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226 London (Greenwich, Tower Bridge, Tilbury) to Baltic Sea Cruise Reviews

I treated my art teaching daughter to this cruise during her Christmas vacation. She had never been on a cruise previously and was impressed with the beautiful Viking Star amenities. Our cabin was roomy and comfortable. I don't ... Read More
I treated my art teaching daughter to this cruise during her Christmas vacation. She had never been on a cruise previously and was impressed with the beautiful Viking Star amenities. Our cabin was roomy and comfortable. I don't think my daughter believed that we could have a 4 star meal every night at your excellent restaurant. We particularly enjoyed the New Year's Day brunch which was a fabulous feast. Good weather was unexpected but we always had cold, clear, days without any rain. This made our shore excursions pleasant. I particularly have to thank Viking for catching us up on an excursion that we missed because we misread the departure time on the first day in Florence. Because of Viking's effort, we did get to get "Venus Rising from the Sea" at the Ufizzi Museum which was one of our travel goals. We definitely would travel again on Viking. It was an enjoyable experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We were on a cruise with Mr Bridge and about 70 others in our group.we booked early with Mr Bridge and the offer of 2 for 1. Great value for money. Less good was the change of itinerary some time after booking. We were informed of a ... Read More
We were on a cruise with Mr Bridge and about 70 others in our group.we booked early with Mr Bridge and the offer of 2 for 1. Great value for money. Less good was the change of itinerary some time after booking. We were informed of a change from Stockholm to Nynashamn, however none of us received notification of a change from Amsterdam to Rotterdam. In addition passengers were expected to pay the cost of the transfers to the original destinations. Eventually after some protracted communications we were offered cabin upgrades. The Baltic cruise is special, with great cities on offer to explore. We had previously visited some of the cities. For new ports were Rotterdam, Copenhagen, Rostock / Wanermunde and Helsinki. We used the shuttles when available and either self guided or chose the excellent freewalks. The only tours booked were in St Petersburg. Our 2 half-day tour with CMV were very disappointing. Too much time travelling and in the same tourist shop, too little time in the Spilled Blood Church and Peter and Paul Fortress. My advice is to book through an independent operator. We also attended the evening ballet to see Sleeping Beauty which was enjoyable and well organised. Just a few comments about the ship: Staff worked hard and efficiently, although we found sometimes the crew did not understand our request. At the 1st sitting in the Waterfront waiters had no time to chat with us. The food was lovely and well presented. Other times we used the buffet where the food and service were good. The buffet can be very busy and sometimes full. They also varied meal times and these were not always matched to our needs. On one occasion we found the breakfast finished at 9 and we were too late. Our cabin boy was friendly and efficient. The daily quizzes were too difficult. Typically the winners scored 11 / 20. Some of the bar waiters were great and remembered our order, and offered packages to save money. Raffles was strange though with one particular miserable and unhelpful waitress. She was downright rude, and they often closed up when the bar was still well populated? Customer Services were not interested to receive feedback on this issue! In summary, we were generally satisfied and think the cruise provided good value for money. CMV need to ensure their staff are better trained and improve their shore excursions and caucus to receive service. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise because we wanted to experience Europe and we were planning on spending extra time in Sweden which was its final destination. We started in London and spent an extra day there enjoying the sites. Once the cruise ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to experience Europe and we were planning on spending extra time in Sweden which was its final destination. We started in London and spent an extra day there enjoying the sites. Once the cruise started we had many wonderful shore excursions and a couple of trips that could have been better(Copenhagen and Helsinki) and that was because of the guides. It was fairly easy getting on and off of the ship, could have done better with the elevators for those with physical issues. Our cabin was very comfortable, we were treated like royalty by our waiter, Chris, at Windows. Our biggest complaint at the Windows and Garden restaurants was the length of time it took to receive your meals. We did not enjoy the buffet. Half of the time when you got back to the ship from a shore excursion the food line was shut down to “snacks”. Entertainment was first class ,we really loved the Juggler and the acrobats. Our complaints were all of the extra charges for WiFi, passenger to passenger phone, not all restaurants were complimentary so there was an extra fee to eat there, tacked on tips, etc. we started to say they were going to upchage us for the air we were breathing. The NCL app did not work very well at all. We were charged an extra $9.95 per person for the onboard communication package to be able to call and message each other on the ship and half of the time it didn’t work, so don’t waste your money. This should have been a free service along with free WiFi while on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise primarily to go to St Petersburg but every destination was beautiful. We booked an inside cabin on a price basis and we were upgraded to an outside window cabin which was a bonus. Our cabin was 6167 which I would ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily to go to St Petersburg but every destination was beautiful. We booked an inside cabin on a price basis and we were upgraded to an outside window cabin which was a bonus. Our cabin was 6167 which I would recommend as it is midships around the corner from Raffles bar which overlooks the Atrium, and one deck down from the Waterfront restaurant and Palladium theatre. We did our own thing at all destinations except St Petersburg where we booked for the ballet on the first evening and panorama tour on the second afternoon, both excellent. We found all the food to be excellent in The restaurant and the buffet. We ate most meals in the restaurant and dinners were especially enjoyable thanks to the lovely group of companions on our table, a laugh a minute!! We had no problem getting a sun lounger and the bar service around the pool was great. The entertainment was mostly excellent and we enjoyed Karaoke three times. We had adverse weather on the last day and night which delayed us by 3 hours but no complaints as safety is more important than speed. Overall I would recommend the ship, the cruise line and cruise itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We are regular cruisers and have just returned from a 2 week cruise to the Baltic & St Petersburg on the CMV Columbus. We chose the cruise because of the itinery and the price. It is the first time we've cruised with CMV. The ... Read More
We are regular cruisers and have just returned from a 2 week cruise to the Baltic & St Petersburg on the CMV Columbus. We chose the cruise because of the itinery and the price. It is the first time we've cruised with CMV. The pre cruise communication and organisation at the port on departure was excellent. The ship was clean with all the basic facilites you need on a ship. The cabin was bigger than onther basic inside cabins we've had before and had lots of storage space for a 2 week trip. The quality of food in the mani restaurant we thought was great and very well presented.The fixed sitting system was fine but the 5.45pm-6.15pm entry window for 1st sitting was early. We tried both the speciality restaurants which we also found to be excellent. We had the VIP package so the restaurants were discounted by 50%. This discount made them good value. We didn't try the Chef's Table as we were told the 50% discont didn't apply to this for some reason. The range of drinks available within the VIP package was good for cocktails & beers. Included in the package were the "signature wines". However this was only 4 white wines, there were reds aswell. Only 1 of these being a chardanney which my wife felt was very limited. There were shows evry night in the show lounge but these we found to be very disappointing in quality. When compared to what we experienced on Thomson, P and O & Royal Carribean felt rather amateurish. The show lounge was also very small with poor views unless you were prepared to arrive 60 minutes ahed of show time to bag the front row central seats. This was a major disappointment. Like all ships we've been on the Columbus had a self service restaurant. Compared to other ships of a similar size/ capacity it was small with a limited range of each day. Our teenagers often found it difficult to find something to eat. Only on 1 day of the 14 were they able to get chips from here at lunch. You may view this as a positive. The biggest issue though was the fact that it was always extremely difficult and often impossible to get a seat, especially at breakfast. If you were able to get one it was then a challenge to get cutlery. This was largely due to the limited opening times. Breakfast regularly ran 7.00am-9.30am. The lasted it was on until was 10am. There was no chance of a lie in if you wanted breakfast. We didn't feel that the timings had passengers at the heart of planning. We were all on holiday after all. The self service restaurant closed at 9.pm. From here there was no food available until breakfast, with the exception of a tray of canapeas brought round to bars by waiters in the style of a cocktail party. This lack of late night food would be a significant issue for many based on how popular the late night food offer has been on other ships. The ship offered a wide range of excersions at each port. The destinations services was accurately called Excersion Services. There were no port maps available and they only wanted to give info on the ships excursions. We found these to be very expensive. Eg the 2 day Grand Tour of ST Petersburg was £320 each. We booked a comparable tour with a local company (Alla Tours, who were excellent) which saved us £780 in total for a group of 6. On the final day of the trip poor weather resulted in us being 3.5 hours late arriving at Tilbury. Clearly completely beyond the control of CMV and just one of those things. However, they didn't inform us of this until 10 minutes before we were all due to vacate our cabins at 7.30am. We were told that we could stay in cabins until 9.30am. By this time most had vacated. We returned to the cabin to find that the cabin steward, who hadn't been told about the chnge, had not surprisingly, stripped the cabin and cleaned it ready for the new arrivals. Would you have asked to use the cabin again? As we were still on the ship and disembarcation had not started by noon and with a 3 hour drive home we went up to the self service restaurant to eat before we left. Here the manager told us that service wouldn't begin until 2pm and actually said that he'd been told "We're not feeding those getting off, only those getting on". We felt this was profits over customer care. Overall we had an enjoyable cruise made so by the friendly, efficient staff and the excellent itinerary, especially St Petersburg. However, we wouldn't rush to cruise with CMV again as unlike any other companies we've sailed with it didn't feel like the customer was at the heart of the comapies philosophy. It was more a case of the customer having to conform to the CMV way. Dissappointing Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This was our 1st cruise on Silversea and they nailed it! Top to bottom, the experience exceeded all of our expectations, and was superior to our recent Seabourn Encore cruise in NZ/Australia. The ship was stretched and fully refurbished ... Read More
This was our 1st cruise on Silversea and they nailed it! Top to bottom, the experience exceeded all of our expectations, and was superior to our recent Seabourn Encore cruise in NZ/Australia. The ship was stretched and fully refurbished last year, it looks brand new with top notch high end touches in every venue. We are very seasoned cruisers and have been on nearly all the mainstream cruiselines (Regent, Seabourn, Oceania, Celebrity, HAL, etc.) with over 60 cruises under our belt. We traveled as an adult couple in our late 40's along with our 22yr old daughter, sharing a cabin with her. We choose this cruise for two main reasons. 1. Experience a Silversea cruise 2. Itinerary to Norway where we haven't traveled before. The ship was fully refurbished and stretched last year (read about the changes on CC) and it shows with high quality touches in every venue. The ship sailed full, but we never encountered any crowded areas and the space to pax ratio is very high! This ship offers everything you could want in a smallish footprint luxury line. No sings of wear or tear anywhere. Beautiful fresh flowers are found throughout the ship, adding an upscale high end vibe to the ambience. SHIP 5 STARS The standard suite was very spacious, well laid out, included high end toiletries, stocked bar, shower & tub, balcony, and a butler. Many discussions about how to utilize a butler can be found on CC. Ours provided us with balloons/cake/decorations for our Anniversary, caviar, canapes, dining reservations, room service, a VIP dining experience on our balcony one evening with roses, and so much more. This is something Seabourn doesn't include that we truly feel sets Silversea apart from them. CABIN 5 STARS Dining options were excellent and well balance with most types of cuisine represented on the ship from Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Steakhouse, Italian, Continental, pizza, gastro pub special lunches, and so on. Some CC's threads complained about the lack of variety of choices on Silversea...I don't see how this is truly possible! With so many dining venues and new menus every 3-4 days we never felt like we repeated meals or bored of the food offered after 14 days onboard. The quality, variety, and presentation was superior to any other cruiseline we have traveled. Unlimited caviar is now included with Silversea, leveling the field with the competition. We loved Artist cafe's excellent lite bites and high quality coffee service. I could go on and on about the food, but won't bore you to tears other than to say it simply was the BEST we have experienced to date (Seabourn was well below Silversea). FOOD 5 STARS Entertainment was geared towards an older demographic, which was expected. The singers (no dancers) consisted of 2 opera performers and 4 others.The theater had excellent sight lines with no obstructed views like we experience on Seabourn. One show per evening, around 9:30pm was offered. The opera singers were excellent! A few other strong vocalists mixed with a few average. The jazz duo in Silver note delivered an authentic jazz club like atmosphere and were a hit! One knock was having no duet or soloist that sang and played an instrument. The guest entertainment consisted of a comedy magician that was excellent and another pianist (the ship already had a full time one on staff). Why repeat the same entertainment that already existed from the staff onboard? ENTERTAINMENT 4 STARS The service was absolutely without a doubt 5 star luxury level at its finest! We felt as guests and not pax for our 2 weeks onboard. They would bend over backwards for you; we felt the staff enjoyed their jobs and were happy to work onboard. A very high percentage of staff knew our names within a few days onboard, similar to what we experienced on Seabourn. Seabourn dining room service always felt chaotic and understaffed. We didn't run into this on Silversea. The vibe was much calmer, more chill, and less stressed we felt from the service staff compared to Seabourn. The cherry on top was having a butler catering to our needs no matter how big or small. He went the extra mile to give us top notch service that sets Silversea apart from the competition. SERVICE 5 STARS Ports and excursions were all excellent and have been discussed many of times on CC. We enjoyed all of our stops in Norway and loved the authenticity of Norway vs places like Alaska that felt touristy. We had a very early arrival in London and were greeted by staff taking our luggage from us and then directly to the ship. We were delighted they took us to a city center high end hotel to have breakfast and refresh before our transfer to the port. PORTS 5 STARS We rank Silversea Silver Spirit #1 out of our 60+ cruises. If you're looking for the best of the best, you have found your ship! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We disembarked the Silver Wind in early June and generally had a very good cruise. The main attraction, certainly so far as my OH was concerned, was the sail in and out under Tower Bridge (note to destination lecturer - not ... Read More
We disembarked the Silver Wind in early June and generally had a very good cruise. The main attraction, certainly so far as my OH was concerned, was the sail in and out under Tower Bridge (note to destination lecturer - not "The" Tower Bridge, just Tower Bridge). We had a quick and easy embarkation and our suite, a classic veranda, was fine and looked in good order. We did find an item on a shelf which belonged to a previous occupant and which indicated, perhaps, not the most thorough of inspections before we arrived. It was not a major deal for us but we received a fulsome apology from 2 senior members of housekeeping staff. I dislike the bathroom on the Wind, in particular the bath/shower combination with a fixed shower screen and I gather that most, if not all, of the baths are to be removed when she is refitted next year – can't come soon enough, though I know some will miss them. The interactive TV in the suite was excellent, with Chronicles, restaurant menus, tour information and the newspaper all on-line, and a good selection of films. The hard copy of the newspaper disappeared on the 1st June but appeared on screen, so I assume the decision has been made to provide it online only, which saves a few trees and is fine with us. Connectivity for the TV and the internet, however, was frustrating, channels were often unavailable – particularly trying where there is a huge football game and the channel showing it is as dead as a Norwegian Blue . Apart from late at night and very early in the morning, it could be a dispiriting experience to try to use the internet. We had the standard, included, package only. Food we found, generally, to be good, with plenty of variety in the Restaurant. This was in contrast to our experience on the stretched Spirit last year when we found the Restaurant menu to be limited and repetitive, though there are of course many more dining options on the Spirit. With curries, pasta and local dishes offered on the Wind on various days in the Restaurant, we did not miss the alternative venues as we feared we would, though an Arts Café style area would have been welcome. Three courses and coffee were the norm at dinner, with no separate salad course or sorbet on offer and no petits fours. I am sure you could have had them as a special request. We did not need them. We also ate in La Terrazza, which was very good on the first night but rather mediocre later in the cruise to my mind, although OH enjoyed his dishes. I had rather expected a lasagne in an Italian Restaurant on an Italian ship to be sensational. I was disappointed. Hot Rocks in the evening has consistently excellent meat and fish, if you don’t mind doing your own cooking, which we rather enjoy and the best bit is that, no matter how much mess we make, someone else does the clearing up. During the day this area is the Pool Grill, where the food was adequate but where the service, on this trip, was under par. Things took ages to arrive, service was bit slapdash, i.e. tables were not properly cleaned down between guests and food dropped on the deck lay there and provided fodder for the birds. This was a coldish weather cruise, where the Grill was probably not as well used and I got the impression that staffing levels had been curtailed accordingly. Elsewhere, service was very good and charming though perhaps not quite as intuitive as on other ships. As an example, I always have expresso at breakfast and even though we very often had the same server, I always had to ask for it, it was never remembered . I could cope with this but one of the selling points of Silversea has been how quickly crew get to know passengers' preferences. The included wine was, again, generally acceptable and there was no difficulty in obtaining something other than the daily pour. Pudding wine was provided on request but was not routinely offered. The one big, and completely avoidable, problem on this voyage was the tendering process, which was lamentable. Unusually for Silversea, only one tender was in operation at tender ports, and it ran out and back on the hour and half hour. If, therefore, you missed one tender you had to wait for an hour until the next one. The difficulty was particularly acute at Gerainger where several ship tours arrived back at the quay at the same time, filling the scheduled tender to full capacity. Guests left behind were told they had to wait until the next scheduled tender, which was over an hour later. Minor mutiny ensued –can you mutiny on a quayside?-and after a lot of hoo-ing and ha-ing, the tender came back sooner than scheduled. This should never have been an issue, the ship was close to the quay so the tender journey was only a few minutes. There was absolutely no need for any hassle, the tour concierge team know how many guests are on tour and when those tours will arrive back, and so tenders should cater accordingly In Vik, we arrived at 7 am but the first tender for non-tour group guests was at 10am, the last tender back was at 11am, which left a frustratingly short time to explore the village and to walk to the famous churches there. My only other negative comment on the arrangements was that there should have been a shuttle bus into the centre of Bergen. However, perhaps my view was jaundiced by the fact that it rained on the way back to the ship and I got very wet and very, very grumpy. Entertainment- Colin Barbiere Brown was the Cruise Director and a there was a complete change round of Voices of Silversea and of at least one of the lounge musicians in London who boarded with us. Thus, the cast were putting their shows in place on the ship and so were not visible throughout the ship to engage with passengers. I did feel that we suffered somewhat from this. Colin is a polished Cruise Director, he runs a tight trivia and he performed on several occasions, with or without other musicians. It was, however, a mistake not to have some guest entertainers on board for this cruise as the performances by the Voices were to be limited and a variety of entertainment was lacking. I am aware that one does not choose a Silversea cruise for the breadth of its entertainment but some alternatives to Colin and his piano might have been welcome, excellent musician though he is. This brings me to the demographic of guests. As it was a London to London cruise, it was hardly surprising that the majority of guests were British, some 170 out of 294, I believe. A good number were older and with a degree of frailty. This meant that, in our opinion, the ship was less lively than we have experienced hitherto, especially in the evening. A couple of lumpy nights did not help, but the bars seemed to close early and I got the impression that a fair number of people didn’t get off the ship at ports. Given the average age of the guests, I suspect that some must have been surprised to be assailed by versions of Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen classics from the Voices on the last night. When it got rough, the crew were excellent older guests or those with mobility issues, some of whom were helped all the way back to their suites by crew who would not let them risk walking back unaccompanied. And yes, we had a wonderful sail out of London at night but an even more spectacular sail in in the morning, accompanied in part by 50 or so hot air balloons, flying almost close enough to touch. We know that Silversea can't take the credit for that, but it was the perfect end to an enjoyable voyage. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Silver Wind is in for a full refit in twelve months time. This is probably twelve months too late. Looking tired, the ship is saved by its excellent crew. There was nothing intrinsically wrong with the cruise, probably still a good 4.5 ... Read More
Silver Wind is in for a full refit in twelve months time. This is probably twelve months too late. Looking tired, the ship is saved by its excellent crew. There was nothing intrinsically wrong with the cruise, probably still a good 4.5 star experience. But that is not how Silverseas is marketed. Fellow travellers were discussing looking elsewhere. Food was good but not exceptional. Furnishings slightly raggedy around the edges. Again, nothing disastorous but not the kind of attention to detail you would expect from say Four Seasons which is the type of place Silverseas clientele typically frequent. Casino crew were downright miserable, servicing a worn room with an unfathomable set of slots. Silverseas still check all the right boxes, but the fear is that the new owners are destroying the brand by their cutting of costs. Silver Wind needs sorting out and quickly. This overdue refit can only damage the brand. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
My wife & I went on this cruise to see the northern lights & we were not disappointed as we saw a great display of them from the deck of the ship when it was docked in Tromso, Norway. Embarkation & disembarkation were smooth ... Read More
My wife & I went on this cruise to see the northern lights & we were not disappointed as we saw a great display of them from the deck of the ship when it was docked in Tromso, Norway. Embarkation & disembarkation were smooth without problems. All aspects of the cruise such as food, service, cabin & shore excursions were great. The wi-fi was super & the 42 inch interactive TV screen in our cabin allowed us to do just about anything that we would normally do at the front desk from the comfort of our cabin. I ate King crab & other seafood every night at the buffet & my wife & I had a great time looking forward to seeing the same friendly servers every night. Unless you don't like cold weather & snow this is the cruise to go on. This was our 27th cruise & it was one of the best we have been on. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Neophytes to Cruising, this was our first ocean cruise since way back in the mid-70s to the Caribbean. Our first experience with Viking Cruises was a few years back on the Châteaux, Rivers & Wine cruise from Bordeaux. At the time, the ... Read More
Neophytes to Cruising, this was our first ocean cruise since way back in the mid-70s to the Caribbean. Our first experience with Viking Cruises was a few years back on the Châteaux, Rivers & Wine cruise from Bordeaux. At the time, the ocean ships were still being constructed. Once launched, we were determined to take a voyage … and what better excuse than a cruise that began on my birthday! A caveat as I write this: Our cruise was the fifth of six on this itinerary, immediately preceding the last unfortunate voyage. My heart aches for the passengers and crew who experienced the terrifying breakdown in rough seas and our prayers extended to them in their recovery process. Embarking and disembarking was remarkably quick and efficient! Everyone was friendly, helpful and welcoming. We stepped onboard to smiling crew offering glasses of sparkling wine and promptly escorted to the elevators to the seventh deck World Café for lunch, our choice of wine flowing freely. We did opt for the Silver Spirits Beverage Package … good value for us as the packages includes a wide range of liquors, cocktails, wines and all specialty coffees. The décor of the Viking ships is beautiful and peaceful, the design incorporating many cozy areas – nothing feels crowded or noisy, even alongside the three-story atrium. The crew was amazing…always friendly, engaging, smiling and pleasant. From our first visit to the Explorers’ Lounge, Cecilia attended graciously welcomed us and answered any question we might have. Chris is another favorite, as is Ravi in the Dining Room. Their service was impeccable…we miss them greatly! Matthew, the guitarist, is outstanding! We were even lucky to have a fellow passenger accompany him on the harmonica. There is so much to do on the ship…read the Viking Daily carefully or you may miss something delightful. My husband, a retired chef, thoroughly enjoyed the presentations by one of the chefs. The port and excursion previews were very helpful as we were visiting lesser-known ports in the winter. Enrichment lectures abound. Staterooms repeat the tasteful and peaceful décor. Ours was a Deluxe Veranda on Deck 4 not too far from the elevators. The room was very quiet; we never heard anything from adjacent rooms. There was ample storage room, coffee service, king-size comfortable bed, two lounge chairs, table, desk, and a spacious bathroom with heated floors (so nice!). The mini-bar was replenished daily and water pitcher refilled twice a day (tap water was absolutely fine to drink as well). Bottled water was offered every time we left the ship and returned, as well as a form of mulled wine (so nice when it was SO cold). Everything is kept spotlessly clean; the stewards are friendly, efficient and professional. Food was exceptional, beautifully presented and delicious; there was always a server close by ready to top off water and wine. We ate at The Chef’s Table twice – Asian & Chinese – four-course offerings accompanied by premium selected wines (again part of the Silver Spirits package). The first night onboard was my birthday … a bottle of sparkling wine and greetings from crew in the room upon arrival and a wonderful layer cake at The Chef’s Table that night, in addition to the trio of desserts featured in the menu. We only ate a third that night; the next day, the rest of it was delivered to our stateroom. We did have a disappointing experience at the specialty restaurant Manfredi’s. Granted, we are spoiled for fine Italian cuisine in the North End of Boston. We both ordered the lamb chops medium rare; they came quite well done on the outside. The manager of the venue was at our side immediately. We then requested rare; the inside was medium rare; I couldn’t even cut through the outside. I gave up; he took it back; and I ordered the carbonara—very cream-heavy. I never, ever send anything back. My gratitude to the manager for being so patient. Many of our crew said we should have had the bistecca, that it is delicious. The Dining Room never disappointed, lunch or dinner. The Norwegian specialties at Mamsen’s were also delicious. The itinerary was awe-inspiring! The Captain steered away from Bodø as it’s directly on the sea and winds were too heavy for safe docking. The ship took us to places we would have not otherwise gone. The weather was wonderful and the crew did remark it was the best of all the cruises to date. Even Bergen was bright and sunny. Tromsø was beautiful, topped off the first night by an outstanding display of the Northern Lights. We watched the shimmering waves for close to 30 minutes, right from our veranda. We all became trained like Pavlov dogs as there were so many announcements of sightings – everyone scrambling to the best viewing points. We did a limited number of ship excursions, choosing to enjoy ports on our own, use a local guide, or enjoy the ship’s many offerings. A delightful young guide, Tor, from a local company, ‘Tromsø Individuelle,’ took us on a superb private tour of the many fjords in the area and out to Sommorøy Island. The best ship excursion we took was the Ofoten Railway to Riksgränsen Resort in Sweden where I was immediately caught up in all the eager huskies' lines and thrilled by their enthusiastic ride around a frozen lake! Everything on and off the ship was well organized and seamless. We highly recommend this adventure!!! We opted for early March as we hoped it would not be as cold as January, and it wasn’t. Winter temperatures in Boston were quite similar to what we experienced on the cruise. In fact, we were even over-prepared for the cold. We experienced a couple days with rough seas, always pre-warned by the Captain…something I expected for winter on the North and Norwegian Seas. As it turns out, the Sky encountered difficulties on the last trip as the equipment was too highly efficient – engines shutting down as perceptive oil levels were thrown off by high seas. We thoroughly enjoyed this voyage and consider it a trip of a lifetime! While our next cruise is a Viking river cruise in France, we definitely will return for another ocean adventure. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Always wanted to see the Northern Lights thought this would be a great way to do it. We have been on both the Sky and Star before and in Norway two other times. We love the area, the people and the natural landscape and were not ... Read More
Always wanted to see the Northern Lights thought this would be a great way to do it. We have been on both the Sky and Star before and in Norway two other times. We love the area, the people and the natural landscape and were not disappointed this time. We were lucky enough to see a great light show in Tromso and took a ship tour to a remote, dark place which allowed for some great photography. We walked down a hill through heavy snow, past a small stream to set up the tripod but it was well worth it. Never saw anything like these lights and it far exceeded our expectations. Our guide was attentive without being annoying and gave everyone ample time to do their pictures, We also saw the Lights in Alta also on a Viking tour at a great "camp", wonderful facilities, great helpful guides. Answered any and all questions about photography always checking to see if everyone was having a good time. Unfortunately the Lights were not as bright as in Tromso but that is not in Viking's control Also took a trip to the Polar Park in Narvik also a Ship offered tour and it was wonderful. Great photography of animals in the wild. Lots of snow but lots of opportunity for fun. Also did dog sledding and snowmobiling and we had a blast on those excursions also. Only disappointment was we could not stop at Bode because of high seas but respected the captain for putting our safety first. Overall the trip was great, a few hiccups with service in the World Cafe at the begnning of the cruise and with our reservations at Manfred's but our concerns were taken care of once reported in a prompt and professional way. Our cabin was clean and tasteful (we have actually booked the same cabin on all of our six Viking Ocean cruises), and our cabin personnel were awesome. I use the gym daily and it was clean and the personnel always friendly even early in the morning. Towels were always placed on the machines with fresh water bottles. Embarkation was faster than normal and we were on the ship within a few minutes.Overall a fantastic experience. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We are seasoned cruisers having cruised 30+ times on 8 different lines. However, this was our first cruise on Viking and certainly not our last. The ship was AMAZING and the crew was GREAT. I don’t know what the ratio of passengers to ... Read More
We are seasoned cruisers having cruised 30+ times on 8 different lines. However, this was our first cruise on Viking and certainly not our last. The ship was AMAZING and the crew was GREAT. I don’t know what the ratio of passengers to crew is but I do know you couldn’t put your water glass down without someone filling it, or more importantly your wine glass. We are small ship prone and this ship only has 920 passengers So it lacks the pool slides and all the huge amenities but also all the crowds that come with that. All of the public areas were great. A great pool side venue, afternoon tea, snacks etc., you name it they had it! As I mentioned the service was great and personable. For example even though our cabin stewards have 13+ rooms to care for they took the time to remember out names and were flexible in cleaning our cabin. Regarding the ship we were on, the Viking Sky, it was without a doubt one of the best ship cabins if not the best ship cabin we have ever been in. It is all the small things that made this cabin special. For example, they have drawers in the bathroom, a huge convenience. They have a full-length mirror for dressing. The bathroom floors are heated and they have 110 volt plugs at the bed headboard. They have a make up mirror and storage area in the desk. A great improvement for my spouse. In addition, the storage, i.e. closets, drawers etc. was exceptional! Another small item was they have a door to the veranda vs. a sliding glass door which makes the space more useable and gives a tighter fit to the closure. From a food standpoint it was all wonderful. In addition to great meals for dinner their luncheon menus were wonderful. How about King Crab and Roast Beef for lunch? Dinners whether at the specialty restaurant or the regular restaurant were excellent. A great variety of foods and excellent preparation and again the service was wonderful. The ship comes with beer and wine included at lunch and dinner which is a nice touch. However, as a wine snob I prefer a step up in wines and was pleasantly surprised to find not only a couple of bottles of my favorite wines but they were more than fairly priced, not ripping you off like most other lines. Further, the waiters were happy to cork the wines and brought them to us for the next night. Finally, our trip home. We were booked on KLM and unbeknown to us they cancelled our flight, never told us and didn’t bother to book us on another flight. We found out when we got to the airport! We had booked this flight directly with the airline and even though they didn’t have anything to do with the flights a Viking agent spent 2+ hours on the phone getting us booked for the following day. A Viking representative even helped get our luggage to the hotel for the overnight stay. Talk about customer service. I just can say enough about how great the staff and the line it self is. Clearly we are going on this line whenever we have a choice! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this trip to once again hopefully experience the northern lights and to have the luxury of this beautiful ship. The itinerary looked good with overnight stops at Tromso and Alta. Embarkation was seamless, withing 15 minutes of ... Read More
We chose this trip to once again hopefully experience the northern lights and to have the luxury of this beautiful ship. The itinerary looked good with overnight stops at Tromso and Alta. Embarkation was seamless, withing 15 minutes of arriving at Tilbury we were having lunch in the World Cafe and our holiday had started. Very impressed. Our stateroom was ready early and we were given a guided tour of the facilities in the cabin. On my mentioning that I did not drink coffee (there is a coffee maker in the cabin) the steward straight away fetched me a kettle and kept the teabags topped up - he kept the cabin spotless for the cruise and chatted and laughed with us every day, making the experience a bit more personal. We ate mostly in the World Cafe as it was very relaxed and the food was tasty and plentiful. We tried the pool grill and the afternoon tea which were both great and Manifredis italian had great service and great food, The service in every bar and lounge and dining was second to none, Very impressed. There were plenty of interesting lectures to attend, and we enjoyed sitting in the Explorers lounge watching the fjords go by with a tasty waffle and fresh fruit. We relaxed in our cabin most evenings and watched a film on the TV so cannot comment on the evening entertainment. The included excursions were informative and gave us an oversight into each port. The highlight of the trip was 'Chasing the lights' at Tromso where we were treated to a spectacular display of the Aurora about an hour or so outside the town, so many photos ........ On the way home we had the honour of a glimse of 2 Killer whale from our balcony,,,another hightlight. a quick photo and they were gone. March is certainly a good time to take this cruise. The weather was great, even a sunny day in Bergen !! Disembarkation was fairly uneventfull although there was no rep at Oslo to help out. All in all a fantastic holiday and thank you to all the ships staff for a great trip. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We sailed with Viking in March 2019 on the “In Search of the Northern Lights” cruise. It was our third Viking cruise. The first two were river cruises. We booked this cruise because we were really keen to experience the Aroura ... Read More
We sailed with Viking in March 2019 on the “In Search of the Northern Lights” cruise. It was our third Viking cruise. The first two were river cruises. We booked this cruise because we were really keen to experience the Aroura Borealis, and we were fortunate to succeed! We also really liked the itinerary, exploring a number of different ports in Norway and staying overnight in some of them. We are also booked for another Viking ocean cruise to Australia and New Zealand next week. We love the simple but beautiful Scandinavian design and decor of Viking’s ships. We also love the informal atmosphere including the informal dress code and open seating in the restaurant. There were a variety of dining options and all the food was good. Viking does a great job of offering lectures and other activities related to the ports of call. We especially enjoyed the small size of the Viking river ships which made it easy to meet new people and form friendships. Since the ocean ships are larger, there is a little less chance of seeing the same people you meet again and building friendships, but we still managed to make some friends on board, and we really appreciated that the ships are on the small size for ocean-going vessels. We never had delays getting on or off the ship. The itinerary for the Northern Lights cruise was great, and we liked having overnights in some of the ports. I would recommend booking the Northern Lights excursions in both the ports where they are offered (Tromso and Alta) to maximize your chance of seeing them. We went on the one in Alta. It was run by GLOD Explorer and they did an outstanding job of maximizing the odds of seeing the lights, since they have several different viewing locations, and select the best spot for the conditions each evening. We regretted not booking the excursion in Tromso, since we heard great reports from other passengers. We were disappointed to miss one port - Bodo - due to rough weather, but the staff made sure to offer a full schedule of lectures, etc. to help fill the extra day at sea. The staff, without exception, was friendly, helpful, and efficient. I can’t say enough good things about their courtesy and genuine friendliness. This has been true on all three Viking cruises, and we especially enjoyed chatting with them and hearing about all the many different home countries they come from. The cabins were very comfortable and attractive. There is ample, but not over-abundant drawer space. Our only small con on this last cruise was some of the included excursions. On the river cruises, we went on all the included excursions and booked only one optional, evening excursion. The included excursions were generally walking tours, and all the guides were great. On the ocean cruise, the included excursions were all bus tours, and not of the same quality. We felt that we missed opportunities in some ports unless we booked optional excursions, which usually go outside the towns. The schedule often doesn’t allow for doing both the included and optional day time excursions in a port, so you typically have to choose one or the other. I wish it was possible more often to do both. On our upcoming cruise, we have booked a number of optional excursions to make the most of our time in Australia and New Zealand. But, we regret in several cases that we have had to choose between seeing the main town in a given port and doing an outing outside the city. In general, we would highly recommend Viking on all counts! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Chose this cruise with the main intention to see the Northern Lights. Viking handled all the arrangements for us. Our flight schedule from our home in Tennessee to the ship in England was smooth and very prompt. We only had a couple hours ... Read More
Chose this cruise with the main intention to see the Northern Lights. Viking handled all the arrangements for us. Our flight schedule from our home in Tennessee to the ship in England was smooth and very prompt. We only had a couple hours between stops and the transfer from the airport to the ship was quick and smooth. There was always someone there to direct us and get us to the right place. Tip! The ship store has ice cleats for $10 a pair and trecking poles for $17 each. And I advise you to get a pole. Cleats not so much. Included tours: We went on every included trip and enjoyed them all. Note: The crew does a great job of getting everyone on and off the ship and buses but it is cold and dark sometimes so react accordingly. Also the days are short this time of year so you need to be on the early tours for the excursions except the Lights hunting then later is better. Remember the crew can't change the weather! We went on the 'In search of Northern Lights' trips in Tromso and Alta and were lucky to see the lights at both locations. I must say to everyone remember you are at the mercy of the weather on this trip so be patient and remember the crew cant change the weather. I heard many say the trips we not that good but if the weather had cooperated things would have been much different. Tip: Take hand warmers if you plan on taking pictures. Tip: Take a face mask! Many people had the cold weather gear but few had face covers and when you are outside in a 10 mph wind at -6 Degrees Celsius your face will get extremely cold! Big Tip: Your cell phone will not work to take pictures of the Northern Lights! I know there are apps out there that say the will help but trust me they do not work! If you want to take pictures of the lights that look like what you see on tv then get you a good camera and a tripod. Here is another Big Big tip: Learn how to use the camera and the cell phone BEFORE YOU GET THERE! Standing in the cold and dark with your flashlight on ruining everyone's night vision while you are trying to figure out how to set your camera will not win you many friends! Tip: There are several private companies in Tromso and Alta that have trips to find the Northern Lights so check those out also. You actually have a better chance of seeing the lights on a private tour because they have smaller vehicles and can move around easier and quicker than the buses. Entertainment: this is not a Disney cruise or a booze cruise! You will find interesting passengers and crew. The shows are fun but it's not Vegas style. The talks are informative and interesting but not for everyone. The pool is cold as is the weather. We were never bored on the trip as there was always something to do or interesting people to talk to or beautiful scenery to watch. We had an excellent time on this cruise! The ship is beautiful and the food is excellent. The crew is one of the best we have been around. The excursions are a little pricey but if you remember where you are and the problems presented by the weather and the locations then they are really priced very fair. And Remember::::: The crew can't change the weather! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this ship and this cruise because seeing the Northern Lights has been number one on our bucket list. It still is because despite six nights above the Arctic Circle we did not see the Lights. But more of that later The Ship gets ... Read More
We chose this ship and this cruise because seeing the Northern Lights has been number one on our bucket list. It still is because despite six nights above the Arctic Circle we did not see the Lights. But more of that later The Ship gets 10 out of 10. Viking Sky is only two years old and has been kept in top condition. Everywhere you go there are staff polishing handrails, keeping things ship shape.etc There is a lot of public space with the Horizon Lounge, Wintergarden etc On both sides of the atrium and on Level one in the atrium there are ample spaces to sit and relax. On days at sea there were times when you wondered where everyone had got to. The furnishings are comfortable and typically Scandic. Be careful when sitting on a couch draped in reindeer hide, as the reindeer hair tends to stick to clothes. We experienced some rough weather which was to be expected given where we were cruising and the season. The ship handled the weather with ease. The Officers and Crew get 10 out of 10! The Captain is extremely personable and was around the ship all the time talking to his passengers and staff and so too the officers.This meant for a very happy ship with all crew being cheerful and helpful The Cabin. Was spacious at 270 square feet. Nicely furnished The bed was very comfortable.The stateroom was very quiet. the bathroom was the best we have experienced having cruised with Princess, Ponant, Cunard, Crystal, and Oceania. The shower had a proper box, loads of hot water and pressure. The heated floor was great. The balcony got little use given the outside temperatures. We had the lowest category of cabin so did not have a coffee machine. That did not matter as there was an excellent barista service only two levels down. Unlike other lines there is no charge for espresso. Nor was there any charge for the internet which provided good service. Nor was there any charge for using the laundry It is important when comparing cruise lines to factor in the “freebies” Food and Wine. We bought the liquor package at US$20 per day each. Much cheaper than packages offered by other lines. The choice of wine is excellent. I like a grappa to end the evening and there was a choice of 5 or 6. Oceania prides itself on the quality of food which is very good. Viking was equally good. The wine package on Oceania is much more expensive, they ran out of both chardonnays on offer and did not have even one grappa Having the lowest category cabin meant we could not book the specialty restaurants until we boarded. We went to Manfredis the excellent ItaliIan restaurant on three nights and the Chefs Table once. There is no extra charge for the speciality restaurants and all are anytime dining. Dress is smart casual and most of the time men did not wear a jacket ( Cunard take note) Entertainment. The theatre is comfortable and has very good sight lines. The ships band was good and the four young singers tried really hard and were enjoyable with ABBA and Beatles nights. There were good classical instrumentalists, and a very good resident pianist. The guitarist was excellent. The cruise Director Drew and his assistant Courtney were both extremely personable and had good voices which gave some variety. Their musical quizzes were fun. If you want Broadway show standard ,pick another cruise, we didn’t and were happy with what there was There were some excellent lecturers, the lady historian in particular The Excursions, The arrangements on and off the ship were very good. An advantage in being on a smaller ship. Some of the excursions fell well below the standard of the rest of the cruise. At Stavanger the introduction to the Vikings was poor. The museum had limited exhibits and the rest of the tour was really filling in time. Stavanger was a charming town and those who wandered on their own enjoyed that. At Bodø we drove for two hours to stand astride the Arctic Circle. That was a bit of fun. Standing in the snow, in the dark for half an hour while two young Sami women tried unsuccessfully to get their reindeer to be nice was not. Nor was the visit to the art gallery that followed At Tromsø we had an excellent guide, an interesting museum and a trip in the cable car for a wonderful view over the city. The central city is picturesque and had good shopping.The following day there was another long bus ride to a Sami camp. The hosts were hospitable and interesting. The ride in the reindeer sled led by a Sami was okay, the reindeer looked a bit sad.Some people had organised private tours overnight and their guide literally chased the Lights until he found clear skies and the Lights. Those on the very late tours organised by. Viking caught a glimpse At Alta, a highlight was dog sledding drawn by excitable huskies through forest and on a frozen river. Outstanding! Then it was our turn to search for the Lights. There was an hours bus trip each way and two hours at a camp with fires in the open and in a lavu ( tent) Sadly the cloud cover stayed in place until just as the last bus left at midnight, they got a brief show. For the large majority there was only disappointment, frankly the chances of seeing the Lights by staying in one place are slim. You do need to go on a private tour and “ chase” the Lights to have a real chance. Viking should consider hooking up with companies that provide that experience.Alta was rebuilt after WW11 and is not very interesting AtNarvikthere was a two hour drive each way for 40 minutes snowmobiling. There was no food or coffee offered apart from a chocolate bar in the bus on the return journey. Viking were let down by the tour guides. It was shambolic, people were told to go to a nearby hotel for refreshments but it was closed. There was no one to assist people with the snow suits, goggles and helmets because the guides were out with the first group on the snowmobiles For Narvik, read Alta So Viking really need to rethink the excursions they offer and the shore side providers. Conclusion We still have unfinished business having not seen the Lights. We will consider doing the trip again with Viking. If we do we will do our own Shore arrangements. We still had a great time, a great experience and made some lovely friends We will certainly cruise with Viking again, somewhere warmer, and will look very critically at whatever shore excursions are on offer Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This cruise itinerary was selected because it met several of our desires to travel to Norway's west coast cities, see Northern Lights and visit extended family in Oslo. Viking Cruises is quickly becoming a top ranked cruise line and ... Read More
This cruise itinerary was selected because it met several of our desires to travel to Norway's west coast cities, see Northern Lights and visit extended family in Oslo. Viking Cruises is quickly becoming a top ranked cruise line and after experiencing this ocean cruise, is evident they will continue to be a strong presence among existing cruise lines. Two things readily apparent with Viking Ocean Cruises is they don't have casinos in the ships and the evening "broadway-style" productions are not provided. Aside from that, Viking has superb staff who are especially friendly, outgoing and willing to provide any type of assistance to the passengers. There are enrichment speakers who are exceptionally experienced, knowledgeable, and educated in their respective fields of interest. The speakers are very adept at adding valuable information for the various ports of call, the natural surroundings, historical relevance and scientific research which helps passengers get a more in-depth understanding of the areas visited. Viking provides included excursions at each port, which is typically a bus ride through the local city with some points of interest highlighted by a tour guide. Add on excursions are, generally, much better than the included excursions, but they will each have added costs. All of the dining venues with Viking are excellent. It is not necessary to eat in the dining room to get exceptional quality for your meals. The World Cafe has a tremendous assortment of salads, main entrees, and desserts. All in all, Viking offers an outstanding cruising experience in new ships. We never had to wait in crowded lines for anything from the time we embarked to the day of disembarking. I strongly recommend Viking Ocean Cruises . Bon Voyage. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We never have been on a sea cruise and had experienced a river cruise through Viking. Several things drew us to our decision to use Viking. The river cruise we took in the Danube was incredible and we wanted to do a sea cruise. The size ... Read More
We never have been on a sea cruise and had experienced a river cruise through Viking. Several things drew us to our decision to use Viking. The river cruise we took in the Danube was incredible and we wanted to do a sea cruise. The size of the Viking cruise ships was a big factor, as we experience the size of our river cruise. Having a small number of passengers allowed us to meet several individuals and couples, which we experienced in our river cruise, became lasting friends. The amenities on the Viking Sky were top notch. The staff service was over the top and the food and food and more food just added to the pleasures of the cruise. My spouse wanted to check off on her bucket list the Northern Lights and seeing the agenda for this cruise was another factor in taking the trip. We decided to take the Explorer Suite and this was one of the best decisions of many on this trip. The comfort, the relaxation and cleanliness of the ship also made for a very enjoyable trip. We were able to see all we wanted off shore, including pictures we took of the Northern Lights and visit with friends who lived in one of the ports of call. We are planning our next Viking cruise and we are sure we will not be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
I choose this cruise only because it went to the Northern Lights in Norway. We didnt see them. It is a very rough ride across from London to Norway, that is ok, but the food was terrible. Only thing worth eating is in the specialty ... Read More
I choose this cruise only because it went to the Northern Lights in Norway. We didnt see them. It is a very rough ride across from London to Norway, that is ok, but the food was terrible. Only thing worth eating is in the specialty restaurants. The spa does not look anything like the pictures. I had to go back to the salon 3 times to finally get my nail color off, as their products were sub-par. As a result, I canceled any spa treatments. There were no clocks on the ship. I never knew what time it was. Fifty percent of our excursions were canceled. I am used to Luxury Cruises, so this was a big all around disappointment. They said they were a "prime" cruise, which we do not have a category for in USA, when i asked how this was a luxury cruise I do not see how they have such a high rating, i do however see that on some websites they are listed a "luxury".....they are NOT. Entertainment was an opera singer with sound too loud, not her fault. Cabin was an odd shape, too much dining and living room, not enough closet. I used the living room as part of my closet. My stewardess was excellent. The best thing about this cruise was dogsledding i give that a 5, but will never go again on Viking Cruises. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
An extraordinary cruise experience, and, yes, we saw the Northern Lights! The cabin was extremely comfortable, with plenty of room for our winter jackets and boots. The meals onboarding were outstanding, and Mamsen's offered ... Read More
An extraordinary cruise experience, and, yes, we saw the Northern Lights! The cabin was extremely comfortable, with plenty of room for our winter jackets and boots. The meals onboarding were outstanding, and Mamsen's offered wonderful delights nearly all day long. The onshore excursions were varied and the scenery was beautiful. My husband and I snowmobiled in Sweden, and it was exhilarating. We attended a nighttime choir concert in a beautiful little church. We saw several World War Ii sites of major historical interest. Wonderful crew, beautiful ship. And a fabulous snow room in the spa. The cruise gave us a chance to see natural wonders such as Pulpit Rock, and enough time ashore to wander around the little towns above the Arctic Circle so as to try to get a feel for how people live in this part of the world. Taking this trip was my husband's idea, and I am so very happy I went along with his idea! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Ship is pristine and service could not be more friendly or professional. Entertainment is high quality but the emphasis on classical music gets a little tiresome. Professional lectures were excellent. Dining is varied and delicious with ... Read More
Ship is pristine and service could not be more friendly or professional. Entertainment is high quality but the emphasis on classical music gets a little tiresome. Professional lectures were excellent. Dining is varied and delicious with food served hot. Cabin is smaller than indicated in the photo, with insufficient storage space.Balcony very small. We particularly enjoyed the spa with the snow grotto and the exercise classes were excellent. Included excursions are boring and the others are extremely expensive. Prices not disclosed until 30 days before departure. Sledding by huskies was a lot of fun but lasts 15 minutes. An excursion to see the northern lights was supposed to include being taken to several places to try to see the lights. Stayed in one place. Never saw the lights. Another couple went with a private company and saw the lights for hours! Most of the city stops were on Sunday so no shopping opportunities. Scenery in Norway is beautiful and we may go back in summer, just probably not with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We wanted to see and experience the famous northern lights and were attracted to Viking as their ships have a good reputation for quality and style. We were unlucky with the weather, very, very cloudy every night (not conducive to seeing ... Read More
We wanted to see and experience the famous northern lights and were attracted to Viking as their ships have a good reputation for quality and style. We were unlucky with the weather, very, very cloudy every night (not conducive to seeing the lights at all) and although we left on our tv every night hoping to be summoned to see them we were never called. Finally at our most northern port, Alta, we managed to book a private tour. It seems to be best to go late at night and finally after chasing the skies for about three hours we were rewarded. They weren’t vibrant but not sure they ever are,but greeny/gray swathes of light definitely were in evidence. It seems to be luck if you do see them. The ship was lovely, v high quality everything, super food, we liked the Italian speciality restaurant the best, the specialist Chef’s Table experience left me hungry. The staff are v friendly, nothing is too much trouble. And no one is trying to sell you stuff all the time, drinks, photos (no employed photographers at all) etc. plus proper ground coffee although nothing matched the Nespresso machine in our room. The grill in th Wintergarden had fabulous beef burgers etc at lunchtime, tasty and well made. The only disappointment for me was that the library, although restocked halfway through the trip, was a bit lacking. Books aren’t all in one place but throughout the ship, some heavy tomes in evidence. The TVs in the rooms had a variety of channels, BBC included and really new films, one hadn’t been released in the UK yet. There were a variety of q erudite talks, didn’t go to many but some seemed to have some depth and rigor for those interested. There was also a jigsaw table with one always on the go for all to have a try at and a variety of games to play, scrabble etc. The free port tours were well run, some better than others depending on how interesting the port was. Evening entertainment ok, we enjoyed watching Mary-Jess (ex winner of the Chinese version of X Factor) who was v good. Would have liked more variety, it was singers or singers. Due to the fact this is a new cruise for Viking didn’t feel the staff always had a good handle on what some of the excursions entailed. So cancelled the visit to the Arctic Circle due to dodgy ankle as was told there would be a three mile walk by two different members of staff. This was not true and was disappointed to have missed it. Plus some had to be cancelled due to lack of snow. Would recommend this trip but go for the scenery and superb service and food as well as the lights. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
It is probably important for you to know my family and I are seasoned cruisers. Over the past 25 years we’ve sailed a total of 31 times on Celebrity, Holland America, Cunard, Princes, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, NCL, and MSC. This was ... Read More
It is probably important for you to know my family and I are seasoned cruisers. Over the past 25 years we’ve sailed a total of 31 times on Celebrity, Holland America, Cunard, Princes, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, NCL, and MSC. This was our first sailing with Viking Ocean. We’ve wanted to try another upscale, luxury line after sailing on Azamara a few years ago, but have never been ready to spend the extra money, which typically cost $400 to $500 a day, per person. We picked this cruise largely because it was a Northern Lights cruise in an area of the world we had never been, the Arctic Circle. The question is was the Viking Sky worth three to four times the cost of mainline cruises? One note of caution: even though we thought were prepared for the cold temperatures that awaited us, we discovered that we had not anticipated the severity of the bitter cold temperatures we would face and the length of time we would be exposed to them. On several days temperatures dropped to -25 F and we spent up to 5 hours on day without a break other than a camp fire. More about this later. Overview The Viking Ocean is a smaller ship than many of those found with the major lines, but not the smallest of the luxury lines, with 930 passengers. One of the more noticeable differences about sailing on some smaller ships is the lack of public areas from which to choose, less entertainment choices, and smaller cabins. Those deficiencies were really not present on the Viking Sky, which is one of the finest ships we have sailed on in terms of style and amenities. I really didn’t feel like I was on a small ship, even though there were fewer common areas. I can’t really say there is any more or less feeling of crowdedness on the smaller ships than with a larger ship. It seems to be all relative to the space per person. Where I did notice a difference was embarking or disembarking the ship. The smaller number of passengers reduced the lines and wait times considerably. Another benefit of sailing on a smaller ship was the nimbleness they have over their larger brethren to alter their itinerary or add a fresh food to the menu. The public rooms are nicely done and have a feel of warmth and elegance. There are four dining options aboard the Viking Sky making it equal to or a step above larger ships. The state rooms are among the most efficient and modern we have encountered. I loved the heated floor in the bath room and linens are a step above what you would expect from the more major cruise lines. Unlike many other lines, Viking Ocean is an oenophile’s heaven as wine is embraced and welcomed. You can bring onboard as much wine as you can carry and there is no corkage fee! All totaled, we noticed very few weaknesses, and there really wasn’t a lack of things to do, especially if you enjoy lectures, which is a feature of Viking. I think what was noticeable is what was missing, no art auctions, pushy promotions, a casino, baked Alaska parades, and much of the other glitzy fluff found on most other lines. Many frequent sailors of Viking Ocean that have tried other luxury lines like Oceania, Azamara, Seaborne, Regent and Crystal, swear that Viking Ocean is the gold standard for luxury cruises. The bottom line question: is Viking Ocean worth four to five times the cost of other upscale lines like Celebrity? I will address that later, but first a few more details. Embarkation The embarkation experience was one of the best in our 31 sailings. It took about ten minutes from start to finish. There were no lines, no customs, no waits, and no hassle. I only wish all our embarkations were this easy (see my 2013 review of the Infinity). Wine lovers will love that, unlike Celebrity who confiscated our wine when we sailed them in 2013, Viking Ocean welcomes bringing as much wine and spirits that you wish on board. While we often bring wine onboard cruises from our cellar, we’ve learned to become very creative in how we bring our wine onboard so as to avoid confiscation. Not so with Viking Ocean that also charges the lowest corkage fee of any line we know, which is zero!! Viking Ocean’s attitude toward wine certainly is one of the benefits that may bring us back again. The Ship The ship was new in 2017 and it really shows. We haven’t taken pictures of a cruise ship in years, but we did of the Viking Sky. The contemporary design coupled with the modern efficiency of the ship were stunning. There were a lot of places to sit and read a book, or write a cruise review, while enjoying a cup of espresso or a drink. One benefit is that the elevators were the fastest I’ve encountered on a ship and almost always available without a long wait. Dining If food is your thing, like it is mine, then you will be very satisfied on the Viking Sky. All of the dining rooms feature “anytime” seating. While the main dining room, The Restaurant, doesn’t accept reservations, we never had to wait more than 2 minutes for a table for two. Every other evening we skipped the main dining room and spent our evening in one of the two specialty restaurants, Manfredi’s or the Chef’s Table. One tip is to book your reservations immediately when you board. These fill up quickly and getting reservations later in the cruise, especially at Manfredi's can be difficult. The food quality and presentation in The Restaurant was certainly above average and what you would expect for an upper end cruise line. All of the waiters and waitresses who served us were extremely personable, helpful, and attentive. However, we enjoyed the service in the specialty restaurants a bit better than in the main dining room. The specialty restaurants, Manfredi’s and Chef’s Table, have no cover charge. They offer passengers a break from the main dining room with a quality of fare a slight step above. Manfredi’s features a wonderful Italian menu while Chef’s Table offers a set menu that changes every three days. One experience we’ve come to enjoy on other ships that would be fitting to an upscale ship like the Viking Sky would be an automated wine bar where guests can enjoy an assortment of wine available in 1oz, 2.5oz, and 5oz pours. This allows you to inexpensively sample a broad variety of wines you might not otherwise have the courage to try. One thing we appreciate about Viking Ocean is the fact that juice and espresso coffee drinks are available anytime during the day at no charge. Some lines make free juice available only in the mornings and charge for all espresso drinks. Wine As we mentioned earlier, we were especially pleased with how Viking Ocean embraces and welcomes wine lovers who want to bring their wines on board to enjoy. One of my perennial complaints on other lines, like Celebrity, is the high price of their onboard wines, which are priced about 4x’s retail, they also have the highest corkage fee of any line at $25 a bottle. Of course, since Celebrity will confiscate all but two bottles of wine you bring on board to enjoy, what’s the point of having a corkage fee at all? We found the Viking Sky was unequaled in being the most wine friendly cruise line we’ve sailed. The per bottle charges were reasonable and there are no corkage fees. One deviation from other lines is that the Viking Sky had noticeably fewer wine events than other lines. They had a few whiskey, vodka, and aquavit tastings, but no wine tastings that I recall. Fitness and Spa This is an area in which the Viking Sky is slightly above average. While they don’t have a lot of cardiovascular machines (three stationary bikes, two elliptical machines, six treadmills, and two stair-steppers) I never only had to wait for a machine once in 12 days. Notably, and unusual for most lines, every cardio machine was working for length of the cruise. Another abnormality, the men’s locker’s worked perfectly and there were a sufficient number of lockers which were all keyed to your stateroom key. The men’s locker room featured a dry sauna and plunge pool. The sauna was perfectly hot and in working order for the cruise. On many other cruise lines the saunas just don’t get hot enough to break much of a sweat, but this is not the case on the Viking Sky. There was also an area with hot tubs, cool rooms, and a steam sauna. One unique feature was an individual dryer for your swim suit that was really helpful. An extra bonus was the spa did not have a daily charge, which can cost up to $20 a day on other lines. Entertainment We thought the entertainment was surprisingly good for a smaller ship. The Cruise Director, Drew, and his assistant, Courtney, had amazing voices and both did their own shows which were very enjoyable. This is more probably due to the lack of a theater than anything else. It was refreshing that the Viking Sky had a live band rather than rely on sound tracks, which is becoming common on other cruise lines. The theater is quite expansive and comfortable. We never had a problem finding a seat in or near the front row. The onboard entertainment found in the lounges was very good. There wasn’t a disappointing instrumentalist or singer in the lineup, which is certainly unusual on a small ship. In contrast was our experience on Azamara where there wasn’t a lounge entertainer that rose above substandard. The enrichment talks were really outstanding, again in contrast with our experience on Azamara where they were consistently disappointing. We had four lecturers on board who were all phenomenal in their field. We were especially treated by having Dr. Ed Kopp from the Griffin Observatory in Los Angeles who was outstanding. Internet I run a small business and being connected to my staff is imperative, even on vacation. I depend on having a functioning Internet while on board any ship. The Internet on the ship was as good as or better than any I’ve had at sea. I got access 95% of the times I attempted to get online. And the fact the Internet was free was an experience I’ve never had with another line. On Azamara I paid $0.43 a minute for their lease expensive package. Having access to the internet on all my devices whenever I wanted it without having to pay attention to my usage was a game changer for me. For that reason alone Viking Ocean will be at the top of my list for future cruise consideration. Shopping The shopping experience is on par with most every other cruise line, boring! There is nothing exceptional to highlight here, except that they did not bombard you with specials and promotions which was refreshing. Afternoon Tea I have never reviewed an afternoon tea experience on a ship as most are not worth mentioning. However, the afternoon tea on the Viking Sky was the best we have had at sea. Not only are you served a three tier plate of sandwiches and desserts, they will also bring you proper sconces with jam and Devonshire cream. Yes, real clotted cream not the standard whipped cream. I don’t recall Cunard Line served clotted cream, but I can tell you no other ship I’ve been on has. This was a real treat! Ports of Call, Port Talks and Shore Excursions Our 12 day cruise started in London, England and went up the west coast of Norway, stopping at Stavanger, Bodo, Tromso, Alta, Narvik, and Bergen where we disembarked. The specific theme for this cruise was chasing the Northern Lights. And “chasing” is the right term. I was unprepared for how difficult it would be to see the Northern Lights. I assumed we would see them often or every night from the ship. I was wrong! The guides will tell you there are four things necessary to see the Northern Lights, but I say there are five: solar activity, cold weather, darkness, a clear sky, and luck. If any one of those is absent you will not be successful. The hardest one of these was a clear sky, which thwarted our efforts to see the lights continuously. While there was one really good sighting from the ship, it came and went very quickly. To see the lights really necessitated booking a Northern Lights tour that attempted to find a clear sky within a few hours’ drive of the ship. Even then spotting the lights was still a crap shot. We did have one night where we got to see a nice display of the lights for less than five minutes returning from an outing where we waited in -25 degree weather for 3 hours with nothing but a campfire to cut the bitter cold. This leads me to the most unexpected aspect of this trip, campfires and frozen food. We returned home with our clothes smelling of smoke because of the many campfires we encountered on our excursions. Whether it was dog sledding, reindeer sleighs, Sami camps, or Northern Light tours there was a campfire present in everyone to help with the bitter cold. There were very few heated buildings or shelters expect for a few tepees with campfires. At times the temperatures were so brutal that even the bread offered us was frozen. Which leads me to another unexpected aspect, the extreme bitter cold and the randomness of the tour vendors providing thermal suits, boots, head gear, and gloves. About ½ of our tours provided such apparel, and believe me we needed it even though I was wearing 5 layers of clothing, three pairs of socks, winter boots, two pairs of pants, a balaclava, knitted wool beanie, and a hoodie, a down vest, an outer coat, and gloves inside mittens. Which meant that the other ½ of the time the vendors provided no additional clothing. And in -25 degree weather, where you are outside for up to 5 hours at a time with only a campfire, this is a problem. My hands and toes were perpetually cold, even with hand warmers stuffed in my boots and gloves. Many people on our tours were simply unprepared for this and suffered because of it. I cannot stress enough how critical it is you don’t underestimate the cold. Here is the crazy thing, the tours we booked off ship provided thermal gear while those booked on the ship did not. The tours provided by the ship were significantly over priced and under delivered. Which leads me to this very important tip: don’t book tours with Viking Sky. Instead book only off-ship local tour providers. For example, with a local tour provider of dog sliding we were provided thermal gear and able to drive our own team of dogs. The tour provided by the ship offered no thermal gear, you could not drive the team, and was very poorly organized. Many in our party waited up to two hours in 15 F degree weather with no shelter and no campfire before getting a 30 minute ride. There was no food offered except for some frozen cake midway into the trip. The bus was so late arriving back at the ship that many missed their second tour. And for this, we paid $430 per person. Our request for even a partial refund fell on deaf ears, which really disappointed us given Viking Ocean’s stellar reputation for providing a top quality experience. We were told other tours that had similar misfortunes did remit refunds to passengers. Typically we save 25 to 75% off the ship’s prices by making our own arrangements prior to departure or using the Internet onboard the ship to contact several tour companies that are highly rated by TripAdvisor.com. Another great place to book private tours prior to departure is by looking under “Tours” and on the chat boards on CruiseCritic.com. We’ve never been disappointed following the advice of previous travelers. Our favorite ports were Stavanger, Bodo, and Tromso where the ship docked in the middle of town. However, even though in Alta and Narvik the ship docks some distance from the center of town the ship did provide shuttle buses. Quite frankly, there was really nothing to see in the town of Alta, where the emphasis is on booking tours to see the Northern Lights and staying warm. In Summary So, back to the question I posed earlier. Is the Viking Ocean experience worth three to four times the cost of other lines like Celebrity or twice the cost of Azamara? Certainly Viking Ocean has Azamara beat for value. Celebrity is often a good value for what you get, but Viking Ocean is in a whole different category and price range, so it’s a hard question to answer. However, if price is no factor, Viking Ocean is the only way to go! The service, stateroom amenities, ship amenities, free inclusions like wine and Internet, and dining room experience are undoubtedly among the best at sea. So is the ability for a smaller ship to get into, or nearer, ports the large ships can’t. For many people, this may be reason enough to pay the extra fare. For me, I will certainly sail with Viking Ocean again when I find an itinerary that is highly unique (like this cruise to the Arctic Circle) or heavily discounted. But I will be absolutely certain not to book any of their shore excursions!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise to see the Northern Lights! We did see them, although they were not very vibrant. The ship was very nice, the food very good, and the staff went out of their way to make our cruise very special. The beds were very ... Read More
We chose this cruise to see the Northern Lights! We did see them, although they were not very vibrant. The ship was very nice, the food very good, and the staff went out of their way to make our cruise very special. The beds were very comfortable and we had chairs in our room to watch the talks, tv, and movies. There were educational sessions 2-3 times a day on subjects pertaining to Norway and the Vikings. We also listened to an astromer while watching the Lunar eclipse. The tour excursions were great and there was something for all activity levels—from easy to demanding. We saw lots of snow, visited with locals, and had a ball. Wine is included with dinner and lunch and the evening entertainment shows on the boat were excellent! You have your choice of two restaurants, two specialty restaurants, a pool area eatery, and Mansums which served Scandanavian food. We tried them all and can tell you there is something for all to eat—even those with special diets. Afternoon tea is served at 4:00 and the tea, food, and entertainment is wonderful. I highly recommend this cruise. We have also done the Land of the Midnight Sun cruise with Viking and can recommend it also. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Cruising in general is a low stress and (relatively) high reward experience, though I find more active vacations more rewarding if riskier. Be that as it may I’ve gone on 20+ cruises over 35 years including cruises on Oceania, Holland ... Read More
Cruising in general is a low stress and (relatively) high reward experience, though I find more active vacations more rewarding if riskier. Be that as it may I’ve gone on 20+ cruises over 35 years including cruises on Oceania, Holland America, Crystal and Viking in the past two years. This was my first Viking cruise and Viking’s first winter cruise to Norway.. The lure of the Northern Lights was strong; I not only booked the cruise but also 3 northern Light excursions; on the other hand I failed to read up on the requisite camera I should bring and left my Digital Nikon at home, relying on my Apple 8. On board I read that i world NEVER get a viable picture with that. Oh well. We tend to get up early and go to sleep early on cruises; on our night at Tromso I woke at 11:45 pm and based on a feeling we out on deck 7. A few others wee out there setting up, we got a pretty nice light show for about 5-10 minutes, with visible green light bands including some whirling ones. Despite the experts I got some nice pics. The 3 tours were a bust and many passengers including my wife never saw the aurora borealis; despite some weather science it’s largely luck of the draw. The Sky is a beautiful ship because of the well designed public areas, with great art (the best I’ve experienced) scattered about. The library, which features many classics is also scattered in a very attractive and effective way. The main dining room is made up of numerous smaller rooms - much nicer than the usual gigantic room. The “cafeteria” is pretty standard as are the speciality restaurants. The specialty restaurants were nice but generally not as good as the other 3 lines we mentioned. Dining room had a somewhat limited menu but usually did well especially with Fish; nice breakfasts there too. Cafeteria/buffet was good except on specialty items like Foie Gras which should not sit around. Momsen’s Scandinavian Deli has very good herring, bread, smoked cheese and Scandinavian waffles! Opened early. Good coffee, good room service burger (medium rare!). Cabins have some issues with poor design of storage and a smaller than usual balcony. Very nice bedding and climate system. Cabin steward, assistant and crew in general were nice. The Spa has a very excellent and underutilized indoor Sauna. Bring your bathing suit! Covered pool area was usually a little cold but again was under utilized. Passengers were overwhelmingly American with a few Brits and Ozzie’s. Embarkation and Disembarkation were very smoothly done, including buses to and from the airport. Other points: we found the included base wines to be mediocre and repetitive; classical music duo pretty amateurish. Personnel very helpful relative to self tour questions. Included “panorama” bus tours not very worthwhile and we skipped a few. VERY quiet ship at night.which we appreciated.. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019

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