We loved the two river cruises we took with Vikilng, and were looking forward to this ocean cruise. And mostly it fulfilled our expectations. But there were a few problems that should not happen on any cruise, much less one with a reputation as stellar as Viking. The good was very good. Cabins are excellent, great bathrooms (especially the heated floors, which feel good for feet and helps hand washing to dry quickly), nice sized balconies with comfortable chairs. Beds are great, pillows fascinating - soft, yet can be squished into all kinds of wonderful shapes. Lots of plugs, both USB, American, and European - didn't need our power strip that we always travel with. Beware, the outlet in the bathroom is American, but does not accept polarized plugs (my waterpik wouldn't work). The TV is the only real drawback in the room - the menus are a bit confusing (especially finding the bridge cam and reruns of ship talks). And it doesn't swivel, so all but impossible to see from the desk area. Small fridge, with some snacks and drinks included, and may be replenished depending on the type of room. Public spaces are gorgeous, with plenty of seating for all, some in noisy areas, and a few quiet areas (on deck and in Wintergarden) for those who don't enjoy a lot of background noise. Public bathrooms are plentiful and beautifully clean, there is a walking jogging deck on 2, and a walking area on the top of the ship on the sports deck.There is a free laundry on each floor, which we used once - after a gentleman took out my laundry to wash his pair of pants, I went back to doing laundry in the sink. Watching your laundry during a cruise is not my idea of a vacation. There is a reasonable laundry and dry cleaning service you can also use on board.
Our major problems were in the food areas. Food was generally OK, not great. Pastas were great, as were much of the meat. Desserts were generally pretty and tiny, but little flavor. Same breads every day, all ok, but not much flavor. It would have been nice to have a bread of the day. Soups were generally poor, which was a huge disappointment after loving all the soups on the river cruises. Ice cream and smoothies were a big hit.
Mamsen's in the Explorer's Lounge was great, but needs a better pick up system on crowded days. The special Norwegian waffles take a few minutes to make, and someone who didn't know the system grabbed ours one day. They have great pastries up there too, much better than any of the other restaurants. Afternoons/evenings bring great open faced sandwiches and cakes.
Chef's Table, horrible service, very fancy food and tiny portions.
Pool Grill - do not miss the great hamburgers, hot dogs and steak sandwiches. Best on the ship, along with the French fries and coleslaw.
Manfredi's is very good. Florentine steak I had was small and too much fat, but the rest was very good. Pasta was fabulous, and they had better breads than elsewhere on the ship.
Loved afternoon tea in the Wintergarden. Best desserts on the ship. Scones are fabulous, and a big selection of teas, even for non-tea drinkiers.
Loved the Aquavit Terrace, great place to eat from the food court on nice days. World Cafe (food court) food mostly good enough, has everything that is in Restaurant. Flow patterns are problematical, all directions, and you need to wait for soups, pastas, and special orders, which clogs up the traffic flow at busy times.
Drink service at all locations was not good for much of the trip, especially in the World Cafe. It's not easy to get your own drinks, and I often finished a meal with no one stopping by. We complained, and it got a bit better by the end of the trip. Everyone seemed to be working hard, so I don't know if the problem was not enough staff on duty, poor assignment of duties, not understanding American expectations of service, or just poor management in general. Staff throughout the ship were friendly and helpful, especially the cabin stewards.
Odd timing of some programs, not bad if you eat dinner early, but late diners will miss out. Theater was excellent with good acoustics - could have been a bit bigger. Movies by the pool had terrible sound and poor popcorn. Lecturers were a real mixed bag. A couple were great, a couple so-so, and one was terrible. Generally don't seem to have had much oversight. Slides overfull with data, disorganized. Entertainment was average at best, a bit embarrassing at other times. Cruise director not particularly good, shore excursions guy very wordy and hard to understand.
The ports and even distribution of sea days is what attracted us to this cruise. We missed stops in Guernsey and Copenhagen, which was disappointing, but everything else went well, and we saw so many places we've never been. Gorgeous weather almost everywhere (unheard of for April). Shore excursions are primarily bus or walking tours, usually 2-3 hours, giving you the highlilghts, and none too strenuous for so-so walkers. All included some shopping/free time.
Warning, this is a very homogenous clientele. Almost all white Americans, 60-75 years old, with a few Australians, British, and Canadians mixed in. Most are from smaller cities and suburban areas. Table talk is often about previous Viking cruises and grandchildren. Much fitter group than what we've encountered on larger ships - no motorized wheelchairs, and many were devoted to extensive regimes on the walking deck.
All in all, I would go on a Viking cruise again, but would not rank them higher than our past experiences on Norwegian, Princess, and Celebrity. I would continue to pick based on price, ports, and timing. I don't think I'm the normal Viking customer who seems to have a blind loyalty to all things Viking. It's easy enough for me to bypass the photo ops, casinos, and other annoyances on big ships
Loved our cabin, except for not being able to see the TV from the desk. I would always pick a room on deck 3, which is the upper atrium. Allows you to sit and work/read in peace, and still watch the activities on the lower decks. Great for watching the quiet musical acts on deck 1 after dinner and chatting quietly just a few steps from our room. Easy access to the deck 2 theater and restaurant, avoiding elevators at peak times. Very quiet cabins, great lighting. Good sized balcony with largish table and comfortable chairs.
This was an awesome trip. We went on a rainy day, the bus climbed into the mountains, in and out of the clouds. Guide was excellent, got to take the funicular railway up the mountain, and then the bus going down. I stayed in the church for the service, amazing numbers of monks in today's world. What a great beginning to our trip.View All 118 Montserrat Walking Tour Reviews
The morning started out rainy, but by the time our tour started it was gorgeous. We docked right downtown, along with a couple other ships, and I really enjoyed this port city, its buildings and people. Particularly enjoyed the market and talking with some other tourists from Wales.View All 17 Cadiz Walking Tour Reviews
I was so excited to finally get to Lisbon and absorb all the history. Portugal has held such an important part in world seafaring history, and we were able to see many of the highlights in our short tour.View All 88 City Tour Reviews
We were unable to tender because of high seas - so disappointed!
Long bus rides on both ends, but great experience in a small museum about the Mulberry Harbor built in Arromanches, an overlook to Gold Beach, then had a wonderful chicken lunch upstairs in a local restaurant. We then traveled on to the American Cemetery and Omaha Beach, both fascinating. Beware, the American Cemetery is big, and there is plenty of places to rest and reflect inside, but after you get to the visitor center, bathrooms and parking lot there are few places to stop and wait for your bus. Omaha Beach was a very profound experience, and wonderful to see the way it is today, with children frolicking in the surf.View All 75 D-Day Beaches Reviews
We had been here before, so the city tour was a nice refresher, and included a canal tour which was delightful. Docking is right downtown, so it's easy to get off the boat and take off on your own.View All 148 City Tour Reviews
I could retire to Delft. What a beautiful town. The factory tour was fun, great gift shop, and the city tour was even better, with Saturday morning church bells ringing and lots of market stalls open. Gorgeous day.View All 26 Delft Blue Pottery Factory Reviews
We'd never been to Berlin, so this was a great opportunity to get an overview of the city and its history. Took the train from Warnemunde, and a bus within the city. Got a great feel for the city.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Missed this port because of a problem in the Kiel Canal. So upset - we may have to come back!
What a great city. Walking tour of the city, lots of cobblestones, but so pretty. Great huge city square preparing for a visit from Norway's Crown Prince.View All 90 City Tour Reviews
we had been here before, and booked too late to get a visa, so we just took the included bus tour. Traffic was horrible, so we saw a few sites, but not the Winter Palace/Hermitage close up, and both main churches were wrapped up with renovations. So glad this wasn't our only exposure to this beautiful city.View All 378 City Tour Reviews
Another nice overview. I would like to come back and spend more time.View All 193 City Tour Reviews
Brief overview of the city. Got a feel for the city, but need to come back and spend some time here.View All 141 City Tour Reviews
I took the hop on boat from the dock to the museum. Easy to do, and the museum is awesome. Watched the movie and took an English tour. Such a cool place.View All 128 Vasa Museum Reviews