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Anyone leaving on Rhine/Danube cruise in next couple weeks - don’t go


milling73
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We are on Viking Grand European - now a bus tour. 
The Rhine / Danube rivers are too low for travel in many places. We swapped boats at one point and that was fine. But near Mainz river again too low. The last 4 days are via bus and hotels. 2 nights Cologn, 1 night Amsterdam. 
If you are expecting a river cruise it isnt going to happen. Viking is a wonderful company, but they can’t make it rain. 
 

They are also lax in telling people upfront that rivers are or may be too low for navigating, and while you will take similar itinerary, it will be by bus. And if no boat to swap to as hotel - it will be town hotel. 
 

To me, they are mishandling this. Give customers the option to go whatever happens or option to cancel with voucher refund. They are not, they wait til you arrive or 2 days before informing you of boat change, because boat you were scheduled to take cannot get up river to you. 

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2 hours ago, milling73 said:

We are on Viking Grand European - now a bus tour. 
The Rhine / Danube rivers are too low for travel in many places. We swapped boats at one point and that was fine. But near Mainz river again too low. The last 4 days are via bus and hotels. 2 nights Cologn, 1 night Amsterdam. 
If you are expecting a river cruise it isnt going to happen. Viking is a wonderful company, but they can’t make it rain. 
 

They are also lax in telling people upfront that rivers are or may be too low for navigating, and while you will take similar itinerary, it will be by bus. And if no boat to swap to as hotel - it will be town hotel. 
 

To me, they are mishandling this. Give customers the option to go whatever happens or option to cancel with voucher refund. They are not, they wait til you arrive or 2 days before informing you of boat change, because boat you were scheduled to take cannot get up river to you. 

Depends on the company and draught of the ships. We are staying at the moment in a town on the Rhine gorge near Loreley. We have seen several cruises still sailing, including two this morning. Viking ships tend to have a deeper draught so are impacted more quickly. Yesterday evening the AmaStella passed by through the gorge.

 

We had a AmaWaterways cruise forced to change itineraries with the low water in October 2018. They took wonderful care of us and the cruise credit they gave us allowed another cruise the following spring. Both cruises, changed and unchanged, low water and normal, were remarkable.

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In November of 2018 we had an Amawaterways trip that also had low water issues the last couple of days.  The hotel in Budapest was incredible and we also received a generous credit for the disruption.  That said, if I had a cruise next week or so, knowing the water levels, I’m not sure what I would do.  

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We started from Budapest to Ending Amsterdam on Aug 12. At  Regensburg we swapped boats. But the next notice was traffic on Rhine was restricted and our boat could not go on. We got off near Mainz. The ironic thing is we left our boat, drove 2 hours to board a boat for an hour sightseeing tour on Rhine. Then bus to Marksburg castle, then longer ride to Cologne for 2 nights here at hotel Pullman. A lovely hotel with great food. Unfortunately no spirits pkg. 

 

its not that this is horrible trip - there has been wonderful days of beautiful sailing. And even this is not bad, it just isnt what we expected. And it does require more packing, walking, and is much less scenic  or relaxing.  Sitting in a hotel room vs in deck chair on boat. 

I am just trying to give those who have booked a river cruise with Viking for Aug, quite possibly through Fall, and you expect your trip to be all sailing - monitor river levels  / rain in Europe, or be prepared for a boat swap or bus / hotel trip. If you are okay with that agenda go, if not, postpone before the 2 weeks cancellation policy of Viking. Trip insurance does not cover going from boat to land, because they try to keep close to original itinerary- just by bus. Viking has not mentioned any reimbursement vouchers for us. In fact, CS has so far  not responded to emails / phone calls that go to voicemail. 

 

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5 hours ago, milling73 said:

We started from Budapest to Ending Amsterdam on Aug 12. At  Regensburg we swapped boats. But the next notice was traffic on Rhine was restricted and our boat could not go on. We got off near Mainz. The ironic thing is we left our boat, drove 2 hours to board a boat for an hour sightseeing tour on Rhine. Then bus to Marksburg castle, then longer ride to Cologne for 2 nights here at hotel Pullman. A lovely hotel with great food. Unfortunately no spirits pkg. 

 

its not that this is horrible trip - there has been wonderful days of beautiful sailing. And even this is not bad, it just isnt what we expected. And it does require more packing, walking, and is much less scenic  or relaxing.  Sitting in a hotel room vs in deck chair on boat. 

I am just trying to give those who have booked a river cruise with Viking for Aug, quite possibly through Fall, and you expect your trip to be all sailing - monitor river levels  / rain in Europe, or be prepared for a boat swap or bus / hotel trip. If you are okay with that agenda go, if not, postpone before the 2 weeks cancellation policy of Viking. Trip insurance does not cover going from boat to land, because they try to keep close to original itinerary- just by bus. Viking has not mentioned any reimbursement vouchers for us. In fact, CS has so far  not responded to emails / phone calls that go to voicemail. 

 

Can you confirm that the only hotels you had were toward the end of your cruise for the 3 nights? We start in Amsterdam on the 29th on the Viking Modi, and don’t mind a few hotel nights but certainly don’t want a third or more of our cruise to be ‘land-based’.  Thanks!

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We will be sailing August 24 on the Rhine with Viking. We have called them several times concerned about water levels. Every time they say, "we do not know of changes that may impact your trip."

 

Really?

 

Meanwhile, other social media sites show photos of sandbars, sandy 'beaches' along the river, and tales of being bussed from city to city and staying in hotels. Viking's mantra is, "we can't predict the weather.' but to say they have heard of no issues on the Rhine is an out right lie. We have until today to cancel and receive a voucher, but we have other plans surrounding this trip in Europe and it would mean a lot of flight and hotel changes. We decided to bite the bullet and just proceed and see what happens. We really don't want a voucher because we aren't particularly happy with the way Viking is handling this and we don't want to sail with them again.

 

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1 hour ago, Envelope21 said:

Every time they say, "we do not know of changes that may impact your trip."

I have quite a bit of patience with people, but I need to say this: shall I send the office guys and girls in the US photos of the Rhine per e-mail?? They do not seem to read the news or talk to their captains.

 

((deep breath)) Okay, nice Rhine river girl is back. So

1 hour ago, Envelope21 said:

We decided to bite the bullet and just proceed and see what happens.

I just say this: I hope it will go the best way it can and that you will have a lovely time in Europe. :classic_smile:

 

notamermaid

 

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Milling 73 from the Villages, 

 

We are departing for Budapest up the Danube and Rhine this Saturday.  What else can we expect?  I appreciate your postings...how many days have you been on the boat vs how many days have you been traveling by bus?  Thanks for any other info you can give.  mominapocket in Jax, FL

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People should also know that the river between Budapest and Vienna is now impassable, at least for Viking.  Docking in Komaron and bussing to Budapest instead 

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We are now in Amsterdam, end of the Grand European. I cant say what every cruise is doing on the Rhine. But the middle Rhine sightseeing cruise by Lorelei Rock is probably not going to happen on a Viking boat. It is correct - sandbars are in middle of river in several places. 
 

Sailing from Budapest to Amsterdam. We swapped boats at Regensburg. Was on new boat 3-4 nights, and then off boat for good. 2 nights hotel Pullman in Cologne. 1 night at Movenpick hotel Amsterdam. Long days on bus the last 4 days. Some scenic but mostly interstate. 
 

Meals are provided but you have no say in what ordered. It is a one menu fits all platter put in front of you. Our last meal tonight was a buffet. 
 

we are to begin new cruise Paris to The Alps Saturday, as we booked back to back month cruise. I just received an email that we are to meet a new boat at Trier. So I am assuming it will be at the very least a boat swap. For sure we will not do the Rhine scenic sail because it is too shallow in that area. We took a smaller hour cruiser like for sightseeing, and it was packed with Viking guests. Top deck completely full. Sitting inside has a/c, but  limited viewing. Is a nice boat. 
 

I also have sent multiple emails to Customer Service - no answer. 
 

i am only trying to update people honestly as to what your cruise MIGHT become. Because Viking is not. Was our trip bad? No it was not. Days on the boat are beyond wonderful. Days on the bus are long, no drinks, cant get up and go out on deck or lounge chair, going from 1 stop to another. No choice in food, unless you buy your own.  Hotels while nice have no outside seating, or tv channels in English that we found. 
 

i will update if we stay on boat from Trier to Basel. 

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In my opinion how Viking is handling this is wrong. The email many will receive is a notice you will be meeting different boat. As all are pretty much identical that is not an issue. The email also references low water that might impact sailing by reduced speeds or I think maybe a boat swap. What it does not mention is how much time you will spend in a bus, or be in hotels. Or that alot of why you booked a river cruise can not occur right now. 
after 2 weeks before you cannot cancel. If I has known how extensive the low water levels are, not just in a few areas,  I would have postponed with a voucher. 

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Also as a mention, when on the boat, there were always some guests who chose to stay on the boat. Maybe they had already been to that spot, or maybe they felt like reading a book on top deck lounge chair with a drink, or tired and wanted to nap. 
when we had to leave boat, all of those options disappeared. We were all on the bus to whatever that day itinerary was until our hotel. 
When stopped for period of time buses are not allowed to remain running. Inside heats up pretty quick. It has been sunny, warm (75-90) range every day of our trip. Cool nights / mornings. 

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1 hour ago, gentlemancruiser said:

Not too surprised about Viking and Customer Service.   They've been operating that way for years. 

Viking cruises are always “still on” - until they’re not.

I am amazed at the number of CCers who call Viking customer service and take any comfort in being told their cruise is still on…

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This is interesting. I spoke to a Viking rep about two days ago and she said the Paris to Swiss Alps cruise has not been impacted whatsoever by low water levels. Please keep everyone posted. We leave for Zurich on September 10th and I'd like to know what to expect.  Thanks so much!

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6 hours ago, kpgclark said:

has not been impacted whatsoever by low water levels

This is impossible.  Every large river cruise ship will be impacted, I do not agree with the "whatsoever". If we want we could say affected, as it is not possible to sail in this low water as you may be able to in normal conditions. If they mean impacted with a ship swap or not cruise or missing a dock, then I will have to concede and accept that it is correct if they say so. But a slight doubt remains...

 

notamermaid

 

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Kogclark - if u want my best advice on your Paris - Zurich trip. Cancel now and take voucher. 
we just checked in Paris hotel to start our trip. Part of this trip is Middle Rhine - we left that 2 days ago and it is too low for Viking boats. 
I just asked our cruise director here at hotel if boarding at Trier would we actually sail or be on boat entire trip??? I got the same politically safe answer as on our last trip, “we are monitoring the conditions”. I can tell you upfront the conditions here are drought. It would have to rain heavily for solid week(s) before the Rhine and Danube are at normal levels. 
If you dont care how many days on boat, or sailing, or on bus — Come. If you want the river cruise you booked - WAIT

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Gentleman cruiser - You are correct. Calling CS agents is pointless. They are in office in States with no clue. They are booking agents period. In fact I have not met one Viking employee here who has info, or is willing to share it honestly. 
When a boat manages to suddenly get hotel rooms in Cologne for 180 guests for 2 nights, in peak tourist season - there is no way the “low water issue” popped up in 24 hours with that many rooms available. 
 

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Thank You Milling73 for taking your vacation time to share your experiences with us - its wonderful to have honest first hand stories even if its not what we'd like to hear - it helps all of us who have to make decisions!!!!! Please keep posting!!!!!

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55 minutes ago, milling73 said:

“we are monitoring the conditions”

Well we can safely say that we are monitoring the conditions on this board here. And in an hour's drive* I can personally monitor them by dipping my feet in the water or walking across to an island on dry foot.

 

It is getting comical. Or for a cruiser plain annoying.

1 hour ago, milling73 said:

It would have to rain heavily for solid week(s) before the Rhine and Danube are at normal levels. 

To be fair, rain is forecast so as you are now in Paris, by the time you get to the Rhine you just about may be lucky to actually sail through on your second attempt. Wednesday into Thursday conditions may improve. But it is all still tentative.  Not sure when you will be in Koblenz.

 

Why are they not a bit more honest or direct, like it's 35cm, no way we will sail, we hourly check the levels and should we reach xy cm we may be able to say more. Or just a different record in the office on the record player: like captains on the Rhine have informed us that ..., we will know more by Monday... etc. Or at least say that they do not know and will get back to you with more info - or not. Some people just want to know before they leave their continent on a long flight. For me it is easy - two hour train ride** and I am back home...

 

And I know that the terms & conditions in my contract will be at least favourable enough to give me money back instead of a voucher for another river cruise.

 

*approximation for privacy

 

** if on the Rhine sailing near home

 

notamermaid

 

 

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On 8/12/2022 at 11:20 AM, kpgclark said:

spoke to a Viking rep about two days ago and she said the Paris to Swiss Alps cruise has not been impacted whatsoever by low water levels.


Sounds like they sell bridges on the side. To paraphrase COL Potter, that person is playing horse hockey with road apples.

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