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I read the review of the same cruise that another person wrote and It is interesting the differences experienced by travelers on the same cruise. I will say that this is one of the longest critiques I have ever written on a cruise. We have cruised on four different cruise lines and have taken many cruises over the last few years. We are mainly destination cruisers and don't participate in many of the shipboard activities including the evening entertainment. Before the cruise, we spend time researching the ports we visit and determine the tours that provide us with the opportunity to see the best and most interesting, for us, in each port. We had friends that had booked this cruise and we decided to join them. We had never been on a Viking Ocean cruise, so we decided that this would be one to try Viking Ocean. We have been on a Viking River Cruise and had an excellent time, with great service. At this point, I will say that we currently have four cruises booked on another cruise line, but none on Viking Ocean and I doubt that we will ever go on another Viking Ocean Cruise considering the level of service we received on this trip. This ship has been in service three years, but we felt that this cruise was like a maiden voyage and that the service side of the crew had never worked together or on a cruise ship. We were totally disappointed. I’m sure some may read to this point and stop, thinking that we are just some complaining snobs, but you might want to read on. I have included many things that were excellent throughout the cruise along with problem areas we encountered. I have rated cruises before and never had service oriented complaints like this. We did opt for the three day pre-cruise tour in Tuscany. I will say that the service in the Villa was excellent and the tours and guides were also excellent. The weather wasn't great, very cool windy , and rainy, but you have to be ready for that, especially in March. Embarkation and debarkation went smoothly for us. Embarkation was very quick and efficient. Our bags were transported from the bus to the ship. As we went on board and scanned our card, we were greeted by name. Debarkation was also very smooth. When our group left the ship, all of our suitcases were in one area of the cruise terminal. After identification, bags were loaded on to the busses by porters for the trip to the airport. Viking did a nice job. We were in cabin 5087, a PV1 cabin, on the Viking Star. Since the ship came into service in 2015, it was in fantastic shape. The décor was very nice. The cabin size was very good and the arrangement within the cabin was very good. There were plenty of drawers and the closet space was adequate. The bath was nice with a heated floor and a decent size shower. The night lights in the cabin and bath were nice also. The only thing we saw in the cabin that was unusual was that the TV did not swivel and to watch anything you had to sit up in bed. The view from the sofa was at an extreme angle. The layout of the World Cafe was really nice and spread the passengers around. Also, they appeared to have one, cooked to order item, at every meal, which was nice. We selected one tour in every port using optional tours in all ports except for one. The tours were all very good and the guides were exceptional, especially in Dubrovnik and Santorini. I want to add that in Dubrovnik, the Dubrovnik by Cable Car tour not only includes the trip to the top of Srd Hill, with the fort, but also includes a nice Old Town walking tour within the city walls. After that there is ample time to do the City Wall walk on your own and spend additional time in town if you wish. Viking provides a shuttle to the ship that runs every thirty minutes. There were also shuttles in Corfu and Athens. We ended up missing three ports due to weather. Seas were running at 10' - 15' with winds at 40 - 50 mph as reported by the captain. Viking was able to add one alternative port. The weather was poor, quite cool, windy and a lot of rain the entire trip. Obviously, Viking can’t be blamed for bad weather and you need to be prepared for the conditions, which we were. From there, many service oriented things went downhill. Bad things started happening on the second day, all of which were service oriented. We made two minor requests of our cabin attendant, which were completed on day one. On day two, our mini bar had not been restocked. When the mini bar attendant showed up, he accused us of already drinking the alcohol and soft drinks that day, which we hadn’t. You would think that they would have just refilled it and if it happened again, explain that the mini bar is refilled just once a day. From then on our mini bar was stocked the way we requested and never missed. Due to one port cancellation, the alternate was set up. There was no information provided to us on the excursions that were available. Friends of ours, about 15 cabins away, received a package in their stateroom with the new information. When we finally got the information, we tried to change our tour from the one that we had at the closed port. Guest Services said that our time to change the tour had expired. He finally checked with a supervisor and they did accommodate us. Again, poor customer service telling us we were too late. We also received our disembarkation form in our cabin 3 ½ hours after it was due to be turned in. We spoke to other passengers that experienced the same problem. With all these problems in our cabin, our attendant did apologize and we had no more problems there. In The World Café, we found that the port side service was excellent and we would wait for a table on that side of the ship. The starboard side service was abysmal. Once after waiting for about five minutes, my wife got up and took our water glasses to a server to get them filled. Another time, we did not have a coffee cup and she got up to get one from one service station and was told to go to the other station since we weren’t in his section. Another instance that occurred was that I sat at a table that had just departed. When no one cleared the table, I put all the dirty dishes on the table next to us that had dirty dishes already on it and then I went around to other tables and gathered up utensils and napkins for us. The dirty dish table was not cleared the entire time we had our breakfast. Again, the port side service was excellent and we never experienced a problem. On to the restaurants... Our first evening, we had bread delivered to the table almost immediately. It took just under 15 minutes, for our water glasses to finally get filled and just over 20 minutes for our order to be taken. During the meal I asked for some additional butter. It never showed up. Service was extremely slow throughout the service. A leisurely dinner is nice but 2 1/2 hours is a bit excessive. In the specialty restaurants, things did not fare much better. In the Manfredi's Italian restaurant, we received our appetizer quickly, but the second pasta course arrived right at an hour and a half after we arrived. The reason given us by our server was that there were a lot of pasta dishes that were ordered. Huh, we were in an Italian restaurant. Wouldn't you think there are going to be a lot of pasta orders? After the lengthy wait, the risotto that I ordered looked like a big yellow blob in the dish. It wasn't like any other risotto that I have had in the past. The Chef’s Table was interesting. It is a fixed four course menu. There were some strange combinations of dishes. Also, I don’t think I’ve ever had an Asian dinner without rice until this dinner. The menu was just a bit too edgy. There should have been two options with each course that had one, more mainstream item. For the remainder of the cruise, we had our dinner in The World Cafe, on the port side with good service, where we could serve ourselves. The servers were prompt with drinks and other requests. In our on board cruise critique, we gave kudos to three of the servers that really seemed to go above and beyond. The other thing we noticed was that you had to read the daily ships' paper in detail to make sure you didn't miss some nugget. Odd things were highlighted (grayed out) while items that seemed more important weren't. We did fill out a mid cruise critique listing the problems that we had experienced up to that point. One of the restaurant mangers called and asked my wife what the problems were and she told the manager the same thing that we put in the critique. The manager said that she then knew where to address the problems. We never heard more as a follow up. We also filled out a final cruise critique and restated all the problems that we experienced. We will have to wait and see if there is any follow up by Viking. Our friends also experienced service problems throughout the cruise and also completed the critiques. Other passengers that we spoke to also experienced slow and/or poor service in the dining venues. I hope they filled out their critiques to let Viking know they experienced problems too. In conclusion, we feel that we have received a much better level of service on other cruise lines and that with the level of service that we received on this cruise, I don't think we will ever book a Viking Ocean cruise again.

Nice cruise in the Adriatic, Ionian, and Aegean Seas

Viking Star Cruise Review by kjones121

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
I read the review of the same cruise that another person wrote and It is interesting the differences experienced by travelers on the same cruise.

I will say that this is one of the longest critiques I have ever written on a cruise.

We have cruised on four different cruise lines and have taken many cruises over the last few years. We are mainly destination cruisers and don't participate in many of the shipboard activities including the evening entertainment. Before the cruise, we spend time researching the ports we visit and determine the tours that provide us with the opportunity to see the best and most interesting, for us, in each port.

We had friends that had booked this cruise and we decided to join them. We had never been on a Viking Ocean cruise, so we decided that this would be one to try Viking Ocean. We have been on a Viking River Cruise and had an excellent time, with great service.

At this point, I will say that we currently have four cruises booked on another cruise line, but none on Viking Ocean and I doubt that we will ever go on another Viking Ocean Cruise considering the level of service we received on this trip. This ship has been in service three years, but we felt that this cruise was like a maiden voyage and that the service side of the crew had never worked together or on a cruise ship. We were totally disappointed. I’m sure some may read to this point and stop, thinking that we are just some complaining snobs, but you might want to read on. I have included many things that were excellent throughout the cruise along with problem areas we encountered. I have rated cruises before and never had service oriented complaints like this.

We did opt for the three day pre-cruise tour in Tuscany. I will say that the service in the Villa was excellent and the tours and guides were also excellent. The weather wasn't great, very cool windy , and rainy, but you have to be ready for that, especially in March.

Embarkation and debarkation went smoothly for us. Embarkation was very quick and efficient. Our bags were transported from the bus to the ship. As we went on board and scanned our card, we were greeted by name. Debarkation was also very smooth. When our group left the ship, all of our suitcases were in one area of the cruise terminal. After identification, bags were loaded on to the busses by porters for the trip to the airport. Viking did a nice job.

We were in cabin 5087, a PV1 cabin, on the Viking Star. Since the ship came into service in 2015, it was in fantastic shape. The décor was very nice. The cabin size was very good and the arrangement within the cabin was very good. There were plenty of drawers and the closet space was adequate. The bath was nice with a heated floor and a decent size shower. The night lights in the cabin and bath were nice also. The only thing we saw in the cabin that was unusual was that the TV did not swivel and to watch anything you had to sit up in bed. The view from the sofa was at an extreme angle.

The layout of the World Cafe was really nice and spread the passengers around. Also, they appeared to have one, cooked to order item, at every meal, which was nice.

We selected one tour in every port using optional tours in all ports except for one. The tours were all very good and the guides were exceptional, especially in Dubrovnik and Santorini. I want to add that in Dubrovnik, the Dubrovnik by Cable Car tour not only includes the trip to the top of Srd Hill, with the fort, but also includes a nice Old Town walking tour within the city walls. After that there is ample time to do the City Wall walk on your own and spend additional time in town if you wish. Viking provides a shuttle to the ship that runs every thirty minutes. There were also shuttles in Corfu and Athens.

We ended up missing three ports due to weather. Seas were running at 10' - 15' with winds at 40 - 50 mph as reported by the captain. Viking was able to add one alternative port. The weather was poor, quite cool, windy and a lot of rain the entire trip. Obviously, Viking can’t be blamed for bad weather and you need to be prepared for the conditions, which we were.

From there, many service oriented things went downhill.

Bad things started happening on the second day, all of which were service oriented. We made two minor requests of our cabin attendant, which were completed on day one. On day two, our mini bar had not been restocked. When the mini bar attendant showed up, he accused us of already drinking the alcohol and soft drinks that day, which we hadn’t. You would think that they would have just refilled it and if it happened again, explain that the mini bar is refilled just once a day. From then on our mini bar was stocked the way we requested and never missed.

Due to one port cancellation, the alternate was set up. There was no information provided to us on the excursions that were available. Friends of ours, about 15 cabins away, received a package in their stateroom with the new information. When we finally got the information, we tried to change our tour from the one that we had at the closed port. Guest Services said that our time to change the tour had expired. He finally checked with a supervisor and they did accommodate us. Again, poor customer service telling us we were too late. We also received our disembarkation form in our cabin 3 ½ hours after it was due to be turned in. We spoke to other passengers that experienced the same problem. With all these problems in our cabin, our attendant did apologize and we had no more problems there.

In The World Café, we found that the port side service was excellent and we would wait for a table on that side of the ship. The starboard side service was abysmal. Once after waiting for about five minutes, my wife got up and took our water glasses to a server to get them filled. Another time, we did not have a coffee cup and she got up to get one from one service station and was told to go to the other station since we weren’t in his section. Another instance that occurred was that I sat at a table that had just departed. When no one cleared the table, I put all the dirty dishes on the table next to us that had dirty dishes already on it and then I went around to other tables and gathered up utensils and napkins for us. The dirty dish table was not cleared the entire time we had our breakfast. Again, the port side service was excellent and we never experienced a problem.

On to the restaurants... Our first evening, we had bread delivered to the table almost immediately. It took just under 15 minutes, for our water glasses to finally get filled and just over 20 minutes for our order to be taken. During the meal I asked for some additional butter. It never showed up. Service was extremely slow throughout the service. A leisurely dinner is nice but 2 1/2 hours is a bit excessive. In the specialty restaurants, things did not fare much better. In the Manfredi's Italian restaurant, we received our appetizer quickly, but the second pasta course arrived right at an hour and a half after we arrived. The reason given us by our server was that there were a lot of pasta dishes that were ordered. Huh, we were in an Italian restaurant. Wouldn't you think there are going to be a lot of pasta orders? After the lengthy wait, the risotto that I ordered looked like a big yellow blob in the dish. It wasn't like any other risotto that I have had in the past. The Chef’s Table was interesting. It is a fixed four course menu. There were some strange combinations of dishes. Also, I don’t think I’ve ever had an Asian dinner without rice until this dinner. The menu was just a bit too edgy. There should have been two options with each course that had one, more mainstream item.

For the remainder of the cruise, we had our dinner in The World Cafe, on the port side with good service, where we could serve ourselves. The servers were prompt with drinks and other requests. In our on board cruise critique, we gave kudos to three of the servers that really seemed to go above and beyond.

The other thing we noticed was that you had to read the daily ships' paper in detail to make sure you didn't miss some nugget. Odd things were highlighted (grayed out) while items that seemed more important weren't.

We did fill out a mid cruise critique listing the problems that we had experienced up to that point. One of the restaurant mangers called and asked my wife what the problems were and she told the manager the same thing that we put in the critique. The manager said that she then knew where to address the problems. We never heard more as a follow up. We also filled out a final cruise critique and restated all the problems that we experienced. We will have to wait and see if there is any follow up by Viking.

Our friends also experienced service problems throughout the cruise and also completed the critiques. Other passengers that we spoke to also experienced slow and/or poor service in the dining venues. I hope they filled out their critiques to let Viking know they experienced problems too.

In conclusion, we feel that we have received a much better level of service on other cruise lines and that with the level of service that we received on this cruise, I don't think we will ever book a Viking Ocean cruise again.
Viking Cruises, Community Team has responded
Dear kjones121, Thank you for passing along your thorough review. Happy to hear your voyage began with a pleasant pre-extension in Tuscany, and a smooth embarkation process in Venice. Additionally, we’re pleased that your stateroom and included shore excursions were, on the whole, an enjoyable aspect of your vacation. It is regrettable to hear of your experience with initial delays in service, and displeasure at some onboard dining offerings. Additionally, we hear your feedback regarding how information is relayed during these necessary itinerary adjustments. Once again, thank you for taking the time to pass along your thoughts, both here and through your onboard survey. We value suggestions from experienced travelers, which allow us to improve our products and services. While you will likely be hearing from a member of our team to address your onboard survey, you may also choose to expedite that process and reach out to us directly at Tellus@VikingCruises.com. We hope you’ll give us the opportunity to regain your faith in Viking, and wish you a lovely weekend. Best regards, Viking Cruises
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of The Independent Traveler, Inc.
kjones121’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 5087
We were in cabin 5087, a PV1 cabin, on the Viking Star. Since the ship came into service in 2015, it was in fantastic shape. The décor was very nice. The cabin size was very good and the arrangement within the cabin was very good. There were plenty of drawers and the closet space was adequate. The bath was nice with a heated floor and a decent size shower. The night lights in the cabin and bath were nice also. The layout of the World Cafe was really nice and spread the passengers around. Also, they appeared to have one, cooked to order item, at every meal, which was nice. The only thing we saw in the cabin that was unusual was that the TV did not swivel and to watch anything you had to sit up in bed. The view from the sofa was at an extreme angle.

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