45 Budapest Viking River Viking Lif Cruise Reviews

For our 5th cruise with Viking (after Portugal, France, China and Med) we decided for our anniversary to explore the Central Europe on Viking LIF. Our expectations were very high, but the recent 2 weeks experience was absolutely ... Read More
For our 5th cruise with Viking (after Portugal, France, China and Med) we decided for our anniversary to explore the Central Europe on Viking LIF. Our expectations were very high, but the recent 2 weeks experience was absolutely terrific, far above all our previous cruises with Viking. The on board meals were wonderful but I will suggest the possibility to order half portion I hate food waste. All the staff in the restaurant they were above any expectations: outstanding service, especially Pol, George, Bogdan, Andri. The food was delicious and fresh, very well prepared and the lead Chef Michael was top notch. PERFECT! Kudos to Kristian, the restaurant manager for his attention, friendly attitude and the way how he manage my quite complicated dietary requests. The reception team was excellent. Sometimes we found the Hotel Director Josip a little bit arrogant, but maybe is a cultural thing. Susana, Johnny and Bart were very professional, efficient and gracious. Their smiles were contagious true sunshine between the raindrops One little glitch about our Silver package being in force mid-way through cruise. Great services remedied the problem of our enrollment post haste and all is well. Add more hook for clothing in state rooms both River and Ocean I am disappointed how some guests dressed for dinner in the dining room: shorts, flip flops, sweatshirts And finally, our cruise Director. What can I say? Sometimes I had the feeling the we have 4 or 5 of them on board because he was everywhere: in the morning on the sundeck explaining the scenery, during the tours popping out at every corner, in the afternoon with amazing infotainment type of lectures and after dinner organizing fantastic parties and game shows. Leonard was unbelievable, he made this trip so memorable, lovely person. Energetic, wealth of knowledge. He is a great addition to Viking. He is a gem and handled challenging issues (low water levels, changing in program, difficult guests) with professionalism and a sense of humor. Looking back to our experience on Viking LIF is clear that Leonard was the best thing on the cruise so much information, friendly, helpful. These people deserve a hand. Leonard made this trip awesome All the staff was exceptional. Leonard is worth his weight in gold I really enjoy the relaxed friendly atmosphere your staff are the best I have met after 10 years travelling, I only hope I stay well enough to travel with you again. Viking staff is the key to a wonderful experience Lif has Leonard and an outstanding crew from the top down. We felt well cared for, pampered and safe. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our 5th cruise with Viking (2 river and 2 ocean cruises) and made us realised once again why we like cruising so much with them. Was the ideal way to celebrate our 50th anniversary and Grand European Tour on Viking LIF was the ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise with Viking (2 river and 2 ocean cruises) and made us realised once again why we like cruising so much with them. Was the ideal way to celebrate our 50th anniversary and Grand European Tour on Viking LIF was the perfect option. Based on our previous experience with Viking we saw how they started to cut corners especially with the quality of the food. But Chef Michael was a magician and every breakfast, lunch and dinner were kind of gastronomic events. And the service in the restaurant was simply sublime: Christian our server was very attentive, taking care of my wife medical requests, suggesting all the time the best from the menu and smiling every moment when serving our meals. What I would love to see on our next cruise is that Viking ban shorts and t-shirt during the dinner. It is a cruise ship not a fast food restaurant! I always thought that the lounge is a little bit small, especially when all the events (presentation, demonstration or shows) were very good and attracted a lot of people. On Lif one of the TV screen didn’t work and the sound was terrible sometimes which made quite hard to follow all the interesting information presented during the evening. The musicians were not our cup of tea, repeating every night the same songs and in a very amateurish style but all the other artists invited by the cruise director on board were excellent. A special mention to the bartender Ivan; we loved his knowledge and cynical sense of humour. Capitan Ana was the best we ever had. A gentle giant always talking with the passengers and keen to answer to all type of questions. His nautical presentation was a real treat, a fantastic double act with the cruise director. We never saw a captain so close to the passengers on board ever! The reception was another strong point of Viking Lif. Suzanna and Peter were knowledgeable, polite and efficient despite the fact that sometimes the place was very busy. We were impressed with the fact that if they didn’t have an answer the were asking the cruise director and come back to us in no time! A staff manning the reception night time was a little bit out of his league, forgetting couple of times our wakeup calls (we missed the wall on the Main) and spending to much time listening to his music than solving passengers issues. What a asset the Hotel Director Ionuts was for our trip! Very polite with excellent manners and extremely professional, Ionuts had always a genuine smile, being almost everywhere and leading the entire staff in a very efficient manner. He knows how to balance his skills with his age (he was 20 something). And my wife loved his hair! Viking excursions are always amazing but, this time was more than that. The guides were very informative without going over the top with historical information, mixing always personal stories with facts. Our top favourites: Rothenburg, War tour in Nuremberg, Jewish excursion in Wertheim and the cooking class in Regensburg. I save the best for last! If Lif is the crown of Viking, our cruise director Leo was the Hope Diamond. What a personality, what a passion and what a pleasure to have him. Leo was working non stop for 2 weeks at least 20 hours a day: coordinating and supervising the excursion in the morning, helping the reception during the busy lunch, answering questions in the afternoon, giving excellent briefings before dinner and organising parties or giving presentations in the evening. Somebody was joking about the possibility of having at least 3 clones of Leo on-board because he was everywhere when needed, always smiling and ready to help 24 hours a day for 2 weeks. His presentation during the sailing days were amazing: history, culture, legends everything mixed with an excellent narrative style, a war voice and a fantastic sense of humour. Leo had an answer for almost any questions, knowing all the cities as his own pocket and, at least for us, his recommendations were 100% perfect. He was a real one man show with a fantastic personality, a genuine care for the others (passengers and staff) and an encyclopaedic amount of knowledge. What can I say, and I heard other passengers saying the same, without Leo the trip will be very good but not excellent. It will be a privilege to have him as a cruise director on our next Viking cruise! Viking rules the river’s waves, Lif rules Viking and Leo ruled the excellence in our cruise in Europe. What an amazing experience. Thank you all! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We wanted to do something special to celebrate our retirement. We were not disappointed at any point during the entire cruise. The excursions were the best and we visited places we had only read and dreamed of seeing. The guides were ... Read More
We wanted to do something special to celebrate our retirement. We were not disappointed at any point during the entire cruise. The excursions were the best and we visited places we had only read and dreamed of seeing. The guides were well versed on places we visited, were patient with our many questions and allowed time to take pictures without being hurried along. We had the wonderful chance to take the pictures we will be able to share with others and remember of trip of a lifetime. The history books came to life! Great friendly, polite staff that provided service second to none. We enjoyed the dining options, which were served by friendly staff. We enjoyed the tour of the ship 's "kitchen" and the bridge. A piece of luggage did not arrive with us, the staff took care of contacting the airlines, we had our luggage before we sailed. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We've had done 4 European river cruises over the years - 2 with Viking and 2 with other companies and we wanted to do the 2-week Grand European River Cruise as part of a relaxing October vacation. This trip, however, turned out to be ... Read More
We've had done 4 European river cruises over the years - 2 with Viking and 2 with other companies and we wanted to do the 2-week Grand European River Cruise as part of a relaxing October vacation. This trip, however, turned out to be a total disaster from start to finish - anything but relaxing! Viking has yet to offer us adequate compensation for our ruined vacation. and until they make things right, I cannot recommend this once-leading company any more. On the Grand European River Cruise, buyers need to prepared for itinerary changes, canceled side trips, ship swaps, and many segments of the trip done by bus rather than on the water. There is also high likelihood that even when you do arrive at a city by ship, you will not be docked "in the heart of the city", but out by some oil storage depot where you cannot come and go on foot but need to be bused in and out on a particular schedule. Most of the cruising is done at night when you can't see anything Two of the three Viking river cruises that we've taken have had shortened itineraries and bus trips substituted for river cruising. and the few times that we've docked in or near a city, we've been double- or triple- docked with other boats so our pricey balcony was useless. This latest "cruise" had 65% of the itinerary covered by bus, and 35% by water, and was only a thin piece of what was advertised. . . Our troubles on this cruise began the day before we were arriving in Budapest to meet the ship. I was emailed to say that the ship wouldn't make it to Budapest due to low water, and that we'd be put up in a hotel for the first night - but the Viking management didn't know which hotel it would be - and then we would be transferred by bus up to to Vienna, skipping the river cruising. Not knowing where to go in Budapest, we stopped by the Sofitel, (which Viking had used in the past), and fortunately we found a rep there who said we should go to the Marriott. We did, but nobody there knew where the Viking people were, and we didn't see a rep until the following morning (the second day of our supposed cruise) when a bus came to pick us up. We spent day 2 of the cruise sitting a bus to Vienna, where we actually did get to board a ship. Despite assurances that our luggage would be in our stateroom when we got there, I found I was missing one critical suitcase with my medications, (which staff eventually found in another stateroom).I The rest of the cruise followed in the same disorganized vein: cruise a few days, then more busing. Switch ships, cruise a day or so, then more busing. Eventually the ship made it to Mainz which was it's "end-of-the line", and we had to be bused all the way up to Amsterdam where we had another chaotic hotel check-in. On bus days - there were many - we had group lunches at so-so- restaurants, and occasional highway rest stops for which we had dig out our own change to pay for rest rooms (Viking should have passed out Euros to everyone for this!) Most of the pre-paid-for side trips were cancelled, and while we eventually (2 months later) got a refund for ours, it wasn't the full amount we'd paid. By the end of this so-called "cruise", I think most of the crew were demoralized and the passengers were glad to say goodbye. As I said, this once-noble company has to make this one right before I can recommend them! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We had taken a Viking cruise from Budapest to Bucharest two years earlier, and thought that two weeks on a ship from Budapest to Amsterdam, passing through some areas that we had not visited before or had seen decades earlier, would be ... Read More
We had taken a Viking cruise from Budapest to Bucharest two years earlier, and thought that two weeks on a ship from Budapest to Amsterdam, passing through some areas that we had not visited before or had seen decades earlier, would be pleasant. Little did we know that Europe would experience five months without rain, that the rivers would be too low for the ships to sail, and that two-thirds of this cruise would be done on buses, including a final six-hour ride from Mainz to Amsterdam on a bus filled with coughing, hacking disgruntled fellow passengers. So much for the view of Budapest's chain bridge at night, or a cruise past Bratislava on the way to Vienna, or any cruising on the Rhine at all. At least we caught a glimpse of the Rhine when we crossed it on bridges. Viking could not do anything about the weather, so it cannot be faulted for the low river levels. But several other aspects of the cruise did not meet the expectations we had for a river cruise. Viking gives the impression that sailing through the heart of European cities means that you dock in the cities and can disembark and reembark at your leisure. That would have been true in Budapest, had a ship been there, and was true in Vienna, but then things changed. In Passau, where the ship was supposed to spend one night but actually stayed two, the ship stopped in the center so passengers could disembark, but then in the afternoon moved to a docking location out of town to which a person could not walk, but rather had to wait for a bus transfer. The cruise to Regensburg was a bus trip from Passau to Regensburg and then back to Passau, so there was no chance to simply walk off the ship and explore on one's own. The cruise to Nuremberg was a bus trip from Passau right past Regensburg on to Nuremberg. At Nuremberg a ship was waiting, and could sail on the lock-controlled waters of the Main-Danube canal. The next port was Bamberg, but did the ship stop conveniently in the center of town? No, it went beyond town to an industrial port from which people were bused to town. And was the ship there at the end of the day? No, it sailed on, and the passengers took buses to a small port further down the canal. So much for walking on and off the ship and exploring at leisure . The next port was Wuerzburg. As the ship sailed in we saw another Viking ship docked right in the center, with Viking banners and a red carpet, and assumed that we would dock beside it. Instead our ship sailed another five miles down the canal to dock in what appeared to be an oil terminal, from which people were bused back to the city for an abbreviated visit. Meanwhile another Viking ship passed going in the opposite direction and docked in town. The Grand European Tour is supposed to be Viking's premier cruise, yet it had the worst possible docking position. The words to describe that situation come from the barnyard. In Wertheim the ship docked in town, but then departed as soon as the passengers got off, so there was another bus trip to catch up to the ship. If a person tired early, there was no going back to the ship to relax. When the Main river joined the Rhine, the cruise ended. The ship docked in Mainz for two days, and then came the bus trip to Amsterdam. Viking did offer an excursion that included a short river trip to see the Lorelei, and the bus to Amsterdam stopped in Cologne for lunch and a quick tour, but there was no Koblenz, nor a cruise past the Drachenfels through Bonn to Cologne, nor a cruise on down the Rhine, nor any windmills in Holland. So what has Viking done for the passengers on this cruise? Certainly not a partial cash refund for the missed cruise experience. It has offered a voucher, valid for a year, worth fifty percent of the fare paid to be used toward a future Viking cruise. That is of no benefit to the people for who this was to be their final cruise, perhaps for health reasons or because they have cruised all of Viking's other offerings, or for people who for reasons of logistics or finances cannot make a decision within a year. It is Viking's cold, cruel calculation that most people will not use the voucher, and the company will pocket the money and continue its advertisements showing ships sailing through European cities. Just remember, their may sail through, but they don't necessarily stop there. Adding further insult, when refunding money paid in advance for optional tours that were canceled, Viking converted the dollar amounts paid to euros (the currency used on board the ship), and then reconverted it to dollars to make the refunds. As the exchange rate had changed, the dollar amount refunded was less that the amount originally paid. Finally, I do not wish to disparage the crews on the ships, nor the people on the ships responsible for the entertainment and the tours. They worked extremely hard under difficult and demoralizing circumstances as passengers became increasingly irritated and depressed, and appeared to have no support from Viking's headquarters, which was just over an hour's train trip up the Rhine from Mainz. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
It has now been one year since we completed our cruise on the viling Lif from Budapest to Amsterdam. With some perdpsective that a year offers, I can say without qualification that this cruise was my worst travel experience in over 45 ... Read More
It has now been one year since we completed our cruise on the viling Lif from Budapest to Amsterdam. With some perdpsective that a year offers, I can say without qualification that this cruise was my worst travel experience in over 45 years of worls travel and cruising. The upper deck was closed for over half the cruise, we docked in industrial areas miles away from the [ports listed in our itinerary, had to switch vessels once and spent most of our time on shuttle buses rather than exploring the areas we came to see. We xould not enjoy the port talks in the lounge as the lounde was too small to avccomodate all of the passengers. The only explanation for all opf tthe problems we heard from the onboard staff was that our travel agent should have advised us of the problemsthe djhip encountered. We spent over $7,000.00 on what was no more than a glorified bus tour that wasn'r woth half what we paid. The final touch for Viking Cruises was the customer service department offering us vouchers for future travel that we never received. Never again will I have anything to do with this company. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We had already done one river cruise and enjoyed it so much discussion we decided on the Grand European Tour. It had many of the things we were interested in. Although we arrive late in the afternoon and were tired from the long trip we ... Read More
We had already done one river cruise and enjoyed it so much discussion we decided on the Grand European Tour. It had many of the things we were interested in. Although we arrive late in the afternoon and were tired from the long trip we did enjoy the harbour tour in Budapest for the lights of the city. Arrival and embarkation was smooth even though some confusion arose because of the low water levels and a last minute change of departure ships. The ship and cabin were compact but efficient and immaculately clean. Dining and other on board services were 5 star as usual. We took maximum advantage of the port excisions. After all we were there to experience culture, history, architecture and of course the people, oh and can't forget about the wine and beer. We will definitely be river cruising again and definitely with Viking but we will research other of their cruises as we want to experience new things. Our only caution is to watch the time of year you choose, for us the July/August time frame was a little warm for us Northern Canadian boys. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We really thought the Viking longship was built just right with its very convenient and pleasant public areas and restaurants. The service was excellent. The staterooms were kept extremely clean and our AA Suite with its separate living ... Read More
We really thought the Viking longship was built just right with its very convenient and pleasant public areas and restaurants. The service was excellent. The staterooms were kept extremely clean and our AA Suite with its separate living room was worth the substantial extra charge. The Danube itinerary, which we had done on Viking a few years ago, is excellent. However, while docked you are frequently tied up to other Viking boats and have no view while in port. While mid-trip we were forced to switch from another Viking longship due to low water conditions (which of course Viking cannot help), the switch was accomplished very efficiently with a 3 hour bus trip. The Tour Director "Leonard" was simply excellent the entire trip not just in the transfer. However, the food while offering various options was so disappointing and mediocre at best. We are used to very good and often excellent food served on ocean going ships. Perhaps Viking is providing that on its new ocean going ships, but we will not book another Viking riverboat cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
My sister and I decided we would like to go on a trip to parts of Europe where we had never been. We are past our prime, so wanted something that we could enjoy but wouldn't spend a lot of wasted time getting used to the on board ... Read More
My sister and I decided we would like to go on a trip to parts of Europe where we had never been. We are past our prime, so wanted something that we could enjoy but wouldn't spend a lot of wasted time getting used to the on board amenities. Our ship and the crew were incredible, anticipating our every need. PD Leonard looked after all of us and all excursions we took were easy for all. Our Cabin was kept fresh and clean by Anna- and with a beautiful smile. Always anticipating our needs. Dining in the restaurant was a complete pleasure- the staff must be hand picked because they cater to each diner. Michael, our chef, kudos to you. Loved your chocolate treats our last night. Our once in a lifetime trip is now the precursor to our back to back trip across France. Yes, it was that good!. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This was our first river cruise, but won’t be our last! We were attracted by the ports of call, the reasonable price of the cruise, the great room, the food and included shore excursions and the high reviews for Viking Cruises. From ... Read More
This was our first river cruise, but won’t be our last! We were attracted by the ports of call, the reasonable price of the cruise, the great room, the food and included shore excursions and the high reviews for Viking Cruises. From day 1 we were watched over and pampered. Our Program Manager, Leonard, was amazing. He took great care in assuring we got the most out of our cruising experience. Ou Viking ship, the Lif, and our room were immaculate. The food was amazing, always fresh and scrumptious. It was not just tasty, but presented beautifully with lots of choices. The included beer & wine added to our enjoyment. The included shore excursion were great and the guides who went with us were knowledgeable and paced us well. We met some fun fellow cruisers and ate with several couples many times. We hope to take another Viking cruise in the future, probably in Scandinavia. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
For our 4th trip with Viking (1 on the river and 2 on the ocean) we decided for a 2 weeks cruise between Budapest and Amsterdam on board of Viking Lif. Our expectations were very high after our previous cruises and I am not very happy to ... Read More
For our 4th trip with Viking (1 on the river and 2 on the ocean) we decided for a 2 weeks cruise between Budapest and Amsterdam on board of Viking Lif. Our expectations were very high after our previous cruises and I am not very happy to say that Grand European Tour on Viking Lif was a mixture between far above and far below what we expected. But I gave the score for this trip just because of the amazing staff on board. The restaurant was quite different this trip The new waiters of Viking need to learn that a joke (sometimes a little bit too childish) can’t cover the lack of manners or the mediocre quality of food. In our previous cruise we enjoyed so much the dinner on the Aquavit terrace but this time we needed to book a table. One evening, when the terrace was empty, we wanted to have dinner there but a very rude barman sent us back to the restaurant mentioning the fact that we need a reservation…for an empty terrace? What a joke! Another issue with the bad itinerary planning was that, due to the presence of another two Viking ship doing the same cruise, we were always late, and I am not talking about minutes, I am talking about hours. What’s the point booking before boarding the ship excursion when most of them were cancelled due to the delays and the refund was in credit to spend on board and not money back to my account. Unacceptable! Reading on line the itinerary and experience the actual cruise is something different; in some ports (Melk, Bamberg) we stopped only 30minutes (enough for the excursions to start) while in other we didn’t stop at all: we stopped in Ryth instead of Nuremberg, Dordrecht instead of Kinderdik. So, if you don’t book an excursion with Viking no chance to visit cities by yourself. Johnny from the reception was great: always smiling, always polite and always trying to find a solution. The others from the reception didn’t have the same level of knowledge or they didn’t care about us. One night I was calling reception to inform about a leak from the AC and nobody pick-up the phone. When I went to the desk, the young man “in charge” was sleeping in the office. Fortunately, the next day Johnny sorted out the issue in a second with the same efficiency and smile. The only “breath of fresh air” in this sea of disappointments was the cruise director Leonard. He was simply AMAZING! He was 24 hours on duty: we saw him during the breakfast sorting out some passenger’s problems, during the day supervising the guides and help passengers with mobility issues, in the afternoon was giving presentations and briefing and in the evening, was entertaining all of us in the lounge. I even saw him acting as a paramedic for a guest who had an injury during one tour and organising a special event for one couple’s anniversary. Never meet on a cruise ship a cruise director so genuine kind and approachable like him. With all the delays Leonard and Captain Anna worked around the clock to keep everything under control and I don’t remember how many times I saw Leonard running between his office and the bridge trying to save, whatever could be saved from our trip. And both they did an amazing job. What a gem he is! In Amsterdam, in the airport, I was talking with other passengers and we all agreed that Leonard’s efforts made this trip much more enjoyable that it might otherwise have been. His enthusiasm, sense of humour and knowledge balanced a lot the lack of quality and consistency in other aspects. I do like Viking but after the last experience I will think twice before booking again. Maybe only if Leonard will be our Cruise Director, at least to know that somebody care about us and about Viking reputation. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Needed a quick get away and Viking had the destination I was looking for. I wish massage service was available. The crew was wonderful, friendly and helpful. Meals were excellent and beverages were good. Excursions were good for the ... Read More
Needed a quick get away and Viking had the destination I was looking for. I wish massage service was available. The crew was wonderful, friendly and helpful. Meals were excellent and beverages were good. Excursions were good for the cruise portion. Cabin was fine. Entertainment was interesting. Overall, the cruise portion met my expectations. We had a memorable time and met some nice and interesting folks. I highly recommend Viking to friends and family. As I have indicated things took the down turn at the end once we left the cruise. The local tour guides were not diligent. Our accommodation upon arrival was a disaster. Breakfast at the hotel was below average and that goes for service as well. I think Viking cruise has the cruise portion down pack to perfection, from staffing, meals and service; it's the land portion that needs a lot of work as Viking is only in partnership with the local hotels. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We booked our vacation about 4 months before the cruise. Because of the popularity we only had a couple of opinions left at the time we wanted to vacation. The timing ended up working out great for us. We got a wonderful veranda on a ... Read More
We booked our vacation about 4 months before the cruise. Because of the popularity we only had a couple of opinions left at the time we wanted to vacation. The timing ended up working out great for us. We got a wonderful veranda on a great deck and a itinerary we could have only dreamed about. It had been years (13+) since we had been on a vacation. We were quite nervous about the planning but Viking was there for us and answered all our questions. After seeking their help for the perfect cruise we were totally prepared to have a relaxing time. As you have to expect on a 2 week cruise in 4 new countries, there were things I did not anticipate or plan for. The very knowledgeable, friendly crew members made us feel comfortable and, at times, go above and beyond our expectations. Just one example is on our first full day we overslept after a day and night of flying. I was so disappointed because we missed the excursion into Budapest that morning. After asking about other options for our morning we were directed to some wonderful spots near our dock. We had a great time just the two of us. They also planned for us to have a private tour of the city by a local that worked for Viking. We spent 3 hours with her going to see some of the most beautiful sites ever. She described our tour in a very meaningful and personal way. She gave us a very special start to our cruise. It was absolutely wonderful and very much appreciated for the Viking staff to help arrange this for us. It would be impossible to adequately describe the dozens of unexpected, thoughtful experiences we had on this beautiful ship and touring the cities and towns. The staff and crew of the Lif became our extended family during our two weeks with them. We now have to make the tough decision of which Viking cruise to go on next! Since this was our first Viking experience and was so perfect on the Lif, we can’t wait to see what Viking can do to top the “Best Vacation Ever.” Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
After 4 ocean cruises with Princess and HAL this was our first river cruise and we couldn’t wait to leave the ship to share here our AMAZING memories. Viking was perfect offering us an unforgettable journey from Budapest to Bucharest. ... Read More
After 4 ocean cruises with Princess and HAL this was our first river cruise and we couldn’t wait to leave the ship to share here our AMAZING memories. Viking was perfect offering us an unforgettable journey from Budapest to Bucharest. The food, despite the fact that was sometime quite bland, was excellent presented and the service was five stars. Christian our waiter was perfect remembering our names and our favourite drinks every evening. What a great idea Viking has with open seating, in this way we have the chance to meet almost all our travel companions. The reception did an excellent job every time when we need them, and Elena and Ana were great and always smiling. Everything was FAR ABOVE EXPECTATIONS. With one exception – our Cruise Director who was 5 level above all this exceptional moments. We never had the chance in our previous cruises to meet somebody so knowledgeable, funny, informative, professional and friendly like Leonard. Every meeting in the evening, every presentation in the lounge, or answer to our questions were chances for us to learn history, culture, architecture and tradition from THE BEST. His stories when the boat was sailing in Iron gate were simply fascinating. Maybe Viking will do something about the sound in the room: we weren’t able to listen to the great presentation of Leonard and we had to go on the sundeck were was cold and windy. But Leonard made it worth it!!! He was so hard working and professional in everything was doing: keeping his smile and sense of humour solving any issues when was a problem with the buses in Bulgaria (not enough seats or something like that), buying sweets for the rest of the crew in Belgrade (no surprise that the other crew love him as much as the rest of the passengers) and spending time with those with slow mobility. If will be possible we would love to have Leonard as a Tour Director in all our Viking Cruises…we already booked another two. Viking and Viking LIF were great and I will recommend it to everybody who want to travel and be spoiled at the same time. Thank you Viking, well done Viking LIF, we love you Leonard. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We have traveled to over 65 countries, bit never to Eastern Europe. It was a wonderful experience, especially the shore excursions included in the price. Viking gave us so many cultural experiences in each country which helped make the ... Read More
We have traveled to over 65 countries, bit never to Eastern Europe. It was a wonderful experience, especially the shore excursions included in the price. Viking gave us so many cultural experiences in each country which helped make the trip special. This wa the first time on a river cruise on a small ship and it was wonderful to meet almost all of the almost 200 passengers. Each meal time we sat with someone different and met so many wonderful people from different countries and US states. Our cruise director was the best we have ever had on about 15 cruises we have taken. At each shore excursion he was with us. In each country we had the opportunity to have food typical to that country if we desired. The meals were all wonderful, The lectures and entertainment in the lounge were first class and we learned so much about things we were experiencing. In each country we were treated to dancers, singers, music, from citizens dressed in native dress. The ship and the cabins were very clean and well maintained. We also extended our cruise both before and after the cruise. We are so happy we did. It was a wonderful experience with great hotels and excursions. We love to travel, and will definitely consider Viking on a future cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
It was all about the itinerary. To list all the defects would be redundant from others who have already complained. The food was cold, the meat was tough and grizzly. The lack of vegetables that were not over cooked was negligent. The ... Read More
It was all about the itinerary. To list all the defects would be redundant from others who have already complained. The food was cold, the meat was tough and grizzly. The lack of vegetables that were not over cooked was negligent. The service in the dining room was almost non-existent. Extremely under staffed and poorly trained staff. Exception: bar staff on 3rd floor was Great! Ran out of Hendricks though!! Food servers reaching over others to deliver food that was not theirs but belonged to another table. Tables were never cleared between courses. The excursions were excellent, if you were a 20 year old and could walk 1 mile in 15 minutes, otherwise stay on board or go to the local area. If you like to sleep do not get a room on the 3rd floor. The track is above you and people run early and late, just as you are sleeping. If you were disabled, forget it. No elevator from 1st to 2nd floor, where the dining room was. Egress and ingress to the boat requires a degree in obstacle courses and climbing equipment. Someone asked me if I had complained to the company? I said no. The reason is: read the complaints and you will see the company never answers the complaints online, in writing. They always want to call the person lodging the complaint and mostly do nothing. If they do something it is usually giving the complainant a discount on a future cruise. Why would you want to cruise on a boat with such lousy service? I have lodged my complaint with my travel agent of over 30 years. She informed me she will not book with them again. I strongly recommend you do not also. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We just come back from a cruise in eastern Europe on Viking LIF. We’ve been cruising many times before mainly on Cunard, Regent, Silver Sea and Viking (3 times on the ocean) but this was our very first river cruise. It was an awesome ... Read More
We just come back from a cruise in eastern Europe on Viking LIF. We’ve been cruising many times before mainly on Cunard, Regent, Silver Sea and Viking (3 times on the ocean) but this was our very first river cruise. It was an awesome experience from all point of view: the size and the ambiance of the ship, the excellent service, great tours and fantastic time on board. Our room attendant, Anna was very friendly and while we didn't ask for much, I believe she would be more than willing to accommodate our needs. The food on board was good but we believe that Viking needs to provide more quality ingredients to be sure that the food experience on board rich the standards of the rest of the services provided on Viking LIF. The staff was always pleasant, and we fell in love with our waitress Alina. Ivan in the bar had a great sense of humour and we love his wine and cocktails recommendations. But the cherry on the cake was the cruise director Leonard. In all our previous cruises we were luck to have nice good cruise directors. But this time Leonard beat all the records: his passion, expertise, knowledge and amazing sparkling personality brought this river cruise to a hard to beat level. His lecture were a pleasure to attend with a perfect mixture of information, knowledge and entertainment getting standing ovations every night (especially his talks about the life in communist Romania and the myths of vampires) Leonard was working almost 24 hours a day: we saw him at 5.00am getting ready the excursion, running up and down during the day with the guides and entertaining passengers in the lounge until midnight or maybe late. What a great asset for Viking! For sure we will be back on another river cruise but must be Viking, must be the ship LIF and of course must be Leonard as a cruise director. Thank you all for an amazing trip between Budapest and Bucharest! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
After 6 cruises with Princess, Oceana and Viking on the ocean, me and my partner we decided this November to try a river cruise and, as we enjoyed our last cruise on Viking Star we decided for Viking again. The experience was a little ... Read More
After 6 cruises with Princess, Oceana and Viking on the ocean, me and my partner we decided this November to try a river cruise and, as we enjoyed our last cruise on Viking Star we decided for Viking again. The experience was a little bit different, but we loved every moment between Budapest and Amsterdam. Viking Lif is a lovely ship, not very big (we were 190 passengers on board), giving you the feeling that you are in an intimate environment with a subtle added touch of luxury. The stateroom was not very big, but comfortable with decent amenities. Our room stewardess Anna was above any expectations, friendly and helpful and always happy to have a nice chat with us. She managed to keep our room sparkling every without being intrusive and her smile was the best way to start our days. My only real gripe is the food which was a little bit disappointing with not a lot of variety and sometimes tasteless or nearly tasteless dishes, something like semi prepared food from a tin. But the service was impeccable, both in the restaurant and the bar with Harold and Saska making every meal special. We purchased on board the “all-inclusive drinking package” which was great with plenty of choice. The only think that was not included was the smile of the staff in the bar; maybe they were tired, but we didn’t see them smiling once. The Reception team were trying their best to be helpful but, most of the time they didn’t have time or information to answer to our questions, especially the young guy working during the night, who always “made up” answers which were far from what we needed. Ionut and Anita were great and at least were trying to help us as much as possible. Maybe, as a suggestion for Viking, the presence of a Concierge or Passenger Service Agent will be a great idea! We met the Captain once during an evening presentation in the lounge. Despite his impressive, scary look he was a very interesting character and his “double act” show with the cruise director was great. The Hotel Manager Jerry was very efficient despite the fact that he was sometimes quite abrupt with both passengers and his own crew. But he was always around the ship to check that everything was perfect…and it was! But, with no doubts, the biggest asset of the ship was our Cruise Director Leonard. We're blown away with his energy, creativity, impressive knowledge, superb manners, an incredible sense of humour. He is a true professional and has the charisma of a Jay Leno, or a Johnny Carson. Managing every aspect of our excursions and events on board he was always around when somebody had a question or need any kind of support. His lecture and presentations were simply amazing and we watch him both in the lounge or on television learning so much about Mozart and Main Canal, Dutch cheese and Sound of Music. Everybody on board loved him and that’s include the crew; I saw Leonard in Wurtzburg buying roses for all the room stewardesses and sweets for the staff in the restaurant. I think he is FLAT OUT the BEST in the business! His fun-loving and happy personality comes across within his work and it is clear why he is so popular and well regarded by everybody. If anyone has the pleasure of being on a cruise with him, be prepared for the best and informative cruise ever! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Although I have cruised many times, they have all been on large cruise ships. I can't rave enough about the service on the Viking Lif, and I would believe all Viking ships. The Cruise Director, service staff, back office staff were ... Read More
Although I have cruised many times, they have all been on large cruise ships. I can't rave enough about the service on the Viking Lif, and I would believe all Viking ships. The Cruise Director, service staff, back office staff were all excellent. By the second day, everyone knew me by my first name. The tours were very appropriate for our ports of call, and the tour guides were great. The state rooms were small, but I knew that going in. They were still more than adequate. Most of the passengers were older in age than you would find on large cruise ship, which is understandable considering the difference in cost. This also meant that there were no kids, which would have really been a pain on a small ship. But, in no way was the age of most of the passengers a detriment to having fun. Most were very active. I would definitely do this cruise again, and am actively planning another Viking cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Other family members had already signed up for the cruise. We joined them. We had heard very good reviews about Viking River cruises and were not disappointed. We would go on another given the opportunity. The embarkation and ... Read More
Other family members had already signed up for the cruise. We joined them. We had heard very good reviews about Viking River cruises and were not disappointed. We would go on another given the opportunity. The embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. The food choices were plentiful, a wide range of choices and always some vegetarian and regional choices. The crew was over the top GREAT! When we go again, we want the same crew. It was wonderful to have the walking track on the top deck for the days of cruising. You could walk from Passau all the way through the Wachau Valley, lovely. We were very pleased to be able to watch some of the evening lounge special events on the TV in our room. With having such a full day sometimes, it was nice to relax in our stateroom and not miss the entertainment on board. The on board cameras also provided fine views from the bow. Nice to check out the weather before venturing out of doors. Thank-you for such a memorable experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This cruise was scheduled as our first cruise in retirement and was selected to visit the homelands of earlier generations of my family in the old Austro-Hungarian empire. The path of this cruise hit all the locations we wanted to visit ... Read More
This cruise was scheduled as our first cruise in retirement and was selected to visit the homelands of earlier generations of my family in the old Austro-Hungarian empire. The path of this cruise hit all the locations we wanted to visit AND MORE places we didn't know we wanted to visit. The intimate nature of a river cruise was perfect for our journey of discovery - we could enjoy the excursions without being overwhelmed by 'schedule compliance.' We enjoyed the walking tours in each destination to gain an overview that enabled personal treks back to places of specific interest. My personal highlight of the trip was a private car tour to a monument of family interest near Wurzburg. We were able to visit a 32 meter column erected in 1828 as a 10 year anniversary monument to the 1818 Bavarian Democratic Constitution. That celebration has specific meaning to our family as one of my ancestors was a member of the festival 'court' who received a gold cross engraved with an image of the column. That cross has been passed down mother-to-daughter ever since, with my daughter being the current custodian. The service aboard ship was consistently top-notch. The crew worked to satisfy any request - and I do not recall ANY request not satisfied. The food was a joy - everything was prepared and served to please. The portion sizes were just right, especially given the more-than-ample opportunities for snacks around the clock. The selections were super with tough choices between better and more better on every menu. The mix of local dishes with 'old reliables' truly made each meal an eagerly anticipated event. I could have been happy staying aboard the entire cruise... The excursions were remarkable (which they would have to be to entice one to go ashore, at all). It's hard to pick out any one over the others, but the evening concert in Vienna deserves special mention. I very much wanted to hear some of the classical music I enjoy being played in the room for which it had been composed. The bus tour of the lighted Viennese buildings after the concert was a wonderful, magical finish to a very special evening. I don't know how this trip might have been improved - maybe a bit more time in Amsterdam - but it's hard to imagine a more meaningful or enjoyable experience. When I try to envision another cruise to 'top' this one I come up empty - this was the 'Ultimate!' Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was my third Viking cruise. In 2015, l did Castles along the Rhine in November and was so impressed that l upon returning home l booked another cruise for the following May, which was equally wonderful. I was so looking forward ... Read More
This was my third Viking cruise. In 2015, l did Castles along the Rhine in November and was so impressed that l upon returning home l booked another cruise for the following May, which was equally wonderful. I was so looking forward to this September Eastern Europe Cruise. We did the pre trip to Prague and post trip to Transylvania. I sincerely believe that Viking has grown too big too quickly and they have forgotten about customer service and client concerns. As a cancer survivor and a person who has asthma l never expected to have to deal with a smoker two rooms down. Especially since this was listed as a non smoking boat (a designated smoking area was indicated on third deck). After 4 complaints, the smoker was finally spoken to. But that was after 4 nights of not being able to open my balcony windows, for which l paid extra. Also, when l asked to speak with the Hotel Manager l was given a female customer representative. However, when a male friend accompanied me to the front desk to complain about the treatment l had received, out came the male Hotel Manager immediately.......women travelers be warned!!! I was shocked that in 2017, such behavior still exists! Never once after did either the Hotel Manager or Captain reach out to me. The dining room was always set and ready. Exceptional service from Tommy and Joseph, even when things did not seem to be running smoothly in the kitchen. On the two previous cruises there were more locally inspired meals. I would have to agree with another member who wrote that these meals were computer generated from corporate headquarters. Also, we were told that a Viking representative would be at the Airport in Romania to help us with departures.........no one was there and it was pure chaos! There were also concerns about daily excursions. I spoke with many folks who agreed, this trip is just not worth the money. I know await a response from Viking...... Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This cruise was the 5th with Viking and I am happy to say that nothing changes. Despite the fact that our ship was not a new one (2012) everything was impeccable - Very comfortable, very clean and was nicely appointed. We had a spacious ... Read More
This cruise was the 5th with Viking and I am happy to say that nothing changes. Despite the fact that our ship was not a new one (2012) everything was impeccable - Very comfortable, very clean and was nicely appointed. We had a spacious balcony where we could sit and enjoy the passing scenery, well worth the extra money. The trips into port were always fun and informative with local tour guides. The only thing we lacked were bicycles but next time we will rent them in port. We were very impressed with the boarding process, after couple of failures with other cruise lines. Just when we stepped out of our cab was the first moment when we meet our charming Cruise Director Leonard. That smile, his energy and his impressive manners were always with us for the next 14 days. Depending on when you board, head to your cabin if it's ready (your suitcase won't be far behind, thanks to the crew's efficiency) or make yourself comfortable in the lounge, where you can suss out fellow passengers and have a light lunch. No fuss, no hassle, no stress. Only Leonard smile dropping some useful information regarding our first afternoon and evening in Budapest. Simple fantastic! To say I recommend this trip and Viking Cruises would be an understatement of a year and if you have different people at different stages of life, what I was most impressed with was that their is something for everyone. The housekeeping crew on board are exceptional, every detail in our stateroom was attended to, and the speed and efficiency that these crew work at is an immense achievement all co ordinated by the super competent Victoria The meals on board were quite good, nothing exceptional but the service balance the lack of “wow” for every lunch and dinner. The staff were incredible and Bogdan, the restaurant manager was simply amazing as I have quite complicated dietary restrictions and it was handled in such a quiet and efficient way. We had a lot of choices to eat a meal , on the Aquavit Terrace, in front or in the main restaurant , and plenty to eat . Excellent meal prepared according to our day destination or you can order what is on the menu......Beer and Wine was also excellent.... The crew were so professional and never once had their hand out for a tip, they did their job, because they love their job !!! There's no separation of cruise "class" distinction. We were all treated as elite members with everyone receiving great service by the entire staff on board lead by one of the best Hotel Directors I ever meet: Jerry. He was always ready to sort any types of problems on board, sometimes over the top, but always charming and helpful. Love him! One day arriving back after a long day of sightseeing, we were greeted with a luscious chocolate at the door! We appreciated the flexibility of attending the evening activities or just relaxing in our room. Service is wonderful. The staff obviously takes great.pride in learning about their guests. The very quickly learn or preference, red wine/ white wine, coffee/ tea. They have an.amazing ability to know your name after the first day. Last but not least our Cruise Director. Leonard was exactly the opposite of some of our previous experiences with Silver Sea and Regent( see our review about the arrogance and lack of customer care of some of the Cruise Directors) Nothing was too much from Leonard, being everywhere at any time with the same smile and professionalism. He is one the greatest pro's I have ever seen! He knew the itinerary like his own pocket having a story or a unusual fact for every places we visited. His daily lecture were like a Discovery channel shows: informative, interesting and funny. And taking in the account the number of passengers and excursion every day he was SO organised managing everything with no failure. And every evening, no matter how busy the day was, Leonard was in the lounge for a chat, for a dance or an exciting presentation. One night he organised a ABBA and ‘80s Party where HE was an excellent DJ! What a treat…people dancing everywhere and some of the crew joining too. Leonard was simply amazing, a great asset for Viking! Above all, the crew was amazing! Whether the room stewards, the wait staff, the bartenders or the officers, everyone was cordial and friendly beyond belief. They also transitioned seamlessly between tasks on the ship which was evidenced by their ability to move our luggage when departing like a well-oiled machine. Everyone from the Captain to the kitchen help worked shoulder to shoulder. To say I recommend this trip and Viking Cruises would be an understatement of a year and if you have different people at different stages of life, what I was most impressed with was that their is something for everyone. Already booked another 2 cruises with Viking! Can we have Leonard as a cruise director, please????!!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Cruise director and ALL staff were excellent. My first trip to Europe and what a great way to see a part of 4 countries. Would do it again in a heartbeat! We had a Veranda Suite an it was perfect every day. We chose Easy and Moderate ... Read More
Cruise director and ALL staff were excellent. My first trip to Europe and what a great way to see a part of 4 countries. Would do it again in a heartbeat! We had a Veranda Suite an it was perfect every day. We chose Easy and Moderate excursions and left the Demanding ones for the more adventurous and younger passengers. There is something for everyone. Dining was always on point and superb. I drank enough wine to float a battleship because they were always refilling my glass. We went from Budapest to Amsterdam with the additional days before and after the cruise. Met so any nice people and even a few from Louisiana and we happened to know some of the same people even though we did not live near each other. When they busted out the LSU attire, we knew we had to strike up a conversation with them. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This was our 5th river cruise with Viking. Having done China, Myanmar, Vietnam and Russia this was not as adventurous. Several friends recommended it. Overall the cruise was very nice, relaxing and we covered a lot of territory. All ports ... Read More
This was our 5th river cruise with Viking. Having done China, Myanmar, Vietnam and Russia this was not as adventurous. Several friends recommended it. Overall the cruise was very nice, relaxing and we covered a lot of territory. All ports of call were very interesting. All the staff we delt with were helpful, knowledgeable and curtious. I liked that the captain was available to talk to throughout the cruise. I was very disappointed in the trip we took to Salsburg. Long drive, expensive and to rushed when we got there. The quiet box did not work making it impossible to hear what the guide was saying. We were so close to the Do-Rae-Me steps but weren't given the time for pictures there. Very disappointed as my parents took me to the Sound of Music for my 13th birthday when it premiered. Being very athletic, I was surprised when the upper deck was closed for several day. I understand why but it made me antsy to get off the ship and go walk. I wish there were bikes to use in the ports given all the bike trails along the river. I would love a day long excursion riding from one port meeting up with the ship in the next port. The food was great and the portion sizes were just right so that I did not come away feeling stuffed. Have you considered having a guest entertainment night so guests could show off their talents? The nights where there was outside entertainers were great. This is not to say the piano player wasn't good, just mundane after a few nights. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Viking Lif Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.5
Dining 4.0 4.4
Entertainment 3.0 4.2
Public Rooms 5.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 1.0 3.2
Family 1.0 3.2
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.4
Enrichment 4.0 4.3
Service 4.0 4.7
Value For Money 3.0 4.1
Rates 4.0 N/A

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