On board from Istanbul to Venice for the first leg of the 'maiden', there was no particular fanfare or sense that we were part of something special. Too bad, since the ship itself is beautiful. The technical glitches of a maiden were understandable, albeit annoying, such as non-working TVs, a cabin safe locked open for two days, plumbing issues, etc. We were often in the dark as to what was going on, as the Viking Daily provided limited info and no way to issue updates on any changes in schedule, anything on menu details, etc.
But, there is no excuse nor explanation for the poor communication and inconsistent service. We sought information, which proved to be a huge source of frustration, given the very spotty response, if any, at the Explorer Desk, Housekeeping, or Room Service. Or the fact that Viking totally dismissed our anniversary, despite alerting the rep through whom we booked, and also Ana, the maîtresse d' in the main restaurant three days prior. Or the unexpected and unnecessary delays disembarking for the many private excursions I had booked. Or the inconsistencies restocking the fridge, fulfilling a request for fresh fruit (4 day wait, really?), or the bizarre practice of providing one tiny bar of soap for the entire bathroom. Or change in format for restaurant seating with no clarification. Or running out of food at afternoon tea. Or changing the price of spa treatments, with no explanation, that were already booked. Or vapid port talks, which amounted to presenting tired snippets from the website in an attempt to fill unsold Viking tours.
Those who lament the poor communication, or worse yet, the deception in some cases, are spot on and not necessarily high maintenance. When Viking repeatedly tells me I'll be blown away, I look forward to stellar service and a little pampering, especially on a maiden voyage. Good thing we are independent travelers and happy to map out our own itinerary, so we chose not to rely on Viking for much of anything and had a great time on a lovely vessel. (Our trip was enhanced by three days in Istanbul beforehand and three days in Venice at the end.) It's unfortunate that the company's level of service doesn't match the charm or comfort of the Viking Star itself.