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We chose the cruise for the fabulous itinerary, visiting many places along the coast of Norway, the Shetland and Orkney Islands, Edinburgh, and Greenwich. The ship facilities, crew service, and food were fabulous. The numerous dining options offered variety in every aspect imaginable, ranging from gourmet dining and exquisite service in the two specialty restaurants to burgers at the pool bar, or midnight soup and dessert in the observatory on the bow. The Viking Sea crew were top notch; everyone was ready to help at the first indication of a need, wherever it occurred, and no matter their role or rank. Based on previous reviews, my expectations for entertainment and enrichment were quite low. I was actually impressed by the quality and variety of enrichment speakers available during our cruise. Of the four, two scored an A+ with me, another an A+ with some of my travelling companions, and the fourth was well received. The entertainers, although mostly not ready for prime time, were entertaining and worthy of the title. The variety of shows and quality of production was better than I expected. Unfortunately, the excursions were the low point of the cruise. In Norway the typical excursion was a 2-3 hour bus ride with a stop or two for photos. The guides were typically not Norwegian, and sometimes had minimal English language skills or very difficult accents. Twice our destinations were closed churches. Although the scenery was always beautiful, days of unfulfilling bus rides is not what I expected. Even the success of the paid excursions is highly dependent on the guide. My wife and I piggy-backed on another group during one because it was so much better than our own. I do recommend Kayaking Geirangerfjord; that was fantastic. Our last excursion, supposedly an "evening cruise" on the Thames and a ride on the London Eye, was a disaster. Instead of a cruise boat, we were packed into a water taxi for our trip to the Eye. The afternoon sun highlighted every scratch on the windows, so even my window seat did not afford a view. The sound system did not work so there was no narration for our ride through London. "Not to worry, we'll have it fixed for your return." On the return trip - no change! From my now center seat at the rear of the water taxi, I could not see out of the sun-glinted windows with the afternoon sun still showing every mar, nor hear the unamplified narration from the front of the boat. Not a fond farewell.

Great Ship, Disappointing Excursions

Viking Sea Cruise Review by cocruiser19

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
We chose the cruise for the fabulous itinerary, visiting many places along the coast of Norway, the Shetland and Orkney Islands, Edinburgh, and Greenwich. The ship facilities, crew service, and food were fabulous. The numerous dining options offered variety in every aspect imaginable, ranging from gourmet dining and exquisite service in the two specialty restaurants to burgers at the pool bar, or midnight soup and dessert in the observatory on the bow. The Viking Sea crew were top notch; everyone was ready to help at the first indication of a need, wherever it occurred, and no matter their role or rank.

Based on previous reviews, my expectations for entertainment and enrichment were quite low. I was actually impressed by the quality and variety of enrichment speakers available during our cruise. Of the four, two scored an A+ with me, another an A+ with some of my travelling companions, and the fourth was well received. The entertainers, although mostly not ready for prime time, were entertaining and worthy of the title. The variety of shows and quality of production was better than I expected.

Unfortunately, the excursions were the low point of the cruise. In Norway the typical excursion was a 2-3 hour bus ride with a stop or two for photos. The guides were typically not Norwegian, and sometimes had minimal English language skills or very difficult accents. Twice our destinations were closed churches. Although the scenery was always beautiful, days of unfulfilling bus rides is not what I expected. Even the success of the paid excursions is highly dependent on the guide. My wife and I piggy-backed on another group during one because it was so much better than our own. I do recommend Kayaking Geirangerfjord; that was fantastic. Our last excursion, supposedly an "evening cruise" on the Thames and a ride on the London Eye, was a disaster. Instead of a cruise boat, we were packed into a water taxi for our trip to the Eye. The afternoon sun highlighted every scratch on the windows, so even my window seat did not afford a view. The sound system did not work so there was no narration for our ride through London. "Not to worry, we'll have it fixed for your return." On the return trip - no change! From my now center seat at the rear of the water taxi, I could not see out of the sun-glinted windows with the afternoon sun still showing every mar, nor hear the unamplified narration from the front of the boat. Not a fond farewell.
cocruiser19’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
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Cabin Review

Cabin
Well appointed, comfortable, quiet. Our cabin was roomy enough that we never felt crowded, even when both of us were active or eating in the room. Furnishings were adequate for hosting another couple for snacks and cocktails. Balcony was comfortable and had a completely unobstructed view. Crew did a superb job of maintaining the room (two or more visits every day - always while we were gone) and resupplying the fridge stock.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • City Tour
    There is a museum directly across from the ship's berth that is well worth a visit. It is free and has a variety of exhibits. I was most fascinated with the exhibit dedicated to WW II resistance and the "Shetland Bus," the resistance pipeline between Bergen and the Shetland Islands. The architecture of the old town around the railroad station is picturesque. Wandering down alleyways and side streets all over town is always rewarding - lots of boutique shops, coffee houses, local restaurants with local pricing, and more picturesque neighborhoods.
    View All 109 City Tour Reviews
  • City Tour
    We took an early city tour and caught the last bus back to the ship. We enjoyed just strolling around the city, in and out of shops, and through different neighborhoods. Edinburgh is a beautiful city. It was a delight to stroll it on a sunny day!
    View All 33 City Tour Reviews
  • Kayaking
    The guides were extremely helpful and the scenery was striking. Be sure to check out your rudder well before you leave the departure area. Several kayaks had rudder malfunctions on the outbound leg in our group. Ours was locked hard to one side and I fought it all the way outbound. The return was much easier.
    View All 12 Kayaking Reviews
  • Kirkwall
    We took the Orkney's Stone Age tour. The sites were good but the guide could have been much better. We piggy-backed on another group at the Ring of Brodgar because their guide was far more interesting than ours. I wish we had discovered him at Skara Brae.
    View All 179 Kirkwall Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Molde
    The Romsdal Museum was very well presented. The characters within the museum were extremely engaging and made the day for us.
    View All 38 Molde Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Molde Cruise Port Review
  • Tromso Highlights Tour
    Rather dull. The Arctic Cathedral was closed. Too much time on a bus.
    View All 32 Tromso Highlights Tour Reviews