Viking Cruise (my first post had many grammar errors)

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Jan 3, 2019
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#1
Recently I went on a Viking River Cruise. While on the cruise I discovered that the water levels were too low to promote a viable cruise. We cruised November 11-18. Because of what happened on our particular cruise it became visible that the passengers had no idea that water levels had only allowed for one cruise to make it through in October. All other cruises in the month and half leading up to our cruise necessitated bus trips and ship swaps. The passengers on board were very frustrated and I was taken back by watching how the itinerary changes were sprung on them. I had very little interest In River cruising but was excited to see Europe. When I realized that due to low water levels we would not see much of Europe, I was very disappointed as well. Instead we were packing our bags repeatedly and bussing the majority of the distance. I was very confused. I was particularly concerned for the passengers of an older age who had difficulty with stairs and their physical abilities simply would not allow them to do all that was required and still enjoy the vacation that was sold to them. They would be very exhausted and were. Finding out that the contingency plans that were used on our cruise had been confirmed and used prior to our cruise was the most shocking of all. How is it that a company can know exactly what the contingency plans are and what is currently necessary and not disclose it. I am baffled on how this should be handled to effectively motivate a company to to issue a fair refund.
I am also wondering what more can be done to warn others particularly older passengers that this may not be the best choice unless they know what they are in for. I sent emails to try to get Viking to give alternative options and make them aware of what was happening on our cruise but these emails I sent were never even acknowledged with a reply.
 
Jul 13, 2016
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#3
When travel agents sell river cruises, they do warn their clients of possible water levels issues, both too low and too high. When travelers book themselves, they don't have someone to advise them and it is up to the traveler to understand all the risks. The water levels in Europe for half of the year were very low. Many river cruise lines face the same low water problem. I venture that those many passengers "that had no idea" of the low water levels were those that booked directly with Viking.

Should Viking have warned them? Sure, but how much difference would it have made? Full, non refundable payment had been made, expensive airline tickets purchased, transfers, hotels, etc. So the traveler gets a call three days before the cruise, "hey, water levels are low, but it could rain and then we might make it through. Do you want to still come, or would you like to forfeit all your non-refundable costs?" Most people would still come, especially since a couple of days of rain could "top up" the levels enough to continue the scheduled itinerary.

Should Viking have to refund hundreds of people when the water level, that they do not control, necessitates changes? What about ski lodges when it hasn't snowed?

You say that Viking hasn't responded to you. Well, if you sent an email as angry and aggressive as your second post, then I am not surprised. A more concerned tone, expressing surprise that so many guests did not understand the impact of the low water, and gently pointing out that so many of them found the new bus tour to be inconvenient, tiring, and demanding--this would be a better approach.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
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Dec 27, 2014
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#4
Viking is known for being the river cruise line that has to bus the most because their ships aren’t built purposefully for rivers. Other lines build ships with low draughts so they have ways to navigate better in low levels.

We warn all our clients about river levels and we also give them other options for river lines - it’s a shame many people only know Viking because they advertise.

River levels can change if it starts raining which is why most lines don’t cancel even last minute.

I have to agree with Globetrotting- your emails are extremely hostile and your frustration is clear and that doesn’t help in trying to get something done.

I suggest you start over and use a bullet format to write stating FACTS ONLY. Take all the emotion out. Then use our company contacts for Viking and start over.

Read this post about how you should write and try again. Viking is not usually receptive to requests but a well written letter might have them offer a credit for a future cruise.

https://forum.elliott.org/threads/resolving-consumer-complaints-and-developing-a-paper-trail.8903/

In the future- there are many river cruise lines that have less problems with river levels. Don’t sail in the summer when the levels are traditionally lower because of lack of rain and use line that builds ships for rivers.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
1,532
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Maui Hawaii
#5
Recently I went on a Viking River Cruise. While on the cruise I discovered that the water levels were too low to promote a viable cruise. We cruised November 11-18. Because of what happened on our particular cruise it became visible that the passengers had no idea that water levels had only allowed for one cruise to make it through in October. All other cruises in the month and half leading up to our cruise necessitated bus trips and ship swaps. The passengers on board were very frustrated and I was taken back by watching how the itinerary changes were sprung on them. I had very little interest In River cruising but was excited to see Europe. When I realized that due to low water levels we would not see much of Europe, I was very disappointed as well. Instead we were packing our bags repeatedly and bussing the majority of the distance. I was very confused. I was particularly concerned for the passengers of an older age who had difficulty with stairs and their physical abilities simply would not allow them to do all that was required and still enjoy the vacation that was sold to them. They would be very exhausted and were. Finding out that the contingency plans that were used on our cruise had been confirmed and used prior to our cruise was the most shocking of all. How is it that a company can know exactly what the contingency plans are and what is currently necessary and not disclose it. I am baffled on how this should be handled to effectively motivate a company to to issue a fair refund.
I am also wondering what more can be done to warn others particularly older passengers that this may not be the best choice unless they know what they are in for. I sent emails to try to get Viking to give alternative options and make them aware of what was happening on our cruise but these emails I sent were never even acknowledged with a reply.
Viking was VERY aware of the cruise conditions; Viking does not offer refunds in this situation. Cruise insurance does not cover this either. They bus passengers from ship to ship (if possible) or just use bussing. The low water levels have been an ongoing problem for many European rivers for some time, and Viking is the most affected cruise line because they have more ships and their ships have a deeper draft.

We cruised the Danube in October on a new ship (from another company) with a shallower draft and we made every port stop as scheduled. We were aware that Viking ships on the same route were not able to cruise.

This problem has been written up in the lay press, and covered extensively on the cruise boards.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/28/travel/european-river-cruises-low-water-cancel.html
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/04/world/europe/rhine-drought-water-level.html

You can contact Viking and might get a credit for a future cruise: https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/viking-cruises/
 
Jan 3, 2019
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#6
I have contacted Viking repeatedly. But they are incapable of being honest and put their customer relations individuals up as a shield. I think that I would rather go to frozen river and try to cruise rather that than risk it with Viking. I won’t take a cruise credit from them. That would be putting myself in their mercy again. Who knows what they will do if they have no busses. We could be asked to walk the Danube for hundreds of miles with our hands tied to a rope that they lead .... They are way too “unpredictable” to risk accepting a cruise credit from.
 
Jan 3, 2019
25
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#8
Viking is known for being the river cruise line that has to bus the most because their ships aren’t built purposefully for rivers. Other lines build ships with low draughts so they have ways to navigate better in low levels.

We warn all our clients about river levels and we also give them other options for river lines - it’s a shame many people only know Viking because they advertise.

River levels can change if it starts raining which is why most lines don’t cancel even last minute.

I have to agree with Globetrotting- your emails are extremely hostile and your frustration is clear and that doesn’t help in trying to get something done.

I suggest you start over and use a bullet format to write stating FACTS ONLY. Take all the emotion out. Then use our company contacts for Viking and start over.

Read this post about how you should write and try again. Viking is not usually receptive to requests but a well written letter might have them offer a credit for a future cruise.

https://forum.elliott.org/threads/resolving-consumer-complaints-and-developing-a-paper-trail.8903/

In the future- there are many river cruise lines that have less problems with river levels. Don’t sail in the summer when the levels are traditionally lower because of lack of rain and use line that builds ships for rivers.
Well hostil is one way of putting, but I was truthful. I actually wasn’t trying to be hostile I was trying to get them to protect their company. And do it quickly. Because it was so bad. Truly my intention was not one of hostility. I actually thought the owner of the company had entrusted his company to the executives making bad decisions. Being a business owner myself I Just did what I thought would get their attention. Although I am appreciative of knowing that they come of as hostile to you. I Wa just trying to tell the truth of the situation and trying to get someone to do something and quick!
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
17,506
15,836
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#10
I am afraid that you aren’t going to get any further satisfaction then. Viking is not known for budging - have you read the other complaints on our forums here? Many similar.

If you want assistance here, you must write according to the post I gave you. Once the entire process is complete writing weekly (and politely) to each executive our writers will look at whether they can help or not. If you opt not to, there is not much we can do.
 
Jan 3, 2019
25
0
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#11
When travel agents sell river cruises, they do warn their clients of possible water levels issues, both too low and too high. When travelers book themselves, they don't have someone to advise them and it is up to the traveler to understand all the risks. The water levels in Europe for half of the year were very low. Many river cruise lines face the same low water problem. I venture that those many passengers "that had no idea" of the low water levels were those that booked directly with Viking.

Should Viking have warned them? Sure, but how much difference would it have made? Full, non refundable payment had been made, expensive airline tickets purchased, transfers, hotels, etc. So the traveler gets a call three days before the cruise, "hey, water levels are low, but it could rain and then we might make it through. Do you want to still come, or would you like to forfeit all your non-refundable costs?" Most people would still come, especially since a couple of days of rain could "top up" the levels enough to continue the scheduled itinerary.

Should Viking have to refund hundreds of people when the water level, that they do not control, necessitates changes? What about ski lodges when it hasn't snowed?

You say that Viking hasn't responded to you. Well, if you sent an email as angry and aggressive as your second post, then I am not surprised. A more concerned tone, expressing surprise that so many guests did not understand the impact of the low water, and gently pointing out that so many of them found the new bus tour to be inconvenient, tiring, and demanding--this would be a better approach.
My fiat email was a bit softer, but I was truly shocked. I was aggressive for sure. But I actually was of the mind that executives had run amuck and that the owners had left the day to day. I was to fold in my concerns. One a company was being destroyed by bad decisions, and 2 passengers of an elder age (including my mom who is 70) were paying the price for these bad decisions. I definitely lack finess when I tell the truth and particularly when I feel a sense of urgency. But I can not undue what I wrote and it was all true. So eventually one would hope that Vikimg could see that my concerns were to inform the owners and help the passengers.
 
Jan 3, 2019
25
0
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#12
I am afraid that you aren’t going to get any further satisfaction then. Viking is not known for budging - have you read the other complaints on our forums here? Many similar.

If you want assistance here, you must write according to the post I gave you. Once the entire process is complete writing weekly (and politely) to each executive our writers will look at whether they can help or not. If you opt not to, there is not much we can do.
Ok I will. I do not mean to do it the wrong way. I truly am just a novice at this and would very much like to learn.
 
Feb 3, 2017
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#13
That email certainly would not persuade me to do anything for you that I was not legally required to do.

Since when can an "elderly" person not "stand up for themselves"? Unless they are mentally diminished.

Being elderly does not mean being unable to advocate for themselves unless there are medical conditions prohibiting such and I would be surprised if someone with such serious medical issues would be taking a river cruise - but, you never know.

Demanding they contact you "immediately" - well, there is a reason there is the old saying "You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar" - putting aside the flies, of course, your approach is very hostile rather strongly indicating you would never book with them again which makes it even more unlikely they might want to make some sort of gesture - which they are not legally (per the contract you entered into) required to do.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
17,506
15,836
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#15
“Since when can an "elderly" person not "stand up for themselves"? Unless they are mentally diminished.”

I’m elderly and a volunteer here. I am certainly far from helpless too.

Take everything out about being elderly out- that has nothing to do with Vikings Customer Service. They are just as unyielding if you are 40 or 80.
 
Jan 3, 2019
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#16
I am thankful for the feed back because I was a little bit in a quandary as to how to handle it all and I most certainly am not the best at dolomg out hard truths. I pretty much slapped them with it. I agree. I was tough
 
Jan 3, 2019
25
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#17
“Since when can an "elderly" person not "stand up for themselves"? Unless they are mentally diminished.”

I’m elderly and a volunteer here. I am certainly far from helpless too.

Take everything out about being elderly out- that has nothing to do with Vikings Customer Service. They are just as unyielding if you are 40 or 80.
Well I will tell you that there were individuals who had a hard time.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
17,506
15,836
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#18
I have been polite to the owner. And have never spoken to the executives here is the email I sent to the owner. View attachment 2197
That is what you consider polite?

I suggest you start over and post facts only in a bulleted format. Your letters are all hostile and if I were reading them I wouldn’t do anything for you.

If you want to post your re-written letter here before sending we can hell
 
Jan 3, 2019
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#19
They were not in a diminished capacity. Some of them were not able to take the amount of time to deal with the situation . I believe that at a certain age time become far more valuable than money and in my moms case. The time it would take to do all of this was not something she was willing to sacrifice any more of. And there was a passenger on board who was in a diminished capacity die to his age.
 
Jan 3, 2019
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#20
That is what you consider polite?

I suggest you start over and post facts only in a bulleted format. Your letters are all hostile and if I were reading them I wouldn’t do anything for you.

If you want to post your re-written letter here before sending we can hell
Ok I guess I do not know how I should have worded it? Can you help me with what you would change on this one and how it was impolite. I want to change that. I do not want to be impolite to him.
 
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