I have been on two Viking River cruises (Imperial China and Cities of Light) with a third planned for December (Heart of Germany), and could not resist trying the Viking Star, their first ocean ship. I have read some so-so reviews, but I think by my September sailing date Viking had everything down right. No problems, just a delightful sailing.
The Star is a beautiful ship! I so appreciated the light airy informal decor, almost Danish modern to me. Lovely blue, gray, neutral colors. More than ample comfortable public spaces to get away for some quiet time, but also lovely lounges, the jazz club, and small venue live music in some public places for friendly social time as well. I only wish I had not planned such a busy itinerary of excursions, because the ship was that lovely and I could have happily spent more time there.
I have been on 8-10 cruises with several cruise lines, but the Star wins hands-down in the dining department. The food was the best I have had on a cruise ship. The real accomplishment, though, is the quality of the food in the World Market Cafe (their buffet). No other ship has offered such delightful food in their buffet. Fresh made pasta, sushi, yummy mediterranean-influenced salads, etc. The main restaurant (The Restaurant) scores with high quality offerings as one might expect. And Manfredi's (the Italian restaurant) is fantastic! I could have eaten there every night, except that the food was so good elsewhere too. The ship has an Italian chef, and he is to be commended.
I have nothing but praise for the staff. Perhaps Viking wanted to make sure they got it right for their first ocean ship and hand-picked the eclectic staff for excellence. Always helpful, friendly, and accommodating.
I appreciated the small size of the ship. Only 930 passengers, classed in the small ship rank for ocean vessels. We definitely got a preferable docking place in Venice due to our small size. Also, I never felt surrounded by a crowd on the ship.
Port excursions are abundant and quite varied. One can run oneself ragged with excursions, if not careful. So much is offered; one wants to try them all. I took excursions for which I paid a fee, and I also took some of the "included" excursions. None disappointed. Some are long, some short, some active, others less so. I feel I could take the same cruise again, and with different excursion choices it would seem like a whole different cruise. I need to commend Viking on the local guides used. All were good, some were exceptional! I was tired but happy.
Don't hesitate. All the ports offer amazing sights. The Mediterranean is beautiful! Take this cruise and enjoy The Star!
Nice veranda deck. Remarkable storage for a ship cabin. Loved the bathroom. Heated floor tiles, drawers and shelves, nice shower. Bed seemed a little hard, but it was OK. Loved the fluffy down duvet and pillows. Cabin steward was helpful offering extra hangers and attention.
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