2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We are incredulous about the service on this ship: friendly, attentitive, and conscientious. Each person we see greets us warmly and with authenticity. The waiters learn your names within a day or two and treat you like royalty. After ... Read More
We are incredulous about the service on this ship: friendly, attentitive, and conscientious. Each person we see greets us warmly and with authenticity. The waiters learn your names within a day or two and treat you like royalty. After five days of being at sea, there is no let up in the attention to detail and graciousness. The food is generally quite good; the sushi bar is excellent and Manfredi's is uniformly delicious. We regret getting the silver spirits package however because one of us drinks only wine and the included wines listed are sub-par. The hard liquor choices on the other hand are wide-ranging and more than sufficient! Silver Spirits runs about $20/day and covers drinks up to $15, which is the price we normally pay for a single servings of wine so we thought we'd be okay, but were quickly disappointed. Next time we'll know or bring our bottles onboard which they permit. Love the ship, the room to spread out and the wifi has been terrific! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
Wonderful cruise. Great staff, great food, excellent wines, good excursions, well-informed guides. All good except they cancelled the Santiago de Cuba stopover at the last minute, claiming that they might be able to get into the Santiago ... Read More
Wonderful cruise. Great staff, great food, excellent wines, good excursions, well-informed guides. All good except they cancelled the Santiago de Cuba stopover at the last minute, claiming that they might be able to get into the Santiago bay, but not get out due to "winds".... Well, we were not convinced. Viking did provide a $500 credit we can apply to a future cruise, but you know what, what if we redo the Cuba cruise and they again cancel Santiago, which we really wanted to see? What's the point then? Viking should get more serious about its stopovers because it was a deciding factor in our choice of this cruise. And if Viking can't keep to its itinerary, why bother. On the plus side, the staff of the boat was truly lovely, the food truly delicious, the indoor spa great and luxurious. The ship was the right size - not too big, not too small, blissfully free of casino and photographers. We enjoyed the promenade deck. It was possible to do a mile or so on it every day, which we really liked. Excursions were well organized, informative and fun, with enough free time to do a little shopping/exploring on our own. Guides were well-informed and pleasant, without overdoing it. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Wanted to try Viking Ocean and Cuba was on my list. Had been on Viking River Cruise so was curious about the Ocean Cruises. The look and feel if the ocean ship was similar to the River but bigger. Also the inclusion of the Thermal Spa ... Read More
Wanted to try Viking Ocean and Cuba was on my list. Had been on Viking River Cruise so was curious about the Ocean Cruises. The look and feel if the ocean ship was similar to the River but bigger. Also the inclusion of the Thermal Spa area which included the sauna, steam, snow room, cold pool and thermal pool with heated lounges chairs was an added bonus as there is not a charge to enter and use the Thermal spa like other cruise lines. The fitness center was well equipped as well. The pools were nice and nothin seemed crowed - not sure the ship was at 100% capacity. They had a nice smoking area on the top deck, which had plenty of seating and was not near any major public area such as the pools or dining areas. The ship was clean and the crew were in constant maintenance mode during the cruise. The staff were wonderful and we managed to have a few waiters that were special in that they remembered us and knew what we drank and were attentive, of course a little tip didn't hurt but was well deserved. The entertainment could be a little more varied especially in the main pool area to include so Top 40 tunes for some of the younger crowd, I had expected some latin music since this was a Cuba and Caribbean Cruise but none. Minus a casino more activities maybe would have been nice other than card and board games. Overall a very relaxing cruise even though we were unable to make our stop in Santiago Cuba due to weather. I booked another cruise while on board so overall pleased with the experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise because we were interested in seeing Cuba, as well as we were looking forward to getting away from cold winter weather. We have traveled on both Viking River and Viking Ocean and loved both. The Viking Star did not ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were interested in seeing Cuba, as well as we were looking forward to getting away from cold winter weather. We have traveled on both Viking River and Viking Ocean and loved both. The Viking Star did not disappoint. From the moment we embarked we were treated wonderfully. We stayed in a deluxe veranda, which was a nice size. Our room steward was very attentive and our room was spotless. We enjoyed our dining experiences. We ate dinner at both specialty restaurants, as well as in the main restaurant and had attentive service and found the meals to be delicious. We particularly enjoyed dining outside in the Aquavit Terrace for the Seafood Buffet. We enjoyed the chef's cooking demonstration as well as the backstage tour given by the Viking vocalists. We enjoyed the evening shows and particularly liked the late night dancing with the Viking Band in the Torshavn lounge. The evening outdoor movies were a pleasant touch. Our cruise director, Aaron, did a wonderful job. We enjoyed the infinity pool and never had difficulty finding a lounge chair. Service by the pool was excellent. We enjoyed afternoon tea. Our experiences on the ship were wonderful. We were disappointed with the short amount of time we spent in Cuba. For a one week cruise, we only were in Cuba for a little over 2 days. We also had to take a tender to get to land, which took additional time away from being in Cuba. Our stop in Santiago de Cuba was cancelled due to winds. We were informed of this as we were finishing breakfast getting ready to leave on our tour. We had hoped another port would have been substituted. Our tour in Cienfuegos was excellent and our tour guide was informative and friendly. The tour to Havana was a must. We saw a great deal and a highlight of our trip was touring in the classic cars. We enjoyed dining in an authentic Cuban restaurant. The 6 hour round trip bus ride was very long. We enjoyed the catamaran tour of Cienfuegos Bay. I was glad that I had done my shopping early in the trip, instead of waiting for the last day, in that I would have had nothing to bring back from Cuba. I have seen so much on previous Viking cruises and was surprised that in a 7 day cruise we only went to 1 port. I had thought we would have seen much more. In summary, the ship was perfect but for a seven day cruise the ports were sparse. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
After saving our money and paid time off for over three years, my husband and I were excited for our cruise to Cuba with Viking, who had shown us stellar service on their Paris to Normandy river journey in 2015. We were a little hesitant ... Read More
After saving our money and paid time off for over three years, my husband and I were excited for our cruise to Cuba with Viking, who had shown us stellar service on their Paris to Normandy river journey in 2015. We were a little hesitant at first, seeing that Viking had changed the itinerary on folks that booked in 2017 from Havana to Cienfuegos, but figured the team had it sorted out. Unfortunately, from the start we had trouble. Our airport pickup wandered away, leaving six of us who had just red eyed into Miami confused - they left the baggage area once the bags started coming, leaving us wandering until we found them quite far down the hall. Despite our stickers and luggage tags, we had to search for our rep, rather than him finding us (in Paris, our rep was there in uniform and took initiative to round up his charges, not the other way around). When we were dropped off at port, we were literally dropped off - no instructions, no guidance. An elderly woman in our group was jostled and fell to the ground. Finally, one of our fellow passengers found the correct entrance and led us in. The ship is lovely, if starting to show some wear, and the staff was delightful and polite and not too talkative. The hydrotherapy pools were spacious and stunning, especially for a ship of this size. We sometimes struggled to get drinks refilled at meals, so we started requesting two at a time so we wouldn’t be parched midway through a meal. For a larger ship than their river cruises, there was less variety in food choice - the seated restaurant and the buffet mirror on another, and since the specialty restaurants booked up fast, you essentially had the option of being brought your food or grabbing it yourself without much change in the menu. The river cruises have a small cafe that you can get American fare at, while their restaurants serve local specialties and more upscale dishes. Our free walking tour in Cienfuegos was one of the worst tours I have been on - the guide wouldn’t let us shop, he made us stand in the street as beggars circled us tighter and tighter (making me more and more nervous) while he talked about the largest travel agency in Havana (it seemed an odd thing to focus on when there was art and cigar shops and historic buildings surrounding us), and was angry people weren’t paying attention to his next long story about the optometry shop as we shifted uncomfortably in the street. At the cigar rolling demonstration, we were hustled out before we could buy anything - which made me incredibly uncomfortable when the shopkeepers had hosted us so kindly. We toured a hotel lobby, which ate into valuable time we could have been at an actual historical building. Being from Nevada, I know hotels. I don’t know 19th century Cuban mansions like Ville Palais, which we had only ten minutes in since we spent a valuable twenty minutes in a generic Hilton-like lobby instead. When we returned to the city center, it was after six and shutting down - stands were closing, shops were shuttered, and it was twilight - tourist time was obviously over. So we returned to the boat. Our Havana excursion was amazing, and the saving grace of our trip - the tour guide Jenny knowledgeable, focused on education and information and not her personal stories. The Hemingway House was closed (note, it’s always closed on Sundays, so why no one notifies us until the day before was concerning on Viking’s end and likely caused a scramble for the poor guides), so she arranged for a ride around Havana in the old school cars, which thrilled us all. She was honest about life in Cuba, and answered all of our questions on income and housing, and introduced us to multiple vendors and shops, even making sure we got proper change. This was the Viking experience I had been expecting and hoping for. Since Havana was a whirlwind of colors and sounds, we were excited for a low key day In Cienfuegos the following day - unfortunately, since the tender boats take 20 minutes each way, and everyone had to be back on the boat by noon, we didn’t get up in time to leave the boat on our third half day (our Havana day was over 13 hours with lots of walking). Which was heartbreaking when we found out that our second port stop at Santiago de Cuba was canceled due to wind. Santiago de Cuba was founded in 1515, and was something I was looking forward to so much. Being from out West in Nevada, we think somethings historic if it’s from the 1950s! But we were sure Viking would make it up to guests. We became less sure when they excitedly announced a bean bag toss to keep us occupied as we sailed past Santiago de Cuba. Okay, I thought. They’re getting things together. They need a little time. Surely the top cruise line in the world would not offer a simple bean bag toss as substitute for 50% of the Cuba port sites. Well, they also offered a trivia competition. And they also heavily suggested you pay extra fees for wine tastings and spa treatments to keep yourself occupied on a day that Viking had promised to entertain us with a port stop and free tour. My husband and I are in our 30s, and Viking cruises mean we go less often and pay more ($2,800/each in this instance), but our experience in Paris was so rosy, we pledged to be Viking customers exclusively. Having a major stop cancelled and cornhole substituted seemed laughable, and I again gave Viking the benefit of the doubt. I emailed our Viking rep, sure that something was in the works - a partial refund or credit towards our next cruise, or even a shipboard credit since they were pushing pricey services for entertainment in lieu of the port stop. Fred told me to email customer relations since he couldn’t do anything once we were on the boat. 24 hours after emailing, and 28 hours after the port cancellation, I have yet to receive an acknowledgment of my email, and my hope for a decent resolution is just about gone. To have such vastly different customer service experiences has led me to fear our stellar service in Paris was luck of the stars, and not Viking’s usual protocol. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend this cruise because you will pay premium price for average service and may not even see 50% of promised ports - and Viking will offer a game of bean bag toss as the only consolation to a lost day in Cuba. Oh, and trivia. Our 2015 Paris cruise was during the terrorist attacks - Viking stepped up to the plate in 2015 and arranged alternate excursions when we were unable to get back into the locked down city, and a staff person came to speak with us individually about safety and ensure our comfort. I’m surprised they were able to handle a very unexpected, very alarming event on the fly on that cruise, but the only solution they had for inclement weather on this cruise and a cancelled port was a bean bag toss. Oh yeah, and a trivia game. I would not recommend this cruise until Viking has figured out the Cuba logistics. From reading the other reviews, this isn’t one of Viking’s strong itineraries despite multiple years, and doesn’t appear to have the same level of professionalism and service found in their river cruises. I’m not sure we’ll do a Viking cruise again, considering the high cost and poor customer service our Cuba trip has highlighted. I expected to be a Viking customer for the next 70 years after Paris, but am beginning to realize they’re just like any other cruise line - all about that cash. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We wanted to see Cuba without having to experience the land based hotels which all of our friends who had traveled there said were not pleasant. And so we figured we would try a Viking Ocean experience based on several of their river ... Read More
We wanted to see Cuba without having to experience the land based hotels which all of our friends who had traveled there said were not pleasant. And so we figured we would try a Viking Ocean experience based on several of their river cruise trips. To tell you the truth is was truly a mixed experience. The ship was very manageable, clean and convenient. The cabin was great. Well stocked, king size bed, heated bathroom floors, great ventilation and temp control and the cabin steward was a 10+. The tours were mixed - some good, some bad - but it's always based on who your guide is. What was truly disappointing was one of the "included" tours which the ship's staff advised us not to take. Say what? You put us on a tour that's no good? Well then change it - don't advise us to pay more for an optional one. The dining room was not ready for prime time. There is a big difference between "unhurried" dining and SLOW. One night we sat at the table for 15 minutes waiting to be approached and nothing happened. Had to raise my hand and ask who had our table and one could tell by the looks on the faces that no one had a clue. But every night the service was that way. Alternate dining room reservations were simply put, a pain and not worth the effort. The buffet was good though and never disappointed. When the staff was asked how long they had been on board or with Viking the lack of experience was astounding. We really felt we were providing on-the-job- training and it was annoying. Entertainment was a mix of lectures and some shows. Lectures were great and shows were okay but in fairness it is a smaller ship and lacks some facilities We're booked to be on that same ship next year for an extended voyage but we are seriously rethinking it. I don't want to suffer more Viking growing pains. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
My wife and I had already cruised to Havana, Cuba aboard the NCL Sun, which didn't give us enough exposure to the Cuban Culture, music and art. We chose to cruise to Cuba again, this time with Viking Ocean Cruises. The itinerary, ... Read More
My wife and I had already cruised to Havana, Cuba aboard the NCL Sun, which didn't give us enough exposure to the Cuban Culture, music and art. We chose to cruise to Cuba again, this time with Viking Ocean Cruises. The itinerary, which includes a visit to Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba, and which also has extensive educational opportunities and onboard lectures given by knowledgeable Cuba experts was deeply important in our choice. The Viking Star is considered a small ship at a maximum 900 passenger capacity. This was immediately appreciated upon embarkation, which went flawlessly and we were processed and onboard ship within 15 minutes. We took the Viking two-day extension in Miami, which included a five hour panoramic drive through the city, including a stop at Calle Ocho and the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens on the day of embarkation. Arriving onboard ship, we were delighted to find our cabin ready and our steward available to deliver our luggage and address any of our concerns. The in-cabin experience was enhanced by our Steward, "K," and he went the extra mile to ensure our comfort. Unfortunately, the ship's digital system, including interactive in-cabin monitor, live TV, movies and recorded lectures and entertainment given in the theater crashed during the last three days of the cruise, which we found regrettable, since we couldn't catch up with any of the events we missed during the cruise. We found the dining aboard the Star to be excellent, with an ample variety of dishes and wines that changed daily, both in the Restaurant and up in the World Cafe, the casual buffet venue. We also had dinner in Manfredi's Italian Restaurant, which is included in the cruise. The food at Manfredi's is fresh and abundant, and we ended up ordering half portions because the regular size is astronomical. The complementary wine or beer at lunch and dinner is a fantastic feature, as the house wines change each day, giving us a wonderful tasting experience. The servers at all the dining venues were eager to please, and took time to get to know our preferences. Not having children onboard Viking cruises also makes the voyage more enjoyable. On land in both Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba, we took the complementary city tours, which we found to be average and not really worth the three hours. Sitting in a bus, that travels at high speed through the city, doesn't really give one the smells, taste and feel for the people of Cuba. The mandatory stops at cigar and rum shops ate up whatever free time we had. In Cienfuegos, my wife and I went off the grid and hired a private pedicab with driver to give us a personal tour of the city. This three hour tour included many places not covered by the complementary tour, and we stopped numerous times to meet and greet the REAL people of the city. My fluency in the Spanish language helped us to take full advantage of the driver's personal knowledge of his hometown, and we were able to meet many of his associates at local haunts. This direct contact with the Cuban people was what we were after when we chose the cruise. My only advice is to settle on a price BEFORE hiring a private tour guide. This is hard to do, as many of the private tours don't have posted prices or tour descriptions. However, Jordan, our pedicab driver gave us a private tour of a lifetime, and we gladly paid him $60 for the personal service he provided. In Santiago de Cuba, we only had a few hours, but the tour of the Basilica of Our Lady of Charity, the patron saint of Cuba, was truly amazing.and well worth the time spent there. The educational lectures and round tables are exceptional. The topics covered were truly current and topical on Cuban history, culture and arts. This is a hallmark of Viking Cruises, and a good reason why Viking remains as one of the best ways to the immersion into the local ports visited. Being on a small ship makes the voyage comfortable and uncrowded all onboard venues. Even though we didn't dock at the two ports, the four tenders got us off the ship and back on very efficiently. The digital glitches were unfortunate, but, in contrast to other cruise lines, Viking delivers a good cruise value. 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
Sail Date: November 2018
I have done 2 Viking River Cruises so I wanted to see what the ocean cruise with Viking would be like. I was not disappointed and my only negative comment would be the overnight shore excursion was rather expensive ($799 each) and we were ... Read More
I have done 2 Viking River Cruises so I wanted to see what the ocean cruise with Viking would be like. I was not disappointed and my only negative comment would be the overnight shore excursion was rather expensive ($799 each) and we were not advised of this cost until shortly before our sailing date. Also they didn’t allow for the fact that there was a Marathon run that day so we were delayed waiting in the hotel lobby for over an hour. Everything else was above average though. The cabin was adequate and the bathroom was the best on any ship I’ve been on. Crew were great and with my garlic allergy the dining staff went above expectations to take excellent care of my needs and even provided me with garlic free dinner in Manfredi’s. Overall I would recommend Viking and would love to cruise again with them. Being a smaller ship there wasn’t the usual night club type shows but the did have local talent come on board as well as informative lectures. The included shore excursions were well done with great guides and lots of local information. 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
Viking Star Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 0.0
Dining 5.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 0.0
Family 1.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 5.0 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0

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