3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
For our 4th trip with Viking (1 on the river and 2 on the ocean) we decided for a 2 weeks cruise between Budapest and Amsterdam on board of Viking Lif. Our expectations were very high after our previous cruises and I am not very happy to ... Read More
For our 4th trip with Viking (1 on the river and 2 on the ocean) we decided for a 2 weeks cruise between Budapest and Amsterdam on board of Viking Lif. Our expectations were very high after our previous cruises and I am not very happy to say that Grand European Tour on Viking Lif was a mixture between far above and far below what we expected. But I gave the score for this trip just because of the amazing staff on board. The restaurant was quite different this trip The new waiters of Viking need to learn that a joke (sometimes a little bit too childish) can’t cover the lack of manners or the mediocre quality of food. In our previous cruise we enjoyed so much the dinner on the Aquavit terrace but this time we needed to book a table. One evening, when the terrace was empty, we wanted to have dinner there but a very rude barman sent us back to the restaurant mentioning the fact that we need a reservation…for an empty terrace? What a joke! Another issue with the bad itinerary planning was that, due to the presence of another two Viking ship doing the same cruise, we were always late, and I am not talking about minutes, I am talking about hours. What’s the point booking before boarding the ship excursion when most of them were cancelled due to the delays and the refund was in credit to spend on board and not money back to my account. Unacceptable! Reading on line the itinerary and experience the actual cruise is something different; in some ports (Melk, Bamberg) we stopped only 30minutes (enough for the excursions to start) while in other we didn’t stop at all: we stopped in Ryth instead of Nuremberg, Dordrecht instead of Kinderdik. So, if you don’t book an excursion with Viking no chance to visit cities by yourself. Johnny from the reception was great: always smiling, always polite and always trying to find a solution. The others from the reception didn’t have the same level of knowledge or they didn’t care about us. One night I was calling reception to inform about a leak from the AC and nobody pick-up the phone. When I went to the desk, the young man “in charge” was sleeping in the office. Fortunately, the next day Johnny sorted out the issue in a second with the same efficiency and smile. The only “breath of fresh air” in this sea of disappointments was the cruise director Leonard. He was simply AMAZING! He was 24 hours on duty: we saw him during the breakfast sorting out some passenger’s problems, during the day supervising the guides and help passengers with mobility issues, in the afternoon was giving presentations and briefing and in the evening, was entertaining all of us in the lounge. I even saw him acting as a paramedic for a guest who had an injury during one tour and organising a special event for one couple’s anniversary. Never meet on a cruise ship a cruise director so genuine kind and approachable like him. With all the delays Leonard and Captain Anna worked around the clock to keep everything under control and I don’t remember how many times I saw Leonard running between his office and the bridge trying to save, whatever could be saved from our trip. And both they did an amazing job. What a gem he is! In Amsterdam, in the airport, I was talking with other passengers and we all agreed that Leonard’s efforts made this trip much more enjoyable that it might otherwise have been. His enthusiasm, sense of humour and knowledge balanced a lot the lack of quality and consistency in other aspects. I do like Viking but after the last experience I will think twice before booking again. Maybe only if Leonard will be our Cruise Director, at least to know that somebody care about us and about Viking reputation. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
Length and Composition was reason we booked this specific cruise. We discovered that fellow passengers make the difference between "excellent" and truly "outstanding." Of course, Viking does not have much control over ... Read More
Length and Composition was reason we booked this specific cruise. We discovered that fellow passengers make the difference between "excellent" and truly "outstanding." Of course, Viking does not have much control over this variable. So, as practical matter, our first portion, i.e., Amsterdam to Budapest, proved to be overall best experience. This first portion was therefore more satisfying considering the folks that we met and enjoyed during this portion of the cruise--several have become lifelong friends. That said, the remainder, i.e., Budapest to Bucharest, proved to be also very rewarding based on cultural and geographic sights as advertised, expert tours, and continuing excellent ship amenities. Not having to change cabins while transitioning from first portion to second was also much appreciated! We will travel again with Viking albeit not these same two itineraries. In fact, we recently booked Viking Alaskan cruise plus post-excursion for May 2019; looking forward to it with much anticipation! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2017
This cruise was terrific. It was my second Viking, although my first was China which is a joint Chinese govt and Viking endeavor. We really lucked out on the weather. We were upgraded to a verandah suite which was really fantastic. All ... Read More
This cruise was terrific. It was my second Viking, although my first was China which is a joint Chinese govt and Viking endeavor. We really lucked out on the weather. We were upgraded to a verandah suite which was really fantastic. All service was very friendly although a bit challenging at times. The Aquavit Terrace could really be improved for use at dinner. After a full day we did not always want to go through a two-hour long dinner with others at our table. Aquavit offered one meal choice which was rotated every 6 days. The same appetizer and salad was served throughout the whole cruise. No dessert is offered there. We did not like the appetizer at all, the salad was just OK and 3 of the meal choices were not to our liking. Room service is not offered. A couple days we bought things during the day to bring back to have a snack in our room. Lunch at Aquavit was fantastic! Breakfast (continental only) was very sparse but at least you could get a coffee and fruit.The little alcove outside the lounge offered coffee and rolls in the morning and the same cookies (that were not great) every single day. A savory snack choice would be nice. We found several of the bar and restaurant staff to be quite rude and a few also lacked understanding of basic service. The excursions and the entertainment was good. The front desk and housekeeping staff was very good! The China cruise had a small work out space, the Lif had nothing. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We just come back from a 2-week cruise between Budapest and Amsterdam on Viking LIF. We do like ocean cruises (being already with Regent, Princess and Cunard) but it was the 6th river cruise (2 with Viking, 2 with Vantage and 1 with ... Read More
We just come back from a 2-week cruise between Budapest and Amsterdam on Viking LIF. We do like ocean cruises (being already with Regent, Princess and Cunard) but it was the 6th river cruise (2 with Viking, 2 with Vantage and 1 with Scenic). Viking continues to be a pleasant surprise with daily included excursions and a lot of new paid tours which made our weeks extremely interesting even if we travelled on the Danube and Rhine before. Our cabin was extremely clean and sparkling thanks to our excellent cabin stewardess Marina but to be honest Viking can invest some money in trying to update the accommodation and bring what other cruise lines have already: better TV channels and internet connection, more modern facilities in the room and on board. I didn’t understand why in the lounge those two huge TV screens were always black and why this time the funny photos of our cruise were missing. We loved the idea of buying photos during our cruises but this time Viking didn’t give us the chance. On top of that we missed the presence of a Concierge on-board especially when the receptionist wasn’t able always to help us. We were lucky to have on-board a Dutch Hotel Manager who assist us with our requests in Amsterdam but, his charisma and willingness to help couldn’t replace the Concierge from our previous cruises with Viking. The food was nothing special. The Chef and his team was working hard in the kitchen (great taste and presentation of every meal), the waiters in the restaurant (especially Bogdan and George) were trying to make every lunch and dinner memorable but, wasn’t hard to see that Viking started to cut corners. The quality of the food was not the same as before and the presence of a cheaper mediocrity couldn’t be covered by fancy names of the dishes. As always Viking had a team of excellent guides, most of them local who transform each excursion in a chance to discover history, myths, architecture and traditions. We love all the tours even if some of them they were a little bit overpriced and with a little bit of research you can discover most of the cities visited by yourself. After all our ocean and river cruises we don’t have any doubts to say that we were blessed with the best Cruise Director EVER! Leonard was a library of knowledge mixing every information with a useful tip and an excellent and refined sense of humour. Normally we avoid when cruising on board lectures or presentation but his daily chat about our next port of call was a “live performance” from Discovery or History TV channels: informative, full of useful information and tips, easy and funny to watch. His personality and presence on board was a blessing for everyone; Leonard was everywhere, smiling and organising, taking care and chatting, making a joke or giving extra information about an excursion or an event…24h daily for two weeks. Sometimes we were wondering when he was sleeping. Viking is great for a river cruise but I am afraid that they started to go to main stream missing some important points of luxury cursing what made Viking famous. Fortunately, the crew on board VIKING LIF was great and Jery, Bogdan, Marina, Capitan Ante, Ivan and especially Leonard made this trip FAR ABOVE EXPECTATIONS. Thank you all! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose this cruise to see new countries & sights. Unfortunately the weather was rainy & very chilly on most of the excursions which could have been shortened by half & still covered the same sights & information. Some ... Read More
We chose this cruise to see new countries & sights. Unfortunately the weather was rainy & very chilly on most of the excursions which could have been shortened by half & still covered the same sights & information. Some do the excursions were so physically demanding & we saw so many of the same types of sights that the information all ran together. We tho't the pitches could have been condensed & the time & effort to conquer some very difficult terrains would be remembered if shortened. Our cabin was lovely always with good service. The ship design is great, & the cuisine abundantly offers something for every taste. The restaurant & bar service couldn't have been better! Pedro, the fabulous musician, was the best part of the cruise! What a talented gentleman he is!! Embarkation was very smooth, but disembarkation was hectic & not so organized. Summary: If I had it to do again, I'd spend more time ont he boat. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
This was our 6th Viking River Cruise (our 8th river cruise). Overall, this was another very good trip. Everything went smoothly; all the flights, connections, transfers, etc (all done through Viking). Since this was the first cruise of ... Read More
This was our 6th Viking River Cruise (our 8th river cruise). Overall, this was another very good trip. Everything went smoothly; all the flights, connections, transfers, etc (all done through Viking). Since this was the first cruise of the season, the crew was refreshed and the ship sparkled. Unfortunately, we only spent 7 nights (6 days) on the ship, and I guess I didn't pay attention to that when I booked the cruise. It passed too quickly and we all would have preferred a couple more days on the ship. The pre-cruise time in Budapest and then post-cruise excursion in Bucharest were great. Romania was the big surprise of the trip! Bucharest is so European!! This was such an interesting itinerary. All the stops were formerly Communist countries. It was so interesting to learn how they've changed since the late 1980s/early 1990s. Budapest and Bucharest were very modern and had an "European feel;" Serbia and Bulgaria much less so. Other reviewers have complained that there was nothing to see at some of the ports. That isn't true; we "saw" what life is like in some of these places and the effects of a struggling economy. The tour guides were very honest in their assessments about the impact of the end of Communist rule and each country's efforts towards promoting free markets and democracy. They admitted that some people were still nostalgic for Communism! Since this was our 6th cruise, we're pretty familiar with the Viking offering. So, perhaps the novelty has worn off, but there was just "something" about this trip that didn't measure up to previous Viking sailings. This time, passengers, both North American and European, showed up on excursions and to dinner in shorts, sweats, and flip flops. Some were dressed more appropriately for a trip to the beach than to visit a church or historic site! And almost no one dressed for the farewell dinner (by "dressed," I mean a button down shirt for men and a nice blouse and slacks for women). I was astonished by how many people were sloppily attired even for the farewell dinner! My husband and I don't like to dress - and we shy away from formal dinners on the ocean cruises - but even we make a little special effort for the farewell dinner on Viking. Viking doesn't publish in advance the arrival or departure times for each port, making it impossible to arrange private tours in lieu of the included Viking excursion. The included excursions were all good, and all the guides knowledgeable, but there was a little bit of a "herd mentality" getting 40+ people on and off each of the tour buses at each stop. Potential Viking customers who don't like this aspect of group travel should take notice. For both the pre-cruise time in Budapest, and the post-cuise time in Bucharest, we did avail ourselves of smaller tours. In Budapest, we did a "free tour" (most cities now have them) and it was excellent. In Bucharest, we did the Viking post-cruise excursion which included an overnight trip to Transylvania. It was good, but not great, and other passengers who did a private tour instead seemed to have a better experience. In Bucharest, we also did a paid Tours by Locals, and our guide Alina was fantastic! (www.wheninbucharest.com). The food was delicious!! Service was friendly and impeccable. We will be taking our first Viking Ocean cruise in October, so it will be interesting to see how the Viking "model" translates to an ocean cruise setting. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We had heard so much about this cruise and it lived up to our expectations! Beautiful medieval cities, the gorgeous cathedrals, the palaces, so lovely amidst the beautiful river settings. The staff was wonderful as per usual, (we had ... Read More
We had heard so much about this cruise and it lived up to our expectations! Beautiful medieval cities, the gorgeous cathedrals, the palaces, so lovely amidst the beautiful river settings. The staff was wonderful as per usual, (we had sailed on a river cruise to France), but the staff this time seemed very tired and a bit overworked. They were rather impersonal but did their jobs. The food was delicious but when German cuisine was not to our liking there was always a lovely rib eye available! Viking aims to please and it was evident in the Waite staff, we had two favorites who took such good care of us we wanted to bring them home with us! The excursions were well done with knowledgable tour guides. The only thing I think Viking could improve on is on-board entertainment. They had a wonderful piano player but don't expect much more. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We chose this cruise because we had a stellar experience on a previous Viking Cruise, and because it covered many areas we hadn't been. The ship was as expected as was the cabin. Dining was off from our previous experience. This ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had a stellar experience on a previous Viking Cruise, and because it covered many areas we hadn't been. The ship was as expected as was the cabin. Dining was off from our previous experience. This was something we really looked forward to. Good but not great. In some cases not even good. Entertainment was much better on this cruise, including entertaining lectures which we enjoyed the most. Our server Milan was the best, however most of the staff was excellent. Was sad to see the omelet chef let go in Budapest. We certainly liked him much better than his boss. All excursions were good as were the tour guides. Hated that we were transported to Prague via 8 hour bus ride including a food stop at a gas station. Really Viking, your guest are accustom to better than this. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Cruise was very good, staff wonderful and itineraries good. One complaint is that dinner should be more open seating and flexible. The brochures all say it is open seating but in reality it is not. There is no private seating for 2 ... Read More
Cruise was very good, staff wonderful and itineraries good. One complaint is that dinner should be more open seating and flexible. The brochures all say it is open seating but in reality it is not. There is no private seating for 2 or 4, only tables of 8 or more. If you are not seated by 7:10, your dinner is rushed. The other guests have already ordered and the waiters want your order right away. I have been on other small ship cruises (Silversea) where it is truly open seating at any time you want and smaller tables. Having earphones for itineraties was great. Enabled us to wander off a little and still hear our guide. All staff was very attentive and caring. Would definitely travel on a Viking ship again as compared to the other river ships we saw along the way. We loved the understated elegance of our ship Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2016
We visited Hungary,Serbia,Bulgaria and Romania..with an extra few days in Transylvania. Crew was very friendly and tried to please. Food on board was very good. Tours were interesting and tour guides were very good and spoke English with ... Read More
We visited Hungary,Serbia,Bulgaria and Romania..with an extra few days in Transylvania. Crew was very friendly and tried to please. Food on board was very good. Tours were interesting and tour guides were very good and spoke English with almost no accent so they were easy to understand. Cabin crews kept our room neat and clean. Free snacks and drink bar always open with soda water, coffee and latte. Interesting lectures at night. At some ports we had local dancers and entertainers. Most shows were very good. Ship docked at a port in town most of the time so it usually was a short walk to the cities center. We never needed to take a taxi to get to a town. Food in towns was cheap and very good. Don't miss the extra stay in Transylvania and Bucharest. In Rumania the currency is the Lev and it goes a very long way. 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
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
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
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
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
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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