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Viking River Cruise

L L
San Francisco...
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3 posts
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Viking River Cruise

We just completed the Portraits of Southern France cruise with Viking River Cruises. This was our first cruise with Viking and will be our last. We've done 2 river cruises with Avalon and were looking forward to this one with Viking after hearing rave reviews from others. Well, it was a disappointment to say the least.

On the positive side, the itinerary was good, the sites were great as were the tour guides. The crew was friendly and hard working. The free wi-fi was definitely a plus as were the bottles of water that were provided for each excursion. The complimentary wine, beer and sodas with lunch and dinner were appreciated although it would have been nice to have been served a variety of the local wines instead of the same bottle of Viking-labeled red and white wine every day. Hello -- weren't we in the heart of the wine country?

The ship, Viking Neptune, was old and showed signs of wear even though it had recently been refurbished according to Viking. The elevated bathrooms were an accident waiting to happen and were not very well lighted. The tiles were old and worn and looked like they could use a good cleaning. The carpeting in our friend's room was dirty and the dust bunnies stayed all week, evidence that the rooms were not vacuumed the whole time we were there. The first few days of our cruise, the hallway to our rooms smelled like sewage.

With few exceptions, the "gourmet" food was not very good and hardly worth the long waits for service, which was a result of poor staffing levels in the dining room. The wait staff did the best it could under the circumstances, but the passengers suffered the results of Viking's attempt to cut corners. There were 6 people who took and served drink orders, took and served food orders and cleared the tables. The maitre d' even helped clear tables. The french fries and pastries were good, but other items were disappointing. A shrimp roll that was served at one meal consisted of a hot dog bun on which loads of louis dressing had been ladled with a few cocktail shrimps sprinkled in. Bouillabaisse consisted of pieces of fish on top of potato wedges in a clear broth. The rice in their sushi roll was densely packed and lacked any trace of rice wine vinegar. Another "sushi" was served as an appetizer. It was made up of three different mousses and sliced so thin that it disintegrated into a mess when you tried to pick it up. By the time ice cream was served, it was usually melting. Coffee and tea were never offered after lunch or dinner and we even had to ask for it one morning at breakfast because no one came by with any. The dinnerware also left much to be desired. On several occasions, we were served coffee in cracked cups and water in glasses that had badly chipped rims. One fellow passenger was so unhappy, he was ready to leave after the third day. I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

After this experience, I would not recommend Viking River Cruises to anyone. Try another company.

ON, Canada
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1. Re: Viking River Cruise

Thanks for posting your review here & sorry to hear what a poor experience it was. TA has a sister site, Cruise Critic, which people also look at for reviews. Just thought you might want to post there as well since the most recent review for Neptune is from last fall: cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/…

Sedona
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for Sedona
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2. Re: Viking River Cruise

Also on Cruise Critic be sure to go to the Rivercruise message boards. There are always first time cruisers weighing one line against another.

uk
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3. Re: Viking River Cruise

Just come back ourselves and agree with LL's post of 1 Aug.

This ship is old, too small for the passenger complement and needs more waiters and barmen. It had several technical and organizational problems (the latter sometimes the fault of the river authorities) and the whole ethos of the ship was on "Viking promotion" and hyperbole.

Not recommended.

Sarasota, Florida
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4. Re: Viking River Cruise

I also took the Portraits of South France cruise on the Europe boat in August 2012. Our food was outstanding. We had Chateaubriand, Lobster, Veal Tenderloin, steak - each excellently prepared. Lunches were smaller portions of the same excellent food. Breakfast was a buffet with different items each morning. Most of the passangers, including myself, got copies of the recipies for a number of meals.

The folks on the cruise who had been with Viking before said that food was much better on this cruise. A number of us asked the hotel manager and he told us that all Viking tours in France are supposed to have the same menus using the same recipies. He also said that the lady who had designed the menus and recipies went on board each of the 8 French ships each month at random times for quality control.

The only real problem that we had was that we recieved a single room for a romantic cruise. Not at all what we expected. For $8,000 on an ocean ship, we would have had a suite with a balcony and had many more dining options. On the Viking cruise, we got a single bed and a couch made up into a bed.

For the price Viking asks, we could have stayed in $300 a night hotels, dined on $300 meals each day, paid $150 for tours and still been money ahead. While it was nice to unpack one time for a week, I'm not sure that it is worth the additional cost of a river cruise.

Aiken South Carolina
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5. Re: Viking River Cruise

thank you for your honest information. My husband and I were about to book a tour on this cruise and have decided against it.

Aiken South Carolina
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5 posts
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6. Re: Viking River Cruise

thank you for posting the information about the Viking Cruise specifically the Neptune. My husband and I were about to sign up for this cruise and have decided against it.

Sedona
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for Sedona
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7. Re: Viking River Cruise

If you go to Cruise Critic to the rivercruise section, you will find feedback on cruises and various lines and you can find reviews as well.Cruise Critic is a sister website to Trip Advisor.

Here is a link to the river cruising section:

boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php…

I am also considering a cruise or trip to the South of France next year. There are a few lines like AMA and Avalon Waterways and some tour companies like GCT that go there.

Research ahead of time really pays off!

Chicago, IL
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for Cape Cod
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8. Re: Viking River Cruise

Tripcontessa, you don't want to paint all river cruise companies with the same brush. After all, if you don't like the way a particular hotel company operates that would not keep you from booking into another one. You know that you get what you pay for and Viking is fine for those who want to travel the rivers but not for those who want to travel well, dine well, rest well and enjoy all the perks of a much better 'hotel'.

Sedona
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for Sedona
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9. Re: Viking River Cruise

Well, that is true about not writing off all the hotels in a chain based on one experience.

The thing is that I have read a lot of reviews, and it seems from that Viking is not always consistent. They do offer 2 for 1 cruises from time to time, which makes it more affordable. But personally since this is for several nights I would rather go with AMA or Avalon.

Edited: 20 October 2012, 19:30
10. Re: Viking River Cruise

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