With over 300 sea days on Holland America, we felt it was time for a change, and wanted to try out Viking Ocean.
We could not have been more pleased with the overall experience. Check-in was swift and easy, with our documents awaiting us. We were also able to access our cabin earlier than promised.
Our cabin was a Deluxe Verandah - nicely laid out, great bathroom with heated floors (also useful for drying wet clothes!), modern and clean. The TV systems are state of the art, and extremely useful - an example being the replay of lectures, etc. shortly after they are done live. It would be nice if the system had real-time data on navigation items such as course / speed / wind etc. Be aware that drawer space is somewhat limited, even with the extra ones in the closet on Sun, but the beds are high enough that even large suitcases are easy to store there, and can be used as additional storage. Our only cabin knock was the proximity of the closet to the bed - somewhat awkward to get at. Larger cabins don't have either of these two issues.
Dining was excellent - the quality of food was high, and there are multiple choices. The open faced sandwiches in Mamsen's are exceptional - except for the calories, you could live on them! World café is good, with limited crowding, and would be excellent when the weather permits dining outside on the stern deck. The Restaurant is fully open seating, but we never waited more than a few minutes, even at peak times. The serving systems in the Restaurant seem to have multiple "handoffs" between the staff, and occasionally resulted in a missed request, but they were speedily corrected. Of the two specialty restaurants, we loved Manfredi's (Italian) - be sure to reserve as early as you can, as it's very popular. The Chef's Table was good, not great - some excellent dishes, some mediocre.
We largely relied on the included shore excursions, as they tended to do an overview tour, and allow personal exploration afterwards. The two optional tours we used were well organized.
Service levels throughout the ship were outstanding - even on a short cruise, the staff quickly learned to recognize us, and were always eager to assist. While we missed the chance to get to know our dining stewards as well as we have previously in a fixed-seating environment, we were able to make a few connections over the trip.
Being so new, the ship is pristine and very stable and quiet. Maintenance is discreet, and not intrusive. And, the internet service put every other cruise line that we've been on to shame - a real leg up for staying in touch.
Bottom line - we've booked two more voyages!