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We wanted to see the Northern Lights. We knew that there were no guarantees, but thought that Viking would at least provide as much support as possible to view them. Perhaps the problem is that we were on the first-ever Viking cruise in search of the Northern Lights. The cruise excursion staff HAD NEVER BEEN TO THE PORTS BEFORE. For that matter, neither had the ship's captain (I"m glad I didn't know that until the cruise was over, when he told us). That is, the excursion staff could answer no questions about most things except to say that they didn't know. Plus the built-in excursions were so poorly organized. Tour guides who couldn't speak English, itineraries that were haphazard. We drove past (did not even stop to stay in the bus to look) the main tourist attractions, if you were on the wrong side of the bus, you didn't even get a look at all. Some of the paid excursions were even worse, resulting in Viking having to refund all or part of the cost. There is absolutely no excuse at all for this level of incompetence, I don't care if this was the first time they did this trip. They should have investigated first. Think about it, a Norwegian cruise line that can't handle ports in Norway. Then the food. It was totally disappointing. Everything was so bland. Especially don't go if you're vegetarian, few and poor options. Then the fact that this was a very class-conscious society. On Viking, there are built-in excursions included in the base fare. You can sign up online in advance to get the time you prefer. If you pay more for a cabin, you get access first, so the times I wanted were already fully booked before I had access to the online reservation system. And I was very careful to sign in as soon as I was able to. The same was true for reservations in the specialty restaurants, I couldn't get a reservation at a reasonable time for at-sea days on the first day that I was able to sign up. Then the Northern Lights. We were told to leave our TVs on after going to sleep, and they would announce if northern lights were sighted so we could try to catch them. Well, we did that every night (and the light from the TV was most annoying), the problem was that they didn't announce sightings, even when passengers sighted and reported them. Apparently the crew didn't see them, but other passengers had some spectacular views. When we asked the staff why they didn't announce them, they just told us that it it was just a rumor and sightings hadn't been reported. We spoke directly with the passengers who did see them and did report them, so there were significant issues there. On the plus side, the ship itself was wonderful, the entertainment was wonderful. I especially loved the sauna/steamroom/snow grotto. All the staff was great, friendly and super helpful (except for the problems with excursions, as mentioned, where they couldn't help as they had no information at all). The lectures were outstanding. Despite the positives, I will never do another Viking Ocean cruise. I can get better value and better food on a mass-market cruise line like Princess.

Will never do another Viking Ocean cruise

Viking Sky Cruise Review by pgscmk

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We wanted to see the Northern Lights. We knew that there were no guarantees, but thought that Viking would at least provide as much support as possible to view them.

Perhaps the problem is that we were on the first-ever Viking cruise in search of the Northern Lights. The cruise excursion staff HAD NEVER BEEN TO THE PORTS BEFORE. For that matter, neither had the ship's captain (I"m glad I didn't know that until the cruise was over, when he told us). That is, the excursion staff could answer no questions about most things except to say that they didn't know. Plus the built-in excursions were so poorly organized. Tour guides who couldn't speak English, itineraries that were haphazard. We drove past (did not even stop to stay in the bus to look) the main tourist attractions, if you were on the wrong side of the bus, you didn't even get a look at all. Some of the paid excursions were even worse, resulting in Viking having to refund all or part of the cost. There is absolutely no excuse at all for this level of incompetence, I don't care if this was the first time they did this trip. They should have investigated first. Think about it, a Norwegian cruise line that can't handle ports in Norway.

Then the food. It was totally disappointing. Everything was so bland. Especially don't go if you're vegetarian, few and poor options.

Then the fact that this was a very class-conscious society. On Viking, there are built-in excursions included in the base fare. You can sign up online in advance to get the time you prefer. If you pay more for a cabin, you get access first, so the times I wanted were already fully booked before I had access to the online reservation system. And I was very careful to sign in as soon as I was able to. The same was true for reservations in the specialty restaurants, I couldn't get a reservation at a reasonable time for at-sea days on the first day that I was able to sign up.

Then the Northern Lights. We were told to leave our TVs on after going to sleep, and they would announce if northern lights were sighted so we could try to catch them. Well, we did that every night (and the light from the TV was most annoying), the problem was that they didn't announce sightings, even when passengers sighted and reported them. Apparently the crew didn't see them, but other passengers had some spectacular views. When we asked the staff why they didn't announce them, they just told us that it it was just a rumor and sightings hadn't been reported. We spoke directly with the passengers who did see them and did report them, so there were significant issues there.

On the plus side, the ship itself was wonderful, the entertainment was wonderful. I especially loved the sauna/steamroom/snow grotto. All the staff was great, friendly and super helpful (except for the problems with excursions, as mentioned, where they couldn't help as they had no information at all). The lectures were outstanding.

Despite the positives, I will never do another Viking Ocean cruise. I can get better value and better food on a mass-market cruise line like Princess.
Viking Cruises, Community Team has responded
Thank you, pgscmk, for providing us and the cruising community with an overview of your time aboard Viking Sky. We regret to learn your much anticipated viewing of the Northern Lights was met with disappointment, however your feedback regarding the structure of the included and optional shore excursions is appreciated. While we are thrilled to learn of your satisfaction with the ship aesthetics, amenities and entertainment, your disenchantment described above is regrettable and we would appreciate the opportunity to learn more about how we could have made this this the five-star journey you had envisioned. Should you like to share more, kindly email us your booking information at TellUs@vikingcruises.com. We hope to restore your faith in us, pgscmk, and look forward to hearing from you.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of The Independent Traveler, Inc.
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The cabin was lovely.