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92 Lisbon to Transatlantic Cruise Reviews

Pelican 17 We love Holland America! We love to cruise on the smaller ships. We are 3 star members. We regularly recommend Holland America to friends. We booked this cruise for the ports. Unfortunately we had a horrible cabin ... Read More
Pelican 17 We love Holland America! We love to cruise on the smaller ships. We are 3 star members. We regularly recommend Holland America to friends. We booked this cruise for the ports. Unfortunately we had a horrible cabin (739) for 5 days/nights out of our 12 night transatlantic cruise. It was dirty, had torn furniture, extreme noise all day and night, and only lukewarm water in the sink and shower. After my husband complained for 5 days, guest services offered us stateroom 782 which was 99% better. The new cabin was very quiet, clean, and had plenty of hot water for the remainder of our cruise. The only complaint with this cabin is that we were woken up each morning by the pilot. The entrance door creaked open, then closed in the early morning, which was right below our cabin. I will take that noise anytime over what we experienced in cabin 739. The food was served lukewarm not hot in the main dinning room which we tried 3 times for dinner. The food in the lido was excellent! Entertainment was average. The presentations by the chef on sea days was excellent! Movies were lacking. You need to replace the stateroom televisions! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was a 12-day Transatlantic Cruise from Lisbon to Boston. I was a little ambivalent about going on this smaller and older ship. I knew it had recently been in dry dock for some sprucing up, so I was curious what we would find. Well, it ... Read More
This was a 12-day Transatlantic Cruise from Lisbon to Boston. I was a little ambivalent about going on this smaller and older ship. I knew it had recently been in dry dock for some sprucing up, so I was curious what we would find. Well, it was wonderful. It looked as though all the carpet and furniture in all the public areas had been replaced. The furniture was comfortable and inviting. And, like all Holland America ships, they absorb people well - I never felt like I was in the middle of a huge crowd. It's a relaxing and very pleasant environment. The food, as with our every other HAL cruise, was really excellent. We had two occasions that were a disappointment, though. One evening in the Main Dining Room, I ordered lamb kabobs. They were terrible - cold, hard, dry. I immediately told our server that I wasn't happy with the dish and he very rapidly brought me something else I chose. So, it really was no problem at all. The replacement was paella, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The other less-than-lovely experience was in the Pinnacle Grill, which is HAL's premium added-cost dining venue. We usually go twice during a cruise because we really enjoy it. This time, however, we cancelled our second reservation. We waited 20 minutes for our appetizer, and about two-thirds of the way through my appetizer I found a 10" hair. The manager was mortified. Then we waited over and hour for our main dish. I was ready to walk out, but it was too late to go to the Main Dining Room. The manager was extremely apologetic, and confessed that they had been having difficulties in the kitchen. Needless to say, despite the excellent food, it was an unpleasant experience. The manager called our room a couple days later to apologize again and to say that he hoped we would come back so he could show us a better time. We didn't return. None of this should be taken as a review of all the Pinnacle Grills fleet-wide. Each restaurant is it's own, sort of like a franchise. Every other experience we've had in the Pinnacle Grill on other ships was top-notch. The embarkation in Lisbon wasn't what we expected. We stay in a Neptune Suite, and on every other cruise, as soon as we check in we're told "feel free to board any time". This didn't happen this time. It was a decent length wait. I don't mean this as a complaint, but as an observation that if they say priority boarding is one of the benefits of having a suite, then they should make sure that happens. One notable enrichment activity: on the sea days, they have America's Test Kitchen, which is a cooking instruction - just like there might be on t.v. Each of them were excellent. As a side note: we are a same-sex couple. We have never had one second of a negative encounter/service because of it. (In fact, for the cruise we took for our 25th anniversary, they decorated our door with balloons and streamer and a huge sign. They also brought a decorated cake to our table.) Our 12 days on Veendam were simply great. I would readily choose this ship to sail on again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this as we wanted to try Viking Ocean and like the shorter length from Lisbon. We also never had done a holiday cruise and Viking did it right. The food, entertainment, bars and lectures were top notch. We have been on many ... Read More
We chose this as we wanted to try Viking Ocean and like the shorter length from Lisbon. We also never had done a holiday cruise and Viking did it right. The food, entertainment, bars and lectures were top notch. We have been on many cruises and this was probably the most well designed cruise-ship we have been on to date. We booked again for a colder weather cruise in New England in 2020 and are thinking of the winter Norway cruise in 2022. The food was excellent and the specialty venues were also great. We had the SS package and are wine lovers and had a wide choice of wines by the glass to order. We also got a discount on bottle purchases and enjoyed our French Champagne by the Bottle. If you are interested in cooking classes, sign up right away when you get on board as they do not advertise them in advance. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
The restaurant service was slow. Over 2 hours for dinner is SLOW. The World Café food was better than the sit down restaurant. Ship's stabilization system was not up to a wavy transatlantic crossing. The cabin was noisy with ... Read More
The restaurant service was slow. Over 2 hours for dinner is SLOW. The World Café food was better than the sit down restaurant. Ship's stabilization system was not up to a wavy transatlantic crossing. The cabin was noisy with squeaks and creaks. The sounds of the sea hitting the ship was annoying The ship's design seems more for the Caribbean or the Mediterrian as opposed to the Atlantic. The ships stabilizers did a poor job and seems to be operating like a step motor one or two steps behind were they should have been. The gym and pools were great. The spa was way above average. The 3 hour opera show was a poor idea. I walked out because there was no full translation on the screen. I liked the entertainment in the atrium. There were 2 missing singers from the first 7 days of the voyage. The band was great. I liked the four singers. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
The dinning room service was spotty. I think they got a lot of new people for this sailing. Improperly served courses, missing courses. But there was also impecably trained staff too in the dining room. Other than the dining room, the ... Read More
The dinning room service was spotty. I think they got a lot of new people for this sailing. Improperly served courses, missing courses. But there was also impecably trained staff too in the dining room. Other than the dining room, the service was great. We only made two stops on this cruise so our touring was limited. We took the free offerings. Nothing special. And the weather didn't help in the Azores. The cabin and bathroom were well laid out with plenty of electrical charging points for all our electronics. No adapters needed. Plenty of storage. Great lighting. The ship feels uncrowded. No lines for anything, except maybe ice cream. The free do-it-yourself laundry was great. However, the people using it were just plain rude, leaving their items in the machines after the cycle was finished. It was a mess. I suggest that anything left in the washer should automatically be put in the dryer and run. This way they don't show up 2 minutes before you need a dryer and then put their stuff in, delaying you from drying your clothes by a whole dry cycle. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
I recently returned from the Lisbon to Miami December 2018 Mid-Atlantic Crossing on the Viking Sun. And, while Viking claims to be the Number One Cruise Line in the premier 600-2199 passenger ship category, I do not completely agree. ... Read More
I recently returned from the Lisbon to Miami December 2018 Mid-Atlantic Crossing on the Viking Sun. And, while Viking claims to be the Number One Cruise Line in the premier 600-2199 passenger ship category, I do not completely agree. Why? Because too many of the Viking passengers sole ocean experience is on Viking after having taken one of their river cruises. These first time cruisers are quite impressed, as they should be, because the Viking Sun and its sister ships are very classy vessels. The Sun was launched in 2017 and is the fourth of five ships currently in the fleet, although there are plans to have ten ships in the fleet by 2027. However, once you have sailed on Regent, Crystal, Azamara, Silversea, Oceania or Seabourn, you have a point for comparison and can determine for yourself how Viking compares in different ways to these lines. Some of these competitor ships are smaller than Viking and some are larger, but each company has a niche and their customers are happy with that offering. Regent is fully inclusive offering air, food, accommodation, tours, alcohol and personnel tips in their price whereas Viking offers just food, accommodation, tours, plus a limited selection beer and wine with lunch and dinner. Viking does offer a reasonably priced air option but does not include tips which are added to your bill as is done by Princess, Holland America, and Celebrity which have larger ships and cater to a somewhat different clientele. Here are some of my observations about the Viking Sun during my voyage. The positive observations: The “lobby” of the Sun is a stunning three stories high with a two story electronic billboard on which they display notes of local historical interest such as events, birthdays, etc. and also photos of birds, stamps, coins, flowers, artwork, etc. Overlooking the lowest level are public seating areas on the two higher floors that afford the passengers an opportunity to watch or listen to what is going on below (piano or string duo) or to play games at electronic tables or assemble jig saw puzzles or just relax. There is also a self-service laundry on each of the guest room floors starting on level 3. The ship wide electronic information screens allow you to catch up on news, daily activities, weather, dining menus, shore excursions, etc. and you can also get this information in your room on the tv set which is a large wall-mounted flat screen. The entertainment on the ship is very good: the speakers were almost uniformly excellent, there is a resident historian to provide salient talks on subjects of interest, and the four singers/dancers were very good. The two alternate restaurants provide a choice of Italian food at Manfredi and a rotating fixed menu at the Chef’s Table (Mexican, French, Chinese…) which can be paired with selected wines in place of the regular wine selections if you have the optional beverage package. The food is generally good and there is a nightly sushi bar in the buffet. The cruise director on this voyage, Heather Clancy, was one of the best I have encountered. In addition to doing the daily activities briefing each morning on tv, introducing speakers, and generally interacting with guests all over the ship each day, she also sang at one show and performed the Sunday church service and Christmas observance as well. Amazing! The staterooms are large compared to Holland America, Princess, and Royal Caribbean and all come with a balcony. The less than positive observations: While the lectures are generally good, there were NONE on the sea day afternoons. Instead they were offered at cocktail time just before dinner or during the 6pm dinner hour. In my opinion this is very bad for the passengers and quite disrespectful of the speakers. Viking claims to have their staff are the “best trained in the industry.” Someone at PR in Viking should travel on Crystal or Oceania if they want to see how well trained staff works with customers. While the Viking staff was always polite, in too many instances, the restaurant service was slow, the wait staff were running around seemingly confused, and they often had no idea about wines on the non-complimentary list. The ship does have a library of sorts with many books, BUT these books are spread all over the common areas. There is no way to see if they have a specific book and you have to request a print out of categories from guest services to locate a genre. Unfortunately there were no reference books on board. Although Viking does provide bottled water for shore excursions, all the other water on board is served from carafes of tap water, even in your stateroom, which speaks volumes about overall product quality! As for the crew, their name tags do not have their home country listed, so you have to keep asking them where they are from if you want to talk with them about their origin. In terms of computers for guest use, there are exactly five desktops available and oftentimes they were all occupied. This may not be a big deal when almost everyone has their own personal device (cell phone, tablet, laptop) but there is also no dedicated person to help solve computing problems as some other lines have. Moreover, the Viking internet system, while reasonably fast, only allowed you to have ONE connected device at a time. Other lines allow up to three devices. As mentioned above, the staterooms are reasonably sized but the storage is limited to seven total drawers that are not very tall and a small closet similar in size to Viking River ships. Sadly, the room lights, 110 volt and 220 volt electrical outlets and usb ports are controlled by a card slot for your room key like European hotels use. When you are out of the room the electrical outlets, lights and usb ports turn off! This makes it hard to charge things! Finally, since this was a voyage with many sea days, there was no bridge instructor or duplicate bidding boxes available to assist the numerous people who wanted to play bridge. Viking did provide cards, score pads, and a room in which to play cards, but that was all. I have seen bridge players treated worse, but I have also seen them treated MUCH BETTER on other crossings. To summarize, it was a good trip with some good and not so good things to recommend it. Viking ocean is good, but they are definitely not the best in my opinion. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
The nicest part of our cruise on the Viking Sun was the polite, friendly, and very clean attention of our room steward. The stateroom is a little small, but sufficient. The veranda was nice, but that squeaking veranda door - and the ... Read More
The nicest part of our cruise on the Viking Sun was the polite, friendly, and very clean attention of our room steward. The stateroom is a little small, but sufficient. The veranda was nice, but that squeaking veranda door - and the inability to leave it open for even short periods of time without banging shut - was frustrating; needless to say, we lost some sleep due to squeaks. Food on the Viking Sun was ok. Not bad, there was always something that was at least satisfactory. Sometimes our choices were less palatable than we had hoped - and service, especially in the Restaurant, was lacking. No fault to the staff - there were too many people for limited staff to serve efficiently. Neither of the specialty restaurants were extraordinary, which we expected due to advertising and promotion and hearsay. We did manage time to relax, which was our goal. With better weather, that would have been more easily accomplished; can’t fault Viking for that. But if you are looking for elegance akin to the true luxury lines, pay the extra dollars for a first class experience. The elegant ads lured us in...to an average experience. And be prepared for crowded disembarkation and a game of “where’s our luggage.” Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This was the sixth cruise my wife and I have taken with Viking--four river cruises and, now, two ocean cruises. We purchased the pre-cruise extension in Lisbon because we wanted to see it on the trip. Overall, the trip was excellent. We ... Read More
This was the sixth cruise my wife and I have taken with Viking--four river cruises and, now, two ocean cruises. We purchased the pre-cruise extension in Lisbon because we wanted to see it on the trip. Overall, the trip was excellent. We are accustomed to a very high standard of performance from Viking and our expectations, for the most part were fulfilled. The ship was immaculate, well maintained and well operated. Most of the time in a crossing is devoted to sea days and rest. The entertainers on this ship were truly extraordinary. They presented music that stretched from classical opera repertoire to Motown. There are no dedicated "dancers" but the singers danced and sang and did so very professionally. They entertained! The crew were friendly as well as helpful and accommodating, including the members of the deck department. They all seemed dedicated to helping passengers enjoy a great vacation--and they succeeded. Stateroom attendants were amazingly thorough and helpful. Our air arrangements were horrible however. We were booked on a United flight that operated an old Continental 737-200. Even though we booked suite accommodations on the ship, we were given some of the least desireable seats on this very over-crowded, filthy and old aircraft. On our return, free-air flight from Miami to Jacksonville we were charged $30 per bag by American Airlines and, again, assigned the very least desireable seats on the very cramped Embaer RJ-45. We could have driven from Miami to Jacksonville and arrive sooner than we did using our Viking Air booked flight. Do not use Viking Air. Be prepared for very leisurely meals in the dining room. Plan for a couple of hours or more at dinner if you choose to take your dinner in the dining room. Service is very slow, even on this ship of only 900 passengers. Or hope that more servers are hired to provide better service. The problem is not the waiters:the problem is that there are too few of them. Afternoon tea in the Winter Garden is a highlight of each day for us. With Viking, you also can expect a robust enrichment program presented by a "Resident Historian" as well as various "Guest Lecturers." Watch the schedule carefully to plan your days in a way that permits you to take advantage of these opportunities. They are wonderful and varied. We were particularly attracted to the presentations of a flautist who talked about music and its relationships to our trip and ports of call. We also heard from an astronomer and had the opportunity to learn about ocean sailing and rowing adventures. Viking is a welcome newcomer to the ocean cruise market. It provides a superior experience and, knowing its careful attention to detail in all its operations, I expect the delays in dining service will be resolved before our next trip, which most likely will be on Viking (but without its air option). Incidentally, there were no children among the passengers and there is no children's program. This is not an experience for children. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We love the size of the Viking Sun class ships and find the Viking staff very helpful welcoming.The Sun is a 2 yr old ships, which like others (e.g Viking Star) is extremely comfortable. This reposition cruise was a last minute ... Read More
We love the size of the Viking Sun class ships and find the Viking staff very helpful welcoming.The Sun is a 2 yr old ships, which like others (e.g Viking Star) is extremely comfortable. This reposition cruise was a last minute decision to primarily to celebrate my spouse's recent retirement. Viking repositions this ship from Europe to MIA where Vikings starts its World cruise offering. Therefore, the crossing offers only two ports of call (Azores and Bermuda). While most people on board were seasoned travelers, a few people were surprised that even with all the greatest technical advances this ship could rock. While we had a variety of weather, the Atlantic is not a small pond and it can be quite rough. Although I heard some complaints, I was surprised about some very unrealistic expectations. Since, we actually treated the trip as an adventure we loved it and rod ecommend that you take some Dramamine with you on any cruise . We did not need ours and the medical center could provide some, if you got seasick. Based on our sailing history, we would not rate this past cruise as extremely rough. The cabins on board the Viking Ocean are very comfortable, clean and well layout. Plenty of space to move around in with many public nooks suitable for curling up with a good book! The Viking Staff is selected for their "yes, we can" attitude. Although each one us are very unique individuals, the Viking crew is overall very happy and proud to be working for a rapidly growing company which the staff likes with a 90% retention rate over any 10 yr period. Food as expected on a cruise, is abundant, diverse and always delicious. On Christmas Eve the SUN served large steamed lobsters and perfectly executed Osso Bucco in their regular dining room. There were a few caviar offerings at the bars with all daily events and menus for all meals posted on in-room tv monitors. A few times we needed to use room service and while it too was very tasty, it could have been delivered a bit hotter. Although this cruise had only two ports of call there was plenty of entrainment. We do like the fact that Viking does not have a casino onboard. There were some small poker games and Chinese Mahjong available for those so inclined. There are also video tables where you can enjoy playing a computer black jack dealer. In addition to excellent port of call talks, Viking has a number historians, technical experts (e.g driverless car engineering), and musicians discussing their expertise in very simple and interesting presentations. Viking requires that passengers be at 16 years or old, which we found the adults to be quite friendly and open to making new acquaintances. For us, most part we found tables for two available. Since our last cruise, the bars have a greatly expanded selection of quality brands. Since I favor Tanquary Ten, I was pleased that it was available at every bar. and covered by our drink package. There is a night club for dancing and a night cap, but we did not visit it this trip.The cruise director conducted a caroling sing along in the atrium on Christmas Eve, utilizing the classical pianists, the Viking band and even the on board acoustic guitarist. Unfortunately, I did scrap up my leg at the Lisbon Airport and I needed to used the medical staff to heal it. This inconvenience limited my ability to use the abundant spa fitness services on board. The Viking Norwegian spirt shines with very unique spa treatments and many pools located in the spa, in addition to the lap pools and hot tubs found on deck. On the SUN you can elect to start in a hot sauna and then cool down in an ice room with snow. If it is your thing, there are great gym machines exist and in the morning you are invited to yoga/pilates classes. Otherwise, weather permitting, you can take to the promenade and get your exercise by running or walking around the ship with instructions on how many laps constituted a mile. All in all we enjoyed ourselves and would consider going again. We find sailings of this duration suit our life styles very well and while we liked this crossing, there are so many other offers that we have not tried. For example we doing a Panama crossing this month. Happy Cruising! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Staff is friendly and courteous. Food was exceptional, could have been more by the way of entertainment perhaps, especially on lengthy sea days during cold weather. Overall one of the best cruising experiences I have had. We have ... Read More
Staff is friendly and courteous. Food was exceptional, could have been more by the way of entertainment perhaps, especially on lengthy sea days during cold weather. Overall one of the best cruising experiences I have had. We have already booked another Viking sea cruise for 2019! For anyone who is considering the liquor package, I highly recommend it. The wine selections are excellent and the liquors are top shelf.... well well worth the money. The spa area with the heat, cold, and salt water therapy is outstanding and never crowded. The locker situation leaves a lot to be desired however. The lockers should open and lock with your key card. Very few of them worked and a steward would have to come to lock or unlock your locker... a bit annoying.... when you set aside the minor inconveniences you’ll realize that you have had a really good experience with great staff and you will meet some very interesting people. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This was our first transatlantic cruise and we were worried about travelling during the Christmas holiday but the crew (especially the Entertainment director Heather) of the ship made it really special with Christmas Interdenominational ... Read More
This was our first transatlantic cruise and we were worried about travelling during the Christmas holiday but the crew (especially the Entertainment director Heather) of the ship made it really special with Christmas Interdenominational Church Services and Sing-Along's in the atrium. The spa and gym facilities were well maintained and the staff were readily available to train you on how to use equipment. The general director Camiel made my hubby's Christmas Eve dinner extra special by finding out they had Lutefisk available for him, even though it wasn't on the menu. It's a Norwegian type of fish his family traditionally has at Christmas. The crew all went above and beyond to make us feel comfortable and special and we enjoyed several tours of the ship, like the Galley and the Bridge. We had plenty of time to relax and read if we wanted to, but they also had so many different events we could attend that we were never bored. Oh and did I mention the amazing food??? I don't think we had any bad meals the whole 12 days and there were so many different restaurant choices. There was the quick World Cafe, Mamsen's Cafe, and also 3 other Restaurants where ladies would be escorted to their table by the awesome servers. They also let you choose whether you wanted to just sit alone or if you'd like to join others at a table, which we did several times and got to meet some really interesting individuals. There were also so many places you could hang out and never feel crowded like it is on some other big ships. Overall just amazing!! Wish we could afford to go more often!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Our 12-day mid-Atlantic crossing on Viking Sun started from Lisbon and ended in Miami, with stopover in two ports - one in Ponta Delgada (Azores), and another in Hamilton (Bermuda). We booked our cruise and flights with Viking direct. ... Read More
Our 12-day mid-Atlantic crossing on Viking Sun started from Lisbon and ended in Miami, with stopover in two ports - one in Ponta Delgada (Azores), and another in Hamilton (Bermuda). We booked our cruise and flights with Viking direct. The first part of the cruise was very rough and bumpy but calmed down as we headed toward west. My husband and I flew on Delta Air’s red-eye flight from New York to Lisbon, arriving on the morning of our cruise. At the airport, the Viking reps couldn’t find our names on their rosters, but it was quickly sorted out and we were able to get on the shuttle bus along with our fellow passengers. We arrived at the Jardim Do Tabaco Pier where the Viking Sun was docked. After a quick check-in, we unload our carry-on bags in our stateroom and headed out to the city. The ship was not scheduled to leave until 11 PM, so we took Uber to Cervejaria Ramiro to have seafood lunch, and then to Manteigaria to pick up half a dozen of Lisbon’s famous pastel de nata. These delicate pastries costs only 6 euros and was very well packaged for take-out. We got back to the ship at 5:15 PM as that’s when the emergency drill was being held and everyone was required to attend. We had some of the pastries as our late night snacks and kept the rest in the mini fridge for later consumption. It was delicious cold as it was warm. Sun is Viking’s 4th ocean liner. Each ship is small, with only 930 passengers. All have the same layout, so you’ll only get lost once. As with everything Viking does, their customer service is TOP KNOTCH! Food on this ship was one of the best we ever had on any of our previous cruises – everything was delicious and fresh! We ate at all the restaurants (including the specialty restaurants) and our favorite was the World Cafe for their variety, choices, and attentive wait staff. Our room was the Penthouse Veranda on the 6th deck. It was very roomy and comfortable and had everything we needed, including his & hers slippers and robes. Bathroom also was roomy, but the shower temperature tends to change by itself. (I suppose we should’ve reported this to the Customer Service but didn’t.) There were plenty of storage spaces in the room, with safe and mini fridge that was refilled daily with drinks and snacks. We had two wonderful housekeepers, Ganang and Nestor, who always kept our room tidy and clean. Our room was in the front of the ship. We quickly realized our mistake in choosing this location when the ship encountered rough Atlantic Ocean! On rough sea days (for which there were more days than I cared to remember), staying in our room was like riding on a roller coaster! We should’ve chosen our room in the middle or in the back of the ship, as that’s where the stabilizers are located. To everyone’s relief, the ocean calmed down as we headed toward Bermuda. There’s self-service laundry room on every deck. Both the washers and dryers are large sizes. The detergent dispenser boxes are located in back of the appliances. You need to press the number that corresponds to your washing machine to inject the detergent into your washer. You need to bring your own dryer sheets and remember to remove the lint when you’ve finished. Nothing beats having clean clothes when I’m packing on the last day! Entertainment – scattered around the ship are the talented resident pianist (who’s also a composer!), a guitarist, and string duo. Beautiful music can be heard everywhere on the ship. There were also many enrichment programs given throughout the day offering many interesting topics, including a presentation of simulated Boeing 757 cockpit by a retired airline pilot, Lou Thieblemont. It was absolutely FASCINATING! Very rarely do I remember anything from these lectures, however, but on this occasion, one speaker stood out for me. His name is Mick Dawson and he ROWED across not just the Atlantic Ocean but also the Pacific Ocean! His lectures were all very inspirational. I used the gym’s rowing machine for only 10 minutes and I had enough. I can’t imagine rowing for grueling 189 days straight in the Pacific Ocean (a Guinness World Record!) Meeting such an AMAZING individual was worth taking this cruise! I bought his pre-signed book at the ship’s boutique – a Christmas present for myself. Nightly show was at 9:15 PM. Seats are limited, so you need to arrive early. Sometimes we caught the show, sometimes not. Viking Sun’s singers and band are all very talented -- as well as the guest magician, Stephen Williams. We thought we’ve seen all the magic tricks in the book, but he surprised everyone! Don’t miss his show if you see his name on the program. Heading the entertainment dept is Viking Sun’s mezzo-soprano cruise director, Heather Clancy, who looks like a school headmaster until she started singing Carmen. Her assistant is Brian Rodriguez, a tenor, who we had the pleasure of hearing him sing Beatles last year when we were on Viking Sky. LivNordic Spa – there’s no extra charge for using the ship’s thermal spa. Space is very limited, but we always found a place to soak or to sweat. We were disappointed that none of their four hot benches were hot. Each bench was lukewarm at best. (This was also true on Viking Sky.) I booked the spa’s Deep Tissue Massage for both of us before leaving home. My masseuse was Ingrid and she was very good. She removed all the tightness from my body and my muscles felt relaxed afterwards. My husband on the other hand did not cared for his masseur, who not only had garlicky breath, but also did not have enough strength. I tried to book another DTM with Ingrid for us, but she was all booked. Gym – had plenty of exercise machines and equipments. We found that going there early in the morning was the best time to use the treadmills. There is a separate room for stretching and for weight lifting. Food/Drinks – the executive chef on this ship is Thomas Noack, a very capable young chef. He was always walking around the World Café, making sure that everything was properly prepared. Food was very good no matter where we ate. One afternoon, they served lobster salad in the pool area. We liked it so much we got a second plate! I highly recommend Viking Burger at the Pool Grill and Mamsen’s waffle at the Explorers’ Lounge. We did not care for Manfredi’s rib eye. The steak was very fatty so we cut most of it off. Looking at other people’s plates, we could see that others also felt the same way. The second night at Manfredi’s, I ordered their seafood special, which turned out to be king crab legs. It was very meaty and very buttery -- VERY good! I wished I had order that the first time. As with other Viking cruises (from their river to ocean cruises), majority of their passengers belong to the older demographic. We are empty nesters but not yet at the retirement age. We enjoyed talking to many of the passengers and found conversations interesting and entertaining. We only had a problem with one particular couple, possibly the oldest couple on the ship (the husband was a few days shy of his 89th birthday), whom we found annoying. They acted like the ship was their private vessel! One incident happened on the morning we docked in Bermuda. My husband and I were having breakfast at the World Café and admiring the beautiful view outside, when we heard this elderly fellow making a lot of noises behind us. There were plenty of empty tables nearby, so we didn’t’ know what the problem was. Apparently, where we were sitting, had the best view of Hamilton, and that’s where this couple wanted to sit! The guy was huffing and puffing with all his might that I finally offered to give up our seats to them. A wait staff quickly stepped in and usher this couple to a nearby empty table by the window, even as the guy continued to complain that our seats had a better view. (Personally, I don’t think there’s any bad view in Bermuda, but go figure!) They were the only rude people we met on this cruise. Majority of the other passengers were polite and gracious and we enjoyed their company. Overall, we had a wonderful time on Viking Sun! From beginning to end, everything was well organized and stress-free. Viking is our favorite cruise line and we look forward to be onboard again! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Service is exceptionally excellent by all staff allways. Food is not up to expectations: very refined on the printed menus but too many different ingredients result sometimes in lack of genuine taste. Thomas Keller Grill is just ... Read More
Service is exceptionally excellent by all staff allways. Food is not up to expectations: very refined on the printed menus but too many different ingredients result sometimes in lack of genuine taste. Thomas Keller Grill is just o.k., nothing exceptionnal. For lunch at the Collonade, there is not much variety for the cold dishes and salads: allways the shame shrimps and salmon and salads. The breakfast on the terrace outside the Collonade is a magic moment and very well served. The tea time at the Observaton Bar is also a delicious experience. And after dinner, the same observation bar is a cozy place to enjoy a night cap with Jacqui's singing at the piano. We did not like the noisy entertainment games at the pool deck (Costa style), but they took place just 2 or 3 times. Entertainment and activities were not very interesting, we expected more lectures and classical music performances (piano 1 time, violin 1 time). But all by all, it was a marvelous experience, the weather in november on the south atlantic was sunny and warm, but above all, the way the staff makes you feel as a king all the time is the best reason to come back! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We had never taken a motorized yacht before and wanted to try the smaller cruise experience. Yes the food was very good, always fresh and served timely. And the crew was very pleasant and focused on customer service. But, the ship is ... Read More
We had never taken a motorized yacht before and wanted to try the smaller cruise experience. Yes the food was very good, always fresh and served timely. And the crew was very pleasant and focused on customer service. But, the ship is in disrepair. There are layers of peeling paint and rust everywhere. The entertainment is pretty lame and the specialty restaurants are nothing more than the main diningroom serves. We experienced two deck side barbecues and the second had few shrimp and no lobster. The bridge was supposed to be open to passengers when not in port and was closed half the time. So what did we like? The great waiters like Hari, Puji an amazing room steward and the Yacht Club where specialty coffees and snacks were served all day. The excursions were excellent although it took four frustrating visits to the excursion desk to get a refund. The guys working the tenders were great as were the crew in the marina. The port visits were on time and the tv offerings were nice. We found the room service to be excellent and very convenient during the 13 day mostly rough crossing. The embarkation was a disaster after sitting in a cold, dirty port in Lisbon six hours because a Windstar rep told us we could leave our luggage secured and there wasn’t anyone there from The ship to assist us. Disembarkay was leisurely and well organized. Despite the many pluses, we won’t be sailing Windstar again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We have sailed on Serenity several times before and love it: huge interior spaces for the number of passengers; outstanding service; delicious food; provocative speakers; exciting evening entertainment. But, the ship has shown its age ... Read More
We have sailed on Serenity several times before and love it: huge interior spaces for the number of passengers; outstanding service; delicious food; provocative speakers; exciting evening entertainment. But, the ship has shown its age and the formal, fixed seating dinners belong to a bygone age. Thus we were anxious to see the remodeled ship featuring new dining options. Smooth embarkation in Lisbon. The big changes, aside from decorative finishes throughout are revamping the formal dining room as Waterside--more like a suburban country club than a banquet hall--and creation of new deck 11 evening dining venues--one Asian and quite nice and the other a Brazilian style steak house that I find of limited appeal. Why? It really is not that much of a physical transformation for a part of the buffet area set aside for it but mostly because who wants that much food at night after being well fed all day. One of our preferences for Serenity over its very similar sister ship Symphony is the much larger Avenue Saloon where for years one was regaled by an outrageously bold piano player singer who had a devoted following. On this cruise his replacement was a bid disappointment. Serenity has a large physical fitness area and good classes there. We will sail both Crystal liners again particularly on the extended crossings. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
In November 2018, my wife and I took Crystal’s 11-day cruise across the Atlantic aboard the Serenity (voyage OCY181110). For some time, we’ve taken two to three cruises a year on Crystal. This is one of two ships in Crystal’s ... Read More
In November 2018, my wife and I took Crystal’s 11-day cruise across the Atlantic aboard the Serenity (voyage OCY181110). For some time, we’ve taken two to three cruises a year on Crystal. This is one of two ships in Crystal’s tiny ocean fleet. Each carries around 900 passengers. The two ships are pretty much a matched set that rotates crew, routes, and entertainment. ROUTE: This type of cruise is for those who enjoy the boat ride itself. It started in Lisbon and ended in Fort Lauderdale. The only enroute stop was at St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, which placed us back in the U.S. It was Sunday, and the onboard border clearance was quick and painless -- took only five minutes from leaving our room to returning. OVERALL RATING (5 OUT OF 5): I rate this cruise as excellent (an overall “5” on a scale of 5). My score is based on the high quality of (1) live music in the small venues, (2) food offerings (truly perfect), and (3) service in the food and entertainment areas (still the most attentive service anywhere on land or sea). However, we’ve never found the Serenity to be perfect “ultra luxury” in every way. We keep coming back year after year because it’s like a comfortable old hotel, where the predictable pleasures outweigh the problems of an aging ship. In fact, the cruise’s most memorable lecturer was a writer for the old “Cheers” television comedy (Cheri Steinkellner). She gave you the juicy backstory of that neighborhood bar where “the troubles are all the same” and “everyone knows your name.” If you’re looking for a low-key, relaxing, good old-fashioned voyage across the Atlantic, this is your ship. Luxury measured by what’s not there. No stateroom announcements. No pressure to buy anything or do anything. No gaming to get your keycard for just one more charge (Crystal’s price is all inclusive). For cruisers who’ve tired of harried herding on the mass-market lines, the absence of certain nuisances on Crystal may be worth an overall “5” in itself. ENTERTAINMENT: When it comes to entertainment, what get’s the perfect “5” from me is the live jazz and show tunes performed in the ship’s small venues (the “Great American Songbook” from the 1940s and 50s). Crystal calls this its “supper club” and “cabaret” entertainment. I found these talented performances every bit as enjoyable as a night clubbing in Seattle or New Orleans. But no cover charges, taxi fares, exorbitant parking, or pestering to buy another drink. Crystal’s musical offerings continued right up to the end, with five shows on the final night of the cruise. The last of these shows ended at 11 pm, just as luggage was due outside the staterooms. Pretty impressive for a cruise with less than 900 passengers. There are lots of amazing musicians out there who never do albums or arenas. Crystal finds them; some stay for a cruise, others stay for years. But if live music isn’t your niche, think of the Serenity as your floating senior center. One with lots of pampering (they even have a “valet service” that parks the scooters and wheelchairs to keep the halls clear after bedtime). And the ship’s veteran waiters are saints of the sea when it comes to their patience and respect toward the older crowd that frequents Crystal. Yup, you’ll find all the day-to-day activities that you’d expect in a well-appointed senior center: bingo, bridge, needlepoint, knitting, shuffleboard, slots, puzzles, trivia, liars club, name-that-tune, karaoke, parlor magic, tribute shows, afternoon tea, and dance hosts for the ladies. (About a fourth of the passengers on this cruise were involved in a bridge tournament.) Music and comedy shows are focused on the tastes and memories of the “extra generation” of seniors blessed with extended retirements. There was even the screening of a new film about finding late-life romance in a nursing home (yes, including sex). The filmmaker (Neil Leifer) was onboard and understandably pegged the Crystal crowd as a sympathetic test audience. But I’ll say it again: travel agents should use caution in sending children under age 50 on this ship. Though Crystal’s current president came over from Disney, absolutely none of the following “advancements” in onboard entertainment are found on this ship (thankfully): water slide; climbing wall; zipline; go-carts; carousel; laser tag; bungee trampoline; bumper cars; surfing simulator; trapeze training; skydiving wind tunnel. After all, this ship is called the Serenity -- a synonym for quiet peacefulness. There is, however, a golf net, a little swimming pool, and a “shopping mall” of three stores (including one that sells the Chico’s line). While there are no midnight buffets, there is 24-hour room service for those who can’t wait until the next meal at 6 am. Not surprisingly, the youngest on board are usually the employees. No teen gangs here. And nature seems to impose its own curfew, with the halls largely empty after midnight. DINING: We dined in all of the ship’s venues with the exception of its Italian restaurant (Prego). When it comes to dining, I give this cruise a perfect “5” simply because I found it perfect in every respect. Taste, variety, presentation, novelty, service, and overall enjoyability were all consistent with luxury cruising. It’s not just about the food, though. You get to leisurely visit with some of the world’s most interesting people. Table topics go far beyond the common senior focus on kids’ foibles, grandkids’ achievements, and perpetual medical procedures. While this is indeed God’s waiting room, people here aren’t in a hurry to keep their appointment with Him. In fact, the more they cruise, the less they rush to get to the next onboard activity. Crystal has definitely reinvented the experience of its main dining room. We much appreciated Crystal’s new walk-in flexibility (open dining) for time, table location, and the number of diners joining us. With little fanfare, you can now bring along your onboard friends, old and new. Or dine in a quiet secluded corner and share secrets. Gone are those days when disappointed cruisers went up to a hearing room for an audience before the maitre d’. There you lined up and pled your case for the dining dispensation of a better table or feeding time. Never quite seemed consistent with Berlitz’s definition of luxury cruising as “the kind of stylish ships aboard which the word ‘no’ is virtually unheard.” STATEROOM: We stay in ordinary staterooms on Crystal (no opulent party suites for us). Though Crystal had just remodeled this ship’s “penthouse” class of rooms, the only change we found in the standard stateroom was a bigger TV screen. But we frankly don’t come here for the rooms. We keep returning to this ship because it’s like a comfortable old hotel, where seasoned employees year after year provide the most attentive service anywhere. And an expected part of a comfortable old hotel (ship) is old rooms with problems that we just get fixed as they arise. This time it was slow drains, faucets without cold water, no clock, no shower curtain, and a stuck sliding door that kept us from using the veranda. All eventually fixed after a little intervention from an officer. Onboard television was limited to a few generic international channels. Those who live for American reality shows or Monday night football may need to schedule their cruise during the annual rerun doldrums. On the other hand, the Lido Deck’s sound system was unintelligible, and a channel on our television was a good alternative for hearing the captain’s daily announcement on weather conditions and routing adjustments. Travel agents should alert customers that, even on a cruise billed as ultra luxury, an aging ship’s staterooms may be in less than perfect condition. INTERNET ACCESS: You really don’t come here for the Internet. A few months before our trip, Cruise Critic published its article, “6 Cruise Lines With Great WiFi.” Crystal didn’t make the list. Those tethered to the rituals of social media may consider it more of a forced silent retreat than a vacation. Internet connectivity varied greatly throughout the cruise, with regular display of the dreaded message, “Internet access is currently not available” (even when approaching Florida). Passengers grabbed it while they could. And ocean crossings like this one obviously lack port stops where an Internet cafe could come to the rescue. For some primitive, less-connected retirees like ourselves, a vacation with sporadic Internet is no deal-breaker. And there’s something to be said for the attitude of a past Crystal president that cruisers should “turn off the Internet and just enjoy the moment.” (Virtuoso Life, May-June 2015, p. 99) However, travel agents should caution their customers that this ship may not be a good fit if they must stay in uninterrupted email contact with a business or relative back home. Nor should passengers count on Internet availability to make enroute arrangements for port stops or post-cruise travel. Or for online bill paying or holiday shopping at the last minute. SHIP’S MUSEUM: The lore of cruising traditionally has the rich & famous dining at the captain’s table. But Crystal has something just as good for the rest of us. Captain Vorland periodically opens up the ship’s museum and serves as its docent and resident storyteller -- sort of a Norwegian cross between Sully Sullenberger, Garrison Keillor, and your favorite humanities professor. This guy really has been everywhere, man (he even took a break as a Crystal vice president). The museum, in a restricted area, has a couple hundred commemorative plaques. They reflect the Serenity’s visits to the world’s ports, both famous and obscure. While some of the plaques are simple pieces of wood, the more elaborate ones feature local art, crafts, and materials. Tell the cruise director or Crystal Society host if you’d like to be included when a group does this. Like the free kitchen tours, backstage tours, magic shows, and guided stargazing, Crystal doesn’t charge for this onboard activity. I’ve always been impressed by Captain Vorland’s daily explanation of the sea conditions and resulting navigation adjustments. Reminds me of the aviation saying that “a superior pilot uses his superior judgment to avoid situations which require the use of his superior skill.” Or success is measured by all the potentially bad days that cruisers never know they have been spared. Captain Vorland may in fact be eligible for the honor of the Explorers Club, given his work in advancing passenger cruising through the Northwest Passage (like another Norwegian who pioneered polar air routes back in the 1950s). Crystal recorded the many lectures that experts gave during the Serenity’s treks through the Northwest Passage. I’ve watched around 40 of these videos, and the collection should be sent to the Vancouver Maritime Museum (rather than just forgotten, lost, or erased). FEDERAL INSPECTION SCORES: Federal agencies in both the United States and Canada conduct health inspections of cruise ships. The inspection scores are posted on the agencies’ public websites. See www.cdc.gov and www.canada.ca. For the U.S. inspections (CDC), cruisers can read the full reports online in all their technical detail (as well as Crystal’s side of the story). For the Canadian inspections, you’d need to email a request to see the report behind a score. Unlike your grades back in school, a passing score (both countries) is set a bit higher at 86 out of 100. And a score of 100 means no significant deficiencies, not perfection. The Serenity’s most recent U.S. inspection occurred in December 2018 (about three weeks after the end of our cruise). Score was 95. The inspection report listed 43 violations around the ship, none of which would deter me from booking the ship again. (Gluttony at that Churrascaria dessert bar was a health risk for me, though.) A few months passed before CDC published the results of this inspection. Perhaps due to the famous shutdown of some federal agencies for about a month. The Serenity’s most recent Canadian inspection was in June 2017. Score was 99. However, even well-inspected luxury liners can face that noro nastiness (vomiting, diarrhea). There’s a limit to what cruise lines and governments can do to protect passengers from their own health habits. While we were crossing the ocean, Crystal’s other ship (the Symphony) had a norovirus outbreak on the Amazon. No secret, though. It was publicly reported on CDC’s home page, in Cruise Critic’s passenger chat room, and in USA Today. The Symphony’s doctor made daily reports to CDC, sought CDC’s assistance, and was able to contain the illness (less than 5 percent of the passengers reported symptoms). While passengers in a Cruise Critic chat room are not a statistical sampling, their online thread on the Symphony didn’t signal any cruise-spoiling panic. They made passing references to onboard norovirus in the midst of much more vigorous exchanges over the ethics of petting sloths and the merits of selling the Chico’s brand in the ship’s clothing store (true story). Per these stats and chats, it’s not inevitable that most people on board will get sick if there’s a norovirus outbreak (defined by CDC as 3% of passengers). A clinic that specializes in travel medicine can give you a thorough briefing on how to handle this contingency, including what remedies to take along. Here are two lists of doctors with this type of practice: (1) the International Society of Travel Medicine (www.istm.org) and (2) the American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene (www.astmh.org). Measles has made quite the comeback across the U.S., and is highly contagious. CDC presumes that travelers born in the U.S. before 1957 have childhood immunity. If you were born later and have had the shots, you may want to take along proof in case there’s a quarantine in your travels. (See www.cdc.gov/measles/travelers.html) EVOLVING AMBIENCE: Crystal’s customer core is retired “comfortable couples” from the American mainstream. Some have been retired for decades -- now in their eighties and beyond. Crystal continues to preserve traditions from a prior era of travel. There are still formal nights (“black tie optional” and some tuxedos), daily afternoon tea, a dress code after 6 pm, and an ornate hideaway for smoking cigars. We continue to feel safe from onboard crime. Guests occasionally die from getting old, but not from assaults, drunken parties, or jumping overboard. You’ll have to cruise elsewhere for those experiences. But Crystal is not an isolation ward, and travel agents may need to prepare some customers to expect subtle changes in the ship’s atmosphere. For instance, the music. The Russian string quartet has been replaced by a solo performer with an electronic violin. Crystal has invested heavily in computerized neon costumes for performers to dance in the dark. The young jazz crooner that faithfully replicates the 1940s may wear his hair in a modern man bun. (But just be glad that yet another generation is striving to perpetuate the old favorites from before it was born.) The crew members who give you super service may sport a few tattoos. (We’re talking pretty young ladies here, not muscled male deckhands.) And you’ll see cruisers who whip out their smartphones whenever there’s a lull in table talk. (We’re talking seniors here, not millennials.) And you might even see a dog on board these days. Folks on this cruise reported dog sightings at the buffet line, ice cream bar, clothing store, Lido Deck dining, Japanese restaurant, and ledge around the hot tub. The tiny hound that I saw didn’t make a sound, didn’t bother anyone, and was even wearing a dress at one point. And the affection from crew members suggested that they might be missing their pets back home. Or perhaps their parents just raised them to be kind to animals (and seniors). Social media polarizes this sort of thing in a rhetoric of rights. But it’s not really a legal matter until a foreign ship (here the Serenity) departing from a foreign port (here Lisbon) finally reaches an American port (here the Virgin Islands). (49 CFR 39.5(b)) Until we reached the Virgin Islands, it was just a customer relations call as to which species Crystal wished to accommodate in the price of a ticket. Regardless of a dog’s purpose, the practical problems for “pet parents” make it unlikely that cruises will ever really go to the dogs (become truly “pet friendly”). There are issues like dog-sitting during port stops, local health regs, security screenings, and distinctive nasties from nature. Things like fleas with plague, cute little snakes, and big birds that really do eat small mammals. Nature is indifferent to the rhetoric of rights. In the event of a canine unthinkable, it can be a long wait until the next port stop with a veterinarian. And I have no idea whether Crystal’s onboard physician would agree to treat a suffering non-human. If you insist on bringing Fido or Fifi, a competitor’s megaship will be more likely than tiny Crystal to include a vacationing veterinarian among its passengers. Of course, you never know what travel entrepreneurs will develop for an unmet need. While we were docked in the Virgin Islands, the humane society was having a dog-washing fundraiser at the yacht marina. Proceeds of $10 a dog went to “fly homeless pets to stateside rescues and better lives.” Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We wanted to cruise on prinsendam one last time before she was sold. We flew to lisbon and was very surprised on what a nice city it is. Saw jeronimos monastery which is over 1000 years old. alfama area tiles, narrow streets and churches. ... Read More
We wanted to cruise on prinsendam one last time before she was sold. We flew to lisbon and was very surprised on what a nice city it is. Saw jeronimos monastery which is over 1000 years old. alfama area tiles, narrow streets and churches. bought a cork purse as cork is a big product over there. good food, tried green wine and inexpensive city. ponta delgada is a nice city to walk around plus it was a nice day. Praia di victoria azores we took a cruise tour was a nice full day. A good way to see the island. Biscoitos black lava rocks, mt brazil, churches,nice island tour. nice transatlantic cruise. captain dag is a very hospitable and friendly person. he did extra nice socials. He will be retiring with the ship. We enjoyed the size and cabins on the ship. This was a last minute cruise but everything went smooth. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Celebrating a birthday and an anniversary. We knew that Silversea would enable a trouble free voyage. Our Butler and Maid decorated our suite for the birthday/anniversary celbration with clever towel art and balloons. Our fridge was ... Read More
Celebrating a birthday and an anniversary. We knew that Silversea would enable a trouble free voyage. Our Butler and Maid decorated our suite for the birthday/anniversary celbration with clever towel art and balloons. Our fridge was constantly restocked with our favorite beverages. Our every need was cared for (including some seasickness tablets on the occasion that they were needed. The food was simply amazing with the specialty restaurant La Dame serving on eof the best meals we have ever enjoyed. While we did not take part in the entertainment at night (being early to bed folks) we did enjoy the lectures. And the Bingo. And the Trivia contests. The dining options enabled us to enjoy what we wanted when we wanted it. And when the (free) WiFi went out on deck 4 and 5 we were presented with a $300 credit. A really fine gesture for a porblem that was not foreseeable. What can I say? It is Silversea.. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We prefer to cruise back from Europe rather than flying. We have been on Silversea for only four years, but it is our "go-to" cruise line. This trip fit in with our earlier plans: started with a week in Madrid in a rented ... Read More
We prefer to cruise back from Europe rather than flying. We have been on Silversea for only four years, but it is our "go-to" cruise line. This trip fit in with our earlier plans: started with a week in Madrid in a rented apartment; then fly to Porto for an Ama Waterways cruise up and down the Douro River; then the high-speed train to Lisbon for a few days waiting to board the Whisper fro the crossing. As usual, the ship met or exceeded our expectations. The staff is wonderful and as repeat cruisers, we re-acquainted ourselves with many of them. It is such fun to walk into a bar on board and not have to order a drink. It just appears before you! The crew and the wait staff were also a welcoming sight. We have recommended Silversea to many of our friends and the feedback we get is always positive. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We joined friends on our first cruise experience. We didn't know what to expect but were given the 'heads-up' by our friends on what other cruise lines offer and how they operate. MSC disappointed in the customer service ... Read More
We joined friends on our first cruise experience. We didn't know what to expect but were given the 'heads-up' by our friends on what other cruise lines offer and how they operate. MSC disappointed in the customer service department on this cruise. There seemed to be a lack of employee training as we encountered conflicting answers to our questions. We did not receive our drink vouchers for our Fantastica Experience until we persistently tried to get someone to deal with the issue. The drink vouchers were not given to us until the third day of our voyage! What seemed to be a simple oversight became a huge problem that the onboard staff was unable to solve. The general feeling of fellow passengers was of confusion and frustration. The ship itself is beautiful and our cabin was extremely comfortable and accommodating. The quality of food improved with time, though the buffet got a bit chaotic at times and we felt rushed in our First Seating timeslot in the dining room. Our waiter, while personable, seemed to be flustered quite often. His assistant was efficient and professional. Small portions discouraged food waste and it was easy to order extra portions. Onboard entertainment was OK, but was not a highlight. Entertainers who were not part of the troupe of regulars were excellent. We avoided the crush of passengers getting off the ship at ports-of-call by leaving later and doing self-guided tours. Disembarkation in Genoa ran smoothly (behind schedule though) but was preceded by poor communication and confusion about procedures the night before. It was extremely difficult to get through to Customer Service with so many people having the same concerns as us. The Genoa port terminal was a challenge for passengers with small children or mobility issues. We experienced line-ups and a 'mob scene' at the taxi stand. Fortunately, the train station was a short walk away. I would hesitate to try another MSC cruise, even with their very competitive pricing, until organizational improvements are evident. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This was a Trans Atlantic Cruise, the first for The Viking Sun, but not the first for my spouse and I. The ship is lovely in every way. It's comfortable, uncrowded, quiet, and supremely well appointed. If it were rated as a hotel (and ... Read More
This was a Trans Atlantic Cruise, the first for The Viking Sun, but not the first for my spouse and I. The ship is lovely in every way. It's comfortable, uncrowded, quiet, and supremely well appointed. If it were rated as a hotel (and after all an ocean cruise ship today is a floating hotel/resort) it would be 5 star. The spa is beyond belief. It is open to all passengers unlike on most other cruise ships we have been on. The spa pool is wonderful, as are the hot and cold rooms. The fitness center overlooks the side of the ship instead of the front or rear. It took a bit of getting used to this view while using some of the exercise equipment. The equipment was all new and very state of art. The service in the room was outstanding, with water and towels being provide without needing to ask. What was lacking were daily classes such as a morning stretch class, or ab class, or something such as this. There were classes, but they did not take place daily and weren't specifically stretch, or something like that. The main dining room, called "The Restaurant" needs a new name. The service was excellent, the quality was very good, but the preparation was not up to the standards that one expects on a luxury cruise cruise or fine hotel. As for the alternate dining at Manfredi's Italian was marginal and way too noisy. We dined there twice and both meals were not very good and most certainly not very Italian except by name. The Chefs Table is best described as silly dining. The menu items were interesting and a few of the dishes were quite good. But the dishes didn't work together to make a meal. I would not waste my time eating a dinner in this restaurant. The World Cafe offers the best prepared food on the ship. We don't enjoy buffet dining. But we found ourselves eating at the Cafe one evening after a long day ashore. We had to go back there a few more times because their menu was the same as in "The Restaurant" and was prepared better. As for "The Restaurant" my recommendation is to change the name to "The Dining Room" Fine hotels don't serve fine meals in a restaurant! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We were returning from a driving tour of Scandinavia. The timing of the cruise met our needs. Viking River Cruise experienced; looking forward to a Viking ship. The Viking Sun is a first class experience. Right sized. Lots of space. ... Read More
We were returning from a driving tour of Scandinavia. The timing of the cruise met our needs. Viking River Cruise experienced; looking forward to a Viking ship. The Viking Sun is a first class experience. Right sized. Lots of space. Area for improvement- on board booking for future sailings. After an informative one hour overview, only one representative on board, was insufficient. No email contact. Response to a hand written inquiry on a 2018 cruise from Tokyo to Vancouver was via a voicemail to our Cabin. No return voicemail available. We were advised we were ‘wait listed’. Would receive no on ship booking incentives. Oh well. That said... The overall facilities are fantastic. The Crew was well educated with experience on Regent and Celebrity where we had sailed. We continually thanked the Crew for their ever present smiles and thoughtfulness. Looking forward to our next Viking Salinger experience. Alaska? Asia? Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Just did the Mid Atlantic crossing on this ship from Lisbon to Miami. First off the ship in nicely laid out. Really liked all the quiet areas of the ship where you could play games or read a good book. We had a deluxe verandah cabin and it ... Read More
Just did the Mid Atlantic crossing on this ship from Lisbon to Miami. First off the ship in nicely laid out. Really liked all the quiet areas of the ship where you could play games or read a good book. We had a deluxe verandah cabin and it was very comfortable. Especially liked the heated bathroom floors. Our cabin steward was the best one we have had after 17 cruises. I really liked the promenade deck, one time around was 1/4 of a mile. The two specialty restaurants were very good. Service in these restaurants was good to excellent. Embarkation was a breeze, again the fastest we have had in 17 cruises. I would have liked a ship with a casino but we knew that this did not exist on the Viking Sun well before we boarded. Ate dinner in the main dining room two nights, the first night the service was poor. They failed to deliver all of our group of 6 appetizers on time as well as some being appetizers that we did not order. The next visit we made was vastly improved in service. We did however eat at a different table with different waiters. The world buffet restaurant was okay but the passenger flow in this area can be congested especially for breakfast. The waiter service on both pool areas was poor to good. Almost seemed short staffed in a way and or not sufficiently trained. Because of inconsistent service I found myself clearing the table of dirty dishes and getting myself something to drink. Sat by the main pool 5 days reading a book, I was offered water twice but not once did a waiter or waitress ask me if I wanted something to drink. By the way I had purchased the silver spirit drink package before the cruise. So if I wanted alcohol I would have to go to the bar and get it myself. I have been on Oceania cruises before and this was never an issue. Getting off the ship did not go well, we were supposed to be off the ship at 7:00AM and on our bus to the airport at 7:30. We could not leave ship until 7:25AM, so something went wrong here. Not sure what the problem was. I was debating to rate this ship either 3 or 4 and decided on 4 because of an overall nice layout and design of the ship. I still prefer Oceania and Celebrity but would consider Viking again if the deal and itinerary were right. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Viking ocean’s great reviews were not overstated. The ship is beautiful with lots of lovely, quiet spaces. Our cabin (penthouse veranda) was spacious and had more storage space than we needed - a first for us. The well-equipped ... Read More
Viking ocean’s great reviews were not overstated. The ship is beautiful with lots of lovely, quiet spaces. Our cabin (penthouse veranda) was spacious and had more storage space than we needed - a first for us. The well-equipped self-serve laundry was a pleasant surprise. We are elite on other lines and get free laundry but this was better. Entertainment was terrific, a small ensemble of singers and dancers who did small shows that did not overextend them, as too many cruise lines do. Small, pre-dinner recitals by one or two of them were a special treat. Kudos to the cruise director who scheduled extra performances of one show when more passengers wanted to attend than could be accommodated in the theater - a pleasant change from so many lines where on board cruise staff have little discretion to deviate from schedules dictated by corporate staff. Shore excursions available for a fee were the usual array. The included excursion in each port was essentially a drive-by tour or, in Bermuda, a bus pass. The only real negative was the food service. The main dining room was only average and the included specialty dining options were disappointing. One had only so-so Italian cuisine and the other had a menu fixed menu that was unusual at best. We are not timid, meat-and-potatoes diners, but we found preparations odd, to put it kindly. Fortunately , our server offered the option of ordering from the main dining room menu. The other disappointment was the buffet. The quality and variety of the food and presentation (small serving dishes, frequently refreshed) were excellent BUT the hours were far too limited. The pluses were afternoon tea in the Wintergarden, a treat we allowed ourselves only once, and availability of espresso drinks at several bars and at the buffet. Embarkation was slick. We arrived at check-in to find a clerk waiting for us (no lines!!) and our bags arrived in our cabin not long after we did. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Everything was perfect. Excellent room - Penthouse Jr suite , Fantastic food, excellent crew and no crowds .You always felt welcomed by the entire staff no matter where you were on the ship. Everyone was so helpful and polite. The ... Read More
Everything was perfect. Excellent room - Penthouse Jr suite , Fantastic food, excellent crew and no crowds .You always felt welcomed by the entire staff no matter where you were on the ship. Everyone was so helpful and polite. The Penthouse suite was so comfortable and spacious with every possible amenity. The bathroom had double sinks , heated floors and towel rack. The room had two separate areas - each with it's own big flat screen TV. A spacious balcony with table and chairs and a great view. We were on the forward, starboard side of the boat on the top floor. It was extremely quite and private but yet accessible to everything. The food was first class all the way as was the wait staff. Nothing was a problem and they were always there to help through out the meal. When you asked for something specific your wish was always granted. All and All you can not do better than a Viking Ocean Cruise. We love Viking so much we just booked 2 Viking Cruises over the next year.When you are with the Best stay with the Best !!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017

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