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To put this review in perspective, a lot of my friends said I should be hired by Viking for my rave reviews of their river long boats. About 15 booked cruises with Viking because of them. The Danube Waltz from Budapest to Passau was awesome. This review is an opinion only. I am interested other opinions as well. I like to be able to give a fair review with highlights intersperse with occasional constructive criticism where needed. Viking Star Ocean Cruise made this desire almost impossible because the failures are so rampant. To be fair I will start with the positives: 1. Embarkation and Debarkation including meeting at airports and return to airports was very good. 2. Service Staff both cabin stewards and servers throughout the ship were outstanding in attitude and attempts to please whatever it took. Although they at times lacked in training (not their fault), they made up for in effort to please. 3. The ship was absolutely state of the art and its potential is great. It is just a shame they used us as Guinea Pigs on a shake down cruise instead of making sure everything worked before taking on passengers for a first class maiden voyage. 4. Paul Fredricks Shows were outstanding (Shame was those two were two out of about four good shows in my opinion) that got standing ovations instead of snoring. 5. Bathroom was one of the best I have seen on cruise ships. 6. Infinity Pool was interesting but not as big as advertisements made it look, more like an over sized hot tub. 7. Elevators were fast and smooth. A subdue chime would have been welcome to know one stopped on your floor though. 8. Food in general was good to very good. The portions were iffy though. Sometimes you got big portions some times very small. It was hard to order. On the plus side, you were never in want of food and the servers would always get additional portions if requested. See how hard it is to give a complete compliment! Now the negatives: 1. Their advertised free tours almost always conflicted with pay tours making them almost moot. 2 1/2 hour tour of Rouen is not a tour of Paris. Most of their free tours were no more than a $2.00 public transit ride through town. I could go into more detail but it would be too depressing. 2. The promoted trip was two days in Paris and two days in London. They chose to change it at the last minute to one day at each and two days as sea instead. They did give a discount on a future trip but that is like getting ptomaine poisoning at a restaurant and they tell you they will give you a discount on a future meal and to trust them you won't get poisoned again. To add insult to injury, the one day in London was cut short by two hours while they learned to dock the ship. 3. The cruise only catered to one group of passenger. Those who enjoyed classical music in virtually every venue on board were ecstatic. Those who enjoyed knitting, monopoly, card playing and reading were in heaven. If you like to dance, it would be treated like you were breaking the law! 4. The only dancing on board were the executives and managers dancing away from interacting with the passengers especially when complaints were trying to be addressed. 5. Vikings idea of a day in port is about 5 hours if you are lucky. Two days in Barcelona was about three hours at night the first day and a four hour tour the second morning and then out to sea. A fifteen day cruise was five days at sea and a few hours each day in port (Hours never equaled a day in my book). A similar fifteen day cruise with Norwegian was fourteen different ports of 10 to 12 hour days and only one day at sea. 6. The corporate office in California staff (Customer Service Managers) are arrogant and don't even try to rectify customer complaints. When I got no satisfaction from them, I said I would write a letter to the CEO. Their answer "It doesn't matter, it will come to my desk anyway". Needless to say, after two months it wasn't answered. 7. To give an idea of the mood on the ship the overwhelming comment from passengers I heard was "We are old, not dead". This included the 80+ year olds. I fit into the category that Mr. Hagan wants to cater to-over 55 and affluent. I am not the life of the party and I don't dance. However, I do like to watch others have a good time. So, if I were to market the Viking Star I would make these marketing themes: 1. If you enjoy a funeral (not a fine Irish Wake but a funeral), this is the ship for you. 2. If you would hire a mortician to plan your parties, this is a ship for you. 3. If you enjoy the life style of a nursing home (a nursing home is more fun), this would be the ship for you. 4. If you like the itinerary that was sold to you changed every day to the worse, this is the cruise of you. 5. If you like executives who like to take your money but not listen to you, this is the company for you. 6. If you like hours referred to as a day, this is the cruise for you. 7. If you like to fly ten hours across the ocean to float around on that same ocean instead of seeing the beautiful sites of Europe, this is the cruise for you. 8. If you like to deal with a company that deletes even mildly critical reviews and keeps only the completely positive reviews on their web page, this is the company to use. 8. If you like Viking River Boats, THIS IS NOT THE SHIP FOR YOU!

Viking Star-Shake Down Cruise Not First Class Maiden Voyage

Viking Star Cruise Review by RPH1949

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
To put this review in perspective, a lot of my friends said I should be hired by Viking for my rave reviews of their river long boats. About 15 booked cruises with Viking because of them. The Danube Waltz from Budapest to Passau was awesome.

This review is an opinion only. I am interested other opinions as well.

I like to be able to give a fair review with highlights intersperse with occasional constructive criticism where needed. Viking Star Ocean Cruise made this desire almost impossible because the failures are so rampant.

To be fair I will start with the positives:

1. Embarkation and Debarkation including meeting at airports and return to airports was very good.

2. Service Staff both cabin stewards and servers throughout the ship were outstanding in attitude and attempts to please whatever it took. Although they at times lacked in training (not their fault), they made up for in effort to please.

3. The ship was absolutely state of the art and its potential is great. It is just a shame they used us as Guinea Pigs on a shake down cruise instead of making sure everything worked before taking on passengers for a first class maiden voyage.

4. Paul Fredricks Shows were outstanding (Shame was those two were two out of about four good shows in my opinion) that got standing ovations instead of snoring.

5. Bathroom was one of the best I have seen on cruise ships.

6. Infinity Pool was interesting but not as big as advertisements made it look, more like an over sized hot tub.

7. Elevators were fast and smooth. A subdue chime would have been welcome to know one stopped on your floor though.

8. Food in general was good to very good. The portions were iffy though. Sometimes you got big portions some times very small. It was hard to order. On the plus side, you were never in want of food and the servers would always get additional portions if requested.

See how hard it is to give a complete compliment!

Now the negatives:

1. Their advertised free tours almost always conflicted with pay tours making them almost moot. 2 1/2 hour tour of Rouen is not a tour of Paris. Most of their free tours were no more than a $2.00 public transit ride through town. I could go into more detail but it would be too depressing.

2. The promoted trip was two days in Paris and two days in London. They chose to change it at the last minute to one day at each and two days as sea instead. They did give a discount on a future trip but that is like getting ptomaine poisoning at a restaurant and they tell you they will give you a discount on a future meal and to trust them you won't get poisoned again. To add insult to injury, the one day in London was cut short by two hours while they learned to dock the ship.

3. The cruise only catered to one group of passenger. Those who enjoyed classical music in virtually every venue on board were ecstatic. Those who enjoyed knitting, monopoly, card playing and reading were in heaven. If you like to dance, it would be treated like you were breaking the law!

4. The only dancing on board were the executives and managers dancing away from interacting with the passengers especially when complaints were trying to be addressed.

5. Vikings idea of a day in port is about 5 hours if you are lucky. Two days in Barcelona was about three hours at night the first day and a four hour tour the second morning and then out to sea. A fifteen day cruise was five days at sea and a few hours each day in port (Hours never equaled a day in my book). A similar fifteen day cruise with Norwegian was fourteen different ports of 10 to 12 hour days and only one day at sea.

6. The corporate office in California staff (Customer Service Managers) are arrogant and don't even try to rectify customer complaints. When I got no satisfaction from them, I said I would write a letter to the CEO. Their answer "It doesn't matter, it will come to my desk anyway". Needless to say, after two months it wasn't answered.

7. To give an idea of the mood on the ship the overwhelming comment from passengers I heard was "We are old, not dead". This included the 80+ year olds. I fit into the category that Mr. Hagan wants to cater to-over 55 and affluent. I am not the life of the party and I don't dance. However, I do like to watch others have a good time.

So, if I were to market the Viking Star I would make these marketing themes:

1. If you enjoy a funeral (not a fine Irish Wake but a funeral), this is the ship for you.

2. If you would hire a mortician to plan your parties, this is a ship for you.

3. If you enjoy the life style of a nursing home (a nursing home is more fun), this would be the ship for you.

4. If you like the itinerary that was sold to you changed every day to the worse, this is the cruise of you.

5. If you like executives who like to take your money but not listen to you, this is the company for you.

6. If you like hours referred to as a day, this is the cruise for you.

7. If you like to fly ten hours across the ocean to float around on that same ocean instead of seeing the beautiful sites of Europe, this is the cruise for you.

8. If you like to deal with a company that deletes even mildly critical reviews and keeps only the completely positive reviews on their web page, this is the company to use.

8. If you like Viking River Boats, THIS IS NOT THE SHIP FOR YOU!
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