1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2016
Wanted to try a cruise now that we are retired. Loved it, staff was wonderful. The cabin steward, Vladamir, kept everything in great shape, and in the dining room, Katarina was terrific. Of course, the Program Director, Leonard was great ... Read More
Wanted to try a cruise now that we are retired. Loved it, staff was wonderful. The cabin steward, Vladamir, kept everything in great shape, and in the dining room, Katarina was terrific. Of course, the Program Director, Leonard was great and very entertaining. Embarkation and disembarkation went extremely well One complaint, we signed up for two extra days in Amsterdam. The hotel, Moevenpick, was super, The two days turned out to be one day in Amsterdam and one day of travel, with an airport pick-up at 0430, and all day travel. By the way, Heathrow is not nice place to travel through. Their version of TSA is even less friendly than in the US. Shore excursions were generally very good, although I did get a little tired of cobblestones. Probably could have done without the Hungarian Horsemen and the Dutch Cheese Maker (cheese was interesting and we bought some, but cows were cows - not interesting) but chalk it off to experience. Would we go again, yes. I believe we have signed up for British Islands Explorer in 2018, with a stop-over in Iceland Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
The boat trip was exceptional and very accommodating. Guides were very knowledgeable and courteous. Boat crew and staff superb. Just an overall excellent boat cruise. The onboard food was truly gourmet. I really can't brag enough ... Read More
The boat trip was exceptional and very accommodating. Guides were very knowledgeable and courteous. Boat crew and staff superb. Just an overall excellent boat cruise. The onboard food was truly gourmet. I really can't brag enough about the boating part of the trip. I would do that trip again in a heart beat. The only negative is booking the air through Viking. They wait far too long to reserve seats and our whole group (17) were all spread around the back of the planes. No excuse when you have to book a year in advance. If we do Viking again, we will book our own flights. It's nice to have their airport concierge there when you arrive but not worth sitting in the back of a crowded plane for 7 hours to get that service from the baggage claim to the Viking bus. I truly believe that Viking has a real opportunity for improvement with the air arrangements. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
This was my first time in Europe....I really enjoyed the cruise from the service, the food, the cabins were equipped with everything one would need. The staff on the ship were amazing.....as this was my first time on a river boat I can see ... Read More
This was my first time in Europe....I really enjoyed the cruise from the service, the food, the cabins were equipped with everything one would need. The staff on the ship were amazing.....as this was my first time on a river boat I can see why more people are taking these cruises....the best part there is only a small amount of people on the boat....no long line ups and more individual care. There was free internet and computers for our use. Also, everyday there was a tour.....the tour guides from the locale were very informative. I could not get over the beautiful buildings and churches....everywhere the buildings are restored and preserved....they are keeping there heritage. I really enjoyed the different beers and wines we were served daily. The food was so good...the chef and staff were exceptional.....everyday a new menu..... The best part of a river boat cruise is everything is included ...don't have to pay for extras. The staff were great from the cabin attendant to the front desk...the cruise director was amazing.....I'm sure he never slept...he was always on the go..... It was a wonderful experience....Viking Cruises are a superior cruise line. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2016
Always heard great things about river cruising and after many ocean cruises we decided to experience it for ourselves. We chose Viking because it offered the Grand European itinerary and we enjoy Europe's cultural diversity and ... Read More
Always heard great things about river cruising and after many ocean cruises we decided to experience it for ourselves. We chose Viking because it offered the Grand European itinerary and we enjoy Europe's cultural diversity and scenery. The Viking Lif experience was absolutely much more than we could've imagined. The longship is beautiful and tastefully decorated and equipped. I loved the big French balcony views and the heated bathroom/ shower floors. The included tours were very well done by local guides and best of all were the audio vox which enabled everyone in the group to hear clearly without having to be w/in arms' length of each other. We could take our individual time to explore the things being spoken about and still find our guide who had continued. The food was very good and fresh including herbs grown and picked from the top deck garden. We were able to take in the beautiful scenery sitting comfortably on the open top deck and hear the points of interest over the loud speaker. Our cruise director, Leonard, was superb... personable and informative. As a matter of fact, all of the Lif crew/ staff was very friendly and helpful. The onboard entertainment which comprised of local artists was very very good. We highly recommend choosing Viking for river cruising. We loved it. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We had an excellent experience on the Viking Lif! The ship was comfortable and well appointed. We enjoyed the tours and the beautiful scenery. The crew was warm, hospitable, humorous, and informative. We hated to say goodbye to them! ... Read More
We had an excellent experience on the Viking Lif! The ship was comfortable and well appointed. We enjoyed the tours and the beautiful scenery. The crew was warm, hospitable, humorous, and informative. We hated to say goodbye to them! The food was very good. We discovered that we enjoyed the informal meals on the Aquavit Terrace and we even forged some friendships with those who most often gathered there. But it also allowed us a certain amount of privacy and couple time. We enjoyed the optional excursions, but the tour would have been just as wonderful without them. The local tour guides were very informative and enjoyable and spoke great English. The Cabin was well appointed. The bathroom is a bit small, but I assume that is to be expected on a cruise ship. And the view was phenomenal! The countryside is beautiful. Towns picturesque. And my engineer husband enjoyed the locks! I highly recommend this tour. And we look forward to another cruise! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
This was our first river cruise experience after many, many ocean cruises, We loved the laid-back pace aboard our ship and enjoyed seeing so many wonderful sights and old cities along our journey to Budapest. We found the food to be ... Read More
This was our first river cruise experience after many, many ocean cruises, We loved the laid-back pace aboard our ship and enjoyed seeing so many wonderful sights and old cities along our journey to Budapest. We found the food to be very good and enjoyed the availability of both wine and beer for lunch and dinner meals. Since the maximum passenger capacity is only 188 people, we never felt crowded on the ship. Although the complimentary wifi aboard the ship was a bit slow at times, it was nice to have that capability so that we could stay in contact with family members and gather news updates from our country. We brought our own computer, but there were two computers available in one of the public areas that guests could use as well. We also enjoyed the daily excursions that were included in the price of this cruise. Each passenger received a "quiet box" that allowed us to clearly hear our tour guide as we were being escorted on the excursion. I highly recommend this experience to anyone who is considering taking this kind of a trip. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
What an awesome experience. It was even better than we expected. Our first river cruise was first class in every way. I shot over six hours of HD video on the trip and edited it down to a two and a half hour DVD which we have shared with ... Read More
What an awesome experience. It was even better than we expected. Our first river cruise was first class in every way. I shot over six hours of HD video on the trip and edited it down to a two and a half hour DVD which we have shared with friends and family. At the towns and cities on the rivers we had bus and/or walking tours. The tour guides were very knowledgeable, and informed us about the history and culture about each local. I was glad that each stop offered an "easy" group for those of us with walking limitations. The staff on our river boat "Lif", was so friendly that many of them knew us by name. I even had a 45-minute personal chat with the captain. The Viking organization took care of us from check-in to landing at our hometown airport. We were cared for in every way for the entire trip. This cruise was so much more than the historic and scenic river-scape. It does make a difference which cruise company you choose. We can not recommend the Viking Grand European River Tour enough. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
The Grand European Cruise was wonderful. We had a great time, and everyone on The Viking Lif was great. The trip was wonderful, and the places we saw were amazing. The Viking Lif staff were the best we have ever seen and been a part of. ... Read More
The Grand European Cruise was wonderful. We had a great time, and everyone on The Viking Lif was great. The trip was wonderful, and the places we saw were amazing. The Viking Lif staff were the best we have ever seen and been a part of. Thank you for a great trip. The ports of call excursions were great. The Daily Briefings were very helpful. The entertainment was exceptional. The demonstrations were amazing and enjoyable. We would recommend this trip to anyone. We really appreciated how helpful Viking was in picking us up at the Amsterdam Airport to making sure we were on the correct plane at the Budapest Airport. We thank you so much for this, because this can be very frustrating. We will be doing two ocea cruises with Ving within the next year and are looking forward to each cruise. We have recommended Viking to several people, and we hope they will be as happy with Viking as we are. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We were first time river cruise travelers. Thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of adventure travel. Everyone so gracious. Tour guides' knowledge about port cities was very beneficial and informative. They had excursions well planned out. ... Read More
We were first time river cruise travelers. Thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of adventure travel. Everyone so gracious. Tour guides' knowledge about port cities was very beneficial and informative. They had excursions well planned out. City architecture was absolutely fantastic. Something that we will always remember. So glad the ship offered us a 'thumb drive' to purchase as a momentum of our trip. Meals were excellent. Wonderful variety of foods available. Chefs did an wonderful job in preparing meals. Also interesting to have some 'local' flavor. Loved the ship and how it was laid out. Having wi-fi for guest usage also good. It was nice to have different entertainment during the cruise. Especially liked it when the Dutch accordion players provided entertainment. Them mixing with the guests was really enjoyable. Couldn't ask for better service. Ship staff was always available and happy to provide any service that was needed. Will definitely refer river cruising to friends and do hope to be able to travel with Viking in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
"Paris and Heart of Normandy" was our second Viking cruise in France. Our daughter had visited Normandy and the D-Day beaches and told us it is a must visit destination. We were not disappointed with Normandy or Paris. This was ... Read More
"Paris and Heart of Normandy" was our second Viking cruise in France. Our daughter had visited Normandy and the D-Day beaches and told us it is a must visit destination. We were not disappointed with Normandy or Paris. This was our sixth cruise with Viking, so we knew what to expect. The ship, Viking Lif, and its crew were wonderful -- as we expected. Very helpful and friendly. It is very nice to have your hotel travel along with you as you explore new cities and countryside. This is a key advantage of river cruising. Another key advantage is freedom from concern over where to eat. For sure I like eating in European cafes and restaurants. But I do find it mildly stressful to have to pick one from the many choices available. Eating on the ship is easy and the food and service are first rate. And already paid for. One thing Viking is very good at is improvising whenever local conditions cause problems for the intended itinerary. On this trip, a lock master went on strike, so the ship had to dock downstream from Paris. Viking quickly put together a tour of St. Germaine where the ship had to stay overnight, and this turned out to be a highlight of the cruise. We saw where Louis XIV was born. Again in Rouen, another strike and another improvisation to get passengers from the ship to the Normandy beaches. Problems arise on European rivers. (Low water, lock closings and port master directed change in docking location being the main issues.) Viking is flexible and well equipped to handle these problems. We enjoyed an extra two days in Paris at the end of the cruise. The Viking hostess was very helpful with tips and directions. Don't miss Musee D'Orsay. Also, for an interesting place with seldom a line, visit the Conciergerie. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
After having an incredible experience aboard the Viking Longship Idun on the "Romantic Danube" cruise, we ached to return to Budapest and explore the Danube further. The cruise "Passage to Eastern Europe" aboard the ... Read More
After having an incredible experience aboard the Viking Longship Idun on the "Romantic Danube" cruise, we ached to return to Budapest and explore the Danube further. The cruise "Passage to Eastern Europe" aboard the Viking Longship Lif was a perfect introduction to lands beyond our imagination. The itinerary was a reverse one where we started in Bucharest and ended in Budapest. As the cruise director noted to the passengers upon our first evening aboard the Lif... "This cruise is for explorers, not your typical tourists". Her expertise and insight gave us valuable information with which we were better engaged to experience the wonderful sights and ports of call! Our arrival in Bucharest was without complaint or concern. The Viking staff greeted us and promptly delivered us to our lovely hotel which was perfectly situated and allowed us to get out and explore on our own after an overnight airplane trip. The next morning we were escorted to our ship n Gir Giu (so?) on the Danube. At each port we toured the historic sights and landmarks with very knowledgeable and pleasant guides. I must say that every guide that we have had has far exceeded our expectations in their depth of knowledge and insight into the immediate locale! At one point (Bosnia) we were introduced to a local family, in their home where we shared coffee, schnapps and cake and were able to talk directly. That was such an exceptional and intimate experience we will always treasure! We have booked our next Viking adventure aboard the Viking Longship Skadi, on the "European Grand Tour" cruise! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We chose this river cruise because of the itinerary which went from Amsterdam to Bucharest on the Rhine, Main and Danube. The experience was the best. The entire staff was awesome, always helpful and we all, cruisers and staff, became ... Read More
We chose this river cruise because of the itinerary which went from Amsterdam to Bucharest on the Rhine, Main and Danube. The experience was the best. The entire staff was awesome, always helpful and we all, cruisers and staff, became one big happy family - complete with tears when we disembarked at the end! We were one of the first, if not the first, ship to sail all the way through on the Danube. Low water caused others to have to move to other ships. Our captain was so knowledgeable. The food was consistently good. There were a couple of evenings that featured local cuisine complete with staff dressed in costumes to compliment the menu. The best part about river cruising is that everything is included in the cost of your trip - no paying extra for water, drinks, etc., etc. Every day we had about 2 litres of fresh water in our room. The excursions were mostly all included in the price or you could choose other tours for a reasonable fee. The tour guides are local so are knowledgeable about the area or site you are touring. The on-ship entertainment was always excellent and with local flavor where we were situated. The lounge piano entertainer was excellent and made that a nice place to wind down at the end of the day before turning in. The Lif was a very comfortable home away from home. This was a trip of a lifetime and we would do it again in a heartbeat. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
This was our second Viking cruise (first one was to Egypt two years ago), so we were aware of their standards of "care/service". They continued to impress on this Viking Grand European Cruise. We took advantage of the transfer ... Read More
This was our second Viking cruise (first one was to Egypt two years ago), so we were aware of their standards of "care/service". They continued to impress on this Viking Grand European Cruise. We took advantage of the transfer process at the airport in Schipol (we were met on time and transported efficiently) and of an additional 2 days in Amsterdam, staying at the Renaissance Hotel. It was in a great location and the Viking staff were always available to assist in maximizing our experience in Amsterdam. The Cruise itself met all expectations (and more). The "long ship" experience is great, with beautiful on-board surroundings. We tended to have breakfast and dinner in the Main Dining Room, and lunch on the Acquivit terrace.The meals were varied, with attention to vegetarian choices, and appropriate in size. The "regional" menu choices were great. The wine flowed! The Chef was always available and we gave many compliments, particularly to his soups. The "coffee station" with baking was a hit! The shore excursions were really excellent, with use of local guides whose pride in their countries was evident. There was only one guide that did not meet Viking standards and we shared that with the Concierge (very helpful). What we really appreciated was the 'variation' in some of the excursions (e.g. walking tour in Budapest, church architecture). Also there was time for freelance visits to other sites in each city. We did not access the optional tours, but as this was a re-visit to Europe we did not have particular interest in these options. They appeared good, and there was no "hard-sell" like we experience on larger cruise ships. The most critical issue for the cruise was the low water levels, and again Viking delivered! Our captain constantly monitored water levels, and through timing facilitated our trip flawlessly. We did not have to change boats, even though other Viking cruises did. We would recommend this particular trip to anyone wanting to have a solid glimpse of Europe. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
Great experience, floating hotel, really nice to just unpack once but still see all the different cities and countries. Lots of information, almost to the point of information overload. Food awesome. Nice to have all the shore ... Read More
Great experience, floating hotel, really nice to just unpack once but still see all the different cities and countries. Lots of information, almost to the point of information overload. Food awesome. Nice to have all the shore excursions included in the overall price. I've since learned that my favorite stop has been taken off the itinerary - Bratislavia. I would rather see one of the earlier cities eliminated and keep Bratislava on the itinerary. There were a couple of the Unesco city stops that were very similar and we feel that I one of them could have been skipped. We realize that they all have a history helping to make that part of Europe what it is today. Enjoyed the glass blowing demo, but would have been nice to see the town and shop other than on a Sunday when everything was closed. We would recommend this trip to anyone even with the smallness of the stateroom. No need to spend a lot of time in the stateroom as the lounges were very comfortable. We did find it odd that unlimited wine or beer was available during lunch or dinner but go to the lounge and you had to pay. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
We booked what was advertised as A Grand European Tour over a year ago having had a flyer advising that if we booked it quickly we would get a discount of £1100 each. We paid a 25% deposit immediately to secure a French Balcony Cabin; ... Read More
We booked what was advertised as A Grand European Tour over a year ago having had a flyer advising that if we booked it quickly we would get a discount of £1100 each. We paid a 25% deposit immediately to secure a French Balcony Cabin; even with the early discount promotional offer it was an expensive holiday and from our experience represented very poor value for money. Compared to what we could have bought on an ocean cruise for the same outlay it was not worth the cost. The cruise did not start in Amsterdam; did not finish in Budapest; was not on the Embla [at least not for the first 7 nights] until we had to change ships half way through the cruise which necessitated a 4 hour autobahn coach trip from Nuremberg to Passau. We have never been told by Viking why we started on the lif and not the Embla except that it was for "operational reasons". It is certainly the case that the river levels were causing problems even before our cruise started and that was given as the reason why we had to terminate in Komarom, about two hours from Budapest. We found that trying to get answers to questions on the boat in respect of the itinerary was impossible as they were evasive. Our cabin was very small and you could not even get round the bed unless you shuffled sideways; you could also not open your laptop on the worktop as it was so narrow. It did have a very good shower and a useable 'fridge. Although we had paid for a French Balcony half the time we were moored we were tied up alongside another ship and we could not even open our curtains because of lack of privacy. We were also on many occasions moored far from the town centres or in industrial areas. On one occasion we were the jam in the sandwich between two other Viking ships and there was a really offensive smell in the public areas all day. When I complained to Viking on return they were unsympathetic and said this was due to the increasing popularity of river cruising; this was a pathetic and lame excuse as they probably have more cruise ships on the Rhine and the Danube than any other company. We found that the food was very average; menu's were basically style over substance; starters tended to be very small portions; entrees had little vegetables other than garnish an you were expected to order desert at the same time as your other courses. I complained to the restaurant manager [on the Lif] who told me ta ask for extra steamed vegetables; I did this twice- the first time they did not arrive; and the second they did but I got such a look of incredulity from the waiter I did not do it again. We also found that the complementary wine at meals [both red and white] tended to be rather sweet and when we addressed this with the waiter he tried to persuade me to buy a drinks package; however I did get the Restaurant Manager to identify more dry house wines which were freely available. Every evening there was a briefing session in regard to the following days activities and excursions; they were supposed to be "inspirational and enriching". I regret to say that our Programme Director was monotone, boring, and devoid of any enthusiasm or personality. Although English was not his first language that was not the issue; it was his mechanical delivery of information. Other passengers we spoke to also voiced this opinion. Viking state that gratuities are a personal choice yet in the information issued prior to departure they give a recommended level of tipping of 12 Euros per guest per day. The implication here is clearly that tipping is expected. For a couple this amounts to 336 Euros a not inconsiderable amount. They are guilty of giving mixed messages; it gratuities are truly an individual option then it is not appropriate to dictate recommended amounts. I have given a short appraisal of my seven page letter of complaint to Viking following the cruise but have missed out many other issues which gave us concern. I did not fine there initial response satisfactory but it has now been resolved and the matter is closed. However I will not be travelling with them in the future Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
Excellent itinerary. Great accomodations. Hard working and pleasant staff and crew. Very good meals. Educational walking tours and on-board entertainment. The fellow passengers were pleasant and interesting.....many were world ... Read More
Excellent itinerary. Great accomodations. Hard working and pleasant staff and crew. Very good meals. Educational walking tours and on-board entertainment. The fellow passengers were pleasant and interesting.....many were world travelers. We participated in all the walking tours, and two additional excursions. The ship was clean, tastefully decorated, and smooth sailing. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2015
Viking Grand European Cruise was crafted perfectly. The tours were in the morning after breakfast with ample time to freelance sightsee on your own after lunch. The vibe on the ship was totally relaxed. The total amount of passengers was ... Read More
Viking Grand European Cruise was crafted perfectly. The tours were in the morning after breakfast with ample time to freelance sightsee on your own after lunch. The vibe on the ship was totally relaxed. The total amount of passengers was under 200, which allowed for a great intimate atmosphere. Open seating at dinner meant we met new people ever night. The food was nicely prepared each evening and the service was outstanding in all departments. We will defintely be doing this again! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
Loved every bit of the cruise, and hopfully will be able to put another cruise together for 2016. Services onboard were great. The variety of entertainment was very "local" and fun to watch. Shore excursions were just long ... Read More
Loved every bit of the cruise, and hopfully will be able to put another cruise together for 2016. Services onboard were great. The variety of entertainment was very "local" and fun to watch. Shore excursions were just long enough. We booked our flights thru viking and we could not be happier with the follow trough from start to finish. I didn't expect the help from the viking staff when we got to the airport when the trip was over. Our cabin was on the lower floor, and was a little smaller than some of the other rooms, but there was more good about the room than there was bad. We had more privacy than some of the rooms that had balconies. Food lended itself to the local dishes and was a good treat. I can't say enough about the excellent presentation of the food dishes each meal. I have heard that there are fancier and more upscale river cruises available, but for my money I don't think that there is any better river cruise line than Viking River Cruises. Thanks for the memories! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
This was out third river cruise with Viking, from Bucharest to Budapest. It had all of the things we have learned to expect from Viking... great ship, super crew, really good dining, great entertainment, good on board programmes and ... Read More
This was out third river cruise with Viking, from Bucharest to Budapest. It had all of the things we have learned to expect from Viking... great ship, super crew, really good dining, great entertainment, good on board programmes and interesting tours. The things that we did not like so much here were: - intermittent and very poor wi-fi connections. Partially explained by ongoing server problems on board, but even so... - Of the ten nights on the cruise, we spent 3 in hotels. One of the great things about river cruising is that your boat is your hotel and one needs to unpack and pack only once, the theory goes. But, this cruise had us in a hotel at the start (one unpack, pack), onto the boat (unpack, pack), then off the boat and into a hotel for two nights in Budapest (unpack, pack). - this part of the world is a lot poorer than we saw on other cruises and the tours were more bus driven instead of walk driven. Overall, it was still a Viking cruise, and we are booked on another one, an ocean one this time, and are looking at others in the Viking repertoire. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We have been in n many ocean cruises, and this was our first river cruise. Based on this experience, we are "hooked" on river cruises. We took the Grand European tour - Budapest to Amsterdam. We loved the small number of ... Read More
We have been in n many ocean cruises, and this was our first river cruise. Based on this experience, we are "hooked" on river cruises. We took the Grand European tour - Budapest to Amsterdam. We loved the small number of passengers, personalized service by all staff, shore excursions.and fellow passengers. We are retired, and most passengers were 50 or older, well traveled, and interesting. I have problems walking very long distances and standing for long periods of time. My husband, on the other hand is very athletic and active. There were tour groups that fit both our needs. There is a leisure group that is slower and avoids multiple steps and more strenuous terrain. Tour guides were excellent and knowledgeable . If you don't like group tours, the concierge is very knowledgeable about alternatives - hop on hop off buses, etc. I enjoy exploring on my own and met a fellow passenger who liked the same things. Like all cruises, we would like more time in certain cities -Vienna, Cologne. Unlike ocean cruises, there is no casino, fitness center, evening shows - we did not miss. Every evening there is a review of tours and things to do in port-recommend attending these. Also available on in room TV. Evening/afternoon entertainment was based on local culture, information. I do recommend some of additional shore excursions - price is reasonable compared to ocean cruises. We loved the Vienna music and trip to Rothenberg. Husband loved Beerhaus tour in Cologne. Food was excellent and there is personalized service for special dietary needs. We used frequent flyer miles for airfare, but did purchase transfers. Well worth cost. We booked through Viking -but will use travel agency next time -Most who used travel agencies had extra perks. We did not book pre or post cruise tours. Heard great reviews for Prague and Bdapest. We are planning our next river cruise -hope you join us! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
Although overall we were overall pleased with this cruise, our second with Viking, there was one area that could use improvement. First and foremost, we were not aware of the extensive walking we had to do. The walking itself ... Read More
Although overall we were overall pleased with this cruise, our second with Viking, there was one area that could use improvement. First and foremost, we were not aware of the extensive walking we had to do. The walking itself wasn't the issue; the weather was. We were in the Netherlands and Belgium for one of the coldest Mays in recent history. We also encountered a fair amount of rain. Therefore, having to walk the amount we did was somewhat unpleasant. It was miles to walk into and out of Bruges, at least a mile to walk to and from windmills, a good distance to walk around one town. Perhaps alternative activities could have been planned to minimize the discomfort. The ship itself, the Lif, was lovely. The cabin was more than adequate, and maintenance of that cabin was outstanding. Food was excellent, with a good variety of choices. We liked the fact we had the option of dining in the formal dining room or more casually. We thoroughly enjoyed our extension in the Hague. The hotel was outstanding. In summary, the trip was a great success. Nonetheless, we would like Viking to take into consideration the fact that there should be options available, should the weather be inclement, as it was on our latest cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2014
My husband & I took my sister and our son & daughter on the Grand European Cruise this past November. A few days before the cruise we received an email that we were now on the Skadi ship and not the Lif. I was somewhat disappointed ... Read More
My husband & I took my sister and our son & daughter on the Grand European Cruise this past November. A few days before the cruise we received an email that we were now on the Skadi ship and not the Lif. I was somewhat disappointed because the Lif was a new ship. Once we were on board and led to our rooms we were disappointed. Our son had his own cabin, my husband & I had a cabin with a balcony but my sister and daughter shared a room that was just too small. We went right up to the desk and was asking for an upgrade, which we did get but to the tune of $4000. This trip had already cost us $32,000 the most we ever paid for a vacation. We take a big vacation every year with our family. Even though the extra living room was wonderful there was still not enough for their clothes. I enjoyed the trip, thought we would be able to stop in every port and walk onto the towns but that was not the case. We had to get bused to several locations because of the water problems with one day parked, waiting on the bus until the ship arrived. The worst part of the trip is when we had to transfer onto the Lif which meant several hours repacking again and then unpacking again, so we lost valuable time. We didn't see the scenery as expected by the commercials so for about a little more than $37,000 we didn't get what we expected. The food was good, more fancy than I was used to, but the chef was wonderful as all the crew on the ship. The best part was the small amount of people travelling. My adult children were the youngest onboard but they didn't mind and made several adult friends. Not sure I would travel Viking again for the dollar amount, was not what we expected. Even our cabin was much smaller than our usual cruise ship stateroom. Nice scenery when we could see it, beautiful towns bused to but with problems. We did extra tipping for all because our service was excellent but we could have taken just about 2 cruise trips for this price of one. Glad we did it but not worth close to $40,000. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
For two weeks in October we cruised with Viking from Amsterdam to Budapest, going through Holland, Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary, on the great rivers of Europe, the Rhine, the Main and the Danube. The ship was the Viking Lif, one ... Read More
For two weeks in October we cruised with Viking from Amsterdam to Budapest, going through Holland, Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary, on the great rivers of Europe, the Rhine, the Main and the Danube. The ship was the Viking Lif, one of their new “long boats” almost 500 feet long, 38 feet wide and carrying 192 passengers (we had 187), plus crew. The food on the Lif was exceptionally good, with many choices, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Although we sometimes ate ashore for our own enjoyment, we were never disappointed when we ate on the boat. And at mealtimes the wine flowed freely from Erhard Mŏrwald’s vineyard in the Wachau Valley of Austria. Every evening we received the Viking Daily with the schedule for the next day, times for meals, times for tours, docking hours, notes on the next port of call, suggestions for sightseeing and other interesting tidbits. There was some form of entertainment every evening and sometimes a lecture or demonstration in the morning or afternoon depending on docking schedules. One of the most interesting was a glass blowing demonstration by a glass blower from Wertheim, Germany who spends a few months each year with Chihuly in the United States. A tour of each stop was included in the cruise itinerary and there were several optional tours offered. The tour guides were excellent English speakers and we invariably learned something we hadn’t known before, even in ports like Vienna where we had been previously. In towns like Miltenberg, Germany, a delightful village of old half-timbered houses and Germany’s oldest Inn, with a castle perched above and cobbled streets below, the amount of time allowed for the tour and for free wandering was just right. In the big cities like Amsterdam, Cologne, Wurzburg, Vienna, and Budapest there was enough time to absorb the atmosphere and the differences between each. The smaller towns, like Miltenberg, Bamberg, Regensburg, Passau, Melk and Krems, each had its own character and history. The effects of the destruction of World War II were visible only in that new buildings filled spaces between old, well-preserved architectures. It was unusual to find a town like Miltenberg that completely escaped destruction. The construction of the Main-Danube Canal, which allows through river traffic to begin at the Atlantic Ocean, down the Rhine, across the Main and through the Canal to the Danube, up and over the “continental divide” of Europe where the rivers on one side flow to the North Sea and the Atlantic, and those on the other flow to the Black Sea, was completed in 1992. The canal runs from Bamberg via Nuremberg to Kelheim, a total of 106 miles with 16 locks, three of which are 80 feet deep and lift a boat to an altitude of 1332 feet above sea level, the highest in the world a water craft can go at this time. Traveling this route confronts one with a lot of Baroque architecture, of which the Monastery of Melk is a grand example as is St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Passau where we enjoyed an organ concert played on Europe’s largest pipe organ. Actually here are five organs that can be played from one consul. The Bach rocked the church, but the more modern piece composed by a former organist of the Cathedral really made the Baroque rafters ring. Another great example of the Baroque was the Residenz of the Prince-Bishop of Wűrtzburg with its grand ceiling fresco painted by Tiepolo in 1750. Besides Baroque there was also a lot of Gothic (the Cathedral at Cologne, the Marksburg Castle), a lot of Roman ruins (excavation partly encouraged by WWII destruction – the Romish-Germanisches Museum in Cologne is magnificent), and Medieval and Romanesque architecture (the city and cathedral of Bamberg and the town of Regensburg which claims to have been founded in 179 A.D., as well as the village of Miltenberg). The history and culture of Europe from the Romans to the Nazis were a vivid presence. The boat docked in Bratislava, Slovakia and we were able to see the effects of the long reign of Communism on that small country. Graffiti is a problem. Even our guide, who clearly loved her city, complained that there was no way to control the growing plague of graffiti covered monuments. The symbol of Slovakia, the massive square castle on the hill above the town, is realty only a façade, since the country cannot afford to restore and reconstruct the interior. Coming onto Budapest at night was one of the most astonishing events of the cruise. The whole city was lit up, the bridges, the churches, the Parliament, the castle, all were draped in shimmering lights. It was a fairy land and the boat sailed down the Danube through the city, then turned around and sailed back to the Chain Bridge where we docked. All who were on deck were offered a glass of Tokay to celebrate our triumphant and spectacular entry into our final port of call. The service from all the crew members was outstanding, whether they came from Ukraine, Serbia, Philippines, Bulgaria or elsewhere. They were invariably cheerful, helpful and happy to serve. I asked one of the receptionists if Viking gave them any kind of training and she claimed not, that it was strictly on the job training, which certainly speaks well of our Hotel Manager, Alexander Kuba. The program director, Colin Watson, was always on hand, friendly, helpful, and incredibly well-organized. The few glitches that occurred, such as the boat not arriving exactly on schedule to meet the busses, were handled with the pleasure of the passengers always uppermost in their consideration. For example, at the place where the Captain was negotiating the low water in the Danube, most of the passengers were ashore, visiting Regensburg and then were bussed to Deggensdorf to meet the boat. But the boat was an hour late, so the passengers were given carte blanche to go into town and do whatever they chose. It being dinner time, we headed to the first biergarten we found, ordered wine and dinner, sharing a veal Carpaccio with arugula appetizer and a wild mushroom and cream sauced dumpling that was so delicious it became the most memorable meal of the trip. Our tab was forty-two Euros and, with the receipt turned in, we later received the exact amount in cash back from the ship. When we reached Budapest we had traveled a total of approximately 1120 miles through 68 locks with twelve ports of call -- actually thirteen because of the unscheduled pick-up at Deggensdorf. Viking is clearly doing many things right. The effect may be a bit formulaic, but if the formula works, one knows what to count on. They are investing in new ocean going boats, they have their own busses at many of the stops, they handle the change-overs of passengers with minimal difficulties or confusions. The ports of call are interesting and varied and the cruising is as pleasant as possible. The fact that they encourage one to bring wine or beer aboard for one’s own dinner, even though it is provided on the ship helps the local economies and probably earns them great rewards from local officials. There is plenty of time for shopping, solo sightseeing and relaxed cruising. Our only complaint after two weeks aboard was that the Wi-Fi was sketchy and hard to achieve – perhaps they need larger antennas. But that was a small caveat, considering the elegant management of almost 200 people for two weeks.   Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
Definitely a good choice for people who like short tours. Most of the tour guides were excellent compared to tour guides from some ocean cruises. The tours were not in depth, and that was a draw back for us. A quick walk around while ... Read More
Definitely a good choice for people who like short tours. Most of the tour guides were excellent compared to tour guides from some ocean cruises. The tours were not in depth, and that was a draw back for us. A quick walk around while informative, didn't give us as much exposure to desired sites as we would have liked. The suite with balcony was very comfortable. We expected a smaller space than on ocean cruises and were pleasantly surprised with the comfort and spaciousness. Storage was not great, but not really a problem. The biggest negative was paying for a balcony and not having the opportunity to use it regularly. We were often tied up next to another ship, so we were looking at another ship, not the shore. It makes me angrier the more I think back to it. We paid for a comfort and view that we did not receive. That did diminish our enjoyment. The food was very good, but not what we expected. We were hoping for regional dishes. What we got was a menu trying too hard to be over the top. We are not socialites and prefer smaller groups where we can actually hear one another. With everyone dining at once, the noise level was very high. We took many meals up on the Terrace and enjoyed that much more. In fact, it was quite lovely. The entire staff was fabulous except the tour director. He needs to keep his opinions to himself and stick to the history letting guests come to their own conclusions. The hotel manager was the absolute best we have ever seen. We watched him watch everything. He didn't miss a beat and ran a very customer focused efficient ship. The dining staff was top notch learning much from the ever vigilant hotel manager. We appreciated the efficiency with which embarkation, debarkation and daily tours took place. All staff members were pleasant and helpful at all times. The transfers were well planned and efficient as well. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
This was our first river cruise, and we are so happy that we chose Viking! The Grand European Tour was everything we expected and more. The scenery, the towns and villages, the exposure to history, the daily tours, they were all we could ... Read More
This was our first river cruise, and we are so happy that we chose Viking! The Grand European Tour was everything we expected and more. The scenery, the towns and villages, the exposure to history, the daily tours, they were all we could have wanted. The Lif became our very own home for 15 terrific days and that was due not only to the comfort of the ship itself (which was beautifully designed), but was due in large part to the friendliness of, and the inclusion by, the crew. They literally became like family and made our time on board even more special. I think it is exceptional to report that we were a group of ten and not a one of us had a single complaint. We have already booked our 2015 Viking Cruise.   Read Less
Viking Lif Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 1.0 0.0
Family 1.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 3.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 N/A

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