111 Viking River Viking Lif Cruise Reviews

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 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
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
This was our first river cruise, but won’t be our last! We were attracted by the ports of call, the reasonable price of the cruise, the great room, the food and included shore excursions and the high reviews for Viking Cruises. From ... Read More
This was our first river cruise, but won’t be our last! We were attracted by the ports of call, the reasonable price of the cruise, the great room, the food and included shore excursions and the high reviews for Viking Cruises. From day 1 we were watched over and pampered. Our Program Manager, Leonard, was amazing. He took great care in assuring we got the most out of our cruising experience. Ou Viking ship, the Lif, and our room were immaculate. The food was amazing, always fresh and scrumptious. It was not just tasty, but presented beautifully with lots of choices. The included beer & wine added to our enjoyment. The included shore excursion were great and the guides who went with us were knowledgeable and paced us well. We met some fun fellow cruisers and ate with several couples many times. We hope to take another Viking cruise in the future, probably in Scandinavia. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
For our 4th trip with Viking (1 on the river and 2 on the ocean) we decided for a 2 weeks cruise between Budapest and Amsterdam on board of Viking Lif. Our expectations were very high after our previous cruises and I am not very happy to ... Read More
For our 4th trip with Viking (1 on the river and 2 on the ocean) we decided for a 2 weeks cruise between Budapest and Amsterdam on board of Viking Lif. Our expectations were very high after our previous cruises and I am not very happy to say that Grand European Tour on Viking Lif was a mixture between far above and far below what we expected. But I gave the score for this trip just because of the amazing staff on board. The restaurant was quite different this trip The new waiters of Viking need to learn that a joke (sometimes a little bit too childish) can’t cover the lack of manners or the mediocre quality of food. In our previous cruise we enjoyed so much the dinner on the Aquavit terrace but this time we needed to book a table. One evening, when the terrace was empty, we wanted to have dinner there but a very rude barman sent us back to the restaurant mentioning the fact that we need a reservation…for an empty terrace? What a joke! Another issue with the bad itinerary planning was that, due to the presence of another two Viking ship doing the same cruise, we were always late, and I am not talking about minutes, I am talking about hours. What’s the point booking before boarding the ship excursion when most of them were cancelled due to the delays and the refund was in credit to spend on board and not money back to my account. Unacceptable! Reading on line the itinerary and experience the actual cruise is something different; in some ports (Melk, Bamberg) we stopped only 30minutes (enough for the excursions to start) while in other we didn’t stop at all: we stopped in Ryth instead of Nuremberg, Dordrecht instead of Kinderdik. So, if you don’t book an excursion with Viking no chance to visit cities by yourself. Johnny from the reception was great: always smiling, always polite and always trying to find a solution. The others from the reception didn’t have the same level of knowledge or they didn’t care about us. One night I was calling reception to inform about a leak from the AC and nobody pick-up the phone. When I went to the desk, the young man “in charge” was sleeping in the office. Fortunately, the next day Johnny sorted out the issue in a second with the same efficiency and smile. The only “breath of fresh air” in this sea of disappointments was the cruise director Leonard. He was simply AMAZING! He was 24 hours on duty: we saw him during the breakfast sorting out some passenger’s problems, during the day supervising the guides and help passengers with mobility issues, in the afternoon was giving presentations and briefing and in the evening, was entertaining all of us in the lounge. I even saw him acting as a paramedic for a guest who had an injury during one tour and organising a special event for one couple’s anniversary. Never meet on a cruise ship a cruise director so genuine kind and approachable like him. With all the delays Leonard and Captain Anna worked around the clock to keep everything under control and I don’t remember how many times I saw Leonard running between his office and the bridge trying to save, whatever could be saved from our trip. And both they did an amazing job. What a gem he is! In Amsterdam, in the airport, I was talking with other passengers and we all agreed that Leonard’s efforts made this trip much more enjoyable that it might otherwise have been. His enthusiasm, sense of humour and knowledge balanced a lot the lack of quality and consistency in other aspects. I do like Viking but after the last experience I will think twice before booking again. Maybe only if Leonard will be our Cruise Director, at least to know that somebody care about us and about Viking reputation. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Needed a quick get away and Viking had the destination I was looking for. I wish massage service was available. The crew was wonderful, friendly and helpful. Meals were excellent and beverages were good. Excursions were good for the ... Read More
Needed a quick get away and Viking had the destination I was looking for. I wish massage service was available. The crew was wonderful, friendly and helpful. Meals were excellent and beverages were good. Excursions were good for the cruise portion. Cabin was fine. Entertainment was interesting. Overall, the cruise portion met my expectations. We had a memorable time and met some nice and interesting folks. I highly recommend Viking to friends and family. As I have indicated things took the down turn at the end once we left the cruise. The local tour guides were not diligent. Our accommodation upon arrival was a disaster. Breakfast at the hotel was below average and that goes for service as well. I think Viking cruise has the cruise portion down pack to perfection, from staffing, meals and service; it's the land portion that needs a lot of work as Viking is only in partnership with the local hotels. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We booked our vacation about 4 months before the cruise. Because of the popularity we only had a couple of opinions left at the time we wanted to vacation. The timing ended up working out great for us. We got a wonderful veranda on a ... Read More
We booked our vacation about 4 months before the cruise. Because of the popularity we only had a couple of opinions left at the time we wanted to vacation. The timing ended up working out great for us. We got a wonderful veranda on a great deck and a itinerary we could have only dreamed about. It had been years (13+) since we had been on a vacation. We were quite nervous about the planning but Viking was there for us and answered all our questions. After seeking their help for the perfect cruise we were totally prepared to have a relaxing time. As you have to expect on a 2 week cruise in 4 new countries, there were things I did not anticipate or plan for. The very knowledgeable, friendly crew members made us feel comfortable and, at times, go above and beyond our expectations. Just one example is on our first full day we overslept after a day and night of flying. I was so disappointed because we missed the excursion into Budapest that morning. After asking about other options for our morning we were directed to some wonderful spots near our dock. We had a great time just the two of us. They also planned for us to have a private tour of the city by a local that worked for Viking. We spent 3 hours with her going to see some of the most beautiful sites ever. She described our tour in a very meaningful and personal way. She gave us a very special start to our cruise. It was absolutely wonderful and very much appreciated for the Viking staff to help arrange this for us. It would be impossible to adequately describe the dozens of unexpected, thoughtful experiences we had on this beautiful ship and touring the cities and towns. The staff and crew of the Lif became our extended family during our two weeks with them. We now have to make the tough decision of which Viking cruise to go on next! Since this was our first Viking experience and was so perfect on the Lif, we can’t wait to see what Viking can do to top the “Best Vacation Ever.” Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
This is my second Viking European river cruise. Enjoyed the first one so much I took another one. This time going west on a different ship. While we stopped in some of the same cities, Tour Guides covered different areas, I took optional ... Read More
This is my second Viking European river cruise. Enjoyed the first one so much I took another one. This time going west on a different ship. While we stopped in some of the same cities, Tour Guides covered different areas, I took optional tours not offered on the first cruise. I selected early spring, mid April to May for the generally cooler weather, absence of summer tourist crowds, and the chance to see the famous Keukenhof Gardens in Amsterdam. A beautiful garden sight I had just missed on my first river cruise. Windmills at Kinderdijk are my favorite stop. Awesome in their beauty, going up inside them, feeling the power of the windmill turning in the wind. European Sojourn travels from Bucharest to Amsterdam, cruising the scenic Danube and Rhine rivers, stopping at major cities along the way for sight seeing, historical learning, and free time for shopping and dining. I always select the before and after trip extensions at the end cities. Viking lets you select the optional tours online well in advance of your cruise starting. Do not delay as some tours sell out quickly. Viking meets you at the airport, takes you to your hotel. Your baggage is delivered to your room. Hotels are very good, breakfast always included. When the cruise is over, Viking takes you to the airport with plenty of time to check in, do security, get to the departure gate. Long ship life is easy and enjoyable, choice of menu items for each meal, a specialty Italian restaurant area at night on the Aquavit Terrace, other light menu items during breakfast & lunch. Beer and wine is included with each lunch and dinner meal at no cost. Specialty coffee machines and a selection of teas is available 24/7 with cookie and rolls. So enjoyable to sit on the deck, enjoy coffee or a drink as the beautiful scenery scrolls by. Included and optional tours at each port, Viking takes care of everything. Buses and tour guides give you a most enjoyable excursion as you walk the streets, enjoy the sights. A slower paced group is available at each stop for those who need a little more time. While Viking provides free WIFI, it is not designed to stream videos and quickly upload/download large picture images. Quality depends on how many people are online, is best when the ship is docked in port, spotty when between cities, inside going up/down river locks. Same for the international TV stations. Long ship crew members are exceptional. Always helpful, can't do enough for you. Once you get to know them it's like family. Cruise Director meets with passengers each evening before dinner to go over the next day's port calls and tours. At some stops local residents come on board to share their culture of dance and music, specialty skills and products. I will be taking more Viking cruises in the coming years. A Viking ocean cruise is next on my list. You cannot go wrong selecting Viking for your next river or ocean cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
After 4 ocean cruises with Princess and HAL this was our first river cruise and we couldn’t wait to leave the ship to share here our AMAZING memories. Viking was perfect offering us an unforgettable journey from Budapest to Bucharest. ... Read More
After 4 ocean cruises with Princess and HAL this was our first river cruise and we couldn’t wait to leave the ship to share here our AMAZING memories. Viking was perfect offering us an unforgettable journey from Budapest to Bucharest. The food, despite the fact that was sometime quite bland, was excellent presented and the service was five stars. Christian our waiter was perfect remembering our names and our favourite drinks every evening. What a great idea Viking has with open seating, in this way we have the chance to meet almost all our travel companions. The reception did an excellent job every time when we need them, and Elena and Ana were great and always smiling. Everything was FAR ABOVE EXPECTATIONS. With one exception – our Cruise Director who was 5 level above all this exceptional moments. We never had the chance in our previous cruises to meet somebody so knowledgeable, funny, informative, professional and friendly like Leonard. Every meeting in the evening, every presentation in the lounge, or answer to our questions were chances for us to learn history, culture, architecture and tradition from THE BEST. His stories when the boat was sailing in Iron gate were simply fascinating. Maybe Viking will do something about the sound in the room: we weren’t able to listen to the great presentation of Leonard and we had to go on the sundeck were was cold and windy. But Leonard made it worth it!!! He was so hard working and professional in everything was doing: keeping his smile and sense of humour solving any issues when was a problem with the buses in Bulgaria (not enough seats or something like that), buying sweets for the rest of the crew in Belgrade (no surprise that the other crew love him as much as the rest of the passengers) and spending time with those with slow mobility. If will be possible we would love to have Leonard as a Tour Director in all our Viking Cruises…we already booked another two. Viking and Viking LIF were great and I will recommend it to everybody who want to travel and be spoiled at the same time. Thank you Viking, well done Viking LIF, we love you Leonard. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We have traveled to over 65 countries, bit never to Eastern Europe. It was a wonderful experience, especially the shore excursions included in the price. Viking gave us so many cultural experiences in each country which helped make the ... Read More
We have traveled to over 65 countries, bit never to Eastern Europe. It was a wonderful experience, especially the shore excursions included in the price. Viking gave us so many cultural experiences in each country which helped make the trip special. This wa the first time on a river cruise on a small ship and it was wonderful to meet almost all of the almost 200 passengers. Each meal time we sat with someone different and met so many wonderful people from different countries and US states. Our cruise director was the best we have ever had on about 15 cruises we have taken. At each shore excursion he was with us. In each country we had the opportunity to have food typical to that country if we desired. The meals were all wonderful, The lectures and entertainment in the lounge were first class and we learned so much about things we were experiencing. In each country we were treated to dancers, singers, music, from citizens dressed in native dress. The ship and the cabins were very clean and well maintained. We also extended our cruise both before and after the cruise. We are so happy we did. It was a wonderful experience with great hotels and excursions. We love to travel, and will definitely consider Viking on a future cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
This was our first river cruise on Viking and we absolutely loved it. The staff was incredibly attentive. They took an interest in getting to know us and answer all our questions. The food was delicious. It was never too over sauced or ... Read More
This was our first river cruise on Viking and we absolutely loved it. The staff was incredibly attentive. They took an interest in getting to know us and answer all our questions. The food was delicious. It was never too over sauced or spiced and was just the right portions. We took advantage of the drink package and enjoyed some wonderful wines. I loved the variety of the food that was offered particularly at breakfast. Everything you could want and more. The tours were insightful and I can't believe how much we learned each day. The public spaces were beautiful. I never felt that there were so many people on the ship that it was crowded. The amenities and the tours were all exceptional. We've been on much larger cruise ships where you felt like one of thousands. This was much more personal and comfortable. I can't wait to book another trip with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
It was all about the itinerary. To list all the defects would be redundant from others who have already complained. The food was cold, the meat was tough and grizzly. The lack of vegetables that were not over cooked was negligent. The ... Read More
It was all about the itinerary. To list all the defects would be redundant from others who have already complained. The food was cold, the meat was tough and grizzly. The lack of vegetables that were not over cooked was negligent. The service in the dining room was almost non-existent. Extremely under staffed and poorly trained staff. Exception: bar staff on 3rd floor was Great! Ran out of Hendricks though!! Food servers reaching over others to deliver food that was not theirs but belonged to another table. Tables were never cleared between courses. The excursions were excellent, if you were a 20 year old and could walk 1 mile in 15 minutes, otherwise stay on board or go to the local area. If you like to sleep do not get a room on the 3rd floor. The track is above you and people run early and late, just as you are sleeping. If you were disabled, forget it. No elevator from 1st to 2nd floor, where the dining room was. Egress and ingress to the boat requires a degree in obstacle courses and climbing equipment. Someone asked me if I had complained to the company? I said no. The reason is: read the complaints and you will see the company never answers the complaints online, in writing. They always want to call the person lodging the complaint and mostly do nothing. If they do something it is usually giving the complainant a discount on a future cruise. Why would you want to cruise on a boat with such lousy service? I have lodged my complaint with my travel agent of over 30 years. She informed me she will not book with them again. I strongly recommend you do not also. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
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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