My husband and I had been on three previous Viking River Cruises (Rhine River, German Christmas Markets and Waterways of the Czars) and were impressed by the quality, value and educational aspects of Viking. After my husband passed in January 2017 I booked an August cruise with my brother - we had both always wanted to visit Scandinavia but deemed it too expensive. Viking's 2 for 1 offer made it possible! This was an ideal way to visit lands and experience cultures of the eight countries on this cruise. The suggested reading was very helpful and our six months of preparation was filled with reading, watching videos and studying maps. I even brushed up on my rudimentary Russian.
The onboard entertainment was outstanding! Being musicians ourselves, we really appreciated the quality and versatility of the instrumentalists, singers and dancers. The excellent Classical Trio included a Hungarian cellist, his wife on flute and sister on violin. Kalman's versatility at the piano was impressive, everything from classical to jazz, with only an I-pad for reference. The Viking Singers and Dancers' productions were wonderful including HD background effects. Synchrony, esp. Joel at the piano, was very energetic and versatile. We were floored when Aaron, the Cruise Director, did an entire cabaret show, having had experience in musical theater, TV, gymnastics and even church choir direction!
The entire staff we encountered was professional and always friendly. Our cabin steward, Gatot, helped my brother fix his broken glasses, and Lorelie the maid kept the room spotless. (My brother's oldest daughter is named Lorelei.)
The onshore excursions were well planned and executed, wish we had more time in each port - will need to do more cruises in future! My favorites were in Eidfjord (Viking village of Gudvangen) and Bergen (Fantoft Stave Church and Grieg's house and concert).
The food was delicious of course! We generally went to the World Cafe for convenience, efficiency and variety. Afternoon tea in the Wintergarden was very special.
The ship, the Viking Sky, was an experience in itself. We enjoyed the enlarged segments of the Bayeux Tapestry in the stairwells, as well as the animation of it in the Viking historical display onboard. The Explorers' Lounge and Wintergarden continued the Norwegian decor. We were impressed with the importance put on hygiene, having memories of a previous cruise where half the bus was coughing toward the end.
We did not use the fitness facilities (stair climbing was enough for us) or the spa, but I did walk through both and studied the 360-degree camera views.
Cabin was beautifully furnished and kept spotless. We had a refrigerator and stocked minibar (free). The TV was wonderful, had recorded Viking Historian educational lectures, daily schedule, weather, as well as good TV networks. The twin beds were very comfortable and closets and drawers were more than ample. The desk, three nice armchairs and coffee table were unfortunately quickly covered with our clothes or papers. The spacious veranda had weatherproof table and chairs. We usually kept the drapes open in order to view the passing scenery, often kept the door open too. Bathroom was great, shower pressure good, plenty of storage space there too. Anti-fog mirrors - wow!