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234 Barcelona to Europe - All Cruise Reviews

The ship was an average ship, Some of the employees needed more training and experience, service was average, food quality was average. Need lots of improvement in food service and quality of service. The front desk employees, either they ... Read More
The ship was an average ship, Some of the employees needed more training and experience, service was average, food quality was average. Need lots of improvement in food service and quality of service. The front desk employees, either they were not knowledgeable or not feeling to assist or they were tired. At least the one who was helping us. Food was average quality, we return our food back in the dining room because it was not cooked and or was not prepared right. Our waiter in dining room was a very nice guy. Fitness center was clean but they were permitting kids in the center, kids were all over on the equipment creating a danger first to them and others. The cruise company leave the responsibility on the parents. Entertainments were not as interesting as it should be at least to our test. Maybe some customers that have not seen other cruise ships was satisfactory. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Selected this cruise because of promotional brochure indicating interesting ports of call. Promotional material didn't properly identify that many ports on this cruise were for a limited time, less than day, which made the cruise much ... Read More
Selected this cruise because of promotional brochure indicating interesting ports of call. Promotional material didn't properly identify that many ports on this cruise were for a limited time, less than day, which made the cruise much less enjoyable and disappointing. Wouldn't have taken it if had known this fact. Scheduled for two days in Barcelona and left after first evening. Afternoon or morning on five other destinations. Also not clear on personal touring transportation option which were limited. If you promote a stop/city then don't have transportation for sell guided tours readily available very disappointing. Most excursions were good but a few tried to pack too much activity into too short a time in port. We have done numerous river cruises with Viking and self guided is a big plus. Ship was nice and having taken an Amazon cruise in December we were familiar with the ship offering. Staff was always pleasant and accommodating. New ship so facilities were good. Enjoyed the Restaurant and the World Cafe'. World Cafe' staff was solicitous to passengers compensating for self service format. Had two occasions in Resturant that staff wasn't good and reflected staff either overworked or focused on certain passengers Selection of items was good in the World Cafe'.. We were not fans of the Chiefs Table due to the presentation and selection of menu but that is just a personal choice. Heard lot's of compliments about Chiefs Table from others. Manfradi's was pleasant but often portions were too large. Also some staff more pleasant than others. Again just a personal choice and observation. Service was good so would recommend this to other travelers. Enjoyed Mamsens and Explorer Lounge. Staff was great and environment was great place to meet other travelers. Sorry that this cruise wasn't what we had hoped for. Compared to our Amazon Cruise with Viking, our first Viking Ocean Cruise, this was a disappointment. Undecided on future Ocean cruising with Viking but would recognize that they do a good job on board. Will always consider Viking River Cruising. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This was our first ocean cruise with viking. We had 2 days in madrid, spain prior to the cruise. The hotel, tours, services, and transfer were excellent. Embarkation in barcelona went smoothly. The ship was very beautiful. The room was ... Read More
This was our first ocean cruise with viking. We had 2 days in madrid, spain prior to the cruise. The hotel, tours, services, and transfer were excellent. Embarkation in barcelona went smoothly. The ship was very beautiful. The room was a standard veranda. It was nicely appointed and comfortable. We liked the world cafe for dinning. It had a wide variety of foods each meal. The restaurant was very good. Similar food to that served in the world cafe. We ate once in the chef’s table. The service and food were excellent. Great wine selection. Service on the ship was excellent. All the staff did their best to make our cruise comfortable. There was an issue with the ship staying in barcelona overnight so we had to move down the coast. This caused several of the shore excursions to be canceled or you had to ride a bus back for the excursion. The excursion to london required an 1.5 hour bus ride each way along with a ride around the highlights of city. Too much time on the bus and not enough time on foot at a destination. The foodie walking tour in copenhagen was excellent. The guide was very knowledgeable and entertaining. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Viking Jupiter – Western Europe – Barcelona to Copenhagen – April 25–May 9, 2019 For Context - We are in our late 60’s and this was our 3rd Viking Ocean Cruise in 12 months. We did the Caribbean in February 2019 on the ... Read More
Viking Jupiter – Western Europe – Barcelona to Copenhagen – April 25–May 9, 2019 For Context - We are in our late 60’s and this was our 3rd Viking Ocean Cruise in 12 months. We did the Caribbean in February 2019 on the Viking SEA and did the Baltics Homelands Cruise on the SKY in May 2018. We consider ourselves quite mobile and enjoy tours/activities that require lots of walking and exercise. We hope to do 5 to 10 miles walking whenever we are in ports when we take cruise vacations. We have done primarily DIY trips where I planned everything and managed traveling by train or car to different hotels or B&B’s every couple nights, combined with DIY sightseeing. As we’ve aged, this certainly takes a toll on us both in the planning and the execution – so another reason for trying out cruising again after many years. We have been on other cruise lines, but picked Viking on recommendations from friends, who really like the format and clientele makeup. We found this to be very true: focus on history, ports, education and casual but good food. Less focus on entertainment and keeping people highly occupied all the time. Viking seemed to be different and targeting a niche market which we thought we would enjoy: no kids, no formal nights, no casinos, no Las Vegas Entertainment, no flamboyant dinners, no late night parties and more – so we thought we might meet others who had the same feelings at least. Viking Jupiter is a fabulous ship! We’d been concerned about being on a new ship given how people have recommended waiting for Viking to work out kinks. However, the itinerary was just too good to pass up and we thought that with several months “shakeout”, Viking would correct most if not all of the major issues on the first several voyages – and we were correct. We observed some very good updates in the Viking Jupiter from our earlier Sea & Sky cruises. – with one major exception (the new Planetarium). For the most part, Viking has this down now and does a fantastic job. We could see, however, some small kinks, which was expected as they grow and have to add and train new staff. Simple patience and pleasant discussions with newer staff went a long ways to helping them learn. Room (see below in separate section) TV and the Viking App: We enjoyed the TV, not so much for the shows like BBC, Television, movies, and more, but for all the information you can see about the cruise itself. Viking did a great job of getting all the information into one place here – and accessible by an amazingly simple remote control! Love it! We would check the weather, look at the Bridge Web Cam live, view the port talks, enrichment lectures, and more (like Ted talks). We could also check our billing account live, view restaurant menus, make dinner reservations, and more!! The app was also well designed and easy to use. Was looking at it constantly throughout the day to check on weather, the Daily Schedule, menus, making reservations, the excursions, things we had booked, future ports, and much much more. Again – kudos to Viking here!! Entertainment We enjoyed the evening shows at 9:15 in the Star Theatre. We are not as hyper critical as others and so they were all quite good in our opinion, some better than others. The only comment is that some of the shows seem to go from ship to ship (as in ABBA, the Beatles, Songs of the Decades), but there was still a good variety. Although the shows in the evening were quite popular, we never had an issue getting a seat, as long as we arrived by 9:00 or 9:05. Probably the one disappointment (versus our previous cruises) was the Cruise Director. To be fair, she had just come over to Viking from another line – but she came across as ditsy, unprofessional, unprepared, and not knowing anything (which certainly couldn’t be true or they wouldn’t have hired her). Just not our style I suppose. Another unexpected treat was the rotation of musical entertainment around different public spaces throughout the days – we had an excellent pianist, a Classical Trio, and a Guitar player (who, sadly, had his speakers on too loud though). They would play at different locations such as Explorer’s Lounge, Wintergarden, and the Attrium – particularly at cocktail hour and after dinner. We did not go to hear the bands in Torshavn, the ship’s night club, but people did say they enjoyed it. History, Lecture, and Enlightenment This is easily one of the best parts of the Viking Cruises. Each cruise we’ve had excelled here. Jupiter was outstanding! We had 4 or 5 guest lecturers and historians as well as an Astronomer. The depth and variety of these different lectures/presentations was amazing – we couldn’t attend each one in person, but they were always available on the Room TV shortly afterwards. True highlights! We thoroughly enjoyed Russell Lee, one of the lecturers, who was absolutely enthralling in his talks on Anne Frank, How Wool Changed early Europe, the Mona Lisa you didn’t know about, and the Tulips Bubble of 1600’s Holland. So interesting!! About the only aspect we didn’t care for that much were the port talks. They had such great promise. The issue to us is that they started out great with some good knowledge on the ports, but too little time was spent on that and it seemed that nearly two thirds of the time was then focused on selling/pushing the various tours/excursions. Since by the time you see it you are already pretty much committed in or out, what was the point? I did like however, the way they used the map graphics to show where everything was. Would have rather spent time in tips and how to see the ports or attractions, what the people are like, what to watch for and watch out for, and more things like that. Improvement needed here. Onboard the Jupiter We spent so much time in the Explorer’s Lounge (as we had done in prior cruises). On the 7th level, it has such a fantastic view, and a very small bar as well. It is adjacent to Mamsens so you can get something to eat there and carry it to the lounge are to look forward. Planetarium: The one big change we viewed as not so good: The Jupiter, as a newer ship, greatly changed the explorer’s Lounge. A Planetarium was constructed that takes over ½ of the 8th floor of the Explorer’s Lounge. This sounded good at first, but the execution is sadly lacking. You had to get tickets (at the excursion desk) to go in and they showed 3 different short films (not that good) on Astronomy and Science up on the Planetarium ceiling. A poor use of this huge dome. There are only 26 seats and you have to crane your neck to look upwards. Was not that interesting-or comfortable. So much more could have been done with this and perhaps Viking will figure it out and/or remove the Planetarium on future ships. Another fallout was that it made the Explorer’s Lounge much more crowded all the time, as most people had to jam into the 7th floor area. Not a good tradeoff in our opinion. I felt they could have used the Astronomer instead to give talks/discussions on the stars above. Again, loved the walking deck on level 2 – we used it most days we could for exercise. Only issue was there were plenty of signs telling everyone to walk clockwise, yet it seemed half the people ignored that, which caused some confusion. A nice addition from the earlier ships were additional tables and chairs on this deck at the fantail so you could watch the wake as we sailed. Amazingly, it was never busy as very few seemed interested in just taking it all in as we traveled on the seas. For us it was a perfect place to relax. The spa was another treat onboard. Only services like massages cost anything – the use of the spa area is free/included. Loved the “resistance” pool and hot tub. You can visit the snow room and then the dry sauna room. Even take a cold water dunking with a bucket! (The hot and cold Nordic routine!) But we most enjoyed lying on the heated “lounge” pads. If you wanted private space to sit and read, there were so many good nooks and crannies to curl up in! A treat not to be missed was the Viking Heritage “room” area on the 2nd level – with lots of interesting material (like a museum) on the Vikings. The wifi was excellent on the ship. A new policy that limits rooms to 2 active users at a time really has helped and certainly was not the inconvenience that many had thought would happen. Food and Restaurants: World Café: We did quite a bit of our eating here. It just fit out style so well. We liked the nice, quiet and relaxing atmosphere and ambience. There were never any lines, there were such great waiters to attend to you, and we never felt rushed. Plus the views on the 7th deck from there were the best! The food selection was great in our opinion and you could see what you were getting ahead of time so less wasted food. Absolutely enjoyed the sushi every evening – an outstanding sushi chef! You could also get some food made to order (such as steaks and other pasta, grilled shrimp, and more). Overall we thought the quality and variety of the food here was way better than we expected (and had been led to believe by many of the other reviewers who did not care for it). We liked that we could always find a table and usually always one with a nice view. We sort of got to “know” the World Café “regulars”!! We were always promptly served with drinks (wine in this case) from such a friendly staff. Since there was never any feeling of hurry or rush, we would go up and create an appetizer plate, relax, have a glass of wine, rehash the day and watch the view, and then meander back to get perhaps some hot plates…. Eventually the evening always led to: gelato! A real treat. Loved the new cooking station back by the Aquavit Terrace where you could order omelettes in the morning, pastas and other items in the lunch time, and a noodle bar in the evening. Not only did it improve the flow, but allow us to engage with the cooks! We enjoyed the Aquavit Terrace itself for sitting and having a drink or glass of wine before dinner – what a view! The tables surrounding it and extending out onto the fantail were perfect for enjoying outdoor dining when the weather was good. Chef’s Table: Now this was definitely something we could not experience at home! Our favorite place! So unique! We wound up going 4 times as they have rotating menus every several days and we wanted to experience them all. For us the atmosphere was perfect – a nice, relaxing, quieter environment, where the waiters take you through a multi-course special meal paired with various wines. Not only educational but excellent food. You actually had some time to converse with the staff! Despite comments by others, we felt we got plenty of food (and wine) and if for some reason you were still hungry you could always go to the World Café for more food. The Restaurant: We did not attend the main dining room this cruise although we went on our previous ones. As stated before, each cruise had a personality. On the Jupiter, for some reason, this was the most popular place and always had long lines to wait to get in. (It was wide open on our previous cruises). We also heard reports that it took a long time to get waited and served here. Mamsens: This small place near the Explorer’s Lounge has some interesting items. We had oatmeal and toast for breakfast once, had the many different open faced sandwiches for lunch (shrimp, roast beef, salmon), and then had their cakes in the afternoon quite often! Those were to die for, especially the almond one. The Viking CEO’s mother’s special recipe we heard. The Pool Grill: Located out by the pool, they served grilled food to order on a limited menu. The hamburgers were some of the best we have ever had. Our tried and true order, however, was the seared ahi tuna, cooked perfectly at medium rare for us! That, combined with the wonderful salads they have, made for a perfect lunch while sitting outside by the pool. On the Jupiter there are quite a larger number of tables and chairs to eat outside, compared with the earlier ships. A real treat was when the staff used the Pool Area to put on specialty meals – such as Italian night, or Seafood Grill, and in one instance on a sea day, a huge “brunch” was held with some amazing dishes and treats to choose from. My observation is that Viking is getting more creative in the presentation of various meals. Wintergarden: We had tea here just once, as it was absolutely packed every day for some reason. Wonderful scones and small sandwiches, and the choices of tea were amazing. However, for us, the cacohony and din in that room was too much to bear – couldn’t hear anyone talk!! Not a very relaxing atmosphere to have high tea!! Manfredi’s: We’d been to this place on the other cruises and went just once on the Jupiter. We actually cancelled our 2nd reservation. To us, this place was not special at all, although the food was acceptable. The environment was not our style – seemed more raucous, loud, boisterous like a large bistro with too many large parties that have had too much to drink. For us not that comfortable a place to eat. Also, it seemed short staffed and so we had to constantly wait for everything – and it took well over 2 ½ hours to get through the meal. The portions were so embarrassingly large and it seemed like such a waste of food – but perhaps they were targeting a certain audience who wants that size. However, it was indeed quite popular – especially with large groups. Yet it didn’t seem any different than so many restaurants in the USA back home – nothing special. But maybe familiarity to home is what people wanted. The Staff: We thought the staff and crew were again absolutely wonderful and beyond expectations each cruise. Not only was every single person helpful and professional, they managed to be friendly and engaging without going overboard. We used the excursion desk and customer service locations on the 1st level quite a bit and found them all quite helpful at getting answers to any questions we had. We enjoyed that even if they didn’t have the answer they were able to find someone who did. We did have some small issues during the cruise, but we also were able to get them addressed in a timely fashion. We enjoyed some of our discussions with the restaurant staff as well, and sort of got to know them, and vice versa. We liked that they were attentive (and noticing), but not overbearing or pushy, like some places. Our captain and the other officers were outstanding. They exuded a quiet confidence and trust. Much of this had to do with their communication to the passengers about things that were happening or going to happen – such as the weather precautions, changing of ports, or arrival/departure times, and what to expect. We never felt in the dark and very much appreciated the good communication. ITINERARY/PORTS/EXCURSIONS: Barcelona: we arrived a few days early. I would very much recommend “Barcelona Day Tours”. We took a private tour to Montserrat that also included Barcelona and Park Guell. Well worth it. The next day we did a Free Walking Tour of Barcelona – again quite outstanding! Good thing we did since the Jupiter wound up having to change ports the evening that we boarded (we learned this about 2 weeks before sailing). At first we were disappointed, but the added port (Tarragona) was well worth it. Tarragona: This lesser known port about 30-40 miles south of Barcelona was a real hit! We walked all around town and the ship provided free shuttle buses to and from the port. Famous for its Roman Ruins – plus it was quite uncrowded. An unexpected treat. Will be interesting to see if this becomes the norm with Barcelona forcing ships to leave early. Cartagena: One of the more disappointing tours. We did the included tour. It is luck of the draw on who you get for a guide, as we spoke to friends who were on other buses who had fantastic tours! Very inconsistent. Our guide had a difficult time with English and didn’t go much beyond what was necessary. A highlight though was the visit to the Roman Amphitheatre and Museum. Just wish we had more time there. We enjoyed then wandering around the city streets on our own, finding a nice shop to get some Spanish wine to bring onboard. The Jupiter docked right in town -easy walking distance. Malaga (Granada): We were unable to get the optional excursion to the Alhambra, even with a DV2 room, as it instantly sold out. Apparently the Alhambra only makes a limited amount of tickets available per day. We tried private tours but they were mostly sold out and one wanted over $500 pp. Sort of a blessing in disguise, as we had 2 outstanding tours in Malaga. We took the optional Nerja Caves tour in the morning. What a surprise – an exceptional trip to visit the Caves underground – very unique. Note: no one with mobility issues should do this. After quite an amazing walk down through the caves, we spent time in the city of Nerja – what a wonderful place on the Mediterranean! Would highly recommend this tour. In the afternoon we did the included tour, which was surprisingly good and well worthwhile-another good guide. Saw quite a bit of Malaga – first via a short drive around town, and then a good amount of walking all throughout the city. Again, the new terminal port is located right near town so it was easy to walk all around everywhere. Although disappointed in not going to the Alhambra, we were quite delighted with how our day turned out. Porto: We took the included tour of the city – very good guide. It is definitely a very gritty city but seemed quite real with very interesting people. The tour gave us a chance to do a lot of walking throughout the city, seeing some amazing sights, finishing down by the Douro River, where we had some free time to walk on our own. Just wish we had more time in Porto. It really grew on us! We did see the Viking River Boat on the Douro River – perhaps that might be in our future. Falmouth (Cornwall): The weather was not so good, so we cancelled our St Michaels Mount Optional tour and did the included Cornwall drive tour instead. Turned out to be a good decision. We had an outstanding guide who told us all so many great stories about Cornwall as we meandered through the countryside. One of the real highlights was stopping at the parking lot next to the ocean and having time to walk out to the causeway that goes to St Michaels Mount – that was an experience in itself! We were back on the ship for lunch and then spent the afternoon walking all around Falmouth. The ship docks right in the harbor – easy walking distance to town. We must have done perhaps 5-7 miles and it was just a wonderful, sometimes, gritty fishing village to wander around. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Portsmouth: We were fortunate to have some wonderfully clear sunny weather entering into Portsmouth harbor, although quite cold in the low 40’s (F). Glad we got up to see us come into Portsmouth – a beautiful sight to behold! You could see the famous Portsmouth Spinnaker Tower for miles! We had been before to most of the places on the optional tours (Stonehenge, Salisbury, London, Winchester) and so decided to just take the included tour. We heard from those who went to Stonehenge that they had a fabulous time. Our tour was also quite good as we had an outstanding guide (again). We got to see all around Portsmouth area, stopping at several places and getting a real feel for the area. After lunch we decided to explore on our own. The port has a free shuttle to the museums and ships. The terminal area is quite a bit under security and it takes a decent time to get in and out and to the ship. However, we took the bus down to the D-Day museum, which I wanted to see particularly given that the 75th anniversary celebrations were going to occur in a few weeks. This museum did not disappoint. Absolutely amazing place. We wound up spending much more time here than intended and didn’t get to go to the ships, but it was well worth it. We met at the museum a 95 year old British vet of D-Day and spoke with him for an hour. A true highlight and memory. LeHavre, France: It was raining when we arrived. We had booked 2 optional tours, scheduled to take up the whole day – Honfleur in the morning and Rouen in the afternoon/evening. However, a day or two earlier, we were notified that the Yellow Vests were planning a large demonstration later in the day in Rouen, and the French authorities recommended that tour groups leave before that, just to be safe. So we had to choose between Rouen and Honfleur and chose Rouen. I’m sure Honfleur was great, but our Rouen optional tour was exceptional. We had an excellent guide who made the ride to Rouen very interesting by telling us the history. This tour was an all walking tour – and quite a distance – not recommended for anyone with mobility issues. But that is why we liked it. We must have walked around nearly all of old Rouen over cobblestone streets, in alleys, and into all kinds of cathedrals and historic sites. I would very much recommend this tour. Despite the on and off rain, we loved Rouen and will have to come back. Bruges Thank goodness we had already visited Bruges for 3 days a few years ago. Unfortunately our luck ran out. We had purchased the optional Bruges Walking Tour and this was likely the worst excursion we have ever had on a Viking Cruise. The city was again magnificent – albeit very cold, windy, but sunny. Our guide was simply – incompetent. I knew we were in trouble when he was reading and searching from his many pages of notes. He really didn’t convey much of anything. We would have been better to go into town on our own again. We spoke to others on the tour who had different buses and guides – they had such a good time – so again, luck of the draw. I sort of expect that with included tours, but was quite disappointed with having to pay $59 each for this one – as were others on our bus. Win some lose some though. Go with the flow. Amsterdam: After Bruges, the gods must have taken pity on us. We didn’t have the best weather, but that’s about the only negative on our visit to this wonderful city. We’d been here many times before and it is likely our favorite European city. We had thought of just exploring it ourselves and/or doing an optional tour outside town, but the weather was bad. We decided to take the included Canal Cruise – and we were certainly glad we did. We had probably the best guide of our whole trip. He was from Amsterdam and made cruise so interesting and entertaining. Such wonderful stories and delivered with humor and audience interaction. We were all sad when the 2 hour ride ended. After lunch on the ship, we head back out on our own and walked 8-10 miles all around Amsterdam, revisiting all of our favorite places. The ship docked so close (10 minute walk) to Amsterdam Centraal Train Station! The vibe of Amsterdam, with its wonderful people, bikes traveling everywhere, the amazing shops, cheese tastings, and historical sights – was again a highlight for us. We did hear that Amsterdam is seriously considering curbing tourism as it has gotten to popular a place to visit. We’ll have to see how that all transpires. (Venice and Bruges are also considering the same thing) Kiel Canal: And now for the true unexpected highlight of the cruise. And we never left the ship. Sailing through the famous Kiel Canal in northern Germany was amazing. The shores are just so close and people on the banks would wave and shout to us as we glided, seemingly effortlessly, past small towns & container ships, bridges, roads, countryside, and more. The weather turned nice and we got to see the late sunset off the canal at nearly 10 PM, watching small pairs of swans gliding by…. Simply breathtaking! Copenhagen: We’d been here before with the Viking Sky and had taken the Included walking tour. It had been quite good and gave us lots of exercise last year – but we wanted to do something different this time. Given that we planned to spend a couple more nights here after leaving the ship, we decided to venture out. As such, we did not take any Viking tours in Copenhagen, although if we had, we would have done the Rothskilde Cathdral and Viking Ship tour. We wound up taking the free Viking shuttle bus from Langelinie pier (the close pier near the Mermaid) into town, near Nyhavn Harbor. Spent the afternoon at Tivoli Gardens-an easy walk. Then took one of the Canal Cruises – the weather turned cold windy and bitter but it was still a fascinating cruise. I believe Viking optional tours has it – and it would be well worth it to be sure. That evening (our last on the ship), the Copenhagen Harbor made the Jupiter change ports to the farther out Oceankaj pier. This was because the closer pier is normally used only for ships that do not disembark/embark or stay the night. So another couple mile quick cruise. On disembarking at the end of the cruise the next day, we then took the bus from Oceankaj into town and to our hotel. Must say that Viking handled the disembarkation quite smoothly and efficiently. Post Cruise: I highly recommend that if you have not seen Copenhagen, that you stay longer. We used our extra days to 1) take some free city walking tours and walking around our own on day 1 and 2) Take an all-day sightseeing tour outside Copenhagen to see Rothskilde Cathedral, the Viking Ship Museum, Fredericksborg Castle, and Kronberg Castle. Hamlet Tours: one of the better private tours we’ve ever done. There were several other passengers from the Jupiter on this small private van tour. In summary – a wonderful time, not without some hiccups, but upon reflection, all better than expected. As stated earlier, each cruise we’ve been on has had a very different feel and personality, based on the passengers who happened to be on board, the ports, and the weather. The real consistency has been the Viking crews and service – outstanding! We will be booking future cruises on Viking. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
The idea of an inaugural cruise was very appealing as we had been on the Ovation of the Seas and loved it, so we were very much looking forward to this new class of ship, and we were not disappointed. We did a 30 day back to back, ... Read More
The idea of an inaugural cruise was very appealing as we had been on the Ovation of the Seas and loved it, so we were very much looking forward to this new class of ship, and we were not disappointed. We did a 30 day back to back, following the Suez Canal Cruise we stayed on for the Spice Route Cruise. We knew this ship was especially designed for the Chinese market, so some aspects, such as the very small gym, we accepted because of that. We found the decor and design of the ship to be beautiful, particularly the Asian Art aspects. There were very few initial problems, but these were soon rectified with lots of workmen on board to attend to them. Overall though everything went very smoothly, and we received many gifts from RCL to celebrate the inaugural season. Rooms: We changed our staterooms for the second leg, they were both balcony rooms and very comfortable and well designed with plenty of storage, probably the best ever balcony rooms we've had in over 25 cruises. Entertainment: there were lots of good quality headliner shows, but a lack of production shows. We realised later that they were doing lots of rehearsals with the new theatre etc. and in the second leg we saw the best show ever on a cruise ship - in the 270 performance space the Silk Roads show was absolutely amazing, and worth the wait. Dining: we had My Time dining, and found the main dining room food to be of a good quality, and the service excellent. However, over such a long cruise we found the menu to be repetitive, and preferred the choices in Windjammer, where there was a huge choice every day and excellent Asian food in particular. Silver Lounge: As Diamond plus cruisers we were able to access this lovely space for Breakfast and Lunch, as well as complimentary drinks and appetisers in the evening. We enjoyed this new space very much. Service: we could not fault the service on this ship, in every way crew were polite and helpful, even with the complex itinerary in relation to immigration requirements. Our changeover and change of room as consecutive cruisers was also fine, although some people lined up hours before the stated time and then complained about the wait! Embarkation and Disembarkation was also smooth and quick. So overall we were very pleased and excited to be a part of the initial sailings of this fine new addition to the Royal Caribbean fleet. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Now is a good time to write my overall cruise review. We have 4 sea days and two port days left before we get off in Singapore. The cruise has gone blindingly fast. Let's start this in the usual way: THE GOOD The itinerary ... Read More
Now is a good time to write my overall cruise review. We have 4 sea days and two port days left before we get off in Singapore. The cruise has gone blindingly fast. Let's start this in the usual way: THE GOOD The itinerary for this trip has been a cultural smorgasbord. From Spain through Italy and Greece, through Jordan and the middle east to Dubai and the Arab rich. Oman to see more rich Arabs then India to see hoards of people and the chaos of Mumbai. Cochin was more laid back and less crowded but still had the chaotic flavor of how they do things in India. Malaysia and Singapore complete the banquet with South East Asia cultures of two distinct sub flavors. This has been a great banquet and the ship is aptly named as the Spectrum of the Seas. The ship itself is a marvel. Being brand new it was fun to participate in the maiden voyage. Lots of swag handed out by the various departments, some of it even useful like the drinking mugs. Throughout the ship, they have invested in interesting art and some spectacular lighting. Technology is heavily used, for the most part, quite successfully. The journey is smooth and quiet and the ship purrs along at some 21 knots without breaking a sweat. For a ship this size, I am amazed at how small the wake is. On deck, there are many deck chairs. Not so many that provide a shady seat for everyone but lots of them anyway. There are still many people who ignore the “No Saving” rule and leave their possessions on the seat while they take an hour for lunch. The ship's propaganda says that the deck staff will remove your possessions after 30 min. of no occupancy. Never saw it happen. But is was not really a problem. Nowhere on the ship are you pressured to buy drinks. Bars are plentiful as are the bar waiters. They even have mobile bars that patrol the upper sundecks. The ship can sleep almost 5000 passengers if you put more than 2 people in all of the rooms designed for that. We had some 3700 on the first leg I think. Even with all of that, the ship does not seem crowded. The embarkation and disembarkation went very well at all ports. In fact, surprisingly well. To get that many people off the ship and onto the 50 or so tour buses waiting for them seemed to go smoothly from our perspective. The quality and variety of the entertainment was great. We enjoyed every show and some of them were exceptional. There are many “out there” activities available to do. Things like the climbing wall, the surfing wave, the North Star crane that lifted you up 100 feet and out over the side of the ship to get a unique view of the ship, the I Fly sky diving tube that allowed you to be a skydiver no more than 4 feet off of the ground, the Seaplex where you could play pickle ball, soccer, basket ball, do laser tag, and ride bumper cars. We especially liked the bumper cars. They also had something called the sky pad where you hooked bungy cords to yourself and bounced on a trampoline, all the time wearing virtual reality goggles. There was table tennis, fencing, and many forms of dancing available to learn. They had 3 different lecturers onboard, one to talk about our destinations, one to talk about the internet for fun and profit, and one to talk about crime and psychology things. So, all in all, never a dull moment. Both our inside and our balcony cabin were extremely well laid out. Maybe the best we have ever experienced. There seems to be a massive cleaning staff on board and they did their job very well both inside and out. And all of the staff were very friendly and very obliging. Many of them went out of their way to deal with your question or problem. The food has been great and easily available. The Windjammer, (the Lido deck on other cruises), was a very well laid out set of food islands where the variety seemed endless. A bit hectic during the prime meal times but easily manageable if you watched where you were going with your plateful of food. The Main Dining room was great and we had some terrific serving staff. There were several other places around the ship where you could get some snack food should you feel the need. The chocolate chip cookies were especially appreciated. The use of technology on board was good. The elevators seemed to perform flawlessly and, for the most part, had very tolerable wait times. Interactive displays at various points around the ship helped you get around. You had access, for free, to a phone app that let you do several things like find out what was on for entertainment, check out the times for various activities, learn what food outlets were available at that very moment in case you were hungry, you could reserve a spot at particular activities and events so there was no line up problem, you could bring up a map of the ship deck by deck to find out where you were and where you really needed to be, you can load up your calendar so you know what you are supposed to do at any given time, and you could check on your account amount right up to the minute to find out how big the sticker shock would be. To do all of this, you were allowed free access to the ship's WIFI but were limited to just this app. Things I would like to see added to this app are: Text messages between passengers, location of passengers so it would actually give you a path to where you wanted to go like the interactive displays do, a way to leave messages for appropriate ship staff, and maybe even order drinks to be delivered to wherever you are. All in all, this ship is great. THE BAD It's difficult to be totally objective here because of my culture, previous experiences and general expectations. Others may see things differently. That being said, here is what I would put in the “Bad” category. The Bionic bar where two robot arms mix and serve you a variety of drinks chosen from a tablet at your table. Interesting once, technically amazing, but boring and avoided in the future. I like talking to the bar and wait staff. I don't really need my drinking automated. While there are many deck chairs on the sundeck, they are too close together and also roped together at the back so that you can't move them around or out of the way. This is a nuisance. Even though I was able to un rope a few occasionally, they were tied together the next day. If we had super high winds and/or rough seas, I would understand this but such was not the case. Maybe they will untie them or mean to untie them in the future but so far, it hasn't happened. Of all things, we found the seats in the theater uncomfortable. Maybe it was us and our butt shapes and the seats we chose but by the end of the performance, I had butt ache. There seems to be 8 specialty restaurants on this ship. That, in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it costs significant coin to eat there. In my expectations, I get the finest food and the finest treatment in the Main Dining room. I don't like to feel that the really good stuff is available elsewhere. For a fee. I realize this is a trend in the industry but the prices for that on this cruise are out of line. Speaking of costs, the drink prices on board seem very high. Yes, there is a drink of the day but there are no happy hours. Yes you can buy a drink package but you would have to drink like a fish to make it pay. For 30 days. And both stateroom members. For us, this would have added some $3900 CDN to the price of the cruise. No thanks. The cruise line brags about the fastest Internet at sea. It may be, but it is expensive. I get it that some people feel they must be totally connected and able to stream movies for their entire trip. The cost of doing that for 30 days would approach $1000 CDN. What I need and probably others need is 10 minutes of access every 3 or 4 days. This is not available. It should be. It is on other ships. Even if they charged an a la carte rate of $10 per hour, that would work fine for us. Again speaking of costs, rumour has it that many of the activities we have now at no charge will carry a fee when the ship reaches Shanghai. For example, I heard, with no validation, that they are going to charge $60 for a ride on the North Star. It simply isn't worth it. I suppose the price will find its own level depending upon the market it is in. Before I move on , I need to set the cultural stage a bit. This ship is designed for the Asian market. It is different than the market I am used to, that being mainly Western. So what I find bad, perhaps is because it is culturally a problem for me. In the Asian market, gambling far exceeds the drinking urge. In fact, the bar staff will be reduced by 50% when the ship goes “Full Asian” when it hits its base in Shanghai. The Casino is extra large and will have a “Golden Room” for the high rollers. The reason for the high priced shops on board will become more apparent as the ship gears up for the “Crazy Rich Asians”. Now, you cannot buy basic toiletries like toothpaste but you can buy Asian cough medicine for $111 USD. So I get it. I get it that the first language on board will be Chinese. I get it that all the signs on board are in English and Chinese. I get it that there are a lot more Asian food offerings. I get it that the entertainment will cater to the Asian market rather than to the Western. All this is well and good and I commend it. However, without getting too specific, there are two areas of what seems to be Asian culture that the ship might want to address by additional signage. One is spitting. The lovely and well used communal washbasins outside of Windjammer are not spittoons and spitting off of your balcony is unfriendly at best. And toilets in the public ladies room are to be sat on, not squatted on where you can't aim properly. Perhaps I over step. Apologies, I don't mean to offend. And finally, THE UGLY There are only two things that I think qualify for my “ugly” designation. Neither of them are the fault of the ship and its staff. Rather, these are Royal Caribbean policies determined by Head Office. The first is what we experienced as back to back cruisers. In the Main Dining room, we had a table of 6 people with whom we had bonded and become friends with. So to with the great wait staff. At change over to the second leg, they assigned us all to different tables. New people, new wait staff. This was done by head office at the last minute. We protested as did many others caught in the same situation. But head office had determined that they needed to accommodate those getting on in Dubai at the dis-accommodation of those already on board. To head office, we are just names. Need a table for 10? Take the table for 6 and the one for 4 and combine them; shove those people somewhere else. Our protests resulted in at least being re united with our new friends but we learned from the dining room staff that this was a common occurrence with head office and that they had told them repeatedly about it to no avail. It happens every trip and the dining room staff has to scramble to address the problems it creates. The staff were very apologetic and we received a bottle of wine and 6 lobster tails by way of showing this. (Normally, you have to pay for the lobster dinner.) The second ugly item is more critical to us. As a matter of fact, it is a deal breaker. This issue alone will discourage me from travelling Royal Caribbean again. It is this. RC has started classifying passengers and has created at least 3 different “statuses”. Now I am in favour of all the loyalty benefits that I can get. If I travel a lot with one cruise line, I like to get rewarded in return for my loyalty. I like getting the perks that are available. Things like drink and meal packages, internet access, free laundry, free drinks in my stateroom, perhaps priority boarding or a cabin upgrade. All these are great. And none of them take away from what the rest of the passengers are getting. RC sees it differently. They have created significant prime areas of the ship which are for the exclusive use of the few. We can't go there. They have created special reserved seating in the best seats in the theaters. We can't sit there. They have special deck space, pools, lounges and dining rooms where the privileged can hang out away from the rest of us. I do not know what percentage of the ship has been taken away but it is significant. Why would someone want to join a ship of 4000 passengers so that they can be alone with 200? This is a backward step in cruising in my opinion. And I know there will be those who totally disagree with me. As is your right and privilege. I sincerely hope you enjoy all of your future cruises on Royal Caribbean. I will likely be on another cruise line. I remember my early days in cruising when everybody was made to feel like they were first class passengers. Now, we can't help but feel we are somehow less valued. Maybe this retrograde step will permeate throughout the industry. I hope not. Did I still enjoy this cruise? Of course. Did I let this dividing of passengers get to me? I tried not to but perhaps failed a little. But if it signifies a trend, then I want to speak out. We all saw how things turned out on the Titanic. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our first experience with Viking and, though all-in-all a good cruise, we departed feeling like there was room for some improvements. Viking’s reputation and recent ratings speak for themselves, so my wife and I were very ... Read More
This was our first experience with Viking and, though all-in-all a good cruise, we departed feeling like there was room for some improvements. Viking’s reputation and recent ratings speak for themselves, so my wife and I were very much looking forward to this cruise, our sixth. We sailed from Barcelona, Spain on the Viking Sea ocean ship, ending up in beautiful Bergen, Norway. The 15-day itinerary along the west European coast was very attractive to us, both in length and variety of ports to be visited. We expected an above-average experience, which Viking pretty much did deliver, but they fell short in some unexpected areas. Spoiler alert: yes, we will likely sail with them again, despite the lapses that I’ll try to articulate here, along with some well-deserved compliments. The highlights/stars of the cruise were, for us, the ship and the crew. Both were exceptional compared to previous cruise experiences. I need to start somewhere so I guess I’ll go in alphabetical order. And since I usually refer to a ‘ship’ as a ‘boat’ I’ll talk about the Viking Sea first. ;-) Our last cruise had nearly 5000 passengers on it – way, way too many. Without going into details, the crowds, lines, noise were obvious issues. ALL of that was absent on this cruise. The Sea carries up to 930 passengers. There is no casino, no interior cabins, no huge shops, no children, no photographers; everything is scaled-down from the bigger liners, yet we never once felt harried or even particularly delayed, even while getting food at the buffet. The longest line we stood in was at the U.K. stop where everyone had to go thru a formal immigration interview. At first the number of folks queued up seemed exceptionally daunting, but we were whizzed in and out of there in no time. Much appreciated. The interior of the boat was stunning. Built in 2016, it was modern, well-organized and immaculate. The décor spoke to my Scandinavian roots; I’ve always been a fan of that type of furniture coupled with the clean, eye-pleasing space design. One unexpected detail we liked were the leather-wrapped stateroom door handles and hallway safety railings; very plush. The customer service/lounge area on deck one was appropriately called ‘The Living Room’ and instantly evoked sophistication and comfort at the same time. A few decks up, the Wintergarden lounge area amidships was especially attractive. I can’t find the words to describe it – do yourself a favor and Google it real quick. Our favorite area ended up being the Explorer’s Lounge at the bow on deck seven. It had two levels, the lower featuring a bar and LOTS of comfortable seating; the upper level was smaller, a bit more private and very quiet. Both had panoramic, 180 degree views of the outside. Side doors led to an exterior walkway in front which provided, IMO, the best forward-facing views of port arrivals and sail-aways. Every evening at 6 we were treated to either a violin/cello duet or piano music, which further enhanced the pre-dinner, end-of-the-day unwind, accompanied by refreshing libations and the new friends we met. I’m not a spa guy, but as promised to my wife I tried it on the last sea day. I felt it was modest, though classy; that is the space was in keeping with the rest of the décor. It seemed rather small to me, likely due to the boat’s size. That probably also explains why all the chaise lounges were taken. I hung in as long as I could, but on my way out I couldn’t resist checking out the Snow Room, a small rustic chamber with real snow in it. I sat for a few moments and actually felt somewhat refreshed. Never seen one of those before! (Avoiding the extreme temptation to say it was ‘cool’!) Ok, how was the room? We were in a Deluxe Veranda stateroom on deck 5, ALL the way forward on the starboard side, right below the bridge. The size (270 sq. ft.) and layout were serviceable. The bathroom was relatively spacious and featured a heated mirror and floor. The heaters were activated automatically when you inserted your sea pass card to activate the room lights, but they could not be turned off until you left the room (or took your card out). The heated mirror prevented fogging during showers and worked well. I didn't like the warm floor, in general, as it tended to heat up the whole bathroom space. My wife, who is always cold, loved it. For some reason there was only one little 22” towel rod in there, which pretty much forced us to have most of the towels changed out each day. If there’d been one or two more I would’ve gladly re-used those linens. The living area was comfortable, with a nice big flat-screen monitor in front of the bed. A small wet bar tucked in the desk had a nice assortment of snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. There was a bit of extra space to cool off wine bottles and food. The balcony was smallish, but not tiny. If the weather had been less windy I could see the two of us hanging out there more often than we did. The under-hanging search light just outside the railing (part of the bridge structure right above us) was only a minor annoyance. The MAJOR annoyance was the lack of dresser and shelf space. We got only three small drawers and a couple of open shelves in addition to an un-remarkable closet space. This was confounding given the open wall areas where they could have thrown up one or two shelf/drawer units. Some new friends showed us their Penthouse Junior Suite on deck 8 and that one had an actual dresser, in addition to more room. Another issue was the nightlight. Located at floor level near the bathroom, it was BRIGHT. We first tried covering it with some tape we’d brought, but we soon realized that a folded-up towel was required; it was that annoying. Mad, mad props to Viking Sea's crew. On our last cruise this element was a memorable low-point. This time, everyone (literally), no matter if he/she was a deck hand, housekeeping, or bridge officers, always looked us in the eye, smiled and offered a pleasant 'Good morning', ‘Enjoy your day', whatever. This simple gesture is essential, IMO, for an enjoyable cruise experience. The customer service personnel were knowledgeable, the bartenders were personable, and the wait staff were very attentive (with one lone exception, see below). The highlight came after our Bruges, Belgium excursion. As our bus pulled up to the boat, we were greeted to the sight of a huge red carpet and a double line of what appeared to be most of the senior officers and staff. Music was playing, hands were clapping, feet were stomping, and we got the 'welcome back aboard' of a lifetime! Gosh knows how long they had to stand out there; we were one of the last tour groups to return. I asked a waiter about it later and he indicated that they do this at least once a cruise, pretty much at random. How fun. Nice touch Viking! We also enjoyed the many educational lectures they offered, most of them aimed at the ‘middle ages trade routes’ theme of the cruise. Their ‘Port Talk’ presentations gave us useful info on the next port of call and the scheduled excursions. If we missed anything, we could view a recording of it later on their internal media system. I’m not a night owl so I can’t comment on the evening entertainment. Speaking of excursions, everything was very well organized. There were always plenty of personnel around to direct us and answer questions. The tour guides were fun and professional. Accommodations were made for folks using crutches, wheelchairs, etc. The disembarkation process on the final day was very efficient (sort of a one-way, final excursion, right?). No lines, we were whisked thru the terminal where our baggage, porters to carry them and taxi cabs were all waiting. Sadly, I need to move on to the "irks" part of this review, i.e. the food. The buffet was, maybe predictably, repetitive after a while. They did throw in some variety, most of which was not for my palette unfortunately. At breakfast, the scrambled eggs were Eggbeaters; to get a real egg you had to order an omelet or grab an Eggs Benedict (on which the ham slices were always way too small). The coffee was mostly bitter to my taste, and for some reason, you had to go from one end of the buffet to the other just to pair a bagel with some cream cheese. And I can't for the life of me understand why they couldn't, at least once in a while, put out some seasoned ground beef, chopped lettuce, cheese and tortillas so I could have a taco or something (i.e. Mexican food). They had Italian, they had Spanish, they had Asian - what gives? Overall, the food tended to be under-seasoned and bland, period, with very few options to jazz it up other than ground pepper or some Tabasco sauce. The memorable food-related highlight was our dinner at the 'Chef's Table' and an Asian-style menu. It was fantastic. Very gourmet-style, each course was as pleasant to look at as it was to eat. For daily faire, the burgers were excellent, and the buffet’s bakery always had a wide variety of tasty breads, rolls, pastries, etc. The low light was Manfredi's, their flagship Italian restaurant. Number one, I couldn't read the menu, it was ALL in Italian. I knew I wanted the rib eye steak, their signature dish, but I needed the waiter to help me choose a side. The food was good (yes, I can recommend the rib eye), but as we were eating, the waiter decided to disappear. From then on, we had to ask for everything: plates to be cleared, dessert menus, ready to order, etc. A second waiter eventually came by, and our desserts instantly appeared. Great, but where's the coffee we ordered? So we waited. And waited. Finally the first waiter decided to check in and he went off to look for coffee. The maître d’ stopped by - we had three people looking for coffee and the desserts were still sitting (granted, our choice). Sadly, it didn't end there. My wife's Tiramisu was a gloppy mess; just one little layer of sponge at the bottom, topped off in a coffee-cup-sized container with some kind of whip creamy, chocolate swirly, ... glop. We got back to our room and we're thinking 'Holy cats, what just happened?!' It was extremely disappointing, especially given the high regard in which the restaurant was held. Just a few more random observations to offer and I’ll wrap up (thanks for hanging in!). The captain had an irksome habit of docking early. We enjoy sail-ins and are willing to get up early to watch the early-morning ones when the opportunity avails. The Viking Daily newsletter always provided lots of info including arrivals/departures so we planned accordingly. More often than not we woke up to realize that we were already pulling into a port long before our alarm was due to go off. Oh well. Another frequent irk was the spotty wi-fi. It seemed to happen mostly during the day – the signal would just quit. Lastly, at many ports Viking would arrange for shuttles, or at least guides to help independent sightseers to explore on their own. This was completely absent at Amsterdam, which was especially confusing after my wife (being much more adventurous than I) found out that, with just a bit of advice from a fellow passenger, a short walk led to a very attractive part of town. The boat’s resources were silent on this. One last remark, and I don’t consider it to be a knock, is that the boat, at 745 feet long and 94 feet wide, got tossed around a quite bit in the choppy seas we encountered coming into the English Channel, then later in the North Sea. It got a bit dicey at times, where you had to walk really carefully when you were moving around. I doubt a larger boat would ride that way but IMO it just added to the experience. So, all things considered, it was a very enjoyable cruise. A lot of this was due to the spectacular, unusual stretch of clear, moderate weather we enjoyed in all the ports we visited; no rain, not even many clouds. The rain finally did arrive - on the day we departed. Viking, for the most part, came through with a wonderful experience, just as we expected they would. I remember on the last full day, a few of us were in the Explorers Lounge filling out Viking’s lengthy feedback questionnaire and it became apparent we were all struggling with how to rate the cruise with “As Expected”, “Better Than Expected”, etc. We all ‘expected’ an exceptional experience from Viking, but it seemed weird to choose “As Expected” because it felt like we were dinging them. In fact it was a compliment – we expected better and Viking delivered. On that basis, we’re more than willing to look into another ocean cruise with Viking. Too, I strongly suspect that we’ll try one of their river cruises in the future. And on that note, I’ll close. Thank you for reading this – I hope you’ve found it helpful. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
i can't say enough about the itinerary and the staff! Each stop was a great adventure. One scheduled stop/harbor was closed due to weather and an optional stop and full day of excursion was set for us (at no additional cost). ... Read More
i can't say enough about the itinerary and the staff! Each stop was a great adventure. One scheduled stop/harbor was closed due to weather and an optional stop and full day of excursion was set for us (at no additional cost). We loved the eating options....each one was fabulous. The places that asked for reservations.....if we were unable to get a reservation, we just stopped and talked to the person at the check in desk and if there were people who did not come to their reservation, we were able to use the reservation (they waited 30 minutes before they released the us We have done a RIVER Cruise and now the OCEAN cruise. VIKING shows you that the travelers' experience is the most important to them. Every crew member we interacted with gave us exceptional service. Everyone had a smile and wanted to be sure our every wish was taken care of. Every excursion was over our expectations! The excursions are all reviewed and you know before you sign up if there is a lot of walking (we are in our 70's and we thoroughly enjoyed EVERY excursion). THe only complaints I hear were from people who signed up for excursions which were NOT APPROPRIATE for their ability, Would we do it again? YOU BET!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our first cruise with Viking Ocean. In general, Viking Ocean provides a very good product. Specific strengths and weaknesses we experienced are noted below. EMBARKATION/DISEMBARKATION - The fastest/smoothest we’ve ever ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Viking Ocean. In general, Viking Ocean provides a very good product. Specific strengths and weaknesses we experienced are noted below. EMBARKATION/DISEMBARKATION - The fastest/smoothest we’ve ever experienced. STATEROOM: Deluxe Verandah, #5003, quite forward under part of the bridge. Best bathroom we’ve ever experienced, especially the heated floor and mirror to deter fogging. Comfortable bed. Could’ve used some more drawers. The coffee maker was nice to have, but wish it made a standard cup of coffee. A couple issues re: cleanliness. The desk had flip-top mirror with small storage cubbies. This area needed attention (hairs, debris, “crud”). On the day we were leaving, we found an extra bath robe, complete with dust bunnies under the bed. The in-room literature indicated that missing items would be charged to the on-board account. Sure hope a previous occupant didn’t get charged for that robe! An upside to the location of the stateroom was that we could look forward as well as to starboard. A downside of the location was periodic noise/footsteps at late hours from the bridge. We aren’t sure if this was a result of the specific location of the stateroom, but when we were in areas with more swell/wind, that cabin SQUEAKED and RATTLED to excessive degree. The ceilings, the walls, the closet doors chattered, such that it interfered with sleep. Oh, and part of a closet door was broken. SHIP AMBIENCE/SPACE: The ship is beautiful, and easy to navigate. We loved that there were only 900+ passengers. Therefore, there weren’t lines or crowds. No problem ever finding a chaise lounge or a quiet place to sit. This is a huge plus. The two-story forward Explorer Lounge has such a nice ambiance, as does the Wintergarden, and Living Room. EXCURSIONS: We opted to take the included tours with one exception. We purchased the walking tour of Bruges (Easter Sunday) and were glad we did as getting to Bruges on our own on Easter on a short port shop presented transportation difficulties. The excursions were well-organized, on-time, and the buses in good shape. The guides were informative. The “Paris on Your Own” excursion was an excellent included value. Two particular exemptions to the value of the included excursions was the stop at Cartagena (not enough substance, somewhat aimless), and the substituted port of Cherbourg, France for Falmouth UK. In the case of Cherbourg, Viking had little time to make arrangements. Our tour took us to a lovely chateau near the city, then there were about 1.5 hours left. The bus driver wanted to take us back to the ship; our guide Claudia was having words with him that the tour wasn’t over. Long story short, we ended up at a square in town and we were to return to the bus at an appointed time. And we found that the bus was gone, not to be seen again. (I can only surmise that the bus driver had had enough and took off). Fortunately, there was a Viking shuttle bus and we were able to make it back to the port. Two downsides of the excursions: 1) That they can punch an inconvenient hole in the day, so plan carefully. In a few cases, it made it hard, if not impossible, to do any additional exploration in port on our own, as where the ship was docked wasn’t walking distance. When a tour did offer some free time in the city – it ranged from 20 to 45 minutes. This left us with the option of shopping, photography, or trying a local delicacy. In Bruges, we had about 40 minutes and we were on a mission to buy chocolate gifts. That’s all we had time for – no opportunity to have a true Belgian waffle or frites. This pattern was repeated in several cities. 2) Upon boarding, we inquired about a bridge tour. The did offer them, without additional charge (great), but then learned that they were scheduled exactly during the times of the included tours. Portsmouth was a longer stop and we appreciated the provided shuttle bus from the port to back to the city. SERVICE: Excellent, pleasant and efficient. Guest services helpful, no lines to speak of. It was a pleasant change to have enough waitstaff circulating in World Café, in stark contrast to buffet venues on other cruises. Waitstaff remembered drink orders and our room number. My husband developed a liking for a particular type of Norwegian beer that wasn’t available at every location and the staff did always try to locate one for him. We only had two notable service lapses, both in Manfredi’s. Manfredi’s started out so well, and then nose-dived. We were seated, were told we were “business class” (?) and shown to one of the few booths. The wine steward appeared annoyed to perform her job (scowling, for example) and we were just completely forgotten during the dessert, even as we tried to wave someone down since there was a problem. The desserts arrived but the coffee we ordered did not. And did not and we couldn’t get any staff attention even with 3 waitstaff in the vicinity. How we finally got the coffee would’ve been comical if it wasn’t such a service lapse. FOOD: I know food is a touchy subject, and I’m not a “foodie” or a picky eater. Based on previous cruises, this was the most inconsistent aspect of the cruise. Nothing was bad, except as noted below, but food at the buffet (World Café) was in my opinion repetitive and lacking in variety, especially for breakfast. We really would’ve liked some quiches or frittatas, for example. And why was there never sausage links or patties? The Eggs Benedict gets a particular negative review because the English muffin had an approximate 1 inch by 1.5 inch piece of ham on the muffin, leaving a large area without meat, egg, or hollandaise sauce. I really loved the raisin rolls (croissant dough-based) and being able to make a cappuccino in a to-go cup. I had the “sandwich of the day” a couple times at the World Café and I was impressed with how the staff member would assemble it with such detail so it looked as good as the display. Magazine cover quality. I would’ve liked to try the Norwegian waffle at Mamsen’s, and although I didn’t get to, I did have one of the open-faced sandwiches for lunch and enjoyed it. We dined once at the specialty Chef’s Table during the Asian Panorama cycle. Really enjoyed it as well as the wine pairings that were chosen with the Silver Spirits beverage package. Manfredi’s: We each had the rib-eye steak which was excellent as well as the starters and sides. We were advised to save room for dessert. I had ordered the tiramisu and someone must have made a mistake in its preparation. It was served in a deep soup-like bowl. When I spooned into it, I immediately encountered an abundance of whipped cream. I started looking for the ladyfingers. Would you believe that tiramisu had ONE thin layer of ladyfingers approximately in the middle of the dish (which was at least 4” deep)?! I started hunting for more, but no, the bottom was more whipped cream stuff. The overall impression was eating a bowl of white glop. I gave up on it and honestly, if we could’ve gotten the wait staff’s attention without making a big scene I would’ve shown the “tiramisu” to the headwaiter, but unable to get anyone’s attention, we just left and wondered what had happened in that venue. The Restaurant – We had breakfast, lunch, and dinner several times at The Restaurant. Don’t know how I managed to get a mostly flavorless whole lobster (slightly uncooked from frozen and wasn’t accompanied by any sides, such as rice or potato) and apparently missed the only evening prime rib was offered. The evening of the Bruges stop, a featured entrée was described as a “regionally inspired” short rib dish. Being familiar with (and having prepared) Belgian and/or Flemish stews of this type, I had a good idea of what the flavor profile would be. It arrived, looked good, had tender chunks of beef and properly cooked vegetables. But it lacked a seasoning profile. Bland. The best way to describe it was that it was a blank slate – if they wanted to go French they could’ve gone with thyme, or rosemary for Italian, for example. I expected to taste dark beer and nutmeg being “regional” but it was absolutely generic – did the person with the herbs and spices forget to do their job? I didn’t finish any more of this dish either after a few bites. Once, at breakfast at The Restaurant I ordered the Eggs Benedict and asked to have enough ham/Canadian bacon put on the muffins to actually provide coverage on the muffins. This request confused the waiter, so I gestured and repeated my request. What I received was extra pieces of meat on a side plate so that I could construct it myself. OK, but I could go into most any coffee shop (Denny’s, IHOP) and not have this issue. It was strange. LECTURES/GUEST SPEAKERS/EVENTS – My husband attended (or watched later) more of these than I did, but I did attend 3 lectures presented in the Star Theatre by Dr. Peter Durrans. They were engaging and informative. I really enjoyed learning more about the areas we were to visit and what made them rise (and fall) in prominence. This cruise coincided with Easter Sunday. The cruise director, Jenna Beaudoin, led a non-denominational worship service that morning in the Star Theatre. Prayer, gospel readings, music and hymns by crew members (and even a volunteer who answered Jenna’s request to lead a hymn she wasn’t comfortable with) accompanied with a leaflet. The service was nicely done and well attended. And the chocolate bunny that arrived in our stateroom was a nice touch too! SPAS/POOLS: The spa is a beautifully appointed area. I wish the thalassotherapy pool was a bit warmer. Enjoyed the sauna, plunge pool, and the snow grotto. The stone chaises are so comfortable that I could’ve fallen asleep. Both the main pool and stern Infinity pool always seemed too cool to be enjoyable when I tested the water and other guests in the area noted the same. I really wanted to try out the infinity pool, so that was a disappointment. One BIG gripe: The hours of the spa! It closes to guests at 8:00 pm. I went down after dinner and a day of a lot of walking, looking forward to enjoying the area only to find that it is closed for staff use only. This is unacceptable to me, as I’m a after dinner soaker. And there are not any actual show performances after dinner to get too, either. SUMMARY: Based on the awards and recognition that the young Viking Ocean line has been receiving, we had high expectations for the cruise. Our expectations overall were met. If I could I would've scored this review as 4-1/2 stars. Would we cruise Viking Ocean again? Yes. Would we be more mindful of the times a particular itinerary spent in port, and the excursions relative to those times – yes, that would be absolutely critical. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
The itinerary was nicely organized so that we had great tours with quiet days in between to relax. The crew members were very friendly and caring and always tried to make sure everything was perfect. The port talks were very ... Read More
The itinerary was nicely organized so that we had great tours with quiet days in between to relax. The crew members were very friendly and caring and always tried to make sure everything was perfect. The port talks were very informative and it was handy having them recorded and available in our room so we could watch them at our convenience. The dress code was nice and relaxing, you don't need to have a lot of (any) really dressy clothes, dress pants and a collared shirt or sweater were perfect for all dining venues. The food was good for the most part but we didn't care for the offerings in the Chef's Table. We would have rather had more meals in the Italian restaurant, which was very good, but there was also a nice variety of food in the other restaurants. The staff in the explorer lounge were first rate. They remembered us after day one and always greeted us by name after that. The room attendants were most accommodating and considerate. We were glad we had a PV room with a little more space when we were relaxing in our room & on the balcony of our room. It was really helpful to have access to a laundry room during the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We have cruised on Cunard, Carnival and Celebrity prior to this cruise. It was a very mixed bag and some things we liked better but on the whole it was not anywhere near as good as Celebrity or Cunard. Pro's The wardrobe ... Read More
We have cruised on Cunard, Carnival and Celebrity prior to this cruise. It was a very mixed bag and some things we liked better but on the whole it was not anywhere near as good as Celebrity or Cunard. Pro's The wardrobe space was very good, lots and lots of room for everything and many hangers. The TV was large and great viewing The staff overall were very friendly and helpful, especially the front desk service staff. Embarkation and Disembrkation were very quick and efficient. Great service at our table from Wait staff. A great Burger bar and pizzas and ice cream We liked all the different bars and lounge area, people could spread out so much there never seemed a full place Cons By far the worst food and drink we have ever had on a cruise ship and the single one reason why we would never cruise on a Princess ship again. Food for us is very important. The food in the main cafe was dreadful...on one day it was totally inedible. The 4 separate areas are confusing and on some days they were not all open which was confusing and very inconvenient as one of our party had mobility issues and could not walk to further areas. There was a beef curry that was so chewy one day we could not eat it. The head waiter was informed and he took my name and my cabin number ...unsurprisingly we heard nothing further. The food was pure slop and I have seen better food in school cafeterias. The lines at lunchtime for burgers and pizza were round the block, not surprising as the main cafe was so bad. The choices at breakfast were horrible and there was no fresh toast and muffins etc, you were expected to take one that had been previously cooked, cold and rubbery. Choices were about a third of that on Celebrity ships and it never ever looked fresh and appetising. Food in the dining room was hit and miss. Some was very nice some poor. I had a ravioli one evening that was just sheets of pasta with no filling. I sent back 3 meals in our 7 day cruise. Drinks were also very poor...especially as we didn't have a package so were paying as you go. Small measured drinks at 9-10 dollars that were not free poured like on other cruise lines, it was definitely nickel and dime time. It put us off buying the drinks they were so weak. Entertainment was also poor. 4 solo singers in 7 days is not variety and they were not that great. An unexpected day at sea due to not calling at Montenegro resulting in the entertainments team making a special announcement and going all out and adding ONE zumba class to the itinerary, funnily enough my 80 year old mother didn't feel like going to this. The tannoy on the ship was unbearably loud and when the screechy cruise director was making announcements you could see 50% of the people covering their ears, the music by the pool was also way too loud, we couldn't hear ourself think. There was also on the sea days a CD that was playing on a loop, about an hour so one day we had Gangnam Style and 'Im sexy and I know it' 7 times, it was unbearable. Sometimes the entertainment was not was advertised in the brochure. we would turn up to places only to be told the venue had changed or there was a deck party, again not easy to keep moving around if you have mobility issues Overall the ship is a little tired, especially the rooms and the balconies. Directions were poor and we found ourselves lost a few times, something we have never done on cruises before They bleat on constantly about keeping hands clean and using soap yet we all noticed that 2 out of 3 visits to the lavatories there was no soap. We decided to withdraw tips and just personally tipped or wait staff as we were not blown away by anyone and from Embarkation to Disembarkation I never once met our room boy, yet I knew the name of the gorgeous lady who looked after family members in the next few rooms. Overall a disappointing experience completely spoiled by silly measured drinks and school dinners in the cafe Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
The ship is not one of their newer ships but I would still sail on it again. Bedding was very comfortable. The food and service was very good and could be compared to any very good restaurant in NYC. Entertainment was exceptional and ... Read More
The ship is not one of their newer ships but I would still sail on it again. Bedding was very comfortable. The food and service was very good and could be compared to any very good restaurant in NYC. Entertainment was exceptional and always tied in with the city we visited. Loved the idea that they had two sides to the decks outside. One side showed movies and movies under the stars at night each night and the other side was for live entertainment you could then choose. Loved the idea that they were showing up to date movies. I was excited to see that they have zumba class and thoroughly enjoyed it and so did many other passengers that class was well attended! There was lots to do on sea days so they were just as enjoyable as days in the city it made for a very enjoyable trip. Embarkation and debarkation was orderly and easy. I traveled with my Son 19, my Nieces 18 & 14 and they had a great time! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose a Princess cruise because we had taken another Princess cruise previously and loved it. (Pacific Eden) We found that lots of little mistakes add up to some disappointment. I am not going to go into the mistakes but even ... Read More
We chose a Princess cruise because we had taken another Princess cruise previously and loved it. (Pacific Eden) We found that lots of little mistakes add up to some disappointment. I am not going to go into the mistakes but even though not large they are things that should not happen. Staff tend to pass the buck so in the end this looks very unprofessional. Also I think a lot has to do with the staff not having adequate training. On a more positive note, the ship even though it is old was great. Our cabin was an inside cabin and we found it to be very comfortable. The food was ok, this was a back to back cruise and we were onboard for 14 days so the meals where repeated each week. The Buffet was good but the food was never hot. We went to Sabatinis one night and were a bit dissapointed as the Steak and Lobster was totally overpowered by the sauce. The service could not be faulted. We also ate at The Crown Grill and it was delicious, the steak just melted in our mouthes. The staff could not be faulted (even though when we got there we were told we did not have a booking (i had booked on line and paid months before) we even received a reminder card in our cabin that morning. Thankfully they were not fully booked as this was our 40th wedding anniversay dinner. The embarking and disembarking at all ports was so easy and never congested. If you are looking for a 3 star cruise the Crown Princess if for you. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We'd never sailed with Princess before but we chose this cruise because of the itinerary - we started in Barcelona, went to Gibraltar and ended in Rome...the places we wanted to go, with Marseille, Genoa and Livorno thrown in as bonus ... Read More
We'd never sailed with Princess before but we chose this cruise because of the itinerary - we started in Barcelona, went to Gibraltar and ended in Rome...the places we wanted to go, with Marseille, Genoa and Livorno thrown in as bonus ports. On the day we embarked, we spent the day sightseeing in Barcelona and arrived at the port at 5pm, to walk thru check-in and we were in our lovely cabin within 20 minutes, with our luggage arriving 30 minutes later. We learned that the Crown had recently been refurbished and found it to be clean and very nice throughout. We enjoyed the music periodically played in the Atrium by the X-Trio and a talented pianist. Our room steward, Ruby, was stellar throughout the entire week! Every crew member we passed said hello with a smile. Dining in the main dining rooms was slow and frustrating but it often is with several courses being served. We didn't expect the slow service in the Crown Grill but found it there too. Perhaps I'm impatient but I don't like spending 2-3 hours for a meal. It's hard to complain about the vast selection of food in the Horizon Buffet...it was good but most of it was just ordinary. They always had a good variety of fresh fruit and we loved that. We didn't find any of the entertainment offerings very interesting...maybe we've just seen too many tributes/Disco productions/etc. Before we got to Marseille, we got flyer about a $16 per person RT shuttle to get to the city and I questioned this at Guest Services. I was told that unless we hire a taxi or take an excursion it's the only way to get to the city so we decided to book a Princess excursion to take us around Marseille. Later, some friends told us they took the FREE shuttle into the city, from the pickup/drop off area a 10-minute walk from the ship, so I wasn't happy about being lied to. I did appreciate the early morning coffee set-up on Deck 16 at Tradewinds Bar, which is also a smoking area. It was nice to go there instead of the buffet to enjoy coffee and watch the sunrises. I loved that the pools are freshwater (not salt) and enjoyed the Lotus Spa (adult only) pool except for the LOUD sucking noise made every few minutes by the drains along the lip of the pool. It totally ruined the peacefulness and surely something could be done to prevent it from making that horrible noise. I've always said there's no such thing as a bad cruise and it wasn't bad, despite my complaints. Maybe it's not right to compare Princess to other cruise lines but I expected it to be a notch above other lines like Carnival and NCL, and found that not to be the case, but it was still a great cruise and we had a wonderful time. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
The Crown Princess is a beautiful ship. The food was excellent, the bed was comfortable and, to the most part, the physical aspects of the cruise ship were fine. The excursions were okay, acceptable but not truly exceptional. The ... Read More
The Crown Princess is a beautiful ship. The food was excellent, the bed was comfortable and, to the most part, the physical aspects of the cruise ship were fine. The excursions were okay, acceptable but not truly exceptional. The entertainment was average. I didn't go to many shows but members of my party did. They were mostly underwhelmed. What was unacceptable was the extremely poor customer service. I paid a large amount of money to upgrade to a suite. Many upgraded services promised (complimentary sauna service, upgraded bathroom towels, daily complimentary bottled water, "pillow menu", daily fresh fruit basket, personal direct access to excursion staff, priority disembarkation, specialized Suite room service menu, etc) and (until I complained) none provided. Literally zero. My own cabin steward didn't even know that I was a suite level guest until day 4 (how is that possible?). Even after I complained only a few services (the ones I specifically mentioned) were provided. I gave up on the other ones. Paying extra for a "suite" was a complete and total waste of money. Choose a different cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this cruise Trade Routes of the middle Ages" due to its diversity of countries having never been to Europe but have taken many ocean cruises before.. arrival a the airport and finding the Viking representatives was swift ... Read More
We chose this cruise Trade Routes of the middle Ages" due to its diversity of countries having never been to Europe but have taken many ocean cruises before.. arrival a the airport and finding the Viking representatives was swift and all questions asked and guided well (a little tired due to an over night flight with no sleep) to our buses with luggage taken for us. embarkation (and the ship in general) was quick and smooth. our luggage was left for the staff and brought to our rooms by the scheduled 2 pm. during this tie we were able to eat lunch (we were starving) and look around the ship. it is small and well defined and within one day we didnt get lost!! we found representatives all over the ship and easily approachable for directions. found the ship in general too cool for me so sweater was necessary always. Cabin: we were in 4107 which had a balcony, heated floors in the bathrooms, many toiletries a lady would need and replaced as needed without asking, adequate thick towels etc, glassed in shower, adequate places for all your toiletries brought. limited storage for clothes (shorts, etc) not on hangers (which i brought and were used) but we found space. maybe some shelving in the large hanging closet would be a great idea and put the safe in their also. great 40 inch tv which was convenient for local and world news plus movies at out leisure. used the balcony a few times. Dining: it didnt matter where you went. from the world cafe to the Restaurant, it was wonderful with attentive waiters to serve coffee, tea and soda , wine and beer at your discretion. the chefs Table was incredible but only went once. we had the Asian meal which i was afraid i wouldnt like.. impressive... Manfredies was not our favorite and we went once only and cancelled a second. I love italian but was disappointed. too spicy for us. our favorite haunt was The Restaurant where fine dining was different every night with waiters at your beck and call with a smile always.. Entertainment and activities: there was something all day every day for every one. the daily sheet of activities and where to meet for tours was well written allowing any one to plan their day. simple things such as Trivia with new made friends (we came so close so many times) was fun! lectures of WW2 and art lectures and discussion were made available and very interesting and enjoyed. attendances was good. i brought two books. i didnt open either one.. guess i was too busy... night entertainment was good with soloist singers of different types, a soloist pianist (incredible), a magician (who did he do it??). honestly my fave forever was Brian Rodriques, who was an assistant cruise director who sang solo one evening with a packed house. From show tunes to opera, he was incredible evoking emotional responses from many (including myself)/ Thanks Brian for sharing your gift! Service" no matter where on the ship or even off the ship, a Viking representative was available and eager to assist no matter what. even managers of every departments were visible each day and often. Ports and Shore Excursions: most of the included trips were educational and represented by the people of that country. the two i would not recommend were Falmouth and Belgiun as Falmouth itself is a nice quaint little town to visit (and we were there during a festival-which we missed). the included trip to cornwall was uneventful and lack of capability to see any scenery which was special . The included trip not to Brugge but to another town was somewhat okay for a few minutes then lack luster. we were dropped off in the city of " ?" to shop yet the stores were closed. we wanted to get chocolate to purchase but ummm the stores are closed??? the rest of the included trips we took advantage of with also purchasing some. i found the costs reasonable compared to other cruise companies. the best included was paris. yes! its far but once there we saw so much and given time to eat at a side walk cafe and to feel the parisian style. limited shopping was disappointing but all in all we saw so much for no cost to us!!! the only other purchased trip i would ot recommend was Amsterdams Rickmuseum (sp). very confusing, tie wasted, with tour guides (however intelligent to art) but too much time determining who was gong to take whome (limited to 20 each but did not say- you 20 stand here please) and too much detail orientation of one painting limiting us to seeing two paintings in half hour. we finally left the group and met up when we were to leave. as did many. Tak Tak Tak Viking for giving us a beautiful and memorable trip we will never forget even to the end (and in the airport-this after we had filled out our comment forms!!!) we have already planned on a river cruise next year and so looking forward to the next experience!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
As the cruising industry keeps making ships bigger, we abandoned that venue. It couldn't deliver the experience we needed. We started river cruising and found that smaller ships, smaller number of passengers, more focus on the ... Read More
As the cruising industry keeps making ships bigger, we abandoned that venue. It couldn't deliver the experience we needed. We started river cruising and found that smaller ships, smaller number of passengers, more focus on the educational experience matched our needs. Now Viking has re-invented the ocean cruise experience and delivered beyond our expectations. The ship is perfect. It had the right number of passengers. The open areas were spectacular. The food was terrific. The room was luxurious. The ability to be with a group balanced with being in a quiet one on one area was perfect. The crew addressed our every need. In conversations with them you know that Viking was treating them well and they were loyal to the company. The educational programs was outstanding. Dr Laurie gave us unbelievable insights. The cruise director was informative, engaging and funny. Matching the route to historical events was enlightening and enriching. It seems that every attention to detail really made a difference. We highly recommend this ship and diving back to the ocean cruising experience. Now we can go beyond the rivers and venture back to the seas. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I took this cruise with all five sisters and spouses. This is the second Viking cruise the ten of us have taken. We began with two extra days in Barcelona. Fantastic decision as it gave us time to see Barcelona and visit many of its ... Read More
I took this cruise with all five sisters and spouses. This is the second Viking cruise the ten of us have taken. We began with two extra days in Barcelona. Fantastic decision as it gave us time to see Barcelona and visit many of its attractions. When it was time to embark we everything went somewhat smoothly. Although, the constant TSA like security every time we boarded got old fast. Once on board it took many of us a while before our roo ms were ready. Yet this transition went relatively smooth considering the number of people boarding. As a group we usually ate our meals in the World Cafe. Although, all ten of us did eat at Manfredi's Italian restaurant twice. My wife and I also ate at the Chef's table a couple of times. One thing I learned early is that the World Cafe has two serving lines and generally both lines had different items. One thing about Manfredi's is that one needs to be aware of the amount of food that will be served. You could easily share the pasta, main course and dessert if you want to limit calories. The Chef's table is a more intimate setting. Each course was well described by wait staff and was paired with a fine wine, also well described. I was confused the first time we had reservations. Supposedly the Chef's table was fully booked. Yet when we arrived and during our meal there were a number of open tables. I suspect this allowed staff to focus on those dining while leaving tables for later reservations. There is also the restaurant. If you have sailed on a Viking River Cruise, the restaurant is similar to the River Cruise dining room. My wife and I really enjoyed on visits to the restaurant. However, the majority of my family opted for the World Cafe. I must compliment the Cruise Director and his assistant. They put together a fantastic schedule of daily informational speakers and evening entertainment. The highlight was the last night medley of ABBA (AKA Mama Mia) and Beatles hits. They were successful in getting the older crowd to really get stand and boogie as they completed their ABBA series. The service on board was excellent. I know all passengers were treated well. However, I am not sure that there were many on the Viking Star that received the personal attention most of my family did. Probably due to some of the very outgoing personalities evident in my family. I was actually surprised that most of the wait staff not only knew my name but also my wife's. If there was any disappointment on this trip is was some of the excursions. A caveat here is that excursions were operated by contractors and not Viking, unlike river cruises. A couple of times the bus ride for the included tours were so long that there wasn't much time for walking around. Although we were pretty happy with the optional tours we booked. My favorite was Normandy Beach. We figured the trip to Paris wouldn't give us enough time to do anything but see the sights. We could do that with pictures. On the Normandy Beach option we saw a lot of WWII history, including information about how allied military actually moved men and machines into France after the invasion. The various bunkers, military equipment and remains of the landing harbor really should impress the WWII buff. As an aside, we really loved the Porto, Portugal excursion. My wife and I spent our Honeymoon in Portugal, including a couple of nights in Porto. We talked about returning for our fifth anniversary. We didn't make it. We were 17 years late. So who's counting? One thing I should note. There was a jigsaw puzzle available to complete. Evidently it had never been done during the time of a cruise. However, we did complete it. Our cruise ended in Bergen, Norway. The included tour of Bergen allowed us time to take pictures from various locations around the town. We then were left in town to find our way back. We had the opportunity to hear a number of drum corps during the drum corps competition. We, as a family of ten, added a local three hour Fjord cruise. We were very pleased with this addition. While this tour didn't offer any narrative, we had the opportunity to see a part of Norway and the Bergen area that others didn't get a chance to do. An interesting sidelight was the opportunity to drink water taken from a local waterfall. The tour boat captain motored his boat to the cliff where the water fell. As he did a crew member used a pail that was on the end of a ten foot pole to catch this refreshing drink. Disembarkation went smoothly. Once at the airport reality set in and we had to get ready for the trip back to home. Would we do this cruise again? Definitely. However, we would be more aware of the various options and would research the actual port and its amenities before considering included excursions. I would have added a couple of pictures but there was a problem with the program. Sorry. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose Viking because we had taken river cruises in the past and wanted to try and ocean cruise. We chose the cruise we did because of the ports we stopped at. Two weeks was ideal for us going from Spain to Norway was the dream of a ... Read More
We chose Viking because we had taken river cruises in the past and wanted to try and ocean cruise. We chose the cruise we did because of the ports we stopped at. Two weeks was ideal for us going from Spain to Norway was the dream of a lifetime. Viking is first class, the river cruises and the ocean cruises are number one far above their competitors. We were not disappointed with the service the friendliness of the staff and crew in all of the amenities. The variety of food was delicious. We never ran out of options with various restaurants that were on the ship. Getting on off the ship was a breeze. The staff was very helpful courteous and friendly. The entertainment was first class and the lectures that were provided The entertainment was first class in the lectures that were provided each day or very and lightning. Fitness facility was a real treasure. After enjoying all the wonderful food on the ship it was great to be able to go down and work off a few calories. We took it vantage of the spa and Will on our next cruise also. By the way we’ve already booked one Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This was our first Viking cruise and it was a wow. We chose Trade Routes because of the itinerary and excursions. It was a wonderful way to overview several countries in great style. The Star is a beautiful smaller ship with gorgeous ... Read More
This was our first Viking cruise and it was a wow. We chose Trade Routes because of the itinerary and excursions. It was a wonderful way to overview several countries in great style. The Star is a beautiful smaller ship with gorgeous venues, excellent restaurants and service. We thought the buffet was very special with a raw seafood bar and different specialties everyday. The main dining rooms were spacious and comfortable. Viking also has a chef table and Italian restaurant choices included in the price which were very good. We purchased the drink package which was wonderful and reasonable. I cannot say enough about our staff and how comfortable they made us feel from the start of our cruise until our last morning off the ship. All excursions were great and we took both included and optional. Two of our favorites were Monet's estate and Cornwall. We also booked a two night precruise with Viking in Madrid and the hotel was magnificent and we enjoyed a museum and tapas evening tour. I would recommend this cruise for a first timer going to Europe or retuning for another visit. I hope to return to Viking again to try a river cruise. Our cabin was lovely and had a nice balcony with heated bathroom floors and beautiful gels and lotions. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This is our third Viking cruise and our first Ocean Viking Cruise. We loved it. The ship is stunning, comfortable, and spacious. Nothing was ever crowded. Getting off and on for excursions was efficient. The staff always smiling, open, ... Read More
This is our third Viking cruise and our first Ocean Viking Cruise. We loved it. The ship is stunning, comfortable, and spacious. Nothing was ever crowded. Getting off and on for excursions was efficient. The staff always smiling, open, friendly no matter where you were on the ship. We took excursions in every port and they didn't dissappoint. We had been to Amsterdam before but spent most of our time in the old city. This time our excursion started with a bus trip around the new city, a stop at a windmill, a walking tour through old city. THEN...we boarded a canal boat for a wonderful lunch while we cruised through the canals. All the while with expert and witty commentary from our guide. To cap off the tour we walked to the VanGogh museum for an afternoon guided tour. I was in heaven!! Our tour to Giverny from LeHavre was a similiar experience to Monet's house and garden with lunch at a wonderful old forge under huge umbrellas.When we got back to the dock the entire ship's crew were lined up with music and clapping and champagne to welcome us back on board ! Loved it ! Food on board ship was great. Lots of variety and always available. Our cabin was always ship shape thanks to Super and Riv. I have to say my very favorite thing (and there is quite a choice) was the infinity pool. Nothing like floating off the back of the ship with a tall glass in hand toasting a wonderful day as we pull out of port. Love it. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this cruise because my husband likes the warm weather of southern Europe and I prefer the cooler northern climes. This cruise had something for both of us and took us places we had never been before. It was very interesting to ... Read More
We chose this cruise because my husband likes the warm weather of southern Europe and I prefer the cooler northern climes. This cruise had something for both of us and took us places we had never been before. It was very interesting to have it themed to the explorers of the middle ages--we really enjoyed the lectures and enrichment activities. The shore excursions were so incredibly well organized--small groups, no waiting, comfortable buses (mostly) and knowledgeable local guides. I would prefer throwing my money off the veranda into the sea to gambling in a casino so the lack of casinos was absolutely no loss to me. The entertainment was nice--the performers were very good. The production values weren't Vegas, but, again, that is not why we chose this trip. We had fun at the performances we chose to attend. And, while I love children, I enjoy the quieter, slower, rather genteel travel opportunity to swimming pools and other venues full of screaming, poorly supervised kiddos. Call me crabby! The spa was great--so relaxing it was hard to walk back to our stateroom! The food was wonderful. Every meal in the restaurant had standard offerings every day (ie chicken, salmon, steak), local food, and some pretty snazzy special items like lobster, Chateaubriand, soft shell crabs, scrumptious fresh tuna--on and on. The specialty restaurants were very good, too, but we preferred the regular restaurant. The buffets were also outstanding. The only thing about the restaurant that I was a bit disappointing for us was that we were always seated at a table for two. Sometimes, conversation was possible with the tables on each side, but sometimes you were on your own. I really enjoy mealtime as a time for socializing and would have liked to be seated with other couples at the larger tables. (Now that I think about it, I probably could have asked for that, but never thought of it!) On the river cruise we took, we had the opportunity to eat with almost everyone on the ship--much more fun. We finished our trip with a three day extension in Iceland, which was very interesting and fun. The great service we experience on board continued in Reykjavik. Terrific hotel accommodations. Our guide was amazing. As on all the excursions during the whole cruise, entry fees were paid in advance and there was no waiting for anything. We will definitely cruise Viking again--we love the small ship format and the ambiance. We have met lovely people from all over the world. We also love the people on the crew who seem genuinely committed to making your trip memorable. In the future, I might explore arranging my own flights, because Viking Air is not always the most direct or the fastest. On the other hand, they are usually reasonably priced and guarantee that you will get to the ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
From start to finish the cruise was a great experience. The staff on the Viking Star was so welcoming and always ready to make our cruise a wonderful vacation. The Trade Route of Middle Ages was a fantastic journey with visits to 7 ... Read More
From start to finish the cruise was a great experience. The staff on the Viking Star was so welcoming and always ready to make our cruise a wonderful vacation. The Trade Route of Middle Ages was a fantastic journey with visits to 7 countries with 10 ports. Embarkation area in Barcelona was very nice with a comfortable reception area complete with drinks, snacks and nice seating area. (our travel companions had arrived earlier and were there waiting for us) Check in personnel was adequate and the process was quick. The ship is very well appointed both in style and facilities. There always seemed to be a staff member positioned in just the right place....if you had a question or needed direction. The food service was varied with snacks, light meals, relaxed seating or formal destinations at your disposal. The specialty restaurants (no extra charge) required reservations which were not difficult to acquire. Manfredi's Italian was a favorite of ours and the Norwegian experience at the Chef's Table was truly a special meal with its wine pairings. The included wine and beer with lunch and dinner is a valuable feature on Viking as is their relaxed rule about bringing one's own spirits aboard. Our stateroom on level 5 was nicely appointed and always clean and neat. Cindy was so very attentive to our every want and need. The extra hangers that we requested were more than sufficient although I do believe that a little more drawer or shelf space would be a good addition. Suggestion: one of the two pillows (each side) might include a firmer option. The included tours were good and we availed ourselves of most of them. Our previous experience with Viking River Tours prepared us for the value of this perk. We did book the Mijas excursion...a very nice little mountain town and worth the price. Also the Norwegian Farm tour (Bergen) was a unique experience and very well done. The Bruges tour with included canal ride was also a good choice. We took Amsterdam included tour and then visited the Riksmuseum on our own. The tram system, near the ship, made the trip very easy. I will admit that the Viking staff was a little confused as to how/where to purchase tram tickets but the IAmsterdam staff near the Central train station was helpful. Entertainment was good and we enjoyed the variety of the evening shows, TED talks, special speakers and the daily port talks by staff. We took in the Movie under the stars by the pool and it was a great experience...complete with blankets and popcorn. The Afternoon Tea service in the Wintergarten was a lovely time with great food, great service and great conversation. We also used the Wintergarten area for a game of cards or quiet conversation with friends. It was easy to stay active on the ship with walks around the ample decks of this smaller cruise ship, the fitness center and the spa area; all nicely appointed and staffed. Twister46 Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We had previous experience with a 15 day river cruise in 2014 from Budapest to Amsterdam. Wanted to see if the Ocean going cruise would be as great. Had researched many cruise lines and the single most item why we choose Viking was the ... Read More
We had previous experience with a 15 day river cruise in 2014 from Budapest to Amsterdam. Wanted to see if the Ocean going cruise would be as great. Had researched many cruise lines and the single most item why we choose Viking was the previous river cruise and the fact this Viking ship did not carry as many passengers as the other cruise lines. We were looking forward to seeing many different countries in Europe. We loved the ship it was almost exactly what we expected. The staff is very simple superb, friendly and helpful at all times. Execution of all aspect of this voyage were flawless and logical. All shore excursion and returns were executed with logical sequence and always pleasant. When we made our reservation we informed my brother who also signed up for this cruise the very next day. My wife also informed her best friend in Arizona who did sign up as well. My brother and his son were able to get the cabin next to us, and my wife's girlfriend and her son got the cabin directly above us. Unfortunately the cabin was not pleasant nor conducive to good nights of sleep. The very first day we noticed that we were unable to turn the HV/AC blower off and there was a constant droning noise at 40db coming from the vent. After several phone calls to staff they were unable to resolve this issue. By the 3rd day I had a very sore throat, and at best we slept maybe 3.5 to 4 hours a night. On the 4th day a ships engineer came out to try and solve the problem. He finally figured out that our cabin environmental controls were tied to the ships hallway HV/AC and could not be shut off. The engineer solution was to bring about a 6' piece of insulation to close the vent and try to mitigate the droning noise. It helped in reducing the constant air movement somewhat but the noise at night was still very intrusive and lack of sleep was still a problem. I have pictures of this "fix" but I don't see were in this review I can attach them. We were offered a cabin on deck five but we declined. We had friends and relatives traveling with us and the move would diminish our experience even more. When we made the reservation we asked to be close together in our cabin choices, and to be on the same Buses in some of our shore excursions. In conclusion I would say that this particular cabin should never have been sold to a customer on this ship. I don't know if anyone has ever lodge a complaint about this problem cabin, but in my opinion the cabin should be converted to some thing the staff can use or maybe another laundry for the convenience of travelers on the 7th deck. I hope you can understand that we are now somewhat reluctant to plan another voyage on one of your otherwise very modern and beautiful kept ships for fear of having to put up with another insolvable problem that could ruin what was otherwise a very exiting and wonderful voyage. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018

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