The Viking Sun is a beautifully designed ship. It is a combination of class and simplicity. Even with 900 plus passengers on board we found few occasions where crowding was a problem.
The port selection was very good. Although we had been around the world two years earlier, there were a lot of ports we had not visited. We loved seeing the pyramids, Shanghai, Sydney and Singapore just to mention a few of the ports.
The staterooms are well designed however they are small as compared to other ships. If you need a wheelchair, walker or electric scooter, the veranda class staterooms are too small. In my case I had to lift the walker over the bed to get it out to the door. If that won't work out for you, you will have to go up a step or two for adequate room
The stateroom storage is adequate for an around the world cruise. I may not bring as many clothes as Dee, however I make up for it in electronic devices. Viking understands that need by supplying a multiplicity of USB ports and 110 outlets throughout the cabin
One of the untold benefits to the Viking ship is the heated bathroom floors. In colder weather it is a real boon, not to mention when you are just getting out of the shower
The pool areas were great as were the hot tubs. The Infinity pool located aft is a blast. The main pool area is beautiful. There is plenty of space to lay around. One of the positive points of this area is In inclement weather the pool’s roof can be closed and that is a real blessing.
The public areas are also beautifully designed. The atrium has great acoustics so you can hear the music even on the third deck of the atrium.
This world cruise was unique for Viking. It was their inaugural world cruise as well as one of the first cruises for this ship. Given this, the cruise benefits were more than their usual. All world cruisers received the silver package. This added mixed and speciality drinks to their already standard wine and beer availability. Free laundry was also included for this cruise. I am told that both of these will not be available for free on subsequent world cruises.
The staff was outstanding. Like all long cruises the service gets more personal the longer you are on board. In some cases it was like sailing with friends. There was some staff turnover during the cruise however aside from the new faces there was no change in the quality of service. There is little doubt that the better you know and respect the staff the more personal the service.
Viking offers free WiFi on their cruises. For todays traveler this is a great benefit. I would love to tell you that it is as good or better than others, however it is not. At least three to four times a day wifi was just not available. As the trip neared its end the WiFi interruptions increased and the service became worse. Free WiFi is an included benefit but this WiFi benefit wasn’t worth even free.
The same interrupted service was true with the television. On numerous occasions during the day the signal was just flat unavailable in the rooms. I include the ship board services in this category. Frankly it appears their whole IT system shuts down as everything including port talks, weather, education programs, and even the bow Camera was unavailable. They even went so far as to end 30% of the service 24 hours before the cruises final day.
The food is excellent in all their venues. The World Cafe is the buffet venue. Each evening however they have destination type menus on the Aquavit Terrace related to your itinerary.
The Restaurant is not only esthetically pleasant, but the food and wine are excellent as well and the staff was outstanding as well. The design of the Restaurant really may not lend itself to meeting friends or new people. The majority of tables were for two, and after a while shared tables were not offered. The specialty restaurants were excellent in variety, preparation, service and are at no additional cost. If you like Italian Manfredi’s is excellent. If you are more adventurous we would suggest the Chef’s Table.
Room service was also very good. From the call to delivery it usually takes about 20 minutes to an half hour which is very reasonable.
The one negative issue about their food and wine services was that they often ran out of items. It is certainly not a deal killer and may again be because of their unfamiliarity with this type of cruise and supply chain.
The excursions were one of the few down sides of this cruise, in short they really need some work. They appeared to be very interesting on their face but on numerous occasions they didn’t live up to the hype. This may well be because they are new in this region of the world and they need to gain more experience. They do however offer one free excursion per port which is nice.
Another thing Viking does well are the port talks. They not only introduce you to the next port, they also go over each excursion, what you will see, and the difficulty of the excursion. I would strongly encourage those with walking difficulties to listen to the port talks as what they classify as moderate may fall into the extreme category for you.
The enrichment lecturers were excellent as well. There were a great variety of speakers available and their topics were timely and very interesting.
Disembarkation however was very poorly handled. We were docked in the Thames River at Greenwich. For Viking it was a great PR move for getting off the ship it was a mess. Starting at about 2:00 AM they started ferrying passengers off the ship. At 8:15 AM it was our turn. Twenty minutes later they had the ferry filled and we started the 5 minute trip to the Greenwich stop. From there it was single file to the steep ramp. The steepness of the ramp caused problems for those with walking issues, in wheel chairs, or walkers with no one there to help. If it hadn’t been for a few kind locals it would have been a real trial for those in need. Once at the top of the ramp you walked into a park. 75% of the bags were sitting in the grass. Had it not been for the porters no one would have known where the bag sections were. The truth of the matter was if it hadn’t been for the porters it would have been a real mess.
We have been on many cruises on a number of different cruises lines and in some cases Viking did not favorably compare to other cruise line we have traveled on. Over all Viking has the ability to give you a good ocean cruise experience but it has to do a lot of work to do before it meets it’s stated goals.
The cabin did not lend itself to those that had mobility issues, I.e. wheel chairs walkers or other devices.