We were on a previous Viking Ocean cruise and it was great. Since we live in Florida during the winter, we thought that it would be fun to go to New Orleans and then cruise the Mississippi. We flew on our own with another couple to New Orleans with Southwest Airlines. The flight was on time, the plane had great leg space, and service was superb. We stayed at the Westin Hotel for two nights (those who signed up for the Viking air and pre-cruise also stayed at this hotel). The hotel was definitely 5-star and the Viking staff there were knowledgeable and friendly. We toured New Orleans by foot and by the hop-on/hop-off. The three day hop-on/hop-off is a real bargain since it includes guided tours of the French Quarter and the Garden Section at no additional cost. We spent three days and nights exploring New Orleans and it is really the only way to really get a feel for the city (those who took the Viking pre-cruise only get a one day bus tour of the city). Then we boarded the boat and headed north on the Mississippi.
The boat experience is not as good as what we experienced on previous cruises. The staterooms were fine and the staff went all out to provide service. However, they were seriously short-staffed service was spotty. The -infinity pool is just a small bath-tub. the elevators had a mind of their own and sometimes trapped people inside for some time (calling the emergency help brought no response). The ship broke down about 1/4 of the way north and we had to turn around and return (we stopped in Baton Rouge and Darrow on the way back). The included tours were very repetitious (visiting one plantation house after another) so I strongly recommend taking some of the optional tours. The evening entertainment was great as was the food, but other than a large library of books there are few amenities...be prepared for a very relaxing cruise.
Response from VikingS, Community Team
This is a great city to visit. Don't just take a bus tour...spend at least three days exploring by foot and the hop-on/hop-off (a three day pass includes two guided tours). The city is filled with history, the restaurants are fantastic, and the music is spectacular. Walk the streets of the French Quarter and night and immerse yourself in the street music and night life.