Sail Date: June 2019
After a not very pleasant experience last year on the Rhine with Viking we decided to take this time Lif on a cruise between Bucharest to Budapest. What a massive difference! Everything was far above all expectations. The food was ... Read More
After a not very pleasant experience last year on the Rhine with Viking we decided to take this time Lif on a cruise between Bucharest to Budapest. What a massive difference! Everything was far above all expectations. The food was amazing, and we had the chance to visit Chef’s Michael kitchen were all our lovely meals were prepared daily. The cabin steward Raduh was the most friendly and efficient we ever meet on cruise ships. In the restaurant our server Martina was always smiling with excellent manners and coping perfectly with my husband’s complicated diet. We spend a lot of time in the bar chatting with chief barman Christian for Bulgaria; his stories was as great as his cocktails! Johnny and Susan were extremely attentive, with a lot of knowledge about the cities we visited and always having a suggestion for our free time. Being so approachable they manage to balance the arrogance and “I know all” attitude of the hotel manager Joseph, a personality a little bit to big for his shoes. The excursions were fantastic opportunities to discover a new world and the new stop in Iron Gate was a pleasant surprise from Viking. Sometimes the guides in Bulgaria and Romania were a little bit annoying talking too much, like reading a script but to one in Belgrade were fantastic! The only failure of this trip was a lecture about Serbian war incredible balanced and the lecturer manage to upset everybody, blaming Western Countries. for the horrible war from 1990. I save the best for last: our Cruise Director Leonard. He really made our trip: extended knowledge, dedication, sense of humour, a talent to mix historic facts with legends and traditions and a 24 hours genuine smile and passion made him the best cruise director we’ve meet in more than 12 cruises we took. The stories when sailing the Iron Gate were at the level of Discovery Chanel documentaries, his lecture about European Union and Dracula perfect mix between facts and sense of humour and the evening with memories from Ceauseschu time was overwhelming. No wonder why he got tears and standing ovations for more than 10 minutes. What a great personality. We are thinking very seriously to repeat our cruise on the Rhine but only is Lenard will be on board. Viking Cruises – you are a great way to travel and that’s 95% because of the crew and people like Leonard. tell us when Leonhard is again on board and we will be there! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
After more than 10 cruises with Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean me and my husband we decided to try something different. “Cruising the Eastern Europe” on board Viking LIF was our first river cruise and our first Viking cruise at ... Read More
After more than 10 cruises with Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean me and my husband we decided to try something different. “Cruising the Eastern Europe” on board Viking LIF was our first river cruise and our first Viking cruise at the same time. What can I say about the entire experience? I already booked another 2 cruises with Viking. Everything was above exceptional: the service, the ship, the excursions and the staff on board. The staff on board Viking Lif was exceptional. Martina and Bart in the restaurant and lounge were perfect, always smiling and with great manners. Our room attendant Maya was a very nice girl with a lovely positive attitude and our cabin was always impeccable. We fall in love with the reception staff (Suzy and Johnny) always helpful and smiling and Capitan Anna was incredible: charming and always available to answer to any questions. Joseph the Hotel Director was one of the best we ever meet, solving any problems or requests we hand, nothing was too much for him. But the most impressive was our Cruise Director Leonard. His encyclopaedical knowledge, sense of humour and dedication made this trip unforgettable. Leonard was everywhere and sometimes we thought that he had 3 or 4 clones on board to be always smiling and ready to assist from 5AM to 1PM, every day. I wish I could record his commentary during the Iron Gate sea day when the amount of historical, geographical and social information mixed with a lot of legends and local traditions plus a fantastic sense of humour reminded me of a National Geographic documentary. He really made this trip unforgettable for us! Can’t wait for our next cruise with Viking Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
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
4 Helpful Votes
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: April 2018
This is my second Viking European river cruise. Enjoyed the first one so much I took another one. This time going west on a different ship. While we stopped in some of the same cities, Tour Guides covered different areas, I took optional ... Read More
This is my second Viking European river cruise. Enjoyed the first one so much I took another one. This time going west on a different ship. While we stopped in some of the same cities, Tour Guides covered different areas, I took optional tours not offered on the first cruise. I selected early spring, mid April to May for the generally cooler weather, absence of summer tourist crowds, and the chance to see the famous Keukenhof Gardens in Amsterdam. A beautiful garden sight I had just missed on my first river cruise. Windmills at Kinderdijk are my favorite stop. Awesome in their beauty, going up inside them, feeling the power of the windmill turning in the wind. European Sojourn travels from Bucharest to Amsterdam, cruising the scenic Danube and Rhine rivers, stopping at major cities along the way for sight seeing, historical learning, and free time for shopping and dining. I always select the before and after trip extensions at the end cities. Viking lets you select the optional tours online well in advance of your cruise starting. Do not delay as some tours sell out quickly. Viking meets you at the airport, takes you to your hotel. Your baggage is delivered to your room. Hotels are very good, breakfast always included. When the cruise is over, Viking takes you to the airport with plenty of time to check in, do security, get to the departure gate. Long ship life is easy and enjoyable, choice of menu items for each meal, a specialty Italian restaurant area at night on the Aquavit Terrace, other light menu items during breakfast & lunch. Beer and wine is included with each lunch and dinner meal at no cost. Specialty coffee machines and a selection of teas is available 24/7 with cookie and rolls. So enjoyable to sit on the deck, enjoy coffee or a drink as the beautiful scenery scrolls by. Included and optional tours at each port, Viking takes care of everything. Buses and tour guides give you a most enjoyable excursion as you walk the streets, enjoy the sights. A slower paced group is available at each stop for those who need a little more time. While Viking provides free WIFI, it is not designed to stream videos and quickly upload/download large picture images. Quality depends on how many people are online, is best when the ship is docked in port, spotty when between cities, inside going up/down river locks. Same for the international TV stations. Long ship crew members are exceptional. Always helpful, can't do enough for you. Once you get to know them it's like family. Cruise Director meets with passengers each evening before dinner to go over the next day's port calls and tours. At some stops local residents come on board to share their culture of dance and music, specialty skills and products. I will be taking more Viking cruises in the coming years. A Viking ocean cruise is next on my list. You cannot go wrong selecting Viking for your next river or ocean cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We’ve been travelling with Viking many times and we always prefer a nice relaxing river cruise instead of an ocean one on a big noisy crowdy ship. Our cruise from Bucharest to Budapest manage to change our “top 10 best cruises” ... Read More
We’ve been travelling with Viking many times and we always prefer a nice relaxing river cruise instead of an ocean one on a big noisy crowdy ship. Our cruise from Bucharest to Budapest manage to change our “top 10 best cruises” taking the first place for so many reason. Viking LIF despite being an “old ship” (according to Viking Cruises timeline) was clean and sparkling and the housekeeping team was working hard in and out our cabin to achieve this. Our room stewardess was a sweet girl from Romania – marina – and she was doing everything possible to give us a non-stop “being home” feeling. We didn’t like the new menu in the restaurant (too complicated and no flavour) nor the new French style dinner on the terrace (the booking system was pointless, and the food didn’t have any connection with the French cuisine). Fortunately, our waiters Bart and George were superb with excellent manners and high standards. Absolutely in love with them. We missed the presence of the concierge on board despite all the efforts of the Hotel manager – a charming Dutch man and his team at the reception. Anckitza was so accommodating and always smiling. The biggest surprise on this trip was the Program Director. All our previous Viking Program Directors were good and very good, but Leonard push the expectations for our next Viking experience very high. Leonard was literally working 24h/day, 7 days/week: in the morning organising the excursion and supervising the guides (actually he knew all the city like his own pocket and sometimes better than the guides), in the afternoon planning and hosting different events on board (his presentation about Dracula and European Union were a perfect mix of academic information and fun) and finally in the evening putting together unforgettable performances, game shows and parties. Everything in a relaxed manner, always with a charming genuine smile but never forgot to be super-professional. What a gem. One day during the excursion one of the elderly ladies in our bus had a medical problem. Leonard stopped the bus in the middle of nowhere, assist the lady and her husband (later we found the Leo – as everybody was calling him on board – is a licensed physician and a famous Romanian movie star), organised an ambulance but at the same time manage to reschedule the excursion for the rest of us only with a small delay but without missing a thing from the program. It was what I call PERFECTION. Now a question for all of you who travelled before with Viking. We want to book a trip from Budapest to Amsterdam with Viking but we want to be sure that Leonard will be our Program Director. Does anybody know if you can request him to be on board with us? Thank you in advance for your advice. Our cruise from Bucharest to Budapest was an amazing experience. Thank you Viking Lif for this extraordinary trip! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
This was the first time we ever went on any type of cruise. We decided to try Viking because everyone we spoke with who had used one of their cruises raved about their experiences. Well, all those folks were correct. Viking exceeded our ... Read More
This was the first time we ever went on any type of cruise. We decided to try Viking because everyone we spoke with who had used one of their cruises raved about their experiences. Well, all those folks were correct. Viking exceeded our expectations in every regard. The service was excellent from the time we landed in Bucharest until we caught our plane home from Budapest. We were really impressed with how well the staff was trained and how well they tended to our every need. The cabin was great and our steward, Marina, was outstanding. The ship was the perfect size and traveled quietly up the Danube. We had a great day in snowy Bucharest and then arrived at our ship for a smooth embarkation. The entertainment was great. Our Program Director, Leonard, was excellent. He made our on board experiences enjoyable. He, alone, was more than enough reason to go on one of Vikings trips. There were 180 on board and it seemed like only 40 because of how ell Leonard had everything organized. Hats off to Viking and everyone who made our first experience so very enjoyable, Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
We just come back from a cruise in eastern Europe on Viking LIF. We’ve been cruising many times before mainly on Cunard, Regent, Silver Sea and Viking (3 times on the ocean) but this was our very first river cruise. It was an awesome ... Read More
We just come back from a cruise in eastern Europe on Viking LIF. We’ve been cruising many times before mainly on Cunard, Regent, Silver Sea and Viking (3 times on the ocean) but this was our very first river cruise. It was an awesome experience from all point of view: the size and the ambiance of the ship, the excellent service, great tours and fantastic time on board. Our room attendant, Anna was very friendly and while we didn't ask for much, I believe she would be more than willing to accommodate our needs. The food on board was good but we believe that Viking needs to provide more quality ingredients to be sure that the food experience on board rich the standards of the rest of the services provided on Viking LIF. The staff was always pleasant, and we fell in love with our waitress Alina. Ivan in the bar had a great sense of humour and we love his wine and cocktails recommendations. But the cherry on the cake was the cruise director Leonard. In all our previous cruises we were luck to have nice good cruise directors. But this time Leonard beat all the records: his passion, expertise, knowledge and amazing sparkling personality brought this river cruise to a hard to beat level. His lecture were a pleasure to attend with a perfect mixture of information, knowledge and entertainment getting standing ovations every night (especially his talks about the life in communist Romania and the myths of vampires) Leonard was working almost 24 hours a day: we saw him at 5.00am getting ready the excursion, running up and down during the day with the guides and entertaining passengers in the lounge until midnight or maybe late. What a great asset for Viking! For sure we will be back on another river cruise but must be Viking, must be the ship LIF and of course must be Leonard as a cruise director. Thank you all for an amazing trip between Budapest and Bucharest! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
After 6 cruises with Princess, Oceana and Viking on the ocean, me and my partner we decided this November to try a river cruise and, as we enjoyed our last cruise on Viking Star we decided for Viking again. The experience was a little ... Read More
After 6 cruises with Princess, Oceana and Viking on the ocean, me and my partner we decided this November to try a river cruise and, as we enjoyed our last cruise on Viking Star we decided for Viking again. The experience was a little bit different, but we loved every moment between Budapest and Amsterdam. Viking Lif is a lovely ship, not very big (we were 190 passengers on board), giving you the feeling that you are in an intimate environment with a subtle added touch of luxury. The stateroom was not very big, but comfortable with decent amenities. Our room stewardess Anna was above any expectations, friendly and helpful and always happy to have a nice chat with us. She managed to keep our room sparkling every without being intrusive and her smile was the best way to start our days. My only real gripe is the food which was a little bit disappointing with not a lot of variety and sometimes tasteless or nearly tasteless dishes, something like semi prepared food from a tin. But the service was impeccable, both in the restaurant and the bar with Harold and Saska making every meal special. We purchased on board the “all-inclusive drinking package” which was great with plenty of choice. The only think that was not included was the smile of the staff in the bar; maybe they were tired, but we didn’t see them smiling once. The Reception team were trying their best to be helpful but, most of the time they didn’t have time or information to answer to our questions, especially the young guy working during the night, who always “made up” answers which were far from what we needed. Ionut and Anita were great and at least were trying to help us as much as possible. Maybe, as a suggestion for Viking, the presence of a Concierge or Passenger Service Agent will be a great idea! We met the Captain once during an evening presentation in the lounge. Despite his impressive, scary look he was a very interesting character and his “double act” show with the cruise director was great. The Hotel Manager Jerry was very efficient despite the fact that he was sometimes quite abrupt with both passengers and his own crew. But he was always around the ship to check that everything was perfect…and it was! But, with no doubts, the biggest asset of the ship was our Cruise Director Leonard. We're blown away with his energy, creativity, impressive knowledge, superb manners, an incredible sense of humour. He is a true professional and has the charisma of a Jay Leno, or a Johnny Carson. Managing every aspect of our excursions and events on board he was always around when somebody had a question or need any kind of support. His lecture and presentations were simply amazing and we watch him both in the lounge or on television learning so much about Mozart and Main Canal, Dutch cheese and Sound of Music. Everybody on board loved him and that’s include the crew; I saw Leonard in Wurtzburg buying roses for all the room stewardesses and sweets for the staff in the restaurant. I think he is FLAT OUT the BEST in the business! His fun-loving and happy personality comes across within his work and it is clear why he is so popular and well regarded by everybody. If anyone has the pleasure of being on a cruise with him, be prepared for the best and informative cruise ever! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Me and my wife we just come back from “passage to Europe” on Viking LIF. We’ve been in many cruises on the big ships, two of them with Viking Sky and Star, but our recent experience exceeded any expectations. Viking Lif is a ... Read More
Me and my wife we just come back from “passage to Europe” on Viking LIF. We’ve been in many cruises on the big ships, two of them with Viking Sky and Star, but our recent experience exceeded any expectations. Viking Lif is a beautiful ship, our cabin was smaller than on the ocean but extremely comfortable and we always had the feeling of a big family due to the small size of the ship (only 190 passengers on board). Was like being on a floating home. The food was very good and the service in the restaurant was exceptional (we loved Harold and Bogdan). The only thing that we missed from the big ship was the buffet which on Viking Star was amazing. Our cabin was smaller that what you get on a big ship was impeccable clean and we loved the heated floor in the bathroom. The housekeeper Anna was a very friendly girl from Romania and she was brilliant keeping our cabin sparkling every day, extremely helpful and with a nice big smile. We wanted to take her home with us. On Viking Lif we didn’t find a concierge as we were promised when we booked the cruise, but the receptionist Ankita was always ready to assist us when we needed more information about the places that we visited. The cruise visiting Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia and Budapest was an excellent opportunity to learn about the ex-communist block and discover new traditions and lifestyles. Is a cruise that I strongly recommend if you want to leave your comfort zone of a boring cruise. Of course we were extremely lucky to have the best cruise director EVER! We cruised before with Princess, Holland America, Viking, Cunard and regent but we never had the chance to have somebody like the cruise director on Viking Lif. Leonard was born in Romania, is a doctor but at the same time a movie star in Romania. We were shocked to see that in Bucharest everybody was stopping him asking for autographs and photos. His was a walking encyclopaedia having a huge amount of information about every places that we visited and answering every questions. What we loved was that he know how to mix the right amount of information with a fine sense of humour, making never boring any conversation. His presentations about Communist Romania was heart-breaking and inspiring, while his talk about Dracula was informative and funny at the same time. Everybody on board loved him and Leonard was working 25 hours daily being anytime everywhere. Charming and elegant, smart and funny he is a huge asset for Viking making our cruise informative educative but everything with a lot of fun. We celebrate Halloween on board and was one of the best party ever: everybody was wearing a mask, a “scary disco party” was taking place in the lounge and the two witches acting as hosts (the cruise director and the pianist|) were great. The entire experience on Viking Lif was memorable and, persuaded by the charming hotel manager Jary to book for the next year another cruise on Viking Lif, this time from Amsterdam to Budapest. Finger crossed that we will have Leonard again as a Cruise Director. Thank you Viking you are THE BEST! Thank your Viking LIF you are exceptional! Thank you Leonard your are phenomenal! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
This cruise was scheduled as our first cruise in retirement and was selected to visit the homelands of earlier generations of my family in the old Austro-Hungarian empire. The path of this cruise hit all the locations we wanted to visit ... Read More
This cruise was scheduled as our first cruise in retirement and was selected to visit the homelands of earlier generations of my family in the old Austro-Hungarian empire. The path of this cruise hit all the locations we wanted to visit AND MORE places we didn't know we wanted to visit. The intimate nature of a river cruise was perfect for our journey of discovery - we could enjoy the excursions without being overwhelmed by 'schedule compliance.' We enjoyed the walking tours in each destination to gain an overview that enabled personal treks back to places of specific interest. My personal highlight of the trip was a private car tour to a monument of family interest near Wurzburg. We were able to visit a 32 meter column erected in 1828 as a 10 year anniversary monument to the 1818 Bavarian Democratic Constitution. That celebration has specific meaning to our family as one of my ancestors was a member of the festival 'court' who received a gold cross engraved with an image of the column. That cross has been passed down mother-to-daughter ever since, with my daughter being the current custodian. The service aboard ship was consistently top-notch. The crew worked to satisfy any request - and I do not recall ANY request not satisfied. The food was a joy - everything was prepared and served to please. The portion sizes were just right, especially given the more-than-ample opportunities for snacks around the clock. The selections were super with tough choices between better and more better on every menu. The mix of local dishes with 'old reliables' truly made each meal an eagerly anticipated event. I could have been happy staying aboard the entire cruise... The excursions were remarkable (which they would have to be to entice one to go ashore, at all). It's hard to pick out any one over the others, but the evening concert in Vienna deserves special mention. I very much wanted to hear some of the classical music I enjoy being played in the room for which it had been composed. The bus tour of the lighted Viennese buildings after the concert was a wonderful, magical finish to a very special evening. I don't know how this trip might have been improved - maybe a bit more time in Amsterdam - but it's hard to imagine a more meaningful or enjoyable experience. When I try to envision another cruise to 'top' this one I come up empty - this was the 'Ultimate!' Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
“Passage to Eastern Europe” was our 3rd cruise with Viking, after France and Rhine and with no doubts was the BEST one! The itinerary gave us the chance to explore a part of Europe with a fantastic rich history and enjoy some ... Read More
“Passage to Eastern Europe” was our 3rd cruise with Viking, after France and Rhine and with no doubts was the BEST one! The itinerary gave us the chance to explore a part of Europe with a fantastic rich history and enjoy some breath-taking landscapes during well organized tours with excellent and informative guides. Viking LIF is elegant and stylish like the other Viking long ships but what made special this trip was the excellent crew. Our cabin stewardess Anna manage for 7 days to keep our cabin sparkling and made us feel like home. Maybe the amenities or the available space in the cabin are not at the level of other companies (Viking is cutting corners since our last trip) but Anna kept everything under control being a charming presence and incredible efficient. From the very first day we realised that Viking is trying to save money in the restaurant too. The food didn’t have the same standards and the quality was clearly under what Viking offered in our last trip. But at the end of the day the excellent service in the restaurant with the professionalism of Bogdan and the grace of Elena made every meal special. We missed the presence of the concierge on board but fortunately the team from the reception manage to help us in organised some extras during our trip. Ankika was great always smiling and happy to help. Above all the biggest asset of Viking LIF was our Program Director Leonard. We travel a lot, both ocean and river cruises but we never had the chance to meet somebody so special like Leonard. His extraordinary, almost encyclopaedic, knowledge of history, traditions, legends, geography made every daily meeting and lecture a unique opportunity to learn about this part of the world. Leonard had a great sense of humour and the mixture between personal experience, anecdotes and facts gain every evening a full house for his daily presentations (maybe, as a suggestion, the presentation should be broadcast in the cabins too as was never enough space in the lounge when Leonard was talking). After 7 days we didn’t manage the find how Leonard was able to be everywhere in every moment to help, chat, explain or joke! And was not only our opinion but Leonard made this trip GREAT for everyone on board. He can work in any other cruise lines around the world and will be a pleasure to meet him again. Watch out Viking don’t lose him if you want us back! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2016
Having limited previous exposure to mainland Europe, this cruise provided the opportunity to broaden my sense of the cultures extant in that part of the world. My travel companion and I actually started the trip with a 3-day pre-cruise ... Read More
Having limited previous exposure to mainland Europe, this cruise provided the opportunity to broaden my sense of the cultures extant in that part of the world. My travel companion and I actually started the trip with a 3-day pre-cruise visit to Prague before embarking on the Viking Lif in Budapest. As was to become the standard for the entire river cruise, Viking representatives accommodated our every need from initial arrival to our final departure. Every port-of-call was as described in their advertisements and catalogs. Special credit must be given to the on-board tour director who presented in-depth information about the countries, cities, and towns in which we were to stopover the next day or two. Further in that respect, the shore excursion tour guides were extremely well informed about the historic and current nuances that were of interest to visitors. As for the cruise itself from Budapest to Amsterdam, one could not ask for a more informative, serene, and aesthetic venture catered by an extraordinarily competent and caring crew. On the basis of this experience, my travel companion and I are in the midst of arranging a second Viking river cruise from Paris to Zurich early next year. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Everything on a Viking river cruise is welcoming, comfortable, civilized, and fun. The staff is amazing. I wanted to take them all home with me. On a Vikng cruise you feel special. Still, the atmosphere is relaxed. The fact that there ... Read More
Everything on a Viking river cruise is welcoming, comfortable, civilized, and fun. The staff is amazing. I wanted to take them all home with me. On a Vikng cruise you feel special. Still, the atmosphere is relaxed. The fact that there are under 200 passengers onboard, no kids, swimming pools, casinos or shows makes this a different kind of cruise. If you go for all of those things, it may not be for you. For me personally, it was perfect. I also love the Scandinavian decor, the practicality of the way the staterooms are laid out, and the lovely deck from where to relax while watching the scenery go by. And at each stop there's a guided tour of that destination included. It seemed everyone from the captain to the cleaning crew was intent on making our experience an unforgettable one - and they succeeded. I warmly and enthusiastically recommend Viking's river crushes. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We had heard so much about this cruise and it lived up to our expectations! Beautiful medieval cities, the gorgeous cathedrals, the palaces, so lovely amidst the beautiful river settings. The staff was wonderful as per usual, (we had ... Read More
We had heard so much about this cruise and it lived up to our expectations! Beautiful medieval cities, the gorgeous cathedrals, the palaces, so lovely amidst the beautiful river settings. The staff was wonderful as per usual, (we had sailed on a river cruise to France), but the staff this time seemed very tired and a bit overworked. They were rather impersonal but did their jobs. The food was delicious but when German cuisine was not to our liking there was always a lovely rib eye available! Viking aims to please and it was evident in the Waite staff, we had two favorites who took such good care of us we wanted to bring them home with us! The excursions were well done with knowledgable tour guides. The only thing I think Viking could improve on is on-board entertainment. They had a wonderful piano player but don't expect much more. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2016
Went with some friends. Destinations were great. Prague plus Grand European Cruise. Went to many places at each destination. Could not have figured on a better vacation. Ship was excellent. Cabins were fine. Cruise director was personal, ... Read More
Went with some friends. Destinations were great. Prague plus Grand European Cruise. Went to many places at each destination. Could not have figured on a better vacation. Ship was excellent. Cabins were fine. Cruise director was personal, very informed and shared that information with all. She paid attention to our individual requests and followed up on them. The food was excellent. Portions were just right. Not huge like other cruises, but enough to keep us satisfied and happy. We had a food allergy and the Maitre'D came out to breakfast with us every day and planned special meals for us. This was not expected, and left up with a wonderful feeling about the cruise and Viking in general. Included excursions turned out to be pretty good, and very informative. Some of the local busses that were used, could have had cleaner windows. We would not think twice about vacationing with Viking again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We went on this cruise with 2 other couples and planned it over a year in advance. So we had lot's of time to research. Viking did an amazing job from start to finish, from the airline arrangements, airport greeting & ... Read More
We went on this cruise with 2 other couples and planned it over a year in advance. So we had lot's of time to research. Viking did an amazing job from start to finish, from the airline arrangements, airport greeting & transfers, welcome greeting, onboard updates from our Cruise Director Casper, bus transfer arrangements along the river so we did not have to change ships due to the high water levels, hotel to airport transfer in Budapest, Viking representative at Budapest to help us get to the front of a very long check in line and made sure we got from the check in to the security line. We did a 1.5 hour Viking guided tour in Amsterdam then spent about another 4 hours do a canal tour and self walking tour in the same area. The ship is very smooth, you never feel any motion despite the amount of river traffic that gives off waves. We went during high water season so we were unable to use the top deck for about half the trip, as they had to lay everything (canopy's, rails, lounge chairs, etc.) down to get under all the bridges. The hallways are a bit narrow, so you need to yield at times. Dining was fantastic, everything you could ask for and more. Always something new, many regioal specialties paired with wines or beers from the region. Our dining staff Ruel, Bogdan, Ves and Kata just did an outstanding job of looking after our every need as well as providing some welcome entertainment. We chose to sit at the same table throughout the cruise and really got to know the staff. The shore excursions were well co-ordinated, the tour guides spoke fluent English and were just the right duration. Lot's of walking everyday. We did not take any of the extra excursions and were quite satisfied with what we got with the cruise. As it gave us ample time to do some exploring on our own. Every Viking representative we had contact with went above and beyond to make our trip enjoyable. From the booking, the greeters, Captain, Chefs, Concierge, Cruise Director, dining, housekeeping, bus drivers, the works! We would go again and Viking it would be! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We were in Amsterdam 2 days before the cruise and got to know the city. We were brought to the ship and everything went smoothly. Our cabin was very nicely appointed and everything fit nicely. The crew was excellent, always helpful and ... Read More
We were in Amsterdam 2 days before the cruise and got to know the city. We were brought to the ship and everything went smoothly. Our cabin was very nicely appointed and everything fit nicely. The crew was excellent, always helpful and friendly. The meals were very well prepared and presented. We enjoyed the shore excursions but the weather was not helpful, but we still had a great time. There were a few activities but we did not participant in most of them so I can't address this. The ones we participated in were great. We enjoyed the glass-blowing and the strudel making. We had a great piano player. The concierge was great and helped us with details when we got to Vienna. We spent our last three days in Prague and enjoyed the city. YES, we would do this again and looking through the brochures for a next adventure with Viking. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2016
Wanted to try a cruise now that we are retired. Loved it, staff was wonderful. The cabin steward, Vladamir, kept everything in great shape, and in the dining room, Katarina was terrific. Of course, the Program Director, Leonard was great ... Read More
Wanted to try a cruise now that we are retired. Loved it, staff was wonderful. The cabin steward, Vladamir, kept everything in great shape, and in the dining room, Katarina was terrific. Of course, the Program Director, Leonard was great and very entertaining. Embarkation and disembarkation went extremely well One complaint, we signed up for two extra days in Amsterdam. The hotel, Moevenpick, was super, The two days turned out to be one day in Amsterdam and one day of travel, with an airport pick-up at 0430, and all day travel. By the way, Heathrow is not nice place to travel through. Their version of TSA is even less friendly than in the US. Shore excursions were generally very good, although I did get a little tired of cobblestones. Probably could have done without the Hungarian Horsemen and the Dutch Cheese Maker (cheese was interesting and we bought some, but cows were cows - not interesting) but chalk it off to experience. Would we go again, yes. I believe we have signed up for British Islands Explorer in 2018, with a stop-over in Iceland 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2016
Always heard great things about river cruising and after many ocean cruises we decided to experience it for ourselves. We chose Viking because it offered the Grand European itinerary and we enjoy Europe's cultural diversity and ... Read More
Always heard great things about river cruising and after many ocean cruises we decided to experience it for ourselves. We chose Viking because it offered the Grand European itinerary and we enjoy Europe's cultural diversity and scenery. The Viking Lif experience was absolutely much more than we could've imagined. The longship is beautiful and tastefully decorated and equipped. I loved the big French balcony views and the heated bathroom/ shower floors. The included tours were very well done by local guides and best of all were the audio vox which enabled everyone in the group to hear clearly without having to be w/in arms' length of each other. We could take our individual time to explore the things being spoken about and still find our guide who had continued. The food was very good and fresh including herbs grown and picked from the top deck garden. We were able to take in the beautiful scenery sitting comfortably on the open top deck and hear the points of interest over the loud speaker. Our cruise director, Leonard, was superb... personable and informative. As a matter of fact, all of the Lif crew/ staff was very friendly and helpful. The onboard entertainment which comprised of local artists was very very good. We highly recommend choosing Viking for river cruising. We loved it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
The Grand European Cruise was wonderful. We had a great time, and everyone on The Viking Lif was great. The trip was wonderful, and the places we saw were amazing. The Viking Lif staff were the best we have ever seen and been a part of. ... Read More
The Grand European Cruise was wonderful. We had a great time, and everyone on The Viking Lif was great. The trip was wonderful, and the places we saw were amazing. The Viking Lif staff were the best we have ever seen and been a part of. Thank you for a great trip. The ports of call excursions were great. The Daily Briefings were very helpful. The entertainment was exceptional. The demonstrations were amazing and enjoyable. We would recommend this trip to anyone. We really appreciated how helpful Viking was in picking us up at the Amsterdam Airport to making sure we were on the correct plane at the Budapest Airport. We thank you so much for this, because this can be very frustrating. We will be doing two ocea cruises with Ving within the next year and are looking forward to each cruise. We have recommended Viking to several people, and we hope they will be as happy with Viking as we are. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We were first time river cruise travelers. Thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of adventure travel. Everyone so gracious. Tour guides' knowledge about port cities was very beneficial and informative. They had excursions well planned out. ... Read More
We were first time river cruise travelers. Thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of adventure travel. Everyone so gracious. Tour guides' knowledge about port cities was very beneficial and informative. They had excursions well planned out. City architecture was absolutely fantastic. Something that we will always remember. So glad the ship offered us a 'thumb drive' to purchase as a momentum of our trip. Meals were excellent. Wonderful variety of foods available. Chefs did an wonderful job in preparing meals. Also interesting to have some 'local' flavor. Loved the ship and how it was laid out. Having wi-fi for guest usage also good. It was nice to have different entertainment during the cruise. Especially liked it when the Dutch accordion players provided entertainment. Them mixing with the guests was really enjoyable. Couldn't ask for better service. Ship staff was always available and happy to provide any service that was needed. Will definitely refer river cruising to friends and do hope to be able to travel with Viking in the future. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
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
Viking Lif Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 1.0 0.0
Family 1.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 3.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 N/A

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