My wife has had seeing the Northern Lights as a "Bucket List" item for many years. When Viking Ocean came out with the "In Search of the Northern Lights" cruise I knew it was a must to do. In quick summary, We saw the lights and they were spectacular and the ship/food/crew exceeded our expectations. And yes it was cold.
My wife and I are fairly seasoned cruise passengers the last ten years and usually cruise Celebrity "Aqua Class" or Princess "Club" class and find that level of service excellent on those ships. We have travelled Azamara and thought it was even better but it is expensive. This was first time on Viking and I have to say it was excellent with much the same feel and quality of Azamara but newer. Pricing is much like Oceana and Azamara.
We were scheduled to pick the ship up in Bergen in late January. We were worried about flight delays so arranged to arrive in Bergen a few days before departure. We stayed at Opus IV and it was great. I would highly recommend it as the it is relative new and in a A-1 location for exploring Bergen. It has a great breakfast Buffet with friendly helpful management.
Boarded the ship and headed North. We were in a "D-2" cabin which well laid out with a nice bathroom (Heated floors a definite plus for this trip). The food on the ship was great and varied. Great fish as you would expect being in Norway but the beef was also exceptional. Nicely seasoned and tender for the various cuts. The "Grill" served the best burgers I have ever had at sea. Fresh ground beef or if you wanted, Bison or Turkey or Veggie burgers were avail along with great Hot Dogs or BBQ. All fresh and prepared to order. Several nights they had a seafood buffet on the pool deck with shrimp, crab legs, lagotisnos etc - all you can eat - no charge. Their afternoon tea included besides the 3-tiered platter of goodies, fresh scones and clotted cream....Yum! Most cruises have a "Lobster Night" and serve what I call a Fla Lobster Tail. Always tasty. On Viking they served full Maine Baked Stuffed lobsters or Lobster Thermador. Surf and turf was a highlight not once but twice. So as you can see the food was good.
At least on this ship, Viking Sky, everyone was friendly, has a smile and was willing to chat and help in anyway. Most cruises have one or two staff that stands out but on this ship it was almost everyone without exception. As an example, my wife is allergic to gluten. I would say most ships as well as Viking handle this well. In Viking's case, they had a Sr. Officer assigned to those passengers with food needs. He was always present insuring my wife was taken care of and would bring special chief creations that made the trip special for her.
We sailed North of the Arctic circle and had, for Mid-January, pretty good weather. No real storms, cold weather (Think zero) and some snow. The two cities on the itinerary that had the highest probability to see the lights was Alta and Tromso. Alta was first but no luck. Tromso was a winner with great lights both nights we were there. Other excursion highlights were snow mobile (Heated handle bars a must), dog sledding (a little scary but terrific) and seeing the Ice Hotel (Amazing).
I can't say enough about the cruise as it was very unique and certainly not your average Caribbean cruise. Viking certainly had its act together on this one which means we will definitely use them again.
Deluxe Veranda Mid Ship. Great location a few doors from the laundry. Slightly larger than what you find on other lines for Non-suite Veranda. Bathroom good size with great shower and heated floors. Bed comfy . Good outlets.
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