We wanted to see Amsterdam and Barcelona and thought the other ports would be interesting. Our relatives accompanied us to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Our two days in Amsterdam were switched to our arrival day after traveling all night and we had to be on the boat about 5 for the emergency drill. So don't expect to see Amsterdam if you book only the cruise. I would never had booked this cruise if I knew we were not going to have time in Amsterdam.
Of the nine full days of the cruise, we had three full days at sea and for two ports we were only there in the morning so the afternoon and evening were at sea. Plus, for some ports we were at sea for the evening. So we spent half of our time on the trip at sea and not in port. For example, in Portsmith we got to Portsmith about 9 and had to be back on our bus at 11:15...not enough time.
Be prepared to not know anything about the tours until just a few months before your trip even though you book ten months ahead. Then you have to pay for the really good tours and, unless you have the most expensive rooms, the tours will be full when they allow you to book because they use a caste system- people who pay more for their rooms get the first choice of tours. The same is for the specialty restaurants. We had a disaster of a tour in Cartegena, one of the free tours. We went on a bus for an hour through a desert-like country side and were dropped off in a parking lot above the sea and told we had 15-20 minutes to take pictures. Then we had another hour returning with the highlights being seeing a golf course and strip mines. Finally, we got to the ruins which were walking distance from our ship! We had a short tour and had 15 minutes to explore the cute town before we had to leave and get back on the boat. Everyone was furious! We could have had the whole morning in town and instead were held hostage on a bus. Fortunately our relatives got the last two spots on the Segway tour there and they had a great experience. That tour was full when we tried to book. We could not get on the tour that had lunch at the Eiffel Tower so our Paris experience was a three and a half hour ride on the bus to get there, a walk to get lunch, a long walk, to the Eiffel Tower where we took some pictures, and then a cab back to the bus. We did have a nice hour long tour on the bus of the major sites which helped. We had hoped to see Notre Dame, but did not have time. If you can get them, the tours you pay for seem to be good. We did a cave tour and a national preserve tour in Spain and like them both.
The four days at sea were very boring. Only one, maybe two days, was the weather good enough to use the pool. Other than the gym and spa, there were no indoor recreation spaces. I think they did offer yoga for a few. Other than lectures there were no activities except 3 times at lunch they offered trivia pursuit and onetime they offered a scarf folding workshop. That's the most creative they get. They offered a room to play cards and put out some decks of cards and water and coffee, but they did not organize it in anyway and people would come by and leave.
We played hours and hours of cards with our relative since there was nothing else to do. There were three movies shown during the trip and I had already seen 2 of them. At night there was one show. Aside from the show, I can play cards,watch movies, listen to travel shows at home without paying over $1000 a day for the experience.
On the plus side the ship was beautiful, the rooms clean (no drawer space though and very small), the food great, embarkation and debarkation ran smoothly, and the staff was wonderful. It is like seeing a play with beautiful sets and a terrible acting. So if you want to sit and do nothing on the four days at sea, this cruise is for you.
I will never go on another Viking cruise. You cannot trust them to deliver what they promise. They have made no apologies about lying about Amsterdam. They act like it didn't happen. If you read reviews of their river cruises where guests spent most of the time on buses due to low water, you will see that this company has no ethics nor commitment to their customers.