9 Viking River Viking Lif Cruise Reviews

Grand European Disappointment Although we were suppose to be on the Aegir we were switched to the LIF and the part way through the cruise to the Embla We have just returned from our trip to Europe were booked the 15 day Grand ... Read More
Grand European Disappointment Although we were suppose to be on the Aegir we were switched to the LIF and the part way through the cruise to the Embla We have just returned from our trip to Europe were booked the 15 day Grand European River Cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest with Viking River Cruises. In a few words it turned out to be a huge disappointment. River levels were reportedly too low to navigate the full length of the cruise. River Cruising was replaced with Bus Trips. Nights on board ship were replaced with hotel. Cruise ports at the city centers were replaced with docking at Industrial Ports and Gravel Pits. This certainly was not the trip of a lifetime we envisioned. Viking had no control over the situation, so they said, but some of the things they said they didn’t have control over and some they did I question whether the statements made were true or not. As an example, we were told the reason our ship, the Aegir, was not at Amsterdam when we arrived was water levels were too low for the ship to get there. Interestingly enough, as we were being bused from Amsterdam to the industrial site in Koln to board the new ship we were assigned I saw the Aegir cruising toward Amsterdam. Struck me as a bit strange. Further the Aegir was able to get all the way back to Budapest for some of the passengers to board that were extending their trip. That being the case why wasn’t the Aegir able to be in Amsterdam and why did we have to change ships part way through the cruise? Was the one night of rain in the Alps sufficient to swell the entire European river system? At this point I have to inject that Stefan Mototolea, our cruise director, stayed with us throughout the entire trip and did everything in his power to arrange for the people on board to have the best experience possible given the difficulties being encountered. He kept us well informed about what was going to happen, good or bad and answered all the questions presented to him. Further he was relentless in his efforts to keep things running as smooth as possible throughout the trip. Hopefully; Viking cruise lines appreciate his efforts, I know we did. Further, Leah, the individual assigned by Viking to watch over us in Amsterdam when we had to check into the Hotel for the first night as our ship was not there, needs to be recognized for her efforts. We were told at check in that we did not have a room reserved for us and the hotel was totally booked. Somehow she and the hotel director found a way to get us a room. Perhaps traveling as part of a large tour group had something to do with that perhaps not but in any event she never stopped assuring me and my wife that we would have a room. We finally got our room. Let’s speak to the parts if the cruise we were able to take: This was our first river cruise and every port had an included tour associated with it but the stop at Cologne was eliminated because the ship couldn’t get there. Really? How did the Aegir get there coming down the Rhine on its way to Amsterdam? With that, we were offered the choice of taking a bus back to Cologne to visit that port and be bussed down river to meet the ship at another port or cruise the Rhine to see the castles along the river. We opted to stay on board and cruise to see the castles and scenery along the Rhine. We were glad we made that choice. The next day Viking arranged to add a sightseeing cruise with lunch on our way back to the ship from our Castle tour so those who missed the castles could see a couple of them. This had to be abbreviated about half way through so we could get back to the ship on time to leave the port. Those that missed the cruise up the Rhine really don’t know what a great portion of the trip they missed. Castles and terrific scenery everywhere. The included tours at the ports were quite good but having to be bussed from a gravel pit and back, docking at industrial sites instead of at the cruise ship docks at cities we were supposed to dock at and having to walk from outside cities edge to center city where we were supposed to have docked did not live up to the hype of docking center city and walking off the ship to visit Viking advertises in their wonderful looking river cruise propaganda. It’s not like the ports didn’t have those docking sites; other river cruise ships were docked there. What happened to the docking sites Viking claims to own at these cities? Do they exist; did they rent them out to other cruise lines? We were told it is up to the port manager to assign the berths. If you own the site why can’t you use it? Optional tours were also available and you always take your chances with them. We only took one of the optional tours to the Schonbrunn Palace. If you’re thinking about this tour forget it. It should be called the cattle chute tour. Your group tour will be constantly interrupted by individuals touring the palace on their own. They have preference and you will be hustled form site to site within the palace and jammed into a corner in each area while the tour guide explains what you are supposed to be seeing. A couple of optional tours you might want to consider are The Mozart & Strauss Concert in Vienna and The Hungarian Horsemen tour in Budapest. These were reported to be excellent by those that participated in them. The food on board was eatable but was nowhere near the quality we have had on ocean cruises. Eggs prepared by the chefs at the buffet line were great but when you ordered things off the menu for breakfast; example eggs benedict prepared in the kitchen, they were served partly done with uncooked portions of the whites and watery hollandaise sauce. Lunches were pretty good however dinners left a lot to be desired. Maybe comparing ocean cruise food to river cruise food is not fair as I have never taken a river cruise before but in any event, for the price of the cruise I expected a lot better. Overall my wife and I got to see a lot of interesting things, visit a lot of European cities, interact with people from diverse backgrounds and share experiences, however; we both admit given this experience we will not likely take another river cruise. Advice to travelers: Given you have to book so far in advance, wait for the drought to end in Europe before deciding to take a river cruise there and be sure you have the option to cancel for weather reasons built into your travel insurance if you can so you can back out last minute if you need to. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We really thought the Viking longship was built just right with its very convenient and pleasant public areas and restaurants. The service was excellent. The staterooms were kept extremely clean and our AA Suite with its separate living ... Read More
We really thought the Viking longship was built just right with its very convenient and pleasant public areas and restaurants. The service was excellent. The staterooms were kept extremely clean and our AA Suite with its separate living room was worth the substantial extra charge. The Danube itinerary, which we had done on Viking a few years ago, is excellent. However, while docked you are frequently tied up to other Viking boats and have no view while in port. While mid-trip we were forced to switch from another Viking longship due to low water conditions (which of course Viking cannot help), the switch was accomplished very efficiently with a 3 hour bus trip. The Tour Director "Leonard" was simply excellent the entire trip not just in the transfer. However, the food while offering various options was so disappointing and mediocre at best. We are used to very good and often excellent food served on ocean going ships. Perhaps Viking is providing that on its new ocean going ships, but we will not book another Viking riverboat cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Double Caution. We travelled between Bucharest and Budapest in September 2017. There is no point criticising the ship as crews change so often that the complete atmosphere changes. The Viking organisation needs reassessment but it ... Read More
Double Caution. We travelled between Bucharest and Budapest in September 2017. There is no point criticising the ship as crews change so often that the complete atmosphere changes. The Viking organisation needs reassessment but it appears that ships are reluctant to pass feed-back to head office. We thought the food was bland (other than a great breakfast). We managed to get our concerns addressed through our travel agent as Viking did not respond to the survey tick of them contacting us directly. Our answer to the food comment was that Head Office stipulates the menu!! (And the way the food is cooked and presented??) I have read this before - no feed-back to head office but "that is the way it is done" attitude. That attitude was prevalent throughout the cruise, when it was raining no-one brought umbrellas to those waiting to board even though they were available on the ship. Other cruise lines do this. Viking does not provide what it advertises but is average and enjoyable at that level of expectation. (We were expecting what was advertised.) There are not quiet areas for a drink and chat as our tour director took all the time before dinner and much of after dinner, in the lounge telling us of the next days excursions, with slides, so the next day was only a repeat, by the local guides, of what he told us. A waste of time and a waste of space. My first caution. Realise that if you book directly with Viking and change your mind, in any way, you lose your deposit. It is lost from the moment your cruise is confirmed. Use a travel agent. Also without previous notification, when you receive your tickets, you find that Viking absolves itself from any damage to your baggage, etc, even if caused by its staff. Second caution. This is a boring area of the Danube. There is only one stop along that route where you can actually get off the ship and walk to a town. The other stops are at industrial loading areas (which are not working) so our advice is, unless you particularly want to see the old Communist countries, pick any other cruise in Europe, such as Budapest to Amsterdam. We feel that Viking missed the point especially on this cruise. While there was no opportunity for free time exploring and long bus trips for excursions, Viking could have made this trip memorable by emphasising the food (and reducing the time that the tour director took in the relaxing areas). Hope this helps Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was my third Viking cruise. In 2015, l did Castles along the Rhine in November and was so impressed that l upon returning home l booked another cruise for the following May, which was equally wonderful. I was so looking forward ... Read More
This was my third Viking cruise. In 2015, l did Castles along the Rhine in November and was so impressed that l upon returning home l booked another cruise for the following May, which was equally wonderful. I was so looking forward to this September Eastern Europe Cruise. We did the pre trip to Prague and post trip to Transylvania. I sincerely believe that Viking has grown too big too quickly and they have forgotten about customer service and client concerns. As a cancer survivor and a person who has asthma l never expected to have to deal with a smoker two rooms down. Especially since this was listed as a non smoking boat (a designated smoking area was indicated on third deck). After 4 complaints, the smoker was finally spoken to. But that was after 4 nights of not being able to open my balcony windows, for which l paid extra. Also, when l asked to speak with the Hotel Manager l was given a female customer representative. However, when a male friend accompanied me to the front desk to complain about the treatment l had received, out came the male Hotel Manager immediately.......women travelers be warned!!! I was shocked that in 2017, such behavior still exists! Never once after did either the Hotel Manager or Captain reach out to me. The dining room was always set and ready. Exceptional service from Tommy and Joseph, even when things did not seem to be running smoothly in the kitchen. On the two previous cruises there were more locally inspired meals. I would have to agree with another member who wrote that these meals were computer generated from corporate headquarters. Also, we were told that a Viking representative would be at the Airport in Romania to help us with departures.........no one was there and it was pure chaos! There were also concerns about daily excursions. I spoke with many folks who agreed, this trip is just not worth the money. I know await a response from Viking...... Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This is part three of a three ship cruise that was supposed to be all on one boat from Bucharest to Amsterdam. Yet one more pack and unpack event in order to change boats again. The GOOD: once again, housekeeping deserves five stars ... Read More
This is part three of a three ship cruise that was supposed to be all on one boat from Bucharest to Amsterdam. Yet one more pack and unpack event in order to change boats again. The GOOD: once again, housekeeping deserves five stars and is the only department that performed admirably. The Program Director was also very good and also deserves five stars. The BAD:. The food was just okay. I equate it to the food in a restaurant of a three star hotel. It was good, but not nearly what I expected. The chef told me that he had to prepare the menus dictated by the corporate office. The restaurant staff was terrible. At one dinner, all the tables surrounding us had finished their main course and were being served desert, and we were just then receiving our salad and appetizers. At breakfast one morning, my wife ordered French Toast, and the waiter brought pancakes. My wife informed him that she didn't order pancakes, at which point the waiter started to argue with her. The passenger sitting next to my wife backed her up and the waiter stomped off in anger. This sort of behavior from a waiter is unacceptable in any restaurant in the world, especially on a boat advertised as a 'Luxury Cruise'. Once again, Avalon is far and away a better cruise line. Bigger cabins, far better food, much better restaurant staff, and a lot fewer people on the boat. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
I chose this cruise because it was different from the ocean ones. But, there are a few things I did not enjoy like the closing of the upper deck for 6 or 7 days. I also did not like dining at 7p.m. There was also the lack of evening ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it was different from the ocean ones. But, there are a few things I did not enjoy like the closing of the upper deck for 6 or 7 days. I also did not like dining at 7p.m. There was also the lack of evening entertainement. On the other hand, the embarcation and desembarcation procedures were well oiled. The excursions were interesting and took me to places I wanted to see. The ship was exceptionnally clean and our cabin, though a bit small was satisfactory. As far as dining is concerned, the food was excellent and I especially enjoyed the more than excellent service from our waiters (Vladimir and Harold). The cruise director was well informed and always ready to be of service. He was a fountain of information from beginning to end. When there was a break in one of the locks that made us miss one of our excursions, the cruse director and the captain took measures to compensate the delay and to reschedule the missed excursion. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Over all it did not exceed our expectations. The weather that we had was exceptional, it would have been more enjoyable if access to the upper deck was not restricted. The cabin was small by any standard. The shower would not fit the ... Read More
Over all it did not exceed our expectations. The weather that we had was exceptional, it would have been more enjoyable if access to the upper deck was not restricted. The cabin was small by any standard. The shower would not fit the standard oversized American. Internet access in the cabin was very poor, had to go to the lounge for a signal. TV service was poor minimal programing, no local stations at all. The provided tours and guides were good. The optional tours seemed to always conflict with the standard tour. They needed to offer additional tours in the evening when the boat was not leaving until the wee hours. The food was average but the service was good water and wine glasses were topped off regularly. The last day in Amsterdam consisted of getting off the boat and being driven to the airport All in all it was a good trip Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
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
Sail Date November 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
Sail Date August 2014
Viking Lif Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.5
Dining 4.0 4.4
Entertainment 3.0 4.2
Public Rooms 5.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 1.0 3.2
Family 1.0 3.2
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.4
Enrichment 4.0 4.3
Service 4.0 4.7
Value For Money 3.0 4.1
Rates 4.0 N/A

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