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This is a review of a Viking Oceans cruise of the Baltic Sea in June 2016 (Stockholm to Bergen). This was our first ocean cruise. We chose Viking Oceans because of two previous enjoyable and well-run Viking River cruises and a lack,of interest in large ships. The ship was the Viking Star, a 930-passenger vessel with a tour package that is clearly targeted to and suitable for an older clientele. Viking arranged our flights from Ottawa to Stockholm, via Amsterdam, where we spent several days at our request. There were certainly some difficulties with Viking in the flight arrangements but these were resolved. The bus trip from the Stockholm airport to the ship took about an hour. Boarding the ship (security arrangements and receipt of room keys) was quick and efficient and we were met in the suite by a member of the staff. The ship, Viking Star, is very modern and pleasant and we were pleased with the suite. It was spacious and well equipped (two TVs, sitting area, safe, small refrigerator) with an exterior balcony, as were all suites. The ship was exceptionally well managed by the crew, from dining and food services to the cleaning staff to the people dealing with embarkation, departure and security. The included laundry service was a particularly nice and useful feature. Dining – for all three daily meals – offered a reasonably wide selection of choices in several venues. But foodies and more adventurous eaters might not be satisfied. There were no more than two to three minute to wait to enter the restaurants at the busiest times. We enjoyed the meals, the attentiveness of the serving staff and their concern with accommodating allergies. We found the dining experience disappointing in that it was often impersonal and difficult to engage other passengers in conversation, quite the opposite of river cruises with their very limited number of passengers. The ship did not go astray so I assume it was driven with skill and knowledge. In-ship facilities (lounges, bars, exercise area, swimming, etc) were fine although we made limited use of them. Thankfully, there was no casino aboard. The reception /excursion desk was very helpful and accommodating several times. The evening entertainment was enjoyable and diverting for the most part, certainly intended to appeal to a 60+ audience. The ABBA concert was, frankly, a bore and not well executed. The educational lectures were frequent and quite good, with topics that were appropriate for a cruise of the Baltic Sea. There were a wide variety of port tours on offer. We selected a combination of included and optional ones. All our tours were, without exception, in the very-good to excellent category, with the same for the tour guides. Indeed, it was the quality of the guides that turned what could have been, in a few occasions, a humdrum outing into a memorable day. In particular, the young women guide on the Lubeck tour in Germany was especially good; she was knowledgeable, lively, and fun to be with. The logistics of the Copenhagen tour (via bus in an overly busy and under-construction central area) could be improved. Port visits were generally quite brief. The cruise ended in Bergen, Norway with disembarkation proceeding smoothly and according to a pre-determined schedule. Viking accommodated and fed us us while we awaited our turn. We took the post-trip excursion to Iceland; it was a good choice, again with an excellent guide (knowledgeable, engaging, outgoing). The only sour note was that there was no Viking contractor or transport on arrival at the airport so we and other Viking passengers on the flight had to arrange our own transportation to the hotel. The Hilton hotel in Reykjavik, part of the excursion, was fine. Overall, we rate the voyage as excellent. That covers the ship, the crew, the excursions and the way the package was put together and managed. Where Viking fell down was on the front end -- the booking and flight arrangements. Definite room for improvement in listening to customers’ needs and requests (several other passengers said the same thing).

Baltic Cruise

Viking Star Cruise Review by Skippyness

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
This is a review of a Viking Oceans cruise of the Baltic Sea in June 2016 (Stockholm to Bergen). This was our first ocean cruise. We chose Viking Oceans because of two previous enjoyable and well-run Viking River cruises and a lack,of interest in large ships. The ship was the Viking Star, a 930-passenger vessel with a tour package that is clearly targeted to and suitable for an older clientele.

Viking arranged our flights from Ottawa to Stockholm, via Amsterdam, where we spent several days at our request. There were certainly some difficulties with Viking in the flight arrangements but these were resolved. The bus trip from the Stockholm airport to the ship took about an hour. Boarding the ship (security arrangements and receipt of room keys) was quick and efficient and we were met in the suite by a member of the staff.

The ship, Viking Star, is very modern and pleasant and we were pleased with the suite. It was spacious and well equipped (two TVs, sitting area, safe, small refrigerator) with an exterior balcony, as were all suites. The ship was exceptionally well managed by the crew, from dining and food services to the cleaning staff to the people dealing with embarkation, departure and security. The included laundry service was a particularly nice and useful feature.

Dining – for all three daily meals – offered a reasonably wide selection of choices in several venues. But foodies and more adventurous eaters might not be satisfied. There were no more than two to three minute to wait to enter the restaurants at the busiest times. We enjoyed the meals, the attentiveness of the serving staff and their concern with accommodating allergies. We found the dining experience disappointing in that it was often impersonal and difficult to engage other passengers in conversation, quite the opposite of river cruises with their very limited number of passengers.

The ship did not go astray so I assume it was driven with skill and knowledge. In-ship facilities (lounges, bars, exercise area, swimming, etc) were fine although we made limited use of them. Thankfully, there was no casino aboard. The reception /excursion desk was very helpful and accommodating several times. The evening entertainment was enjoyable and diverting for the most part, certainly intended to appeal to a 60+ audience. The ABBA concert was, frankly, a bore and not well executed. The educational lectures were frequent and quite good, with topics that were appropriate for a cruise of the Baltic Sea.

There were a wide variety of port tours on offer. We selected a combination of included and optional ones. All our tours were, without exception, in the very-good to excellent category, with the same for the tour guides. Indeed, it was the quality of the guides that turned what could have been, in a few occasions, a humdrum outing into a memorable day. In particular, the young women guide on the Lubeck tour in Germany was especially good; she was knowledgeable, lively, and fun to be with. The logistics of the Copenhagen tour (via bus in an overly busy and under-construction central area) could be improved. Port visits were generally quite brief.

The cruise ended in Bergen, Norway with disembarkation proceeding smoothly and according to a pre-determined schedule. Viking accommodated and fed us us while we awaited our turn. We took the post-trip excursion to Iceland; it was a good choice, again with an excellent guide (knowledgeable, engaging, outgoing). The only sour note was that there was no Viking contractor or transport on arrival at the airport so we and other Viking passengers on the flight had to arrange our own transportation to the hotel. The Hilton hotel in Reykjavik, part of the excursion, was fine.

Overall, we rate the voyage as excellent. That covers the ship, the crew, the excursions and the way the package was put together and managed. Where Viking fell down was on the front end -- the booking and flight arrangements. Definite room for improvement in listening to customers’ needs and requests (several other passengers said the same thing).
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