This was our 5th cruise with Viking (2 river and 2 ocean cruises) and made us realised once again why we like cruising so much with them. Was the ideal way to celebrate our 50th anniversary and Grand European Tour on Viking LIF was the perfect option.
Based on our previous experience with Viking we saw how they started to cut corners especially with the quality of the food. But Chef Michael was a magician and every breakfast, lunch and dinner were kind of gastronomic events. And the service in the restaurant was simply sublime: Christian our server was very attentive, taking care of my wife medical requests, suggesting all the time the best from the menu and smiling every moment when serving our meals. What I would love to see on our next cruise is that Viking ban shorts and t-shirt during the dinner. It is a cruise ship not a fast food restaurant!
I always thought that the lounge is a little bit small, especially when all the events (presentation, demonstration or shows) were very good and attracted a lot of people. On Lif one of the TV screen didn’t work and the sound was terrible sometimes which made quite hard to follow all the interesting information presented during the evening. The musicians were not our cup of tea, repeating every night the same songs and in a very amateurish style but all the other artists invited by the cruise director on board were excellent. A special mention to the bartender Ivan; we loved his knowledge and cynical sense of humour.
Capitan Ana was the best we ever had. A gentle giant always talking with the passengers and keen to answer to all type of questions. His nautical presentation was a real treat, a fantastic double act with the cruise director. We never saw a captain so close to the passengers on board ever!
The reception was another strong point of Viking Lif. Suzanna and Peter were knowledgeable, polite and efficient despite the fact that sometimes the place was very busy. We were impressed with the fact that if they didn’t have an answer the were asking the cruise director and come back to us in no time! A staff manning the reception night time was a little bit out of his league, forgetting couple of times our wakeup calls (we missed the wall on the Main) and spending to much time listening to his music than solving passengers issues.
What a asset the Hotel Director Ionuts was for our trip! Very polite with excellent manners and extremely professional, Ionuts had always a genuine smile, being almost everywhere and leading the entire staff in a very efficient manner. He knows how to balance his skills with his age (he was 20 something). And my wife loved his hair!
Viking excursions are always amazing but, this time was more than that. The guides were very informative without going over the top with historical information, mixing always personal stories with facts. Our top favourites: Rothenburg, War tour in Nuremberg, Jewish excursion in Wertheim and the cooking class in Regensburg.
I save the best for last! If Lif is the crown of Viking, our cruise director Leo was the Hope Diamond. What a personality, what a passion and what a pleasure to have him. Leo was working non stop for 2 weeks at least 20 hours a day: coordinating and supervising the excursion in the morning, helping the reception during the busy lunch, answering questions in the afternoon, giving excellent briefings before dinner and organising parties or giving presentations in the evening. Somebody was joking about the possibility of having at least 3 clones of Leo on-board because he was everywhere when needed, always smiling and ready to help 24 hours a day for 2 weeks. His presentation during the sailing days were amazing: history, culture, legends everything mixed with an excellent narrative style, a war voice and a fantastic sense of humour. Leo had an answer for almost any questions, knowing all the cities as his own pocket and, at least for us, his recommendations were 100% perfect. He was a real one man show with a fantastic personality, a genuine care for the others (passengers and staff) and an encyclopaedic amount of knowledge. What can I say, and I heard other passengers saying the same, without Leo the trip will be very good but not excellent. It will be a privilege to have him as a cruise director on our next Viking cruise!
Viking rules the river’s waves, Lif rules Viking and Leo ruled the excellence in our cruise in Europe. What an amazing experience. Thank you all!
Despite the fact that is not a new ship LIF is very elegant, comfortable and stylish. We always like to spend more money for a balcony cabin and this time with a lot of sailing days and beautiful landscapes on the Danube, Main and Rhine having you only “viewing point” was amazing. Our cabin was spacious and elegant, and we love the heated bathroom floor, the amenities and all the storage available. Our stewardess Maya was not so chatty and friendly like our previous room attendants but she was very efficient, the room was sparkling clean every day and always on time.