This was a really enjoyable different kind of itinerary and our first experience with Viking. We came in with high expectations for the ship and crew and it was met in every way. Also, we really enjoy this size ship. We never felt crowded or experienced lines.
Our cabin was modern, comfortable and provided ample storage space. The bathroom was great with a heated floor, plenty of counter space and a very comfortable shower. The TV entertainment system was great and comprehensive including tons of free movies and TV shows, enrichment programs, music and even TED talks (I can get behind a company smart enough to feature TED talks). There was also a good variety of live channels inc,using several US news stations. At times the live TV was unavailable. The free internet was limited to one device at a time per passenger which is frustrating but a smart policy. It did not work so well in some locations but was generally fine for email and reading news. Our cabin was cleaned twice a day and our room steward managed to do so without us ever hardly seeing him.
The service level was as good or better then any of the dozen or so cruises I have previously taken with both mass market and luxury lines. The food ranged from very good to great. I really appreciated the fact that Viking provides an experience that is mostly inclusive and enjoyed that pretty much everything was part of the base experience.
The ports we visited were all pretty interesting. We really loved our starting port, Bergen, and we recommend spending at least a few days in Oslo, where we flew into, which is not part of the cruise itinerary. If you do go to Oslo, the 7 hour train ride from there to Bergen was very enjoyable. My one complaint regarding the ports is the time in Stavanger was just 7 hours which seemed very short.
We took all the included Panoramic tours and found them all worthwhile. The one optional Viking tour we took was in Alta and including snowmobiling and the Igloo Hotel. This was very well organized and was a highlight of our trip.
Finally, I must note the embarkation and disembarkation. They were incredibly smooth and there was none of the usual chaos getting off the ship. I never felt crowded at all. We used Viking to transfer to the airport for our departure flights and it was great.
We were not too lucky with weather or the the Northern Lights, but this did not lessen our enjoyment of this cruise. We loved it!
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