We were asked by friends to join them on this cruise. The Northern Lights were on my husband and my bucket list so we, and four other couples, decided to book the cruise. The booking process was fairly smooth regarding the itinerary, room choice and making the reservation. We gave all five of the reservation numbers to the booking agent (he said that was all he needed in order to book things together) and in June of 2022 made our final payment in full. From there, the booking process went downhill. Four of the five couples received ridiculous flights with one to three layovers, even though three of the couples had paid to upgrade to business class. The first flights booked for four of the couples had one or two stops even though all but one couple were flying out of Los Angeles (with eight direct flights a day from LAX to London) to London. When questioned, the booking agent told us that we'd have to pay an additional $300 for "custom" airfare. Then, basically, they booked us on the flights we should have been booked on in the first place. In our case, after my husband and I had paid the $300, we were booked on a direct flight with no seat assignments. And, even though we emailed, back and forth, seven times over three months, Viking was never able to give us seat assignments for the flight there. I finally contacted United and the agent at United told me that I could pick almost any seat I wanted as they did have a reservation for me. I reserved the seats through United. Viking never followed through on their side to do any of this. The rest of our group had similar experiences with the travel desk and their flights.
In addition, we went through a similar experience booking dining reservations for the ten of us. We only wanted to reserve the specialty restaurants for all of us on a couple of dates but the system and then the customer service rep I called, couldn't/wouldn't let us reserve a table for more than 4 people. I spent a little over an hour, on the phone, with the Viking representative, and she couldn't figure out why we couldn't book together but finally ended up booking tables for 4 and 6.The rest of our group didn't have any luck either. Finally, looking through some of the videos of the ship, I saw that they had private dining rooms that could seat 10 people. The booking agent confirmed this but told me that we'd have to wait until we were on board to do this.
We had similar experiences with some of the excursion bookings. Before we got on board, all ten of us thought that we might have made a mistake in our choice of cruises (we've all been on several bike and cruise trips together). All this being said, we all had a wonderful time. The ship is extremely well designed, the service personnel were incredibly well trained and with the exception of our first excursion, we all loved our cruise. We would, definitely, all go on a Viking Cruise again but would probably use a travel agent or, at the very least, make our own airfare arrangements. As the saying goes, "You only get one chance to make a good first impression" and our whole group was wholly disappointed in Viking's impression. We definitely changed our minds once we were on board but it seems that Viking has a long way to go to get their pre-trip and post-trip contractors up to the level of service of those on the ship.
Our cabin was designed perfectly to allow our (emptied) suitcases to be stored under the bed, plenty of drawer space, and good space in the bathroom. The veranda would have been perfect for trips that aren't so cold. Our cabin steward, Tito, was incredibly personable and attentive as was his assistant. Every detail was considered.