This was an Amazon cruise on the Viking Sea. We chose this cruise for the itinerary and price, and because we had not traveled on Viking previously. Comparing the very few lines who actually cruise the length of the eastern Amazon, Viking had the best itinerary, and actually the best pricing. When Viking says all inclusive, to us, that really meant all inclusive. Sure we had to pay for alcoholic drinks outside of mealtimes, but what a small thing to us. My goodness, there was even an included laundry facility, and any clothes sent out were returned on time and done very well. The included shore excursions were not active, but they did give a nice overview of the locations that the ship visited; some were exceptional. The optional shore excursions were not all particularly outstanding, but the area itself is really not ready for outstanding shore excursions. That said, some optional excursions were very well done, and we really enjoyed them. We had a few terrific guides and several rather poor guides (Viking even acknowledged the poor guides with refunds to our account (and to others as well); we have cruised extensively, and have never had a refund for a pitiful excursion. Docking was always a big question for the day; winds just did not seem to be taken into consideration, nor managed by the bridge, in what we thought professional captains would be prepared for and capable of handling. (We have been around boats most of our lives, so others may not have found this troubling.) This is the first cruise that we have ever questioned the bridge (and crew) experience. The staff review is a mixed one. On the whole, we felt that the staff was mostly indifferent and either overworked/understaffed. Many of the staff went more than out of their way to be pleasant and courteous. Those staff members who were always pleasant, we certainly acknowledged. Enough of the staff were indifferent or rude enough to flabbergast us. This was a complete surprise. We are not noisy, rude, nor demanding passengers, so we could not understand the unpleasantness, and not just to us. The dining was rather good, we thought. We had absolutely no objection to any of the menus nor the venues. Chef served quite tasty and varied meals on our cruise. The complaint were the noise levels in the main dining room, and in the Italian restaurant. This we felt was just a shame because the meals were well done and the facilities were attractive. We, personally, really enjoyed dining at the Chef's Table and rotated in and out every few days, even with repeats. The entertainment and enrichment for such a small cruise were very good; in fact, some as good as we have seen anywhere. The enrichment speakers were intelligent and well organized and were not to be missed. The live evening music in the main spaces was also sophisticated (due perhaps to our being an older crowd), and was well done. All the main spaces, to us, were lovely and understated; we felt the Nordic design added a clean feeling on-board and did not become tiresome over time. It is especially nice to find nooks for reading or talking. The changing scenes throughout the ship were fun, as well as being lovely. Don't miss the animated Bayeux Tapestry.
Since this was our first Viking and since Viking is rather new to the Amazon, we are willing to believe that the negatives were really specific to this cruise. Even though there were a few disappointing negatives, we have decided to book two other ocean adventures on Viking. We want to give them another chance because we like the ship itself and its size, the itineraries, the meals, the understated and sophisticated life on-board, the all-adults-not-grumpy-passengers, the all inclusive fare at a great price.
We particularly liked the clean lines of the Viking cabins. We chose the lowest of the Deluxe Veranda staterooms still available. The cabins are quiet, clean, well planned for the small space. Because of the clean lines, the space never felt claustrophobic nor messy. We enjoyed having a sofa and a chair and table, which we did use everyday. The mirror area was well done. The storage was spacious throughout the cabin...there was just loads of storage. The refrigerator, which was kept well stocked, never cooled for the entire trip, not cool for one single day. The lighting was great, so many ways to light the stateroom. The daily travel news was nice to have over the television. We used the very good wifi daily, and were glad to have it...wifi worked and it was free. The bathrooms are wonderful because they are actually bathrooms, not cubbyholes with showers (even the floors are heated). The bed was very comfortable, and that says lots since we are Tempurpedic mattress sleepers. There were enough pillow choices to make us both happy. The veranda was spacious enough and the furnishings adequate for the two of us. We liked the fact that the air cut off if the door to the veranda was left ajar; quite eco-friendly. We slept really well on our Viking cruise.