Overall the cruise and vacation in totality was a dream vacation. The ship is new and sleek. It's beautiful appointed. The staff are all well trained, friendly and utterly professional. The itinerary was amazing. The problems in Chile are not Viking's fault, but the social unrest did curb our activities in Porte Montt, Valparaiso and Santiago. That said, there was an excursion for everyone. We enjoyed ours.
There was a mass of people at the Buenos Aires ship terminal, but there was a Viking representative on hand to walk us through the crowds straight to the front of the line. Viking confidently took possession of our baggage at curbside.
Our stateroom really could have been a wee bit bigger. Compared to Cunard, the room was too small. The area between he wall and the end of the king size bed was really just too tight, and there is no tub like Oceana offers. Some luxury lines offer tubs, some offer bigger rooms, Viking didn't do either.
Other than the size of our stateroom our only other complaint, except for the last day in Santiago (See below), is about the dress code. Viking either needs to change the dress code and all their advertising including videos - or enforce it. Some of the people showed up to dinner in t-shirts. Flip flops with rhinestones on them aren't "smart casual". Many of the people had on hiking sandals and cargo, baggy shorts/capris in the evening at least at the beginning of the cruise.
The food was wonderful. We enjoyed the Chef's Table and Manfredis, but frankly the quality, service and variety of food available in The Resturant was sufficient that we only ate at in the speciality restaurants a few times outside our initial bookings in them. We ate breakfast occasionally in the Explorer's Lounge's little, unknown resturant called Mamsum's (sp). The waffles are to die for! The afternoon sandwiches are delicate and much lighter than the ones in The World Cafe. The World Cafe, the buffet, was delicious. We ate there for breakfast and lunch. The omelettes were full of yummies and the salad bar was extensive and superb. Weird though, the water glasses in the World Cafe were plastic. I didn't care for that. We bought the drink package so we can't speak to the drink prices or complementary wines/beer at lunch or dinner.
They gym was clean and well equipped. All the cardio machines were always stocked with water and a towel and the weight area had an ample supply of water and towels. I also joined an add on package for $50 for Pilates, yoga, cardio, guided meditation, etc. It got me out of bed and a nice little workout. I highly recommend it. I discovered that program by reading the Daily Viking.
We both had 80 minute massages which are superb. I had a facial, mani and pedi. All were top notch.
The ship's astronomer, geologists and historian were all excellent speakers. There is a planetarium above the Explorer's Lounge that the astronomer gave private talks (12 people or so) which was fun. The stairwells also had life-size renditions of the Bayeux Tapestry that the historian gave limited tours/talks about which was a wonderful time. NOTE: You have to go to the talks to find out about these add-ons. The Viking Daily doesn't advertise them.
The ports of call were all wonderful. Just note, your activities will be curbed in parts of Chile due to the repeated warnings from excursion guide.
And then there was the last day...F- all the way....
We were going to stay on in Chile for a few days, but we cancelled that after the civil unrest really started popping off. Viking offered a package where they'd take us to Santiago, give us a tour of the city, and then take us to a hotel's lounge where there would be a place to rest, eat, etc. to await our late-night airline departures back to the States.
The bus ride to Santiago had one bathroom break. Once we made it to Santiago, we went our a several hour tour with NO WATER, NO BATHROOM BREAKS, NO FOOD AND NO WARNING THAT WE'D BE DOING THAT BEFORE THE HOTEL. Consequently, no one was prepared for the tour BEFORE the hotel. We finally revolted and told the tour guide to take us to the hotel.
At the hotel it was an utter mess. Mind you we hadn't eaten since 7:30 a.m. or so and it was ow 2:30 p.m. All the "free" food had been eaten up. We ate in the resturant which we had to pay extra for. Then there was no place to sit except on the floor in the courtesy area - unacceptable and we did not sit on the floor. There was no water except for two, one gallon jugs of water that we had to nag them to fill. There was no real clear way to tell what was a clean glass and what wasn't because the hotel didn't pick up the dirty glasses/dishes from "lunch". Just a total, utter, disgusting mess. Save your money. Go to the airport hotel. Check in for a day. Take a nap. And get yourself to the terminal for your late night flight on your own.
We took the included tour because we just wanted to see the city. We weren't much interested in seeing cowboys or whatever. It was an ok tour, but that's about it. We'd have enjoyed having time to shop or eat in the city.View All 62 City Tour Reviews
The BEST! Not only was it the best port of call, but the staff went all out to help us. We misread our meeting time. The staff went out of their way to get us on a later tour. Truly, they pulled out all the stops.
The penguins and the beach were beautiful, and we had time to eat lunch and do a little shopping in town. So beautiful.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Amazing! We went out on our own. Shopped, ate the best seafood stew - and we're from a city known for seafood - took a stroll and chatted with people we'd met not he ship. Beautiful town.
I hiked Patagonia and my husband went to visit a fort and several parks. I had a blast, and so did he. My guide was knowledgeable about the local flora and fauna. There was an accident on the hike - through no fault of the guide I might add. The tour company and Viking handled it beautifully. The man who had the accident was evacuated from the mountain to the hospital. When I went to make sure it was clear the guide was not at fault, Viking told me they understood that, and that they had gotten the couple's things off the ship and taken to the hospital. Very efficient and professional.
My husband's tour was good. The guide was knowledgable. He got to see the main attractions as well as the beautiful countryside of Tiera del Fuego.View All 7 Skywalk in the Forest Reviews
We did the included tour, which turns out was the best since it was so fogged in nothing could be seen on the volcano or from the lake. The problem with the tour was that it was so short. They gave us less than an hour to shop and "get a bite". They said we could try to get another buss back or hire a taxi. Fine, but we were told the Poerto Montt was dangerous due to the social unrest, and it was best not to be out on our own there. We didn't like those odds. Anyway, we were back on the ship with hours to spare. They could have given us two or three hours in town. They should have had shuttle busses that go back to the ship every half an hour so.View All 6 City Tour Reviews