63 London (Greenwich, Tower Bridge, Tilbury) Luxury Cruise Reviews

I'v been on a Viking cruise before and was very impressed. I love the relatively small size-- no lines for anything. No children/rowdy college students. Beautiful rooms. Excellent service. The food at the main restaurant was ... Read More
I'v been on a Viking cruise before and was very impressed. I love the relatively small size-- no lines for anything. No children/rowdy college students. Beautiful rooms. Excellent service. The food at the main restaurant was outstanding. At the buffet and specialty restaurants not so much. The food at the Italian restaurant was pretty bad--cardboard tomatoes, run of the mill olive oil, etc. The alcohol was top-shelf and the mixed drinks were great. The shore excursions were hit and miss. The included tours were mostly boring: sit on the bus, stop for shopping (with kick-backs, I assume) and listen to more of the same. Also, there was no stepping stool for my elderly parents, so it made it difficult for them to get on and off the bus. It is probably just me, but I could live without seeing more churches and manor houses. (I did like seeing the Fort in San Juan on the included tour, however.) The included tour on St. Thomas was also great because the microphone didn't work, so we got to enjoy our ride in quiet. The optional tours were hit and miss. The whale watch was incredible--the crew were very knowable and friendly. The submarine tour was pretty dull and the guide kept telling horrible sexist jokes instead of showing us the ocean. We loved going to the resort in Antigua. It was absolutely beautiful and we had the best food of our entire trip. The trip to the rainforest was booked, so we hired our own guide and had a great time. We had only 5 people and pretty much one-to-one guides through the gorge and waterfall. It cost $25/person, so it substantially less expensive than the Viking tour and we had quite a bit more freedom. We went on the ski lift in St. Marteen as one of our optional tours and it was horrible (at least in part due to the windy and rainy weather--not anyone's fault). I was expensive (over $100) for a ride up the mountain, a small CASH bar at the top, and a trip back down. We could have done zip line for $40 more. Given the price we paid, this should have been free or sharply discounted. The meal at the plantation was in a wonderful wine cellar--it was a great experience, but the food was sub par at best. Also, given that fact that we had free food on the ship it seemed unnecessary to have to "pay" for food and beverages. One of my biggest problems in terms of the ports is that no one provided information about what kinds of things you could do on your own. I suspect that Viking shares the profits with the people who run the excursions, otherwise I cannot understand why, although not being actively "discouraged" from going out on our own, we certainly were left completely on our own to figure things out for ourselves. I would suggest that travelers do their research before the cruise to figure out the best things to do and how to arrange them. It is unfortunate that we paid so much money for the cruise with so little guidance. However, there was a great deal of guidance about how to shop for expensive bling at each port and aboard the ship. Once again, this felt like a kick-back situation. I'm sure some people want to shop, but maybe have special seminars rather than taking up so much of the TV channel hawking these things. In terms of entertainment, the piano and violin music in the Viking bar and the guitar in the Explorer's lounge were excellent! We loved the ABBA program--any Nordic cruise worth its name should include it! We only went to one other night ("Bewitched") and it was pretty bad. The singer was really good and had some great selections, but she presented it as a travel-log about her family. We don't know her and don't care. We ran into some horrible weather and weren't able to dock at our first two ports. The captain and crew were outstanding in terms of their communication and resilience. The crew worked hard to make our time on the ship enjoyable, so I didn't mind too much missing the first port (it was a real drag to miss the second--but no fault of Viking). We saw a great presentation about Alfred Hitchcock and a "live" performance of an opera from the Met. Both of which were informative and entertaining. They also set up games, etc., which were quite a bit of fun. The amenities on the ship are outstanding! We especially loved the sauna, plunge pool, whirlpool, snow grotto, etc. The services at the spa were amazing (especially the message!). There were comfortable places for socializing or for quiet relaxation pretty much everywhere. All of the chairs were quite comfortable and we didn't have to "check out" towels. I can't say enough good things about the crew! They know our names, preferences, etc. from day one. The head of housekeeping in our area introduced herself and accommodated our special request about making the bed softer. When the waves got really bad a crew member walked me to my room. I only wish we could have added a few extra tips. Over all, we had a great experience! We have already booked our river cruise for next summer! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was a special event for a special birthday. We were a group of four from the UK - two couples. Right from the start the level of service and attention to detail were amazing - from the embarkation process, the cabin, the food, the ... Read More
This was a special event for a special birthday. We were a group of four from the UK - two couples. Right from the start the level of service and attention to detail were amazing - from the embarkation process, the cabin, the food, the excursions, the explorers lounge. We had the silver spirits package and this proved to be a great addition. My husband and I love cocktails , so we could try them all if we wished. I highly recommend the chefs table - we visited 4 times! And with the spirits package we had premium wines. We are now researching a river cruise for next year and maybe an ocean cruise the year after. I don’t think we stopped smiling the whole time...it was just a lovely experience. We stayed in the igloo hotel in Alta, went on a snowmobile in Sweden, and took a trip in a cable car in Tromso. And the food - in every restaurant onboard - was excellent. I love Viking as I prefer a smaller ship and don’t want too much fuss...I love the lectures, films and scandi design. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Seeing the Northern Lights was on our bucket list. This was the first cruise we noticed that offered that opportunity. We have sailed Viking before so we were aware of the restaurants, food, etc. so we snapped at the chance and signed up. ... Read More
Seeing the Northern Lights was on our bucket list. This was the first cruise we noticed that offered that opportunity. We have sailed Viking before so we were aware of the restaurants, food, etc. so we snapped at the chance and signed up. Obviously, sailing the north Atlantic in JANUARY is probably not the smartest thing to do if you get sea sick easily, and there are no guarantees that the northern lights will even be out. But, no "pain", no gain! The weather was not cooperating right out of the gate. We left Tilbury and headed to Stavenger in moderate seas. Leaving Stavenger, we were almost immediately notified that we would skip Bodo because of the heavy weather. We sailed the largest fjord in the area to pass time...…….it was gorgeous scenery. Further, the captain sailed inside passage routes as much as possible. After Narvik, we sailed to Bergen for a two night stay. However, the seas were very rough and we were very late into Bergen, like so late all excursions were cancelled\ in Bergen. Viking was very open in keeping us up on the (lack of) progress and was very quick to refund all cancelled excursion costs. So, if you take this cruise, do not be surprised if the weather causes problems and modifications to the schedule are made. As we were there for the lights, we took an optional excursion that went out and searched for the lights. Well, we saw them on the excursion but the lights were very unimpressive. We were also told that to take pictures of the lights you needed to take a 5-6 second exposure. So, the next night, while on board the ship, the announced that the lights were out and could be seen right from the ship, in port. We went out and WOW, were blown away by the display. I said that I was going to try and get a picture with my cell phone camera...…....easy to delete bad pictures so no real effort...……..but to my amazement, I got several really god pictures of the lights!!!!!!!!!!! We were tickled pink! (Just remember to turn off the flash on your cell phone). The first day we arrived, we ate at the World Café. We walked in and right in front of us were two staff members that remembered us from the last cruise. we remembered them also...……..it was an "ah-ha" moment. So, if you think you will never see crew and staff again, nor will they ever remember you name, you are wrong, at least on these Viking ships, We were greeted by them like it was old family day! I was impressed! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
(Sorry in advance for the long review.) My wife & I had not been on any significant cruises in the past decade because the trend to larger ships goes against most of what I want in a cruise. Things that are important to me are: lack ... Read More
(Sorry in advance for the long review.) My wife & I had not been on any significant cruises in the past decade because the trend to larger ships goes against most of what I want in a cruise. Things that are important to me are: lack of crowds, not feeling like each activity or announcement was a grab for more money, food properly prepared (does not need to be uber-high end, but it shouldn't taste like cafeteria/buffet food), opportunities for learning, flexibility of choices, happy crew that were allowed to show their personality, and pretty but not ostentatious decor. I don't care a lot about stage shows and performers. As I had heard about, embarkation and disembarkation were effortless and fast. The ship was beautiful and seemed to call out for relaxation. In virtually every area at all times, there were open places to sit or lounge. Not surprisingly on this cold-weather cruise, there was almost never anyone in either pool and rarely someone in the hot tubs. The thermal suite was a joy and we enjoyed hitting the steam room followed by the snow grotto (although my wife enjoyed that cold room more than I did), followed by some soaking in the warm pool. Whether because of the cold environment or the advanced age of a lot of the passengers, we found the ship interior a bit warm. I had been expecting to wear a sweater most of the time on the ship, but we found that was definitely not needed. Wifi speeds were adequate for our needs. I would occasionally watch videos on YouTube or download an app, and it was fine for that, and was definitely good enough for email. I liked the Chef's Table (fixed menu and wine pairings) almost as much as I enjoyed the Italian restaurant Manfredi's. We often got room service for breakfast and the quality and freshness was good there too. Surprising to me was that we used the World Cafe far more than we used The Restaurant -- quality in those two areas were good and fairly similar. Our cabin attendants, Olivera and Jackie, were amazing. Olivera in particular made us feel like old friends, quickly building up shared in-jokes and repartee. Even though we are not heavy drinkers, we loved the Silver Spirits drink package. Upgrading the wines with dinner was nice, but not worrying about the bill at the end of the trip made having a good time less stressful. And at $20/person/day, I enjoyed having it paid for in advance even if it might not have actually been cheaper. We did a couple of treatments at the spa, and it was great not having them try to sell us a bunch of products. The products were available if you wanted them, but there was no hard sell (or even soft sell). The fitness center was never full, and was only in the mornings was it somewhat busy. I liked that they had an area for non-machine activities (yoga, stretching, etc.). I cannot comment much on the Viking excursions -- we arranged for our own tours in most of the cities because we like private walking tours of city centers. And for Northern Lights spotting, I highly recommend Northern Soul Adventures in Tromso. We did a couple of activities with them and loved both. We had booked three separate tours to maximize our chances of seeing the Northern Lights. The first one turned out to be the best (see the photos from our Tromso tour). The next one was cancelled because it was very cloudy. And the last one, in Alta, had great conditions but dimmer lights, although they were multi-colored which was cool. And we saw them a couple of times from the ship. So we got quite lucky with respect to aurora sighting! One bit of advice: be ready for the ship's plans to change. You are sailing in the North Sea in January and the captain will not hesitate to do things for safety. On our trip, we did not stop in Bodo due to unacceptable seas in that area (we toured a fjord instead) and they had to slow down the ship a LOT during a storm so that we got into Bergen at 11:30 pm instead of 1:00 pm, effectively eliminating the opportunity to tour that city for people that did not do the 2-day add-on. If things like that will bother you a bunch, this may not be the cruise for you. The ship is sailing in an area with unpredictable weather and seas -- flexibility is a good thing to have. This was my first Viking cruise and I would not hesitate to recommend the line for people who are not looking for activities you can only get on a mega-ship. We will definitely be cruising with them again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We wanted to see a part of the world that is not easily accessible and also beautiful. The few days at sea allowed us a very good opportunity to explore and enjoy the various amenities provided on the ship. All the crew were tremendously ... Read More
We wanted to see a part of the world that is not easily accessible and also beautiful. The few days at sea allowed us a very good opportunity to explore and enjoy the various amenities provided on the ship. All the crew were tremendously friendly and helpful. I particularly enjoyed visiting the spa with the large heated jacuzzi, steam, sauna and snow grotto. The fitness center offered all the equipment needed for a good workout at any time. The food offerings were excellent - I needed to be a bit careful at the buffet to avoid occasional accidental bumps and spills. Shore excursions were mostly excellent and some offered great experiences to visit with the Sami and learn about their way of life. The entertainment on board was fun and well-suited for my taste in pop/soft rock music. Overall this Viking Ocean cruise was a pleasure and we are already looking ahead to future trips. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I chose this expedition because of its’ interesting ports of call and its departure under the Tower Bridge. (Magic!) A bonus was finding ourselves in the Channel on the eve of D Day and in Guernsey on D Day. Unfortunately a big storm ... Read More
I chose this expedition because of its’ interesting ports of call and its departure under the Tower Bridge. (Magic!) A bonus was finding ourselves in the Channel on the eve of D Day and in Guernsey on D Day. Unfortunately a big storm came in that night and we had to miss 3 or 4 of the next ports. It was an expedition cruise and this is to be expected. The ship has been updated beautifully - great showers in the bathrooms, even with seats. Deluxe cabins are very comfortable. Public areas attractive and as comfortable as when I first sailed her in 2002. Terrific. The reception, butler/housekeeping staff, bar and dining room staff are as wonderful as Silversea has always produced. They’re great. On this cruise their line let them down. The expedition staff, not so much! As a now solo traveller (widowed) I commend Silversea for making solo travellers comfortable and included in their voyages. There were plumbing/sewage issues from boarding time onwards which affected a number of decks and many passengers. The cruise was brought into Reykjavik a day early (which it seems to have done on other cruises, I see). Disappointingly, Silversea has not responded to my comments and complaints. Very disappointing for a formerly very loyal Silversea cruiser. Read Less
Sail Date June 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
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 had sailed on Viking Ocean on earlier occasions (Baltic and Caribbean) and knew that Viking had created a great cruise product with these ocean-going ships. So we chose the Northern Lights cruise so we could check off a huge bucket ... Read More
We had sailed on Viking Ocean on earlier occasions (Baltic and Caribbean) and knew that Viking had created a great cruise product with these ocean-going ships. So we chose the Northern Lights cruise so we could check off a huge bucket list item... actually seeing the Northern Lights, and have a wonderful time while doing so. Our cruise experience was uniformly excellent from embarkation at London and disembarkation at Bergen. The comfort of our cabin, the professionalism and friendliness of the crew, the delicious cuisine, and the talented entertainment. It was all great. Of course, it certainly helped that even though it was still winter at those high latitudes, our weather was near perfect for the whole cruise. So we had multiple nights on which we could see the aurora. Our shore excursions were excellent, particularly the overnight spent on a nighttime dog sled ride and sleeping in a very small Sami People-style teepee with a large window through which we could see the night sky. Well done to Viking. We can't wait until our next Viking Ocean Cruise! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We had always wanted to see the Northern Lights, and also go on an ocean cruise. We loved everything about it, the ship, the staff, the food and the wonderful scenery! The port talks were very good and the onboard historian who was very ... Read More
We had always wanted to see the Northern Lights, and also go on an ocean cruise. We loved everything about it, the ship, the staff, the food and the wonderful scenery! The port talks were very good and the onboard historian who was very knowledgeable. We were fortunate to have great weather, and we had a wonderful view of the Northern Lights in Tromso. All the staff were excellent, from the people who cleaned the staterooms, the waiters and the bar staff. Although the weather was very cold outside, it was always lovely and warm everywhere on board, and after each excursion you were always welcomed back on board with a warm alcoholic drink. We did all the included excursions, which were good and gave you much information, plus a couple of extra trips. When we were in Alta we were very fortunate to see the start of the annual dog sledge race, something really special! It was really an amazing holiday, something that we will never forget! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We really lucked out and had fantastic weather for March. Northern lights were spectacular in Tromso. We took a private tour with indvidulltromoso and was better than the one Vikng offered. The weather was sun shine in Bergen also where it ... Read More
We really lucked out and had fantastic weather for March. Northern lights were spectacular in Tromso. We took a private tour with indvidulltromoso and was better than the one Vikng offered. The weather was sun shine in Bergen also where it usually rains 360 days a year. As far as the ship, it is beautiful. The few issues we had with service were quickly remedied by the guest service and restaurant managers. Entertainment was good quality, especially for a ship this size. Food was great. Every night in the buffet were crab legs, shrimp etc. Crab legs were split and easy to eat and delicious. We would definately sail with Viking again and again. Good value as you are not nickled andf dimed constantly. Room service was great for coffee and breakfast....Our cabin was good...floor in bathroom was heated and a little too much though. Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth. All in all, I would highly recommend. Enrichment lecturesd were also very good. Read Less
Sail Date March 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
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
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
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
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 choose Viking to visit Norway in January, as if the weather was going to be inclement, we would have luxury on board, and we were not disappointed! From the first moment we arrived at Tilbury, a porter was waiting to take our luggage ... Read More
We choose Viking to visit Norway in January, as if the weather was going to be inclement, we would have luxury on board, and we were not disappointed! From the first moment we arrived at Tilbury, a porter was waiting to take our luggage from the car. We proceeded through check in where there were no queues and was very fast and efficient. We were welcomed on board with a glass of sparkling wine and from that first moment to the very end of our trip, we were made to feel very welcome and at home. We were again welcomed in our stateroom by Shella, who was our attendant. She happily explained how to use all the facilities in the room and other useful information, such as where the self service laundry was, which incidentally is complimentary and even provides the detergent! We were in a normal balcony stateroom on the third deck, but it was very spacious and every small detail has been thought about. There is a hairdryer, shoe horn, clothes brush, minibar which is included, a coffee maker, a dressing table with large mirror, but also part of the top of the dressing table lifts up to reveal a small vanity unit with a light up mirror. The lighting is also excellent, and can be controlled from the bed, including strip lighting for use during the night. The bathroom was also brilliant with underfloor heating, a proper glass door on the shower cubicle, very nice toiletries and as many soft fluffy towels as you could possibly wish for, along with bathrobes and slippers. I must just add that the room was serviced twice a day and there was never even a mark on the chrome taps, spotless! The restaurants are all fabulous, with a great variety of choice. The speciality restaurants you need to book, but this is easily done either on the Viking App which is very easy to use, or at the World Café. I can honestly say that the quality of both the food and service are the best we have ever experienced. We had the silver spirits package, because we have been caught out by other cruise lines, who charge very high rates for their wines and cocktails, but on Viking Sky the prices were very reasonable, approximately $6 per glass of wine or beer. The bars and lounge areas are exceptionally comfortable and nowhere on board ever feels crowded, even on sail days. The spa and gym are also wonderful. Like everywhere on board the changing rooms have all the little extras that make this ship so special. You use your room key to use the lockers and each one is equipped with flip flops for use in the spa, towels, a hanger for your clothes and even a shaving kit! We used and thoroughly enjoyed the steam room, the snow grotto (but not for very long!), pool and hot tub. We do not usually need much in the way of on board ship entertainment, so did not go to any of the shows in the theatre, but we did enjoy the live music supplied in the Viking Bar and Explorers Lounge in the evenings, provided by very proficient musicians and they also covered a wide range of genres. We also enjoyed the electronic games tables and placing the odd piece into a jigsaw. The tours were also to a very high standard and you really do feel that you are being treated as very special visitors, not just another load of tourists. We were very lucky and delighted to get to see the amazing spectacle that is the northern lights, and although it is a quiet ship, announcements are made in all public areas and you can receive them in your room during the night by leaving the TV on the bridge cam channel with the sound turned up. Disembarkation was as fast and efficient and simple as embarkation. When the coach arrived at Bergen airport we were asked to wait in the warm on the coach whilst the baggage was unloaded, which only took a couple of minutes and when we got off our suitcases were already stacked on a trolley ready to go. What can I say to be negative about this holiday, well the only possible thing I can think of is that they have probably spoilt any future holidays with another travel company, as we now know what level of comfort and service can be provided. Huge thanks to all the Viking team, not forgetting the booking staff, for a wonderful all round experience, keep up the fantastic work. Very much looking forward to our next trip, Imperial Jewels of China in April, Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Chose for Northern Lights/Arctic Circle Itinerary. Ship was beautiful and was very impressed at first. We selected a Deluxe Balcony Stateroom and it was quite small. There was not enough hanging space. Fortunately we knew enough to ... Read More
Chose for Northern Lights/Arctic Circle Itinerary. Ship was beautiful and was very impressed at first. We selected a Deluxe Balcony Stateroom and it was quite small. There was not enough hanging space. Fortunately we knew enough to bring magnetic hooks or it would have been a worse mess. The food was average and the service was average at best. Some people were great, like our room steward. The reason we didn't rate guest services and the shore excursion staff well was the following: they played the blame game. They had many, many excursion difficulties to the point of having to fully refund, or partially refund, the money back to passengers. Never once did anyone say "I'm sorry". No, they blamed the tour operators or used the excuse "this is the first time we have been to this port" or (best one!) "it wasn't listed online". Bear in mind that the tour operators complained of how difficult it was to even REACH the Viking Sky staff, much less, that Viking did not listen to the tour operators when they made suggestions and believe me, they should have listened. It was a bucket list trip for me and I refused to let anything ruin it, but the disorganized, poorly planned, not properly vetted, pricey excursions were very disappointing. And the attitude of the Viking staff really added insult to injury. I spoke to many people who were long time cruisers but first time Viking Ocean cruisers and the consensus was the same...one and done. Back to Regent. Back to Azamara. Back to Celebrity...you get the drift. I wanted to love it...I love Viking River Cruises. But it was just too disappointing. The ship was gorgeous, the itinerary was amazing, and I did see the Northern Lights. But the rest was not great, except for embarkation, which was the best I've experienced out of 25 ocean cruises. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We wished to experience the high Arctic, and we love Norway from previous cruises. Northern Lights have long been on the desired list. Almost as an afterthought we signed on to the Churchill’s England pre-cruise tour, and it proved to ... Read More
We wished to experience the high Arctic, and we love Norway from previous cruises. Northern Lights have long been on the desired list. Almost as an afterthought we signed on to the Churchill’s England pre-cruise tour, and it proved to be one of the best aspects. We saw the elusive northern lights twice, pretty but not spectacular, and the trip would have been almost as good without them. London in January isn’t for tourists seeking green lawns, sunny skies and shirtsleeve temperatures, but it wasn’t awful; mostly 40s F, rain off and on, and the most pleasant aspect was lack of summer vacation hordes. The hotel, Royal Horse Guards is perfectly fine, and in a superb Central London location. The guide, Don Brown, was with us the entire time, and of many fine Viking guides over several years and 5 cruises, he was absolutely the best! The tour sites; Churchill War Room, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Blenheim Palace, and Bletchley Park, could not have been more fascinating. Transfer to Tilbury to begin the cruise was effortless. The first couple of days in the North Sea were quite expectedly adventurous, and not for faint hearted or weak mid-sectioned amateur sailors. Lots of Vikings stayed in staterooms, and many who appeared were quite pale and subdued. Luckily, we haven’t ever become seasick. Between Stavanger and Bodo we entered the Norwegian Inside Passage and the rest of the cruise was like a quiet lake. The onboard experience was mostly up to Viking’s very high standard. Food was superb. Entertainment was better than average, particularly guest pianist/singer Tom Seals. Staff built snowmen on the rear deck; a fun photo-op! Some shore tours could have been better planned on this inaugural cruise. There was quite a lot of uncomfortable bus riding in the dark. Luckily we brought clothing suitable to the Arctic; had we not, some tours would have been miserable. Our best shore tours were a family visit near Tromsø although the tour description did not mention outdoor fun and thus we were notprepared clothing-wise. Sami reindeer camp near Alta -22F, the Ice Hotel near Alta, cathedral concerts in Bodo and Tromsø, and husky dogsled riding were also great. A 19th Century Island village near Bodo was also interesting and fun. The Alta museum offered spectacular views and interesting displays. We did get the feeling that with Viking’s recent rapid expansion, possibly some shortcuts are being taken, and that attention to service and plannning detail might have slipped a bit. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Viking does a nice job but did not think thru their excursion offerings of this cruise. First, it was mostly in the dark, which was to be expected on a cruise above the Arctic Circle in January. but, many of the museums, shops and ... Read More
Viking does a nice job but did not think thru their excursion offerings of this cruise. First, it was mostly in the dark, which was to be expected on a cruise above the Arctic Circle in January. but, many of the museums, shops and excursions sites were closed or inappropriate for January. We did an independent tour which stayed out at night for over 8 hours to see the lights and were given a meal, heavy snow suits, boots and head lamps and a fire. Then we did Viking’s tour in Alta. Vikings night tour offered a few fires, no heavy clothes, and brownies. The venue was too small for the over three bus loads of people. No way to keep warm so we gave up and went back to ship. Take your own warm clothes. Also, included excursions were many times lead by unqualified guides. Could not answer questions like, who is the king, what are the salaries, what is the education system. On the ship’s third floor, three shower drains froze and people were moved. The wait staff had to wear coats because the dembarking door was by the Atrium. Viking did not consider the environment when they took this ship to the Arctic in winter. If you are prepared, maybe this is the cruise for you. FYI, we did not see the Northern Lights. Way too cloudy and lots of snow. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We hoped to see the Northern Lights as well as visit the Norwegian coast. The cruise which was one of the first by Viking on this route had some difficulties with the excursions, but expect these will be corrected in the future. The ... Read More
We hoped to see the Northern Lights as well as visit the Norwegian coast. The cruise which was one of the first by Viking on this route had some difficulties with the excursions, but expect these will be corrected in the future. The Northern Lights were not very good during our trip, but that is not Viking's fault. The sky is only twilight from 9 to 3 in January, so it is important to plan your excursions carefully to maximize your opportunities while you can see. The buffet restaurants were excellent. The higher end restaurants for which you need reservations were good as well, but to be honest after six months I have forgotten about eating in them. The entertainment provided by Viking was absolutely first rate. We enjoyed every show. Because it is cold outside this is a great cruise to get the deck all to yourself. I enjoyed going out as the ship was sailing at night with no one else around and just letting the silence envelope me. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This was the maiden voyage of the Northern Lights Cruise and it couldn’t have been more perfect. I highly recommend Viking cruises! The staff were friendly and knowledgeable, the ship was clean and well ordered. The food was awesome and ... Read More
This was the maiden voyage of the Northern Lights Cruise and it couldn’t have been more perfect. I highly recommend Viking cruises! The staff were friendly and knowledgeable, the ship was clean and well ordered. The food was awesome and Viking made our special request for vegan meals abundant and varied. Being the maiden voyage, there were only a couple of glitches but Viking made them right. The inland tours were mostly well ordered and the variety of excursions enabled us to have so many wonderful experiences. Spending time with the Samis’ was very special as well as spending the night in the “teepees” and watching the snow and blood moon. The onboard amenities were all top notch - the spas, the theater, the gym, and libraries. The decor is inspirational and gave us a great sense of the Viking era. Viking Cruise outdid theirselves and I cant wait to take another Viking Cruise! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Because we loved the itinerary and to celebrate my 75th birthday. However, what we had planned for and looked forward to for a year, ended in a distressing and devastating experience, cut short by stormy seas and ports not on the ... Read More
Because we loved the itinerary and to celebrate my 75th birthday. However, what we had planned for and looked forward to for a year, ended in a distressing and devastating experience, cut short by stormy seas and ports not on the itinerary we had chosen, but rather selected by the captain due to inability to go to any of the ports on the schedule. Of the seven selected and scheduled ports, the ship went to only one of those. Aside from the tremendous disappointment of not being able to visit the places we had hoped to see, the discomfort of being on a ship in such stormy and rocky waters made for a most unpleasant and frightening experience. Unhappily, the Captain never gave advance information, but chose to announce it the evening before. Shortly after leaving our embarkation port of Tower Bridge the Captain announced because of severe weather ahead we would not be going to our first port but directly to our second port, Cork. And we did not go to any other of the scheduled ports. On the second day at sea, after having to forego our first port of call, the Captain announced we would not be going to the original destination. The weather and sea was severely stormy and I became deathly seasick, requiring the services of the ship's doctor. He came to our suite as I was not able to get out of bed. I was given an injection and was unable to leave the suite for the rest of the afternoon and evening. On the fifth day of the cruise the Captain again announced we would not be able to go to any of the next several ports, but would have to be on stormy waters for 36 hours heading directly to the final destination of Reykjavik. It was at this point I knew I could not endure that kind of sickness and misery. My husband was able to arrange a flight home from Glasgow at an additional cost of $2000 and extreme stress and agitation that caused. While this ship and Silversea Cruise Lines touts themselves as a luxury line with the utmost in comfort, care and luxury, we found the ship to be in a very distressed state and in need of refurbishing and cleaning. The thermostat in our suite never worked correctly, causing great discomfort of either being too hot or too cold. The water temperature in the shower would go from comfortable to scalding without any change being initiated. The towels and bathmats were thin and frayed and in desperate need of replacing. The drapes on the windows did not close properly, allowing a bright slit of sun to enter the room long before one would necessarily want to be awakened. And one of the more annoying issues for us began the very first evening. We were on the 7th floor, and the pool area was on the floor above us. Starting at 10:30pm and ending at midnight, or as early as 5am, the crew would be putting tables and chairs or chaise lounges away and would scrape them on the floor. Though we reported this problem immediately at least 5 times, it never ceased. This experience has put me off of cruising entirely. My husband, in particular, loves to cruise. It should be a wonderful way to enjoy the company of new friends and seeing fun and exciting places. That is not what happened and I would greatly urge anyone considering sailing on this cruise line to be aware of the lack of attention to the safety and concern for the guests and lack of caring and thoughtfulness expressed to their disappointment and distress. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We were celebrating a special birthday for my wife. We loved the itinerary and made plans with dear friends for the celebration. Before we reached to first evening at sea the captain announced that we were passing our first port because of ... Read More
We were celebrating a special birthday for my wife. We loved the itinerary and made plans with dear friends for the celebration. Before we reached to first evening at sea the captain announced that we were passing our first port because of stormy weather and proceeding to our second scheduled port. The weather was so severe that day and night that my wife became extremely seasick, was nauseous, vomiting for hours. I was able to get the doctor to our cabin, he gave her an injection, and so went the first full sea day. After we spent the day at Cork the captain again announced a change of destinations wherein we missed the next 3 ports, again severe weather, and instead went to ports we have previously visited on other trips. We then proceeded to Glasgow, again not a scheduled port, to spend the night and next day. Before dinner in Glasgow the captain again announced that because of a severe storm we wound not to to the next 3 ports, but set off to Reykjavik which would entail 36 hours through stormy seas, to which my wife said she could not take that again. We disembarked in Glasgow and I was able to arrange air travel home. How does Silversea Cruise Lines and the captain of the ship account for putting the guests through the danger and discomfort of taking us to sea knowing what lay ahead? Should we not have been advised before embarkation of rough seas and given a chance to cancel our plans? Is money the driving force and more important then the guests comfort and safety? Read Less
Sail Date September 2018

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