This was our second Viking Cruise. Loved it the first time we cruised with Viking Sea; all went according to what we paid for and what we got. Our Penthouse Junior Suite (PJS 8007) was what we asked for and that was exactly what we got. Based upon this positive experience, we booked a second cruise to New Zealand and Australia.
We elected to add a pre-cruise extension in Auckland and love the vitality of the city. The hotel assignment offered comfortable rooms conveniently located to the city's highlights.
The cruise lasted about 3 weeks and made all stops as per the itinerary. The ship handled very rough seas fairly well, and the ship's common areas were as advertised on the website. There were many "at sea" days.
Meals in the dining venues allowed for decent variety. The restaurants are the same ones on all the ocean ships and, at Manfredi's, we saw the same things on the menu as we'd seen on the Viking Sun. Breakfast in the World Cafe offered a good variety.
We saw one or two shows while on board. The Aboriginal show the last night was quite good. Some of the lecturers were outstanding and it was nice to be able to watch them in our room when we were not able to attend the lectures.
The crew were helpful and performed their jobs well. There was not enough time in ports to really enjoy the areas. We would have liked more free time. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly.
The Viking Orion is identical to any of the other Viking Ocean ships which made the entire experience very predictable.
Our room was horrible. Our Viking Agent concealed from us that we were assigned one of the two "handicapped' rooms (room 6020) and we only learned about our room assignment until the day before departure. This handicapped room is grossly misrepresented as a Penthouse Junior Suite room. Viking's website contains not so much as one photo for this inadequate room (there are only 2 handicapped cabins on the entire ship).
If someone needs wheelchair access, then 6020 or 6021 are the rooms to book. Otherwise, the access to the cabin's deck posed a serious tripping hazard. Furthermore, the room configuration further reduces any usable interior space.
Our room had no sitting room (like every other room on the entire ship besides room 6021) and we needed to sit on the bed to watch TV. We needed to bring in the table from the deck whereas all other rooms actually had a coffee table, etc.
Viking advertises this "handicapped room" (rooms 6020 and 6021) as consisting of 405 sf. but it is not. We measured the suite and deck; our suite 6020 fell so far short of 405 sq as to make this a case for a serious misrepresentation.
The General Manager of our cruise wrote to Viking's head office telling them "we have had complaints with this room in the past" (so Viking had already known about previous problems with these rooms) when we told him about our concerns. He told us Viking would only deal with us when we returned home. Which they did.
Just as an aside (and a heads-up), unhappy travelers who decide to settle their claims with Viking are required, by Viking, to sign a non-disclosure agreement with Viking that prohibits us travelers from saying anything negative about Viking or talking about our experiences. Ever.
Go through a travel agent. Protect yourself and your investment. Your own personal travel agent is interested in having "you" return as a future customer to whom they will sell future travel business.
We also have an official BBB claim in progress against Viking (with photos).
Variety is the spice of life. There is little or no variety here. And the more ships Viking adds, the greater is the impact on quality control. One of the two main elevators did not function for the entire duration of our cruise. The main oven in the restaurant did not operate properly one night and the raw fish for dinner was apologized for with free bottles of wine sent to rooms of all those who dined there.
The room greatly impacted our ability to enjoy the cruise.
Please see above review details.
Unknown to us, the Viking travel agent booked us into an inferior handicapped room which should never be classified as a PJS (according to the ship's General Manager) and for which we paid full price.
Avoid cabins 6020 and 6021 unless you really need a room configured for wheelchair access and are willing to live with severely restricted operating spaces and be willing to accept that this is only one of two rooms on the entire ship that does not have (as advertised) a "veranda" stateroom. You will not see illustrations for these handicapped rooms on the Viking website (you are supposed to call and ask).
The Viking PJS cabins & decks are advertised as having 405 sf and, for a fact, cabin 6020 does not come close. We measured.
Our Auckland activities were booked outside of (and exclusive of) VIking because they never advised any Viking travelers that there were pre-arranged excursions for this extension to Viking's sailing. It was a small-group tour with in-depth stops at local spots.
Historic village had one of the earliest and only remaining jails from the time of colonization; the church and bridge were added sights to see
Bus tour of the cityView All 33 City Tour Reviews
Nature walk in the preserve; leaned about the efforts to re-establish native species
Drive-by of the Art Deco reconstruction of the city; visit botanical gardens
More of an in-depth tour with stops at local spots to learn about the history
Highlights of Dunedin; stops on high bluffs at scenic places
Part of the panoramic bus tour; the railway station is a beautifuly decorated treasure
Long van ride to mountain; hike was too strenuous for one in our party who needed help completing; great views
Orphaned and injured animals are cared for; kangaroos allow you to hand-feed them; information about the habitat of these animals is presented
Panoramic overview of the town
The animals are in the wild so caution and respective distance must be maintained at all times; viewing was somewhat limited; there were 2 stops: You Yangs regional Park and Serendip Sanctuary
Beautiful structure; setting in the large park was ideal; statues outside were impressive
Drove down to Bondi Beach; visited a scenic overlook; stopped in the park; went to see Mrs. Macquaries chair
Audible system was garbled so the information was hard to understand; views from the water were impressive; traveled all the way up to the entry of the harbor
No charge to walk the length of the bridge and go to Kirribilli; stops along the way to admire views
Part of the bus tour; big stone bench on an overlook
Opportunity to walk around inside; guide explained construction techniques and show venues; group had headphones to listen to the guide