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Viking Orion Cruise Review
5.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
406 Reviews

Surprising Bali and Australia

Viking Orion Cruise Review by dianeherrmann

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Dec 2019
  • Destination: Australia & New Zealand

We chose this cruise because of the December sailing dates and because we wanted to snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef. It's our first Viking cruise, and we were not disappointed. From the pre-cruise stay in Nusa Dua at a lovely hotel, with a great tour to three temple sites, to the interesting shore excursions, we were very pleased with the cruise. Our cabin was spacious and we had a great steward. Dining options were plentiful, and we actually preferred the variety and choice of portion size in the World Cafe for most meals. The specialty menus offered at one of the restaurants were delightful. We particularly enjoyed the lectures and music offered on board, especially the Classical Duo. We chose several "adventurous" excursions: visits to rainforests and snorkeling trips were led by good guides and were educational as well as recreational. It was a pleasure to have a NASA astronaut on board, and his lectures were fascinating. We took advantage of the walking track on Deck 2 and the sauna (and cold pool and hot tubs) throughout the voyage, but especially on sea days. Entertainment in the big auditoriums was good and not too flashy for our more casual style. Service was impeccable. There was only one shore excursion we're glad we avoided: the trip to Komodo Island wasn't well planned, and it was very hot and crowded for those who chose the included tour that day. We were happy to have gone snorkeling instead on a lovely pink beach. We were surprised at how much we enjoyed all our time in Indonesia, especially in Bali. We liked this cruise so much we're signed up for a New Zealand trip in the future.

dianeherrmann's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Cabin was spacious and it was particularly nice to have a curtain to divide the seating and sleeping areas. Balcony was large and pleasant.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Senggigi Beach

We swam in the beach at the hotel where we were dropped off. Pleasant, not very exciting. On the way we stopped at a Muslim Center, but had no real explanation of why we were there or what its significance was.

View All 5 Senggigi Beach Reviews
Bali Heritage Sites

Three temple sites in a single day, totally suffering from jet lag, but three great and very different sites. Tour guide on the bus gave excellent information. The temple by the sea was especially interesting to visit.

View All 30 Bali Heritage Sites Reviews
Komodo Island

We chose to snorkel at the pink beach instead of seeing dragons, and we were very happy we did that. The crowds on the pier waiting to march through the jungle in the heat to see the Komodo dragons were daunting, and we learned that several people had more than a little trouble with the heat. However, our beach wasn't crowded and was pleasant. The snorkel equipment available wasn't of the highest quality, but it worked OK. The underwater sights were just OK, but it was great to be in the water!

Museum & Art Gallery

We loved the exhibits in the museum, and then were even more delighted with the art exhibit we visited after the historical exhibits. The display about the Darwin hurricane was particularly effective. We were in port all day, and if we had realized how close the ship was to town (easy walking distance), we might have spent more time on shore. As it was, it was beastly hot, and it was good to get back to the ship. I walked on shore in the morning for exercise, and that was a great thing to do.

View All 5 Museum & Art Gallery Reviews
Thursday Island

Such a little place...but I was primed to see a textile artist (Rosie Ware) right at the pier with her block printed scarves and table linens. The small museum had interesting art to see, and the very small town had a few stores. The one "department store" even had fabric by the yard. But again, beastly hot, so not a fun place to spend a lot of time.

Barrier Reef

Seas were stormy and rough. We both got seasick on the very long ride out to the reef, but once there, it was OK. The reef was spectacular. The boat crew was good at getting our very large group into equipment and into the water. The provided lunch was good if you could eat it (I got seasick even in the water, and only spent about 45 minutes in the water). We were not alerted that we might need money on the excursion, so hadn't brought our wallets, which meant we could not purchase any of the add-ons that this excursion offered. Disappointing. Fortunately, the ride back was calmer. Take something for seasickness if you head out to the reef, even if you don't usually get seasick!

View All 27 Barrier Reef Reviews

Catamaran was lovely; the reef that was close to an island shore was in worse shape than the part of the reef we visited further off shore. The crew was more relaxed, though, and the food was good on the boat. Snorkeling, even with the reef not at its best, was great.

View All 1 Snorkeling Reviews
Mount Tamborine

First, the disappointments: with the fires, the promised 4-wheel drive part of the excursion was cancelled. Second, we spent a good hour in a crafty, local shopping area....not what we expected as part of an off-road, rainforest tour. However, the rainforest itself was incredible, and we had an excellent guide who was knowledgeable about the area, the flora and the fauna. We learned about trapdoor spiders, funnel web spiders, lots of birds, water dragons, and more. On our drive, we saw wallabies and grey kangaroos, but despite our guide's effort, never spotted a koala in a tree. Barbecue lunch was awesome, we had a boomerang throwing demonstration. We ended with a wine tasting. This was a very full and excellent day.

View All 6 Mount Tamborine Reviews
Wine Tour

This was the most fun I've ever had at a wine tasting, and worth the long bus ride to get to the wineries. We also had a full commentary about the area as we drove. At one of the two wineries we visited, they did their tasting as a challenge to see if we could identify what we were drinking by describing the color, aroma, and various flavors in the wines. We also had a cheese tasting that was excellent.

View All 12 Wine Tour Reviews

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