This was our first ever cruise and we were celebrating a big birthday. Having heard about the ship, expectations were very high and it did not disappoint.
We flew in to San Juan late in the evening and so just went to bed the first night, but the embarkation was smooth and luggage was delivered quickly. As we arrived late, they put some sandwiches and fruit out for us along with a bottle of champagne and some red wine, and reminded us that we could order room service as well. As it was gone 1am and we had been up for 24 hours we passed!
We were in a Deluxe Veranda cabin. We can't understand why anyone would complain about the size of these - it was very comfortably big enough for us. The bed was large and comfortable, the sitting area was ok, the bathroom was superb and it was great to be able to sit out on the balcony.
On the first day we explored the ship which was all light and airy, not at all busy and just nicely laid back. We were always able to find places to sit and service was generally attentive.
We ate mainly in the World Cafe as it was more casual and did not require us to dress up. The food was always nice there, usually a good choice of mains and some divine little desserts (as well as cookies and ice cream). We also sampled the Pool Grill where they did some delicious burgers and grilled tuna. We managed to have two meals at Manfredi's, the speciality Italian restaurant. The food was delicious and the plates were huge! We also had a special birthday meal at the Chef's Table which was a five course tasting menu, where every dish was exceptional, each of them paired with wines.
We really enjoyed the entertainment on the ship. The main entertainment was from four young, energetic and very talented performers who put on three main shows - an ABBA show, a showcase of famous song writers and a Beatles show. One of them also did a solo show Divas through the Decades, and another did a jazz set Beyond the Sea - both of these were top quality. They were supported by a four piece band and two lounge singers who were ok. Other entertainment included a guitarist, a classical duo and a piantist, all of whom were ok.
One of the real positives about the cruise was how friendly everyone was. It was impossible to pass any crew member without them greeting you, and it always seemed natural. The cabin service was exceptional with rooms serviced twice a day.
We were surprised to read any negative reviews about this ship. Perhaps it does not have quite as much going on as some mega cruise ships, but for us this was close to perfect. A nice size of ship, never crowded, very attentive staff, good food and enjoyable entertainment.
This was a nice spacious room around midships on the starboard side. Very comfortable large bed (we asked for extra pillows which were brought immediately). The storage space was adequate but not large - a decent wardrobe and two main usable drawers. Nespresso coffee machine with two regular and two decaf pods each day - little disappointed they did not provide us with any teabags. Fairly limited mini bar with a two cans each of regular coke, diet coke and Sprite zero, some tonic water, a couple of small bags of nuts and some mini toblerones, but refreshed each day. Fabulous bathroom with a large shower and plenty of space. Real highlight was the balcony, excellent for watching the ship dock in the mornings (for some reason this was normally done on the starboard side) and sail away in the evenings, also had breakfast there twice via free room service.
Went on an independent whale and dolphin trip as the Viking one was fully booked. Bit of a waste of time as they had no real strategy to find whales, just belted along the coastline for 90 minutes hoping to spot something and then came back.View All 24 Whale Watching Reviews
Brilliant trip. Went out on a small boat to the submarine and it was pretty choppy, not one for people prone to sea sickness. Then transferred to the sub and it descended initially to around 80 ft to the sea bed and a reef where you could see loads of fish and a shipwreck, and then dropped further down to 142 ft. Great commentary throughout and was an amazing experience, saw loads of fish.View All 26 Atlantis Submarine Reviews
Viking trip was fully booked but found an independent trip with Waitukubuli Tours who engaged Captain Kurt. He had a small boat which picked us up from the nearby ferry terminal and took just three of us out. Knew his stuff and was already in contact with two other boats looking for whales (one of them the official Viking one). He also used an underwater microphone which he fitted into a bowl on a pole to make a directional microphone to find where the whales were. We saw six whales in total, most of them the same ones seen by the main tour (but with just three of us on the boat it was easy to get great views). Really nice captain, told us loads about whales and even let us drive the boat on the way back.View All 26 Whale & Dolphin Watching Reviews