Our voyage on the Viking Orion from Bangkok to Bali was certainly one of the most memorable cruising we have the pleasure to partake. Viking has a way to pick the best crew, and this is no exception. As this is a new ship, our review reflects the fact that every detail has not been worked out, and polished on this ship.
Our cabin configuration was very well thought of, with plenty drawers. The under bed has enough clearance to easily stow our empty luggage. A little quirk; the shower stall is designed in such a way, that one is forced to exit the stall completely to get to your towel! An extra hook adhered to the side glass panel just outside the door would solve that problem.
We prefer fantail room for its views, and we enjoy sitting on the balcony for that reason. That is the reason we booked cabin #4123. Disappointingly, because of a design flaw, which blocks water drainage, we constantly have inch-deep water pooling on the balcony; and the water is not only from rain. The infinity pool above us constantly splashes water to our balcony! Our cruise mates, in the cabin directly above us (deck 5), does not have this pooling problem. We were not able to enjoy the balcony as we have in past cruises. We recommend avoiding booking cabin #4123, and #4122, for this reason.
We enjoy wine pairing with our food, and definitely it is worth purchasing the beverage package. Viking wine selection and premium liquors are extensive, and the package allows liquor enjoyments outside the dining room. We were able to sample some of the best wines on a cruise, in part because of the expert guidance from our knowledgeable sommelier, Kat!
We were truly excited that there is an onboard planetarium and with an astronomer crew member. We feel that the planetarium and the astronomer are not utilized to their full potential. People have to book ahead for the 3D shows, as the facility has limited seating capacity. I love watching 3D movies. Unfortunately, only one of the shows (Space travel) requiring tickets, pertained to space, or astronomy. The best presentation was conducted by the astronomer, unfortunately also have limited times. My recommendation is to try to see the Space presentation and attend the astronomer's lecture, and skip the rest.
Karaoke is not for everybody, but having no karaoke in an Asian tour seems a bit extreme. We asked the Cruise Director if a karaoke session is possible, and was told that the company CEO forbid that activity on board!
The trip from Bangkok to the ship docked in Laem Chabang, because of traffic, took over 2hrs! Is there a nearer port from Bangkok, other than Laem Chabang? Wouldn't it be a unique experience to for passengers to be shuttled to the ship on a fast boat, like a hydrofoil? How boarding a hydrofoil from Klong Toey on the Chao Phraya River, and shuttle us to the ship in it, if Laem Chabang is the only cruise ship friendly port from Bangkok?
There is nothing worth seeing in Laem Chabang, so all tours are centered in Bangkok. Realizing how long it is to reach Bangkok, we even skipped an included 9hr tour, because we know we will be wasting at least 5 of those hours, just for the commute!
Our only disaster, was our pre-cruise tour of Bangkok. The guide failed to provide us with rain gear, and we were soaked to our skins in the downpour! Viking learned from that goof, and we were given rain ponchos at every shore tours after that.
See above - We recommend avoiding booking cabin #4123, and #4122.
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