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In November 2016 we experienced Viking Ocean cruises for the first time on the Viking Sea and we were very impressed. In my 5 star review on C.C. I said "Well, I am delighted to say that out of the 15 or so cruises to date this one was the best by quite a way!" Sadly our experiences on this cruise on the Viking Sky failed to meet our high expectations in many, but not all areas. My first piece of advice is that under no circumstances should you buy the Viking 2 night Pre-Cruise package. It was unsatisfactory in almost every way: For more details see my hotel review on t.advisor (Hilton Cabana Miami Beach). Viking's included tour was short, badly organised and in some cases the information given by the guide was just plain wrong. Transfer to the port from the hotel included the added bonus of a long and loud 'serenade' from a bus driver who should never give up his day job: although is it safe to drive with one hand while holding the microphone with the other: a practice that occurred on other tours during our cruise? Embarkation was quick and efficient but we were greeted ,upon entering the ship, with an underwhelming one quarter full glass of fiz. The cabin was pristine and just as good as the one on the Viking Sea and we were well looked after by our efficient and pleasant steward Dian, during our 14 night cruise. Food was another reason for our return and we ate Dinner in Manfredis on three occasions and I am pleased to report that this was a outstanding experience in every way: the food was delicious and the service impeccable. We did try the Chefs Table one night but found it to be a little pretentious and some of the food and wine was not to our taste. Dinner in the main dining room was of a high quality, with good service and a friendly atmosphere but on the odd occasion a long line to get in was a little irritating. You may have noticed the rather odd title to my review and now is the time to explain. There were food supply problems on our cruise: items that they didn't have or ran out of. These included mozzarella, granola, greek yogurt, some types of wine, dark beer (both types); we took on more in Columbia and then ran out again! and BANANAS. The lack of bananas given the ports of call we had visited before new supplies were eventually procured does not suggest great catering management! This leads me to another unsatisfactory aspect of our cruise .The included tours were plagued with problems. They seldom ran to time: some were very late, the guides were variable and in some cases one had to question what Viking were thinking: for example the visit to a "Craft and Heritage centre" in Montego Bay beggared belief: most items were probably made in China! The two tender ports were fraught with difficulties and I felt that the Viking staff in charge lacked experience and organisation. We enjoyed the entertainment in general and were particularly impressed by Iain James Kennedy's lectures. On board sea mammals expert Robin and partner, were a mine of interesting information. Some of the show productions were very similar to the ones on Viking Sea but we very much enjoyed the National Dance Company of Belize. Mamsen's was wonderful for breakfast and afternoon cake and the Pool Grill was a great venue with good food. To be honest, we tried the afternoon tea in the Wintergarden and found it a little underwhelming. Room service was rather variable. sometimes it was very good but on other occasions mistakes were made with the order and breakfasts were always earlier than ordered: sometimes far too early. The general layout of the ship is impressive. There is plenty of space and it is very easy to find a quiet spot. The free wifi worked pretty well compared to other ships we'd been on and the general attitude of the staff was friendly and welcoming in most circumstances. However, my feeling is that this ship is still a 'work in progress' This company have a place at the top of a very competitive cruise industry. They charge quite high rates to 'journey in Viking comfort.' On this cruise package did it justify these high rates? Sadly, my answer is no. One last piece of advice for the guests with later flights. We were delivered by Viking to Miami airport by 10.15am as part of their package for a 5.15pm flight to the U.K. We sat with our luggage for over 4 hours, before an understaffed BA check in took them off us. Organise something before the airport would be a sensible thing to do. I have asked Viking to contact me regarding my concerns, particularly with the Pre-cruise part of my package. It's early days, but I have not yet received any communication.

Yes, we have no bananas!

Viking Sky Cruise Review by southampton observer

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2017
  • Destination: Caribbean
In November 2016 we experienced Viking Ocean cruises for the first time on the Viking Sea and we were very impressed. In my 5 star review on C.C. I said "Well, I am delighted to say that out of the 15 or so cruises to date this one was the best by quite a way!" Sadly our experiences on this cruise on the Viking Sky failed to meet our high expectations in many, but not all areas.

My first piece of advice is that under no circumstances should you buy the Viking 2 night Pre-Cruise package. It was unsatisfactory in almost every way: For more details see my hotel review on t.advisor (Hilton Cabana Miami Beach). Viking's included tour was short, badly organised and in some cases the information given by the guide was just plain wrong. Transfer to the port from the hotel included the added bonus of a long and loud 'serenade' from a bus driver who should never give up his day job: although is it safe to drive with one hand while holding the microphone with the other: a practice that occurred on other tours during our cruise?

Embarkation was quick and efficient but we were greeted ,upon entering the ship, with an underwhelming one quarter full glass of fiz.

The cabin was pristine and just as good as the one on the Viking Sea and we were well looked after by our efficient and pleasant steward Dian, during our 14 night cruise.

Food was another reason for our return and we ate Dinner in Manfredis on three occasions and I am pleased to report that this was a outstanding experience in every way: the food was delicious and the service impeccable. We did try the Chefs Table one night but found it to be a little pretentious and some of the food and wine was not to our taste. Dinner in the main dining room was of a high quality, with good service and a friendly atmosphere but on the odd occasion a long line to get in was a little irritating.

You may have noticed the rather odd title to my review and now is the time to explain. There were food supply problems on our cruise: items that they didn't have or ran out of. These included mozzarella, granola, greek yogurt, some types of wine, dark beer (both types); we took on more in Columbia and then ran out again! and BANANAS. The lack of bananas given the ports of call we had visited before new supplies were eventually procured does not suggest great catering management!

This leads me to another unsatisfactory aspect of our cruise .The included tours were plagued with problems. They seldom ran to time: some were very late, the guides were variable and in some cases one had to question what Viking were thinking: for example the visit to a "Craft and Heritage centre" in Montego Bay beggared belief: most items were probably made in China! The two tender ports were fraught with difficulties and I felt that the Viking staff in charge lacked experience and organisation.

We enjoyed the entertainment in general and were particularly impressed by Iain James Kennedy's lectures. On board sea mammals expert Robin and partner, were a mine of interesting information. Some of the show productions were very similar to the ones on Viking Sea but we very much enjoyed the National Dance Company of Belize.

Mamsen's was wonderful for breakfast and afternoon cake and the Pool Grill was a great venue with good food. To be honest, we tried the afternoon tea in the Wintergarden and found it a little underwhelming. Room service was rather variable. sometimes it was very good but on other occasions mistakes were made with the order and breakfasts were always earlier than ordered: sometimes far too early.

The general layout of the ship is impressive. There is plenty of space and it is very easy to find a quiet spot. The free wifi worked pretty well compared to other ships we'd been on and the general attitude of the staff was friendly and welcoming in most circumstances. However, my feeling is that this ship is still a 'work in progress' This company have a place at the top of a very competitive cruise industry. They charge quite high rates to 'journey in Viking comfort.' On this cruise package did it justify these high rates? Sadly, my answer is no.

One last piece of advice for the guests with later flights. We were delivered by Viking to Miami airport by 10.15am as part of their package for a 5.15pm flight to the U.K. We sat with our luggage for over 4 hours, before an understaffed BA check in took them off us. Organise something before the airport would be a sensible thing to do.

I have asked Viking to contact me regarding my concerns, particularly with the Pre-cruise part of my package. It's early days, but I have not yet received any communication.
Viking Cruises, Community Team has responded
Dear southampton observer, Thank you for taking the time to provide a detailed review of your Panama & Central America cruise. While we are pleased to hear of your satisfaction with various aspects of your cruise, such as your helpful steward, Dean, and our dining venues, including Mamsen’s and Pool Grill, we do regret to hear of your disappointment with your pre-cruise extension in Miami. While the situation you described regarding your tour guide is not typical, please know that your thorough feedback has been recorded and will be addressed. If you haven't reached out already, we would be happy to discuss your Viking experience in more detail at TellUs@vikingcruises.com. Thank you for sailing with Viking, southampton observer, and have a wonderful day. Kind regards, Viking Cruises
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of The Independent Traveler, Inc.
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Cabin Review

Cabin 5044
Opposite Laundry Room but no noise. Cabin kept clean and tidy by excellent cabin steward. Everything worked as it should. No problems and either very quiet neighbors or great soundproofing or both. A.C. just about kept the high outside temperatures at bay.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Altun Ha
    Problems with Tendering and timings. Very good guide but not enough time at Altun due to torrential rain. Very lucky to be on an early tour; later ones must have been at Altun in the dark.
    View All 165 Altun Ha Reviews
  • Cartagena (Colombia)
    Tour cancelled as "not enough Guides". instead we were transported into Cartagena (heavy traffic both ways) to a dance show followed by a independent self guided tour of the city with an awful map. Did manage to see quite a bit but glad we got an early bus back to the ship.
    View All 12,988 Cartagena (Colombia) Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Panama City
    Long bus ride and large tour of over 40 people. The walking tour was very slow in very warm and humid conditions. The guide was fairly informative but the tour was marred by lack of restroom facilities; something I would have expected Viking to research. Quite rightly, Viking encouraged us to remain hydrated but after two and a half hours on coach and tour I felt extremely uncomfortable. i then had to join a long line to use the very limited facilities and wasted over half by allotted free time to visit the area.
    View All 31 Panama City Reviews
  • Turtle Farm
    Tender a nightmare!! Didn't feel that Viking got this at all right. Rum cake factory not interesting and Hell named correctly. Tour redeemed by good tour guide and visit to Turtle farm that was interesting and informative but we did need more time here.
    View All 301 Turtle Farm Reviews
  • City Tour
    Late departing, early arriving back. Guide poor very little historical information. Visit to Vizcaya cut short as guide said the gardens would not be open: they were! Promised market trip did not happen.
    View All 138 City Tour Reviews
  • Montego Bay
    Traffic horrendous. Rose Hall O.K. but the Craft and Heritage Centre wasn't! Cheap Tourist Tat and a traffic jam that moved at a snails pace. Easily the worst excursion I've been on.
    View All 12,988 Montego Bay Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Montego Bay Cruise Port Review
  • The Tortuguero Canals
    Enjoyable tour in all respects. Good guide, very interesting wildlife.
    View All 68 The Tortuguero Canals Reviews