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97 Norwegian Fjords Luxury Cruise Reviews

Went with others who chose this boat. After going aboard, we understood their dysfunctional website better. No attention to detail. On a cruise whose principal attraction is the scenery, the windows in the common areas were dirty. The ... Read More
Went with others who chose this boat. After going aboard, we understood their dysfunctional website better. No attention to detail. On a cruise whose principal attraction is the scenery, the windows in the common areas were dirty. The scrolling info TV channel that has a view out the front of the ship was dirty. Smallest stateroom we've ever had. Mediocre food. Couple of exercise machines were in bad repair. 5 nights out and have had to call maintenance to clear the toilet 3 times. Both sink and shower pan did not drain. Maintenance call. Entire ship was invited to a symphony concert. The paper offering pictured an orchestra. The pianist and violinist were nice. The rest of the orchestra went missing. As with every cruise we've been on, the staff was great. They just work like dogs and manage a pleasant greeting. The fjords were wonderful . . . . take another ship. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Our cise really was great. This was our second Viking Ocean Cruise, so we knew it would be. (We already had been on 7 Viking River Cruises, and have our 3rd Viking Ocean Cruise already booked :) . Viking takes care of you! We have ... Read More
Our cise really was great. This was our second Viking Ocean Cruise, so we knew it would be. (We already had been on 7 Viking River Cruises, and have our 3rd Viking Ocean Cruise already booked :) . Viking takes care of you! We have cruised on numerous Viking River Cruises and were so happy that they added Ocean Cruises to their offerings. We booked this Viking Ocean Cruise even before we sailed on our first one (Mediterranean Odyssey). We don't really cruise for the on-board experiences (although Viking does a really good job onboard) but rather for the onshore experiences, and Viking's tours are great. We see so much! A really appreciated amenity on the Viking Star, was the flexible and expanded dining options. We ate in the Word Cafe every meal, rather than the Restaurant. We liked the flexibility on WHEN we ate and WHAT we ate. We look forward to our next Viking Ocean Cruise (which is already booked). Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Friends had ask us to join them on this cruise and we thought it would be a dream come true to be able to see lands we never thought we would. Our ship was the Viking Star new to the Viking fleet and we were not disappointed. All crew ... Read More
Friends had ask us to join them on this cruise and we thought it would be a dream come true to be able to see lands we never thought we would. Our ship was the Viking Star new to the Viking fleet and we were not disappointed. All crew members were so helpful and there to take care of all our needs sometimes before we knew we needed anything. The shore excursions were most enjoyable especially St. Petersburg and Tallinn. These tours were just like stepping back in time and everything we had hope they would be. We loved seeing the old churches and see the Viking long houses as well as the new modern places. Seems as though the world is a much smaller place that we thought as many ports had the very same thing as we do here in the USA. Would we do it again...yes but a different cruise and different places to help us be able to see more of the world. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
I came upon the itinerary Land of the Midnight Sun purely by chance when looking for another family trip, but it was an itinerary we had been looking for, on a small ship, and so we signed up. The offices, which are out of Seattle, did ... Read More
I came upon the itinerary Land of the Midnight Sun purely by chance when looking for another family trip, but it was an itinerary we had been looking for, on a small ship, and so we signed up. The offices, which are out of Seattle, did not inspire confidence. This was an expensive cruise, and yet we got no beautiful color brochure upon signing up and paying our deposit. It was very difficult to connect with the salesman on the phone; there were many excuses; not enough staff on at the time; I was advised to just speak with whoever answered the phone. I have to say, this is a luxury cruise line; I felt treated like my agent, who is overworked and understaffed and sells dirt cheap all inclusives to the Caribbean which turn out pretty well, and I can usually connect on the phone with him when I need to. So we had no further information on the trip except what was online on the web, and that was the ports of call. We did not find out until we paid the balance for the trip that all the shore excursions were EXTRA, that the internet was EXTRA, that they had actually changed the itinerary, but failed to tell us; they claimed they had the wrong email address, and yet, we had receipts for payments sent correctly. Then the excursion descriptions could not be printed out so we could look at them, and that took two days for them to send us a PDF which could be printed out. The web interface is pretty awful. It would only print in caps, so I felt like I was in 1987. Did I say the offices are in Seattle? (Hello, Microsoft, Amazon, ETCETERA!) And I had dietary needs, which were sort of brushed off, so I could imagine starving for 11 days, which HAS happened in the past. So, like I said, not inspiring confidence. Anyway, we got to Reykjavik, and walked to the Old Harbor and got on the ship and that is when our experience changed. That IS the good news. Everyone was amazing to us; the staff was fabulous; the crew is Indonesian, mostly, and they chatted up my husband who is fluent in Indonesian, having lived there many years ago. Other friends had warned us, they will address you by name, and almost instantly we were called by name. The rooms are huge by cruise ship standards, and this turned out to be very lucky as our trip could have been called Storm Chasing in the North Atlantic, but because we had such comfortable surroundings, being stuck at sea for 4 days did not result in cabin fever, just a lot of books devoured on iPad. And lots of MSNBC. I know it is an older ship, having been purchased from Seabourne, and renovated, but it is a really nice ship, and extremely well maintained. The guys were out window washing in port, painting the railings, re painting the hull. The way a ship should be maintained, all the time. But the rooms are huge, and there is a bathtub and lovely smelling very high end shampoos, lots of lights for up, down, dim, bright, a comfortable sofa, and a couple of side chairs. Curtain between the sitting area and the bed, assuming someone in your party has insomnia and wants to stay up all night watching the waves. Staff turning down the bed, leaving chocolate, etc. I am sure we did not use as much of the amenities as we could or should have, but it was comfortable to be left alone! The gym is pretty nice, small, but only 200 folk on board. There is a screening room, and one of our new "friends" set up a movie and popcorn, which turned out to be a lot of fun. There is a lovely lounge on 8 where there was food and coffee all day, and an outdoor bar, and even one day that wasn't too cold and people were sunbathing under blankets. There were lectures; the ones I attended were well worth my time. TV: I think with so much time at sea, there should have been more channels available or a bigger selection of dvds in the library. There WERE a lot of good books to choose from, so that was a nice surprise and fun to supplement with what I had brought with me. I had a dietary issue with gluten, which had been dismissed by the Seattle office, but onboard, I feel like a princess, as every morning I was presented with a menu and asked to choose, and then at dinner, they had managed to create a gluten free version of whatever I had chosen. It was amazing. I think this was the best food we have ever had on a cruise, and it was 12 days, and after a few days, no matter how great the food is, a sameness sets in, but that did not happen. We were also able to order ahead and have an Indonesian meal, because there was an Indonesian chef onboard for the crew. A fellow passenger did this several times! And there was a barbecue one night on deck, where tables were set up and a grill emerged and there was a true feast. Lobster, shrimp, steak...I have heard complaints that it's not like it used to be, but after this meal, I just can't fathom what could have been more decadent (and I come from New York). There is also a stand alone grill restaurant that you had to make a reservation for (once) during your trip, which we ultimately did, and it was lovely, but really, the food overall was outstanding. Of course, you could order anytime you wanted from Room Service and you could eat in your room, no extra charge. So the ship experience was superb. The complaints would have to be for the very overpriced shore excursions, which really should have been minimally included in the cruise price. I have done a lot of traveling, and this is the first time, even a basic walk around was charged an almost ridiculous price. I debated setting out on my own, but not knowing exact times for arrival, etc. made me rethink and so we did sign up. Most were okay, but not really anything special. I have to assume a crowd on a luxury cruise in the North Atlantic going to the Faroe Islands is pretty sophisticated, and the excursions were mostly like Disneyland/grade school. One, in zodiacs to look at some waterfalls in the fjords, which I was really looking forward to, involved getting into massive snowsuits and then the trip was under an hour, and really, not going very far or anywhere special. I felt cheated. We were on the Amazon and would spend 4 hours in a boat, looking for a bird, and going further and further into the wilderness. The Windstar excursion was LITE. And we of course got caught behind a huge storm, so we were sequestered in a cove off of Scotland for a while, so the itinerary changed again. So it was a different trip than we anticipated, but all in all. Seattle Office: C-, Ship A+++, Crew A+++, Food A+++ Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Captain Geirg Arne Thue Nilsen Cruise Director Handre Potgieter Guest entertainers Neal Austin (magician-comedian), Stevie Jo (comedian) and Paul Emmanuel (singer) Executive Chef Andreas Lang This was my third SB cruise (I had ... Read More
Captain Geirg Arne Thue Nilsen Cruise Director Handre Potgieter Guest entertainers Neal Austin (magician-comedian), Stevie Jo (comedian) and Paul Emmanuel (singer) Executive Chef Andreas Lang This was my third SB cruise (I had two prior, BTB, on the Odyssey in September 2015) and DH’s first. We have only done about a dozen cruises, mostly on luxury lines, so the review below compares this cruise with our prior composite and limited experiences. Overall we were both pleased with our experiences on the Quest in this cool, mostly gray, green, and white hauntingly beautiful part of the world. However, there is some room for improvement in food and service on the Quest (especially food). We rate it a 4.3 overall on a scale of 1 to 5, (and thus round down to 4 on the overall scale). EMBARKATION: very smooth and easy, no waiting, friendly welcoming personnel in Copenhagen, to whom we surrendered our larger bags. Arrived shortly after 12 PM and then went to a a welcoming buffet at the Colonnade indoor/outdoor dining venue. Sat outside with a view of the harbor in comfortable chairs, ordered our drinks, and by the time we came back from the buffet with our first plates, the drinks were there. At 2PM overhead notice informed us that suites were ready. All our luggage was in the suite and the mini-bar was accurately stocked with what we had pre-ordered. I had also pre-ordered a foam topper for the mattress (confirmed 3 times in advance), anticipating the bed would be too hard, like it was on the Odyssey. It was not there initially, but was put on that evening. It was only a 1-inch thick irregular foam piece, so it was good that the mattress was not as hard as it was on the Odyssey or it would not have been enough cushion, and more negotiations would have been required. Our stewardess “Danielle" was welcoming and efficient without being falsely friendly. She took notes regarding our basic requests for the journey and consistently honored them. GENERAL ATMOSPHERE : Relaxing overall. The ship was well-maintained and very clean, nothing was broken, though a lot of the furniture, just like on the Odyssey, although stylish, is uncomfortable for me (stiff main entertainment lounge/Grand Salon chairs, and mostly stiff observation lounge and MDR chairs). Overall, with some exceptions, there was an unhurried atmosphere. There were no to few lines the entire cruise, other than occasional short lines at the buffets or for tenders. Sometimes the Colonnade and MDR had slower than ideal table service at peak hours, and table availability at peak hours was sometimes scarce, with matching service problems, but generally we were not negatively conditioned to anticipate space stress in the overall spacious public venues. Passengers were generally pleasant and well-mannered, with a few notable and crude exceptions (e.g., there were some pushy, inconsiderate and domineering people, e.g., with intrusive selfie sticks, and/or who either repeatedly inserted themselves into the front disability seats on the excursions buses though they were very clearly not disabled, or who otherwise made a point of asserting their alpha-importance and “control" as much as possible, in loud voices) . The nationality breakdown on the distributed guest list reported 243 Americans, 55 from UK, 55 from Australia, 13 from Belgium, 8 from Canada, and other nationalities were in single digits. Average age seemed to be in the early 60’s, give or take a few years depending on plastic surgery status, almost no children. Pax were mostly well-off do-everything-together couples, or couples traveling with other couples, and a couple families. Most pax were reasonably mobile, though given our ages, it was not surprising that many casually complained about assorted health issue trials and tribulations and discomforts, while others appeared to cope with their apparent health demons in silence. It was hard to spot a solo traveler (which is not surprising as SB pricing is not solo-friendly), but there appeared to be a few. DRESS CODE: Pax usually followed the designated dress codes (usually “elegant casual”, though there were a couple “formal” nights with jacket required on which most pax wore suits and ties rather than tuxedos). There were some rare pax who occasionally showed up in ugly baggy blue jeans, workout fleece sweatshirts, thick down vests, thongs, T-shirts with writing, or a backwards baseball hat at the “elegant casual” dinners. FOOD AND BEVERAGE: Food opinions are subjective, of course, but overall we found the food on this cruise good though not outstanding, and definitely good enough to do a SB cruise again, though the food and included wines were not as good as on my Odyssey BTB last September. I would not sail again on this ship primarily for the food experience. The food quality and variety also did not come close to the food on Hapag Lloyd’s Europa 2 a few months ago (see my separate review on that, Cape Town to Cape Town). Every night dinner personnel tried to push an included sauvignon blanc or equivalent as the white of the day, not our favorites, but we knew enough to decline and were able to find both white and red included acceptable wines that were usually drinkable though not particularly interesting. There was also a decently priced special order wine list, though sometimes there were significant delays and confusion in securing our non-included choices. I did not see many pax ordering for-pay wines at dinners. Included champagne was Nicholas Feuillatte brut reserve. We ate at The Grill restaurant the first night where they served the new highly touted Thomas Keller (TK) menu, included in the fare. It was fine, but nothing spectacular. First came celery sticks with radishes and cucumber pieces and green goddess dressing, all fresh but not unique celestial, we can get these at home. Our baby asparagus appetizer with hollandaise sauce was next, delicate and subtle, fine. Our rack of lamb for two, with creamy mashed potatoes, was large and very fatty and was ok for us, but a couple Brits we met did not care for it and referred to it distastefully as “mutton”. Loud and annoying music pulsated overhead, apparently to create a 50’s and 60’s cool diner vibe and atmosphere (we asked to turn it down, and they did, a little). I had no desire to return. I regretted that the delightful and unique old R2 small-plates-with-pairings restaurant has been discontinued. The food in the MDR was usually prettily plated, but not spectacular in taste, and there were very limited choices with variable quality. All the fish dishes except for the excellent tender salmon options tasted mostly the same to me from day to day, bland, watery and salty (though I like salt). A few nights the MDR had a TK menu insert option for appetizer, main and dessert. The caviar special on the TK menu was not to my liking at all, bland, and the TK appetizer with firm spinach gnocchi and a soft-boiled egg on top with a cheese sauce and a strip of bacon did not do much for me either, nor did the TK watery chocolate dessert. However, the Siberian caviar served on sail-away one evening was terrific, though tightly rationed as people obediently lined up to get their little bites. Sometimes there were odd ingredient combinations, e.g., lemon and thyme mousse for dessert, that just did not work for us. I had a very good cauliflower potage a couple times, and generally the cream soups offered were all good, though usually served lukewarm. There were also TK offerings on a few nights in the Colonnade, by reservation only, with only one entree offering per night, e.g., fried chicken or clam bake. People we met during the cruise who had done the “family style” TK in the Colonnade one night complained that the amount of salad offered for six people was woefully small, and required great efforts by pax and waiter to expand portions. Our own experience in the Colonnade at the “Ad Hoc” TK event was ok though underwhelming: a giant “gem lettuce salad" with slow baked beets, radish, fried capers, and chopped egg was presented in one bowl family style to six people, but with only a couple tablespoons of the green goddess dressing in two separate containers (requests to replentish the dressing in adequate amounts were not totally successful). Main course was tender “hickory smoked BBQ ribs” with braised greens, baked beans, corn pone, and whipped honey butter; then came “cabot clothbound cheddar” with maldon flat bread and blue apron ale mustard; and dessert was “potted cheesecake” with poached blueberries and vanilla chantilly. All this basic "comfort food" was good though I’m not sure it was worth all the fuss. Servers wore jeans, and poured generic white or red wine into stemless glasses. With some difficulty, we ordered off the wine list to get something that could stand up to the ribs. Hip music blared over our heads, and the friendly though a little confused personnel were unable or unwilling to do anything about the sunlight that started glaring in from the window and baking us. We like trying a little bit of many things, so our favorite venue was the Colonnade, on non-TK nights, and for lunch. There was a different theme in the Colonnade each day, e.g., French, German, Japanese, Tuscan Market, pasta, etc. , mostly decent, except for “Baltic” day where waiters greeted us with the mantra “Welcome to Russia” and wore fake fur Russian-style hats, some with a Soviet red star, one hat was hot pink, another zebra-colored. The hats were as silly as the imitation and failed “Russian" food offerings (which did not include caviar), including the lukewarm borscht and non-Kiev "chicken Kiev". Japanese night offerings in the Colonnade were the most disappointing (though we are picky as we live in a neighborhood resplendent with terrific Japanese cuisine). Miso soup tasted like plain beef broth, the tempura on the lobster “tempura” appetizer resembled the coating used on KFC extra-crispy chicken placed on rubbery lobster, beef teriyaki was just a slab of beef with soy sauce, and the grilled shrimp in red sauce were like those in a reheated mail-order frozen dinner. Breakfast buffet was o.k. for filling the stomachs of people with usual American tastes, nothing special was offered on the basic uninteresting breads, cheeses (2), or meats (3), and 1 fish (smoked salmon) that were offered, but there was Greek yoghurt and there were made-to-order options for table service basic omelettes, pancakes and waffles. The eggs benedict were forgettable (they were much better on the Odyssey). I also had lunch in the MDR once (open for an hour each day every day this cruise) which was very relaxing, with mostly attentive service once they noticed me (seafood chowder, juicy Swedish meatballs, strawberry Napoleon), compared with the always hectic and at times somewhat understaffed prime-time Colonnade. We tried the TK “Napa Burger” at the Patio Grill, which was very juicy, with quality meat, properly cooked, good fries to go with it, great service. I am not sure why the room service burgers are not also “Napa Burger” quality. Room service offerings were basic and arrived on time and as expected (caesar salad, grilled NY cut sirloin, club sandwich, hamburgers, creamy tomato soup, etc). Breakfast and SB Square pastries and breads in general on board were so-so (other than on the few days when French baguettes were baked for dinner ) as was the very light ice cream, which was nothing like the daily to-die-for Italian ice cream specials with whipped cream options on the Europa 2. Snacks and coffees at Seabourn Square varied in quality, e.g., not uncommonly the espresso drinks were given to me lukewarm, though always with a friendly smile, and I definitely appreciated having these between-meal options available. I was happy to see that the calm Observation Bar also starts offering self-serve coffee (variable quality), tea bags, OJ and little pre-made breakfast pastries at 6:15, for those of us who do not wish to communicate with humans until we have been caffeinated. Observation bar snacks we tried before dinner twice were meager and uninteresting, e.g., little chunks of cheese in oil, pieces of ham, nuts, so we did not go back for them. Tea choices at tea-time were limited to about a dozen (compared with >30 mostly loose-leaf on the Europa 2), regular coffee was generally drinkable though often weak. Sweets at tea-time were generally on the dry side, sandwiches were plain, scones with clotted cream and jam were ok. I had several very good Irish coffees prepared for me in various venues. SERVICE The best way to describe SB service is that it is generally efficient and unobtrusive, and I did not often find myself getting annoyed with service deficiencies (exceptions noted). The stewardesses and eating venues personnel seemed generally well-trained, well-organized and attentive without being intrusive, and did not appear exhausted, except at peak hours when they sometimes struggled to keep up with wine refills and plate clearings, and typically did not check if we liked our entrees or had issues with the food until it was time for dessert, i.e., when too late, as they just did not have time. We had no difficulty communicating in English with the mostly hard-working and responsive primarily European and South American front-line personnel in the various venues (many from eastern Europe). The “do not disturb” sign on the cabin door was always respected (unlike some experiences we had on Silver Sea). My experiences in the bars when I went to imbibe by myself a few times were unfortunately not optimal, e.g., I watched one bartender (apparently beloved by others, so YMMV) rush together my Cosmo drink so quickly that it was not at all cold when served and was underdosed on the eye-balled alcohol. When he served DH and me in the Colonnade, he acted equally rushed and careless with our wines. In the Observation Lounge I was kept waiting for my drink for over 15 minutes one afternoon before dinner, and when I finally asked about it the confused waiter briefly left, came back and then smiled, stating “it is ready now”, when it was clear they had not even started on it, instead of saying they had just forgotten and apologizing. On another day, during afternoon tea, it was also a bit of a battle for my good-natured but persistent dining companion from the UK to receive his desired scones. It also appeared that it would have been useful to be a “regular” known to, and on first name basis with, the bartenders and some service personnel, but this is the case on all luxury lines which deal with frequent cruisers, as opposed to newbies. Fresh fruit was initially brought to our room daily, though we did not ask for it, and for a while it continued to come in large quantities even when we told personnel we did not need anymore bananas or apples. A couple we met, however, reported they were struggling to get fruit. Laundry and dry cleaning services are available on board ($50 per stuffed laundry bag, 2 day service, 50% uncharge for same-day service on items), nothing was permanently lost or transformed into a child’s size. There is also a launderette for self-serve we did not use, and a clothes-line is available over the tub for drying your own items. I asked to always have six bath towels and four wash rags in the bathroom, without need to change them daily, and they were always reliably there, no fuss. SB Square personnel appeared competent and helpful and professional, no complaints, but we also did not have any major issues to resolve. SPA, EXERCISE AREA, AND POOLS: as is all the rage on ships, loud and pulsating music was playing not just in the exercise area, but also in the manicure/pedicure/hair care area, which was not very relaxing. One lady working there was clearly very unhappy with her position and looking forward to leaving, but still did a very good job on the service I asked for. DH enjoyed his massages, but not the hard-sell on products (e.g., $179 for 10 packages of bath salts). DH also repeatedly enjoyed the relatively private hot tub in the bow on deck 6 (which was actually HOT, unlike on the Europa 2, where it was deliberately kept just luke-warm below body temperature), which appeared to be oddly popular with doctor cruisers on board (one night he met a radiologist in the tub, the next an ophthalmologist, the third an oncologist, the fourth a cardiologist, and I know there was a dermatologist on board too though she did not make it to the tub to meet DH). There were also four other hot tubs (two in the very public area near the main pool, and two more near the smaller pool on Deck 5 aft outside the Club lounge). The pool was nicely heated but not used much, presumably because this cruise the weather was cool. Music at the pool area was subdued and unintrusive. I toured the “serene” area of the spa area but did not find the rock hard loungers at all serene for my sore muscles, so I did not use it. DH used the fitness center, it was fine, usually uncrowded, with an ocean view. ENTERTAINMENT: Generally overall not to my taste this cruise. There was no classical music featured on any night. There was a British comedian-magician named Neal Austin who fancied himself to be comedically outrageous, but whom I did not find amusing, nor did I find the British comedian Stevie Jo generally amusing (though I admit I chuckled a few times). Most other nights offered assorted forgettable pop and crooner music by SB singers who attempted to sing Elton John, Billy Joel and Stevie Wonder songs but somehow could not convey the correct emotions with their voices and styles. Their best performance was “Crossroads”, a blend of country and rock/pop. There were, however, plenty of “lounge lizard” musical offerings in the lounges, per usual on luxury cruise lines that cater to older people. Silver Sea, Regent, and Crystal had better main stage entertainment for our tastes, in our limited experience, and the Europa 2 absolutely did. In-room TV satellite service was unavailable much of the cruise as we were in the fjords with limited reception, which helped enforce the escapist nature of cruising. There were dozens of free in-room movies, however, with something for everyone, unless one desired something adult or X rated which we did not. The one TV in our basic suite was unfortunately very small, and in the middle of the room, presumably so you could see it from both the bed and the rock-hard sofa, but the view was always just from the side. There were also other activities, e.g., trivia, and a cooking demo, which we did not attend. A bridge tour was offered for free, but DH got there 2 minutes after departure time so he missed it. There were a couple “shopping with the chef” days posted in the Herald, but we did not attend. A galley tour was offered for free, we missed it. There were a couple uninspired lectures, e.g., about Norway scenery and birds and about the excursion basics, also available on the room TVs, but I am not sure that paying the guest lecturers for free cruises (with their partners) can be justified for what little they did here. One evening at 6PM there was a “meet your neighbors in the hall” event (we stayed in our suite, I was taking an enjoyable bubble bath using the ship’s very nice Molton Brown products ) and on the rainy day morning sail-in at Bergen, there was a “come in your bathrobe to the bow of deck 6 for mimosas and coffee" (I came for the coffee, in a warm down coat, only 1 person was there in a robe). In Eidfjord some cute Norwegian folk dancers also came on board wearing their $4000 folk dress costumes to dance and play fiddle and accordion for about 45 minutes and talk about Norwegian music history, this was interesting, followed by gravlax and caviar in the Bar. We had brought plenty of kindle/ipad books and had no problem finding things to do in between ports. INTERNET ship wifi was usually slow, sometimes non-existent, as is the case on all cruise lines I have been on, neither worse nor better, but generally was good enough to at least sometimes check messages, on-line newspapers, and work issues back home, and was faster during times when people were either asleep or in port on excursions and less people were trying to get on the ship’s wifi. We opted for the unlimited plan for $399 for the 12 days of the cruise to avoid the stress of sensing the clock ticking and price rising while on-line with a slow connection, but only one person in the suite could be on at a time. PORTS AND EXCURSIONS Weather was variable on this cruise and involved a lot of rain. Anyone coming to Scandinavia should anticipate at least some rain, if not a lot of it, and the excursions will thus not all look like on postcards you see. But even with rainy weather, excursions were enjoyable. We spent 4 nights pre-cruise in sunny Copenhagen at the Marriott Copenhagen (one of two SB’s choice hotels) and easily could have spent more to see this lovely city. The Marriott (executive floor) is not perfect but was adequate, comfortable. Highly recommended off the beaten path things to do beyond the usual obvious city tour sites you cannot miss with Hop-On and Hop-off buses, or a basic private tour which we did, are the Hirschsprung Museum (private collection of striking, mostly dark, brooding 18th century Danish art with an excellent self-audioguide); the Louisiana Museum of art outside Copenhagen (modern, beautiful oceanside venue with sculpture gardens and with an excellent view smorgasbord area); and Fredericksburg castle (many old portraits and tapestries). On the funky Christianshaven island part of Copenhagen, we had a special meal at the "56-degrees" restaurant (fixed menu with wine pairings, beautiful outdoor dining venue and service, it was an easy cab ride from the Marriott). We also toured the Carlsberg Brewery which has a giant beer bottle collection, and a collection of historic buildings. We did a lot of SB-organized excursions, despite high cost, to save organizational stresses and time figuring out what to do in places we have never been. I received 10% off the excursions as a SB “silver.” Excursions with SB were primarily on generally comfortable and clean buses with reclining seats and WC, usually limited to about 26 people per bus (only one half-day excursion had 36 pax in the bus). We noted the usual reluctance of European bus drivers to run AC or open doors and windows to allow air to circulate while waiting to depart. Guide quality varied, and surprisingly many were not Norwegian-born (we had Spanish, Italian, and American ex-pats on various tours). ALBORG, Denmark — we did the SB excursion "Back to the Vikings", on which we saw a Viking grave site and museum (Lindholm), learned about the various slaves Vikings had, and sampled little Viking snacks including ham, pork rinds, excellent herring sampler (I could have made a meal of it), and local honey on bread. 4/5 stars for the tour. FLAM — this was a tender port for us (Tenders on the Quest are loud and have uncomfortable seating, compared with the Odyssey). We did the early morning Flam Railway — comfortable train chairs, WC on board; we stopped at a waterfall (Kjosfossen) half-way up and while in a big crowd of people, watched a young lady “troll” (who looked like a bored teen with a summer job) sing and dance. Then we headed higher up and had sugary cake and coffee at the historic inn at the top (Vatnahalsen Mountain Hotel), with a little extra time to walk around. In crowded Flam itself back at the bottom one could buy various street vendor sausages (elk, whale, goat, etc.). or dine in one of the tourist restaurants. 4/5 stars for the excursion. ALESUND, Norway — "The Islands of Giske and Godoy" excursion. We saw many bridges and tunnels that are engineering marvels. Best part was the Giske church and cemetery from 1150, which the dark, overcast day highlighted well. We had a sugary pancake and cream cake with coffee at the under-renovation lighthouse near Alnes, (no forks) and unfortunately also endured the company of some aggressive fellow-cruisers who demanded to buy “one of each” of the available cakes (which required purchase of the entire cakes) because they did not like what was served for the SB group. However, after insisting on buying the entire cakes, they then haggled with the hapless waitress about $1.50 extra on the final price tag,loudly insisting they should get more than “crumbs” for their high cost. 3/5 stars for the tour overall, (4/5 for the scenery and sites, 2/5 for the excursion guide who spoke so slooowly that she put people to sleep, 1/5 for the fellow cruisers for embarrassing behavior). There are clearly both advantages and disadvantages to being thrust together with strangers on cruise excursions. MOLDE, Norway — "The Atlantic Ocean Road and Haholmen Island” excursion. Excellent 5/5 half-day tour of local islands and archipelago, made better by great weather to accompany our “Viking ship” open air trip to Goat Island (Geitoya), which had a replica of the famous Saga Siglar environmental-message ship. We saw a movie about the ship’s construction and eco-sailings, (and its demise at sea), then had a 2 cubic-inch piece of very sweet cake and coffee (again, oddly no forks), returned around 1:30PM to the Quest, which was late for lunch so one has to plan ahead if one gets hungry easily, as the Colonnade closes for lunch at 2 and personnel there always make a point of clearing away the buffets right on time. GEIRANGER, Norway — "The Best of Geirangerfjord", 8.5 hours. This was a long bus trip over twisty mountain roads, with classic hairpin turns, to assorted scenic vistas, some quite high up above the timber zone (bring a warm jacket and hat). +WC on the bus. Lunch around 12:30 was at a very nice upscale tourist hotel where everyone en-masse was served lukewarm but flavorful cream of white asparagus soup, cod in a cream sauce, and low-fat vanilla ice cream with generic chocolate sauce, then stroll time, over the course of 1 hour and 20 minutes. The day culminated in a scenic 3-language one-hour ferry ride back to Geirangen, with many waterfalls and scenes of old abandoned cliffside farms where one could sit on the open deck or indoors in comfortable chairs. 4/5 tour. MOLDE, Norway — DH did the SB sponsored “Hike to Briksdal Glacier” (rated 3 little men in strenuousness on a scale of 1 to 3) which he enjoyed, 5/5 quality, while I vegged out in town and for 20 Euros rode for 1 hour and 10 minutes around the lake on the tame “Olden Sightseeing” Disneyland-like little train car that waited outside the quay soliciting customers (the people recruiting for the ride will inevitably tell you it is leaving in “a couple minutes”, even though it may not leave for a half hour, depending on how full it is). BERGEN, Norway — we did not do any excursions on this mostly rainy Sunday, just walked this charming town on our own past the colorful fresh fish market (which had a variety of fresh crabs, fish, paella, fish and chips, as well as more whale and goat smoked sausage) and past the old fire-prone downtown buildings, then up to the university district where we had a pleasant light lunch of grilled tender fresh Norwegian salmon with cucumber and young potatoes with yoghurt sauce at a comfortable outdoor but covered centrally located casual restaurant called Loge Haven, where we listened to a street band play international tunes, and people-watched. We also spent a lot of time in the Konde 3 museum which has a good-sized provocative Monch collection, with a very interesting short guided tour (in English at 12 PM and 2PM). Did not have time to make it to the unusual leprosy museum we’d read about, or the museum about the Norwegian resistance v. Germans in WW2, or any of the other many museums you can immerse yourself in here. SB offered a hiking trip (in the rain) as well as an excursion up the funicular, which you could also do on your own, though there were not many views available with the cloudy weather. Eidfjord, Norway — “Scenic Fossil and Voringsfoss Waterall” excursion, 3 hours. 3/5 overall. This involved a short ride to a major local dam, then to a hotel where we had coffee and more uninspiring Norwegian sugary cake at the old family hotel that is right above a magnificent and powerful very inspiring waterfall, then back to the ship. Construction is going on right now, so that in the future one will be able to walk over the waterfall on a glass floor. Stavanger, Norway — “Old and new Stavanger” excursion took us around the town in a bus and to an interesting open air exhibit of pre-Viking Iron Age life, then on to the fascinating Petroleum Museum where you could easily spend several hours on the exhibits and simulated oil drilling platforms, great for kids and techies. We then had a short guided walk through old Stavanger where one can also easily walk around oneself and tour cute shops and restaurants not far from the ship. 4/5 tour. IN SUMMARY, we enjoyed the cruise, the itinerary, and generally very good SB service, but were just a bit disappointed in the uninspired food offerings. But we realize no cruise is perfect, and were impressed enough that we will be keeping our SB Quest cruise booking in the spring of 2017, hoping food quality improves. We have posted some pictures of the cruise and the ports in this wonderful area. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Beautiful ship, a work of Art. Excellent food and breathtaking scenery with wonderful excursions at each port. We managed to get a cancellation and our stateroom was marvellous. All the public areas of the ship are beautiful. The service ... Read More
Beautiful ship, a work of Art. Excellent food and breathtaking scenery with wonderful excursions at each port. We managed to get a cancellation and our stateroom was marvellous. All the public areas of the ship are beautiful. The service from the wonderfully friendly staff could not be faulted. The dining options were varied and we enjoyed the speciality restaurants although our preference was to eat on deck informally as the weather was excellent and the views were the best you could get. The entertainment was a bit too American although we enjoyed the Beatles, ABBA and Rat pack nights. Similarly the enrichment lectures were really only of interest to Americans as it was difficult to see the relevance of lectures about Ronald Reagan. The talks on the destinations and culture and history were informative. All in all an excellent cruise which could not really be faulted. We will definitely book another Viking cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
I chose this cruise so I could get a balcony on a smaller ship that sails up the fjords of Norway. This was the best cruise experience I have ever had, and I have been on quite a few cruises. The standard room is so large! balcony, ... Read More
I chose this cruise so I could get a balcony on a smaller ship that sails up the fjords of Norway. This was the best cruise experience I have ever had, and I have been on quite a few cruises. The standard room is so large! balcony, living area, large very comfortable bed, very large walk in closet, hallway and very large bath with separate tub and walk in shower and two sinks in the vanity. I have never been so comfortable on a ship. I thought having a butler was silly. But she and the housekeeper did so much for us. All of our luggage was lost and they worked to take care of laundry, tailoring for clothes we bought, and made sure we were always comfortable. After terrible flight problems and delays and lost luggage they were a welcome service. The Receptionist staff (cursor?), led by Priscilla worked tirelessly until they got British Airways to find and deliver our luggage. Priscilla personally called BA twice a day and tortured them in to resolving this. My husband's luggage was shipped to bergen our second port. Mine was supposedly shipped to Christiansund, our second port, but BA really shipped it to Christiansand, not a port of ours, and finally flew it into Flam where I got it one day before we finished. What wonderful great people. On top of that the wonderful food, excellent excursions, incredibly kind, efficient and friendly staff at all levels, fun entertainment and beautiful facilities. The free alcohol and drinks are completely on the up and up. This ship was never stingy once. I would gladly cruise with Silverseas anywhere. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
My first cruise, my wife has been on several but I have always been dubious of marketing hype so this skeptic took a bit of convincing, glad I did, I looked online for a variety of options and the mass market sailings almost put me off ... Read More
My first cruise, my wife has been on several but I have always been dubious of marketing hype so this skeptic took a bit of convincing, glad I did, I looked online for a variety of options and the mass market sailings almost put me off until I found Silver Sea, quality from start to finish, We went to Norway and the weather was fantastic circa 29*c and sunny so I accept we were very lucky, however I can only comment on what I found, the service was outstanding, everything was of the best quality, I cannot find fault anywhere, we normally safari in Africa and the expense of this trip was on a par with that so for our main holiday it was not excessive, the clientele was mainly 50 plus, very few children or teenagers and the ones that were there were well mannered and behaved, if you want a robust experience this is probably a bit sedate but it worked for me. Difficult to pick out any feature that was in any way negative the attention to detail and the staff was as good as it gets. Reading my report makes me look like the best employee Silver Sea has ever had but I can assure you there is no connection and I am no sycophant, if anything I am hyper critical. Lets just say, for our next cruise I wont bother "trawling" the web, it will be Silver Sea, no doubts, no worries. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
The cruise commenced in Kiel, and, given the absence of direct flights from London, I decided to spend two days in Hamburg prior to embarkation. Arrangements for Hotel accommodation, and all transfers, were made through Hapag-Lloyd. ... Read More
The cruise commenced in Kiel, and, given the absence of direct flights from London, I decided to spend two days in Hamburg prior to embarkation. Arrangements for Hotel accommodation, and all transfers, were made through Hapag-Lloyd. Two days before I was due to fly to Hamburg, the Four Seasons Hotel notified Hapag-Lloyd that it was overbooked. The latter's response was to book me into the Atlantic Kempinski Hotel, refund me the cost of the Four Seasons, and pay for the Atlantic Kempinski. Excellent customer service! All transfers were via Blacklane Limousines, and were excellent. For the past three years the Europa 2 has been my cruise ship of choice, and many of the things that have made it so remain unchanged and excellent. However, during the back to back cruises this year, there were noticeable signs of a shortfall in Europa 2's usual high standards which were mainly evident in the Weltmeere main restaurant. There was insufficient wait staff even to service a markedly less than full restaurant. The Maitre d', the assistant Maitre d', and on one evening even the Sommelier were delivering and/or serving food. The cumulative effect on the wait staff over the course of the cruises was that they looked absolutely exhausted but still managed to provide excellent and cheerful service. One hopes that Hapag-Lloyd will take steps to rectify the situation, thus ensuring that there is not a rapid loss of competent, hard working, and cheerful staff. Added to the staffing situation in the Weltmeere there were intermittent problems in the Kitchen which resulted in items being served undercooked, or barely warm. However, overall, the quality, and variety of the food in the Weltmeere was excellent. On one evening I enquired if they had any Norwegian cheeses, and in due course I was served with a plate containing a beautifully presented selection of five different cheeses. I dined twice in both the Tarragon, and Serenissima restaurants, and the food, and service, in each was first class. For July, the weather during this cruise was disappointing, being generally overcast with temperatures ranging between 12 degrees C- 18 degrees C. Despite this, the scenery was magnificent, and on more than one occasion we were the only ship in port--- even in Flam, which on my previous visits has resembled a gigantic rugby scrum. The ship being too large to enter the Troll Fjord, zodiacs were used to enter the fjord where one was met by further zodiacs containing staff serving champagne. All in all, my cruise on the Europa 2 was very enjoyable, and despite the noted shortcomings, it still remains my cruise ship of choice. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
After three days in London we transferred to Harwich Port to the new Viking Sea. Embarkation was flawless and quick, we boarded and found our stateroom to be excellent. The ship is all veranda staterooms, the bathroom floor and mirrors ... Read More
After three days in London we transferred to Harwich Port to the new Viking Sea. Embarkation was flawless and quick, we boarded and found our stateroom to be excellent. The ship is all veranda staterooms, the bathroom floor and mirrors are heated. Plenty of drawer, shelf and hanging space for two weeks. We required extra hangers which were provided in a flash. Wine and beer are provided with all meals, so we opted out of the "Silver Spirits package" and bought an occasional cocktail. Meals were excellent, open seating in the main self service dining area, reservations recommended for the Restaurant, plus two specialty restaurants with limited reservations depending on your stateroom class. The menu in the Restaurant was usually reflected in the self service dining as well as multiple extra choices. Local selections from whatever port we were in were featured, which meant great seafood, duck, lamb, beef...... On-board lectures covering Viking and Norse history and architecture as well as Scotland and The Isle of Mann were additions to the Port talks for every port. Multiple shows performed by the excellent cast were very entertaining. Each port has an included tour as well as multiple specialty extra cost tours. Frequently the entertainers join with some crew personnel on the tours, giving us insight into the very friendly relationship between crew and passengers and even the owners. The Captain was everywhere and very open and personable, frequently joining random tables to share a meal. The itinerary was well planned and of course the scenery was spectacular. Especially the side, unscheduled trip into the Trollfjord, only 30 meters clearance on each side, then a turnaround. All in all an excellent experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Everything was exceptional. The food selection was excellent and the presentation was as you would get in the finest restaurant. Accommodations very comfortable and the many enrichments lectures were a fantastic bonus. The public rooms ... Read More
Everything was exceptional. The food selection was excellent and the presentation was as you would get in the finest restaurant. Accommodations very comfortable and the many enrichments lectures were a fantastic bonus. The public rooms were quite nice, the entertainment way above what you would expect in a ship of this size, and the spa was fantastic. The cruise to the North Cape was gorgeous and we loved being able to see scenery most of the way. We added the pre-cruise package the Iceland and the post-cruise to Oslo, and so glad we did. We were apprehensive at first about the midnight sun, but what a bonus to have eight days with the son not setting. Also, we were pleasantly surprised that the weather north of the Arctic typically does not get too cold, due to the trade winds, and didn't need all the heavy jackets we brought. Can't wait to go on another Viking Ocean cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We choose this cruise because of the itinerary, the midnight sun and the baltics (Two cruises were combined into one). We were not disappointed. Scotland and Norway (the first half of our cruise) were natural wonders. Beautiful scenery ... Read More
We choose this cruise because of the itinerary, the midnight sun and the baltics (Two cruises were combined into one). We were not disappointed. Scotland and Norway (the first half of our cruise) were natural wonders. Beautiful scenery and photography. The second half (the baltics) was more citified but also wonderful. The food on the Viking Sea was first rate. The restaurant has dedicated staff to serve you and the food was varied but the seafood deserves special mention. It was top notch. Manfredi's again delivered great service and great food. Waiters always greeted you with a smile and remembered your special requests. The ship is beautiful, with spaces where you could get away if you wanted to or mingle with other guests. The common areas are light and airy and easy to relax in. Lectures were informational on many different topics of interest. Entertainment was varied from great shows, to more intimate venues where music and song were performed in the atrium. Our cabin was lovely and our cabin stewardess was one of the best we have ever had. Looked out for us like family and always had a smile. The ports were varied, the excursions good but somewhat large in size especially the included tours. Optional tours were somewhat smaller and mostly good. There were a wide range of interest in the tours from hiking, to kayaking, to visiting monuments to bus tours. From active to sedate. The gym was great, the pools relaxing, There was something for almost every taste especially their gelato (a perfect 10). A few hiccups here and there but overall wonderful Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Heard about Viking starting Ocean cruising when on a Viking River Cruise 2 years earlier and thought we'd try it. The embarkation went very smoothly as we were taken from Heathrow to Harwich by taxi with another couple. The Viking ... Read More
Heard about Viking starting Ocean cruising when on a Viking River Cruise 2 years earlier and thought we'd try it. The embarkation went very smoothly as we were taken from Heathrow to Harwich by taxi with another couple. The Viking Sea was brand new and had state-of-the-art technology. Cabins were roomy as were the bathrooms which had underfloor heating. The food was excellent and so was the entertainment. Staff were extremely friendly and learned our names by heart very quickly. Best thing was that we didn't have to spend a penny extra as everything was included and, as we don't drink much alchohol, the included wine and soft drinks at mealtimes was sufficient. The included shore excursions were excellent. We were most impressed by the sliding roof over the main pool area and by the many seating areas and lounges on board. We would like to go on one of these new Viking ships again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We chose a month-long cruise that focused on the Norwegian fjords and the Baltic -- it was a combination itinerary that satisfied my desire to cruise the fjords and my husband's to visit the ports of the Baltic. It was the Viking ... Read More
We chose a month-long cruise that focused on the Norwegian fjords and the Baltic -- it was a combination itinerary that satisfied my desire to cruise the fjords and my husband's to visit the ports of the Baltic. It was the Viking Sea's second voyage -- and it was fantastic. The ship was beautiful; the crew were friendly and helpful; the shore sightseeing options were plentiful and the staff very helpful in making arrangements. Every stateroom had a balcony, and the ship had many quiet, lovely places to sit and read or gather with friends for a friendly game of cards or Scrabble. We loved the quiet, serene atmosphere. The food was excellent, with a choice of two specialty restaurants, a Scandinavian deli, a cafeteria and a casual pool deck grill in addition to the main restaurant. The menu changed depending on where we were with local food highlighted at every port. The entertainment was fine -- a classical trio, a pianist, a guitar player and a small band of singer/dancers handled most of the shows, but special artists were brought on as well. There were interesting lectures and good port talks to get you ready for your next adventure. The on-board spa was wonderful, and we both got good haircuts at the beauty salon. From beginning to end we felt like royalty -- and Viking provided the smoothest embarkation and debarkation experience we have every had on a cruise. We cannot prais them highly enough. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was a great cruise. The ship is a masterpiece of mid-century modern Scandinavian design. The food was excellent throughout the ship and there was never a crush for service. The excursions were were well organized and the staff were ... Read More
This was a great cruise. The ship is a masterpiece of mid-century modern Scandinavian design. The food was excellent throughout the ship and there was never a crush for service. The excursions were were well organized and the staff were both pleasant and helpful. From our first hour on the ship we were impressed by the thought that had gone into its design and execution. Starting with the original art on the walls and continuing through the decor in all the public spaces, everything was beautifully coordinated. We chose this cruise for the chance to travel the whole coast of Norway on an upscale cruise ship and were not disappointed. The scenery was eye opening from the forested fjords do the south to the barren islands near the North Cape. The opportunity to take several bus rides into the interior to experience the mountain roads, waterfalls, valley overlooks and glaciers was also added to the experience. We look forward to travelling on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We wanted a luxury cruise to that area. Having experienced Viking River cruises we know we could be assured of excellence in every respect. We were certainly not disappointed. It met every one of our expectations. Our Suite was large ... Read More
We wanted a luxury cruise to that area. Having experienced Viking River cruises we know we could be assured of excellence in every respect. We were certainly not disappointed. It met every one of our expectations. Our Suite was large and well equipped with every comfort. The public areas are elegant and very comfortable. The spa area is a delight and the variety of pools, saunas and snow-room excell. The restaurants meet every need from informal buffet to specialist restaurants. The Italiam restaurant was for us was an example of excellent cuisine with an enormous variety of choice. The buffet restaurant serves an outstanding sushi menu every evening with the food prepared as you select it. The wines served at all meals are complimentary, and although not outstanding are delightful easy drinking wines that you can drink with confidence. In short, this cruise was luxury from floor to ceiling wall to wall and suites to public areas. We have rebooked for 2017! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
I was told about this cruise by my brother who had previously been on several Viking cruises and enjoyed them for their food and service. It was a n opportunity to cruise with a company that had recently squired a new and interesting ... Read More
I was told about this cruise by my brother who had previously been on several Viking cruises and enjoyed them for their food and service. It was a n opportunity to cruise with a company that had recently squired a new and interesting ship. The ship was of the latest design and unique in many respects reflecting Scandinavian design and culture.Moreover this fit well with the itinerary of the cruise which took us to many of Norway's most interesting and beautiful ports. It was a grand way to see Norway as well as the Islands of northern Scotland. Everything about the cruise was well planned and executed. Port facilities and tours were excellent .Our room was spacious and neat with ample attention from the cabin crew. The dining facility s were first rate as was the cuisine . Reservations or lack thereof were never a problem and the variety was excellent.All in all one of the best cruises I have been on to date. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
I booked this cruise over a year ago, specifically for the itinerary and size of the ship, allowing access to smaller fjords. It was more than I usually spend, however, from all reviews, it would be well worth the extra cost. I am a ... Read More
I booked this cruise over a year ago, specifically for the itinerary and size of the ship, allowing access to smaller fjords. It was more than I usually spend, however, from all reviews, it would be well worth the extra cost. I am a single woman traveler, mid-60's and accustomed to traveling alone, I have always met like-minded travelers along the way and had great experiences. I have cruised 23 times and been on 8 river cruises. A disappointing start, when the captain announced an anticipated storm on the North Sea, and the ship would leave Copenhagen later and miss our first port. I later discovered that many passengers had delayed flight. I believe we could have left on time and been ahead of the storm, riding out the weather in our first port. As it turned out, we spent two days at sea in the storm and then missed our second port, three days at sea! No adjustment was made to the itinerary to try to compensate for the loss of two ports. This was a small ship, the ports were not busy, a smart operator would have made changes to the itinerary to pacify passengers. The ship lived up it it's reputation as to service and food, I was happy with the service from an excellent butler, Ivy, and her team. My cabin was considered a "suite", as Silver Seas is an "all suite" cruise line. The bathroom was large, double sinks, shower and separate tub. Furnishings were worn, bed very uncomfortable. The food was better than average, however, quite repetitive after the first five days and no consideration was taken for the amazing fresh fish and produce available in ports. No special "theme" nights as we sailed through spectacular scenery in the fjords. Room service was excellent, the dining room dinners were slow and repetitive. I ordered room service 3 nights, which was more relaxing than dragging through a slow pompous dinner with stuffy passengers who loved to expand upon their number of sailing days, how many homes they own, and their brilliant careers. Between the hours of 5:00 - 7:00 pm food was only available from room service, so if you returned from a shore excursion after 5 pm, there was no choice of where to eat. The entertainment was very limited, repetitive and not too rate. Geared more toward the over 70's crowd. The cruise director extremely corny. The port lecturer, a "geologist" gave a talk most mornings, his slides were 15 years old. He did not go up to the bridge and broadcast as we sailed through magnificent fjords, villages and various points of interest. The shore excursions were expensive, tour guides poor, tours too slow paced and uninteresting. I later discovered that the shore excursions manager had not visited the ports in advance. A group on board called "Captain's Circle" had exciting excursions and planned activities on board for their guests which were well organized and when the occasion needed, their itinerary would be changed. No attempt to make alternative arrangements was made by Silver Seas. On one tour, we were put into an open, wooden boat in belting rain and taken over and back to an island for coffee, cake and a movie?! Embarkation was a breeze, as passengers arrived at various time. Disembarkation was a disaster - lots of confusion, people on wrong buses, no help loading/unloading luggage. I was put on a bus to the airport at 9:00 am for a 2:20 pm flight! About 50% of the passengers were leaving the ship, I don't know how they would have managed if 100% were disembarking. My Silver Seas experience was an expensive disappointment. This is a cruise line catering to a very select, over 70's market. Don't know how much longer they will survive in today's market. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was our first Viking Ocean Cruise, a fifteen night journey on the Viking Sea from Bergen to Harwich taking in the Norwegian fiords, the North Cape, Shetland, Orkney and Edinburgh. We booked the holiday nineteen months ago before the ... Read More
This was our first Viking Ocean Cruise, a fifteen night journey on the Viking Sea from Bergen to Harwich taking in the Norwegian fiords, the North Cape, Shetland, Orkney and Edinburgh. We booked the holiday nineteen months ago before the keel of the ship had even been laid! Even then it was almost fully booked and we had to settle for a more expensive cabin than we had originally planned. The attraction for us was the itinerary and the chance to sail on what some reviewers had called one of the most elegant ships at sea. Our first impressions was of a a ship larger than we had anticipated for little more than 900 passengers, the reason being that there are no inside cabins and all of them have a balcony. The Viking Sea is the essence of cool Scandinavian design. We had not come across an infinity pool nor a spa with a snow room (with real snow) before. We also liked the decision to dispense with a library in favour of placing books on shelves and in alcoves of just about every public room All the public rooms are light and airy with beautiful furnishings and our cabin- though not exceptionally large - was well designed with a very comfortable bed, plenty of storage space and the best bathroom we have ever had at sea. (The heated floor was a particularly nice touch). There was open dining although reservations were required for the two speciality restaurants.The food was of a high standard at all the venues and the house wines were so good that we didn't feel it necessary to trawl the wine list. Our only advice to those using the main restaurant would be to avoid any tables close to the exits from the kitchen. As there are no "waiter stations" meals are brought out directly to diners - as in a conventional restaurant. The problem is that a few hundred diners eating five courses results in hundreds of movements out of the kitchens at every sitting. Watching this traffic does not make for a relaxing occasion!. The theatre entertainment that we sampled was good and the musicians that played throughout the day at various venues were very impressive. The majority of our fellow passengers were from the USA. We were told that Viking advertise extensively over there and all the Americans that we met seemed to have travelled on Viking river cruises and were now taking the opportunity to try out the new ocean going ships. There was no formal dress code and all passengers simply responded to the request for smart casual attire in the evenings. Embarkation, disembarkation and all tours went very smoothly as far as we were concerned but an apparent breakdown in communication over pre-booked tours caused disappointment and irritation to some passengers. The safety briefing wasn't particularly intensive and although there are arguments for dishing out life jackets at muster stations, we still prefer to have ours in our cabin! All the staff seemed to take great pride in their new ship and they could not have been more friendly and helpful. Everyone has their own ideas about what a ship should have but for us it was what the Viking Sea didn't have that impressed. No casino, no art auctions, no photographers popping up all over the place, no children, no pressure to buy expensive drinks or spa treatments and an absolute minimum of public announcements - all in English. It was not cheap but when we took in to consideration that all our excursions, mealtime drinks, speciality restaurant reservations, spa access and (for early bookers) gratuities were included, we considered the overall price to be value for money. This is the second of six identical ships being built for Viking and if there is another itinerary that we find attractive we would have no hesitation in travelling with them again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Friend of our have been on the Viking Star and recommended it. The Viking Sea is a sister ship to the Star, so having never been on the ship, we felt at home based on what our friends told us. The food was excellent and the dining venues ... Read More
Friend of our have been on the Viking Star and recommended it. The Viking Sea is a sister ship to the Star, so having never been on the ship, we felt at home based on what our friends told us. The food was excellent and the dining venues were diverse enough to be interesting. The ship was very clean and well maintained and our room steward was very helpful. The entire staff was courteous, however, there was one dining experience were the service was extremely poor. It was in their main dining room and when seated, we waited over 20 minutes for any kind of service. In defense of the floor captain, I think he was over whelmed. I hate to dwell on this one bad experience, because overall, everything was great. I have no reservations about recommending Viking to friends, family and anyone who will listen. This was our first Viking Ocean cruise and previously we had been on several river cruises, the Yangtze, Rhone, Rhine and Seine. All great trips. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We have been on many Viking River cruises and greatly enjoyed all of them, and we always wanted to see the Fjords, so this was a perfect fit. Embarkation and disembarkation went well, although the embarkation lines were very long, and ... Read More
We have been on many Viking River cruises and greatly enjoyed all of them, and we always wanted to see the Fjords, so this was a perfect fit. Embarkation and disembarkation went well, although the embarkation lines were very long, and we had to wait for our stateroom to be ready. The ship was new and beautiful, with many amenities. The cabin was very comfortable and had plenty of space and storage. The food was excellent, and we were able to order some things that we wanted that weren't actually on the menu. The entertainers were excellent, and the shows were varied. We didn't participate much in any other on-board activities. The service was fine - our porter was very pleasant and accommodating. The ports were interesting, and the views not only at the ports but especially during cruising were gorgeous. The only problem we had was being able to book the "included" shore excursions, which were mostly "sold out" by the time we tried to book them before the cruise. This involved much disappointment and confusion, but in the end they actually were able to include everything they originally had said they would, so it all worked out. We would not go again, as there are other places we have yet to experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
I have no complaints. It was all we expected. Well managed and fun. It was really great having Turstein, Karine and Finske aboard much of the cruise with us. Spoke with both Turstein and Karine. They are both gracious and great ... Read More
I have no complaints. It was all we expected. Well managed and fun. It was really great having Turstein, Karine and Finske aboard much of the cruise with us. Spoke with both Turstein and Karine. They are both gracious and great communicators. Even met the camera crew. Really enjoyed the crab safari. Would recommend this to anyone. Choices of dining were difficult to make because the food was fabulous in all venues especially the World Cafe and The Restaurant. No complaints on the service and everyone was helpful to my handicapped wife. We would love to go again, but the price is a little high, so we may have check other cruise lines. we met great people and the way the seating was, it was great for meeting the guests next to us. Loved Ferrell's presentations and we became friends with her and her husband Michael. Presentation on global warming and US security were also enlightening. They did not push their views, but presented facts so it was easy to draw our own conclusions. We saw all the entertainment and really enjoyed the Rat Pack. Heather, Constantine and Garrison all did fabulous jobs. Got to meet them all and made friends with Heather. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was Viking Sea's inaugural voyage up the coast of Norway so glitches were to be expected. The ship itself is a marvel of design and the shipbuilder's craft. The onboard service was top shelf. Aside from general minor ... Read More
This was Viking Sea's inaugural voyage up the coast of Norway so glitches were to be expected. The ship itself is a marvel of design and the shipbuilder's craft. The onboard service was top shelf. Aside from general minor annoyances, such as poor flight scheduling resulting in our bags getting delayed in Copenhagen, the main problem was in the shore excursions which failed to live up to what one would expect of Viking. I'm sure they'll get it sorted out, but for this trip, unfortunately, we were the guinea pigs and the results were poor/average at best. Our other big complaint is not directed specifically at Viking, but at the cruise industry in general and their kowtowing to the ADA. We are in our 70s so I'm sure we'll get there, but the level of decrepitude of the clientele that we encountered on this cruise was stunning, and their sense of entitlement even more so. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
I like smaller ships. I have been on 5 Azamara cruises. We wanted to try something a little different. The Viking Sea is a new ship and it was an area of Europe where we hadn't been. All that being said the ship was wonderful. I ... Read More
I like smaller ships. I have been on 5 Azamara cruises. We wanted to try something a little different. The Viking Sea is a new ship and it was an area of Europe where we hadn't been. All that being said the ship was wonderful. I can say that I will never use Viking Air again that experience was terrible. Our original flights from Chicago to Bergen had a 50 minute layover in Heathrow. Anyone that has been through Heathrow knows its not possible. We brought that to our travel agents attention and Viking Airs several times in March. We were told that the flight from Heathrow to Bergen was a Viking charter and they would wait the plane until we arrived. That still didn't sound right but we went along with it. We then bought upgraded seats on the flight and the four of use were in the same side behind each other. We even went to far as to check for other flights with different connections and Viking Air said they only dealt with British Air and American. We found a flight on KLM through Amsterdam with a much better connection and told them about it but they said no way. Five days before our departure we were looking at My Viking website and it appeared that our flights were being changed. We called our travel agent they knew nothing about it. Then we called Viking Air what a mess we didn't know our flights until a day before we left. This is stress not needed when you pay 20,000.00 for a cruise. These people need to get their act together. I was almost ready to cancel. Viking Air was rude, very unprofessional and down right mean. We ended on the KLM flight through Amsterdam and the four of us were all over the plane. At check-in in Chicago we were at least able to get seats together for the couples in different areas in economy. I have never had this kind of issue on Azamara using their Choice Air. Upon arrival at Bergen we were taken to the ship and embarkation went smoothly. Once on board we bought the Silver liquor package which was twice a much as Azamara, but it did include a better wine selection at meals. The ship was amazing. There was a lot of thought that went into it and the interior flowed very nicely. The larger areas where broken up so that small groups of people could meet and talk almost like being in your living room. I guess thats why the call the large atrium area the Living Room. Very nicely setup and spaced out and decorated beautifully. Another area the Explorers Lounge was a great space to sit and have a cocktail was we progressed up the coast of Norway. The entertainment was wonderful, a classical guitarist, a pianoist and 3 piece classical group. They moved around the ship in the ship and played a hour or so in each location. It was very nice and it wasn't the same all the time. I had made an appointment for a spa treatment before the cruise on MyViking when I got aboard they said they didn't have my appointment listed. They asked me if I wanted to make an appointment and I was pissed. My answer was no. I made it at home where I could see all my tours and reservations and to get on board and they didn't have it. I guess they have a problem there to work out. The spa was amazing when we took a tour of it and the workout area. To busy doing other things on board. The dining areas were very nice. I liked the way they broke the main dining room up into smaller areas. You didn't feel like you were in a very large room. Manfredi's was my favorite place to eat. The staff and food was just great. The Chef's Table was OK but lacked something. The menu changed every 3 days to a different taste/type/style. Some just didn't hit the mark. The Restaurant was very good. They had nice selections and portions that weren't too big. The World Cafe was very nice. But I don't know what it is about a buffet but the passengers were rude, broke in front of you, I guess I need to be as forceful and rude but its not in my nature. It was like a feeding frenzy most days so we tried to avoid it most the time. I can say that what we had was wonderful the night time seafood bar was wonderful, crab legs, crab claws, shrimp, sushi, king crab legs, seafood salad. I had a tendency to eat too much when we ate dinner there. The Pool Grill was great to get a hamburger, pizza, corn beef sandwich, lite salad, etc. They had a great shrimp salad sandwich with onion rings. One thing that was a little of a problem, we had the liquor package but when we asked to an upgraded wine they all handled it differently and some of the staff didn't know what we were talking about. After several conversations in several venues things kinda got better but The Restaurant was always an issue unless you got a waiter that was familiar with it. We didn't go into Torshavn the nightclub room except for a tour. We were told our liquor package was not good in that room and you had to pay for all drinks. Not going to pay twice. We didn't go to the show lounge at all. The shows were early and we like to eat late. Most show were over before we were done with dinner. The bar staff was a little stiff at first but as the cruise progressed they loosened up and were a lot of fun. We got to know several bar tenders and most the serving staff. Once they knew we had the liquor package they would ask if we wanted the usual. I know they had everything we did on their iPods. Every server on the ship had an iPod and if they helped you they had your room number they knew what you eat and drank. Most of the shore excursions were fun and insightful. How they handled them was a bit of a mess. We were at one port that used a tender. We gathered in the show lounge as requested. When the tour was ready they said head to the tender 300 people got up and headed for the exit. After the hall was packed they said they could only take 80 people at a time. Why didn't they say that before everyone got up. It took 45 minutes to get out. Just a mess. Not a good experience on a ship. Each room had two Quite Vox tour headsets that sat in a rechargeable base so you always had the same one. These headsets were not issued on the bus for you tour, unless you forgot yours. They worked well. Most the tour guys were well versed for their tour. We took tours at every port. We intermixed our tours between the ones included by Viking and the ones that were extra. We only had one tour were the majority of the group did not like the guide. There were a lot of complaints when back aboard and the tour fee was credited to our rooms. Overall we really enjoyed the ship and crew. There were a few glitches but we worked through them because we said it was a new ship and crew. In talking with the crew they said about half of the crew came from the Viking Star and the other half was new. The crew were extremely friendly and pleasant in all areas. It didn't matter if it was you room attendants, waiters and servers in the restaurants, bar staff, cleaning people, officers, etc. We are considering taking another Viking Ocean cruise but we have two more on Azamara before that will happen. The passengers on this cruise were older. I guess thats what to expect on a pretty expensive cruise with no children for two weeks. It was mostly retired people not many couples can get that much time off at once, if they are working. Viking Air a mess Viking Ocean Cruises very nice... Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
My wife and I selected this cruise because of the itinerary and Viking Cruises, having been with Viking for four previous river cruises and one ocean cruise. This cruise was on the Viking Sea, the sister ship of the Viking Star, our other ... Read More
My wife and I selected this cruise because of the itinerary and Viking Cruises, having been with Viking for four previous river cruises and one ocean cruise. This cruise was on the Viking Sea, the sister ship of the Viking Star, our other Viking ocean cruise. Viking established a standard of excellence on river cruising and that has carried over to the ocean cruises but not without some small issues that I'm sure will be remedied in future sailings. Several of the issues have been mentioned in other reviews. There were computer problems with scheduling excursions and there were delays in use of tenders to get into the ports but when all was said and done, Viking performed extremely well and they will learn from the experience. Computer problems caused some previous excursion arrangements to drop from the system and Viking had to make adjustments to satisfy everyone. I experienced part of that issue but by the time the excursion was to take place, Viking made the proper adjustments and I took the tour as scheduled. Regarding the tenders, I was told by a crew member that they had to keep a certain number of tenders at the ship for emergency use (makes perfect sense) so could not just simply use all of them to get people from the ship to shore. I suspect that in the future, Viking may have to have transportation from the port to help with the requirements but I don't know all the details so will resist offering other suggestions. In one case, Viking just scheduled too many things to happen at the same time and when the anchorage was further distant from the dock, time issues ensued quickly. Individuals who were not on scheduled tours and wanted to simply go ashore had issues of tender availability also. Having mentioned those two concerns, let me now turn to all the great things of the cruise, of which there were many and the reason why I did not downgrade the rating from 5 stars. The itinerary was fantastic. We actually started in Oslo (pre-cruise extension from Viking) and after one night there, took the Bergen Express train from Oslo to Bergen (almost 500 kilometers). The views of the countryside were incredible as we climbed to around 4000 feet in Finse and then back down as we approached Bergen. Track maintenance required us to leave the train in Voss but Viking had bus transportation immediately available to get us the rest of the way. Arrival in Bergen was on schedule but the hotel staff had not gotten our luggage to our rooms by the time we arrived. They took our luggage from the hotel in Oslo the night before so they had plenty of time to get the bags to the rooms. I fault the hotel staff and the Viking representative on scene for that problem. The representative at the hotel was apparently a contracted person who didn't understand her responsibilities and really let the ball drop on that one. The problem was solved and the luggage was delivered albeit a bit late. After a night in Bergen in the hotel (part of the pre-cruise extension), we were able to board the ship and begin the cruise. The sights to be seen as we made our way from Bergen to the North Cape and then back down the coast before crossing the sea to the UK were breath-taking and provided a daily opportunity to explore and photograph (my real interest) the wonders of the world around us. Spectacular on the list of stops was Geirangerfjord where our tour took us to multiple viewing locations that offered panoramas of the local fjord that were very special. Our port call in Tromsø provided yet another spectacular panorama from the top of the cable car lift to Mount Storsteinen. As much of Norway, Tromsø is made up of a series of islands and you could see all of them from the 1,378-foot summit of Mount Storsteinen. Crossing the Arctic Circle was greeted with appropriate pomp and circumstance and all on board were issued a certificate providing proof that the bearer had crossed that north latitude. The port call of Honningsvåg provided the opportunity to take a tour to Nordkapp or North Cape, the northern most point of Norway where cliffs rise more than 1000 feet from the water below and the Norwegian and Barents Seas meet. Other port calls provided similar opportunities to see uniquely Norwegian landscapes and other buildings such as the stave churches which are increasingly rare. Ålesund was our last port call in Norway and like the others, it is a fascinating blend of the new and old. Like many Norwegian towns, the city has had to deal with devastating fires but has rebuilt itself with new life and different architecture. Ålesund provided another opportunity to view the landscape from a mountain (really big hill). Crossing from Norway to the UK, we visited the Shetland and Orkney islands before cruising to Edinburgh. While good weather greeted us in most of Norway, we were not as fortunate in Scotland. The rain made for more difficult tours but that is just something you have to plan for under the best of circumstances. Even though this cruise was in June, you need to be prepared for a wide range of temperatures and conditions. Temperatures ranged from mid-80s in Oslo to the high 30s in the North Cape. Layers are the way to go and you will be comfortable. As I mentioned, rain is always a possibility so be prepared for that also. The crew was exceptional. Clearly, Viking trains their crew members to take care of the passengers. They anticipate your desires and make every effort to satisfy them, sometime even before you know them. We ate in the specialty restaurants twice and thoroughly enjoyed each experience. The main restaurant competes very favorably with the specialty restaurants and provides excellent food. The ship is a work of art with open spaces and fresh uncluttered decor. The Viking Sea and the Viking Star are essentially the same in layout and design. Having been on one, you are immediately familiar with the other, making for immediate recognition of where things are located on the ship. A number of the crew on the Viking Sea had been on the Viking Star and became the "launch team" for the new ship. Familiarity from one ship to the other eased transition and made for a very enjoyable experience on the newly launched Viking Sea. Viking provides great value for your money. They cater to older travelers. They do not have activities for younger people. The bottom line is that I have enjoyed each and every cruise I have taken with Viking and plan to continue cruising with them. If fact, I have two future cruises already booked, one ocean and one river. I have cruised with other cruise lines and will in the future, depending on itineraries. My recommendation is to consider the itineraries and the style of cruise provided by Viking and weigh it against any other available offering. You can depend on Viking to provide a fantastic cruise at a reasonable price point without much of the "extras" found on less expensive cruises. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016

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