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Like many, we'd done several Viking River cruises and wanted to try their ocean voyages. I was not disappointed. First, embarkation: We've taken ocean cruises on a couple of other lines, but the embarkation to Viking Sea was the easiest and fastest I have ever experienced. I braced myself for waiting in a long line and climbing a vast gangway into the ship, but we walked into an empty cruise terminal, went to a table staffed by several helpful people, and had our keycards in about a minute. Then we walked about ten yards through the door to the ship and up the shortest gangway I've ever seen and into the ship. Embarkation time, maybe ten minutes tops. Our cabin wasn't ready, so we went to the World Cafe on deck 7 and hung out, waited on by friendly, welcoming staff. We relaxed with a light lunch and then explored the ship before heading to the cabin. We also dropped in at the spa and fitness center to sign up for classes and make appointments. While this is a smaller ship category, passenger to space ratio is excellent. I never felt crowded or had to wait in line for anything (if there ever was a line, it was short and moved quickly). The atrium was decorated for Christmas in white and gold that complimented the light woods of the ship's decor. There are many spaces to simply sit alone and enjoy vacation, but also spaces to meet with others, listen to live performances, eat, drink, read, play games, or what have you. The library was large, full of books, and also had a bar with drinks and snacks. On this cruise, I tried every single venue (which I hadn't done on other lines--I usually find what I like and stick with it). On Viking Sea, we dined in the main restaurant, buffet, Manfredi's, Chef's Table, and the Wintergarden for tea. In all, service is wonderful and the food is outstanding. Manfredi's wins the prize for best food on the ship, with Chef's Table a close second. We went to Manfredi's twice and Chef's Table once, but I'll book a second (or third) Chef's Table next time. It's a set menu at Chef's Table, but it rotates every three days. The only food venue I didn't try was the pool grill, and that was only because I wasn't in the mood for a burger or salad. But I heard other passengers raving about it, and it was very popular. The pools were beautiful and refreshingly uncrowded. All bars had plenty of seating, especially the Explorer's lounge, which has two levels of seating, plus live music and a full drink menu. Torshavn, another bar, was the scene of some of the enrichment lectures, which were excellent. Both lecturers were good speakers and knew their history. I learned a lot from them and enjoyed their talks. If you have to miss a talk you particularly want to see, they replay them on their internal TV and you can watch in your cabin. Excursions: I did a few of the included excursions, which are terrific if you need an overview of the island / town, especially if you've never visited before. Tour guides and drivers were full of historical information, and there was always a snack or glass of rum punch at the end of the road. The excursions were focused on history and culture, not duty-free shopping. I took several optional excursions, and all were high quality and fantastic. I particularly recommend the Rainforest gondola ride on St. Lucia and the French cooking class on St. Martin. My husband did the Spice Cooking studio on St. Lucia, and he thoroughly enjoyed it, and highly recommends it as well. I also loved the Tastes of San Juan tour in Puerto Rico--our guide knew so much about Puerto Rican history, and the food was fabulous. Cabin: We stayed in a Penthouse Veranda cabin (not a suite). It was more spacious than I expected, with a fully stocked refrigerator (no extra charge!), a fairly big bathroom, comfortable beds, and lots of storage. The two cabin attendants kept the place sparkling clean and quickly brought us anything we needed. One thing that struck me about this ship was cleanliness. I don't think I saw a speck of dirt or a smudge. There were people cleaning constantly. During our voyage, we had to skip the port of Dominica, because they were having elections and demonstrations and their port authority had closed the harbor to cruise ships. So at the last minute, we had to change and return to St. Lucia for a second time, which I think was a good decision. I was impressed at how efficiently and seamlessly the Viking crew and staff reorganized the whole day so that passengers could take more excursions on St. Lucia. They must have been working their fingers off behind the scenes so that the cruise continued without a blip. We did not use Viking for our pre- and post stays (we came in a day early and stayed over night after disembarking), but we were able to purchase a private transfer to our hotel via Viking, and were driven to our hotel in a luxurious SUV. I will note that this is not a family-oriented cruise, nor one with huge shows or a casino. It's quiet, relaxing, and non-pressure, but high quality and destination oriented. It is an "all-inclusive" fare, which means almost everything is included (wine and beer, stocked refrigerator, room service, fitness center, sauna, etc). The only extra are gratuities, any spa treatments (e.g., massage or salon services), and whatever you might buy in the onboard shops. All food is included! This means everything, including the specialty restaurants and the wonderful gelato. I would definitely take this ship again, whether on this itinerary or a different one. It has been my most pleasant ocean cruise experience to date.

Beautiful Ship, Relaxing, Comfortable Cruise

Viking Sea Cruise Review by jennas6514

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2019
  • Destination: Caribbean
Like many, we'd done several Viking River cruises and wanted to try their ocean voyages. I was not disappointed.

First, embarkation: We've taken ocean cruises on a couple of other lines, but the embarkation to Viking Sea was the easiest and fastest I have ever experienced. I braced myself for waiting in a long line and climbing a vast gangway into the ship, but we walked into an empty cruise terminal, went to a table staffed by several helpful people, and had our keycards in about a minute. Then we walked about ten yards through the door to the ship and up the shortest gangway I've ever seen and into the ship. Embarkation time, maybe ten minutes tops.

Our cabin wasn't ready, so we went to the World Cafe on deck 7 and hung out, waited on by friendly, welcoming staff. We relaxed with a light lunch and then explored the ship before heading to the cabin. We also dropped in at the spa and fitness center to sign up for classes and make appointments.

While this is a smaller ship category, passenger to space ratio is excellent. I never felt crowded or had to wait in line for anything (if there ever was a line, it was short and moved quickly). The atrium was decorated for Christmas in white and gold that complimented the light woods of the ship's decor. There are many spaces to simply sit alone and enjoy vacation, but also spaces to meet with others, listen to live performances, eat, drink, read, play games, or what have you. The library was large, full of books, and also had a bar with drinks and snacks.

On this cruise, I tried every single venue (which I hadn't done on other lines--I usually find what I like and stick with it). On Viking Sea, we dined in the main restaurant, buffet, Manfredi's, Chef's Table, and the Wintergarden for tea. In all, service is wonderful and the food is outstanding. Manfredi's wins the prize for best food on the ship, with Chef's Table a close second. We went to Manfredi's twice and Chef's Table once, but I'll book a second (or third) Chef's Table next time. It's a set menu at Chef's Table, but it rotates every three days.

The only food venue I didn't try was the pool grill, and that was only because I wasn't in the mood for a burger or salad. But I heard other passengers raving about it, and it was very popular.

The pools were beautiful and refreshingly uncrowded.

All bars had plenty of seating, especially the Explorer's lounge, which has two levels of seating, plus live music and a full drink menu.

Torshavn, another bar, was the scene of some of the enrichment lectures, which were excellent. Both lecturers were good speakers and knew their history. I learned a lot from them and enjoyed their talks. If you have to miss a talk you particularly want to see, they replay them on their internal TV and you can watch in your cabin.

Excursions: I did a few of the included excursions, which are terrific if you need an overview of the island / town, especially if you've never visited before. Tour guides and drivers were full of historical information, and there was always a snack or glass of rum punch at the end of the road. The excursions were focused on history and culture, not duty-free shopping.

I took several optional excursions, and all were high quality and fantastic. I particularly recommend the Rainforest gondola ride on St. Lucia and the French cooking class on St. Martin. My husband did the Spice Cooking studio on St. Lucia, and he thoroughly enjoyed it, and highly recommends it as well. I also loved the Tastes of San Juan tour in Puerto Rico--our guide knew so much about Puerto Rican history, and the food was fabulous.

Cabin: We stayed in a Penthouse Veranda cabin (not a suite). It was more spacious than I expected, with a fully stocked refrigerator (no extra charge!), a fairly big bathroom, comfortable beds, and lots of storage. The two cabin attendants kept the place sparkling clean and quickly brought us anything we needed.

One thing that struck me about this ship was cleanliness. I don't think I saw a speck of dirt or a smudge. There were people cleaning constantly.

During our voyage, we had to skip the port of Dominica, because they were having elections and demonstrations and their port authority had closed the harbor to cruise ships. So at the last minute, we had to change and return to St. Lucia for a second time, which I think was a good decision. I was impressed at how efficiently and seamlessly the Viking crew and staff reorganized the whole day so that passengers could take more excursions on St. Lucia. They must have been working their fingers off behind the scenes so that the cruise continued without a blip.

We did not use Viking for our pre- and post stays (we came in a day early and stayed over night after disembarking), but we were able to purchase a private transfer to our hotel via Viking, and were driven to our hotel in a luxurious SUV.

I will note that this is not a family-oriented cruise, nor one with huge shows or a casino. It's quiet, relaxing, and non-pressure, but high quality and destination oriented. It is an "all-inclusive" fare, which means almost everything is included (wine and beer, stocked refrigerator, room service, fitness center, sauna, etc). The only extra are gratuities, any spa treatments (e.g., massage or salon services), and whatever you might buy in the onboard shops. All food is included! This means everything, including the specialty restaurants and the wonderful gelato.

I would definitely take this ship again, whether on this itinerary or a different one. It has been my most pleasant ocean cruise experience to date.
jennas6514’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Embarkation
Dining
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Cabin Review

Cabin
More space than I expected. Nice bathroom (shower only, but one you can actually move around in). Lots of storage in bathroom. Lots of storage in room, large sofa with coffee table and comfortable chair, desk with fold out vanity (which I used to store all my charging cords for various devices), comfortable bed, attentive service, nice balcony with a comfortable table and chairs. This is an excellent class of cabin.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Island Tour
    Sugar Plantation and Nelson's Dockyard. Our tour guide, June, was knowledgable, funny, smart, and a pleasure to be with. She immersed us in the history of Antigua. Lobster lunch with rum punch at a nice restaurant at Nelson's Dockyard was included. (Excellent food)
    View All 171 Island Tour Reviews
  • Culinary Excursion
    Excellent tour (Tastes of Old San Juan). We sampled several traditional dishes including mofongo and visited farm to table restaurants with all local food. Excellent. Walking was minimal, though a few roads are steep. It was mostly sitting to eat and listening to the history of San Juan and its food. Highly recommended.
    View All 34 Culinary Excursion Reviews
  • Rainforest Aerial Tram Tour
    Beautiful. Our young guide was very knowledgable and likable. A surprisingly quiet and cool ride through the rainforest. Highly recommended.
    View All 30 Rainforest Aerial Tram Tour Reviews
  • St. Maarten
    Chef was funny and smart, and a great cook! We learned to make a goat cheese with honey/ almond mixture in puff pastry, and a fried shrimp dish with mango, tomatoes, onions, balsamic, and other things. Excellent food, recipes to take home.
    View All 13,797 St. Maarten Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's St. Maarten Cruise Port Review