58 Istanbul Senior Cruise Reviews

Itinerary was what we wanted. Turkey to Amsterdam. Scenic road portions are so well organized, giving you all kinds of surprises at every stop along the way. They use more buses than necessary so you aren't crammed in. Mostly Aussies, ... Read More
Itinerary was what we wanted. Turkey to Amsterdam. Scenic road portions are so well organized, giving you all kinds of surprises at every stop along the way. They use more buses than necessary so you aren't crammed in. Mostly Aussies, a few Kiwis and Canucks. Luckily, only a few from USA. Top hotels except Cannikali. Tanner the guide was more than fantastic. Then we boarded JADE and Nikola took over from Tanner. He was fantastic too. The boat was wonderful. Room 308 is in a great spot - no engine noise and close to foyer. Deluxe balcony is the best layout. Jr.Suites are not as roomy even though they cost more. Paying for the tub I suppose. Of course Royal Suites in mid ship are best, with added space for a couch but lots more money. Food was good but a little repetitive after 30 days. The chef could use more spices. Although he is Asian, he cooks like a Englishman. Service is excellent. Entertainment was interesting on several special occasions but piano player was unimpressive. Great shore extras that they don't tell you about until the day of. Fun. Would recommend Scenic and will be back as soon as we can. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
This cruise really spoiled us! Other cruise lines just don't measure up. We especially enjoyed the all-inclusiveness: a high quality free excursion at each port, complimentary wine and beer during meal times, no cost speciality ... Read More
This cruise really spoiled us! Other cruise lines just don't measure up. We especially enjoyed the all-inclusiveness: a high quality free excursion at each port, complimentary wine and beer during meal times, no cost speciality restaurants, free internet - even free self-service laundry, complete with detergent. If you're willing to go off-season as we did, you can also get free airfare. All cabins have balconies, which we enjoyed very much. The cabins were spacious and beautifully furnished. We especially appreciated having a real King bed rather than the arrangement of two twins pushed together. The commons areas, especially the lounges, were stunning. The Explorer's Lounge was one of our favorite spots on the ship. The menu featured a lot of options and the food was superb. Service throughout the ship was excellent. This cruise was just about perfect, until the very end. We were not able to dock in Venice due to fog (not their fault), so we had to be bussed. They just dropped us off at the cruise port without any guidance or assistance whatsoever (definitely their fault.) If you want Las Vegas-style entertainment and casinos, this is not the cruise for you. If, however, you prefer an itinerary rich experience, you will love this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
All cabins have balconies and the shower was one of the biggest we have seen on a ship. Main reason we took this cruise was for the 3 days in Israel. Stayed longer in most ports than other ships do - gave us time to explore on our own ... Read More
All cabins have balconies and the shower was one of the biggest we have seen on a ship. Main reason we took this cruise was for the 3 days in Israel. Stayed longer in most ports than other ships do - gave us time to explore on our own after going on ship excursion. Many of the free excursions are just overview of the location. Chef's Table specialty restaurant rotates the menu every three days - we went on Asian night and the food was excellent. At the buffet at lunch and dinner, they will grill some items (tiger prawns, chicken breast) for you. Our room steward was excellent. Breakfast menu in the Restaurant offers some unique items like "breakfast lamb chops" as well as the usual food items. Fitness area was smaller than other ships, but never crowded - also opened at 6am. Great entertainment. Many quiet places to relax. Free wifi was faster than most other ships we have been on. Several different lecturers gave about 12 lectures on varying topics. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We chose this cruise for a number of reasons. The price was right and the cruise included ports of interest to my wife and myself. We both like cruises and the amenities that were described about the cruise was different that other cruise ... Read More
We chose this cruise for a number of reasons. The price was right and the cruise included ports of interest to my wife and myself. We both like cruises and the amenities that were described about the cruise was different that other cruise lines. When we arrived we were greeted as friends and not like a customer. The ports we visited were great and the excursions were well organized and interesting. Evening entertainment was very good. For us dining was best in the buffet line. We did do the Restaurant and the specialty restaurants, but we liked the buffet best, because it was quicker. Service for the cabin was excellent. Most days the cabin steward greeted us when we left in the morning and again when we returned from the days activities. The cruise is designed for adults. I would not recommend taking any children on the cruise. All the entertainment and activities are geared towards adults. There is no casino on board - a plus in our opinion. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Hello! We chose this cruise because of the Itinerary, all across the Mediterranean, starting in Istanbul and finishing in Barcelona. However, this changed before departure, given the events in Turkey, Celebrity decided to skip ... Read More
Hello! We chose this cruise because of the Itinerary, all across the Mediterranean, starting in Istanbul and finishing in Barcelona. However, this changed before departure, given the events in Turkey, Celebrity decided to skip Istanbul and we shipped from Piraeus in Athens. The itinerary was still good enough and we kept the plans. No regrets. The overall experience was incredible! Very smooth embarkation process, the ship is beautiful and huge! We were somehow in a budget so we had an inside cabin which was very spacious with lots of room for storing, good shower and restroom. Certainly and accounting on the amount of time you actually spend in the stateroom you do not need more. I would definitely book an inside cabin again to save some good money. Food very good. The main dinner Silhouette is outstanding, you could easily skip the specialty restaurants because of this. Ocean View buffets were always good and fresh. We had the 3 dinner package so: - Tuscan Grill - good dinner but not super special, you can easily skip this with no regrets. - Silk harvest - Pretty dishes and good food. Recommended. - Murano - Great experience! Recommended. The on board entertainment and activities seemed sometimes a little repetitive and I don't want to say dull, but yeah... maybe we being Latin Americans (34 yo Mexican Couple) are more used to other kind of more playful and inclusive fiesta. I would recommend more variety on the music in the pool area and more repertoire of the live music. It was the same music always again and again!! Very odd. In a second thought, maybe the entertainment was not perceived as super good since the demographics of the cruise were +60 yo people and they don't go along very easily. The theatre shows were great, I enjoy every single night of them. The one with the big hat in the scenario is an outstanding-Cirque du Soleil-level act. Great singers! Service was GREAT!!!!.... must of the time. Very smiley and friendly staff. The only place it was not as friendly was at the grill up the pool, where you get hamburgers and hot dogs, staff there was grumpy, but I can see why, it was so hot and standing so much time at the grill doing burgers must be painful!! The Shore excursions we took with Celebrity were good, and very nicely organized. However, I only recommend this for large cities with little time to see all so you will have the tranquility of not being left by the ship if something goes wrong or you're late. Otherwise, there are cheaper and reliable options elsewhere online like Viator. Or go around and explore yourself if the destination is a small town and not difficult to access. We would certainly do it all again with Celebrity and the Equinox! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Everyone we talked to suggested we try a Celebrity Cruise, having completed 30 other cruises with different companies we decided to give it a go, Largest ship we have ever been on, oozed luxury in most areas always sunbeds available, ... Read More
Everyone we talked to suggested we try a Celebrity Cruise, having completed 30 other cruises with different companies we decided to give it a go, Largest ship we have ever been on, oozed luxury in most areas always sunbeds available, Removed the gratuities once on board, however were reminded about them the day before we disembarked by letter with suggested rates to give. Tipped our cabin attendants only because their service was over and above expected. Inside cinema was very poor dark and dingy with very small screen, needs to have movies under the stars. The self service, open cafe was excellent with choice of food, very well presented. Silhouette Restaurant was used for any time dining, service was very slow and the tables were never ready when we arrived at 6.00pm even though the doors opened at 5.45pm. The Sky Observation Lounge, seemed to only have anything on after 10,30 p.m. Which was no good for people off on trips early the next day. This could have been used more for other entertainment during the evening, lots of people were saying, the timings on the ship were wrong, there seemed to be " dead times ", when nothing was happening , this was said by various ages young and middle ages, so not only us noticing it, strange really. The entertainment team, performed twice in the evening 7 p.m. and 9.p.m. shows were average, have seen better elsewhere. They only did about 4 or 5 nights, out of a 13 night cruise, other variety guests we saw were not brilliant, although the first act Tenors of Rock. were outstanding. The shops were very expensive,and took up to much space on the ship, suggest they rethink this, and use it for passenger entertainment, Music in a few bars is not enough for a ship this size!! sorry really not impressed !! Beautiful Ship, big bag of not a lot, shame really, would we go again, don't think so . Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Traveled with a group of 8. We arrived in Athens late in the afternoon and the embarkation was very easy. The shuttle provided by the cruise line (not free) was very convenient and much easier than trying to find a cab. The driver was ... Read More
Traveled with a group of 8. We arrived in Athens late in the afternoon and the embarkation was very easy. The shuttle provided by the cruise line (not free) was very convenient and much easier than trying to find a cab. The driver was waiting when we arrived and left immediately to take us to the ship. The service in the dining room was great and the room stewards did a superb job. The food had high points and average points but there was always something that appealed. Always love Celebrity but sometimes feel the prices are getting a little out of hand. This particular cruise was well priced and included air. The ports were particularly appealing and we were given plenty of time in port. Two ports were over night which is nice - gives a different perspective. The disembarkation was painless but the time spent at the airport was very long. Overall the cruise spent with friends was great and we will look forward to doing it again.. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This cruise was part of a guided tour with a large international tour company. We started in Istanbul for a few days before joining the cruise when it arrived in Istanbul from Athens. As part of a larger group our on-shore excursions ... Read More
This cruise was part of a guided tour with a large international tour company. We started in Istanbul for a few days before joining the cruise when it arrived in Istanbul from Athens. As part of a larger group our on-shore excursions were organised by our tour director and we had no problems at all. I was pleasantly surprised by the size of our outside cabin with window. It was larger than I had expected and the bathroom was a decent size too. We had plenty of storage in the way of wardrobe and cupboards. The only issue we had was the the bed was too low to store our empty suitcases underneath. We were on deck 5 which has an outside walkway that goes around the entire ship so we did have people walking past our window from early in the morning but the windows are mirrored so the room is still very private with the curtains drawn. There were two choices for eating; the buffet or the dining room. The buffet food was decent and plentiful if you ate early though it was never hot only warm. The al a carte in the restaurant was tasty though there is a limited menu choice. You could have breakfast in either the buffet or restaurant. I didn't attend any of the shows but was told that they were entertaining though not very professional. There are plenty of bar areas to enjoy; around the pool, indoors or at the rear of the ship on deck 5. As a smoker I spent most of my time at the deck 5 bar as it was one of the few places I could drink and smoke. The staff were all absolutely wonderful and very helpful with any requests we had. Our room stewards kept our room clean and neat. As the crew come from all over the world there are many new friends to be made if you enjoy learning about other countries. Watching the ship dock in the early morning was one of my regular highlights and the other was the sunsets. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We chose Viking because we had a great experience with Viking three years ago on a Rhine cruise. The cabin was beautiful, but there was nightly work being done on the deck above our cabin that woke us up almost every night. We complained, ... Read More
We chose Viking because we had a great experience with Viking three years ago on a Rhine cruise. The cabin was beautiful, but there was nightly work being done on the deck above our cabin that woke us up almost every night. We complained, but it still happened. Also, upon boarding we had difficulty finding our cabin. When we boarded the river cruise, there was a crew member escorting every guest to their cabin. On the cruise ship, we were on our own and it was more difficult to find. Our cabin was in the front on the upper deck where only one set of elevators actually went to our floor. The restaurants were good, but choices were limited in some places. For example at the pool, it was the same menu every day. It would have been nice to have the restaurants feature foods from the area we were traveling. The only restaurant that did this was the World Cafe and that food was like cafeteria food. The staff, just like on the river cruise, was outstanding, the only difference was that they seemed over worked, and they talked about it. They were working long hours with short down time and they mentioned this to the passengers. We had two problems with shore excursions. In Santorino Viking should not have allowed "leisure walkers" to go on the shore excursions. The hills were too severe and the sidewalks too uneven. The guide did her best, but a few people on our tour and a person we ate dinner with basically sat on the bus the whole time. When we were on the river cruise cruise, Viking had a modified versions of the daily tours for "leisure walkers" which were the over 55 and had difficulty walking, had walkers ,etc. In Dubrovnik we had a tour guide who was not sensitive to the over 55 crowd. In Dubrovnik they have their own currency and all of the public rest rooms required exact change with that currency. Having arrived just that morning and not knowing this several people on out tour needed to use the rest room and had no where to go. They ended up walking back to the ship and missing out on the rest of the tour. Sounds crazy, but it's a problem for the over 55 group. I would love to do more cruising with Viking, but it is too expensive. It's a special occasion cruise company for us. i'd like to see you stop mailing me so many catalogs. I'm in the direct mail business, so I know how expensive these are. I get a piece of Viking mail almost daily; some days multiple pieces, plus getting emails a couple days a week. Perhaps if you saved money with the mailings you could reduce the price of your cruises. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
The Viking Ocean Cruise "Nordic Explorer" was in a word fantastic! Every destination tour was very informative and fun. The restaurants on board were delightful with a gourmet dinner with wine every night. The destinations ... Read More
The Viking Ocean Cruise "Nordic Explorer" was in a word fantastic! Every destination tour was very informative and fun. The restaurants on board were delightful with a gourmet dinner with wine every night. The destinations included all the major cities of the continent, all with local guides that where adept with local history and color. The entire staff were very personable and knowledgeable. It seemed they could not do enough to make every day special. The on-board entertainment was exceptional. All performers were very entertaining including the local performances along the way. The spa was excellent including a large pool for relaxing plus steam and snow rooms for the total experience. On board activities educational immersion lectures from experts as well as movies relative to the areas visited. During the 35 days of our cruise I never once felt that the cruise was too long or uninteresting. I would highly recommend this excursion as a cruise of a lifetime! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was one of our best cruises ever! We loved the ports we visited and the shore excursions were very organized and well worth the time. We loved that the shore excursions were included in the cruise price. We took advantage and did book ... Read More
This was one of our best cruises ever! We loved the ports we visited and the shore excursions were very organized and well worth the time. We loved that the shore excursions were included in the cruise price. We took advantage and did book two optional tours that included the region's cuisine. The optional tour prices were reasonable and well worth the price of the excursion. The ship's design is well planned and classy but still very cozy and comfortable. The activities on board such as entertainment, port talks, etc. were just right. It was very relaxing to be on board with not a ton of things going on. The stateroom attendants were super and efficient. All of the staff on board from dining room to spa attendants were very friendly and helpful. They made you feel important. I loved all of the amenities offered such as free Wi-Fi, bottled water, etc. We did the post tour in Venice and had a great time. The Viking representative at the hotel was most helpful and made sure our departure went smoothly. I have already booked another cruise to the baltic and talked my sister-in-law and her husband to go with my husband and I. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Viking Ocean is by far the best ocean cruise line we have taken. We have cruised with NCL, Princess and Celebrity and the level of service provided by Viking is a cut above the rest. First of all, we like their itineraries. We took the ... Read More
Viking Ocean is by far the best ocean cruise line we have taken. We have cruised with NCL, Princess and Celebrity and the level of service provided by Viking is a cut above the rest. First of all, we like their itineraries. We took the “Empires of the Mediterranean” tour from Istanbul to Venice and went to some fascinating venues including Santorini and Dubrovnik. Since there had been recent terrorist attacks in Istanbul for safety reasons, Viking Ocean cut short that visit and substituted Troy instead. Luckily, we had a pre-cruise booked for Istanbul and we did find Troy interesting. Viking Ocean appeals to us because it does not have the Las Vegas strip look of other larger liners. Passengers on our ship the Viking Sea, numbered around 600 because of people cancelling due to fear about terrorism in Istanbul, but the ship only has a capacity of around 940 passengers. Amenities such as elevator service equals that of larger ships. The stateroom we had was DV5 level and had 270 square feet plus a verandah. It was quite roomy and elegant. In fact, elegance of understated Scandinavian style would describe the Viking Sea. Everywhere there are little surprise nooks to sit in and read and art pieces to admire. The tone of superior service was set upon our arrival when we were greeted with champagne and the strains of music played by a classical trio. Our favourite hang out was the 2 level Explorer's Lounge with 180 degree views of the ocean. Viking Ocean is considered more expensive than other cruise lines, however I like the fact that all the costs except gratuities are pre-paid and you are not nickeled and dimed to death like on other ships. There are no continuous merchandise sales or photography sales pushed upon you. Amenities such as Internet, wine and beer with meals, and two hour free excursions are included in the price of the fare so there are no surprises when you get your bill. As we are not big drinkers we found that the wine veritably flowed! The food is excellent. The World Café serves buffet style and it included an ice cream and gelato bar, and a latte machine at no additional charge. Other lines charge for these items. Above all the regular coffee is very good. With other cruise lines the coffee was so awful I had to get a specialty coffee card. At night this buffet served excellent sushi, crab legs and other seafood. There is an outside grill plus wonderful specialty restaurants such as Manfredi's which serves Italian fare and the Captain's Table where you can do food sampling and wine pairings. They have a more traditional restaurant plus a buffet or grill when the specialty restaurants get booked. You are allowed 2 bookings of each specialty restaurant and unlike other cruise lines you are not charged extra for these. Another surprise was Mamsen's where you could pop in for a heart-shaped waffle for breakfast. Also, there was the Wintergarden where everyday they served tea time pastries, sandwiches and scones to the strains of the classical trio. Most of the time we took the more lengthy paid excursions instead of the 2 hour free ones however the level of the free ones that we took were good. There were fascinating enrichment lectures on naval warfare, art and music aboard ship. We attended sessions on naval battles that fit with the territory we passed including Gallipoli. These warfare talks were given by a Rear Admiral of the British Navy. The entertainment was with one exception of an outside singer, provided by the ship's singers and dancers. They were a small but a mighty talented troupe. We thoroughly enjoyed their performances particularly the way troupe members mingled jovially with passengers, Loads of fun! We especially enjoyed the trio of male singers who put on a tribute to the "Rat Pack" in the Torshaven Lounge. The house band was terrific too! Since this was the maiden voyage of the Viking Sea there was a glitch with our air conditioning that was resolved to our satisfaction. The gym is small and there are no classes but enough equipment to get the job done. We loved this voyage so much that we have booked another Viking Ocean trip called "Barcelona, the Baltic and Beyond" for 2017! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
My wife and I retired in the summer of 2009, up to that point I had never taken a cruise. My main reason was that I didn’t want to be stuck on a ship with nothing to do. Well I must say, was I ever wrong. We have since taken eight ... Read More
My wife and I retired in the summer of 2009, up to that point I had never taken a cruise. My main reason was that I didn’t want to be stuck on a ship with nothing to do. Well I must say, was I ever wrong. We have since taken eight cruises to date, with more planned in the future. Our first experience with Viking was a City Lights River Cruise, from Paris to Prague. Needless to say it was an amazing trip. The views along the Rivers were spectacular as well as the ports we docked in. When it came time for our excursions, they were extremely well planned. I was impressed by the way the crew members who went on our excursions looked after us and made sure no one got lost. Back on board the food was great as well as the entertainment and sleeping accommodations. I have always wanted to explore the Mediterranean via a cruise ship and when we heard that Viking had just introduced the Viking Star, we booked our cruise a year and half ahead of time. When it came time for our cruise we were once again extremely impressed. Upon our arrival at the Istanbul airport, we were met by Viking representatives and escorted to our bus. From there we were driven to our ship and upon arrival at the terminal were quickly processed and boarded the ship “The Viking Sea”. The system they have for scanning our photographs and activating our room cards was completed in an instant. Once on the ship we were kept informed on all activities via scheduled talks in the theater or simply by utilizing our television in our cabin, were we were able to view events, movies, major network stations, planned excursions, recent presentations and even an up to date breakdown of our account. When it came to our scheduled excursions, once again it was a seamless process. We received cards for our excursions as well as a daily sheet with scheduled events. Once we showed up at our meeting place, we were escorted out within five minutes and taken to our assigned busses for our event. The listening devices that were issued were amazing, allowing us to hear everything from our guide while on our excursion. Speaking of excursions, there were numerous ones to choose from on every port we visited. I was most impressed upon our return to the ship where were greeted by the Viking crew giving out champagne, towels, music, dancing etc. To date the staff of Viking are second to none! At the end of each excursion we were given sheets to rate our excursion, which I know are carefully scrutinized by staff to determine which ones to keep as well as which ones to discard. Our dining experience was pretty much the same as on other cruises however, the free unlimited wine as well as beer served with lunch and dinner made it more special. Our waitress “Maria” was phenomenal, which made our dining experience that much more special. Half way through our twenty-day cruise we were met by six other family members. We requested a table for eight as well as Maria and were granted both. We had such a good time at dinner with Maria that we cancelled some of our request for other restaurants The day our other family members were scheduled to board the ship I advised Mohamad our assigned housekeeping person of their pending arrival. He made of point of getting their cabins ready and they were able to utilize them much earlier than scheduled. We found Mohamed quite expedient in caring for our cabin and was always available to tend to our needs. When it came to doing laundry, we made of point of timing it and never had to wait for a machine to become available. What made it even nicer was the free detergent. The ship is much smaller than a regular cruise ships and when it came to entertainment, it was every bit as good as any larger ship. I was impressed by the digital stage backdrop that constantly changed as each event unfolded. The entertainment staff were extremely talented and after each show were available for greetings and questions. We found ourselves being entertained during lunch, tea time as well in the lobby. It seemed that there was always something going on. We discovered that the passengers were for the most part older with very few young couples. However, it was the right fit for us as it was a more relaxing and subdued. This also was to my advantage when it came time to utilizing the gym. Although there were usually persons there working out, I never had to wait for the equipment. We are looking forward to booking another cruise with Viking in the future. I know that with Vikings continuous strive towards perfection as well as the extremely friendly and professional staff we won’t be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We went on a Viking three week river cruise in 2014 and found it excellent so we, myself, husband and eldest daughter, booked on a Viking Ocean Cruise for 50 days departing Istanbul on 3rd April 2016 After we had booked, we found out that ... Read More
We went on a Viking three week river cruise in 2014 and found it excellent so we, myself, husband and eldest daughter, booked on a Viking Ocean Cruise for 50 days departing Istanbul on 3rd April 2016 After we had booked, we found out that this would be the Viking Sea's maiden voyage and were a little apprehensive but decided that we would trust the Viking company and made our plans to have a few days in Istanbul and then board the vessel on 3rd April, 2016 We had booked a Junior Penthouse Suite and our daughter had Deluxe Verandah right next door on Deck 7. We chose the Penthouse Suite because of the large area of 405sq.ft and it was close to lifts, swimming, dining and the winter garden area. We were welcomed aboard at 11.00am. our boarding time without any problems of hold up. Our luggage was taken onto the boat and the thing that impressed us on boarding and indeed on the whole of the 50 day trip, was the smiling welcome and greeting that everyone from the Captain, the officers, all the staff and crew gave you every day. It was so welcoming and you immediately felt like 'family' aboard and with every single member of the ship smiling and asking how was your day, etc. you responded with an equal smile and answer. Viking are to be praised for training all their employees in this manner. Our cabin was perfect, the bed and down pillows comfortable. We had two television sets, a refrigerator stocked with drinks and goodies, our own coffee pod machine and plenty of drawers and wardrobe space. The cosmetic and jewellery drawer that lit up with LED lights when opened so you could put your make up in the mirror in its lid. It was so good I drew out the design and measurements hoping to have something similar constructed in our own home when we got back. The bathroom/ensuite was another thing. Heated floor, two basins, huge heated towel rails and a big acrylic shower recess which was huge. Love the tap where you could just adjust the temperature and flow of the water and it was always hot whenever you wished to shower day or night. Toiletries were provided and were of a high standard as were the huge white soft towels changed as often as you wished. The restaurants, bars and grills where you could always find somewhere available to eat and the food was just out of this world. We tried all the restaurants and each was really special in its own way. We did use the World Cafe mostly for breakfast and lunches as it was on our deck level. The food variety was fantastic and you could have as much or as little as you wished. Never in the whole 50 days of our cruise did we have to queue up with no more than two or three people at the counter. The Chefs Table was a five course degustation menu with complimentary wines with each course. Bookings were essential but there was never a problem getting in. The Restaurant was delightful and a really comprehensive menu as was Manfredis with an Italian menu. The Pool Grill and Mamsens were also incredible as was the High Tea served every afternoon at 4.00pm in the Wintergarden. The entertainment provided was world class bringing in international artists on the piano, violin, singing and dancing which was augmented by the permanent entertainers, four male and four female giving many evenings of opera, music, dancing which kept us enthralled. There were several other musicians, pianists, a three piece band, a three piece classical group, and a guitarist which played in various sections of the ship daily and there was always the resident vocalist and Viking Band setting the scene with toe tapping numbers to take you to the dance floor every evening till midnight. There were so many information talks with specialist experts on board enlightening us with information on the geology, history, ships and their development from little rafts to the great ships of today, We learnt all about the European Union, and I could go on and on about all the interesting facts and talks that were available if you wish to attend. The Port Talks availing you of everything about the next port you would be visiting and all the amazing excursions provided with competent guides and drivers with their big comfortable buses. Viking Sea Cruises are advertised as an enrichment cruise about the history and culture of the many places and countries you visit. In our case of 50 days it was 18 countries and 38 ports. The cruise is definitely more for the mature 50 plus traveller and there are no children on board under 18 as there are no facilities for them. Being retired and not as agile as earlier years this was the perfect cruise for my husband and self and our daughter who is 57. Once on board everything is covered with your initial fare. Wine and beer was supplied at lunch and dinner and there were numerous VIP cocktail parties where plentiful drinks were supplied. Gratuities were included in your fare and as one cruiser said, he had been on board for three weeks and hadn't spent a penny. Of course a visit to the hairdresser, beauty salon, massage etc. incurred a fee as did the items in the jewellery shop and Viking shop, but to spend there was purely a choice. They did have another shop where you could purchase necessities like toothpaste, some medications for colds or sore throats and any other little things you might have forgotten to bring or had used up. I should mention here that Viking are incredibly particular about cleanliness and hygiene. There were many little hand spray machines scattered all over the ship where you could sanitise your hands and definitely before entering any of the dining rooms. They always had a lovely smiling crew member welcoming you to wherever you were going to eat and they would remind you so politely to disinfect your hands before eating. There was a doctor on board but we managed to go the 50 days without any problems with health or catching any colds or tummy upsets. To my knowledge the ship was pretty free of any nasties for the whole cruise. Our cabin stewards cleaned every vertical and horizontal surface in our cabin daily, Mirrors, walls, balcony, ensuite, nothing was missed and it was vacuumed daily, sometimes even twice a day. Towels and sheets were changed on a daily basis and all in all we were treated like I think the Kings and Czars and their families were looked after in the magnificient palaces we visited on our excursions. All I can say, for people who want to have a really interesting cruise without gambling, big water adventure equipment and other enticements, Vijking have got it right. With a passenger maximum of 930 people, nothing was ever crowded and there was always plenty of room wherever you wanted to be. I can only recommend them as a exciting and marvellous cruise operation and especially as I commenced this review, the smiling and welcome and great to assist you attitude of all their officers, staff and crew really makes your day such a pleasant and happy time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
A week before departing for our cruise a bomb went off targeting tourists in Istanbul, our port of embarkation. Following the incident Viking notified us of a change in itinerary, that we would not be staying overnight in Istanbul but ... Read More
A week before departing for our cruise a bomb went off targeting tourists in Istanbul, our port of embarkation. Following the incident Viking notified us of a change in itinerary, that we would not be staying overnight in Istanbul but would instead be sailing that evening to Canakkale (Troy). After we cleared customs at the Istanbul airport, Viking staff were at hand the moment we exited and immediately guided us to our coach. There were only six of us but they did not wait to fill up the coach which usually seats between 30 to 40 passengers and quickly whisked us away. A few months later after we returned from a fantastic trip, we heard on the news that a bomb went off at the Istanbul airport. It goes to show that Viking was extremely vigilant about getting their guests out of harms way by taking the extra precautionary measures to ensuring their safety. Once on board the Viking Sea, the ship, our stateroom, the ambience, the food and shore excursions were exceptional. Viking has set its bar high so why would we expect anything less than what is being advertised. Viking's values and how the staff work with their guests and with each other are some of the elements that distinguish them as a company and form the bedrock where Viking's reputation and business sit upon. Their competitors can attempt to copy and undertake work in a similar fashion, but they may not come close to copying their values and the Viking culture. We have been on their river cruise and experienced their ocean cruise, they excel in both lines. Our next cruise is to the West Indies in December on Viking Star and we are eagerly looking forward to having another phenomenal time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We have been on numerous cruises on many different lines, and we think Viking tops them all. Embarkation was inviting, efficient, and organized. Tours at every port were on time, well-led by absolutely outstanding tour guides and ... Read More
We have been on numerous cruises on many different lines, and we think Viking tops them all. Embarkation was inviting, efficient, and organized. Tours at every port were on time, well-led by absolutely outstanding tour guides and well-organized. I keep saying organized, but Viking never leaves a passenger wondering or wandering. Guides in the ports are clearly marked. Embarkation and disembarkation features many Viking stafff holding signs "pointing the way" to the 'correct' bus. The Viking Sea is elegant and spotless from stem to stern. No casino was a welcome gift. No photographer in your face every day and selling pictures was another welcome gift. An all-adult cruise line was another welcome gift. We dined in each of the four restaurants during our cruise; the food was superior, and the service was equal. I could go on and on listing individual servers and crew who deserve our highest accolades. They are superbly trained and superbly helpful and generous with their time, service, and interminably kind demeanor. Our Deluxe cabin had a spacious balcony which we enjoyed. The bed was most comfortable, and there was a large wardrobe, and plenty of drawer space. My wife and I are professional musicians, and the entertainment was top drawer. For example, a young tenor singing "Nessun Dorma" is a rarity on a cruise ship, but Constantine 'nailed it' (and I have accompanied many a singer twice or thrice Constantine's age that didn't sing it any better). My wife and I would go on a Viking cruise again in a heartbeat...we're already scheming, in fact, to see if we can manage a trip on Viking's next new ship in 2017 (this was the maiden voyage of the Viking Sea, and we are eager to see the Viking Sky and the Viking Sun, one each in 2017 and 2018). Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We have enjoyed the Viking River cruises, and trusted Viking to please us once again on this new ocean cruise. They did not disappoint! Although we were greatly unhappy that the tour of Istanbul had to be cancelled (our main reason for ... Read More
We have enjoyed the Viking River cruises, and trusted Viking to please us once again on this new ocean cruise. They did not disappoint! Although we were greatly unhappy that the tour of Istanbul had to be cancelled (our main reason for choosing this cruise), we loved all the other ports of call and excursions. We consider every aspect of Viking cruising of 5-star caliber, and Empires of the Mediterranean lived up to this expectation -- except for the pre-cruise, post-cruise options. Viking River cruises always offer accommodations and guided tours at each end, that allow for adjusting to the time zone, etc. This cruise did not. Little planning went into thinking through what guests might want and need at each end of the cruise, as we would have loved spending more time in both Istanbul and Venice, but no accommodations were forthcoming. Except for that, everything was exceptionally well-planned. The ship was spacious, and we never felt crowded -- in fact, we were surprised by how evenly distributed guests seemed to be at all times throughout the journey. Our cabin was comfortable and kept very clean. The food was marvelous, the Enrichment Lectures superior, and the service everywhere provided well and with a smile. We were also fortunate in that the weather could not have been better throughout our journey. The seas were calm, and we only needed a light jacket a few of the mornings. The entire experience was amazing, interesting, fun and educational. Kudos to Viking! Thank you. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We had not been on an ocean cruise for many years, although we have done 3 River Cruises with Viking. Flying to Europe from Australia is a long haul and we like to stay overnight in Asia to break the trip up into manageable ... Read More
We had not been on an ocean cruise for many years, although we have done 3 River Cruises with Viking. Flying to Europe from Australia is a long haul and we like to stay overnight in Asia to break the trip up into manageable "chunks". While Viking booked our flights, we had to find our own accommodation and transfers. Because of the flight schedules, we arrived in Istanbul 2 days ahead of our pre-cruise tour to Gallipoli and Troy. Again we had to find our own accommodation and transfers. We felt if Viking had made sure we were all in Istanbul at least a day before the tour and had booked us into a hotel of their choice, we would have been collected from there at an earlier time and had more time on the tour instead of wasting the entire morning waiting at the airport and not getting on the road until about 2.30pm. We also found the ground crew in Istanbul very difficult to communicate with - problem solving was not their forte. The ship itself was beautiful - simple and elegant design, well furnished and easy to get around. We enjoyed a couple of crazy games of golf up on the sports deck and attended as many concerts and cabarets as we could. Our cabin was spacious and we appreciated the night light in the bathroom. The restaurants were excellent - our night at the Chef"s Table was an amazing experience. The simplicity and choice at the World Café was great for an easy option at any time of day and Manfredis was another delight. Not only in the restaurants, but everywhere on board, the staff gave friendly and special service. Their use of iPods helped them remember us as guests rather than passengers and I thought it was a very practical aid, in an era when technology seems to isolate people more than it should. For the most part the shore excursions were very well run and interesting. We had our problems with the pre-cruise tour in Istanbul and I was disappointed with the winery tour in Pula and, of course, our biggest disappointment was not being able to join the post-cruise tour of Venice. Being Australian clients, we sometimes feel we miss out on offers that are made to the Americans. We have always sailed with Viking and wish to in the future. I'm sure as the company become more experienced in Ocean Cruising they will address some of these issues and make it a special occasion for all travellers Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
We wanted to see new destinations in Turkey, Greece and the European eastern Adriatic, and follow it with areas of Italy and the Riviera ending in Barcelona. We have enjoyed Viking River Cruises and thought the small ocean cruise ship was ... Read More
We wanted to see new destinations in Turkey, Greece and the European eastern Adriatic, and follow it with areas of Italy and the Riviera ending in Barcelona. We have enjoyed Viking River Cruises and thought the small ocean cruise ship was right for us. The ports were beyond our expectations and the included shore excursions were very informative and allowed ample time for further exploration on our own. The crew was friendly and ready to meet every need. The ship was a beauty and beyond state of the art. We had a penthouse Veranda stateroom which was spacious with ample dresser drawers, and closet space to meet our needs. The self service laundry and complimentary pressing service we were nice extras and the daily restocked beverages and snacks were more then we expected. All in all it was a very relaxing cruise, in a beautiful ship, with an outstanding staff, and great amenities. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
The new ship was outstanding. All of the amenities were great - we loved the heated floor in the bathroom. The veranda was plenty big and was well used by U.S. We were away from home for twenty eight days and never had a snivel. Outside of ... Read More
The new ship was outstanding. All of the amenities were great - we loved the heated floor in the bathroom. The veranda was plenty big and was well used by U.S. We were away from home for twenty eight days and never had a snivel. Outside of the main dining areas were a pair of right silver wash basins - great idea. The food was excellent. There were two specialty restaurants (no extra cost and Igor who ran the Chef's Table was fun and concerned with your every desire. I literally but my wallet in the safe and pretty much left it there - wine and soft drinks were included. The cabin staff was especially friendly and efficient. Can you believe free wifi in your roo that worked? The workout room was nice with workout pool, a large hot tub/pool, a steam roo, sauna and room with snow. The entertainment good with several opera people coming to the ship to perform while we were in Rome. Overall the entertainment was fun and good. The ship small enough to get to know new friends. The ports were great although I could have skipped Corfu and Toulon. Neither city had a " spark" to it. I had wondered how it would be to be away from home for a month - no problem. The only complaint I would lodge were several of the excursions. Carefully rated each one. I rated several the best I have experience and several that I think should be eliminated. The best included Rome, Naples, Ephesus, Santorini, Kotor, Dubrovnik (Preserving Old Dubrovnik), Pisa and Barcelona (take the Gaudi excursion. Several of the guides were not up to Viking standards and when a diner or lunch was included, they ranged from marginal to just plain bad. We found the included excursions to be quite good. We had a great time and are looking at several next voyages. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
I really enjoyed the above cruise on the celebrity constellation in October 2015. The employees of the company go out of their way to make you feel great. It was very disappointing not to go into Israel . Instead we went to 4 Greek ... Read More
I really enjoyed the above cruise on the celebrity constellation in October 2015. The employees of the company go out of their way to make you feel great. It was very disappointing not to go into Israel . Instead we went to 4 Greek islands. A shame there wasn't something else to break of all the old churches and look alike places, even tho they were interesting. Other cruises had many informative lectures, but the celebrity did not. That was not good. Their crew of actors for their production numbers were phenomenal .! This was not a cruise for children as about 90% of people were 60 and older. That was a plus for some of us! Naturally shore excursions are high, as they are on any ship. I found the hop on/hop off busses in a number of cities to be great. Besides giving a bit of info as u pass a point of interest, you pay one nominal fee for a 24 hour pass and you can get on and off the bus whenever it stops! These are run by the port you are in and big competition for the shore excursions sold! Our stateroom was very small, but I heard that other ones in the same area were a bit bigger. But I never plan on staying in it for too long anyway! There was a big fitness area, spa, and beauty area. For what we got, where we went, saw, and duration, this was a great deal! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We were very pleased with our Sun Deck cabin on Minerva. Good size cabin and wide balcony. Stewardess was excellent. The ship appeared to be well maintained and in good order. However things changed when we sailed. The vibration and ... Read More
We were very pleased with our Sun Deck cabin on Minerva. Good size cabin and wide balcony. Stewardess was excellent. The ship appeared to be well maintained and in good order. However things changed when we sailed. The vibration and juddering were terrible. In 30 years of cruising we have never felt anything like this. I was told that there is a continuing problem with the propellers which was partially fixed earlier this year but there is little more that can be done. This, combined with the props being well forward gives a most uncomfortable motion. Whilst our cabin was towards the stern we were on the top deck of cabins. When we hit strong winds later in the cruise matte s were even worse and for the first time ever, like many other passengers, we felt a little under the weather. Meal times are strictly adhered to in the dining rooms even if a ship's tour comes back late. No question of the buffet staying open a few minutes longer. When I requested a club sandwich, which was on the room service menu, whilst in the dining room, initially this was refused. I could have had a full meal delivered in my cabin but apparently this was a step too far. Eventually the maitre 'D did agree to my request 'as we were on a table for 2'. Food was well below what we would have expected on this ship and regulars told us had gone downhill considerably in the last 12 months or so. The ship had too many areas available to smokers, even on the aft deck which was an extension of the buffet restaurant. When I queried someone smoking on the table next to whilst eating I was told by the Maitre'D that he would prefer in guests did not smoke whilst others were eating but did nothing to prevent it happening. We missed 2 ports due to strong winds, the ship travels very slowly, maximum I understand is around 14 knots, and is unable to 'run' from inclement weather. With limited manoeuvrability due to restrictions in propeller capability and that of the thrusters the Captain handled the vessel very well but still meant that he did not have the abilities of many other smaller ships when docking. It was delightful when in port to be able to disembark in comfort, as compared to the 'mobile blocks of flats' that we shared ports with. This, plus the ability to go to places the large ships cannot means we will continue cruising on small ships, but NOT the Minerva. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We have sailed on Azamara before, so its clear that they offer a product that we value. 1/ An example of their service: at embarkation in Istanbul it was raining. Evaluating the next day's forecast, Captain Magnus decided, I'm ... Read More
We have sailed on Azamara before, so its clear that they offer a product that we value. 1/ An example of their service: at embarkation in Istanbul it was raining. Evaluating the next day's forecast, Captain Magnus decided, I'm certain with headquarters' approval, to switch the first 2 ports so as to maximize our chance of good weather. This tactic worked perfectly, although I'm positive it entailed extra travel time and thus cost. 2/ In an improvement over previous cruises, there is a focus, both in the MDR and Windows Cafe, on aiding those with food allergies. For example, in Windows dishes without common triggers are labelled to allow better choice. 3/ White Night on board was a terrific experience and reflected the evolution of the concept. 4/ The presence of so many friendly and familiar faces onboard suggests an excellent retention rate of their valued staff. 5/ Azamara prides itself in providing a destination immersion experience (for example longer times in ports). This itinerary was no exception. 6/ Despite the fact the Journey heads to drydock in January, the condition of the ship, and our stateroom, was excellent. 7/ We thought the food superb, but this is truly subjective. Conclusion: Azamara did not disappoint. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Sailing on the Viking Star was like being on a 5* floating hotel. We knew it was a relatively new ship but it seemed most of the kinks had been worked out. There is ample space and we never felt crowded.The restaurants from the Buffet Bar ... Read More
Sailing on the Viking Star was like being on a 5* floating hotel. We knew it was a relatively new ship but it seemed most of the kinks had been worked out. There is ample space and we never felt crowded.The restaurants from the Buffet Bar to the Restaurant to the Pool Bar to the Chef's Table and finally the experience at the Kitchen Table were extraordinary-the service was impeccable and the food just wonderful. Every attempt was made to meet any special needs. We grew quite fond of our servers and they felt like family. Our only disappointment was the included excursion in Athens. Would have opted for an extra excursion. Otherwise the way the folk were moved about on buses was seemless-no waiting. I would suggest if some folk are not back on the bus at the designated time, the bus should leave. Adults need to be responsible. We were very pleased with our stateroom, much larger than the river cruise line and a very nice sized bathroom. Services at the spa more than met our expectations-and the facilities were beautiful. Entertainment and the speakers were unique and quite a surprise. About the only thing I would improve upon was the variety of on-board shopping-very sparce. This was our 5th Viking Cruise and I look forward to the next one! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We have just returned from an Empires of the Mediterranean cruise on the new Viking Star. We travelled with four friends, two of them were from Canada and two, like us, from the UK, there were six of us all together, all seasoned Viking ... Read More
We have just returned from an Empires of the Mediterranean cruise on the new Viking Star. We travelled with four friends, two of them were from Canada and two, like us, from the UK, there were six of us all together, all seasoned Viking River Cruise passengers. We all booked Deluxe Veranda cabins, originally in a line but our Canadian friends who booked through America were moved up a deck, their cabin was identical to ours lower down and we all decided that these cabins gave us what we wanted and a larger cabin would have been no better. What an amazing ship the Viking Star is, never did we consider that it was crowded or couldn’t cope with the almost 1000 passengers on board. There are probably not enough superlatives to describe the whole 10 days. There were many different dining opportunities, none of which are formal but the Chef’s Table and Manfreddi’s are smarter than other eating places. There are more informal dining opportunities around the swimming pool, the Explorers lounge and in the World Café, with a set menu (which changes each day) with three or four options and a standard steak, chicken, salmon option in The Restaurant. The message from every member of the crew is…if you want it it can be done…We ate burgers and hot dogs, one day, in the swimming pool area and raided the ice cream in the café afterwards. The on-board entertainment was terrific and should have suited every need. There were exceptional speakers who were historians, scientists and diplomats. The musical team were amazing…Beatles, Abba, Opera, The Rat Pack and Spoof James Bond themed shows. The versatility of the entertainment team came to the fore when additional lectures were put on for an unscheduled day at sea. The shore excursions were well organised with good briefings re what to expect re walking and weather. Some of the guides were better than others and unfortunately there were just far too many people in our group for The Acropolis in Athens, the guide rushed on, and there seemed to be thousands of other visitors that day too. The Viking Star has been well thought out, with lots of public areas. We never felt we were in an area and waiting for a seat or that any area was crowded. The Scandinavian edge is evident with well-designed and comfortable chairs and sofas everywhere, with wonderful art adorning every wall and surface and some quirky items of furniture. Our arrival on the ship was not a smooth as it could have been, the port authorities adding to the angst as well as the rain…but the problem was dealt with and compensated for immediately. A planned stop in Pula did not happen because of high seas but the sail into Venice in daylight more than made up for that. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015

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