Viking Long Boat Experience


Aug 2nd, 2012, 12:36 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 1
Viking Long Boat Experience

We are just back from a 15 - Grand European River Cruise on the Viking Longboat - Idun. Our review is shown below:

Overall Opinion:
Considering all the points below, we will stay away from Viking and use other means to see Europe. For the prices they charge for their cruises, you can travel in first class on Canard’s or other luxury cruise lines for the same or lower costs.

Value ($)
The cost of our 15 day river cruise was just under $17k. This is equal or more per day to the top tier luxury cruise lines. You can use other options to see major Cities and still enjoy the river cruise experience.

Basically there are no security procedures on the Viking boats. Anyone can board and walk thru the boats.

In our stateroom, our door was opened during the night by unknown person(s). When we woke up the next morning the stateroom door was open. When we brought this to the attention of the Front Desk the staff advised us that it was our fault. After asking for the Captain, we were greeted by the Hotel Manager, Gerald Hauswirth. Gerald accompanied us to our stateroom to check the door lock system. After several attempts that confirmed the defect, he apologized for the behavior of his staff. He was able to reset the door lock. The key to remember there are no means of locking your stateroom door if someone has a key card or the lock system fails.

We selected the AA Veranda Suite ( 324 ). The room was very nice for a river boat. However in the hallway the Viking boat has electrical panels in-between the Suites on the starboard side. During the day and night, we would hear a loud buzzer sound in the stateroom. Three or four times each night we work up to the buzzing noise. The response from the Viking staff was “that is one of the issues on the long boats!

On the Viking, there are no seat assignments. Thus the quality of the service was a function of the waiter. It went from excellent to very poor. The concept of enjoying your meal and talking to your fellow guests . The waiters are focused on serving you the food as fast as possible. The require you give them the full order ( appetizers, entre, desert). There are no substitutions. Thus, you are pressured to finish the meal and leave.

Unfortunately, the lounge is the only place to sit down and talk to fellow guest. The upper deck is closed for most of the trip. This is caused by the 80 locks you go thru.

Drink Package offer:
Viking has a “Drink Package” that you can buy before your trip or on board. We did this only to
to realize the service staff avoids asking you for drinks. My recommendation is not to buy it

Overall Service
There are 2 to 3 waiters that are assigned to the Lounge. Most of the time, they are behind the
Bar talking to each other. So to get drinks you have to go to the bar and order. Bottom line
their service level is “Poor”

At each port ( one per day), they have free excursions. Most involve “walking tours” with contract tour guides. If you like seeing every Castle, Church and Statue, then this is a great feature. We decided to go to the City Center and do it ourselves.
AtlantaCruiser is offline  
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Aug 2nd, 2012, 01:49 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,694
Interesting review. I am surprised at the price paid and the poor level of service. Unfortuanetly, the mass market cruise ships don't venture into the river cruises territory, and they remain the only game in town.

The other option is cruise tours with the masss market cruise lines and even that is limited in nature.
Eschew is offline  
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Aug 2nd, 2012, 08:28 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 4,238
AtlantaCruiser - The fact that your only post on Fodor's has been in the last two days, and the fact that it is a complaint post....

Rings major bells for me!

Let's play 20 questions.

1) Are you bigger than a bread box?
2) Are you a shill for another company?

If you only want/like the "best" per your profile, the why don't you buy/rent your own boat instead of being a "commoner" on some river cruise?
Rastaguytoday is offline  
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Aug 20th, 2012, 07:13 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 9,931
I did a short demo cruise on one of the Viking longboats in March, and I was very impressed. I really liked the ships and thought the food was quite good.

But I can verify and sympathize with some (though not all) of the service problems the OP has mentioned. Dining room and bar service was erratic. Viking is adding so many ships this year and have had to hire so many new staff, that I think they are suffering from growing pains. While I would never have classified the service as "poor", it was not always as seamless as I might have hoped.

There are also some minor defects in the ships as they are all new. I had numerous problems with my shower and a/c no working properly. But most were addressed quickly, as was the problem with the door lock in the OP's cabin.

I think part of the problem here is that the OP paid double what other passengers on the ship paid for an extra large deluxe suite.

I'd certainly consider Viking "first class" and in the same league as Cunard, but river cruising is a completely different kind of experience. The Queen Mary 2 wouldn't be sailing up and down the Danube. It's a shame the OP didn't take advantage of the included shore tours, which are quite often much more than a walking tour. But so be it. It's something you pay for as part of your cruise fare on a river cruise, and it adds substantially to the cost.

In this instance, I think the OP may have not chosen the right kind of vacation and may have been better off doing some more independent exploring by train along the same route. It's a shame when you pay so much money and don't thoroughly enjoy the vacation.
doug_stallings is offline  
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