Viking was our first and only choice for an ocean cruise. The Viking Orion is a smaller ship with only 930 passengers (a huge selling point for us). We did a 15 Day Grand European river cruise two years prior so we knew what level of service to expect. They did not disappoint! First class again in every way!
We were welcomed at the Barcelona World Trade Centre by the Viking staff with smiles and cold bottled water. Viking is extremely organized and buttoned down. Check in was as smooth as silk. Our stateroom was not available until 2:00 p.m. so we were told to make our way to The World Cafe and lunch would be available. We were onboard the ship within minutes and welcomed with cold clothes and champagne. Nice touch!
As an aside, this cruise was in recognition of our wedding anniversary. Viking delivered a bottle of chilled champagne and beautiful cake after we arrived in our stateroom. Both were very tasty!
The ship overall is very beautiful and modern. You really feel like you are on a luxury cruise ship.
Our stateroom was perfect for the two of us. It was extremely clean. The bathroom was a good size, lots of room in the shower. Plenty of storage space, heated floors, quality toiletries/towels, etc. all replenished daily. They provide luxury robes and slippers.
The bed was super comfortable. I'm still trying to figure out how there wasn't one hint of a wrinkle in a pillow case or the duvet cover after they made up our room! There is plenty of closet and drawer space. We asked for extra hangers which were delivered within minutes.
An added touch was having daily information about the cruise and ports of call on the stateroom television. Restaurant menus were updated daily so we could decide beforehand where we wanted to go for dinner. If we missed the evening talk about our next port of call, we could watch it later that evening or the following morning. You could also view the status of your account on board.
There were several dining options available. Food selections at the specialty restaurants were plentiful. The Chef's Table was gourmet delicious! There were many choices offered from the buffet restaurant food stations and the Aquavit Terrace daily. Room service was always available. We had no complaints about any of the food offerings. Quantity, quality and presentation were outstanding! Especially the non-stop stop king crab legs offered nightly. They were a hit!
Bar service was excellent. The bar tenders/servers were all very friendly and interesting to talk to. We purchased the Silver Spirits beverage package and enjoyed top shelf liquors and a great selection of wines.
We did not use the swimming pools, spa or fitness centre however we did tour the spa. It's equipped with a snow room! The sports deck had mini-golf.
A good selection of excursions were offered at each port of call; some included in the cruise and some not included. We did daily excursions at each port and stayed on land as long as we could exploring. All our tour guides were friendly, knowledgeable and some with a good sense of humor. The only excursion we were disappointed in was the visit to the village of Grimaud, France. With the time we had available, we saw mostly big yachts and villas. Time could have been better spent in St. Tropez.
Viking is extremely organized in everything they do. Especially getting guests efficiently off (and back on) the ship and loaded on to awaiting buses. We were provided bottled water and wished a good day by senior Viking staff when disembarking at each port. When returning to the ship after each excursion we had to go through a security check (which is done efficiently). Cold clothes were handed out arriving back on board the ship.
On our final day in Livorno port before heading to our final disembarkation destination, Civitavecchia (Rome), we were greeted back at the ship after touring all day with a red carpet, cold champagne and all the ship staff welcoming us back. They were all lined up dancing to the music was playing outside. Another nice touch!
Entertainment on the ship was fine for us. After full days of touring in the heat, night life wasn't that important to us. If you're expecting to party at the all-night disco, or play the slots, this is likely not the cruise for you. No disco or casino. Entertainment was offered most nights by the Viking Singers in the Star Theatre as well as guest entertainers. The Viking Band played in the Torshavn Lounge for those that wanted to dance. There were movie nights and dancing under the stars pool side on select nights. The resident pianist, guitarist and classical duo performed nightly in the Atrium.
We watched one 3D movie in the Explorers' Dome. It was visually amazing! There are only 26 seats available and you need to reserve at guest services. It does not cost anything.
An added perk on the ship was the self-serve laundry/ironing facilities on each level.
Viking may seem a bit on the pricey side but they are definitely worth the money. We would recommend Viking to anyone and will be looking at future travels with Viking again. Staff, service, dining, excursions, and overall experience on this cruise ... all first class!
Perfect room for us!