A bucket list destination with a line we trusted, we are probably more disappointed because of our expectations. We feel "betrayed" by poor communication prior to the trip and then repeated disappointment with excursions and most off ship experiences. Included excursions were minimal quality, including poorly informed guides (except Sydney). When a Port Douglas extension (to see the Great Barrier Reef) was fouled due to a storm, there were no appropriate substitute provisions. We spent most of the time traveling and confined to the hotel. Final insult was attempt to charge for luggage for domestic flight back to Sydney.
Beyond the subpar included excursions, there were inadequate spots on the expensive paid excursions. So, for example, we actually never saw a kangaroo because by the time we attempted to book that (single) excisions, on first available day, the excursion was full.
And then there were the transfers. On first arrival to Sydney, we had a five hour layover before the flight arranged to Cairns. Five hours is long, but after flight from eastern US, it was an eternity. Upon return to Sydney, we were left to handle our luggage for several blocks between the terminal and the buses to the ship. In gale force, literally (Cyclone Owen), winds my rolling luggage escaped me. On the final day of the cruise, we disembarked at 7:10 in the morning and were transported to a hotel conference room to sit out the rest of the day, meals on our own, until our 8:10 flight that night. We did receive a transport to the airport where we discovered because our carrier had changed from the trip over, we owed $500NZ for baggage in excess of their allowances.
Cabins are one of Viking's strong points. Caveat emptor: Onboard options are tied to your selection; ie, booking appointments, excursions. If no one makes it clear, just because you have an early option to book a veranda room (same floor plan as deluxe), THERE IS A DIFFERENCE!
Orion has a problem with shower suddenly running cold. Be prepared to dance with the cycles. Bed is too close to closet. Veranda cabins feel a bit cramped for extended cruises.
Stewards were outstanding as previous cruises; room amenities
Toured De Papa Museum on our own. Excellent!
Visited Christchurch Cathedral on our own.