High and dry Viking River Cruises...

Old Nov 21st, 2011, 05:54 AM
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High and dry Viking River Cruises...

Has anybody else had the misfortune of being put on land and being schlepped around different cities in Germany by buses and having to stay at hotels because the Danube and the Rhine have experience very bad drought conditions?
Has anybody also been told "this was the first time this has happened"????
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Old Nov 21st, 2011, 07:45 AM
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Unfortunately, this does happen. A lot of people have complained in the past about Grand Circle river cruises that do this with little notice (and on a regular basis). It's a seasonal problem, so it no doubt affects many different river cruise companies, and I feel your pain. I would hope a cruise line would alert you in advance, but I suspect many do not and then give you no other option since you are there already. Did this happen to you recently? Or are you asking about the possibility on a cruise?

This can also be a problem with the rivers are too high, which often happens in the spring during flood season.
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Old Nov 21st, 2011, 04:16 PM
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Yes, the Danube and Rhine are experiencing low water levels so many cruises are not partial land/hotel/bus tours. It isn't just a Viking issue, as Doug_Stallings said, it does affect many of the river cruise lines. There are several very unhappy posters on FB right now, personally I find their whining annoying, it is what it is and who can contend with Mother Nature. It isn't what you signed up for...yes, that is annoying as well but why the blame? I can't imagine Viking or any other cruise line saying "this is the first time it has happened", and if we're informed consumers we know it has happened, it's the chance we take.

We leave in 11 days for a Rhine river cruise with Viking, no, we haven't received "the email" as to possible changes if there is no rise in the water level but we've traveled enough to know that no trip will be flawless and while changes may not be ideal it's up to us to find enjoyment in what we have. I've heard (and this is only heresay) that passengers are being offered a future discount, if so, it appears the cruise lines are attempting to appease the masses.

Maybe we'll be unfortunate and have to "endure" a land tour but I'm sure we'll still have a great time. Life is what you make it! and that is my opinion only
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Old Nov 22nd, 2011, 04:08 AM
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there is risk of too high and too low water.

insuremytrip.com wise you do agree to be bussed around

in your contract so caveat emptor!

Also consider limited cruise of Rhine and overland

with Globus what I did last had a great time 40% off

under $2k pp... affordabletours.com
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Old Nov 22nd, 2011, 04:13 AM
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UniWorld similar issues in the past also to be fair...
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Old Nov 22nd, 2011, 07:14 AM
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Only a "cancel for any reason" policy would work in the event that the water levels were too low for sailing. These are typically expensive policies but might be worth it in this circumstance. But you generally have to buy the policy at the time you book the trip or very shortly after (within a week).
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Old Nov 23rd, 2011, 12:32 PM
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Dear Ginny,

We are truly sorry for the disappointment caused by these weather-related itinerary changes. Please know that we do everything in our power to still provide you with a wonderful travel experience. If you would like to discuss your concerns further, please contact our Customer Relations team directly at 1.877.668.4546, extension 4525 or email us at [email protected].

Warm Regards,
Viking River Cruises
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Old Nov 29th, 2011, 06:54 AM
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I just returned from a Viking cruise on the Rhine. We had a great time on the ship. And the staff did everything they could to help us make the best of the situation after we left the ship. Of course we were very disappointed. The last 4 days were a lot of hard work with packing and lugging luggage, time was lost traveling to and from hotels, we missed the excellent service of our crew on the ship, it was expensive to get snacks and drinks between meals, and there was no place to rest or nap on long days between hotels. In addition, severals tours were cut short or rushed and parts of our itinerary were omitted altogether.

We would have been better prepared for this turn of events if the company had informed us of this possibility before we left home. Not letting us know ahead of time, and implying that this was a very unusual occurance, felt like a betrayal. We felt let down. It would have been better if all of us had known up front that this was a possibility. We were first time cruisers and we did a great deal of homework in preparation for this trip, but we are slowly learning more about what we need to investigate before booking in future.

I have 2 questions. How long has low water been a problem on the Rhine this season? How many Viking cruises were unable to complete their initial itineraries this season because of low water?
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Old Nov 29th, 2011, 07:01 AM
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One last thing: We were specifically told that we would hear from Viking immedeately upon our return home about compensation. It's only been 2 days, but I have heard not a peep. I'm listening...
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Old Nov 29th, 2011, 09:33 AM
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DW and I have been considering a river cruise through part of Europe (Russia river cruise is the what DW really wanted). I have never thought that a river cruise would come to a grinding stop becasue of water level and became a "bus & hotel" trip. I have not heard from anyone (other than here) that that this is a possibility.

There are two reasons why crusiing is attractive for us. One is that we do not have to pack and unpack on a nightly basis. The ship is our hotel and we have all our stuff out. The seocnd is the mode of transportation, it is relaxing and we "travel" while we sleep. Bus, or airplane rides doesn't do the same trick.

We were in Peru recently and although we enjoyed our trip very much, but we really hated the pack and unpack routine. For two weeks, only once that we stayed in the same hotel 2 nights in a row. We flew rather than bus but we still have to endure transportation to the airport, waiting for check-in and security screening. It was a chore.

I think we will have to totally rethink river cruises now. And thank you to everyone who posted here on the heads up. It appears that this "high and dry" problem is more common than most people ahve thought.
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Old Nov 29th, 2011, 09:39 AM
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It's not really that common, and it's a seasonal issue. If you cruise in high season (this is definitely NOT high season for river cruising), you generally do not have these problems. But river cruises are a much more seasonal phenomenon than ocean cruising. Plan carefully, and you can almost entirely avoid these problems.
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Old Nov 29th, 2011, 11:21 AM
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Here's the thing. I have been looking all over the net for more information about itinerary changes due to low water. I can find very, very little. Why is that? I would imagine that people talk about this, but yesterday and today I have come up with nothing other than this site. Where else can I look? There were some people on Facebook that were cruising the Rhine a week or two before our trip, but all traces of them have vanished.

My questions:
1. Where can a person get credible information about low water conditions?
2. How can I find people on recent Rhine cruises in order to learn if they had similar problems as we did?
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Old Nov 29th, 2011, 11:31 AM
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I was on 15 day River Cruise in June 2011, from Bucharest Romania to Vienna.

No trouble with water levels but then this was June.

Oh yes...

I was aware that sometimes during the River Cruise you might have to disembark and take a bus to the next destination...where the water level was higher.

Eschew:

If you decide to go on the Russian River Cruise , I would recommend starting in St. Pertersburg and ending in Moscow.

Since all the River Cruise' boats are about the same for food and service ( hopefully)....then PICK the cruise line with the best intinerary for St. Petersburg and Moscow.

I was amazed at how poor the intinerary was for St. Petersburg and Moscow is on some of the River Cruise lines..
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Old Nov 29th, 2011, 11:34 AM
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We had no prior notice that this was a possibility. That is why I would like to know if other recent cruises, before Nov. 13 - 27, experienced itinerary changes due to low water. I was told, at dinner in the hotel, that this had been a problem before our cruise began. I'm trying to confirm if that is true or not.
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Old Nov 29th, 2011, 03:22 PM
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Thanks Percy, currently, we are looking at a June date, but not a River cruise at this point. DW found something that is round trip from Denmark with a 2 night stop over in St. Pete. I didn't spend anytime on it yet as I am not able to make a committment until late March.

I usually have meeting committments either last week of May or first week of June. If my meeting is in May, I am good to go. If my meeting is in June, then I can't. SDo, I will wait till mid-March unyil if I am going to get excited over it or not.

We have a lot of items on our bucket list and there are places that we like to re-visit. I just have to work around the schedule.
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Old Nov 29th, 2011, 04:27 PM
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Eschew:

Your wife must be thinking of a Baltic Cruise which starts and ends in Copenhagen.

Jacketwatch took this cruise in the month of June and I took it a few months later in August of the same year.

It was one of the best cruises I took.

It has two full days in St. Petersburg.
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Old Nov 30th, 2011, 12:14 PM
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Percy, I am not sure, I wonder if is one and the same one. She took a brochure from someone some plac and I am suppose to my personal TA and ask, whcih I haven't yet (as explained earlier). Which cruise line did you sail on? What are the stops other than overnight in St Pete?

Larry, how about you?
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Old Nov 30th, 2011, 04:01 PM
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resykl, I have a couple of answers for your two questions. Hope this helps.

1. Where can a person get credible information about low water conditions?
2. How can I find people on recent Rhine cruises in order to learn if they had similar problems as we did?

A. 1. I googled "Low water levels Danube" and found articles going back as far as April 2011 reporting 100-year-low water levels in the Danube, then some articles on the "dryest November in recorded history in Germany".

A. 2. If you go to www.cruisecritic.com and click on forums, click on Specialty Cruises, then River Cruises. You will find at least 3 threads about the low water levels, including comments from people who've taken the cruise in the last couple of weeks. Also, if you go to Viking River Cruises Facebook page, under "Discussions", you will find some remarks...however, this page is owned by Viking and they have deleted many of the comments.
I'm taking the Nuremburg to Budapest cruise December 17 to 27, and trying to check out every site I can find regarding this situation. I just googled "Viking River Cruises low water" or something like that...that's how I found this page.
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Old Nov 30th, 2011, 06:32 PM
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Eschew :

I sailed on Princess out of Copenhagen and I think jacketwatch did the same .

Here is a list of my ports of call:
1. Copenhagen
2. Stockholm Sweden
3. Helsinki Finland
4. St. Petersburg
5. Tallinn Estonia
6. Gdansk Poland
7. Oslo Norway
8. Back to Copenhagen.


grennman1168:

It should be nice in all those places over Christmas.
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Old Dec 1st, 2011, 02:29 PM
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Thanks Percy, I will check and see if they are the same. No point in getting myself all excited if there is a scheduling conflict and I can't go anyway.
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