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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.

One “breath of fresh air” in a sea of disappointments

Viking Lif Cruise Review by Niken1956

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: April 2018
  • Destination: Europe River
  • Cabin Type: Veranda Superior
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.
Niken1956’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Cabin Review

Veranda Superior
Cabin A
We had a veranda cabin: nice, spacious with a beautiful balcony just to enjoy the amazing landscape on the Danube and Rhine. Unfortunately, Viking “took care” to destroy our plans and in almost all ports the only view we had was another ship, another balcony. Viking is very proud about how many ship are sailing in the world but this big number brought a drop in the quality of passenger’s experience. What’s the point to spend a lot of money for a cabin when the only view was another ship?
The cabin was always extremely clean and our room attendant Marina from Romania was amazing. Unfortunately, one day she was free and somebody else replaced her and the difference was more than visible.
Upper Deck Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins