Well, we are back from our first Viking Ocean cruise – 10 days West Indies Explorer on the Viking Sea March 2019. We arranged our own flights, so we got to San Juan PR and made our way to the ship. Check in was easy-peasy and so different than what happens on other lines. I’ve sailed Carnival (platinum), Royal Caribbean, and NCL in the past, so this was not my first check-in. Of course 930 passengers vice 3000-5000 makes quite a difference.
Our room stewards Teddy and Emm were great and met us when we arrived and explained features of our room. They always greeted us if they were about and ensured we had everything we needed. Even though it was about 3:30PM, we found the pool grill had wonderful and we got our first wine and beer (free with lunch and dinner). Waiters were available and checked on us often. This continued throughout the entire cruise in all dining venues! Great job.
On the second night onboard, just as we were getting ready to leave San Juan behind, we had our Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle – an invitation was left in our room with the Viking Daily the day before. The Captain and his command staff were busy, but every available senior staff officer attended. We had a very nice chat with Tom Aberg (Hotel General Manager), Edgar de Jaspi (Beverage Manager) and John Cunningham (Restaurant Manager) while enjoying free drinks and finger foods. From that evening on, we were always greeted by these senior officers. Surprisingly, a few days later we got another invitation to another Meet and Mingle. We went and when we asked, we were told by another Cruise Critic member, that they missed the first one – apparently they didn’t realize they had to sign up for the M&M on CC prior to arriving onboard, so they didn’t receive an invitation. But the staff wanted to ensure that they were not left out, so we had a second get together with all the trimmings and all the senior staff. (Now what other cruise line would do that???) At this meeting, in addition to Edgar and John, I had a nice talk with Jenn Beaudoin (Cruise Director) and Mara Buga (Guest Services Manager). I had a special request of Jenn and she made some calls had made arrangements. Thank you Jenn and thanks for Fredrik Svensson for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk to another Engineer!