After 3 Viking River cruises we wanted to try one of their ocean cruises. We will definitely consider booking another in the future. Ship was new and lovely. Public areas were very well thought out so there was never a sense of a crowd except leaving for shore excursions or a few times at meals. Cruise passengers were mostly couples in the mid 50 to mid 80 age range. The majority seemed to be upper 60s to upper 70s. Mostly Americans but a substantial number from Great Britian and some Canadians and Australians.
Cabins were lovely, adequately sized with a small seating area. Only had 3 drawers but several shelves. Closet was very big and lots of hangers were available. Room was kept very clean. Safe, coffeemaker and refrigerator stocked with soda and 2 small candy bars daily. Bathroom was good with a heated floor - great place for drying wet shoes at night. There was a nice vanity mirror in the desk but it was too short to be useful - it showed neck and down - and you had to keep the desk clear to access the storage space. We were high enough so we always had an interesting view from our balcony.
Food was extremely good, plentiful and not overly sauced or too unusual. Tour of the galley was enlightening - they have a kitchen staff of about 100 and the logistics of keeping the passengers well fed are immense. The chef came from an Oceania ship. Afternoon tea is delightful. Room service breakfast came 1/2 hour early the time we used it. Except for the cookies, we thought the food was better than what we had on the river cruises. Food allergies were adequately handled. This chef said he could even manage a vegan diet, if necessary.
Very high standard of staffing. Everyone we encountered was pleasant and spoke good English.
Entertainment was mixed, some was quite good and some fell flat. Several local shows unfortunately took place in the pool area. Performers were several feet below the sitting level so only those with front row seats could see it live. Everyone else viewed it on screen.
Gym facilities were very good. In addition to the exercise rooms, there were outdoor exercise machines on the top level of the ship. Pools were small. One was heated and could be enclosed. Spa was nice but pricy. Individual changing facilities were unavailable. Locker rooms were very clean. They have a machine that dries your bathing suit. Snow grotto gets defrosted every 10 days.
We selected the cruise for its ports. Included excursions were large groups - 34 - 42 people per guide. All the guides were adequate, a few were very good. Umbrellas made the group size unmanageable on one occasion. The tours were difficult for those who had mobility issues because terrain was uneven - mostly cobblestones and a lot of steps. There was never a slow group. This meant that the pace of all the tours was slow to allow everyone to keep up. About half the included excursions included bus rides. We ended up with 3 buses trying to use the same toilet facilities several times, even the men had a long line - very poorly planned. Toilets were not always available on the buses.
We paid for the excursion to Pompeii. Guide was very good but the group was large and we were unable to go in some buildings. It would probably have been better to go with a private guide but we couldn't get it organized and the group tour was okay. We had also signed up for a paid excursion to the Etruscan ruins instead of going into Rome. That tour was cancelled with 2 days notice.
The captain cancelled our Monaco port due to very high winds so we stayed an extra day in Livorno. Viking added a couple of free trips and duplicated some of the paid tours.
We were always meeting new people but rarely ran into them a second time. Everyday we saw people we had never seen before, including leaving the ship. When we go again, we plan to go with a group.
Transfers were well handled in Venice and we were able to get a cab with no problem for our departure to a B&B in Barcelona. Suitcases were collected by staff the night before leaving the ship. We had to be out of our room by 8:00 and off the ship by 9:45.
Perfect location on ship. May have preferred to be lower if choppy seas expected but very little roll. Easy access to laundry.
Good guide, one of more interesting we hadView All 78 Venice Walking Tour Reviews
Large group. Lots of slow walkers.View All 34 Walking Tour Reviews
Large group. Lots of slow walkers.View All 77 Walking Tour Reviews
Large group. Slow walkersView All 58 City Tour Reviews
Guide was one of the better guides but group was way too large for a tour we paid for.View All 505 Pompeii Walking Tour Reviews
Our tour was cancelled at the last minute and we did not want to take the long, long bus ride into Rome
Port was cancelled
No bus involved so we actually got to walk.
Tour was okay. Had a better time on our own.View All 284 City Tour Reviews
Bus was terrible. Guide was okay. Bathroom stop was at end of tour and huge numbers in line for toilets.View All 88 Pisa Walking Tour Reviews