1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We are currently on the cultural Cuba cruise, and I would not advise anyone to take any cruise to Cuba unless you can be in Havana for 3 days. The Cienfuegos and Santiago ports are very lame. Havana was fantastic but the drive is over 6 ... Read More
We are currently on the cultural Cuba cruise, and I would not advise anyone to take any cruise to Cuba unless you can be in Havana for 3 days. The Cienfuegos and Santiago ports are very lame. Havana was fantastic but the drive is over 6 hours on very poor roads. We will try to plan another trip to Havana only in the future. The ship is beautiful, but seems to shake more in the ocean than other cruise ships we have been on. We had a junior suite that was very roomy with great bathrooms. The beds are very hard, but they gave us a topper to make it more comfortable. The internet was very slow and movies kept freezing up at night when more users were on. The premium wine selection was not good but the drink package was worth it for great mixed drinks. A big miss was not showing the college football National Championship game and it could not be watched anywhere on the ship. The food in the 2 specialty restaurants was excellent and the pool side grill had a great hamburger and tuna burger. The other restaurants were just ok. Room service seemed to run behind schedule most days for breakfast, so order at least 30 minutes early. The fitness center is small and we would have liked to see more weight machines but it seemed to work for us. On the plus side, Janice our cabin steward was excellent and we had fantastic bartenders in I Made and Eddie. The spa staff that did the pedicures were fantastic. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Love cruising with Viking so wanted to take this cruise with them. This was our 4th ocean cruise with them. The ships are spotless. The crew is friendly and polite. You can rely on them. The rooms are larger. Bathroom larger. Every ... Read More
Love cruising with Viking so wanted to take this cruise with them. This was our 4th ocean cruise with them. The ships are spotless. The crew is friendly and polite. You can rely on them. The rooms are larger. Bathroom larger. Every room has a lanai. Loved our cabin boy. Anything we needed, he got for us. The food was excellent. All freshly cooked. No preservatives. The lectures were very good but I would have liked more entertainment. Playing Trivia was not my cup of tea. A 22 day cruise needed more to do. The shore excursions were well organized. Our guides were knowledgeable and spoke good English. Not like some places. The poor countries were a little depressing but we knew that would be. We were lucky to have sunny weather. The fact that it was Central America, it was extremely hot and humid. We wanted to visit Cuba and travel through the Panama Canal. Each country was so interesting. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Just coming off a 22 day cruise sailing Miami to Los Angeles. First time cruiser on Viking but not my last. Hubby and I are seasoned travelers and cruisers and believe we have found the cruise company for us. Smaller (900+ passengers), ... Read More
Just coming off a 22 day cruise sailing Miami to Los Angeles. First time cruiser on Viking but not my last. Hubby and I are seasoned travelers and cruisers and believe we have found the cruise company for us. Smaller (900+ passengers), sophisticated but not stuffy, great food, cabins are spacious and comfortable, super clean, enjoyable entertainment, included shore excursions and so much more. Ultimately though my love of this cruise was because of their staff. From the top down, ALL are committed to making this the best cruise you have ever been on. During the 3 week cruise we always met staff asking how we were doing, did we need anything, were we enjoying our cruise and what could they do for us. It appears the crew are treated well and love their jobs. The smiles are amazing. On board surveys were acknowledged with a phone call and a promise to review something, make a change or take immediately correction. The general manager and all department heads were available and approachable. We thoroughly enjoyed our meals in The Restaurant, Manfredi’s, Chef’s Table, Mamsens and the World Cafe. Room service was always available. Complimentary beer and wine at both lunch and dinner was a nice perk. Complimentary adult beverages at sail away’s, parties, receptions, etc. The food was plentiful, varied and beautifully presented. Loved Mamsens yummy light snacks with their Norwegian influence. Manfredi’s had an Italian styled menu and was always fantastic. Please note that there are no up charges for the specialty restaurants either! Our penthouse veranda cabin was spacious and very well organized. The bathroom and shower were roomy. Plenty of electric plugs and charging ports for your electronic devices. Tired of paying for wifi on other cruises? Well Viking’s wifi is FREE and generally worked very well ( even in the Pacific Ocean). Entertainment was appropriate for the passengers sailing with a classic and contemporary mix. The very talented Cruise and Assistant Cruise Director were fully engaged with the passengers. The ship’s band and small troup of singers were very good. Some special performers ( magician, violinist, local culture group,etc.) were also good. There were enrichment programs with guest speakers as well. Each port had a complimentary excursion provided plus other interesting choices. A lovely spa was also available plus 2 small ( but adequate) swimming pools. Quality and value through and through. No nickle and diming you as the passenger. I loved this cruise and have already booked another Viking adventure. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I’m currently on a 21 day Cuba, Panama and the Pacific Cruise on the Viking Star. This is our 5th cruise, we have been on Celebrity Infinity and Reflection, Crystal Symphony and a Uniworld river cruise. The Viking Star is nice but ... Read More
I’m currently on a 21 day Cuba, Panama and the Pacific Cruise on the Viking Star. This is our 5th cruise, we have been on Celebrity Infinity and Reflection, Crystal Symphony and a Uniworld river cruise. The Viking Star is nice but lacks some of the luxury touches found on other ships in this rather expensive price range. Perhaps I prefer a different design aesthetic. We are in a Penthouse Veranda, which we paid to upgrade to in order to have enough storage space. Thanks to previous CC reviewers I was warned of the limited drawer space in the regular veranda cabins. We opted not to purchase the Silver Spirits package and feel that it was a smart financial move. Most of the included wines have been fine, on days when we don’t care for the offerings we purchase a bottle and have come out ahead. The wine list to purchase from is fairly limited, so if you are very particular I suggest bringing your own wines. Cocktail prices are very fair at $5-8. Finally, by not having the package I don’t feel motivated to drink my moneys worth! Dining on the ship has been mixed, I’ve been surprised that some of my best meals have been in the World Cafe. The menus have been very good with a nice variety to choose from. I can control my portions and not waste food. The Restaurant has had some serious fails with slow delivery, mixed up orders, cold soups, sauces and gravies. We’ve dined in Manfredi’s twice and the food is good, but portions are huge. I learned to ask for half portions. Feeling a bit under the weather today, I ordered room service. I was hoping for a nice hot cup of soup, unfortunately it was barely lukewarm. On a positive note, the waitstaff are the friendliest and most professional I’ve ever encountered on a cruise. We have not dined at Chefs Table yet so I cannot comment on that. Regarding the excursions, We have only done the included excursions so far and most have been disappointing, somewhat unorganized, very limited as to what you see and two ran quite late. I would suggest if time permits that you plan your own excursions. Many offered by Viking were overpriced compared to arranging our own. I understand the risks involved in doing so. Finally, big kudos to our stateroom attendants Sam and Borche. They are the sweetest gentlemen and have kept everything in immaculate condition. We are still undecided if we would cruise with Viking again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
First Viking Cruise, my wife and I enjoyed it immensely. Good staff, very engaged and aware of customer needs. Lots of attention to detail like constantly refreshing buffet offerings in World Cafe. The "all in" policy on tips, ... Read More
First Viking Cruise, my wife and I enjoyed it immensely. Good staff, very engaged and aware of customer needs. Lots of attention to detail like constantly refreshing buffet offerings in World Cafe. The "all in" policy on tips, free mini-bar etc was nice. The Port Talks were excellent, and gave a good idea of what to expect. The talk and slides on the antique cars was great. How do the Cubans maintain 60 year old cars, and get simple things like oil filters. All answered. Talks on politics, on the cities to be visited, etc. Room 6031 was clean, and perfectly fine for a short cruise. The lack of drawer storage was notable,so we threw the hair dryer, shoe shine pack, etc into the closet to create more space. Dining was fine. We had dinner in Manfredi's, and at the Chef's Table, as well as in the World Cafe. The wine selection was OK, the (free) base wines ranged from good down to swill. Beer was fine with a good range of European choices. Several special nights with pig roasts out on the aft deck, seafood spectacular, etc. All were done well. Full breakfasts were available, with alcohol for those who wanted it. The excursions are a work in progress. Cuba doesn't have a lot of experience in tourism, and more remote places like Cienfuegos and Santiago are behind the curve. That's to be expected. On four excursions, we had two superb guides, one OK, and one awful. I'm not sure how much control Viking has over the tour operators (I only saw one provider in both places). In one case, we were expected to walk through knee high grass, down a washed out culvert to see a lake. And back up via another route. Older people had trouble other , people were concerned about ticks in the grass. Another guide engaged us in a forced march, so we could spend a whole half hour in yet another a rum / cigar shop. The third in four excursions. Several people had trouble with the pace. There was a lot of overlap, as we received the Cienfuegos city park talk twice, from two different guides. It was interesting what they chose to emphasize. Some guides were great, and the excursions provided a great window into a lovely country. Hard working people, horse drawn carts, street musicians, vivid colors, wonderful sunsets. I had the opportunity to walk by myself through the mercado and beyond after one excursion ended. The guide had received 30 people, and delivered 30 people back to the dock. After that, I walked off on my own. About a two mile walk. Friendly people selling wood carvings, hats, gourds, etc. Didn't feel the least bit threatened. The neighborhoods looked a little more worn than those traversed by the tour buses, but it seemed more real. Street musicians, very lively areas. I speak a little Spanish, and did fine. The US government requires that the trip address certain people to people needs. So, we saw an honors arts school, with young children demonstrating high levels of musical proficiency. And visited the adjacent painting studio where the instructors displayed their work, most in support of the revolution. For sale, too. Other schools visible on our trip did not appear to have the same level of maintenance or exterior paint. But, all kids wear uniforms, and those we met were exceptionally polite. I'd go back to either Cienfuegos or Santiago de Cuba in an instant, and I will. But, I know it will be different, just like it was different five years ago. A government patrol boat sat near our ship in both ports. In Santiago, the ship was required to anchor about 30 minutes outside the main harbor, making a long tender ride Practical notes: I tipped guides, taxi drivers, etc in all of US dollars, Cuban convertible pesos, and Euro. They were grateful for the tips, it's a big part of their income. The government takes a cut off the conversion of all US$ to Cuban currency, so most preferred the Euro We departed Santiago de Cuba in the late afternoon, bound for Miami. A day at sea, and a 6am arrival in Miami. Customs doesn't report for work until 7am, so it was 7.15 before the first people were processed. Everyone was required to be out of their cabins by 8am, and off the ship by 9am. I would have liked a few more hours in Santiago de Cuba, and an hour more sleep in Miami. This is not a child friendly cruise. No kids activities, and most excursions were adult level. Not too much partying, the average age was probably mid-60s. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
My husband and I just returned from the one-week Cultural Cuba cruise aboard the Viking Star. First of all, this is a beautiful ship, stylish and very comfortable and just the right size at about 900 passengers. When we arrived at the ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from the one-week Cultural Cuba cruise aboard the Viking Star. First of all, this is a beautiful ship, stylish and very comfortable and just the right size at about 900 passengers. When we arrived at the Miami airport, the Viking personnel were waiting at the baggage area to take our bags and get us on a bus to the ship. It was very efficient and when we arrived at the port the check-in was also quick and painless. We were able to use our cabin 5051, a deluxe veranda, immediately. The cabin was well laid out and comfortable, the bathroom the best we have experienced on any cruise. There is not a lot of drawer storage but the closet is large and there is plenty of space under the beds. We went to the World Cafe and had lunch and it was very pleasant. The layout and general look of the buffet is very nice. We were very tired from an early flight so made an early night of it. The next day was a sea day and there was plenty to do, three lectures on Cuba during the day and entertainment in the evening. There are no "grand" productions but the entertainment was very professional. The highlight of the cruise was the show by Cuba musicians called Legends.Com. these were well-known Cuban musicians who gave a fabulous performance. I wish we could have seen another show! The stay in Cienfuegos was spread over three days so some passengers could go to Havana. We did the included city tour and enjoyed it very much. It is obvious that this was once a wealthy city and the cubans are slowly renovating the many old and beautiful colonial buildings. The guides on our tours were a real highlight of the cruise. They were open about the benefits and shortcomings of the Cuban system, free health care and educations, etc. but not full of propaganda. Really there was not a lot of overt political propaganda in the city. We were more than satisfied with the 3-4 hour tours because the heat and humidity really take it out of you. We were also very happy to return to the comfort of the ship and the tender ride was not a problem. The food on the ship was excellent in both the buffet and dining room. We ate one night at Manfredi's, the Italian restaurant, and were very satisfied. Beer and wine is served at lunch and dinner and as much as you wanted. The staff was uniformly friendly and helpful. Santiago was a very interesting city. While Cienfuegos is a cultural interesting provincial city, Santiago could be a really world-class city with adequate investment. Really, this was an excellent cruise and the Viking Star is a great ship -- no casino, no photographers or staff constantly trying to sell you something. I look forward to another Viking Ocean cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We hadn't been to those particular Caribbean islands on previous trips so wanted a brief time to explore. One day in each port gave us an idea which island(s) we might wish to return to for a longer stay. The sunny skies (most days) and ... Read More
We hadn't been to those particular Caribbean islands on previous trips so wanted a brief time to explore. One day in each port gave us an idea which island(s) we might wish to return to for a longer stay. The sunny skies (most days) and warm seas made the trip extra enjoyable. The cruise staff gave excellent service. Our cabin was kept spotless. The singing entertainment group chose music that was upbeat, harmonic, and varied. We enjoyed the casualness of dining. Sometimes we chose to sit by ourselves and other time chose to sit with a small group. Whichever it was, we met delightful traveling companions. We think that fellow travelers are more friendly on Viking ships. The port excursion we enjoyed the most as a couple was the St. Thomas "Kayak, Hike, & Snorkel of Cas Cay". The guides took very good care of everyone, no matter the kayaking ability level. On St. Martin, I took a French cooking class that was just like being in a class in Paris. We prepared the dishes with the chef's guidance and then ate our gourmet creations. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
The titles tells it all - This Is Not Your Typical Review Spoiler Alert: I was born in Cienfuegos 67 years ago, left in 1961 and had not returned in 57 years.But my memories are still fresh. The three day stopover was just long ... Read More
The titles tells it all - This Is Not Your Typical Review Spoiler Alert: I was born in Cienfuegos 67 years ago, left in 1961 and had not returned in 57 years.But my memories are still fresh. The three day stopover was just long enough to see what has changed in 57 years. Answer: Nothing! Think...What if nothing had changed where you live in the last 57 years. How sad. What price to be paid for supposedly "free" healthcare (no such thing - bring your own toilet paper, sheets, food, medicines, etc. to the hospital)? The real price: Your liberty. It was also sad to see many of my fellow passengers fawning over the old cars, decrepit buildings and the absence of any aspects of modern life. They thought these things were "quaint". Many also bemoaning "The Embargo" they know little about: "The Embargo" does not prevent Cuba from buying anything it wants in world markets - even food and medicines from the US can be had. But the problem is that Cuba does not make a thing of significant value that anybody wants to buy - rum and cigars do not a modern economy make. As to the cruise and itinerary. Overall, as always, 5 stars to Viking! Ship: Been on the Star 2 times and both have been superb experiences. This was the original ship (2014) of the Viking ocean fleet. It set the standard for all to follow to this day. Perfect size for this cruise. Cabin: Ample and sleek: Scandinavian functionality combined with style. And superb attention by the staff. Dining: Viking is the only cruise line where going to the main dinning room is as good or better than the specialty restaurants. Variety, extensive, high quality and attentive service. The specialty restaurants: Italian and a Chef's table (ever-changing menu) are fantastic. And don't forget the World Cafe - the best buffet presentation I have experienced in a luxury liner. And custom order anything. Yes, they'll accomodate just about any requests No kidding. Services: All your needs are covered, and more. Excursions: Extensive selection to the right places. Have fun deciding which to take. Hard choices. So don't read this review the wrong way. If you really want to see what Cuba is all about - this is the cruise for you. Just remove the rose colored glasses and take a hard look. You'll be glad you get to return to the Viking Star every day and enjoy the very best the world has to offer (on-board). And don't forget: You're free. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I had taken a Viking river cruise and wanted to experience the ocean cruise. The ship is beautifully decorated, The cleanliness is so evident everywhere. Service and food is outstanding. My usual cruise lines I travel on are all ... Read More
I had taken a Viking river cruise and wanted to experience the ocean cruise. The ship is beautifully decorated, The cleanliness is so evident everywhere. Service and food is outstanding. My usual cruise lines I travel on are all deluxe-Sliver sea-seabourn etc. and I must admit Viking Ocean is right up there and maybe surpassing them. I was in a Penthoust veranda suite 6019, comfortable plenty of draw space and closet.One complain I do have is the difficult maneuvering one has to do to use the TV. If the remote is not aimed just right it wont work. The two or three shows they have were very good. I also think they should go to a truly all inclusive , as the other deluxe lines . On the Cuba itinerary being in Cienfuegos for 3 nights is quite inconvenient for visiting Havana. It is almost a 3 hour drive And you really need to stay overnight in Havana to get to see anything, and that is not really enough. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise to spend time with group of friends and experience Cuba. Our group of 10 were accommodated at all restaurants with group seating ( twice with private dining rooms!) I was pleased to see a wide variety of gluten free ... Read More
We chose this cruise to spend time with group of friends and experience Cuba. Our group of 10 were accommodated at all restaurants with group seating ( twice with private dining rooms!) I was pleased to see a wide variety of gluten free foods available! The service level matched that of Silver Sea...perhaps even better in several venues. Aaron Syfert was one of the best cruise directors we have experienced.....all activities and excursions were executed well! The highlight of the trip was the overnight Havana excursion....at first I was reluctant but don't regret! We enjoyed several unique features of this ship.....thermal spa, infinity pool, and putting green. Since we partied quite a bit, I was glad we spent the extra money of the drink package. I'm not sure if it was planning or luck but the flight travel arrangements, transfers, etc. were seamless! I will certainly include Viking in my searches for our next cruise! 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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