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Viking Star Cruise Review
5.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,878 Reviews

Not a flawless cruise experience, which we had expected from Viking.

Viking Star Cruise Review by Snej

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Oct 2015
  • Destination: the Western Mediterranean

The interior designers of the ship deserve an A+ rating. They really gave great thought in details. Tastefully decorated decor, many secluded comfortable areas to relax and enjoy the surrounding, read a book or take a snooze. Never over crowded.

The ship had a smooth, steady sailing motion, even during fairly rough waters. However, the shipbuilders must have underestimated the negative affect of the huge "ducktail" added aft of the ship. Although it supposedly helps the efficiency of the ship, it developed a terrible "bouncing" vibration, possibly created by waves from the propelling force hitting underneath the ducktail. Especially annoying when dining on the Aquavit Terrace or World Cafe or trying to sleep at night. Why wasn't this design defect noticed and corrected during the trial runs?

Noticeably in most areas, Viking is going through a learning curve to become a leader in ocean cruises. We felt many times that we were the Guinea pigs helping the crew improve their areas of responsibility. Viking should have offered an "introductory price" to their maiden voyage passengers to first learn and improve from their initial mishaps.

Viking is known for serving regional specialties when arriving at a new port. Dubrovnik, known for oysters, or offering at dinner time Sangria and Papaya in Barcelona or even a shot of Uso or Raki in Greece and Turkey would have been the icing on the cake. Mentioning this suggestion to the restaurant director for future reference fell on deaf ears with no response given.

Every visit to the Chef's Table was a delight and we were pleased being served by Michael who definitely belongs to the most knowledgeable servers there.

In general, the "working crew" was more attentative to the passengers and gave their full attention to individual needs than most of their supervisors. I found some supervisors arrogant and non committal (NOT all of them). At busy dining moments when waiters were scrabbling taking new orders cleaning off tables and resetting the service, a helping hand from the stripped supervisors would have been useful instead of wondering around in circles looking tense!

At one point only plastic wine glasses were available in the restaurant. Agreed, for outdoor use around the pools they are practical and necessary. However, during lunch and dinner we prefer to drink our wines from real glasses. We were assured the glasses would be replenished from their storage, but it never happened and the excuse was too many broke or got lost.

The Viking catalogue description of land tours was often misleading. We normally booked all the "included" tours and just wanted to get a general overview of the ports of call listed on the cruise. Stopping at Athens we surely expected to get a close view of the pinnacle Acropolis. Instead the bus traveled through busy, narrow downtown streets (we could have also done in NYC!) pointing out a few attractions, but the view blocked by parking busses, until finally stopping at a parking lot 5-700 yards below the Acropolis. The guide gave us 30 minutes to walk up the hill, look around, take pictures and return if we wanted a closer view. I think a marathon runner would have had problems meeting that requirement. We come to Athens to SEE the Acropolis, but not through a telescope and trees blocking our view. Total disappointment and waste of time.

The included tour of Naples was a disgrace of Italy. A dirty, rundown, graffiti ladened city. Had we been informed earlier about the city conditions (by Viking?), we would have definitely opted to visit Pompeii instead.

The French Riviera offers so many other beautiful small towns, Nice, Antibes, St. Tropes, Cannes, but Viking opted to stop at Toulon, which didn't seem too appealing to most passengers. In Vikings defense the smaller Riviera towns may not allow or be capable of docking and handling cruise ships?

The absolute joyful stops we made in our opinion were, ancient Ephesus, Santorini (more time would have been nice when visiting Oia), Kotor, Dubrovnic, Venice, Split, Corfu, Rom, Pisa (although many passengers assumed Florence was included too on the tour after reading the Viking catalogue), Monaco (absolutely spotless and beautiful and the tour perfectly organized) and Barcelona.

The Barcelona Disembarking Instructions were delivered to the cabins 5-6 days in advance. Most passengers read the instruction details only a few days before disembarking then noticed a discrepancy in the departing date, resulting in confusion and discussions. To clarify the date I talked to one of the kind ladies at the Explorer desk who said they were fully aware of the mistake "that an old lady wrote!" The lady called her cabin supervisor to clarify the situation. His response to me was "don't you also make mistakes?" YES, everyone does, but why wasn't a correction memo sent out to everyone as soon as Viking discovered the mistake? The supervisor looked befuddled at me and shook his shoulders? Furthermore, passengers were to meet at terminal "10", however the busses were staged at terminal "C"! Terminal 10 is non-existent!

In closing, I have always found Viking to be fair in their dealings. Therefore, I was hoping and waiting for Viking to come through with something special after saving a tremendous amount of fuel costs from initial booking date in 2013 vs. actual sailing date late 2015. During this time period gas prices dropped an easy $1.25/gal. I'm sure, had it been the opposite way, passengers would have been confronted with a fuel surcharge fee.

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Cabin Review

Large, tastefully decorated room with enough closet and drawer space. The bathroom was spacious with a large shower, enough towels and room for storage of bathroom accessories. The room steward, Yvana and Michael were excellent and constantly checked the condition of our room.

However, hearing the TV reception from the neighboring room was annoying. Not that the neighbor's were blasting away the volume, rather the back to back TV sets in the ajoining rooms were connected and the resonance carried from one set to the other.

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