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I had always wanted to go to St. Petersburg and Viking Ocean offered the itinerary, Viking Homelands, which is so much more than just traveling a typical route of Stockholm to Copenhagen, you have the additional of Norway: Stavanger, Eidfjord, & finally Bergen. I knew nothing about Norway and aside from St. Petersburg, Norway turned out to a real highlight of the cruise for me. We have already traveled on Viking river cruises, the Danube, the Seine, & the Rhone, all absolutely wonderful experiences, but had not done Ocean yet. I know that the very first season that Viking took on ocean cruising there were some growing pains but no more! For us, having no casino, no children, & limited evening entertainment, is the way we want to cruise. Our focus is on the ports, taking interesting excursions, having extraordinary service on board, and knowing that operations will be run effectively and efficiently. I'm excited that we had already booked two more Viking cruises for 2019! Let's start w/ the ship - it is beautiful, well-designed, even w/ 930 passengers & several hundred crew members, you never feel crowded. There are lots of places to tuck away and read your iPad or book. We never even went up to the top deck or use any of the spa facilities. Every cabin has a veranda, we were in the least expensive cabin on the third deck and it is just like every other cabin except for the larger suites. I loved being on the third level except that we were all the way up front over the Star Theater and if they were playing an action pack movie, you could hear the loud scenes or if there was a loud performance you could hear it - I'm surprised that no one else has ever noted the noise but I have really good hearing and can be bothered by sound. Otherwise, it was a very quiet cabin. The ship is extremely stable, even though we were in the calm Baltic, I only needed my patch traveling from Helsinki to St. Petersburg. I think deck 4 would be better but I would happily re-book on deck 3. The cabin is good sized, plenty of closet space, ask for more hangers, suitcases fit under the bed, you have 110 outlets & USB ports by your nightstand, another set by the desk, 110 outlet in the bathroom, plenty of lighting but you don't need it w/ the floor to ceiling glass doors to the balcony. Your flatscreen TV is your portal to everything - plenty of movies, tv shows, live tv, menus for each of the restaurants including afternoon tea, recorded port talks, daily briefing, lectures, etc. I love the recorded port talks, you don't have to sit through these overviews about the next day's port when they are held. Just check the TV later & the talk is there for the viewing. Dining is fine - the food is very good, not spectacular. I thought Manfredi's was very good, not exceptional like Crystal Symphony's Prego. I thought the Chef's Table was just OK - in fact we canceled our second reservation because we didn't want to dress for dinner. We only ate in the main Restaurant twice, the first night & the night real lobster was serve, why? Because in the World Cafe which is buffet - breakfast, lunch, & dinner, you didn't have to dress up, they served almost the same entrees that main Restaurant serves, you can pick & chose what you want & there is always cold seafood, sushi, variety of desserts, and homemade gelato! We loved that there is plenty of two person seatings throughout all the dining venues. We are not overly social so the fact that we could keep to ourselves and not have to repeat our life story at every meal was so relaxing for us! You can get hamburgers, hot dogs, & other casual meals by the poolside, there Mamsen's up in the Explorer Lounge for more Scandinavian fare, there's room service, the coffee bar by the Atrium. Best of all, afternoon tea is served every day in the WinterGarden. Real petite tea sandwiches, freshly made (and different every day), tiny pastries, & delicious raisin scones - the real deal. I felt like I was going to tea at a lovely hotel each time. So much better than Crystal's tea service which is not every day and only once during a cruise is there a variety of pastries & such (which is their Mozart tea service) - otherwise it is just crustless sandwiches & such. If we had tea, we skipped going to dinner. Coffee served in the World Cafe is very good - you are given a thermos on each table so no need for the waiter to come around to fill (unless you empty the pot) - there is an expresso/cappuccino machine available to make special coffees all day & night. Service by staff is outstanding, everyone is cheery, friendly, and very enthusiastic about making your cruise experience the best. Entertainment is fine. The string trio that plays in the atrium are wonderful, the guitarist is fine. I thought the theater entertainment was so-so - they have three male & three female singers but only one pair of dancers - the best night of entertainment was when the assistant cruise director did an Elvis show - he was outstanding - we skipped most of the night shows, especially after the night they butchered songs by the Beatles. There were onboard lecturers but I only went to one - Our main focus was each of the ports and the excursions we picked in which Viking excels. We used SPB Tours to visit St. Petersburg since they had the itinerary that we wanted for the two days - the comprehensive two day St. Petersburg tour by Viking included the ballet (which we didn't want) and did not include a canal ride. A couple of the ports, Aalborg & Eidfjord, I could not find much information on but OMG, Viking finds the port that is easy to dock at, easy to get off, and so charming to visit. Even though we were over 900, I felt like we were on a Viking river cruise, getting off right by the dock & walking into the town. Embarkation was a little hectic, we got in mid-day into Stockholm, lots of Viking staff to take us to the bus (a long bus ride to the port) - the port itself was very tight & lots of passengers coming on so it took a little bit of time but we quickly got through & warmly greeted w/ hot towels & champagne. Disembarkation was extraordinary - plenty of porters to load our luggage onto the bus, plenty of Viking staff to help us check in at the self-service Bergen airport - checking into Bergen is a little confusing but we got through it and appreciated the support by the Viking staff. Regarding dining, I know that folks appreciate exceptional dining and many upscale cruise lines focus a lot of their attention on the food. However for us, we are always trying to manage what we eat and how much so we don't want every meal to be exceptional otherwise we are overdoing it big time. And yes it is our vacation, but packing on several pounds every time we cruise (and we cruise at least twice per year) makes the rest of the year tough trying to take off that weight gain. Same with alcohol, the included wine w/ lunch & dinner is more than we usually imbibe and we don't feel that we are missing out if we decide to not to have wine. Now what is hard to pass up is the gelato...

Viking Thinks of Everything

Viking Sea Cruise Review by SM77

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
I had always wanted to go to St. Petersburg and Viking Ocean offered the itinerary, Viking Homelands, which is so much more than just traveling a typical route of Stockholm to Copenhagen, you have the additional of Norway: Stavanger, Eidfjord, & finally Bergen. I knew nothing about Norway and aside from St. Petersburg, Norway turned out to a real highlight of the cruise for me. We have already traveled on Viking river cruises, the Danube, the Seine, & the Rhone, all absolutely wonderful experiences, but had not done Ocean yet. I know that the very first season that Viking took on ocean cruising there were some growing pains but no more! For us, having no casino, no children, & limited evening entertainment, is the way we want to cruise. Our focus is on the ports, taking interesting excursions, having extraordinary service on board, and knowing that operations will be run effectively and efficiently. I'm excited that we had already booked two more Viking cruises for 2019! Let's start w/ the ship - it is beautiful, well-designed, even w/ 930 passengers & several hundred crew members, you never feel crowded. There are lots of places to tuck away and read your iPad or book. We never even went up to the top deck or use any of the spa facilities. Every cabin has a veranda, we were in the least expensive cabin on the third deck and it is just like every other cabin except for the larger suites. I loved being on the third level except that we were all the way up front over the Star Theater and if they were playing an action pack movie, you could hear the loud scenes or if there was a loud performance you could hear it - I'm surprised that no one else has ever noted the noise but I have really good hearing and can be bothered by sound. Otherwise, it was a very quiet cabin. The ship is extremely stable, even though we were in the calm Baltic, I only needed my patch traveling from Helsinki to St. Petersburg. I think deck 4 would be better but I would happily re-book on deck 3. The cabin is good sized, plenty of closet space, ask for more hangers, suitcases fit under the bed, you have 110 outlets & USB ports by your nightstand, another set by the desk, 110 outlet in the bathroom, plenty of lighting but you don't need it w/ the floor to ceiling glass doors to the balcony. Your flatscreen TV is your portal to everything - plenty of movies, tv shows, live tv, menus for each of the restaurants including afternoon tea, recorded port talks, daily briefing, lectures, etc. I love the recorded port talks, you don't have to sit through these overviews about the next day's port when they are held. Just check the TV later & the talk is there for the viewing. Dining is fine - the food is very good, not spectacular. I thought Manfredi's was very good, not exceptional like Crystal Symphony's Prego. I thought the Chef's Table was just OK - in fact we canceled our second reservation because we didn't want to dress for dinner. We only ate in the main Restaurant twice, the first night & the night real lobster was serve, why? Because in the World Cafe which is buffet - breakfast, lunch, & dinner, you didn't have to dress up, they served almost the same entrees that main Restaurant serves, you can pick & chose what you want & there is always cold seafood, sushi, variety of desserts, and homemade gelato! We loved that there is plenty of two person seatings throughout all the dining venues. We are not overly social so the fact that we could keep to ourselves and not have to repeat our life story at every meal was so relaxing for us! You can get hamburgers, hot dogs, & other casual meals by the poolside, there Mamsen's up in the Explorer Lounge for more Scandinavian fare, there's room service, the coffee bar by the Atrium. Best of all, afternoon tea is served every day in the WinterGarden. Real petite tea sandwiches, freshly made (and different every day), tiny pastries, & delicious raisin scones - the real deal. I felt like I was going to tea at a lovely hotel each time. So much better than Crystal's tea service which is not every day and only once during a cruise is there a variety of pastries & such (which is their Mozart tea service) - otherwise it is just crustless sandwiches & such. If we had tea, we skipped going to dinner. Coffee served in the World Cafe is very good - you are given a thermos on each table so no need for the waiter to come around to fill (unless you empty the pot) - there is an expresso/cappuccino machine available to make special coffees all day & night. Service by staff is outstanding, everyone is cheery, friendly, and very enthusiastic about making your cruise experience the best. Entertainment is fine. The string trio that plays in the atrium are wonderful, the guitarist is fine. I thought the theater entertainment was so-so - they have three male & three female singers but only one pair of dancers - the best night of entertainment was when the assistant cruise director did an Elvis show - he was outstanding - we skipped most of the night shows, especially after the night they butchered songs by the Beatles. There were onboard lecturers but I only went to one - Our main focus was each of the ports and the excursions we picked in which Viking excels. We used SPB Tours to visit St. Petersburg since they had the itinerary that we wanted for the two days - the comprehensive two day St. Petersburg tour by Viking included the ballet (which we didn't want) and did not include a canal ride. A couple of the ports, Aalborg & Eidfjord, I could not find much information on but OMG, Viking finds the port that is easy to dock at, easy to get off, and so charming to visit. Even though we were over 900, I felt like we were on a Viking river cruise, getting off right by the dock & walking into the town. Embarkation was a little hectic, we got in mid-day into Stockholm, lots of Viking staff to take us to the bus (a long bus ride to the port) - the port itself was very tight & lots of passengers coming on so it took a little bit of time but we quickly got through & warmly greeted w/ hot towels & champagne. Disembarkation was extraordinary - plenty of porters to load our luggage onto the bus, plenty of Viking staff to help us check in at the self-service Bergen airport - checking into Bergen is a little confusing but we got through it and appreciated the support by the Viking staff. Regarding dining, I know that folks appreciate exceptional dining and many upscale cruise lines focus a lot of their attention on the food. However for us, we are always trying to manage what we eat and how much so we don't want every meal to be exceptional otherwise we are overdoing it big time. And yes it is our vacation, but packing on several pounds every time we cruise (and we cruise at least twice per year) makes the rest of the year tough trying to take off that weight gain. Same with alcohol, the included wine w/ lunch & dinner is more than we usually imbibe and we don't feel that we are missing out if we decide to not to have wine. Now what is hard to pass up is the gelato...
SM77’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Cabin 3005
Very efficiently laid out, bathroom - good sized, very efficient. Plenty of 110 outlets, large closet, lots of storage areas.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Aalborg
    Loved stopping in Aalborg - so easy to walk from the docked ship to see the Aalborg Castle, Budolfi Cathedral, Monastery of the Holy Ghost, Aalborg Town Hall, Jens Bang's House, etc. - wished we had a little more time in the center of town to check out some of the gift or chocolate shops - some folks dropped off the walking tour to do that. Aalborg is famous for Utzon, the architect who designed the Sydney Opera House. It would have been nice if we were in port a little longer. Aalborg is a real hidden gem.
    View All 92 Aalborg Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Aalborg Cruise Port Review
  • Ulriken Cable Car
    We first had a scenic bus tour of Bergen then traveled to take the Ulriken Cable car up to Mt. Ulriken - we had a warm sunny day which is unusual for Bergen and the views from the top were magnificent. Stop on the waterfront opposite the Bryggen Wharf to take pictures so we wound up skipping the included city tour to walk around the Bryggen Wharf instead.
    View All 22 Ulriken Cable Car Reviews
  • City Tour
    We did the included walking tour - our tour guide was hard to understand and he did not give good directional clues when walking and got easily bogged down by individual requests looking for specific items for themselves and then for the rest of us to be cooling our heels. Did not walk past the Nyhavn area which was close to where we were walking, would have happily shortened the citadel trip or other stops in order to see the colorful waterfront that Copenhagen is famous for.
    View All 176 City Tour Reviews
  • Eidfjord
    We did the all day Bergen Railway trip, starting w/ crossing the Hardanger Suspension Bridge, going through the tunnel w/ roundabouts to reach the bridge, stopping at Skjervet Waterfalls (fabulous), lunch at Fletcher's which is next door to the Voss station, traveling on the Bergen Railway to Geilo, then taking the bus across the Hardangervidda Mountain Plateau, stopping at the Sysendammen - a dam built of rocks, then to the Fossil Hotel & the Voringsfossen Waterfalls. It was a gorgeous day of seeing a variety of rugged and desolate scenery of Norway. It was so worth spending time doing this.
    View All 174 Eidfjord Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Eidfjord Cruise Port Review
  • Gdansk (Warsaw)
    Wonderful ride through Polish countryside to see the largest brick castle - amazing site
    View All 12,970 Gdansk (Warsaw) Cruise Port Reviews
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  • City Tour
    Covered the key sights in Helsinki - lucky to have beautiful sunny day in Helsinki
    View All 178 City Tour Reviews
  • Rostock City Tour
    We decided to skip Berlin, too long of a train ride for a few hours in Berlin and figured we would do Berlin on another cruise. We did the included Rostock City Tour which was delightful to see and spent the afternoon in Warnemunde walking along the mole & taking in the views of the sea. It was a warm and sunny day. Warnemunde is a hidden gem.
    View All 39 Rostock City Tour Reviews
  • Private Tour
    We booked a 2 day deluxe tour w/ SPB Tours. Our SPB tour guide & driver were extraordinary - we covered everything on our itinerary, subway ride, sphinxes, rostral columns, Peter & Paul Fortress, Peterhof Gardens & Fountains, Lunches at outstanding restaurants, Catherine's Palace & Amber Room, Souvenir shopping, Boat ride on Neva river & canals, Hermitage, Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, Yusupov Palace, St. Isaac's Cathedral, farmer's market - incredible two days in St. Petersburg - fulfilled a life long dream - this is why we booked this cruise.
    View All 186 Private Tour Reviews
  • Lysefjord
    Took the boat ride through Lysefjord to see the Pulpit Rock from the fjord. Wonderful boat cruise w/ Rodne Fjord Cruise line - just a few hundred feet from where the Viking ship was docked. Gorgeous day on the water and the snack stop in Helleren for the waffle & coffee & 'Viking Warrior' was fun.
    View All 62 Lysefjord Reviews
  • City Tour
    Easy bus tour to see highlights of Stockholm, unfortunately it was really cold that day so we didn't get off the bus to walk the Old Town and then come back via the shuttle bus. It would have been nice if the weather was better to explore the Old Town
    View All 130 City Tour Reviews
  • Old Town of Tallinn
    We did the Old Town Walking Tour of Tallinn that was included. We had an exceptional tour guide who was very funny yet explained what Estonians are currently facing in their country. Beautiful town -
    View All 172 Old Town of Tallinn Reviews