uniworld and AMAwaterways which we preferred to Viking. The reasons were as follows:

Smallest staterooms, (maybe 12" of space on three sides of the bed) why buy a balcony when you are rafted off many nights next to another ship, horrible pillows, limited menu selections at every meal (3), very slow dining service but you were rushed to order, no meal above a 6, even though wines were included, they poured the same cheap Argentinian Malbec and Sauvignon blanc ALL week long, (didn't this cruise go through some of the finest wine regions of Europe?), they seemed understaffed in the dining room and finally, tipping. When we went to settle our account they practically demanded 8 days of tipping for a seven day cruise and they insisted on 2 euro per day per person for the cruise director who was just ok. Good things were checking in and out, the ships condition and inside appearance, the air conditioning and towels. They always had water available for the tours. As I recall Viking had the lowest price compared to Uniworld and AMA maybe you get what you pay for.

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Just got off the Kara from Basel to Amsterdam. We have been on both Uniworld and AMAwaterways which we preferred to Viking. The reasons were as follows:

Smallest staterooms, (maybe 12" of space on three sides of the bed) why buy a balcony when you are rafted off many nights next to another ship, horrible pillows, limited menu selections at every meal (3), very slow dining service but you were rushed to order, no meal above a 6, even though wines were included, they poured the same cheap Argentinian Malbec and Sauvignon blanc ALL week long, (didn't this cruise go through some of the finest wine regions of Europe?), they seemed understaffed in the dining room and finally, tipping. When we went to settle our account they practically demanded 8 days of tipping for a seven day cruise and they insisted on 2 euro per day per person for the cruise director who was just ok. Good things were checking in and out, the ships condition and inside appearance, the air conditioning and towels. They always had water available for the tours. As I recall Viking had the lowest price compared to Uniworld and AMA maybe you get what you pay for.

 

I know you have posted this in error on the Viking Oceans board but many people who travel with Viking by river migrate over to Oceans because they enjoy the product. We are one of them so I will give you a response.

 

We just got off the Kara ourselves, though in the opposite direction and our experience was diametrically opposite of yours. Yes, cabins are small but you should have expected this. In catalogs and on the website photos and dimensions of the cabin are laid out so there are no surprises when you walk in the door. Rafting? We were rafted only 2 nights out of 7 but irregardless of that, rafting is a fact of life in river cruises--across all river cruise companies, not just Viking. In Kehl, we were rafted for the afternoon next to only one other Viking ship. Ahead of us, we saw AMA Waterways, Uniworld, Crosi all rafted together. Who had the better deal there? We had no complaints about the pillows on our bed and appreciated the fact that there were four of them. I do do understand that everyone has different preferences to the firmness or softness of their pillows so I would say that rather than Viking having "horrible" pillows, they were simply not the type you liked.

 

Meals? Again, your experience was not ours. I agree that the menu selection is more limited than you'd find in an ocean cruise, for example, but that's more a function of a smaller ship with a smaller kitchen. In any event, the menu is always twice as big as you say because in addition to the daily offerings, there are always the "classics" that you can choose from. We thought the food was well prepared, fresh, and delicious. I'm sorry you felt rushed to order but that never happened to us. We thought our waiters were exceedingly professional, competent, and pleasant. We were really impressed at the service. I will agree about the wine, though. We didn't care what we were served as we're more craft beer drinkers than wine drinkers, but it did seem a shame that we were being poured South American wine while moving through such a glorious wine growing region as the Rhine. This is definitely an area that Viking could improve on, yes.

 

I take exception to what you say about Elizabeth Rafferty, the Cruise Director. We thought she was magnificent. She's so full of life and energy and genuinely cares about all her passengers! We liked her so much that when we make our next reservations for a Viking river cruise, my first step will be to call Viking and ask what ship she's been assigned to (as her contract on Kara goes only to the end of this year). We would love to be on a ship with Elizabeth.

 

Tipping? The tipping policy is laid out in black and white as it is on every cruise line. I'm sorry you thought you were pressured but again, that is absolutely not what we experienced when we went to the desk to pay ours.

 

Everyone has cruise lines they like and dislike and sometimes it's just a matter of choosing a line that simply meshes well with your own personal style. It's too bad that Viking didn't suit you, but to say "you get what you pay for" is grossly unfair. Viking didn't work for you, but we--and many, many others--like Viking and purposely choose Viking because we come away from the cruise feeling happy and relaxed and full of good memories. I hope you find a line that makes you feel that way, too.

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dln929, well stated. We too have cruised with Viking river cruises many times and always enjoyed our travels. The OP was a matter of the cup being half empty as opposed to half full.

 

Every one has their own opinions and the OP states they have used Uniworld & AMA so obviously they're aware of the rafting situations as it happens with all river cruises these days. You too noted these same ships being rated in your travels.

 

We too have always found the food good with enough choices, you'll never starve to death :). Wine, a very personal choice, if the wine isn't to your liking, you're always free to select a different wine or even pick up a few nice bottles along the way and bring them back, no corkage fee so that could solve that problem.

 

Sorry it was such a lousy cruise staylor838. Hopefully you at least enjoyed the towns and villages so this was not a complete loss for you.

 

You can't make everyone happy!

 

 

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I have to admit that the pillows on Viking are not to my liking; too small, and not supportive enough (Have to fold one in half to get my head at the right angle). However, if that's all I have to complain about I consider myself pretty lucky.

 

I have looked at both Uniworld & AMA, and I am not sure either is right for us (That would be DH & me). I love the décor on Uniworld, but its too fou fou for my husband, and he would be uncomfortable. Some find the décor on Viking to be too plain and stark, and that's okay too. I am glad there are choices, if we were all trying to get on the same boat the prices would rise to levels that I could not afford. Competition is good.

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Viking will provide extra pillows if you ask them on the ship. :)

 

I not only got an extra pillow, but my husband found the duvet too warm, yet was chilly with no cover. I mentioned this to our steward on the first morning, and he provided a sheet - and my extra pillow. No questions asked!

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The pillows on Viking were way too soft for me and I had trouble sleeping, so the next day I asked if they had any firmer ones. I had one within hours. Sometimes problems are solvable.

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We just got off the Kara ourselves, though in the opposite direction and our experience was diametrically opposite of yours. Yes, cabins are small but you should have expected this. In catalogs and on the website photos and dimensions of the cabin are laid out so there are no surprises when you walk in the door. Rafting? We were rafted only 2 nights out of 7 but irregardless of that, rafting is a fact of life in river cruises--across all river cruise companies, not just Viking. In Kehl, we were rafted for the afternoon next to only one other Viking ship. Ahead of us, we saw AMA Waterways, Uniworld, Crosi all rafted together. Who had the better deal there? We had no complaints about the pillows on our bed and appreciated the fact that there were four of them. I do do understand that everyone has different preferences to the firmness or softness of their pillows so I would say that rather than Viking having "horrible" pillows, they were simply not the type you liked.

 

Meals? Again, your experience was not ours. I agree that the menu selection is more limited than you'd find in an ocean cruise, for example, but that's more a function of a smaller ship with a smaller kitchen. In any event, the menu is always twice as big as you say because in addition to the daily offerings, there are always the "classics" that you can choose from. We thought the food was well prepared, fresh, and delicious. I'm sorry you felt rushed to order but that never happened to us. We thought our waiters were exceedingly professional, competent, and pleasant. We were really impressed at the service. I will agree about the wine, though. We didn't care what we were served as we're more craft beer drinkers than wine drinkers, but it did seem a shame that we were being poured South American wine while moving through such a glorious wine growing region as the Rhine. This is definitely an area that Viking could improve on, yes.

 

I take exception to what you say about Elizabeth Rafferty, the Cruise Director. We thought she was magnificent. She's so full of life and energy and genuinely cares about all her passengers! We liked her so much that when we make our next reservations for a Viking river cruise, my first step will be to call Viking and ask what ship she's been assigned to (as her contract on Kara goes only to the end of this year). We would love to be on a ship with Elizabeth.

 

Tipping? The tipping policy is laid out in black and white as it is on every cruise line. I'm sorry you thought you were pressured but again, that is absolutely not what we experienced when we went to the desk to pay ours.

 

Everyone has cruise lines they like and dislike and sometimes it's just a matter of choosing a line that simply meshes well with your own personal style. It's too bad that Viking didn't suit you, but to say "you get what you pay for" is grossly unfair. Viking didn't work for you, but we--and many, many others--like Viking and purposely choose Viking because we come away from the cruise feeling happy and relaxed and full of good memories. I hope you find a line that makes you feel that way, too.

 

We just got off the Mani - I think we rafted with you at one point! Our experience was closer to yours than the OP's.

 

We had no issue with the size of the stateroom, but we booked a balcony, more to get a bit more room and a chair inside than for the balcony. We used the balcony enough to be worth the extra $ - in our opinion! :)

 

We had minimal rafting and ended up being on the outside most times. I think our view was blocked once. We were only rafted with 1 other Viking ship and were not 3 or 4 deep as we saw with other ships.

 

The pillows were fine with me. I like sleeping with 3 or 4 and my husband likes sleeping with 1. I asked the steward for another, and it showed up on the bed shortly after. As I mentioned in my other post, we also got a sheet because my husband found the duvet too warm.

 

I had no issues with the food at all - neither the choices, nor the quality. I enjoyed every meal and so did my fussy eater husband! Our wait staff were wonderful - we never felt rushed.

 

My husband generally had the red wine and he enjoyed it. I usually had the white. I liked the Sauvignon Blanc - it's one of my favorites - but we also had a Chenin Blanc, a Reisling and some Alsatian wines for the white. I must confess, I wasn't paying much attention to the red ;), FWIW we both worked for an importer of fine European wines and have had the chance to sample the best. Were these wines the best? No, but they were perfectly acceptable. Again - wine, like food and pillows is in the taste of the drinker (eater, sleeper)! :D

 

We had no issues with the tipping either. They simply accepted what we told them we were giving - and a few people got extra in envelopes, as well.

 

We selected Viking because we liked the decor and look of the ships, and also because they included a stop at Kinderdijk - which some other lines I looked at did not.

 

In all fairness, I think each time someone posts an opinion or review of a cruise they should state upfront that it is only their opinion and that the mileage of others may vary. - instead of implying that everyone will have the same experience.

 

While it's not upfront,:D IMO - our cruise was delightful. And we will definitely be cruising with Viking again. I have no opinion whatsoever on any of the other lines, because I have not sailed with them, but I will say that the decor on Uniworld put me off that line. I did consider Avalon, Vantage and AMA before choosing Viking. I am VERY pleased with my choice!

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I think its marvellous we all have choices and we are free to express our opinions.

 

we value travel forums like this 1 to view and voice travel experiences. the good the bad and sometimes the ugly.

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Regulars here often make note that highly critical posts are often made my first time posters. I thought that might be the case here, but checked.

 

The OP has two posts here, with the other back in Feb of 2013.

 

One would guess they did some reading here before sailing...maybe.

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I know you have posted this in error on the Viking Oceans board but many people who travel with Viking by river migrate over to Oceans because they enjoy the product. We are one of them so I will give you a response.

 

We just got off the Kara ourselves, though in the opposite direction and our experience was diametrically opposite of yours. Yes, cabins are small but you should have expected this. In catalogs and on the website photos and dimensions of the cabin are laid out so there are no surprises when you walk in the door. Rafting? We were rafted only 2 nights out of 7 but irregardless of that, rafting is a fact of life in river cruises--across all river cruise companies, not just Viking. In Kehl, we were rafted for the afternoon next to only one other Viking ship. Ahead of us, we saw AMA Waterways, Uniworld, Crosi all rafted together. Who had the better deal there? We had no complaints about the pillows on our bed and appreciated the fact that there were four of them. I do do understand that everyone has different preferences to the firmness or softness of their pillows so I would say that rather than Viking having "horrible" pillows, they were simply not the type you liked.

 

Meals? Again, your experience was not ours. I agree that the menu selection is more limited than you'd find in an ocean cruise, for example, but that's more a function of a smaller ship with a smaller kitchen. In any event, the menu is always twice as big as you say because in addition to the daily offerings, there are always the "classics" that you can choose from. We thought the food was well prepared, fresh, and delicious. I'm sorry you felt rushed to order but that never happened to us. We thought our waiters were exceedingly professional, competent, and pleasant. We were really impressed at the service. I will agree about the wine, though. We didn't care what we were served as we're more craft beer drinkers than wine drinkers, but it did seem a shame that we were being poured South American wine while moving through such a glorious wine growing region as the Rhine. This is definitely an area that Viking could improve on, yes.

 

I take exception to what you say about Elizabeth Rafferty, the Cruise Director. We thought she was magnificent. She's so full of life and energy and genuinely cares about all her passengers! We liked her so much that when we make our next reservations for a Viking river cruise, my first step will be to call Viking and ask what ship she's been assigned to (as her contract on Kara goes only to the end of this year). We would love to be on a ship with Elizabeth.

 

Tipping? The tipping policy is laid out in black and white as it is on every cruise line. I'm sorry you thought you were pressured but again, that is absolutely not what we experienced when we went to the desk to pay ours.

 

Everyone has cruise lines they like and dislike and sometimes it's just a matter of choosing a line that simply meshes well with your own personal style. It's too bad that Viking didn't suit you, but to say "you get what you pay for" is grossly unfair. Viking didn't work for you, but we--and many, many others--like Viking and purposely choose Viking because we come away from the cruise feeling happy and relaxed and full of good memories. I hope you find a line that makes you feel that way, too.

 

 

We were on the Heimdal in mid-August and I much more agree with your assessment than the OP...although a different ship. This was our first river cruise, but we found the verandah cabin to be one of the best designed cabins we have ever experienced. The menu, while not a large as an ocean liner, offered good selections and food was very good to excellent. I did notice we had the same wines on many evenings but with no corkage fee...bring you own if they are not up to your standards. My wine standards are fairly low...free.

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My take on the food on both of my two Viking river cruises is very positive. AT breakfast there is a large buffet as well as items that can be ordered from a menu. Lunch was the same. I never ordered from the menu because the buffets had everything I could have wanted. Dinner was different Besides the five or six menu offerings, there were also the optional choices if the menu didn't suit. And at lunch and dinner you could eat from a simple menu in the Aquavit lounge if you wanted to. I did once when I just had to have a burger and fries.

I have never been on an ocean cruise and, as I said, have been only on two river cruises both with Viking but I thought the food was fabulous. Service was top notch, too.

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I noticed the poster has only posted 2 times. It's really hard for me to give much credibility to anyone who only has 2 posts. Just saying.....

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So how many posts do you have to do before your opinion matters?

If the person gave great reviews would anyone make this comment I doubt it.

Just my opinion but it will not matter because I have only done a few posts.

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So how many posts do you have to do before your opinion matters?

If the person gave great reviews would anyone make this comment I doubt it.

Just my opinion but it will not matter because I have only done a few posts.

 

It's just that most of us who've been here on the boards for a while look a bit warily at a new poster who's first post is a rant about all the terrible things that happened to them and how we should all boycott whatever company they're giving such a negative review.

 

You have more than a "few" posts. And you probably have some history here that others can look back on as to how you view things. Giving you more credibility.

 

Unless, of course, all of your posts are negative in style.

 

If someone's first post here is an absolute rave about how wonderful XX cruise was, you can bet there will be some posting rebuttals to it. That's the point of a discussion board.

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I've concluded that many posters on CC, if given a gold bar, would complain about the weight.

 

We are just off the Modi-Aug 29 sailing. As a first time River cruiser, I found the limited public space a drawback, but not a buzz killer. We enjoyed the food, the wine, the staff, the balcony stateroom and most of all the Budapest to Amsterdam itinerary. Any customer issue was addressed promptly by staff. The overall experience was amazing.

 

 

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We wouldn't trade our experience on the Viking Magni for anything. Everything was perfect from the food to the staff. I, personally, highly recommend Viking and that is why we opted for their ocean cruise this next May.

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It's just that most of us who've been here on the boards for a while look a bit warily at a new poster who's first post is a rant about all the terrible things that happened to them and how we should all boycott whatever company they're giving such a negative review....

 

Agree with this comment.

 

Not knocking the OP for only 2 posts - but history has shown us a RANT and only a post or two usually is just that - a rant.

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Has there never been a rant from a long-term member with a lot of posts? Heck, some of those rants came from folks that never cruised the line they are disparaging. :rolleyes:

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Heck, some of those rants came from folks that never cruised the line they are disparaging. :rolleyes:

 

... and that is the other aspect of a post that tends to get it ignored or at least downgraded in importance...

 

Repeatedly posting negative opinions about a product you've never experienced really isn't all that useful to anyone, but some will I'm sure continue to do it regardless :)

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My daughter and I have been on two Viking River Cruises in the last two years - the first Portraits of Southern France and the second Basil to Amsterdam. We are researching and planning our third for this summer. I only have positive things to say about Viking and other than small kinks ( which happen on every vacation) our trips have gone smoothly. We have met wonderful people and enjoyed all the place we traveled to. My daughter is a very, very picky eater and on both Viking cruises the chefs and staff have gone our of their way to accommodate her. On the last cruise the Maitre D met with her each morning to go over the days menu and if nothing was to her liking they made something for her that did.

What we have found on Viking is all you have to do is ask !!

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I know you have posted this in error on the Viking Oceans board but many people who travel with Viking by river migrate over to Oceans because they enjoy the product. We are one of them so I will give you a response.

 

We just got off the Kara ourselves, though in the opposite direction and our experience was diametrically opposite of yours. Yes, cabins are small but you should have expected this. In catalogs and on the website photos and dimensions of the cabin are laid out so there are no surprises when you walk in the door. Rafting? We were rafted only 2 nights out of 7 but irregardless of that, rafting is a fact of life in river cruises--across all river cruise companies, not just Viking. In Kehl, we were rafted for the afternoon next to only one other Viking ship. Ahead of us, we saw AMA Waterways, Uniworld, Crosi all rafted together. Who had the better deal there? We had no complaints about the pillows on our bed and appreciated the fact that there were four of them. I do do understand that everyone has different preferences to the firmness or softness of their pillows so I would say that rather than Viking having "horrible" pillows, they were simply not the type you liked.

 

Meals? Again, your experience was not ours. I agree that the menu selection is more limited than you'd find in an ocean cruise, for example, but that's more a function of a smaller ship with a smaller kitchen. In any event, the menu is always twice as big as you say because in addition to the daily offerings, there are always the "classics" that you can choose from. We thought the food was well prepared, fresh, and delicious. I'm sorry you felt rushed to order but that never happened to us. We thought our waiters were exceedingly professional, competent, and pleasant. We were really impressed at the service. I will agree about the wine, though. We didn't care what we were served as we're more craft beer drinkers than wine drinkers, but it did seem a shame that we were being poured South American wine while moving through such a glorious wine growing region as the Rhine. This is definitely an area that Viking could improve on, yes.

 

I take exception to what you say about Elizabeth Rafferty, the Cruise Director. We thought she was magnificent. She's so full of life and energy and genuinely cares about all her passengers! We liked her so much that when we make our next reservations for a Viking river cruise, my first step will be to call Viking and ask what ship she's been assigned to (as her contract on Kara goes only to the end of this year). We would love to be on a ship with Elizabeth.

 

Tipping? The tipping policy is laid out in black and white as it is on every cruise line. I'm sorry you thought you were pressured but again, that is absolutely not what we experienced when we went to the desk to pay ours.

 

Everyone has cruise lines they like and dislike and sometimes it's just a matter of choosing a line that simply meshes well with your own personal style. It's too bad that Viking didn't suit you, but to say "you get what you pay for" is grossly unfair. Viking didn't work for you, but we--and many, many others--like Viking and purposely choose Viking because we come away from the cruise feeling happy and relaxed and full of good memories. I hope you find a line that makes you feel that way, too.

 

We were on the same cruise and I agree completely. I can't say enough good things to say about Viking, the staff and crew and the ship itself. Our veranda stateroom was more than satisfactory and I spent quite a bit of time sitting out while cruising. Food was quite good but we only ate dinner in the dining room twice because we enjoyed the Aquavit terrace. Our waitress Csilla was awesome. She went out of her way to make sure we were enjoying ourselves. I cannot comment on the wine selection because I don't drink wine but the Budweiser that is brewed in the Czech Republic was wonderful. It is sold in the USA under the name Czechvar but unfortunately I can't find it in Maine.

 

Sorry the OP didn't enjoy his cruise but then some people would bitch if they were hung with a brand new rope.

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Check out Vantage, we have done three great cruises with them. They always seem to beat Viking on price.

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Check out Emerald. Beats Viking on larger cabins, , newer ships, swimming pool, gratuities included , all at a lower price.

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