35 Auckland Viking Ocean Viking Orion Cruise Reviews

Overall i like the Viking ocean ships. Clean, crisp norweigian style. Food choices good. Room layout very good. But this review is about my view of the way Viking handled the itinerary debacle caused by the virus. We were merrily ... Read More
Overall i like the Viking ocean ships. Clean, crisp norweigian style. Food choices good. Room layout very good. But this review is about my view of the way Viking handled the itinerary debacle caused by the virus. We were merrily headed to Hobart Tasmania when the captain informed us early in the morning while at sea that we were headed on a beeline to the mainland of AUS to get into port there. It was obvious from the direction of the boat that Sydney was the intended port. NZ had just closed its ports and it was clear AUS would follow suit. We never made it to Sydney. AUS closed its ports before we got there. We were redirected to Melbourne. Due to an AUS exception to its port closure order we were able to disembark as long as we all headed to the airport for departure. To my knowledge nobody on board was ill before disembarkation. Overall I was impressed with Viking's offer for free flights home for everyone on board even if you did not arrange travel thru Viking. Coach of course. It probably took a huge effort to get flight's (re)arranged in the short time before disembarkation for those who did not do their own thing. My wife and I immediately redid our own arrangements so we could stay in business class. Viking provided transfers for everyone to the airport and allowed people to stay on the boat as long as possible before their flight. I found the guest assistance very adequate in helping us and other people figure out their new arrangements. I have to figure out what to do about upcoming Viking trips depending on how the virus thing is panning out but appreciate Viking's flexibility on reservations (vouchers for future travel and cancellations almost up to the time of departure). I may be wrong but I think they were first out of the block with the most flexibility. There are a few nits and nats I could describe but they are trivial compared to how things generally unfolded and were dealt with by Viking. I see reports of chaos on other ships. Some are still floating around out there looking for a port. God bless and help those people. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I want to share how pleased we are with how Viking takes care of guests. This trip was our ninth on Viking Ocean, had it not been necessary (and prudent) for Viking to Cancel we would have also enjoyed our 10th Cruise from Sydney to ... Read More
I want to share how pleased we are with how Viking takes care of guests. This trip was our ninth on Viking Ocean, had it not been necessary (and prudent) for Viking to Cancel we would have also enjoyed our 10th Cruise from Sydney to Bali. Because of the Coronavirus outbreak it was necessary (and again, prudent) for Viking to end our cruise early and have us disembark in Melbourne where the Viking team went above and beyond to expedite and assure our safe return home. The professionalism, class and caring by Viking team members was consistent throughout the ship and Viking organization. The Orion crew was wonderful and service as always first class. Even as news was breaking about concerns worldwide there was no sense of panic among the Viking Team. It was obvious the team was seeking solutions and looking way beyond the challenges they were facing minute by minute. The team consistently demonstrated competence and confidence which reassured passengers as best possible. It was obvious that the passengers safety and comfort were the teams highest priority. Quite simply....Viking went Above and Beyond in assuring a quality Viking Experience. Once home comfortably I have to reflect back on the challenges that the Viking Team faced and likely still face. The Video Message from Mr. Hagen was so welcom and appreciated.....Leadership to be admired. It was so wonderful to know that Viking is caring for its team.....as that team is a large part of what makes Viking our ONLY choice for Cruising (Ocean or River). Of course it has been necessary to cancel a few of our planned upcoming trips.....no fault of Viking I must add. And Yes, we were among the first to book Expedition and Mississippi Cruises and we look forward to be back on board with Viking as soon as possible. Viking is simply wonderful. The professionalism and caring cannot be matched by other cruise lines. I realize I have rambled....but I have thought long enough about this and feel it necessary to express my thanks without further delay. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Viking is noted for being an above average cruise line. Unfortunately this particular cruise started out substandard for Viking. I made comments early on in our cruise and was really pleased with the quick feedback and attention to my ... Read More
Viking is noted for being an above average cruise line. Unfortunately this particular cruise started out substandard for Viking. I made comments early on in our cruise and was really pleased with the quick feedback and attention to my comments made by Viking staff. The staff on the ship were all exceptionally friendly and attentive. The food was very good-especially in Manfredi's-my favorite. Did not care for the Chef's table but that is more related to what was on the menu for the evenings I attended. The educational talks were excellent and it was great to be able to watch them on my own schedule, in my own cabin, on my own TV. The cabin was beautiful and comfortable with the best shower I have ever experienced (so much pressure). The amount of storage in the cabin was excellent--we did not even fill up all the drawers. The nightly entertainment was very good. The cruise director, Brian Rodriguiz was amazing--what a talent. For me I would have liked more options for shore excursions. I would have liked more hiking options-or other active excursions. I was disappointed in some of the included tours and found it unfair that on certain days I had to choose between included tours and optional tours rather than being able to do them both. This was due to scheduling overlap. This did not occur on the Viking River cruises we have taken. I was not happy with the arrival at the airport or the departure. This was disorganized. The post trip in Port Douglas was nice. The hotel was excellent. The ship is beautiful. I loved the itinerary and highly recommend it be added to everyone's bucket list. I do recommend Viking and the Orion is a beautiful ship. Love that no children are on Viking cruises. Love that everything is included on Viking cruises. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Auckland to Sydney. The only disappointment was the final day in Sydney being too short, and apparent confusion amongst Viking staff about water shuttles from wharf to attractions. Arrived Sydney at 1PM, and cruise ended next morning ... Read More
Auckland to Sydney. The only disappointment was the final day in Sydney being too short, and apparent confusion amongst Viking staff about water shuttles from wharf to attractions. Arrived Sydney at 1PM, and cruise ended next morning .. only half a day for this great city. Directions we received from Viking shore team sent us as pedestrians thru an active working dock area to a non-existent shuttle. Wound up taking taxis at $60 to access Australian Maritime Museum, one wharf away from the ship. Otherwise, everything aboard ship, and all the organized shore excursions and enrichment sessions exceeded expectations. Food in all dining venues was excellent. Even had a special cake for 50th anniversary in Chefs Table. The Viking label Aquavit ( aged aboard a Viking ship on a round the world cruise) only available on Viking ships, was excellent ... much better than any other Aquavit aboard. Be sure to ask specifically for it, as they tuck away the bottle in the back of the bar fridge. Participated in the Kitchen Table experience with the Orion Executive Chef on a trip to the market in Melbourne, and dinner prepared by him that evening. Excellent commentary as we shopped in the market, and an enjoyable meal. A couple participants were disappointed that they did not experience hands-on slicing and dicing food preparation, as they were led to believe from the event description, but we, personally, were not disappointed ... who could top the preparation by the Viking kitchen? Also went on the Best of Australia extension to the outback. Terrific experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Love Viking, have done 2 ocean & a river. This cruise did not disappoint. Friendly staff, lovely ship, great food. Exactly what we've always experienced on Viking. Not a fan of the Chef's Table menu, but that's a ... Read More
Love Viking, have done 2 ocean & a river. This cruise did not disappoint. Friendly staff, lovely ship, great food. Exactly what we've always experienced on Viking. Not a fan of the Chef's Table menu, but that's a personal thing. The included excursions were good, if not exceptional. If you like visiting botanical gardens in every city, you'll love these excursions, but not a lot of variety. That said, we opted for mostly optional excursions. The port talks were enriching & usually entertaining. Did not partake of evening entertainment as we were usually tired after busy days. Some of our best times onboard were watching Chiefs playoff games - thanks for streaming Viking. The best part of this cruise however, was not the cruise, but the optional extension "Best of Australia". The 6 days took us inland to parts of the country cruisers would never see. Our guide Ronald & all of the drivers (one a native Maori) were exceptional. Knowledgeable, entertaining, creative & so organized. Even with 2 glitches, that they had could not have foreseen, they adjusted in ways that made the trip even better. So glad we opted for this extension, highly recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Clean ship, great staff, great tours (included and extra) never disappointed with anything! Food was outstanding, entertainment top notch! Well organized activities. Although a non stop 15+ hour flight I would do it again. Viking phone ... Read More
Clean ship, great staff, great tours (included and extra) never disappointed with anything! Food was outstanding, entertainment top notch! Well organized activities. Although a non stop 15+ hour flight I would do it again. Viking phone support staff very helpful leading up to the trip. JUST WOW!! Viking Orion was fun we always felt welcome and were treated with utmost respect, from the Captain to the people who cleaned our rooms. They are very happy people who love their jobs and they show it with warm smiles and conversations. The Cruise Director, Brian R. was multi talented and it was a joy to hear him and his wonderful team of entertainers sing. Back to cleanliness, ever minute I was on the ship everywhere we went the staff was cleaning and I must say I felt very safe onboard. All ports were great and we did the included and also an additional tour each port. This cruise was so good we booked another Viking cruise next year!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Visiting New Zealand was on my bucket list. The trip was a way to celebrate my retirement. I was impressed by the beauty and cleanliness of the ship. Every room had an outside balcony. The food was made from fresh ingredients and ... Read More
Visiting New Zealand was on my bucket list. The trip was a way to celebrate my retirement. I was impressed by the beauty and cleanliness of the ship. Every room had an outside balcony. The food was made from fresh ingredients and beautifully prepared! I went to the spa often and felt renewed each time. The staff were friendly, competent, and available. I enjoyed the presentations from the historians and the beautiful music from the musicians. Even though the Orion was at capacity, the ship never felt crowded. There were lots of cozy places to relax and visit. I participated in the Kitchen Table experience, meeting a chef and preparing a delicious meal. I loved both the included and extra excursions that I participated in. Handing out water to us each time we left the ship was helpful . As a nurse, I also appreciated the emphasis on washing hands when entering the restaurants. A fabulous experience!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was our second Viking Cruise. Loved it the first time we cruised with Viking Sea; all went according to what we paid for and what we got. Our Penthouse Junior Suite (PJS 8007) was what we asked for and that was exactly what we got. ... Read More
This was our second Viking Cruise. Loved it the first time we cruised with Viking Sea; all went according to what we paid for and what we got. Our Penthouse Junior Suite (PJS 8007) was what we asked for and that was exactly what we got. Based upon this positive experience, we booked a second cruise to New Zealand and Australia. We elected to add a pre-cruise extension in Auckland and love the vitality of the city. The hotel assignment offered comfortable rooms conveniently located to the city's highlights. The cruise lasted about 3 weeks and made all stops as per the itinerary. The ship handled very rough seas fairly well, and the ship's common areas were as advertised on the website. There were many "at sea" days. Meals in the dining venues allowed for decent variety. The restaurants are the same ones on all the ocean ships and, at Manfredi's, we saw the same things on the menu as we'd seen on the Viking Sun. Breakfast in the World Cafe offered a good variety. We saw one or two shows while on board. The Aboriginal show the last night was quite good. Some of the lecturers were outstanding and it was nice to be able to watch them in our room when we were not able to attend the lectures. The crew were helpful and performed their jobs well. There was not enough time in ports to really enjoy the areas. We would have liked more free time. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. The Viking Orion is identical to any of the other Viking Ocean ships which made the entire experience very predictable. Our room was horrible. Our Viking Agent concealed from us that we were assigned one of the two "handicapped' rooms (room 6020) and we only learned about our room assignment until the day before departure. This handicapped room is grossly misrepresented as a Penthouse Junior Suite room. Viking's website contains not so much as one photo for this inadequate room (there are only 2 handicapped cabins on the entire ship). If someone needs wheelchair access, then 6020 or 6021 are the rooms to book. Otherwise, the access to the cabin's deck posed a serious tripping hazard. Furthermore, the room configuration further reduces any usable interior space. Our room had no sitting room (like every other room on the entire ship besides room 6021) and we needed to sit on the bed to watch TV. We needed to bring in the table from the deck whereas all other rooms actually had a coffee table, etc. Viking advertises this "handicapped room" (rooms 6020 and 6021) as consisting of 405 sf. but it is not. We measured the suite and deck; our suite 6020 fell so far short of 405 sq as to make this a case for a serious misrepresentation. The General Manager of our cruise wrote to Viking's head office telling them "we have had complaints with this room in the past" (so Viking had already known about previous problems with these rooms) when we told him about our concerns. He told us Viking would only deal with us when we returned home. Which they did. Just as an aside (and a heads-up), unhappy travelers who decide to settle their claims with Viking are required, by Viking, to sign a non-disclosure agreement with Viking that prohibits us travelers from saying anything negative about Viking or talking about our experiences. Ever. Go through a travel agent. Protect yourself and your investment. Your own personal travel agent is interested in having "you" return as a future customer to whom they will sell future travel business. We also have an official BBB claim in progress against Viking (with photos). Variety is the spice of life. There is little or no variety here. And the more ships Viking adds, the greater is the impact on quality control. One of the two main elevators did not function for the entire duration of our cruise. The main oven in the restaurant did not operate properly one night and the raw fish for dinner was apologized for with free bottles of wine sent to rooms of all those who dined there. The room greatly impacted our ability to enjoy the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We had been planning a trip to New Zealand and Australia for a long time. It involved a lot of research. During our land tour travels in Europe and Morocco we had met many Aussies and Kiwis and have kept in touch with many. We researched ... Read More
We had been planning a trip to New Zealand and Australia for a long time. It involved a lot of research. During our land tour travels in Europe and Morocco we had met many Aussies and Kiwis and have kept in touch with many. We researched many ways of visiting both NZ and Australia. Considering the long travel time to them from the East coast, it became apparent that the easiest way was to take a cruise that would include both New Zealand and the eastern coast of Australia. The end of April the year prior to this trip we took a river cruise with Viking. It was their “Tulips and Windmills”, which included the annual Tulip Festival in Amsterdam. It happen to be one my wife’s “Bucket List” items, so we signed up. We were very impressed by the service, food, land tours, accommodations and the 190 passenger and age limitation of no one under 18 years old. So we decided that we would concentrate on a New Zealand/Australian cruise for 2019 with Viking. Prior to the Viking river cruise we only did land tours. We felt cruising didn’t provide an in depth view or feel of a country’s culture and attributes. However, as we progressed further into retirement it became apparent that land touring became more demanding. Secondly, my wife had several back operations that had limited her mobility. So having a consistent and comfortable “home base” along with comfortable air travel on trips greater than 6 hours became important considerations. Now that we decided on the trip more research was required to determine dates, air travel, accommodations and tours offerings. The first thing was to determine the best time of year for the trip. Since we are both retired we concentrated on the Southern Hemisphere’s Spring (Sept. - Dec.) or Fall (Feb. - June). We decided on the Fall considering rainfall, temperatures and the fact we were heading North to the equator. We soon discovered that no cruise line, including Viking, included New Zealand and a complete Eastern Australia itinerary. There was a Sojourn Cruise that started in Bangkok, Thailand and ended in Auckland, NZ. However, after reviewing the itinerary we decided that the tours and time at sea on the Bangkok to Bali leg was something we could eliminate. So we decided to combine two of the three cruise legs with Viking - Auckland to Sydney and Sydney to Bali. The Sydney-Bali leg included a tour to see the Komodo Dragons and the highly publicized resort area of Bali. We wanted to start our trip in Auckland, NZ. Luckily, there was a reverse of the Sojourn cruise on the same ship, the Orion, with legs starting in Auckland and ending in Bali that started the end of February. The Orion was a brand new ship, on its second voyage and the crown of the Viking ships at the time. It had a planetarium, which was not available on another ship on any cruise line. So now we were down to airline reservations and ship accommodations. As I stated earlier, my wife had back surgeries that effected her mobility, so airline and ship accommodations became important. The ship accommodations were pretty straight forward. A Penthouse Jr. Suite provided the best option of space and services. The suite size on Viking, 425 ft2, comes with a double sink vanity and full shower bathroom and is or is one of the largest on any cruise line. It also had a movable divider between the sitting and bed areas, which allowed my wife get up in middle of the night without disturbing me. Now for the most difficult part, airline reservations. First of all, not all all of the major airlines provide service to Auckland, NZ. I normally handle our airline reservations myself and use Delta, which has a home base in Atlanta. However, researching schedules and rates I found that the Viking Premium Air service, Business Class, was cheaper and handled the disembarking and airport transfer in Bali. Secondly, we decided to arrive into Auckland 4 days/3 nights earlier than our embarkation date. I made and got confirmed dates to stay at the Wharf Apartments($185 US) for 3 nights thru Expedia. It was a 1 BR with a full kitchen in the center of the restaurant and business district and on the water. It was also located just 3 piers down from our embarkation on Viking. Via the internet I also made transfer arrangements from the airport - $38 US for 2 to our rental. However, I was unaware that Southeast Asia was a new area for Viking and airfare contracts were not as fully developed as with cruises in the Europe, U.K. and Mediterranean. The first choice provided by Viking Premium Air was absolutely horrible. The flight to Auckland was 33 hrs with a 4 hour layover in Sydney and an unconfirmed final flight to Auckland arriving at 4 pm, losing a whole day. The flight from Bali to Atlanta was even worse. It left at midnight before we scheduled to disembark that day. That flight went Dubai - Boston- Atlanta for a total of 34 hours with a layover in Boston and unconfirmed flight to Atlanta. So after many phone calls and an addition $200 each we got flights to Auckland for a total of 20 hrs. direct and arriving 10 am. The return flight was 23 hrs. So I guess all’s well that ended well. The flight from LAX to Auckland was 13.5 hrs. on a Boeing 787. The lay flat seats on it are the best I’ve flown. I’m 6’2” and was able to be comfortable. The ankle area was not constricted like other airplanes. In addition, a Casper mattress and linens were used. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
If you want a ship with a casino, climbing wall, giant water slide, etc., ignore this review and Viking Oceans. If you seek a family cruise with you and your (non-adult) children, look elsewhere. If you like cruising with thinking people ... Read More
If you want a ship with a casino, climbing wall, giant water slide, etc., ignore this review and Viking Oceans. If you seek a family cruise with you and your (non-adult) children, look elsewhere. If you like cruising with thinking people and a remarkably intelligent, attentive crew visiting an itinerary of a lifetime on an impeccable, smallish ship, read on. We are just back from Viking’s Grand Pacific Explorer cruise that traced all around the Pacific, roughly following the Ring of Fire from New Zealand through Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Russia (Siberia), across the Bering Sea, and down through Alaska to Vancouver. Portions of this 93-day itinerary were also available in smaller chunks of 15 to 23 days. As we came to realize, the guests on shorter legs were taking a cruise on the ship. We lived there. And it was fantastic. There were roughly two dozen of us who traveled the entire way and another fifteen or so who embarked in Sydney for 79 of the 93 days. All tolled, we traveled 19,919 nautical miles on the ship. Convert to statue miles and add on the air travel, and our adventure went far beyond the distance around the globe. What we learned: You can be happy on a Viking Oceans ship for a long time and still be happily married. Although our Penthouse Veranda was not the smallest stateroom, several of the Grand Voyagers were in the standard size (all veranda) staterooms, and there was at least one couple who survived and celebrated their 50th anniversary just afterward. The secret is the many varied public spaces on the ship. The Explorer’s Lounge is great 24/7, and you don’t have to order any booze to just sit and enjoy the view and read. Or converse in comfortable seating clusters. Add the quiet reading area in the deck 1 library, the exterior wings outside the Winter Garden, and various nooks and crannies. There is always somewhere to go. Crossing the equator and the International Dateline can be fun. Viking made sure we celebrated on both occasions. May 14 happened TWICE (thus 93 days, not 92)! The seas are never what you expect. Yes, the Tasman Sea can be “lively,” as can the Bass Strait above Tasmania, but even the Bering Sea is not necessarily going to be bad. If you count on good or bad seas, you won’t get them. It’ s pure luck. Siberia did kick up a ruckus for us for one day, but the Bering Sea was crazy calm! You will get to know the crew very, very well. They will bring you just about anything, anytime. Room service delivers ANYTHING on their menu for free anytime. Ask for the things you don’t see but crave. This applies to those on the ship for two short weeks or for three months. “Another latte, madame?” “A scone from tea in the Wintergarden?… sure I will get that for you.” The only cost is if you elect to drink alcohol from the bar. Those with the Silver Spirits package pay nothing. Others like us paid very reasonable prices with no added gratuities if we chose to drink. Of course, the minibar in our PV cabin had standard level booze and mixers of our choice, so we could always carry our own drinks to the lounge. If we had brought a bottle of our own on board-- no problem. They’ll even provide the glass and ice. No nickels. No dimes. There is a bar waiter, Ardel, who introduced me to an excellent formula for a top shelf margarita, now dubbed the “Ardel Margarita” by several of us who enjoyed it! The senior officers are incredible. Kudos to the general manager for most of our cruise, Joaquim Scherz, and to the restaurant manager Gerome Venon, for making our group of voyagers feel especially welcome and for preventing monotony from EVER setting in – as if that could happen with such a rich itinerary! Even the entertainment team added some new performances so we could enjoy the talents of two different Viking Bands who were onboard during our tenure and especially the excellent ensemble of four young Viking Vocalists Aoibhin, Jorgen, Dan, and Beth, whom we got to know quite well. (These four, by the way, were the first to be awarded a new contract by Viking to stay together on their next cruise in the Caribbean.) Kudos to cruise director Spencer who rose to the role on this, his first cruise in the position. When Viking says they are a family, they are serious. That includes the passengers. They know you. They figure you out within a few days, and they are all eager to make the cruise p-e-r-f-e-c-t. Your cabin steward knows when you are likely to be out and about or when you have an excursion scheduled. The ice is there every day on time. The things you store in you bathroom are arranged exactly as you like them. After a few days, people know your names. (The general manager told us he actually looks over each guest list in advance and learns names and scans for those he has met before.) We learned much about the way Viking hires, trains, and rotates its crew and senior officers. We boarded Viking Orion and saw crewmembers we had met four years ago on Viking Star, now promoted to higher positions and happy in “the family.” The family extends to all the ships. When the Viking Sky encountered rough seas off the coast of Norway (while we were in Australia), every crewmember on Viking Orion was paying attention, praying, and even helping to send a video to the crew of Viking Sky in support and thanks for all their efforts. Family goes both ways. We Voyagers truly got attached to Joaquim and gave him a Viking umbrella salute send-off as he departed for a well-earned vacation. There were tears. Viking is truly fortunate to have such amazing people, and Joaquim is one who has been with VO since its launch. If he has any say about it, the quality will not diminish as the company expands. We sincerely hope his influence will keep things as good as they are! Speaking of family, our group of “Voyagers” definitely became one. People who take Viking cruises are fascinating folks with endless interests and stories. When you meet new people at home, you may see them once a week or a couple of times a month. When you make new friends on a ship, you see each other as often as three meals a day plus an excursion. Yes, we could avoid seeing them, but we enjoyed getting to know each other—really well! We avoided talking politics -- which was a refreshing change for over 90 days! We compared notes about our days (what excursion did you take?), drank a LOT of free wine (opened and closed the World Café many times), and watched out for each other when someone was “solo” on an excursion. These friendships will last for sure. We learned about the tons and tons of food they bring on board and when. We noticed that the chef went into town to pick up a few things while we were out on excursions – but only if he can find provisions that met Viking’s strict quality and safety standards. Within a couple of days, the cook at the breakfast fruit and yogurt bar handed me a bowl as I walked in each day and several times kept a few strawberries aside when the stock was dwindling before the next provisioning. He found the plain Greek yogurt that I like if it is not out on display. He was genuinely apologetic when the strawberries ran out in Siberia! If it wasn’t perfect, all we had to do was ask. Just when I was muttering to myself that there weren’t any chocolate options on the desert bar in the World Café, one of the supervisors offered to go down and get a chocolate mousse from the sit-down Restaurant downstairs…. “And where are you sitting, madame?” Or if the buffet choices were not exactly what we wanted, the chef custom-prepared a strip steak (“Medium? Four minutes, please.”) and delivered it to our table, with a potato and sour cream if that was what we wanted. All this in the “buffet” style World Café, our favorite venue for every day. Manfredi’s, the Italian specialty restaurant, is a gem. People seem to figure this out quickly, so be sure to book reservations as soon as you can. Book before you embark, as we did or stop by the laptop at the entrance to the world café to add more or make changes. We also learned that they will make every effort to change your numbers as you meet people and want a larger table. (Thank you, Ian!) Yes, we also ate in the Chef’s Table, but after trying each of the (mostly delicious) menus, we found we preferred the less formal and more flexible options elsewhere. We aren’t “The Restaurant” type people, though many of our friends were and enjoyed it just as much as we enjoyed the free-ranging exploration of the world Café – the same food, but you can graze and get up from your table at will. (Just hide your fork…. They clear TOO quickly!) The only nights I personally did not enjoy as much were the Indian Buffet theme nights, but my husband loved them. I just ordered a strip steak and tasted a few other things. I made the suggestion that perhaps not EVERYTHING had to be Indian… like the weird gelato flavors. We learned SO MUCH. The itinerary was loaded with places we had always wanted to see, and Viking offered many ways to learn about each one. The guest lecturers were great, and word gets out about which ones are REALLY good. The naturalist in the north Pacific and Alaska, the historian in Southest Asia, the archaeologist in New Zealand, the reef pilot on the Great Barrier Reef, and many others were terrific. If they can keep you awake in a darkened theater on a gently rocking sea, they must be good! The video replays on demand in the cabins were a MUST to keep up with the many things to learn. What we saw: It is a challenge to summarize forty-seven ports, but there were recurring themes: wildlife, history, religions, World Heritage sites, gardens, wine/beer/whiskey. We chose to take many optional excursions, mostly because we don’t like touring on buses much. A bus to GET somewhere is fine. We tend to like walking tours better. When we compared notes with our fellow travelers, we learned that by skipping some of the included excursions, we missed some good stuff. Some of the descriptions did not make it clear just how much time would be spent on or OFF the bus. As my husband says, the descriptions are a bit like real estate ads. Example: “Enjoy a panoramic tour.” Translate: bus ride. As Viking continues in these ports, we are sure the excursions will be refined and the descriptions edited for a better match to what is actually there. In the first season of a new itinerary, this is tough. We took this cruise knowing that would happen. Our priorities for tours may not be yours. My husband is a photo buff—both wildlife and street scenes, and I tend to enjoy culture, art, crafts, and people. Sometimes we split up to see what we liked best. We did not need to stay together every day of a 93 day cruise! Don’t miss the onboard cultural visitors. There were local groups who came on board in several countries to perform music and dance. ALL were amazing. Sometimes we did not find out about them until the day before or the day of. READ the Viking Daily! Port/excursion highlights: (Unless otherwise stated, all excursions/tours were VIKING offerings) Everything in New Zealand. Lots of wildlife and Maori culture options. We especially enjoyed visiting a sheep farm outside Napier, a foodie tour I did in Wellington, a seal watch my husband did outside Wellington, and wildlife cruises outside Christchurch and Dunedin. Others went to interior locations such as the Hobbiton tour. This may not be the best way to see interior New Zealand. I wish I’d had more time at Rotorua at the native (Maori) center there. Australia: Hobart, Tasmania. This port is right in town and we wish we had stayed MUCH longer. Just walk off the ship, and you were in a pedestrian area filled with shops and history. (Think Viking River Cruises.) We took a tour outside of town and visited a winery and the charming town of Richmond. Wish we could have done BOTH. We’d like to go back to Tasmania. The koala and kangaroo sanctuary outside Melbourne. Unlike many “sanctuaries” where the animals are caged or restricted, this one has animals on their own in the wild and shows visitors how to find and follow them respectfully. No koala cuddling, but fantastic naturalists who teach and let you participate in finding the animals. Sydney: Did a pub crawl in The Rocks on a HOT day. Saw lots of local color: weddings, crazy young professionals out having fun, and of course the Opera House right at Circular Quay. Since Viking Orion is small enough to pass under the Harbor Bridge, we were docked a short shuttle FERRY ride from Circular Quay. This could have been a pain, but it’s much more fun than a shuttle bus! We had a day on our own while others disembarked and embarked. Viking did offer an excursion for the in-transit passengers, but we elected to spend time with some new friends from Sydney whom we “met” here on CC. (They joined our cruise later in Hong Kong.) Great city. Almost anything you can do would be fun. Whitsunday Islands and Cairns: both are portals to the Great Barrier Reef. We went on a smaller catamaran out to snorkel in the Whitsundays and a very large one (but well managed) in Cairns. We are not experienced snorkelers and have never seen the reef before, so we enjoyed these. Experienced GBR visitors might like more private or selective tours, but these are hard to find and schedule within port time limits. Viking did managed the tendering in Cid Harbor (Whitsundays) very well. Thursday Island--- skipped because of an incoming cyclone! Darwin: wildlife options again. We saw Jumping Crocs, which we thought would be really touristy. It actually was fun. The Territory Wildlife Park was also good, though VERY warm. Take lots of water with you! Be sure to visit the aviary. Weaker Australia ports: Newcastle, Townsville. These are perhaps good ports for their access to other places inland, but we did not find the actual towns as interesting. Maybe with time? Indonesia: In general, Indonesia has bad traffic, hot weather, and lots of temples. The blend of religions is fascinating and varies from island to island. Get a taste by seeing some of everything. Komodo: The national park is going to be closed for 2020. We were lucky to see the dragons. Very hot, and the most aggressive vendors we saw on the entire cruise were in the tent as we left the park. Be prepared to be tough and to haggle. Otherwise just duck and keep on walking! TAKE WATER. Viking did an outstanding job of managing the tendering and keeping guests hydrated and safe. They were on the dock with COLD towels and drinks as we finished the tour. The really wanted everyone to drink and stay safe. Bali: another disembarkation/embarkation port. On the day on our own, we traveled by cab into Denpasar to visit the fabric street—a MUST for any quilter or sewing enthusiast. We did an evening dinner and performance that evening which was fun, though touristy. We enjoyed seeing Batiks being made and wood carvers in action on a Viking excursion the next day. Surabaya: We visited a temple that is actually within an amusement park. Though it looked like we were entering Wally World, the temple, right next to the water, was interesting. The seafood lunch served on the way was excellent though a bit crowded. Our highlight was a stop at a T-shirt place that had graphically bold shirts at very low (fixed) prices. Thanks to a good tour guide. We’ve gotten compliments on those shirts everywhere. Semarang: Entre to a daylong trip to Borobudur, a must-see. Don’t do the included tour. Not much there. The Rainbow Village is not as enthralling as they say. Those who went to Borobudur said the long ride was definitely worth it, especially with the police escort that accompanied the bus caravan, stopping the challenging traffic. Think presidential motorcade. Viking managed an unfortunate bus accident between two buses that were following too closely pretty well. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt. Jakarta: Interesting but not worth two days? Went on a tour that included an inside visit to a large mosque and Catholic cathedral and a walk through Chinatown Had some time on the second day to go into town on the Viking shuttle to a shopping mall that offered great shopping for authentic batik shirts and much more. I think half the ship bought batik shirts. Weaker ports in Indonesia: Lombok? We actually did not go into this tender port. Those who did said we did not miss much. We really should not judge. Singapore One day, and not enough. Unfortunately, immigration stole over 90 minutes of our day—through no fault of Viking. If there were way for the ship to stay two days and not have to do this each day, it would be worth it. We did a walking “Odyssey” tour and saw little India, Chinatown, and an area called Arab Street. I’d do that tour again. We had time to explore on our own, which we always like. I’d like to have seen the gardens at Singapore Marina Bay, but we did not have time. I’d REALLY like to swim in the world’s largest infinity pool on the rooftop there, but you have to stay in the hotel to do that… unless Viking has connections? Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) Our one day was a quick stop. My husband and I did separate tours. He enjoyed the Batu Caves and Pewter factory tour, managing to avoid having his hat stolen by the monkeys. I did the Blue Mosque tour, which was a misnomer. We saw a view of the mosque at a GREAT distance. We did enjoy a tour of several sites in the city and a FANTASTIC lunch at the Renaissance Hotel. Of course, the last thing we needed was more good food! We honestly cannot say whether Kuala Lumpur is worth more time. Thailand Bangkok: The port is VERY, very far from the city, at least two hours drive if traffic is not bad. We had three days in Bangkok, the middle one a disembarkation/embarkation day for other passengers. We did Viking’s Bangkok After Dark tour, which was twelve hours long! The heat was oppressive, and the guide kept a pace that was a bit too enthusiastic for the heat. It did take us to great things and included a much appreciated foot massage after a lot of walking. We had a local dinner of SPICY pad thai and time shopping in the iconic night market. The tour is good, but plan on being totally soaked with sweat. Pace yourself and carry water. We took a private tour on the ship’s changeover day, and that was smart. We had a small van with great A/C and endless water. We could get back into the cool van often. We split the tour cost with three other friends, so it was quite reasonable. We visited locations our first tour did not include. Day 3 took my husband on the Viking tour out to the Summer Palace and Ayutthaya. He declared that tour to be excellent, including the golf carts! (I rested and did much-needed laundry out of the heat.) Cambodia Sihanoukville: This is the toughest port to talk about. It is not pretty, and the people lack hope. This port sparked great debate among our friends onboard. In my opinion, Viking needs to be honest about what you will see (poverty, loads of trash, hopelessness). The contrasts of the hotel where Jackie Kennedy stayed (a claim to fame in this miserable town) and the life in a local fishing village are painful. The Cambodian Cuisine tour we took involved riding in tuktuks through dusty, dirty streets. I did not initially appreciate the mask they gave me to wear, as I have never had respiratory issues. In the end, I actually needed it. The market offered a realistic view of what people buy and eat. The beachfront barbecue food attracted too many flies for us to taste it. Then we went to the Jackie hotel and had delicious hors d’oeuvres and drinks while feeling hollowly fortunate. The second day we took the included tour, but we were warned by our friends to expect very sad scenes and sickening smells. They were right. The little children who should have been in school -- but had never even been REGISTERED to attend -- bore witness to the lack of hope of the Cambodian people. Yes, Viking should let us all see the realities, but the descriptions also need to be accurate. This port is a place to learn and think, not to enjoy. If the corrupt government is benefitting from Viking’s visits, perhaps this is not a good idea? Sadly, the countryside beyond the city has exceptional natural beauty, and the guides were very honest about their plight. Vietnam What a contrast to Cambodia. There is hope, and education is highly valued in this rapidly-growing economy. VERY. VERY. HOT. Ho Chi Minh City (known to the locals as Saigon): Three days. A fair distance from the port -- about an hour. Fantastic city to visit! We did the Saigon Cooking Class, which was excellent in both organization and fun. We shopped in the market, cooked, learned a lot, and enjoyed our own cooking. The next day we enjoyed a special visit to the Hotel Reverie with our fellow Voyagers (NOT an excursion) for high tea. This was arranged by the general manager and restaurant manager just for our group. WOW. If you have a chance to do this high tea on your own, DO IT. We’ve never, ever seen anything like it! Try the iced Vietnamese coffee. It’s addictive. The third day we did Viking’s “Iconic Ben Thanh Market” tour which was disappointing. We spent more time being served food than exploring the market (allowing NO time for this). I expect Viking will be clarifying expectations with the tour operator on this, as several of us spoke to the ship about it. Chan May (near Danang): Excursion to Ancient Hoi An. This city was swamped with tourists, and the tour was too commercialized for us. We had hoped for an interesting walking tour. We were herded into places to buy things, stopped ever so briefly amid the crowds to take pictures of landmarks with said crowds. Little to no time on our own as was advertised. Other guides were apparently more flexible, and our friends enjoyed their tours. Ha Long Bay (overnight): Wow. This place is drop dead gorgeous. Even the included tour is amazing. We did a longer, slightly different boat tour of the bay, including a stop at a floating village. Great tour! We also went outside the city to the mountains and Yen Tu Monastery. What a wonderful change of pace. We meditated and talked with the leader of the monastery, a man with remarkable charisma. The tour also included a delicious dinner at a resort hotel in the mountains. A winner! Hong Kong (3 days) Another changeover port. The included tour was good- Victoria Peak (in clouds), sampan ride in Aberdeen, and Stanley Market with free time. Spent our “off day” on our own with a friend who lives nearby then did more exploring on the third day with some fellow travelers. We then did the Hong Kong by Night tour which was OK but went back to some places we had already seen on our own. It would be great for people just starting out in HK. Taipei (Keelung port)- one day We did the tour to Yehliu Geopark with its amazing rock formations. Great photo op if you can go early enough for smaller crowds. Then went to mountain village of Jiufen. Cute, though filled with tourists. There were some nice places to have tea with a great view. The Taiwan landscape is very pretty! JAPAN! Japan was perhaps the biggest “surprise” of our trip. We had heard that it was beautiful, but it was MORE beautiful than we thought. We had also heard about the crowds during Golden Week—extended this year due to the installation of a new emperor. It was more crowded in some places than we could ever imagine. AVOID Golden Week. This was Viking’s first visit to the Japanese ports, so ALL of them did something special at the port: bands, dancers, etc.! Lots of fun. Japanese weather was a welcome relief from the heat in previous ports. Kagoshima: Great tour to Kamikaze museum and Chimai samurai historic district with classic Japanese gardens. Terrific intro to just some of the subtleties of Japanese culture. Nagasaki: (separate excursions). Imari and Arita pottery tour was outstanding. Learned a LOT about the aesthetic, the history, and the processes. Beautiful scenery en route. Husband did Historic Nagasaki tour for the atomic bomb story and more. Korea (a one day stop in Busan in the midst of Japan ports): Beomosa Temple and Fish Market tour was good. Lots of walking up hill. Fish Market is a true cultural experience, especially on the weekend! More Japan Hiroshima (2 days): Sobering as you would expect. The included tour to the Peace Park is good at hitting highlights on foot, though it was pouring rain. The museum would have been interesting, but the line stretched around a half mile! Optional tour to Itsukushima Shrine was great. Crowded because of Golden week. Go as early in the day as you can. We were on the 7 am ferry. Great photo ops of the floating torii gate you always see on brochures. Be sure to try some maple leaf shaped cakes. Osaka (Kyoto): We took the tour that traveled to Ancient Kyoto. Worst crowds we have ever seen. Heel to toe and shoulder to shoulder in a mob. Easy to lose the guide. (Others shared pictures taken by friends on “regular” weekdays showing NO crowds.) DO NOT GO during Golden Week. Very long path of thousands of torii gates, but too packed to enter. Scary crowded! The Golden Palace late in the day was less crowded and saved the day for us. Shimizu: (day and a half): Nice city with very friendly people. They had quite a welcome for us at the port since this was Viking’s first visit there. Amazing views of Fuji that cleared off for us. I went to Hiroshige Utagawa Museum. Speechless how good it was. Included tour also good… good photo ops. Tokyo ( 3 days): Port is immediately next to the Olympic Village they are building for 2020! This was our last disembarkation/embarkation port getting hundreds of new passengers onboard. Kamakuri tour to three shrine and temples very good but again crowded. 43 foot Buddha! Took Viking’s shuttle to downtown on the middle day, a Sunday, and discovered that NO ONE was in town during Golden Week. Walked to Iperial Palace Grdens (beautiful) and around the area near Nihonbaski Mitsubishi. The department store is worthy of a visit on its own, very old school and filled with amazing things, including a full basement are of food. See where people custom order their $50K silk kimonos! Third day took Edo-Tokyo Museum and City Tower tour. City tower not that great. The sky tower is better, I think, if you like that sort of thing. Museum and smaller local garden were nice. Tokyo is a gorgeous city, and SOOO clean! Be sure to try every Japanese bathroom. After Indonesia and others, they are a delight! Sapporo/Otaru: Beautiful location on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido. We took the optional tour to Nikko whiskey. Lots of fun. It SMELLED of whiskey when you walked onto the grounds. Friend told us the included tour was also very good. Much cooler here. The cherry blossoms were out, as this part of Japan is weeks behind the more southern areas. Russia (Siberia) Koraskov: Did the included tour. Damp, cold, and cloudy/drizzly. Not much here, and quite sad after Japan. The people are clearly longing for the good old days of the USSR. The performance was fun, and the vendors selling crafts there were very genuine. Most are happy to take USD, though they may cheat a bit on exchange rates! Petrapavlosk-Kamchatsky: This city benefits from the large Navy base (out of sight from the port). Volcanoes abound. We did the military history tour. Too much talking at you. Choose a different one, perhaps just the included. Orthodox cathedral is less than ten years old! Someone showed us video from the helicopter tour over the volcano, and it was amazing. (But I don’t think I’d go with a Russian pilot in a Russian-maintained helicopter! Very pricey, too.) USA Dutch Harbor, AK: No tours offered, but there was a shuttle (school) bus into town. The locals are VERY friendly and talk on the buses. Go to the Alaska Ship Supply for fun, and perhaps to Safeway just to see how the locals live. Bald eagles everywhere—like pigeons! Take a hike or a walk. If you’re an American who’s been away for a long time, stop in a local bar for American bar food… nachos or a cheeseburger? If you watch Deadliest Catch, you’ll recognize many locations. Kodiak, AK: Nature photo cruise was a real highlight. Small boat with only 6 guests and a very knowledgeable couple guiding it. WELL worth it! Small town with simple self-guided (walking) tour and a shuttle bus. Very genuine. Seward, AK: Kenai Fiords cruise was incredible. Whales, dolphins, eagles, and a glacier thrown in. Entire pods of orcas! This was a MUST MUST MUST DO, even on a drizzly day. Stay in town for a visit to the Sea Life Center or some shopping, A regular shuttle goes back to the ship. Icy Strait Point (Hoonah), AK: This small town with its native tribe of 760 people owns the port through a small corporation that benefits the tribe. They market it well, with many activities and tours. The whale watch cruise we took was actually done by a separate company that cooperates with the corporation. It was excellent. Great photos of humpbacks, including mama and baby. Sea lions, and more. Another keeper! Warning: the bridge you walk across into the port area is COLD because of the wind, but the temps are much nicer around the corner and out of the wind. Wear layers. Friend did the zipline and loved it. Sitka, AK: Busier port with another ship in port at same time. Cute, smallish town. Walking tour went 5+ miles to see historic sites, totem area, and Raptor Center. All are worth seeing. Wish we’d had longer in totems and Raptor Center. People who took included tour said it was good, too. Note: if you are looking for the post office, you have to go outside of town, They closed the location right next to the port! Ketchikan: VERY, very touristy. We saw a total of FIVE other ships in one day, one of whom was waiting for us to pull out. Downtown is all shops, some owned by other cruise companies. We went out of town to a Fishing lodge for a crab feast. It was fun, including the boat ride out to the island. Good wildlife and newspapers-in-the-picnic-table crab boil. Dress for the weather because you are on an outdoor deck. You also get a walk in a temperate rainforest at the lodge. If you want nothing but shopping, stay in town and walk off the ship. Some ships dock a bit outside of town. Vancouver, Canada: Kudos to Viking for handling the challenge of disembarking over 900 passengers by tender! It went quite well. We were off the ship and on our way to the airport ahead of schedule. We hope everyone’s bags went to the right place. Ours did. Viking, you made a difficult good-bye palatable by keeping it smooth and easy. Suggestions for Viking: Consider changing the itinerary for Jakarta and Singapore. Maybe steal a day from Jakarta and add it to Singapore? You could play with some of Indonesia, perhaps. What about Lombok? Semarang is not great, though you need it for Borobodur. Think about solving that? Think about how you want to “sell” your port call in Cambodia Continue to refine the excursions. We know you do this because of wise changes that were made after Viking Ocean’s first summer in the Baltic. Suggestions for future Grand Voyagers: Plan for HOT weather and extreme high humidity on this itinerary of traveling Feb-May as we did. We live in the southeast US and know humidity, but this is FAR worse. Plan to change your clothes from the skin out 2-3 times a day in many of these ports. Take enough clothing so you can do that. If you are on a long cruise with people getting on and off for various shorter :legs, “ ask the management to gather the “voyagers’ for cocktails and /or dinner and get everyone’s first names and cabin number while they are at that first gathering, That way you will know where to find each other! Emails help, too, if you want to be able to contact everyone. The ship management cannot give you this info. Thanks to TL from our group who spearheaded this! A long cruise is a marathon, not a sprint. If one excursions or day is lousy, just look to the next one. Share your feedback in a constructive manner. It goes much further, and the crew will always want to help you. Vary your excursions. Don’t book too many temples, street market visits, or anything else. You’ll get tired of it! READ the Viking Daily—before you go to bed! Get accustomed to giving laundry advice in Viking’s free launderettes. You know how they work, and you don’t want the newbies to break the machines! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Have sailed on most lines over the past 25 years , most recently on Regent, Seabourn, Silversea. We were impressed with the consistently excellent service throughout the ship by the delightful crew. The ship’s ambience is quite serene ... Read More
Have sailed on most lines over the past 25 years , most recently on Regent, Seabourn, Silversea. We were impressed with the consistently excellent service throughout the ship by the delightful crew. The ship’s ambience is quite serene and decor just lovely and comfortable. Food overall is very good. We dined in all of the venues. Our least favorite was the main restaurant due to the noise, confusion, slow service. Guests are squeezed in like sardines and waiters appear breathless as they rush past you bringing plates to the tables. Not a relaxing environment. Our favorite venue was the Chef’s table. On our 5 visits, we received top notch service and food with wine pairings. Entertainment was tastefully done and we thoroughly enjoyed the classical duo. The 4 person dance and singing ensemble were also quite enjoyable and personable, as well. We especially enjoyed Bjorgen. Our steward, Yud, and his assistant were excellent. They kept our suite immaculate and always stocked with whatever we needed. Where Viking failed us is with our cabin (Explorer Suite) in terms of its size and general layout. See separate description as part of this review. Suffice it to say, the designers really failed on this one. We paid top dollar for such an accommodation and we would have been better off spending less and booking a PH category on deck 8. So disappointed being crammed into the over furnished space for two weeks. (And allergies flared up due to moldy massive cushions brought into already cramped space at night.) Included shore excursions were very good for the most part. Wand, of course, the NZ to Australia itinerary is outstanding. Such beautiful countries and the weather was great. Crossing the Tasman Sea (which I feared ) actually wasn’t bad, at all. The ship handles quite well in rocky seas. Overall, we very much enjoyed ourselves and the Viking experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
My wife & I have multiple cruising experiences – varying ship operator/size & world location - and believe Viking ships accommodate the perfect number of passengers - about 900 - to result in a most memorable cruise experience, ... Read More
My wife & I have multiple cruising experiences – varying ship operator/size & world location - and believe Viking ships accommodate the perfect number of passengers - about 900 - to result in a most memorable cruise experience, not possible on mega ships. Fewer passengers greatly expedites Viking’s efficient embarkation/debarkation process so we can focus on enjoying our time. The wonderfully friendly, professional and courteous staff provide outstanding service throughout the ship from the dining room to the fitness center. The cabin and all ship amenities are superior. Our port calls and excursions were most enjoyable and went off efficiently without any delays. Viking offers dining options to satisfy all our needs. Whether formal dining or the informal settings the food preparation, selection, presentation and especially flavor places Viking at the top of the cruise industry. We've cruised with Viking previously and really appreciate Viking ships being built and configured so similarly that my wife and I immediately regain our familiarity when arriving aboard – like returning home – and now look forward to our 2021 cruise. Viking continues to exceed our expectations! Viking has our highest recommendation!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We thoroughly enjoyed a Viking river cruise of the Rhine several years ago and were looking for an opportunity to travel with Viking again. A trip to New Zealand and Australia had been on our "wish list" for quite some time; and ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed a Viking river cruise of the Rhine several years ago and were looking for an opportunity to travel with Viking again. A trip to New Zealand and Australia had been on our "wish list" for quite some time; and when we discovered that Viking was introducing a cruise to these 2 countries, we decided to make our wish a reality! We arrived in Auckland a day in advance of our embarkation date, so we were able to explore the city on our own and begin to adjust to the time change. Our embarkation was smooth and uneventful, and the Viking Orion proved to be an absolutely incredible ship! We loved the ship's rather intimate size (just under 1,000 passengers) and Viking's careful attention to every detail. The common areas were beautiful and comfortable, and our spacious cabin (on deck 3) was extraordinary!! We had an incredible amount of storage space both in the main cabin and in the bathroom. I was totally impressed with the "hidden" makeup mirror and makeup storage area! We loved the balcony, too. The food was wonderful with a wide array of choices, including the specialty restaurants. I would have enjoyed more local wines, especially since both New Zealand and Australia are well known for their vast variety of wines--and I was a bit surprised by the lack of local wines, given that our Rhine River cruise had featured so many wonderful German and French wines. We thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment onboard! The music shows were high quality and high energy; and in the evenings we loved listening to Daniel on his acoustic guitar. The astronomer's lectures--and the planetarium--were special favorites as well. I can't say enough wonderful things about the staff! They were so professional and so very helpful; I made a couple of small requests for items in our cabin, and those requests were filled immediately!! The staff in the restaurants and bars were very accommodating, and their ability to learn and remember names was nothing short of astonishing!! The shore excursions were wonderful with a couple of exceptions. The included tour at Tauranga was disappointing and not very interesting and definitely needs to be revised. Our tour of the Southern Alps introduced us to fabulous scenery and Lord of the Rings history but involved far too many hours on a bus with not enough time to see the sights. Some of our favorite excursions included the Te Mata peak/sheep station tour (Napier), the Otaga wildlife cruise (Dunedin), and the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary (Tasmania). We loved our cruise so much that we booked another Viking ocean cruise for October 2020! It was a fabulous experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We wanted to visit New Zealand and Australia. Tasmania was a terrific surprise. We selected a mid-size cabin due to the length of the trip and that there would be days at sea. Everything was exceptionally well done from the housekeeping ... Read More
We wanted to visit New Zealand and Australia. Tasmania was a terrific surprise. We selected a mid-size cabin due to the length of the trip and that there would be days at sea. Everything was exceptionally well done from the housekeeping staff to the entertainment staff. The food was amazing and the surprise birthday cake was a special treat. We would go on this trip again if we didn't have such a long air flight at each end-we are traveling with the same company to a different location(Baltic) A special treat for us was the educational courses and being able to interact with the educators for further information. We were given information about the area, history, & astronomy so we understand what we would see and be part of the for the next day. The food was terrific in all locations and had no problems with reservations for the smaller restaurants. Often we ate in the main "cafeteria" location and were able to make many new friends at nearby tables. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Ship was very clean, food was great, staff were incredible. Entertainment and activities were superb. The choice of food for every meal was amazing, not one bad experience with dining. Dining staff were great! Romeo is an ... Read More
Ship was very clean, food was great, staff were incredible. Entertainment and activities were superb. The choice of food for every meal was amazing, not one bad experience with dining. Dining staff were great! Romeo is an incredible employee of Viking. As a matter of fact all staff go out of their way to help and make sure your time with Viking is fantastic. Ports and Shore excursions were also educational, interesting and exciting!!!. Our cabin was great and always kept very clean on a daily basis. We would definitely book again with Viking, so much so that we have booked the Homeland Tour. The availability of laundry service is amazing. The ability to use the computers onboard was also great. The daily newspaper is invaluable along with the maps. Embarkation was made relatively painless with the hard working staff of Viking, it was a walk in the park. Public rooms are spotless and very interesting. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We are previous Viking travelers. The product provided by Viking was excellent. The ship size of 950 guests provided a small ship feel with the larger ship amenities. Outstanding crew and well thought out basic and optional tours. ... Read More
We are previous Viking travelers. The product provided by Viking was excellent. The ship size of 950 guests provided a small ship feel with the larger ship amenities. Outstanding crew and well thought out basic and optional tours. Included trips were very good at providing an overview of site/ event. The additional trips were extremely well conducted and educational. Crew members seemed to enjoy the clients and vice versa. Crew was well trained. Responded to traveler wants and needs.. We had a problem with the balcony door in our room. The housekeeping staff work on it for several days before resolving the problems. They were diligent in working to get the problem resolved. The chefs were excellent and the food options numerous. The sites, the excursions, the educational seminars, the crew and the ship made for an exciting and outstanding cruise. We found this trip to be a very wonderful travel experience. Highly recommend the Orion, its crew and the New Zealand/ Australia tour. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Could not get the flight I wanted, even though I took Air Plus. Flight home was delayed 2 hours, so United dumped all luggage at LAX stopover and cancelled all connecting flights. We had a scheduled 3 hour layover, so there was plenty of ... Read More
Could not get the flight I wanted, even though I took Air Plus. Flight home was delayed 2 hours, so United dumped all luggage at LAX stopover and cancelled all connecting flights. We had a scheduled 3 hour layover, so there was plenty of time to catch our original flight. But, instead we had to rebook and ended up with crummy seats in the back of the plane. Many excursions were filled up before I was allowed to sign up. Much waiting in line for everything; this ship could not accommodate this many people! Had to go to everything a half hour early to get a decent seat. Restaurant service was very slow - waited in hall half an hour to be seated - by ourselves (we wanted to meet other travelers and the best time to do this is at dinner), then another half hour to order, then another half hour for food to arrive, for a total of 2 hours to eat - ridiculous! On previous river cruises, we had open seating (seated ourselves) and had food in 10 minutes, except France (took about a half hour). Why do you wait until 7:00 p.m. to open the restaurant? If you opened earlier (5:00), people could be served more efficiently. Food was not all that good either. We were so frustrated with all the waiting, we resorted to the World Cafe to eat the remainder of our meals, where the food was even less tasty - resembled cafeteria food, and there wasn't much variation in the menu. When I go on a cruise, I want to be pampered and waited on; not serving myself - I can do that at home.The only thing I had that was good was the stir-fry (offered only once). Breakfast was always the same. The apple pie in the explorer lounge was very good, as were the burgers at the pool grill. I liked the room arrangement - plenty of storage space. Entertainment - not much variety. I'd prefer something different each night. Bring in more local talent. Not much to do on sea days. Lectures were boring; Aida movie put me to sleep. Slow computers; difficult to use - took me 2 hours to print air check-in for return flight so I missed sailing into Sydney Harbor - something I really wanted to see. More help needed in the future cruise area - could not get an appointment until the second last day - best rooms were already gone. Also more help needed at help desks for booking excursions - another line to wait in. Very pricey for what we got; I could have gone on this same cruise with another cruise line for half the cost. I did book another cruise on this ship, so I hope you'll forgive my negative comments; I offer them as areas that could use improvement. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Viking helped make this bucket list trip both easy and enjoyable! There were plenty of opportunities for experiences in Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand involving indigenous animals, native peoples and spectacular scenery. Onboard ... Read More
Viking helped make this bucket list trip both easy and enjoyable! There were plenty of opportunities for experiences in Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand involving indigenous animals, native peoples and spectacular scenery. Onboard activities were also plentiful, both during the day and at night. These included fascinating educational talks and videos; unique shopping events; the use of a wonderful spa and pool; wine tasting and cocktail parties; various shows and musical groups and even an observatory! There were also several wonderful restaurants with varied menus and types of seating. Among our favorite excursions were the Sydney Opera House; an animal reserve outside Hobart, Tasmania; the Australian Open in Melbourne; and numerous cultural experiences with the Maori people in New Zealand. The scenery itself was also breathtaking, particularly in both the small ports and mountainous areas of New Zealand. We went with a group of friends and enjoyed an incredible trip, complete with delicious meals, well planned onboard entertainment and impeccable service. My brother and sister in law are actually taking the same trip this month! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We enjoyed New Zealand as well as Australia. It was a lovely time to travel and the scenery was fantastic! I was worried that the Ocean cruise would seem so large and unfriendly but the restaurants and the location of them made it seem ... Read More
We enjoyed New Zealand as well as Australia. It was a lovely time to travel and the scenery was fantastic! I was worried that the Ocean cruise would seem so large and unfriendly but the restaurants and the location of them made it seem like a very small and intimate ship in the end. The food was excellent with so many items being made right on the ship. The specialty restaurants especially the Italian restaurant was a favorite of ours. We also enjoyed going to the small Norwegian breakfast restaurant on the top deck. We actually felt like we were in an intimate dining room for breakfast. Like Grandma's house. The only difficult part was embarking and disembarking could take a little time and I feel they may be about to do that in a better manner in the future. The entertainment was professional and very enjoyable. We would recommend it! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Our previous experience with Viking was the Midnight Sun. We were pleased with the quality of services and ship. We arrived 3 days early in New Zealand and stayed an extra 4 days in Sydney. Time allowed by Viking would not have done ... Read More
Our previous experience with Viking was the Midnight Sun. We were pleased with the quality of services and ship. We arrived 3 days early in New Zealand and stayed an extra 4 days in Sydney. Time allowed by Viking would not have done justice to these cities. We planned our own package with the help of our TA. We were very happy with the ports visited. Shore excursions need a little work - you almost have to book paid excursions to see what you want. Tours overlap so you must choose; you might take two if timing was better. Christchurch is still recovering from the earthquake. Many of their monuments will never be rebuilt. We appreciated seeing what they have accomplished. The tram ride and botanic gardens were very good. Even included a surprise tea in the trolley. We found all guides to be very friendly. Some were more informative than others. Tour times/departures were well organized. All were walk-off - no tenders! We especially enjoyed Napier (Art Deco-car ride) and Dunedin (Taieri Rail Trip). Our first trip to this area of the world. Would definitely consider again if it weren’t so far!! Viking should do a better job at getting detailed information to passengers BEFORE the online booking date. The online experience is tedious and requires that you print your own info. We did receive a detailed list, but too close to our departure. Tours should also include meals and snacks when offered. We had several tours that included a meal (large snack) ther we weren’t expecting. A tour that left at eleven a.m. required you to purchase a meal. Better if we know ahead what will be provided Room service was excellent. Juan Carlos deck 4 - did a great job. Moved the coffee machine to a higher cabinet as we don’t use the machine in the room. Dining room staff still seems to be learning their way. The automated ordering system seems to have some slip ups. Bar and lounge service was great. We are husband and wife traveling with 2 friends. Manfredi’s-dined there twice. Found the food to be good quality both times. Second service was a little sloppy. One in our party received his pasta as a separate course-the rest had theirs included with the main course. I think this is a problem with the way the menu appears on the ordering app. Chef’s Table-also dined there twice. Xiang and Asian Panorama. Both meals were good; wine pairings well-suited. Portions were not huge, but gave a good idea of flavors. Was a full meal. The Restaurant-we found a good selection of food. Meats were excellent. What is missing is any local seafood. Now that Viking is around the world, the need to offer seafood beyond the waters of Norway. Ship needs to fix the dinner in the second to the last night. Two shows plus the Captain’s Farwell meant that almost no one could eat in The Restaurant after the first show. World Cafe - we found a good variety of selections for each meal. Varied offerings for many cultures; you could always find something to eat. Nice to add in special grill offerings every few days - chicken schnitzel, lobster, etc. Back by the pool area. Entertainment /Activities - good variety in entertainment for us. Varied from night to night. Lectures available if you wanted and a good selection in your cabin if you missed a port talk. Sea day activities sufficient for us. There were 8-9 activities scheduled - we did expect Viking to be more in the quiet side. Embarkation/disembarkation-very smooth for us. Arrived 15 min. prior to scheduled time and were let right on. Less than 10 people waiting. Short wait in the ship-sipping champagne-and our room was ready. Luggage all delivered within 30 min. Same for leaving the ship. We were independent travelers. Had breakfast and left the ship by 8:30a.m. Taxis readily available and we were at our hotel in 20 minutes. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
My travel partner and I had New Zealand and Australia on our must-do list. Previous Viking experiences in China and Germany led us to choose this cruise when it first became available. The food was extremely disappointing and NOT up to ... Read More
My travel partner and I had New Zealand and Australia on our must-do list. Previous Viking experiences in China and Germany led us to choose this cruise when it first became available. The food was extremely disappointing and NOT up to Viking standards. The breakfast buffet was the exact same many every day and lacked creative specialty dishes. Same for lunch. There were many days when we opted for pizza and ice cream because of the heaviness of the lunch choices. Restaurants were OK but often not prepared well and there seemed to be a serious shortage of waiting staff as there were long waits between courses, making us miss out on evening entertainment. The public areas were fabulous. There was so much available space that we felt we could have a private area of the ship to lounge. This was especially nice during the 4 days at sea. This itinerary had too many days at sea for my liking. One or two is OK, but we ran out of things to do after that. Booking the shore excursions was based on priority of how much you paid for your cabin. Sadly that left all the interesting excursions completely unavailable to us and there was no attempt to book additional groups for sold-out excursions. That was the most frustrating, since we came all the way to New Zealand and could not get to the things we really wanted to see and do. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We have been on a Viking River cruise and really liked it. Have always had Australia/New Zealand on our list, so decided to try their ocean cruise. It was a great trip. It did not have the high budget shows, or casino or big parties, ... Read More
We have been on a Viking River cruise and really liked it. Have always had Australia/New Zealand on our list, so decided to try their ocean cruise. It was a great trip. It did not have the high budget shows, or casino or big parties, but had the level of entertainment and activities suited to what we like. They had a wonderful pianist, creative guitarist, violin/cello duo and fun singing group, all who entertained every day somewhere on the ship. We took all the included tours, which are mostly city tours, which are all considered easy, and fit our walking ability. Mostly ate on the 7th floor buffet so we could look out at the cities. Got really lucky and started in Auckland on their anniversary day which was celebrated on the pier next to the ship. Lots of music and fireworks. Learned a lot about New Zealand on the trip, which was our main objective. Watched the Super Bowl in the middle of the Tasman Sea, which was technologically cool. The one suggestion we would make to Viking would be to have scheduled seating times in the Restaurant, and assigned seating with other couples. We have done that on a number of cruises and found it a great way to get to know other people. The best part of our trip was the post cruise extension, Best of Australia, where we want out to Uluru-kata tjuta National park and Alice Springs. Had a great tour guide and lots of interesting sites to see. Learned so much about Aboriginal culture and history, as well as geology. Overall a very relaxed, enjoyable trip. We liked the smaller ship and hope to take more Viking River and Ocean cruises in the future. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Overall I enjoyed our cruise on Viking Orion. My husband and I booked with Viking because we were tired of large ships with no private space and we didn't want to be nickled and dimed. We wanted an adult experience without casinos, ... Read More
Overall I enjoyed our cruise on Viking Orion. My husband and I booked with Viking because we were tired of large ships with no private space and we didn't want to be nickled and dimed. We wanted an adult experience without casinos, dress up nights or photos. We also chose Viking because we liked the itinerary, shore excursions were allegedly included and the ship spent longer in each port. We were also tired of fighting crowds on larger ships. Our stateroom was lovely and the service was excellent, except for some minor issues in the dining room. Two serious difficulties arose during the voyage. First, Viking eliminated a port call in New Zealand called Roatua. Viking did provide $500.00 in a ship board credit for both my husband and me as compensation. I used this credit to book shore excursions. There was a serious problem with booking the included shore excursions. The excursions could only be booked 65 days in advance of the cruise on line. However, the included cruises were immediately sold out. So, if you were in a lower category cabin, there was often no included excursion available. The optional excursions were far more interesting than the included ones. The included excursions often conflicted with the included ones. It was frustrating, especially since I had to book several private tours. Some of the included city tours were less than impressive. I did enjoy several of the excursions....notably the Gannet Safari, the Taleri Gorge Train Ride and the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. I also enjoyed the resident historian, the shore talks and the enrichment activities on board. I found plenty to do on sea days. I would have liked extra time in Hobart and an extra day in Melbourne. The sail into Sydney Harbour was lovely. The entertainment on board was good. The cruise director was an Australian child star (now an adult) who did an excellent job. He did a terrific performance. The four singers on board did a credible job. I wasn't expecting the large Broadway shows performed on larger ships so I wasn't disappointed. I liked the free Wi-Fi, the included wine with dinner, not having to contend with noisy children, the enrichment activities and the lovely quiet spaces on the ship. I never felt crowded and I could always find a quiet place to read and relax. I didn't like the elimination of a port, slow service in the dining room or the issue with booking shore excursions. I felt that Viking engaged in false advertising with stating that a shore excursion was included I every port. For the reasons stated above, the included excursions could not be booked. I enjoyed the cruise but I am still trying to decide whether or not it was worth the additional amount of money that we spent above what we would have spent on Princess......I think we will likely book a Viking River Cruise but I am not sure about another ocean cruise. Again, I will have to use a cost benefit analysis......overall pleasant, upscale experience with helpful, friendly staff. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
After sailing with Viking twice previously, we chose Viking to fulfill a long held ambition of visiting NZ and Australia on the same holiday. We were not disappointed, the itinerary was perfect for sampling these two countries, much loved ... Read More
After sailing with Viking twice previously, we chose Viking to fulfill a long held ambition of visiting NZ and Australia on the same holiday. We were not disappointed, the itinerary was perfect for sampling these two countries, much loved by our fellow countrymen. Viking give a range of excursion options for destinations and we frequently choose the included option and find them to be excellent in providing a good overview in the limited time available. The onboard lectures and tv accessed channels allow for extensive prior briefing of your destination to really maximise the cultural experience of your visit and Viking should be complimented on this service. Ironically, we chose to pay for a trip to the southern alps in New Zealand and unfortunately this was disappointing largely because we drove into wet and misty conditions that sadly ruined any spectacular scenery views.( not Viking’s fault, the luck of the draw!) The ship was quite new at the time of our cruise ( Jan 2019) and was immaculate. We had a Penthouse Veranda cabin and found it to be comfortable and well appointed. The cabin was generous in size and tastefully fitted with the “Skandi cool” decor and furniture in theme with all common areas of the ship. With only some 930 max passengers ( only 36 of us Brits at the time) the ship never feels crowded and there are many quiet areas to enjoy the sailing whilst at sea. My wife has given a full report on the ship’s services and staff, etc and should be read in conjunction with my comments! All good! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This was our third Viking ocean cruise - we chose Viking for the more intimate ship capacity, lack of casino & similar entertainment, excellent dining choices, well appointed & spacious cabins, attentive staff and excellent choice ... Read More
This was our third Viking ocean cruise - we chose Viking for the more intimate ship capacity, lack of casino & similar entertainment, excellent dining choices, well appointed & spacious cabins, attentive staff and excellent choice of included shore visits. We particularly enjoy eating in Chef’s Table,choosing to eat there at each menu change, and have not been disappointed. The premium wine pairings are well chosen and to our taste. We enjoy eating in Manfredi’s, preferring this venue to the main restaurant which, for us, is a little too large and has a less personal atmosphere. The World Cafe offers an excellent choice every evening & we look for their ‘specials’ evenings when you can sample, for instance, a range of fresh fish or an Italian theme with chef cooking fresh pasta to order. I was particularly impressed on the Orion since I have a small dietary requirement which had not been listed - a restaurant manager in the World Cafe pursued this on my behalf & by day 2 of the cruise, whilst in port,was able to supply what I required. Thank you to Ariel who exemplified what is so good about all the Viking staff. We always enjoy a pre dinner drink in the Explorer lounge, often with some live, quiet background music, and have been impressed with the ability of the staff to remember not just you but your preferred drink - and on this occasion even from a previous ship & voyage! We booked an extension to our cruise in Sydney & were satisfied with the transfer, ship to hotel, which involved a large number of people. We were given a succinct presentation at the hotel of services available & were able to leave our bags safely there while we explored this lovely city. Our room was available at the appointed time & our bags promptly followed. Breakfast provided for Viking guests in a separate dining area was very good and the staff attentive & helpful. Our airport transfer was well handled - our only disappointment that our wonderful holiday was ending. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Viking Orion Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 5.0 N/A
Dining 5.0 4.4
Entertainment 4.0 4.1
Public Rooms 5.0 4.8
Fitness & Recreation 5.0 N/A
Family N/A 4.4
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 5.0 N/A
Service 4.5 4.6
Value for Money 5.0 N/A

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