This was my fiftieth cruise (my husband’s 48th), in about 25 years. A good friend found the Viking Great Lakes expedition cruises advertised and the four of us decided we were ready for something unique. I’ve been on 13 different cruise lines. Celebrity was our favorite until 2015 when we tried Crystal. When we planned a European river cruise, after quite a bit of research, I chose to go on AmaWaterways, not Viking. The reviews for Viking Ocean have been outstanding. I was ambivalent. How could it be as good as Crystal? So this trip on Viking Octantis would be a way to check out Viking.
The cruise fare we paid included free air. It was a bit of a chore to get our itinerary all sorted out. The embarkation, in Milwaukee, and disembarkation, in Thunder Bay, are both small-airport cities. It all worked out in the end, but when we settled on an outbound at 6:15 am, we decided to use Marriott points to stay at the airport hotel in our busy airport. We’re really glad we did.
Pick-up at the Milwaukee airport for Viking’s transfer was easy. Alas, there was a bit of a delay when we got to the dock, but soon enough, we were onboard, getting our safety briefing. Lunch was at the buffet, called World Cafe. Lovely venue, great variety, food good to delicious, nice service. Staterooms were ready in a timely fashion and we were wowed by our stateroom attendant. He could’ve been categorized as perfect, except he had a flaw. After we drank the first Diet Coke out of our fridge, we expected him to replace it. When he didn’t, we were really sure he’d replace the two empty spots. No! We started bringing back Diet Cokes from the World Cafe, and then he finally got the message.