Sail Date: November 2017
After 6 cruises with Princess, Oceana and Viking on the ocean, me and my partner we decided this November to try a river cruise and, as we enjoyed our last cruise on Viking Star we decided for Viking again. The experience was a little ... Read More
After 6 cruises with Princess, Oceana and Viking on the ocean, me and my partner we decided this November to try a river cruise and, as we enjoyed our last cruise on Viking Star we decided for Viking again. The experience was a little bit different, but we loved every moment between Budapest and Amsterdam. Viking Lif is a lovely ship, not very big (we were 190 passengers on board), giving you the feeling that you are in an intimate environment with a subtle added touch of luxury. The stateroom was not very big, but comfortable with decent amenities. Our room stewardess Anna was above any expectations, friendly and helpful and always happy to have a nice chat with us. She managed to keep our room sparkling every without being intrusive and her smile was the best way to start our days. My only real gripe is the food which was a little bit disappointing with not a lot of variety and sometimes tasteless or nearly tasteless dishes, something like semi prepared food from a tin. But the service was impeccable, both in the restaurant and the bar with Harold and Saska making every meal special. We purchased on board the “all-inclusive drinking package” which was great with plenty of choice. The only think that was not included was the smile of the staff in the bar; maybe they were tired, but we didn’t see them smiling once. The Reception team were trying their best to be helpful but, most of the time they didn’t have time or information to answer to our questions, especially the young guy working during the night, who always “made up” answers which were far from what we needed. Ionut and Anita were great and at least were trying to help us as much as possible. Maybe, as a suggestion for Viking, the presence of a Concierge or Passenger Service Agent will be a great idea! We met the Captain once during an evening presentation in the lounge. Despite his impressive, scary look he was a very interesting character and his “double act” show with the cruise director was great. The Hotel Manager Jerry was very efficient despite the fact that he was sometimes quite abrupt with both passengers and his own crew. But he was always around the ship to check that everything was perfect…and it was! But, with no doubts, the biggest asset of the ship was our Cruise Director Leonard. We're blown away with his energy, creativity, impressive knowledge, superb manners, an incredible sense of humour. He is a true professional and has the charisma of a Jay Leno, or a Johnny Carson. Managing every aspect of our excursions and events on board he was always around when somebody had a question or need any kind of support. His lecture and presentations were simply amazing and we watch him both in the lounge or on television learning so much about Mozart and Main Canal, Dutch cheese and Sound of Music. Everybody on board loved him and that’s include the crew; I saw Leonard in Wurtzburg buying roses for all the room stewardesses and sweets for the staff in the restaurant. I think he is FLAT OUT the BEST in the business! His fun-loving and happy personality comes across within his work and it is clear why he is so popular and well regarded by everybody. If anyone has the pleasure of being on a cruise with him, be prepared for the best and informative cruise ever! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
Me and my wife we just come back from “passage to Europe” on Viking LIF. We’ve been in many cruises on the big ships, two of them with Viking Sky and Star, but our recent experience exceeded any expectations. Viking ... Read More
Me and my wife we just come back from “passage to Europe” on Viking LIF. We’ve been in many cruises on the big ships, two of them with Viking Sky and Star, but our recent experience exceeded any expectations. Viking Lif is a beautiful ship, our cabin was smaller than on the ocean but extremely comfortable and we always had the feeling of a big family due to the small size of the ship (only 190 passengers on board). Was like being on a floating home. The food was very good and the service in the restaurant was exceptional (we loved Harold and Bogdan). The only thing that we missed from the big ship was the buffet which on Viking Star was amazing. Our cabin was smaller that what you get on a big ship was impeccable clean and we loved the heated floor in the bathroom. The housekeeper Anna was a very friendly girl from Romania and she was brilliant keeping our cabin sparkling every day, extremely helpful and with a nice big smile. We wanted to take her home with us. On Viking Lif we didn’t find a concierge as we were promised when we booked the cruise, but the receptionist Ankita was always ready to assist us when we needed more information about the places that we visited. The cruise visiting Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia and Budapest was an excellent opportunity to learn about the ex-communist block and discover new traditions and lifestyles. Is a cruise that I strongly recommend if you want to leave your comfort zone of a boring cruise. Of course we were extremely lucky to have the best cruise director EVER! We cruised before with Princess, Holland America, Viking, Cunard and regent but we never had the chance to have somebody like the cruise director on Viking Lif. Leonard was born in Romania, is a doctor but at the same time a movie star in Romania. We were shocked to see that in Bucharest everybody was stopping him asking for autographs and photos. His was a walking encyclopaedia having a huge amount of information about every places that we visited and answering every questions. What we loved was that he know how to mix the right amount of information with a fine sense of humour, making never boring any conversation. His presentations about Communist Romania was heart-breaking and inspiring, while his talk about Dracula was informative and funny at the same time. Everybody on board loved him and Leonard was working 25 hours daily being anytime everywhere. Charming and elegant, smart and funny he is a huge asset for Viking making our cruise informative educative but everything with a lot of fun. We celebrate Halloween on board and was one of the best party ever: everybody was wearing a mask, a “scary disco party” was taking place in the lounge and the two witches acting as hosts (the cruise director and the pianist|) were great. The entire experience on Viking Lif was memorable and, persuaded by the charming hotel manager Jary to book for the next year another cruise on Viking Lif, this time from Amsterdam to Budapest. Finger crossed that we will have Leonard again as a Cruise Director. Thank you Viking you are THE BEST! Thank your Viking LIF you are exceptional! Thank you Leonard your are phenomenal! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
My wife and I just finished 21 day cruise on the Viking Lif. First, the crew, officers, all staff were outstanding. Our stateroom Suite, only 8 of them, was also very nice. That is about it. Viking is rated about a 4 or 5 Star Cruise line ... Read More
My wife and I just finished 21 day cruise on the Viking Lif. First, the crew, officers, all staff were outstanding. Our stateroom Suite, only 8 of them, was also very nice. That is about it. Viking is rated about a 4 or 5 Star Cruise line and actually they are about a 2 Star. The cruise ports and times are very disorganized, sometimes arriving late afternoon and leaving late or arriving early and leave early. The times of ports are not posted in advance. At some ports you cannot get back to the ship via yourself or taxi because the ship will leave the port and they transfer you to the new port by bus at their designated time. They tie up next to another Viking and you look directly into the stateroom of that ship and have to walk through that ship to get outside. The food is very average with little variety and no snacks or anythiing offered between breakfast and lunch. You cannot get a sandwich of any kind unless maybe it is part of the lunch, no cheese selection of any kind or variety, they should at least offer a sandwich bar for guest that don't want there planned meals. I day we were offered hot dogs and hamburgers. They rush you through dinner as at 7 they want you down there and order almost immediately. There is basically no dress code at dinner so we packed way to many clothes, you can were tee shirts, jeans, flip flops, sneakers, ect. They have very few hand sanitizers hence the ship was a walking coughing factory by the end of the cruise. They offer no non-prescription drugs of any kind and you must wait for a port to get to a pharmacy. My wife developed, influenza A, on the ship and I am sure others did also . Upon arrival to America I had to take her to emergency, they could not get her a doctor appointment in a big port which would not have done any good anyway as they would most likely not have done X-rays and nasal swabs. They only offer CNN, BBC, so if you get fed up with them you cannot go to Fox International . They last thing , you can order juices for breakfast or lunch but say you want an apple juise or orange juice between those times they charge you $2.80 euros, which makes no sense. When compared the Wind Star, Oceania, Regent, or Crystal Viking cannot even come close. Read Less
Viking Cruises, Community Team has responded
Dear rtplate, Thank you for taking the time to provide detailed feedback on your experiences aboard a Viking cruise. While we are happy to know that our staff was outstanding, it is with great disappointment that we learn that the other aspects of the cruise did not meet expectations. Furthermore, we certainly hope that your wife is feeling better. To better understand your concerns, please contact our Customer Relations Department at TellUs@vikingcruises.com. We will be happy to connect you with an Agent to discuss your comments in detail. We look forward to connecting and wish you a lovely day. Sincerely, Viking Cruises
Sail Date: September 2017
Although I have cruised many times, they have all been on large cruise ships. I can't rave enough about the service on the Viking Lif, and I would believe all Viking ships. The Cruise Director, service staff, back office staff were all ... Read More
Although I have cruised many times, they have all been on large cruise ships. I can't rave enough about the service on the Viking Lif, and I would believe all Viking ships. The Cruise Director, service staff, back office staff were all excellent. By the second day, everyone knew me by my first name. The tours were very appropriate for our ports of call, and the tour guides were great. The state rooms were small, but I knew that going in. They were still more than adequate. Most of the passengers were older in age than you would find on large cruise ship, which is understandable considering the difference in cost. This also meant that there were no kids, which would have really been a pain on a small ship. But, in no way was the age of most of the passengers a detriment to having fun. Most were very active. I would definitely do this cruise again, and am actively planning another Viking cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
Double Caution. We travelled between Bucharest and Budapest in September 2017. There is no point criticising the ship as crews change so often that the complete atmosphere changes. The Viking organisation needs reassessment but it ... Read More
Double Caution. We travelled between Bucharest and Budapest in September 2017. There is no point criticising the ship as crews change so often that the complete atmosphere changes. The Viking organisation needs reassessment but it appears that ships are reluctant to pass feed-back to head office. We thought the food was bland (other than a great breakfast). We managed to get our concerns addressed through our travel agent as Viking did not respond to the survey tick of them contacting us directly. Our answer to the food comment was that Head Office stipulates the menu!! (And the way the food is cooked and presented??) I have read this before - no feed-back to head office but "that is the way it is done" attitude. That attitude was prevalent throughout the cruise, when it was raining no-one brought umbrellas to those waiting to board even though they were available on the ship. Other cruise lines do this. Viking does not provide what it advertises but is average and enjoyable at that level of expectation. (We were expecting what was advertised.) There are not quiet areas for a drink and chat as our tour director took all the time before dinner and much of after dinner, in the lounge telling us of the next days excursions, with slides, so the next day was only a repeat, by the local guides, of what he told us. A waste of time and a waste of space. My first caution. Realise that if you book directly with Viking and change your mind, in any way, you lose your deposit. It is lost from the moment your cruise is confirmed. Use a travel agent. Also without previous notification, when you receive your tickets, you find that Viking absolves itself from any damage to your baggage, etc, even if caused by its staff. Second caution. This is a boring area of the Danube. There is only one stop along that route where you can actually get off the ship and walk to a town. The other stops are at industrial loading areas (which are not working) so our advice is, unless you particularly want to see the old Communist countries, pick any other cruise in Europe, such as Budapest to Amsterdam. We feel that Viking missed the point especially on this cruise. While there was no opportunity for free time exploring and long bus trips for excursions, Viking could have made this trip memorable by emphasising the food (and reducing the time that the tour director took in the relaxing areas). Hope this helps Read Less
Viking Cruises, Community Team has responded
Dear Schroeder1, Thank you for taking the time to provide a detailed overview of your experiences aboard Viking Lif. Understanding and addressing feedback from our guests is one of our top priorities, so we appreciate you sharing your comments here with the Cruise Critic community and allowing us the opportunity to address your concerns. Although we are disappointed to learn that you were dissatisfied with your cruise route as well as your experiences with our staff and crew, we do want to assure you that your feedback has been recorded and will be addressed. The level of service that you have described is certainly disappointing and not the level of service we strive to deliver to our guests. Schroeder1, if you would kindly send your contact and booking information to TellUs@vikingcruises.com, we would appreciate the opportunity to put you in touch with one of our experienced Customer Relations agents so that we may better understand your concerns and how we could have made this a more enjoyable journey for you. We hope to hear from you through that outlet, Schroeder1, and wish you a wonderful day in the meantime. Sincerely, Viking Cruises
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
This was my third Viking cruise. In 2015, l did Castles along the Rhine in November and was so impressed that l upon returning home l booked another cruise for the following May, which was equally wonderful. I was so looking forward ... Read More
This was my third Viking cruise. In 2015, l did Castles along the Rhine in November and was so impressed that l upon returning home l booked another cruise for the following May, which was equally wonderful. I was so looking forward to this September Eastern Europe Cruise. We did the pre trip to Prague and post trip to Transylvania. I sincerely believe that Viking has grown too big too quickly and they have forgotten about customer service and client concerns. As a cancer survivor and a person who has asthma l never expected to have to deal with a smoker two rooms down. Especially since this was listed as a non smoking boat (a designated smoking area was indicated on third deck). After 4 complaints, the smoker was finally spoken to. But that was after 4 nights of not being able to open my balcony windows, for which l paid extra. Also, when l asked to speak with the Hotel Manager l was given a female customer representative. However, when a male friend accompanied me to the front desk to complain about the treatment l had received, out came the male Hotel Manager immediately.......women travelers be warned!!! I was shocked that in 2017, such behavior still exists! Never once after did either the Hotel Manager or Captain reach out to me. The dining room was always set and ready. Exceptional service from Tommy and Joseph, even when things did not seem to be running smoothly in the kitchen. On the two previous cruises there were more locally inspired meals. I would have to agree with another member who wrote that these meals were computer generated from corporate headquarters. Also, we were told that a Viking representative would be at the Airport in Romania to help us with departures.........no one was there and it was pure chaos! There were also concerns about daily excursions. I spoke with many folks who agreed, this trip is just not worth the money. I know await a response from Viking...... Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Last month I spend 3 weeks on board of Viking ships sailing across Europe. No mistake, I said “Viking ships” because due to the water issues on the Danube I needed to change ships in Budapest. The first part of my trip was on ... Read More
Last month I spend 3 weeks on board of Viking ships sailing across Europe. No mistake, I said “Viking ships” because due to the water issues on the Danube I needed to change ships in Budapest. The first part of my trip was on Viking Agir and the last 2 weeks on Viking Lif. I didn’t have any problems with changing ships but what I don’t understand is how Viking manage to offer two different experiences on two, in theory, identical ships? The boarding on Agir was a little bit chaotic with passengers arriving at the same time and waiting in the lounge until somebody from the reception was shouting, like in Central Station, the name of the lucky one who can get the room key. On Viking LIF everything was different: a sense of calm and control, with a lot of smiles and with the Hotel Manager and Cruise Director chatting with the passengers when we were waiting (not very long) for check-in. The girls from Agir reception were trying hard to smile and give useful information and always advise me to ask the Cruise director. On Lif the story was completely different: Anicka and Iout knew almost everything and when they didn’t have the answer, with a joke, were ask the Cruise director to help. The service in Agir restaurant was very basic and most of the time rushed; I don’t want to blame the waiters but was easy to realise that they were overworked and under the constant pressure of the Hotel manager who was always walking like an SS officer with no smiles for passengers or staff. On Lif everybody, anytime of the day had a genuine big smile and they looked that they love their job and being on board. On the second ship you have the feeling that they were a big family with everybody, from Captain Ane to my room steward (Marko) sharing jokes and being professional in a very friendly manner. Big differences between ships from top to bottom; on Agir the captain didn’t speak one word in English his presentation about navigation being another boring show off of the Hotel Manager while on Lif was an excellent double act with Cpt Ane and Cruise Director Leonard putting together an excellent infotainment night. Iana, Hotel Manager on Lif was very friendly and always ready to help not only the passengers but staff too, finding time to chat with everybody. The other Hotel Manager, Claus, was acting like a little dictator with both staff and passengers…not a pleasant face to see when on board! The only element of consistency was the Cruise Director, or Program Director as is called on Viking, Leonard. He was always funny, very informative and knowledgeable, showing a genuine care for all on board and finding time after very long days to chat both with passengers and his colleagues. I was so happy that he was with us for all 3 weeks and he’s the one who made me booking another Viking cruise. Maybe Viking can think very seriously about bringing consistency on board of their ships; after 3 weeks I will score 4 stars Viking Lif 2 stars Viking Agir And 5+stars Leonard. However, as a sign of respect and appreciation for Viking LIF the scores are for my 2 weeks experience on Lif between Budapest to Amsterdam Read Less
Sail Date: July 2017
My husband and I had never been to Europe. We talked with friends, who had friends that had traveled with Viking before and highly recommended the company for our tour. We really enjoyed the personal attention that the crew gave us ... Read More
My husband and I had never been to Europe. We talked with friends, who had friends that had traveled with Viking before and highly recommended the company for our tour. We really enjoyed the personal attention that the crew gave us during our trip on the Viking Lif and our transition to the other ship, the Viking Aegir. We had to switch ships half way through the cruise because the water level was too shallow in the canal area between Nuremberg and Regensberg. It was really nice to see the crew standing outside our ship to see us off to the next ship. Also, it was great that they allowed our tour director, Dan go with us to the next ship. He was great!!! When we got to the next ship, after our tour of Nuremberg, it was wonderful to see our new crew with welcome signs and umbrellas to bring us on board the Viking Aegir. Great customer service on both ships!!!!! The whole trip was beautiful and the tour guides, for the most part were very good and informative. We did experience a couple that were trying to rush people along too much; however, we realized that they only had so much time to give us a tour. In Cologne, the guide should have taken us to another building to tour since we were unable to visit inside the cathederal because of a cardinal funeral. A stop at the doughnut shop there would have been great. She took us by the shop, but it would have been nice to sampled one of the jelly doughnuts. The doughnuts looked great!!!!! Although we enjoyed something about each one of the towns that we visited, a highlight was getting to tour the Marksburg Castle in Braubach, Germany..... great tour and our guide Mark was wonderful. We loved the windmills of Kinderdjike....wished we could have had more time there to shop and look around. I was expecting Vienna to be the most beautiful place to see; however, I believe Budapest was by far the most beautiful, especially at night. We really enjoyed the beautiful churches that we got to visit....such beautiful steeples!!!!! I could go on and on about the many beautiful places that we visited; however, I would have to write a book. To sum it up, it was a great trip and an experience that my husband and I will always cherish and remember. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2017
I love history. I felt this gave us a good overview for our first time in Europe. We started with three days in Amsterdam. I would recommend going from Amsterdam to Budapest rather than the opposite direction. This trip started a ... Read More
I love history. I felt this gave us a good overview for our first time in Europe. We started with three days in Amsterdam. I would recommend going from Amsterdam to Budapest rather than the opposite direction. This trip started a little slow with the windmills and industrial areas in the Netherlands and then builds and builds until the grand finale in the night cruise through Budapest. We stayed at the Doubletree by Hilton. It was ideally located near Amsterdam Central, the Red Light District, the harbour, and the departure dock for the river cruise. We walked to Anne Frank's House, the museums, the flower market, and every other major tourist attraction in Amsterdam. Departure day we walked from our hotel to the ship. We were able to leave our luggage onboard and head back into Amsterdam for another visit. We got back early and our cabin was soon ready for us. Overall the cabin was small but fine for the cruise as we didn't spend much time in it anyway. Why pay for a big suite when you aren't in it except to sleep and change. I would definitely recommend a French balcony suite though as it was wonderful sitting in the evening with the balcony open, listening to the water gurgle by the side of the ship. The cruise starts rather slow as the first day is at the windmills and then the second is cruising through an industrial area. Cologne was our first major stop. We were a little disappointed when we weren't able to embark in the city centre. A catholic cardinal had passed away and the downtown area was blocked off for the funeral. While we weren't able to go in the cathedral the pageant of the funeral was quite a site as hundreds of flag bearers wound their way to the church. The next few stops were beautiful but at most we had to embark at alternative areas and get bussed into the cities for various reasons. This was also a little annoying and we were beginning to wonder if the advertising for the trip was a little misleading. A big bonus though, was a stop in Bonn. As we were unable to spend the entire time in Cologne, we had an early stop in Bonn and were able to walk right into the market and historical area where a small festival was going on. It was beautiful. After a few days we finally got back on track and the rest of the trip we were delighted with each embarkation location. We walked off the boat and into the cities. Tours were varied and good value. We loved Marksburg Castle. On a couple of occasions we decided to strike out on our own. We had researched the areas ahead of time and were able to walk at our own rate. Dining was wonderful. We had plenty of excellent selections and the desserts were delicious. The first week my wife and I moved from table to table in order to meet new people. By the second week we had made some good friends and sat with them for most of the remaining meals. Entertainment is rather limited but that was okay as we usually were so exhausted at the end of each day that we retired early to our cabin to rest up for the next day. The glass blower demonstration was the highlight of the entertainment and the artisan was very funny and interesting. All the staff on the ship were excellent. They were very friendly and helpful. This was our first time in Europe and our first river cruise. We would highly recommend Viking River Cruises and hope to go on many more in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2017
This is part three of a three ship cruise that was supposed to be all on one boat from Bucharest to Amsterdam. Yet one more pack and unpack event in order to change boats again. The GOOD: once again, housekeeping deserves five stars ... Read More
This is part three of a three ship cruise that was supposed to be all on one boat from Bucharest to Amsterdam. Yet one more pack and unpack event in order to change boats again. The GOOD: once again, housekeeping deserves five stars and is the only department that performed admirably. The Program Director was also very good and also deserves five stars. The BAD:. The food was just okay. I equate it to the food in a restaurant of a three star hotel. It was good, but not nearly what I expected. The chef told me that he had to prepare the menus dictated by the corporate office. The restaurant staff was terrible. At one dinner, all the tables surrounding us had finished their main course and were being served desert, and we were just then receiving our salad and appetizers. At breakfast one morning, my wife ordered French Toast, and the waiter brought pancakes. My wife informed him that she didn't order pancakes, at which point the waiter started to argue with her. The passenger sitting next to my wife backed her up and the waiter stomped off in anger. This sort of behavior from a waiter is unacceptable in any restaurant in the world, especially on a boat advertised as a 'Luxury Cruise'. Once again, Avalon is far and away a better cruise line. Bigger cabins, far better food, much better restaurant staff, and a lot fewer people on the boat. Read Less
Viking Lif Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.5
Dining 4.0 4.5
Entertainment 3.0 4.2
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 1.0 3.0
Family 1.0 3.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.5
Enrichment 4.0 4.3
Service 4.0 4.8
Value For Money 3.0 4.3
Rates 4.0 N/A

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