1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this itinerary because I wanted to travel somewhere to see the Northern Lights. This was our third Viking Ocean cruise and we received the excellent service we have come to expect from Viking. We have our fourth already booked ... Read More
We chose this itinerary because I wanted to travel somewhere to see the Northern Lights. This was our third Viking Ocean cruise and we received the excellent service we have come to expect from Viking. We have our fourth already booked for August 2019. Our trip to Bergen to embark was interesting due to the snowstorm at the Bergen airport when we arrived, but KLM did a fine job, diverted us to Oslo to refuel and then back to Bergen. The Viking representatives were still waiting for us at the airport when we got there and we were quickly delivered to the ship. Embarkation was a snap and within 15 minutes of arriving at the ship we were in our stateroom, our luggage arrived about 30 minutes later. We booked a Penthouse Veranda, 5014, and were very happy with the room size and storage. The closet had plenty of room for all our hanging clothes and there were 10 drawers available for other clothes. Each night stand has two USB port, a US outlet, and an European outlet so there is plenty of support to keep your devices charged. We especially like the Chef's Table specialty restaurant. it is a set menu of a 5 Course meal and each course has it's own wine that changed every three days. Small individual portions, but plenty of food for us by the time the meal is over. We like the Asian Panorama and Xiang. When we don't eat at the Chef's Table, We eat our evening meal in the Restaurant where you get several choices of local food or their "always available" (food for picky eaters) menu for a three course meal. The first thing all the waiters asked was if we had any food allergies. Beer and wine are always included in meals, you can upgrade your wine selection with the Silver Beverage Package. The World Cafe is the buffet style restaurant and seems to have almost everything available that is on the Restaurant Menu and again beer and wine are included with the meal. Be sure to check out Mamsen's on deck 7 for a quick sandwich and some really good soups. All dining venues are included. There is always some sort of live music in the Explorers Lounge or the Viking Living Room. This cruise had a guitarist, pianist, and string duet. The Band playing in the Torshavn was outstanding. Viking provides enrichment lectures that cover local history and culture on all their cruises. This cruise had lectures on the Northern Lights and other astronomical occurrences. The service we received from our room steward and the wait staff was outstanding. Two of the bartenders and several of the waiters were on previous Viking Cruises that we were on and remembered us. One thing everyone that booked this cruise should have remembered was that it was January/February in Norway. It is going to be cold and dark. Take warm clothes. I heard some of the passengers complained about the dark. The cold made the Pool area cold, it is a glass enclosed space and when it is 5F outside it is going to be cold inside. Our room was comfortable and I was usually comfortable in my shirt sleeves anywhere other than the pool area and we live in Florida. We hit all the ports on the itinerary except Bodo. The weather forecast at Bodo was 30 F, with 35 MPH winds. I think the captain made a good decision in not stopping in a non sheltered port. The excursions would have been miserable. The other ports were interesting and informative (and cold). The Thermal Spa was a great place to go after an excursion out in the cold. There is a large warm pool, a hot tub, snow grotto, and steam room in the coed part with lounge chairs. There is a Sauna and Cold Plunge in each locker room. This is included and there are robes and towels available in the locker rooms, all you need is your key card to lock and unlock the lockers. The Silver Beverage Package (SBP) is worth a look. At $19.95 a day per person you only need to have three cocktails/beers/glasses of wine to pay for it. It covers everything they have on the bar. We are considering going on this itinerary again, just in the summer for the midnight sun. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
My wife and I have cruised many times with Celebrity and always received 1st class service. We have completed many of the popular cruises more than once so was looking for alternative itinerary's. We booked an Explorer Suite with ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised many times with Celebrity and always received 1st class service. We have completed many of the popular cruises more than once so was looking for alternative itinerary's. We booked an Explorer Suite with Viking (similar price to a Penthouse with Celebrity) expecting a premium cruise experience but how wrong we were. We opted for the flight and cruise package just in case of any delays etc but unable to pre-book our seats so we could not sit together. Check-in was OK but the welcome champagne was an inch in a glass and no member of staff to show us our suite. The suite was as expected, sensible size decorated with furniture from Ikea. The one big issue was trying to keep the room warm as the outside temperature was as low as -18. We had all the curtains closed, all heating including an electric panel heater on full, blankets on the bed and still cold. The same for the pool area and the world café, you needed a sweater or fleece to eat your lunch. Service was very slow with many dirty tables waiting to be cleaned and members of staff just walking past. Must say food quality and variety was good. Room service was very slow to start, 1230pm and still no clean, 8.40pm no clean or turn down. After a couple of complaints this did improve. Shore excursions a complete joke, they were either cancelled or changed at the last moment and those that did proceed were poorly organised. I complained to Judi Buikman the shore excursion manager as she cancelled Northern Lights tours as not dark enough, tidal water phenomenon as it was low tide and a train and snow mobile tour as there was a road incident at 7am and she was worried the bus could not return passenger's back to the ship at 4pm. When I pointed out she failed to do her homework on the excursions, she replied "fair comment". We had arranged dinner reservations prior to sailing for the specialty restaurants but then refused to alter the seating from 2 to 4 persons as we had met new friends. After a sharp conversation with the Hotel Manager and Restaurant Manager this was changed but it should not be this way. The service in the Lounge Bar was very slow if at all, quicker to order drinks at the bar. The evening entertainment was fine for us, either a guitar or piano entertainer. One day the Cruise Director Drew Raitch performed his song book for us, it was embarrassing, the man cannot sing at all so please don't try. Viking Ocean Cruise are a new start-up cruise line (not river cruises) and it shows. The staff are not trained or experienced at ocean cruises and require constant direction from the Officers who themselves require more training. The ship itself was very well maintained but then it is only 2 years old, it is however very noisy when in rough seas and when using the bow thrusters, no pods fitted to this ship. My wife and I really wanted to like Viking as our new "go to" cruise line with different itinerary's but not a chance. Viking are now what the cruise industry was 10 years ago and customers paying premium rates for the top suites and Penthouses demand service. Celebrity have a Butler who takes care of everyday issues such as excursions, dinner reservations, laundry etc. They also have a dedicated restaurant and lounge bar with concierge for suite guests only and unlimited use of the speciality dining rooms. We are so glad we booked Alaska with Celebrity in May and not Viking, we would have been so disappointed. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
It is probably important for you to know my family and I are seasoned cruisers. Over the past 25 years we’ve sailed a total of 31 times on Celebrity, Holland America, Cunard, Princes, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, NCL, and MSC. This was ... Read More
It is probably important for you to know my family and I are seasoned cruisers. Over the past 25 years we’ve sailed a total of 31 times on Celebrity, Holland America, Cunard, Princes, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, NCL, and MSC. This was our first sailing with Viking Ocean. We’ve wanted to try another upscale, luxury line after sailing on Azamara a few years ago, but have never been ready to spend the extra money, which typically cost $400 to $500 a day, per person. We picked this cruise largely because it was a Northern Lights cruise in an area of the world we had never been, the Arctic Circle. The question is was the Viking Sky worth three to four times the cost of mainline cruises? One note of caution: even though we thought were prepared for the cold temperatures that awaited us, we discovered that we had not anticipated the severity of the bitter cold temperatures we would face and the length of time we would be exposed to them. On several days temperatures dropped to -25 F and we spent up to 5 hours on day without a break other than a camp fire. More about this later. Overview The Viking Ocean is a smaller ship than many of those found with the major lines, but not the smallest of the luxury lines, with 930 passengers. One of the more noticeable differences about sailing on some smaller ships is the lack of public areas from which to choose, less entertainment choices, and smaller cabins. Those deficiencies were really not present on the Viking Sky, which is one of the finest ships we have sailed on in terms of style and amenities. I really didn’t feel like I was on a small ship, even though there were fewer common areas. I can’t really say there is any more or less feeling of crowdedness on the smaller ships than with a larger ship. It seems to be all relative to the space per person. Where I did notice a difference was embarking or disembarking the ship. The smaller number of passengers reduced the lines and wait times considerably. Another benefit of sailing on a smaller ship was the nimbleness they have over their larger brethren to alter their itinerary or add a fresh food to the menu. The public rooms are nicely done and have a feel of warmth and elegance. There are four dining options aboard the Viking Sky making it equal to or a step above larger ships. The state rooms are among the most efficient and modern we have encountered. I loved the heated floor in the bath room and linens are a step above what you would expect from the more major cruise lines. Unlike many other lines, Viking Ocean is an oenophile’s heaven as wine is embraced and welcomed. You can bring onboard as much wine as you can carry and there is no corkage fee! All totaled, we noticed very few weaknesses, and there really wasn’t a lack of things to do, especially if you enjoy lectures, which is a feature of Viking. I think what was noticeable is what was missing, no art auctions, pushy promotions, a casino, baked Alaska parades, and much of the other glitzy fluff found on most other lines. Many frequent sailors of Viking Ocean that have tried other luxury lines like Oceania, Azamara, Seaborne, Regent and Crystal, swear that Viking Ocean is the gold standard for luxury cruises. The bottom line question: is Viking Ocean worth four to five times the cost of other upscale lines like Celebrity? I will address that later, but first a few more details. Embarkation The embarkation experience was one of the best in our 31 sailings. It took about ten minutes from start to finish. There were no lines, no customs, no waits, and no hassle. I only wish all our embarkations were this easy (see my 2013 review of the Infinity). Wine lovers will love that, unlike Celebrity who confiscated our wine when we sailed them in 2013, Viking Ocean welcomes bringing as much wine and spirits that you wish on board. While we often bring wine onboard cruises from our cellar, we’ve learned to become very creative in how we bring our wine onboard so as to avoid confiscation. Not so with Viking Ocean that also charges the lowest corkage fee of any line we know, which is zero!! Viking Ocean’s attitude toward wine certainly is one of the benefits that may bring us back again. The Ship The ship was new in 2017 and it really shows. We haven’t taken pictures of a cruise ship in years, but we did of the Viking Sky. The contemporary design coupled with the modern efficiency of the ship were stunning. There were a lot of places to sit and read a book, or write a cruise review, while enjoying a cup of espresso or a drink. One benefit is that the elevators were the fastest I’ve encountered on a ship and almost always available without a long wait. Dining If food is your thing, like it is mine, then you will be very satisfied on the Viking Sky. All of the dining rooms feature “anytime” seating. While the main dining room, The Restaurant, doesn’t accept reservations, we never had to wait more than 2 minutes for a table for two. Every other evening we skipped the main dining room and spent our evening in one of the two specialty restaurants, Manfredi’s or the Chef’s Table. One tip is to book your reservations immediately when you board. These fill up quickly and getting reservations later in the cruise, especially at Manfredi's can be difficult. The food quality and presentation in The Restaurant was certainly above average and what you would expect for an upper end cruise line. All of the waiters and waitresses who served us were extremely personable, helpful, and attentive. However, we enjoyed the service in the specialty restaurants a bit better than in the main dining room. The specialty restaurants, Manfredi’s and Chef’s Table, have no cover charge. They offer passengers a break from the main dining room with a quality of fare a slight step above. Manfredi’s features a wonderful Italian menu while Chef’s Table offers a set menu that changes every three days. One experience we’ve come to enjoy on other ships that would be fitting to an upscale ship like the Viking Sky would be an automated wine bar where guests can enjoy an assortment of wine available in 1oz, 2.5oz, and 5oz pours. This allows you to inexpensively sample a broad variety of wines you might not otherwise have the courage to try. One thing we appreciate about Viking Ocean is the fact that juice and espresso coffee drinks are available anytime during the day at no charge. Some lines make free juice available only in the mornings and charge for all espresso drinks. Wine As we mentioned earlier, we were especially pleased with how Viking Ocean embraces and welcomes wine lovers who want to bring their wines on board to enjoy. One of my perennial complaints on other lines, like Celebrity, is the high price of their onboard wines, which are priced about 4x’s retail, they also have the highest corkage fee of any line at $25 a bottle. Of course, since Celebrity will confiscate all but two bottles of wine you bring on board to enjoy, what’s the point of having a corkage fee at all? We found the Viking Sky was unequaled in being the most wine friendly cruise line we’ve sailed. The per bottle charges were reasonable and there are no corkage fees. One deviation from other lines is that the Viking Sky had noticeably fewer wine events than other lines. They had a few whiskey, vodka, and aquavit tastings, but no wine tastings that I recall. Fitness and Spa This is an area in which the Viking Sky is slightly above average. While they don’t have a lot of cardiovascular machines (three stationary bikes, two elliptical machines, six treadmills, and two stair-steppers) I never only had to wait for a machine once in 12 days. Notably, and unusual for most lines, every cardio machine was working for length of the cruise. Another abnormality, the men’s locker’s worked perfectly and there were a sufficient number of lockers which were all keyed to your stateroom key. The men’s locker room featured a dry sauna and plunge pool. The sauna was perfectly hot and in working order for the cruise. On many other cruise lines the saunas just don’t get hot enough to break much of a sweat, but this is not the case on the Viking Sky. There was also an area with hot tubs, cool rooms, and a steam sauna. One unique feature was an individual dryer for your swim suit that was really helpful. An extra bonus was the spa did not have a daily charge, which can cost up to $20 a day on other lines. Entertainment We thought the entertainment was surprisingly good for a smaller ship. The Cruise Director, Drew, and his assistant, Courtney, had amazing voices and both did their own shows which were very enjoyable. This is more probably due to the lack of a theater than anything else. It was refreshing that the Viking Sky had a live band rather than rely on sound tracks, which is becoming common on other cruise lines. The theater is quite expansive and comfortable. We never had a problem finding a seat in or near the front row. The onboard entertainment found in the lounges was very good. There wasn’t a disappointing instrumentalist or singer in the lineup, which is certainly unusual on a small ship. In contrast was our experience on Azamara where there wasn’t a lounge entertainer that rose above substandard. The enrichment talks were really outstanding, again in contrast with our experience on Azamara where they were consistently disappointing. We had four lecturers on board who were all phenomenal in their field. We were especially treated by having Dr. Ed Kopp from the Griffin Observatory in Los Angeles who was outstanding. Internet I run a small business and being connected to my staff is imperative, even on vacation. I depend on having a functioning Internet while on board any ship. The Internet on the ship was as good as or better than any I’ve had at sea. I got access 95% of the times I attempted to get online. And the fact the Internet was free was an experience I’ve never had with another line. On Azamara I paid $0.43 a minute for their lease expensive package. Having access to the internet on all my devices whenever I wanted it without having to pay attention to my usage was a game changer for me. For that reason alone Viking Ocean will be at the top of my list for future cruise consideration. Shopping The shopping experience is on par with most every other cruise line, boring! There is nothing exceptional to highlight here, except that they did not bombard you with specials and promotions which was refreshing. Afternoon Tea I have never reviewed an afternoon tea experience on a ship as most are not worth mentioning. However, the afternoon tea on the Viking Sky was the best we have had at sea. Not only are you served a three tier plate of sandwiches and desserts, they will also bring you proper sconces with jam and Devonshire cream. Yes, real clotted cream not the standard whipped cream. I don’t recall Cunard Line served clotted cream, but I can tell you no other ship I’ve been on has. This was a real treat! Ports of Call, Port Talks and Shore Excursions Our 12 day cruise started in London, England and went up the west coast of Norway, stopping at Stavanger, Bodo, Tromso, Alta, Narvik, and Bergen where we disembarked. The specific theme for this cruise was chasing the Northern Lights. And “chasing” is the right term. I was unprepared for how difficult it would be to see the Northern Lights. I assumed we would see them often or every night from the ship. I was wrong! The guides will tell you there are four things necessary to see the Northern Lights, but I say there are five: solar activity, cold weather, darkness, a clear sky, and luck. If any one of those is absent you will not be successful. The hardest one of these was a clear sky, which thwarted our efforts to see the lights continuously. While there was one really good sighting from the ship, it came and went very quickly. To see the lights really necessitated booking a Northern Lights tour that attempted to find a clear sky within a few hours’ drive of the ship. Even then spotting the lights was still a crap shot. We did have one night where we got to see a nice display of the lights for less than five minutes returning from an outing where we waited in -25 degree weather for 3 hours with nothing but a campfire to cut the bitter cold. This leads me to the most unexpected aspect of this trip, campfires and frozen food. We returned home with our clothes smelling of smoke because of the many campfires we encountered on our excursions. Whether it was dog sledding, reindeer sleighs, Sami camps, or Northern Light tours there was a campfire present in everyone to help with the bitter cold. There were very few heated buildings or shelters expect for a few tepees with campfires. At times the temperatures were so brutal that even the bread offered us was frozen. Which leads me to another unexpected aspect, the extreme bitter cold and the randomness of the tour vendors providing thermal suits, boots, head gear, and gloves. About ½ of our tours provided such apparel, and believe me we needed it even though I was wearing 5 layers of clothing, three pairs of socks, winter boots, two pairs of pants, a balaclava, knitted wool beanie, and a hoodie, a down vest, an outer coat, and gloves inside mittens. Which meant that the other ½ of the time the vendors provided no additional clothing. And in -25 degree weather, where you are outside for up to 5 hours at a time with only a campfire, this is a problem. My hands and toes were perpetually cold, even with hand warmers stuffed in my boots and gloves. Many people on our tours were simply unprepared for this and suffered because of it. I cannot stress enough how critical it is you don’t underestimate the cold. Here is the crazy thing, the tours we booked off ship provided thermal gear while those booked on the ship did not. The tours provided by the ship were significantly over priced and under delivered. Which leads me to this very important tip: don’t book tours with Viking Sky. Instead book only off-ship local tour providers. For example, with a local tour provider of dog sliding we were provided thermal gear and able to drive our own team of dogs. The tour provided by the ship offered no thermal gear, you could not drive the team, and was very poorly organized. Many in our party waited up to two hours in 15 F degree weather with no shelter and no campfire before getting a 30 minute ride. There was no food offered except for some frozen cake midway into the trip. The bus was so late arriving back at the ship that many missed their second tour. And for this, we paid $430 per person. Our request for even a partial refund fell on deaf ears, which really disappointed us given Viking Ocean’s stellar reputation for providing a top quality experience. We were told other tours that had similar misfortunes did remit refunds to passengers. Typically we save 25 to 75% off the ship’s prices by making our own arrangements prior to departure or using the Internet onboard the ship to contact several tour companies that are highly rated by TripAdvisor.com. Another great place to book private tours prior to departure is by looking under “Tours” and on the chat boards on CruiseCritic.com. We’ve never been disappointed following the advice of previous travelers. Our favorite ports were Stavanger, Bodo, and Tromso where the ship docked in the middle of town. However, even though in Alta and Narvik the ship docks some distance from the center of town the ship did provide shuttle buses. Quite frankly, there was really nothing to see in the town of Alta, where the emphasis is on booking tours to see the Northern Lights and staying warm. In Summary So, back to the question I posed earlier. Is the Viking Ocean experience worth three to four times the cost of other lines like Celebrity or twice the cost of Azamara? Certainly Viking Ocean has Azamara beat for value. Celebrity is often a good value for what you get, but Viking Ocean is in a whole different category and price range, so it’s a hard question to answer. However, if price is no factor, Viking Ocean is the only way to go! The service, stateroom amenities, ship amenities, free inclusions like wine and Internet, and dining room experience are undoubtedly among the best at sea. So is the ability for a smaller ship to get into, or nearer, ports the large ships can’t. For many people, this may be reason enough to pay the extra fare. For me, I will certainly sail with Viking Ocean again when I find an itinerary that is highly unique (like this cruise to the Arctic Circle) or heavily discounted. But I will be absolutely certain not to book any of their shore excursions!! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Viking does a nice job but did not think thru their excursion offerings of this cruise. First, it was mostly in the dark, which was to be expected on a cruise above the Arctic Circle in January. but, many of the museums, shops and ... Read More
Viking does a nice job but did not think thru their excursion offerings of this cruise. First, it was mostly in the dark, which was to be expected on a cruise above the Arctic Circle in January. but, many of the museums, shops and excursions sites were closed or inappropriate for January. We did an independent tour which stayed out at night for over 8 hours to see the lights and were given a meal, heavy snow suits, boots and head lamps and a fire. Then we did Viking’s tour in Alta. Vikings night tour offered a few fires, no heavy clothes, and brownies. The venue was too small for the over three bus loads of people. No way to keep warm so we gave up and went back to ship. Take your own warm clothes. Also, included excursions were many times lead by unqualified guides. Could not answer questions like, who is the king, what are the salaries, what is the education system. On the ship’s third floor, three shower drains froze and people were moved. The wait staff had to wear coats because the dembarking door was by the Atrium. Viking did not consider the environment when they took this ship to the Arctic in winter. If you are prepared, maybe this is the cruise for you. FYI, we did not see the Northern Lights. Way too cloudy and lots of snow. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise to see the Northern Lights! We did see them, although they were not very vibrant. The ship was very nice, the food very good, and the staff went out of their way to make our cruise very special. The beds were very ... Read More
We chose this cruise to see the Northern Lights! We did see them, although they were not very vibrant. The ship was very nice, the food very good, and the staff went out of their way to make our cruise very special. The beds were very comfortable and we had chairs in our room to watch the talks, tv, and movies. There were educational sessions 2-3 times a day on subjects pertaining to Norway and the Vikings. We also listened to an astromer while watching the Lunar eclipse. The tour excursions were great and there was something for all activity levels—from easy to demanding. We saw lots of snow, visited with locals, and had a ball. Wine is included with dinner and lunch and the evening entertainment shows on the boat were excellent! You have your choice of two restaurants, two specialty restaurants, a pool area eatery, and Mansums which served Scandanavian food. We tried them all and can tell you there is something for all to eat—even those with special diets. Afternoon tea is served at 4:00 and the tea, food, and entertainment is wonderful. I highly recommend this cruise. We have also done the Land of the Midnight Sun cruise with Viking and can recommend it also. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
Cruising in general is a low stress and (relatively) high reward experience, though I find more active vacations more rewarding if riskier. Be that as it may I’ve gone on 20+ cruises over 35 years including cruises on Oceania, Holland ... Read More
Cruising in general is a low stress and (relatively) high reward experience, though I find more active vacations more rewarding if riskier. Be that as it may I’ve gone on 20+ cruises over 35 years including cruises on Oceania, Holland America, Crystal and Viking in the past two years. This was my first Viking cruise and Viking’s first winter cruise to Norway.. The lure of the Northern Lights was strong; I not only booked the cruise but also 3 northern Light excursions; on the other hand I failed to read up on the requisite camera I should bring and left my Digital Nikon at home, relying on my Apple 8. On board I read that i world NEVER get a viable picture with that. Oh well. We tend to get up early and go to sleep early on cruises; on our night at Tromso I woke at 11:45 pm and based on a feeling we out on deck 7. A few others wee out there setting up, we got a pretty nice light show for about 5-10 minutes, with visible green light bands including some whirling ones. Despite the experts I got some nice pics. The 3 tours were a bust and many passengers including my wife never saw the aurora borealis; despite some weather science it’s largely luck of the draw. The Sky is a beautiful ship because of the well designed public areas, with great art (the best I’ve experienced) scattered about. The library, which features many classics is also scattered in a very attractive and effective way. The main dining room is made up of numerous smaller rooms - much nicer than the usual gigantic room. The “cafeteria” is pretty standard as are the speciality restaurants. The specialty restaurants were nice but generally not as good as the other 3 lines we mentioned. Dining room had a somewhat limited menu but usually did well especially with Fish; nice breakfasts there too. Cafeteria/buffet was good except on specialty items like Foie Gras which should not sit around. Momsen’s Scandinavian Deli has very good herring, bread, smoked cheese and Scandinavian waffles! Opened early. Good coffee, good room service burger (medium rare!). Cabins have some issues with poor design of storage and a smaller than usual balcony. Very nice bedding and climate system. Cabin steward, assistant and crew in general were nice. The Spa has a very excellent and underutilized indoor Sauna. Bring your bathing suit! Covered pool area was usually a little cold but again was under utilized. Passengers were overwhelmingly American with a few Brits and Ozzie’s. Embarkation and Disembarkation were very smoothly done, including buses to and from the airport. Other points: we found the included base wines to be mediocre and repetitive; classical music duo pretty amateurish. Personnel very helpful relative to self tour questions. Included “panorama” bus tours not very worthwhile and we skipped a few. VERY quiet ship at night.which we appreciated.. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We choose Viking to visit Norway in January, as if the weather was going to be inclement, we would have luxury on board, and we were not disappointed! From the first moment we arrived at Tilbury, a porter was waiting to take our luggage ... Read More
We choose Viking to visit Norway in January, as if the weather was going to be inclement, we would have luxury on board, and we were not disappointed! From the first moment we arrived at Tilbury, a porter was waiting to take our luggage from the car. We proceeded through check in where there were no queues and was very fast and efficient. We were welcomed on board with a glass of sparkling wine and from that first moment to the very end of our trip, we were made to feel very welcome and at home. We were again welcomed in our stateroom by Shella, who was our attendant. She happily explained how to use all the facilities in the room and other useful information, such as where the self service laundry was, which incidentally is complimentary and even provides the detergent! We were in a normal balcony stateroom on the third deck, but it was very spacious and every small detail has been thought about. There is a hairdryer, shoe horn, clothes brush, minibar which is included, a coffee maker, a dressing table with large mirror, but also part of the top of the dressing table lifts up to reveal a small vanity unit with a light up mirror. The lighting is also excellent, and can be controlled from the bed, including strip lighting for use during the night. The bathroom was also brilliant with underfloor heating, a proper glass door on the shower cubicle, very nice toiletries and as many soft fluffy towels as you could possibly wish for, along with bathrobes and slippers. I must just add that the room was serviced twice a day and there was never even a mark on the chrome taps, spotless! The restaurants are all fabulous, with a great variety of choice. The speciality restaurants you need to book, but this is easily done either on the Viking App which is very easy to use, or at the World Café. I can honestly say that the quality of both the food and service are the best we have ever experienced. We had the silver spirits package, because we have been caught out by other cruise lines, who charge very high rates for their wines and cocktails, but on Viking Sky the prices were very reasonable, approximately $6 per glass of wine or beer. The bars and lounge areas are exceptionally comfortable and nowhere on board ever feels crowded, even on sail days. The spa and gym are also wonderful. Like everywhere on board the changing rooms have all the little extras that make this ship so special. You use your room key to use the lockers and each one is equipped with flip flops for use in the spa, towels, a hanger for your clothes and even a shaving kit! We used and thoroughly enjoyed the steam room, the snow grotto (but not for very long!), pool and hot tub. We do not usually need much in the way of on board ship entertainment, so did not go to any of the shows in the theatre, but we did enjoy the live music supplied in the Viking Bar and Explorers Lounge in the evenings, provided by very proficient musicians and they also covered a wide range of genres. We also enjoyed the electronic games tables and placing the odd piece into a jigsaw. The tours were also to a very high standard and you really do feel that you are being treated as very special visitors, not just another load of tourists. We were very lucky and delighted to get to see the amazing spectacle that is the northern lights, and although it is a quiet ship, announcements are made in all public areas and you can receive them in your room during the night by leaving the TV on the bridge cam channel with the sound turned up. Disembarkation was as fast and efficient and simple as embarkation. When the coach arrived at Bergen airport we were asked to wait in the warm on the coach whilst the baggage was unloaded, which only took a couple of minutes and when we got off our suitcases were already stacked on a trolley ready to go. What can I say to be negative about this holiday, well the only possible thing I can think of is that they have probably spoilt any future holidays with another travel company, as we now know what level of comfort and service can be provided. Huge thanks to all the Viking team, not forgetting the booking staff, for a wonderful all round experience, keep up the fantastic work. Very much looking forward to our next trip, Imperial Jewels of China in April, Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
Chose for Northern Lights/Arctic Circle Itinerary. Ship was beautiful and was very impressed at first. We selected a Deluxe Balcony Stateroom and it was quite small. There was not enough hanging space. Fortunately we knew enough to ... Read More
Chose for Northern Lights/Arctic Circle Itinerary. Ship was beautiful and was very impressed at first. We selected a Deluxe Balcony Stateroom and it was quite small. There was not enough hanging space. Fortunately we knew enough to bring magnetic hooks or it would have been a worse mess. The food was average and the service was average at best. Some people were great, like our room steward. The reason we didn't rate guest services and the shore excursion staff well was the following: they played the blame game. They had many, many excursion difficulties to the point of having to fully refund, or partially refund, the money back to passengers. Never once did anyone say "I'm sorry". No, they blamed the tour operators or used the excuse "this is the first time we have been to this port" or (best one!) "it wasn't listed online". Bear in mind that the tour operators complained of how difficult it was to even REACH the Viking Sky staff, much less, that Viking did not listen to the tour operators when they made suggestions and believe me, they should have listened. It was a bucket list trip for me and I refused to let anything ruin it, but the disorganized, poorly planned, not properly vetted, pricey excursions were very disappointing. And the attitude of the Viking staff really added insult to injury. I spoke to many people who were long time cruisers but first time Viking Ocean cruisers and the consensus was the same...one and done. Back to Regent. Back to Azamara. Back to Celebrity...you get the drift. I wanted to love it...I love Viking River Cruises. But it was just too disappointing. The ship was gorgeous, the itinerary was amazing, and I did see the Northern Lights. But the rest was not great, except for embarkation, which was the best I've experienced out of 25 ocean cruises. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
If Viking Ocean were publicly traded I would buy stock. The ships are the perfect size, you never feel crowded. The most remarkable thing is really the crew. Viking has the happiest crew on the ocean and this makes all the difference in ... Read More
If Viking Ocean were publicly traded I would buy stock. The ships are the perfect size, you never feel crowded. The most remarkable thing is really the crew. Viking has the happiest crew on the ocean and this makes all the difference in the way they interact with passengers. Our room stewards, Kari and Rosiel added a great deal to our overall enjoyment. They were extremely attentive to our needs and were always joyful. We enjoyed the entertainment especially dancing at the Torshavn. The band and bar staff were really good. The guides and transportation for all the excursions exceeded our expectations. My experiences with Viking tours have opened up new opportunities for my future destinations with Viking because of the confidence I have in their planning and safety considerations. Cruising with Viking is the best we have ever experienced. We have already booked an exciting trip in October 2020. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This cruise was our first on Viking, but we have been on at least 30 cruises on various lines. Embarkation was the best we have ever experienced. Our Penthouse Jr. Suite was very nice with more than ample room, comfortable furniture and ... Read More
This cruise was our first on Viking, but we have been on at least 30 cruises on various lines. Embarkation was the best we have ever experienced. Our Penthouse Jr. Suite was very nice with more than ample room, comfortable furniture and an outstanding TV system with a great number of choices. There were two small negatives. The A/C system did not seem to respond well to the thermostat and we felt the room was just a little warm on several nights. Secondly, there was a lot of noise from slamming doors. Some was from passengers, but a lot was from crew doors. This is not uncommon on ships, but there is really need for better design and manintenance. The crew was excellent-the best we have ever experienced. The Viking recruitment policies and training are really evident throughout. In particular, our stateroom attendant was the best ever, but everyone did a wonderful job. The enrichment speakers were also outstanding. Subject matter was great and both were engaging and enthusiastic speakers. Shore excursions varies a little in quaity. The optional excursions were the best and were always better than the included excursions. We had a few negatives. The specialty restaurants were good, just not outstanding food. Service was very good. We felt the service in the dining room was slow on a few nights, but this could have been a function of dining times. The pool grille really needs work on service. Lines were always long with table numbers barely adequate. This could be alleviated with salads being self-service and sandwich orders taken and served at the table-as on Azamara. Similarly, there needs to be ice cream lines on both sides of the buffet. As others have noted, entertainment is not a strong feature of Viking. It was all provided by on board entertainers/staff and the Cruise Director. It was the weakest offering of any cruise we have been on. Overall, the Viking Sky offers very good value for the money. It is a beautiful ship with a great crew. With a few tweaks, it would have been 5 star. Read Less
Viking Sky Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.8
Dining 5.0 4.6
Entertainment 3.5 4.2
Public Rooms 5.0 4.9
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.4
Family 1.0 4.4
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.1
Enrichment 4.5 4.4
Service 5.0 4.8
Value For Money 5.0 4.4

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