111 Viking River Viking Lif Cruise Reviews

We've had done 4 European river cruises over the years - 2 with Viking and 2 with other companies and we wanted to do the 2-week Grand European River Cruise as part of a relaxing October vacation. This trip, however, turned out to be ... Read More
We've had done 4 European river cruises over the years - 2 with Viking and 2 with other companies and we wanted to do the 2-week Grand European River Cruise as part of a relaxing October vacation. This trip, however, turned out to be a total disaster from start to finish - anything but relaxing! Viking has yet to offer us adequate compensation for our ruined vacation. and until they make things right, I cannot recommend this once-leading company any more. On the Grand European River Cruise, buyers need to prepared for itinerary changes, canceled side trips, ship swaps, and many segments of the trip done by bus rather than on the water. There is also high likelihood that even when you do arrive at a city by ship, you will not be docked "in the heart of the city", but out by some oil storage depot where you cannot come and go on foot but need to be bused in and out on a particular schedule. Most of the cruising is done at night when you can't see anything Two of the three Viking river cruises that we've taken have had shortened itineraries and bus trips substituted for river cruising. and the few times that we've docked in or near a city, we've been double- or triple- docked with other boats so our pricey balcony was useless. This latest "cruise" had 65% of the itinerary covered by bus, and 35% by water, and was only a thin piece of what was advertised. . . Our troubles on this cruise began the day before we were arriving in Budapest to meet the ship. I was emailed to say that the ship wouldn't make it to Budapest due to low water, and that we'd be put up in a hotel for the first night - but the Viking management didn't know which hotel it would be - and then we would be transferred by bus up to to Vienna, skipping the river cruising. Not knowing where to go in Budapest, we stopped by the Sofitel, (which Viking had used in the past), and fortunately we found a rep there who said we should go to the Marriott. We did, but nobody there knew where the Viking people were, and we didn't see a rep until the following morning (the second day of our supposed cruise) when a bus came to pick us up. We spent day 2 of the cruise sitting a bus to Vienna, where we actually did get to board a ship. Despite assurances that our luggage would be in our stateroom when we got there, I found I was missing one critical suitcase with my medications, (which staff eventually found in another stateroom).I The rest of the cruise followed in the same disorganized vein: cruise a few days, then more busing. Switch ships, cruise a day or so, then more busing. Eventually the ship made it to Mainz which was it's "end-of-the line", and we had to be bused all the way up to Amsterdam where we had another chaotic hotel check-in. On bus days - there were many - we had group lunches at so-so- restaurants, and occasional highway rest stops for which we had dig out our own change to pay for rest rooms (Viking should have passed out Euros to everyone for this!) Most of the pre-paid-for side trips were cancelled, and while we eventually (2 months later) got a refund for ours, it wasn't the full amount we'd paid. By the end of this so-called "cruise", I think most of the crew were demoralized and the passengers were glad to say goodbye. As I said, this once-noble company has to make this one right before I can recommend them! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We had taken a Viking cruise from Budapest to Bucharest two years earlier, and thought that two weeks on a ship from Budapest to Amsterdam, passing through some areas that we had not visited before or had seen decades earlier, would be ... Read More
We had taken a Viking cruise from Budapest to Bucharest two years earlier, and thought that two weeks on a ship from Budapest to Amsterdam, passing through some areas that we had not visited before or had seen decades earlier, would be pleasant. Little did we know that Europe would experience five months without rain, that the rivers would be too low for the ships to sail, and that two-thirds of this cruise would be done on buses, including a final six-hour ride from Mainz to Amsterdam on a bus filled with coughing, hacking disgruntled fellow passengers. So much for the view of Budapest's chain bridge at night, or a cruise past Bratislava on the way to Vienna, or any cruising on the Rhine at all. At least we caught a glimpse of the Rhine when we crossed it on bridges. Viking could not do anything about the weather, so it cannot be faulted for the low river levels. But several other aspects of the cruise did not meet the expectations we had for a river cruise. Viking gives the impression that sailing through the heart of European cities means that you dock in the cities and can disembark and reembark at your leisure. That would have been true in Budapest, had a ship been there, and was true in Vienna, but then things changed. In Passau, where the ship was supposed to spend one night but actually stayed two, the ship stopped in the center so passengers could disembark, but then in the afternoon moved to a docking location out of town to which a person could not walk, but rather had to wait for a bus transfer. The cruise to Regensburg was a bus trip from Passau to Regensburg and then back to Passau, so there was no chance to simply walk off the ship and explore on one's own. The cruise to Nuremberg was a bus trip from Passau right past Regensburg on to Nuremberg. At Nuremberg a ship was waiting, and could sail on the lock-controlled waters of the Main-Danube canal. The next port was Bamberg, but did the ship stop conveniently in the center of town? No, it went beyond town to an industrial port from which people were bused to town. And was the ship there at the end of the day? No, it sailed on, and the passengers took buses to a small port further down the canal. So much for walking on and off the ship and exploring at leisure . The next port was Wuerzburg. As the ship sailed in we saw another Viking ship docked right in the center, with Viking banners and a red carpet, and assumed that we would dock beside it. Instead our ship sailed another five miles down the canal to dock in what appeared to be an oil terminal, from which people were bused back to the city for an abbreviated visit. Meanwhile another Viking ship passed going in the opposite direction and docked in town. The Grand European Tour is supposed to be Viking's premier cruise, yet it had the worst possible docking position. The words to describe that situation come from the barnyard. In Wertheim the ship docked in town, but then departed as soon as the passengers got off, so there was another bus trip to catch up to the ship. If a person tired early, there was no going back to the ship to relax. When the Main river joined the Rhine, the cruise ended. The ship docked in Mainz for two days, and then came the bus trip to Amsterdam. Viking did offer an excursion that included a short river trip to see the Lorelei, and the bus to Amsterdam stopped in Cologne for lunch and a quick tour, but there was no Koblenz, nor a cruise past the Drachenfels through Bonn to Cologne, nor a cruise on down the Rhine, nor any windmills in Holland. So what has Viking done for the passengers on this cruise? Certainly not a partial cash refund for the missed cruise experience. It has offered a voucher, valid for a year, worth fifty percent of the fare paid to be used toward a future Viking cruise. That is of no benefit to the people for who this was to be their final cruise, perhaps for health reasons or because they have cruised all of Viking's other offerings, or for people who for reasons of logistics or finances cannot make a decision within a year. It is Viking's cold, cruel calculation that most people will not use the voucher, and the company will pocket the money and continue its advertisements showing ships sailing through European cities. Just remember, their may sail through, but they don't necessarily stop there. Adding further insult, when refunding money paid in advance for optional tours that were canceled, Viking converted the dollar amounts paid to euros (the currency used on board the ship), and then reconverted it to dollars to make the refunds. As the exchange rate had changed, the dollar amount refunded was less that the amount originally paid. Finally, I do not wish to disparage the crews on the ships, nor the people on the ships responsible for the entertainment and the tours. They worked extremely hard under difficult and demoralizing circumstances as passengers became increasingly irritated and depressed, and appeared to have no support from Viking's headquarters, which was just over an hour's train trip up the Rhine from Mainz. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
It has now been one year since we completed our cruise on the viling Lif from Budapest to Amsterdam. With some perdpsective that a year offers, I can say without qualification that this cruise was my worst travel experience in over 45 ... Read More
It has now been one year since we completed our cruise on the viling Lif from Budapest to Amsterdam. With some perdpsective that a year offers, I can say without qualification that this cruise was my worst travel experience in over 45 years of worls travel and cruising. The upper deck was closed for over half the cruise, we docked in industrial areas miles away from the [ports listed in our itinerary, had to switch vessels once and spent most of our time on shuttle buses rather than exploring the areas we came to see. We xould not enjoy the port talks in the lounge as the lounde was too small to avccomodate all of the passengers. The only explanation for all opf tthe problems we heard from the onboard staff was that our travel agent should have advised us of the problemsthe djhip encountered. We spent over $7,000.00 on what was no more than a glorified bus tour that wasn'r woth half what we paid. The final touch for Viking Cruises was the customer service department offering us vouchers for future travel that we never received. Never again will I have anything to do with this company. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
WE chose Viking for a cruise of the Danube/ Amsterdam to Budapest along with our 90 year old parents. The trip started with NO VIKING REP at the airport gate- we had to search and decided to go to the buses/ taxis where the rep ... Read More
WE chose Viking for a cruise of the Danube/ Amsterdam to Budapest along with our 90 year old parents. The trip started with NO VIKING REP at the airport gate- we had to search and decided to go to the buses/ taxis where the rep finally appeared. This happened several times during our trip where they simply 'dumped us off' without any tour guide assistance. Our parents would have been absolutely lost without us!!! Additionally, Viking is cheap, cheap cheap! A Vienna symphony concert, as displayed in the brochure, was simply 12 understudies in their 20's who played well, but absolutely not the Vienna symphony. The Ship/ Lif had filthy windows and a very unfriendly staff. We changed boats to the Embla mid tour and their staff was much better. There are countless items we can criticize but we won't bore you. We took a Tauck Rhine tour 2 years ago and they excelled!! Choose Tauck cruises / Not viking !! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
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
Sail Date August 2015
Friends highly recommend this exact cruise on Viking. Our disappointment started from the 1st day leaving the hotel, we were bussed from Amsterdam to the ship. We were supposed to board the ship in Amsterdam. We had many, ... Read More
Friends highly recommend this exact cruise on Viking. Our disappointment started from the 1st day leaving the hotel, we were bussed from Amsterdam to the ship. We were supposed to board the ship in Amsterdam. We had many, excursions we were bussed to instead of disembarking from the ship, 2 were over 3 hours. We spent as much time on busses & in hotels as we did on the ship. The environmental issues can’t be changed, but staff seemed as frustrated as guests. Once we swapped ships (repacked,unpack)all seemed fine. The crew was exceptional, until our director announced we’d be spending our last night at hotel(following 3 hr bus ride). The service deteriorated dramatically. It was SO obvious. This was day after a technical stop(resupply), we were told they were out of multiple supplies available throughout the cruise; good champagne & other elite supplies. The service was invisible. Empty glasses, long wait times, personnel visiting amongst themselves etc. I believe they thought their tips were compromised by the disruptions. No one ever expressed “we’re sorry”. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We wanted to try a river cruise, having enjoyed a Viking Ocean Cruise last year. We have previously done ocean cruising with Seabourn and Silversea and we are looking for the right cruise line for us. What a disappointing trip this ... Read More
We wanted to try a river cruise, having enjoyed a Viking Ocean Cruise last year. We have previously done ocean cruising with Seabourn and Silversea and we are looking for the right cruise line for us. What a disappointing trip this was. River levels were low, and on the first day we were bused to Slovenia to join a boat- the Embla- , rather than sailing out of Budapest. After a week we had a 3.5 hour bus trip to transfer to the Lif where we made it to Cologne before being advised we could not travel any further and that everyone would be bussed to a hotel at Schippol airport (Amsterdam) the next day. Therefore the cruise ended a day early. Viking are of course not responsible for the low water levels, but it was the management of the issue that left a lot to be desired -we always felt we were being kept in the dark and drip fed information. This extends to having heard NOTHING from Viking since our return - although we know other passengers who complained have been offered 25% discount off a future cruise. Of importance to us was the poor quality of the meals, particularly dinner. Fish was almost always very overcooked, as were the steaks and the overall menu and quality of the food was just so disappointing. Wine choices were ok, we took the silver package so had a better selection of drinks. As others have noted, only a few times did we dock where you could walk into town, and more than once we docked in industrial areas - once next to a giant smelly rubbish skip. Many of the towns where we stopped were small german towns and had little to see. Often you were stuck in the town for hours after the included tour with nothing to do but wait for the bus transfer back to the boat. Staff on the Embla were ok but were much better on the Lif. Our Verandah Suite was very comfortable, with a separate lounge area. Beware that you are often rafted next to other boats so have to keep your curtains closed at all times. We will not do a river cruise again - and after loving our Viking ocean cruise we are now very disillusioned with Viking - so won't be sailing with Viking again. Our search for the right cruise line continues. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
It was all about the itinerary. To list all the defects would be redundant from others who have already complained. The food was cold, the meat was tough and grizzly. The lack of vegetables that were not over cooked was negligent. The ... Read More
It was all about the itinerary. To list all the defects would be redundant from others who have already complained. The food was cold, the meat was tough and grizzly. The lack of vegetables that were not over cooked was negligent. The service in the dining room was almost non-existent. Extremely under staffed and poorly trained staff. Exception: bar staff on 3rd floor was Great! Ran out of Hendricks though!! Food servers reaching over others to deliver food that was not theirs but belonged to another table. Tables were never cleared between courses. The excursions were excellent, if you were a 20 year old and could walk 1 mile in 15 minutes, otherwise stay on board or go to the local area. If you like to sleep do not get a room on the 3rd floor. The track is above you and people run early and late, just as you are sleeping. If you were disabled, forget it. No elevator from 1st to 2nd floor, where the dining room was. Egress and ingress to the boat requires a degree in obstacle courses and climbing equipment. Someone asked me if I had complained to the company? I said no. The reason is: read the complaints and you will see the company never answers the complaints online, in writing. They always want to call the person lodging the complaint and mostly do nothing. If they do something it is usually giving the complainant a discount on a future cruise. Why would you want to cruise on a boat with such lousy service? I have lodged my complaint with my travel agent of over 30 years. She informed me she will not book with them again. I strongly recommend you do not also. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
My wife and I just finished 21 day cruise on the Viking Lif. First, the crew, officers, all staff were outstanding. Our stateroom Suite, only 8 of them, was also very nice. That is about it. Viking is rated about a 4 or 5 Star Cruise line ... Read More
My wife and I just finished 21 day cruise on the Viking Lif. First, the crew, officers, all staff were outstanding. Our stateroom Suite, only 8 of them, was also very nice. That is about it. Viking is rated about a 4 or 5 Star Cruise line and actually they are about a 2 Star. The cruise ports and times are very disorganized, sometimes arriving late afternoon and leaving late or arriving early and leave early. The times of ports are not posted in advance. At some ports you cannot get back to the ship via yourself or taxi because the ship will leave the port and they transfer you to the new port by bus at their designated time. They tie up next to another Viking and you look directly into the stateroom of that ship and have to walk through that ship to get outside. The food is very average with little variety and no snacks or anythiing offered between breakfast and lunch. You cannot get a sandwich of any kind unless maybe it is part of the lunch, no cheese selection of any kind or variety, they should at least offer a sandwich bar for guest that don't want there planned meals. I day we were offered hot dogs and hamburgers. They rush you through dinner as at 7 they want you down there and order almost immediately. There is basically no dress code at dinner so we packed way to many clothes, you can were tee shirts, jeans, flip flops, sneakers, ect. They have very few hand sanitizers hence the ship was a walking coughing factory by the end of the cruise. They offer no non-prescription drugs of any kind and you must wait for a port to get to a pharmacy. My wife developed, influenza A, on the ship and I am sure others did also . Upon arrival to America I had to take her to emergency, they could not get her a doctor appointment in a big port which would not have done any good anyway as they would most likely not have done X-rays and nasal swabs. They only offer CNN, BBC, so if you get fed up with them you cannot go to Fox International . They last thing , you can order juices for breakfast or lunch but say you want an apple juise or orange juice between those times they charge you $2.80 euros, which makes no sense. When compared the Wind Star, Oceania, Regent, or Crystal Viking cannot even come close. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We had taken a wonderful Volga river cruise three years ago. So we were excited to take another river cruise. We chose Budapest to Amsterdam. It did not begin to compare to our first cruise. Staff and food was awesome. Tours were ... Read More
We had taken a wonderful Volga river cruise three years ago. So we were excited to take another river cruise. We chose Budapest to Amsterdam. It did not begin to compare to our first cruise. Staff and food was awesome. Tours were repetitive. We saw the same things at each stop. The Mozart and Strauss concert was terrific but the hall where it was held did not seem worthy of the entertainment. Would have liked to stay longer in several of the towns to experience and Shop in a European city. There were toooooo many locks and down time. Top deck was off limits a lot, so was nothing to do. Boring. Would have liked to have access to bicycles or be within walking distance with time to explore the cities.. Basically I think the cruise tried to cover tooooo many river miles at the expense of actually exploring European towns. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
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
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 April 2018
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 October 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
Sail Date June 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
Sail Date April 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
Sail Date March 2017
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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