Question marks over treatment of passengers on disrupted river cruises

Question marks have been raised over the treatment of passengers on river cruises that have been disrupted by the serious flooding in central Europe.

Travel-News.co.uk has received communication from a passenger booked on a June 5 Danube cruise with Viking River Cruises. In it, she is critical of the options that have been made available to passengers following the disruption to the trip that the flooding has caused. She also states that passengers were told that they would be travelling to Austria by coach, despite their misgivings over making the journey due to the current conditions. She was, however, more appreciative of the company’s initial arrangements for accommodation.

The passenger stated, ‘I’m currently one of 300 passengers of the June 5th Danube cruise in Budapest. Though Viking has done a nice job of lodging us at the Corinthia Hotel, it is not giving us ANY choices for refunds, rebooking or cancellations. There is a significant number of passengers unwilling to make the trip to Krems by coach and lodge in the Viking Freya, but the rep here says it will be OK. Don’t reproduce their PR line, it’s b******! Most of the passengers are senior citizens and are being cajoled into getting on a coach tomorrow morning to Austria even though it’s not safe to travel there.’

In its response to Travel-news.co.uk, Viking River cruises said, ‘We are sorry to hear that one of our passengers is not happy and would urge them to contact the UK office directly in order resolve the issue. Faced with this unprecedented situation, we are working hard to make alternative arrangements. All affected customers will be contacted upon return.’

Extended periods of very heavy rain are responsible for the swollen rivers and flooding that have been causing chaos across much of central Europe, including parts of Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Viking later added, ‘ We have received an update from our operations team in Europe and staff on the ground. To date 140 passengers have had to be relocated to the Corinthia Hotel and just a handful of passengers have enquired about returning home. We are continuing to monitor the situation.’