Viking River Cruises have won many travel awards but after our recent Viking Helgi experience Im wondering why.
Unfortunately, the plus points (refurbished interior, pleasant crew, good food) were overshadowed by the negatives. Although one hopes never to have to use the lifeboats, it would have been reassuring to have had agreement amongst the crew (including Senior staff and the Captain) about the correct, safe way the jackets should be tied: and lifeboats that looked up to their task. Lifeboat drill was sloppy.
Having paid the extra required to have a stateroom with balcony, we didnt expect to be staring at the balcony of the Viking Truvor (and others) for 50% of our stay. The occasional night perhaps, but ..?
The Helgi is not a young ship and this is particularly evident in the noise, smell and soot belching out when we went on to the Sun Deck. The noise made conversation difficult. The smell of diesel was most unpleasant. The black, sooty marks on clothing were not amusing.
Regrettably, the problem of noise wasnt confined to the Sun Deck. Neither did it occur only when the ship was under way. There was a constant throb which was exacerbated, when the ship was cruising, by the squeak, squeak from the joints above certain Staterooms. Obviously, this had a detrimental effect on ones ability to sleep. We are aware, personally, of other passengers who were forced to leave their Staterooms during the night, in order to get some rest.
We have been regular river cruise travellers in recent years and this was our first Viking experience. It is not a holiday we shall remember with any affection. Come on, Viking all the ships should be worthy of those awards.