Sail Date: March 2014
This was a first river cruise for my husband and myself. What a pleasure! I'm not a fan of ocean cruising on large ships as I am the type who gets sea-sick on a swing. I was also put off by the propensity of ocean cruises to hold ... Read More
This was a first river cruise for my husband and myself. What a pleasure! I'm not a fan of ocean cruising on large ships as I am the type who gets sea-sick on a swing. I was also put off by the propensity of ocean cruises to hold cruisers hostage onboard to keep the $$ close to home. The Viking Tulips & Windmills cruise was a breath of fresh air in that arena: We spent most of our daylight hours on INCLUDED tours or on our own exploring the port city. There's was a great deal of walking, which we really enjoyed, but there were options for those less mobile. If the city center wasn't within walking distance, a shuttle was provided. One of our fellow cruisers was confined to a wheelchair. The only tour he couldn't attend was the windmill tour (and there was some trouble with the cobblestone streets). There were only a few optional tours, which we decided to skip and either enjoy the view from our balcony or wander about the port city at a more leisurely pace. As for dining, the food was fantastic with many options from the menu and buffet! The open seating on a small ship (compared to ocean liners) allowed for meeting many interesting people; by the end of the tour, there were many new Facebook friends. We had great fun dancing in the lounge some evenings. The entertainment makes good use of local talent and interest, but don't expect grand musical numbers (which we didn't miss at all). My take: The excellent: The responsiveness of the staff; the quality of the food; the comfort & cleanliness of the rooms; great included tours; some tour guides were excellent and able to share a great depth of knowledge about the area; home visit; included headsets made it easy to hear the tour guide in large groups. The not so good: The schedule was pretty tight and regimented (although cruisers can opt out and do their own thing); some tour guides rushed the group with little info (a great disappointment in Bruges); not suitable for young children (cabins are limited to 2 persons), but there were many families traveling together with their independent young. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2014
My husband and I along with four friends were on the inaugural Lif sailing through the Netherlands and Belgium on March 23, 2014. My husband and I and another couple had not sailed before but have traveled extensively throughout Europe ... Read More
My husband and I along with four friends were on the inaugural Lif sailing through the Netherlands and Belgium on March 23, 2014. My husband and I and another couple had not sailed before but have traveled extensively throughout Europe managing our own travel arrangements. I have to admit that our Viking trip exceeded our expectations. The most amazing part for me was the crew. The crew made us feel so comfortable and welcome. We were always greeted by the staff and crew. There were a number of extras that the staff did like greeting us back from an outing on the dock - holding letters which spelled out "welcome back". It was our home away from home.  The food was plentiful and delicious and the choices would please a picky eater. We even tried dishes that we would not normally choose. The excursions were well planned, interesting and always on time. The information for the next day's excursion was detailed at the evening's briefing session. There were a few glitches but they were minor and when they was brought to staff's attention, they were acknowledged and corrected. That is how a problem should be handled. Our trip truly delivered what was promised and we are looking forward to our next Viking cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2014
We are veteran ocean cruisers on a river cruise for the first time. I did a lot of research before booking nearly a year ago and paid attention to all the reviews written on the Grand European/Danube cruises since booking. I approached the ... Read More
We are veteran ocean cruisers on a river cruise for the first time. I did a lot of research before booking nearly a year ago and paid attention to all the reviews written on the Grand European/Danube cruises since booking. I approached the embarkation date with several concerns. Food, quality of crew, size of staterooms and lounge and river conditions seem to have caused negative reviews. I will try to deal with those issues as I go along. We booked the airfare through Viking and did take advantage of the extra 100 dollars they charge to be able to talk with the travel agent. It was worth it. The air travel was exactly what we requested, non-stop from Kennedy to Amsterdam, on the airline we requested and one stop from Budapest back to Kennedy. Viking was there to pick us up upon arrival in Amsterdam and the transfer to Budapest airport at the end was efficient. We arrived in Amsterdam so early that our cabin was not ready, so we left our luggage to do some exploring and the luggage was in the room by the time we returned to the ship. We had heard complaints before we booked on the lack of view from the upper decks due to nesting in the ports so saved the money and booked the 1st deck with the porthole. We were very satisfied with the location, size and cleanliness of the room. The Room Steward catered to our every request. Only complaint about the room was the quality of the television service. We found that the lounge size was adequate most of the time, even at the nightly briefing, although we did have to stand a couple of times when we arrived late. Food service was great. We stayed to one section of the dining room and had the same waiters each meal. They got to know us and could not do enough to satisfy our requests. The waiters were very friendly and professional. Most of them had been recruited from other cruise ships. The food quality for breakfast and lunch was excellent. It was a combination of buffet and sit down. You could get your omelet prepared at the buffet and order your pancakes from the waiter. Dinner was sit down. The quality on most nights was superb. We were disappointed on a couple of occasions with either the quality or quantity. Don't order the lamb chops. The seafood was generally fresh and tasty. But the positives greatly outweighed the negative, with unlimited wine and beer with meals. The program director and his staff did a great job. The excursions organized by the ship went off without a hitch. The only complaint might have been that they gave us an hour to an hour and a half at the end of each tour to relax, shop and taste the local delicacies before the bus picked us up to go back to the ship. I would rather have seen some additional sights, especially in the larger cities. The entertainment they brought aboard was enjoyable. The piano player was very accommodating. Not many passengers stayed around after dinner to dance. Of course, the star of the trip was the River and the cities we stopped at. The water level was a little low so we had to bus around one of the low points. The cities along the Main River and Canal had a certain sameness to them, a fortress and church in each, but the guides were informative and did their best to highlight their particular city. Our favorite cities were Cologne, Nuremburg, Melk, Vienna, Bratislava (a sleeper) and Budapest. Arriving in Budapest at night with the city lit up was a distinct highlight. Our fellow passengers were interesting, friendly and had a wealth of life experiences to share. So in the end we were very pleased with our trip, felt the cost was fair and will have fond memories. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2014
We just returned from an outstanding trip on Viking Lif. This was a bucket list trip for my wife and I and our good friends we often cruise with. We engaged Viking after purchasing a Holland trip at a charity event. We had always wanted to ... Read More
We just returned from an outstanding trip on Viking Lif. This was a bucket list trip for my wife and I and our good friends we often cruise with. We engaged Viking after purchasing a Holland trip at a charity event. We had always wanted to do this river cruise so we traded in our purchase and upgraded to the Grand European Tour. We added days on both end of the cruise in Amsterdam and Budapest. We booked the trip through our Agent except for air travel which we arranged our selves.* (More about this later!) We've cruised a lot on all sizes of ships big n little. The LIF is nicest appointed small boat we have been on. Very nice Suites, great bed and bath, sitting area, excellent climate control. Room services was exceptional....Thanks Emily! Sitting areas, library were excellent. Bar and exterior eating areas forward were great and the dining area had phenomenal views while we were under sail. We had been warned that the food was rather bland....to the contrary the food was excellent with very few misses over 15 days of meals. Soups were spectacular! Great breakfast buffet. Entertainment in the Lounge by Bobbie at the Piano was outstanding. He can play anything and we danced almost every night. Top deck of the boat has a nice track to get some exercise to work off all those great meals. Unfortunately for us with the high water on portions of our trip the area had to be closed to get under the bridges for about 4 days. (Note to the designer: Lay the track out over the bar area versus over the cabin section so that early risers can get exercise without disturbing late risers.) The boat has wifi but it has limited capability so don't expect to be sending 40 gig files from the boat! Shore tours were very well done and we never had a guide that was not fully engaged in their job. We hired private guides for Amsterdam and Budapest on our extra days before going on the trip. I strongly recommend this! We received great insight along with exceptional history in both cases. The Cruise Director needed a vacation.... He did a lot of the info talks along the cruise and constantly referred to his material. I've been spoiled in this respect by the Historians and Naturalists provided by Cruise West (RIP ;-( ) and American Cruise lines. Viking should think about guest presenters to unload some of the Directors responsibilities to get better results in this area. Now about our travel arrangements! We booked our own flights through U-suck United. They always exceed my expectations....their always worse than I thought they could be. Moved flight time up on our Houston connection...NO notification. Fortunately we were early enough that it didn't manner. We had Viking transfers on both ends of the trip. Looked expensive but our Agent said book-em. They were phenomenal.....Their view of "Transfer" is really Escort you to the gate! On heading back to the states we arrived at the airport only to find once again U-suck United had changed flight times and had not notified us even though we were frequent flyers and they had all out contact info. Viking stayed right with us at the Budapest airport allowing us to use their phone for an hour and half while I wrestled with United "No Service" service agents. Ultimately we had to go back to our hotel and check in for another night. Viking arrange the taxi back and THEN the next morning once again escorted us to the Gate to see us off..... Unbelievable Service! And the rest of the story is that Viking had no responsibility for our flight arrangements.... ours was a self inflicted debacle. Our Lesson: BOOK ALL YOUR TRAVEL ARRANGEMENT THROUGH VIKING! Finally this is a fabulous way to see Europe. We've done the train thing in Italy, packing and unpacking at every spot. On this trip we unpacked once and went 14 days without touching a suite case. We are looking forward to another Viking experience in the future!   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2014
My husband, father and I have just returned from the Grand European Tour on the Viking Lif, starting in Budapest and finishing in Amsterdam. My husband and I are in our 40s/50s and my father is in his 80s, so it was interesting that we ... Read More
My husband, father and I have just returned from the Grand European Tour on the Viking Lif, starting in Budapest and finishing in Amsterdam. My husband and I are in our 40s/50s and my father is in his 80s, so it was interesting that we were on the extremes of the perceived demographic regarding age on the boat. Firstly, it was a wonderful trip. Here are the points that made it remarkable: * The staff on the ship, who with one exception (see later), could not have been more kind, helpful and friendly. Service most definitely came with a smile and often a laugh, and the ship was immaculately clean. * The Lif itself - we were only the fifth set of passengers to travel on it and it showed. Everything still smelled new, and despite the usual age group who take these cruises, we felt that it would have appealed to many of our more middle aged friends. * The quality of the on shore guides in every place we stopped was excellent - and every one of them was a memorable personality, which really added to the enjoyment. * Pianist and singer on board - if you read some other reviews for Viking cruises, this sounds like a flannelette nightgown and slippers kind of evening entertainment. BUT - it really wasn't in our case as the pianist was excellent and versatile, ranging from smooth cocktail sounds during the day and full out rock and roll dancing at night. (Thank you Bobby! xx) Now, secondly, some travel tips: * Personally, we didn't see the point in spending a lot for a room with a view. We didn't, and it was more than adequate. Whatever room you book, you get the same bed, shower, TV etc. The bed is very comfortable, the shower has excellent water pressure. Several people we spoke to regretted spending so much extra as they barely spent time in their state room, or else it was parked up against another ship (normal with anyone who has experienced river cruising before). * If you are from the UK, you may be surprised to find yourself out-numbered by Americans, Canadians and Australians. They were mostly great actually, but we definitely have different cultures.....! * The Aquavit terrace is lovely. As soon as they start opening it for meals, I recommend you get up there as it seems to take time for word to get around and you may have it almost to yourself. Personally, my husband and I found the more relaxed and scenic atmosphere up there more pleasant than the restaurant. There is officially "open seating", but you may well find that as is normal with human nature, people start to assume territorial "rights" over their own table. Personally, I can't imagine anything worse than sitting with the same people you don't know for every meal for two weeks, but maybe that's just me. FINALLY - I am giving this cruise a top score as we found it close to perfect. However, we were extremely unhappy with the programme director for a number of reasons. We will be contacting Viking about this shortly. I didn't think it was appropriate to mark the whole team down for the ineptitude and failings of one team member though, in total fairness.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
I cannot say enough good things about our recent Viking Longboat River Cruise ~ The Grand European Tour! Everything was taken care of for us including the air. We were met at the airport, taken to the boat and treated like royalty. We ... Read More
I cannot say enough good things about our recent Viking Longboat River Cruise ~ The Grand European Tour! Everything was taken care of for us including the air. We were met at the airport, taken to the boat and treated like royalty. We loved the small amount of guests (180) & crew (50) and seemed to interact with everyone during the trip. We especially enjoyed getting to know a number of people from Australia, New Zealand & the UK! We spent most every evening after dinner in the lounge listening to Bobby's fantastic piano playing & dancing, playing games & singing along to favorite tunes. During the days we were treated to the sights of each city with a walking &/or bus tour with free time to explore most places if we wanted. There were only a few add on trips cost-wise, and my favorites were Rothenburg...a fairy tale city after a drive along the "Romantic Road" through Franconia and then the evening orchestral Concert in Vienna...just outstanding. The crew could not have been more friendly, kind, informed and considerate. My husband has some special needs and everyone was so very helpful. Our 2 special waiters (from the Phiiippines) took care of him every meal by bringing him his favorite things, helping him get seated and a cheery greeting by name. Our Program director gave us an enormous amount of information each evening before dinner, at special events, as well as on our outings...we were fascinated with all the history. Our Concierge & front desk people were cheery, funny & always more than helpful. Even our Housekeeper was thorough and impecable woman who smiled & cheered us on every day when we came & went. It was truly a trip of a lifetime and we hope to go again to yet another area...Paris/Normandy perhaps? Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
I guess I expected a luxury cruise at the rate we paid for our Explorer cabin. The Good : Beautiful new longboat, nice finishes,linens and bath products,public spaces appealing,crew was pleasant and helpful,good pre-trip info about ... Read More
I guess I expected a luxury cruise at the rate we paid for our Explorer cabin. The Good : Beautiful new longboat, nice finishes,linens and bath products,public spaces appealing,crew was pleasant and helpful,good pre-trip info about excursions and well thought out coffee and water areas. The Not so Good : Cheap noisy bed frame,large excursion groups,closing of sun deck for one third of our trip(they built boats too large so they could get max. of cabins but forgot they won't go under some bridges and get through some locks with the sun deck accessible),virus spread onboard to many passengers and crew and no doctors come on board ship..was told it was an EC regulation...hummm..you have to be taken by ambulance to emergency room...even for antibiotics and the like. Not good. The food was as tasteless with frozen and canned vegetables and meats.. lots of heavy carb foods for filler....served barely room temperature. Also the food and beverage service was grossly under staffed. One waiter for cocktails in lounge and very seldom did anyone come to the sundeck to ask if we wanted a beverage.No water glasses refilled at the table ...again understaffed. We were pushed to order and pushed to leave dining room with the lights in room being turned up to their brightest at 9:15. Not gracious !! It felt like the Hotel Manager wanted to show the corporate office that he could reduce staff and cost and to h--- with the paying guests. Too bad as the boats are very nice and could easily be a lovely experience but sadly,ours and our friends was not.   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
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
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
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: 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
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: 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
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
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
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
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
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
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: 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
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
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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