We have been on five cruises before - Celebrity, Princess, Cunard and Norwegian. None of them compare to Viking (although Cunard is close). This cruise was pretty much flawless in every way you can imagine. Embarkation was smooth and painless and they let us on the ship and into our room hours before we expected. The food was universally great, there was always lots of it, and the specialty restaurants were all very good. We bought a beverage package and for us that was a good investment. But their policy of providing drinks with meals was very liberally applied, and if you limited your drinking to meals you probably wouldn't need that package.
The talks about upcoming ports were very informative, and the included tours - we took most of them - were very good. Brian, their Cruise Director, was not only a splendid presenter and full of great information....he's also a very talented singer!
The ship was generally spotless and I had a very hard time finding any rust. That was not true on every other ship we have ever been on. Rust is a continuing problem on ships and leaves a bad impression about overall ship maintenance (I did four years in the Navy) but the Viking people seem to have defeated it.
Disembarkation at 8 AM was very early for us - our plane from Auckland didn't leave until very late that night. So first they put a bunch of us in a downtown hotel, complete with coffee, soft drinks, lots of snacks. Later they took us to a hotel at the airport and put us up in a room for several hours! This was all at no charge - a very classy thing to do.
Overall we were surprised and very pleased at how nice this Viking cruise was....and how much better in every way it was compared to all the other cruises we have been on. The fact that they have eliminated kids/bogus art sales/casinos/overpriced photography shows that they understand their audience. They have hit the marked squarely.
We'll be back, Viking!
We had an outside cabin with a small balcony that had a table and two chairs. The cabin - like everything else on this cruise - was flawless. It seemed a bit smaller than similar cabins on previous cruises but that could have been our imagination. The bathroom was definitely bigger. And the shower was huge compared to other ships we have been on. Our cabin stewards - we had two - were super efficient and pretty much invisible. We seldom actually saw them, but the cabin was always made up, spotless, and replenished.