1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Viking River Cruises
  4. Viking River Cruises Cruise Reviews
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
My husband and I had been planning a wonderful birthday celebration for him, so we decided on Viking. We had heard from many friends on how superb and excellent it was to travel with Viking. This was not our first cruise as we have done ... Read More
My husband and I had been planning a wonderful birthday celebration for him, so we decided on Viking. We had heard from many friends on how superb and excellent it was to travel with Viking. This was not our first cruise as we have done several cruises at least 1 every 2 years, fortunately enough with other very high-end lines - Oceania and Regent Seven Seas. We are lucky enough that we can afford high-end cruise liners so we thought Viking would be in the same category as our past cruise experiences! We booked the Eastern European cruise from Bucharest to Budapest from Aug 21-28, 2019. Boy were we SO wrong!!! I am currently sitting in my hotel room on August 25, in Sofia, Bulgaria writing this review, we have been here since August 23. The reason I am writing this today and posting to all different websites instead of communicated directly with Viking is because we have already tried that. We had an extremely unsatisfying phone conversation with Viking customer service when we arrived in Sofia, Bulgaria after disembarking. The lady on the phone was quite rude and dismissive of our issues. She was unwilling to admit any fault with Viking Cruises or their services and told us that we “chose to leave” therefore, there was no compensation for our dissatisfaction and that we should of purchase travel insurance. Really? Based on how we have been treated so far, we would not consider another Viking Cruise. We are on the younger side of their demographic, are active on social media, and have a wide circle of friends. If this is how we are treated, I cannot imagine how they dealt with the very elder members of the cruise. This is how are travel story began: We literately got on the ship on August 21 and disembarked and left on August 23 (being my husband's birthday)- two days into our cruise! The last thing you want to do is pack again when you have only spent 1 night on a ship. But it was such an awful and uncomfortable experience and my husband was so unhappy, we made the decision to leave the ship and told the ship's hotel director that we were disembarking on the next port of call (Vidin, which by the way, the ship did not stop there, but instead we made it to Lum as the ship had some issues getting to Vidin! - not surprise, as we were late the day before arriving to the first port of call Russe, Bulgaria to pick up the majority of the passengers who got off for their tours in a different location). Just think to have to decide to either deal with this awful experience for another 5 nights or cut your losses and leave ship, we chose the latter. We had to at least close the day of his 60th birthday in a place we would be more comfortable at. To start, we arrived on Saturday, August 17 in Bucharest from the US as we wanted to spend a couple of days on our own touring the city. We are not big on group tours and prefer doing our own thing (this is another big problem if you travel with Viking but will fill you in on that part of the story later). We were told to speak to our local Viking contact at the Sheraton Bucharest hotel - where we were staying as part of their 1 day pre-cruise land offer (and at least it is a very nice hotel, and since I hold Platinum status with them, we were upgraded to a lovely suite). Pre-cruise meeting August 20th in the evening – Sheraton Hotel: The Viking person there told us to have our luggage out by 7:30 am on August 21 and to meet in the lobby by 9 am. She indicated that there would be a scenic tour through the city on our way to a location for lunch and then a bus ride to the ship. What we were not told or even offered, especially for those guests that had already been in the city for days prior to cruising, was given an option to go straight to the ship from the hotel. August 21, ship boarding day, what really happened: Stop 1 - they bused us around the city again and took us to Old town (our 5th time there, remember, we arrived on August 17th!), then wanted to give us a walking tour of Old town, why??? We told them we had already been there 5 other times, so instead my husband and I sat around some bank building steps for almost 2 hours while the rest of the guest did their so called "tour" what a waste! At this time of day (9 am) all of Old Town restaurants are closed and only some coffee shops were open, we just had breakfast at the hotel as instructed! We sat around from 9 to 11:30 am! I asked Diani (or Dina) our very confused tour guide on bus 14, if there was a better option for us that we could meet them at the restaurant, she actually threatened and said that if we did not arrive at the restaurant, we would have to take a private car to the ship and that was about 1 hour and 45 minutes ride, so my husband and I decided to tag along. Old town tour is done thankfully, and now they tell us we are going to the Parliament building for a 10-minute picture stop and finishing up at the Museum of the Villages before lunch. Stop 2 - We crossed through town again, and saw the same scenery, the arch, the revolution square, heard the same stories and finally arrived at the Parliament location again and after 10 minutes those that got off for “picture moments” got back on the bus, where the tour guide and her very valuable assistant proceeded to do a head count and appeared that they were short 1 person as she stated that we were originally 37 on our bus (#14) and now we were 36. She then told us that we could not leave until such person was found and asked us if we knew this person? How could we know such person as we just all boarded 2 hours ago, none of us have even met, let alone know all the passengers on board? She didn't even know if we were looking for a man or woman. After an almost 45-minute wait in the parking lot, they finally gave up and we headed to the Museum of the villages tour. Stop 3 – Museum of Villages - What a dump, The is and old, mosquito infested open air museum that has the different house structures of Romania within its compound, we were forced to be there for 2 hours, so again we tried to find a decent place to sit while we waited for our 2 pm departure. We sat in an un air-conditioning hut where they Come to find out, that during this tour, the tour guide's quiet head sets and microphone were not working so no one could hear her talking about this 'wonderful museum'. Again, my husband and I do not like group tours, and we made this clear to the agent when we booked our cruise directly with Viking, he told us we could also do our own thing, really? Stop 4 – LUNCH - So now we are down to lunch, oh boy, it was at Pescarus by a local lake (why not Hard Rock cafe next door, at least the building is nicer, and they have real a/c and great food). The tour guide made it sound that this was an exceptional high-end restaurant with wonderful local food. This restaurant reminded us of an old 70 diner in Vegas, the food was some type of composition of lots of onions with some 3 pieces of meat, potatoes and bread, with some side salad. Wine, water and if you only asked beer, as they didn't voluntarily offered beer or told us it was included in our meal. My husband had already gone to the bar and paid for his as we didn't know it was also included. This was lunch – nursing home cafeteria!!! Oh, and some local folkloric dancing was provided for entertainment. Guys this is what you call luxury travel and superb top of the line service, read your advertisement, it is a SCAM, total SCAM!!! Then finally we are off to the ship, almost 2 hours into the drive, the tour guide's information about Romania is focused on that people have their own gardens, grow their own vegetables and fruits, and have cows, chicken, and pigs in their lands, and indicates "to the left you will see some cows, to the right you will see how gypsies live. Coming to the right again are more cows and some chickens"? Really... ok so we finally arrive the ship.... Finally, on board - Room was quite small, but appeared comfortable at least, we had room 323 on the highest level with a Veranda (never got to use it). The ship has NO WOW factor, it is small, clean, but small. Our room had a mini bar but of course empty why would they want to even fill it up with sodas, juice and beer for you, like most "LUXURY" cruises do when you pay such a high-price, of course not, we are just cattle and their job is to hurry you up to the next port of call get you off the ship and put you on another awesome tour for the day, give you some petty lunch and bring you back for dinner. We could see this coming. We had a decent dinner and some drinks at the bar and called it a night, we could not get much sleep as people were walking above our room, since we were on the top floor above us was the walking track! There is a taped paper sign by the railing asking guest that as a "curtesy not to walk between the hours of 10 pm to 7 am" did they see, read or listen, no! So between toilet flushes (oh yes, they have some type of vacuum system that is so loud, you can hear everyone’s flushes all night long - remember, the majority of passengers on this ship were over 70, I think we were the youngest, so they go to the restroom a LOT! And the guest walking above our room, we probably got 4 hours of sleep, but we thought when they all get off the boat tomorrow, we can relax and enjoy the ship and sleep in -- not! We were told that for those that were not going on tours in Russe, Bulgaria the next morning, they could lower their room speaker’s volume so you would not be disturbed! Right!!! 7:45 am a loud speaker wakes us up, literately we both jumped out of bed, as they had to announce the departing time for tours!!! We tried to reduce the speaker volume, and were unsuccessful as it was broken, so we knew now that sleeping in would not be an option for the next days. We decided to try and go to bed once again after everyone got off the boat and this is where the real meal plan begins. You see they offer breakfast from 7-9, because they don't expect any one to remain on the ship, why would they bother to extend breakfast time to maybe 10:30 for those that do want to stay onboard. All luxury ships provide some type of meal service throughout and 24 hours. This ship does not offer ROOM SERVICE, so you are screwed. You must eat at hours told, if not, you will end up like us with no breakfast or lunch for our first full day on board. By the time I got up on the first day of cruising (Aug 22), we both missed out on breakfast, tough luck! They had some breads and cold cuts, but forget some nice eggs or omelet, bowl of cereal or warm toast. We decided to stay on board to see how the experience would be as we had decided not to join any of the "free tours" based on our pre-cruise tour experience we could see the quality and decided to just get off where we could at each port of call and do our own thing (of course we didn't get to do that as we permanently got off the next day!). 1st full and last day on board - here it goes, we have no real breakfast, for lunch we both napped again and by the time we woke up we had missed the light lunch they sat out for the maybe 12 passengers that stayed on board. So, we ate what was left before they picked up by 2 pm. My husband likes to smoke his cigars, and proceeded after lunch to go to the upper deck to have one and enjoy the river view, to his amazement, they had removed all shading in the designated "smoking" area at the back of the ship, he literately sat in the withering sun at 90 degrees F trying to enjoy his cigar, he could not and just got up and we ended up spending the remaining of the day in the a/c lounge area. There is absolutely no wait service in the upper deck. If you want to get a drink, you must go down to the bar and order one. You are on your own. By this time my husband was so fed up with how the services are on board and the limited staff that is available we were so disenchanted that I only wanted to be off this ship! So, this is how the meals program works, breakfast is 7-9 am, lunch 12-2 pm, however, the restaurant is not open for those days where everyone or the majority of passengers our off on tours. So, the only day that lunch would even be available in the restaurant is the 24th as it was the only "Sailing day" to "enjoy the luxuries of this ship" a joke. Dinner starts at 7 pm as per their program sent to us. Not true, on the ship we were told that if you did not make it past 7:20 pm in the restaurant, most likely you would miss out on your appetizer, and if you got there by 7:45 pm you would might not get your main course, so of course everyone like cattle, herd over to the restaurant right at 7 pm! What a joke, where is the luxury in this, the comfort, why work on your time vs. ours! We are paying for this service it is not a nursing home, but we sure felt like it! We were so disgusted with this that we didn't even put in our dinner order we went back to our room and discussed our options, we decided to cut this trip short and leave! Didn't care where, just leave! I spoke with the Hotel director on board and explained that we were so disenchanted with this whole experience we just wanted off the boat. We left August 23 at 9 am to never, ever turn back. We ended up having to pay for a driver to take us to Sofia, Bulgaria $200 Euros. Booked a room at the Hilton in Sofia for 5 nights and booked two one-way plane tickets $1500 K to take us from Sofia to Budapest on the 28th as we already have the 2 post days in Budapest booked with Viking. We don't head home until the 1st of Sept so it would of cost us a lot of money to change our first-class seats back to the US for an earlier departure, plus Budapest has been on our bucket list for a long time. So, to summarize our experience, if you are looking for true luxurious travel, with all the comforts of high-end cruising VIKING IS NOT, again NOT FOR YOU! Our advice, please do your research, I failed to do this, and we relied on what people we knew that travel like us had shared! I didn't bother to read reviews, or investigate further, since their pricing and advertising is similar to those true luxury lines, we didn't think twice on booking. However, lessons learned, from now on it does not matter how experience travelers we are, we will always check. I am so upset about this, this cost us over $15,000 K, we could have done a beautiful resort in Hawaii or a luxury pent-house cruise in the Caribbean for this price, but no, we chose Viking due to their misleading, false advertising. As I initially stated, I called their customer service number once we arrived at Sofia, Bulgaria to ensure that they would NOT cancel our hotel in Budapest as it was part of the package and to also request a partial refund for such an awful experience. They lady on the phone proceeded to tell me that we didn't buy trip insurance and therefore, we were not owned anything back! As we chose to leave, no lady, you gave us plenty of reasons to leave that is the big difference!! We didn't buy trip insurance, why would we, we are both healthy and had every intention to make this trip, it is my husband’s 60th. She told me that if we would have purchased it, there would have been a partial refund. NOT TRUE, their trip insurance does not refund you for dissatisfied services only for the following as per their brochures: CANCEL FOR ANY REASON WAIVER DETAILS What We Will Do: Under the “Cancel For Any Reason” Waiver, we will waive our cancellation penalties and reimburse you in cash or travel vouchers (depending on the reason for cancellation) for the nonrefundable portion of your Viking trip cost, provided that you cancel before your scheduled departure. We will also waive any additional fees you would otherwise incur for a change in your per person occupancy rate if a person booked to travel with you cancels his or her trip and you do not cancel your trip. How You Are Reimbursed: If you cancel for one of the “Specified Reasons” listed in the Protection Plan document, we will reimburse you in cash. If you cancel for any other reason, we will reimburse you with a travel voucher that can be used for future voyages with us. The maximum amount covered under this “Cancel For Any Reason” Waiver is the cost of the travel arrangements provided by Viking Cruises. TRIP INTERRUPTION AND DELAYED ARRIVAL - Provides You with a reimbursement for the unused prepaid, non-refundable Payments or Deposits for Your land or water Travel Arrangements for Your Trip, plus the additional airfare cost to return home, if Your Trip is interrupted for a covered reason. MISSED CONNECTION - Provides You with a reimbursement for the unused portions of Your land or water Travel Arrangements, plus the additional costs to join Your trip, if Your arrival at the Trip destination is delayed for 3 hours or more for a covered reason. TRAVEL DELAY - Assists with additional travel expenses incurred when You are delayed at least 12 hours due to a covered reason. In the event of a covered delay, You will be reimbursed for additional expenses for hotels, meals, and transportation. AIR FLIGHT ONLY ACCIDENTAL DEATH & DISMEMBERMENT - Provides coverage up to the maximum benefit payable for loss of life, limb or sight resulting from an Accidental Injury. MEDICAL EXPENSE/EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE - Provides Medical Expense benefits for a covered Sickness or Injury incurred while on Your Trip. When required, We will evacuate You to the nearest qualified hospital and will then return You home when You are safe to travel. POLITICAL OR SECURITY EVACUATION - Provides coverage for all reasonable evacuation expenses incurred for Your transportation to the nearest safe haven, if You must leave Your Trip for a covered Political or Security Event. Evacuation must occur within 10 days of any Political or Security Event. BAGGAGE & PERSONAL EFFECTS - Provides reimbursement when Your baggage or personal belongings are damaged, lost or stolen during Your Trip. Personal belongings include such things as loss of luggage, jewelry, passports or travel visas. Ms. Viking Customer service or better yet, Mr. Hagen (CEO and President of Viking) tell me where you would reimburse me if we were unsatisfied with your services if we would have even opted to buy your so called “travel Insurance” oh but yes, another scam. Things to know, the main drive of Viking is to sell you tours, to get you off their ships like cattle herding as they now don't have to entertain you with drinks and meals on board. They put you on buses and bus you around and give you nice bottles of “warm” water and some type of lunch meal, then bus you back to their ship and feed you again to put you back to sleep in your corral and do this all over the next day. I call Viking a low-class glamping service, that really is what they are. There is absolutely no way to reach out to those higher up in the Viking organization, but one wonders if they are possibly well aware of these selling methods and activities. It is all about driving profit. I feel that as a consumer is my right to advocate for us travelers, and if publishing my review throughout all travel sites will have my voice heard, I will do until I have someone in the Viking organization try and appease this situation with us and reimburse us partially for such a disappointing and disastrous experience. I will also be disputing this with my credit card company. Also, anyone would be so kind, please share this review. Again, thank you for taking the time to read my review and feel free in reaching out to us, united we have a bigger voice. August 25, 2019 Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
I don't know where to begin with this review. Before we started the cruise we understood that low water levels may sometimes affect the itinerary so we were prepared for that. What we were not prepared for is what actually did ... Read More
I don't know where to begin with this review. Before we started the cruise we understood that low water levels may sometimes affect the itinerary so we were prepared for that. What we were not prepared for is what actually did happen. From the time we boarded the Embla to the time we got off the buses in Budapest the trip was a disaster. Viking knew before we ever boarded the ship that it was broke but wanted us to board so they could still get their money for the cruise. We could tell something was not right when we went to our room and the a/c was not working properly and all the other passengers were complaining about it as well and the common areas were just plain hot. We departed that night at 11pm and literally crossed the river and docked again. We were then informed that the boat had a generator problem and they were bringing in a technician to repair the problem. After 2 days stuck there with no a/c or toilets we finally attempted to sail further. The ship made it 1 day and traveled only a short way so we docked again in a small town where we were put on buses and bused to Belgrade a 12 hour bus trip with just 2 stops. 1 bathroom break and 1 stop for lunch. The toilet on our bus was broke and backed up making our bus smell awful. By the time we reached Belgrade it was after 9pm and they offered a buffet dinner at 9pm at night. After 2 nights and 5 buffet meals later we were again loaded on buses and this time it was 13 hours on a bus to get us to Budapest. During the trip one of the buses broke down and one of the Viking crew members used his belt to make a temporary repair. Our bus was leaking very bad during a rain storm and a passenger actually used a umbrella to stay somewhat dry. We finally arrived in Budapest after 9pm and again they served us a buffet dinner late at night. The next 2 days were again all buffet style meals that you can get at Golden Corral. We were told by a Viking represenative that we would be contacted by Viking shortly after we arrived home. That did not happen. They just refunded a portion of the cruise only amount back into our bank account without ever discussing this with us. The amount was not even close to what we actually paid for the cruise and when I called customer service he explained that it was for the river portion only because we were provided the hotels precruise and post cruise. We were refunded 50% of the river portion and a 25% discount on a future cruise. Why would we ever consider a future cruise. Ridicoulous. The representative told me Viking considered this a very fair offer but they would up the 25% discount to 35% for us if we signed a disclosure agreement to keep our mouths shut. Vikng from start to finish was never honest with us and could care less about the safety of the passengers. They knew from the very beginning the ship had issues and we should not have ever boarded the ship. We never received a safety drill prior to sailing which we only did 1 day of. When we returned home we reseached the Viking Embla and saw that on a previous cruise in June just before our cruise the ship had been involved in a accident that damaged the generator. The same problem we had which apparently never was fixed properly. This cruise was supposed to be a trip of a lifetime and we had heard many good things about Viking in the past but they apparently now only care more about the money than the safety and experience their passengers receive. My wife and I have been on many Ocean cruises, some good and some great but this trip was a disaster from start to finish and beyond. If Viking had done the right thing and refunded us 100% of the cost of the cruise we would have absolutely considered cruising with them again. If you are one of the lucky ones who had a great cruise with Viking congratulations but if you happen to be one of the ones that the cruise turns into a disaster do not expect Viking customer service to do the right thing. Beware. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We shared this information with Viking. Nothing significant was done. We booked through and they have also been advocating for our group (3 couples). Customer service at Viking is not empowered to do anything. A decision was made ... Read More
We shared this information with Viking. Nothing significant was done. We booked through and they have also been advocating for our group (3 couples). Customer service at Viking is not empowered to do anything. A decision was made “by Executive”, that provided 50% of our “cruise fare” as a refund. Unfortunately, there is no backup or detail on any billing to indicate what “Cruise Fare” is. It looks like they inflate the shoreside hotel prices in order to reduce their exposure on the refund. No proper explanation is given. After many phone calls, they reluctantly agreed to increase the voucher on future cruises to 35% from 25%. Why would we ever cruise with Viking again?? No Value in that. The reluctantly refunded our prepaid drinks package, but refused to refund prepaid onboard gratuities. We were only on the vessel for 2 days…. Cruise critic readers – read on and beware. There are many choices on river cruises. Many are much better than Viking. As you can read from other passengers the much touted Viking Experience we see on PBS is largely a marketing myth. I wanted to share our experiences with Viking on this cruise. We are experienced ocean cruisers (approximately 10 cruises on 3 lines – Princess, NCL and RCCL) and had looked forward to the change to a river cruise. We booked this event with two other couples with whom we frequently travel. Being subscribers to our local PBS affiliate, we were very impressed with Vikings promotions around Masterpiece Theater and eagerly anticipated a wonderful experience. We would describe ourselves as active seniors, still working, but nearing retirement age. I believe we tend to be relaxed travelers and we fully understand that occasionally issues can and do arise when travelling. Further, we have never felt the need to write to any of our other cruise hosts before. However, simply filling out your survey forms would not be enough to express our feelings on this cruise. The following feedback may help Viking in the future. Please read it carefully. Unfortunately, this is a competitive business and at this point we do not envision we will be joining your company - river or ocean on any future cruises. Booking and travel to Embla We were very pleased with the booking process, materials received, outbound flights, the arrival process, hotel and tours in Bucharest on the first day. Everything was handled well; Viking personnel were helpful and courteous. Checking in to Embla The port facility at Juju in Romania was very rudimentary with a steep gangway. Passengers lined up in a very clumsy, poorly managed serpentine line in the main reception area. It was the poorest reception we have ever experienced. Check in was very slow. There was no seating available for those who could not stand for long periods. No refreshments were offered. Benchmark Princess if you want to understand best practice in this area. In addition, security at the dock was non-existent. We never felt unsafe, but there was nothing to deter anyone from Boarding Embla. Ship and Stateroom We really liked the design and layout of the Embla. There was very good use of space, well thought out. Our stateroom was clean and comfortable and our cabin steward, Helen was fine. As compared to ocean cruises, it was apparent at check in and on the first day that Embla is very short staffed. The normal short meeting and greeting with key members like cabin staff did not occur. We were surprised that robes and slippers were not available in the staterooms. This is a normal offering among premium cruise lines and was missed. Dining and Lounge Again – short staffed. There were too few waiters. Drinks had to be carried from the bar due to insufficient bar staff. Bar staff courtesy was wide ranging. One was outstanding, the others bordered on rude and with no sense of urgency. Again, this was far below expectations. The food quality was quite good and the waiter, Executive Chef, and the Maitre D’ were outstanding. They were personable and engaging. We travelled with a gluten free friend and the Maitre D' went out of his way to be helpful. These crew members deserve special recognition. However, it was clear that our waiter, had little assistance and too many tables to attend to. During several meals we had to ask 2 and 3 times for service (coffee, wine, dessert). Frustrations We learned from your Program Director , and several other crew members, that Embla had been experiencing diminished power on the downriver journey to Bucharest. As the Danube has about a 3-knot current, this was less of a factor down bound, but a significant hindrance when travelling upriver. By day 2 it became obvious that there were significant problems effecting travel speed and air conditioning. Knowing this before embarkation would have been preferable and had Viking been communicative and transparent the frustration and stress levels would have been more manageable. We also understand that Embla was sailing without a key officer – Hotel Manager. Compounding this situation was the fact that the Captain has very limited English skills. This left the entire communication responsibility to the Cruise Director. One, very dedicated, hard-working person trying to appease 180 plus passengers who were growing more frustrated by the hour. The Cruise Director worked diligently to assist passengers and create optional logistics for this cruise. She was not or could not be as transparent as we feel the situation required. In addition, required safety drills never occurred. There appeared to be a cooling system modification arranged on the rear deck of Embla. Frankly, Viking chose to sail an unsafe, non-seaworthy vessel. Among our group, we have great empathy for the Cruise Director. It was clear to us that she was not sufficiently empowered or informed and was left to largely “wing it”. We are sure that somewhere at Viking, there were persons assisting. We feel strongly, however, that Viking needs an emergency management plan and contingency plans. Ideally, it would have helped if senior representatives of Viking were dispatched immediately to Embla simply to help communicate and assist passengers. Again – one person cannot do this. The bus tours we went on were generally good, but on Wednesday, the tour was extended three times in order to keep people off the ship. It wasn’t until a passenger on the bus demanded to be taken back to the ship that we were informed there was no power on the ship and that everyone was taken off. We should have been continually informed of the condition of and on the ship. We felt like hostages, shuttled around to whatever facility in Russe, Bulgaria could accommodate our numbers. We were subjected to a short piano recital in a musty, poorly air-conditioned house. The talent level was adequate, but the piano was severely out of tune. There were insufficient chairs to sit on and the air was full of dust. It should also be noted that we were provided with the same meal – cucumber and tomato salad, vegetable soup, and meat stew for both lunch and dinner two days in a row. We were served lunch and dinner in the same restaurant that day and it had no toilets, just holes in the floor. This was not acceptable given the age of the many of the travelers and their physical limitations. When we finally returned and sailed that evening, it was clear that Embla was not making enough speed. Despite this, nothing was said to passengers until almost 18 hours later. At that point the trip was turned into a hastily arranged bus trip to Belgrade, Serbia (almost 10 hours). We received a letter in our stateroom as we prepared to board the busses to Belgrade Basically, it said, don’t ask about compensation, a basic don’t call us, we will call you response…. This was hardly reassuring given Vikings performance up to that point. Of course, we did receive our bill and an insistence that we settle it before getting on the bus. Fellow passengers were not charged for their bar bills, but nothing was said to those of us that had purchased the beverage package about receiving a refund. This approach appeared to be quite one sided. We have experienced an unfortunate weather delay on another cruise line (Princess). As it was safety related, the Captain chose to stay in port for 3 days. It was an unfortunate, but unavoidable decision. Even though Princess had zero actual culpability for the weather, the entire crew sprang into action, arranging tours, entertainment etc. Most importantly, a very generous compensation offer was received before we departed. By being proactive, Princess turned a difficult situation into a customer loyalty generator. We immediately booked another cruise and have booked several others since that time. We had hoped to develop a similar loyalty relationship with Viking. Moving off Embla was relatively efficient, at the expense of service in the dining room. Tables were not cleared, and it was a mess. We were served on dirty tablecloths and not given napkins. On the epic journey to Serbia, the bus had to detour because of closed roads and stop at a small petrol station (2 stalls) for a rest stop. To say this was disorganized would be a gross understatement. A better option would have been to cancel the trip day 1 and arrange everyone safe onward passage home from Bucharest or assist in making alternate travel plans. The trip to Belgrade was uneventful but long. Lunch was an adequate but uninteresting buffet. Having arrived in Belgrade we checked into the Hyatt Regency. The check in was efficient and fast and the rooms were quite nice. The dinner buffet and the breakfast for the next two days were at best mediocre. As seasoned business travelers, we would rate the food as basic convention food. On the first night each diner was restricted to a single glass of wine or beer of modest quality. Viking made no effort to provide the type of dining experience or entertainment that we would expect on Embla. Any additional drinks or food we wanted we paid for out of pocket despite having the Viking beverage package. The tour of Belgrade was well done and the lunch at Two Deer’s restaurant was very good. As mentioned, this was followed by a mediocre dinner without any effort to entertain or accommodate the guests. Our fellow traveler with the gluten intolerance was at this point left to fend for herself. The bus trip to Budapest was long and arduous. Over 3 hours were wasted at border crossings. The busses had no WIFI and no electrical connection points. For people travelling who had a need to keep in touch with work or relatives back home, this situation was unacceptable. Lunch at the local village homes was decent but rushed due to the delays at the Croatian border. No dietary accommodations were made. We faced a pouring rainstorm in Croatia where it was discovered that the bus roof escape hatch leaked. The bus toilet on this leg of the trip was also out of service. It should be noted that by this time in the journey the poor Cruise Director was beyond shattered. She had lost her voice. More importantly, she had lost her ability to be at all empathetic. She was simply trying to endure until we arrived in Budapest. They failed over 180 passengers as well as failing several dedicated Viking employees. By this time information flow for us and the onward Amsterdam travelers had gone to zero. We just rode on busses. Vikings motto is “Travelling the World in Comfort”. This was an epic failure. We basically felt like we were kept in the dark and held hostage by Viking for almost the entire trip. Once in Budapest we got somewhat back on track. However, our accommodation was changed from the Hotel Intercontinental to the Corinthia. Corinthia is a nice hotel but is not situated along the river and is a long walk from most major attractions. The food served by Corinthia was largely uninteresting and the service was mediocre. The Maitre D’ informed us that he was not given much time to prepare and react and as a result was waiting tables himself. In fact, the exact same meal was provided at the Spoon Restaurant while on tour at lunch and then again in the hotel dining room. Again – Viking was simply reacting, not planning. Upon retiring for the evening, we discovered that our room had no air conditioning. We spoke to Viking’s Desk at the Hotel the next morning. The young man quickly pointed out that the hotel was “completely booked”. Another young lady from Viking stepped in and said she would have a word with the hotel. Upon return that evening, the problem persisted. We went directly to the hotel and they dispatched repairman that evening. Again – Viking staffs’ lack of urgency and total apathy was appalling. We understand that a Vice President of Viking came to Budapest and conducted a meeting for those people that were continuing to Amsterdam. At that time, they were offered compensation. Why was a meeting not held for the rest of us? Total silence is all we received. No apology, no compassion for what we were experiencing, no recognition of our disappointment due to what we anticipated versus what we were experiencing. Upon departure from Budapest for the airport, we were met by Viking staff and rode the Viking bus. The young lady who met us at the airport told us to line up in que 1, 2 or 3 which reflected our airline status (premium economy and Star Alliance Premier Access). Upon opening the check in, the airport officials redirected us to the end of the long economy que. Another nuisance reflecting the lack of training of Viking staff. Of course, by that time, Viking staff had departed the airport, so we got in line and waited. Recommendation – never sail with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We had never been cruising before as a full holiday, only as part of a longer holiday and for less time. We did not really know what to expect. We chose Viking Cruises because they were recommended and have a good reputation. We were not ... Read More
We had never been cruising before as a full holiday, only as part of a longer holiday and for less time. We did not really know what to expect. We chose Viking Cruises because they were recommended and have a good reputation. We were not disappointed! Viking are extremely efficient and well-organised down to small details. The pre-cruise preparation was very good and informative. Flights, pick-ups and transfers were meticulously organised. Hotel accommodation prior to, and subsequent to the actual cruise was excellent. Accommodation on board was very good. We had a stateroom with a balcony to the river. Although we did not actually spend much time on the balcony it was nice to have it. A great strength of the experience was the ship's crew. They were all excellent from the management staff and organisers to the chambermaid. The food and catering were excellent as well. We had the 'Silver Spirits' package for drinks, paid in advance. Not sure we would do that again. Viking arranged shore excursions every day and they were very well organised. Other excursions were always on offer. We passed along the Danube through five Eastern European countries and were fascinated to see them, though they are probably less spectacular than, say, The Rhine. Eastern Europe is poorer than Western Europe and has had a sad history. We never felt pressured to do things or overwhelmed. We felt there was a sense of space on the Viking Idun (135 meters long) despite some 180 passengers. Our fellow-passengers, mostly Americans, were absolutely delightful. I think Viking are probably a more expensive line - but you get what you have paid for. We felt very secure and confident with Viking, and if we were to go cruising again, our first choice would be Viking! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
After a not very pleasant experience last year on the Rhine with Viking we decided to take this time Lif on a cruise between Bucharest to Budapest. What a massive difference! Everything was far above all expectations. The food was ... Read More
After a not very pleasant experience last year on the Rhine with Viking we decided to take this time Lif on a cruise between Bucharest to Budapest. What a massive difference! Everything was far above all expectations. The food was amazing, and we had the chance to visit Chef’s Michael kitchen were all our lovely meals were prepared daily. The cabin steward Raduh was the most friendly and efficient we ever meet on cruise ships. In the restaurant our server Martina was always smiling with excellent manners and coping perfectly with my husband’s complicated diet. We spend a lot of time in the bar chatting with chief barman Christian for Bulgaria; his stories was as great as his cocktails! Johnny and Susan were extremely attentive, with a lot of knowledge about the cities we visited and always having a suggestion for our free time. Being so approachable they manage to balance the arrogance and “I know all” attitude of the hotel manager Joseph, a personality a little bit to big for his shoes. The excursions were fantastic opportunities to discover a new world and the new stop in Iron Gate was a pleasant surprise from Viking. Sometimes the guides in Bulgaria and Romania were a little bit annoying talking too much, like reading a script but to one in Belgrade were fantastic! The only failure of this trip was a lecture about Serbian war incredible balanced and the lecturer manage to upset everybody, blaming Western Countries. for the horrible war from 1990. I save the best for last: our Cruise Director Leonard. He really made our trip: extended knowledge, dedication, sense of humour, a talent to mix historic facts with legends and traditions and a 24 hours genuine smile and passion made him the best cruise director we’ve meet in more than 12 cruises we took. The stories when sailing the Iron Gate were at the level of Discovery Chanel documentaries, his lecture about European Union and Dracula perfect mix between facts and sense of humour and the evening with memories from Ceauseschu time was overwhelming. No wonder why he got tears and standing ovations for more than 10 minutes. What a great personality. We are thinking very seriously to repeat our cruise on the Rhine but only is Lenard will be on board. Viking Cruises – you are a great way to travel and that’s 95% because of the crew and people like Leonard. tell us when Leonhard is again on board and we will be there! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
This was our third Viking river cruise. The ship, staff and food met Viking's high standards. The itinerary was uninspiring and I would not recommend it. That's not Viking's fault - they can hardly recreate such awe ... Read More
This was our third Viking river cruise. The ship, staff and food met Viking's high standards. The itinerary was uninspiring and I would not recommend it. That's not Viking's fault - they can hardly recreate such awe inspiring countries as Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Croatia. They all seemed very much the same. One low light excursion was the Viking provided excursion when the contract tour guide the Balkan war by saying, "Remember, we (Serbs) were the good guys". He brushed aside the facts about Serb committed genocide. That "rewrite of history" was disappointing. The best excursion was when we had tea and "cookies" with a Croatian family. it was a residence that was also a B&B. An authentic visit. The ship's staff were amazing. They were attentive and has a great sense of humor. The daily briefings were always interesting and informative. I am now adding more words to meet the standard for submission. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
After more than 10 cruises with Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean me and my husband we decided to try something different. “Cruising the Eastern Europe” on board Viking LIF was our first river cruise and our first Viking cruise at ... Read More
After more than 10 cruises with Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean me and my husband we decided to try something different. “Cruising the Eastern Europe” on board Viking LIF was our first river cruise and our first Viking cruise at the same time. What can I say about the entire experience? I already booked another 2 cruises with Viking. Everything was above exceptional: the service, the ship, the excursions and the staff on board. The staff on board Viking Lif was exceptional. Martina and Bart in the restaurant and lounge were perfect, always smiling and with great manners. Our room attendant Maya was a very nice girl with a lovely positive attitude and our cabin was always impeccable. We fall in love with the reception staff (Suzy and Johnny) always helpful and smiling and Capitan Anna was incredible: charming and always available to answer to any questions. Joseph the Hotel Director was one of the best we ever meet, solving any problems or requests we hand, nothing was too much for him. But the most impressive was our Cruise Director Leonard. His encyclopaedical knowledge, sense of humour and dedication made this trip unforgettable. Leonard was everywhere and sometimes we thought that he had 3 or 4 clones on board to be always smiling and ready to assist from 5AM to 1PM, every day. I wish I could record his commentary during the Iron Gate sea day when the amount of historical, geographical and social information mixed with a lot of legends and local traditions plus a fantastic sense of humour reminded me of a National Geographic documentary. He really made this trip unforgettable for us! Can’t wait for our next cruise with Viking Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise (Bucharest to Amsterdam) for its length and itinerary. Just before leaving for Bucharest, we got an email from Viking saying that there might be a problem between Passau and Regensburg so we were prepared for a minor ... Read More
We chose this cruise (Bucharest to Amsterdam) for its length and itinerary. Just before leaving for Bucharest, we got an email from Viking saying that there might be a problem between Passau and Regensburg so we were prepared for a minor disruption in our journey. What happened though was it took us 4 boats and countless endless bus rides to complete our trip. Obviously Viking cannot be responsible for the water depth on the rivers; however, had we known how bad the situation was, we would have reconsidered taking this trip at this time. Several crew members on two of our ships told us that Viking had been unable to complete this trip since May, some 5 months before we arrived. Instead, Viking chose to minimize the impact of the low water and by the time we found out just how bad the situation was we were 7 days into our journey. Because long bus rides were required to take most of the included tours, we skipped them and just stayed on board. On one offering for Regensburg, passengers were given the opportunity to visit the city. My husband decided to go even though the trip started at 8:30 in the morning and didn't end until early evening. So a large group of people left for Regensburg and when they arrived discovered that it was a holiday and everything was closed! While they were able to have lunch (on their own) they had no choice but to mill about for 3-4 hours waiting for the bus to take them back to the ship. Viking did not think it was important to let everyone know that it was a holiday before they got on the bus! This was the longest and most expensive trip we have ever taken and we had high hopes that it would be one of the best. Instead we got a miserable cruise that did not provide much of what was promised. While Viking cannot be held responsible for the low water, they could have honestly told us what to expect and offer alternatives to taking this trip at this time. While we were given a 25% credit towards another Viking cruise, the base to which it applied was the base price of the cabin itself. We paid Viking $22,000 for this trip (cruise, flights, taxes and fees, and insurance) and got credits worth less than $4000; not enough to entice us to go with Viking again! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
We were interested in seeing more of Eastern Europe after having been to Prague on our last river cruise. We knew before we left that river levels were low. We did have to leave our ship early and were bused into Budapest. It would have ... Read More
We were interested in seeing more of Eastern Europe after having been to Prague on our last river cruise. We knew before we left that river levels were low. We did have to leave our ship early and were bused into Budapest. It would have been lovely to have cruised into beautiful Budapest! Food was not quite as good as our previous river cruise. I celebrated my birthday on the first day of the cruise. My husband had called Viking ahead and told them this. He also asked one of our servers at dinner about my birthday. He was told they were aware of it. They still managed to forget to acknowledge my birthday. The next day something showed up in our room. I was very disappointed and my husband was not happy. Not the service we expected! Budapest was the highlight of the ports. Beautiful city with lots to see! We have another river cruise booked for 2019. It will most likely be our last. We have done one Viking ocean cruise, and we much prefer the ocean to river cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
It was my third cruise with Viking River Cruises and I was extremely excited to return on board. Cruising the Passage to Eastern Europe with Viking was something I had been looking forward to this year as it had four countries I’ve never ... Read More
It was my third cruise with Viking River Cruises and I was extremely excited to return on board. Cruising the Passage to Eastern Europe with Viking was something I had been looking forward to this year as it had four countries I’ve never had the chance to visit and I was eager to explore. This time the ship was Viking Aegir but is good to know that the longship boats of Viking are essentially set up the same, the dining is good, and the staterooms are exactly what you need for the journey. The crew on board was what you normally expect from Viking: attention to details, manners, professionalism and always a special care for all passengers on board. Our waiter in the restaurant, a very pleasant young man from Argentina was mixing perfectly a family like atmosphere with very high standards and the manager in charge of housekeeping, Mirijana from Serbia, found always time to answer and solve all our request. The German hotel manager was a little bit abrupt and too much in to selling vouchers for next cruises (I bet he get a big commission with that) forgetting sometimes that he supposed to be a host and not a door-to-door salesman (especially during the Frequent Travellers cocktail when he invited everybody on board, talking for a very long 50 minutes and after that walking around forcing you to book your next cruise) On a negative side: the captain was very rude and unsociable and made everybody to feel uncomfortable during his evening lecture, despite the efforts of the Program Director to create a pleasant Q&A evening. Most shore excursions were very good, with interesting and knowledgeable local guides. However, many required very lengthy bus trips to the excursion sites. I will say that after doing three different itineraries with Viking River Cruises, this one was the most educational and enlightening. And all the praise goes to the Program Director Leonard for his huge knowledge of history, traditions, culture of the spaces we visited. He was working non-stop, almost 24 hours a day bringing his positive energy, his amazing personality, great sense of humour, elegant manners and enchanting conversations in a journey that gives you an opportunity to step into the Balkan’s turbulent past and experience the energy of a new generation moving forward. On each and every of his evening briefings, lecture, commentaries on the open deck or 1:1 conversation with all on board Viking Aegir, Leonard knew how to enlighten and open your perspective — the very core of travel for us. And for every moment of our trip he had a different approach: mixing historical facts with legends in his Dracula evening, genuine and heart-breaking talking about his early year in Ceausescu’s Romania, knowledgeable and incredible organised when coordinating in-depth tours at each stop and itineraries that touch on the highlights that make a memorable trip and fun and charming when he was leading the parties and entertainment on board Viking Aegir. What an asset for Viking! Bottom line: Viking River Cruises & Leonard – OUTSTANDING! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this cruise because of the timing that worked out for our younger daughter and son-in-law as well as for us (mid-May), the discounted cost ("two-fer" in terms of cabin costs) and because it covered a part of Europe we ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the timing that worked out for our younger daughter and son-in-law as well as for us (mid-May), the discounted cost ("two-fer" in terms of cabin costs) and because it covered a part of Europe we had not yet visited. (We had been in Budapest but not any of the other Balkan countries we visited). We had high expectations, and the trip exceeded them. I cannot remember any bad or even difficult moments (except perhaps for the heavy rain on the Budapest day - but that's not under the control of the Viking planners). The food and service were superb, varied, interesting and with more than enough choices. I cannot believe it was cooked so well in the small kitchen we toured. The chefs and helpers obviously work together very closely and very well! The entertainment and lectures were excellent. I learned more about Balkan history than I ever thought I'd want to know, but enjoyed the lectures/presentations, and now have a better understanding of WWI, WWII, and even the Balkans today. The entertainment, especially the folk-dancing, in Romania during lunchtime, and other times on the boat, were a delight. My husband and I enjoyed the Port trips we could take (he has some walking limitations) and the optional trips we added. One highlight was the cooking class in Bulgaria. "Ramona's Banitsa" will now be added to my cooking repertoire. A second highlight - and probably the most interesting - was the visit to the violin maker in Kovacica, Serbia. I seem to talk about that particular afternoon, and show the pictures I took of Jan Nemcek that show how he made violins more than any other part of our trip. Two other highlights were visits to homes in Croatia (actually "B&B's") where we met and enjoyed talking with the hosts in our small groups, and the Hungarian "horsemanship" show in Puszta. We had been to Budapest before, so on the second day (now with good weather) we hired a "TukTuk" and had a 2-hourguided trip to revisit the important and meaningful "Shoe Memorial" along the river, and Chris, our guide, then took us some small parks and meaningful sculptures that we would not have known about without him. We enjoyed the trip so much we have made reservations for another Viking Cruise next May - and this time we will share it with our other daughter and her husband! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
Have never visited this part of Europe before, so had no idea what to expect. The cruise covered 5 countries, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia and Hungary. The ship was excellent as with all of the Viking cruises I have traveled on. ... Read More
Have never visited this part of Europe before, so had no idea what to expect. The cruise covered 5 countries, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia and Hungary. The ship was excellent as with all of the Viking cruises I have traveled on. Dining room food was very well done and the service was great. The excursions and ports were good choices and I learned a lot on this cruise about an area I had no idea was like. The in-home experience in Croatia was great and our host provided a wealth of information we probably never would have gotten anywhere else. The trip ending in Budapest was the right way to go as it was like a culmination of returning to Europe with a grand city for touring and dining. I would definitely recommend this cruise to anyone who has never traveled in this region. The Danube is a really interesting river. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
We had never been on a cruise before and we were so fortunate to have hit a bullseye on our first try. We added a 3 day extension at the start of our trip to be able to explore Transylvania. It was fabulous. I would recommend folks sign ... Read More
We had never been on a cruise before and we were so fortunate to have hit a bullseye on our first try. We added a 3 day extension at the start of our trip to be able to explore Transylvania. It was fabulous. I would recommend folks sign up for EVERY shore excursion offered---they are so enriching! The veranda stateroom we had was great! There was more room than anticipated and we made use of the veranda daily! We had a slight problem the first day when there was a strange odor, but our stateroom attendant was vigilant and solved the problem right away. We found ALL staff on the ship to be most responsive and friendly! Cannot say enough about the service or the food. We certainly never went hungry and were able to sample all sorts of foods---enjoying both familiar and new. We also very much enjoyed meeting fellow cruisers. We already have a second cruise planned! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
This is my second Viking European river cruise. Enjoyed the first one so much I took another one. This time going west on a different ship. While we stopped in some of the same cities, Tour Guides covered different areas, I took optional ... Read More
This is my second Viking European river cruise. Enjoyed the first one so much I took another one. This time going west on a different ship. While we stopped in some of the same cities, Tour Guides covered different areas, I took optional tours not offered on the first cruise. I selected early spring, mid April to May for the generally cooler weather, absence of summer tourist crowds, and the chance to see the famous Keukenhof Gardens in Amsterdam. A beautiful garden sight I had just missed on my first river cruise. Windmills at Kinderdijk are my favorite stop. Awesome in their beauty, going up inside them, feeling the power of the windmill turning in the wind. European Sojourn travels from Bucharest to Amsterdam, cruising the scenic Danube and Rhine rivers, stopping at major cities along the way for sight seeing, historical learning, and free time for shopping and dining. I always select the before and after trip extensions at the end cities. Viking lets you select the optional tours online well in advance of your cruise starting. Do not delay as some tours sell out quickly. Viking meets you at the airport, takes you to your hotel. Your baggage is delivered to your room. Hotels are very good, breakfast always included. When the cruise is over, Viking takes you to the airport with plenty of time to check in, do security, get to the departure gate. Long ship life is easy and enjoyable, choice of menu items for each meal, a specialty Italian restaurant area at night on the Aquavit Terrace, other light menu items during breakfast & lunch. Beer and wine is included with each lunch and dinner meal at no cost. Specialty coffee machines and a selection of teas is available 24/7 with cookie and rolls. So enjoyable to sit on the deck, enjoy coffee or a drink as the beautiful scenery scrolls by. Included and optional tours at each port, Viking takes care of everything. Buses and tour guides give you a most enjoyable excursion as you walk the streets, enjoy the sights. A slower paced group is available at each stop for those who need a little more time. While Viking provides free WIFI, it is not designed to stream videos and quickly upload/download large picture images. Quality depends on how many people are online, is best when the ship is docked in port, spotty when between cities, inside going up/down river locks. Same for the international TV stations. Long ship crew members are exceptional. Always helpful, can't do enough for you. Once you get to know them it's like family. Cruise Director meets with passengers each evening before dinner to go over the next day's port calls and tours. At some stops local residents come on board to share their culture of dance and music, specialty skills and products. I will be taking more Viking cruises in the coming years. A Viking ocean cruise is next on my list. You cannot go wrong selecting Viking for your next river or ocean cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
I wanted to see the countries that used to be behind the Iron Curtain. The history was fascinating and the plight of the people was really sad. I learned so much. I loved returning to the comfort of our ship each day. The dining on board ... Read More
I wanted to see the countries that used to be behind the Iron Curtain. The history was fascinating and the plight of the people was really sad. I learned so much. I loved returning to the comfort of our ship each day. The dining on board was a highlight as was the conversation with other passengers. Finishing our cruise in Budapest was also a highlight. Our hotel was giro and the views at night were spectacular. Buds and Pest are beautiful cities. We had been here before but this was a special Tagore us. We extended our trip by adding a few days in Prague and we were so happy we did. What a spectacular city and the history was fancy. Our day trips there had knowledgeable guides, spectacular sites, and educational opportunities. Old town was a great place to shop and soak in the Stu. A highlight was a visit to the Mucha Museym. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
This was our third river cruise with Viking. This was the one that best fit our schedule this year and we had not been to Eastern Europe before. The crew was top notch as always. Seemed to care for us even better than our last trip. Small ... Read More
This was our third river cruise with Viking. This was the one that best fit our schedule this year and we had not been to Eastern Europe before. The crew was top notch as always. Seemed to care for us even better than our last trip. Small bloody Mary’s and mimosas while on deck passing through natural beauty. Light appetizers in the lounge during happy hour. Wine and beer with lunch and dinner are welcome. Love the fact that it is a small ship and immerses you in the culture of the places you visit. Also like the fact that excursions are included at each stop. Optional tours are available at some stops. We did take the optional tour of Belfast which included a visit to a winery. We enjoyed the visits through the different countries and especially seeing how the different countries are in different stages of emerging from communism. It was also interesting to see the contrast in cleanliness as we traveled from Romania to Hungary. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
This was our first river cruise on Viking and we absolutely loved it. The staff was incredibly attentive. They took an interest in getting to know us and answer all our questions. The food was delicious. It was never too over sauced or ... Read More
This was our first river cruise on Viking and we absolutely loved it. The staff was incredibly attentive. They took an interest in getting to know us and answer all our questions. The food was delicious. It was never too over sauced or spiced and was just the right portions. We took advantage of the drink package and enjoyed some wonderful wines. I loved the variety of the food that was offered particularly at breakfast. Everything you could want and more. The tours were insightful and I can't believe how much we learned each day. The public spaces were beautiful. I never felt that there were so many people on the ship that it was crowded. The amenities and the tours were all exceptional. We've been on much larger cruise ships where you felt like one of thousands. This was much more personal and comfortable. I can't wait to book another trip with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
We love Viking and this trip was no exception. We were previously on the Jarl for the Romantic Danube from Nuremberg to Budapest with extensions in Prague and Budapest. This trip was different in that it was more educational and less site ... Read More
We love Viking and this trip was no exception. We were previously on the Jarl for the Romantic Danube from Nuremberg to Budapest with extensions in Prague and Budapest. This trip was different in that it was more educational and less site seeing. The Passage to Eastern Europe on the Atla and the tours did site seeing, but we were also provided a more in depth view into how Communism, the Serbian-Croatian War (& Yugoslavia), affected Eastern Europe and how it still affects it today. Some of it is sobering, but I learned a lot! Countryside is beautiful! The only downside was that some of the ports were not on cities so you could not simply walk off the ship and browse around town. Some excursions were an hour+ away. The ship, as on our previous cruise, was nice and clean. The staff go out of their way to know you by name and your preferences for everything from how you like your room to what you prefer to drink with a meal. And, as for meals! Well, if you walk away hungry it is your fault. The staff always makes sure to take care of you. If you order something and want something different they are always accommodating. This is no different with the rest of the staff - everyone will do their best to accommodate you if you just ask. We are in our 40s and were concerned the first cruise that we would be outcasts. We should not have worried a bit! We have managed to make friends of all ages (40 & up, that is) onboard. We are already booked for another Viking trip, but next time it will be on one of their cruise ships. i can't wait! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We’ve been travelling with Viking many times and we always prefer a nice relaxing river cruise instead of an ocean one on a big noisy crowdy ship. Our cruise from Bucharest to Budapest manage to change our “top 10 best cruises” ... Read More
We’ve been travelling with Viking many times and we always prefer a nice relaxing river cruise instead of an ocean one on a big noisy crowdy ship. Our cruise from Bucharest to Budapest manage to change our “top 10 best cruises” taking the first place for so many reason. Viking LIF despite being an “old ship” (according to Viking Cruises timeline) was clean and sparkling and the housekeeping team was working hard in and out our cabin to achieve this. Our room stewardess was a sweet girl from Romania – marina – and she was doing everything possible to give us a non-stop “being home” feeling. We didn’t like the new menu in the restaurant (too complicated and no flavour) nor the new French style dinner on the terrace (the booking system was pointless, and the food didn’t have any connection with the French cuisine). Fortunately, our waiters Bart and George were superb with excellent manners and high standards. Absolutely in love with them. We missed the presence of the concierge on board despite all the efforts of the Hotel manager – a charming Dutch man and his team at the reception. Anckitza was so accommodating and always smiling. The biggest surprise on this trip was the Program Director. All our previous Viking Program Directors were good and very good, but Leonard push the expectations for our next Viking experience very high. Leonard was literally working 24h/day, 7 days/week: in the morning organising the excursion and supervising the guides (actually he knew all the city like his own pocket and sometimes better than the guides), in the afternoon planning and hosting different events on board (his presentation about Dracula and European Union were a perfect mix of academic information and fun) and finally in the evening putting together unforgettable performances, game shows and parties. Everything in a relaxed manner, always with a charming genuine smile but never forgot to be super-professional. What a gem. One day during the excursion one of the elderly ladies in our bus had a medical problem. Leonard stopped the bus in the middle of nowhere, assist the lady and her husband (later we found the Leo – as everybody was calling him on board – is a licensed physician and a famous Romanian movie star), organised an ambulance but at the same time manage to reschedule the excursion for the rest of us only with a small delay but without missing a thing from the program. It was what I call PERFECTION. Now a question for all of you who travelled before with Viking. We want to book a trip from Budapest to Amsterdam with Viking but we want to be sure that Leonard will be our Program Director. Does anybody know if you can request him to be on board with us? Thank you in advance for your advice. Our cruise from Bucharest to Budapest was an amazing experience. Thank you Viking Lif for this extraordinary trip! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
Time of year was right for us and we had never been to that part of Europe. Everything was "first class!" Viking really know how to get it done from start to finish. From greeting us at the Bucharest airport to seeing us off ... Read More
Time of year was right for us and we had never been to that part of Europe. Everything was "first class!" Viking really know how to get it done from start to finish. From greeting us at the Bucharest airport to seeing us off in Budapest the staff of Viking did everything right. If you want a fun adventure while being pampered this is the way to go. The service was great, the food was very good, the tours were spot on, the guides who traveled each day with us very knowledgeable which made the trip worth every penny. If you have never done a Viking River Cruise you must give it a try. We were "first timers" for any type of cruise and this was the best Only 180 travelers on a very spacious vessel. Of the 180, 155 had been on other river cruises with Viking and all of the ones we meet said they have never had a bad trip while using Viking. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
This was the first time we ever went on any type of cruise. We decided to try Viking because everyone we spoke with who had used one of their cruises raved about their experiences. Well, all those folks were correct. Viking exceeded our ... Read More
This was the first time we ever went on any type of cruise. We decided to try Viking because everyone we spoke with who had used one of their cruises raved about their experiences. Well, all those folks were correct. Viking exceeded our expectations in every regard. The service was excellent from the time we landed in Bucharest until we caught our plane home from Budapest. We were really impressed with how well the staff was trained and how well they tended to our every need. The cabin was great and our steward, Marina, was outstanding. The ship was the perfect size and traveled quietly up the Danube. We had a great day in snowy Bucharest and then arrived at our ship for a smooth embarkation. The entertainment was great. Our Program Director, Leonard, was excellent. He made our on board experiences enjoyable. He, alone, was more than enough reason to go on one of Vikings trips. There were 180 on board and it seemed like only 40 because of how ell Leonard had everything organized. Hats off to Viking and everyone who made our first experience so very enjoyable, Read Less
Sail Date: November 2017
This was our third and best cruise with Viking. We traveled with another couple whom we met on our Grand European tour. We made our own arrangements for a pre trip in Bucharest in order to visit Transylvania and the Black Sea. The Viking ... Read More
This was our third and best cruise with Viking. We traveled with another couple whom we met on our Grand European tour. We made our own arrangements for a pre trip in Bucharest in order to visit Transylvania and the Black Sea. The Viking pre-package was never available to us. For some reason, we were not allowed to utilize the Viking Explorer Society discount on the purchase of our cruise tickets. We did, however, enjoy the post-package in Budapest after the trip. The included and optional excursions were the best yet as was the onboard entertainment. The only difficulty was with the Silver Spirits Package. This being the final cruise of the year, provided a lack of attention in stocking the bar. Favorite brands were depleted and not repurchased. The waiters, bar and housekeeping staff were superb. I would like to offer a special thank you to the chef of preparing watermelon helments to my Canadian friends in honor of the Roughriders game we were able to stream in the Aquavit terrace. Overall, the cruise was beautiful and educational. We look forward to our next Viking experience. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Me and my wife we just come back from “passage to Europe” on Viking LIF. We’ve been in many cruises on the big ships, two of them with Viking Sky and Star, but our recent experience exceeded any expectations. Viking Lif is a ... Read More
Me and my wife we just come back from “passage to Europe” on Viking LIF. We’ve been in many cruises on the big ships, two of them with Viking Sky and Star, but our recent experience exceeded any expectations. Viking Lif is a beautiful ship, our cabin was smaller than on the ocean but extremely comfortable and we always had the feeling of a big family due to the small size of the ship (only 190 passengers on board). Was like being on a floating home. The food was very good and the service in the restaurant was exceptional (we loved Harold and Bogdan). The only thing that we missed from the big ship was the buffet which on Viking Star was amazing. Our cabin was smaller that what you get on a big ship was impeccable clean and we loved the heated floor in the bathroom. The housekeeper Anna was a very friendly girl from Romania and she was brilliant keeping our cabin sparkling every day, extremely helpful and with a nice big smile. We wanted to take her home with us. On Viking Lif we didn’t find a concierge as we were promised when we booked the cruise, but the receptionist Ankita was always ready to assist us when we needed more information about the places that we visited. The cruise visiting Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia and Budapest was an excellent opportunity to learn about the ex-communist block and discover new traditions and lifestyles. Is a cruise that I strongly recommend if you want to leave your comfort zone of a boring cruise. Of course we were extremely lucky to have the best cruise director EVER! We cruised before with Princess, Holland America, Viking, Cunard and regent but we never had the chance to have somebody like the cruise director on Viking Lif. Leonard was born in Romania, is a doctor but at the same time a movie star in Romania. We were shocked to see that in Bucharest everybody was stopping him asking for autographs and photos. His was a walking encyclopaedia having a huge amount of information about every places that we visited and answering every questions. What we loved was that he know how to mix the right amount of information with a fine sense of humour, making never boring any conversation. His presentations about Communist Romania was heart-breaking and inspiring, while his talk about Dracula was informative and funny at the same time. Everybody on board loved him and Leonard was working 25 hours daily being anytime everywhere. Charming and elegant, smart and funny he is a huge asset for Viking making our cruise informative educative but everything with a lot of fun. We celebrate Halloween on board and was one of the best party ever: everybody was wearing a mask, a “scary disco party” was taking place in the lounge and the two witches acting as hosts (the cruise director and the pianist|) were great. The entire experience on Viking Lif was memorable and, persuaded by the charming hotel manager Jary to book for the next year another cruise on Viking Lif, this time from Amsterdam to Budapest. Finger crossed that we will have Leonard again as a Cruise Director. Thank you Viking you are THE BEST! Thank your Viking LIF you are exceptional! Thank you Leonard your are phenomenal! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
It was an amazing trip. The service was impeccable, with all the staff being friendly and helpful, basically perfect. Our room was much better then anticipated. While very small the design was such that we were able to use it like a much ... Read More
It was an amazing trip. The service was impeccable, with all the staff being friendly and helpful, basically perfect. Our room was much better then anticipated. While very small the design was such that we were able to use it like a much bigger room. The French Balcony was ideal, with the bed only a few feet from it (enough to slide between it and the bed) and I felt like a balcony would have been underutilized and a hinderance to the view from the bed. I spent most river cruising time on the sun deck so I could get the 360 view I would not have seen by sitting on a balcony. The front of the boat is great, so when it was cold I could sit behind a wind screen and have an unobstructed forward view. I noticed most boats had the front terrace behind an anchor. It did get a bit cold and windy after Regensburg so I was happy to have that. While no one else spent as much time on deck as I did, people would come forward to take pictures as we got to locks or other sites and being right on the front made for a great picture. We also go lucky in that the router for the wifi must have been near our room because we could get on line (very slow internet) while others had to go to the lounge. Room 226. The bathroom was also tiny but well designed so we could wash and dry our cloths each night. The included tours were also very good though in Bucharest and Budapest we got stuck in traffic on the bus. We always had at least an hour of free time and often more, which I initially thought was short but it turns out to be about right, there is no way we were going to see everything so we just had to accept that. Viking had two issues while we were on board. One was a bridge that was going to be repaired and they had to close the river for five days. We needed to get past that bridge by Monday. Because of that we had to sail all night through one of the most scenic parts of the Romanian Danube - the Iron Gate. The reception desk offered to wake anyone up who wanted to go on deck to see it at night and they flashed flood lights on the cliffs as we weaved up a narrow gorge. The other was two generators blew in Budapest so we could not sail full speed. The only effect this had on us is that we went through the Wachau Valley slower. The docking sites were pretty good, in most cases where we could not dock in town it was because the river does not run by the old part of town. We were right in town in Vukovar, Nova Sad (just past the closing bridge and instead of Belgrade - where we would have been in town), Budapest, Melk, Passau, Regensburg, Wertheim, Koblenz and Cologne, not in Nuremberg, Bamberg or Wurzburg (I guess I should not complain :-) ). In Vienna it was a 1/2 mile walk back to the boat. In Vidin and Russe we took an hour bus ride through Bulgarian countryside to the sites we visited. The food was good, and sometimes really good. We ate on board every meal except two lunches. The portions were perfect and the wine never ending during lunch and dinner. Breakfast had lots of options for custom omelets, Eggs Benedict, French Toast and pancakes, to bagels and cream cheese and lox, yogurt and lots of pastries and fruit. The soups at lunch and dinner were always a treat, and the two theme nights, Balkan and German were a great sample of the regional foods. Otherwise there was usually a fish, meat or chicken and vegetarian dishes as well as a always available prime rib that was pretty good and a chicken dish I did not try. The other guests tended to be 70 or older but there was one family group including 30 year olds on the first leg of the trip and a few young people like us, in their early 60s. Everyone was considerate and timely, the Program Director was on top of us all and herded us to buses as needed and popped up in the middle of cities whenever we seemed confused. We did not go to most of the evening entertainment but local artists came on board at least 5 times and music and other games were organized a few nights. A lot of people spent a lot of time in the lounge, and while we did not bond with a group of guests, it was pretty clear others did and socialized, played cards and hung out in the lounge. Everyone we spoke with on board loved the trip. 47 of us did all 23 days. Many guests were repeat customers, some multiple times on the river and ocean cruises and they all only had great things to say about Viking. We too had a great time but at least for the foreseeable future we will not do another river cruise. It was just as we expected a sampling a of a lot of places, but only a sampling and we often felt we did not get to explore the ins and outs of the towns we visited. However, one goal was to find places we would want to return to and we totally succeeded in that. The Wachau Valley was amazing and a crew member told us that Linz, where we did not stop, is his favorite city. We could see returning there to bike, hike and visit other close by sites we missed on the boat. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
I worked with a wonderful representative via phone. I explained my daughter had never gone to Europe and I wanted to give her a wonderful experience. Viking delivered. It started with the pre extension in Prague. We were met at the airport ... Read More
I worked with a wonderful representative via phone. I explained my daughter had never gone to Europe and I wanted to give her a wonderful experience. Viking delivered. It started with the pre extension in Prague. We were met at the airport and taken to our hotel where we were met with a very enthusiastic representative who cared for us the 3 days were there. The included tours were excellent. Our transfers to Budapest and the ship were smooth. Our cruise director, captain and officers were kind, informative and ready to share their experiences with us. All of the included tours were outstanding. We did take several optional tours which were just as wonderful. We selected the cabin in the base of the ship and did not regret it at all. We had the last cabin on the lower deck. The room was clean and neat and kept that way by our staff. We never wanted for anything. When they saw we were drinking more water, they included another bottle for us. I had thought we would have more noise but we did not. The only noise we had was during a period when the water level was very low and we were throwing up rocks. That lasted only a short time. Sleep was great. The beds were very comfortable. The cabin was not small at all. Even if it had been we were not in our cabin much. We were either on shore or in the front lounge enjoying the music and small shows provided. I have to say it is hard to say what was the best. Everything was wonderful but the very best part was the dining. The dining aboard was out of this world. The crew remembered our names and our preferences throughout the cruise. My daughter fell in love with all the wonderful soups we had and the French toast breakfast. The food was incredible and abundant. We were never hungry and the selections of wines provided were perfect with each meal. The only down about the entire trip was our transfer in Amsterdam. We were to stay for the extension. We arrived by bus and were met by two young ladies from Viking. They sent us on a walking tour with guides while the rooms were made ready. When we returned they were no were to be found. Check in was a bit confusing. The Viking staff the next day was back in line with what we expected. Very helpful and always available. In the end I received much more that I ever expected and am working on our next adventure. Thank you Viking. Read Less
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise