Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise Trade Routes of the middle Ages" due to its diversity of countries having never been to Europe but have taken many ocean cruises before.. arrival a the airport and finding the Viking representatives was swift ... Read More
We chose this cruise Trade Routes of the middle Ages" due to its diversity of countries having never been to Europe but have taken many ocean cruises before.. arrival a the airport and finding the Viking representatives was swift and all questions asked and guided well (a little tired due to an over night flight with no sleep) to our buses with luggage taken for us. embarkation (and the ship in general) was quick and smooth. our luggage was left for the staff and brought to our rooms by the scheduled 2 pm. during this tie we were able to eat lunch (we were starving) and look around the ship. it is small and well defined and within one day we didnt get lost!! we found representatives all over the ship and easily approachable for directions. found the ship in general too cool for me so sweater was necessary always. Cabin: we were in 4107 which had a balcony, heated floors in the bathrooms, many toiletries a lady would need and replaced as needed without asking, adequate thick towels etc, glassed in shower, adequate places for all your toiletries brought. limited storage for clothes (shorts, etc) not on hangers (which i brought and were used) but we found space. maybe some shelving in the large hanging closet would be a great idea and put the safe in their also. great 40 inch tv which was convenient for local and world news plus movies at out leisure. used the balcony a few times. Dining: it didnt matter where you went. from the world cafe to the Restaurant, it was wonderful with attentive waiters to serve coffee, tea and soda , wine and beer at your discretion. the chefs Table was incredible but only went once. we had the Asian meal which i was afraid i wouldnt like.. impressive... Manfredies was not our favorite and we went once only and cancelled a second. I love italian but was disappointed. too spicy for us. our favorite haunt was The Restaurant where fine dining was different every night with waiters at your beck and call with a smile always.. Entertainment and activities: there was something all day every day for every one. the daily sheet of activities and where to meet for tours was well written allowing any one to plan their day. simple things such as Trivia with new made friends (we came so close so many times) was fun! lectures of WW2 and art lectures and discussion were made available and very interesting and enjoyed. attendances was good. i brought two books. i didnt open either one.. guess i was too busy... night entertainment was good with soloist singers of different types, a soloist pianist (incredible), a magician (who did he do it??). honestly my fave forever was Brian Rodriques, who was an assistant cruise director who sang solo one evening with a packed house. From show tunes to opera, he was incredible evoking emotional responses from many (including myself)/ Thanks Brian for sharing your gift! Service" no matter where on the ship or even off the ship, a Viking representative was available and eager to assist no matter what. even managers of every departments were visible each day and often. Ports and Shore Excursions: most of the included trips were educational and represented by the people of that country. the two i would not recommend were Falmouth and Belgiun as Falmouth itself is a nice quaint little town to visit (and we were there during a festival-which we missed). the included trip to cornwall was uneventful and lack of capability to see any scenery which was special . The included trip not to Brugge but to another town was somewhat okay for a few minutes then lack luster. we were dropped off in the city of " ?" to shop yet the stores were closed. we wanted to get chocolate to purchase but ummm the stores are closed??? the rest of the included trips we took advantage of with also purchasing some. i found the costs reasonable compared to other cruise companies. the best included was paris. yes! its far but once there we saw so much and given time to eat at a side walk cafe and to feel the parisian style. limited shopping was disappointing but all in all we saw so much for no cost to us!!! the only other purchased trip i would ot recommend was Amsterdams Rickmuseum (sp). very confusing, tie wasted, with tour guides (however intelligent to art) but too much time determining who was gong to take whome (limited to 20 each but did not say- you 20 stand here please) and too much detail orientation of one painting limiting us to seeing two paintings in half hour. we finally left the group and met up when we were to leave. as did many. Tak Tak Tak Viking for giving us a beautiful and memorable trip we will never forget even to the end (and in the airport-this after we had filled out our comment forms!!!) we have already planned on a river cruise next year and so looking forward to the next experience!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
For us this cruise was chosen more for the ship and duration than destinations as we were already familiar with many of them. The Viking Star is a lovely ship and the public areas and lounges are really great with space always available ... Read More
For us this cruise was chosen more for the ship and duration than destinations as we were already familiar with many of them. The Viking Star is a lovely ship and the public areas and lounges are really great with space always available to sit commfortably. Our cabin was all that we wished for and in our opinion anything of higher grade would not be worth the extra money. The cabin was kept immaculate by the charming crew and any requests were met very promptly. One day we returned during the cleaning and though the bed was made it was damp at the edges. When I queried this I was told that to remove any wrinkles they spray a little water. Just like home then? We found the dining in the restaurant was good though sometimes service was slow. Most food was really good though a couple of dishes were disappointing. The buffet was OK but anything cooked to order took a long time. The worst experience for us was when we ordered a premium wine and a wine glass could not be found so we drank from a tumbler. The much vaunted icecream didn't seem that special. The Chef's table concept didn't really appeal though the food was good as were the paired wines. Manfredi's was for us the best of all and we went several times and reservations were never a problem. Once there was a long wait to be seated and served. Lunch at the pool bar was good and service quick. Mamsen's was good for something different. We were really impressed by the quality and range of entertainment on offer both in the theatre and around the ship. The service must be one of the hgh points of this ship and most crew members were happy and helpful.Bar staff in particular were great fun and it was always a pleasure to see them. We took the drinks package and we think it paid off for us. Soft drinks seemed to be free during the day and wine and beer are included with meals but access to better wines was nice especially in the speciality restaurants. As stated the destinations were not a priority for us but those excursions we did take were pretty average. Catagena in particular was a waste of time as to reach the advertised Roman theatre there was a long ride and the theatre was actually 100m from the ship. With few exceptions the people we met were friendly and interesting and we would certainly consider further cruises with Viking. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This was our first crucial and we did a lot of research before we picked it. We even went to the cruise show at the NEC. We wanted a small boat that was very informal and that is what we got. We loved it. We would go back and would ... Read More
This was our first crucial and we did a lot of research before we picked it. We even went to the cruise show at the NEC. We wanted a small boat that was very informal and that is what we got. We loved it. We would go back and would certainly recommend Viking. The ship is very understated. The decor is Scandinavia chic. The cabins are small but have everything you need. What is a bonus is the verandah where you can sit and admire the sunsets. Everywhere is spotless. However there is always somewhere to sit and read quietly. The pool are does get busy and we found it can be harder there to find a place to sit than say in the Explorers lounge. The staff are amazing. Someone somewhere is always working with a smile, saying hello and can I help you? Food- we tried all the restaurants. There is plenty of food and the quality is good, service can be a bit slow depending on who is serving you. Chefs table- worth going once, set 5 course menu with different wines at each course. Food a bit too rich for us. Manfreidis - again worth going to, more choice but very loud and busy. Restaurant- more formal but fine didning, excellent food. Worlds cafe - ate there mostly as it is very informal no need to dress up. Fantastic buffet you could just have a bowl of soup or a 3 course meal. Afternoon tea was delicious Explorers lounge - lunch and cakes in the afternoon. Good quality Pool grill mainly beef burgers but again good quality for lunch You can have drinks with your meals some didn’t bother having the drinks package. Trips- we only paid for Florence which is definitely worth the money. Stunning. Pisa - seeing the leaning tower was good fun Monaco- loved it and you can get around so easily you don’t need the tour St tropez- don’t bother with the tour waste of time. Not much to see and you can do that on your own Marseilles- again loved it so much to see but I wouldn’t bother with the tour as a shuttle bus is run from the ship and it is so easy to do your own thing. Barcelona again I would do my own thing as the tour is mainly a coach trip and 30mins in the city. Fellow passengers aged from 20-80 but 95% are American. Criticism - the flights having to change at Amsterdam when we are only flying from England to Rome and from Barcelona. It took us 14 hours to get home door. It was quicker to get to the states. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We had cruised with Carnival and Princess before and this year went upscale to a Viking Med. Ocean Cruise with our brother and wife as travel partners. The positives: 1) Food was excellent, 2) Less crowds with smaller passenger loads. ... Read More
We had cruised with Carnival and Princess before and this year went upscale to a Viking Med. Ocean Cruise with our brother and wife as travel partners. The positives: 1) Food was excellent, 2) Less crowds with smaller passenger loads. The negatives: 1) Simple requests required escalation to management. We had a plumbing problem with the shower, special requests for honor bar drinks, that took several calls, finally to the customer service manager to resolve. 3) Our deck four laundry was broken more than it was working and the response to get it fixed was poor. 4) Some shore excursions, especially the one to Pisa was poorly managed for toilet breaks...in this case no breaks until the end of the bus ride and tour during our short free time. 5) The Spa was hard to get appointments for a simple pedicure (again requiring elevation to mgt) and this costly pedicure's quality was sub par for the $69 price tag. 6) The ship cancelled one of two days in Barcelona (a big disappointment) and getting reservations at times desired for fine dining and shore excursions was onerous, even though we reserved early. 7) Lastly, Viking seeks manual input surveys for feedback but in a short cruise with no sea days there was virtually no way to get these forms back in...they truly need an online survey system and allow customers up to a month to provide input...subsequently they probably do not get an adequate sample size. In summary, Viking costs quite a bit more than the traditional big carriers and for that cost we had many reasonable expectations that were not met.... while we enjoyed this cruise could and should have been better managed. Perhaps they are still in a learning curve with ocean cruises, an off shoot of their river cruises that they are known for. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
All the hype couldn’t wait to cruise this line. The ship was beautiful, the staff and service was wonderful. Embarkment was ok except when came on had to leave luggage in lounge and claim later did own transfers. The cabin was ... Read More
All the hype couldn’t wait to cruise this line. The ship was beautiful, the staff and service was wonderful. Embarkment was ok except when came on had to leave luggage in lounge and claim later did own transfers. The cabin was Good but I have had nicer on other ships. PV1...Dining was also good not spectacular. The open table with wine pairings was the best. Manfredos was nothing special. We did not do any entertainment outside of hearing music here and there and high tea which was nice. Our excursions were early and the talks seemed to be during dinner. It was nice that it was a small ship and no children. The silver drink package was well worth the money as the pours are much better then the included drinks. That being said we did optional excursions which for the most part were good, but we got abandoned on one and spent a lot of time with guest services and excursions trying to remedy the situation. We imagine older guests should beware. The reluctance of the line to remedy the situation for a small amount of money when the tour did not follow Viking standards was disappointing. Small things like not having an ATM on board was a big inconvenience in Europe. Overall we had a nice cruise but we are not in any hurry to board Viking unless the itinerary warrants. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
LAUNDRY: Many of my fine linen items came back shrunken even though my instructions were specific about their care. FOOD: Nothing to write home about - staff had difficulty communicating in English. BUFFET: Seafood buffet had a ... Read More
LAUNDRY: Many of my fine linen items came back shrunken even though my instructions were specific about their care. FOOD: Nothing to write home about - staff had difficulty communicating in English. BUFFET: Seafood buffet had a "fishy" smell quite evident even when just passing. WINES: Overly disappointed with our "included wines" which were a simply a " red or white" PERIOD! My husband is a Sommelier and my palate is definitely educated, so I drank premium wines, but still none that I would consider as being chargeable. TOURS: The Viking tours we opted for (both paid and included) were substandard. ENTERTAINMENT: Repetitive and devoid of choices. STATEROOM: Our toilet did not work 25% of our cruise! Guest Services said many staterooms had same problem! DEMOGRAPHIC: Geriatric and inactive! POOLS Small. PRICING: At $21,466.00+ we expected much more! I sent a direct notice to Viking Headquarters, but never received a response. Read Less
Viking Cruises, Community Team has responded
We appreciate the time you took to provide a detailed review of your recent adventure around the Mediterranean Sea, superdog007. The stateroom difficulties you’ve described are regrettable, as well as your disappointment with the amenities and dining selections. Your constructive feedback has been recorded for review by management, superdog007, however we are committed to understanding how we could have made this a five-star voyage. We recognize you’ve sent notice to our headquarters, but if you haven’t connected with us yet, we would be happy to learn more about your overall Viking experience at TellUs@vikingcruises.com. Thank you for the opportunity to respond, and we wish you a lovely day.
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
I chose this cruise based on it's outstanding ratings. I wasn't disappointed , It's a amazing ship ! I really liked the decor and the way they planned the space around the ship. You could always find a quite place to sit regardless if at ... Read More
I chose this cruise based on it's outstanding ratings. I wasn't disappointed , It's a amazing ship ! I really liked the decor and the way they planned the space around the ship. You could always find a quite place to sit regardless if at sea or in port. Cabin space was more than enough with a great bathroom shower. Again the cabin decor was the same as the decor thru out the ship. Plenty of options for dinning with no waiting for a table, staff service was good, food was also good. I would rate them a good but not great in the area of dinning. I'm comparing it to other cruise lines ( Oceania ) Sorry but that's constructive feedback but from someone who would go back to Viking for sure ! Entertainment was very good with plenty of different venues. Liked the explorer lounge it had a very good vibe in the evening. Our cabin steward was outstanding ! One thing a forgot to mention was the fact you don't have to sign when purchasing drinks at the pool or other bar areas of the ship, you just give your cabin number, they have a picture of you on their computers / handheld devices. Also beer and wine is free at lunch and dinner which is really classy. Shore excursions are included at all ports, mainly two to three hour walking tours in most ports that where very good. Overall the ship is so so great , Viking is more than worth the price . I hope to go on another Viking Ocean cruise someday soon ! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Where do I begin to tell you about our fantastic trip on the Viking Star? We had an excellent flight from London with BA in business class which set the tone for the trip, the food was lovely and the crew couldn’t do enough to ... Read More
Where do I begin to tell you about our fantastic trip on the Viking Star? We had an excellent flight from London with BA in business class which set the tone for the trip, the food was lovely and the crew couldn’t do enough to help ( they even took my new shoes which had rubbed my heal to manipulate the leather to soften it. Now that’s what I call service, I only asked for a sticking plaster!) The Viking staff were there at the carousel to take your cases and they led you to the coach. This is one area where things were not seamless, the girl took off at a rate through an airport rammed with people and surprise surprise we lost a few and had to wait for quite a while for them to be found. Our deluxe veranda cabin was spotless and well appointed. There was plenty of hanging space and by using the top shelf in the wardrobe the drawer space was adequate. Our steward was lovely, attentive but not in your way. We asked for ice the first night we were there and he made sure we had it every day without us even asking. Our first nights dinner was in Manfredies. All I can say is if you eat meat order the steak, it is to die for! What ever you have you will enjoy but the portions are very generous. If you have only one official reservation don’t worry, ask at the desk and if they have a space they will get you in if they possibly can. While on the subject of food I may as well deal with it now. We only ate in the main restaurant once, there was nothing wrong with it but the portions were enormous. I ordered the chicken and half a chicken came, I couldn’t finish the breast portion let alone the leg. We ate in the chefs table restaurant which was good too but keep an eye on the fixed menus for the day you fancy as some can be quite fish oriented. Our main stay was the world cafe and why not when there is fillet beef, ribeye, lamb, veal, lovely vegetarian options and show cooking at the back of the ship. If you like seafood you would have enjoyed crab legs, prawns, scallops, oysters Rockefeller, langoustine risotto....I could go on. We also enjoyed breakfast room service on our balcony and although it doesn’t reach you as hot as it would in the restaurant it was still good. We had the included wines which changed pretty much each day and all were good. We chose the upgrade in the chefs table for $25 each which was nice but we were more than happy with what they served. Some staff members were a bit slow to notice you needed a top up but on the whole they were good at keeping an eye on their tables. The excursions we chose were very enjoyable and if lunch is included they are of a good quality. If you get the opportunity to see Krka National Park go, it is beautiful. The day we went there was a ridiculous delay at the entrance over tickets for the coach which made our trip a rushed affair which was a shame as I could have spent hours just taking in the natural beauty of the place. Your camera is a must. There were many highlights and some destinations were a lovely surprise, Montenegro is beautiful I didn’t know much about it before but loved it. The included tour of the town in Slovenia you could do yourself at your own pace if you didn’t want to know the full details of the history etc as it is on the ships doorstep. The entertainment was top notch. The cruise director on our itinerary was Nolan Dean and he is a talented chap, he sings and on the night of his and his assistant Brain Rodriguez show his comedy literary had you crying with laughter. Brian’s singing voice is incredible from pop to opera he can do it all. I must compliment the musicians, they are extremely talented and the ships singers could turn their talents to all sorts. The guest entertainer was a fantastic young guy Dean Stansby, that young man knows how to put on a show. He is from the UK so when he sang Sweet Caroline, like us, the audience participation from the American crowd took him by surprise! We thoroughly enjoyed the shows. The ship itself is beautiful, it’s more like staying at a rich Norwegian friends private villa than a mass produced cruise ship. It is never crowded, you never have to fight for a seat anywhere. Any tips if you’ve yet to book.......if you’re doing Athens to Venice try to get a cabin with an odd number, you will have the coast line on your side. Watch the embarkation video on your tv when you get there as many questions will be answered there. Pool towels are on the sun beds not in your cabin. If there is anything you can’t see but want just ask, the chefs are happy to do what they can, oh and tell them if you have allergies they do like to garnish with nuts. All in all we have been spoilt they even made my husband a delicious birthday cake for a surprise. If we fancy another cruise, and now I’m sure we will we wouldn’t dream of going with any other cruise line. Amazing. Read Less
Viking Cruises, Community Team has responded
Thank you, G. Girl, for the detailed review of your Viking voyage through the Mediterranean; the specifics of your experience were truly a delight to read! We value your appreciation for our carefully curated shore excursions and onboard entertainment, and are pleased to hear your accolade about our food, ship and staff. Your constructive feedback as a valued guest is immensely appreciated, as it allows us the opportunity to evaluate future improvements. G. Girl, if you have any questions or wish to add any further comments, please send us a note at TellUs@vikingcruises.com. We wish you a lovely day, and hope to sail with you again in the future.
Sail Date: April 2018
This cruise went from and to all the places we had not been to in the Mediterranean and we had heard so much about Viking "hospitality." We changed from a Viking River Cruise from Amsterdam to this cruise. I would caution ... Read More
This cruise went from and to all the places we had not been to in the Mediterranean and we had heard so much about Viking "hospitality." We changed from a Viking River Cruise from Amsterdam to this cruise. I would caution anyone signing up for a Viking excursions to do their research on what the meaning of their "moderate" is. We, unfortunately, signed up for two full day excursions early in the cruise and found them exhausting. We normally don't sign up for many ship-sponsored cruises because of the "bus" issues and we found many of the excursions were brutal. You know: Young people walking old people through their paces. Before you sign up or go, spend lots of time talking about WHAT you will be doing exactly, what you will see, etc. etc. You will thank me for that. If you are a track star or Senior Athlete you will do just fine. One MUST DO, is to take advantage of Viking's Spa facilities. It doesn't cost a thing and they have steam, sauna, excellent bath facilities for both men and women, and an excellent exercise room that is rarely used. I didn't discover this until the 6th or 7th day, and after that used it every day. The food was general excellent and the wine pourers seem to have a bottomless bottle. Since we had a suite we also had beer and alcoholic drinks in our suite's refrigerator. Just wish I had not been so tired or I would have taken advantage of that. One thing I would like to talk about is a comparison between Oceania and Viking. On Oceania, the greeter at the restaurant knew our names, table preferences and room number by the second or third day of our 18 day cruise. The Viking person, never got it, and we had to forcibly tell them we wanted a table for two next to the window each time we went to the restaurant. The only other places to eat were "hamburgers Ville" near the pool or the cafeteria on the 7th floor. We missed our first reservation in the Italian restaurant which was okay since we had lobster in the main dining room, but it was impossible to get reservations there after that. We finally ate there, and frankly the food and service was superior to the Chef's Table alternative. Most of the time you could walk in anytime and get a table at the Chef's Table. No way on the Italian side. The Chef's Table is really quite mediocre and if you happen to hit on Scandinavian night, good luck with all the raw fish. Yuk. In summary, the staff and officers are very interested in dong their best for the customers, but this is the oldest ship in their fleet and they have a lot to learn about us persnickety Americans. On a scale of 1-10 I would rate our cruise on the Star as a five at best. Oceania? An 8 or 9. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We're a couple in our mid-70's, and this was our first Viking ocean cruise after two river cruises (Danube and Rhine) as well as three ocean cruises with three different lines. Our cruise itinerary was east to west (Rome to Barcelona). ... Read More
We're a couple in our mid-70's, and this was our first Viking ocean cruise after two river cruises (Danube and Rhine) as well as three ocean cruises with three different lines. Our cruise itinerary was east to west (Rome to Barcelona). To be honest, the primary reason we chose this cruise was because of the pre-cruise offering in Tuscany, and it didn't disappoint. We were lodged at the Villa il Poggiale, an absolutely charming hostelry dating from the 1500s. Our hosts were wonderfully kind and accommodating, and our Viking host, Alessia, was extraordinary, the equal of any we've ever had. Unlike other pre- and post-cruise extensions we've had with Viking, most of the meals were included and were both bounteous and delicious. Thank goodness for all the walking we undertook on the tours. The first full day was a bus ride to Florence and a walking tour, including lunch. We had been to Florence back in 2002, and it was nice to see it again. April, however, is not a good time to visit since this is the time in Italy for school trips. The usual swarm of tourists, therefore, was greatly magnified by youngsters elementary to high school age. Shopping was nice, as always, and our free time began outside two affiliated stores, one for gold and the other for leather, with whom Viking has arranged a significant discount. The second day we went to Siena and San Gimignano with a wonderful lunch at a Tuscan farmhouse in between. Siena was crowded, of course, but even the large number of people could not diminish the magnificence of the Piazza del Campo, where the biennial races are run matching horses from some (but not all) of the 17 contrade, or sections, of the city, each of whom bears a fanciful name, from dragon to caterpillar. San Gimignano, like Siena, is perched on a hill, but is much smaller, consisting mostly of a main street that goes up one side and down the other. Wonderful views and more good shopping, including the locally grown lavender. We left the villa early Saturday morning for the bus trip to Civitavecchia, Rome's port city. It's always exhilarating to board a ship, but we were sorry to have to part with Alessia. The Viking Star, launched in 2015, has aged very well despite a stain here and a worn chair seat there. Embarkation was wonderfully smooth -- better even than Viking's river cruises. Our stateroom class (penthouse veranda) gave us access at 1 a.m., so our arrival at 11:30 gave us just enough time for a good lunch and a bit of a stroll around the ship. For information on our cabin, see below. Dining is primarily in the World Cafe (all buffet with the menu changing daily) and The Restaurant, where guests are seated and attended by very friendly and helpful staff. The food and service, I thought, were consistently better than in the World Cafe. Specialty restaurants were Manfredi's (Italian, very popular) and The Chef's Table (varying theme menus, kind of edgy and not as popular.) I think the Viking demographic (50 and up, sometimes way up, white Americans) had a sort of distrust of Chef's Table fare. There's no charge for these restaurants, but reservations are necessary. The breakfasts were excellent -- so many dishes from which to choose. Our only quibble is that the orange juice did not seem fresh, but rather more of an orange drink. We went to the entertainment only the first two nights, but both were excellent -- a quartet of opera and light classical singers and then a 12-member saxophone ensemble from a music school for teens. The enrichment activities were very appealing, but we didn't attend any due to time constraints. Day-long shore excursions and hearty suppers with wine made for early bedtimes. We did, however, go to a Cruise Critic "Meet and Mingle" party on the second afternoon. It was very nice, with most of the senior officers there, except that we and another couple were the only passengers to attend out of the 12 who had accepted the invitation. Shame on you people who weren't there. It was a bit awkward for everyone. Shore excursions (including one free one) were featured at every port of call. Our favorites were Scenic Lucca and Pisa (from Livorno), the Exclusive visit to Villa Rothschild (at Monaco), the Palace of the Popes at Avignon (from Marseille) and Montserrat Abbey north of Barcelona. We saw Lucca on a Sunday morning and, for once, there weren't any crowds -- at least until lunchtime. During our free time, had a good visit to Puccini's home (now a museum) and the gift shop. The Rothschild villa is splendid, but the real treat was a stroll through the breathtaking gardens capped by champagne and canapes al fresco. The papal palace is immense and only partially restored, but the part on view is most impressive. Montserrat Abbey is high in the mountains, about 4,000 feet above the plain, and we reached it by cog railroad. The jewel of the abbey is the Black Madonna, which we got to see up close. The complex is home to a school of young choristers famous through Europe. Bought a CD, of course. The only dud (and this wasn't Viking's fault) was the day on your own in Florence. It was a Monday, hence most of the major museums were closed, and the crowds prevented us from seeing much of anything else, including the Duomo, for which we had bought tickets in advance. Disembarking on the final morning was smooth, at least until we reached the train station for the journey to Madrid. Our guide had told us we'd probably be on Track Six or Seven. We got there only to find that we were really on Track One. Kind of harum-scarum. While the Madrid extension is billed as two days, it's really a day and a half since most of the first day is taken by a train trip from Barcelona. We were housed at the Intercontinental Madrid. Our room was tiny, smaller, I think, than our cabin on the Star, and the window looked out on a forest of rooftop television aerials and satellite dishes. Surely Viking could have insured us nicer accommodations. The bottom floors, however, are splended, indeed, with lots of mirrors and polished wood. The hotel is not smack in the center of the city, thus is not walking distance from the Prado art museum, the royal palace, or the Plaza Mayor. Still, it was in a good part of town, with plenty of embassies and lots of nearby restaurants that were affordable. There also were a couple of small art museums nearby, and the National Library had a very good exhibit on mass communication devises from hieroglyphics to flash drives. Dining at the hotel was distinctly unaffordable, for us, anyway. The tab for two Coke Zeros in the bar, for instance, was 17 Euros (over $20 USD). The main restaurant is similarly pricey, but the bar menu is much more in reach. The breakfast buffets (included in the rate) were wonderful. Altogether a wonderful trip, particularly the Tuscany extension. There were about 32 of us, and we achieved such camaraderie -- doubtless grape-fueled to some extent -- that we held a reunion party in the Explorer Lounge on the last night of the voyage and are keeping in touch with one another via email. Read Less
Viking Star Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.8
Dining 5.0 4.7
Entertainment 3.0 4.1
Public Rooms 5.0 4.8
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.3
Family 1.0 4.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.1
Enrichment 4.0 4.3
Service 5.0 4.8
Value For Money 5.0 4.4

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