We chose this cruise because of its itinerary. We cruised from Bergen to Montreal. To start with, we had booked air through the Viking Air department, something we will never do again. We had assumed they would be more proactive on our behalf than it turned out they were prepared to be. Just days before departure we were facing Hurricane Irma, and they made no effort to fly us out early. We spent a precious 48+ hours begging to be allowed to fly out of Atlanta and drop our Miami-Atlanta segment before they finally decided that yes, they would allow us to do that. If we hadn't persevered, we would have missed connections, and missed the cruise. As it was, because they delayed so long, it took 20 hours to drive to Atlanta as many of the mandatory evacuation orders (including ours!) had already been issued, and all of South Florida were on the roads north.
The ship is gorgeous, and we found the food to be outstanding as well. But for me, a cruise is all about the EXPERIENCE and here they failed miserably. While there were a few outstanding staff, most were inept, and confusion abounded. Everyone was nice, but no one seemed to work as a team. In the dining rooms, we got wrong orders, we were asked repeatedly what the order WAS, and though we bought the premium wine package, we frequently had to wait a half hour at dinner before we got any wine. (if you stayed with the included wines it was much better--you got service immediately). One night my husband had to get up and speak to the maitre d' because it had been an hour between courses. We were constantly aggravated at dinner, which is NOT how you want to be!
We liked our cabin, the heated floors in the bathroom, and the availability of free laundry. And I must say our cabin steward, Ronel, was the BEST we have had in over 30+ cruises! But the cabin really lacked storage space--2 drawers and a little space in the nightstands. We asked for, and got, about 30 extra hangers and ended up hanging just about everything.
Wifi was slow, but we appreciated that it was available and complimentary, so no complaints really. The Spa was gorgeous. I didn't try spa treatments. Yoga was offered but as a long-standing yoga practitioner, I didn't think it was age appropriate. There was a serious miss-match between the demographics of the passengers and the yoga routine offered. They should be offering YIN or INYNGAR yoga, and instead, the teachers' background was Ashtanga. When she started out doing a jump-back chaturanga, I knew the class was doomed. The poor ladies in the class did their valiant best, but they could have really hurt themselves with the routine we were put through.
Explorers Lounge was lovely, and here, the staff was lovely as well. Skilled, pleasant--really really excellent.
Lectures were excellent and a feature we really appreciated was the ability to watch them later on recorded TV. We were frequently busy at the times the lectures were 'live' but we managed to watch/listen to every one of them thanks to the recorded TV. LOVED this! Very much enriched the voyage.
The shore excursions: included ones were so-so, but the optional ones that we paid for were all outstanding. Our tour guide in Quebec, Marie, on the Quebec Discovery Day was absolutely outstanding. BUT!!! The WORST feature of the entire cruise was the daily disembarkation, which was TERRIBLE. Viking really needs to learn how to get 900 people off a cruise ship. We waited almost an hour to get on the tender at L'Anse Aux Meadows, and then sat on the tender for 45 minutes before we could get off. This was the worst, but even regular disembarkations were routinely a bottleneck..
And finally, our transfer to the airport at the end of the cruise. Again, the staff showed their inexperience, to be charitable. Our bus departure was scheduled for 8am. Our flight was at 10am. And it was a 45 minute drive to the airport. We only made our flight because my husband had status on the airline, so we were able to use an expedited check in--but even at that, the agent said we were the last to be able to get our luggage on board.
These kinds of repetitive 'glitches' made me think that although we had paid a 5-star price for this cruise, we did NOT receive a 5-star cruise. We have cruised well over 30 times, at various price points, and many different cruise lines, and this is the first time we felt we did not get our money's worth. There were just too many issues overall.
Loved the bathroom with heated floors, and it was really spacious and well designed. Nice decor in room---NO storage space! I would delete the room fridge for more drawers--there are just 2 for your clothes. Nice coffee maker in room, though its little high for shorter people. The safe takes up valuable storage space-- I would rather have a drawer for clothes and put the safe elsewhere in the room. RONEL, our steward, was the best we have ever, ever had. We had a balcony but only used it once due to our itinerary and the weather. TV in room is large. Wifi ok.
We went to the Stave Church and then on to Grieg's house and a fabulous concert. Loved the tour guide, loved the concert. Excellent outing!View All 28 Troldhaugen Concert Reviews
Our guide, MARIE, made this trip! She told us SO MUCH about living in Quebec, and the history of the Quebecois. Outstanding guide. The sights were varied and fun as well. We went out to Isle d'Orleans and tried the local strawberries. Had a wonderful visit at a local winery. Drove around the island, saw Montmorency Falls, and there was a good mix of 'together as a group' time and 'free time on your own'. But for us, Marie's stories about life in Quebec were eye-opening and enriching. GREAT tour.View All undefined undefined Reviews