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Viking Sun Cruise Review
5.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
404 Reviews

Best Time of Year to visit South America

Viking Sun Cruise Review by scss98

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Nov 2019
  • Destination: South America

Service is outstanding as always. Manfredi's the onboard Italian restaurant is excellent. Chef Table is a bit disappointing at times. World Cafe is consistently very good. The Restaurant is also very good. The wines are not as good as the selections for the River Cruises in Europe, which is a bit surprising given both Argentina and Chile produce excellent wines at a very reasonable cost. The beers are very good in contrast. I have to give a shout out to the bar staff for hosting many wonderful tastings including Single Malts, Bourbons, Gin, Vodka Armagnac and Cognac. There was even a Martini tasing which unfortunately I missed. I wish they would expand to include tequila next time. I learned a lot! The Spa and the gym are among the best I have been. The enrichment lectures were quite informative, Most of the shows were outstanding and a couple were not quite our taste. We had to skip two ports because of weather concerns which is a pity. However, we were rewarded with perhaps the best weather ever for Falklands, Cape Horn and Ushuaia. Extending Ushuaia by one day does not make up losing one day in Falklands and Puerto Madryn. We also lost one day at Puerto Montt because the swells were too rough for the tenders. We noticed another cruise ship able to discharge its passengers because it's anchored closer to shore. Our ship had to give up out initial spot to the other cruise ship and move out further despite getting to port before them. It seems they had a higher pecking order than us. It also seems we spend extra days at sea going no where quick. While cruising the fjord and viewing the glaciers is fascinating, I think we could have easily cut out three sea days. Given the unpredictable weather in this part of the world, I was hoping for a little better contingency planning where we could visit a backup location. I do understand how much work is required to visit a port and arrange for excursions but it would be better than just adding more sea days. The Shore Excursions did have a few rough spots and is local guide dependent. When we compared notes with other passengers, the experience can be quite varied. Some guides spoke much better English and were informative, others not so much and some even skipped stops. While you can't complain too much with the included panoramic tours, one might expect the optional tours to have gone through better due diligence and guide selection. There is some room for improvement here compared to other Viking River Cruises. The Volunteer Point optional tour in Falklands got sold out very quickly and we had to find a local tour ourselves. The Captain did not inform us of his plans to skip Puerto Madryn and proceed directly to Falklands two days earlier than schedule until very late. Our local tour guide actually informed us two days before so we were lucky to be able to plan ahead and make adjustments. Overall we enjoyed the trip very much despite some of issues which were not easy to plan around.

scss98's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

comfortable and clean. I did ask them to change my mattress as it was sagging a bit and I have a sensitive back. The replacement was quick and perfect. The attendants were superb in attitude and responsiveness, better than even five star hotels. We feel obliged to give them extra tips in addition to the standard daily tip allowance the cruise ship charged us. Being able to sit on the balcony and enjoy the fresh air and scenery is quite wonderful.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Recoleta Cemetery

The guide we had was not very fluent in English so we didn't get a full picture of each tomb. However, just being there is kind of interesting. Its supposed to be a panoramic bus tour. We did that and once we got our bearings we decided to get off the bus and walk. There is much to see on foot. We enjoyed a nice meal at Cafe Tortoni, the oldest cafe in town, since 1858!

View All 22 Recoleta Cemetery Reviews

This is a MUST SEE for the Falklands! The long ride in the 4X4 is well worth it despite being so rough. 30 min on paved hwy, 30 min on unpaved roads and an hour on rugged terrain. You need to make sure you don't have any neck or back issues. We bounced around quite a bit. Our Driver David is the best and picked the path carefully. Once we got to Volunteer Point, all that is forgotten. It is just stunning and you get to see all three types of Penguins there. Words cannot describe how wonderful it is to observe them so close. Caveat is we were there on perhaps the best weather day they have had all year. It would be downright miserable if the weather is bad! I do highly recommend Patrick Watts. He doesn't charge you in advance and he is significantly less than booking with the cruise line. He also informed us of the change in schedule way before our Captain told us.

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City Tour

Small city, you can walk it. We wouldn't do it except it was an included tour. It does not include tickets to the prison museum. We did not go into the museum as we thought the admission price was not worth it. Its more interesting to visit the garden behind the main souvenir shop. Do try the King Crab in the local restaurants. The local beer is also very good.

View All 10 City Tour Reviews
Tierra del Fuego National Park

Beautiful location, stunning vista, wish we had more time to do the walking trails.

View All 93 Tierra del Fuego National Park Reviews

Fuerte Bulnes is a replica of the original and not terribly interesting. The visitor center has more informative display but our guide did not add much to tie the story together. The scenery along the Magellan Strait is captivating so perhaps there is a different tour which may be more interesting. Back in town, we went off to explore on our own and had the best meal of the trip at Estillo Magallanico. The king crab pancake and the tomahawk steak were just fantastic, and they have a outstanding selection of wines to compliment the meal too.

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Santiago City Tour

This is a panoramic bus tour. Our guide Patricio Lopez is excellent. He turned a bus ride around the city into a very interesting dissertation on the history and significant events of the country and the city. Gave us a very good feel for what went on and what each neighborhood is like

View All 22 Santiago City Tour Reviews

The first stop at Victoria Mansion is a complete waste of time. Its a made up place with no historical significance. They take you to the basement to watch a movie projected onto a bedsheet! I wanted a refund. Then they walk you around the city square and take a funicular up to the residence of a prominent figure which was converted into an art museum. This part was quite a bit more interesting and worth seeing but it is so close to the ship you could have just explored it yourself. We didn't even get to see the famous Flower Clock. One caveat, the main square is very close to where the ship docks. However, they make you take a bus half a mile away in the wrong direction to the port control terminal. You have to come back in the opposite direction to come back to town square. There is no logic in this setup.

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City Tour

Short and sweet, only saw city center and some of the famous monuments

View All 62 City Tour Reviews
Puerto Montt

We were unable to get to shore because of rough swells

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