Okay. I still think Viking Ocean cruises are the best. Our first Viking ship - the Sky - broke down & our cruise was truncated. BUT, overall, our recent Amsterdam to Barcelona cruise was above average: The ship is beautiful and, even though this was a full cruise, there’s still some places I haven’t made it to... Torshaven - I’m looking at you! I love that this is an adults-only cruise for the discriminating traveler. I also liked that the line has retained its dress code of casual elegance for dinner... surprising but good!
Now for some negatives, to help Viking retain its reputation as The Best:
Improve the excursions!! I found both the included and optional to be lacking. The size of groups, pacing, and especially the guides could have been better!! One thing that might help is to do like on our River Cruise. Have one enduring group for the “go-getters” and at least one for the “handicapped and ‘slow-getters’ like photographers.”
On that same line, my husband and I did not feel we got the value of our $99 ea Andalusia excursion. A large part of it was tasting the regional food, yet putting a whole bus-load of guests around a long cafeteria table with no choice of foods except the lackluster offerings served by lackluster cafeteria-type employees was an insult!! And the food was not tasty, much less plentiful. Limited to one glass of sangria... Really?
2) Other things noted: the restaurant service ON THE SHIP seems to have slipped since 2015, as well. On our first cruise the staff not only knew us by name but remembered something of our preferences! More training needed in these days??
Oh! And another biggie ( re: lack of personalization): I started in, I think it was April, to try to make the staff aware of a special double-70th birthday reunion for my former college roommate & myself. I wrote several times, spoke to some people and even filled out forms for the exact words I wanted on the cake (to follow our celebratory dinner at Manfredi’s.) I, of course, agreed to pay a hefty charge for this service, yet it was never correct!!! To Viking’s credit I don’t believe we ever got charged for the cake (?), yet we got one we never ate brought to our cabin as a welcome gift... compliments of ourselves?! They also brought us a small non-personalized cake following the dinner - but only after a special request from my husband to our waiter. It was not how I wanted this special dinner for a friend of 50 years to be! I never even got a response, much less compliance, to what I had requested.
And finally - about food service: the first room-service breakfast we ordered was not tasty at all and everything was cold. On our second try we specified clearly what we wanted (“hot”, “browned” etc) and it was only minimally better. This was a favorite part of our first (2015) Ocean cruise with Viking!!
3). A couple of suggestions that would make the staterooms even more comfortable:
have not only top sheets, but also thin blankets available for those who can’t adjust to the comforters in duvets
Provide small microwaves to just re-heat stuff (ie. coffee, croissants)
Cut out the Cruise Directors’ unnecessary morning-chatter-announcements... or at least make them later. They annoy us late sleepers. They woke me up - yet I couldn’t really hear them!
I suggest only NECESSARY announcements piped into the rooms (not what we can also read in the Dalies/weather etc.) Just beef up the Viking app a bit more with daily changes, etc.
4) And one last complaint: that Immigration check in our Portsmouth stop was inexcusable! We decided that that was the one excursion we would skip (in exchange for a luxurious morning in bed) because we didn’t want to get up early for the immigration check and had such a short time in port anyway. Imagine our dismay at being rooted out with no time to put on makeup or anything! And it is unreasonable if you are not going ashore at all. Why can’t you just check for the necessary sticker when people LEAVE THE SHIP - or, at least, warn people of this crazy requirement in the pre-cruise literature?!
SO, it seems with all of the above, I must have hated this trip. NOT SO! It was actually great in sum total, and I will continue to recommend Viking Ocean cruises to everyone I know!!
Generally great... I love the verandas! See my full review for suggested improvements.