High and dry Viking River Cruises...

Old Dec 2nd, 2011, 06:10 AM
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resykl and others looking for further info on river levels - you should go to the Cruise Critic Boards and check out the river cruise section. You should be able to find info there as to your questions/concerns about water levels. I use this site when researching river cruises. Click open the "Boards" section, then scroll lown to "Special Interest Crusing", then you will see the river cruises section. You will get feedback from those that have just done river cruises on Rhine/Danube. There is also a frequent poster on the river cruise area that is extremely knowledgeable about this and other river cruise topics. I believe that he/she lives in Germany so you should get authentic info.

I hope this helps.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2011, 02:16 PM
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AMAWaterways wrote us a letter before our river cruise in Vietnam and Cambodia telling us that due to extreme flooding in Cambodia our itinerary would include a long bus trip. This wasn't in Europe, but they were up front about the conditions.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2011, 03:34 PM
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Dear Viking Guests,

We know you have questions and we know some of you have complaints. We thank you for your input and assure you that we are listening. The magnitude of this late-season drought was not immediately apparent, but we have made adjustments each day in an effort to continually provide you with our very best. For each of the Danube and Rhine sailings that are effected in December, we are providing shipboard credit, complimentary optional excursions, and credit to use on a future cruise.

We understand that you want answers about how your itinerary may need to be altered. We will continue to update our future guests via email with additional information as it becomes available. We have also made all of these communications available on our website here: http://www.vikingrivercruises.com/about/vikingnews.aspx. We will continue to keep this information on our website updated as well.

For those who joined us in November and had their itinerary altered by the low water levels of the rivers, we are working hard to address your concerns and will also be sending you a credit voucher for a future cruise.

And as always, we are happy to hear from you directly at [email protected].

Regards,
Viking River Cruises
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Old Dec 3rd, 2011, 03:39 PM
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So, I have seen articles on Google about a 2 ton bomb found in the low waters at Koblenz. They will attempt to defuse it tomorrow. They've evacuated half the city, 45,000 people. The last article I read said they are also going to diffuse a smaller bomb nearby. It also said that authorities expect to find more bombs in the record low waters. Sounds like a good enough reason to suspend river cruise traffic! Meanwhile I have learned that the itinerary on a cruise one week before ours was changed due to low water. All I want to know is, why didn't they give us a heads up so we would know the possibilities ahead of time? We had a great time on our trip. It would have been easier to adjust to changes if the company would have told us what to expect before the fact.
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Old Dec 4th, 2011, 09:58 AM
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Here's an update today posted on Cruise Critic Boaards:

http://www.cruisecritic.com/news/news.cfm?ID=4674

And yes, they did find bombs as stated in the posting:

"And just to make things more interesting for travelers, the low water levels have revealed unexploded World War II bombs in the Rhine River. Nearly half of the population of Koblenz, Germany, was evacuated today( 12/4) while the bombs were defused."

Just check w/ your cruise line if anyone is booked soon for a river cruise.

Scary, huh?
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Old Dec 4th, 2011, 12:28 PM
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Agree or not, planning a cruise across Europe for 15 days on a ship not having to pack and unpack, ride buses, eat hotel food and put up with all the hassel was what we did and paid hansomely for. We just returned from a "CRUISE" on the Viking Sun and only spent 8 days on the ship and never made it to the Rhine,but instead was bused across Germany and stayed in hotel after hotel, packing, unpacking, eating very plain hotel banquet meals and they had to have known this in advance as the hotels already had special table menus with Viking and the side trips were too well orchestrated to be a last minute. Also found out they didn't tell the group arriving in Basel to take the return cruise that they would be cruising on a bus! Someone said that an email was sent the day before advising these 'guests' about the sitution, but everyone was already enroute and no time to stop it, eventhough Viking had known it for over a week.

Very very disappointed and frustrated to have spent this much money for such a 3rd class trip.

Check closely and you'll see other reviews on other sites showing that this has been pretty standard operating procedure for Viking in the past.....many times!
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Old Dec 4th, 2011, 07:27 PM
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Normally I don't cross post but I am making an exception, so Doug, pelase don't delete me ...

I am not defending the river cruise companies here but here is my 2 bits worth ...

Would you have cancelled the trip if they told you ahead that the "cruise" will be changed to "bus & hotel"?

How about if they told you after you get on board on the frist day of the cruise? Would the reaction be less hostile?

They are in a can't win situation. I am not sure what the economics are, but I bet you the cost to bus and hotel is more expensive than using their own boat as they have to pay out money to someone.

Would the passenegrs be more happy if they offer a refund or a partial refund? A future crediy maybe? But knowing that it might actually cost them more moeny to do the same itenary to begin with ...

What else do you think they can do?
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Old Dec 5th, 2011, 09:35 AM
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As I posted on the other thread about this, blame Mother Nature not Viking. Other than notifying passengers in advance I have no idea what anyone could expect the line to do under the circumstances. I can appreciate the disappointment, but some of us take lemons and make lemonade.

I remember being in Paris some years ago when the Seine was running very high. I would have liked to take a cruise on the river, but they were stopped because the boats couldn't get under the bridges. Also would have enjoyed strolling on the quays, but they were covered in deep water. Not a comparison to a lengthy river cruise, but I was disappointed. Why not try to make the best of it and enjoy the good experiences?
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Old Dec 5th, 2011, 11:37 AM
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We’ve posted on this forum previously, and also just posted on another thread that was discussing low water levels of the Rhine and Danube rivers, so please excuse us if we repeat ourselves a bit, but we want to try and reach each guest who may have questions or concerns.

As some others have noted, weather-related changes that are beyond our control are particularly challenging. The magnitude of this late-season drought was not immediately apparent, but we have made adjustments each day — and no two days, or itineraries, have been the same. We understand that our guests want information regarding how the low water levels may affect their itinerary. We are updating our guests via email with additional information as it becomes available. We have also made all of these communications available on our website here: http://www.vikingrivercruises.com/about/vikingnews.aspx.

Whether it is questions before a trip or concerns after returning home, we would welcome the opportunity to speak directly with our guests and can be reached at [email protected].

Kindest regards,
Viking River Cruises
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Old Dec 7th, 2011, 08:30 AM
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We are leaving Dec. 18 on Vantage Riverboat Rhine and Danube. I called to see what was happening. I was told they had not had their daily update when asked if the boats were running. I said please give me yestersday's update. Were they running yesterday? Vague response with we provide alternate things, etc. if they are not.Didn't get a real answer. Stuff happenings that is not in their control, I understand that, but I would really like to know so that we can pack accordingly. Different clothes for bus rather than boat.
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Old Dec 7th, 2011, 08:35 AM
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Just read a Viking post and it looks like things are up and running. Keeping my finger's crosses. Happy Holidays!
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Old Dec 7th, 2011, 10:16 AM
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Hope it works out for you southeastern. Have a wonderful trip in any event!
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Old Nov 11th, 2015, 02:00 PM
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Hi all, my wife and I are in Vienna at the moment on Viking ship Var, it's our 25th anniversary. We started in Nuremberg and finish in Budapest tomorrow. Here are the facts...we have spent more time on buses than our boat, we have had to repack four times and the balcony we paid extra for was useless. We only sailed at night (twice) in port there has been another ship alongside us every day/night in port, blocking our view. They should mention this possibility before booking , there would be less disappointments this way. In spite of this we have had a nice trip, thanks to our fellow passengers and the excellent staff. We have lost a day in Budapest, I'll let you all know what Vikings response to all this is.
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Old Nov 11th, 2015, 02:09 PM
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Ok. Good luck. I'm following.
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Old Nov 11th, 2015, 09:11 PM
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Sewerhero,
Sorry it is happening again. This is becoming so frequent, It seems by now everybody looking at river cruises would know about the difficulties. It affects some rivers much more than others. They should probably give up on some of the rivers for cruises.

The ads for Viking are so beautiful, but I cringe each time I see one, having read so many stories about the cruises turning into bus tours. If I wanted a bus tour, I wouldn't be on a ship. Of course, I would rather be on a working bus than a boat not going anywhere, but this seems to be the norm now, not a one time problem. I bet Viking has too much money invested in the ships to call it quits. I did see, however, that they have a new small ship for ocean cruising

OTOH, I do not know how it works with river cruises, but for ocean cruises, it is always stated somewhere in writing that things can happen, ports can be closed, weather can delay or prevent embarking, etc. that the company will do everything possible to provide a good trip, but they are not responsible for any changes that may be necessary. It always amazes me when other passengers get upset about a missed port or something like that and insist on refunds. Nope, doesn't work that way. Did they not read the information? Does Viking not have anything like that in their contract?

I am glad you are having a good trip anyway. Good attitude!
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Old Nov 12th, 2015, 06:14 AM
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Sassafrass, Viking does have all that in their contracts of carriage for river cruises. I think the huge expansion in the river cruise market has exacerbated what has always been a seasonal problem. But back in the day when the largest company had 15 ships, it was a matter that affected maybe 2500 passengers at a time in Europe during a really bad drought or flood. Now it can affect 3 or 4 times that many, which is noteworthy.

While I think most of the time the cruise lines handle things as well as you might expect, it is a burden on travelers. But most river itineraries are rarely more than 200 miles a week, so the amount of time one has to spend on a bus can be limited. Of course it doesn't always work out that way.

Finally, I'd add this about balconies on river cruises. They can be nice things to have, especially if you are sailing during the daytime (which is rare), but the issue of ships being docked alongside each other is not a new phenomenon, though of course it's a bigger issue now that there are 10 times as many river cruise ships. I look at the premium for a balcony as a premium to be on the upper deck. The balcony is a free thing thrown in that can be nice but is certainly not necessary.
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Old Nov 12th, 2015, 12:20 PM
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TTT
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