Viking Star Review

5.0 / 5.0
2,054 reviews

Loved our second Viking cruise within one year!

Review for the Panama Canal & Central America Cruise on Viking Star
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2-5 Cruises • Age 60s

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Sail Date: Dec 2022

This was a two week cruise down to the Panama Canal and back from Ft Lauderdale. We chose this date because it was two weeks that encompassed both Christmas and New Year’s. Last May, we enjoyed Viking’s newest ship (Mars) on its maiden voyage in Europe. So we weren’t sure how the Star, Viking’s first ocean ship from 2015, would compare to that brand spanking new ship! Because all Viking’s ships are exactly the same design, including decor and upholstery, we couldn’t imagine how it could look anything but tired and faded. And we’d been told it hadn’t gone to dry dock during the Covid pause.

Somehow, that ship looked nearly the same as the Mars. That’s the wonder of Viking, the attention to detail in every physical aspect of their ships. We loved all the public spaces for relaxing or meeting with new friends (from our very active CC Roll Call group). The ship had a very new female Cruise Director, who had the most effervescent personality. She set up some really great activities, including a new mini concert series in the Atrium for the six sea days. The best part was how she and her staff planned really fun and imaginative events for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Years Eve.

I won’t bother too much about the ports and excursions, except to say this really isn’t the best cruise for those. Unless you want to go to a beach setting or more action packed adventure on your own in some of the Central American countries and Jamaica. We liked 2 of the 3 free included excursions that we took, as well as the Bamboo Rafting outside of Montego Bay in Jamaica. And the star: the Panama Canal!

Cabin Review

These cabins are wider than the Deluxe Balcony cabins by quite a bit. Nothing different as far as the balcony chairs and table though. We loved having a larger desk/vanity/fridge area, and a huge bureau with multiple drawers and shelves under our TV. The closet is opposite the bathroom, rather than squeezed in next to one side of the bed. The seating consists of a loveseat (we could tell it was older because the stuffing in the seats was flat) and an armchair, with a much larger coffee table than in other cabins. That was important to us for room service meals, and even putting our feet up on while sitting on the sofa.

Port Reviews

Belize City

The included excursion from Belize City was to a Mayan ruin. The bus ride to get there was quite long, and it was sad going through this very obviously poor country. Also, this is a tender port, and that was a long ride, including the time it took to load 200 people onto the boats. So basically we spent 4-1/2 hours total, in order to see a just so-so site for about 45 minutes. Not worth it. The main thing to do in Belize is snorkel over their great coral reef, but that had to be canceled (and in Roatan too) due to unusual strong underwater currents.

Montego Bay

Of the 3 cruise port locations in Jamaica, this is the furthest from interesting attractions. But… it’s what we were stuck with. Not much right at the pier, but you could take a taxi or shuttle to their main “strip” and the public beach. Fellow guests told us that guys selling things just kept chasing them down. Not fun. We took a bamboo river raft excursion. Fun, but kind of short. The bus ride there and back was way longer by comparison.

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