We have taken Viking River cruises and been impressed by their quality. We expected (and received) the same great experience at sea. The ship was a perfect size for us. We have been put off by the cattle call style of the regular cruise lines and appreciated the extra attention and space the Viking Star and its staff provided. It was much closer to a small boat experience than the larger cruise lines. Our previous ocean experience has been with Norwegian (about which we have nothing negative to say), but the smaller ship was a big positive for us. The attention provided by staff on board seems much more personal than the other ocean cruises we have been on.
The food was superior to any other cruise we have been on--including the Viking river cruises, our previous touchstone for quality. This applies to the specialty restaurants, the regular restaurant and especially the casual buffet line.
Viking's approach to a near all inclusive experience at first can seem more expensive than other cruise lines, but once one totals up the included excursions, complimentary beverages at lunch and dinner, free restocking of the cabin minibar and free access to the specialty restaurants, I expect that the actual cost difference is minor.