1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2016
Having limited previous exposure to mainland Europe, this cruise provided the opportunity to broaden my sense of the cultures extant in that part of the world. My travel companion and I actually started the trip with a 3-day pre-cruise ... Read More
Having limited previous exposure to mainland Europe, this cruise provided the opportunity to broaden my sense of the cultures extant in that part of the world. My travel companion and I actually started the trip with a 3-day pre-cruise visit to Prague before embarking on the Viking Lif in Budapest. As was to become the standard for the entire river cruise, Viking representatives accommodated our every need from initial arrival to our final departure. Every port-of-call was as described in their advertisements and catalogs. Special credit must be given to the on-board tour director who presented in-depth information about the countries, cities, and towns in which we were to stopover the next day or two. Further in that respect, the shore excursion tour guides were extremely well informed about the historic and current nuances that were of interest to visitors. As for the cruise itself from Budapest to Amsterdam, one could not ask for a more informative, serene, and aesthetic venture catered by an extraordinarily competent and caring crew. On the basis of this experience, my travel companion and I are in the midst of arranging a second Viking river cruise from Paris to Zurich early next year. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2016
This was to celebrate retirement and a milestone birthday. We also added the Prague and Amsterdam extensions. Since we selected an Explorer Suite, business class air was included. From check in at O'Hare with KLM, to ... Read More
This was to celebrate retirement and a milestone birthday. We also added the Prague and Amsterdam extensions. Since we selected an Explorer Suite, business class air was included. From check in at O'Hare with KLM, to arrival in Prague, it was pure luxury. We were met in Prague by a Viking representative who handled our luggage and transported us to the hotel. We were at the Hilton old town; close to everything and walkable to most sites. Anything not walkable we used public transportation. We found some good restaurants and historical sites on our own. There was a Viking representative at the hotel daily, very helpful and informative. I did hear complaints from some of our fellow travelers about confusion and lac of communication. This was due to behavior on their part, not the Viking Rep. Our Prague city tour was very interesting and well done with a luxury bus to transport us. We also opted for an optional food and walking tour which was great, but an indication of too many opportunities to overeat. Transportation from Prague to Budapest was by luxury coach with an informative guide. Once onboard, WOW! Our suite was gorgeous and very clean with ample storage, welcoming champagne and excellent service by our cabin steward with replenishment of snacks and beverages The dining was excellent; regional dishes and wine and beer with outstanding table service. Every evening there were also basic choices available like salmon, steak, chicken breast and Caesar salad. Our ship director, Leonard was a delight. Every evening there was a great pre-dinner briefing. Excellent entertainment every evening; either a lecturer or local musicians or dancers. The on-board pianist was extremely talented. All the included tours were interesting and the guides were articulate and well informed. My least favorite were the guides in Kinderdijk and Amsterdam; they both seemed to be going through the motions a little. We did some optional tours in Vienna and Cologne. I have nothing but praise for Viking. We have our second cruise scheduled for October 2017, and an ocean cruise May 2018. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We checked out our options and alternatives. Viking River Cruises had the best options, the best offers and the best reviews. They were all well deserved! Starting in Amsterdam, we had opportunities to visit the city and surrounding ... Read More
We checked out our options and alternatives. Viking River Cruises had the best options, the best offers and the best reviews. They were all well deserved! Starting in Amsterdam, we had opportunities to visit the city and surrounding countryside. Then the cruise began. The river views were outstanding and the many side trips highlighted and filled in our desire to see and know more about each city and community. The cruise staff met our every need and the places and people we got to see and meet were a delight. We shopped as much as we wanted and have the items to help us remember this great trip. "Entertainment" both on and off ship was great providing just the right amount of change of pace when it was needed and wanted. The one hiccup in and on the river (not a Viking issue) was easily overcome by Viking and its staff. Few other "lines" have the resources to overcome issues seamlessly. Our evaluation before our trip payed off and was reflected in a most amazing and wonderful trip, education and vacation. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Over all it did not exceed our expectations. The weather that we had was exceptional, it would have been more enjoyable if access to the upper deck was not restricted. The cabin was small by any standard. The shower would not fit the ... Read More
Over all it did not exceed our expectations. The weather that we had was exceptional, it would have been more enjoyable if access to the upper deck was not restricted. The cabin was small by any standard. The shower would not fit the standard oversized American. Internet access in the cabin was very poor, had to go to the lounge for a signal. TV service was poor minimal programing, no local stations at all. The provided tours and guides were good. The optional tours seemed to always conflict with the standard tour. They needed to offer additional tours in the evening when the boat was not leaving until the wee hours. The food was average but the service was good water and wine glasses were topped off regularly. The last day in Amsterdam consisted of getting off the boat and being driven to the airport All in all it was a good trip Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Everything on a Viking river cruise is welcoming, comfortable, civilized, and fun. The staff is amazing. I wanted to take them all home with me. On a Vikng cruise you feel special. Still, the atmosphere is relaxed. The fact that there ... Read More
Everything on a Viking river cruise is welcoming, comfortable, civilized, and fun. The staff is amazing. I wanted to take them all home with me. On a Vikng cruise you feel special. Still, the atmosphere is relaxed. The fact that there are under 200 passengers onboard, no kids, swimming pools, casinos or shows makes this a different kind of cruise. If you go for all of those things, it may not be for you. For me personally, it was perfect. I also love the Scandinavian decor, the practicality of the way the staterooms are laid out, and the lovely deck from where to relax while watching the scenery go by. And at each stop there's a guided tour of that destination included. It seemed everyone from the captain to the cleaning crew was intent on making our experience an unforgettable one - and they succeeded. I warmly and enthusiastically recommend Viking's river crushes. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
After taking 24 ocean cruises, I was a bit worried about sailing on a small river boat. However, it was a wonderful experience. The passengers were not pretentious and it was great to get to know them. We made some deep friendships. ... Read More
After taking 24 ocean cruises, I was a bit worried about sailing on a small river boat. However, it was a wonderful experience. The passengers were not pretentious and it was great to get to know them. We made some deep friendships. The crew was fantastic and every detail of the trip was impeccable. The chef was very visible and it was a delight to get to know him. The food was excellent and the dining room staff made each meal entertaining. The program director and her staff took great care of us both on and off the ship. The shore excursions were great and the program director gave wonderful commentary as we sailed past castles and other sites. The captain and his crew were very personable. We felt so safe that we agreed we would trust Viking with cruises along the Nile River and in other parts of the world where we would not be comfortable being on our own. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We had heard so much about this cruise and it lived up to our expectations! Beautiful medieval cities, the gorgeous cathedrals, the palaces, so lovely amidst the beautiful river settings. The staff was wonderful as per usual, (we had ... Read More
We had heard so much about this cruise and it lived up to our expectations! Beautiful medieval cities, the gorgeous cathedrals, the palaces, so lovely amidst the beautiful river settings. The staff was wonderful as per usual, (we had sailed on a river cruise to France), but the staff this time seemed very tired and a bit overworked. They were rather impersonal but did their jobs. The food was delicious but when German cuisine was not to our liking there was always a lovely rib eye available! Viking aims to please and it was evident in the Waite staff, we had two favorites who took such good care of us we wanted to bring them home with us! The excursions were well done with knowledgable tour guides. The only thing I think Viking could improve on is on-board entertainment. They had a wonderful piano player but don't expect much more. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2016
We had taken a wonderful Volga river cruise three years ago. So we were excited to take another river cruise. We chose Budapest to Amsterdam. It did not begin to compare to our first cruise. Staff and food was awesome. Tours were ... Read More
We had taken a wonderful Volga river cruise three years ago. So we were excited to take another river cruise. We chose Budapest to Amsterdam. It did not begin to compare to our first cruise. Staff and food was awesome. Tours were repetitive. We saw the same things at each stop. The Mozart and Strauss concert was terrific but the hall where it was held did not seem worthy of the entertainment. Would have liked to stay longer in several of the towns to experience and Shop in a European city. There were toooooo many locks and down time. Top deck was off limits a lot, so was nothing to do. Boring. Would have liked to have access to bicycles or be within walking distance with time to explore the cities.. Basically I think the cruise tried to cover tooooo many river miles at the expense of actually exploring European towns. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2016
This was our first river cruise. We were able to get a last minute deal with Viking River Cruises. Discounted prices for air and cabin. The French balcony cabin was clean and had adequate space. The food was very good. The excursions that ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. We were able to get a last minute deal with Viking River Cruises. Discounted prices for air and cabin. The French balcony cabin was clean and had adequate space. The food was very good. The excursions that were included in the cruise fare were very informative. The tour guides were very knowledgeable and spoke excellent English. The extra excursions offered at some of the ports were an added bonus. We went on a wine tour in Croatia. We visited a local wine cellar and had three wine tasting with cheese and bread. This was a very enjoyable cruise. All of the staff were very friendly and the food servers remembered our dinner/wine preferences. We have been ocean cruises that were very good, but the river cruise is less hectic, less lines and a few thousand less people sailing with you. I would recommend Viking cruises to anyone looking for a little culture and a lot of relaxation. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2016
We visited Hungary,Serbia,Bulgaria and Romania..with an extra few days in Transylvania. Crew was very friendly and tried to please. Food on board was very good. Tours were interesting and tour guides were very good and spoke English with ... Read More
We visited Hungary,Serbia,Bulgaria and Romania..with an extra few days in Transylvania. Crew was very friendly and tried to please. Food on board was very good. Tours were interesting and tour guides were very good and spoke English with almost no accent so they were easy to understand. Cabin crews kept our room neat and clean. Free snacks and drink bar always open with soda water, coffee and latte. Interesting lectures at night. At some ports we had local dancers and entertainers. Most shows were very good. Ship docked at a port in town most of the time so it usually was a short walk to the cities center. We never needed to take a taxi to get to a town. Food in towns was cheap and very good. Don't miss the extra stay in Transylvania and Bucharest. In Rumania the currency is the Lev and it goes a very long way. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2016
we thought this would be an excellent way to see four countries in a fifteen day span. viking did an excellent job of taking good care of their passengers. the food and drink were wonderful and the service by the staff topnotch. we would ... Read More
we thought this would be an excellent way to see four countries in a fifteen day span. viking did an excellent job of taking good care of their passengers. the food and drink were wonderful and the service by the staff topnotch. we would highly recommend viking to everyone considering a european river cruise. the included excursions were both beautiful and educational. tour groups were led through the various historical landmarks and were able to answer every question that was asked. viking's low cost airfare and transfers are the way to go. representatives picked us up at the airport and dropped us off at the appropriate airline counter. it was very comforting to know that the company had our backs while we were cruising. our pre-trip accomodations were also fantastic. my wife and i were traveling with two other couples, nut we still enjoyed meeting many other interesting people over our fifteen day cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This was our second Viking river cruise. We like the small ships, the casual atmosphere, and the excellent on-board staff. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. Each stop a tour is included in the cruise price, and the tour guides ... Read More
This was our second Viking river cruise. We like the small ships, the casual atmosphere, and the excellent on-board staff. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. Each stop a tour is included in the cruise price, and the tour guides are very knowledgeable. The headsets make the tours much more enjoyable. The program director was fun and very well-organized. When high river levels forced us to alter our docking one day, busses were arranged, lunch in town was provided, and the ship picked us up in town later in the day. Another day traffic on the river was stopped, and we had to change our docking site. Again the busses found us for our tours and everything went smoothly. Very minor inconveniences for us, but probably major work for the staff. The food on-board is tasty and interesting. Beer, wine and soft drinks are complimentary with lunch and dinner (a big savings!) This cruise was loaded with castles and churches and beautiful scenery along the rivers. We chose a 3 night pre-cruise Prague stay, which was fabulous! We look forward to another Viking river cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2016
Wanted to try a cruise now that we are retired. Loved it, staff was wonderful. The cabin steward, Vladamir, kept everything in great shape, and in the dining room, Katarina was terrific. Of course, the Program Director, Leonard was great ... Read More
Wanted to try a cruise now that we are retired. Loved it, staff was wonderful. The cabin steward, Vladamir, kept everything in great shape, and in the dining room, Katarina was terrific. Of course, the Program Director, Leonard was great and very entertaining. Embarkation and disembarkation went extremely well One complaint, we signed up for two extra days in Amsterdam. The hotel, Moevenpick, was super, The two days turned out to be one day in Amsterdam and one day of travel, with an airport pick-up at 0430, and all day travel. By the way, Heathrow is not nice place to travel through. Their version of TSA is even less friendly than in the US. Shore excursions were generally very good, although I did get a little tired of cobblestones. Probably could have done without the Hungarian Horsemen and the Dutch Cheese Maker (cheese was interesting and we bought some, but cows were cows - not interesting) but chalk it off to experience. Would we go again, yes. I believe we have signed up for British Islands Explorer in 2018, with a stop-over in Iceland Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We have been in n many ocean cruises, and this was our first river cruise. Based on this experience, we are "hooked" on river cruises. We took the Grand European tour - Budapest to Amsterdam. We loved the small number of ... Read More
We have been in n many ocean cruises, and this was our first river cruise. Based on this experience, we are "hooked" on river cruises. We took the Grand European tour - Budapest to Amsterdam. We loved the small number of passengers, personalized service by all staff, shore excursions.and fellow passengers. We are retired, and most passengers were 50 or older, well traveled, and interesting. I have problems walking very long distances and standing for long periods of time. My husband, on the other hand is very athletic and active. There were tour groups that fit both our needs. There is a leisure group that is slower and avoids multiple steps and more strenuous terrain. Tour guides were excellent and knowledgeable . If you don't like group tours, the concierge is very knowledgeable about alternatives - hop on hop off buses, etc. I enjoy exploring on my own and met a fellow passenger who liked the same things. Like all cruises, we would like more time in certain cities -Vienna, Cologne. Unlike ocean cruises, there is no casino, fitness center, evening shows - we did not miss. Every evening there is a review of tours and things to do in port-recommend attending these. Also available on in room TV. Evening/afternoon entertainment was based on local culture, information. I do recommend some of additional shore excursions - price is reasonable compared to ocean cruises. We loved the Vienna music and trip to Rothenberg. Husband loved Beerhaus tour in Cologne. Food was excellent and there is personalized service for special dietary needs. We used frequent flyer miles for airfare, but did purchase transfers. Well worth cost. We booked through Viking -but will use travel agency next time -Most who used travel agencies had extra perks. We did not book pre or post cruise tours. Heard great reviews for Prague and Bdapest. We are planning our next river cruise -hope you join us! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
This was our first river cruise, and we are so happy that we chose Viking! The Grand European Tour was everything we expected and more. The scenery, the towns and villages, the exposure to history, the daily tours, they were all we could ... Read More
This was our first river cruise, and we are so happy that we chose Viking! The Grand European Tour was everything we expected and more. The scenery, the towns and villages, the exposure to history, the daily tours, they were all we could have wanted. The Lif became our very own home for 15 terrific days and that was due not only to the comfort of the ship itself (which was beautifully designed), but was due in large part to the friendliness of, and the inclusion by, the crew. They literally became like family and made our time on board even more special. I think it is exceptional to report that we were a group of ten and not a one of us had a single complaint. We have already booked our 2015 Viking Cruise.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
I guess I expected a luxury cruise at the rate we paid for our Explorer cabin. The Good : Beautiful new longboat, nice finishes,linens and bath products,public spaces appealing,crew was pleasant and helpful,good pre-trip info about ... Read More
I guess I expected a luxury cruise at the rate we paid for our Explorer cabin. The Good : Beautiful new longboat, nice finishes,linens and bath products,public spaces appealing,crew was pleasant and helpful,good pre-trip info about excursions and well thought out coffee and water areas. The Not so Good : Cheap noisy bed frame,large excursion groups,closing of sun deck for one third of our trip(they built boats too large so they could get max. of cabins but forgot they won't go under some bridges and get through some locks with the sun deck accessible),virus spread onboard to many passengers and crew and no doctors come on board ship..was told it was an EC regulation...hummm..you have to be taken by ambulance to emergency room...even for antibiotics and the like. Not good. The food was as tasteless with frozen and canned vegetables and meats.. lots of heavy carb foods for filler....served barely room temperature. Also the food and beverage service was grossly under staffed. One waiter for cocktails in lounge and very seldom did anyone come to the sundeck to ask if we wanted a beverage.No water glasses refilled at the table ...again understaffed. We were pushed to order and pushed to leave dining room with the lights in room being turned up to their brightest at 9:15. Not gracious !! It felt like the Hotel Manager wanted to show the corporate office that he could reduce staff and cost and to h--- with the paying guests. Too bad as the boats are very nice and could easily be a lovely experience but sadly,ours and our friends was not.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2014
My husband, father and I have just returned from the Grand European Tour on the Viking Lif, starting in Budapest and finishing in Amsterdam. My husband and I are in our 40s/50s and my father is in his 80s, so it was interesting that we ... Read More
My husband, father and I have just returned from the Grand European Tour on the Viking Lif, starting in Budapest and finishing in Amsterdam. My husband and I are in our 40s/50s and my father is in his 80s, so it was interesting that we were on the extremes of the perceived demographic regarding age on the boat. Firstly, it was a wonderful trip. Here are the points that made it remarkable: * The staff on the ship, who with one exception (see later), could not have been more kind, helpful and friendly. Service most definitely came with a smile and often a laugh, and the ship was immaculately clean. * The Lif itself - we were only the fifth set of passengers to travel on it and it showed. Everything still smelled new, and despite the usual age group who take these cruises, we felt that it would have appealed to many of our more middle aged friends. * The quality of the on shore guides in every place we stopped was excellent - and every one of them was a memorable personality, which really added to the enjoyment. * Pianist and singer on board - if you read some other reviews for Viking cruises, this sounds like a flannelette nightgown and slippers kind of evening entertainment. BUT - it really wasn't in our case as the pianist was excellent and versatile, ranging from smooth cocktail sounds during the day and full out rock and roll dancing at night. (Thank you Bobby! xx) Now, secondly, some travel tips: * Personally, we didn't see the point in spending a lot for a room with a view. We didn't, and it was more than adequate. Whatever room you book, you get the same bed, shower, TV etc. The bed is very comfortable, the shower has excellent water pressure. Several people we spoke to regretted spending so much extra as they barely spent time in their state room, or else it was parked up against another ship (normal with anyone who has experienced river cruising before). * If you are from the UK, you may be surprised to find yourself out-numbered by Americans, Canadians and Australians. They were mostly great actually, but we definitely have different cultures.....! * The Aquavit terrace is lovely. As soon as they start opening it for meals, I recommend you get up there as it seems to take time for word to get around and you may have it almost to yourself. Personally, my husband and I found the more relaxed and scenic atmosphere up there more pleasant than the restaurant. There is officially "open seating", but you may well find that as is normal with human nature, people start to assume territorial "rights" over their own table. Personally, I can't imagine anything worse than sitting with the same people you don't know for every meal for two weeks, but maybe that's just me. FINALLY - I am giving this cruise a top score as we found it close to perfect. However, we were extremely unhappy with the programme director for a number of reasons. We will be contacting Viking about this shortly. I didn't think it was appropriate to mark the whole team down for the ineptitude and failings of one team member though, in total fairness.   Read Less
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 3.1
Family 1.0 3.1
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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