Viking Star Cruise Review by Cadodge
- Sail Date: April 2017
- Destination: British Isles & Western Europe
The ports were, Barcelona, Malaga, Lisbon, Porto (cancelled because of weather), A Coruna, Cherbourg, Le Harve, Southampton, and Haugesund, Norway. Bergen was simply the port used to disembark and get to the airport. Could have done without Haugesund - not much to see, and would have loved a day to explor Bergen.
The weather was generally good. We did have a few rough sea days in the Bay of Biscay and the North Sea. The Captain did determine to not to try to dock in Porto Portugal as the winds were too strong and he did not think it was safe. An extra sea day at not charge! The included excursions in each port were generally very well done. The highlight of the trip for me was the "D Day" tour at the beaches in Normandy and the American cemetery overlooking the beaches with 9700+ American bodies lost during WWII in interred. Very moving. My wife thought the visit to Monet's gardens and the area surrounding Giverny France was worth the entire trip. If we did it again, I think I would spend some extra days in Barcelona prior to boarding. Not enough time there. 3 days would be the minimum, IMO.
My wife forgot a prescription medication, and the ship's medical unit had no problem replacing it while at port in Spain. They were very accommodating and the medication cost 1/5th of what it is here - even without insurance.
The on board "enrichment lectures" most every afternoon were by a former NASA Chief Engineer who talked about the Space Shuttle and the Space station and various space exploration issues and discoveries, a British military historian speaking about D Day and other WWII incidents, an art historian who spoke on Picasso and impressionist art and artists, and an historian steeped in Viking and European history. The live presentations are taped if you want to watch them later in your cabin during sea days.
For entertainment, there is a cabaret which has a great band with singers and dancing at night, music at various times in the atrium and around the pool and various stage musicals and stage entertainers who perform one show most every night. The music is geared toward the clientele - either classical strings and piano or Motown, Beatles, Beach Boys and music from the 60s-80s.
The flight arrangements from LAX to Barcelona through Viking for us were good. But in speaking to others many feel that this is the area where Viking falls on the job. Many had difficult connections and were routed way out of their way (from Miami to Chicago or Atlanta and then to England and Spain). On the return flights back from Bergen, Norway, many did not have enough time to make their connecting flights at Heathrow and missed them. Our previous cruise on Viking in the Caribbean had the same complaints about too short connection times and unresponsiveness from the Viking flight people. Again, I emphasis we had no problem, but only picked up on the grumblings of others.
All in all, I highly recommend Viking Ocean Cruises for our age group - over 50. The ship is top notch and beautifully and tastefully appointed. The staff is the best I have ever experienced on a cruise line Only 900 passengers and the included items (excursions in every port, wine and beer at meals, free juice and soft drinks and candy in the mini-fridge in the cabin, free self-serve laundry as well as a reasonable fee for dry cleaning and pressing, etc.) far exceed any other cruise line we have taken. The two specialty restaurants are at no extra charge - and the cuisine wonderful. All restaurants are open seating and most tables accommodate couples and foursomes easily. And no dress up night ("resort casual" is the evening wear - no jeans allowed and collared shits but no coat or tie required for men, although some liked to dress up for dinner), There is no photographer chasing you around, no art auction or jewelry "sales" and no casino, but instead a nice string quartet or pianist in the afternoon while you have coffee, tea or wine and snacks, decent entertainment and quiet spots to read, visit, play cards or watch the stars and scenery. Not for everyone, but just right for us.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Montserrat Walking TourBeautiful Monastery and setting. Included a tour of Gaudi highlights in Barcelona as well as free time downtown for lunch.View All 103 Montserrat Walking Tour Reviews
La CorunaAlso an historic 16th century port. Good walking tour and history.View All 241 La Coruna Cruise Port Reviews
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Le HavreWonderful visit to Giverny, Rouen and the French Normandy countryside.View All 332 Le Havre Cruise Port Reviews
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MalagaDrive to a pretty "artist village." Nice shopping if you like local crafts, handbags and prints and walking in a pretty setting,View All 472 Malaga Cruise Port Reviews
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SevilleInteresting and historical 16th century port.View All 394 Seville Cruise Port Reviews
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