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This trip was truly a bucket list fulfillment. Being a 5 time Viking cruiser (2nd ocean + 3 river cruises) I could not think of a better way to see the British Isles. I will say to begin, that the issues I had along the way will not dissuade me from traveling with Viking again. I was traveling from San Francisco with my sis-in-law, meeting my travel partner and her sister in Baltimore. From there the 4 of us let Viking handle our travel and transport arraignments. I contacted Viking to determine what date we needed to be in Baltimore to connect with whatever air transport we were to be booked on. Difficulty #1 occurred because the wait is so long before getting flight confirmations and we needed to make reservations for our own trip from SF. The Viking rep said we should be prepared to fly from Baltimore on the 4th of May. I knew the cruise began on the 5th, but he suggested the 4th to be sure we would make the connections. Upon receiving our travel docs, we noticed our flight out was May 4, landing in London at 9:00 PM of that eve. The cruise beginning on May 5, and no note as to what we were to do for our overnite in London on May 4 and no transport info regarding where to meet the ship. I contacted Viking again, they accepted the fact that there was a miscommunication, made a reservation for us in Heathrow and directed me to take transportation from airport to hotel the evening of 5/4 and to the ship terminal on 5/5. I was assured I would be reimbursed for transport fares. When we got settled aboard the ship I spoke with the concierge and presented the receipts for the 2 taxi fares, amounting to 255 lbs ($325 US). This took a large hunk out of my cash spending money! The concierge informed me I needed to present a claim to my insurance to be reimbursed. This would not help me on the trip, and presenting a claim does not guarantee it will be approved. This certainly did not start the trip off on a positive note. Yes, my travel partners would split the costs, but that would have meant they too would have been short money for something we'd already paid for in our fees. Once over that disappointment and adjusting my attitude to enjoy my trip, I began the expected emersion into Viking hospitality. Thankfully, upon return home I did send a claim to our travel ins and was reimbursed in full. The ship and our accommodations were exactly as expected. No disappointments there. As my travel partner and I began introducing our sisters to the ambiance, food, drink, entertainment and tours, several things became evident to my friend and I that our 1st timers would not expect. The 1st being an underlying "disconnect" between staff. The usual up-beat attitudes and camaraderie did not seem to be there. Our cabin steward was absolutely charming & helpful throughout the trip. I wrote her name down, but sadly, am unable to find it now. The servers in the Explorer lounge were great!! However, the staff in the World Cafe and Mamson's were not what we expected. The Restaurant seemed to have their routines together and worked more smoothly. We were told that this particular cruise was the 1st following a world cruise, and that many of the staff that had worked together on that cruise were on vacation, many new ones brought in to replace. That was the excuse for them not seeming to know how to work well together. Tables in the World cafe were often not quickly bussed. We needed to ask for a clean table several times. Dirty placemats were just flipped over in front of us, partial set ups were left for some places and not completed so the need to ask for a glass or flatware or napkin to fill in needed to be requested. Just not what we expected. The food, as we had bragged about, was beautiful to look at, but was sorely lacking in seasoning. I fully understand the desire to serve all as not everyone likes or can eat salt, but so much can be done with other seasoning to make a meal special. I for 1 do not like to add salt or to have only salt & pepper to chose from. It was almost as tho nobody with a palate was testing the food. This being a major disappointment! This certainly does not pertain to the specialty restaurants. They were exemplary! Our last morning, before disembarkation, we went to Mamson's to have our favorite Norwegian Waffles. The person behind the counter was someone we had not seen before. We asked for 4 waffles with fruit, sour cream and cheese, just as they are displayed. All 4 were misshaped, and missing most of the toppings. No 2 had the same of anything and what was there was literally thrown on top. ! of the 4 of us asked for a smoothie and was told "I don't have time for that." Just an example of what was disappointing in the restaurants and this last one, unfortunately, was the last service we remember. The biggest plus to my travel friend and I, and what we expound about most, are the tours and the ability to be immersed into the people, traditions and areas we are visiting. We were very excited to see the almost overwhelming number of tours available. But, what we found was that they were seemingly abbreviated from what we had experienced before. The 1 tour that was closest to actually being introduced to the country, city, people, food, and traditions was our very last tour, A Taste of Norwegian Farm Life. During the other tours we seemed to spend a lot of time being transported to where we were going, given some information and direction then being left on our own. Not always a bad thing, we all love to shop, it just didn't seem to be that engagement with the traditions and people in our surroundings we'd grown to anticipate. The guides were all great! Still found that utilizing the people from the areas we were visiting is the best way to learn. The guides Viking uses are all wonderful. I'm sure I sound like I'm complaining about a lot and not offering any solutions. The thing is, in all but 1 of our trips, these topics were part of the whole feeling, learning and seeing of the excursions we have had our eyes and wonderment opened to. The 1 other trip was the Baltic Volga Waterways. That was a huge eye opening experience that had a few rough patches. Most understandable due to the country's lack of tourist interactions. A great trip, none the less. I am thrilled to think back on all the wonderful places we saw on this excursion. Including all the history I learned and felt a part of and all the people I met on this last journey. I guess my #1 desire would be to offer more in depth tours of a few varieties instead of so many different tours that just "touched bases". Oh, yes...and seasoning! OK...so there is one other thing that bugged me. No acknowledgement as repeat Explorer Society members. The "cocktail party" with return cruisers (only) invited was non-existent. Instead, included was everyone aboard to gather in the atrium, tripping over too many people crowded on the stairway and no where near enough room for all who showed up. There was no show of hands of those who have cruised however many times, river, ocean or combined. No spark of conversations to compare notes and connect. There was a quick toast to all who had traveled Viking before and a pitch about all new things to come. On arrival for the cruise there was no little gift, or note from the captain. All those little treatments that make those of us who have traveled with Viking, feel just a bit special. In closing I wish to reiterate, I will continue to fill my wanderlust thru Viking Cruises. The growth of your company is phenomenal. I'm hoping it is not the reason for the "issues" we experienced aboard this trip. Looking forward to booking our next adventure.

Some things were just not up to snuff.

Viking Sun Cruise Review by LReed

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2018
  • Destination: Europe
This trip was truly a bucket list fulfillment. Being a 5 time Viking cruiser (2nd ocean + 3 river cruises) I could not think of a better way to see the British Isles. I will say to begin, that the issues I had along the way will not dissuade me from traveling with Viking again.

I was traveling from San Francisco with my sis-in-law, meeting my travel partner and her sister in Baltimore. From there the 4 of us let Viking handle our travel and transport arraignments. I contacted Viking to determine what date we needed to be in Baltimore to connect with whatever air transport we were to be booked on. Difficulty #1 occurred because the wait is so long before getting flight confirmations and we needed to make reservations for our own trip from SF. The Viking rep said we should be prepared to fly from Baltimore on the 4th of May. I knew the cruise began on the 5th, but he suggested the 4th to be sure we would make the connections. Upon receiving our travel docs, we noticed our flight out was May 4, landing in London at 9:00 PM of that eve. The cruise beginning on May 5, and no note as to what we were to do for our overnite in London on May 4 and no transport info regarding where to meet the ship. I contacted Viking again, they accepted the fact that there was a miscommunication, made a reservation for us in Heathrow and directed me to take transportation from airport to hotel the evening of 5/4 and to the ship terminal on 5/5. I was assured I would be reimbursed for transport fares.

When we got settled aboard the ship I spoke with the concierge and presented the receipts for the 2 taxi fares, amounting to 255 lbs ($325 US). This took a large hunk out of my cash spending money! The concierge informed me I needed to present a claim to my insurance to be reimbursed. This would not help me on the trip, and presenting a claim does not guarantee it will be approved. This certainly did not start the trip off on a positive note. Yes, my travel partners would split the costs, but that would have meant they too would have been short money for something we'd already paid for in our fees. Once over that disappointment and adjusting my attitude to enjoy my trip, I began the expected emersion into Viking hospitality. Thankfully, upon return home I did send a claim to our travel ins and was reimbursed in full.

The ship and our accommodations were exactly as expected. No disappointments there. As my travel partner and I began introducing our sisters to the ambiance, food, drink, entertainment and tours, several things became evident to my friend and I that our 1st timers would not expect. The 1st being an underlying "disconnect" between staff. The usual up-beat attitudes and camaraderie did not seem to be there. Our cabin steward was absolutely charming & helpful throughout the trip. I wrote her name down, but sadly, am unable to find it now. The servers in the Explorer lounge were great!! However, the staff in the World Cafe and Mamson's were not what we expected. The Restaurant seemed to have their routines together and worked more smoothly. We were told that this particular cruise was the 1st following a world cruise, and that many of the staff that had worked together on that cruise were on vacation, many new ones brought in to replace. That was the excuse for them not seeming to know how to work well together. Tables in the World cafe were often not quickly bussed. We needed to ask for a clean table several times. Dirty placemats were just flipped over in front of us, partial set ups were left for some places and not completed so the need to ask for a glass or flatware or napkin to fill in needed to be requested. Just not what we expected. The food, as we had bragged about, was beautiful to look at, but was sorely lacking in seasoning. I fully understand the desire to serve all as not everyone likes or can eat salt, but so much can be done with other seasoning to make a meal special. I for 1 do not like to add salt or to have only salt & pepper to chose from. It was almost as tho nobody with a palate was testing the food. This being a major disappointment!

This certainly does not pertain to the specialty restaurants. They were exemplary!

Our last morning, before disembarkation, we went to Mamson's to have our favorite Norwegian Waffles. The person behind the counter was someone we had not seen before. We asked for 4 waffles with fruit, sour cream and cheese, just as they are displayed. All 4 were misshaped, and missing most of the toppings. No 2 had the same of anything and what was there was literally thrown on top. ! of the 4 of us asked for a smoothie and was told "I don't have time for that." Just an example of what was disappointing in the restaurants and this last one, unfortunately, was the last service we remember.

The biggest plus to my travel friend and I, and what we expound about most, are the tours and the ability to be immersed into the people, traditions and areas we are visiting. We were very excited to see the almost overwhelming number of tours available. But, what we found was that they were seemingly abbreviated from what we had experienced before. The 1 tour that was closest to actually being introduced to the country, city, people, food, and traditions was our very last tour, A Taste of Norwegian Farm Life. During the other tours we seemed to spend a lot of time being transported to where we were going, given some information and direction then being left on our own. Not always a bad thing, we all love to shop, it just didn't seem to be that engagement with the traditions and people in our surroundings we'd grown to anticipate. The guides were all great! Still found that utilizing the people from the areas we were visiting is the best way to learn. The guides Viking uses are all wonderful.

I'm sure I sound like I'm complaining about a lot and not offering any solutions. The thing is, in all but 1 of our trips, these topics were part of the whole feeling, learning and seeing of the excursions we have had our eyes and wonderment opened to. The 1 other trip was the Baltic Volga Waterways. That was a huge eye opening experience that had a few rough patches. Most understandable due to the country's lack of tourist interactions. A great trip, none the less.

I am thrilled to think back on all the wonderful places we saw on this excursion. Including all the history I learned and felt a part of and all the people I met on this last journey. I guess my #1 desire would be to offer more in depth tours of a few varieties instead of so many different tours that just "touched bases". Oh, yes...and seasoning!

OK...so there is one other thing that bugged me. No acknowledgement as repeat Explorer Society members. The "cocktail party" with return cruisers (only) invited was non-existent. Instead, included was everyone aboard to gather in the atrium, tripping over too many people crowded on the stairway and no where near enough room for all who showed up. There was no show of hands of those who have cruised however many times, river, ocean or combined. No spark of conversations to compare notes and connect. There was a quick toast to all who had traveled Viking before and a pitch about all new things to come. On arrival for the cruise there was no little gift, or note from the captain. All those little treatments that make those of us who have traveled with Viking, feel just a bit special.

In closing I wish to reiterate, I will continue to fill my wanderlust thru Viking Cruises. The growth of your company is phenomenal. I'm hoping it is not the reason for the "issues" we experienced aboard this trip. Looking forward to booking our next adventure.
LReed’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 4036
Comfortable, attractive, well appointed. Amenities are good quality. Only complaint is with the coffee maker. More the location than the machine. Too high for a shorter person to reach. Very cumbersome to fill water reservoir.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews