Viking River Cruises have developed such high standards that anyone with experience of this comes aboard the Viking Star with high expectations.
Unfortunately, this can cause disappointment.
The saving grace is that Viking’s Ocean cruising is in its infancy, and they certainly can be expected to improve with time.
The Viking Homelands Cruise was very good, and the ship itself is wonderful…clean, quiet, relaxing, and despite having 900+ passengers, it seemed less crowded than a river boat.
As others have commented, amenities, food and service were all top notch.
However, the off-ship excursions need a close look by Viking. Many were overly ambitious, resulting in a constant prodding by guides to push onwards.
Some of the guides were insensitive to clients who could not keep up.
When we asked why Viking Oceans doesn’t follow their River Cruise practice of having a “slow” group, we received only shrugs.
Some tours should be redesigned to focus solely on the highlight; for example, the tour of the Vasa in Stockholm was cut very short because of a totally unnecessary bus tour of Stockholm, which was available as a separate “included” tour. Other tours, such as the (Helsinki) Porvoo and Haikko Manor should be dropped entirely.
It was apparent that Viking are simply not very interested in applying their standards to the Iceland Pre-Cruise trip. We had exactly one Viking person with a group of over 60 clients, for 3 days. The guide was excellent, but had to spend about 20% of his time on the bus phoning Viking and the hotel, to straighten out issues - he obviously had very little support from Viking. And thanks to ridiculous planning by Viking Air, our group had to forego the first afternoon’s activity because a few people had not yet arrived. Viking Air also managed to have about 2/3 of this group fly to Bergen via Copenhagen or Oslo, instead of direct.
Finally, Viking need to put the owners of Keflavik Airport on notice - it is the worst designed, under-staffed airport in our experience. Imagine spending 2 1/2 hours from hotel bus drop off to final security clearance, all the while standing in line in huge crowds because of a complete lack of adequate seating for anyone!
For this sole reason, we’d recommend skipping Iceland until they fix the airport terminal building.
By the way, despite offering numerous times to be interviewed by Viking about this experience, no one from Viking has called…again - do they really care?
The cabin was wonderful - clean, functional Scandinavian design.
Loads of storage room, European & N. American electrical outlets, even USB ports.
Tip: stay away from the vicinity of the laundry room on each deck...can be noisy.
Bathroom was excellent, except for a finicky shower temperature control.
So called "Live" TV was dead most of the trip. Internet WiFi was extremely slow, and very limited bandwidth - couldn't even email a 100 kB photo!