My husband and I wanted to see the Amazon and believed that this Viking cruise would provide us with that opportunity. We booked late last fall and as we only had a choice of four cabins, we ended up selecting a DV5 category cabin on Deck 4. Upon embarkation, we would quickly discovered that this was the smallest balcony cabin we’ve ever been assigned, not only in terms of square footage, but also in terms of storage space.
However the public areas on the ship were well done and we spent quite a bit of time hanging out in the Explorer's Lounge on Deck 7, often going up for a late breakfast or early lunch on sailing days at Mamsen’s and then settling into comfortable seating to read or visit with other passengers while we kept an eye on activities along the Amazon. On excursion days we would go up to the World Cafe' for breakfast before heading out where we took many meals on the Aquavit Terrace on the ship's aft. We really didn't eat many meals in The Restaurant as service was slow enough that it only served as our go to spot for a late lunch or early dinner on sailing days. Our cabin grade only allowed us two dinners at the speciality restaurants, but we were fortunate enough to be able to grab a reservation on both Christmas and New Year's Eve.
Afternoon tea at Wintergarden also became routine on sailing days, usually before taking in a talk at The Theater. The speakers were generally good and these presentations were usually well attended. The young crew also put on several stage shows during our three weeks at sea, the best one being their Christmas offering.
Some of the included shore excursions proved to be disappointing, especially the last one on St. Thomas where we were driven in an open bus to the top of the island where we then disembarked to view the area. While the view itself was quite scenic, the FORTY MINUTES we then spent in the gift shop complex was more than a bit frustrating!
Cabin storage included a small 4" deep drawer in each nightstand, two 6” high drawers in the bathroom, and three 6” deep drawers located in the passageway between the main cabin area and the bathroom. A high open shelf to stack folded clothing above an identical sized space which held the coffeemaker and another built in enclosed shelf which housed the room safe completed the approximately 20” square floor to ceiling storage unit.
A five foot wide closet for hanging clothes was located at a right angle to the storage unit and would have provided ample hanging storage IF more than 12 hangers had been provided. Unlike most balcony cabins which we had encountered previously, no drawer storage was provided within this closeted area with the exception of the 12” shelf which ran along the top of the closet which my 6’2” husband used to stack his folded clothing. However, that shelf space was too high to have been functional for me as well as most people of average height.
The open desk surface had an interesting vanity drawer which opened from the desktop with six divided compartments to hold make-up options or costume jewelry. An ample sized refrigerator sat to the right side of the desk about 6" off the floor, exposing 4 of its six sides to the room’s ventilation system which prevented the unit from overheating as often happened on other cabin refrigeration units which we have encountered on past cruises. A large flat screened TV was placed on the wall opposite the headboard. It had a maximum volume level which was a plus as that feature prevented us from hearing our neighbor’s programming selections. A small oval coffee table and two leather upholstered chairs completed the room set-up.
The deck was also the smallest we’ve experienced to date, containing two rattan weaved chairs and a heavy table which withstood the ship’s motion. With the small deck area, furniture arrangement necessitated moving the deck chair closest to the sliding door to a 45 degree angle so that one could easily access the deck...which we did. Unfortunately our cabin stewards must have been instructed to reset the chairs with their backs square to the deck, as every time we re-entered our cabin after they had serviced it, the chairs were placed back to their assigned position... Seriously Viking, do you truly believe that the uniform position of all deck chairs as viewed by the public while in port warrants our inconvenience? I think not!
The other frustration which we encountered with regards to room organization was the bath mat which was placed on the bathroom floor in the walkway in front of the shower door. Each time we returned to our room after it had been serviced by our cabin attendant, we found it at back in that position after I had moved it into the shower and draped it on the attached grab bar within the shower. As Viking tends to cater to an older clientele, many of whom have vision problems, I cannot understand WHY Viking instructs its cabin crews to place the bath mats on the floor in the the walkway where they might create a tripping hazard!?! However this was also done on the Viking riverboat on which we sailed last summer.
It is my feeling that Viking needs to reconsider some of its regimented procedures in order to provide its clientele with a safer and more home like atmosphere within their cabin space.