120 Viking River Viking Lif Cruise Reviews

Best vacation we have ever had, We rave to anyone who asks. Loved the ship, Captain and Crew was fantastic. Always polite, smiling, helpful. I and others had food allergies / special dietary needs, handled daily without exception, to such ... Read More
Best vacation we have ever had, We rave to anyone who asks. Loved the ship, Captain and Crew was fantastic. Always polite, smiling, helpful. I and others had food allergies / special dietary needs, handled daily without exception, to such a detailed degree that I once changed my mind at the table last minute wanting some food special to a region. It was written in the local language, the order went to the kitchen and the server came back... you can't have that, it's fish and you are not supposed to eat that. I did not read the description thorough enough, but they caught it. I would have been ill for a good day or two without their eagle eyes. Enjoyed the ports/ cities, itinerary and all the cities we stopped at. Especially liked the fact that all the guides at the stops were locals and spoke excellent english and could tell educational history, lore and tales. Just such a treat. The lounge area where the entertainment was comfortable and big enough to not feel crowded. There was a husband and wife couple who played piano and a few wind instruments and sang much of the time, very enjoyable, I think everyone like their selections. Trying to figure out where to cruise next!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
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
After 6 cruises on the big ships we decided for our anniversary to try a river cruise with Viking (we’ve done already 2 Viking cruises on the ocean). The cruise from Bucharest to Budapest sounded very interesting and we decided to try ... Read More
After 6 cruises on the big ships we decided for our anniversary to try a river cruise with Viking (we’ve done already 2 Viking cruises on the ocean). The cruise from Bucharest to Budapest sounded very interesting and we decided to try despite the fact that our friends from Atlanta got a better quote for the same cruise and the same cabin. The ship was Viking LIF and the entire experience made us to started to look more in to river cruise for our future holidays. Here are some suggestion and impression from our trip in eastern Europe Bucharest – a beautiful city where the communism left plenty of marks. We loved the food and the architecture and, as a suggestion, maybe in the future Viking will organise a stay longer than one night. Excellent hotel and very well organised transfers. Ruse – despite the fact that the journey to Arbanassii was quite long the excursion was amazing giving as the chance to learn about the history of this country (we didn’t have any idea about how old Bulgaria is). Great lunch and fantastic place to visit. Maybe the guides can be less ridged and less “primary school teacher”-like Vidin – a very poor city but the trip to the mountains was amazing. Was great that the cruise director “forced” us to go and ignore the information about difficulty of the excursion. Was worth it and you don’t miss the breath-taking views with plenty of things to do if you don’t climb the rocks. Sailing day – the landscape is fantastic, and the information offered by the cruise director made us feel like in a Discovery documentary. We loved the new excursions introduced by Viking in a local village, an areological site and a fortress. The children invited on board were amazing despite the fact that the moderator of the conversation was trying hard to take over the entire conversation. Belgrade – we would love to stay longer. What an amazing city! We strongly recommend the visit to the opera and a lunch on your own to a restaurant close to the ship with no name …just “?” (our Cruise Director was so right to recommend this place) Vukovar – the visit to a Croatian family was fantastic and a real eye-opener. Maybe Viking can do something about the “rush feeling” of that day…we would like to explore more. Kalocsa – the horse farm was an interesting and authentic experience. If you want to buy paprika do it here is far much cheaper and better quality than the one in Budapest. The small shop close to the ship has excellent prices and they all speak English. Budapest – we’ve been to Budapest before but was a pleasure to visit it again. The hotel was a nice decent one, the tours were interesting but for us, Budapest was the end of our cruise so we were sad to leave Viking LIF. The staff on Viking LIF was absolutely amazing and nothing was too much for them. Joy our room stewardess was a real “JOY” smiling, helpful and very well organised making our cabin impeccable every day. In the restaurant the manager Kristian was very helpful and friendly providing an excellent service with a lot of care and attention. Alin in the bar, great and very professional, learned in the first day our favourite G&T and we enjoyed every moment spent in the lounge. We fall in love with the reception team especially with Susanna very friendly and always ready to help. But the top of this extraordinary team was our Cruise Director Leonard. He was working around the clock, almost 24 hours daily with the same passion, enthusiasm and professionalism. Was obvious that he is in love with his job and every meeting before dinner was a mixture of practical information, facts traditions and stories put together with a unique charisma and sense of humour. After the first day, was hard to find a place for his presentation in the lounge. Every night after dinner Leonard had a surprise for the passengers: lectures (the one about Dracula was as good as a real History Channel documentary and his story about Ceausescu time was heart-breaking), games (so much fun in the music quiz) and an amazing Disco party with music and dance until early hours in the morning. With brilliant organisational skills everything planned by him went perfect even if sometimes you can see the struggle behind. Honestly if Viking will tell me that Leonard will be our next cruise director I will book a cruise even on the river behind our house! After on week on Viking LIF I understand why Viking is the best and the only option to travel in comfort. Thank you Viking, thank you Lif, thank you Leonard! See you soon! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
For our 5th cruise with Viking (2 river cruises + 2 ocean cruises) we decided to take the 3 weeks trip from Amsterdam to Budapest on Viking Lif. We absolutely love the ship and we were lucky enough to don’t have any problems with the ... Read More
For our 5th cruise with Viking (2 river cruises + 2 ocean cruises) we decided to take the 3 weeks trip from Amsterdam to Budapest on Viking Lif. We absolutely love the ship and we were lucky enough to don’t have any problems with the water levels. Viking is for sure the best choice if you like river cruises: the level of hospitality, attention to details, organisation and the wide range of options are only couple of reason why Viking is always our first choice. In Budapest some of the crew change, and this is the main reason why I decided to post this review. Maybe Viking should pay more attention to consistency, especially when you think about the staff on board. After 3 weeks on board Viking LIF and 2 different staff we had the feeling that we travelled with two different companies. And that was more obvious at the level of the “key players” on board. And here are couple of reasons why we had this feeling Hotel director From Amsterdam we had Johnny a young Romanian with a lot of passion and dedication for his job. Nothing was to much for him and he was always there to assist passengers and his own colleagues. Always smiling and knowledgeable Johnny was a very pleasant presence for our first two weeks on board. Unfortunately for us in Budapest his place was taken by Joseph who, maybe because he is working in this business for too long (and he didn’t miss the opportunity to remind us every time) he was pretty bored, not at all approachable and quite arrogant. We missed Johnny so much in the last week of our cruise. Capitan For the first two weeks we hand a young Capitan and I must apologise for not remembering his name. The only time when we saw him was late in the evening, in the bar when he was drinking with one of his colleagues or a younger female passenger. We never had the chance to speak with him, which surprise us a lot thinking about our previous experience with Viking. In Budapest an amazing Dutch Skipper, Anna, join the ship and the story was completely different: he was always very polite and ready to answer all our questions. His presentation about the ship with the Cruise Director was very interesting and entertaining at the same time. When we had the chance to visit the bridge for the second time it was a completely different experience than in the previous week as he made us feeling welcome and accommodating all our questions and requests. Restaurant manager Martina was our first restaurant manager and she was very sweet despite the fact that she wasn’t very efficient. She was trying hard but couple of times she confused our diets and she was getting very stressed time to time. But we loved her. In Budapest her place was taken by Christian who was obviously that had more experience than Martina. His manners were at the level of a 5* restaurant, his solving problems abilities were amazing, and he always seemed to be calm and in control. Even if the restaurant was busy he always found time for a little chat. Cruise Director This was, maybe, the biggest surprise. For the first two weeks we had as a Cruise Director Sonya, a very pleasant girl from Serbia who was trying her best to be in line with our expectations. The only issue was her big personality, her inability to listen and her quite messy organizational skills. Especially in days with a lot of excursions and tours she got very agitated, getting in a very defensive mood with everybody around. We stopped asking her question after couple of abrupt answers! Sonya seemed to know her job but she always gave us the feeling that she just wanted to tick a box and run “behind the scenes” away from passengers and questions. In Budapest Leonard took over…literally took over. His personality, his knowledge, his energy and passion and his ability to be everywhere, anytime with the same smile and willingness to help made up for the entire trip. We never meet such an approachable, kind, genuine and hard-working Cruise Director in any of our cruises, both on the river and on the ocean. We wished to have Leonard for the entire 3 weeks: he created in 7 days memories for an entire lifetime. Maybe Viking will look for the future in to how different personalities fit the job profile and try to eliminate this differences which can impact the entire experience of a cruise. For sure we will be back. But can we have Anna, Christian, Johnny and Leonard with us? Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We didn't choose this ship,- it chose us! from the moment we boarded in Amsterdam to the disembarkation, we were looked after royally, from the Captain down to the cabin Stewardess, we cannot fault, Our cabin on deck 2 was a ... Read More
We didn't choose this ship,- it chose us! from the moment we boarded in Amsterdam to the disembarkation, we were looked after royally, from the Captain down to the cabin Stewardess, we cannot fault, Our cabin on deck 2 was a "French Balcony" however even though it was a tad cosy ( read small) it still gave us an open sliding door to the world sliding past as we went up/down? the river to Budapest. Our Tour Director, Sanya, and her Co- Host staff managed each guests tour itinerary's without a miss-step and didn't loose any of our passengers once. We were looked after at each meal by very attentive staff ( Alajandro, Dawid and Pol) regally, and I cannot complain as to the overall attentiveness, they also strive to accommodate all tastes and dietary restrictions, - (although if you are Coliiac or dairy free, then it becomes a tad boring) BUT! you wont starve!, Our cabin Lass, Agata, was an absolute blessing as my wife went down with a head cold on week 2 of the trip and she looked after us with all requests for extra tissues, towels, bedding and privacy that was asked for, Gold Star for her!. For any prospective travellers with Viking on this trip, I can only say, sit back, enjoy, eat well and be pampered with the knowledge that you are looked after as a guest, not just another "head on a bed". I think to summarise why we would choose Viking again, I would say that when we were due to be taken to the airport in Prague ( after an extension to the river cruise) we were escorted from the hotel by a Viking staff member to the limo and met by another equally attentive staff member at the airport drop-off and were whisked straight through to the relevant check-in ( she took us straight to "Business" class) and we were booked in and on our way ( unfortunately this didn't get us B.C Seating) but we enjoyed the status of beating the queues, all in all, Well done Viking!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was our first time to Europe, we chose Viking and this itinerary after reading reviews, we were not disappointed. From the time we landed in Amsterdam until we were taken to the airport in Budapest Viking took care of us. The ... Read More
This was our first time to Europe, we chose Viking and this itinerary after reading reviews, we were not disappointed. From the time we landed in Amsterdam until we were taken to the airport in Budapest Viking took care of us. The food was very good, a good variety was offered. We definitely never went hungry. The staff was friendly and couldn’t have been more helpful. The excursions were well organized and very informative. We really enjoyed the Mozart Concert in Vienna. The palaces and churches were magnificent. We were surprised that so many people in the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Hungary spoke very good English, no problem communicating with them. We were fortunate to have good weather, the scenery along the rivers was fantastic. We were also fortunate that the river levels were good and we didn’t have to do any “ship swapping “. It was nice being on a smaller ship, it didn’t take long to get acquainted with the other passengers. Our cabin was a little small but you’re not on it very much so it was not a problem. The internet connection was slow at times but we knew to expect that. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Our first river cruise, aboard the Viking Lif was fantastic! We couldn't have selected a better cruise than the Grand European Tour. It provided everything that we were seeking in a European Holiday: a fascinating tour through the ... Read More
Our first river cruise, aboard the Viking Lif was fantastic! We couldn't have selected a better cruise than the Grand European Tour. It provided everything that we were seeking in a European Holiday: a fascinating tour through the middle of Europe, beautiful scenery, rich history, and wonderful accommodations aboard a smaller ship. The service that was provided was exceptional -- we simply relaxed and let the Viking staff and the crew of the "Lif" take care of us, and they did a phenomenal job of getting to know us and tuning their service to fit our personalities and habits. The only shortfall of the vacation was that it left me wanting more: More time and tours in each port, more days in the cruise, and more finely prepared meals to savor -- three weeks with Viking was not enough! I believe another cruise is in order. I'll just change the destination, or possibly take the same cruise in the opposite direction for another great experience - yes! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We wanted to see all stops between Amsterdam and Budapest. We figured the best way to get a snap shot was to take the 15 day river cruise. A very polished crew, exquisite food, and cabins comfortable although small. We were on the ... Read More
We wanted to see all stops between Amsterdam and Budapest. We figured the best way to get a snap shot was to take the 15 day river cruise. A very polished crew, exquisite food, and cabins comfortable although small. We were on the lower deck, which, in fact was fine for us, being that in just a few seconds Dx we could be upstairs with a panoramic view. We were a little disappointed that the upper deck was off limits during a few days of the cruise due to the very limited clearance under the bridges. That severely cut down on the limited places to relax on the ship. Get ready for multiple bumps in the night as you traverse the scores of locks down the rivers. We, too, were disappointed when we had to change to a sister ship along the River due to water level being too low to navigate the ship. Even though the crew made it a pretty seamless transfer, we had to completely pack, and then, unpack in our same cabin on the new sister ship down river. We also had a very long bus journey (5 plus hours) w a stop at a McDonalds of all places along the way. Then, the next day, we had to bus back several hours, to the destination we missed along the river. So, that was very disappointing, and apparently happens frequently on the 15 day cruise. Taking a 7 day from Amsterdam, or from Budapest, avoids that low area (sometimes too high too as I understand it). The offered excursions at each port were very good, provided by local guides, invested in their culture and communities. We enjoyed having two bottles of water delivered daily to our cabin. Having wine or beer with lunch and dinner was also appreciated. The ship did run out of non-alcoholic beer for my husband, even though I called ahead, specifically requesting that they have NA beer in stock. It’s not something they apparently stock a lot of....so please note this if you have an NA drinker traveling in your party. We had inclusive international flights, but the 2nd rate airline, and itinerary left a lot to be desired, and caused a lot of headaches for many of the passengers, several of us traveling on the same itinerary at least through Dallas. We have traveled on many cruises on the bigger ships, but wanted to try the river cruise. I’m glad we did. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze, and he attention to detail from the staff was excellent. Don’t be expecting a table for 2. They don’t exist. You will mingle with others, and meet new friends. It’s a relaxing way to see several different countries and many UNESCO Heritage Sights. If you like casinos, bars and music, workout rooms, pools, and midnight buffets, then a Biking River Cruise May not be to your liking. We enjoy all those things too, but we also loved this river cruise. If it’s been on your mind to try one, I’d encourage you to do so. Just understand the pros and cons before you go. Read Less
Sail Date July 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
After a not very pleasant experience last year on the Rhine with Viking we decided to take this time Lif on a cruise between Bucharest to Budapest. What a massive difference! Everything was far above all expectations. The food was ... Read More
After a not very pleasant experience last year on the Rhine with Viking we decided to take this time Lif on a cruise between Bucharest to Budapest. What a massive difference! Everything was far above all expectations. The food was amazing, and we had the chance to visit Chef’s Michael kitchen were all our lovely meals were prepared daily. The cabin steward Raduh was the most friendly and efficient we ever meet on cruise ships. In the restaurant our server Martina was always smiling with excellent manners and coping perfectly with my husband’s complicated diet. We spend a lot of time in the bar chatting with chief barman Christian for Bulgaria; his stories was as great as his cocktails! Johnny and Susan were extremely attentive, with a lot of knowledge about the cities we visited and always having a suggestion for our free time. Being so approachable they manage to balance the arrogance and “I know all” attitude of the hotel manager Joseph, a personality a little bit to big for his shoes. The excursions were fantastic opportunities to discover a new world and the new stop in Iron Gate was a pleasant surprise from Viking. Sometimes the guides in Bulgaria and Romania were a little bit annoying talking too much, like reading a script but to one in Belgrade were fantastic! The only failure of this trip was a lecture about Serbian war incredible balanced and the lecturer manage to upset everybody, blaming Western Countries. for the horrible war from 1990. I save the best for last: our Cruise Director Leonard. He really made our trip: extended knowledge, dedication, sense of humour, a talent to mix historic facts with legends and traditions and a 24 hours genuine smile and passion made him the best cruise director we’ve meet in more than 12 cruises we took. The stories when sailing the Iron Gate were at the level of Discovery Chanel documentaries, his lecture about European Union and Dracula perfect mix between facts and sense of humour and the evening with memories from Ceauseschu time was overwhelming. No wonder why he got tears and standing ovations for more than 10 minutes. What a great personality. We are thinking very seriously to repeat our cruise on the Rhine but only is Lenard will be on board. Viking Cruises – you are a great way to travel and that’s 95% because of the crew and people like Leonard. tell us when Leonhard is again on board and we will be there! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
My husband and I embarked on Bucharest. This was a very smooth process. Cabin was small but very comfortable. We weren’t in it much so the size wasn’t an issue. The service was impeccable throughout the entire journey. The food ... Read More
My husband and I embarked on Bucharest. This was a very smooth process. Cabin was small but very comfortable. We weren’t in it much so the size wasn’t an issue. The service was impeccable throughout the entire journey. The food was always delicious and just the right amount. The Musli became my go to food each morning. The wait staff was very responsive and extremely friendly at each meal. I loved all the regional food that was offered at dinner. The shore excursions are well thought out. We went on each of the included tours as well as purchased a couple of the optional ones. Our cruise director was outstanding and worked so hard to keep us entertained and informed. After we disembarked, my husband and I did an extension trip to Prague. Viking continued to provide wonderful service in the way of drivers and I would certainly recommend this trip. This was our first Viking Cruise and we can’t wait to travel on Viking again! Read Less
Sail Date June 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
After more than 10 cruises with Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean me and my husband we decided to try something different. “Cruising the Eastern Europe” on board Viking LIF was our first river cruise and our first Viking cruise at ... Read More
After more than 10 cruises with Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean me and my husband we decided to try something different. “Cruising the Eastern Europe” on board Viking LIF was our first river cruise and our first Viking cruise at the same time. What can I say about the entire experience? I already booked another 2 cruises with Viking. Everything was above exceptional: the service, the ship, the excursions and the staff on board. The staff on board Viking Lif was exceptional. Martina and Bart in the restaurant and lounge were perfect, always smiling and with great manners. Our room attendant Maya was a very nice girl with a lovely positive attitude and our cabin was always impeccable. We fall in love with the reception staff (Suzy and Johnny) always helpful and smiling and Capitan Anna was incredible: charming and always available to answer to any questions. Joseph the Hotel Director was one of the best we ever meet, solving any problems or requests we hand, nothing was too much for him. But the most impressive was our Cruise Director Leonard. His encyclopaedical knowledge, sense of humour and dedication made this trip unforgettable. Leonard was everywhere and sometimes we thought that he had 3 or 4 clones on board to be always smiling and ready to assist from 5AM to 1PM, every day. I wish I could record his commentary during the Iron Gate sea day when the amount of historical, geographical and social information mixed with a lot of legends and local traditions plus a fantastic sense of humour reminded me of a National Geographic documentary. He really made this trip unforgettable for us! Can’t wait for our next cruise with Viking Read Less
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
We picked this cruise from an advertisement. We didn't really check anything out before hand but it was for our 50th wedding anniversary so off we went. This was the most relaxing vacation we have ever been on. Viking looks after ... Read More
We picked this cruise from an advertisement. We didn't really check anything out before hand but it was for our 50th wedding anniversary so off we went. This was the most relaxing vacation we have ever been on. Viking looks after everything from the moment we deplaned in Amsterdam to check in in Budapest!! Always with you, but never in your way. We boarded Lif after a couple of fun days in Amsterdam. This is one of the newer Viking ships..a beauty. We had a lower level cabin, it worked for us, we just sleep there. Well appointed, smallish, but everything we needed. The dining was absolutely amazing...variety, chef performed miracles!! and the service the best you can get.. There was an included shore excursion everyday...sometimes walking off the ship and sometimes taking a shuttle on one of Viking's amazing tour buses. There were no children on board...really nothing for them to do... We WILL be back. Read Less
Sail Date September 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
Grand European Disappointment Although we were suppose to be on the Aegir we were switched to the LIF and the part way through the cruise to the Embla We have just returned from our trip to Europe were booked the 15 day Grand ... Read More
Grand European Disappointment Although we were suppose to be on the Aegir we were switched to the LIF and the part way through the cruise to the Embla We have just returned from our trip to Europe were booked the 15 day Grand European River Cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest with Viking River Cruises. In a few words it turned out to be a huge disappointment. River levels were reportedly too low to navigate the full length of the cruise. River Cruising was replaced with Bus Trips. Nights on board ship were replaced with hotel. Cruise ports at the city centers were replaced with docking at Industrial Ports and Gravel Pits. This certainly was not the trip of a lifetime we envisioned. Viking had no control over the situation, so they said, but some of the things they said they didn’t have control over and some they did I question whether the statements made were true or not. As an example, we were told the reason our ship, the Aegir, was not at Amsterdam when we arrived was water levels were too low for the ship to get there. Interestingly enough, as we were being bused from Amsterdam to the industrial site in Koln to board the new ship we were assigned I saw the Aegir cruising toward Amsterdam. Struck me as a bit strange. Further the Aegir was able to get all the way back to Budapest for some of the passengers to board that were extending their trip. That being the case why wasn’t the Aegir able to be in Amsterdam and why did we have to change ships part way through the cruise? Was the one night of rain in the Alps sufficient to swell the entire European river system? At this point I have to inject that Stefan Mototolea, our cruise director, stayed with us throughout the entire trip and did everything in his power to arrange for the people on board to have the best experience possible given the difficulties being encountered. He kept us well informed about what was going to happen, good or bad and answered all the questions presented to him. Further he was relentless in his efforts to keep things running as smooth as possible throughout the trip. Hopefully; Viking cruise lines appreciate his efforts, I know we did. Further, Leah, the individual assigned by Viking to watch over us in Amsterdam when we had to check into the Hotel for the first night as our ship was not there, needs to be recognized for her efforts. We were told at check in that we did not have a room reserved for us and the hotel was totally booked. Somehow she and the hotel director found a way to get us a room. Perhaps traveling as part of a large tour group had something to do with that perhaps not but in any event she never stopped assuring me and my wife that we would have a room. We finally got our room. Let’s speak to the parts if the cruise we were able to take: This was our first river cruise and every port had an included tour associated with it but the stop at Cologne was eliminated because the ship couldn’t get there. Really? How did the Aegir get there coming down the Rhine on its way to Amsterdam? With that, we were offered the choice of taking a bus back to Cologne to visit that port and be bussed down river to meet the ship at another port or cruise the Rhine to see the castles along the river. We opted to stay on board and cruise to see the castles and scenery along the Rhine. We were glad we made that choice. The next day Viking arranged to add a sightseeing cruise with lunch on our way back to the ship from our Castle tour so those who missed the castles could see a couple of them. This had to be abbreviated about half way through so we could get back to the ship on time to leave the port. Those that missed the cruise up the Rhine really don’t know what a great portion of the trip they missed. Castles and terrific scenery everywhere. The included tours at the ports were quite good but having to be bussed from a gravel pit and back, docking at industrial sites instead of at the cruise ship docks at cities we were supposed to dock at and having to walk from outside cities edge to center city where we were supposed to have docked did not live up to the hype of docking center city and walking off the ship to visit Viking advertises in their wonderful looking river cruise propaganda. It’s not like the ports didn’t have those docking sites; other river cruise ships were docked there. What happened to the docking sites Viking claims to own at these cities? Do they exist; did they rent them out to other cruise lines? We were told it is up to the port manager to assign the berths. If you own the site why can’t you use it? Optional tours were also available and you always take your chances with them. We only took one of the optional tours to the Schonbrunn Palace. If you’re thinking about this tour forget it. It should be called the cattle chute tour. Your group tour will be constantly interrupted by individuals touring the palace on their own. They have preference and you will be hustled form site to site within the palace and jammed into a corner in each area while the tour guide explains what you are supposed to be seeing. A couple of optional tours you might want to consider are The Mozart & Strauss Concert in Vienna and The Hungarian Horsemen tour in Budapest. These were reported to be excellent by those that participated in them. The food on board was eatable but was nowhere near the quality we have had on ocean cruises. Eggs prepared by the chefs at the buffet line were great but when you ordered things off the menu for breakfast; example eggs benedict prepared in the kitchen, they were served partly done with uncooked portions of the whites and watery hollandaise sauce. Lunches were pretty good however dinners left a lot to be desired. Maybe comparing ocean cruise food to river cruise food is not fair as I have never taken a river cruise before but in any event, for the price of the cruise I expected a lot better. Overall my wife and I got to see a lot of interesting things, visit a lot of European cities, interact with people from diverse backgrounds and share experiences, however; we both admit given this experience we will not likely take another river cruise. Advice to travelers: Given you have to book so far in advance, wait for the drought to end in Europe before deciding to take a river cruise there and be sure you have the option to cancel for weather reasons built into your travel insurance if you can so you can back out last minute if you need to. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Friends highly recommend this exact cruise on Viking. Our disappointment started from the 1st day leaving the hotel, we were bussed from Amsterdam to the ship. We were supposed to board the ship in Amsterdam. We had many, ... Read More
Friends highly recommend this exact cruise on Viking. Our disappointment started from the 1st day leaving the hotel, we were bussed from Amsterdam to the ship. We were supposed to board the ship in Amsterdam. We had many, excursions we were bussed to instead of disembarking from the ship, 2 were over 3 hours. We spent as much time on busses & in hotels as we did on the ship. The environmental issues can’t be changed, but staff seemed as frustrated as guests. Once we swapped ships (repacked,unpack)all seemed fine. The crew was exceptional, until our director announced we’d be spending our last night at hotel(following 3 hr bus ride). The service deteriorated dramatically. It was SO obvious. This was day after a technical stop(resupply), we were told they were out of multiple supplies available throughout the cruise; good champagne & other elite supplies. The service was invisible. Empty glasses, long wait times, personnel visiting amongst themselves etc. I believe they thought their tips were compromised by the disruptions. No one ever expressed “we’re sorry”. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We wanted to try a river cruise, having enjoyed a Viking Ocean Cruise last year. We have previously done ocean cruising with Seabourn and Silversea and we are looking for the right cruise line for us. What a disappointing trip this ... Read More
We wanted to try a river cruise, having enjoyed a Viking Ocean Cruise last year. We have previously done ocean cruising with Seabourn and Silversea and we are looking for the right cruise line for us. What a disappointing trip this was. River levels were low, and on the first day we were bused to Slovenia to join a boat- the Embla- , rather than sailing out of Budapest. After a week we had a 3.5 hour bus trip to transfer to the Lif where we made it to Cologne before being advised we could not travel any further and that everyone would be bussed to a hotel at Schippol airport (Amsterdam) the next day. Therefore the cruise ended a day early. Viking are of course not responsible for the low water levels, but it was the management of the issue that left a lot to be desired -we always felt we were being kept in the dark and drip fed information. This extends to having heard NOTHING from Viking since our return - although we know other passengers who complained have been offered 25% discount off a future cruise. Of importance to us was the poor quality of the meals, particularly dinner. Fish was almost always very overcooked, as were the steaks and the overall menu and quality of the food was just so disappointing. Wine choices were ok, we took the silver package so had a better selection of drinks. As others have noted, only a few times did we dock where you could walk into town, and more than once we docked in industrial areas - once next to a giant smelly rubbish skip. Many of the towns where we stopped were small german towns and had little to see. Often you were stuck in the town for hours after the included tour with nothing to do but wait for the bus transfer back to the boat. Staff on the Embla were ok but were much better on the Lif. Our Verandah Suite was very comfortable, with a separate lounge area. Beware that you are often rafted next to other boats so have to keep your curtains closed at all times. We will not do a river cruise again - and after loving our Viking ocean cruise we are now very disillusioned with Viking - so won't be sailing with Viking again. Our search for the right cruise line continues. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
WE chose Viking for a cruise of the Danube/ Amsterdam to Budapest along with our 90 year old parents. The trip started with NO VIKING REP at the airport gate- we had to search and decided to go to the buses/ taxis where the rep ... Read More
WE chose Viking for a cruise of the Danube/ Amsterdam to Budapest along with our 90 year old parents. The trip started with NO VIKING REP at the airport gate- we had to search and decided to go to the buses/ taxis where the rep finally appeared. This happened several times during our trip where they simply 'dumped us off' without any tour guide assistance. Our parents would have been absolutely lost without us!!! Additionally, Viking is cheap, cheap cheap! A Vienna symphony concert, as displayed in the brochure, was simply 12 understudies in their 20's who played well, but absolutely not the Vienna symphony. The Ship/ Lif had filthy windows and a very unfriendly staff. We changed boats to the Embla mid tour and their staff was much better. There are countless items we can criticize but we won't bore you. We took a Tauck Rhine tour 2 years ago and they excelled!! Choose Tauck cruises / Not viking !! 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
We chose this particular cruise itinerary in order to see a part of Europe not previously visited. Viking Cruises impressed us in every aspect of our voyage: attentive and personalized service; delicious meals, beautifully presented, and ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise itinerary in order to see a part of Europe not previously visited. Viking Cruises impressed us in every aspect of our voyage: attentive and personalized service; delicious meals, beautifully presented, and impeccably served; fascinating tours with local guides; concerts, horse shows, wine tastings, every planned adventure meticulously coordinated - and an unplanned adventure the same. Our cabin was immaculate when we arrived, and maintained that way on a daily basis, as were all the ship's spaces. From the beautifully set dining room to the comfortable lounge and the casual forward deck, the walking circle and the upper deck, and the library and the stairs from level , all areas showed the constant maintenance of a conscientious crew. The library held volumes related to the cities and country on the ships itinerary; the latest books of fiction and non-fiction, a joy for this passenger. The spacious lounge, with its windows overlooking both water and land, became a favored spot for a cup of tea and a cookie, and to savor meeting other travelers from around the globe. Personally, a favorite experience of mine was the novelty of moving through the locks on the rivers; absolutely fascinating. Our first river cruise with Viking surpassed our expectations, and, yes, we are scheduled to do another river cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 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
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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