Viking Sky Cruise Review by AvgMom2
- Sail Date: December 2017
- Destination: Caribbean
We booked directly with Viking for their Penthouse Veranda stateroom. One week before the sailing, Viking emailed me with an offer for upgrade to their Junior Penthouse Suite for a nominal fee. For a moment, I hesitated because I already loved our choice of the stateroom on the 6th deck. In the end, however, I agreed – and have never looked back! WOW… did I make the right choice! The Junior Penthouse Suite was AMAZING! I don’t know how we are ever going back to regular staterooms now. The room was big and comfortable and with dream bathroom! My husband and I agreed that we could happily spend half an year in this room and go on a world cruise. Time to start saving!
EMBARKATION: Viking had a promo for free air from US. They arranged our r/t flights from NY to Miami, including transfer to the port. There was a tiny glitch when we arrived at the Miami port. There was no one directing the passengers on where to go for check-in. Luckily someone from the port pointed us to another building. It was bit disorganized but not a big deal. We still got onboard at noon. Our room 8005 was already available and our wonderful room steward, Ryan, introduced himself and showed us around. It was a GREAT way to start our vacation! After the mandatory fire drill, we were off!
ROOM: Junior Penthouse Suite – as I mentioned above, the room was very comfortable. It has a nice separate sitting area with its own TV and another TV on the bedroom side. The bathroom has heated tiles, as well as a heated rack. This came in handy when we hung our bathing suites to be dried. The mini fridge was stocked with snacks and drinks, including a bottle of Drappier Carte d’Or Champagne with two champagne glasses. Since we had the Silver Drinking Package (and thus had plenty to drink), we took this bottle home with us at the end of our cruise for our toast on New Year Eve. It was excellent!
There are a lot of perks associated with staying in Jr. Penthouse Suite (i.e. early bookings for restaurants and shore excursions, etc). But our favorite perk for staying in this room was the free dry cleaning and laundry service. I’m finding that nothing beats having clean clothes in our luggage going home!
Our room was on the 8th deck near the Explorer’s Lounge on the upper level. There is a door located in the corner connecting the lounge to the staterooms. It was very convenient to grab a drink and listen to the talented musician playing the grand piano and easily get back to our room.
She is one of few musicians scattered onboard the ship. The other talented musicians are a string trio and an acoustic guitarist. The songs they played are classical and other popular musicals. It creates soothing and refined environment. If this is not your cup of tea, then you are on a wrong ship.
FOODS: We enjoyed all the foods onboard the Sky, including the buffet restaurant at the World Café. Its nightly seafood selections (including king crab legs) were one of the highlights on this trip.
Teatime was a very pleasant affair held every afternoon at the Wintergarden. There were a lot of choices of teas and came with delicious finger foods. Either go there early or go there later; otherwise you won’t get a table. We preferred our teatime at the Mamsen’s, where they also offered teas as well as open sandwiches and wonderful cakes. It was more quiet and not as crowded.
One night, Viking offered caviar at the Aquavit Terrace, but the fish roe was so tiny that they looked like pepper flakes on chopped egg whites. I’m sure it was still expensive to offer this delicacy to the passengers, but I wished Viking had invested in other food selections.
Our only complaint with the Sky’s foods was that everything was too salty. We have been cutting back on salt intake for quite some time and the amount of salt we consume on this trip was overwhelming. For dining experience, we preferred Celebrity Cruise‘s Blu Restaurant, which emphasized on healthy eating. This is not to say that we didn’t enjoy our meals onboard; on the contrary, the dishes were all pleasing to the eyes and ingredients were all fresh. We just wished it wasn’t as salty.
SILVER BEVERAGE PACKAGE ($139 PP) – my husband drinks, but I don’t. Unfortunately, you can’t buy just one drinking package; both of us have to get it. It turned out well. I end up ordering virgin cocktails and they were refreshing and delicious! My husband had a better choice of wine and spirit selections with this package, especially at the Chef’s Table where each meal was paired with a glass of wine. I can honestly say that we both enjoyed our drinking package! Sky has a team of expert bar tenders and sommeliers. They will make drinks to accommodate your taste and preferences.
Pools, Gym & Spa –Sky’s pools were all too deep for me. It made me tread the water just to stay afloat – not a fan. We both enjoyed the gym, which had a separate space for stretching. There are various equipments available and not much wait time. Spa had very limited lounge chairs and facilities, but it’s free (unlike other cruise ships.)
PORTS: Viking offers their passengers a free tour at each port, but you can choose optional fee-based tours as well – all reasonably priced. These tours get booked very fast; so try to book one as soon as they become available.
Key West – we took their free trolley ride and tour around the city. We been to Key West before, so after the trolley ride, we just walked around the port, stopping at Kermit’s Key West Lime Shoppe for their tasty chocolate-dipped key lime pie on a stick before heading back. We were amazed at how quickly this city bounced back from the devastating hurricane! Key West’s iconic roosters still roam the streets.
Belize City – here we opted for a snorkeling tour. The tour company grouped people with similar experiences together, so newbie like us did not feel intimidated. They provided snorkeling gear and took each group to swim around the coral reef. After the tour, we walked around the port where I spotted a man selling corn on the cob smeared with cheese and limejuice ($2). It was VERY good!
Note: There’s no need to exchange currency on any of the ports on this cruise, as everyone accepts USD.
Cozumel – we took Viking’s free tour of the city. No matter how many times we came here before, there is always something new to learn and see. This is also the place to buy authentic black coral jewelries. A set of necklace, bracelet, and earrings cost only $25.
Merida (Progreso) – here we paid for the tour to Chichen Itza. The bus ride was very long, but the Mayan ruin was worth the visit. You can no longer climbed to the top of the Temple of Kukulkan (better known as El Castillo). The fragile stairs are crumbling. Like many famous ancient monuments around the world, this place was packed with tourists, myself included. We stayed long enough to walk around the large plaza before heading back to the bus. A box lunch of sandwich, apple, bottled water, and granola bar was provided.
On this cruise, we had two sea days. We encountered rough sea during the first sea day, which left me seasick. Other than that day, the rest of the trip was smooth sailing. The weather was pleasant in every port we visited.
The ship doesn’t have packed activities for the passengers, but there’s plenty to do. When we discovered the digital game tables, we were hooked on playing poker. We even skipped the nightly show just to play the game, but we couldn’t play too long, since the game table kept shutting down and rebooting itself.
The ship came back to Miami early on Christmas Eve. We had a wonderful time on Viking Sky and were sad to leave this beautiful ship. To think that I almost didn’t make it to this cruise! Two weeks prior to our departure, I tripped and fell -- face down -- onto the hard concrete floor. My lips doubled in size and one of my eyes nearly swollen shut. I looked like a boxer who lost the fight! Luckily, by the time we have to leave, my face was almost back to normal. I’m very glad that I was able to make this trip.
We enjoyed our time on Viking Sky and look forward to cruising with her again (or on her other sister ships!)
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