We have cruised on Seabourn for our previous 7 cruises, but we liked the Viking itinerary from Durban to London because we have dear friends that live in Durban, whom we visited a couple of days before our cruise. A few days after booking ... Read More
We have cruised on Seabourn for our previous 7 cruises, but we liked the Viking itinerary from Durban to London because we have dear friends that live in Durban, whom we visited a couple of days before our cruise. A few days after booking this cruise, we got a flier from Viking offering the same cabin on the same itinerary for $1000 less/pp. We called our travel agent as we do when that happens with Seabourn to get the best price guarantee. What? Not only do you not get a best price guarantee, Viking made us cancel our existing booking, pay a significant cancellation fee and rebook the same cabin. Not cool and definitely not Seabourn. Oh well, price is less expensive than Seabourn......or not. Tips are included in the price of your cabin with Seabourn. Not so with Viking. Only later after you have booked do they offer you the privilege of pre-paying your tips at close to $900/pp.
Embarkation was a breeze- faster than Seabourn. The Viking Deluxe Veranda suite was significantly smaller than Seabourn’s standard Veranda Suites.- No walk in closet, no sofa, no capacity to close off seating area from sleeping area. If you order room service, you must eat your food hunched over a coffee table because there is no room for the food cart and two chairs that you get on Seabourn. In other words it is not really a suite on Viking unless you spend more money for a Junior Suite.
Dining on Viking was inconsistent, with Chef’s Table and Manfredi’s Special restaurants usually being very good to excellent. The Restaurant main dining offerings varied from excellent to inedible. The World Cafe had excellent sushi, sashimi, soups and breakfast omelettes. The dishes on the buffet varied from very good to terrible. You had to order the deluxe wine package to get wines comparable to the standard wines on Seabourn. Some of the Viking included wines were good, but many of the white wines were undrinkable ( 2 Buck Chuck ). Standard “Champagne” was a Viking brand- use your imagination.
Service from our room steward, Ferdy, was the best we have ever had. He was thoughtful, personable an anticipated our every need. The restaurant and bar staff were very friendly and usually very good. Too many, however exhibited a lack of training. You would ask for a refill ( seldom have to even ask on Seabourn) and some would spend 5 minutes talking to other cruise passengers, completely forgetting about your refill. Sometimes we’d have to ask 3 different service persons before we got something we wanted. Some would take your plate without asking if you are finished.
Entertainment was very good to excellent with virtuoso guitarist, string duo, pianist and talented singers. Did not see ballroom dancers like Seabourn has.
The shore excursions were fun, well organized and informative. The ports of call were excellent, but wish we had more time in the beautiful Canary Islands and Cape Town.
The Viking Sun itself was the best part of the cruise. It gave us a very smooth ride for the size of the ship. It was pristine, has a sliding cover for the pool for use in any weather, has a jogging track and many quiet places to read a book or just relax on sea days. The two level Explorer Lounge and bar is amazing and offers wonderful views. The Viking Sun is more casual than Seabourn with no formal ( tuxedo ) nights.
Overall, I’d have to say that the Viking Ocean ships are as nice or even nicer than some of Seabourn’s. However the Veranda Suites, food, standard wines and restaurant service are not in the same class as Seabourn. You could pay extra and get a junior suite and premium wines on Viking. My preference is the 5 star floating hotel, restaurants and royal treatment experience that we get every time on Seabourn. Read Less