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Neophytes to Cruising, this was our first ocean cruise since way back in the mid-70s to the Caribbean. Our first experience with Viking Cruises was a few years back on the Châteaux, Rivers & Wine cruise from Bordeaux. At the time, the ocean ships were still being constructed. Once launched, we were determined to take a voyage … and what better excuse than a cruise that began on my birthday! A caveat as I write this: Our cruise was the fifth of six on this itinerary, immediately preceding the last unfortunate voyage. My heart aches for the passengers and crew who experienced the terrifying breakdown in rough seas and our prayers extended to them in their recovery process. Embarking and disembarking was remarkably quick and efficient! Everyone was friendly, helpful and welcoming. We stepped onboard to smiling crew offering glasses of sparkling wine and promptly escorted to the elevators to the seventh deck World Café for lunch, our choice of wine flowing freely. We did opt for the Silver Spirits Beverage Package … good value for us as the packages includes a wide range of liquors, cocktails, wines and all specialty coffees. The décor of the Viking ships is beautiful and peaceful, the design incorporating many cozy areas – nothing feels crowded or noisy, even alongside the three-story atrium. The crew was amazing…always friendly, engaging, smiling and pleasant. From our first visit to the Explorers’ Lounge, Cecilia attended graciously welcomed us and answered any question we might have. Chris is another favorite, as is Ravi in the Dining Room. Their service was impeccable…we miss them greatly! Matthew, the guitarist, is outstanding! We were even lucky to have a fellow passenger accompany him on the harmonica. There is so much to do on the ship…read the Viking Daily carefully or you may miss something delightful. My husband, a retired chef, thoroughly enjoyed the presentations by one of the chefs. The port and excursion previews were very helpful as we were visiting lesser-known ports in the winter. Enrichment lectures abound. Staterooms repeat the tasteful and peaceful décor. Ours was a Deluxe Veranda on Deck 4 not too far from the elevators. The room was very quiet; we never heard anything from adjacent rooms. There was ample storage room, coffee service, king-size comfortable bed, two lounge chairs, table, desk, and a spacious bathroom with heated floors (so nice!). The mini-bar was replenished daily and water pitcher refilled twice a day (tap water was absolutely fine to drink as well). Bottled water was offered every time we left the ship and returned, as well as a form of mulled wine (so nice when it was SO cold). Everything is kept spotlessly clean; the stewards are friendly, efficient and professional. Food was exceptional, beautifully presented and delicious; there was always a server close by ready to top off water and wine. We ate at The Chef’s Table twice – Asian & Chinese – four-course offerings accompanied by premium selected wines (again part of the Silver Spirits package). The first night onboard was my birthday … a bottle of sparkling wine and greetings from crew in the room upon arrival and a wonderful layer cake at The Chef’s Table that night, in addition to the trio of desserts featured in the menu. We only ate a third that night; the next day, the rest of it was delivered to our stateroom. We did have a disappointing experience at the specialty restaurant Manfredi’s. Granted, we are spoiled for fine Italian cuisine in the North End of Boston. We both ordered the lamb chops medium rare; they came quite well done on the outside. The manager of the venue was at our side immediately. We then requested rare; the inside was medium rare; I couldn’t even cut through the outside. I gave up; he took it back; and I ordered the carbonara—very cream-heavy. I never, ever send anything back. My gratitude to the manager for being so patient. Many of our crew said we should have had the bistecca, that it is delicious. The Dining Room never disappointed, lunch or dinner. The Norwegian specialties at Mamsen’s were also delicious. The itinerary was awe-inspiring! The Captain steered away from Bodø as it’s directly on the sea and winds were too heavy for safe docking. The ship took us to places we would have not otherwise gone. The weather was wonderful and the crew did remark it was the best of all the cruises to date. Even Bergen was bright and sunny. Tromsø was beautiful, topped off the first night by an outstanding display of the Northern Lights. We watched the shimmering waves for close to 30 minutes, right from our veranda. We all became trained like Pavlov dogs as there were so many announcements of sightings – everyone scrambling to the best viewing points. We did a limited number of ship excursions, choosing to enjoy ports on our own, use a local guide, or enjoy the ship’s many offerings. A delightful young guide, Tor, from a local company, ‘Tromsø Individuelle,’ took us on a superb private tour of the many fjords in the area and out to Sommorøy Island. The best ship excursion we took was the Ofoten Railway to Riksgränsen Resort in Sweden where I was immediately caught up in all the eager huskies' lines and thrilled by their enthusiastic ride around a frozen lake! Everything on and off the ship was well organized and seamless. We highly recommend this adventure!!! We opted for early March as we hoped it would not be as cold as January, and it wasn’t. Winter temperatures in Boston were quite similar to what we experienced on the cruise. In fact, we were even over-prepared for the cold. We experienced a couple days with rough seas, always pre-warned by the Captain…something I expected for winter on the North and Norwegian Seas. As it turns out, the Sky encountered difficulties on the last trip as the equipment was too highly efficient – engines shutting down as perceptive oil levels were thrown off by high seas. We thoroughly enjoyed this voyage and consider it a trip of a lifetime! While our next cruise is a Viking river cruise in France, we definitely will return for another ocean adventure.

Spectacular and Stunning Voyage!

Viking Sky Cruise Review by Petpainter

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Neophytes to Cruising, this was our first ocean cruise since way back in the mid-70s to the Caribbean. Our first experience with Viking Cruises was a few years back on the Châteaux, Rivers & Wine cruise from Bordeaux. At the time, the ocean ships were still being constructed. Once launched, we were determined to take a voyage … and what better excuse than a cruise that began on my birthday!

A caveat as I write this: Our cruise was the fifth of six on this itinerary, immediately preceding the last unfortunate voyage. My heart aches for the passengers and crew who experienced the terrifying breakdown in rough seas and our prayers extended to them in their recovery process.

Embarking and disembarking was remarkably quick and efficient! Everyone was friendly, helpful and welcoming. We stepped onboard to smiling crew offering glasses of sparkling wine and promptly escorted to the elevators to the seventh deck World Café for lunch, our choice of wine flowing freely. We did opt for the Silver Spirits Beverage Package … good value for us as the packages includes a wide range of liquors, cocktails, wines and all specialty coffees.

The décor of the Viking ships is beautiful and peaceful, the design incorporating many cozy areas – nothing feels crowded or noisy, even alongside the three-story atrium. The crew was amazing…always friendly, engaging, smiling and pleasant. From our first visit to the Explorers’ Lounge, Cecilia attended graciously welcomed us and answered any question we might have. Chris is another favorite, as is Ravi in the Dining Room. Their service was impeccable…we miss them greatly! Matthew, the guitarist, is outstanding! We were even lucky to have a fellow passenger accompany him on the harmonica.

There is so much to do on the ship…read the Viking Daily carefully or you may miss something delightful. My husband, a retired chef, thoroughly enjoyed the presentations by one of the chefs. The port and excursion previews were very helpful as we were visiting lesser-known ports in the winter. Enrichment lectures abound.

Staterooms repeat the tasteful and peaceful décor. Ours was a Deluxe Veranda on Deck 4 not too far from the elevators. The room was very quiet; we never heard anything from adjacent rooms. There was ample storage room, coffee service, king-size comfortable bed, two lounge chairs, table, desk, and a spacious bathroom with heated floors (so nice!). The mini-bar was replenished daily and water pitcher refilled twice a day (tap water was absolutely fine to drink as well). Bottled water was offered every time we left the ship and returned, as well as a form of mulled wine (so nice when it was SO cold). Everything is kept spotlessly clean; the stewards are friendly, efficient and professional.

Food was exceptional, beautifully presented and delicious; there was always a server close by ready to top off water and wine. We ate at The Chef’s Table twice – Asian & Chinese – four-course offerings accompanied by premium selected wines (again part of the Silver Spirits package). The first night onboard was my birthday … a bottle of sparkling wine and greetings from crew in the room upon arrival and a wonderful layer cake at The Chef’s Table that night, in addition to the trio of desserts featured in the menu. We only ate a third that night; the next day, the rest of it was delivered to our stateroom. We did have a disappointing experience at the specialty restaurant Manfredi’s. Granted, we are spoiled for fine Italian cuisine in the North End of Boston. We both ordered the lamb chops medium rare; they came quite well done on the outside. The manager of the venue was at our side immediately. We then requested rare; the inside was medium rare; I couldn’t even cut through the outside. I gave up; he took it back; and I ordered the carbonara—very cream-heavy. I never, ever send anything back. My gratitude to the manager for being so patient. Many of our crew said we should have had the bistecca, that it is delicious. The Dining Room never disappointed, lunch or dinner. The Norwegian specialties at Mamsen’s were also delicious.

The itinerary was awe-inspiring! The Captain steered away from Bodø as it’s directly on the sea and winds were too heavy for safe docking. The ship took us to places we would have not otherwise gone. The weather was wonderful and the crew did remark it was the best of all the cruises to date. Even Bergen was bright and sunny. Tromsø was beautiful, topped off the first night by an outstanding display of the Northern Lights. We watched the shimmering waves for close to 30 minutes, right from our veranda. We all became trained like Pavlov dogs as there were so many announcements of sightings – everyone scrambling to the best viewing points.

We did a limited number of ship excursions, choosing to enjoy ports on our own, use a local guide, or enjoy the ship’s many offerings. A delightful young guide, Tor, from a local company, ‘Tromsø Individuelle,’ took us on a superb private tour of the many fjords in the area and out to Sommorøy Island. The best ship excursion we took was the Ofoten Railway to Riksgränsen Resort in Sweden where I was immediately caught up in all the eager huskies' lines and thrilled by their enthusiastic ride around a frozen lake! Everything on and off the ship was well organized and seamless.

We highly recommend this adventure!!! We opted for early March as we hoped it would not be as cold as January, and it wasn’t. Winter temperatures in Boston were quite similar to what we experienced on the cruise. In fact, we were even over-prepared for the cold. We experienced a couple days with rough seas, always pre-warned by the Captain…something I expected for winter on the North and Norwegian Seas. As it turns out, the Sky encountered difficulties on the last trip as the equipment was too highly efficient – engines shutting down as perceptive oil levels were thrown off by high seas.

We thoroughly enjoyed this voyage and consider it a trip of a lifetime! While our next cruise is a Viking river cruise in France, we definitely will return for another ocean adventure.
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