This was our fourth trip with Viking, and we had been a little apprehensive about taking an ocean cruise because we love the intimacy of the relatively small river cruise ships. Our fears were soon set aside. The ship was filled to capacity but never felt that way at all. We never felt crowded or had to wait in lines. The choreography of moving people on and off the ship for in-port excursions was seamless.
The decor of the Viking Star is absolutely beautiful, and we found the layout to be very functional. We used most areas of the ship, with the exception of the top deck. The weather was not quite warm enough for that.
The service was outstanding, which is typical for Viking. We greatly enjoyed knowing our cabin steward, the servers in the dining room and the spa personnel. The dining experiences were quite enjoyable: the cuisine was varied and representative of the areas we visited. We were never rushed through a meal.
We enjoyed the cultural lectures and really appreciated Vikings' efforts to keep us informed on current events in the Middle East and to put them into perspective by engaging a retireed State Department diplomat as a lecturer.
Our one regret was that there were no exercise classes offered. We'd been told there would be yoga classes, but apparently the contract with the vendor who provided those classes was cancelled just before our trip.
That said, we were never left with nothing to do. There were always many options from which to choose in the spa, entertainment venues, public areas and restaurants.
The cabin was more spacious than the ones we've had on our Viking river cruises. The bathroom was downright luxurious! Our every need seemed to have been anticipated. The rooms were remarkably soundproof and we greatly enjoyed having a stateroom with a balcony.