270 Viking Ocean Viking Orion Cruise Reviews

If you want a ship with a casino, climbing wall, giant water slide, etc., ignore this review and Viking Oceans. If you seek a family cruise with you and your (non-adult) children, look elsewhere. If you like cruising with thinking people ... Read More
If you want a ship with a casino, climbing wall, giant water slide, etc., ignore this review and Viking Oceans. If you seek a family cruise with you and your (non-adult) children, look elsewhere. If you like cruising with thinking people and a remarkably intelligent, attentive crew visiting an itinerary of a lifetime on an impeccable, smallish ship, read on. We are just back from Viking’s Grand Pacific Explorer cruise that traced all around the Pacific, roughly following the Ring of Fire from New Zealand through Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Russia (Siberia), across the Bering Sea, and down through Alaska to Vancouver. Portions of this 93-day itinerary were also available in smaller chunks of 15 to 23 days. As we came to realize, the guests on shorter legs were taking a cruise on the ship. We lived there. And it was fantastic. There were roughly two dozen of us who traveled the entire way and another fifteen or so who embarked in Sydney for 79 of the 93 days. All tolled, we traveled 19,919 nautical miles on the ship. Convert to statue miles and add on the air travel, and our adventure went far beyond the distance around the globe. What we learned: You can be happy on a Viking Oceans ship for a long time and still be happily married. Although our Penthouse Veranda was not the smallest stateroom, several of the Grand Voyagers were in the standard size (all veranda) staterooms, and there was at least one couple who survived and celebrated their 50th anniversary just afterward. The secret is the many varied public spaces on the ship. The Explorer’s Lounge is great 24/7, and you don’t have to order any booze to just sit and enjoy the view and read. Or converse in comfortable seating clusters. Add the quiet reading area in the deck 1 library, the exterior wings outside the Winter Garden, and various nooks and crannies. There is always somewhere to go. Crossing the equator and the International Dateline can be fun. Viking made sure we celebrated on both occasions. May 14 happened TWICE (thus 93 days, not 92)! The seas are never what you expect. Yes, the Tasman Sea can be “lively,” as can the Bass Strait above Tasmania, but even the Bering Sea is not necessarily going to be bad. If you count on good or bad seas, you won’t get them. It’ s pure luck. Siberia did kick up a ruckus for us for one day, but the Bering Sea was crazy calm! You will get to know the crew very, very well. They will bring you just about anything, anytime. Room service delivers ANYTHING on their menu for free anytime. Ask for the things you don’t see but crave. This applies to those on the ship for two short weeks or for three months. “Another latte, madame?” “A scone from tea in the Wintergarden?… sure I will get that for you.” The only cost is if you elect to drink alcohol from the bar. Those with the Silver Spirits package pay nothing. Others like us paid very reasonable prices with no added gratuities if we chose to drink. Of course, the minibar in our PV cabin had standard level booze and mixers of our choice, so we could always carry our own drinks to the lounge. If we had brought a bottle of our own on board-- no problem. They’ll even provide the glass and ice. No nickels. No dimes. There is a bar waiter, Ardel, who introduced me to an excellent formula for a top shelf margarita, now dubbed the “Ardel Margarita” by several of us who enjoyed it! The senior officers are incredible. Kudos to the general manager for most of our cruise, Joaquim Scherz, and to the restaurant manager Gerome Venon, for making our group of voyagers feel especially welcome and for preventing monotony from EVER setting in – as if that could happen with such a rich itinerary! Even the entertainment team added some new performances so we could enjoy the talents of two different Viking Bands who were onboard during our tenure and especially the excellent ensemble of four young Viking Vocalists Aoibhin, Jorgen, Dan, and Beth, whom we got to know quite well. (These four, by the way, were the first to be awarded a new contract by Viking to stay together on their next cruise in the Caribbean.) Kudos to cruise director Spencer who rose to the role on this, his first cruise in the position. When Viking says they are a family, they are serious. That includes the passengers. They know you. They figure you out within a few days, and they are all eager to make the cruise p-e-r-f-e-c-t. Your cabin steward knows when you are likely to be out and about or when you have an excursion scheduled. The ice is there every day on time. The things you store in you bathroom are arranged exactly as you like them. After a few days, people know your names. (The general manager told us he actually looks over each guest list in advance and learns names and scans for those he has met before.) We learned much about the way Viking hires, trains, and rotates its crew and senior officers. We boarded Viking Orion and saw crewmembers we had met four years ago on Viking Star, now promoted to higher positions and happy in “the family.” The family extends to all the ships. When the Viking Sky encountered rough seas off the coast of Norway (while we were in Australia), every crewmember on Viking Orion was paying attention, praying, and even helping to send a video to the crew of Viking Sky in support and thanks for all their efforts. Family goes both ways. We Voyagers truly got attached to Joaquim and gave him a Viking umbrella salute send-off as he departed for a well-earned vacation. There were tears. Viking is truly fortunate to have such amazing people, and Joaquim is one who has been with VO since its launch. If he has any say about it, the quality will not diminish as the company expands. We sincerely hope his influence will keep things as good as they are! Speaking of family, our group of “Voyagers” definitely became one. People who take Viking cruises are fascinating folks with endless interests and stories. When you meet new people at home, you may see them once a week or a couple of times a month. When you make new friends on a ship, you see each other as often as three meals a day plus an excursion. Yes, we could avoid seeing them, but we enjoyed getting to know each other—really well! We avoided talking politics -- which was a refreshing change for over 90 days! We compared notes about our days (what excursion did you take?), drank a LOT of free wine (opened and closed the World Café many times), and watched out for each other when someone was “solo” on an excursion. These friendships will last for sure. We learned about the tons and tons of food they bring on board and when. We noticed that the chef went into town to pick up a few things while we were out on excursions – but only if he can find provisions that met Viking’s strict quality and safety standards. Within a couple of days, the cook at the breakfast fruit and yogurt bar handed me a bowl as I walked in each day and several times kept a few strawberries aside when the stock was dwindling before the next provisioning. He found the plain Greek yogurt that I like if it is not out on display. He was genuinely apologetic when the strawberries ran out in Siberia! If it wasn’t perfect, all we had to do was ask. Just when I was muttering to myself that there weren’t any chocolate options on the desert bar in the World Café, one of the supervisors offered to go down and get a chocolate mousse from the sit-down Restaurant downstairs…. “And where are you sitting, madame?” Or if the buffet choices were not exactly what we wanted, the chef custom-prepared a strip steak (“Medium? Four minutes, please.”) and delivered it to our table, with a potato and sour cream if that was what we wanted. All this in the “buffet” style World Café, our favorite venue for every day. Manfredi’s, the Italian specialty restaurant, is a gem. People seem to figure this out quickly, so be sure to book reservations as soon as you can. Book before you embark, as we did or stop by the laptop at the entrance to the world café to add more or make changes. We also learned that they will make every effort to change your numbers as you meet people and want a larger table. (Thank you, Ian!) Yes, we also ate in the Chef’s Table, but after trying each of the (mostly delicious) menus, we found we preferred the less formal and more flexible options elsewhere. We aren’t “The Restaurant” type people, though many of our friends were and enjoyed it just as much as we enjoyed the free-ranging exploration of the world Café – the same food, but you can graze and get up from your table at will. (Just hide your fork…. They clear TOO quickly!) The only nights I personally did not enjoy as much were the Indian Buffet theme nights, but my husband loved them. I just ordered a strip steak and tasted a few other things. I made the suggestion that perhaps not EVERYTHING had to be Indian… like the weird gelato flavors. We learned SO MUCH. The itinerary was loaded with places we had always wanted to see, and Viking offered many ways to learn about each one. The guest lecturers were great, and word gets out about which ones are REALLY good. The naturalist in the north Pacific and Alaska, the historian in Southest Asia, the archaeologist in New Zealand, the reef pilot on the Great Barrier Reef, and many others were terrific. If they can keep you awake in a darkened theater on a gently rocking sea, they must be good! The video replays on demand in the cabins were a MUST to keep up with the many things to learn. What we saw: It is a challenge to summarize forty-seven ports, but there were recurring themes: wildlife, history, religions, World Heritage sites, gardens, wine/beer/whiskey. We chose to take many optional excursions, mostly because we don’t like touring on buses much. A bus to GET somewhere is fine. We tend to like walking tours better. When we compared notes with our fellow travelers, we learned that by skipping some of the included excursions, we missed some good stuff. Some of the descriptions did not make it clear just how much time would be spent on or OFF the bus. As my husband says, the descriptions are a bit like real estate ads. Example: “Enjoy a panoramic tour.” Translate: bus ride. As Viking continues in these ports, we are sure the excursions will be refined and the descriptions edited for a better match to what is actually there. In the first season of a new itinerary, this is tough. We took this cruise knowing that would happen. Our priorities for tours may not be yours. My husband is a photo buff—both wildlife and street scenes, and I tend to enjoy culture, art, crafts, and people. Sometimes we split up to see what we liked best. We did not need to stay together every day of a 93 day cruise! Don’t miss the onboard cultural visitors. There were local groups who came on board in several countries to perform music and dance. ALL were amazing. Sometimes we did not find out about them until the day before or the day of. READ the Viking Daily! Port/excursion highlights: (Unless otherwise stated, all excursions/tours were VIKING offerings) Everything in New Zealand. Lots of wildlife and Maori culture options. We especially enjoyed visiting a sheep farm outside Napier, a foodie tour I did in Wellington, a seal watch my husband did outside Wellington, and wildlife cruises outside Christchurch and Dunedin. Others went to interior locations such as the Hobbiton tour. This may not be the best way to see interior New Zealand. I wish I’d had more time at Rotorua at the native (Maori) center there. Australia: Hobart, Tasmania. This port is right in town and we wish we had stayed MUCH longer. Just walk off the ship, and you were in a pedestrian area filled with shops and history. (Think Viking River Cruises.) We took a tour outside of town and visited a winery and the charming town of Richmond. Wish we could have done BOTH. We’d like to go back to Tasmania. The koala and kangaroo sanctuary outside Melbourne. Unlike many “sanctuaries” where the animals are caged or restricted, this one has animals on their own in the wild and shows visitors how to find and follow them respectfully. No koala cuddling, but fantastic naturalists who teach and let you participate in finding the animals. Sydney: Did a pub crawl in The Rocks on a HOT day. Saw lots of local color: weddings, crazy young professionals out having fun, and of course the Opera House right at Circular Quay. Since Viking Orion is small enough to pass under the Harbor Bridge, we were docked a short shuttle FERRY ride from Circular Quay. This could have been a pain, but it’s much more fun than a shuttle bus! We had a day on our own while others disembarked and embarked. Viking did offer an excursion for the in-transit passengers, but we elected to spend time with some new friends from Sydney whom we “met” here on CC. (They joined our cruise later in Hong Kong.) Great city. Almost anything you can do would be fun. Whitsunday Islands and Cairns: both are portals to the Great Barrier Reef. We went on a smaller catamaran out to snorkel in the Whitsundays and a very large one (but well managed) in Cairns. We are not experienced snorkelers and have never seen the reef before, so we enjoyed these. Experienced GBR visitors might like more private or selective tours, but these are hard to find and schedule within port time limits. Viking did managed the tendering in Cid Harbor (Whitsundays) very well. Thursday Island--- skipped because of an incoming cyclone! Darwin: wildlife options again. We saw Jumping Crocs, which we thought would be really touristy. It actually was fun. The Territory Wildlife Park was also good, though VERY warm. Take lots of water with you! Be sure to visit the aviary. Weaker Australia ports: Newcastle, Townsville. These are perhaps good ports for their access to other places inland, but we did not find the actual towns as interesting. Maybe with time? Indonesia: In general, Indonesia has bad traffic, hot weather, and lots of temples. The blend of religions is fascinating and varies from island to island. Get a taste by seeing some of everything. Komodo: The national park is going to be closed for 2020. We were lucky to see the dragons. Very hot, and the most aggressive vendors we saw on the entire cruise were in the tent as we left the park. Be prepared to be tough and to haggle. Otherwise just duck and keep on walking! TAKE WATER. Viking did an outstanding job of managing the tendering and keeping guests hydrated and safe. They were on the dock with COLD towels and drinks as we finished the tour. The really wanted everyone to drink and stay safe. Bali: another disembarkation/embarkation port. On the day on our own, we traveled by cab into Denpasar to visit the fabric street—a MUST for any quilter or sewing enthusiast. We did an evening dinner and performance that evening which was fun, though touristy. We enjoyed seeing Batiks being made and wood carvers in action on a Viking excursion the next day. Surabaya: We visited a temple that is actually within an amusement park. Though it looked like we were entering Wally World, the temple, right next to the water, was interesting. The seafood lunch served on the way was excellent though a bit crowded. Our highlight was a stop at a T-shirt place that had graphically bold shirts at very low (fixed) prices. Thanks to a good tour guide. We’ve gotten compliments on those shirts everywhere. Semarang: Entre to a daylong trip to Borobudur, a must-see. Don’t do the included tour. Not much there. The Rainbow Village is not as enthralling as they say. Those who went to Borobudur said the long ride was definitely worth it, especially with the police escort that accompanied the bus caravan, stopping the challenging traffic. Think presidential motorcade. Viking managed an unfortunate bus accident between two buses that were following too closely pretty well. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt. Jakarta: Interesting but not worth two days? Went on a tour that included an inside visit to a large mosque and Catholic cathedral and a walk through Chinatown Had some time on the second day to go into town on the Viking shuttle to a shopping mall that offered great shopping for authentic batik shirts and much more. I think half the ship bought batik shirts. Weaker ports in Indonesia: Lombok? We actually did not go into this tender port. Those who did said we did not miss much. We really should not judge. Singapore One day, and not enough. Unfortunately, immigration stole over 90 minutes of our day—through no fault of Viking. If there were way for the ship to stay two days and not have to do this each day, it would be worth it. We did a walking “Odyssey” tour and saw little India, Chinatown, and an area called Arab Street. I’d do that tour again. We had time to explore on our own, which we always like. I’d like to have seen the gardens at Singapore Marina Bay, but we did not have time. I’d REALLY like to swim in the world’s largest infinity pool on the rooftop there, but you have to stay in the hotel to do that… unless Viking has connections? Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) Our one day was a quick stop. My husband and I did separate tours. He enjoyed the Batu Caves and Pewter factory tour, managing to avoid having his hat stolen by the monkeys. I did the Blue Mosque tour, which was a misnomer. We saw a view of the mosque at a GREAT distance. We did enjoy a tour of several sites in the city and a FANTASTIC lunch at the Renaissance Hotel. Of course, the last thing we needed was more good food! We honestly cannot say whether Kuala Lumpur is worth more time. Thailand Bangkok: The port is VERY, very far from the city, at least two hours drive if traffic is not bad. We had three days in Bangkok, the middle one a disembarkation/embarkation day for other passengers. We did Viking’s Bangkok After Dark tour, which was twelve hours long! The heat was oppressive, and the guide kept a pace that was a bit too enthusiastic for the heat. It did take us to great things and included a much appreciated foot massage after a lot of walking. We had a local dinner of SPICY pad thai and time shopping in the iconic night market. The tour is good, but plan on being totally soaked with sweat. Pace yourself and carry water. We took a private tour on the ship’s changeover day, and that was smart. We had a small van with great A/C and endless water. We could get back into the cool van often. We split the tour cost with three other friends, so it was quite reasonable. We visited locations our first tour did not include. Day 3 took my husband on the Viking tour out to the Summer Palace and Ayutthaya. He declared that tour to be excellent, including the golf carts! (I rested and did much-needed laundry out of the heat.) Cambodia Sihanoukville: This is the toughest port to talk about. It is not pretty, and the people lack hope. This port sparked great debate among our friends onboard. In my opinion, Viking needs to be honest about what you will see (poverty, loads of trash, hopelessness). The contrasts of the hotel where Jackie Kennedy stayed (a claim to fame in this miserable town) and the life in a local fishing village are painful. The Cambodian Cuisine tour we took involved riding in tuktuks through dusty, dirty streets. I did not initially appreciate the mask they gave me to wear, as I have never had respiratory issues. In the end, I actually needed it. The market offered a realistic view of what people buy and eat. The beachfront barbecue food attracted too many flies for us to taste it. Then we went to the Jackie hotel and had delicious hors d’oeuvres and drinks while feeling hollowly fortunate. The second day we took the included tour, but we were warned by our friends to expect very sad scenes and sickening smells. They were right. The little children who should have been in school -- but had never even been REGISTERED to attend -- bore witness to the lack of hope of the Cambodian people. Yes, Viking should let us all see the realities, but the descriptions also need to be accurate. This port is a place to learn and think, not to enjoy. If the corrupt government is benefitting from Viking’s visits, perhaps this is not a good idea? Sadly, the countryside beyond the city has exceptional natural beauty, and the guides were very honest about their plight. Vietnam What a contrast to Cambodia. There is hope, and education is highly valued in this rapidly-growing economy. VERY. VERY. HOT. Ho Chi Minh City (known to the locals as Saigon): Three days. A fair distance from the port -- about an hour. Fantastic city to visit! We did the Saigon Cooking Class, which was excellent in both organization and fun. We shopped in the market, cooked, learned a lot, and enjoyed our own cooking. The next day we enjoyed a special visit to the Hotel Reverie with our fellow Voyagers (NOT an excursion) for high tea. This was arranged by the general manager and restaurant manager just for our group. WOW. If you have a chance to do this high tea on your own, DO IT. We’ve never, ever seen anything like it! Try the iced Vietnamese coffee. It’s addictive. The third day we did Viking’s “Iconic Ben Thanh Market” tour which was disappointing. We spent more time being served food than exploring the market (allowing NO time for this). I expect Viking will be clarifying expectations with the tour operator on this, as several of us spoke to the ship about it. Chan May (near Danang): Excursion to Ancient Hoi An. This city was swamped with tourists, and the tour was too commercialized for us. We had hoped for an interesting walking tour. We were herded into places to buy things, stopped ever so briefly amid the crowds to take pictures of landmarks with said crowds. Little to no time on our own as was advertised. Other guides were apparently more flexible, and our friends enjoyed their tours. Ha Long Bay (overnight): Wow. This place is drop dead gorgeous. Even the included tour is amazing. We did a longer, slightly different boat tour of the bay, including a stop at a floating village. Great tour! We also went outside the city to the mountains and Yen Tu Monastery. What a wonderful change of pace. We meditated and talked with the leader of the monastery, a man with remarkable charisma. The tour also included a delicious dinner at a resort hotel in the mountains. A winner! Hong Kong (3 days) Another changeover port. The included tour was good- Victoria Peak (in clouds), sampan ride in Aberdeen, and Stanley Market with free time. Spent our “off day” on our own with a friend who lives nearby then did more exploring on the third day with some fellow travelers. We then did the Hong Kong by Night tour which was OK but went back to some places we had already seen on our own. It would be great for people just starting out in HK. Taipei (Keelung port)- one day We did the tour to Yehliu Geopark with its amazing rock formations. Great photo op if you can go early enough for smaller crowds. Then went to mountain village of Jiufen. Cute, though filled with tourists. There were some nice places to have tea with a great view. The Taiwan landscape is very pretty! JAPAN! Japan was perhaps the biggest “surprise” of our trip. We had heard that it was beautiful, but it was MORE beautiful than we thought. We had also heard about the crowds during Golden Week—extended this year due to the installation of a new emperor. It was more crowded in some places than we could ever imagine. AVOID Golden Week. This was Viking’s first visit to the Japanese ports, so ALL of them did something special at the port: bands, dancers, etc.! Lots of fun. Japanese weather was a welcome relief from the heat in previous ports. Kagoshima: Great tour to Kamikaze museum and Chimai samurai historic district with classic Japanese gardens. Terrific intro to just some of the subtleties of Japanese culture. Nagasaki: (separate excursions). Imari and Arita pottery tour was outstanding. Learned a LOT about the aesthetic, the history, and the processes. Beautiful scenery en route. Husband did Historic Nagasaki tour for the atomic bomb story and more. Korea (a one day stop in Busan in the midst of Japan ports): Beomosa Temple and Fish Market tour was good. Lots of walking up hill. Fish Market is a true cultural experience, especially on the weekend! More Japan Hiroshima (2 days): Sobering as you would expect. The included tour to the Peace Park is good at hitting highlights on foot, though it was pouring rain. The museum would have been interesting, but the line stretched around a half mile! Optional tour to Itsukushima Shrine was great. Crowded because of Golden week. Go as early in the day as you can. We were on the 7 am ferry. Great photo ops of the floating torii gate you always see on brochures. Be sure to try some maple leaf shaped cakes. Osaka (Kyoto): We took the tour that traveled to Ancient Kyoto. Worst crowds we have ever seen. Heel to toe and shoulder to shoulder in a mob. Easy to lose the guide. (Others shared pictures taken by friends on “regular” weekdays showing NO crowds.) DO NOT GO during Golden Week. Very long path of thousands of torii gates, but too packed to enter. Scary crowded! The Golden Palace late in the day was less crowded and saved the day for us. Shimizu: (day and a half): Nice city with very friendly people. They had quite a welcome for us at the port since this was Viking’s first visit there. Amazing views of Fuji that cleared off for us. I went to Hiroshige Utagawa Museum. Speechless how good it was. Included tour also good… good photo ops. Tokyo ( 3 days): Port is immediately next to the Olympic Village they are building for 2020! This was our last disembarkation/embarkation port getting hundreds of new passengers onboard. Kamakuri tour to three shrine and temples very good but again crowded. 43 foot Buddha! Took Viking’s shuttle to downtown on the middle day, a Sunday, and discovered that NO ONE was in town during Golden Week. Walked to Iperial Palace Grdens (beautiful) and around the area near Nihonbaski Mitsubishi. The department store is worthy of a visit on its own, very old school and filled with amazing things, including a full basement are of food. See where people custom order their $50K silk kimonos! Third day took Edo-Tokyo Museum and City Tower tour. City tower not that great. The sky tower is better, I think, if you like that sort of thing. Museum and smaller local garden were nice. Tokyo is a gorgeous city, and SOOO clean! Be sure to try every Japanese bathroom. After Indonesia and others, they are a delight! Sapporo/Otaru: Beautiful location on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido. We took the optional tour to Nikko whiskey. Lots of fun. It SMELLED of whiskey when you walked onto the grounds. Friend told us the included tour was also very good. Much cooler here. The cherry blossoms were out, as this part of Japan is weeks behind the more southern areas. Russia (Siberia) Koraskov: Did the included tour. Damp, cold, and cloudy/drizzly. Not much here, and quite sad after Japan. The people are clearly longing for the good old days of the USSR. The performance was fun, and the vendors selling crafts there were very genuine. Most are happy to take USD, though they may cheat a bit on exchange rates! Petrapavlosk-Kamchatsky: This city benefits from the large Navy base (out of sight from the port). Volcanoes abound. We did the military history tour. Too much talking at you. Choose a different one, perhaps just the included. Orthodox cathedral is less than ten years old! Someone showed us video from the helicopter tour over the volcano, and it was amazing. (But I don’t think I’d go with a Russian pilot in a Russian-maintained helicopter! Very pricey, too.) USA Dutch Harbor, AK: No tours offered, but there was a shuttle (school) bus into town. The locals are VERY friendly and talk on the buses. Go to the Alaska Ship Supply for fun, and perhaps to Safeway just to see how the locals live. Bald eagles everywhere—like pigeons! Take a hike or a walk. If you’re an American who’s been away for a long time, stop in a local bar for American bar food… nachos or a cheeseburger? If you watch Deadliest Catch, you’ll recognize many locations. Kodiak, AK: Nature photo cruise was a real highlight. Small boat with only 6 guests and a very knowledgeable couple guiding it. WELL worth it! Small town with simple self-guided (walking) tour and a shuttle bus. Very genuine. Seward, AK: Kenai Fiords cruise was incredible. Whales, dolphins, eagles, and a glacier thrown in. Entire pods of orcas! This was a MUST MUST MUST DO, even on a drizzly day. Stay in town for a visit to the Sea Life Center or some shopping, A regular shuttle goes back to the ship. Icy Strait Point (Hoonah), AK: This small town with its native tribe of 760 people owns the port through a small corporation that benefits the tribe. They market it well, with many activities and tours. The whale watch cruise we took was actually done by a separate company that cooperates with the corporation. It was excellent. Great photos of humpbacks, including mama and baby. Sea lions, and more. Another keeper! Warning: the bridge you walk across into the port area is COLD because of the wind, but the temps are much nicer around the corner and out of the wind. Wear layers. Friend did the zipline and loved it. Sitka, AK: Busier port with another ship in port at same time. Cute, smallish town. Walking tour went 5+ miles to see historic sites, totem area, and Raptor Center. All are worth seeing. Wish we’d had longer in totems and Raptor Center. People who took included tour said it was good, too. Note: if you are looking for the post office, you have to go outside of town, They closed the location right next to the port! Ketchikan: VERY, very touristy. We saw a total of FIVE other ships in one day, one of whom was waiting for us to pull out. Downtown is all shops, some owned by other cruise companies. We went out of town to a Fishing lodge for a crab feast. It was fun, including the boat ride out to the island. Good wildlife and newspapers-in-the-picnic-table crab boil. Dress for the weather because you are on an outdoor deck. You also get a walk in a temperate rainforest at the lodge. If you want nothing but shopping, stay in town and walk off the ship. Some ships dock a bit outside of town. Vancouver, Canada: Kudos to Viking for handling the challenge of disembarking over 900 passengers by tender! It went quite well. We were off the ship and on our way to the airport ahead of schedule. We hope everyone’s bags went to the right place. Ours did. Viking, you made a difficult good-bye palatable by keeping it smooth and easy. Suggestions for Viking: Consider changing the itinerary for Jakarta and Singapore. Maybe steal a day from Jakarta and add it to Singapore? You could play with some of Indonesia, perhaps. What about Lombok? Semarang is not great, though you need it for Borobodur. Think about solving that? Think about how you want to “sell” your port call in Cambodia Continue to refine the excursions. We know you do this because of wise changes that were made after Viking Ocean’s first summer in the Baltic. Suggestions for future Grand Voyagers: Plan for HOT weather and extreme high humidity on this itinerary of traveling Feb-May as we did. We live in the southeast US and know humidity, but this is FAR worse. Plan to change your clothes from the skin out 2-3 times a day in many of these ports. Take enough clothing so you can do that. If you are on a long cruise with people getting on and off for various shorter :legs, “ ask the management to gather the “voyagers’ for cocktails and /or dinner and get everyone’s first names and cabin number while they are at that first gathering, That way you will know where to find each other! Emails help, too, if you want to be able to contact everyone. The ship management cannot give you this info. Thanks to TL from our group who spearheaded this! A long cruise is a marathon, not a sprint. If one excursions or day is lousy, just look to the next one. Share your feedback in a constructive manner. It goes much further, and the crew will always want to help you. Vary your excursions. Don’t book too many temples, street market visits, or anything else. You’ll get tired of it! READ the Viking Daily—before you go to bed! Get accustomed to giving laundry advice in Viking’s free launderettes. You know how they work, and you don’t want the newbies to break the machines! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
My wife & I have multiple cruising experiences – varying ship operator/size & world location - and believe Viking ships accommodate the perfect number of passengers - about 900 - to result in a most memorable cruise experience, ... Read More
My wife & I have multiple cruising experiences – varying ship operator/size & world location - and believe Viking ships accommodate the perfect number of passengers - about 900 - to result in a most memorable cruise experience, not possible on mega ships. Fewer passengers greatly expedites Viking’s efficient embarkation/debarkation process so we can focus on enjoying our time. The wonderfully friendly, professional and courteous staff provide outstanding service throughout the ship from the dining room to the fitness center. The cabin and all ship amenities are superior. Our port calls and excursions were most enjoyable and went off efficiently without any delays. Viking offers dining options to satisfy all our needs. Whether formal dining or the informal settings the food preparation, selection, presentation and especially flavor places Viking at the top of the cruise industry. We've cruised with Viking previously and really appreciate Viking ships being built and configured so similarly that my wife and I immediately regain our familiarity when arriving aboard – like returning home – and now look forward to our 2021 cruise. Viking continues to exceed our expectations! Viking has our highest recommendation!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We thoroughly enjoyed a Viking river cruise of the Rhine several years ago and were looking for an opportunity to travel with Viking again. A trip to New Zealand and Australia had been on our "wish list" for quite some time; and ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed a Viking river cruise of the Rhine several years ago and were looking for an opportunity to travel with Viking again. A trip to New Zealand and Australia had been on our "wish list" for quite some time; and when we discovered that Viking was introducing a cruise to these 2 countries, we decided to make our wish a reality! We arrived in Auckland a day in advance of our embarkation date, so we were able to explore the city on our own and begin to adjust to the time change. Our embarkation was smooth and uneventful, and the Viking Orion proved to be an absolutely incredible ship! We loved the ship's rather intimate size (just under 1,000 passengers) and Viking's careful attention to every detail. The common areas were beautiful and comfortable, and our spacious cabin (on deck 3) was extraordinary!! We had an incredible amount of storage space both in the main cabin and in the bathroom. I was totally impressed with the "hidden" makeup mirror and makeup storage area! We loved the balcony, too. The food was wonderful with a wide array of choices, including the specialty restaurants. I would have enjoyed more local wines, especially since both New Zealand and Australia are well known for their vast variety of wines--and I was a bit surprised by the lack of local wines, given that our Rhine River cruise had featured so many wonderful German and French wines. We thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment onboard! The music shows were high quality and high energy; and in the evenings we loved listening to Daniel on his acoustic guitar. The astronomer's lectures--and the planetarium--were special favorites as well. I can't say enough wonderful things about the staff! They were so professional and so very helpful; I made a couple of small requests for items in our cabin, and those requests were filled immediately!! The staff in the restaurants and bars were very accommodating, and their ability to learn and remember names was nothing short of astonishing!! The shore excursions were wonderful with a couple of exceptions. The included tour at Tauranga was disappointing and not very interesting and definitely needs to be revised. Our tour of the Southern Alps introduced us to fabulous scenery and Lord of the Rings history but involved far too many hours on a bus with not enough time to see the sights. Some of our favorite excursions included the Te Mata peak/sheep station tour (Napier), the Otaga wildlife cruise (Dunedin), and the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary (Tasmania). We loved our cruise so much that we booked another Viking ocean cruise for October 2020! It was a fabulous experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We wanted to visit New Zealand and Australia. Tasmania was a terrific surprise. We selected a mid-size cabin due to the length of the trip and that there would be days at sea. Everything was exceptionally well done from the housekeeping ... Read More
We wanted to visit New Zealand and Australia. Tasmania was a terrific surprise. We selected a mid-size cabin due to the length of the trip and that there would be days at sea. Everything was exceptionally well done from the housekeeping staff to the entertainment staff. The food was amazing and the surprise birthday cake was a special treat. We would go on this trip again if we didn't have such a long air flight at each end-we are traveling with the same company to a different location(Baltic) A special treat for us was the educational courses and being able to interact with the educators for further information. We were given information about the area, history, & astronomy so we understand what we would see and be part of the for the next day. The food was terrific in all locations and had no problems with reservations for the smaller restaurants. Often we ate in the main "cafeteria" location and were able to make many new friends at nearby tables. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Ship was very clean, food was great, staff were incredible. Entertainment and activities were superb. The choice of food for every meal was amazing, not one bad experience with dining. Dining staff were great! Romeo is an ... Read More
Ship was very clean, food was great, staff were incredible. Entertainment and activities were superb. The choice of food for every meal was amazing, not one bad experience with dining. Dining staff were great! Romeo is an incredible employee of Viking. As a matter of fact all staff go out of their way to help and make sure your time with Viking is fantastic. Ports and Shore excursions were also educational, interesting and exciting!!!. Our cabin was great and always kept very clean on a daily basis. We would definitely book again with Viking, so much so that we have booked the Homeland Tour. The availability of laundry service is amazing. The ability to use the computers onboard was also great. The daily newspaper is invaluable along with the maps. Embarkation was made relatively painless with the hard working staff of Viking, it was a walk in the park. Public rooms are spotless and very interesting. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We are previous Viking travelers. The product provided by Viking was excellent. The ship size of 950 guests provided a small ship feel with the larger ship amenities. Outstanding crew and well thought out basic and optional tours. ... Read More
We are previous Viking travelers. The product provided by Viking was excellent. The ship size of 950 guests provided a small ship feel with the larger ship amenities. Outstanding crew and well thought out basic and optional tours. Included trips were very good at providing an overview of site/ event. The additional trips were extremely well conducted and educational. Crew members seemed to enjoy the clients and vice versa. Crew was well trained. Responded to traveler wants and needs.. We had a problem with the balcony door in our room. The housekeeping staff work on it for several days before resolving the problems. They were diligent in working to get the problem resolved. The chefs were excellent and the food options numerous. The sites, the excursions, the educational seminars, the crew and the ship made for an exciting and outstanding cruise. We found this trip to be a very wonderful travel experience. Highly recommend the Orion, its crew and the New Zealand/ Australia tour. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
After cruising the Baltic Sea with Viking we knew we wanted to check off Australia and New Zealand on our bucket list using Viking. This ship was even better having added the Observatory with many good destinations to visit. As usual, we ... Read More
After cruising the Baltic Sea with Viking we knew we wanted to check off Australia and New Zealand on our bucket list using Viking. This ship was even better having added the Observatory with many good destinations to visit. As usual, we loved the food enjoying the specialty dining, the Norwegian cafe, the fresh fish, tea with lovely music and especially the daily freshly made gelato. The service was individualized with the main dining room staff, recognizing us by name and our seating preference, waiters knowing our drink preferences, and our requests being fulfilled promptly. The spa was a high light, taking a couples class on relaxation and using the steam room to the snow cave and the bucket cool off. Plus we tried some special products and natural techniques for body exfoliation. The Indonesian male spa technician (whose name I forget) was inspiring! Especially enjoyed the the tour of the Sydney Opera House, touring the castle and historic homes, seeing the countryside, learning the history, plus sailing the sea and hiking craters in Auckland. entertainment and activities on board were high quality. You could be kept busy all day or simply relax with views of the sea outside or inside. Looking forward to our next Viking cruise sailing the Adriatic and Mediterranean seas. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We have always had Australia and New Zealand on our wish list but the large cruise ships kept us away. We saw the size of the Viking ocean liners and it fit us to a t. Embarkation and debarkation was a breeze. We also liked the "No ... Read More
We have always had Australia and New Zealand on our wish list but the large cruise ships kept us away. We saw the size of the Viking ocean liners and it fit us to a t. Embarkation and debarkation was a breeze. We also liked the "No Kids", No Casinos", and" no umbrella drinks" policy. We are loyal Viking river boat travelers and the Viking spirit is on the ocean liners as well. The cabin was spacious, with all cabins having the great verandas. The free laundry mat with included soap was a great feature, as well as an ironing board. There was a nice couch and TV for relaxing while doing your laundry. The dining options are handy and of course, the open seating allows travelers to make new friends.I really liked the ice cream station in the evening. The entertainment was lively and enjoyable. All the crew are so very helpful and informative. We liked all the included shore tours as they were very informative and we also took advantage of several of the optional ones as well. This was our first Viking ocean cruise after eight Viking river cruises and it will not be our last. British Isles, here we come this summer. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We are long time Viking River Cruise customers so we wanted to see if the same service and quality spread to the ocean liners...and it did ! This trip far surpassed our expectations. Every detail was top notch. Service personnel made ... Read More
We are long time Viking River Cruise customers so we wanted to see if the same service and quality spread to the ocean liners...and it did ! This trip far surpassed our expectations. Every detail was top notch. Service personnel made the trip delightful. Each remembered names and individual tastes and preferences. Reservations for the supplemental restaurants were easy to obtain and the meals were unique and delicious. Having a laundry room on each floor was amazing. Easy to use, all soaps etc provided and being open 24 hrs made it convenient and easy to use. The public areas were spacious and well maintained. There was always a place to have a quiet conversation or accommodate a larger group. Service personnel were readily available but not hovering over the guests. We were so impressed by this venue that we have booked another Viking Ocean Cruise for 2020 to Norway. Viking never disappoints ! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We always wanted to tour these two countries and experience the culture. We are so fortunate to have completed this trip prior to the devastation caused by the fires in Australia and the horrendous terror incident at Christ Church. ... Read More
We always wanted to tour these two countries and experience the culture. We are so fortunate to have completed this trip prior to the devastation caused by the fires in Australia and the horrendous terror incident at Christ Church. The ship was fabulous- from cuisine to cabin. New Zealand was amazing. And we chose the right time - late summer. We were able to swim outdoors on the ship. What amazed us: kangaroos; Christ Church and its exceptional cultural attractions( botanical garden; museum); the coastline of New Zealand ; Napier and the Art Deco architecture; The level of service was exceptional. The cabin as ALWAYS clean and restocked. The choices and quality of dining were superb. The entertainment was Broadway quality. The public spaces were beautiful and inviting with evening musical entertainment provided nightly. We were particularly pleased with the ability to plan free time in several ports which permitted us to visit additional museums and attractions. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this cruise because it included Australia and New Zealand. This is a beautiful, well appointed new ship. The crew was fantastic, the food, and the entertainment were very good. There is never a long wait for dining, and every ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it included Australia and New Zealand. This is a beautiful, well appointed new ship. The crew was fantastic, the food, and the entertainment were very good. There is never a long wait for dining, and every seat has a view.The shore excursions left something to be desired, but they are new to this itinerary, so I can forgive them. We had a few problems one night, however, when we went to the proper channels they were quickly correctly, and from that moment on, we were treated like royalty by the entire staff. The embarkation process at each port was very slow because it seem that every tour came back the same time, and they only had one entry to the ship. The included Wifi was great. No trouble communicating anywhere. Overall, we would be very happy to sail with Viking again. This was our 39th cruise, and our first on Viking. We are an older couple, so we wanted a quiet ship , so if you're younger, looking for excitement, don't go on this ship. No children under 18 yrs and there were no couples on the ship under 45 of yrs of age. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Viking helped make this bucket list trip both easy and enjoyable! There were plenty of opportunities for experiences in Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand involving indigenous animals, native peoples and spectacular scenery. Onboard ... Read More
Viking helped make this bucket list trip both easy and enjoyable! There were plenty of opportunities for experiences in Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand involving indigenous animals, native peoples and spectacular scenery. Onboard activities were also plentiful, both during the day and at night. These included fascinating educational talks and videos; unique shopping events; the use of a wonderful spa and pool; wine tasting and cocktail parties; various shows and musical groups and even an observatory! There were also several wonderful restaurants with varied menus and types of seating. Among our favorite excursions were the Sydney Opera House; an animal reserve outside Hobart, Tasmania; the Australian Open in Melbourne; and numerous cultural experiences with the Maori people in New Zealand. The scenery itself was also breathtaking, particularly in both the small ports and mountainous areas of New Zealand. We went with a group of friends and enjoyed an incredible trip, complete with delicious meals, well planned onboard entertainment and impeccable service. My brother and sister in law are actually taking the same trip this month! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We enjoyed New Zealand as well as Australia. It was a lovely time to travel and the scenery was fantastic! I was worried that the Ocean cruise would seem so large and unfriendly but the restaurants and the location of them made it seem ... Read More
We enjoyed New Zealand as well as Australia. It was a lovely time to travel and the scenery was fantastic! I was worried that the Ocean cruise would seem so large and unfriendly but the restaurants and the location of them made it seem like a very small and intimate ship in the end. The food was excellent with so many items being made right on the ship. The specialty restaurants especially the Italian restaurant was a favorite of ours. We also enjoyed going to the small Norwegian breakfast restaurant on the top deck. We actually felt like we were in an intimate dining room for breakfast. Like Grandma's house. The only difficult part was embarking and disembarking could take a little time and I feel they may be about to do that in a better manner in the future. The entertainment was professional and very enjoyable. We would recommend it! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We have been on a Viking River cruise and really liked it. Have always had Australia/New Zealand on our list, so decided to try their ocean cruise. It was a great trip. It did not have the high budget shows, or casino or big parties, ... Read More
We have been on a Viking River cruise and really liked it. Have always had Australia/New Zealand on our list, so decided to try their ocean cruise. It was a great trip. It did not have the high budget shows, or casino or big parties, but had the level of entertainment and activities suited to what we like. They had a wonderful pianist, creative guitarist, violin/cello duo and fun singing group, all who entertained every day somewhere on the ship. We took all the included tours, which are mostly city tours, which are all considered easy, and fit our walking ability. Mostly ate on the 7th floor buffet so we could look out at the cities. Got really lucky and started in Auckland on their anniversary day which was celebrated on the pier next to the ship. Lots of music and fireworks. Learned a lot about New Zealand on the trip, which was our main objective. Watched the Super Bowl in the middle of the Tasman Sea, which was technologically cool. The one suggestion we would make to Viking would be to have scheduled seating times in the Restaurant, and assigned seating with other couples. We have done that on a number of cruises and found it a great way to get to know other people. The best part of our trip was the post cruise extension, Best of Australia, where we want out to Uluru-kata tjuta National park and Alice Springs. Had a great tour guide and lots of interesting sites to see. Learned so much about Aboriginal culture and history, as well as geology. Overall a very relaxed, enjoyable trip. We liked the smaller ship and hope to take more Viking River and Ocean cruises in the future. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
After sailing with Viking twice previously, we chose Viking to fulfill a long held ambition of visiting NZ and Australia on the same holiday. We were not disappointed, the itinerary was perfect for sampling these two countries, much loved ... Read More
After sailing with Viking twice previously, we chose Viking to fulfill a long held ambition of visiting NZ and Australia on the same holiday. We were not disappointed, the itinerary was perfect for sampling these two countries, much loved by our fellow countrymen. Viking give a range of excursion options for destinations and we frequently choose the included option and find them to be excellent in providing a good overview in the limited time available. The onboard lectures and tv accessed channels allow for extensive prior briefing of your destination to really maximise the cultural experience of your visit and Viking should be complimented on this service. Ironically, we chose to pay for a trip to the southern alps in New Zealand and unfortunately this was disappointing largely because we drove into wet and misty conditions that sadly ruined any spectacular scenery views.( not Viking’s fault, the luck of the draw!) The ship was quite new at the time of our cruise ( Jan 2019) and was immaculate. We had a Penthouse Veranda cabin and found it to be comfortable and well appointed. The cabin was generous in size and tastefully fitted with the “Skandi cool” decor and furniture in theme with all common areas of the ship. With only some 930 max passengers ( only 36 of us Brits at the time) the ship never feels crowded and there are many quiet areas to enjoy the sailing whilst at sea. My wife has given a full report on the ship’s services and staff, etc and should be read in conjunction with my comments! All good! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This was our third Viking ocean cruise - we chose Viking for the more intimate ship capacity, lack of casino & similar entertainment, excellent dining choices, well appointed & spacious cabins, attentive staff and excellent choice ... Read More
This was our third Viking ocean cruise - we chose Viking for the more intimate ship capacity, lack of casino & similar entertainment, excellent dining choices, well appointed & spacious cabins, attentive staff and excellent choice of included shore visits. We particularly enjoy eating in Chef’s Table,choosing to eat there at each menu change, and have not been disappointed. The premium wine pairings are well chosen and to our taste. We enjoy eating in Manfredi’s, preferring this venue to the main restaurant which, for us, is a little too large and has a less personal atmosphere. The World Cafe offers an excellent choice every evening & we look for their ‘specials’ evenings when you can sample, for instance, a range of fresh fish or an Italian theme with chef cooking fresh pasta to order. I was particularly impressed on the Orion since I have a small dietary requirement which had not been listed - a restaurant manager in the World Cafe pursued this on my behalf & by day 2 of the cruise, whilst in port,was able to supply what I required. Thank you to Ariel who exemplified what is so good about all the Viking staff. We always enjoy a pre dinner drink in the Explorer lounge, often with some live, quiet background music, and have been impressed with the ability of the staff to remember not just you but your preferred drink - and on this occasion even from a previous ship & voyage! We booked an extension to our cruise in Sydney & were satisfied with the transfer, ship to hotel, which involved a large number of people. We were given a succinct presentation at the hotel of services available & were able to leave our bags safely there while we explored this lovely city. Our room was available at the appointed time & our bags promptly followed. Breakfast provided for Viking guests in a separate dining area was very good and the staff attentive & helpful. Our airport transfer was well handled - our only disappointment that our wonderful holiday was ending. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Australia and New Zealand were places we've never been before and it was a winter cruise with warm weather. We love the restaurants especially the Chef's Table, Manfredi's and The Restaurant. Also enjoy Mamsons and the ... Read More
Australia and New Zealand were places we've never been before and it was a winter cruise with warm weather. We love the restaurants especially the Chef's Table, Manfredi's and The Restaurant. Also enjoy Mamsons and the poolside restaurant. Not a big fan of the World Cafe (buffet) except when in a hurry. Ate some Asian sushi there that didn't agree with me. Wonderful, fun entertainment and shows. Talented crew did Abba, Elvis and Broadway. Enjoyed some of the cultural lectures, the planetarium, and port talks were always informative. Enjoyed the excursions except for one - we paid $520 (2) for the Southern Alps excursion and it rained. A lot of money for 8 hours on the bus, a not very good lunch and a 20 minute stop in the rain where The Lord of the Rings was filmed. Loved our other wildlife excursions - Napier (gannets), a cruise from Dunedin to Otago Harbor (albatross, seals, etc), Bonorong in Tasmania (Kangaroos) Healsville in Melbourne (kangaroos, koalas, etc). Enjoyed learning about the Maori culture in Auckland and the Aboriginal cultural of Australia. The four day extension in Sydney was a highlight. Toured the Opera House and spent a day-long trip on a hop-off harbor excursion. Taronga Zoo is worth a visit. Marriott Hotel was convenient for walking to sights. Love viking! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We wanted to see not just Sydney (2nd time there) but other areas of Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand. The trip surpassed anything we could have imagined. Friendly people, great food, and tremendous scenery. We took the included ... Read More
We wanted to see not just Sydney (2nd time there) but other areas of Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand. The trip surpassed anything we could have imagined. Friendly people, great food, and tremendous scenery. We took the included tours in each city to get an overall feel for the area and to learn more of the history. We had a lot of relaxing time on the ship and enjoyed the spa. We always enjoy the afternoon tea in the Wintergarten. The addition of the planetarium was a surprise but also a wonderful experience. We also were surprised to find the wine sommelier, Lorraine, was the same person as we had on the Viking Sky on a previous cruise. It was great to catch up with her. The staff and service on the Orion excellent. We thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment provided. We missed Christchurch due to rough seas but the crew did a great job keeping everyone entertained. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We have always wanted to see Australia and New Zealand, but we were overwhelmed with where to go and when. While we had one cruise we found awful, on another line, we decided to try Viking due to no casino, no kids and the all inclusive ... Read More
We have always wanted to see Australia and New Zealand, but we were overwhelmed with where to go and when. While we had one cruise we found awful, on another line, we decided to try Viking due to no casino, no kids and the all inclusive vibe. The cruise exceeded all our expectations. The ship was luxurious, the food beautiful and most memorable was the staff. We are already planning another cruise, and by chance it will be on the Orion again. We ate breakfast in the World Cafe and dinner in The Restaurant or a specialty setting. Manfredos was our favorite. We did mostly included tours, and enjoyed leisure time on our own at most ports. The lectures and cultural events were perfect for us. Viking staff/reps were with us from out of customs to back at the airport. We found Viking Air to be as good and as helpful as the ship staff. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
As we all know, luxury does not come cheap. After years of sailing predominantly on Holland America with some side forays into Princess and a few other lines, we decided to try Viking for our most recent cruise. While there were some mild ... Read More
As we all know, luxury does not come cheap. After years of sailing predominantly on Holland America with some side forays into Princess and a few other lines, we decided to try Viking for our most recent cruise. While there were some mild snafus in regard to some of the shore excursions, which were not that big a deal considering this itinerary was brand-new for the line, everything on board the ship was as good as or better than we could have hoped. The food is good (though it is overly heavy on seafood IMO), and the staff outstanding. Our cabin was lovely and comfortable and every need we had was met. We also did the Viking air plus to schedule our flights and did both of pre-and-post extension in Sydney and in Auckland. Both extension hotels were super, but the Cordis in Auckland was unbelievably luxurious - including a free cell phone you could use during your visit and use to make free overseas calls. Because we changed several things about our departure and return dates are Airline ended up being Cathay Pacific. We knew nothing about it before flying but were absolutely overjoyed with the experience. True we had to fly to Hong Kong to fly to Australia and do it again on the way back which meant about 24 hours in the air, but I can't say enough good things about Cathay business class. Our Viking rep contacted us before we left while we were gone and after we returned to find out if all had gone well and if there was anything we needed. After this experience it would be hard to ever return to a ship that carries 3,000 or more passengers. During our two-week Voyage we really got to know the crew and the staff and they got to know the passengers. That just doesn't happen very often on the large ships. Also Viking never had to tender so we never missed any ports due to weather. They also set up free courtesy shuttles into each Port from wherever the ship docked which I can tell you has never happened for me on other Cruise Lines. About the only thing I can say negative about them is that there is far too much walking between the ship and where you can leave the security area. My mother is slightly disabled (but not wheelchair bound) and this caused a great deal of difficulty for her, and I imagine other mobility challenged people. Tge bottom line is, we enjoyed ourselves so much that we all have already booked a cruise for 2020 with Viking. As I said at the outset, luxury does not come cheap, but in this case we got everything we paid for and more. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
With two weeks to utilize at the holidays, and with the desire to catch a restful break from daily routine while also getting to see some of the wonders of Australia and New Zealand, the Viking Orion offered the perfect solution. The ship ... Read More
With two weeks to utilize at the holidays, and with the desire to catch a restful break from daily routine while also getting to see some of the wonders of Australia and New Zealand, the Viking Orion offered the perfect solution. The ship is beautifully designed in every way. The public areas are spacious and elegant, while still warm and welcoming. The beautiful light wood covering the walls is soothing and clean, with a minimum of bric bracs and ornamentation resuting in a ship which conveys a refreshing study in classy elegance. The main dining room (The Restaurant) is similarly tasteful, wrapping around a good portion of the ship in intimate dining spaces, rather than being one big, cavernous central eatery. The World Cafe (cafeteria style service) provides a wondrous array of foods of different types and nationalities. With the excellent Italian restaurant, Manfredi’s, and the addition of the Chef’s Table option, travelers always have at least four terrific options for food. High tea in the classy Wintergarden is also a daily option, and there’s a selection of good snacks in the Explorer’s Lounge. The personnel at all these areas is unfailingly helpful and pleasant. Other unique amenities on the ship include the surging wave machine in the spa pool, the “IMAX” style dome theatre, the warmed infinity pool outside the World Cafe, and a wealth of niceties (spa access, wine with dinner, soft drinks, organized panorama shore excursions) which are all included in the fare for the trip. We loved the requirement that all travelers be t least 18 years old, and also loved the absence of casino or ever-hovering photographers. It was, far and away, the best cruise we have ever experienced. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We selected our destination first, then we chose Viking because of the limited number of passengers and Because there is no casino, no photographers trying to sell pictures, no pressure to buy other items, no children, and because we ... Read More
We selected our destination first, then we chose Viking because of the limited number of passengers and Because there is no casino, no photographers trying to sell pictures, no pressure to buy other items, no children, and because we looked forward to hearing excellent speakers. We were on one previous Viking cruise and enjoyed it immensely. The food is outstanding and there is no formal dining requirement, but one can dress up for dinner if desired. The World Cafe is always good and the hours are very accommodating. Great gelato. The included tours, which is one of the reasons we chose Viking, were not all stellar. But the purchased tours were great. The days are sea were good, with lots of options for activities. We went to 3 of the movies in the dome, and the lecture in the dome by the astronomer, and all were excellent. There seemed to be some reluctance on the part of the customer service staff to share information about the dome viewings. Not sure what that was about, but it took a real effort to get access. We enjoyed the trivia contests also. We did not attend many of the musical entertainments, but that was just a personal choice. The embarkation and disembarkation process were very orderly and speedy. I thought they did Christmas with the appropriate amount of music and gaiety, but it was not over the top, and that was just right. The decorations on board were lovely. Our 50th anniversary was recognized in a very delightful way. Since this was a tour with an older crowd, there seemed to be someone falling every day and there were several injuries. Perhaps people should take the advisories about activity levels more seriously. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Our experience on the Orion lived up to Viking River Cruise Standards in every way. Onboard entertainment was surprisingly good for such a small ship [ 900+ passengers]. The Viking Band performed every night in the ships different venues ... Read More
Our experience on the Orion lived up to Viking River Cruise Standards in every way. Onboard entertainment was surprisingly good for such a small ship [ 900+ passengers]. The Viking Band performed every night in the ships different venues and were excellent as were the four Viking vocalists who usually performed every night in some type of production on the ship's main stage. A bonus was the other individual performers ,such as Daniel [ an acoustical guitarist ], who performed every night before and after dinner in the ship's various lounges. No shortage of entertainment thanks to cruise director Bevan and asst. director Ian. Food quality/service met or exceeded Viking river cruise standards. The Restaurant [no reservations] never had a wait although early reservations are advisable at Manfredi's and the Chef's Table. Cruise personnel were well trained and courteous at all times. Viking never ceases to amaze me at how well they handle all logistics from booking, cruising,shore excursions etc. with little to no error. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Our 4th Viking Ocean cruise (on four different ships). It's been interesting to see the minor 'tweaks' to each edition of ship that Viking has rolled out. But overall the Viking Ocean ships are amazing in our ... Read More
Our 4th Viking Ocean cruise (on four different ships). It's been interesting to see the minor 'tweaks' to each edition of ship that Viking has rolled out. But overall the Viking Ocean ships are amazing in our opinion. Not a huge 'mega' ship with thousands of passengers, but still offering excellent dinning choices and impressive stage/auditorium facilities. Always have interesting guest lecture series. And I am a big fan of their spa facilities. Specifically on this ship, the Orion, Viking has installed a small planetarium which was a nice option for entertainment (although they need to improve the 'caliber' of what they show as to content. One show 'Mission to Mars' may entertain a 8-10 year old, but to the average Viking passenger..... I'm not so sure. Try harder to entertain in the planetarium. To score the planetarium itself, I would give the facilities themselves a 100% score. Content to the movies shown inside? A score of around 75%. Always wanted to go to Australia/N. Zealand area. From someone who has had multiple Viking Ocean cruises, the one common area that I see they need improvement in is excursions. I'm not saying they are horrible. In comparison with other areas of the ship that I would grade between 95-100%, excursions would be graded in the 85-95% area. That's why I scored as I did. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Amazing trip down under on Viking Orion. From the Sydney Harbor bridge climb and Opera house tour to welcoming in the new year in Auckland the most beautiful scenery you could imagine. Included tours were mostly city tours, botanical ... Read More
Amazing trip down under on Viking Orion. From the Sydney Harbor bridge climb and Opera house tour to welcoming in the new year in Auckland the most beautiful scenery you could imagine. Included tours were mostly city tours, botanical gardens were the equivalent of cathedrals in Europe, a tour of one on every stop. Optional tours offered chances to get away from the cities and see the beautiful countryside including interacting with the animals you expect to see. There were several chances to tour wine country and interaction with locals. Optional tours were a bit pricey but worth it to take some to get a better feel for the country. Scenery from ship sailing into and out of ports was “worth the price of admission”. Incredibly beautiful sights of the countryside. Ports also gave us a peek into what is being shipped out of the country. All this in Viking comfort with wonderful attention to all the details. The ratio of passenger to crew means everything thing you may need is taken care of by an upbeat person who seems to enjoy what they do. Cabin was always in top condition. We enjoyed the casual World Cafe for breakfast and most lunches but ended up having most of our dinners in the restaurant. Plenty of choices, one menu available everyday as well as a different menu each day. (We thought the Wiener schnitzel offered one night was the best we ever ate!) Entertainment on Viking isn’t too showy. Cruise director, Bevin, and other entertainers were very talented. The afternoon carol sing, lead by entertainers and holiday show on Christmas Eve were wonderfully warm. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Viking Orion Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.7
Dining 5.0 4.4
Entertainment 4.0 4.1
Public Rooms 5.0 4.8
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.4
Family N/A 4.4
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 5.0 4.3
Service 4.5 4.6
Value For Money 5.0 4.1

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