Always on our wish list to see Alaska, and we were drawn to the small ships Viking offered. The Orion did not disappoint. Beautiful ship, nice and new. Big enough to have plenty to do and places to go but small enough to enjoy without getting lost or having too many people on board. Dining was very good, whether it was One World Cafe or the main dining room. Manfredi's was tasty, could have eaten the whole bread basket. The Chef's Table was disappointing, a few courses were good but most just not enjoyed. Talked to a few people who shared our sentiment. In terms of entertainment, there was a pianist who was wonderful as were the other musicians on board. We did not go into the Star Theatre as I'm immunocompromised, and I did not get to enjoy the spa either. But I did use the gym one day, spotless, not at all crowded and nice equipment. A few ports were tendered, which was handled well but not optimal for getting on and off the ship during time in port. Early in the cruise we were not among many other ships, but that changed as we headed toward Vancouver from Seward. In Juneau there were 4 or 5 other ships, some with 5000 capacity. So the bigger ports tend to be full of tourists and souvenir shops. The side trips we took were awesome, one through Viking*. Highly recommend the Kenai Fjord Boat Tour,* you see wildlife and sail through a National Park. We also took a small plane ride on our own over Glacier Bay National Park which was outstanding. Sailing up to Hubbard Glacier was really enjoyable, and sailing through the Inside Passage was also beautiful. In Ketchikan the included tour was a Totem Pole park, privately owned, which was crowded and ended up with our being deposited in their gift shop for a good 1/2 hour before our bus came, not up to Viking standards in my opinion. The disembarkation in Vancouver was chaos, and our post cruise excursion to Vancouver was a big mess. It was our first Viking pre/post excursion, and many told us this was not the norm. Viking also managed to break my luggage. They did address my concerns and pay for my busted luggage. In terms of Covid precautions, the ship was spotless and you washed your hands or sanitized before entering the dining areas. The staff wore masks, which I appreciated. They had just dropped all testing requirements (with the exception of having to be vaccinated and test negative to embark) during our sailing. We did not need to test to get into Canada either, after filling out all the forms and downloading apps. My husband and I did get a notice we had been exposed, and he did get sick upon our return home. Not Viking's fault, but the way the world is now I guess. One nice effect of the virus was the ship was not at full capacity so we were rarely with anyone in an elevator, and the ship never felt crowded. The staff did not seem as seasoned, but they were very eager to please. Also thanks to the reviewer who said to get a waffle at Mamsen's for breakfast, yum. Demographics were older folks, but active and well traveled. Respect to the 77 year old gentleman we met at dinner who ziplined TWICE he enjoyed it so much. You do see some aspects of climate change. See it while you can.
Cabin was nicely located without being too close to stairs or elevators. Laundry room was on the even side, but not far. Closets seemed bigger on our river cruise, had to ask for more hangers but plenty of drawer space. Comfy bed and couch to sit on, nice balcony and a spacious bathroom. Great water pressure and no fog mirrors, however I've yet to be on a cruise where the floor did not get wet from the shower. Fridge was stocked with soda, one bottle of champagne and a few snacks, but there was so much food available we did not use too much. A few hooks would have been nice, but we've learned to travel with some magnetic ones made for metal cruise walls.