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Trip Report Viking handles Elbe low water badly

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82 annoyed travelers learned the hard way that the Elbe river often is not navigable and that Viking cannot be trusted to treat its customers fairly. Viking's August 27 Prague - Berlin river cruise and ended up on a bus tour with stationary cruise boats as our hotel as did the same cruise going in the opposite direction. The on-board crew made the best of a bad situation but Viking management handled it very badly. Most on board said they would never consider a Viking tour again and would advise others not to. Please consider adding comments to this forum if you were also a victim of this situation on any of the many affected trips.

Low water on the Elbe was not Viking's fault but the way they handled it was a case history in poor customer relations.The day before we were to leave Viking sent out a vague email saying that the water level was low and that it could impact our cruise in an undefined way. It was too late for most of us to cancel or reschedule - options that were not offered. Apparently low water is commonplace this time of year so Viking had a obligation to let us know before booking along with an explanation of what would happen if that occurred. Rivers do not drop suddenly so Viking should have known what was going to happen. They appear to have put their financial interest ahead of ours hoping they would get away with it.

Since the cruise boats could not leave the dock they became stationary hotels with small rooms at inconvenient locations. The time we were to scheduled to be cruising became long bus rides - up to 4 hours per day. We had to change boats in the middle of the tour, a major annoyance. On a day when all were annoyed, Viking chose to send us all an email offering a $500 per person credit toward a future cruise - an insulting gesture that looked like they were trying to turn this situation into something that further increased their profits. Not one person expressed an interest in using the vouchers or ever traveling with Viking again.

Bottom Line: we paid for a river cruise and got a bus tour with small, cramped rooms and the need to return to an inconvenient location for meals. For thousands less we could have rented a car or taken trains, stayed in top-tier hotels in great locations and seen much more.Viking has chosen to offer tours on a river that can frequently not handle its boats and did nothing to inform us of the risk they knew we were taking. We bought travel insurance on their web site and they chose to not inform us in sufficient time to use it tp cancel or rebook The compensation offered was not remotely sufficient. In my opinion Viking has shown itself to be a business that can be trusted.

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