We selected the Viking British Isles cruise because we wanted to see Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales & Northern Ireland so this cruise checked all of those boxes. This was our fourth ocean cruise with Viking in four years so we were very familiar with the decks, restaurants, cabins & processes. This is one of our main reasons for selecting Viking. First thing to discuss is the quality of the crew & officers. The crew from our steward to the captain were outstanding. Not only the service level, but also because the crew is friendly & bends over backwards to make your cruise great. On this cruise, our luggage got lost in Newark so it did not make the flight from Newark to Bergen. This happened to several others on the cruise & at one point, there were over a hundred bags were missing or delayed. First lesson learned was, if this happens to you, complete a lost luggage report at the airport & get a file reference code from the airport baggage people. Second lesson is to always pack enough clothes for at least 3 days. Here is where Viking's great service came in. The customer service staff were very helpful & did everything within their control working with the airlines to find the bags & get them delivered to a port on the cruise schedule. We lost 3 bags & they found them at the Newark airport Viking got my bag on the third day, my wife's small bag on the fourth day. but her big bag with all of her clothes did not come until day eight. Here is where Viking quality came through again. They laundered our limited amount of clothes every night as they did for the other passengers facing the same bag issue. They did this at no cost. The staff were very understanding, professional & were very patient with those passengers who blamed Viking & were rude to the staff.
Next thing is the quality of the food. The food & food service were consistently outstanding. This is another reason that we select Viking. We ate at the World Cafe buffet for breakfast, some lunches & some dinners. We ate dinner at Manfredi's several times which had not only great Italian food, but delicious steaks, too. We ate at the Chef's Table on a previous cruise, we found that the menus were very limited with lots of dishes that my wife would not eat. Make sure you know what is being served.
Now the reason that we rated this cruise a 4 & not a 5. This has to do with the shore excursions. Our experience of our Viking cruises have been mostly positive on the shore excursions with some less positive. That was the case on this cruise. In Bergen, we selected two excursions. The first was the A Taste of Norwegian Farm Life. It was entertaining, but nothing that we walked away saying that was great. The second excursion was a walking tour of Bergen. It was interesting & our guide was knowledgeable. The excursion on the Shetland Islands was a disappointment. We did the included excursion which was pretty boring & a stop to see 3 poor Shetland ponies in a pen was pretty sad. We had a private guide at Invergordon/Inverness & visited Culloden Battlefield, Loch Ness & Clava Cairns so we can't comment on the Viking excursions. We did the Edinburgh Highlight bus tour which was interesting, but ended up killing time around the castle until getting back to the bus. We did not do the excursion at the Orkney Islands because of not feeling well. The Ullapool excursion was fun because our guide was so entertaining. Belfast was interesting. Liverpool was fun because if you were/are a Beatles fan, you will love the Beatles Experience. Next was the Two Castles excursion in northern Wales. Caernarfon & the castle home of a wealthy family were both fantastic. Dublin was fun because of an excursion called Ballyknocken Farmhouse Baking where the owner, a TV cooking personality, cooked scones for us as well as entertained us with her story. We then did a bus & walking tour of Dublin. It was interesting, but it seemed like we saw a lot of the same things. In Dover, we visited Canterbury & toured the old town & Cathedral grounds. We did not do the Walking Tour of Greenwich to finish our cruise.