10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
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
5 Helpful Votes
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
6 Helpful Votes
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
10 Helpful Votes
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
7 Helpful Votes
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
9 Helpful Votes
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
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
I liked the original itinerary on Viking and that's why I chose it. After I had booked it, they eliminated Rotorua, New Zealand which was the stop I was looking forward to the most. They did give us a $500 per person credit, but I ... Read More
I liked the original itinerary on Viking and that's why I chose it. After I had booked it, they eliminated Rotorua, New Zealand which was the stop I was looking forward to the most. They did give us a $500 per person credit, but I wouldn't have booked it if I had known. The included shore excursions, with the exception of Aukland, were terrible. Poor choices of what to see, boring details, and lasted far too long. I booked $1,000 worth of extra excursions and I enjoyed them. Also, I have cruised on both Crystal and Oceania and the food on both is excellent. Some meals on Viking were good, but most were only ok. The evening entertainment was also a disappointment compared to Crystal. The room I was in was noisy during sea days and nights. We were above a life boat and I believe that contributed to the noise. It may not have been fastened down securely and it was creaking. I did book a deep tissue massage and it was fantastic. Even though I wouldn't recommend Viking, everyone working on the ship was outstanding. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We booked this cruise because of our previous experiences with Viking River and to join some friends. The process pre-cruise with booking excursions was horrible as most of the tours were listed as sold-out by the time they were opened to ... Read More
We booked this cruise because of our previous experiences with Viking River and to join some friends. The process pre-cruise with booking excursions was horrible as most of the tours were listed as sold-out by the time they were opened to us (and we were not in the last group!). The boarding process was very smooth and our cabin steward was very nice and capable. Once on board we found out that a number of the tours we had hoped for were now listed as available so we were able to get on some we were hoping for. The first night in the dining room was terrible. It took forever to get our meal and I had to send mine back twice because the meat was so under-cooked! The second and third nights were not much better but then they got into a rhythm and it seemed okay. However for the final several nights, I think they had new staff on board and the service dropped again. Most of the menus were not very exciting and somewhat repetitive. We went to most of the shows they offered. This was the first cruise for the Viking Vocalists quartet and their first shows were just okay. They improved but I think the choreography lacked pizzazz. The special entertainment that they had come on board was lacking. The Argentine tango duo danced well but they had too much narrative to their show. The guitarist played well but had no stage presence and little to interact with the audience. The Gertrude Opera was good but, again, the narrative distracted from the performance. The final guest performance, by the aboriginal dance theater, was excellent! We enjoyed the trivia times and the musical name that tune. I didn't think the guest lecturers were very good but did hear some positives from other guests. The excursions that we did were good. I heard some complaints about the Southern Alps trip and the Kangaroos and Koalas trip, neither of which we were on. The Healesville Sanctuary trip was an add-on excursion which we took and thoroughly enjoyed! Zealandia was a good one, also. The Napier tour by Classic Car was fun. Debarkation was simple and very easy. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I picked Viking For my ocean cruise because they did such a wonderful job on my river cruise in Europe. Unfortunately they are beginners on the ocean. The cruise was disappointing On many levels to the point of me feeling I had wasted my ... Read More
I picked Viking For my ocean cruise because they did such a wonderful job on my river cruise in Europe. Unfortunately they are beginners on the ocean. The cruise was disappointing On many levels to the point of me feeling I had wasted my money. Unlike the river cruise which was leisurely with a pampered and elegant feel, the ocean cruise was hurried And low budget. We missed several ports of call because passengers got seasick and there was too much wind? Unlike other cruises that pass out nausea medication prior to hitting open sea, Viking waited until passengers got sick and then rationed seasick pills. Some bought them in the pharmacy. There were barf bags On every floor. I saw one passenger vomit in the dining room. I didn’t see any wind. I do get seasick without medication but the water looked fine to me.There were rumors that the crew Lacked Ability to get into the harbors. The staff were all very pleasant and agreeable but lacked real comprehension of English. I was told my laundry was included in my cabin but was charged for it. A communication misunderstanding. I qualified for a free pressing but not for free washing.At dinner the waiters explanation of the meal described a casserole but it was just a piece of roasted chicken. The gentleman who gave the daily slideshow presentation had such a thick accent that we understood little of what he said. We were stuck for several days On board with Little to do Unless you play bridge or drank all day.Even our TV didn’t work. It took four calls for maintenance for them to replace the remote Which we said was the problem during the first Maintenance call. Unlike my river cruise where my gluten-free meals were arranged daily by one wonderful staff member, there was no coordination of meals On this cruise. I had to ask at every meal for gluten-free options. Sometime I got a stare. Often I got a cold roll after I had finished all of my meal. One time I was told to go stand in line at another location, ask for the bread and then come back to get the rest of my meal. I was told at times that there wasn’t a gluten-free option. I got daily letters at my cabin addressed to Mr. But I am a woman not a man. They never did fix it. Considering how many thousands of dollars I paid for the trip you would think they could at least know that much about me. My brother got food poisoning after eating mussels in the restaurant. My sister made several trips to the infirmary From riding in the wheel well Of a Jeep during A long day excursion. They missed several day excursions and Viking would not refund what they paid for them. I wrote a detailed letter to Viking when I returned home listing all of the above problems and more because there were more. All I got was a voucher toward another cruise which expired in 12 months. Absolutely insulting! After a cruise like that who would want to repeat it ? Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
My wife and I go on a cruise almost every year. We have cruised with Crystal, Regent, Ocena, Princess, Cunard, Holland America over the years. Crystal has always been our preferred cruise line. We chose this cruise for three main reasons: ... Read More
My wife and I go on a cruise almost every year. We have cruised with Crystal, Regent, Ocena, Princess, Cunard, Holland America over the years. Crystal has always been our preferred cruise line. We chose this cruise for three main reasons: (1) I badly wanted to visit my mother's grave in Hobart (Tasmania) and this cruise included Hobart in its itinerary; (2) we wanted to go to Australian Open tennis tournament after the cruise; and (3) we wanted to see the main cities of New Zealand and Australia. Additional considerations for us included the newness of Viking Orion, good reviews of Viking ocean cruises, being only for adults and no requirement for formal attire. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. The ship was beautiful; eveything on the ship had been tastefully designed. Our cabin was on deck 6 and classified as deluxe veranda; its size was perfectly satisfactory, the bed was very comfortable and the bathroom was fine. There was an excellent fridge in the room and the WiFi signal was acceptable. In commen areas WiFi worked very well about 80% of the time (10-15 Mbps), which is excellent considering the remote areas we were sailing at. Dining: There were two specialty dining venues in addition to the main dining room and the "world cafe" where food was served buffet style. There were also three other locations where one can have open sandwiches, hamburgers etc. Entertainment: Compared to other cruises there was minimal entertainment of relatively low quality. Since we didn't much care about the generally low quality stage performances on cruise ships this was not an issue for us. The lectures were fine. Now, why do I give this cruise only 2 stars: The captain decided not to go to Christchurch and more importantly Hobart for weather related reasons. In his announcements he repeated that "our safety was his main priority" and provided only scant reasons for his decisions, which didn't satify anybody because weather, as far as we could determine, was not particularly bad at either port. That is two ports of call out of seven. I was very disappointed and angry as I wondered when will I ever have another chance to go to Hobart. So we ended up spending two extra days at sea and one extra day in Melbourne, which meant nothing to us because we were going to be in Melbourne for Australian Open anyway. The food was prepared by non-specialist cooks and the quality was in general quite poor. Our first dinner on board was just awful and I knew right at the outset we were going to have problems with food quality. Dinner on December 31st, New Year's Eve, was nothing special. They made no effort whatsoever to celebrate the arrival of the new year in the dining room. The variety of the food items included in the menus of the main dining room and the World Cafe became absolutely monotonous and boring. Fruit selection consisted of melon, watermelon, pineapple, apples, and strawberries all of which were tasteless. There was plently of meat but very little edible seafood. They even managed to cook salmon welldone! Shellfish was also plenty but tasteless. Imagine, you are travelling in the middle of summer in places that are well known for their vegetables and fruits (e.g. kiwi fruit, mangos, peaches, grapes) and none of them made an appearance at our dinner table. Same for seafood. The fish served were all of European origin and frozen - that's probably why they always cooked the fish until it was compeletly dry. Barista coffee was bad - we were told by one of the coffee baristas that the machines, not the coffee beans, were to blame. The staff clearly needed more training and better language skills. Often they did not understand what we asked for. Poorly selected music (rock, country etc.) played loudly on deck 7 where everyone congregated most of the time. The cover over Deck 7 would often be closed when the weather was hot with no wind making the place like a sauna and open when it was windy and cool. I mentioned this to staff and got no response. The included shore excursions were good. We received an email from Viking offering us $250 credit towards a future Viking cruise for missing out on two ports of call. I also received a phone call from a Viking representative after we returned home who tried to sell me another Viking cruise by offering "additional (to $250) cruise credit as further compensation". That is not an acceptable service recovery in my book. I will not go on another Viking Cruise and my wife feels the same. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose Viking Ocean for several reasons. First we were tired of the large crowds of people on the other cruise lines we have sailed. We were tired of the photographers, casino, and poor excursions. We were happy to pay a little more for ... Read More
We chose Viking Ocean for several reasons. First we were tired of the large crowds of people on the other cruise lines we have sailed. We were tired of the photographers, casino, and poor excursions. We were happy to pay a little more for better excursions (as advertised on air) and to have wine and beer at lunch and dinner, coffee all day without being nickled and dimed to death. We thought Viking would be a great way to see New Zealand and Australia. It wasn't. First what was good about the cruise, the ship was beautiful. Its new, launched in June 2018. The stateroom Deluxe Veranda was comfortable and the bathroom was roomy, especially the shower. The food was good to excellent and the service was spot on, everyone was attentive. What was wrong? It started with booking excursions. We had to book excursions based on cabin level, so we could not book anything until 65 days prior to departure. It turns out we we were closed out of all the excursions we wanted to take. You also had to book your included excursions by choosing the time you wanted. So if you were trying to book an early one in order to get a later extra one, forget it wasn't going to happen. Once on board we found out that we were in the majority with regard to issues with booking excursions. Many people were up at 3:30 am EST in order to get the jump on booking on line. Many had gone and booked private tours with other tour groups in port. Image spending all this money and still going through this expense. The included excursions were not great, Auckland was terrible and the rest not much better. Just driving around in a bus seeing the city. The bus driver was the tour guide. Nothing like the excursions seen in the ads. Most passengers had traveled Viking before on river cruises and all were surprised at the poor quality of the ocean cruise excursions, nothing like the river cruise. We lost 2 ports due to poor weather. The sun was shining, but it was windy and the captain chose, for safety reasons, not to enter the port for Christchurch NZ. The sea was rough, so he slowed down to try to minimize the rocking and we could not make Hobart Tasmania on time. So it was cut out. They gave us an extra day in Melbourne and set up more excursions for the extra day. By 8 am the following day, all extra excursions were full. Surprise!!! Days at sea were BORING!!! No fun games, nothing. Just a bunch of passengers sitting around in all the reading nook areas reading. Pool was empty, sun deck too windy to play games, too rocky for bocce. Evening entertainment was so-so, 2 off ship performers were good but the last night in Sydney with the aborigine tribe was pathetic. It all sounded and looked the same from song to song. The planetarium show was a joke. A grade C- movie about a launch to Mars. All made up with the worst acting ever!! Overall for an ocean cruise, I could have stayed with Princess, cheaper, endured the crowds and gotten the same poor shore experience. We traveled so far and saw so little. SAD. They gave us vouchers towards our next booking to make up for the inconvenience. I called to complain on the amount and they increased it but it still does not make up for my loss. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I’ve had New Zealand and Australia on my bucket list for a long time. With such great reviews of Viking Ocean cruises and having been very pleased with Viking River, why not. It was a mix of good and bad. In the good side was the ... Read More
I’ve had New Zealand and Australia on my bucket list for a long time. With such great reviews of Viking Ocean cruises and having been very pleased with Viking River, why not. It was a mix of good and bad. In the good side was the ship, service, food, entertainment gym and spa, especially the Nordic experience of steam, ice, etc. However, you take a cruise for the above but especially to see things. We were extremely underwhelmed with the excisions. Non descript ports and tours. The combined driver/guides were also boring. We did not see the picturesque New Zealand you hear about. In addition, we missed two ports, Christchurch and Tasmania due to rough seas in the Tasmin Sea. I absolutely get safety and and won’t question it but their compensation for missing two ports was a $250 credit to a future cruise. $500 off I’m a $20K cruise excluding air; INSULTING. I question is I ever take Biking Ocean again. I also understand that this was a maiden voyage from NZ to Australia. I think they were learning along the way on our nickel. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Before we departed on our trip, excursions were cancelled by Viking. So we arranged independent tours only to have to cancel these excursions because Viking cancelled 2 ports during our cruise. Imagine being on board and having to call ... Read More
Before we departed on our trip, excursions were cancelled by Viking. So we arranged independent tours only to have to cancel these excursions because Viking cancelled 2 ports during our cruise. Imagine being on board and having to call tour companies and tell them our port was cancelled and can we get our money back within a 24 hour notice of cancellation. This was a nightmare. Christ Church and Hobart, Tasmania were cancelled during our cruise. These cancellations caused disappointments for every person on board. Viking said they would give us a credit. You won’t believe what they offered us. A $250 voucher to use on another cruise. Seriously this was a very expensive trip and we missed seeing Mt Cook and Tasmania. Also our room was wrong. The photo on the Viking website was not the room we were assigned. Viking has corrected the photo our incident. This photo has been wrong for several of their ships. And the pricing was wrong too. I can’t tell you the number of calls to Viking that it took for us to get our refund. This is not our first trip on Viking. And there have been problems on every trip. This first Viking River Cruise we were stuck at a horrible port for 2 nights in Passau, Germany. We were given a voucher to use on another trip. That’s why we took another Viking cruise and only to spend more money with Viking. We have refused the Australian- New Zealand voucher because I refuse to give Viking anymore money. And if we accepted the voucher they wanted us to sign a non-disclosure letter. We decided to not accept the voucher so that we could share our disappointing experiences with Viking Yes the ship is gorgeous, but the customer service is horrible and you can not believe that what you buy from Viking will actually happen. Viking has no problems in cancelling excursions, cancelling ports and docking in crummy ports. And they will not refund you your money. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose the Viking Orion cruise because we had wanted to see Australia. We left on December 30 out of Auckland. As mentioned above the communication prior to leaving was inaccurate and insufficient. I really don't think the people ... Read More
We chose the Viking Orion cruise because we had wanted to see Australia. We left on December 30 out of Auckland. As mentioned above the communication prior to leaving was inaccurate and insufficient. I really don't think the people organizing this cruise were prepared. We continually got the impression that they would meet somewhere and decide what to do next. The food on the cruise was good, but not great. There were not enough salads and they only knew how to cook steaks 2 ways: well done or rare! The 2 speciallity restaurants were not really special. Manfredi's had Italian food that was only slighly better than the Olive Garden. The atmosphere was not at all elegant as you would expect for a "speciality" restaurant. There were plastic placemats and the lighting and overall atmosphere was just not good. The Chef's Table was bad. It was presented as a "groumet" restaurant, but it was hardly that. It had 4 courses. We went on Mexican night and the 1 st course was a single round corn chip with a small teaspoon of chopped octopus on it! The rest of the potions were equally small and not at all good. They arrived barely warm and were very small portions. The main course was short ribs. It consisted of a 2 inch square of molded meat that was the size of a brownie. It was cold and tasted like it was made last week! This restaurant used the same plastic placemats - not the white table cloths you would expect! We had another reservation that we canceled. Then, there were the Excursions! The included excursions consisted of sitting on a bus with the drive rattling off things to look at out the window. This was poorly done and usually we could not see what he was describing before we drove past. The worst excursion was one one we paid $129 for. This was the Otaga Wildlife cruise. For this cruise we boarded a boat that was probably 50 years old! It had no comfortable seats and was enclosed with cloudy plastic zip windows. They passed out binoculars to everyone. We ride was really rough and the boat driver narrated a script and pointed out a few birds (hardly the expected wildlife) that we could observe flying by as the boat swayed back and forth and bumped along at a fairly fast clip. Most of us could not focus on anything and maintain our balance on the boat. It was awful! A few people felt sick! I don't think the person who planned this actually went on this trip. I am furious that we paid for this! This trip was really rough! We spent a total of 5 days on very rough seas! As we walked along the halls, we would sway from one side to the other holding on to the rails! It was difficult to maintain your balance. There were many people who were sick! We missed the stops at Christ church and Hobart and Tasmania because of the rough seas! I don't anyone quite understood what we missed Tasmania because the communication was poor, as usual. Anyway, missing this stop caused us to spend an additional day on the very rough seas. Because we missed Tasmania, we had an extra day in Melbourne. We were promised 2 things: added excursions and compensation when we got back home. First of all, there were added excursions, but they had only a few places, so most of the passengers were left in Melbourne on there own. There was almost no help or guidance from the crew of things to see and how to get there. People go on tours and cruises, so people can guide them in sight seeing, Viking failed to do this or us! When we got home we were offered a $250.00 voucher to use on another cruise. This is a pathetic offer for compensation for missing Tasmania which is one of the major attractions on this cruise! I have only one more thing to mention. During the "At sea days", there were very few activities planned. There were lectures and a bean bag toss, but little else. Luckily, we brought a deck of cards. Oh and I almost forgot the mention that the cruise director was part of the evening entertainment. He was not a very good singer. I think his time would have been better spent on planning and organizing the cruise activities! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Having cruised all major shipping lines over the past 30 years, I was thrilled to find Viking Orion cruising from Australia 30th December, 2018. Having heard the standard of this ship was equal to the best I had travelled on previously, ... Read More
Having cruised all major shipping lines over the past 30 years, I was thrilled to find Viking Orion cruising from Australia 30th December, 2018. Having heard the standard of this ship was equal to the best I had travelled on previously, I booked & paid top price for our accommodation onboard. By the end of the cruise, I was so disappointed with so many aspects of the cruise, I actually cancelled another booking I had for later in the next year. My biggest disappointment was that, because it was a New Years Eve cruise, a date I cruise every year, to celebrate, I couldn't believe how little was offered on the night. There was a countdown clock on the outside deck pool screen showing the time & then the wording Happy New Year displayed - & that was it. No balloons, no party hats, no whistles, no deck food etc - all the little things that go into making it a great night. The worst NYE I have ever experienced onboard a cruise ship. No flowers, fruit, chocolates on pillow in stateroom. Buffets with so little choice, it was difficult to find something worth eating. 2 ports of call were missed out due to "bad weather". I feel so sorry for people who had travelled halfway around the world to see Australia & New Zealand & ended up mainly having sea days. Why, when we couldn't get into Lyttleton (for Christchurch) didn't we go to the safe harbour of Akaroa near by - as did one of the larger Princess cruise ships on the same day. Viking, you have a great reputation with River Cruises - perhaps you should stick to them. Read Less
Viking Orion Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.6
Dining 5.0 4.3
Entertainment 4.0 4.0
Public Rooms 5.0 4.8
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.4
Family N/A 4.4
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 5.0 4.2
Service 4.5 4.5
Value For Money 5.0 4.0

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