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My wife and I discovered cruising in 2008 with a 9 day cruise in the Caribbean aboard the Silver Shadow, which in a word was fabulous. We have since been on Princess to Alaska, then we discovered Oceania which we have taken in the Mediterranean several times, the Baltic, Transatlantic and the Caribbean. Our most recent cruise was a return voyage with Silversea aboard the Silver Cloud this June to the Baltic again. While we loved the Baltic and found the service excellent as expected the Silver Cloud was a major disappointment and far below our expectations. Friends had talked us into going with them on the new Viking Star from Venice to Barcelona in early September and are we glad we accepted and made the trip. I had read an interview with the owner who said he was aiming at the Oceania & Azamara market and I thought to myself that is rather a tall order. Well I can tell you, mission accomplished! We loved the ship and had a wonderful 12 days all to places we had previously visited but we hated for the cruise to end. The only low mark I can give Viking was on the embarkation experience in Venice. First of all the walk from the cruise port entrance to the ship's terminal was a serious hike with a load of carry-on, there has to be a better way. Once in the ship's terminal the line was extremely long and there was no differentiation made according to your cabin status. We had booked an Explorer Suite but stood in line for at least a half hour, this was definitely poorly handled and needs to be addressed. That is absolutely the only criticism that can be leveled at Viking and the Star because from then on everything was absolutely beyond expectation. The ship was a wonderful size with beautiful public spaces and a crip sharp Norwegian decor that we found very attractive. The food was excellent and particularly the Italian restaurant, Manfredi's, was a good as it gets. We managed to eat there four nights and I think I got the mushroom soup and Osso Buco every time. The Restaurant was excellent as well but we all felt the Open Table Restaurant just missed the mark and after one try we did not return. The Open Table was meant to be a chef's selection of food and wine pairing that tried to get a little too avant- garde. Most other ships have the second specialty restaurant set up as a Steak House and Viking might consider that approach. The entertainment was most enjoyable, as the on-board group put on clever shows with excellent ability and the several visiting groups brought on board in Corfu and Naples were really excellent and provided for fun evening entertainment. The resident guitar player, piano player and classical trio were all over the ship and provided just the right touch at exactly the right time. The fitness center may well be the best we have seen on any ship we have ever been on. The decor and the facilities are quite simply, exceptional and once you get a look you will know what I mean. We do not normally take ship sponsored shore excursions, preferring to hire a local guide or explore on our own but since Viking included one complimentary excursion in each port there were several ports we opted to give it a try and they were very well done and quite enjoyable. We took the walking tour of Dubrovnik and Toulon with excellent guides and small groups of passengers and were glad we did. Disembarkation was easy and well handled, which was in stark contrast to the boarding procedure. We give the Viking Star high marks and an unqualified recommendation, in fact I think we would certainly take another Viking ocean cruise, they really got it right and we had a wonderful time on a beautiful ship.

Viking Star is Indeed a New Star in Ocean Cruising

Viking Star Cruise Review by nolagolfer

Trip Details
My wife and I discovered cruising in 2008 with a 9 day cruise in the Caribbean aboard the Silver Shadow, which in a word was fabulous. We have since been on Princess to Alaska, then we discovered Oceania which we have taken in the Mediterranean several times, the Baltic, Transatlantic and the Caribbean. Our most recent cruise was a return voyage with Silversea aboard the Silver Cloud this June to the Baltic again. While we loved the Baltic and found the service excellent as expected the Silver Cloud was a major disappointment and far below our expectations. Friends had talked us into going with them on the new Viking Star from Venice to Barcelona in early September and are we glad we accepted and made the trip. I had read an interview with the owner who said he was aiming at the Oceania & Azamara market and I thought to myself that is rather a tall order. Well I can tell you, mission accomplished! We loved the ship and had a wonderful 12 days all to places we had previously visited but we hated for the cruise to end.

The only low mark I can give Viking was on the embarkation experience in Venice. First of all the walk from the cruise port entrance to the ship's terminal was a serious hike with a load of carry-on, there has to be a better way. Once in the ship's terminal the line was extremely long and there was no differentiation made according to your cabin status. We had booked an Explorer Suite but stood in line for at least a half hour, this was definitely poorly handled and needs to be addressed. That is absolutely the only criticism that can be leveled at Viking and the Star because from then on everything was absolutely beyond expectation. The ship was a wonderful size with beautiful public spaces and a crip sharp Norwegian decor that we found very attractive. The food was excellent and particularly the Italian restaurant, Manfredi's, was a good as it gets. We managed to eat there four nights and I think I got the mushroom soup and Osso Buco every time. The Restaurant was excellent as well but we all felt the Open Table Restaurant just missed the mark and after one try we did not return. The Open Table was meant to be a chef's selection of food and wine pairing that tried to get a little too avant- garde. Most other ships have the second specialty restaurant set up as a Steak House and Viking might consider that approach. The entertainment was most enjoyable, as the on-board group put on clever shows with excellent ability and the several visiting groups brought on board in Corfu and Naples were really excellent and provided for fun evening entertainment. The resident guitar player, piano player and classical trio were all over the ship and provided just the right touch at exactly the right time. The fitness center may well be the best we have seen on any ship we have ever been on. The decor and the facilities are quite simply, exceptional and once you get a look you will know what I mean.

We do not normally take ship sponsored shore excursions, preferring to hire a local guide or explore on our own but since Viking included one complimentary excursion in each port there were several ports we opted to give it a try and they were very well done and quite enjoyable. We took the walking tour of Dubrovnik and Toulon with excellent guides and small groups of passengers and were glad we did. Disembarkation was easy and well handled, which was in stark contrast to the boarding procedure. We give the Viking Star high marks and an unqualified recommendation, in fact I think we would certainly take another Viking ocean cruise, they really got it right and we had a wonderful time on a beautiful ship.
nolagolfer’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
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Cabin Review

Cabin 5108
Our Explorer Suite was certainly one of the highlights of our Viking Star experience. Located on the stern of the ship we had a wrap around balcony with table & chairs, two loungers and a large reclining sleeping lounger. We could have spent the entire cruise out there and in retrospect wished we had. The suite had a large living room with two arm chairs, a sofa, table with four chairs and very well appointed deck and chair. Our bedroom was not huge but the king bed was wonderful and our walk in closet with dressing table and plenty of hanging room was more than adequate. Now we get to the real icing on the cake, our bathroom. Double sinks with great counter and shelf space, perfect lighting and a heated floor! Open a glass door and step into a side by side soaking tub and huge open shower with a large window overlooking the port side and a built-in TV in the mirror at the head of the tub. Nothing quite like taking a shower and looking out at the yachts in the Monte Carlo yacht harbor. We had cocktails and hors d'ouvers on our balcony every evening and had breakfast delivered to the same location about every other morning. Our traveling companions had a nice veranda room just a few doors away which was very well done and quite attractive. In fact if you get side by side rooms the balcony divider can be opened and provides a wonderful gather spot, but if you feel like a little splurge the Explorer Suite is worth every penny!