Wow! A happy medium between the huge ships that seem to dominate the industry on one end and the small super-luxury ships that cost much more on the other. The Viking Star (and its sister ships) offer plenty of onboard dining and recreation options and a staff that is clearly trained in personal service, provided in an atmosphere and scale that is a pleasure to behold.
The Viking Star has everything you'd expect from one of the world's newest cruise ships: high-tech customer interface, beautiful Scandinavian design, and a feeling that you will never want to go back to the 2000-3000 passenger experience. The Viking Ocean line also includes so many things we think of part of the cruise experience but which many (most?) lines price as extras: wi-fi, beer/wine, laundry, room service meals, basic shore excursions.
Another aspect that differentiated Viking is the focus on education rather than entertainment. They are genuinely interested in providing their guests with an experience that makes you smarter, not just happy. Our summer cruise included, for example, three talks by a former congressman about the state of politics in the US -- non-partisan and very educational. This is not a ship for children.
The crew proved willing to take the extra steps necessary to get us out of a couple of logistic messes we ourselves had created, and did so with professionalism, efficiency, and good grace.
We took advantage of several, but not all, of the included shore excursions. We did several ports on our own (Stockholm, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Aalborg, Flam) or with separately organized smaller tours (St.Petersburg and Tallinn). This mix was welcome. The included tours we took (Gdansk, Berlin, and Bergen) were well-organized, educational, and provided sufficient flexibility. Shuttle arrangements worked well when we were on our own, and the smaller ship meant we never faced the hassle of tendering and we never had a lineup for disembarking or returning to the ship.
Everyone raves about the bathroom, which indeed is a step above our previous experiences on three different lines. We chose to re-arrange the furniture a bit to make the lounge area more friendly and suitable to share room-service breakfast. And everyone has a veranda, another advantage of a smaller ship!
Four couples in a 12-passenger van both days in St. Petersburg. The guide was above average, and the tour was well organized as to using the time effectively to see many of the sites. Got us into Hermitage and Catherine's Palace efficiently in the face of large crowds we did not have to wait in.View All 378 City Tour Reviews
Just the right amount of touring and then free time. Given how far the train ride is from the port, Viking does a great job getting us a taste of Berlin.View All 140 City Tour Reviews
Weather was drizzly, and the commentary sparce.View All 76 Pulpit Rock Reviews
Walking tour gave a good historical background and included visit to the Bryggen Wharf museum.View All 136 City Tour Reviews
Booked online prior to cruise, pickup was easy, ride was a blast, and drop off easy. Got to do the full 20km (cruise line train/bike ride was for biking only the lower portion of the road, and much more expensive).View All 8 Bicycle Rental Reviews
Good commentary and an enjoyable ride.View All 212 Flam Railway Reviews
Guide was excellent, however lunch arrangements at a roadside stand was below expectations.View All 189 Old Town of Tallinn Reviews
Easy to do Stockholm on your own. We were there 4 days prior to the cruise, so didn't do their tour.
Easy to do on your own, or via hop-on-hop-off bus, but be aware there are two ho-ho lines, a fact we didn't recognize until we tried to rendezvous and discovered one of us was on one line and the other was on the other line!
Nice way to orient yourself to the cityView All undefined undefined Reviews