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Last month I spend 3 weeks on board of Viking ships sailing across Europe. No mistake, I said “Viking ships” because due to the water issues on the Danube I needed to change ships in Budapest. The first part of my trip was on Viking Agir and the last 2 weeks on Viking Lif. I didn’t have any problems with changing ships but what I don’t understand is how Viking manage to offer two different experiences on two, in theory, identical ships? The boarding on Agir was a little bit chaotic with passengers arriving at the same time and waiting in the lounge until somebody from the reception was shouting, like in Central Station, the name of the lucky one who can get the room key. On Viking LIF everything was different: a sense of calm and control, with a lot of smiles and with the Hotel Manager and Cruise Director chatting with the passengers when we were waiting (not very long) for check-in. The girls from Agir reception were trying hard to smile and give useful information and always advise me to ask the Cruise director. On Lif the story was completely different: Anicka and Iout knew almost everything and when they didn’t have the answer, with a joke, were ask the Cruise director to help. The service in Agir restaurant was very basic and most of the time rushed; I don’t want to blame the waiters but was easy to realise that they were overworked and under the constant pressure of the Hotel manager who was always walking like an SS officer with no smiles for passengers or staff. On Lif everybody, anytime of the day had a genuine big smile and they looked that they love their job and being on board. On the second ship you have the feeling that they were a big family with everybody, from Captain Ane to my room steward (Marko) sharing jokes and being professional in a very friendly manner. Big differences between ships from top to bottom; on Agir the captain didn’t speak one word in English his presentation about navigation being another boring show off of the Hotel Manager while on Lif was an excellent double act with Cpt Ane and Cruise Director Leonard putting together an excellent infotainment night. Iana, Hotel Manager on Lif was very friendly and always ready to help not only the passengers but staff too, finding time to chat with everybody. The other Hotel Manager, Claus, was acting like a little dictator with both staff and passengers…not a pleasant face to see when on board! The only element of consistency was the Cruise Director, or Program Director as is called on Viking, Leonard. He was always funny, very informative and knowledgeable, showing a genuine care for all on board and finding time after very long days to chat both with passengers and his colleagues. I was so happy that he was with us for all 3 weeks and he’s the one who made me booking another Viking cruise. Maybe Viking can think very seriously about bringing consistency on board of their ships; after 3 weeks I will score 4 stars Viking Lif 2 stars Viking Agir And 5+stars Leonard. However, as a sign of respect and appreciation for Viking LIF the scores are for my 2 weeks experience on Lif between Budapest to Amsterdam

2 ships 2 different stories

Viking Lif Cruise Review by singletraveller55

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2017
  • Destination: Europe River
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Stateroom
Last month I spend 3 weeks on board of Viking ships sailing across Europe. No mistake, I said “Viking ships” because due to the water issues on the Danube I needed to change ships in Budapest. The first part of my trip was on Viking Agir and the last 2 weeks on Viking Lif.

I didn’t have any problems with changing ships but what I don’t understand is how Viking manage to offer two different experiences on two, in theory, identical ships?

The boarding on Agir was a little bit chaotic with passengers arriving at the same time and waiting in the lounge until somebody from the reception was shouting, like in Central Station, the name of the lucky one who can get the room key. On Viking LIF everything was different: a sense of calm and control, with a lot of smiles and with the Hotel Manager and Cruise Director chatting with the passengers when we were waiting (not very long) for check-in.

The girls from Agir reception were trying hard to smile and give useful information and always advise me to ask the Cruise director. On Lif the story was completely different: Anicka and Iout knew almost everything and when they didn’t have the answer, with a joke, were ask the Cruise director to help.

The service in Agir restaurant was very basic and most of the time rushed; I don’t want to blame the waiters but was easy to realise that they were overworked and under the constant pressure of the Hotel manager who was always walking like an SS officer with no smiles for passengers or staff. On Lif everybody, anytime of the day had a genuine big smile and they looked that they love their job and being on board. On the second ship you have the feeling that they were a big family with everybody, from Captain Ane to my room steward (Marko) sharing jokes and being professional in a very friendly manner.

Big differences between ships from top to bottom; on Agir the captain didn’t speak one word in English his presentation about navigation being another boring show off of the Hotel Manager while on Lif was an excellent double act with Cpt Ane and Cruise Director Leonard putting together an excellent infotainment night. Iana, Hotel Manager on Lif was very friendly and always ready to help not only the passengers but staff too, finding time to chat with everybody. The other Hotel Manager, Claus, was acting like a little dictator with both staff and passengers…not a pleasant face to see when on board!

The only element of consistency was the Cruise Director, or Program Director as is called on Viking, Leonard. He was always funny, very informative and knowledgeable, showing a genuine care for all on board and finding time after very long days to chat both with passengers and his colleagues. I was so happy that he was with us for all 3 weeks and he’s the one who made me booking another Viking cruise.

Maybe Viking can think very seriously about bringing consistency on board of their ships; after 3 weeks I will score

4 stars Viking Lif

2 stars Viking Agir

And 5+stars Leonard.

However, as a sign of respect and appreciation for Viking LIF the scores are for my 2 weeks experience on Lif between Budapest to Amsterdam
singletraveller55’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Stateroom
Cabin E 105
Nice cabin, next time I will go for a veranda
Main Deck Outside Cabins