Having experienced a Viking river cruise 2 years ago, we thought we would try an ocean cruise. We arrived at the departure city 10 days in advance to explore and enjoy - then went to the ship. Vueling Airlines (normally I would not name an airline - but this organization deserves to be mentioned) lost one of our bags and the folks at Viking went the extra distance (literally - from Monte Carlo to Nice) to recover the bag even though they were NOT part of the problem. Customer service was perseverant and excellent!
Following the official christening a week prior, we were the first passengers to experience this brand new ship - and what a treat it was! These folks know what it costs to offer a 5 star trip and do not nickel and dime you along the way. Viking does not do anything on the 'cheap'. They truly make it a 5 star experience.
Just prior to arrival, we were informed by e-mail that we had a complimentary upgrade to a Penthouse Veranda Stateroom (possibly because we had sailed with Viking in the past).
Cabins are very comfortable and spacious with lots of storage within. Little things like a heated bathroom floor are abundant and well thought out. The cabin attendants are quick, thorough and very well trained. The ship graciously provides you with a list of the room's contents...and relative value should you decide to tuck something in your suitcase upon departure.
You are free to bring whatever alcoholic beverages with you - unlike the other lines that depend on the 'booze packages' to top up their tills!
Every palate is taken into account - from gourmet to buffet - the menus are fresh, innovative, varied and absolutely delicious. Evening menus featuring local cuisine, appropriate wines and attentive table service is spot on!
For some reason, my wife and I expected an upper end IKEA atmosphere - instead, we got Neiman Marcus (on steroids). Each of Vikings ocean ships have their own unique venue within. In this case, it is an astrological domed theatre featuring well produced movies on space and the arctic experience. An intimate gathering with comfortable seating and about 6 projectors to generate a state of the art presentation. It is kept fairly cold so may want to bring a jacket - or the cashmere blanket from your stateroom!
Every member of the staff from the Captain to the maintenance man looks you straight in the eye and says hello - and asks (sincerely) how your day is going. If a member of the staff is not working up to expectation - they seem to disappear for a day - then surface a day later with a broad smile, attitude adjustment and increased efficiency.
They do not treat the passengers with an underlying distain that many cruise line staff seem to purvey. When asked "What's it like to work for Viking?" without fail, they are very complimentary about the personnel management policies, hours of work, perks and staff accommodation.
The majority of the guides hired for the on-shore excursions are, educated, entertaining, enthusiastic, and experienced. Accents can be a bit of a challenge from time to time but Viking expects a report card at then end of the tour ensuring that the guide performed up to Viking expectations.
Unfortunately the shipboard WiFi can be a little flakey if you are using your own laptop of cell phone. There is a bank of 6 hardwired computers on the main deck along with a printer should you happen to need one.
In summation, we expected great - and got an 'over the top' experience. Viking deserves the accolades it receives from the various travel organizations.
Would we spend this much again for a cruise? If it is with Viking, the answer is yes!
Clean, well appointed, lots of storage room. Well illuminated with ceiling and accent lights. Well thought out cabin design. No wasted space. Excellent selection of in-stateroom movie and TV choices on a wide screen format.
Night light in the bathroom. Spacious shower, excellent sink area and a heated floor.
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