We have sailed on many Viking River cruises and decided to do a different type of itinerary which could be accomplished only on an ocean cruise. Our experience with Viking led us to take this cruise. We were originally booked on the 5/26/2017 cruise, but due to a computer crash on British Airways we had to cancel and we re-booked for this cruise. We thought we would take the "free air" this time through Viking and try to save money. Viking air does not offer convenient flights..always has several lay overs and makes the travel day miserable. One couple we met had to take a 6 am flight from Bergen home. The savings were not worth the inconvenience and for such a high caliber cruise line I was surprised. We also did not know our room number until a week before our sail date. No one could tell us why.
The ship is beautiful, clean and well run. Although only 2 years old the furniture in the room was starting to show wear as well as some of the chairs in the World Cafe dining room were stained and worn. The staff in every department are wonderful. They always have a smile and want to help. The cruise manager makes himself seen and is always receptive. Director of Guest Services, Martha is so helpful and caring. The wait staff can never do enough for you. We booked most of our excursions through Viking. We met through Cruise critic wonderful people and one member seemed to have done enormous research and had booked some independent tours and we followed his lead. We book the 2 day St. Petersburg tour through Alla tours and the cost was almost half of the Viking tour. We paid $270.00 USD for 2 days of touring. Alla gets you into the Hermitage early, and it was empty! By the time we left you can see the crowds waiting to get in. All of the tour directors that Viking uses were wonderful. My major complaint is the starting time of the tours. Some started at 7:15 am. Some days you are only in port for a few hours. I would rather have more time in the port and not go to as many destinations. We also did an independent tour on our last day Norway in a Nutshell which when looking at one might feel confused as to what to do. It is very clear and easy to follow.
The food was excellent. Many choices. We did not like the menus at The Chefs Table and cancelled our second visit there. You can see the menus in advance which we were not aware of. They have all the menus through 2018, so if you are thinking of experiencing that restaurant, check the menu first. Manfredi's had many choices. The Restaurant- the main dining room is only opened for lunch on one day which made the World Cafe crowded and difficult some days to get a table when many excursions return at the same time and you are leaving port. Twice we stayed in town for lunch. Would definitely go recommend this trip but it is very exhausting.
Cabin is very roomy, lots of storage. Bathroom has heated floors, shower always lots of water pressure. Nice amenities. Some of the furniture looks worn. Refrigerator always stocked. Would like to see a magnifier mirror in the bathroom. Mirrors are heated so they never fog. Staff always want to please.
Tour guide very good.
Not in port long enough