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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2016
This was our first river cruise. We were able to get a last minute deal with Viking River Cruises. Discounted prices for air and cabin. The French balcony cabin was clean and had adequate space. The food was very good. The excursions that ... Read More
This was our first river cruise. We were able to get a last minute deal with Viking River Cruises. Discounted prices for air and cabin. The French balcony cabin was clean and had adequate space. The food was very good. The excursions that were included in the cruise fare were very informative. The tour guides were very knowledgeable and spoke excellent English. The extra excursions offered at some of the ports were an added bonus. We went on a wine tour in Croatia. We visited a local wine cellar and had three wine tasting with cheese and bread. This was a very enjoyable cruise. All of the staff were very friendly and the food servers remembered our dinner/wine preferences. We have been ocean cruises that were very good, but the river cruise is less hectic, less lines and a few thousand less people sailing with you. I would recommend Viking cruises to anyone looking for a little culture and a lot of relaxation. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
For our 20th wedding anniversary, we wanted to explore Eastern Europe with ease and this Viking Cruise exceeded our expectations. Everything was wonderful and we learned so much about the countries, people and history of each place we ... Read More
For our 20th wedding anniversary, we wanted to explore Eastern Europe with ease and this Viking Cruise exceeded our expectations. Everything was wonderful and we learned so much about the countries, people and history of each place we visited. We also got to know and understand the culture (food, entertainment, lifestyle) of the countries we visited. The service was 1st rate; we didn't have to think about anything, as they handled it all for us and were so pleasant. Embarking and disembarking was so smooth and easy. The shore excursions were quite the mix of activities and explored the various aspects of each country and culture. The entertainment was fun and lively. Our cabin was spacious, comfortable and had everything we needed. The food was awesome and there was such a variety. The waiters in the restaurant and lounge were so kind and generous. The ship was the perfect size with just the right amount of people... we got to know most everyone, but could also find a quite spot to take a nap or read. We would go again and plan on taking other Viking Cruises. 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: June 2016
One of the items on my bucket list was cruising down the Rhine River in Germany. After researching cruise lines, dates and ports, we chose Viking for our first river cruise. We were not disappointed in our choice. The walking tours in ... Read More
One of the items on my bucket list was cruising down the Rhine River in Germany. After researching cruise lines, dates and ports, we chose Viking for our first river cruise. We were not disappointed in our choice. The walking tours in each city were fabulous. The local tour guides provided tremendous amounts of information on the history and culture of the city. The food was excellent, as were our wait staff and room steward. All the staff we cam in contact with were very pleasant. We did the pre-cruise in Amsterdam and the post-cruise in Prague. The hotels in both cities were very nice. We really enjoyed all the additional excursions we took, except the last one to the Lobkowicz Palace in Prague. I guess we were expecting something more on the order of the other palaces we saw earlier. All in all, the trip was fabulous. I always seem to gain weight on my ocean cruises, but this cruise with all the walking was no weight gain. I will definitely consider going on future Viking River Cruises and will look into Viking Ocean Cruises, as well. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2016
We cruised from Budapest to Amsterdam some years ago with Uniworld. We wanted to someday do the entire North Sea to Black Sea river and canal cruise. We read about Viking and heard about Viking from other cruisers. We have cruised ... Read More
We cruised from Budapest to Amsterdam some years ago with Uniworld. We wanted to someday do the entire North Sea to Black Sea river and canal cruise. We read about Viking and heard about Viking from other cruisers. We have cruised with at least six other cruise lines. We found the customer service given by the crew of the Lif to be exceptional from our cabin steward to our servers in the dining room. We especially liked the one price all inclusive style of Viking so we were not constantly being "nickeled and dimed." We liked knowing our captain and our chef. We took a an informal walking tour of a market with our chef. In Croatia we visited a family in their home for pastry and coffee and a discussion of their everyday lives. Our hotel stay in Bucharest Romania was very special even if it was just one night. The man who met us at the airport in Amsterdam was a great company representative as were the young women at our hotel and at the airport who facilitated our return home. The onboard country lectures were exceptionally informative. We learned much about where we were visiting even though we had visited before. The low spot was the poor service by Alitalia air crew and those on the ground. It was such a contrast to that provided everywhere by Viking. There was nothing ordinary about our cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
This was our second Viking river cruise. We like the small ships, the casual atmosphere, and the excellent on-board staff. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. Each stop a tour is included in the cruise price, and the tour guides ... Read More
This was our second Viking river cruise. We like the small ships, the casual atmosphere, and the excellent on-board staff. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. Each stop a tour is included in the cruise price, and the tour guides are very knowledgeable. The headsets make the tours much more enjoyable. The program director was fun and very well-organized. When high river levels forced us to alter our docking one day, busses were arranged, lunch in town was provided, and the ship picked us up in town later in the day. Another day traffic on the river was stopped, and we had to change our docking site. Again the busses found us for our tours and everything went smoothly. Very minor inconveniences for us, but probably major work for the staff. The food on-board is tasty and interesting. Beer, wine and soft drinks are complimentary with lunch and dinner (a big savings!) This cruise was loaded with castles and churches and beautiful scenery along the rivers. We chose a 3 night pre-cruise Prague stay, which was fabulous! We look forward to another Viking river cruise. 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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
This was our first river cruise experience after many, many ocean cruises, We loved the laid-back pace aboard our ship and enjoyed seeing so many wonderful sights and old cities along our journey to Budapest. We found the food to be ... Read More
This was our first river cruise experience after many, many ocean cruises, We loved the laid-back pace aboard our ship and enjoyed seeing so many wonderful sights and old cities along our journey to Budapest. We found the food to be very good and enjoyed the availability of both wine and beer for lunch and dinner meals. Since the maximum passenger capacity is only 188 people, we never felt crowded on the ship. Although the complimentary wifi aboard the ship was a bit slow at times, it was nice to have that capability so that we could stay in contact with family members and gather news updates from our country. We brought our own computer, but there were two computers available in one of the public areas that guests could use as well. We also enjoyed the daily excursions that were included in the price of this cruise. Each passenger received a "quiet box" that allowed us to clearly hear our tour guide as we were being escorted on the excursion. I highly recommend this experience to anyone who is considering taking this kind of a trip. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We had an excellent experience on the Viking Lif! The ship was comfortable and well appointed. We enjoyed the tours and the beautiful scenery. The crew was warm, hospitable, humorous, and informative. We hated to say goodbye to them! ... Read More
We had an excellent experience on the Viking Lif! The ship was comfortable and well appointed. We enjoyed the tours and the beautiful scenery. The crew was warm, hospitable, humorous, and informative. We hated to say goodbye to them! The food was very good. We discovered that we enjoyed the informal meals on the Aquavit Terrace and we even forged some friendships with those who most often gathered there. But it also allowed us a certain amount of privacy and couple time. We enjoyed the optional excursions, but the tour would have been just as wonderful without them. The local tour guides were very informative and enjoyable and spoke great English. The Cabin was well appointed. The bathroom is a bit small, but I assume that is to be expected on a cruise ship. And the view was phenomenal! The countryside is beautiful. Towns picturesque. And my engineer husband enjoyed the locks! I highly recommend this tour. And we look forward to another cruise! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
What an awesome experience. It was even better than we expected. Our first river cruise was first class in every way. I shot over six hours of HD video on the trip and edited it down to a two and a half hour DVD which we have shared with ... Read More
What an awesome experience. It was even better than we expected. Our first river cruise was first class in every way. I shot over six hours of HD video on the trip and edited it down to a two and a half hour DVD which we have shared with friends and family. At the towns and cities on the rivers we had bus and/or walking tours. The tour guides were very knowledgeable, and informed us about the history and culture about each local. I was glad that each stop offered an "easy" group for those of us with walking limitations. The staff on our river boat "Lif", was so friendly that many of them knew us by name. I even had a 45-minute personal chat with the captain. The Viking organization took care of us from check-in to landing at our hometown airport. We were cared for in every way for the entire trip. This cruise was so much more than the historic and scenic river-scape. It does make a difference which cruise company you choose. We can not recommend the Viking Grand European River Tour enough. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We chose this river cruise because of the itinerary which went from Amsterdam to Bucharest on the Rhine, Main and Danube. The experience was the best. The entire staff was awesome, always helpful and we all, cruisers and staff, became ... Read More
We chose this river cruise because of the itinerary which went from Amsterdam to Bucharest on the Rhine, Main and Danube. The experience was the best. The entire staff was awesome, always helpful and we all, cruisers and staff, became one big happy family - complete with tears when we disembarked at the end! We were one of the first, if not the first, ship to sail all the way through on the Danube. Low water caused others to have to move to other ships. Our captain was so knowledgeable. The food was consistently good. There were a couple of evenings that featured local cuisine complete with staff dressed in costumes to compliment the menu. The best part about river cruising is that everything is included in the cost of your trip - no paying extra for water, drinks, etc., etc. Every day we had about 2 litres of fresh water in our room. The excursions were mostly all included in the price or you could choose other tours for a reasonable fee. The tour guides are local so are knowledgeable about the area or site you are touring. The on-ship entertainment was always excellent and with local flavor where we were situated. The lounge piano entertainer was excellent and made that a nice place to wind down at the end of the day before turning in. The Lif was a very comfortable home away from home. This was a trip of a lifetime and we would do it again in a heartbeat. 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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
This was our second Viking cruise (first one was to Egypt two years ago), so we were aware of their standards of "care/service". They continued to impress on this Viking Grand European Cruise. We took advantage of the transfer ... Read More
This was our second Viking cruise (first one was to Egypt two years ago), so we were aware of their standards of "care/service". They continued to impress on this Viking Grand European Cruise. We took advantage of the transfer process at the airport in Schipol (we were met on time and transported efficiently) and of an additional 2 days in Amsterdam, staying at the Renaissance Hotel. It was in a great location and the Viking staff were always available to assist in maximizing our experience in Amsterdam. The Cruise itself met all expectations (and more). The "long ship" experience is great, with beautiful on-board surroundings. We tended to have breakfast and dinner in the Main Dining Room, and lunch on the Acquivit terrace.The meals were varied, with attention to vegetarian choices, and appropriate in size. The "regional" menu choices were great. The wine flowed! The Chef was always available and we gave many compliments, particularly to his soups. The "coffee station" with baking was a hit! The shore excursions were really excellent, with use of local guides whose pride in their countries was evident. There was only one guide that did not meet Viking standards and we shared that with the Concierge (very helpful). What we really appreciated was the 'variation' in some of the excursions (e.g. walking tour in Budapest, church architecture). Also there was time for freelance visits to other sites in each city. We did not access the optional tours, but as this was a re-visit to Europe we did not have particular interest in these options. They appeared good, and there was no "hard-sell" like we experience on larger cruise ships. The most critical issue for the cruise was the low water levels, and again Viking delivered! Our captain constantly monitored water levels, and through timing facilitated our trip flawlessly. We did not have to change boats, even though other Viking cruises did. We would recommend this particular trip to anyone wanting to have a solid glimpse of Europe. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We have been in n many ocean cruises, and this was our first river cruise. Based on this experience, we are "hooked" on river cruises. We took the Grand European tour - Budapest to Amsterdam. We loved the small number of ... Read More
We have been in n many ocean cruises, and this was our first river cruise. Based on this experience, we are "hooked" on river cruises. We took the Grand European tour - Budapest to Amsterdam. We loved the small number of passengers, personalized service by all staff, shore excursions.and fellow passengers. We are retired, and most passengers were 50 or older, well traveled, and interesting. I have problems walking very long distances and standing for long periods of time. My husband, on the other hand is very athletic and active. There were tour groups that fit both our needs. There is a leisure group that is slower and avoids multiple steps and more strenuous terrain. Tour guides were excellent and knowledgeable . If you don't like group tours, the concierge is very knowledgeable about alternatives - hop on hop off buses, etc. I enjoy exploring on my own and met a fellow passenger who liked the same things. Like all cruises, we would like more time in certain cities -Vienna, Cologne. Unlike ocean cruises, there is no casino, fitness center, evening shows - we did not miss. Every evening there is a review of tours and things to do in port-recommend attending these. Also available on in room TV. Evening/afternoon entertainment was based on local culture, information. I do recommend some of additional shore excursions - price is reasonable compared to ocean cruises. We loved the Vienna music and trip to Rothenberg. Husband loved Beerhaus tour in Cologne. Food was excellent and there is personalized service for special dietary needs. We used frequent flyer miles for airfare, but did purchase transfers. Well worth cost. We booked through Viking -but will use travel agency next time -Most who used travel agencies had extra perks. We did not book pre or post cruise tours. Heard great reviews for Prague and Bdapest. We are planning our next river cruise -hope you join us! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2014
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
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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2014
For two weeks in October we cruised with Viking from Amsterdam to Budapest, going through Holland, Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary, on the great rivers of Europe, the Rhine, the Main and the Danube. The ship was the Viking Lif, one ... Read More
For two weeks in October we cruised with Viking from Amsterdam to Budapest, going through Holland, Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary, on the great rivers of Europe, the Rhine, the Main and the Danube. The ship was the Viking Lif, one of their new “long boats” almost 500 feet long, 38 feet wide and carrying 192 passengers (we had 187), plus crew. The food on the Lif was exceptionally good, with many choices, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Although we sometimes ate ashore for our own enjoyment, we were never disappointed when we ate on the boat. And at mealtimes the wine flowed freely from Erhard Mŏrwald’s vineyard in the Wachau Valley of Austria. Every evening we received the Viking Daily with the schedule for the next day, times for meals, times for tours, docking hours, notes on the next port of call, suggestions for sightseeing and other interesting tidbits. There was some form of entertainment every evening and sometimes a lecture or demonstration in the morning or afternoon depending on docking schedules. One of the most interesting was a glass blowing demonstration by a glass blower from Wertheim, Germany who spends a few months each year with Chihuly in the United States. A tour of each stop was included in the cruise itinerary and there were several optional tours offered. The tour guides were excellent English speakers and we invariably learned something we hadn’t known before, even in ports like Vienna where we had been previously. In towns like Miltenberg, Germany, a delightful village of old half-timbered houses and Germany’s oldest Inn, with a castle perched above and cobbled streets below, the amount of time allowed for the tour and for free wandering was just right. In the big cities like Amsterdam, Cologne, Wurzburg, Vienna, and Budapest there was enough time to absorb the atmosphere and the differences between each. The smaller towns, like Miltenberg, Bamberg, Regensburg, Passau, Melk and Krems, each had its own character and history. The effects of the destruction of World War II were visible only in that new buildings filled spaces between old, well-preserved architectures. It was unusual to find a town like Miltenberg that completely escaped destruction. The construction of the Main-Danube Canal, which allows through river traffic to begin at the Atlantic Ocean, down the Rhine, across the Main and through the Canal to the Danube, up and over the “continental divide” of Europe where the rivers on one side flow to the North Sea and the Atlantic, and those on the other flow to the Black Sea, was completed in 1992. The canal runs from Bamberg via Nuremberg to Kelheim, a total of 106 miles with 16 locks, three of which are 80 feet deep and lift a boat to an altitude of 1332 feet above sea level, the highest in the world a water craft can go at this time. Traveling this route confronts one with a lot of Baroque architecture, of which the Monastery of Melk is a grand example as is St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Passau where we enjoyed an organ concert played on Europe’s largest pipe organ. Actually here are five organs that can be played from one consul. The Bach rocked the church, but the more modern piece composed by a former organist of the Cathedral really made the Baroque rafters ring. Another great example of the Baroque was the Residenz of the Prince-Bishop of Wűrtzburg with its grand ceiling fresco painted by Tiepolo in 1750. Besides Baroque there was also a lot of Gothic (the Cathedral at Cologne, the Marksburg Castle), a lot of Roman ruins (excavation partly encouraged by WWII destruction – the Romish-Germanisches Museum in Cologne is magnificent), and Medieval and Romanesque architecture (the city and cathedral of Bamberg and the town of Regensburg which claims to have been founded in 179 A.D., as well as the village of Miltenberg). The history and culture of Europe from the Romans to the Nazis were a vivid presence. The boat docked in Bratislava, Slovakia and we were able to see the effects of the long reign of Communism on that small country. Graffiti is a problem. Even our guide, who clearly loved her city, complained that there was no way to control the growing plague of graffiti covered monuments. The symbol of Slovakia, the massive square castle on the hill above the town, is realty only a façade, since the country cannot afford to restore and reconstruct the interior. Coming onto Budapest at night was one of the most astonishing events of the cruise. The whole city was lit up, the bridges, the churches, the Parliament, the castle, all were draped in shimmering lights. It was a fairy land and the boat sailed down the Danube through the city, then turned around and sailed back to the Chain Bridge where we docked. All who were on deck were offered a glass of Tokay to celebrate our triumphant and spectacular entry into our final port of call. The service from all the crew members was outstanding, whether they came from Ukraine, Serbia, Philippines, Bulgaria or elsewhere. They were invariably cheerful, helpful and happy to serve. I asked one of the receptionists if Viking gave them any kind of training and she claimed not, that it was strictly on the job training, which certainly speaks well of our Hotel Manager, Alexander Kuba. The program director, Colin Watson, was always on hand, friendly, helpful, and incredibly well-organized. The few glitches that occurred, such as the boat not arriving exactly on schedule to meet the busses, were handled with the pleasure of the passengers always uppermost in their consideration. For example, at the place where the Captain was negotiating the low water in the Danube, most of the passengers were ashore, visiting Regensburg and then were bussed to Deggensdorf to meet the boat. But the boat was an hour late, so the passengers were given carte blanche to go into town and do whatever they chose. It being dinner time, we headed to the first biergarten we found, ordered wine and dinner, sharing a veal Carpaccio with arugula appetizer and a wild mushroom and cream sauced dumpling that was so delicious it became the most memorable meal of the trip. Our tab was forty-two Euros and, with the receipt turned in, we later received the exact amount in cash back from the ship. When we reached Budapest we had traveled a total of approximately 1120 miles through 68 locks with twelve ports of call -- actually thirteen because of the unscheduled pick-up at Deggensdorf. Viking is clearly doing many things right. The effect may be a bit formulaic, but if the formula works, one knows what to count on. They are investing in new ocean going boats, they have their own busses at many of the stops, they handle the change-overs of passengers with minimal difficulties or confusions. The ports of call are interesting and varied and the cruising is as pleasant as possible. The fact that they encourage one to bring wine or beer aboard for one’s own dinner, even though it is provided on the ship helps the local economies and probably earns them great rewards from local officials. There is plenty of time for shopping, solo sightseeing and relaxed cruising. Our only complaint after two weeks aboard was that the Wi-Fi was sketchy and hard to achieve – perhaps they need larger antennas. But that was a small caveat, considering the elegant management of almost 200 people for two weeks.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2014
This was our first river cruise, and we are so happy that we chose Viking! The Grand European Tour was everything we expected and more. The scenery, the towns and villages, the exposure to history, the daily tours, they were all we could ... Read More
This was our first river cruise, and we are so happy that we chose Viking! The Grand European Tour was everything we expected and more. The scenery, the towns and villages, the exposure to history, the daily tours, they were all we could have wanted. The Lif became our very own home for 15 terrific days and that was due not only to the comfort of the ship itself (which was beautifully designed), but was due in large part to the friendliness of, and the inclusion by, the crew. They literally became like family and made our time on board even more special. I think it is exceptional to report that we were a group of ten and not a one of us had a single complaint. We have already booked our 2015 Viking Cruise.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
I cannot say enough good things about our recent Viking Longboat River Cruise ~ The Grand European Tour! Everything was taken care of for us including the air. We were met at the airport, taken to the boat and treated like royalty. We ... Read More
I cannot say enough good things about our recent Viking Longboat River Cruise ~ The Grand European Tour! Everything was taken care of for us including the air. We were met at the airport, taken to the boat and treated like royalty. We loved the small amount of guests (180) & crew (50) and seemed to interact with everyone during the trip. We especially enjoyed getting to know a number of people from Australia, New Zealand & the UK! We spent most every evening after dinner in the lounge listening to Bobby's fantastic piano playing & dancing, playing games & singing along to favorite tunes. During the days we were treated to the sights of each city with a walking &/or bus tour with free time to explore most places if we wanted. There were only a few add on trips cost-wise, and my favorites were Rothenburg...a fairy tale city after a drive along the "Romantic Road" through Franconia and then the evening orchestral Concert in Vienna...just outstanding. The crew could not have been more friendly, kind, informed and considerate. My husband has some special needs and everyone was so very helpful. Our 2 special waiters (from the Phiiippines) took care of him every meal by bringing him his favorite things, helping him get seated and a cheery greeting by name. Our Program director gave us an enormous amount of information each evening before dinner, at special events, as well as on our outings...we were fascinated with all the history. Our Concierge & front desk people were cheery, funny & always more than helpful. Even our Housekeeper was thorough and impecable woman who smiled & cheered us on every day when we came & went. It was truly a trip of a lifetime and we hope to go again to yet another area...Paris/Normandy perhaps? Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2014
We just returned from an outstanding trip on Viking Lif. This was a bucket list trip for my wife and I and our good friends we often cruise with. We engaged Viking after purchasing a Holland trip at a charity event. We had always wanted to ... Read More
We just returned from an outstanding trip on Viking Lif. This was a bucket list trip for my wife and I and our good friends we often cruise with. We engaged Viking after purchasing a Holland trip at a charity event. We had always wanted to do this river cruise so we traded in our purchase and upgraded to the Grand European Tour. We added days on both end of the cruise in Amsterdam and Budapest. We booked the trip through our Agent except for air travel which we arranged our selves.* (More about this later!) We've cruised a lot on all sizes of ships big n little. The LIF is nicest appointed small boat we have been on. Very nice Suites, great bed and bath, sitting area, excellent climate control. Room services was exceptional....Thanks Emily! Sitting areas, library were excellent. Bar and exterior eating areas forward were great and the dining area had phenomenal views while we were under sail. We had been warned that the food was rather bland....to the contrary the food was excellent with very few misses over 15 days of meals. Soups were spectacular! Great breakfast buffet. Entertainment in the Lounge by Bobbie at the Piano was outstanding. He can play anything and we danced almost every night. Top deck of the boat has a nice track to get some exercise to work off all those great meals. Unfortunately for us with the high water on portions of our trip the area had to be closed to get under the bridges for about 4 days. (Note to the designer: Lay the track out over the bar area versus over the cabin section so that early risers can get exercise without disturbing late risers.) The boat has wifi but it has limited capability so don't expect to be sending 40 gig files from the boat! Shore tours were very well done and we never had a guide that was not fully engaged in their job. We hired private guides for Amsterdam and Budapest on our extra days before going on the trip. I strongly recommend this! We received great insight along with exceptional history in both cases. The Cruise Director needed a vacation.... He did a lot of the info talks along the cruise and constantly referred to his material. I've been spoiled in this respect by the Historians and Naturalists provided by Cruise West (RIP ;-( ) and American Cruise lines. Viking should think about guest presenters to unload some of the Directors responsibilities to get better results in this area. Now about our travel arrangements! We booked our own flights through U-suck United. They always exceed my expectations....their always worse than I thought they could be. Moved flight time up on our Houston connection...NO notification. Fortunately we were early enough that it didn't manner. We had Viking transfers on both ends of the trip. Looked expensive but our Agent said book-em. They were phenomenal.....Their view of "Transfer" is really Escort you to the gate! On heading back to the states we arrived at the airport only to find once again U-suck United had changed flight times and had not notified us even though we were frequent flyers and they had all out contact info. Viking stayed right with us at the Budapest airport allowing us to use their phone for an hour and half while I wrestled with United "No Service" service agents. Ultimately we had to go back to our hotel and check in for another night. Viking arrange the taxi back and THEN the next morning once again escorted us to the Gate to see us off..... Unbelievable Service! And the rest of the story is that Viking had no responsibility for our flight arrangements.... ours was a self inflicted debacle. Our Lesson: BOOK ALL YOUR TRAVEL ARRANGEMENT THROUGH VIKING! Finally this is a fabulous way to see Europe. We've done the train thing in Italy, packing and unpacking at every spot. On this trip we unpacked once and went 14 days without touching a suite case. We are looking forward to another Viking experience in the future!   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2014
My husband, father and I have just returned from the Grand European Tour on the Viking Lif, starting in Budapest and finishing in Amsterdam. My husband and I are in our 40s/50s and my father is in his 80s, so it was interesting that we ... Read More
My husband, father and I have just returned from the Grand European Tour on the Viking Lif, starting in Budapest and finishing in Amsterdam. My husband and I are in our 40s/50s and my father is in his 80s, so it was interesting that we were on the extremes of the perceived demographic regarding age on the boat. Firstly, it was a wonderful trip. Here are the points that made it remarkable: * The staff on the ship, who with one exception (see later), could not have been more kind, helpful and friendly. Service most definitely came with a smile and often a laugh, and the ship was immaculately clean. * The Lif itself - we were only the fifth set of passengers to travel on it and it showed. Everything still smelled new, and despite the usual age group who take these cruises, we felt that it would have appealed to many of our more middle aged friends. * The quality of the on shore guides in every place we stopped was excellent - and every one of them was a memorable personality, which really added to the enjoyment. * Pianist and singer on board - if you read some other reviews for Viking cruises, this sounds like a flannelette nightgown and slippers kind of evening entertainment. BUT - it really wasn't in our case as the pianist was excellent and versatile, ranging from smooth cocktail sounds during the day and full out rock and roll dancing at night. (Thank you Bobby! xx) Now, secondly, some travel tips: * Personally, we didn't see the point in spending a lot for a room with a view. We didn't, and it was more than adequate. Whatever room you book, you get the same bed, shower, TV etc. The bed is very comfortable, the shower has excellent water pressure. Several people we spoke to regretted spending so much extra as they barely spent time in their state room, or else it was parked up against another ship (normal with anyone who has experienced river cruising before). * If you are from the UK, you may be surprised to find yourself out-numbered by Americans, Canadians and Australians. They were mostly great actually, but we definitely have different cultures.....! * The Aquavit terrace is lovely. As soon as they start opening it for meals, I recommend you get up there as it seems to take time for word to get around and you may have it almost to yourself. Personally, my husband and I found the more relaxed and scenic atmosphere up there more pleasant than the restaurant. There is officially "open seating", but you may well find that as is normal with human nature, people start to assume territorial "rights" over their own table. Personally, I can't imagine anything worse than sitting with the same people you don't know for every meal for two weeks, but maybe that's just me. FINALLY - I am giving this cruise a top score as we found it close to perfect. However, we were extremely unhappy with the programme director for a number of reasons. We will be contacting Viking about this shortly. I didn't think it was appropriate to mark the whole team down for the ineptitude and failings of one team member though, in total fairness.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2014
We are veteran ocean cruisers on a river cruise for the first time. I did a lot of research before booking nearly a year ago and paid attention to all the reviews written on the Grand European/Danube cruises since booking. I approached the ... Read More
We are veteran ocean cruisers on a river cruise for the first time. I did a lot of research before booking nearly a year ago and paid attention to all the reviews written on the Grand European/Danube cruises since booking. I approached the embarkation date with several concerns. Food, quality of crew, size of staterooms and lounge and river conditions seem to have caused negative reviews. I will try to deal with those issues as I go along. We booked the airfare through Viking and did take advantage of the extra 100 dollars they charge to be able to talk with the travel agent. It was worth it. The air travel was exactly what we requested, non-stop from Kennedy to Amsterdam, on the airline we requested and one stop from Budapest back to Kennedy. Viking was there to pick us up upon arrival in Amsterdam and the transfer to Budapest airport at the end was efficient. We arrived in Amsterdam so early that our cabin was not ready, so we left our luggage to do some exploring and the luggage was in the room by the time we returned to the ship. We had heard complaints before we booked on the lack of view from the upper decks due to nesting in the ports so saved the money and booked the 1st deck with the porthole. We were very satisfied with the location, size and cleanliness of the room. The Room Steward catered to our every request. Only complaint about the room was the quality of the television service. We found that the lounge size was adequate most of the time, even at the nightly briefing, although we did have to stand a couple of times when we arrived late. Food service was great. We stayed to one section of the dining room and had the same waiters each meal. They got to know us and could not do enough to satisfy our requests. The waiters were very friendly and professional. Most of them had been recruited from other cruise ships. The food quality for breakfast and lunch was excellent. It was a combination of buffet and sit down. You could get your omelet prepared at the buffet and order your pancakes from the waiter. Dinner was sit down. The quality on most nights was superb. We were disappointed on a couple of occasions with either the quality or quantity. Don't order the lamb chops. The seafood was generally fresh and tasty. But the positives greatly outweighed the negative, with unlimited wine and beer with meals. The program director and his staff did a great job. The excursions organized by the ship went off without a hitch. The only complaint might have been that they gave us an hour to an hour and a half at the end of each tour to relax, shop and taste the local delicacies before the bus picked us up to go back to the ship. I would rather have seen some additional sights, especially in the larger cities. The entertainment they brought aboard was enjoyable. The piano player was very accommodating. Not many passengers stayed around after dinner to dance. Of course, the star of the trip was the River and the cities we stopped at. The water level was a little low so we had to bus around one of the low points. The cities along the Main River and Canal had a certain sameness to them, a fortress and church in each, but the guides were informative and did their best to highlight their particular city. Our favorite cities were Cologne, Nuremburg, Melk, Vienna, Bratislava (a sleeper) and Budapest. Arriving in Budapest at night with the city lit up was a distinct highlight. Our fellow passengers were interesting, friendly and had a wealth of life experiences to share. So in the end we were very pleased with our trip, felt the cost was fair and will have fond memories. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
This was a first river cruise for my husband and myself. What a pleasure! I'm not a fan of ocean cruising on large ships as I am the type who gets sea-sick on a swing. I was also put off by the propensity of ocean cruises to hold ... Read More
This was a first river cruise for my husband and myself. What a pleasure! I'm not a fan of ocean cruising on large ships as I am the type who gets sea-sick on a swing. I was also put off by the propensity of ocean cruises to hold cruisers hostage onboard to keep the $$ close to home. The Viking Tulips & Windmills cruise was a breath of fresh air in that arena: We spent most of our daylight hours on INCLUDED tours or on our own exploring the port city. There's was a great deal of walking, which we really enjoyed, but there were options for those less mobile. If the city center wasn't within walking distance, a shuttle was provided. One of our fellow cruisers was confined to a wheelchair. The only tour he couldn't attend was the windmill tour (and there was some trouble with the cobblestone streets). There were only a few optional tours, which we decided to skip and either enjoy the view from our balcony or wander about the port city at a more leisurely pace. As for dining, the food was fantastic with many options from the menu and buffet! The open seating on a small ship (compared to ocean liners) allowed for meeting many interesting people; by the end of the tour, there were many new Facebook friends. We had great fun dancing in the lounge some evenings. The entertainment makes good use of local talent and interest, but don't expect grand musical numbers (which we didn't miss at all). My take: The excellent: The responsiveness of the staff; the quality of the food; the comfort & cleanliness of the rooms; great included tours; some tour guides were excellent and able to share a great depth of knowledge about the area; home visit; included headsets made it easy to hear the tour guide in large groups. The not so good: The schedule was pretty tight and regimented (although cruisers can opt out and do their own thing); some tour guides rushed the group with little info (a great disappointment in Bruges); not suitable for young children (cabins are limited to 2 persons), but there were many families traveling together with their independent young. 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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