Does anyone have an idea if my proper complaint to Viking Cruises has a chance of being successful in the following situation:

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Jul 10, 2019
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We just returned from a Danube River Cruise on Viking. The cruise began in Budapest. Four days into the cruise, we were informed that a barge had damaged a lock up ahead of us on the river, making it impassable for our ship. We were taken from the original ship by bus 4 hours overland to our final port of call, Nuremberg, and loaded onto another Viking ship. That ship was docked up in an industrial area of the river, directly across from the Nuremberg dump and there it stayed for the remainder of our “cruise”. We missed 3 days of cruising and one port of call. Viking bussed us to another port of call and took us into Nuremberg for the regularly scheduled tour. I am sure that the company that owns the barge that damaged the lock has insurance and that Viking and all the other ships unable to pass the river at that point will be receiving big settlements from that policy. Viking has offered me a $250 voucher on a future cruise, that I do not want. I want to be fairly compensated for the 3 days of cruising I missed, as well as the one port of call trip that was cancelled, and for the lousy view of the dump I endured for 3 days from my stationary cabin. Does anyone here in this forum have a feeling as to whether or not I will be chasing my tail in pursuing a monetary claim (amounting to 3 days damages according to the price I paid for the entire trip)?
 

weihlac

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Jun 30, 2017
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#2
The cruise operator spelled out in your contract that they can cancel or modify the scheduled itinerary at any time for any reason. You agreed to those terms when you paid for the cruise.

You can ask for further consideration but all they are likely to offer is a higher value voucher. There is essentially no chance for a monetary payment.

You can search these forums for other similar Viking problems-there are many posts.
https://forum.elliott.org/search/290115/?q=viking+cruise&o=date

You can reach Viking here: https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/viking-cruises/
 

Neil Maley

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#3
Your mistake was booking Viking. My wife’s friend was on an AMA cruise at exactly the same time and was affected by this. But AMA was stopped for four hours and their ship continued.

This was not Vikings fault - the heat caused the river levels to be extremely low which is what caused the problem.
 
Likes: FrankL183
Jul 13, 2016
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#4
The damaged lock was not Viking's fault. They bore no responsibility for the impasse. They did what they could to get you to Nuremberg. It sucks that you missed 3 days of cruising on the river. But why should Viking pay out for something beyond their control?
 
Nov 30, 2018
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Your mistake was booking Viking. My wife’s friend was on an AMA cruise at exactly the same time and was affected by this. But AMA was stopped for four hours and their ship continued.
Neil, this is very interesting (I'm a newbie, no river cruises). Any information about why AMA could proceed but not the Viking ship? Was it a matter of ship size?
 
Nov 30, 2018
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Thanks, Neil! I traveled to Germany multiple times in the 1990s and took local ferries along the Rhine. I saw a few "cruise" ships along the way (we traveled by train between major stops, great at the time, don't know now). The cruise ships seemed so great, we wanted to try them. And maybe we will! Just not giant ships with lots of television ads on US public television. Thanks to this forum I know there are other river cruise lines.

FWIW, at the same time in 1990s had the most fun ever driving the Autobahn even though we were in a seriously underpowered Opel. We never went into the passing lane, but it was awesome! It was the opposite of California, it was "go as fast as possible and if you cannot go this speed, stay in the slow lane". My quotes, my experience with limited but not beginner German. I'm sure those days are long gone.
 
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Neil Maley

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#8
A river cruise is a totally different experience than an ocean cruise. It’s a wonderfully relaxing way to cruise with scenery on both sides of the ship as you sail. You aren’t getting off ships in small towns with 2,000 people and much is included on many lines- tips, excursions and wine and beer at lunch and dinner on most lines.
 
Jul 10, 2019
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The damaged lock was not Viking's fault. They bore no responsibility for the impasse. They did what they could to get you to Nuremberg. It sucks that you missed 3 days of cruising on the river. But why should Viking pay out for something beyond their control?
I know that Viking had no part in the damaging the lock. My point is that they will no doubt be getting a large settlement from the barge’s insurance company. How is it morally, ethically and legal right for Viking to pocket all of that settlement and not pass some it along to their cruising passengers who did not get what they paid for?
 
Jun 13, 2019
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Your mistake was booking Viking. My wife’s friend was on an AMA cruise at exactly the same time and was affected by this. But AMA was stopped for four hours and their ship continued.

This was not Vikings fault - the heat caused the river levels to be extremely low which is what caused the problem.
Actually this was Viking's fault. One of their river boats hit and damaged the lock enough where it was unusable. My neighbor was booked on Crystal and was notified 2 days before leaving for Europe that his cruise would not be going from Budapest to Amsterdam and he rebooked for August. Smaller boats had an alternative according to news reports but not the larger river cruisers.
 

Neil Maley

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#12
I know that Viking had no part in the damaging the lock. My point is that they will no doubt be getting a large settlement from the barge’s insurance company. How is it morally, ethically and legal right for Viking to pocket all of that settlement and not pass some it along to their cruising passengers who did not get what they paid for?
Where are you getting that idea? You do realize it costs more for Viking to bus you and use hotels then it would for them to continue on the ship?

My wife met a couple last night that were on a Uniworld cruise that was also affected by this and that ship also was able to continue.

Please read the other posts we have about Viking. They do not usually budge on things like this and they have the most complaints here about their ships not being able to make it during low water levels and busing. I believe we had one here that ended up being a fully bussed tour.

You aren’t due any compensation . You can use our company contacts and see if they will offer a future cruise credit. But I’m not optimistic.

This affected a LOT of ships, not just Viking. The low water levels also affected the ships and Viking seems to be the line that still couldn’t get through anyway.

As I said -other river lines were delayed by just a few hours and their ships were able to continue.

The heat in Europe has had a effect on river levels yet again. Take it as a learning experience. If you are going to do a river cruise, don’t do it in the summer when the heat affects river levels and book cruise lines that are less affected by river levels.
 

Neil Maley

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#13
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weihlac

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#14
Neil, this is very interesting (I'm a newbie, no river cruises). Any information about why AMA could proceed but not the Viking ship? Was it a matter of ship size?
Viking ships draw ~5.5' of water. Other cruise lines have newer ships that draw ~4.5' of water. That seemingly small difference means some ships can navigate the low water levels and Viking can't. We encountered this issue last fall with another river cruise provider where our ship made every port as scheduled, and people on Viking ships on the same itinerary were bussed from ship to ship because the Viking ships could not go through the areas with low water. The Viking passengers were not happy, to say the least. Instead of the advertised "unpack once for the entire trip" they were packing and unpacking every day or two.

Having said this, a river cruise is a GREAT experience. Just choose your tour/ship operator carefully, using the services of a river cruise travel expert.

Here is some info about the river water levels last year. The problem comes and goes.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/04/world/europe/rhine-drought-water-level.html
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/28/travel/european-river-cruises-low-water-cancel.html
 

Neil Maley

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#15
Viking ships draw ~5.5' of water. Other cruise lines have newer ships that draw ~4.5' of water. That seemingly small difference means some ships can navigate the low water levels and Viking can't. We encountered this issue last fall with another river cruise provider where our ship made every port as scheduled, and people on Viking ships on the same itinerary were bussed from ship to ship because the Viking ships could not go through the areas with low water. The Viking passengers were not happy, to say the least. Instead of the advertised "unpack once for the entire trip" they were packing and unpacking every day or two.

Having said this, a river cruise is a GREAT experience. Just choose your tour/ship operator carefully, using the services of a river cruise travel expert.

Here is some info about the river water levels last year. The problem comes and goes.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/04/world/europe/rhine-drought-water-level.html
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/28/travel/european-river-cruises-low-water-cancel.html
We have had the exact same experience.
 
Apr 19, 2017
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#16
We just returned from a Danube River Cruise on Viking. The cruise began in Budapest. Four days into the cruise, we were informed that a barge had damaged a lock up ahead of us on the river, making it impassable for our ship.
Viking's larger ships may be a touch more luxurious, but they have turned a number of Viking river cruises into bus tours. This happens when the river is too low for the deeper fraft of Viking ships, or too high, causing them to collide with low bridges. Use a company like AMA, which has a lot of experience on European waterways.
 

weihlac

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#17
Viking's larger ships may be a touch more luxurious, but they have turned a number of Viking river cruises into bus tours. This happens when the river is too low for the deeper fraft of Viking ships, or too high, causing them to collide with low bridges. Use a company like AMA, which has a lot of experience on European waterways.
Actually, several other river cruise operators have equally if not more luxurious ships that can navigate the rivers in low/high water situations. Also, other operators using the same size ship as Viking (the max size allowed on the river) may have only half the passenger load that Viking puts on their ships.
 

Neil Maley

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#18
An
Actually, several other river cruise operators have equally if not more luxurious ships that can navigate the rivers in low/high water situations. Also, other operators using the same size ship as Viking (the max size allowed on the river) may have only half the passenger load that Viking puts on their ships.
Which also greatly affects the weight of the ship in low river levels.

People do not realize how many other river cruise lines there are. We can thank Viking for getting the word out about river cruising and their campaign works. But there are many other lines that we never get complaints about because they build their ships specifically for low river conditions.

Low levels affect every river cruise line - but Viking gets the most complaints about having to bus.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#19
I know that Viking had no part in the damaging the lock. My point is that they will no doubt be getting a large settlement from the barge’s insurance company. How is it morally, ethically and legal right for Viking to pocket all of that settlement and not pass some it along to their cruising passengers who did not get what they paid for?
Where do you get that idea? What large insurance payment?
 
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May 1, 2018
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#20
they will no doubt be getting a large settlement from the barge’s insurance company. How is it morally, ethically and legal right for Viking to pocket all of that settlement and not pass some it along to their cruising passengers who did not get what they paid for?
  1. What insurance payout would Viking receive? Insurance isn't a lottery where a misfortune turns into a windfall.
  2. Even if they did get an insurance payout it would be to cover their actual costs incurred in dealing with the issue (chartering buses, etc.). It's not something they would profit from.
  3. You got exactly what you paid for. When you signed the contract for the cruise you agreed that the cruise line had the right to modify your itinerary as needed to deal with unforeseeable events.
I'm sorry this happened to you. Obviously I don't wish it upon anyone to have their vacation ruined. But no one is guaranteed a life free of inconveniences and the world doesn't owe you compensation for everything that might make you unhappy. You gotta learn to roll with and and make the best of the situation.

If I see any moral or ethical issue here is you trying to reach into the cruise line's pocket. Let me ask you, if one of your family members won a large lottery prize, would you feel entitled to received some of it?