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Viking Orion Cruise Review
5.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
406 Reviews

Experience on Orion in SE Asia was mixed

Viking Orion Cruise Review by CruisingClarks

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Nov 2019
  • Destination: Asia

We cruised from Hong Kong to Bangkok. The ship (Viking Orion) is fabulous, the ports are quite a mix, and the passengers are generally not very nice people.

We enjoyed the ship, especially the Explorer's Dome and the gym/spa. The food and entertainment/ cultural series were mostly excellent. We especially enjoyed the Chef's Table, Manfredi's is also excellent.

In this region of the world, many of the ports are far from the cities of interest, so most of the excursions involve bus trips with groups of people that are just too large, especially for the included tours. Also, many of the passengers are not physically fit enough to keep up with the large groups, and the tour guides were sometimes insensitive to this. Viking does not do a very good job of grouping people together based on physical ability or interests. I'm not talking about any kind of strenuous hiking or anything like that. These bus tours require sufficient mobility to climb onto and off the buses with some efficiency, and some walking through crowded places with a lot of hustle and bustle. Sometimes the only toilet was upstairs with no elevator, and some participants were unable to climb stairs. Needless to say, this created difficult situations....

Also, some of the passengers in the groups were quite inconsiderate of the rest in the group, not returning to meeting points on time, wandering off to shop while the tour guide is trying to explain the location's culture and history. While we did meet a some kind and interesting people on the ship and on excursions who were genuinely interested in learning about the cultures of SE Asia, many were just simply not very nice people at all. Very self-absorbed, often quite rude to others, and uninterested in the kind of cultural exchange experience that Viking tries to offer. They also were not very kind to their fellow shipmates who were physically not able to keep up with the tours.

We did several tours through Viking that were extra, and those tended to be much better, albeit a bit spendy. The port of Sihanoukville in Cambodia is not much of a port. As you may know, Cambodia has a difficult history, and this part of Cambodia is trying to re-develop via investments from China. Simple infrastructure like trash disposal, sanitary sewers, modern roadways are lacking. I hope that the fact that Viking stops there is a way to provide some resources to assist in their development as a way to balance the Chinese investments. We highly recommend taking the overnight excursion to Phnom Penh. Yes, it looks expensive, but it was soooo much better than trying to explore Sihanoukville, which is not a very nice place. The thought of an included excursion in the kind of sad place that Sihanoukville is with the selfish and self-absorbed typical Viking passenger that we ran into is just not appealing to me. Also, Viking was clear about the trip to Phnom Penh being a physically demanding tour, and the passengers who participated in it were able to keep up. The tour guide was also fantastic, and the participants were interested in the cultural exchange, so this was an excellent experience.

The port close to Bangkok was another real letdown, along with our excursion to Bangkok - we did the included tour, and it was especially bad. Lots of time on a bus, very limited time actually in Bangkok, and very inconsiderate fellow passengers who gave the poor tour guide a really hard time. The passengers should be ashamed of how they acted, and I was quite embarrassed for them. Of course, they were clueless about how they behaved.

We signed up for the post-cruise extension to Angkor Wat and Siem Reap, and this was truly a highlight. Fantastic tour guide, excellent hotel in Siem Reap, group size was OK, and the participants could mostly keep up. For those that were unable physically, the tour guide was experienced enough to give them options that didn't interfere with those of us who were able to take full advantage of the excursion.

In summary, we are going to wait about 10-15 years before we try another Viking Ocean cruise. Then we might better fit into the overall age demographics and physical abilities. Not sure what Viking can do about rude and inconsiderate passengers - I guess this is one of the downsides to doing a cruise. Overall, we had a nice trip, but this was the first time after doing multiple cruises on Viking and other cruise lines that we experienced so many unpleasant fellow passengers.


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Cabin Review

Very nice location on the ship, and the cabin is well designed.


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