14 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
4 Helpful Votes
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
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We booked back to back Mediterranean cruises, Dec 30 2018, and Jan 6 2019. We were attracted by the itinerary, and the wonderful reviews of Viking. The itinerary turned out to be misleading, and Viking appeared to suffer from institutional ... Read More
We booked back to back Mediterranean cruises, Dec 30 2018, and Jan 6 2019. We were attracted by the itinerary, and the wonderful reviews of Viking. The itinerary turned out to be misleading, and Viking appeared to suffer from institutional disorganization and generally poor food and service.. Ports - After paying in full soon after booking, which is a Viking requirement, we discovered that the ship dropped anchor in our ports of interest, but didn't actually remain in port long enough to actually see anything. All-aboard was 1:30 PM in Cagliari, Vigo and Portsmouth. As a result, it was impossible to reach Santiago de Compostela from Vigo, and impossible to reach the Sardinian interior from Cagliari. Viking offered no excursion to Stonehenge from Portsmouth, but we arranged for a private tour which got us back to the ship in time. In Malaga, Viking offered full day tours to Granada, none of which included the Alhambra. They offered no explanation for this. We arranged a private tour.for this port also, and purchased our own Alhambra tickets. Whoever designed this itinerary doesn't understand that cruisers might actually want to see something in the ports. Viking decided that the port call in Tunisia should be canceled for safety reasons, and substituted Naples. Unfortunately, this occurred on Jan 1, and all museums and archaeological sites were closed. The following day we were to have visited Trapani, Sicily, but this too was canceled because of high winds. Instead, we stayed until 1:30 PM in Naples, and were given a bus ride to the museum. The announcement of this new tour stated that buses would leave on Jan 2 at 7:30-10:30, every half hour. We could pick up tickets on Jan 2 between 10:00 AM and 1:00 PM. This was minor, and laughable, but so typical of communications from Viking. Enrichment lecturers - excellent. Unfortunately, they covered topics like the Alhambra, and Santiago de Compostela, places unreachable because of our short port stays. Apparently, this was another example of Viking's disorganization. Even the cruise director was unaware that our schedule would not permit visiting many sites that would have been expected to be on the excursion list. Ship - The Viking Sky is a lovely, well-designed ship. Furnishings are Scandinavian. Public spaces are comfortable and roomy. There are sufficient elevators and laundromats. We could not enjoy the outdoor spaces because of the cold weather. The pool roof was kept closed, adding a strong smell of chlorine to any meal we attempted to enjoy at the pool grill. Cabin - of average size, and lacking in adequate storage space. Three small drawers under the safe - that's it. The thermostat in the cabin seemed to have little control over the cabin temperature. Soundproofing was very good - we never heard noise from the hall, or cabin doors slamming. Bathroom - large shower, wonderful heated floor, and generous storage space. We ended up storing some of our clothes in the bathroom. Bathroom materials were linoleum and Formica rather than granite or marble. Food - ranged from okay to awful. I don't remember a single dish that I would describe as wonderful. The two specialty restaurants, requiring reservations, are Manfredi's and the Chef's Table. Our restaurant reservations regularly disappeared from the computer system (no explanation given). Manfredi's has a large Italian menu. Several of our dishes were bad enough that we decided grappling with the reservation system again was not worth it, and we skipped a return visit. The Chef's Table has a fixed menu that changes every three days. Our first visit was so bad, we decided that there must have been some calamity in the kitchen, and we tried again. This was just as bad. For example - Peking Duck turned out to be a small, soggy crepe wrapped around dry, flavorless, diced duck meat. Across the top of the crepe were arranged thin, dry, slices of duck. Around the perimeter of this creation was a circle of brown gravy, completely devoid of Asian flavors or seasonings. This was typical of our experiences at the Chef's Table. The Restaurant offered an extensive menu which looked good, but dishes were usually often poorly executed. One good thing is that Viking offers dinner as early as 6 PM for those who prefer to eat early. Service - Phone calls to the home office prior to sailing were a waste of time. Customer service was completely clueless - either could not answer questions, or provided misinformation. On board, service was invariably friendly and helpful. Our cabin steward was capable and knew how to perform his job. This was not the case with the restaurant and bar staffs. They gave the impression of being inexperienced, and stretched thin. It was not unusual to sit for 10 minutes waiting for someone to take a drink order in a bar. One night, in the Restaurant, our waiter gave another waiter a lesson on deboning fish, using my entree as the teaching tool. I didn't mind that - but should they really put a waiter on the floor who doesn't know how to debone a sole? Liquor - Cocktail prices were reasonable, on average $6-$8, as were the premium wines by the glass. We had read reviews that reported that the complimentary wine was pretty awful, so we took the Silver Spirits Liquor Package, which allowed us to have the "premium" wines at dinner. These were not great, coming from bottles that sell for $10 or less in the US, but better than the complimentary wines. Liquor service in the restaurants was slow, again because of thin staffing, and getting a refill was sometimes difficult. Finally, we requested to be seated with the same wine steward every night, and he took care of us. Entertainment - I can't comment, as we didn't see any shows. The resident guitarist named Matthew, however, was excellent. The bottom line is that Viking has many good ideas of what the cruise experience should offer - medium sized ships, comfortable surroundings, no photographers or casino, good value. But - . I believe they have expanded too quickly, and cannot begin to staff the ships with a sufficient number of experienced personnel. Itinerary, food, and service are the most important parts of the cruising experience for me. Unless Viking can get these things straightened out, this will remain my first and last Viking cruise. , Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Continuous ship computer problems. Restaurant reservations repeatedly disappeared. Long wait times for bar service. We had the wine package, and at dinner, refills were tough to get. Long lines at the buffet. Items often ran out and were ... Read More
Continuous ship computer problems. Restaurant reservations repeatedly disappeared. Long wait times for bar service. We had the wine package, and at dinner, refills were tough to get. Long lines at the buffet. Items often ran out and were not replenished for many minutes. The principal training much of the staff has received is to repeat the mantra "I am so sorry. I do apologize for the problem." Staff is pleasant and friendly, but that only goes so far. Cabin has insufficient storage space. Bathroom had a heated floor, which was nice, but pitifully low water volume in the shower. Food was average, with the Chef's Table being a huge disappointment. We had back to back cruises, chosen for the itinerary. Too late, we discovered that the ship would leave port at 2pm from three stops, making it difficult to see much. We have taken over twenty cruises, on 9 lines. I realize that Viking is not aiming for the luxury market, but I cannot comprehend the rave reviews it has received from some travelers. First and last Viking cruise. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We wanted to see Amsterdam and Barcelona and thought the other ports would be interesting. Our relatives accompanied us to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Our two days in Amsterdam were switched to our arrival day after traveling all ... Read More
We wanted to see Amsterdam and Barcelona and thought the other ports would be interesting. Our relatives accompanied us to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Our two days in Amsterdam were switched to our arrival day after traveling all night and we had to be on the boat about 5 for the emergency drill. So don't expect to see Amsterdam if you book only the cruise. I would never had booked this cruise if I knew we were not going to have time in Amsterdam. Of the nine full days of the cruise, we had three full days at sea and for two ports we were only there in the morning so the afternoon and evening were at sea. Plus, for some ports we were at sea for the evening. So we spent half of our time on the trip at sea and not in port. For example, in Portsmith we got to Portsmith about 9 and had to be back on our bus at 11:15...not enough time. Be prepared to not know anything about the tours until just a few months before your trip even though you book ten months ahead. Then you have to pay for the really good tours and, unless you have the most expensive rooms, the tours will be full when they allow you to book because they use a caste system- people who pay more for their rooms get the first choice of tours. The same is for the specialty restaurants. We had a disaster of a tour in Cartegena, one of the free tours. We went on a bus for an hour through a desert-like country side and were dropped off in a parking lot above the sea and told we had 15-20 minutes to take pictures. Then we had another hour returning with the highlights being seeing a golf course and strip mines. Finally, we got to the ruins which were walking distance from our ship! We had a short tour and had 15 minutes to explore the cute town before we had to leave and get back on the boat. Everyone was furious! We could have had the whole morning in town and instead were held hostage on a bus. Fortunately our relatives got the last two spots on the Segway tour there and they had a great experience. That tour was full when we tried to book. We could not get on the tour that had lunch at the Eiffel Tower so our Paris experience was a three and a half hour ride on the bus to get there, a walk to get lunch, a long walk, to the Eiffel Tower where we took some pictures, and then a cab back to the bus. We did have a nice hour long tour on the bus of the major sites which helped. We had hoped to see Notre Dame, but did not have time. If you can get them, the tours you pay for seem to be good. We did a cave tour and a national preserve tour in Spain and like them both. The four days at sea were very boring. Only one, maybe two days, was the weather good enough to use the pool. Other than the gym and spa, there were no indoor recreation spaces. I think they did offer yoga for a few. Other than lectures there were no activities except 3 times at lunch they offered trivia pursuit and onetime they offered a scarf folding workshop. That's the most creative they get. They offered a room to play cards and put out some decks of cards and water and coffee, but they did not organize it in anyway and people would come by and leave. We played hours and hours of cards with our relative since there was nothing else to do. There were three movies shown during the trip and I had already seen 2 of them. At night there was one show. Aside from the show, I can play cards,watch movies, listen to travel shows at home without paying over $1000 a day for the experience. On the plus side the ship was beautiful, the rooms clean (no drawer space though and very small), the food great, embarkation and debarkation ran smoothly, and the staff was wonderful. It is like seeing a play with beautiful sets and a terrible acting. So if you want to sit and do nothing on the four days at sea, this cruise is for you. I will never go on another Viking cruise. You cannot trust them to deliver what they promise. They have made no apologies about lying about Amsterdam. They act like it didn't happen. If you read reviews of their river cruises where guests spent most of the time on buses due to low water, you will see that this company has no ethics nor commitment to their customers. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
My 80+ year old mother and I always wanted to take a Viking Cruise. SO we decided the Homelands Cruise would be it. We paid 1300/ea for round trip tickets and about 750/ea for insurance to Viking along with the hefty cost of the cruise ... Read More
My 80+ year old mother and I always wanted to take a Viking Cruise. SO we decided the Homelands Cruise would be it. We paid 1300/ea for round trip tickets and about 750/ea for insurance to Viking along with the hefty cost of the cruise itself. Trusting Viking to provide a full service trip. A day prior to departure the Icelandic Air cancelled the flight to Sweden and booked us on a two leg flight United to London and British Airways to Stockholm with 1 hour delay. What we found when we were to check in is that the Airlines would not transfer our luggage. About 4 hours later after mutiple calls to Viking AIr (who insisted they had no responsibility for the screw up) we were stuffed onto Three Flights and had a 12 hour layover at JFK. Not an easy itinerary with an 80+ year old woman! By the time we arrived at Stockholm over 24 hours later than originally planned - we had about 2 hours before the launch, So NO STOCKHOLM. Not to worry Viking assured us - you brought insurance they will cover the missed time. Viking offered no reimbursement, future discount, shipboard money or (god forbid) apology. THEY HAD NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE FLIGHTS - EVEN THOUGH WE PAID VIKING. The insurance from TRIP MATE. TOTAL SCAM. After reams of paper and two months of waiting for a response we were informed that sine the rescheduled flights left on time (even though they would not have gotten our luggage to the destination) and I did not keep any of the receipts from the crap restaurants at JFK we were not entitled to anything. Once on board the ship thestaff were attentive. Our steward was great - very helpful with settling in and keeping room tidy and clean. We attended a few of the on board shows-the ABBA and the Beetles shows were very good. For the other shows we found the female singers too loud and unable to harmonize and sadly left a few of the shows early. The piano and guitar players that entertained in the longes were excellent and really set the tone for a quite evening drink while watching the midnight sun set. In general the food was good. We enjoyed the restaurants over the buffet. Even when same food was served at both locations it seemed taste better at the restaurant. Don’t miss the Italian restaurant-everything there was great! Reservations are easier to get into earlier in the cruise. We also really enjoyed the wine and armenact tasting...they were well worth the time. The included excursions were good for orientation to the destinations - but we found the paid trips were more interesting and worth the added expense. If you can’t get a trip booked before the cruise keep checking there are lots of openIngs as people cancel during the cruise. WORD OF WARNING ABOUT VIKING - While the Cruise is very enjoyable (though pricey) they do not have good customer service beyond the cruise portion of your trip. Consider getting flights and insurance separately. The horrible time we had trying to get Sweden really cast a shadow over the first several days on board. And the total lack of support in getting reimbursed from Tripmate post cruise even though we had been assured by Viking on the phone and on board that we would be compensated left us feel like we had been scammed. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
We enjoyed our on board experience but were VERY DISAPPOINTED with several of the excursions and especially the paid-for excursions. My main reason for this trip was to see Berlin. We took the "Historic Berlin" tour for ... Read More
We enjoyed our on board experience but were VERY DISAPPOINTED with several of the excursions and especially the paid-for excursions. My main reason for this trip was to see Berlin. We took the "Historic Berlin" tour for $418 for both of us. We wanted to see the Wall, the Brandenburg Gate, and go to the American Allies Museum which were all included on this tour. We saw the Wall and the Brandenburg Gate and several other "drive-by" monuments before lunch. After lunch all we had left was the Allied Museum. As we were arriving at the museum, our guide told us we had 15 minutes to see it. 15 MINUTES!! Obviously we really couldn't really absorb the details there and we were really disappointed. Then we spent 30 minutes at a souvenir store on the "Kdam." Perhaps we could have spent 30 minutes at the museum and 15 minutes at the store. We paid for and took the "Trail of the Vikings" tour in Stavanger, Norway. This tour was so bad for so many reasons, Viking refunded half of the money immediately to several who took the tour. We should have received all of it back. "Glimpse of Helsinki" was 3 hours on a bus with a guide who put us all to sleep. Luckily, this was an included tour so all we lost was our time. Viking should send an employee on the tours to observe what their clients are experiencing to insure quality. Viking promotes "enrichment" as a priority but there seems to be a disconnect between the ship and the shore experience. We really appreciated there was no casino on board, no photographers hawking pictures, and no beauty consultants interrupting our meals to sell spa treatments. The trip was good, but the trip would have been amazing if the tours matched the ship's experience. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
It is difficult to convey how awfully tedious a cruise on the Viking Sky really is. And it is difficult to explain how cheated we feel by the whole experience. This cruise does not come cheap and, frankly, we expected more. If you ... Read More
It is difficult to convey how awfully tedious a cruise on the Viking Sky really is. And it is difficult to explain how cheated we feel by the whole experience. This cruise does not come cheap and, frankly, we expected more. If you like jigsaws, Scrabble and chess, this dullest of dull ships might be for you. If you think trivia quizzes, lectures on watches, talks on the Bayeux Tapestry (no idea why they chose this subject for a Caribbean cruise) and a trio playing classical music constitute daytime entertainment, then this could also be your cruise. But if, like me, you think life does not end at 60, then do yourself a favour and spend your $9,000 on something else....indeed anything else. This will be a long review so, if you want to skip to the bits that interest you, I have grouped the review under headings. THE SHIP It is beautiful. Less than a year old and styled with a typically Nordic theme, if IKEA did posh.... you get the idea? Our Penthouse cabin had everything you might wish for: spacious, stylish, comfortable bed, beautiful bathroom and Nespresso-type coffee maker. All cabins have a veranda. The mini bar was re-stocked everyday but our guy always forgot the beer. The in-room entertainment system was excellent, with a wide range of films and pre-recorded programmes. There was also a variety of music on offer but it says something about this cruise line that the only music streaming available was Classic FM. The ship is on the small side but feels very spacious. However, on our cruise, its size may have had a detrimental effect on its stability on rough seas. In room 8001, a penthouse farthest forward, it was very unpleasant during strong headwinds and 5 metre waves.... reminded me of a ferry crossing in the Bay of Biscay! If you are prone to sea sickness you might want to choose a lower cabin mid-ships. POOLS There are two pools. One is a very small infinity pool with a tiny jacuzzi. There are around a dozen sunbeds which compete for space with tables and chairs close to the pool bar. The main pool is a good size but too deep at one end for most people to stand, so the shallow end gets crowded. A larger jacuzzi is adjacent. There are plenty of sunbeds but you may struggle to get one on warm ‘at sea´ days. They have no mattresses so are not very comfortable. The pool has retractable cover, great for rainy days but the Captain left it closed throughout our last day. This was only the second day of seven with half-decent weather... windy but sunny... so no opportunities to sunbathe and it was like sitting in a greenhouse because the aircon could not cope... unbearable! Talking about sunbathing, women may want to think twice about wearing a bikini... my wife got several dirty looks from some passengers. The very idea! DINING There are several options. "The Chef's Table" and "Manfredis" were excellent, and "The Restaurant" was also very good. The first two are by reservation only and I was very disappointed that we could not reserve any table online in advance, especially as we had booked a premium cabin. Fortunately, because we prefer to eat late, we managed to get some bookings on board. All three restaurants are waiter service with various levels of efficiency but the standard of the food was very good. "The Pool Bar", open for lunch, served excellent burgers but, if you don't like burgers, the menu is a tad limited. Long queues at this venue. "The World Cafe" was, in my opinion, an underwhelming experience. It seemed that most people took breakfast here ("The Restaurant" was another option) but I found the World Cafe's breakfast offering very poor. The kitchen were incapable of frying eggs properly.... never had a good one... and the buffet was limited in choice. My eggs in "The Restaurant" were no better. Overall, I thought the quality and variety of food in the "World Cafe" disappointing. "Mamsens" offers a breakfast (didn´t try it) and a selection of Nordic food and some cakes. A peculiar anomaly is that no restaurant serves food between 5pm and 6pm; not good if you have just returned from a shore excursion and are peckish. SPA The Spa facilities are very good, they even have a snow grotto for weird people. There are insufficient lockers for busy times, this resulted in an unpleasant experience for my wife. As there were no lockers available, the attendant suggested she should hang her robe on a nearby hook with the key card in it. Another passenger took the robe, leaving my wife in a wet bathing costume and no room key. The attendant did not offer to obtain a new key but advised her to traipse through the public areas in another robe to Guest Relations; so far so bad. At the desk, clearly embarrassed and dripping wet, my wife was told by the so-called Guest Relations agent that he would be happy to provide another key but it would take 30 minutes. When she protested, he smiled and said it was a little joke. She was not amused. SHORE EXCURSIONS On a 7-day cruise, shore excursions are a key feature of the vacation especially when there is a dearth of daytime entertainment on board. Bad weather meant that we were unable to disembark at Cozumel, so we had just 3 days off the ship. Particularly frustrating was the lack of time in any one port. In Key West we had to be back on board by 4pm, even though the next day was at sea and the ship tip-toed at a leisurely pace ¡next day to Belize. It was the same at Belize and, had we anchored at Cozumel, we were required to be back on board by 1.30pm. In short, there were no options to enjoy any nightlife in any of the ports. ENTERTAINMENT A classical trio (yawn), a mediocre pianist (yawn) and a rather good acoustic guitarist. That's pretty much your lot until 9pm (except for one lunchtime session when the band played around the main pool). In the early evening, there were some mediocre shows based on such themes as Abba and The Rat Pack but, strangely, they performed the more obscure tracks...one can assume only that they would not pay the licence fees for the blockbuster tracks. So, with an extra day at sea and with poor weather, you might understand why we were so disappointed. And it wasn't just us.... one couple on the return tender from Belize said glumly “Back to the mausoleum then”. Another couple we met at dinner said “This cruise is so dull”. We pointed out to both couples that there was life after death in "Torshavn", the ship's small but perfectly-formed music bar... nightclub would be a stretch too far. Here the Viking Band and the immensely talented Joven and Angelica performed excellent sets ranging from Blues, Jazz and Pop to Rock and Roll and Soul. These sessions were the highlight if the cruise and we spent our days counting down to the evenings. To be very honest, they were the only reason we didn't jump ship at the first port of call. For the avoidance of doubt there was no casino.... perhaps a good thing as I might have lost our house out of sheer boredom. SUMMARY I now understand this is a thinking man’s cruise not a drinking man's cruise but most thinkers I know also like a drink. As an aside, the Silver Drinks package is well worth the money but strangely not all drinks are served in every bar and, annoyingly, only the Explorer’s Lounge stocked slimline tonic and, even there, they were in short supply. The bar staff in this Lounge were excellent. So thinkers who like to think in attractive surroundings might be attracted to this format but thinkers who also like to party should give this ship a wide berth. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
This was a holiday cruise. Main objective was to visit Panama Canal. This was my 3rd Ocean. Cruise. The included excursions were below average. In Panama City our guide stopped in a beautiful square, showed us the outside market and the ... Read More
This was a holiday cruise. Main objective was to visit Panama Canal. This was my 3rd Ocean. Cruise. The included excursions were below average. In Panama City our guide stopped in a beautiful square, showed us the outside market and the beautiful items for sale but we did not stop to show even for five minutes. We were able to stop on the way to the bus-vendors had their items on the ground and they were very poor quality. In Cartagena (excursion description plainly said we’d have 40 minutes to shop) the guide announced there would be NO shopping and there was no shopping. When I mentioned to excursion director, he basically had no answe or explanation. The dining room, for dinner, usu. took about 2-21/2 hours. For breakfast one morning my waffle and my friends oatmeal took almost an hour to arrive. Yet the three tables of four who were seated after us all received their eggs, omelet, etc. before our orders arrived. Forget about. Juice refill etc. we were to,d kitchen was backed up- Last dinner in restaurant we were taken to the LAST table in the dining room next to the kitchen and a table of 8– we were unable to talk unless we shouted. It was not busy-we passed about 50 empty tables. I should have requested we change tables but I was so upset I knew I wouldn’t be able to politely make the request. The noise from the kitchen was unreal. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We consider ourselves experienced cruisers, having sailed with Windstar and Crystal about twenty times over the past few years. We were hoping to find a new experience, and wanted a short December cruise which we could take with our adult ... Read More
We consider ourselves experienced cruisers, having sailed with Windstar and Crystal about twenty times over the past few years. We were hoping to find a new experience, and wanted a short December cruise which we could take with our adult children. We found a one week Viking Ocean Caribbean cruise for the week before Christmas which seemed to be ideal. We read many positive reviews about Viking. Although they are not all-inclusive, the “Silver Beverage Package” was only $19 per person per day,and even without the package, beer and wine were included with meals. We imagined that Viking would be sort of a "Crystal Lite." We were on the Crystal Serenity for their Amazon cruise in October, and at St. Kitts we docked next to one of the Viking ships. We went onto the ship, explained that we had future reservations on Viking,and asked if we could see the ship, fully expecting them to refuse on security grounds. Much to our surprise, we were warmly greeted and given a complete tour of the ship. We were very impressed with the appearance of this like new vessel, and we looked forward to our planned December Viking cruise. Our cruise on the Viking Sky was a mixed experience with a few pluses and lots of minuses. Without a doubt, the Sky is a beautiful ship. It is less than a year old, and everything looks brand new. The staterooms and the public areas are fantastic. The beds are very comfortable. Storage is more than adequate, and most staterooms have pod type coffee machines. The mini-bar was restocked daily. Unlike on Crystal, we could not order full size bottles of wine or spirits or consumption in the stateroom.The bathrooms are nice sized with a large walk in shower and heated floors. The in-room television system is amazing with a large wall mounted flat screen that gives you access to schedules, menus, movies, and live TV shows. Unfortunately, the TV system (and the wi-fi) were non-functional for one day out of the seven days of our cruise. The ship's elevators seem to arrive in seconds and are well marked with information about what is located on each floor. An audio recording tells you where the elevator is stopping. Unfortunately, that is where the positives ended. Problems started at embarkation. All of us received paperwork indicating that we would embark at Miami Cruise Terminal J. No, the ship was actually at cruise terminal F, where the signage incorrectly indicated that it was the Viking Sea. A simple email would have warned us of Viking’s error, but for some reason, they did not bother. Check in was very smooth and efficient, although one of the porters hit my son up for a tip, indicating that it was required. My son had never been on a cruise ship, and did not realize that I had already given a gratuity to the porter. Not Viking's fault? Perhaps, but a cruise line often using this terminal should have some control over the conduct of the port staff. After boarding, we went to the bar and, as suggested by a Cruise Critic posting, asked to compare the included wines with those in the Silver Beverage Package before we decided whether to purchase the package. "Sorry,the included wines are only available in the dining room." Our kids (age 30 and 36) had not been permitted to make specialty restaurant reservations, because we had reserved a standard for them, and we made our travel reservations on short notice. We were in a Veranda Penthouse and made the restaurant reservations for the two of us a month before the cruise. After embarkation, we promptly went to the World Cafe to change our reservations to a table for four. Although it was a busy embarkation day, only one of the two computer terminals there was staffed, and we were forced to wait in a long line for a half hour before being told that none of the early reservation times were available for a group of four. Bad start. We had dinner that evening at the Chef's Table, somewhat later than we wanted. That specialty restaurant has a fixed multi-course menu with paired wines for each course. The food was underwhelming, at best. The entree was called "Peking duck", but it was so dry that it tasted like cardboard. The "paired wines" were of poor quality, as were all of the wines we tried on this cruise, even with the Silver Beverage package. We are not wine connoisseurs, but these wines were just so disappointing. Some research revealed that they were available on shore for $5 to $6 a bottle. Most of our other dinners were in “The Restaurant,” where it seemed to take forever, first to find the wine steward (If there are any trained sommeliers on board, we never encountered one.), place our order, and then wait for the wine steward to find the bottle. I timed it on one occasion, and it was 25 minutes from the time we were seated until we received our beverages. It was that way every evening in both the main and specialty restaurants. Service in the dining room was mechanical, at best. We were seated, received menus, and then were asked to order our meals, even if we had not had the opportunity to order our wine, much less sample it. Each evening, we were expected to order our dessert when ordering our entrees, which seemed strange. We were served by multiple wait-staff at each meal and found it difficult to find any staff if there were issues during the meal. Requests for smaller portions or appetizers as entrees were often ignored. On one occasion. my son said he would like to order several appetizers for the table to share. He was told no, each person had to order a single appetizer. Some food was served lukewarm or just cold. In the Italian restaurant, lamb was ordered medium-rare, and it arrived well done. Steaks were uniformly tough. I could go on and on. Room service was no better. On one occasion, our eggs were served without salt or pepper. When we did receive salt, the shakers were always clogged, so that one could only obtain salt by removing the filler plug at the bottom of the shaker. Other passengers confirmed that they had the same problem. Orders were often incorrectly filled. On one occasion, pancakes and eggs were ordered, but only the eggs arrived. Another time, boiled eggs that were never ordered arrived with our breakfast. Beverage service in the pool area was non-existent. In one week, I was never asked if I wished to order a drink at poolside. At the bars, service was slow. I do not expect to wait ten minutes or longer at the bar before my order is taken. There were also issues with drink orders being incorrectly filled. My travel agent assured us that he had arranged for us to have a modest amount of on board credit. The staff of the ship insisted that they had no record of this. Since he had made similar arrangements for us on all our other cruises without an issue, I question who dropped the ball. We were looking for an new "favorite" cruise line, and we actually considered re-scheduling our future vacations with Viking. After this cruise,however, we would never consider another Viking vacation. It is really a shame,because they seem to have so much potential. Read Less
Viking Sky Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 0.0
Dining 5.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.5 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 4.5 0.0
Service 5.0 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0

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