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  #1 (permalink)  
Old July 16th, 2003, 07:57 PM
Edna M
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Default Amsterdam/Budapest Cruise 7/27

We are from New Jersey Seattle and will be taking the Viking Pride Amsterdam-Budapest cruise on 7/27/03. Anyone else????. We leave for Amsterdam on 7/22. Since we only booked about ten days ago, I have much to do and so little time.
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Old July 17th, 2003, 08:41 AM
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Default Re: Amsterdam/Budapest Cruise 7/27

Dear Edna: Check the Fodor's Travel Talk site under Cruises. Someone named "Cameron" is looking for fellow passengers on this sailing!!! Have fun!!! Mimi
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Old July 17th, 2003, 08:42 AM
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Default Re: Amsterdam/Budapest Cruise 7/27

Sorry, shuld have given you the web address. It's www.fodors.com/forums. Mimi
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Old July 20th, 2003, 04:34 PM
Bernie W
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Default Re: Amsterdam/Budapest Cruise 7/27

Hi Edna

My wife Liz and myself will join you on this cruise . We are also from New Jersey but will depart on the 26th of July. Loocking forward to meeting all the River Cruisers.

See you aboard

Bernie W
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Old July 22nd, 2003, 10:45 AM
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Default Re: Re: Amsterdam/Budapest Cruise 7/27

Dear Bernie and others sailing Ams/Bud--

You've made a great choice! It's a fabulous cruise. I have quite a bit of information I can send you about the ports: what to see, what to do, what to avoid. If you send me an email (shibin@aol.com), I'll be happy to send you a copy.

A few of the highlights:

Amsterdam: See the Anne Frank House; go first thing in the morning for the shortest lines. Go to the Red Light District at night--it's a hoot! If you have some free time, take a canal cruise in the on-and-off Museum Boot. It's a narrated tour and great for a quick study of Amsterdam.

Rudesheim: Stroll into Rudesheim at night to join in the singing and dancing at the beer-garden restaurants. Don't miss the Music Museum

Vienna: Don't miss the optional concert tour offered by Viking--wonderful! If you have any free time, I'd recommend Belvedere Palace Museum, with its great collection of Klimpt, including his signature work, The Kiss.

Budapest: Visit the indoor farmer's market to people watch, shop, and enjoy. Don't miss Castle Hill and Fisherman's Bastion. The Gypsy dinner is such fun! I hope you sail into Budapest at night--it's an unreal experience!

I could go on and on...have a great time.

Bon voyage,
Shirley B
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Old July 22nd, 2003, 10:46 AM
Shirley B
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Default Re: Re: Amsterdam/Budapest Cruise 7/27

Dear Bernie and others sailing Ams/Bud--

You've made a great choice! It's a fabulous cruise. I have quite a bit of information I can send you about the ports: what to see, what to do, what to avoid. If you send me an email (shibin@aol.com), I'll be happy to send you a copy.

A few of the highlights:

Amsterdam: See the Anne Frank House; go first thing in the morning for the shortest lines. Go to the Red Light District at night--it's a hoot! If you have some free time, take a canal cruise in the on-and-off Museum Boot. It's a narrated tour and great for a quick study of Amsterdam.

Rudesheim: Stroll into Rudesheim at night to join in the singing and dancing at the beer-garden restaurants. Don't miss the Music Museum

Vienna: Don't miss the optional concert tour offered by Viking--wonderful! If you have any free time, I'd recommend Belvedere Palace Museum, with its great collection of Klimpt, including his signature work, The Kiss.

Budapest: Visit the indoor farmer's market to people watch, shop, and enjoy. Don't miss Castle Hill and Fisherman's Bastion. The Gypsy dinner is such fun! I hope you sail into Budapest at night--it's an unreal experience!

I could go on and on...have a great time.

Bon voyage,
Shirley B
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Old July 25th, 2003, 09:11 AM
Unn
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Default Re: Amsterdam/Budapest Cruise 7/27

We were scheduled on Viking's Amsterdam to Vienna 7/24-8/5/03. I'm in a hotel right now, we are going NOWHERE on the boat for * DAYS! Everything we'd read sdaid how wonderful this line was. Well, evidently, there's no water in the rivers, at least that's what tghey've told us. So they want to bus us all around, and "maybe" we'll get on the boat after 8 nights. This was to be a 12 night cruise. NEVER AGAIN ON THIS CRUISE LINE, as the amenities in this hotel, meals etc. are nothing like promised. WATCH OUT!!!!!!
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Old July 25th, 2003, 07:02 PM
Shirley B
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Default Re: Re: Amsterdam/Budapest Cruise 7/27

Dear UNN--

Do you think that Viking planned the drought that lead to river levels that are too low for a ship to navigate? And do you think that Viking is the only cruise line that is not able to navigate the rivers at these levels? Do you really think that Grand Circle and Deilmann and Vantage and Uniworld, etc., are sailing merrily along, and that only Viking's passenger's and captains are having to deal with such a problem? At least you're being taken care of in the best way available. Just think if you were in a storm at sea! You wouldn't be able to go to a hotel and bus to the next port! Count your blessings!

We disembarked from the MS Europe on July 12th, following a great 17-day Eastern European Odyssey. Although we heard about the drought and were told that the river level was low, we only learned after the fact that the captain had been forced to take a 300-mile detour to avoid getting stuck in the river bed. Our ship (Europe) was apparently the only ship on the Danube that had made it through from Vienna all the way to Constanta on the Black Sea the previous week. At customs stops we were able to chat with people on Grand Circle. They had hit the river bed and had to cancel the southern ports of their itinerary. The passengers were taking it very well! After all, what's the alternative? Moan and groan? Why? When you're given lemons, make lemonade!

Shirley B
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Old August 9th, 2003, 09:45 AM
Unn
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Default Re: Re: Re: Amsterdam/Budapest Cruise 7/27

How self righteous of you regarding your response to the low water situation. First of all, not everyone is able to physically tolerate a bus tour, which is exactly what five days of our "cruise" turned into. That's the reason they chose a cruise instead of hours on a bus. If they'd wanted a bus tour, they would've taken one. One man even died after we finally got on the boat. I heard he'd had a heart attack but I wonder how much stress was involved in his death.

Viking was not letting anyone know what was happening, or what would occur should someone choose to go home instead. Communication was poor and we had no idea how long this situation would last. The reason there were so many unhappy passengers was because Viking knew about the water situation long before any of us left the States. Had they given us the option of taking the cruise at a later date, many would have chosen that. We heard that the rivers need at least one week of rain to allow the ships to navigate the rivers. That was not in the forecast.

It's easy to make lemonade when you get stuck with lemons, but not everyone can handle all that schlepping on a bus. Or lemonade.
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Old August 9th, 2003, 04:20 PM
love2go
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Amsterdam/Budapest Cruise 7/27

Shirley, firt I think it's only fair that you should always point out that you are a travel agent that does a lot of business with Viking. I talked to Viking yesterday and was told that there was nothing wrong with the 14 day Budapest to Amsterdam cruise leaving 8/23 and it would proceed as the brochure states. They assured me if there was any deviation that I would be notified in advance. Now I have a lot more avenues to consider sitting here at home than once they get me to Budapest and inform me that half my trip will be by bus. Talk about a captive audience. I cannot help but feel that this is the reason for their reluctance to spell out exactly what is going on. I paid for a river cruise not a bus tour and that is what I expect. If Viking cannot deliver then I should be told what options I have.
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Old August 9th, 2003, 04:48 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Amsterdam/Budapest Cruise 7/27

Thanks for the update. We have been anxious even though we are not going until Oct 20. We are at mercy of Viking even with travel insurance and do not want an $8700 bus tour but really want cruise to take place if possible. I understand they are now informing travelers of situation from US (don't know if one has to initiate the inquiry) and allowing cancellation as an option. My travel agent is floored with Viking response to situation as you experienced and he sends people on Viking all the time.
Can anyone please discuss the tipping situation on Viking? How much was actually given by most people and in what manner? We are tempted to go by normal cruise guidelines versus Viking ones.
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Old August 9th, 2003, 06:04 PM
Shirley B
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Amsterdam/Budapest Cruise 7/27

Dear Lovetogo--

It is certainly not my intention to hide the fact that I am a travel agent! The reason I do not point it out is because CruiseMates' posting guidelines do not allow advertising...and to note in each of my postings that I am a travel professional might be deemed advertising.

Believe me, I do not envy the situation that river cruisers or river cruise lines find themselves in at this time. But how is it different from cruisers and cruise lines that schedule Caribbean cruises throughout the hurricane season or those which have scheduled trans-Atlantic cruises or 'round-the-Horn cruises in South America during periods when, based on past history, they can expect to encounter very rough seas, high swells, etc.? Should airlines cancel flights simply because of the possibility of turbulence? Should all Mediterranean and Baltic cruises and ground tours be cancelled just because Italy, France, England, Monaco, Scandinavia, and even St. Petersburg have been experiencing record high temperatures, wild fires, and other phenomena not conducive to travel?

It is up to travel agents to advise their clients of the possibilities of scorching temperatures, heavy swells, low water levels, and other possible or forseeable hindrances to what might otherwise be a perfect vacation. It is up to the client to make the final decision about travel to and through areas which are known to experience unwelcome weather deviations.

As a resident of Southern California, I tend to discourage Californians and Floridians from taking a Christmas Market cruise through Germany and Austria in November and December by reminding them of the below-freezing temperatures, ice, and snow that may hamper their enjoyment of the glorious displays. When a client wants to book a Caribbean sailing in July, August, or even September, I tell them of the distinct possibility of a hurricane. When clients want to sail from Valparaiso to Buenos Aires, I always ask how prone they are to seasickness. If someone is planning a cruise or land tour in the Orient, Australia, New Zealand, or India, I remind them of flights of up to 22 hours which they will have to endure to get to and from their destination.

The alternative to taking chances is to live in a glass bubble that is temperature controlled and guaranteed not to break. However, to enjoy life, we must take some risks. Crossing the street, taking a bath, climbing a ladder, ice skating, swimming, jogging, exercising, surfing, driving a car, flying in an airplane, cruising a river or an ocean--all involve risks. Each individual must constantly measure the risks vs. rewards and make decisions based on such evaluations.

Shirley B
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Old August 10th, 2003, 07:36 PM
love2go
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Amsterdam/Budapest Cruise 7/27

I think we should be zeroing in on the different opportunites of this cruise. We have done over 30 ocean cruises and have had our experiences of missed or replaced ports. I understand and have no problem with weather or man-made causes in changing an iternary at the last minute. We were still on the water, however, and never relegated to bus tours and a hotel every night. I do not pack for those instances and never sign up for these types of trips as we do not enjoy this type of traveling. What I cannot condone is a cruise line that knows there is a problem that will affect my entire cruise and refuses to notify me of that fact or give me alternives to the situation. We would be more than happy to take the exact trip under diffferent circumstances. If we had wanted a bus tour I probably would have taken a different company to enroll with. We will, of course, be checking on our legal responsibilities for this trip. I can truthfully say I have never taken off on a trip knowing ahead of time that I was going to be disappointed. I have read that other river cruise lines in the area have been cancelling their tours. Viking Cruises may be legally within their rights to force us to take our "vacation" with them. I for one will make sure that everyone knows from this time forward how they treat us in times of emergency. I just cannot believe their attiude toward us.
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Old August 14th, 2003, 11:35 PM
Shirley B
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Amsterdam/Budapest Cruise 7/27

I finally have personal experience that I can talk about first hand: Yesterday I got a call from Viking River Cruises to tell me that the cruise-tour scheduled to begin on Sunday, August 18, may require some "changes in itinerary" due to the low river levels. The full itinerary, according to the 2003 brochure, calls for a 3-night hotel stay in Berlin, followed by a 6-night cruise along the Elbe from Magdeburg to Decin, and ends with a 3-night stay in Prague.

The Viking res rep explained that if it does not rain between now and next Wednesday (the day the actual cruise along the Elbe is scheduled to begin), the cruise guests will go from the hotel in Berlin to the riverboat at the pier in Dresden, one of the ports in the cruise itinerary. They will embark, unpack, and use the riverboat as their hotel for the following six days. If the water levels do not allow for navigating the Elbe by riverboat, they will take a motorcoach to each port from Dresden after breakfast on board each day and return to the ship each night in time for dinner and any scheduled evening entertainment.. All the ports in the original itinerary will be visited, though perhaps in a different order from the original schedule. After six nights on the riverboat, they guests will be transferred to the hotel in Prague for their 3-night stay, per the original itinerary.

If it does rain--and the weathermen in Germany are predicting rain this weekendl--and the water levels get high enough so the the riverboat can sail from port to port (and the experts say that just one heavy rain is all that is needed), the cruise will go back to its original itinerary.

Viking offered the guests scheduled for this cruise-tour a choice of two options:

1) Those who choose to cancel their cruise tour will get a certificate of credit equivalent to everything they paid to Viking for the Berlin to Prague cruise-tour--including air, air taxes, hotel stays, and cruise--to be used for any cruise they choose in 2004;

or

2) Those who coose to take the cruise tour, not knowing in advance whether they will sail or motor from port to port, will get 50% off any cruise they choose in 2004--even if rain manages to raise the river levels sufficiently by next Wednesday and the cruise takes place by riverboat as described in the 2003 brochure... or if half the itinerary is done by motorcoach and the other half by river boat...or, if through bad luck and contrary to weather forecasts, the entire cruise portion is completed by motorcoach--no matter what--they will get the 50% discount on any 2004 cruise they choose.

This sounds very fair to me. If anyone disagrees and thinks that I am crazy or biased, I'm willing to listen to your reasoning!

Shirley B
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Old August 15th, 2003, 04:16 PM
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Amsterdam/Budapest Cruise 7/27

Shirley,

We are going on that trip and we have been told the exact same thing. I think it is very reasonable and the other 10 people going with me agree. In the scope of things this is a tiny burb in the road. Thanks for getting this info out to all those who are concerned.

Sue
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Old August 18th, 2003, 03:34 PM
JanA
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Default Amsterdam/Budapest Cruise 7/26

I sailed on the Viking Neptune from Amsterdam to Budapest with departure on 7/26, and it was due to our great Captain and crew that we had a full and exciting voyage, everything I had ever dreamed of in a river cruise. We were told by the Captain that there were very, very low water levels on the Danube prior to Passau and that they would try to get us as far on water as was safely possible. As it turned out, we did two days of bus tours while the Viking Neptue navigated as rapidly as possible through the shallows so we could rejoin the ship. We were able to rejoin our ship each of those nights. Our Captain even drained water from the tanks to reduce our draft so that we could complete our trip.reach We did have the full 14 night trip, and the Captain himself kept us informed of the continuing status as needed and at least daily.

It was a fabulous trip, and I look forward to touring with Viking again.
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Old May 26th, 2004, 06:55 AM
Pavel
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Default Re: Amsterdam/Budapest Cruise 7/27

Hello i looking for some information about work on the river ship. i have experiencies with work on the cruise line in carrabien. Pleas if you have some information send me on my e=mail..Pavel.schilbach@seznam.cz
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Old July 17th, 2004, 01:14 AM
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Default Re: Amsterdam/Budapest Cruise 7/27





Post Edited (07-17-04 01:17)
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Old July 19th, 2004, 01:13 PM
Jan Almquist
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Default Re: Amsterdam/Budapest Cruise 7/27

The whole trip was wonderful - we were on the Viking Neptune, but Pride is the siste ship, and we honestly think it was the best holiday we have ever taken. Lots to see and do, take the time to stay on the upper deck at night and watch the castles go by.
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Old July 19th, 2004, 03:11 PM
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Default Re: Amsterdam/Budapest Cruise 7/27

Short thing about water levels in the rivers ,
With the kind of weather you have in Europe, you never can predicted the water levels in long periode
It can change in one or two days, some times it can change in hours.

It is mostly on the captains and their managers to decide to sail on.
If it is even possible to sail with 10 cm water on the ship, they will do it.
The trip will take longer time because they have to reduce the speed.
I am sailing for more then 20 years on the river ships as an engineer, 2nd captain.
and i can tell you, we do everything from nautical view to continue the voyage.
I was on situations that we relieve drinkwater in the river, empty the swimming pool, or some time skip to refill the ship with fuel. ONLY FOR LET THE CRUISES GO ON FOR THE PASSENGERS, THEY WANT TO GIVE THE PASSENGERS WHERE THEY BOOKED FOR. To continue the trip depence sometimes on cm
For the Captain, this kind of sailing was very stressfull, although you have the latest navigation equipment, you never can not look under watersurface. With sweat in the hands we follow the trip. I can asure you you getting very quick old if you have to do this every day. But we do this for one thing, for the passengers.

What do you think about the fog you have on some places in some times of the year, captains cannot see sometimes 10 meter before the bridge. Mostly he can not see the fore ship. But with all the navigation equipment he sails.

I know that the captains by Viking River Cruises are very highly trained people,if there is one little change to continue the trip depence on waterlevels or other weather conditions they will do this.
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