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This was our first ever cruise. We’ve been eyeing the Viking Cruise catalogs for years, and decided we wanted to go with “the best.” We were’nt disappointed. The ship is beautiful, clean, and elegant, My wife and I are used to traveling on our own, so we were concerned we might not enjoy traveling with 900 passengers on the ship - but this was never a problem. Viking’s ships are carefully designed with many smaller sitting rooms and public spaces. You never get the feeling that you’re packed in with a crowd. The only time you saw the whole group together was during the mandatory safety drill before setting sail. With the exception of waiting at the airport and during the embarkation process (which was a little disorganized) we never waited in line again. The food is excellent! The World Cafe cafeteria has a constantly changing variety of food. There’s something for everyone. We learned after the first day to take small portions of several things, to get a chance to sample the variety. You can always return for more if you’re still hungry. Lots of fish (cooked, smoked fish, and raw sushi), big “steamship” sides of beef, lamb, soups, pasta, pizza. Always a variety of fresh-baked bread and rolls. Most dinners included at least one local specialty of the islands. There was a Caribbean style seafood buffet one night, which was superb. The desserts were fabulous - and always came in petite portions, so you could sample 2 or 3 (or more!) if desired. Fresh made ice creams and sorbets every day, as well. The regular restaurant (with table service) as well as the 2 specialty restaurants are included, and the menus are quite interesting. We had a chance to sample all 3 restaurants. We have high standards for eating out (because my wife is a gourmet cook at home!) and were never disappointed with any of the food on board. The included excursions (mostly mini-bus sightseeing tours) were a little underwhelming, but I think this is because there isn’t as much cultural history to see on most of the smaller islands. The walking tour of “Old” San Juan, however, was fabulous, as were several of the extra tours. We didn’t mind taking the other basic tours since we were new to all of the islands, but if we went again I think on several of those days we would walk or take a taxi to a beach and just swim and get some sun. The 2 most interesting extra tours that we did were the rain forest excursion on St. Lucia and the volcano trekking on Guadalupe. At the rain forest they’ve installed a ski lift with 10 passenger open gondolas, which have a roof, but open sides. A naturalist/guide rides the lift with you as you rise up through the forest to the summit and back and explains what you’re seeing. Very interesting. Fascinating plants, flowers, and amazing hummingbirds. Bring a rain jacket and be prepared to get wet - it’s a rain forest! The volcano (La Soufriere) was fascinating - the crater is filled with smoking fumeroles - vents of steam and sulfurous gases and, rather unexpectedly, blooming bromeliads. Two natulist/guides accompany you to point out interesting flowers and talk about the geologic history of the volcano. You need to be fit and sure on your feet for this trek - it’s 5 hours of mountain hiking. Nothing technical, but it’s not a walk down main street, so only sign up if you’re fit enough for the challenge. The cabin was clean and well designed. We were in a “deluxe” veranda, which is the smallest cabin. It’s small, but we never felt cramped. There’s enough room to walk around the bed and it has a pair of easy chairs, a small table, and a desk, so you don’t have to sit on the bed unless you want to. Includes a private veranda with 2 chairs and a table - great place to sit and watch the ship pull into and out of harbor. Has USB outlets for charging phones and tablets, as well as 110 volt American style and 220 volt Northern European style outlets. The bathroom was great - nice shower, and a heated floor! The cabin valets were friendly and efficient - the cabin, including the bath and shower, was always spotless. The spa and exercise room were great, and we used them nearly every day. Nice variety of exercise equipment, plus a sauna, hot tub, steam room, cold plunge pool, and the “ice grotto” if you need to cool down between trips to the sauna. Or you can splurge and order a massage from the ship’s team of therapists. We did. :-) The entertainment was quite good, if a little heavy on broadway show tunes and popular rock music. They also had a classical trio and a pianist, so there was something for everyone. The service everywhere on board was fabulous. Everyone was friendly and accommodating, and always asking if you were enjoying yourself and was there anything they could do for you. We had such a great time that my wife and I signed up for our next cruise as soon as we got back home! Up next: Bangkok to Hong Kong!

Excellent introduction to Caribbean Islands, with superb accommodations/service

Viking Sea Cruise Review by Schultsw

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2018
  • Destination: Caribbean
This was our first ever cruise. We’ve been eyeing the Viking Cruise catalogs for years, and decided we wanted to go with “the best.” We were’nt disappointed. The ship is beautiful, clean, and elegant, My wife and I are used to traveling on our own, so we were concerned we might not enjoy traveling with 900 passengers on the ship - but this was never a problem. Viking’s ships are carefully designed with many smaller sitting rooms and public spaces. You never get the feeling that you’re packed in with a crowd. The only time you saw the whole group together was during the mandatory safety drill before setting sail. With the exception of waiting at the airport and during the embarkation process (which was a little disorganized) we never waited in line again.

The food is excellent! The World Cafe cafeteria has a constantly changing variety of food. There’s something for everyone. We learned after the first day to take small portions of several things, to get a chance to sample the variety. You can always return for more if you’re still hungry. Lots of fish (cooked, smoked fish, and raw sushi), big “steamship” sides of beef, lamb, soups, pasta, pizza. Always a variety of fresh-baked bread and rolls. Most dinners included at least one local specialty of the islands. There was a Caribbean style seafood buffet one night, which was superb. The desserts were fabulous - and always came in petite portions, so you could sample 2 or 3 (or more!) if desired. Fresh made ice creams and sorbets every day, as well. The regular restaurant (with table service) as well as the 2 specialty restaurants are included, and the menus are quite interesting. We had a chance to sample all 3 restaurants. We have high standards for eating out (because my wife is a gourmet cook at home!) and were never disappointed with any of the food on board.

The included excursions (mostly mini-bus sightseeing tours) were a little underwhelming, but I think this is because there isn’t as much cultural history to see on most of the smaller islands. The walking tour of “Old” San Juan, however, was fabulous, as were several of the extra tours. We didn’t mind taking the other basic tours since we were new to all of the islands, but if we went again I think on several of those days we would walk or take a taxi to a beach and just swim and get some sun. The 2 most interesting extra tours that we did were the rain forest excursion on St. Lucia and the volcano trekking on Guadalupe. At the rain forest they’ve installed a ski lift with 10 passenger open gondolas, which have a roof, but open sides. A naturalist/guide rides the lift with you as you rise up through the forest to the summit and back and explains what you’re seeing. Very interesting. Fascinating plants, flowers, and amazing hummingbirds. Bring a rain jacket and be prepared to get wet - it’s a rain forest! The volcano (La Soufriere) was fascinating - the crater is filled with smoking fumeroles - vents of steam and sulfurous gases and, rather unexpectedly, blooming bromeliads. Two natulist/guides accompany you to point out interesting flowers and talk about the geologic history of the volcano. You need to be fit and sure on your feet for this trek - it’s 5 hours of mountain hiking. Nothing technical, but it’s not a walk down main street, so only sign up if you’re fit enough for the challenge.

The cabin was clean and well designed. We were in a “deluxe” veranda, which is the smallest cabin. It’s small, but we never felt cramped. There’s enough room to walk around the bed and it has a pair of easy chairs, a small table, and a desk, so you don’t have to sit on the bed unless you want to. Includes a private veranda with 2 chairs and a table - great place to sit and watch the ship pull into and out of harbor. Has USB outlets for charging phones and tablets, as well as 110 volt American style and 220 volt Northern European style outlets. The bathroom was great - nice shower, and a heated floor! The cabin valets were friendly and efficient - the cabin, including the bath and shower, was always spotless.

The spa and exercise room were great, and we used them nearly every day. Nice variety of exercise equipment, plus a sauna, hot tub, steam room, cold plunge pool, and the “ice grotto” if you need to cool down between trips to the sauna. Or you can splurge and order a massage from the ship’s team of therapists. We did. :-)

The entertainment was quite good, if a little heavy on broadway show tunes and popular rock music. They also had a classical trio and a pianist, so there was something for everyone.

The service everywhere on board was fabulous. Everyone was friendly and accommodating, and always asking if you were enjoying yourself and was there anything they could do for you.

We had such a great time that my wife and I signed up for our next cruise as soon as we got back home! Up next: Bangkok to Hong Kong!
Schultsw’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
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