Misery – Misery !!
The river cruise segment of our travel is now finished and we begin our Prague segment.
To summarize our transfer to Prague – definitely way below the standard set by the Viking River Cruise segment.
The day started at 6:00 am with a wake up and requirement to have our packed luggage properly marked and placed outside our stateroom. No problem. We were scheduled to leave at 7:30 am.
The trouble started with the fact that despite 80 passengers making the transfer to Prague, the restaurant did not open until 7:00 am. The bills had to be settled today rather than yesterday because (we were told), their computer could not accept closure until today. Very strange. The reception desk was staffed with two crew members, struggling to handle all checkouts by paper and pen and a single credit card machine. Long lines. And, to add to misery, the reception area was hot and muggy. No apparent air conditioning.
After the usual (pretty good) breakfast, we stood outside at the dockside and identified our luggage, only to find that the two buses allocated for our transfer could not accommodate all the luggage from the 80 passengers. At the end, some of the luggage was loaded onto the couple of empty seats on each bus.
Then we took off on our journey, only to learn that what we had been led to believe was a 4-5 hour bus ride to Prague was actually going to be an 8 hour journey with a short rest stop and a break for lunch.
The bus was hot, cramped, and had narrow, uncomfortable seats. The overhead bins for luggage were too small by half to accommodate some of the (admittedly large) carryon luggage.
After the first two hours, we stopped at a gas station for a 20 minute bathroom break. No problem.
Five hours into the ride, we pulled off the road for a lunch hour at a huge truck stop. We were informed that we could buy lunch in a cafeteria-type lunch room. With 80 of our passengers descending on the already crowded cafeteria, the line stretched out of the restaurant and onto the parking lot. To make matters worse, most of the passengers took many minutes trying to decide what to order since the menus were in Czeck and the passengers spoke only English. The food was good and cheap, however. We were all surprised that Viking did not cover the cost of lunch. It seems that the $1400+ price of the extension to Prague did not include the cost of lunch. Tacky, tacky.
When we finally arrived in Prague after 7 hours on the damn bus, we were met at the Hilton hotel by the Viking rep and checked into our rooms in a very short time. The hotel is very nice and the rooms are spacious and modern.
My only complaint with the hotel is the price of in-room Internet. The hotel provides free (and fast) Wi-Fi in the public areas but charges €26 ($33.67) per 24 hour period for in-room wireless connection. That seems ridiculously high.
I know that the above sounds like carping and whining, but the whole transfer process was way below the standard I have come to expect from Viking.
My advice to anyone considering the Prague extension is to make your own travel arrangements, take the train, and avoid going through Viking.