We were particularly interested in visiting Japan and this cruise turned out even better than what was expected. Several months prior to cruise the itinerary was changed. South Korea was cancelled and replaced with another stop in Japan. Although it may have been nice to check off another country visited, one very limited day (due to delays through customs) would not have been very satisfying. Instead we had a longer time in a couple of ports in Japan.
This was our 2nd Viking Ocean Cruise and we love their ships. The Viking Orion has the added "planetarium" which we visited on several occasions, for night sky show and several documentary movies. All other details in the ship were basically the same as on our previous cruise on the Viking Sea.
* Food and restaurant selection is quite good, although there were occasional disappointments.
* The spa and fitness areas are excellent and generally underused.
* There are many places to explore and either enjoy quiet time or spend time socializing.
* It's important to read descriptions on excursions. We usually enjoyed taking included excursions and then departing the group before returning to the ship as we love exploring on our own. We also chose a few optional excursions and they were very good.
* Service from wait staff, room stewards and everyone else was excellent.
* Great free (including soap) self-service laundry on each floor.
* Take advantage of galley and bridge tours if you can fit them in.
* Entertainment was just okay but we really don't cruise for the entertainment.
Our favorite thing about Viking Cruises is the quality of the lectures. We had outstanding lectures from all four of the guest lecturers, from history to science, politics and culture. We will continue to travel with Viking.
Our cabin choice is Deluxe Veranda (DV). We find the rooms quite comfortable and since our focus is on visiting ports and attending wonderful lectures, we don't feel it necessary to have a larger room. Some complain about lack of storage space but we prefer to travel light and found we had plenty of room. The bathroom is quite nice, with heated floors and a roomy shower. We choose DV over the Veranda (V) rooms, mostly for earlier booking on excursions. The DV also gives a few other extras, such as binoculars, coffee machine, daily refill of soft drinks and snacks in your mini-fridge.
Included 4 hour tour - Tapei in Brief
Brief stop in Liberty Square to see National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall followed by visit to the National Revolutionary Martyrs' Shrine, where we saw the changing of the guard ceremony.View All 3 Martyr's Shrine Reviews
All included in Postcards of Hong Kong
All included in Postcards of Hong Kong
Postcards of Hong Kong - five hour included tour, which included tram ride to Victoria Peak, visit to Stanley Market and sampan cruise through the harbor's floating village.View All 28 Victoria Peak Reviews
Kagoshima Scenic Ride - included 3 hour tour
We visited Shroyama Park where we enjoyed views of Kagoshima and sakurajima volcano spewing ash. We then stopped at the Reimeikan museum to view cultural artifacts. The excursion then returned to the ship but we departed to explore further on our own and take the cruise provided shuttle back to the city from Dolphin Port.
Scenic Nagasaki included 2 hour tour
We visited the Nagasaki Peace Park, dedicated to World Peace, and enjoyed learning history and viewing the many wonderful sculptures from many countries. We then departed the group and visited several sites on our own, including Dejima and Glover Garden.View All 26 Nagasaki Peace Park Reviews
Postcards of Hiroshima included tour
We visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Atomic Dome. We very much enjoyed learning the perspective of our tour guide. We departed the group instead of returning to the ship and went to Hiroshima Castle and enjoyed a food festival that happened to be going on at the time.View All 12 Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park Reviews
This was an optional tour. We travelled by bus and ferry to visit the Island and Shrine. We were glad to have the opportunity but would have liked to have more time to explore. The large group moved slowly.View All 1 Itsukushima Shrine Reviews
The title of the excursion makes you think you might actually learn something about the city but really is just a bus ride through the city to get to and from the shrine. The shrine tour itself was quite good. After returning to the ship, we took the subway to the center of town so we could walk around a bit and pick up our Japan Rail Pass so we'd be all set when we disembarked in Tokyo.View All 1 Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine Reviews
We did part of the included Tokyo Panorama tour. The ship was actually docked in Tokyo, not Yokohama. We went with the tour only as far as viewing the Imperial Palace. We departed the group and then met up with a friend who lives in Tokyo and had a wonderful day visiting various sites with him.View All 4 Imperial Palace Plaza Reviews
Mt. Fuji is actually visited from Shimizu. We did both the included and an optional tour here. We did the optional in the morning, Shiraito Falls and & Fujisan Hongu Sengen Taisha. This was a very well done excursion. We enjoyed the falls and great views of Fuji-san. The temple was also quite interesting.
The included tour was okay but we would have been fine to have skipped it after having done the optional.View All 9 Mount Fuji Reviews