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Sail Date: August 2019
My wife chose this as many of her ancestors came from that part of Europe. We had a great experience. The staff and service was fantastic and were the friendliest group of people I have ever been around. This was a cruise that I was very ... Read More
My wife chose this as many of her ancestors came from that part of Europe. We had a great experience. The staff and service was fantastic and were the friendliest group of people I have ever been around. This was a cruise that I was very sad to see come to an end as we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves in an elegant and relaxed atmosphere. Our daily excursions were very organized and very worthwhile. Every night as we returned to our cabin, the bed was turned down for us and we had our next day Viking News waiting for us. This publication was very well done and filled with valuable information. This staff is very professional, friendly, and organized. The entertainment and lectures were excellent and much preparation went into making it that way. When we left the ship for our excursions, the staff always wished us a good day and offered us a bottle of water. On our return, we were given a warm welcome home and offered a nice warm cloth to refresh ourselves. On our return from Berlin, the entire staff was outside the ship welcoming us home with warm welcomes and glasses of champagne. On our final night on the ship at the farewell reception given by the captain, there was not only entertainment and champagne, but the entire staff was present which I thought was fantastic. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Iceland’s Majestic Landscapes, August 13, 2019, Viking Ocean We chose this ship for chance to see Iceland up close. It made four stops in Iceland with two days in Reykjavik at the beginning. Most cruise lines stop at the capitol ... Read More
Iceland’s Majestic Landscapes, August 13, 2019, Viking Ocean We chose this ship for chance to see Iceland up close. It made four stops in Iceland with two days in Reykjavik at the beginning. Most cruise lines stop at the capitol for a day as they transit between the US and Europe. This was our first Viking Ocean cruise. If you are tired of the glitz, the constant sales pitches and wandering to find a quiet spot to read, this cruise line is for you. The ship had no casino and only two shops. Decks 1 and 2 which surround the 3 story atrium are open concept with contemporary Scandinavian décor in neutral tones– sofas, easy chairs & coffee tables with low bookcases to make them feel more intimate. Instead of a single room dedicated as the library, books are shelved at one end of Deck 1 with more books in other areas. Bars/snack areas are also spread throughout the open public areas. There were only two sea days. We found that our only choices for spare time were the port talks, lectures (excellent) and evening performance by the four ship’s singers. There are no dance/show productions. Trivia was held only on the sea days. Obviously the sports deck was not used with the cold and cloudy weather although the pool deck with its glass ceiling had wonderful nooks for reading, relaxing and looking at the ocean and also offered grilled food at lunch and sometimes at dinner. We used the buffet and pool grill for lunch each day and dinner varied between the dining room, Manressa’s Italian café and The World Café. The World Café offered one dedicated ethnic cuisine menu with paired wine included which changed every four days. We found that to be as much of a “show” as a dinner and portions were a bit small. The dining room and buffet food was well prepared and presented. It tended to have emphasis at times on Asian/Indian dishes which were interesting to taste made us wish to see a nice clam chowder, something less pretentious, ie. “down home food” by the last days of the cruise. As my husband put it, after traveling over three weeks, we had “hit the wall” as far as eating was concerned. The staff without exception was helpful and cheerful. Ports: Iceland is a small country with a population of less than 400,000. More than half live in Reykjavik. When our ship of 900 visited a port, Viking worked hard to gather good excursions and transportation. We were often delighted to find ourselves in a small group of less than 20. Viking offered one or more free excursions in each port. The majority were not just a short bus tour around the town. Some days we took both an included tour and a paid tour. Reykjavik We were exhausted when we boarded the ship. Many flights from the US are red-eye and our Icelandair business class seats did not recline more than a few degrees. I would recommend coming in a day early to acclimate. The most popular tour the day after boarding is The Golden Circle, an 8 ½ hour tour staring at 7 AM. We saw Iceland’s most famous waterfall,, Gullfoss, a geothermal area, lava fields and more. Isafjordur: A small group tour to Litlibaer, a tiny home from the early 1900s with stone walls and a turf roof. You will see many turf roofs throughout the country. We were served waffles and jam and our guide made butter in a churn. We were also served homemade chocolates at a photo stop and told about the home-grown enterprises to earn money in this sparsely populated country. Akureyki: We chose a private tour through Tripadvisor/Saga Travel to the Lake Mvatn area to see lava formations, bubbling geothermal areas, Godafoss, the “Waterfall of the Gods”, and learn a lot of local lore. We won the grand prize in our guide, Thor, who truly looked like his name. He had grown up in the area, entertained us with stories from his childhood and was also an extra in Game of Thrones. This was hands-down our best excursion. Seydisfjordur: The Wilderness Center is a unique hotel/tourist attraction far off the beaten path. The owner has created a museum of unique walk-through dioramas showing the life of early settlers and local lore plus a bed-and-breakfast hotel with some of the beds in a single room arranged in cubbies along two walls much like ancient Vikings built their homes, plus two outdoor geothermally heated soaking tubs, all of which the owner proudly showed us. We were served waffles and jam and given taste of lamb smoked on the premises. Thorshavn, Faroe Islands: The 22 small islands which comprise the Faroe Islands stand midway between Iceland and Norway. We visited a turf church, the remains of a 10th century Viking home, and saw fish ladders for salmon while driving through the scenic countryside. Geiranger, Norway: Easily the most scenic stop on the trip, the tiny narrow fjord ends at a tiny town where we chose to take a free tour up a road with 11 switchbacks to a viewpoint looking over the town to the mountains and reverse course and go up the other way to a viewpoint looking down over the town and fjord. This was nothing more than viewpoints and we ended a hotel for a “rest break” which was far too long with nothing to do. Alesund, Norway: Sunnmore Open Air Museum is a collection of homes, barns and other buildings from the past two centuries. Most are open so you can visit inside and the guide gave commentary as we walked along. The buildings are set on rolling land with gravel paths so this may not be suitable for anyone with difficulty walking. Flam, Norway: The small town of Flam set at the end of a fjord hosts up to six cruise ships a day. We were lucky to find only one other. The #1 tour is a 12-mile ride on the Flam railroad up the hillside and through the mountains with waterfalls in abundance. There is a 10 minute stop at a waterfall where the mythical witch appears singing her siren song. At the midway point, there is an hour stop to enjoy waffles and coffee in the hotel and spend a little time enjoying the view back down the valley before catching the next train back down. Viking reserves seats for its passengers. Check out the1-minute zip line ride from the viewpoint halfway down the valley to a farm you can barely see in the distance if a seat on the train back down is too tame! Bergen, Norway: Bergen is the 2nd largest town in Norway and iconic for its gathering of quaint historic merchant homes/warehouses from the days when the town was a trading powerhouse in the Baltic region. Our tour included visiting an old merchant building, a town tour and a funicular ride up Mt. Floien to enjoy the views, a gift shop, a child’s playground, some goats which keep the vegetation trimmed, and restaurant. It was possible to then wander the old wharf and Fish Market on our own afterward since the ship could be seen from the wharf and gauge if it was within a distance you could walk. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
My wife and I had done a dozen or more ocean cruises and 2 Viking River cruises, but we'd not yet done a Viking Ocean cruise. We'd seen how they'd received Travel & Leisure magazines top ocean cruise line all four years ... Read More
My wife and I had done a dozen or more ocean cruises and 2 Viking River cruises, but we'd not yet done a Viking Ocean cruise. We'd seen how they'd received Travel & Leisure magazines top ocean cruise line all four years they'd been in existence, so we thought we should give it a try. The ship was just right. Not huge like many we'd been on, but with all the amenities we cared about. Nice dining rooms, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, showroom, bars & lounges, a gym and thermal spa, and countless places to sit and hang out. The food and drink in all of the eating areas (World Cafe, Restaurant, Manfredi's, & Chef's Table) were excellent. The staff were friendly and attentive. We had a Deluxe Veranda cabin and it was exceptionally spacious compared to what we're accustomed to. The entertainment staff were very talented and versatile. We made it a point to make every evening's show and were never disappointed. The included excursions were overall great and the extra excursions we chose were wonderful. The ports and surrounding areas we visited were tremendous. Every country on this trip (England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Norway, Scotland, and Wales) was special in its own way. The Viking extension option we chose in Bergen had us in a hotel that was right in the heart of the 'happening' part of Bergen (Bryggen). Trip of a lifetime! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We had taken Viking River cruises and decided to try the Viking Ocean. It did not disappoint. The ship is beautifully appointed and the staterooms are nicely done. Our stateroom was small but included everything we needed. The staff is ... Read More
We had taken Viking River cruises and decided to try the Viking Ocean. It did not disappoint. The ship is beautifully appointed and the staterooms are nicely done. Our stateroom was small but included everything we needed. The staff is very responsive and attentive. The entertainment includes singing and dancing and lectures by knowledgeable scholars. The food was excellent and includes two specialty restaurants that are not additionally priced and only need reservations. Wine and beer are included with lunch and dinner. You can also eat outside overlooking amazing scenery. There are two pools and two hot tubs. There is a gym and a spa center where you can go to use the steam or sauna as well as get treatments. The concierge desk was never crowded and had at least two people working at all times. For the most part our included excursions were good. There were a couple of itineraries that could use tweaking. The additional excursions (paid extra for) were very good. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
For those interested in a comparison, let's look at the differences between Oceania and Princess. We were on the 18-day Dublin-Copenhagen segment. This was our first cruise with Oceania. We are elite with Princess. We chose this ... Read More
For those interested in a comparison, let's look at the differences between Oceania and Princess. We were on the 18-day Dublin-Copenhagen segment. This was our first cruise with Oceania. We are elite with Princess. We chose this cruise because of the itinerary: Norway and northern Russian ports. Oceania has considerably less merchandising pressure. There is no crew of photographers. The crew seems under less pressure to sell extras. There are no "cruise ship art" events. Speciality coffees and sparkling water are available without extra charge. Speciality restaurants are available without extra charge. On the other hand, the cheapest bottle of wine on Oceania is about $10 a bottle more than on Princess. That generally put wine above what I was willing to pay. The ship felt less crowded and there was never a problem finding outdoor seating (although the Northern itinerary may have had something to do with that). 650 passengers instead of thousands does make for a different (and pleasant) experience. Oceania does live up to its reputation for good food. The dining room food was consistently a notch better than Princess. The buffet food was also very good. However, the buffet was typically more crowded than I'm used to on Princess. Our cabin (C1 ocean view) was equivalent to what we'd expect on Princess. Surprisingly, the cabin steward was good, but not as good as is typical on Princess. There were two ship lecturers. We only went to the lectures by one, but she was outstanding (https://cruisethroughhistory.com}. I liked the smaller venue for ship shows, although the noise level (at times 90db or more) was louder than I'd like. Passenger demographics: Oceania is a bit older and fellow passengers are on average wealthier. They also have a tendency to provide lots of details on their previous exotic Oceania cruises. At first that was useful, since we've not been on Oceania before, but enough was enough.... Shore excursions are overpriced. We generally don't book ship excursions, but we took their tours to make life easier for the three Russian ports, and we booked the bird safari at North Cape (a mistake). In Lerwick we hired a cab for the day. I tried to rent a car, but waited too long. I'd recommend planning ahead and getting a car. Even if you feel a bit uncomfortable driving in the UK, traffic on Shetland Island is thin. We walked around Bergen, a lovely port. Instead of the Oceania excursion to Mt. Floyen, we booked in advance on-line (https://www.floyen.no/en). Efficient and lots less money. In Kristiansund, there is a company that takes off from the cruise dock and heads up the local fjord for a lot less than Oceania. The Russian tours were fine, although private packages would have saved money. North Cape was a good tour — but we could have done it for less than half the Oceania price on our own. My advice is to rent a car (there is a company at the pier that will rent a car for 1500 NOK). That would allow both the bird safari and a drive up to North Cape, and save a whole lot of money. Thee is also a public bus, although an expensive one, from the pier to North Cape. The tourist office at the pier has the details. Although the cruise to Flam is spectacular, I can't say I'd recommend the railroad trip — but if you do take it, don't book with Oceania. You can either book on-line in advance or buy a ticket once you get there. Flam itself is a town of about 500 that absorbs thousands of cruise ship passengers, and is entirely uninteresting on its own. Cabs in Copenhagen (Uber withdrew from the city) are readily available at the cruise terminal and will set you back less than the Oceania transfer. In sum, Oceania is about twice the price (or more). If I had a choice between them I'd take Princess assuming identical itineraries. However, Oceania's smaller ships bring one to places Princess doesn't. I wouldn't hesitate to book Oceania again — but only if the itinerary was one that Princess could not match. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Not my first Viking ocean cruise but my first on the new Viking Jupiter. While we got off on a rocky start as our ship developed a propulsion system problem leaving out of Greenwich, we were delayed 2 days in the small English port of ... Read More
Not my first Viking ocean cruise but my first on the new Viking Jupiter. While we got off on a rocky start as our ship developed a propulsion system problem leaving out of Greenwich, we were delayed 2 days in the small English port of Tilbury. Viking worked to organize a few tours in the Tilbury area, gave some onboard credit to passengers, and in general worked very hard to keep passengers pacified. Good news was that the needed repair(s) were made and we were on our way again. Sadly the ports of the Orkney and Shetland Islands had to e eliminated to get the ship back on schedule. Now the great stuff! Food was varied, plentiful and high quality. On sea days the chef arranged for fun/location driven lunches near the pool. Plenty of complimentary wines and beers during lunch and dinner. I also enjoyed dining in The Restaurant for breakfast and dinners. The specialty restaurants, Chefs Table and my favorite, Manfredi’s were very good. Hubby and I made a few trips to Mamsen’s for the yummy waffle served with the brown goat cheese ( try it before you judge), fresh berries and syrup. The pea soup served 10- midnight is also good. I enjoyed the classical music performances and the variety of evening shows in the theatre. The onboard planetarium had three programs during the cruise that I thoroughly enjoyed. Very limited seating, so be sure you make reservations when you board. Most of the excursions were very good. The Spa was very comprehensive with an emphasis on Nordic bathing ritual, comfort and relaxation. We took this trip to see the Norwegian fjords, and that part did not disappoint. Beautiful, sailing close to observe when possible was awesome. We had beautiful warmish weather without rain ( we were told this was not normal, but we enjoyed it). The trip entitled Into The Midnight Sun, was just that...the sun was up nearly 24 hours a day. A very different experience. I really loved sailing into the Arctic Circle and going to the North Cape. Saw herds of reindeer roaming! On board there were lectures about culture, space travel and other interesting subjects. I do want to mention if you have difficulty with the volume on your in stateroom TV, ask your cabin steward to bring the wireless headset to you. Wonderful in lieu of no closed captioning on TV. The ship is new, built like the other Viking ocean ships and is beautiful. Very relaxing public areas that are conducive to meeting/ making friends. Viking’s style is not for everyone, but I sure love them. Primarily the passengers are 50’s to 80’s that are active, well educated and well traveled. The Cruise Director said most of us are “travelers” with only some being “tourists”. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Our third Crystal cruise did not disappoint. We went from Iceland to the fjord of Norway to Copenhagen, and I would highly recommend this route as it was spectacular in every way, and the Crystal Serenity was simply the best. Impeccable ... Read More
Our third Crystal cruise did not disappoint. We went from Iceland to the fjord of Norway to Copenhagen, and I would highly recommend this route as it was spectacular in every way, and the Crystal Serenity was simply the best. Impeccable service, cuisine, facilities, entertainment- there cannot be a better cruise line than this. I am a customer service expert, so I have high standards and Crystal surpassed every expectation. Every single item of cuisine at every single meal or snack was exceptional. They even had a wonderful variety of sugar-free and gluten-free treats which were most welcome for those of us with dietary restrictions. The staff handled all that with ease and a smile. Every single staff member from the gangplank to the crew to the waiters to the stewardesses were delightful and the best you will ever experience. Really marvelous service. The entertainment was way beyond what I was expecting, and there were informative lectures and movies, and so much more. They even had the astronaut who rescued the Hubble Space Telescope giving talks. Very impressive. They imported a number of special guests performers, and the in-house artists were all world class too. The excursions, while expensive, and extra, were ll top notch and absolutely beautiful. The fjords are astonishing and spectacular. The ship has been nicely refurbished and is spacious, bursting with every possible amenity, planet of space. There is so much to do, or not do, that every taste will be satisfied. The spa and fitness center were excellent and spacious. The cabin was ample and the double sink in its bathroom was a nice touch. the bathroom was sizable, and I could even stand up n the show and in 99% of the ship even though I am 6'-8"/203cm tall. We loved having a verandah and could have sat out there all day and never left and been very happy (thanks to the free and wonderful room service). Of course, there was some internet spottiness above the Arctic Circle and in the fjords, but it's still miraculous to even have internet on the high seas. It turned out to be a minor inconvenience, but was better than our last Crystal cruise on the Symphony, but that was before their remodel and internet upgrade. I would HIGHLY recommend Crystal Cruises for any route, and I would very much recommend Iceland and the Norwegian Fjords as destination- really exceptional and awesomely beautiful. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this way to see Norway and Sweden. Denmark was a nice addition. We enjoyed the programmed trips but also made use of several additional on shore excursions. The trip didn't disappoint. With all the sightseeing came an ... Read More
We chose this way to see Norway and Sweden. Denmark was a nice addition. We enjoyed the programmed trips but also made use of several additional on shore excursions. The trip didn't disappoint. With all the sightseeing came an education by Viking about the places we would visit each day and the countries. This helped us determine where to go and what to see at each port that we entered. Besides the travel the ship had a variety of great entertainment and we made nightly visits to take part. The food was wonderful. Each day brought a variety of foods to sample, often in the form of local flavors and favorites. We liked to sit and listen to live performances of music before our dinner. Our cabin had great views and the attendant was absolutely great with service. He changed the beverages in our room to ones we personally enjoyed. Everything was smooth and easy form air to ship and departure. On arrival it was easy to know what to do because there were Viking workers everywhere to assure easy travel and boarding. There was lots of pre-trip information to help select the perfect trip. We are already booked for our next trip in 2020 because of how pleased we were with Viking. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Having been all over the world with Saga on land based holidays , when we looked for a Cruise to celebrate my wife’s birthday we automatically looked to Saga having been entirely satisfied with our previous holidays with them. Well that ... Read More
Having been all over the world with Saga on land based holidays , when we looked for a Cruise to celebrate my wife’s birthday we automatically looked to Saga having been entirely satisfied with our previous holidays with them. Well that was the right decision, we fancied a winter Norwegian Cruise, and one which specifically aimed at experiencing the Northern Lights seemed an exciting prospect As ever every detail was taken care of, from being picked up at your front door with your luggage through a seemless boarding process at Dover all promised a wonderful holiday experience,which is exactly what we got An upgrade to deck 10 was an unexpected bonus,but all passengers got the same attentive service wherever their cabin was. The whole cruise was ammended to all inclusive which was another nice touch,and we opted for fixed dining which was a delight. The food on this ship is awesome, and the after dinner cheeseboard is the best we have ever experienced anywhere Evening shows were professional and Ancora joining the cruise for week two ensured some never to be forgotten performances, the whole entertainment package was outstanding for a relatively small ship Lectures from accomplished speakers about destinations and other related subjects were interesting and thought provoking, and the library would meet anyone’s taste, complete with librarian. This is proper cruising, no razzmatazz or gimmicks, just traditional formal nights, sumptuous food and well chosen wines and a feeling everyone simply wanted you to enjoy yourselves Saga Sapphire is an old ship, but she is immaculately kept and polished to within a inch of her life morning, noon and night. At every port a free shuttle bus service to the town is available unless the berth is literally in the town centre We were incredibly lucky to see the Northern Lights on three separate nights due to high levels of sunspot activity and on our official included trip to “hunt” the Lights in a dark sky area we were treated to an hour long display of the Northern Lights which were absolutely breathtaking Overall we had a wonderful cruise, seeing the Lights was the proverbial icing on the cake Let’s be clear, Saga isn’t the cheapest cruise provider, but the quality of their cruise experience is truly 5star and on an all inclusive cruise like this you genuinely don’t need to spend any money for the whole cruise unless of course you choose to go on optional excursions The real test is would we Cruise with Saga again; in our case the answer is definitely yes. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
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
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
My wife and I have done more than our share of Seabourn cruises. If you check my Cruise Critic history, you'll find a less than enthusiastic review of our last Seabourn cruise aboard the Odyssey last November. This cruise was ... Read More
My wife and I have done more than our share of Seabourn cruises. If you check my Cruise Critic history, you'll find a less than enthusiastic review of our last Seabourn cruise aboard the Odyssey last November. This cruise was entirely the opposite. Three years ago we chose a Norway cruise in late June. The weather was OK but we were a little tentative about heading that far north that late in the season (departure Sept. 1), but we decided to give it a go with the new Ovation. From the moment we arrived we realized that Seabourn had gotten things correct. The ship is brand new and service was excellent. We had not a single service exception whereas we experienced many last November aboard Odyssey. Our cabin was excellent. It was indistinguishable from the standard veranda suites on the older Odyssey class ships. We booked a V1 and ended up with a V5. There is absolutely no difference between the standard staterooms other than floor location, with the exception of the 5th deck rooms not having a full glass view below the railing on the veranda. I would never recommend paying for a different standard suite as they are all entirely the same with the curtains drawn. Seabourn will charge up to 2 to 4 thousand PP additional for a V6 vs a V1 on the average 2 week cruise. Clearly not worth it as it doesn't provide any additional benefits other than location. We found the food to be excellent. Jacques was great on all fronts, but we weren't left wanting more nights as other venues did such a good job. Up to this cruise (well over 100 nights) we had never dined in the Colonnade for dinner on any Seabourn ship. We tried that on several nights including one special Colonnade night where they featured Ribs by Thomas Keller. One word to the wise - reservations are required on the special evenings. We almost didn't get in as we didn't realize (our fault for not reading the instructions) that these occasional special evenings required it. Seabourn deserves credit for another new touch since our last cruise. On return from tours in Alesund, a large percentage of the crew, lead by the captain, were out to greet all returning passengers. The music played contemporary, upbeat music, and the crew applauded the returning passengers as they walked between lines of the crew. Champagne and hot chocolate toddys were available and every guest had a big smile from a special event that must be a real pain for the crew members to put on. Our captain was far more than a safety specialist and ship driver. He regularly interacted with passengers and was eager to hear about experiences. On that note, our staff captain recognized my wife and I as soon as we boarded., (staff captains, AKA 1st officer,) are not known for being passenger oriented, but Stefan sought us out and even invited us to dinner one night. Norway is an excellent location for a cruise. You are not greeted by hoards of locals trying to sell you a tour or a trinket. In my opinion, the scenery is better than Alaska, where I lived for 2 years. Several highlights stick out: Trollfjord is truly amazing. The ship enters a 1-2 mile fjord that looks way too small for the ship to fit into. It does fit and the entry is timed during cocktail hour providing an experience that is almost worth the price of the cruise. Weather towards the top of Norway was beyond Excellent. In Tromso, we experienced a chamber of commerce day with warm temperatures and blue skies. That night as, promised, the captain woke the ship around midnight to alert everyone of the presence of northern lights. We were forewarned of the coming announcement and we never heard a single complaint as everyone wanted to see the northern lights. In Honnisvagg (Nordcap) we had a clear day again. We were told that this was the first day in 3 weeks that they had seen the sun. We took an excursion to Nordcap which was great given the weather. Interestingly, Seabourn organized a crew excursion with several buses of crew. Crew members were obviously appreciative for their time out and many greeted us by name, even though they were on their own time. My guess is that this is how they get employees with positive attitudes. The rain did arrive by the time we got to southern Norway but we knew we had to pay the piper at some point. Seas were calm crossing the North Sea and arrival into Dover was uneventful. If I had to voice one complaint (obviously for corporate) it would be with the suite allocation of the new Encore class ships. My wife and I previously booked or upgraded to a Penthouse suite. The new ships have fewer of these larger rooms than do the smaller ships. At the same time they rose prices on the premium suites to an exorbitant level. On our cruise, the Penthouse, with 50% more square footage cost 3.5 times what we paid for our V1 (remember all V suites are essentially the same). These price increases had the net effect of driving us back downstairs as the standard suites are just fine with around 300 square feet. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We wanted a grand experience to celebrate our 50th wedding annivesary. Ponant certainly delivered on our wishes. Le Laperouse is a gorgeous ship, the crew and staff were professional while also warm and welcoming and the food was ... Read More
We wanted a grand experience to celebrate our 50th wedding annivesary. Ponant certainly delivered on our wishes. Le Laperouse is a gorgeous ship, the crew and staff were professional while also warm and welcoming and the food was outstanding. We had a deluxe suite stateroom which was very comfortable with a walk in closet/dressingroom, lots of storage and all the amenities of a 5 star hotel. Our cabin attendant, Precy, wonderfully attendant we lacked for no thing. The public spaces are beautifully designed with comfortable furnishings and a very airy feel to them. One of our favorites was the Panoramic Lounge on deck 6. Dean took very good care of the passengers and the views were spectacular. We mostly dined in the main diningroom, the food was exceptional. The chef stopped by tables to hear how things were and we were some of his biggest fans. All of the diningroom staff were attentive and again they were personable without being obtusive. The Fjords were why we chose this particular cruise and they are so stunningly beautiful. Our favorite day was spent in the 6th deck lounge watching the scenery pass by as we went deep into the Fjords. Norway is beautiful! We also enjoyed the climb to the Bryggen Glacier and the scenic journey to it. Ponant has made everything so easy and pleasant with the all inclusive pricing for the shipboard experience. We hope to sail with Ponant again soon. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose the cruise for the destinations and loved the small size. Food was delicious with good variety and beautiful presentation. We liked the choice of various small restaurants. Spa massages were excellent. The cabin was well ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the destinations and loved the small size. Food was delicious with good variety and beautiful presentation. We liked the choice of various small restaurants. Spa massages were excellent. The cabin was well appointed. Biggest problem was poor communication among staff in dining areas. All staff were eager to help with any request but it often took a while to fulfill it. Very smooth embarkation and disembarkation. We would sail again with Silver Sea. Ports were well chosen and the itinerary did not disappoint--beautiful views and lovely cities. Descriptoins from cruise director were accurate. Public spaces were attractive. Loved having the cafe with morning coffee and pastries as well as all day drinks and snacks. Really enjoyed the all inclusive beverages and reasonable corkage fee for wine we brought on board. Excellent ability to have internet access. Up to date movie list for viewing on TV with excellent choices. Ability to view shore excursions, menus and activities from the TV also good. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Firstly the good points: Super speedy embarkation , fantastic food on board, two spectacular stops in Flaam & Gerainger. Bergen was Ok but Haugesaund was dreary. We travelled for the first time with Cunard last Fall to the Canaries ... Read More
Firstly the good points: Super speedy embarkation , fantastic food on board, two spectacular stops in Flaam & Gerainger. Bergen was Ok but Haugesaund was dreary. We travelled for the first time with Cunard last Fall to the Canaries and it was wonderful, 10/10. (Queen Elizabeth). This time there didn’t seem to be the same number of staff around. Longer waits to be served with drinks seemed the norm. The food as before was excellent both in the Brittania and the Lido Buffett. The Oriental night and the Indian night in the Lido were exceptional. Drinks are in my opinion pretty reasonable on both the Q.V. & QE , around the same price as you would expect to pay in a London hotel. (And of course you get on board spend which dilutes the cost) To be honest we will look to travel on the QE again next time as this cruise was a slight let down. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Wanted to see the Fjords. Had nothing to do with Silver Seas. Our friends had a so-so experience on an exploration type cruise so wanted to give the more conventional cruise a chance with SS. The wait staff, especially the so called ... Read More
Wanted to see the Fjords. Had nothing to do with Silver Seas. Our friends had a so-so experience on an exploration type cruise so wanted to give the more conventional cruise a chance with SS. The wait staff, especially the so called head maitre d were terrible. Bepin, Norbert, and Samuel were great. In fact, we went to IndoChin the last 5 nights because the service was so bad elsewhere. E.g. I wanted two scoops of vanilla with chocolate sauce which was not on the menu. Waiter did not offer to get it for me. So, I left table, went up to the ice cream lady and got it myself, returned to the restaurant to stunned faces. On outside grill, had to go get a glass of wine downstairs because noone came by to check on us. At almost every meal, someone made me feel like I was imposing. Bepin and Norbert didn't play those games. Tours were ok. Train ride (not Flam) was a fiasco. We had fun, but who wants to feel like an imposition. Get rid of the tall short haired blond supposed maitre d...it's clear his staff was afraid of him. Never smiled and he's two faced--smile then shut it off as soon as guest left his presence. Jerk. Food was ok, but not outrageously good. Bepin did respond to my request to steak (gave me filet mignon, not sirloin) and lobster on the last night and another change up to the Indochin menu no questions asked. Wonderful. And the other thing was the language barrier for us Americans. I should say the pronunciation barrier for us America. The waitress did not understand the term blend, slush, and frozen for a margarita drink. It was repeated to her several times. No clue what we were talking about. We ran into this almost every day. And the 11th floor bar in the front of the boat had no breakfast or anything until 6PM. Coffee was only avaialble in the back of the boat. Very bad. We went the first night at 6PM or later for drinks and never again because the second night we didn't know it wasn't open at 5:00 PM for happy hour (duh!). Silly us. It takes two-three days to get the lay of the land. Again, the ship itself was ok for some things and uneven for others. I enjoyed my walks outside around the pool, but that had nothing to do with staff although Harvey, a waiter outside, was super nice and checked up on my step total. Most wheelchairs I've ever seen on a cruise. If I had trouble negotiating and/or locating my way around the ship, I can't imagine their plight. Embarkation and disembarkation were the best of our experience as cruisers. Super organized and done quickly, including even getting our pictures taken and all of that. Leaving on bus was very well done and we felt comfortable with that. Coming on board, they allowed our taxi to pull right up to the waiting group of staff members. Nice. You can't take the beauty of what we saw on the ship. SS had nothing to do with that. We did enjoy that part of it, but our experience with the staff was so uneven and weird (remember all four of us in our party felt the same thing, so it's not just the author) that we won't be back. If it wasn't for Bepin, Samuel, and Norbert, we might have settled for room service dinner. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This was our first ever cruise so we didn't really know what to expect. Silverseas had been recommended and we were keen to go with a smaller ship for a shorter time so that we could get used to the cruise experience. A 7 day trip to ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise so we didn't really know what to expect. Silverseas had been recommended and we were keen to go with a smaller ship for a shorter time so that we could get used to the cruise experience. A 7 day trip to the Norwegian fjords in a ship with 600 fellow passengers seemed to fit the bill perfectly. Well, as far as we were concerned, it could not have been better. We loved pretty much everything about it and cannot wait to do another one. We are not especially fussy about detail and obviously have nothing to compare this cruise and the ship against but we felt that the overall quality of the suite, the restaurants, the food, the service and the ship's bars, lounges and public areas was outstanding. My wife has a gluten intolerance and she was well looked after in all the restaurants at all times. The various restaurants mean that you can have a different and very high quality dining experience virtually every night. We particularly liked La Terrazza, Indochine and Silver Note (wonderful singer and pianist to accompany the excellent food). We're no wine buffs but all the wines offered were very nice and seemed to be of good quality. Our glasses were regularly refilled as each meal progressed! The Arts Cafe was excellent and a very popular spot for afternoon tea and delicious cakes. Entertainment was good and there was plenty of variety but remember it's a cruise ship not the West End of London or Broadway. It was nice to have a couple of dances in the Panorama Lounge most evenings before retiring. The vibe here was wonderfully relaxed and chilled. Fellow passengers were fine. Like us, most seemed content to keep their own company but were happy to chat when the opportunity arose. We enjoyed the onshore excursions. A bit tiring jumping on and off coaches and trains all day but a great way to see a little of Norway other than from the ship.c Having your own butler was nice but, to be honest, we didn't really bother him at all. All in all, a truly memorable experience for us. I'll leave other more seasoned travellers to point out the faults and whether or not it was value for money. We'd go on the Silver Spirit again in a heartbeat. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose the cruise for the total Norwegian itinerary and were not disappointed particularly as the weather was perfect throughout. The facilities on board were excellent but the management of the Pool deck re opening time for a pre ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the total Norwegian itinerary and were not disappointed particularly as the weather was perfect throughout. The facilities on board were excellent but the management of the Pool deck re opening time for a pre breakfast swim were appalling with complaints from many clients being ignored by senior officers. Food was variable dependent on restaurant visited.MDR was the best food and service we have experienced in 20 yearsof Silversea cruising.The variety on the menu was excellent,nothing repeated in 15 days,and we were provided with favourite menu by giving 24 hours notice to the excellent Maitre d. La Terrazza was average food and service and we cancelled remaining three reservations after first visit. Hot Rocks was very good at lunchtime with an interesting and varied menu plus quality service.Evening menu was boring unless you liked large pieces of meat and chips. Entertainment in the theatre was average but acceptable after a superb MDR dinner. The crew were excellent but there were signs that the numbers were less and more was being asked of them which may be an early sign of the effects of the takeover by RC.HOPE NOT!! eg Sunbeds and covers left out overnight and if it rains wet beds await the clients with obvious consequences.Staff in restaurants and bars reduced and only two crew on the Pool deck instead of 4/6 as previously. Overall an enjoyable cruise apart from the morning problems on the pool deck. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
WE have sailed Silversea before. We sailed the Fjords of Norway and it was a very relaxing cruise. Love the update to the Spirit. We have sailed the Muse twice and like that the Spirit now has Atlantide (seafood and steaks), Silver Note ... Read More
WE have sailed Silversea before. We sailed the Fjords of Norway and it was a very relaxing cruise. Love the update to the Spirit. We have sailed the Muse twice and like that the Spirit now has Atlantide (seafood and steaks), Silver Note (jazz supper club), and Indochine. The food is always innovative and of high quality. We were very happy with all the service with the exception of wait too long outside for someone to take our pizza order. Also on another occasion in the Arts Cafe service was off. The other meals and venues lived up to the Silversea brand we are use to. The entertainment is only 6 singers but this group was the best so far that we have seen and it is amazing the shows they can put on with only 6. We don't need a big production when on vacation, just lovely entertainment at the end of an evening. Getting off and on the ship at ports was seamless; which is another reason we love this size of ship. We took a couple tours which were excellent and we also just walked out into the ports at some stops. Service , Service, Service. We booked another cruise while on board. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
We wanted to visit Norway again & since this cruise also had some new to us ports we booked it It was round trip Amsterdam which was also a good feature for us We took the cruise only fare & booked our own Bus class ... Read More
We wanted to visit Norway again & since this cruise also had some new to us ports we booked it It was round trip Amsterdam which was also a good feature for us We took the cruise only fare & booked our own Bus class seat on Air Canada ..wonderful lie flat seats we managed to actually sleep on the flight Embarkation: We we were in a B cabin so we arrived about 1:00pm minimal line up & we were onboard quickly went to the Terrace for a quick bite to eat amazingly it was not crowded like other embarkation days when our cabins were ready we dropped off the carry on bags then went wandering back to cabin to unpack before muster Muster was quick & painless as usual some people felt the drill was not for them after Muster we headed to Horizons after dropping off our life vests we had our Cruise Critic Meet & Greet A section was roped off with a sign for CC (Thank you Dominique) We had a good turn out I would guess about 50 + people as well as the CD Peter & GM Dominique after that dinner in the Terrace with our TA & a small group of her clients & a surprise guest Mr Bob Binder & his wife were also on the cruise The cruise was very smooth sailing we did have a issue one day one of the life boats had a leak so required us to stay later in port until it was fixed we were a little late getting into the next port but at least we made it there was some doubt the night before whether we would or just have a sea day The Oceania crew came through Food was very good with some hiccups but who is perfect all the time We ate in Red Ginger it was better than the last time we tried it but it was not that good sorry but 3 strikes we are done with Red Ginger For those that say the food there is not spicy enough ..you should have had my Green Curry ..I had no feeling in my mouth for the duration of the meal Oh Well we prefer the GDR any way & we did not starve The scones at tea are still not like they used to be but better than our last cruise The weather was very nice then the heatwave caught up with us in some of the ports It was uncomfortable for me so we did not do too much in those ports ..some we had been to before Overall the cruise was very good & we booked another on onboard (which we rarely do) Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
The itinerary was exactly what we were looking for. Having an overnight in Bergen, Norway at the beginning and another overnight in Greenwich, London at the end of the cruise was an added plus. Cruising several Norwegian fjords up to the ... Read More
The itinerary was exactly what we were looking for. Having an overnight in Bergen, Norway at the beginning and another overnight in Greenwich, London at the end of the cruise was an added plus. Cruising several Norwegian fjords up to the North Cape over the Arctic Circle was on our bucket list. We also enjoyed our time in the Shetlands, Orkneys, and Edinburgh. The Viking Sea is the most beautifully appointed ship that we've cruised on. Our cabin was very comfortable and the public areas were quiet and plentiful. Although the weather and seas were mostly calm, the Viking Sea was very smooth and quiet. The food was excellent, although the service in the main dining room tended to be very slow. We found an excellent waiter, Nagesh, who tried very hard, but he didn't seem to get the help he needed from his assistant. We found the resident historian to be excellent. The shore excursions were mostly excellent, although those that were included as free tended to be somewhat superficial. in all we would definitely sail on the Viking Sea or another Viking ship. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this cruise because we have always wanted to explore more of Norway. My husband is 1/2 Norwegian and booked this cruise immediately following our May 2018 "British Isles Explorer" cruise on Viking which ended in ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we have always wanted to explore more of Norway. My husband is 1/2 Norwegian and booked this cruise immediately following our May 2018 "British Isles Explorer" cruise on Viking which ended in Bergen, Norway. We especially liked the 930-passenger small ship cruising with Viking as well as having "adults only" on board. The ship is elegantly appointed throughout with a Scandinavian decor. There are many areas of the ship to relax and enjoy small ship cruising. It is an exciting, but relaxing experience. Our cabin was #6096 which was a Deluxe Veranda 2 category. It was aft, port side, and adjacent to an Explorer's Suite. There was a coffee/espresso maker in the room as well as a mini-bar which was replenished daily with nuts, chocolate, Coke, Sprite, Tonic Water. Our stateroom Stewards, Arvin and Kevin, cleaned the room spotlessly twice/day and made certain body wash, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion were always available. Arvin shined my husband's shoes on the night we were celebrating our 37th Anniversary. He always asked if there was anything that we needed. He made sure that we also had bottled water in addition to still water in a covered pitcher. Dining was phenomenal throughout the ship. We enjoyed the alternative restaurants (Manfredi's and Chef's Table) as well as the main dining (The Restaurant) and the buffet (The World Cafe). Crab legs were available on the buffet every night of this Norwegian cruise! We mainly ate in the World Cafe since the options were amazing. The Gelato was fresh every day. We enjoyed EVERY included tour as well as some optional tours in Greenwich, England, Edinburgh, Scotland, Orkney Islands, Scotland, Shetland Islands, Scotland, Lofoten, Norway, Nordkapp, Norway, Tromson, Norway, Geiranger, Norway and Bergen, Norway. There was an excellent port talk each evening containing details of the history, heritage and culture of each destination. The onboard entertainment was great. During the day and early evening The Viking Classical Trio and Resident Pianst, Andras provided a perfect combination. The shows at night included excellent singers, performers and violinists. We enjoyed very much. Our Cruise Director, Aaron Syfert, was the best we've ever had. The level of service is amazing. Everyone is genuinely friendly and happy to assist. One of the highlights of exploring the Arctic Circle was "The Blue Nose Ceremony" on the pool deck with Captain Gustafsson. As the Viking Band played, passengers could enjoy a Maritime ceremony of crossing the Arctic Circle...taking a cold ice plunge, followed by a shot of Aquavit, and proclamation from the Captain. It was a lot of fun! We would do this cruise again. We have many wonderful memories of this voyage. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We traveled with my brother and his wife. Both couples had always wanted to see the Norwegian fjords, so this seemed the perfect cruise. Both couples had sailed previously on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean, but none of us were prepared ... Read More
We traveled with my brother and his wife. Both couples had always wanted to see the Norwegian fjords, so this seemed the perfect cruise. Both couples had sailed previously on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean, but none of us were prepared for the level of service, comfort, and cuisine that we found on Viking. If we could give Viking six stars, we would. Liked it so much that we signed up for our next cruise while we were still on the ship. We especially liked the Chef’s Table restaurant and were able to eat there multiple times so that we were able to sample each of the distinctive menus paired with special wines (buy the beverage package upgrade!). Less so the Italian restaurant. Ate there only once. The buffet restaurant was excellent for all three meals. We especially liked the sushi at dinner time and the gelato at lunch. What we liked best was that every detail was thought out, then perfectly executed. The only tiny glitch was at the end of the cruise when there was only one person on board to handle the VAT refunds, which led to a very long line, and a long wait. Only time that happened on the entire cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
I have traveled with Viking before so I knew their standards were high. The ship is amazing and so Beautiful. Everything is 1st class. They have High Tea everyday on the ship. The scones were delectable. On of the shows was the ... Read More
I have traveled with Viking before so I knew their standards were high. The ship is amazing and so Beautiful. Everything is 1st class. They have High Tea everyday on the ship. The scones were delectable. On of the shows was the "Beatles" . It was held by the pool and the party got started. The customers were up and dancing all over. The Purser had a wonderful voice too. The entertainment needs a little tune up though. We loved all the detail that is paid to the ambiance. The only thing that was a bummer was that when we tried to book the excursions we wanted to , we couldn't because we were only Veranda rooms, not suite rooms. We still loved every minute though. One of the excursions was Mardelfossen Falls and they were in crdible. I was amazed at their crooked roads. The town definitely depends on all the tourism. The Orkney Islands were some of my favorite views . Tromso was very interesting too. It is the northern most north you can get . Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this cruise because we have always wanted to go to Norway, where my husband's maternal family is from. We had the bonus of his sister and her husband being able to join us on this cruise. We have really loved our Viking ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we have always wanted to go to Norway, where my husband's maternal family is from. We had the bonus of his sister and her husband being able to join us on this cruise. We have really loved our Viking river boat cruises on the Rhine and Elbe rivers, so were anxious to try a small ship. It was over so quickly, we are now looking forward to our Med cruise on Viking in spring 2020. The cabin was beautiful and we enjoyed having the veranda, especially since we had wonderful, warm weather. The only improvement for us would be more places to hang clothing and towels when showering, and a way to turn off the closet light so it did not wake the person still trying to get some sleep. The restaurants were very good, and we loved the main dining room for breakfast and dinner. We tried the special dining room for the Chinese dinner, but still preferred the view in the main dining room. But our favorite places were the Explorers Lounge where we went before and after dinner, and the back of the boat on the second floor with the couches and panoramic view while underway! Read Less

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