My wife and I are very experienced cruisers having been on more than 35. This was our first time on Viking Ocean Cruise line, Scandinavian and we were impressed by their very high ratings on River Cruises.and the fact they only carried a maximum of 930 passengers.
Check in was a breeze with 6 or 7 receptionists waiting for us instead of long lines. It is considered a luxury cruise ship and as such commands a very high initial cost for the cruise which must be paid in full much before the cruise embarks. However, this is partially compensated for with many inclusions not permitted on other cruise lines. We were permitted to bring alcohol aboard the ship. They also included wine and beer with all meals and excursions at each port of call.
While onboard my wife and her our friend Ann went to a cooking class with the executive Chef of the ship and he liked them. There were two special dining venues THE CHEF'S TABLE and another upscale Italian restaurant. We were supposed to go only once during the cruise but because of the connection my wife, Nela and Ann made with the Chef were permitted to go 4 times, where he prepared his specialties and served them. They were absolutely amazing and I've never had better food on any ship.
For an additional charge you could choose other excursions customized to your interests.
I chose one on Cozumel said to be the 2d largest barrier reef for snorkeling, 185 miles long which was disappointing as I had expected a wall but found only scattered limestone reefs with only smaller colorful tropical fish. I saw no predators like sharks, barracudas or even sting rays, that I had seen snorkeling and Scuba diving. Though the personnel were very friendly it was not well organized. In the middle of the sea they required half our passengers to climb onto a boat that pulled alongside. I'd not recommend that excursion.
However one excursion we went on was exceptional and I'd highly recommend that in Mexico called SALSA AND SALSA in which my wife I and two friends, first time cruisers were taken on a couple buses to a 2d floor high ceiling open air room in a hotel and sat at tables for 10 with many vegetables and a musher, which is a small dish with a rough bottom and a pestle for crushing and mushing the vegetables with various recipes into different Salsas. We were provided aprons, Chef's hats and unlimited. Margaritas and ingredients to make more.
Our hostesses were two young Mexican girls in their 20's full of enthusiasm that kept things going. After eating varied Doritos and Salsa and too many home made Margaritas where we lost count the tables were removed and the floor cleared for dancing the SALSA.
I would never call myself a dancer but after 6 or 7 Margaritas figured nobody cared and did my best. We all left totally sated, happy and ready to recover.
The entertainment onboard the ship was very limited in variety and elaborate productions but made up for it with extremely talented musicians and singers. There was one quartet of 4 British singers that performed on 3 different nights once emulating ABBA, then BEATLES and finally 60's music. I talked to a few of the performers afterward and found they were not a professional group but were hired individually and the group would disintegrate after the cruise ended. It made me tear up thinking so beautiful would end.
Even our Cruise director was a former professional Opera Singer with a voice so perfect I asked my friend if she wasn't lipsyncing and he assured me she was not. She was amazing at the New Year's celebration party.
On board I enjoyed their lectures particularly one on Catapults showing how very ineffective walls are, no matter how strong or well guarded.
The gym was small and basic but had all the essentials for a good workout. I liked the Steam, Sauna and Ice room. The ice room was a real treat. Short periods of stress are good for your health and excessive amount can kill you.
In summing up overall I'd say this cruise was exceptional and one of the best I've been on, though expensive. I've been on more moderately priced ships that were very good and can honestly say I've never been on any vacation I did not enjoy though some more than others, so in the end you'll have to decide what you want for yourself. I always consider price an important factor when deciding on a service or product. I was an accountant by profession.
I like quality at a reduced price. That what makes a good value.
If you want everything to be nearly perfect and are willing to pay top price VIKING is a choice, you won't be wrong with, but if you'd want to go on two or more cruises on a less expensive ship for the same price, then Princess or Celebrity are excellent ships.
I wrote this review for Cruise Critic not Viking Ocean cruise line because I read Viking's terms and conditions in which they stated they can edit comments possibly making my review Fake News instead of the honest one I wrote by editing out anything negative. I said, but believe cruise critic will condense it with my concerns to its essence.
I hope this has been helpful. Paul, an experienced cruiser.
Our cabin was very comfortable and what was expected. Our room steward provided everything we needed but was not usually visible.