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We chose this cruise as the itinerary seemed very good and it seemed as though it was good to have some excursions and beer and wine included during meal times. Having said that, we had a very rough traverse of the Tasman Sea from Hobart to Dunedin. The ship rocked excessively from side to side, especially overnight the second night crossing. We enjoyed the excursions in Dunedin with great views of the surrounding areas from Signal Hill and a hike up Mt. Cargill. Cancelled Port: We were supposed to then travel to Christchurch, but despite indication that the sea was not all that rough ( certainly not as rough based on weather forecasts and other indications as the crossing in the Tasman Sea ), Christchurch was cancelled, citing safety concerns. We find it odd that of the 4 Viking cruise sailings between Sydney and Auckland, 2 were cancelled. And there was no compensation for Christchurch being cancelled. Ship It is beautifully appointed and there was never really a crowded area. There was comfortable seating throughout the ship. We were impressed by the cleanliness on the ship and that there were attendants constantly cleaning public washrooms. The cabin: It was nicely appointed and we found the PV2 to be a perfect size. The bathroom and main part of the cabin had ample space, although the veranda seemed a bit cramped to sit out on. Downside: The bed was painfully firm. This bed did not provide a comfortable sleeping experience. Food Quality: Dining we found to be questionable. The food, especially in the World Cafe was often lukewarm and sometimes overcooked. Desserts were quite amazing and gelato bar very popular. We had to send back several items in The Restaurant, including a lamb shank that was tough and lukewarm and a steak that was ordered medium rare and was definitely medium to medium well. What they call baked potatoes are not what I would refer to as baked. They are peeled potatoes and what I would call roasted, More than once they were overly soft and mushy. THis is a relatively smaller ship with just over 900 passengers, so there is an opportunity to do more frequent batch cooking. Often at dinner opening, the food was overcooked. One example was extremely overcooked mushy roasted wedge potatoes. The food was not all bad, however. The presentation was always excellent and taste usually very good. Included WInes: I found all the included wines to be very good. I suppose it would be difficult to satisfy all tastes as wine tasting can be so subjective. I was very grateful that throughout the cruise there were no oaked wines as I don't like that flavour. I think the wines were selected very carefully. Well done! Chef's Table Specialty Restaurant: We went to a dinner at the Chef's Table Specialty restaurant and enjoyed the Lotus fixed sample menu. However, we signed up for that night for a Thai menu and it was changed without a reason given. Reservations: Our dinner reservation for one of the nights in the specialty restaurant, Manfredi's was dropped off our list of reservations without explanation and no suitable fix was offered. Advice: Print a copy of all reservations on your account! That was a mistake on our part and they did not correct it. Lack of Follow Up by Management: As I mentioned earlier, I thought that the cleanliness and safety/sanitation was for the most part a focus on the ship. However, I filled out a questionnaire about a practice that I believe worked against maintaining health and safety. The comments were passed on and responded to, suggesting that I would see a noticeable change, which never happened. In all food venues on board, except the World cafe, all glassware was face up on the tables. In the World Cafe, the glassware was face down on soiled vinyl placemats. There was a risk of contamination between the drinking portion of the glassware and the soiled table mats. This is not congruent with the other good practices on the ship. I DID NOT appreciate a response that was only lip service and not a true follow up. I also filled out a survey upon disembarkation, commenting on the lack of proper follow up and nobody followed up from this either. Entertainment: We didn't attend a lot of the shows on board, but the ABBA review was pretty good, although a bit hammy. On the final night, they showed the film Bohemian Rhapsody, which was great as it is an Oscar nominated film this year. Service was excellent. All staff members would sincerely greet us at all times in the public areas of the ship. I can't say enough about the crew and their customer service. Explorer Dome: What some refer to as a planetarium, isn't really one. It is a film venue where those films are projected partly or fully onto the dome in a theatre above the explorer lounge. This is available only on the Orion and Jupiter ships. I thought the Mars show was excellent, simulating a human landing on Mars with international participants collecting specimens and reporting back to Earth. I would not recommend the Dolphins and Whales show. It only covered part of the screen and although 3D was of poor production quality. Spa: This was included with no extra fees, unless booking massages or other treatments. There were so many facets to it. Sauna, cold plunge pool, thermal pool, steam room, snow grotto. It was very refreshing and relaxing. I highly recommend visiting this area. There are towels and robes provided and the lockers are controlled by your room card, which was very convenient. The spa employees were very friendly and helpful, offering advice on receiving the maximum benefit from all the facets of the spa. Value: Questionable for a Canadian traveller, with a significant surcharge of over 35% in Canadian funds over the US price. For a 15 day cruise that cost over $22,000 CAD, a nicely appointed room on other reputable cruise lines could be had for significantly less, even if factoring in excursions and alcohol.

Beautiful Ship with Excellent Crew But Some Food Not Up to Par

Viking Orion Cruise Review by TheBoy58

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We chose this cruise as the itinerary seemed very good and it seemed as though it was good to have some excursions and beer and wine included during meal times. Having said that, we had a very rough traverse of the Tasman Sea from Hobart to Dunedin. The ship rocked excessively from side to side, especially overnight the second night crossing. We enjoyed the excursions in Dunedin with great views of the surrounding areas from Signal Hill and a hike up Mt. Cargill.

Cancelled Port: We were supposed to then travel to Christchurch, but despite indication that the sea was not all that rough ( certainly not as rough based on weather forecasts and other indications as the crossing in the Tasman Sea ), Christchurch was cancelled, citing safety concerns. We find it odd that of the 4 Viking cruise sailings between Sydney and Auckland, 2 were cancelled. And there was no compensation for Christchurch being cancelled.

Ship It is beautifully appointed and there was never really a crowded area. There was comfortable seating throughout the ship. We were impressed by the cleanliness on the ship and that there were attendants constantly cleaning public washrooms.

The cabin: It was nicely appointed and we found the PV2 to be a perfect size. The bathroom and main part of the cabin had ample space, although the veranda seemed a bit cramped to sit out on. Downside: The bed was painfully firm. This bed did not provide a comfortable sleeping experience.

Food Quality: Dining we found to be questionable. The food, especially in the World Cafe was often lukewarm and sometimes overcooked. Desserts were quite amazing and gelato bar very popular. We had to send back several items in The Restaurant, including a lamb shank that was tough and lukewarm and a steak that was ordered medium rare and was definitely medium to medium well. What they call baked potatoes are not what I would refer to as baked. They are peeled potatoes and what I would call roasted, More than once they were overly soft and mushy. THis is a relatively smaller ship with just over 900 passengers, so there is an opportunity to do more frequent batch cooking. Often at dinner opening, the food was overcooked. One example was extremely overcooked mushy roasted wedge potatoes. The food was not all bad, however. The presentation was always excellent and taste usually very good.

Included WInes: I found all the included wines to be very good. I suppose it would be difficult to satisfy all tastes as wine tasting can be so subjective. I was very grateful that throughout the cruise there were no oaked wines as I don't like that flavour. I think the wines were selected very carefully. Well done!

Chef's Table Specialty Restaurant: We went to a dinner at the Chef's Table Specialty restaurant and enjoyed the Lotus fixed sample menu. However, we signed up for that night for a Thai menu and it was changed without a reason given.

Reservations: Our dinner reservation for one of the nights in the specialty restaurant, Manfredi's was dropped off our list of reservations without explanation and no suitable fix was offered. Advice: Print a copy of all reservations on your account! That was a mistake on our part and they did not correct it.

Lack of Follow Up by Management: As I mentioned earlier, I thought that the cleanliness and safety/sanitation was for the most part a focus on the ship. However, I filled out a questionnaire about a practice that I believe worked against maintaining health and safety. The comments were passed on and responded to, suggesting that I would see a noticeable change, which never happened. In all food venues on board, except the World cafe, all glassware was face up on the tables. In the World Cafe, the glassware was face down on soiled vinyl placemats. There was a risk of contamination between the drinking portion of the glassware and the soiled table mats. This is not congruent with the other good practices on the ship. I DID NOT appreciate a response that was only lip service and not a true follow up. I also filled out a survey upon disembarkation, commenting on the lack of proper follow up and nobody followed up from this either.

Entertainment: We didn't attend a lot of the shows on board, but the ABBA review was pretty good, although a bit hammy. On the final night, they showed the film Bohemian Rhapsody, which was great as it is an Oscar nominated film this year.

Service was excellent. All staff members would sincerely greet us at all times in the public areas of the ship. I can't say enough about the crew and their customer service.

Explorer Dome: What some refer to as a planetarium, isn't really one. It is a film venue where those films are projected partly or fully onto the dome in a theatre above the explorer lounge. This is available only on the Orion and Jupiter ships. I thought the Mars show was excellent, simulating a human landing on Mars with international participants collecting specimens and reporting back to Earth. I would not recommend the Dolphins and Whales show. It only covered part of the screen and although 3D was of poor production quality.

Spa: This was included with no extra fees, unless booking massages or other treatments. There were so many facets to it. Sauna, cold plunge pool, thermal pool, steam room, snow grotto. It was very refreshing and relaxing. I highly recommend visiting this area. There are towels and robes provided and the lockers are controlled by your room card, which was very convenient. The spa employees were very friendly and helpful, offering advice on receiving the maximum benefit from all the facets of the spa.

Value: Questionable for a Canadian traveller, with a significant surcharge of over 35% in Canadian funds over the US price. For a 15 day cruise that cost over $22,000 CAD, a nicely appointed room on other reputable cruise lines could be had for significantly less, even if factoring in excursions and alcohol.
TheBoy58’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
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Fitness & Recreation
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Service
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Cabin Review

Cabin 5030
Beautifully appointed and spacious. Small veranda. Bed too firm and uncomfortable. Shower a very good size, but hot and cold mix dangerously uncontrolled.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • City Tour
    The Auckland City of Sails Included Tour drove through the CBD and pointed out some local companies , such as Air New Zealand. and City Bridge and then over the Auckland City Bridge and then to Michael Joseph Savage Park with sweeping views of the city and further off the coast from the harbour. Drove around some of the areas of the city, including Parnell and through the park called the Domain, where sits the Auckland Museum.
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  • Dunedin
    The Mt. Cargill hike was in Dunedin. 2 tour guides and a mini van = great service Beautiful panoramic views part way and at the top. Lots of interpretive information from guides provided about the natural plan tlife. At the top, tour guides Thomas and Leigh served up tea, coffee, juices and biscuits at the top.
    View All 11,617 Dunedin Cruise Port Reviews
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  • City Tour
    This Dunedin Tour gave excellent views from Signal Hill of the surrounding areas including Otego Harbour. Interesting but very brief stop at Baldwin Street, the steepest street in the world. Stopped at the Dunedin Railway Station, a beautifully restored, fully functioning station. Viking was there serving refreshments. Final stop was the place called the Octagon in the downtown area and in front of a statue of Robby Burns. Tour guide was friendly enough, BUT I heard the Viking representative handing him surveys to the driver and he DID NOT pass them to the passengers to complete. He also said some inappropriate comments about the native Maori that should not have been said.
    View All 38 City Tour Reviews
  • Hobart
    Tour guide was not organized. She was not able to get the speaker system working in the bus until quite late. We could not hear a lot of the commentary. SHe was quoting some bizarre facts and figures. $200 per kilo that the farmers fetch for fresh cherries? Really??
    Conservation park was called the Unzoo. Amazing visit to see kangaroos bred in captivity. We were all given the opportunity to feed the kangaroos out of our hands!! We then viewed a Tasmanian Devil at feeding time. Very sharp teeth. Then on to Port Arthur, a former penal colony, mostly in ruin. Interesting tour from the guide there. Went on a tour of the harbour?! That part was a complete waste of time. Nothing much to see on the cruise. Time would have been better spent touring around the site. Viking organized an excellent lunch at Port Arthur, complete with beer and wine. Very good caterers!
    View All 11,617 Hobart Cruise Port Reviews
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  • City Tour
    This TOur was actually called Melbourne Highlights. It was average. The driver seemed to be talking about Melbourne in terms of mostly his interests. We stopped at the Botanical gardens amd a very large Anzac Memorial. Drove by MCG Melbourne Cricket Grounds Stadium that holds 100k and 10k standing.
    View All 20 City Tour Reviews
  • Kangaroos & Koalas
    Wow, this tour of Koalas and Kangaroos at Sunset was definitely a highlight of the vacation. I highly recommend it. We were taken out of the city through Little River ( Yes, Little River Band from the 80's namesake ). We were taken to a National Park and a reserve to observe a mob of kangaroos in their natural habitat. It was an amazing experience. We went to a reserve park where a guide was searching the whole day for the whereabouts of koalas in trees. She located one of them and we were taken quietly to the place. The koala was a good 30 feet up the tree, barely visible, but it was a true experience of a wild animal in nature.
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  • Napier
    Sheep Station was excellent. We were shown a demonstration of how cattle dogs herd the sheep, then a demonstration insider a barn of how to shear a sheep. The handler sheared a sheep to make one large pelt all in one piece. We were then treated to hot beverages and fresh muffins in the adjacent cafe operated by the Sheep Station people. The bus then took us up to a viewpoint at Te Mata peak. The view was very good from there, despite the not so great weather that day. ALso passed by the various wineries and farms in the area.
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  • City Tour
    Sydney Panorama Included Tour is the actual name of this tour. We drove through the Sydney Botanical Gardens and stopped at Mrs. Macquarrie's Chair, where there was a panoramic view of the Sydney skyline, including the Opera House and the Sydney Bridge. We also went to Bondi Beach, where there was a beautiful view of the beach and several people out swimming and surfing.
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  • Tauranga
    We first drove around Tauranga to see the various shop, beaches and homes along the waterfront. After that we headed for Rotorua, which is over an hours' drive. Kiwi Plants on farms were pointed out along the way. We visited the Te Puia Centre. This cultural Centre was excellent. The young Maori woman, who was our guide was very friendly and informative. We toured the geothermal pools with a view of a geyser and mud pools with steam rising. There was an indoor viewing site of a kiwi bird, but we could not spot it. We were treated to an amazing performance of Maori dancing, including the Haka dance. We also toured the building where various trades are performed, including weaving and carving. Grants are given to Maori students to learn the trades. After, there was an amazing buffet lunch at the cafe, including local favourites. Love the kiwi fruit juice!! New Zealand style pavlova cake! There was an excellent gift shop on site with many local hand made items. Well worth a visit.
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  • Cable car
    Cable car ( a funicular ) is easily accessible from the downtown core. You can buy ticket for one way or round trip. There are amazing views from the top, where there is a nice botanical garden and some cafes.
    View All 27 Cable car Reviews
  • Te Papa Museum
    Te Papa Museum was excellent. We had bought our own tickets to the Te Papa Museum for the Terra Cotta Warriors exhibition from China. This was an amazing exhibition. I would highly recommend that you see this exhibit. We also saw the exhibits about New Zealand history, immigration and culture and also the Gallipoli exhibit about the Anzac mission during World war 2. All of the exhibits we saw were excellent.
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