My wife and I had previously taken a Viking River Cruise and we had a wonderful time. Everything was well planned and the staff and crew were exceptional. Food, beverages, schedule and excursions were outstanding. Therefore, when we received the notice of a new Viking ship to cruise the Baltic Sea we immediately signed up for one of the top suites.
The Viking Star is a great ship - comfortable, well equipped, and very easy to get around. Everything functioned well except the TV and internet - a problem I am sure has been taken care of by now. We enjoyed boarding our small ship at our leisure in every port while watching passenger from those mega-ships waiting in long lines on the dock.
The excursions seemed to be a work in progress. The included shore excursions were not well planned and often seemed to be an after thought for the contract operators. We were given the opportunity to reserve excursions early due to the stateroom level we had booked but that was not necessarily an advantage since numerous excursions were added almost up until the day of departure. It was also difficult to get much information regarding excursions beyond the very short descriptions available on-line. Some were great, especially St. Petersburg which was led by a Viking Riverboat staffer. Others seemed rather "canned".
Food was always amazing in quality and quantity. Seating in restaurants required reservations which were not difficult to obtain and the World Café was always easy to just walk in anytime. The self-service food at the World Café was equally as good as any of the meals we had in the other restaurants onboard - All you can eat escargot one evening for example.
The only real issue was with the crew - wait staff in particular. Some, like the porter and maid who took care of our stateroom were very professional and attentive. Others seemed to resent being there and would walk by without a word unless you asked them to stop. I chalked this up to the fact that Viking had to hire a lot of people who didn't understand the Viking culture just to staff this ship. I am sure this is something that can be addressed with training and careful future hiring.
All in all, it was a wonderful experience and we are still Viking fans who are planning our next river cruise.