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Although we are not fans of large ship ocean cruises, we signed up for the Viking Southern Mediterranean Cruise in December, 2017 primarily because it went to Tunisia and Algeria. I doubt that there were more than 400 on our ship although it can accommodate 900 with 400 plus crew. It is still a large and tall ship. We signed up for an optional trip to Ancient Ostia rather than any tours in Rome since we spent a week on our own in Rome several years ago. When I called Viking to make reservations, I asked if it was feasible to take a taxi into the heart of Rome and was told that would be no problem. The timing of the one included and other optional tours (you pay for those) was such that you could only take one. Our trip to Ostia returned about 4:30 and then we learned the ship sailed at 6. And, it's anywhere between a two-three hour drive one way into Rome. I wish I would have researched this on my own and in hindsight wish we would have gone with a Rome tour. That night the seas were very rough - the wave height given in meters was equal to 40 feet. The next morning the captain came on to say it was too risky to dock at the port in Sicily and he was going to go south in the hope of better weather. So, that was one day totally wasted. It was on to Tunisia where we took one optional and the included tour. I'm glad we went to Tunisia although they have a ways to go before attracting more tourists. We've been to Morocco and Istanbul but these merchants were far more aggressive trying to chase after and overcharge tourists. We never felt unsafe but did have a number of police with semi or automatic? rifles following us. The next day was the main city of Sardinia where we had a far too long bus ride around the city and then a fairly short walking tour. The next day was to be Algeria. We had signed up for an included and also optional tour. There was additional paperwork for both Tunisia and Algeria and we had to turn over our passports for Algeria. We were told all the tours leaving at the same time would have a police escort. At breakfast that morning, the captain announced the seas were rough the night before and we lost four hours and there was no time to stop in Algeria. That was a major disappointment. I heard some people comment that now we knew why we "got a deal" on the tour! Another wasted day. The next stop was Valencia, Spain which we enjoyed the most; liked the optional tour we took. The last stop was Barcelona. We signed up for the two additional nights at a hotel since we had been in Barcelona before and wanted a chance to go back. I had asked a couple of times over the phone and also on the ship if there were any tours connected with this and was told "no" ; we would be picked up by bus at 9 a.m. and taken to our hotel right away. Some people had signed up on their own for tours starting from their hotel before noon. We were pleasantly surprised to get on the bus and learn we would drive around for two hours and makes two stops. Our hotel was out further and I think it was around noon when we arrived. The bus tour and stops were fine with us but I wondered about those who had paid for tours on their own. The pros - our cabin was great - large shower and room to move around in the room. We had a tiny balcony but never were on it since apparently the door is locked when at sea and certainly in the rough weather we had. We ate most meals at the buffet which is very very nice; always a good variety. There were a couple of restaurants that required reservations; never ate there and I think there was an additional charge. We finally found The Restaurant which is an additional charge and ate there twice. We also liked the small Norwegian restaurant for breakfast and lunch. There are only a few selections but always good and in a beautiful lounge. It took us a couple of days to find that lounge and restaurant. There were a signifiant number of people wondering around the first couple of days looking for their cabins and other locations. Signage is not great and directions vague. There were a couple of helpful crew at what was supposed to be a concierge desk but some not that friendly or helpful. The cabin and buffet crew were always very very nice and helpful. We were reimbursed for the optional trips we missed and a few days after returning home, each received vouchers for $600 for an ocean or river cruise this year. I don't think we would take an ocean cruise again. With land tours, there usually is an option if plans go awry; not true with an ocean cruise. There is no tour guide assigned to a group of people so one has to rely on the local tour guides; not the same thing. There was almost never free time to buy even a post card. The only time we talked to other passengers was at the buffet but then we never saw them again. There was no connecting with any local people or chance to eat in a local restaurant although that would have been possible for a couple of tours in Rome. There is no casino on board which is fine with us; don't gamble. However, we also were not interested in playing games or taking dance lessons or learning about diamonds. There were a couple of interesting lectures but we watched them on TV from our room. We also enjoyed listening to the pianist and a guitarist in the evening. Otherwise, there were some pretty boring times when we missed two ports. We haven't decided if we will use our vouchers on a Viking river cruise.

Do Not Take a Viking Cruise in the Southern Mediterranean in December

Viking Star Cruise Review by Bethkorcula

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Although we are not fans of large ship ocean cruises, we signed up for the Viking Southern Mediterranean Cruise in December, 2017 primarily because it went to Tunisia and Algeria. I doubt that there were more than 400 on our ship although it can accommodate 900 with 400 plus crew. It is still a large and tall ship. We signed up for an optional trip to Ancient Ostia rather than any tours in Rome since we spent a week on our own in Rome several years ago. When I called Viking to make reservations, I asked if it was feasible to take a taxi into the heart of Rome and was told that would be no problem. The timing of the one included and other optional tours (you pay for those) was such that you could only take one. Our trip to Ostia returned about 4:30 and then we learned the ship sailed at 6. And, it's anywhere between a two-three hour drive one way into Rome. I wish I would have researched this on my own and in hindsight wish we would have gone with a Rome tour. That night the seas were very rough - the wave height given in meters was equal to 40 feet. The next morning the captain came on to say it was too risky to dock at the port in Sicily and he was going to go south in the hope of better weather. So, that was one day totally wasted. It was on to Tunisia where we took one optional and the included tour. I'm glad we went to Tunisia although they have a ways to go before attracting more tourists. We've been to Morocco and Istanbul but these merchants were far more aggressive trying to chase after and overcharge tourists. We never felt unsafe but did have a number of police with semi or automatic? rifles following us. The next day was the main city of Sardinia where we had a far too long bus ride around the city and then a fairly short walking tour. The next day was to be Algeria. We had signed up for an included and also optional tour. There was additional paperwork for both Tunisia and Algeria and we had to turn over our passports for Algeria. We were told all the tours leaving at the same time would have a police escort. At breakfast that morning, the captain announced the seas were rough the night before and we lost four hours and there was no time to stop in Algeria. That was a major disappointment. I heard some people comment that now we knew why we "got a deal" on the tour! Another wasted day. The next stop was Valencia, Spain which we enjoyed the most; liked the optional tour we took. The last stop was Barcelona. We signed up for the two additional nights at a hotel since we had been in Barcelona before and wanted a chance to go back. I had asked a couple of times over the phone and also on the ship if there were any tours connected with this and was told "no" ; we would be picked up by bus at 9 a.m. and taken to our hotel right away. Some people had signed up on their own for tours starting from their hotel before noon. We were pleasantly surprised to get on the bus and learn we would drive around for two hours and makes two stops. Our hotel was out further and I think it was around noon when we arrived. The bus tour and stops were fine with us but I wondered about those who had paid for tours on their own. The pros - our cabin was great - large shower and room to move around in the room. We had a tiny balcony but never were on it since apparently the door is locked when at sea and certainly in the rough weather we had. We ate most meals at the buffet which is very very nice; always a good variety. There were a couple of restaurants that required reservations; never ate there and I think there was an additional charge. We finally found The Restaurant which is an additional charge and ate there twice. We also liked the small Norwegian restaurant for breakfast and lunch. There are only a few selections but always good and in a beautiful lounge. It took us a couple of days to find that lounge and restaurant. There were a signifiant number of people wondering around the first couple of days looking for their cabins and other locations. Signage is not great and directions vague. There were a couple of helpful crew at what was supposed to be a concierge desk but some not that friendly or helpful. The cabin and buffet crew were always very very nice and helpful. We were reimbursed for the optional trips we missed and a few days after returning home, each received vouchers for $600 for an ocean or river cruise this year. I don't think we would take an ocean cruise again. With land tours, there usually is an option if plans go awry; not true with an ocean cruise. There is no tour guide assigned to a group of people so one has to rely on the local tour guides; not the same thing. There was almost never free time to buy even a post card. The only time we talked to other passengers was at the buffet but then we never saw them again. There was no connecting with any local people or chance to eat in a local restaurant although that would have been possible for a couple of tours in Rome. There is no casino on board which is fine with us; don't gamble. However, we also were not interested in playing games or taking dance lessons or learning about diamonds. There were a couple of interesting lectures but we watched them on TV from our room. We also enjoyed listening to the pianist and a guitarist in the evening. Otherwise, there were some pretty boring times when we missed two ports. We haven't decided if we will use our vouchers on a Viking river cruise.
Viking Cruises, Community Team has responded
Dear Bethkorcula, Thank you for taking a moment to voice your concerns; we appreciate the opportunity to discuss your comments in detail. While we understand your frustration with skipping a port due to inclement weather, please know that our nautical team is, first and foremost, in consideration of our guests’ safety when they decide to modify an itinerary. Furthermore, we are concerned to hear about the service that you received on board, as well as your dissatisfaction with some shore excursions. To learn more and discuss your overall experience, please contact us at TellUs@vikingcruises.com so that we may connect you with a Customer Relations Agent. Best wishes for a lovely week. 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
Very nice cabin - large and an especially great shower.