We had previously done river Cruises with Viking on the Rhine and the Seine. Having had very good experiences in the past we were really looking forward to our cruise through the Netherlands on a new ship the Viking Njord. Upon boarding we, got into our "new" room and found it to be clean but very tight, as it was only 139 sq.ft.
The bathroom appeared to be a nice improvement over previous bathrooms as the shower was bigger. One of the features of the shower, however, was one which allowed the wall facing the bedroom to become transparent. Consequently if you hit the wrong button your shower became public. This would have been a interesting feature 40+ years ago on our honeymoon, but it clearly missed the demographic on the cruise ship.
The closet was another issue as it had a bump out at the back of it that did not allow the hangars to fit so it made accommodating hanging clothes very difficult. The room had only one very small stool under the vanity with no back for support and it was virtually impossible to use anyway because the room was so compact.
These, however were fairly minor issues compared to the cruise itinerary and the ship's lounge. As it turned out, due to delays, this was the ship's maiden voyage. The itinerary we received was not followed. While we understand the Cruise line reserves the right to alter the itinerary, the problem on this cruise was that no revised itinerary was every published, despite repeated requests from the passengers. We were advised the night before at the daily briefings where we would be going the next day.
That presented major problems as well. Everyone was expected to attend the daily briefings, but the lounge could only accommodate about 60% of the less than 200 passengers. In our opinion this was yet another design flaw with this ship. Why book two hundred passengers and then only accommodate 60% for all of the community activities which included briefings and entertainment?
If one intended to catch up on cruise pictures, the itinerary or ports of call, using the new flat screen TVs, that was impossible also. Although the TV menu listed all of these features/programs none of them ever became available during the entire cruise.
Our cruise was entiled Tulips and Windmills and by and large we missed the tulip fields. Our cruise began in Amsterdam and should have begun with a tour of the Tulip Gardens. Instead it was the very last day of our cruise. Our guide for the Garden tour began by telling us that had we been there a week earlier we would have gotten to experience a lot more of the garden's beauty.
The one part of cruise which was superb was the ding room team. The food was very good and our wait staff, especially Ronaldo, was an absolute pleasure to be around. They were all well trained, efficient and most accommodating. We enjoyed them immensely and credit them with making our meals most enjoyable.
I should note that our cruise ship staff seemed a bit harried. Perhaps it was the fact that this was the maiden voyage and there were a lot of questions, especially about the itinerary that they were unable to answer.
We had not experienced anything like that in our other two Viking cruises.
We are planning a trip on the Danube and also a Russian Cruise and were certain we would continue cruising with Viking, but we are exploring other Cruise lines now.
In an effort to be helpful to Viking, I wrote a 7 page critique of our experience and submitted it on the last day of the cruise. Weeks later I received a call from Viking when we were not available to answer it. In the message, I was told there was no need to return the call as they had a record of my concerns. As A loyal Viking Cruiser I had higher expectations in terms of their interst in my feedback.