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Always wanted to visit the R Amazon, and this was our chance - from February to March 2018 - to celebrate a major Wedding Anniversary. This was clearly noted somewhere, because one evening, in Manfredi's restaurant, a group of waiters came to our table to present us with a beautiful cake and wish us a Happy Anniversary! a bottle of Champagne was put in our stateroom! that really is service...! We have previously been with Viking River cruises, and enjoyed them thoroughly, but this was our first Viking Ocean Cruise. Viking is the most superb company, the ship 'Sky' was simply beautiful, it is furnished with delightful taste - tweeds, and leather, wood and glass - comfortable chairs, sofas, tables, set in small groups, or larger combinations; with plenty of space to sit and read, listen to the musical trio playing in the Atrium, or be sociable. Our Stateroom was very comfortable with a large bed - fresh linen every day, including the duvet - and a shower-room with heated floor, and space to wash, and store necessities. Complimentary coffee etc with a coffee-maker, replenished each day, accessible on its own shelf. A desk, comfortable chairs with a table, and then on the balcony a table and two chairs where we could eat breakfast if we chose room service. There is a Laundry Service, but also a Launderette on each deck, which is a bonus - with an iron. The crew of 450 people were the best! everything ran smoothly, there was nothing that you couldn't have brought to you by discreet and pleasant waiters. On one occasion, after a full day out on excursions, we returned along the jetty towards the ship, aware of lots of clapping and cheering...and found a double line of the crew waiting to welcome us all back on board! a glass of Prosecco, and lively music, clapping and cheering - it was a terrific welcome! At the end of the cruise, we gathered in the Atrium for the Captain's report and Farewell, and as he finished, a double line of the crew came down the stairs so we could applaud THEM and clap them, with out thanks. FOOD: really excellent. Three Restaurants with waiter service - 2 to book ahead [The Chef's Table, and Manfredi's an Italian Restaurant] one, The Restaurant, to turn up to [only queues if you arrived at the same time as a large group, eg 8,0 go early or later, and you were taken straight to a table] Plenty of self-service - the World Cafe was excellent, [often with the same food as the Restaurant was offering that evening!] we had Sushi prepared by a Japanese sushi cook, or wonderful seafood, or delicious roast beef, etc and breakfast was very thorough with everything from porridge, muesli, fruit, through to Bacon, scrambled eggs, hash browns, etc.and then croissants, toast, and more...coffee or tea refilled as needed. There were other great places to eat: the Pool Bar overlooking the ocean; Mamsens with Norwegian food; some open just for lunches, some offering specialities eg Tea with sandwiches and little cakes [the WIntergarden] If you had wanted to, you could ask for Room Service and have a meal at any time of day or night. Entertainments: these were varied and surprised us with how good they all were. Performances by visiting groups, by a Brazilian Opera singer, by a mini-Carnival group; and the really excellent onboard musicians and dancers, whose performances earned great applause. There were 'Enrichment' Lectures, by guest lecturers, and these were usually [a less good professional couple had been recruited at short notice to replace someone who was ill] very good, informative, and well delivered, in the Star Theatre. These Lectures could also be watched on the Stateroom TV, which was useful. We loved the Open-Air film shows, lying back under the stars, with headphones, enjoying some of the latest films... even a packet of popcorn was provided! There were plenty of things to do: 2 swimming pools, and the Spa; a fitness centre with every kind of exercise equipment; a hair salon, nail treatments, a golf putting-green, exercise-space to walk round the deck; shops, and then the amazing interactive tables where any game could be played from scrabble to bridge, crosswords to patience. Each sea-day there was a game of Trivia at lunch time, for small groups to form and answer questions; there was a Choir formed from guests; the list really was thorough - and if you wished to read, there are books tucked into shelves in all the public rooms, read-and-return. Outings: the preparation was immaculate - and reading other reviews, I suspect that the chaos in Belem may have meant a change of personnel! Before every arrival, we had an excellent Port Talk, which included a clear, illustrated explanation of all the Optional and Included Tours, what they involved, and how we should proceed to transport. There were no hiccups, delays, or worries at all - it could not have been smoother in each of the Ports we visited. In a couple of Ports, where there was a long jetty, Viking had simply ordered up in advance a fleet of small buses which ran all day, and into the evening, to ferry people to and from the ship. Our main hope was to see as much as we could of [a] Amazon wildlife; and [b] Indian village life. The rainy season means that more animals and birds are generally visible as the ground is submerged... Highlights for us were:: the trip in Santarem, to see Manioc being processed in an Indian village. We were fortunate in having a guide who was half-Indian and half-Portuguese, who explained the whole process by which a highly toxic root is processed to become a very nutritious foodstuff, which with the quantities of fruit growing wild, becomes the nourishment for Indians. :: the trip to see the Meeting of the Waters and on into Lake Janaurai, the floating village [which dries out in October when the dry season drains the Lake] and on by canoes, along narrow tributaries through the forest, to view the enormous Water lilies. We enjoyed the Optional 'Nature Walk' in San Lucia Nature Park, where - despite a huge storm 3 days earlier which had destroyed many of the wooden walkways - we were guided among the splendid trees, saw an Armadillo 'nest', plenty of medicinal trees, and plants, listened to the roar of bullfrogs [like a football stadium!] and relished being shown an incredibly rare tiny green frog. Other Outings: we were welcomed at various islands in the West Indies, but after the enormous expanse of the Amazonian rain forest, and the huge stretch of the River itself [16 miles wide at Manaus], everything seemed too much of a contrast! After Grenada, our next 'favourite' was St Kitts, where we saw the old Colonial house with its cool gardens, and spacious rooms, as well as the lovely countryside. Really, the evenings and the dawns, especially at sea, were the most beautiful of all the sights - often, I'd wake specially to look out at the ship's bow-wave, cream lace against a dark ocean... Would we go again? YES! TOMORROW!! And we simply cannot praise Viking and their cruise highly enough. Final memory? The good Captain, who reported at midday over the ship's public address system - always ended his report with the enduring words "and from the Bridge....all is well."

Voyage of a lifetime

Viking Sky Cruise Review by LF.Buckland

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Always wanted to visit the R Amazon, and this was our chance - from February to March 2018 - to celebrate a major Wedding Anniversary. This was clearly noted somewhere, because one evening, in Manfredi's restaurant, a group of waiters came to our table to present us with a beautiful cake and wish us a Happy Anniversary! a bottle of Champagne was put in our stateroom! that really is service...!

We have previously been with Viking River cruises, and enjoyed them thoroughly, but this was our first Viking Ocean Cruise.

Viking is the most superb company, the ship 'Sky' was simply beautiful, it is furnished with delightful taste - tweeds, and leather, wood and glass - comfortable chairs, sofas, tables, set in small groups, or larger combinations; with plenty of space to sit and read, listen to the musical trio playing in the Atrium, or be sociable. Our Stateroom was very comfortable with a large bed - fresh linen every day, including the duvet - and a shower-room with heated floor, and space to wash, and store necessities. Complimentary coffee etc with a coffee-maker, replenished each day, accessible on its own shelf. A desk, comfortable chairs with a table, and then on the balcony a table and two chairs where we could eat breakfast if we chose room service. There is a Laundry Service, but also a Launderette on each deck, which is a bonus - with an iron.

The crew of 450 people were the best! everything ran smoothly, there was nothing that you couldn't have brought to you by discreet and pleasant waiters. On one occasion, after a full day out on excursions, we returned along the jetty towards the ship, aware of lots of clapping and cheering...and found a double line of the crew waiting to welcome us all back on board! a glass of Prosecco, and lively music, clapping and cheering - it was a terrific welcome! At the end of the cruise, we gathered in the Atrium for the Captain's report and Farewell, and as he finished, a double line of the crew came down the stairs so we could applaud THEM and clap them, with out thanks.

FOOD: really excellent. Three Restaurants with waiter service - 2 to book ahead [The Chef's Table, and Manfredi's an Italian Restaurant] one, The Restaurant, to turn up to [only queues if you arrived at the same time as a large group, eg 8,0 go early or later, and you were taken straight to a table]

Plenty of self-service - the World Cafe was excellent, [often with the same food as the Restaurant was offering that evening!] we had Sushi prepared by a Japanese sushi cook, or wonderful seafood, or delicious roast beef, etc and breakfast was very thorough with everything from porridge, muesli, fruit, through to Bacon, scrambled eggs, hash browns, etc.and then croissants, toast, and more...coffee or tea refilled as needed.

There were other great places to eat: the Pool Bar overlooking the ocean; Mamsens with Norwegian food; some open just for lunches, some offering specialities eg Tea with sandwiches and little cakes [the WIntergarden] If you had wanted to, you could ask for Room Service and have a meal at any time of day or night.

Entertainments: these were varied and surprised us with how good they all were. Performances by visiting groups, by a Brazilian Opera singer, by a mini-Carnival group; and the really excellent onboard musicians and dancers, whose performances earned great applause. There were 'Enrichment' Lectures, by guest lecturers, and these were usually [a less good professional couple had been recruited at short notice to replace someone who was ill] very good, informative, and well delivered, in the Star Theatre. These Lectures could also be watched on the Stateroom TV, which was useful. We loved the Open-Air film shows, lying back under the stars, with headphones, enjoying some of the latest films... even a packet of popcorn was provided!

There were plenty of things to do: 2 swimming pools, and the Spa; a fitness centre with every kind of exercise equipment; a hair salon, nail treatments, a golf putting-green, exercise-space to walk round the deck; shops, and then the amazing interactive tables where any game could be played from scrabble to bridge, crosswords to patience. Each sea-day there was a game of Trivia at lunch time, for small groups to form and answer questions; there was a Choir formed from guests; the list really was thorough - and if you wished to read, there are books tucked into shelves in all the public rooms, read-and-return.

Outings: the preparation was immaculate - and reading other reviews, I suspect that the chaos in Belem may have meant a change of personnel! Before every arrival, we had an excellent Port Talk, which included a clear, illustrated explanation of all the Optional and Included Tours, what they involved, and how we should proceed to transport. There were no hiccups, delays, or worries at all - it could not have been smoother in each of the Ports we visited. In a couple of Ports, where there was a long jetty, Viking had simply ordered up in advance a fleet of small buses which ran all day, and into the evening, to ferry people to and from the ship.

Our main hope was to see as much as we could of [a] Amazon wildlife; and [b] Indian village life. The rainy season means that more animals and birds are generally visible as the ground is submerged... Highlights for us were:: the trip in Santarem, to see Manioc being processed in an Indian village. We were fortunate in having a guide who was half-Indian and half-Portuguese, who explained the whole process by which a highly toxic root is processed to become a very nutritious foodstuff, which with the quantities of fruit growing wild, becomes the nourishment for Indians. :: the trip to see the Meeting of the Waters and on into Lake Janaurai, the floating village [which dries out in October when the dry season drains the Lake] and on by canoes, along narrow tributaries through the forest, to view the enormous Water lilies. We enjoyed the Optional 'Nature Walk' in San Lucia Nature Park, where - despite a huge storm 3 days earlier which had destroyed many of the wooden walkways - we were guided among the splendid trees, saw an Armadillo 'nest', plenty of medicinal trees, and plants, listened to the roar of bullfrogs [like a football stadium!] and relished being shown an incredibly rare tiny green frog.

Other Outings: we were welcomed at various islands in the West Indies, but after the enormous expanse of the Amazonian rain forest, and the huge stretch of the River itself [16 miles wide at Manaus], everything seemed too much of a contrast! After Grenada, our next 'favourite' was St Kitts, where we saw the old Colonial house with its cool gardens, and spacious rooms, as well as the lovely countryside.

Really, the evenings and the dawns, especially at sea, were the most beautiful of all the sights - often, I'd wake specially to look out at the ship's bow-wave, cream lace against a dark ocean...

Would we go again? YES! TOMORROW!! And we simply cannot praise Viking and their cruise highly enough. Final memory? The good Captain, who reported at midday over the ship's public address system - always ended his report with the enduring words "and from the Bridge....all is well."
LF.Buckland’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
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Cabin Review

Cabin 4049
very comfortable, arm chairs and a table to relax while watching a film on TV or a Port Report, etc.
Super-king-size bed, all bed linen, even the duvet cover, was replaced every day.
opportunity to order room service at any time, or specifically have breakfast brought to you.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Island Tour
    Difficult to mark this one. The guide was Dutch and inaudible, but the Island is fascinating, and we saw Nelson's DOckyard, and lookout points. 75% of Antigua's income comes from cruise ships...
    View All 162 Island Tour Reviews
  • Atlantis Submarine
    A tender took us out to the reef, where the Atlantis surfaced, and replaced its passengers with our group. We dived gradually to 144 feet, and saw plenty of fish, turtles... comfortable, we were able to see out of portholes, and sat backtoback along the submarine, with a commentary from our guid.
    View All 20 Atlantis Submarine Reviews
  • Island Tour
    Interested to see the Island, and be taken round it in a comfortable and breezy mini-coach
    View All 123 Island Tour Reviews
  • City Tour
    Our guide was not always audible [so not a 4-star]; but the tour was very interesting - the huge Opera House, in the middle of the Amazon rain forest! built by the Rubber Barons of the 1800s.
    View All 13 City Tour Reviews
  • Meeting of the Waters (Encontro das Aguas)
    As the brown waters of the Amazon meet the black,acidic waters of the River Negra, the contrasting swirls are fascinting to see. There can often be Amazonian pink dolphins - you need to be very quick to spot their brief appearance!
    View All 12 Meeting of the Waters (Encontro das Aguas) Reviews
  • Santarem
    Wonderful shore trips: to the Manioc processing in an Indian village, which we were fortunate to have a guide, Paolo, who had been brought up there.
    A different Paolo, from Santarem, took us round the San Lucia Nature Walk in the afternoon, he had not enough information to give us about the types of trees, despite having a Portuguese tree 'specialist' from the estate with us.
    View All 26 Santarem Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Santarem Cruise Port Review
  • Island Tour
    super guide who had been a driver on the London Underground for 25 years, and was full of information, and proud of his Island. We saw Nutmegs and Chocolate processing, and the lush beauty of a fairly unspoilt island
    View All 6 Island Tour Reviews
  • Island tour
    greatly enjoyed seeing this Island, which is beautiful and better-cared-for than Antigua. Our guide was good, and informative, took us to a Colonial house dating from the sugar-plantation days, showed us a modern US-funded Veterinary University [not for St Kitts people, alas] and the planned hotels to be built.
    View All 266 Island tour Reviews