We have sailed a number of Viking river cruises but this was our first ocean cruise. Suffice it to say - we rebooked the same ship and the same stateroom for a 2021 Viking Homelands cruise. Loved the ship but went on so many land excursions that we didn't have enough time aboard to enjoy all the ship had to offer. Embarking and disembarking was easy and well organized for the excursions.
The main and specialty dining rooms were excellent all around. The World Cafe (buffet) had a good quick food selection (several specialty stations) but I thought the waiter service (juice, coffee, etc.) was poorly staffed (not attentive at times). Satellite food areas on the ship were convenient - afternoon tea in the Winter garden, grilled food at the Pool Grill, and a very nice manager managed to find me cookies late night after the "cookie bar" had closed.
Until after we had boarded, I didn't realize that free limited shore transportation was available in any port where a town center was not close to the ship. Otherwise I would have booked fewer shore excursions and done more exploring on our own. That being said, we did book one or more shore excursions for each day. We spent 3 days on our own prior to and immediately after the cruise. As such, we immersed ourselves (on our own) in Barcelona and Venice then limited those cities' shore excursions to ones we felt that might be easier to do on the Viking excursions. So in Barcelona, we opted for the Viking Montserrat excursion (fair) and in Venice I did the Viking Secrets of the Doges Palace (terrible). All my most favorite excursions involved smaller boats - (Marseille) Summer in Cassis & Calanques, (Corfu) Paleokastritsa Coastal Views by Boat & Old Corfu, and (Split) The Krka Waterfalls & Town of Skradin. And yes, other ports also had good excursions. Don't miss - La Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona; it is unlike anything you could imagine.
Free tours versus optional tours - some optional tours include content from the free tours so read up to prevent overlap. For example, Marsailles - our tour guide for (optional tour) Summer in Cassis & Calanques covered at least 50% of the (included tour) Scenic Marseille. The free tours are good but I feel many of the optional tours are great.
I didn't rate the Entertainment and the Fitness & Recreation Ratings below because I just didn't have enough time to partake in all the offerings.
For us, having no (or few) children on the ship makes it more relaxing. Kudos for this.
The entire staff is geared toward assisting you and they do a good job of it.
2020 plans - a week in Paris then a Viking river cruise up the Seine through the Heart of Normandy
Just the right size cabin. Best houseman we could ever hope for. Would have liked a little more drawer space but managed without it.
Phenomenal show with a good local dinner
Nice bus ride. Interesting place but too limitedl to spend that much time there.
Summer in Cassis & Calanques included a boat tourView All 37 Cassis Walking Tour Reviews
Was good until afternoon when we took the Summer in Cassis & Calanques excursion which duplicated much of this tour (but without this tours stops)
Walk from shipView All 55 Monte Carlo Walking Tour Reviews
Nice on Your Own - Its fun to explore at your leisureView All 13 Nice Walking Tour Reviews
Florence on Your Own - Too bad we visited on a day that many attractions were closed. But we still enjoyed it!
Included hours on our own in Vatican cityView All undefined undefined Reviews
Great bus ride but scary at timesView All 284 Amalfi Coast Reviews
Love them boats!View All undefined undefined Reviews
Very crowded at times. The "on your own" time (after the guided tour) was goodView All 77 Walking Tour Reviews
I love waterfalls and the Skradin local lunch with local entertainment was nice too.