The Northern Lights were on our bucket list so we were excited to do this cruise. The winds were too strong to make it into Bodo so we cruised onward. Viking was unaware of the Sami Festival culminating the weekend we were in Tromso. I asked the General Manager, Tom, why we could not get to Tromso, the next port, earlier so we could participate and enjoy the Sami Festival. He was not aware of the festival, but he did as he said he would and checked it out. In the end, we arrived into Tromso 3 hours earlier than we had been scheduled to so that we could enjoy the festival. Viking really does listen to their guests so I was glad that I had made that request. Otherwise, we would not have been able to enjoy the festival as the reindeer lassoing would have been almost over by the time we would have arrived, had we adhered to the scheduled arrival. He shared the info with the captain of the vessel and made it happen. He said he also shared the info with the main office so that next year, Viking can build the festival into their itinerary as it is a annual event. It was a cultural experience we would have missed so thanks to Viking for listening and acting upon the request. This is proof again that cruisers should do some independent research before embarking on a cruise as you can gain so much insight into the areas you will be visiting.
The inclusions of wine at lunch and dinner, free wifi, free laundry facilities, included excursions, and included specialty dining experiences are all a plus so that the cruisers are not "nickel-and-dimed" to death as is common on some mainstream cruise lines; but NOT Viking as they know how to do it right!
We purchased the included airfare and transfers which went off without a problem. I believe it was cheaper and provided peace of mind that does not come with independent travel arrangements. However, we had to disembark much earlier than I would normally have done to get to the airport for our trip back home. I think if they had more departures available, it would be easier on the cruiser. Getting up at 3:50 am to make a 8:20am flight made departure day very difficult. The drive from the ship to the Bergen airport was only 22 minutes on a Saturday and we were only going to Oslo for the connecting flight. We made it safely back home and that is the main concern.
Cabin was sufficient for our needs and was well laid out. The balcony was a nice feature so that we could step out and take pics in spite of the cold weather. The cabin steward and his assistant are among the best, attentive and helpful. They did not leave us lacking in anything we wanted in the cabin.
It was much more reasonably priced than the ship's excursion doing the same thing. Daniel, the owner, went out of his way to make sure we saw the lights.
We did husky racing Holman Huskies and visited the ice hotel independently of the ship for a much more reasonable rate. Both experiences were great.
The rock was socked in with low cloud cover so we did not get to see it.
The best included excursion of all in the itinerary as the guide was excellent.