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Viking Var Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
155 Reviews

A Tale of Two Cruises and Lack of Accountability by Viking

Viking Var Cruise Review by debimuch

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jun 2019
  • Destination: Europe
  • Cabin Type: Veranda Stateroom

We had been planning for our Romantic Danube cruise on the Viking Var for over a year. Eight of us were traveling together to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. We have never spent this much money on a vacation ($12,000) before and we were so excited to cruise from Budapest to Nuremburg. The first four days of our trip was a dream. The crew on the Var was fabulous and we could not have been happier. On the 4th day, rumors started circulating around the ship that we were going to have to change ships. We understood from our contract with Viking that river levels or other issues could cause a change in itinerary, but how Viking handled the change is completely unacceptable.

Viking has known a lock on the Danube between Regensburg and Nuremburg was broken since a Viking ship broke it on June 5th. We did not sail until June 28th, Viking knew about this itinerary change and did not notify its customers. We were told the night before a ship change that we had to have all our things packed and outside our cabin doors by 8:15 am to be transferred to a new ship.

Here’s where it got worse:

1) We were bussed (1.5 hours) to Passau, Germany for that day’s tour and then bussed for 4 hours to Roth, Germany where our new ship, the Viking Tor, was docked in a dirty industrial canal.

2) When we boarded our new ship after four hours on a bus, not a single crew member apologized, a drink wasn’t offered…nothing.

3) At that night’s port talk, we were told that if we wanted to go to Regensburg, we would have to be bussed 1.5 hours each way for a two-hour city tour. We declined to take that tour and found our own way to the Roth train station and made our way to Nuremburg on our own and at our own expense. We were only 30 minutes from Nuremberg and the Viking crew would not help us arrange something different than what they had planned.

4) We then sat in Roth, in a dirty industrial canal for two days.

5) We sailed to another industrial canal in Nuremburg and disembarked the next day.

Upon arriving home, I contacted Viking Customer Service to provide feedback and to ask for compensation for spending a third of our “Romantic Danube” cruise on dirty canals. I was told by the Agent for Viking that Viking Executives were reviewing compensation for all of the passengers. He told me that after I received that communication if I was not happy, I should call him back.

About two hours later, I received an email from Viking offering us each a $250 voucher for another cruise. That is roughly 4% of the cost of our trip when we spent almost a third of our trip either on a bus or a dirty canal. What an insult from Viking. All of Viking’s advertising touts their world class service…that’s all true when everything is going fine, but when issues arise, Viking takes no responsibility or accountability with their customers.

When I called the Agent back, he confirmed that $250 was the offer and that it was “more than generous”. He also explained to me how itinerary changes are made by Viking and that the experience I explained to him was not what had happened. He offered me $500 each for an ocean cruise, “but, that is the best I can do and we are at an impasse.” He was nice in our first call and very rude in our second.

Here’s the truth:

1) Viking knew about the lock before we boarded our ship. They chose not to disclose it. Other river cruise companies did and one cruise line even put their passengers up in a 5 star hotel rather than make them spend days on a dirty canal.

2) Viking gave us 10 hours’ notice of the change. No one ever apologized. If they would have offered everyone a free drink in the bar that night after a 4 hour bus ride, that would have gone a long way.

3) We spent one-third of our vacation in a dirty canal and Viking could care less.

I will never take a Viking cruise again, I will never recommend Viking, I will proactively tell my friends and family to never take a Viking cruise and I will use all social media and cruise review sites I can to tell my story. What a truly disappointing experience. Viking is dishonest and does not care about its customers…plain and simple.

debimuch's Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Veranda Stateroom
Cabin B 223

The cabin was fine except for the constant sound of water swooshing through the walls about every 10 minutes.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

City Tour

Decent panoramic tour

View All 353 City Tour Reviews

Good tour of a beautiful abbey.

View All undefined undefined Reviews
Walking Tour

The tour guide gets a high rating, the Viking itinerary change gets a poor rating.

View All 218 Walking Tour Reviews

Did not get to take this tour because we were bussed too far away.


The tour was great, the Viking experience with the itinerary change was poor.

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