1,178 Viking Ocean Viking Sea Cruise Reviews

This was a wonderful cruise While the weather was not the best the food staff and ship more than made up for it. Love the cruise line and will definitely do again . It was my birthday during the cruise and I ended up with 4 huge pieces ... Read More
This was a wonderful cruise While the weather was not the best the food staff and ship more than made up for it. Love the cruise line and will definitely do again . It was my birthday during the cruise and I ended up with 4 huge pieces of cake and three bottles of the bubbly!! I The cabin was clean and efficient. The staff were VERY attentive! I can't say enough about the food and the wait staff. The food choices were excellent and met any special needs that we needed. The staff remembered us and were very attentive without being obnoxious. The shore excursions that were included in the price of the tour were very good The ports of call were what we wanted to see and in the cities there was enough time to enjoy the sites I highly recommend Viking cruises and look forward to taking another in the future Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
All the Viking cruises are of an excellent standard and all ships seems to be the same design so you feel at home very quickly. Staff are excellent, cabin spacious and well maintained. Wifi access good, food good. The only poor thing ... Read More
All the Viking cruises are of an excellent standard and all ships seems to be the same design so you feel at home very quickly. Staff are excellent, cabin spacious and well maintained. Wifi access good, food good. The only poor thing we have found on Viking recently is the quality of the musicians who play, usually as a duo or sometimes pianist. Do Viking not listen to them before they are engaged? The standard is so poor, the repertoire so limited and mostly more of a funeral type of music that we have found that we 'dodge' these 'musicians' who play in the open areas. Excursions are always excellent and well organised. Viking appear to be expensive, and their prices seem to be increasing considerably, but you do on the whole get good value for money. Viking do look after their customers well and pay attention to detail. Would recommend Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We've been on 8 Viking cruises over the past 15 years. The 5 river cruises were truly excellent, as were the 2 ocean cruises (Mediterranean and Baltic) which we took in 2015 and 2016 when the ships were brand new. As a result, ... Read More
We've been on 8 Viking cruises over the past 15 years. The 5 river cruises were truly excellent, as were the 2 ocean cruises (Mediterranean and Baltic) which we took in 2015 and 2016 when the ships were brand new. As a result, we were very surprised to see how much the quality of the onboard experience has fallen over the past 3 years. There have been numerous cutbacks that affect guests, at the same time that Viking has channeled huge amounts of money into advertising and new ship construction. That's why, despite a beautiful ship and superb service, we have given our recent cruise on the Viking Sea merely a "Very Good" rating. Viking no longer provides an "Excellent" cruise experience despite what their TV advertising says about their past awards. Here are some examples of the cutbacks we experienced: 1) Included excursions -- With the exception of one port where we were taken to a very interesting stage show, all the included excursions were bus tours with one local guide and about 45 passengers. Viking never sent one of their staff members on the bus to troubleshoot problems (eg. Quietvox system not working) or check on excursion quality. Most excursions were too rushed (eg. 15 minutes to see a museum) and were just plain boring. On 2 occasions, we were taken to places where most of the attractions were closed. Obviously it's cheaper to send guests on bus tours in groups of 45 than it is to offer walking or biking tours with groups half that size. 2) Food choices -- In the buffet restaurant, the food choices are fewer and there is more repetition from day to day. For example, at any breakfast there were only 4 cereal choices and on most days those were of junk food quality (Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, etc.). We asked for granola on the first day but it wasn't provided until the last 3 days of the cruise. 3) Evening entertainment -- It was the worst we have encountered on any cruise ship. Shows in the theatre were 100% music and the singing was mediocre. We never saw a comedian or magician who could have added some variety. In the lounges, there was no string quartet, merely a thin-sounding violin/cello duo. Nor was there a jazz trio. There was only one lounge pianist who was classically trained and sounded very stilted when she tried to play pop tunes. 4) Enrichment classes -- Many were free on past cruises but on the Viking Sea, all had fees. Yoga classes were $10, cooking classes were $59, and to attend a scarf-tying workshop, you had to buy a scarf from the boutique at a ridiculously high price. 5) Temperature control -- There wasn't enough heat provided in the theatre and it was always uncomfortably cold. Instead of having staff turn up the thermostat, guests were offered blankets to keep them warm during the stage shows or lectures. 6) Drinks -- There's no bottled water provided in staterooms any more. Instead, there is a flask of warm water sitting on the desk all day because it's too large to fit in the room's bar fridge. Despite Viking's very high cruise fares, soft drinks are not provided free of charge except at meal times. Nor is the stateroom fridge replenished with soft drinks as on other luxury cruise lines' ships. 7) Loyalty -- There are minimal rewards for loyalty to Viking. We've probably spent around $100 000 on Viking cruises. However, we still just receive $200 off our cruise fare as a past client and get a free drink at an onboard reception with the captain. To add insult to injury, someone who books a Viking cruise for the very first time and pays for one of the more expensive staterooms is allowed to reserve excursions and specialty dining weeks before us. It's very obvious that Viking values how much you spend onboard much more than it values loyalty over many cruises. 8) Prices on missing stateroom items -- Probably all cruise ships experience theft of items provided in staterooms but Viking has recently responded by posting a ridiculous price list of what they will charge your credit card if something is missing when you disembark. (eg. tissue box - $280; toothbrush holder $145). The prices bear no resemblance to the actual value of those cheaply-made items. 9) WiFi -- It's included in all areas of the ship according to Viking's advertising. However, that doesn't mean it resembles in any way the service you receive from your home internet provider. Viking's WiFi comes from a low-quality system that obviously hasn't been updated to meet the current needs of cell phone and laptop carrying passengers. During much of every day, it was extremely slow, taking up to a minute to access any web page after clicking the mouse. Moreover, on one at-sea day, no WiFi was available and the system broke down again on the second last and final day when guests needed to print boarding passes. Instead of assigning a couple of staff members to print boarding passes for guests, using staff computers, Viking did nothing. In summary, people who had previously cruised with HAL or NCL and were first-time Viking guests, seemed to think the Viking Sea experience was a step up. We, on the other hand, found all the cutbacks to be disappointing and annoying. We've already booked our next 3 cruises, and all of them are with Oceania, --- a cruise line that doesn't make the mistakes mentioned above. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
My husband really likes the Viking experience, and we liked the itinerary. Although I see that no opportunity is provided for negative comments, I will do so here. We were extremely disappointed to be kept "in the dark" about ... Read More
My husband really likes the Viking experience, and we liked the itinerary. Although I see that no opportunity is provided for negative comments, I will do so here. We were extremely disappointed to be kept "in the dark" about arrangements for our post-tour excursion via train to Oslo. A few days before disenbarkation we went to the guest services and the asian lady with shorter hair would NOT give us ANY information!! She merely pointed to the information in the Viking today flyer and started reading that aloud to us. Of course, we had already read that! Although she wasn't actually rude to us, she was cold, detached and disengaged. Obviously she couldn't have cared less about us. Sadly, I didn't look at her name badge. After disembarkation, we had NO IDEA what was going to happen to us, other than we would board a train. We were taken on a surprise tour of Bergen, which turned out to be our 3rd time past many of the sites. Most of the folks on that bus and later on the train were griping about not receiving any information. Furthermore, when we arrived in Oslo, we didn't know that we would be going on another bus tour there and didn't even know the name of the hotel! I vomited on the bus due to the rough bus ride. One couple on the train had been given a paper outlining the post-tour excursion. Why didn't the rest of us receive that??? My other complaint is about local currency. We knew that the ship did not provide local currency. I had called ahead and learned that Euros would be accepted by our tour guides in some countries and US dollars would be in another. However, I felt bad giving different currencies to these folks, and we had nothing to pay for restroom visits, either. Local guides shouldn't have to keep exchanging the currencies. And we would hardly want to get zlotys when we are only in Poland for 1/2 day. I wrote out a detailed suggestion to guest services, summarized as follows: Guests could pre-order packages of local currencies, paid in advance. I suggest providing roughly $10 of local currency for each country visited. These could be bundled in manila envelopes for us to pick up. Then we would have enough local currency to be able to tip our local guides appropriately, pay for use of restrooms, and maybe have enough leftover to buy a few postcards or something. Guest services left a message on my phone, summarily rejecting my suggestion by saying that they don't provide local currencies. I feel that this is a valuable and practical suggestion that I wish would be considered. I got kind of tired of the buffet food in 15 days. The Asian food at the Chef's table was disgusting. We didn't go to any of the entertainment events. Shore excursions were mostly good, but I regretted not knowing about the museum of hardanger fiddles before we got to Stavanger. I did not enjoy to train ride to Berlin - too long, and city is kind of ugly. I think that shorter excursions to charming villages closer to the port would have been better. Excellent service by wait staff, most were pleasant and engaging. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise because we have always wanted to see Iceland and wanted to go back to Bergen. So this was the perfect cruise for us. This itinerary was perfect as we got to visit Greenland, Newfoundland and Canada. We have been to ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we have always wanted to see Iceland and wanted to go back to Bergen. So this was the perfect cruise for us. This itinerary was perfect as we got to visit Greenland, Newfoundland and Canada. We have been to Antarctica so this was our chance to go to the Artic Circle. The service from the staff was great especially our cabin stewards and Ronald our waiter at Dinner. Every night at dinner he would go over the menu and discuss each dish by telling us what was in the dish and how it was prepared. We especially enjoyed the talks given on the Human Planet. What beautiful pictures and very interesting about how the photography was done. The excursions were very interesting to visit some of the old Viking villages to see how they lived. Also got to see a replica of an old Viking ship. Couldn't image how the survived in those boats. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We picked this cruise because of its itinerary - "In the Wake of the Vikings" - a northerly transatlantic crossing, and we had to book it a year and a half in advance because it's only offered once a year. (Although, we ... Read More
We picked this cruise because of its itinerary - "In the Wake of the Vikings" - a northerly transatlantic crossing, and we had to book it a year and a half in advance because it's only offered once a year. (Although, we found out later that a 2nd Viking ship trailed this same itinerary by several days - so much for Viking's communications - more on that.) We did the 3-day pre-trip Iceland extension. Generally good, although we found out once there that there were 78 people on this pre-trip, and all but 8 of us had direct flights to Bergen to board the ship after Iceland. We were some of the unfortunate 8 - indirect flights thru Oslo. We asked the local Viking person (an independent travel guide, very helpful) "what did we do wrong to deserve this?" She said to call Viking, ask for direct flights, since another couple had done this, or have your travel agent do this for you. We emailed our US travel agent, asked her to to have Viking book us direct (like the 70 other people who had this done for them automatically). Viking's 1st response was that they would charge us $350/pp because this was a voluntary upgrade on our part! Gag me! We went back to our travel agent, she fought w/Viking and got the direct flights for no charge, like all the others (except a few who got stonewalled by Viking when they went direct to Viking). Other than that, the pre-trip was a nice way to explore Iceland - much more so than the planned one day shop in Reykjavik on the cruise. We did Blue Lagoon, Grand Circle tour, plus good tour around Reykjavik. Once we flew to Bergen, we found out (rumors among passengers on the bus ride to the ship) that we're not staying in Bergen, we're leaving a day early, i.e., right away, due to Hurricane Dorian, and we'll be skipping 1st two port stops (Shetlands and Faroes), in order to try and skirt hurricane on way to two new port stops in Iceland via two very rough sea days. Ironic, that we just left Iceland, flew to Bergen, to get on a ship and sail into a hurricane in order to go back to Iceland via rough seas. Why couldn't Viking let us know that back in Iceland and let us just rent a car and drive through scenic Iceland and catch up to the ship in 1st new Iceland port stop? This is 'classic Viking non-communication.' (Our only other Viking Ocean cruise was to go from Istanbul to Venice, only we found out 'by accident' that we weren't going to Istanbul, but cruise was going to start in Athens instead.) The Viking Sea ship is wonderful - small size - only 900+ passengers, great cabin attendants, great food, comfy beds, free wifi, free laundry, free beer & wine w/lunches and dinners, nice public areas. They offer two free specialty restaurants/trip - an Italian, plus a special Chef's Table. In keeping w/Viking's non-communications, we had booked one of each, only to find that Viking had somehow cancelled one of our reservations when we showed up for dinner. The two extra Iceland port stops were wonderful, but once we left Reykjavik, we were told that, due to storms off Greenland, that we'd be skipping the 1st Greenland port and have ... 2 more rough sea days! Prince Christian Sound (60 miles of interconnected fjords in S. Greenland) did make up for this, as it was a visual extravaganza. However, more of the same after Greenland - two more rough sea days due to bad weather off W. Greenland on our way to Newfoundland, and an alternative port once there. We heard from others on board that Viking has made this re-positioning trip 5 times, and has only made all port stops on its advertised itinerary only once! Seems like Viking needs to re-examine its repositioning trips - we understand that 2020 cruise goes in August, but I'm sure Viking is trying to maximize its profits with its Baltic cruises and didn't really want to leave that soon! Once home, we did receive a nice email from Viking saying, in effect, that they screwed up, and are offering a future voucher worth 40% of our trip cost on a future Viking cruise. We'll have to seriously consider whether we want to cruise Viking anymore. Their ships are great, and once onboard the crew and staff and accommodations are excellent, but Viking's communications with its passengers, especially pre-trip, STINK! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Viking Cruise Trans-Atlantic September 2019 Our cruises are always chosen for their itinerary, but after that, of course, the cruise line is a major consideration. We came across the “In the Wake of the Vikings” cruise with Viking ... Read More
Viking Cruise Trans-Atlantic September 2019 Our cruises are always chosen for their itinerary, but after that, of course, the cruise line is a major consideration. We came across the “In the Wake of the Vikings” cruise with Viking Ocean Cruises, a line new to us, back in early 2018, but we were not free at the time, so we expressed an interest with Viking for the 2019 sailing, through our local Travel Agent. We were not so happy, therefore, when we were eventually contacted by Viking to tell us that the cruise was finally open to the UK market, but, because it had been on sale in the USA for some time already, we had the choice of only one room in the category we wanted, a Penthouse Veranda room. It was, fortunately, in a good position, on the starboard side and forward, so we booked it immediately. Flights are arranged through Viking and we were booked on Scandinavian Air Services from Manchester to Bergen via Copenhagen, which all went smoothly. Our return flights, from Montreal to Heathrow and then on to Manchester, were with B.A. Unfortunately, our return flight to LHR was cancelled because of the B.A. strike and was, during the cruise, changed firstly with Air Canada to LHR and then with American Airlines to Philadelphia and Manchester when the Air Canada LHR/Manchester connection wasn’t possible. Ironically, because the Philadelphia flight from Montreal was stuck in Philadelphia when the time came, meaning our connection would be missed, we ended up back on our original B.A. flight to Heathrow, after retrieving our luggage and going back through Departures, which wasn’t pleasant, but we did at least get home not too much later than planned; the Economy section of the plane was almost empty too, which helped. Back in Bergen Airport, we learned from the Meet and Greet team that an alteration to the itinerary was already in place. The remnants of Storm Dorian were to blame, as bad weather predicted for our first two stops in Lerwick and Torshavn meant we would almost certainly not be able to enter the ports and also experience uncomfortable conditions at sea. The solution was to leave Bergen immediately and head for Iceland instead, missing our scheduled overnight stay in Bergen and full day there. Once aboard, which was a speedy and friendly process as we were quite late reaching the ship, we found a letter in our stateroom explaining the situation fully. Additional ports, Akureyri and Isafjordur, would replace Lerwick and Torshavn, after which our schedule would return to normal and we would avoid the worst of the storm by leaving Bergen immediately. This made little difference to us, as we have visited all four ports before, but many American guests were naturally disappointed. Our sea days were indeed on the rough side, but nothing too serious. Our days in Akureyri, Isafjordur and Reykjavik were good, but there was further information about the next part of the schedule from the Captain before we sailed from Iceland, heading for Greenland. Once again, stormy weather on our route to Prince Christian Sound and Nanortalik was to be avoided by turning a little north, which meant that we would still enter the Sound, but at the more comfortable time of midday instead of early morning. We would then miss Nanortalik completely and head straight for Qaqortoq. Once again, this suited us well as we were particularly keen to pass through the Sound and we were delighted that the Captain understood that it was an important part of the cruise for most passengers. This plan worked well and we had a wonderful passage through Prince Christian Sound, but before leaving Qaqortoq we were informed of a further change to the schedule because of the bad weather; the anchorage for L’Anse aux Meadows, a Viking settlement in Newfoundland, would be far too exposed to allow tendering, so the Captain and the company had gone to tremendous trouble to reorganise our stop to St. Anthony, a fifty minute bus ride away. Once again, everything worked very well, despite the need to disembark a sick guest into the conveniently close-by hospital, which delayed our departure. That was the end of our itinerary problems, but we have great admiration for the effort and cost the Viking Company was prepared to put into making our cruise as good as possible and we enjoyed the itinerary very much, although issues raised by other Cruise Critic writers about the actual location of the Saguenay dock and the lack of time in Quebec are worth noting. Viking Sea (and her sister ships) should have suited us down to the ground, because we don’t need evening entertainment, preferring the scenery outside the windows and the guest numbers are low. However, our final survey for the ship before disembarkation (conveniently delayed until after lunch for the group of us who had later flights) had us indicating that we would not recommend the ship to our friends and we would be very unlikely to travel with Viking again through a combination of several reasons. Slightly souring our initial impression of the ship was our first view of our room, which was missing the separate door and large window shown in the brochure, having instead a sliding door, somewhat screened by the curtain, which made the room seem dark and reduced the view from the sofa. We spend a lot of time in our room and this was a disappointment. The ship was full, so we could not be moved. I was also concerned by a possible lack of soundproofing after clearly hearing coughing through the wall, but in fact this was not an issue. Our main area of disappointment was the food on board Viking Sea. This is a very personal issue, of course. We prefer to eat in the World Cafe for all meals because we like the relaxed atmosphere and the views from the windows. We did eat in the Restaurant on one occasion when we thought the Cafe would be taken up by an Indian buffet, but it was extremely busy and my view was of a wall, whereas outside it was a beautiful evening. We just made it outside in time for the sunset. We never tried the other eating opportunities, apart from the Pool Grill, which we enjoyed. We found the menu in the World Cafe pretentious and repetitive and frequently not to our taste, with plenty of seafood and underdone meat, although the chefs would willingly cook portions to our requirements. Food was frequently cool in its presentation trays even when freshly put out and we learned to ask for our plates to be reheated, but cooked-to-order food could be left out on the plate for collection, therefore cooling again. Even my individual portion of mashed potato in the restaurant was cool. We usually enjoy soup on our cruises at lunch and dinner, but more often than not we found it was either fish or spicy and we went without. Desserts were more tempting and we took advantage of the gelato bar too, but our overall impression was poor, not helped by items missing from the drinks area, cool water in the hot water jugs and empty milk jugs. Making a hot drink could be a slow and frustrating process at times. Our early departure from Bergen meant that some food items had not been restocked, so some individual breakfast cereals were soon unavailable, as were some yoghurts and finally bagels. Even the orange juice from the machines turned into something more like sour squash from Quebec and would be like that for the next cruise, we were told. My reply was that I was pleased to be leaving, in that case. For some reason which is hard to define, we also found the atmosphere on board ship very uninspiring. The pool area and the Winter Garden were both frequently chilly, but guests, despite all rooms having their own balconies and sea views, would lie on the loungers wrapped in blankets. Even during the scenic cruising periods, there were not too many people outside to appreciate it. The indoor pool was closed almost all the time, either from the bad weather or maintenance and the outdoor hot pool was also occasionally closed at times. The outdoor decks were frequently closed due to the strong winds. The ship felt like an uninspiring Retirement Home, with Baggo the main excitement of the day! Obviously, there were plenty of other activities available during the day, but this is how we felt overall, compared with our experience on many other cruise ships. We also disliked the atrium area because all the windows were screened by obscuring netting, preventing any view outside, which was disappointing as this was a popular place to sit. The World Cafe sliding doors were ill-filling and draughty, but otherwise we generally enjoyed this space, even though we were often almost on our own there out of meal times. Viking Cruises offer an included tour at most ports. We normally preferred to walk around on our own, but at Qaqortok we opted into a “self guided” tour, which we thought would include an idea of a route and information on what we would see. Wrong! We received a basic map and enquiries afterwards made it clear that our group timings were simply a way of organising and monitoring the tendering process. Fair enough, but that is not a self-guided tour in our opinion. However, there were many things about Viking Sea we did like. We were most impressed by and appreciative of the information we were given by the Captain on the various itinerary changes and the way the problems were resolved. The staff members were all friendly and eager to help with any enquiries and our room stewards continually asked if we needed anything. An early cruise survey, which they asked us to fill in to satisfy their superiors, gave us the opportunity to suggest a couple of future improvements to the room in terms of more bathroom hanging space and hooks for outdoor coats, as well as mentioning the food issues. This resulted in the delivery of extra towels and hangers, which we declined, plus a series of phone calls from various departments trying to resolve matters which were generally simply suggestions! Our stateroom grade, Penthouse Verandah, included a complimentary minibar which was replenished daily. We don’t drink either the spirits or sodas in the minibar, but the sommelier was happy to remove those and provided us with wine to our taste instead. Lectures and port talks were available to watch on the room TV as well as live in the theatre, which we preferred on the whole. There was a good range of live TV, plus recorded programmes and films to choose from and the internet was usually good for our location. We were both able to use our tablets at the same time, which is unusual in our experience. Finally, although we stated in our disembarkation survey that we were unlikely to travel with Viking again, a promotion too good to miss and an interesting itinerary have offered us the opportunity to revise our opinions early next year. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
embarking was quick and easy. once we were on the ship at 3.30pm we were advised that the ship would be leaving that night instead of the original plan of the next evening due to weather which meant we missed the port of Bergen as it was ... Read More
embarking was quick and easy. once we were on the ship at 3.30pm we were advised that the ship would be leaving that night instead of the original plan of the next evening due to weather which meant we missed the port of Bergen as it was too late to do anything that day. Big seas means we also missed Shetland Islands and Faroe Islands. instead we made for Iceland and had 2 make up ports of Akureyri and Isafjordur. both tiny stops. We then had to forgo Nanortalik due to 'weather'. When we got to Dagueanay.....well it isn't it was the port town of La Baie, 20 kms from the main city. No shuttles were pour on. We had to find a local bus or taxi of we es bed to go into the city. We reached Quebec, the best port of all and we had to be back on board by 3.30? surely we could have stayed longer given the fact how much we had missed out on previously? into Montreal at 4am? that to me says we definitely could have had longer in Quebec. The included tours were ok. Need more for active people. Not everyone is over 75. The entertainment was average. The singer's were ok but only did 3 showed in 2 weeks. The magician was awesome. bring on more odd this stuff. Comedians etc Classical pianist? yuck. start catering for the 50 year olds. We are your future cruisers. The cabins are nice and clean but not enough storage in deluxe verandah. put more shelving in instead of so much hanging space. had to leave most of our stuff in our suitcase which was frustrating. Noise in the cabin is totally unacceptable. rattling and banging in the walls, creaking like we were on an old Spanish Galleon or on the first fleet to Australia. that is no exaggeration. I still couldn't sleep with earplugs and a pillow over my head. Who wants to be sleep deprived their whole holiday? It was brought to Guest Services attention the 2nd day and their response was" its the weather" not good enough. Even when the seas were calm it was the same. Everyone we spoke to said the same thing, their cabins creaked and rattled also. Italian ship builders obviously can't get that right. Staff were friendly enough but ask for anything out of the ordinary and it's like the biggest deal. Ask for small portion, can't do it. Ask for 2 scoops of icecream, can't be done. Communication was terrible. We never knew when the ship was getting into port or leaving until the night before. couldn't plan anything. when in Reykjavik we dashed back to the ship between ships tours to grab lunch and check the Tax refund process to be told the ship want leaving until 8pm so we would have plenty of time. We got back from our second tour to hear that the ship was leaving at 6 and no time for any last minute shopping at the terminal shops and that the VAT guy was leaving. Asked for assistance again from Guest Services to see if anyone could help us with a Garmin charger for our watches as ours had been left on the previous viking cruise we had gotten off to get on this cruise. never heard from them again. The food was quite good in quality and the head chef Paul was great. constantly checking the quality and his people. Took great pride in his food and his people. We have previously cruised mainly with Azamara. Hard not to compare the 2. I'd choose Azamara every time. We chose this cruise for the itinerary but at the end of the day it missed too many ports. Why not call it for what it is. Transatlantic repositioning cruise. Not one for the destinations. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Numb, as in unbelievable, Numb as in over whelming, Numb as in booked another cruise with Viking for next year. We had seen the TV documentary "Mighty Ships" showcasing the "Viking Sky" and a week later were booked ... Read More
Numb, as in unbelievable, Numb as in over whelming, Numb as in booked another cruise with Viking for next year. We had seen the TV documentary "Mighty Ships" showcasing the "Viking Sky" and a week later were booked for our cruise on the "Sea", I had Viking do all our bookings for our transportation to Oslo, as well as our Oslo and Bergen extensions. We were not disappointed, as everything went well, with ground transportation, the 2 hotels we stayed in, as well as the train trip between Oslo and Bergen. I beloved they saved us about $4,000 Cdn, (for 2 people) as I booked the airfare using a dummy account, and was well satisfied with the outcome, and that didn't include booking hotels or train trip. Upon our arrival at the cruise terminal, we were informed we would leave Bergen a day early (disappointed) and miss the Shetland and Faroe Islands (disappointed), but would have two extra ports in Iceland (Wow), due to stormy seas as the remainder of Hurricane Dorian hit the area. A few other changes were made due to rough seas, but Viking and the Captain made the changes ahead of time, allowing replacements and relocations so our cruise wasn't days at seas. This allowed us to cross the Arctic Circle, and spend extra time in Iceland, a place we might have never returned to, as well attended to the safety of the ship and passengers / crew aboard. I have mobility issues and use a walker. The tours we took, were OK for our limits, as we were allowed to wander at our own speed and were given a time and place to meet, which we adhered to. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze, except at Quebec City. I knew, as Viking stipulates in their "FAQ" area, you are responsible for getting yourself off and on without crew assistance, but at Quebec City no wanted to take my walker on or off, and it was a long stand waiting while the walker sat on the pier. The boarding ramp also in Quebec City was not handicap friendly due to the small steps (my ability of using steps, not the port or ship or anyone else's ability). All other ports, crew couldn't have been nicer or more obliging getting the walker on and off, and assisting on ramps and tenders. The ship was beautiful, simple lines but very elegant. We had so much space and a good choice of areas to sit, depending the mood and what we wanted to see or the hear the music provided by the onboard musicians. The "Living Room" was divided into smaller sitting rooms (about 8 to 10 seats), each with art work, a multitude of reading material, ornaments on tables and shelves and thro-blankets and cushions giving a very warm and at home feeling. The food overall, was very good, sometimes things weren't great or what we expected but that's standard wherever you go or even at home. The "Restaurant" had wonderful choices, with standard fare on the left side of the menu and seasonal / regional choices on the right side. We mostly ate from the right side, and enjoyed what we ordered. Service was professional, and the odd time things did get dis-jointed, but we always got what we wanted, and if something was forgotten, it was there in seconds. We never left hungry. "World Cafe" had a nice choice of foods, and they would prepare to order. We only had lunch there, as we preferred the "Restaurant" where portions are controlled, as we always filled our plates way to much, and hate to waste food. "Manfretti's" was wonderful, especially the rib-eye steak, but learned we can order or split portions if we choose. We were very pleased we could have 4 dinners there. We had one dinner at the "Chef's Table", which was Asian and wonderful, but we choose not to return for the Mexican themed dinner. At both specialty restaurants, the servers explained the menu to us in great detail, as well as the wines we ordered. We paid for the "Silver Spirits" package which included upgraded wines at meals, and any alcohol or soft drinks on board. The jury is still out, whether we would get it again. I kept of tally of what we ordered, and we broke even. The upgraded wines aren't a big deal for us, and we are not big drinkers, but ordered a few specialty drinks we wouldn't of had if we were paying for each drink. However, it was nice knowing you wouldn't get a large bill at the end. The crew were "amazing" and everyone on board made our holiday special, from their hellos in the hallways or greeting us by name in the food and bar service areas. They remembered our likes or dislikes or could predict whether we were having 2 black coffees or 2 Absolute and tonic. High Points: 1) no children 2) no up-selling 3) included internet (worked well most of the time) 4) no photography or photographers in your face 5) treated like responsible adults (not to many party people on board) 6) no pushing future cruises, it was made known you could book on ship (which we did because we wanted to, not because of pressure) There is much more to tell, bu the highlight was, Viking did us well, and we look forward to our next cruise in June 2020. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Interested in learning about how the Vikings got to North America and to see some of the sites that have been on the History Channel; such as, L'anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland. In Greenland, visited with a local family (with ... Read More
Interested in learning about how the Vikings got to North America and to see some of the sites that have been on the History Channel; such as, L'anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland. In Greenland, visited with a local family (with translator) to learn about their life. Also visited three sites in Iceland, Akureyri, Isafjordur, and Reykjavik, as well as Saguenay, Quebec and Quebec City, Quebec. In Quebec City, visited Huron-Wendat Reservation, to learn about the culture and history of the Huron. Saw re-creations of a longhouse, sweathouse, and teepee. The Viking Sea is a lovely vessel accommodating 930 passengers. However, one would never know there were that many people because there are several eating and lounging venues. Disembarkings for land excursions were handled with great efficiency so that everyone is not exiting for a land excursion at the same time. Embarkation meant going through immigration at the port where Viking Sea was docked. It was very smooth. Next room had many booths at which each individual checked in with Viking, receiving room keycard, and verifying credit card and other vital information. That was very quick. Then boarding, one is greeted by several crew, and were given instructions for how to "check in" and "check out" with room keycard. Disembarkation was seamless for me since I had private transportation. The only thing that is annoying (which is typical of most disembarkation procedures), is having to vacate cabin by 8 a.m. Of course, for others who need to wait a while, there are many lounges in which they can wait. All staff and crew are very friendly, yet professional. Even the upper-level staff engaged with the passengers in playing crew vs passenger games. Because of Hurricane Dorian, we were in Bergen, Norway only one day, instead of two, departing to get above the hurricane's fringe winds and rough seas. This also meant two ports of call were cancelled because of hazards that can be incurred when going through very rough seas. Despite running into fringes of Hurricane Dorian, the captain and staff ensured that while some of the stops had to be cancelled, others were put in their place, with land excursions arranged, as well. Only concern was the buffet-style eating venue, World Cafe, had food that was bland and lukewarm at best. They had a great salad bar and desserts. But most of the fish were dry (except salmon and cod), some having the consistency of mashed potatoes. The hot vegetables were usually mixed cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots. Always baked potatoes and potatoes fixed in a variety of ways, which were good. And, one or two meats/poultry. If one wants food that has flavor (apart from salt and pepper), it would serve one well to eat at The Restaurant, Chef's Table, or Manfredi's, where attention is given to flavor and food temperature. There is also the Pool Grill with a smaller version of a salad bar, as well as made-to-order hamburgs, hotdogs, fries, and daily specials. All of the food venues are free. Excellent entertainment - professional musicians were outstanding, particularly the pianists, violinists, cellist. Not all lectures were related to the Vikings. Besides land excursions to Viking sites, it would have been good to have on-board lectures talking about their history. Did not use the spa, exercise facilities, or room service. Would do it again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Room: Had Deluxe Veranda that, per Viking, was 270 sf. As soon as we opened the room door, it was a shock. I measured: 193sq not including the balcony. Storage: Three drawers in cabinet, one drawer in each night table - and the ... Read More
Room: Had Deluxe Veranda that, per Viking, was 270 sf. As soon as we opened the room door, it was a shock. I measured: 193sq not including the balcony. Storage: Three drawers in cabinet, one drawer in each night table - and the closet. Hardly enough. Communication: Abysmal. In the first three days (yes, three days) I had to go to Guest Services (GS) 15 times - I finally stopped counting. Some reasons for these trips to GS: 1) Viking description of one tour vs TripAdvisor description differed. When questioned, rep told me that 'their screen' was quite different from what they wrote in their brochure when I signed up. 2) Returned to room to find paper that showed they had cooking classes "first come basis". We had arrived early, so I went back. Rep took my info and said we were in it. We never got tkts. I went back and was told we were on a wait list. 3) Found out there were wine classes. Went back to sign up. 4) Went to the wine class and signed up for more but then at designated time, the room was empty. - back to GS - was told class was cancelled and everyone was called . (no one called me) 5) Another wine class. and another GS trip - class was cancelled because no one showed up. (I was there and the room was dark). 6) The fan in the room was so loud, I had to wear earplugs -- and I am hearing impaired! etc, etc... Future cruise sales: Misleading. Prior to departing, I saw that their 'anniversary sale' was extended thru end of month. I had the USD amounts and wanted to check their deal for booking onboard. When presented with a price that was 1K more than the 'anniversary sale' price (before discounts), I questioned the sale. I was told that 'the sale was no longer in effect'. When I returned to USA and was able to access USD prices, I saw that it was in fact still on. Good points: Chef's Table was great. Wine stewards were great. One floor tenders werre great. Excursions: Ok, we missed ports due to weather - but, to depart Quebec at 3:30....really? In Iceland, we had a $109 tour that been delayed due to road construction - and the guide was ready to extend our time a bit. However one guest (the lecturer) said he had to be back on board and could not have the extension. There had been this same tour in the morning -- shouldn't the speaker have been advised to take that tour instead of making the entire bus return early? I have been on over 30 cruises w/ SilverSea and Oceania -- and what they advertise is what you get. I will stick with them. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This trip was highly recommended by family and friends who had already been on this trip. It was everything they said it would be and more! The overall experience was world class exceptional! The visit to 8 countries and 11 ports ... Read More
This trip was highly recommended by family and friends who had already been on this trip. It was everything they said it would be and more! The overall experience was world class exceptional! The visit to 8 countries and 11 ports was amazing. The tours were done by educated, experienced, well- spoken tour guides who provided a wealth of information. They gave us a glimpse of life for each country visited. There was a lot of fast paced walking so this trip is not for those with ambulatory issues. We loved every port and country we went to. The Viking ship, Sea, was the perfect size to get in and out of all the ports and waterways. It was beautiful and had much to offer. Our room was spacious, newly updated, great amenities and very comfortable. The food was world class. The variety of restaurant choices was perfect and each venue had great choices. The staff were very personable, funny, provided for every need. Allen and Dickie, our cabin stewards were exceptional at their job. They were very personable, respected our routine and privacy and provided what we needed. The entire shipboard staff were exceptional. I highly recommend using Viking Air to arrange flights. Perfect flight arrangements. Everything was well coordinated and organized from Viking. The trip was very costly but worth it! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I chose Viking for my Scandinavian cruise, and I’m so glad I did. I’ve been on quite a few of their River cruises, so I figured this would be of a similar quality, and it was. The ship was very comfortable, with all the wonderful ... Read More
I chose Viking for my Scandinavian cruise, and I’m so glad I did. I’ve been on quite a few of their River cruises, so I figured this would be of a similar quality, and it was. The ship was very comfortable, with all the wonderful Viking amenities, plus some! It was fun having a spa, exercise room, and several great choices of dining venues. The food was very good. The crew was excellent, very friendly, and they bent over backwards to make this cruise a wonderful experience for us. As always, Viking’s excursions were well-organized and informative. St. Petersburg (we saw the Hermitage Museum, Peterhof Palace, and Russian Ballet) and Norway’s fjords (we went to an Apple cider farm, gorgeous scenery!) were real highlights! I only wish we had had more time in some of the ports, like Stockholm, so we could have seen more. The pre-cruise option might have been money well spent! One thing more, I was traveling with a friend, and we did not feel at all uncomfortable as two women traveling together. We complained once about being seated next to the kitchen for dinner, and it never happened again! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose the cruise because of the variety of excellent ports of call. It was our first Viking cruise, and we were very impressed by the beauty of the ship, the attention to detail, the variety of food choices and restaurants, and caring ... Read More
We chose the cruise because of the variety of excellent ports of call. It was our first Viking cruise, and we were very impressed by the beauty of the ship, the attention to detail, the variety of food choices and restaurants, and caring staff. Every port was different, and every one worth visiting. We were impressed by the quality of excursions offered, whether included or extra. Each was led by a knowledgeable tour leader, and both informative and enjoyable. The lectures were all excellent, and the speakers knowledgeable about the varied subjects. We enjoyed The Explorer’s Lounge...a perfect place to relax before dinner or enjoy the sunset. Our room was comfortable and very well maintained by our excellent and caring cabin steward.. we never wanted for anything. We enjoyed the restaurants, the variety of food, and the ability to decide where and when we would have our meals. We chose to extend our vacation..both before and after the cruise. Both hotels we stayed in were very good, as were the Viking representatives in the hotel lobby. Well done, Viking! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We always wanted to visit St Petersburg. Also we had been on a Viking River cruise and were impressed with ship and service. The Viking Sea crew are superb the service was excellent. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We always wanted to visit St Petersburg. Also we had been on a Viking River cruise and were impressed with ship and service. The Viking Sea crew are superb the service was excellent. One tip if the Hermitage museum is important to you, book a private tour. Our group included folks with mobility issues difficulty with stairs etc. Although Viking made it clear there was lots of walking and stairs. Also the museum was very crowded and a couple of our group members drifted off. The tour guide wasted time looking for them. So overall this highlight was a disappointment As was Vikings practice of handing out plastic bottles of water to every guest at each stop. Therefore thousands of plastic bottles left behind in ports and busses to end up who knows where. A great disappointment for a company who claim to be concerned about the environment. Easy fix to provide reusable bottles. Be aware that the average age (on ours anyway) was about 70. Just a few younger people and likely not s good cruise for singles. Although there are 850 + guests on board there was always space for a quiet read and or drink. Apart from breakfast in the World cafe, never felt over crowded. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise as a way to spend some time with dear friends. The primary driver was the itinerary, but we were also looking for a ship that would not overwhelm us with vast numbers of people and activities as the primary ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a way to spend some time with dear friends. The primary driver was the itinerary, but we were also looking for a ship that would not overwhelm us with vast numbers of people and activities as the primary attractions were the destinations. The ship was wonderful as were the people serving us. Our cabin attendants were exceptional and the food and service throughout the ship were fantastic. We ate at all the restaurants on board and without exception I can say the quality was excellent, the best I have ever had on any previous cruise with other companies. There was plenty to do each day of the trip and always easy to find a private space to enjoy the journey. We really enjoyed the included tours and they were all expertly organized and completed on time. We will definitely return for another cruise in the future. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I have waited a lifetime to discover the Baltic and this cruise didn’t disappoint. The service and accommodations were amazing and, as always the Viking staff went above and beyond. My travel partner and I really enjoyed the spa area ... Read More
I have waited a lifetime to discover the Baltic and this cruise didn’t disappoint. The service and accommodations were amazing and, as always the Viking staff went above and beyond. My travel partner and I really enjoyed the spa area and the bar and dining choices. The spa area not only offers lots of included amenities, but also services that make one feel pampered. I really enjoyed having a facial on our sea day. We tried all of the restaurants and enjoyed each one. It was nice to have so many choices from which to choose. My only disappointment were some of the excursions that didn’t live up to my expectations. Viking cruises are relaxing and educational at the same time and I learned so much on this cruise. Having experts onboard who offer lectures makes the experience different than other cruise lines. I look forward to my next Viking cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We just returned from our latest Viking Cruise – The Viking Homelands aboard the Viking Sea. I’m just going to hit the highlights if anyone has specific questions please contact me and I will do my best to answer…. If I know the ... Read More
We just returned from our latest Viking Cruise – The Viking Homelands aboard the Viking Sea. I’m just going to hit the highlights if anyone has specific questions please contact me and I will do my best to answer…. If I know the answer of course! If you want to read no further then here is the short of it…. This was the best overall cruise experience we have yet experienced on the cleanest, most comfortable (overall) and well run ship we have sailed upon. There! I said it! Now if you want the “long of it” please carry on :-) The Itinerary Our trip started with a two day extension in Oslo Norway before taking the Oslo to Bergen train and joining our cruise in Bergen Norway. Our ship, the Viking Sea was in Bergen overnight and was slated to leave Bergen at 6:00PM the next day. The full Itinerary looked like this; August 13th – Oslo, Norway August 14th – Oslo, Norway August 15th – Bergen, Norway August 16th – Bergen, Norway August 17th – Eidfjord, Norway August 18th – Stavanger, Norway August 19th – Alborg, Denmark August 20th – Copenhagen, Denmark August 21st – Warnemunde (Berlin), Germany August 22nd – Gdansk, Poland August 23rd – At Sea August 24th – Tallinn, Estonia August 25th – Saint Petersburg, Russia August 26th – Saint Petersburg, Russia August 27th – Helsinki, Finland August 28th – Stockholm, Sweden August 29th – Stockholm Sweden All ports were entered on time and all departures were on time. Purchase and Payment This was not our first Viking Cruise so I just called the “Cruise Consultant” we had used previously and all of the purchase and payment details were handled flawlessly. Pre-Cruise Extension – Oslo, Norway We did the Pre-Cruise Extension in Oslo Norway just to insure a little safety buffer between arrival in Norway and embarkation to the ship. Since this was booked thru Viking airport pickup and transfer to the hotel was handled by Viking with “No Muss… No Fuss”. The hotel was the Thon Opera Hotel very conveniently located across from the Oslo Opera House and next door to the Oslo Central Train Station. The hotel itself was nice enough. It was clean and tidy…. and while the hotel public areas were modern and spacious the rooms were tiny. Our tiny room had almost zero closet space and little storage space. But, it was spotlessly clean and was certainly adequate for the two days we would be there living out of our suitcases. One thing to note if you are planning a stay at the Hotel Thon Opera for more than a day (and if you are US based) is to NOT FORGET YOUR VOLTAGE ADAPTER PLUGS. Knowing that the ship would have both US and Euro style plugs I didn’t really think of bringing my goodie bag of various adapters. Well… I should have! Luckily the front desk had a spare adapter that I could borrow to charge my arsenal of devices! Once topped off I returned the adapter and all was again right in the world. The first night we were on our own so we just wandered about Oslo and the area. The next day there was a very nice included (but optional) tour of Oslo that included the Vigeland sculpture park (Hey! Look Martha, all them there statues are Neked!”) and the Viking Ship Museum as the highlights of the tour. The afternoon was on our own and we enjoyed a great walk around the Oslo Opera House area, the Central Train Station and the shopping area beyond. The next morning we walked to the train station and boarded our train bound for Bergen, Norway. The train ride was very pleasant in a First Class car. A nice scenic ride and seven hours later we were in Bergen and being bussed to the Viking Sea. Embarkation Embarkation was painless and quick. Our room was ready and we took our time to explore the ship a little before heading to dinner followed by checking out some of the entertainment options. A bit about the Viking Sea Overall, we were both impressed with the “fit and function” of the Viking Sea. It is a beautifully appointed ship decorated in a lovely understated, elegant Scandinavian style. Never cluttered and always comfortable we never felt confined or that there was “nothing to do”. Built in 2016 the ship is by no means one of the new generation of “Mega-Ships” (and that’s perfect for me!!), Weighing in at 47,800 tons (gross tonnage) and holding right at 930 passengers in 465 cabins and 500 crew it is a very comfortable size…. Not too big…. Not too small… but just right! It’s length is 745 feet and the beam is 94.5 feet and it is spread out over 14 total decks of which there are nine (Kind of anyway) full access passenger decks. The passenger cabins are on decks 3, 4, 5 and 6 for the most part with a small number of the deluxe suites on decks 7 and 8. We requested and were given a nice Bridge tour hosted by one of the Second Officers, Sigund. The bridge is spotlessly clean and organized and certainly inspires confidence! There are no inside passenger cabins and all cabins are “Veranda” cabins, or suites. The ships passenger decks are numbered one through nine and are either staterooms or public access. The infirmary is located on “A” deck forward below deck one. Otherwise there are no public area areas on the “A” deck other than exit/entrances sometimes utilized for shore excursions. The public areas, restaurants, lounges and entertainment areas were well designed, always inviting and comfortable. And were on decks 1, 2, 3 (Living Room and Atrium), 7, 8 and 9 (Sports Deck). The main public area that includes reception and guest services is called the “Living Room” (Deck 1) by Viking. It’s deceptively big and spread across three decks and houses the central “Atrium” Decks 1, 2, and 3) and grand staircase. There is a full service bar and usually entertainment that ranges from a solo pianist, to a classical string duo, to a solo acoustic guitar. All of these performers rotate around the various venues of the ship. Other nicely appointed public gathering areas are the Wintergarden amidships (Deck 7), and the Explorers’ Observation Lounge on decks 7 and 8. Afternoon Tea in the Wintergarden was always well attended. The items served were somewhat lackluster and we quickly ditched Afternoon Tea for treats at Mamsen’s Deli in the Explorers’ Lounge. The Suksessterte (Success Cake) and the Epleterte (Apple Cake) were the stars and I found that if I wasn’t careful I would overload on just the Success Cake and eat myself into a food coma spoiling the wife’s dinner plans :-). The Explorers’ Observation Lounge, besides containing the best deserts in the world, is a two story affair with a 180 degree view over the bow and sides of the ship. It’s not only spacious but very neatly and comfortably furnished. With hundreds of books, plenty of “things” to peruse, and lots of interesting seating options for just chilling it’s a very classy hangout. On the second level along with the books are plenty of artsy models and knick-knacks to enjoy. There is a full service bar and in the afternoons and evenings there is light entertainment from the resident pianist, guitarist, or the classical string duo. Nighttime features cool lighting effects like constellations around the lounge area. The Explorers’ Lounge is also where you can get fresh-squeezed orange juice every morning (Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone else!) There are two pools, both with hot tubs attached, on the Viking Sea. The main pool is on deck 7 midships and is flanked by the Wintergarden and the Explorers’ Lounge forward and the World Café Restaurant aft. There is a Pool Bar and the casual Pool Grille eating venue at the main pool and the aft infinity pool has direct access to the World Café Bar and eatery.. The main pool area uniquely has a retractable roof that can pull back almost the entire area over the pool. During our time on the Viking sea the roof was never fully opened but was rolled back by ten-twenty feet several times. The second pool is aft on the Aquavit Terrace and is an infinity pool overlooking the ocean. Neither pool area was ever crowded and are well stocked with plenty of deck chairs and clean towels. Interestingly, the ship itself is the Library and there many books in the wings around the pool and in the main pool area itself. And while I didn’t count them…. There are easily a thousand or more books scattered around the entire ship! The other entertainment areas on the ship from the main venue, The Theater, to the Torshavn Night Club (Both on deck 2) were comfortable and well appointed. The Theater is the main entertainment venue and featured the enrichment lectures and the nightly shows as well as being the gathering point for many shore excursions. The much more intimate Torshavn Night Club featured musical entertainment in the evening only and is the “Late Night” venue for the ship. A note about the Viking Cruises idea of “Inclusiveness”… Wine, beer and soft drinks are included with lunch and dinner. Any other time in on your dime. There is a “Beverage Package” available for purchase. Just be aware that every adult in the same cabin must buy the same package. Tips are NOT INCLUDED and are automatically added to your trip at the end of the cruise. If you have a real beef with the amount of the tips, or just want to add more, simply go to Guest Services and let them know how much you do want to leave in tips. All food is covered in all restaurants. While allowed a limited number of reservations in the “specialty” restaurants prior to sailing you are welcome to make more reservations at your favorites once onboard for no additional charge. There is at least one free shore excursion in each port. Stateroom Our 270 square foot (including Veranda) cabin was a “Deluxe Veranda Stateroom”. The “Deluxe Veranda” is basically the same as the “Veranda Stateroom” just better positioned and with a couple of more “Perks”. Other cabins range from the 270 sq ft Veranda and Deluxe Veranda to the 338 sq ft Penthouse Veranda all the way up to the 1448 sq ft Owner’s Suite (the likes of which I’m sure I will never see :-) It was spotless, well appointed, and fairly spacious. The King-Sized bed was comfortable with the high-quality linens fresh smelling and clean. Two chairs and a coffee table with a desk/vanity area opposite completed the cabins small sitting area. The closet and storage around the cabin was adequate for our two week voyage. The bathroom was fine, if a bit cramped, with a good shower, single vanity sink and plenty of room for all of our toiletries. There were adequate AC outlets in both US and Euro styles with a few extra USB charging outlets in the small desk area. The 42” TV was of a decent size but with very limited volume. The small, teak floored, veranda contained two chairs (not loungers) and a small table and was of a comfortable size. We were introduced to our steward who made us feel right at home explaining the features of the stateroom before moving on to his next guests. For cleanliness and thoughtfulness of design our cabin gets an “A+” with spaciousness coming in at a solid “B”. Entertainment I spoke briefly earlier about the entertainment venues around the ship and what follows are my impressions about the various onboard entertainers and how they fit in the different venues they performed in. But first a few notes on the Venues themselves. The Theater (Deck 2) is the largest venue on the ship. All of the big talks, lectures, and shows are performed there. Many shore excursions also gather and leave from there. Seating is comfortable chairs and couches with small cocktail tables to handle your drinks. The sound system is very good over the main theater floor. Not so good in the two “Wings” that serve as small movie theaters during the day and can be opened (via a sliding curtain wall and raising the screen) to serve as additional seating in the evenings for the main shows. We made the mistake of sitting in that area one night and the sound was terrible, thin and dis-jointed. Stage lighting and effects were excellent across the board. There is a full service bar just outside The Theater that also serves light snacks. The Livingroom (Deck 1 with the Atrium stretching it to Decks 2 and 3) is the central gathering spot that is open to the Atrium. Entertainment in The Livingroom included the resident pianist, solo guitarist and the classical duo. Located in the open space at the foot of the stairs is a Grand Piano where the performers would gather and perform. Acoustics were good for this type of area! The entertainment is very low key and not meant to interrupt conversations. The Wintergarden (Deck 7) is included as an entertainment venue because there was always something during the Afternoon Tea. The pianist playing amplified electronic keyboard , or the solo guitarist, also amplified, or the string classical duo (not amplified). The acoustics in the Wintergarden sucked as the room was all hard surfaces of glass and decking. Coupled with the loud chatter of the passengers the addition of the music, especially the amplified music, was irritating at best and unpleasant at its worst! The Explorer’s Lounge (Deck 7) featured low key entertainment in the afternoons and evenings by the Classical String Duo, Solo Guitarist, or the resident pianist. The Explorer’s Lounge also featured a interesting light show at night that consisted of constellations and star fields projected onto the ceiling and walls at night… Kind of cool! Acoustics were good in this space. The Lounge contains a full service bar almost always open and for those late night snacks Mamsen’s Deli reopens after ten! Torshaven Night Club (Deck 2) was a nice intimate space with comfortable seating and a small dance floor that usually featured the Viking Band sometimes with the two singers Sammy and Annalynn. Occasionally that would be changed up a bit featuring the solo guitarist Choi. Lighting was appropriately “Night Club-ish” (dark) with decent stage lighting. The sound system was small but adequate for the space and the acoustics were good for the performers that played there. Complete with a full service bar and wait service. The Acts were all centered around music, at least on this cruise. No ventriloquists, comedians or jugglers for Viking! Special acts on this voyage included a vocalist Helen Wilding of whom I heard was fabulous but missed both of her performances because of dinner reservations :-(, A violinist Jaran Apold who was very good and a special performance by the new Assistant Cruise Director Michael Restaino which we gave a miss. All of these folks performed in the main venue, The Theater. The Viking Sea house performers in no particular order; The Classical String Duo – A cellist and a violinist that performed regularly in the Livingroom, The Wintergarden and the Explorer’s Lounge. Two talented young ladies that played beautifully! The Explorer’s lounge and the Livingroom were the best venues for the Classical Duo. Occasionally the Violinist would team with guitar player Choi to good effect. Tetiana – Solo Pianist – Playing all of the venues excepting The Theater, Tetiana was a very good pianist that played everything from pop to classical wonderfully. Normally playing one of the grand pianos in the Livingroom or the Explorer’s Lounge she would occasionally play afternoon Tea in the Wintergarden on an electric keyboard that was amplified. She was the only musical act that could overcome the crappy acoustics (and the passenger chatter that those acoustics amplified) of the Wintergarden by simply turning it up! The Viking Band – These guys were everywhere! They played every venue including Torshaven Night Club sometimes with vocalists…. Sometimes without. The band was competent and always sounded good whether as the featured act or as the backing band for the Viking Singers or soloists. A five piece band that sounded bigger than it was! Sonny and Annalyn - House Vocalists – Sonny and Annalynn were purportedly a brother and sister who were the house vocalists and performed with the Viking Band most often in Torshaven. They did perform with variable results in some of the big multi-variety shows in The Theater. We heard them in the welcome production and they were very good. We herd them in the farewell production and they were terrible…. Very pitchy and all over the place. It could have just been they just couldn’t hear themselves through the monitors but it went bad in a hurry and stayed there. They were much more consistent in the smaller Torshaven Night Club. Choi – Solo Guitarist – A very good guitarist that played mostly pop and light rock selections along with a smattering of country. He performed on both Acoustic and Electric Guitar to good effect… and as a welcome extra he had very pleasant, and solid, vocal chops as well! Choi performed in all venues on the ship at different times with the only stinker being the Wintergarden because of the piss poor acoustics. He did a very nice job in Torshaven as a solo act in a venue where that might been hard for some to pull off. The Viking Singers – The Viking Singers were four young people who performed the main stage at The Theater most evenings. We noticed they also worked for Cruise Director Arron (also a singer with a passable baritone suited to show tunes :-) when not on stage. These four were very good performers with great vocal abilities and good dance skills. Each of their shows were well choreographed and well sung. Nice, tight, harmonies and great phrasing were the highlights. While I didn’t care for every selection performed they did a very nice Beatles night, songs from ABBA and even some Bee Gee’s and (Gasp!) a Styx number! All-in-all the entertainment was of a high caliber with great performers and high production values. There was, of course, other entertainment options such as the obligatory shuffleboard and mini-putting greens. Tennis (Pickle-Ball?) on deck 9 and other activities organized by Cruise Director Arron. The ship also had plenty of quiet corners to enjoy a book from the library that was shattered all throughout the ship. Two movie theaters and occasional film “under the stars” at the pool as well as a very large selection of movies on the stateroom TV. Shore Excursions – Viking supplies at least one free/included shore excursion in every port. These are usually walking tours preceded by a bus trip if required. One thing to note is the sometimes included “Panoramic” bus tours can be a bit superficial. Think being in a bus going 30 miles per hour and the local guide telling you “Look right at this building, look left at that building, if the weather or traffic had cooperated you would be seeing this building or that building….” Well, you get the picture. Viking also offers excursions at extra cost that are much better curated and meaningful. These excursions range from $50 per person to several hundred dollars per person. It easy to strike a good balance between the included and the extra cost excursions. The FOOD! Well here it is… the part most of you have been waiting for! The FOOD! I will mention here that Viking cruises are “partly inclusive” serving complementary red/white wine and beer selections at both dinner and lunch. The complementary selections also include soft drinks if wanted. We found that the nightly selections were usually fine for our rather unrefined palates. There is a much wider beer selection available for the asking. If you are a wine connoisseur or a cocktail/liquor fan then there is a drink package available at extra cost that offers you a much wider selection at any time you would care to indulge. To enjoy the benefits of this package everyone in your stateroom must purchase the drink package… whether they drink or not. Viking Sea, as all of the Viking ocean ships, has a few different dining options. I’m save a lot of time by just saying they were all worth a visit and had consistently great food. In fact , unlike my last cruise (not on Viking), I had NO BAD MEALS for the entire voyage. There might have been a couple plates that were less than stellar… but in no way were they a bad meal! What follows is a very short (for me anyway) review of the dining venues… The Restaurant (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner), located on deck 2 Aft, is the main dining room for the ship. The Restaurant is open seating and no reservation is required. It is dressed out in a very pleasant Scandinavian style both simple and elegant at the same time. Very comfortable and spacious it can seat 200+ at any given time. Wait staff were wonderful, helpful and always courteous. The menu changed nightly with a standard selection remaining always available. Every meal we experience in The Restaurant was consistently well prepared and tasty. Steak or other meats that were ordered with a specific temperature were always spot on! Fish were also cooked correctly and never over cooked as is sometimes the case in large kitchens. The Pool Grille (Lunch, Dinner, Snacks), located on Deck 7 amidships near the main pool is the “Come as you are” restaurant on board. Casual buffet service and seating around the pool area specializing in burgers and hotdogs for the most part they would occasionally add some BBQ and had a massive “seafood buffet” night as well that spilled out in the seating area with additional serving stations. A great lunch casual alternative! The World Café (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner), deck 7 aft, was the large well appointed buffet service on the ship. There was alfresco dining available on the connected Aquavit Terrace. It was our choice for breakfast each morning because of the very nice variety of breakfast goodies. The World Café also became our most frequented lunch stop and we enjoyed several evening dinners there as well. The evening choices added Pizza and Sushi to the extensive buffet offerings. How can you go wrong there! The servers were always wonderful keeping your wine glass filled or bringing a cold beer at the asking (Hi Rosie! Thanks!) There is another full service bar located aft along with the Aquavit Terrace alongside the Infinity Pool. Mamsen’s (Early Breakfast, Lunch, Afternoon Snacks, Late Night Snacks), Deck 7 forward in the Explorer’s Lounge area. Named for Viking’s CEO’s mom this unusual eatery held the most delicious treat imaginable…. Suksessterte, or Norwegian Success Cake! Oh my! I ate way more than my fair share of this buttery, creamy, masterpiece once we discovered it! In any event Mamsen’s, named so in honor of Viking CEO, Thorstein Hagen’s mother was open for early breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea (usually) and late night snacks (10pm-12am) serving light breakfast waffles, sandwiches, salads and desserts! Did I mention the Suksessterte? ** this is the only place on the ship to find fresh squeezed orange juice in the morning :-) The Chef’s Table (Dinner Only), located on Deck1 Aft (port), is one of the two by reservation specialty restaurants on board. It is a beautifully simple space very comfortable and charming. The wait staff were well informed and helpful. The restaurant serves a menu that rotates throughout the voyage. We experienced the “Erling’s Scandinavian Bistro” Menu. It was a three course meal with an included wine pairing. A premium wine pairing was available for those that wanted it and were willing to pay an upcharge, or those that had the beverage package. Salmon for the first course and Lamb for the second. Both were done to perfection. The Salmon was poached to perfection and had a wonderful flavor and a marvelous creamy soft texture. I ordered my lamb at medium-rare and that is how I got it and my wife ordered at medium-well (criminal :-) and that is exactly how she got it. The wine parings were all suitable and very good with each dish. Manfredi’s Italian Restaurant (Dinner Only), located Deck 1 Aft (starboard) is the second by reservation specialty restaurant on the Viking Sea. Serving Italian fare it is decorated in a style reminiscent of the great New York and Chicago Italian family eateries. A wonderful, comfortable venue to enjoy a meal in. We enjoyed two meals at Manfredi’s during our voyage. Both were excellent! One very minor slip was my Rib Eye. I had ordered it Medium-Rare but it was served just north of Medium. A minor infraction and I enjoyed it all the same :-) All other meals and service was impeccable. Note: In the specialty restaurants, at least in our class of cabin, you are initially allowed one booking per voyage in each. But once on board you can use your in-stateroom interactive TV to book as many reservations as you would like and are available…. EZ-Peasy and done! There is one more Specially restaurant on board called The Kitchen Table. It is a teaching restaurant where you go shopping for your own ingredients in port and are taught by one of the ship’s chefs how to prepare a complete meal. We did not indulge in this option. Coffee available several places around the ship including the Livingroom Bar which also had a few snacks and pastries available. Spa – Deck 1 Forward One more cool area to report on before closing and that is the Spa. Normally I’m not much of a spa kind of guy but this was a treat. While I never availed myself of the spa services I did use the thermal suite that is complimentary to all passengers and the spacious, well-equipped fitness center. The thermal suite on the Viking ships is open to all passengers 8:00 am to 8 pm. No reservations are necessary. The Thermal Suite consists of a large Thermal Resistance Pool, large jacuzzi pool, a dry sauna, a steam sauna, a purported cold plunge pool which we never discovered, a therapeutic multi-head power shower and a cold (really cold) water bucket that dumps one big shot of cold water over the head kind of shower device. There is a very unique “Snow Grotto” that pumps snow in to the room and maintains a nice brisk, bracing temperature. You can even scoop up handfuls of the “snow” and rub it on yourself…. I tried it and while I’m all about a little self-flagellation some might consider it extreme. It was… “Bracing to say the least! The fitness center is well equipped with several bikes, treadmills and elliptical trainers and several resistance style weight machines along with a good selection of free weights. There is a separate room to practice yoga or dancercise if into that sort of thing. Many classes were available from Spa personnel. There is a full service beauty salon with Beauty Therapists (?)… I mean, I didn’t know there was such a thing! I spoke to a couple of people who did go in for a massage or whatever and they claimed the process was well performed in a very comfortable environment. You are welcome to walk the ship in your bathrobe or use the separate Men’s and Women’s locker rooms complete with robes and sandals when preparing for a treatment or using the Thermal Suite. Debarkation Purchased the airport transfer onboard. Everything was by the numbers and no problems. Just hung out in the Livingroom until our bus color/number was called. Dwon the gangplank and onto a bus to the airport. Summary As said previously… this was the best overall cruise experience we have yet had. Was it perfect? No, but very few things stretching over 17 days ever are. What is was, was well organized, clean and lovely trip. Educational, mind expanding and in some ways a revelation on different levels. All of this happening on the best run, cleanest ship, with an understated elegance and some of the nicest crew you could ever expect to sail with. Simply Wonderful! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Wanted to visit countries we hadn’t previously visited. Also wanted to travel to cooler summer weather. Viking did an outstanding job and attention to detail is the way they do it. We have traveled on other lines and we will always use ... Read More
Wanted to visit countries we hadn’t previously visited. Also wanted to travel to cooler summer weather. Viking did an outstanding job and attention to detail is the way they do it. We have traveled on other lines and we will always use Viking. Traveled with friends that we had met on a prior Viking cruise. Probably will do a river cruise in 2021 as we like to travel every other year on cruises. The dining options were all outstanding. Great variety and always a special selection based upon the itinerary to give you a feel for local cuisine. No reason to eat anywhere than on the ship. The SPA was much more than I expected. Rivals a nice Spa in any luxury resort. I would do another Ocean cruise just for the Spa. The entertainment was also great. Viking has a knack for training their employees to top standards and I can’t imagine any better. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
The service on the ship was of the highest order. The cabin was very nice and had lots of room for for a two week cruise. While fancy dining is not our highest priority we did find the other choices for meals were more than adequate for ... Read More
The service on the ship was of the highest order. The cabin was very nice and had lots of room for for a two week cruise. While fancy dining is not our highest priority we did find the other choices for meals were more than adequate for our tastes. We really enjoyed the magician, he was top notch. The other entertainment was of professional quality. There were more than enough activities to choose from. You could not do everything available. We enjoyed the variety of excursions available and were able to get on all the ones we wanted except one, but the alternate excursion was very nice. I am amazed at the level of service of all the employees on the ship and the booking office. Our only complaint was we paid the extra $50 to call the plane reservation service to negotiate the plane flight from Phoenix to Bergen. They were not very accommodating and wound up with plane delays and changing flight plans 3 times during our flight because we were delayed taking off from Phoenix due to bad weather in Newark, our first connection. Yes, the delay was weather caused but our wish was to fly direct to London first not Newark. The delay caused us to be without our luggage for 6 days. The guest service did preform a miracle to retrieve the bags when we had lost the luggage tags. We are not big on cruises, but for people who like this sort of thing I would definitely recommend Viking for their over all great service from start to finish. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We had received suggestions to try Viking and wanted to experience a cruise. The Baltic area seemed like a logical place to cruise rather than do a land trip. This particular one included the Norwegian fjords as well as St. Petersburg and ... Read More
We had received suggestions to try Viking and wanted to experience a cruise. The Baltic area seemed like a logical place to cruise rather than do a land trip. This particular one included the Norwegian fjords as well as St. Petersburg and those were two of our priorities. We totally loved the attitude, attention and caring that we received from every crew member. The small details from the special meals by the pool to the Star Theater entertainment were overall just extraordinary. The cleanliness and overall ambiance of the entire ship were remarkable. The included port excursions were well orchestrated and most of the time, very interesting and informative. If there was one suggestion for everyday itinerary, it would be to start the lounge entertainment earlier and perhaps have as polished entertainment there as the theater. We were not disappointed in our choice and didn’t want to embark at the end of two weeks. Thank you, Viking for our detailed and caring excursion. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
My wife and I have cruised many times in the past. we usually cruise with some friends who decided that we all should cruise the Baltic for our annual cruise in 2019. They chose Viking Ocean cruises, due in no small part to the excellent ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised many times in the past. we usually cruise with some friends who decided that we all should cruise the Baltic for our annual cruise in 2019. They chose Viking Ocean cruises, due in no small part to the excellent reputation of which they had read and the fact that what could be better than to take a Scandinavian ship to cruise the Baltic. At the outset, we were shocked to find that the entire cruise needed to be paid at least one year before the cruise. That has never been our experience in sailing with multiple lines and future patrons need to be aware of this requirement. The ship is beautiful.The public rooms are wonderful especially the Explorer Lounge. Our cabin was quite roomy and the bathrooms excellent. special kudos for a lovely shower without having to step over a tub.I found the heated floors in the bathroom to be a nice touch. The spa area is spectacular and if going to a spa with virtually everything-hot tub, small therapy pool, sauna and ice room is your thing, this is your ship The company touts its multiple channels of communication available to those who are scheduled, but that is primarily limited to receiving one way announcements from them, done well, but not to any dialogue or getting personal support for questions which arise and may not be answered in their stock announcements.Poor communication seems to be common on these cruises. For example,special meals opportunities, lobster tail and steak, special buffets, at the grill were never announced well and one learned to look for these each day by dropping by the grill itself or asking of the crew in a restaurant or bar. The ships plan is good but when the special meals take place in the grill area there is inadequate seating for the number of cruisers wishing to partake in the meal. The seating in the cinema is wholly inadequate for the number of passengers. Quite a few performances occurred with many passengers standing in the back to observe the show. The back two side areas were totally inadequate both for seeing the show and hearing it.The need to get to the venue 30 minutes before shows began was difficult for those of us who tended to to eat dinner at about 7 to 7:30. I was quite disappointed to discover that we did not receive services comparable to what we had received ion either Oceania or Azamara in spite of the fact that the per night per person cost to sail with Viking was considerably more than either of the other two. My concern with the cabin service is that when I wished ice, I had to go to housekeeping, when I wished lime I had to go to room service and when I wished to change my complimentary liquor and the amount of tonic I needed to speak to the drink steward.This in my view is rather poor considering the price of the cruise and the plaudits from other cruisers. Viking offers one free shore excursion at each port.The walking tours we took, 4, were excellent, but those in a bus were not worth the time spent at all. I was quite disappointed in the meals in the Restaurant ,in the Chef's special restaurant both times and at Manfredi both times. To be fair, one night the prime rib served at the restaurant was amongst the best I have ever had. The waffle at the Explorer Lounge was exceptional. On at least 4 occasions the cookies offered with the buffet were stale. the wines with meals were acceptable if unremarkable. One could upgrade wine selection and liquor for an extra daily per person charge. The speakers/lectures seemed excellent, for those we could make, but we missed the largest number as they were scheduled during dinner hour or just prior to dinner hour. Getting on, on the day of sailing from Bergen, and off the ship in Stockholm, with our luggage, were superbly handled even though we left the ship at 6 am to make our plane. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We were interested in visiting the west Coast of Norway and seeing the Arctic Circle - this cruise included that plus three stops in Scotland as well., It was an amazing trip starting i Oslo for before cruise scenery, then a train to ... Read More
We were interested in visiting the west Coast of Norway and seeing the Arctic Circle - this cruise included that plus three stops in Scotland as well., It was an amazing trip starting i Oslo for before cruise scenery, then a train to Bergen where we embarked on our Viking ship, the Viking Sea. It was my first Viking Cruise and I was impressed particularly by the decor of the ship including my room which was lovely and roomy. As a former art teacher, I loved all the art on the wall and used the Viking art app to learn more about the paintings hanging on the walls of the ship. I loved all the lectures from amazingly interesting speakers, The Cruise Director was very entertaining as well as the Assistant Cruise Director. The dancers/singers were wonderful and loved how they participated in activities other than performing and how approachable they were. I toured the galley and was very impressed by how clean everything was. Mostly I was delighted how every employee greeted me, looking my in the eye and asking how I was doing. I knew if I needed anything I just had to ask. And the food! What can I say, we had excellent food no matter where we ate - World Cafe, the Restaurant, the specialty restaurants, or the Wintergarden tea room. We used the Living Room bar most frequently and our favorite bartender, Omega, was the friendliest as well as an excellent bartender/latte maker! The included tours were very informative and the local tour guides were very informative. Although I don't remember this cruise being publicized this way, it was an all adult cruise and although I love children, I appreciated that. I will definitely take another Viking Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We had done five weeks of Viking River and enjoyed it. Had to find out if their Ocean lived up to the hype. Very enjoyable time. Food was excellent and we managed to eat in their specialty restaurants most nights. We only had one ... Read More
We had done five weeks of Viking River and enjoyed it. Had to find out if their Ocean lived up to the hype. Very enjoyable time. Food was excellent and we managed to eat in their specialty restaurants most nights. We only had one "at sea" day and I will select my next itinerary where there are more - maybe a transitioning cruise. Still love my river cruises but this Homelands cruise was fantastic. We did a combination of included shore excursions and optional ones. I would have to say that the optional excursion to Flan was very disappointing. A bus ride, followed by two train rides, followed by another bus ride. You never got outside except when changing transportation. And it wasn't cheap!. Ship staff was great and very friendly. We never had any special needs or requests (except when our cabin door lock jammed). Even the deck hands that were painting greeted you with a word and a smile. Bar staff, especially in the Explorer lounge was fantastic. Always greeted me by name and started my drink. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
My wife chose this as many of her ancestors came from that part of Europe. We had a great experience. The staff and service was fantastic and were the friendliest group of people I have ever been around. This was a cruise that I was very ... Read More
My wife chose this as many of her ancestors came from that part of Europe. We had a great experience. The staff and service was fantastic and were the friendliest group of people I have ever been around. This was a cruise that I was very sad to see come to an end as we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves in an elegant and relaxed atmosphere. Our daily excursions were very organized and very worthwhile. Every night as we returned to our cabin, the bed was turned down for us and we had our next day Viking News waiting for us. This publication was very well done and filled with valuable information. This staff is very professional, friendly, and organized. The entertainment and lectures were excellent and much preparation went into making it that way. When we left the ship for our excursions, the staff always wished us a good day and offered us a bottle of water. On our return, we were given a warm welcome home and offered a nice warm cloth to refresh ourselves. On our return from Berlin, the entire staff was outside the ship welcoming us home with warm welcomes and glasses of champagne. On our final night on the ship at the farewell reception given by the captain, there was not only entertainment and champagne, but the entire staff was present which I thought was fantastic. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Viking Sea 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 4.5 4.4
Family 1.0 4.4
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.2
Enrichment 4.0 4.4
Service 5.0 4.8
Value For Money 5.0 4.4

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