3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 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
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We just come back from a 2-week cruise between Budapest and Amsterdam on Viking LIF. We do like ocean cruises (being already with Regent, Princess and Cunard) but it was the 6th river cruise (2 with Viking, 2 with Vantage and 1 with ... Read More
We just come back from a 2-week cruise between Budapest and Amsterdam on Viking LIF. We do like ocean cruises (being already with Regent, Princess and Cunard) but it was the 6th river cruise (2 with Viking, 2 with Vantage and 1 with Scenic). Viking continues to be a pleasant surprise with daily included excursions and a lot of new paid tours which made our weeks extremely interesting even if we travelled on the Danube and Rhine before. Our cabin was extremely clean and sparkling thanks to our excellent cabin stewardess Marina but to be honest Viking can invest some money in trying to update the accommodation and bring what other cruise lines have already: better TV channels and internet connection, more modern facilities in the room and on board. I didn’t understand why in the lounge those two huge TV screens were always black and why this time the funny photos of our cruise were missing. We loved the idea of buying photos during our cruises but this time Viking didn’t give us the chance. On top of that we missed the presence of a Concierge on-board especially when the receptionist wasn’t able always to help us. We were lucky to have on-board a Dutch Hotel Manager who assist us with our requests in Amsterdam but, his charisma and willingness to help couldn’t replace the Concierge from our previous cruises with Viking. The food was nothing special. The Chef and his team was working hard in the kitchen (great taste and presentation of every meal), the waiters in the restaurant (especially Bogdan and George) were trying to make every lunch and dinner memorable but, wasn’t hard to see that Viking started to cut corners. The quality of the food was not the same as before and the presence of a cheaper mediocrity couldn’t be covered by fancy names of the dishes. As always Viking had a team of excellent guides, most of them local who transform each excursion in a chance to discover history, myths, architecture and traditions. We love all the tours even if some of them they were a little bit overpriced and with a little bit of research you can discover most of the cities visited by yourself. After all our ocean and river cruises we don’t have any doubts to say that we were blessed with the best Cruise Director EVER! Leonard was a library of knowledge mixing every information with a useful tip and an excellent and refined sense of humour. Normally we avoid when cruising on board lectures or presentation but his daily chat about our next port of call was a “live performance” from Discovery or History TV channels: informative, full of useful information and tips, easy and funny to watch. His personality and presence on board was a blessing for everyone; Leonard was everywhere, smiling and organising, taking care and chatting, making a joke or giving extra information about an excursion or an event…24h daily for two weeks. Sometimes we were wondering when he was sleeping. Viking is great for a river cruise but I am afraid that they started to go to main stream missing some important points of luxury cursing what made Viking famous. Fortunately, the crew on board VIKING LIF was great and Jery, Bogdan, Marina, Capitan Ante, Ivan and especially Leonard made this trip FAR ABOVE EXPECTATIONS. Thank you all! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
This was our 6th Viking River Cruise (our 8th river cruise). Overall, this was another very good trip. Everything went smoothly; all the flights, connections, transfers, etc (all done through Viking). Since this was the first cruise of ... Read More
This was our 6th Viking River Cruise (our 8th river cruise). Overall, this was another very good trip. Everything went smoothly; all the flights, connections, transfers, etc (all done through Viking). Since this was the first cruise of the season, the crew was refreshed and the ship sparkled. Unfortunately, we only spent 7 nights (6 days) on the ship, and I guess I didn't pay attention to that when I booked the cruise. It passed too quickly and we all would have preferred a couple more days on the ship. The pre-cruise time in Budapest and then post-cruise excursion in Bucharest were great. Romania was the big surprise of the trip! Bucharest is so European!! This was such an interesting itinerary. All the stops were formerly Communist countries. It was so interesting to learn how they've changed since the late 1980s/early 1990s. Budapest and Bucharest were very modern and had an "European feel;" Serbia and Bulgaria much less so. Other reviewers have complained that there was nothing to see at some of the ports. That isn't true; we "saw" what life is like in some of these places and the effects of a struggling economy. The tour guides were very honest in their assessments about the impact of the end of Communist rule and each country's efforts towards promoting free markets and democracy. They admitted that some people were still nostalgic for Communism! Since this was our 6th cruise, we're pretty familiar with the Viking offering. So, perhaps the novelty has worn off, but there was just "something" about this trip that didn't measure up to previous Viking sailings. This time, passengers, both North American and European, showed up on excursions and to dinner in shorts, sweats, and flip flops. Some were dressed more appropriately for a trip to the beach than to visit a church or historic site! And almost no one dressed for the farewell dinner (by "dressed," I mean a button down shirt for men and a nice blouse and slacks for women). I was astonished by how many people were sloppily attired even for the farewell dinner! My husband and I don't like to dress - and we shy away from formal dinners on the ocean cruises - but even we make a little special effort for the farewell dinner on Viking. Viking doesn't publish in advance the arrival or departure times for each port, making it impossible to arrange private tours in lieu of the included Viking excursion. The included excursions were all good, and all the guides knowledgeable, but there was a little bit of a "herd mentality" getting 40+ people on and off each of the tour buses at each stop. Potential Viking customers who don't like this aspect of group travel should take notice. For both the pre-cruise time in Budapest, and the post-cuise time in Bucharest, we did avail ourselves of smaller tours. In Budapest, we did a "free tour" (most cities now have them) and it was excellent. In Bucharest, we did the Viking post-cruise excursion which included an overnight trip to Transylvania. It was good, but not great, and other passengers who did a private tour instead seemed to have a better experience. In Bucharest, we also did a paid Tours by Locals, and our guide Alina was fantastic! (www.wheninbucharest.com). The food was delicious!! Service was friendly and impeccable. We will be taking our first Viking Ocean cruise in October, so it will be interesting to see how the Viking "model" translates to an ocean cruise setting. 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: 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
Viking Lif Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 1.0 0.0
Family 1.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 3.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 N/A

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