The brand new Viking Sun, one of Viking’s many identical mid-sized ships to come, seemed ideal as it would be sparklingly new in every way. Then too, the itinerary sounded fantastic from Miami, Florida to London via the Panama Canal and Los Angeles, multiple south seas islands, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, Manila, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia/IndoChina, Thailand, India, Arabian ports, Egypt, Malta, Algiers, southern Spanish ports, and Porto Spain.
Many cruise ship features that are usually paid extra en route were included in the quoted cruise fares which made it feel richer and more convenient, but of course passengers are getting nothing for free. Wi-fi, for example, which has been a ripoff for many passengers for years, was “free” but very marginal and intermittent at best. For a very long cruise one was basically unable to carry on much of modern ordinary financial or communications needs with such inadequate service.
Many ports were simply too far from sight-seeing and cultural destinations to make visiting them much more than very long round trip bus rides. Partly this was poor planning and port selection by Viking. Partly it was a low pecking order in port assignments for a firm new to many world ports. It also showed shallowness of knowledge about the most desirable places to visit. Many passengers were experienced and well educated and in some cases experienced comical day tours for quite a bit of extra cost. This was also true of on board entertainment, much of which was sophomoric.
There was quite a bit of crew rotation which caused service of all kinds to be quite variable. About the time young crew members knew and performed their jobs well, they’d be off the ship and new ones joined. The younger crew themselves were wonderful and eager to please, so it was management’s newness to long cruising that was at fault.
Cabins or staterooms were new, clean, cheerful, functional, and all had small verandas.
Food service consisted of a breakfast and nearly day long buffet, three dinner restaurants, and several small bars and snack sites. One dinner restaurant was walk-in and the other two were reservation only. Good food was had, for the most part, but portions were rather meager in the reservation restaurants. The chefs in these two were quite creative, often too much so for some people. I would say food was one of the better aspects of Viking Sun.
Senior crew who interfaced with the public seemed inexperienced and sometimes rather rude. Many were not very fluent in cruise languages, primarily English.
There were quite a few excellent lecturers on board between many ports who added much to the amateurish shore excursions and on board entertainment. They were knowledgeable and fine teachers on many subjects.