We chose this cruise because we were looking for a 2-week ocean cruise on Viking that provided guided tours of Rome. We had just returned from a 2-week cruise on Viking that toured Norway and the UK. This cruise was excellent in almost ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were looking for a 2-week ocean cruise on Viking that provided guided tours of Rome. We had just returned from a 2-week cruise on Viking that toured Norway and the UK. This cruise was excellent in almost every respect from the cabin, the crew and the entertainment. Everything was top notch. This excellent cruise was called, Into the Midnight Sun on the Viking Sky. Because of this excellent experience we wanted to sail on another 2 week Viking cruise.
We purchased what we though was another 2-week (14 night) Viking cruise from Athens to Barcelona and expected the same features and quality as we had on the previous Viking 14 day cruise. Unfortunately once we arrived on board the ship we learned that what we were sold was actually two back to back 7 day cruises. This was disappointing for two main reasons, first all the entertainment and most all of the lectures were repeated on the second 7 day cruise. Second and more importantly Viking did not provide their same level of excursions in Rome that they typically arrange for all other ports. Neither of the two offered excursions were acceptable to me and my wife as both excursions required us to spend 5 or more hours on our own in Rome. My wife and I do not feel comfortable spending this amount of time on our own in Rome. It is worth noting that the reason the Rome excursions were limited is that this was the embarkation and debarkation port and about 800 of the passengers were leaving the ship at this port. And about 800 new passengers were coming on board here as well.
Of the approximately 900 passengers, approximately 100 of us were sold the 14-night cruise. All others were sold the 7 night cruise either from Athens to Rome or from Rome to Barcelona. In talking with many of the other 14 night passengers they too were equally disappointed that this was not a true 14 night cruise. The information in Viking's marketing material mentioned that this itinerary combined two cruises. I did not meet anyone that understood this meant that Viking planned to combined two 7 night back to back cruises for a select number of passengers. We all thought that everyone who boarded in Athens were going to be on a 14 night cruise.
The food quality was good. Although the selection was somewhat limited. I would have preferred to have had a larger selection of vegetables, both cooked and raw for making salads. One night my wife ordered a NY strip steak medium at the World Cafe and after waiting 10 minutes the chef came out and spoke to my wife and another passenger about issues with getting their steaks. It took another 15 minutes for the chef to obtain the steak from the kitchen and then prepare it. I assume they ran out of steaks and no one replenished them in he World Cafe..
The entertainment on this cruise was amateurish. The vocalists were right out of college with very little experience. Individually they may be talented but together they did not harmonize at all. We were told that these 4 vocalists were new hires and had not worked together except for 11 days prior to performing their first show on the Viking Jupiter. In comparison to the quality of entertainment between what we had on the viking Sky and on the Viking Jupiter is significant. Jupiter were amateur's whereas Sky were professionals. The atmosphere around the entertainment on the Jupiter was similar to "elevator music". On the Sky the entertainment was much more upbeat, popular hits from the 60's and 70's. On the Sky the band and vocalists often time performed at the pool and there were easily 100 or more passengers up dancing and having a good time. On the Jupiter the band performed a couple times at the pool and there were maybe 20 or so passengers dancing and almost no one listening to and enjoying the music in the audience.
We really enjoyed the educational lectures. Bother the resident historian and the astronomer were excellent speakers.
This was the maiden voyage of the Jupiter and as such there were a number of mechanical issues. I am sure that within 6 weeks or so all the mechanical issues will have been worked out, unfortunately for us we were the guinea pigs or beta testers for the ship and crew. There were public toilets that would not stop flushing, spa pool water that was too hot one day and too cold another, the hot tub was routinely not as hot as the pool, the infinity pool was not in operation (no water), cabin hot water temperature was for several days way too hot. These issues were minor in comparison to the Rome excursion issue and the very poor quality entertainment.
The shore excursions were sometimes too short and did not offer sufficient time to explore the area. For example we purchased the optional excursion to the Medieval Fortified Town of Carcassonne in France. The tour lasted about an hour at Carcassonne by a local guide. There is a castle museum within the walls of this town that required at least 90 minutes to tour. Unfortunately the tour did not provide adequate time to see everything within the castle museum. Additionally, admission to the castle museum was extra and not included in the Viking arrange excursion and had to be purchased separately.
The tour of Herculeum out of the Naples port was excellent. The right amount of time and detail in the tour. Highly recommend this optional tour. Unfortunately there were high winds expected in Civitavecchia (Rome) so our stay at the Naples port did not provide sufficient time ofr us to see Naples. The ship had to leave the Naples port early (about 4 hours) in order to insure that the ship could get into Civitavecchia (Rome) so that 800 passengers could make their flights in Rome the following day.
The best part of this cruise was the Viking crew. Everyone form the cabin steward to the restaurant waiters and staff were excellent. Almost all staff on this ship were excellent.
Knowing what we know now we would not have purchased this 14-day cruise and do not recommend this cruise and itinerary to others. Based on our experiences with Viking on this cruise we most likely will not be traveling with Viking again. Read Less