This was the first Viking Cruise we have taken, previously having sailed with Disney. The whole ship exudes quality both from the quality of furnishings, food and crew. The transfer arrangements went smoothly and without hitch. We had a ... Read More
This was the first Viking Cruise we have taken, previously having sailed with Disney. The whole ship exudes quality both from the quality of furnishings, food and crew. The transfer arrangements went smoothly and without hitch. We had a starboard cabin on deck 5 (5053) which had everything we needed and exceeded the quality of Disney product. The self service restaurant was where we had breakfast and lunch and food and choice were excellent. Evenings we are in The Restaurant which was waiter service and had the most wonderful server in Sophia - a credit to Viking, in our view. The food was well presented and delicious. One night we ate in Manfredis which was Italian specialty and delicious. We didn’t visit the Chefs Table but did lunch a couple of times in Madsens, the Scandinavian restaurant which was excellent. My only criticism was that some guests seemed to get to eat in Manfredis regularly and there should be limitations so that everyone can benefit! I have to say that the entertainment team were awesome led by Cruise Director Bevin, no mean singer in his own right either. His assistant Brian Rodriguez had an amazing voice and the vocalists Dan, Becky, Maddy and Damien performed shows each night that would not have disgraced the West End and backed by a terrific band. The crew from Capt Olav downwards were friendly and could not do enough for us. Special mention for Olex our barman as well. Shore excursions lived up to Vikings cultural enrichment theme and were well organised. We have already booked our next cruise whilst onboard! Read Less
Having just returned from our 5th Fred Olsen cruise, this time 11 nights from Rosyth to Iceland on the Balmoral, I can say without reservation the experience was excellent in all respects, having given some "room for improvement ... Read More
Having just returned from our 5th Fred Olsen cruise, this time 11 nights from Rosyth to Iceland on the Balmoral, I can say without reservation the experience was excellent in all respects, having given some "room for improvement suggestions on our last cruise on the Black Watch", I feel it is appropriate to compliment Fred Olsen on the Balmoral, overall food was excellent, and well presented, the authentic Indian lunch buffet was extremely good, the dinner menu in the Ballindaloch restaurant was varied and provided food of consistently high quality, service was impeccable.
The cabin was of a decent size, comfortable, with the TV system working well, although I would suggest some sound insulation behind the TV would have been beneficial as the TV in the next cabin was also mounted on the wall and was a bit intrusive. Stewardess was very efficient and particular in cleaning, we had a picture window on deck 6.
Entertainment was fine if not exceptional.
Embarkation and Disembarkation were trouble free and fast, although it was a bit of a jumble trying to extricate the suitcases from the marquee.
One thing noted was there was no bar drinks menu, so one could not peruse the offerings having to ask the waiters what was available, also prices were not on show, meaning unless the waiters were asked the price was only given when the receipt was supplied.
Would certainly book with Fred Olsen again, on another ship? only if the reviews were as good as the Balmoral. Read Less
Excellent experience. Ship was fully staffed. Never had to wait for a drink at the bars. Public areas kept tidy and clean. Made reservations in advance for the shows and select dining. Found we did not need reservations in two of the ... Read More
Excellent experience. Ship was fully staffed. Never had to wait for a drink at the bars. Public areas kept tidy and clean. Made reservations in advance for the shows and select dining. Found we did not need reservations in two of the main rooms. Taste and Savor, we were walk right up and get a table with little wait. Heard it can be hard to find quiet spots on board. The sunset lounge was our favorite bar, located in the middle of the ship on the inside. Never too crowded or boisterous. Take the time and spend the money to see the cirque dreams steam punk dinner show. Very good production for a ship. The best shipboard entertainment I have ever seen. Burn the floor is good too. Just make your reservations before setting sail! Syd Norman’s Pour House had excellent rock cover band. Very entertaining there. For shot excursions, be sure to explore non ship options. We booked privately with Alla Tours for both St. Petersburg and Stockholm. We saved a ton of money compared to the excursions (relatively identitcal itineraries) by booking with Alla. Do it about 3 months in advance, They take care of your Visas for Russia, no worries! Read Less
We set off on this cruise in a state of trepidation.....would we manage the formal evenings with two under 30s?, would the food be mediocre? would the service be lacking? Well we were blown away! I wondered if I should write this review as ... Read More
We set off on this cruise in a state of trepidation.....would we manage the formal evenings with two under 30s?, would the food be mediocre? would the service be lacking? Well we were blown away! I wondered if I should write this review as this ship was so amazing that I didnt really want to share! Anyway here we go....
Food in Britannia restaurant was better than Celebrity, ...halibut, turbot, lobster in a week. Lovely Japanese options including an excellent miso soup, Italian pasta we couldn't fault, tea and coffee and home made marshmallows and chocolate creams to finish.
Breakfast in Britannia was excellent, go there if you can.
Afternoon tea......what can I say...lovely.
Lido restaurant was a full step ahead of other cruise lines, you really didn't think you were in "motorway services". Tea and coffee for breakfast served to your table, no battling with teapots etc etc
Room steward, excellent nothing too much trouble.
Take on a bottle or two, top up at a port call......you need to do this as alcohol is extortionate!
So service better than someone like Celebrity.
Formal nights were a breeze, do as you will. Just join in, fellow passengers are lovely!
Never worry you will find somewhere to sit on this ship wherever you are, seats and beautiful sitting areas a plenty.
Don't forget the library, amazing!
Any downsides? She can be a little noisy but not enough to spoil your holiday.
Please don't tell anyone about this beautiful ship...keep it a secret please? Read Less
My husband and I sailed on Explorer of the Seas on 23 June 2019 on a 14 Night Baltic Cruise as part of his birthday celebrations and I booked the cruise a year in advance. He has always wanted to see Russia and this cruise gave us the ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on Explorer of the Seas on 23 June 2019 on a 14 Night Baltic Cruise as part of his birthday celebrations and I booked the cruise a year in advance. He has always wanted to see Russia and this cruise gave us the opportunity to spend 2 days in St Petersburg, visit lots of other ports and sail from Southampton so no need for flights. We did have a long drive from our home in Scotland but broke up the journey on the way down, staying with family near Chester.
Southampton Pre-Cruise - Stayed at the Premier Inn which I booked online a few months in advance. Parking available but very limited and payable extra. Booked dinner that evening at White Star Tavern which was excellent.
- Parked car at ABP Parking. Again, booked in advance and was able to use a discount code when I emailed them direct to get 10% off. Couldn't believe how easy this was. Basically, we drove to the terminal, spotted the ship, were directed to a car park directly adjacent to the terminal, parked up, took out our cases with their labels attached and locked the car. We keep the keys and the cases were taken from us by porters. We just walked over to check in with our hand luggage and were on the ship within half an hour. We had an advised check-in time of 2.30pm but arrived at 12pm and were onboard by 12.30pm.
Cabin - we had been assigned inside cabin 6229. I had put in a low bid on RCI's Royal Up scheme for a Promenade and a Balcony but was unsuccessful. The ship was full so no upgrades were available. We've previously had inside cabins which have been perfectly adequate although we did enjoy a balcony on a Marella cruise in the Med. However, RCI wanted an additional £1600 for the balcony cabin at the time of booking which I felt wasn't value for money. I hadn't considered an Ocean View cabin. With hindsight, I would probably look at this again as we missed seeing daylight and would have liked to have the ability to relax in our cabin in the evening and still enjoy a view. The cabin had everything we required - safe, fridge, double wardrobe and 4 shelves inside plus shelves at the dressing table and either side of the bed. There was a small couch but no table which would have been good for eating breakfast on the few days when we ordered breakfast in the room (Continental is free/ Cooked has a charge of $7.95 per room). There are tea/coffee making facilities. TV is limited, mainly RCI channels promoting their products, couple of sports and news channels and a Film of the Day channel.
Explorer of the Seas is due to go for a refit next year and will benefit from new carpets/upholstery and a fresh lick of paint which it does need. However, the standard of service and attention from the staff more than makes up for this.
We ate in the Windjammer at breakfast and lunchtimes (if we weren't in port) and the choice of food is fantastic. Fresh omelettes and eggs cooked to order. You could eat your way around the world. Staff are very attentive and we ordered our drinks when we sat down. We were on the ultimate drinks package and ordered whatever we wanted from the drinks menu. If there's a cocktail they haven't listed they'll make it for you if you describe it.
We ate in the Main Dining Room which is called Sapphire in the evening and also had a 5 night Speciality Restaurant dining package which I had bought through the Cruise Planner. The first night was booked in advance and I booked the remaining nights as soon as I boarded the ship to make sure we had the reservations we wanted. The speciality restaurants are as follows;
Giovanni's Table - We were disappointed with this. Nothing to do with the staff. The restaurant is situated on deck 3 and feels like it was added as an afterthought, no windows and almost feels like dining in a basement. Also, I had linguine vongole which appeared on the MDR menu a few nights later. Meant to be 'speciality'.
Izumi - We're not very familiar with Japanese cuisine and enjoyed the experience. The staff were great at recommending dishes which fit within the budget allowed. We had 2 starters, 2 main courses on hot stones and dessert and only had to add $2.00 to the bill. The view from Izumi is stunning as it is situated on the top deck opposite the Sky Lounge.
Chop's Grille - Our favourite. We ate here 3 times. Feels like a speciality restaurant should feel. Amazing view with floor to wall windows on deck 11. Ate every course offered on the first visit and realised this was just too much for us so got it right on the next visits. We stuck to the steaks but did see a couple having the small seafood tower which looked HUGE and delicious. Supplement for that but would be lovely for a special treat and especially if you like seafood.
MDR - We always requested a table for 2 and never a problem. We were on My Time Dining and tend to eat later so usually arrived at 8.30pm which was never an issue. We requested a specific table on several occasions and were always accommodated. Food choices were great and we could always find something we liked. We aren't vegetarian and don't suffer allergies/intolerances so not sure what this would be like although the staff always asked this question in advance.
There is no midnight buffet but the Promenade Café seems to be open all night (the latest we went to bed one night was 3am and it was still open) and serves pizza, sandwiches, cakes, tea and coffee.
Entertainment - Can't really comment on this too much as we didn't go to many of the shows/activities. We have previously been on Allure where the shows are of an extremely high standard so the offering on Explorer didn't seem as spectacular. We did go to the Silent Disco on the 2 occasions it was held and we found it hilarious. We also went to the Russian Folk Dancing show which was held in the Palace Theatre on the overnight stop at St Petersburg. Really enjoyed this and well attended. There was a singer playing most nights in the Crown & Kettle Pub on the Promenade and there was a singer called Perry playing in the Schooner Bar who proved to be extremely popular. He was like Liberace meets Judy Garland. There are discos every night in Dizzy's in the sky Lounge which start about 10pm (apart from one night when all the adults had to clear out for a teen zone!).
Sky Lounge - This was our favourite bar, especially in the evening when we returned from the port and wanted a drink before getting changed for dinner. We watched most of the sailaways from here as the view is fantastic and the staff are so attentive.
In reality, it was too windy to spend too much time on deck and the ship would have benefitted from a cover over the pool areas for this type of cruise. It wouldn't be an issue in the Med or Caribbean but the Baltic is quite windy, especially on Sea Days. The solarium is open to the elements and there were occasions were the Jacuzzi had to be closed. There were some people who lay on sunbeds but they were wrapped in blankets and fully clothed! We actually had better weather than I expected but it was still to windy to sit on deck in the evening.
PORTS VISITED - Our main reason for selecting this cruise was St Petersburg but the other ports proved to be equally as interesting. All the times I've given are the time we were allowed ashore.
OSLO 1100 - 1630
Docked next to Akershus Fortress. No need for a shuttle bus. Can walk directly into town. We walked to the Opera House where you can walk inside and on the roof for free. We then went to the Tourist Info Centre in the main train station (one of the nicest stations I have ever seen) and bought tram tickets from there for Tram 12 to Vigeland Sculpture Park. Returned by tram to Mathallen which is a foodhall where we had a fresh seafood meal. Drink is VERY expensive but that's Nordic countries for you. Returned in time for a quick look at the big souvenir shop at the terminal before boarding.
COPENHAGEN 1030 - 1630
Docked at Quay Oceankaj C331 which is potentially walkable but would take about 45 mins. We had booked a free walking tour with Sandemann's which started at 11am so we took the shuttle bus and tickets for this can be bought at guest services and charged to your account ($20 per person). Our walking tour was 3 hours and took us from City Hall through the mediaeval parts of the city down to the harbour. At the end, you tip the guide. Thoroughly recommend this. We had time for a drink in a bar overlooking the canal. 2 beers cost about £20 but you're in vibrant Copenhagen in the sunshine.
HELSINKI 100 - 1700
What a surprise! Clean, cosmopolitan and friendly. We docked at Hernesaari which is a small peninsula which is being developed with new homes, restaurants. It is walkable into town but, due to time constraints and wanting to see as much as possible within the time constraints, we took the Hop On Hop Off Shuttle Bus. This was again charged to our account ($20 each) and makes 4 stops in the city. We saw the Old Market Hall which has reindeer, smoked salmon, prawns so don't eat too much for breakfast, Uspenke Cathedral, Rock Church (3 euros to go inside) and could have got off at the Sibelius sculpture but ran out of time as we had booked a sauna at the Loyly Sauna. This was amazing a very Finnish thing to do. We had a choice of saunas (traditional smoke and standard), birch twigs, terraces to enjoy a drink while looking over the bay and a dip in the Baltic and you HAVE to wear a costume which appealed to our conservative British customs. If you fancy this, book it in advance as it was fully booked when we arrived. You get a locker, towel, napkin and 2 hours in the sauna for 19 euros. Short walk from there back to the ship.
Stunning and overwhelming experience. Docked about 20-30 mins outside the city centre. 6 cruise ships all berthed in the same dock. We had booked an independent tour with SPB Tours and are delighted that we did. They were professional and their attention to detail was outstanding. We benefitted from the fact that we were a small party of 14 with our own mini bus and driver and were able to bypass the huge crowds which were everywhere. It was VERY busy. I don't think I've seen so many tourists in all my life. RCI try to encourage you to book their tours but, if you do, you're first off the ship so have to be up extremely early and you'll be on a big bus with about 40-50 people. We completed a form on the first day of our cruise informing them we had an independent tour arranged. We were given a time slot to meet in the MDR at 8.15. There were hundreds of people there and we were all taken off in groups to go through passport control. This takes about 45 mins to clear (much quicker on the 2nd day) and our guide was there to meet us when we got into the terminal. They wait until the whole group is there (as everyone had different time slots).
We did the 2 Day Deluxe Tour and got a discount for being part of the Cruise Critic Roll. I paid everything in advance online and gave tips in US dollars to the driver and guide at the end of the tour. We visited the following;
Church of Spilled Blood
St Isaac's Cathedral
St Peter and St Paul Fortress
Peterhof Palace and Gardens
Boat trip on Neva
Lunches were included on both days (one was 4 course and the other was 5 course so you won't be hungry!) and we were taken to a souvenir shop. It was expensive but you can't wander about yourself so if you want a souvenir you buy it there or at the shops in the terminal (the ship did sell Russian gifts too).
TALLINN 0700 - 1600
Easy 15 minute walk into town although there are shuttle buses available. We had booked the KGB Museum which is located in Hotel Viru at 11am. It's 2 rooms at the top of the hotel but gives a fascinating insight into life in Estonia in the Soviet era. Views from the top are pretty special too. Again, book in advance if you want to do this as it was sold out on the day. Spent the afternoon walking around the old town which is beautiful. Quaint houses, cobbled streets, viewpoints looking over the town. We went to a bar called Porgu where they serve Estonian beers and local food. Prices for everything are much more reasonable here. Also had cake and coffee in Cafe Maisasmokk which is the oldest cafe in Tallinn. Lots of souvenir shops so good place to stock up on reasonably priced local items.
STOCKHOLM 0800 - 1430
Docked at Stadsgarden. It was pouring when we arrived which wasn't great but still have to go ashore for a look. There were shuttle buses and Hop On Hop Off which we didn't organise and we heard there were lots of delays due to the weather. We walked to Gamla Stan which was about half an hour. Very touristy in Gamla Stan. but nice to see the Changing of the Guard at the Palace at 12.15. We passed the Parliament Buildings and noticed they do free tours in English on the hour. We went for a meal in Tradition which had traditional Swedish food and was busy, always a good sign.
The sailaway from Stockholm is the most spectacular I have ever seen and shouldn't be missed. It takes 5 hours so you can enjoy it from the Sky Lounge/restaurants on the upper decks.
SKAGEN 0900 - 1630
Small town whose population doubles when a cruise ship arrives (on top of which there was a music festival so it was buzzing). Weather was extremely windy so probably not seeing it at its best but pretty houses and nice shops. Walkable into town although we bought shuttle bus and regular bus tickets in the Tourist Info at the dock (directly opposite the ship gangway). Went to Grenen where the Baltic meets the North Sea. This was fantastic. Get the sandworm otherwise it's a bit of a trek. We had amazing fish and chips in Skagen Fiskerestaurant where the floor is covered in sand (booked in advance online)
STAVANGER 0900 - 1630
Docked in the centre of town so easy walk in. This was the only port where I had pre-booked a RCI Shore Excursion which was subsequently cancelled due to lack of interest (they credit your onboard account, not your credit card). However, we had booked the Petroleum Museum which we could see from the ship and just walked to! Cost of tour was almost £80 for us both (included a trip to the 3 Swords Statue) but entry to the museum was 120 Krone each (about £24). Spent 2 hours here. If we'd gone to other museums in Stavanger, entry would have been half price. Very pretty old town. Read Less
We had the most amazing cruise ever to Scadinavia on Explorer! I read the negative reviews on Explorer beforehand and they had me concerned. I really shouldn't have worried at all as the ship is in great condition for her age. Yes, ... Read More
We had the most amazing cruise ever to Scadinavia on Explorer! I read the negative reviews on Explorer beforehand and they had me concerned. I really shouldn't have worried at all as the ship is in great condition for her age. Yes, there was some paint chipping and condensation on the windows but you are much more particular than us if that's going to affect your vacation at all.
The ship was clean, the staff (especially our stateroom attendant) was so friendly, the food in both the MDR and Windjammer was delicious and the entertainment was great (especially the skating show). We really couldnt find any fault at all with the ship. When we had an issue with our bathroom it was fixed in 15 minutes. We went to a lot of the game shows and sports events and had a fantastic time. We won 10 medals! Never had an issue finding a seat in the theater or star lounge. Even on busy sea days we always found a seat in the Windjammer and it was great that they opened the chops grille to give more seating for breakfast.
We chose this cruise for the incredible itinerary and it didnt disappoint . Embarkation was very easy, we were on the ship in about 20 minutes. At most ports the ship docked within walking distance of the main areas . We did Oslo (go to Vigeland statue park), Copenhagen, Talinn Stockholm (dont miss the Vasa museum) on our own and found the cities easy to navigate from the ship.
For helsinki we did a royal Caribbean excursion to a really fun ice bar which was great!
For St Petersburg we used SPB tours which did the same itinerary as royal but was cheaper and had a smaller group
In stavanger we climbed pulpit rock. Incredible views but an incredibly difficult hike dont underestimate it!
Overall this was the cruise of a lifetime on a wonderful ship. Highly recommend a cruise on Explorer! Read Less
This is our first cruise with Cunard and it was excellent in most ways. We have sailed with TUI Marella and P&O before and we expected Cunard to to head and shoulders better....it wasn’t though. Now that’s not to say it was ... Read More
This is our first cruise with Cunard and it was excellent in most ways. We have sailed with TUI Marella and P&O before and we expected Cunard to to head and shoulders better....it wasn’t though. Now that’s not to say it was poor, because that’s not true....it was wonderful, but it just says to us that tge other cruise lines are also good. The quality of food and in particular the amount of free-space was welcomed and certainly different to what we found on the rather cramped and poorly organised Azura. The Q.V. is lovely and all staff were helpful, polite and professional. Before going we were concerned that there may be a “class system”....but there certainly wasn’t, we felt very welcomed and the service and food in food in the Lido Restaurant was wonderful.....one very small point, they could do with a few more waiters offering beverages in there. Not everyone wants to dine in tv more formal venues, borne out by the fact that tge Lido Restaurant was always busy, but not cramped....to have an offer of a drink would have been nice. Entertainment was fine, we have seen better productions on TUI and P&O but the shows were fine. The outside acts were fabulous however....We are very confused why we were charged a daily service charge, PLUS, if we had a drink from the bar we had a further service charge added.....it’s like a double insult!.....other than these very small points, it was outstanding and we would recommend to everyone. Read Less
The experience onboard Seabourn Ovation was overall great. However, the spa needs to workout their booking procedures and accounting. I'll begin with the challenging first, we booked The Retreat for sea day and it was a beautiful ... Read More
The experience onboard Seabourn Ovation was overall great. However, the spa needs to workout their booking procedures and accounting. I'll begin with the challenging first, we booked The Retreat for sea day and it was a beautiful and private area. We noticed the massage/treatment cabana setup and was excited about getting a massage while there. Unfortunately, the massage/treatment area was for show only. There were no available treatments for anyone in The Retreat, except for maybe a manicure at 7:30pm. Perhaps it is our fault for not booking everything in advance; however, when you're actually in The Retreat it puts you in a different mindset. I believe the spa should have a dedicated masseur/masseuse available at some point for guests of The Retreat. Also, food service took forever and I had to go downstairs for a bite to eat and bring back some proper chocolate chip cookies. It's a great concept, just get it right!
In regard to onboard dining, the food was absolutely delicious. We were very impressed by The Grill (Thomas Keller). We tried it onboard Seabourn Odyssey and wasn't overly impressed but Seabourn Ovation got it right! WELL DONE!
Our verandah suite was perfect at all times, and we loved our stateroom attendant.
Since we wanted to go to Moscow, we did book a private tour for the entire time we were in St Petersburg. We would have purchased through Seabourn but the Moscow excursion wasn't available in advance (or maybe I missed it). Moscow was absolutely INCREDIBLE! It should be a must while you're in Russia.
The Entertainment was great but I believe it's time to replace the Tim Rice show. It was great but not one you want to see on every cruise.
In regard to the staff, they all get 5 stars! It was sad to leave the ship but we are looking forward to our next Seabourn cruise.
Also, a special thank you to Shoreside Guest Relations for solving our issues. Well done to them, too! Read Less
The cruise was FANTASTIC. Best cruise of our 17 cruises to date. The scenery was SPECTACULAR along the Norwegian Fjords. Visiting the northernmost point of Europe at 71 degrees north was a thrill. Visiting Scotland and London was ... Read More
The cruise was FANTASTIC. Best cruise of our 17 cruises to date. The scenery was SPECTACULAR along the Norwegian Fjords. Visiting the northernmost point of Europe at 71 degrees north was a thrill. Visiting Scotland and London was equally as exciting. The Viking Sun is a VERY well managed ship. the crew was VERY friendly and professional. The ship was spotlessly clean and the food was well above our Viking expectations. The itinerary kept us constantly in awe of the beauty of the Norway coast and the British Isles. During the cruise we took 7 of our 9 tours as the included tours and felt like we saw everything and had wonderful experiences with very knowledgeable and friendly guides. Our two special tours were above and beyond for cities we have been to before (Edinburgh and London). But the regular tours were above expectations.
While the first look at cost of traveling Viking appears to be higher than other cruise lines, you must take into account that you get (at no extra charge): and include tour in each port, Viking Air transport to/from airport, wine/beer with meals, specialty restaurants, soft drinks and cookies between meals, mini-bar snacks in our room, 4pm high tea, the spa, and lectures on the cultures and areas we were visiting and this was all with 5-star service and professionalism. Basically, it included EVERYTHING. Read Less
We always choose cruises based on the itinerary and this completely fitted the bill!
Our second cruise on this ship and once again it excelled itself. We had a large balcony cabin (9135) which is well placed midships and well looked ... Read More
We always choose cruises based on the itinerary and this completely fitted the bill!
Our second cruise on this ship and once again it excelled itself. We had a large balcony cabin (9135) which is well placed midships and well looked after and cleaned by the cabin stewards.
Food as always was excellent in both Latitude 53 and Vista, as well as the lunches in The Market Place.
The entertainment by the ships enetertainment crew was generally good except that we had seen most of the shows before so in some cases we didn't get to see a show. The guest artists, The Harper Brothers are still performing the same act as we have seen 4 times before and well worth missing and Ricky K was also poor and reminded me why I don't watch Britains Got Talent, because blatantly he didn't! There was a guest crossover singer (sorry forgot her name) who was excellent however although only allowed one show!
The 2 Crew shows were excellent and show a wealth of talent, in fact in our opinion the best Crew show ever!
We did our own thing as regards trips except for the occasional port shuttle bus. In most ports we used the HOHO bus's and Canal/River trips sometimes combined to get a better deal. In St Petersburg we used Alla Tours who were beyond excellent and I really recommend them as opposed to the ships offerings as for about the same price you see more, are in groups of a maximum size of 16 comfortable mini bus's. The guide (ours was Marina) was excellent and spoke great English.
All in all an excellent cruise on a super ship with great staff! Read Less
This was our 37th cruise. Some have had spectacular destinations, some have been full of excitement and entertainment. Until this cruise, the Braemar to and through the Panama canal was overall our best ever cruise. Four days before this ... Read More
This was our 37th cruise. Some have had spectacular destinations, some have been full of excitement and entertainment. Until this cruise, the Braemar to and through the Panama canal was overall our best ever cruise. Four days before this one on Boudicca I received a phone call advising that we had a complimentary upgrade to a 7th deck cabin with terrace and wet room.
When we opened the cabin door, Wow!!! So much space - the wet room was brilliant as well.
We have never been disappointed with the dining rooms on any of the ships - Braemar stands out a mile in particular at lunchtime, with different flavours of diet bread and butter puddings each day! Most excellent waiters and captain waiter.
There have been many cruises with great entertainment each night - one in particular (which was not a Fred Olsen).
So to this cruise on the Boudicca. We were amazed by the organisation of the timings of the secret garden being open. There were a few mornings when we were too late for the normal breakfasts, but were able to break our fasts there. One day however we arrived just in time for lunch!
The variety of food was most welcoming particularly for two diabetics. Our water glasses were topped up frequently and Captain Waiter seemed to take extra care with us (my wife being in a wheelchair). A big thanks there.
We were on ship for the majority of the time and had plenty of options to bide away the time in the way that we wanted. Dolphin racing, bingo, quizzes, relaxing and reading and of course eating and the shows. The comedian, whose name I have forgotten was brilliant. Clean and very funny. Hope Fred Olsen has him as a regular.
Stress free is a simple way of saying how enjoyable this cruise was. The place we stayed the most was in our cabin. It was excellent. We are not drinkers or pub people, but we did have our diet lemonades to take back to the cabin, where we played Cribbage.
THE WATERFALLS AT goodolfusen (can't spell it) were splendiferous. Well worth a visit.
I have an old friend and acquaintance who regularly cruises across the Atlantic and back again, without getting off the ship. A bit surprised at this, but now with this latest experience I can well understand why.
Sorry Braemar, but you have been knocked off no.1 spot as the best ever cruise. A big thanks for the crew of the Boudicca for helping to make this one the best ever. Thanks Fred Olsen. Read Less
It was an ideal way to get to Iceland without having to fly (which I refuse to do any more). Embarkation was smooth and fast with scarcely any queueing. Disembarkation was equally fast and efficient. We had an internal cabin which was ... Read More
It was an ideal way to get to Iceland without having to fly (which I refuse to do any more). Embarkation was smooth and fast with scarcely any queueing. Disembarkation was equally fast and efficient. We had an internal cabin which was adequate in size, pleasant decor, very comfortable bed, and efficient shower in the ensuite. The stewardess was very pleasant and efficient, like all the other staff and crew we encountered. There was a good choice of restaurants and bars, with a different ambience in each. The food was superb and the waiting staff very efficient, besides being the pleasantest and friendliest you will meet anywhere. There were plenty of different activities available, from watercolour painting to ballroom dancing, to ukulele playing and on to games like quoits and shuffleboard. Two excellent swimming pools, jacuzzis and a gymnasium catered for the more energetic - you could be as active or as laid-back as you liked. There was a good programme of lectures, plus bridge games, quizzes and even bingo if that is your fancy. There was a good choice of shore excursions, and we enjoyed all three that we chose. We went whale-watching in Akureyri, and were not disappointed. The only quibble I have about that excursion is that it was quite a long walk from the ship to the trip boat. My husband has a heart problem and had difficulty keeping up with the rest of the group, as did another man similarly affected. It would have been better to have a minibus available. The blue lagoon trip we did from Reykjavík was wonderful. We saw a lot of the countryside and had a wonderful soak in a beautiful hot thermal lagoon. In Orkney we visited Skara Brae and the Ring of Brodgar, passing by Maes Howe and the stones of Stenness, and getting an excellent trip through the surrounding countryside. This was well organised, and a pleasure to experience. We enjoyed this, our first cruise, so much that we have already booked to go to the Baltic with Fred Olsen next year. Read Less
My wife and I have fairly limited experience with cruise vacations (3 or 4 previous cruises). Our last big vacation was a cycling vacation in France two years ago. We have tended to look for moderately active vacations with some room for ... Read More
My wife and I have fairly limited experience with cruise vacations (3 or 4 previous cruises). Our last big vacation was a cycling vacation in France two years ago. We have tended to look for moderately active vacations with some room for independent travel, especially in areas of great natural beauty. We were drawn to Viking quite simply by the rave reviews we heard from several friends who had gone on both river and ocean trips with Viking. We also wanted a chance to see, up close, a part of the world we had not visited.
Because of our friends' and family members' glowing reports of past Viking trips, he had high expectations for this trip. Viking exceeded those expectations in every category.
The ship: OK, admittedly, the "new ship" smell of the Jupiter grabbed us the minute we boarded. The Jupiter launched in February in Italy, so our trip could be considered a continuation of the ship's maiden voyage, as I believe it was Jupiter's first trip on our itinerary (Bergen to London, via fjords of Norway and Scotland). Inside and out, the ship looked as if it just came "on line." Simply put, it sparkled.
Our cabin, though in the lowest-cost "veranda" category, felt like anything but "bargain" accommodations. Neither my wife nor I ever felt crowded or cramped in the 15 day trip. With the midnight sun and jaw-dropping beauty of the fjords, we got a lot of use of the veranda. I was pleasantly surprised at the ample storage space and especially the efficient and comfortable functionality of the bathroom.
Our favorite feature of the Jupiter, however, was the design of its ample public spaces. If I hadn't seen it myself, I would never have imagined it was possible to create so many intimate spaces that, even with 900 passengers, it felt like we always had multiple "living rooms" to relax in, or read, or chat or simply admire the beauty out the window.
The dining venues and menus were also sufficiently varied to avoid seeming repetitious even on a fairly long cruise. With extremely minor exceptions, the food was excellent. A very few dishes (the pool-side paella comes to mind) could have done with a bit more flavor, though I suspect this is a necessary adjustment when cooking for 900 people with, shall we say, fairly "mature" palates.
Viking's "crown jewel" however, is its crew and staff. I have never experienced the level of consistently excellent service in the hospitality industry. Without exception, every Viking employee we encountered was not only very responsive, but just plain nice. A special shout-out here to Jose, our waiter in The Restaurant, Andrew our steward and LangLang (forgive me if i get that spelling wrong) who served us in the Explorer Lounge.
One last "kudo." As I understand it, Captain Knudsen made the call to take us on the "inside passage" from Gerangerfjord to Tromso, rather than offshore, in order to give us more time to enjoy the beauty of his native Norway's west coast. I am certain the offshore route would have been navigationally easier, and probably more less costly in fuel for Viking. We would have missed, however, the sights of many scenic little Norwegian villages, farms and homes. Thanks you, Captain Knudsen.
In short, I'm sold. We will probably continue to alternate cruise vacations with other sorts of travel, but Viking will be our cruise line of choice, and we will make future voyages, both river and ocean. Read Less
We chose this cruise for the ports. Neither of us had been to any of the Baltic ports and we were looking for an overview. We absolutely loved the ports and could have spent more time everywhere, but we knew that in advance. Cruising ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the ports. Neither of us had been to any of the Baltic ports and we were looking for an overview. We absolutely loved the ports and could have spent more time everywhere, but we knew that in advance. Cruising on such a large ship has its disadvantages. On a minor point, it simply takes a while to figure out the deck plans, and how get from one point to another. More serious is the issue of always being at a pier that's far from the city center. We were lucky to get to dock in Stockholm, the Getaway often has to be in a town a hour away. We shared sevel ports with an Azamara Cruise, and as a much smaller ship, they were docked right downtown. When time in port is so valuable, arranging transportation to get to the actual city becomes a drain. Although we really enjoyed the ship and Baltic cruise itinerary, if we were to take the same trip again I'd consider a different, smaller ship. Someone who uses more of the entertainment available, or traveling with active kids, might have a completely different view point.
We used a private company (there are many) to tour Berlin and St. Petersburg. We were able to have a much smaller group and more flexibility than if we'd taken a ship's excursion. Luckily we were in Stockholm on a Sunday and the company Stromma has a 3 hour brunch cruise available on that Sunday only. It was actually one of the highlights of our trip. In Helsinki and Tallinn we were able to enjoy the town on our own without a tour. They are both beautiful, but very different cities. Read Less
HAL delivered again with a very nice cruise, great food, super service, friendly staff and gracious public spaces. Great room on Dolphin deck with hardly and rock and roll and a big room with window (1903).Not a fan of the tv/dvd ... Read More
HAL delivered again with a very nice cruise, great food, super service, friendly staff and gracious public spaces. Great room on Dolphin deck with hardly and rock and roll and a big room with window (1903).Not a fan of the tv/dvd combo...hopefully they will upgrade that.
Elevators around the corner zip up to Lido and MDR.
Food was excellent. Banana bread French toast was a fav in MDR for breakfast. Creme Brûlée, prime rib, French onion soup, any dessert all good. Pork roast was like Sunday dinner as a kid.
Liked the trivia games and the happy hour in the Crows Nest.
Lincoln centre stage was excellent.
Gift shop was so-so... to many high end things and low end was gaudy.
Embarkation and disembarkation was the smoothest I have experienced.
The staff were the real stand outs. Always friendly , helpful, smiling and keeping things clean. They work so hard!
Great ports mix of large and small. 24 hour sun was something to see!
Did not do any shore excursions with HAL(to expensive)all were booked ahead of time online. Read Less
This has been a bucket list cruise for us for quite a while and it did not disappoint. While I love the Princess Small Ships, I was glad to see the Sapphire doing this since, being a larger ship, that made it a bit more economical to book. ... Read More
This has been a bucket list cruise for us for quite a while and it did not disappoint. While I love the Princess Small Ships, I was glad to see the Sapphire doing this since, being a larger ship, that made it a bit more economical to book.
The scenery was fantastic - better than I envisioned. We had a mid forward balcony cabin on the Lido deck, a very convenient location since no stairs or elevator wait for the buffet, pool area or grill. Waking up in the morning seeing the mountains of a fjord off your balcony was fantastic. The size of this ship was nice. Very few lines for anything, yet enough people.
We booked Princess excursions at each port. In retrospect, we might have been better off checking which ports had hop-on/hop off services and just used that for a general sightseeing tour. Having said that we were NOT disappointed with any of our shore excursions.
The entertainment on board was very good. 4 production shows that were all top notch.
The main dining room food was excellent. Yes, Princess is cutting back a bit on Lobster night (a single lobster tail) and I'm sure some people are put off by the *optional* $19 upgrades offered some evenings, but we just ignored them and enjoyed the standard menu. Wait staff was excellent - very attentive to our requests. We were able to have a table for 2 in Anytime Dining each night. Read Less
This was a 10-day Baltic cruise from Stockholm to Copenhagen. It was our 4th Oceania cruise and first on Marina. We are a couple in our mid-60's which put us in the median age range on this cruise. As many people younger than us as ... Read More
This was a 10-day Baltic cruise from Stockholm to Copenhagen. It was our 4th Oceania cruise and first on Marina. We are a couple in our mid-60's which put us in the median age range on this cruise. As many people younger than us as older.
Embarkation was smooth and quick. After lunch in the Terrace Cafe, our cabin was ready at 1:00. Our steward quickly introduced himself. We had very good service from him and the cabin attendant throughout the cruise. The Marina is in very good condition and is a beautiful ship.
Oceania lived up to its reputation with serving excellent food. They did not disappoint. We ate in each of the 4 specialty restaurants once, dinner in the GDR a couple of times, dinner in Terrace Cafe a couple of times. Waves for lunch was excellent. Our dinner in Red Ginger was our favorite meal on the cruise. The only little negative we experienced was service in Terrace Cafe at dinner. It can be difficult to find a wine steward. By the time you order and get your glass of wine, you're halfway through the meal.
The entertainment on the ship was good and the shows were well attended. The production show of singers and dancers were talented. Some of the musical selections were a little questionable, in my opinion, as they leaned towards the older age group. But still quite good. The vocalist, Elias Hendricks, was one of the best entertainers I have seen on a cruise. The band that played in Horizons at 10:30 was very good. Their Beatlemania tribute night was attended by 200 people - the most I've seen in Horizons that late. They also did an Abba tribute that was popular as well. The cruise director, John, did a great job. He was at ease with his job and was enthusiastic without being over-the-top.
We went on the ship's shore excursions and found them to be good. I know that some people prefer private tours but I really cannot complain about any of the excursions that we took on this cruise. We had exceptionally good tour guides in St. Petersburg. Very articulate, knowledgeable, professional and friendly. You have to negotiate through the crowds at The Hermitage no matter if you're on a ship's excursion or private tour. At the Faberge Museum, our group was only 16 people. Gdansk was another port where we had an excellent tour guide.
One word about the wi-fi on the ship. Terrible. This is something that Oceania should improve on if they think that being competitive with other cruise line's wi-fi is important. I just wanted to check my email and use basic internet for 20 minutes a day and this was very challenging.
Disembarkation in Copenhagen was smooth and on-time. One word of caution if you're trying to grab a taxi and that is to be prepared to wait in line for an hour or more. We pre-arranged a private car with our hotel and it was well worth the bit of extra cost. Read Less
As someone who always believed inside cabins were sufficient I was dazzled by my first time in a suite (albeit the smallest suite possible). Still, a walk-in closet on a ship and a bathtub! We really enjoyed our cabin and our roomy ... Read More
As someone who always believed inside cabins were sufficient I was dazzled by my first time in a suite (albeit the smallest suite possible). Still, a walk-in closet on a ship and a bathtub! We really enjoyed our cabin and our roomy balcony, having breakfast on the balcony almost every day. It was also great fun on the balcony waving to all the boats that accompanied us out of Hamburg.
The Princess Grill was superb every night except the first. The fish that night was average and we, two older women, were seated way off in a corner. Eating in the Princess Grill had been on my bucket list but I felt that I was still on the outside looking in. However, the (very entertaining) maitre d quickly moved us to the center of the part of the room that overlooked the promenade deck and we were much happier there. The food was very good, mostly well executed classics, and anyone looking for more trendy choices might be disappointed. We loved the Dover Sole and the Chateaubriand and the Cherries Jubilee (you get the picture). Mostly we loved the atmosphere of muted, leisurely meals in an attractive room with excellent service. Dinner became our evening activity and we often missed the planned entertainment as a result.
What else did we do? We enjoyed the singers and dancers when we did make the shows and regretted missing the violinist. The planetarium was moderately interesting as were the speakers. We tried to visit all the bars but gave up and pretty much settled on the Carinthia where we could have a light meal with our wine. Zumba was fun but the pools were rather cold. The Golden Lion Pub offered good fish and chips. Afternoon tea in the Queen's Room was a disappointment -good food but a mad rush to get in and get a table. The library was lovely and the Promenade Deck was a comfortable place to sit or get some exercise walking.
Service was excellent and we appreciated the young man who brought our room service breakfasts, our assistant waiter, and all the nameless crew members who smiled and made us feel welcome.
We only took one shore excursion - to Bruges - which left us needing to do a lot of walking to get to the center of town but was well organized and on time. We explored on our own in Hamburg and Guernsey.
Regarding the ship, she is showing her age (I had sailed on her in 2005) but just barely. She is still a magnificent "grande dame". Just don't expect glitz and glitter and instead settle into a leisurely, relaxed way of life. Read Less
Just a quick review of the Oceania Marina Scandinavian Ballads 10 day cruise:
While we have been on over 30 cruises, this was our first on Oceania. All in all, it truly exceeded our expectations due to the extraordinary food and ... Read More
Just a quick review of the Oceania Marina Scandinavian Ballads 10 day cruise:
While we have been on over 30 cruises, this was our first on Oceania. All in all, it truly exceeded our expectations due to the extraordinary food and overall service. The food is by far the best we have had on a cruise and due to that fact, we will definitely cruise Oceania again. The service and attentiveness was unequalled in all the cruises we have done. We typically sail in smaller ships but we noted that even though this ship held 1,200 passengers, we never felt crowded or rushed.
A couple of specifics:
We stayed in Stockholm for 2 1/2 days prior to the cruise and while we truly enjoyed the Vasa Museum and Old town, it was a bit underwhelming compared to other European cities. We stayed at the Sheraton and we booked it independently from the cruise. It is a good location but be prepared for a crazy scene the morning of departure. We casually got ready anticipating an 11:00ish departure from the hotel and head to the ship. The lobby was crazy and the check-in was 10 deep(those that just departed the ship), thus not allowing you to easily check out. Tip: Use the Express Checkout and drop off your envelope and get out of the lobby!!
This cruise was very port intensive and the ports were very good. We only did 1 excursion and we did it in St. Petersburg and we did it independently from the ship. We had a great tour operator, Allla Tours, and our group was limited to 16 people which made it manageable. The ships tours were much more crowded. Without going into a full review of all ports on this writing, I would tell you that most were very enjoyable and some were outstanding. The outstanding ports were: St. Petersburg, Tallin Estonia, Gdansk, Poland, and Copenhagen. The rest were very good but they did not hit the outstanding category.
I will try and expand upon the cruise in the near future. Read Less
We cruise with Cunard most years, but found to our shock that it was ten years since we had been on QM2, so we booked this cruise. Basically it was a cruise made up of bits of other voyages, so did not have quite the same feeling as a ... Read More
We cruise with Cunard most years, but found to our shock that it was ten years since we had been on QM2, so we booked this cruise. Basically it was a cruise made up of bits of other voyages, so did not have quite the same feeling as a cruise where almost everyone embarks and disembarks at the same time and place, and was a bit lacking in things like World Club parties. But we expected this and did not mind. Rather unexpected was the four formal nights.
We had forgotten how truly magnificent the ship is, with vastly impressive public rooms and huge expanses of real teak decks. This of course means that distances between venues can be quite great, particularly as our cabin was near the front and our restaurant at the back. This means you walk off more of the food you consume. The ship always seemed restful and tranquil, never crowded, though I believe it was, to all intents and purposes, full
Our Q6 cabin was very nice with an expansive balcony and a blissfully comfortable bed. The bathroom unfortunately, though spacious, is poorly arranged. There would be plenty of room for a separate shower, but it doesn't have one, a great shame.
Food in the Queens Grill was good with a wide choice, though the coffee was sometimes warm rather than hot. We did not eat anywhere else, prefering to enjoy the restaurant comfort, quality, and excellent service.
Indeed the service was a great highlight. Both the restaurant staff and our butler and assistant were thoughtful, courteous, efficient, and kind. We could not have been better looked after. Our sommelier had a great knowledge of wine and great ability to convey his enthusiasms.
Embarkation and disembarkation at Southampton were both very smooth, aided by our priority status. We were on the ship at midday and off by 8.20.
We called at Hamburg twice, and QM2 always gets a great welcome and sendoff. This time we celebrated fifteen years of the ships association with the port. It is a most attrative city to wonder round. We also visited Gent on a Cunard transfer, and that too is a city worth seeing.
While in some ways this cruise was harder work than one on the smaller ships, it was very much an experience, and one I would recommend. Best of all would be an Atlantic crossing on her. Read Less
Lisbon to Dublin seemed like an interesting itinerary so we booked a mid-ship stateroom. We had cruised on Star Pride's Inaugural sailing and prior to that when it was a Seabourn ship. The cabins are spacious albeit somewhat dated ... Read More
Lisbon to Dublin seemed like an interesting itinerary so we booked a mid-ship stateroom. We had cruised on Star Pride's Inaugural sailing and prior to that when it was a Seabourn ship. The cabins are spacious albeit somewhat dated now. The ship is compact. Two staircases so you gain a sense of where everything is quite quickly. The main restaurant is deck 3 and the Veranda (self service/buffet/back of ship area) which at 7pm morphs into 'Candles' grill style restaurant where a dinner reservation is required. Both restaurants served wonderful food and the menus were imaginative and varied. The service was attentive and friendly.
Windstar's room service is in our experience always first rate, whether its an early breakfast or a late night snack. Our orders were delivered in a timely fashion by a cheery friendly waiter or waitress.
The Compass Rose Bar was our go to destination after dinner where there was always a duo playing together with the crew taking part in Liar or a music quiz.
What really works for us is the friendliness of all the crew: they make sure that they call you by your name which everyone appreciates. When we were moored in the Scilly Isles I didn't get off the ship as I'm a bit of a wuss when it comes to getting on and off tenders. The ship was almost empty so I sat on deck and over the course of a couple of hours three crew members came to chat, check I was okay and ask if they could get me anything.
Windstar is a firm favourite for us and our eight day Star Pride trip was a really great cruise. Read Less
A wonderful cruise on the sensational fabulous Regal princess. I couldn't fault this cruise and I have been on a few cruises especially Princess. The staff are extremely professional and it ran like clockwork. It had a great vibe to ... Read More
A wonderful cruise on the sensational fabulous Regal princess. I couldn't fault this cruise and I have been on a few cruises especially Princess. The staff are extremely professional and it ran like clockwork. It had a great vibe to the ship.
The food in mdr was of a high quality along with other food outlets.
The entertainment was great with a wide variety of entrainment options.
The ports were great especially St Petersburg was sensational and 2 full days were needed. Only a short time in Oslo Norway only criticism as needed more time as shore excursion was rushed.
The cabins are spacious and comfortable and maintained we had s balcony and woke up one more with a view of a castles and churches not bad.
As a Elite passenger we were able to use Club 6 for our wine time. My time on The Regal princess was brilliant one of my favourite cruises Read Less
This was our first Baltic cruise. Princess cruise lines did an excellent job. Embarkation was a breeze. The Medallion service still has start up problems as many employees are not up to speed, but it has worthwhile features. They only ... Read More
This was our first Baltic cruise. Princess cruise lines did an excellent job. Embarkation was a breeze. The Medallion service still has start up problems as many employees are not up to speed, but it has worthwhile features. They only updated one account with the Beverage package and the waiter had to get the other one added. The Medallion really does not do too much more than the cruise card did and it allows them to track you. The ship is beautiful, but with the number of passengers the elevators were always packed. They can't add more elevators, but maybe they can make them run more frequently or more efficiently. We had a mini-suite on the Riviera deck. It was very quiet, very well laid out with sufficient storage. Our steward, Jeff, tirelessly maintained our cabin and did a superior job. We had Club Class dining which was very nice for the special attention, but did not get to meet as many other passengers. The food although tasty and well-prepared, was not exceptional. The entertainment was outstanding. The Russian Folk dance performers were great. The Regal Princess Singers and Dancers were talented. The Princess band has some of the best musicians we have seen. The entertainment in the Piazza and the Wheelhouse lounge always is amazing and relaxing at the end of the day.
The band We Are Evolution can really get the ship rockin'. Getting to listen to and to meet Lou Gazzara and Peter Cutler was an unexpected pleasure.
Princess shore excursions cost more than the local tours as every Cruise Critic member knows. We did not need 2 days in St. Petersburg. We only had a few hours in Oslo. Estonia and Stockholm were our favorite ports. Princess cancelled our Stockholm excursion at the last minute due to the Royal Palace closing and did not offer even a free shuttle into town. The Front Desk did not seem to care. They also did not provide our Disembarkation information on the last night. For that and other mishandled problems, Guest Services was our biggest disappointment on the trip. We will sail Princess again because overall they do everything well. Read Less
The Northern Isles cruise was a great 14 day tour of Nordic country and history in Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Shetland Island and Scotland. The cruise had 5 full days in Iceland, longer than most tours. My husband and I went early to tour ... Read More
The Northern Isles cruise was a great 14 day tour of Nordic country and history in Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Shetland Island and Scotland. The cruise had 5 full days in Iceland, longer than most tours. My husband and I went early to tour Copenhagen/Sweden. Copenhagen has so many wonderful things to see you could easily spend 5 days just in that site alone. We took a fjord cruise and shopped in Bergen. We went on the troop wall tour in Ålesund, highly recommend. We booked a private tour to reduce the price. Seydisfjordur was a lovely town with colorful buildings. We took a tour to the interior part of Iceland’s Eastland. Next came Akureyri with the huge Godafoss waterfall and the really interesting Laufas Museum of a Church and preserved sod house. In Isafjordur, we took a tour with a local to Flateyri with a waterfall and the most amazing views of lupine flowers all over the county side and hillsides. The guide has rested eider down for the over 10000 ducks on his land. Then there were 2 days in Reykjavík with an Super Golden Circle tour and a city tour with the historic open air museum the next day. Lerwick and the Shetland Island was amazing, taking a small bus tour with a local, seeing the southern part of the island with amazing views, the Croft House museum, Scalloway museum with 5000 year old ruins and Sumburgh Head with Lighthouse and Puffin lined cliffs. Last stop was Inverggordon/Inverness, Scotland with a tour of Loch Ness, Culloden Battlefield, Clava Cairns and Inverness shopping. Many’s memories, any pictures. A cold was going around the ship and we both picked it up, luckily near the end of the cruise.
The on ship experience was very peaceful. They had great EXC tour specialist that gave information. The shows did vary, some were not as interesting. They did have three large music venues to attend, we found we enjoyed some of the music days better, especially the five piece Ensemble at the Lincoln center room. The in room dining with always great with fresh food and came quickly. The main dining room, the food was very good and non-gala nights. The Lido market had a variety of food that was just fine. We ate once at the Pinnacle Grill, you can eat lunch there for only $10. This was a really good restaurant. I recommend purchasing the unlimited laundry, you can bring less clothing. We purchased drink cards of $250 rather than a higher price drink package. At the end of the cruise the money left on the gift card was applied to your account. Embarking and disembarking went very easy. We took a morning tour with airport transfer to the airport on the last day. Read Less
We went looking for a Norway/fjord cruise and an extension on our own for a couple of days in Iceland - this ship seemed to fit the bill. Virtually brand new ship and this was our first time on Viking.
Our initial impression was that ... Read More
We went looking for a Norway/fjord cruise and an extension on our own for a couple of days in Iceland - this ship seemed to fit the bill. Virtually brand new ship and this was our first time on Viking.
Our initial impression was that the decor and furnishings on this ship are excellent and well thought-out. The public area furniture is comfortable but not clunky and the general decor is Scandinavian modern minimalist. We liked all of the public areas, particularly the covered pool ( pretty chilly up in Norway even in the summer)and the spa area which has steam room, saunas and everything you could want.
The staff was largely Asian and over the top in friendliness and quality of service. The passenger demographic was older but not incapacitated - no kids, no casino, no half-baked broadway reviews etc.
Our stateroom on deck 4 was very comfortable, quiet and outfitted with the usual higher end amenities, flat screen TV, comfortable bed, well thought out lighting etc. Minor issue: I wish the max setting of the TV volume were a bit higher as my hearing is not what it used to be. And, while the shower (no bath) was great, it occasionally was beset by the temperature gremlins, turning hot and cold randomly. I was told that a fix for this is in the works.
The food was overall very good to excellent - not quite as good as Crystal but close. Breakfast and lunch were in the buffet areas by the pool or the World cafe - sometimes I wish they would open the Restaurant for breakfast or lunch, but I can see the economics of not doing this. The regular coffee was surprisingly good for a cruise ship - first time in my experience and specialty coffees were available in various locations. We bought the Silver liquor package - this gives you 24/7 access to top shelf liquor and a large assortment of wines, but even if you don't get it, the per/drink prices are very reasonable. $15 pp/pday tips on your closing statement.
The Chef's Table is a specialty restaurant where the menu is fixed and changes every day or frequently. We tried it one night and did not like the concept. We prefer the Thomas Keller type approach on Seabourne where at least some choices are available. The Italian specialty restaurant Manfredi's was fantastic - great Italian dishes and my personal favorite - Dover Sole meuniere.
We booked our own side tours as we don't like the bus-tour experience.
Overall, this is a lovely ship with user friendly systems and user friendly staff. We will be back. Fer shur. Happy trails. Read Less