Chose this cruise because we wanted to visit Japan, Eastern Russia and the Behring Sea. The ship was second to none, and I've sailed on many ocean cruises: 4 times on Princess (reasonably good for the money, but certainly not great), 1 time on Celebrity (very good cruise line!), 1 time on Orient (now out of business - and with good reason), and 3 times on Oceania (also a very good cruise line -- but with several negatives which makes me wonder if I'll ever sail with Oceania again). But the best, by far, was Viking's Ocean ship - the Orion. Here's why:
OLDER TRAVELERS. I'm a senior citizen (age 67 at the time) and this ship was great for older folks -- which is not to say that it's not also great for folks from about 35 years and older. But no children are permitted, so there was no crying children to cope with. My wife and I interacted with many others on this cruise and everyone was pleasant or nicer. I can't, of course, control who can sail on this cruise line, and one small group bothered me. I overheard them in the buffet restaurant complaining about a long delay to sail away from an Alaskan port -- and they were correct; it was a long delay. But they unanimously and loudly decided it was those "lazy union workers" at the port who were responsible even though there was no way for them to know. I've never been a union worker but to accuse anyone of something without evidence is just ignorant. I guess it takes all types to make a passenger list.
SHIP. The ship is very well laid out. I love libraries on ships and on Viking there were little libraries all over the ship -- all with comfortable chairs and loungers, and friendly, attentive, unobtrusive drink service. Besides great libraries the décor was expensive but very tasteful. So many interesting pieces of art all over the ship, and great photos too. The interior of the ship was done in very warm, cozy colors. The gym was fantastic with just about any kind of machine you can want -- European style. I loved the fact that there was NEVER a line at the elevators! The stairs are right there, but if you want the ride, the elevators are fast and readily available -- even at meal time.
I already gave my cabin review.
Took a flight on a small plane around Kodiak Island, even after a similar plane had crashed several days earlier elsewhere along the Alaska coastline. My flight was about as ideal as you can get. I'm trying to upload a picture, but the website is being ornery.