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Rolling on the rivers

Rolling on the rivers

Postby grannyM » 03 Apr 2013 11:48

Just noticed this on the news ticker. A very interesting article about Torstein Hagan, the outspoken CEO of Viking Cruises. It's a bit long but worth a read. This man does not hold back on the criticism of his competitors or how wonderful he himself is. :roll:

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Rolling on the rivers

Postby JollyJill » 03 Apr 2013 13:47

grannyM wrote:Just noticed this on the news ticker. A very interesting article about Torstein Hagan, the outspoken CEO of Viking Cruises. It's a bit long but worth a read. This man does not hold back on the criticism of his competitors or how wonderful he himself is. :roll:

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Thanks for that Marie. As we are sailing with Viking in July, I found that an interesting read. :)
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Rolling on the rivers

Postby CGBOWLER » 03 Apr 2013 15:28

Very interesting Marie.
"Pride comes before a fall springs to mind."
This bit caught my attention:-

It's no secret," Hagen said. "We do direct mail, and we take direct bookings. We really don't care where people book. The main thing is that they do book. But when they book with us, travel agents get commissions on everything. For an average Viking booking, an agent gets $1,500. We pay on anything [associated with the product] that's prebooked. We pay 5% commission on air; who the hell does that these days?"

If you book direct does it cost $1500 less then?
I don't understand what 5% commission on air means. :?
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Rolling on the rivers

Postby MikeBR » 04 Apr 2013 17:08

grannyM wrote:Just noticed this on the news ticker. A very interesting article about Torstein Hagan, the outspoken CEO of Viking Cruises. It's a bit long but worth a read. This man does not hold back on the criticism of his competitors or how wonderful he himself is. :roll:

From Travel Weekly

Having done his Romantic Danube Cruise in 2010 8-) and off on his Douro cruise tomorrow :wave: I think he is well justified in his comments. We tried Saga for the Rhine last spring :thumbdown: just to see if Viking were really that good (and we hadn't just imagined it because we had such a great time) and worth a few Euro's extra and Viking certainly were :thumbup: . But will let you all know in a week or so when we get back if he 'Is Keeping Up appearances'.
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Rolling on the rivers

Postby MikeBR » 15 Apr 2013 15:20

Having just returned from our 'Supposed Douro River Cruise' with Viking I take back everything I have previously written about them :evil: . went onboard on 7th April by 9th April we had a letter from the USA vice president offering a 50% discount on a future cruise [but not including airfares]:cry: . Have just had an hour long telephone call with Mark Padgett their UK customer relations manager. So watch this space for an update at which time I will write my full revue :| .
To give you a very brief outline of our experience we cruised for about 6 hours in the week. River levels had caused problems for previous cruises in the last few weeks which Viking knew about, one of which they had to evacuate all passengers within 20 minutes again which they did not tell us about until one passenger told us they had read about it on the internet, But they did not tell us and that is our main cause for complaint. We can't help the weather, But Viking knew about the weather and river levels and that it was not about to get better but still took us to a ship moored an arduous 1-1.5 hour mountain road bus journey from the main highway. If they had told us the problem, while we were in Lisbon or Porto, and made arrangements to put us up in a hotel there and let us explore either of these cities, we would have been more than happy until the river conditions improved
So Watch this space or if you want a 'Private Rant' drop me a private message.
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Rolling on the rivers

Postby Dave » 15 Apr 2013 17:37

MikeBR wrote:Having just returned from our 'Supposed Douro River Cruise' with Viking I take back everything I have previously written about them :evil: . went onboard on 7th April by 9th April we had a letter from the USA vice president offering a 50% discount on a future cruise [but not including airfares]:cry: . Have just had an hour long telephone call with Mark Padgett their UK customer relations manager. So watch this space for an update at which time I will write my full revue :| .
To give you a very brief outline of our experience we cruised for about 6 hours in the week. River levels had caused problems for previous cruises in the last few weeks which Viking knew about, one of which they had to evacuate all passengers within 20 minutes again which they did not tell us about until one passenger told us they had read about it on the internet, But they did not tell us and that is our main cause for complaint. We can't help the weather, But Viking knew about the weather and river levels and that it was not about to get better but still took us to a ship moored an arduous 1-1.5 hour mountain road bus journey from the main highway. If they had told us the problem, while we were in Lisbon or Porto, and made arrangements to put us up in a hotel there and let us explore either of these cities, we would have been more than happy until the river conditions improved
So Watch this space or if you want a 'Private Rant' drop me a private message.

Hi Mike

I'm really sorry to read about your experience. We'd been thinking about the Douro for next Easter.

We've just returned from our Rhône cruise with Viking which (apart from the weather) was very good. However, I had a cause for complaint and a few niggles... Portraits of Southern France on Viking Neptune

I'll watch this space.
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Re: Rolling on the rivers

Postby MikeBR » 15 Apr 2013 18:38

Hi Dave, What we found was that the present boat used is really the 'Douro Spirit' owned by Douro Azul and when we finally got back to Porto that they apparently don't cruise this early because of river level problems. What we did see looked wonderful, BUT spring looks problematic and later in the season could be a more sensible option. Various tour guides we spoke to told us September is generally the best month after the terrible heat they experience in the summer months.
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Re: Rolling on the rivers

Postby Dave » 16 Apr 2013 08:01

MikeBR wrote:Hi Dave, What we found was that the present boat used is really the 'Douro Spirit' owned by Douro Azul and when we finally got back to Porto that they apparently don't cruise this early because of river level problems. What we did see looked wonderful, BUT spring looks problematic and later in the season could be a more sensible option. Various tour guides we spoke to told us September is generally the best month after the terrible heat they experience in the summer months.

Thanks for that Mike. Actually, the poor weather at Easter this year and last means we probably won't do a European river cruise next Easter. Unfortunately September isn't possible for us. We are hoping to do the China cruise with Viking next summer though.
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Re: Rolling on the rivers

Postby JollyJill » 01 Jun 2013 10:10

WI have just received an email from Viking reminding those that want to book one of their cruises for 2014 have until the end of June in order to get a £1,000 discount.

We have looked at the itineraries and both fancy the Douro cruise. For me it will be a great opportunity to spend a couple of days in Lisbon, which is on my 'to do' list and Plunky fancies to see the region of the Douro.

From what I have read so far, we will not go too early because of the water levels problem in Spring time. I also don't like very hot weather. Has anyone experience of this region of Portugal in June or September? It might help us make up our minds when to book.
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Re: Rolling on the rivers

Postby Dave » 01 Jun 2013 11:11

JollyJill wrote:WI have just received an email from Viking reminding those that want to book one of their cruises for 2014 have until the end of June in order to get a £1,000 discount.

We have looked at the itineraries and both fancy the Douro cruise. For me it will be a great opportunity to spend a couple of days in Lisbon, which is on my 'to do' list and Plunky fancies to see the region of the Douro.

From what I have read so far, we will not go too early because of the water levels problem in Spring time. I also don't like very hot weather. Has anyone experience of this region of Portugal in June or September? It might help us make up our minds when to book.

Hi Jill

Much as I like Viking, I take their 'discounts' with a pinch of salt. Every Viking cruise I've ever seen advertised anywhere has included this discount! The 'Save £1000' has appeared in every mailout, brochure and newsletter, and on their website for as long as I've been following them. ;)

Of course I don't want to be responsible for you missing a huge saving, so... This is just in my experience!
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