98 Rome (Civitavecchia) to Mediterranean Viking Ocean Viking Star Cruise Reviews

Viking has always been great. This is our 3rd cruise with Viking. The other 2 have been river cruises. From the start, Viking greeted you at the airport and provided a ride to the ship. Great Service, Crew, and Food. When dining there ... Read More
Viking has always been great. This is our 3rd cruise with Viking. The other 2 have been river cruises. From the start, Viking greeted you at the airport and provided a ride to the ship. Great Service, Crew, and Food. When dining there was always someone there making sure all is well and keeping your drinks filled. Very much like the smaller size of the cruise ship with less than one thousand cruisers. This way the ship did not feel crowed at all. Went on a shore excursion everyday. The night before there would be a gathering where a presentation was made on all the activites for the next day. We are cruising and want to see a lot of the sights. There were several different excursions that could be taken each day, sometimes was hard to choose which excursion to take. We dined at the buffet style restaurant and the sit down and order your meal. The buffet was great with Alaska King Crab at night along with other great selections. Service was great with attention being paid to make sure everything was OK. Desserts were all great with gelato and several chocolate choices. Each night there was entertainment from listening to piano music to dancing the night away. Getting on and off the ship is very easy, they are very well organized and make for smooth on and off experiences. We already have our next cruise with Viking schedule for the Elegant Elbe. Looking very much to that. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We would not have taken about a dozen Viking River and Ocean Cruises, if we didn't love the experience. This cruise provided a terrific itinerary, great food, superior tours, quality, friendly staff, etc. From the efficient, ... Read More
We would not have taken about a dozen Viking River and Ocean Cruises, if we didn't love the experience. This cruise provided a terrific itinerary, great food, superior tours, quality, friendly staff, etc. From the efficient, seamless pickup at airport and transfer to ship, the stress-free, quick check-in, quality accommodations, friendly cabin staff, to the smartly designed details, etc, nearly everything was a joy. Diverse tour choices/ options (whether included or optional) were well thought -out, interesting, with excellent tour guides, at every port. Unlike some other lines, Viking doesn't nickel and dime it's cruisers, and makes it a true vacation. Port selection was interesting, and every aspect was seemingly considered. Considering we traveled in November, we were also blessed with exceptional weather, which made a good time, even greater! Every meal was a delight, staff great, lots of choices, and food was delicious (not simply compared to other ships but even compared to quality restaurants) Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We saw an ad and decided to call and do it! This cruise happened to fall on our 50th Anniversary and we wanted to give our self a gift. We booked. I do believe, being our first time to use Viking, we spent much more than we maybe should ... Read More
We saw an ad and decided to call and do it! This cruise happened to fall on our 50th Anniversary and we wanted to give our self a gift. We booked. I do believe, being our first time to use Viking, we spent much more than we maybe should have and did not do everything we could have. After you go once, though, it is easier to understand the ins and outs in order to save money on the next one. Once in baggage, we were greeted by the Viking Staff and everything was handled from that moment on. We did a pre-cruise stay in Florence so we were taken straight to the Villa. We had a host guide and she was awesome. Our daily trips out and were seamless each day thanks to Roberta. We were taken by motorcoach to the port close to Rome and boarded our ship with absolute ease. We were allowed to go to our cabin almost immediately. It was neat, clean, streamlined. Our balcony was great. The refrigerator was fill of drinks, water, spirits. Since we had bought the drink package, it was refurbished as soon as we used something. Our cabin host was Hery and he was always asking if we needed anything. Our room was kept spotless. Dining was great. The buffets we appealing, clean and filled with great entrees, sides, deserts. They were really good. However, our favorite was Manfredi's. The steaks were cooked to perfection and melted in the mouth. The sides were great and desert awesome. The wait staff was so good to us. We enjoy putting together puzzles and liked doing that. We enjoyed the entertainment provided by the Viking Star crew and our Cruise Director, Jenny, was an integral part of the entertainment., We loved Mark who played the guitar in the lounge every night. He was willing to play whatever anyone asked for and was amazing. Our service at each and every place on the ship was absolutely stellar!! Our ports were great and our excursions extremely insightful. The only drawback about the excursions is that so much time was spent educating us on what we saw and the places we visited that there was very little other time to stroll on our own and shop. We would absolutely take time out to venture on our own next time. We met the most AMAZING people on our trip and made great friends. We all decided we will get together to plan our next cruise! So, obviously, we would go again. We did have a mishap or two which we know that the cruise line will take care of . Things sometimes don't go as planned but our review is of the overall cruise and that we will travel again with Viking! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Overall it was a great cruise. The internet was extremely slow. Although we watched little TV in our cabin, when we did operational is was slow to respond.The walking tours were great and most of the guides we good.The only on shore ... Read More
Overall it was a great cruise. The internet was extremely slow. Although we watched little TV in our cabin, when we did operational is was slow to respond.The walking tours were great and most of the guides we good.The only on shore tour we would eliminate was Sete. It is a fishing village and does not offer much. The bus tour of Barcelona was good and gave us a heads of on where to go in the city. We stayed two extra days on our own. One of the best paid tours for the money was the Ca Lunae winery tour . It was excellent. The tea service was great. Maybe too much food. The pool area was crowed at times but manageable The wine served was very good and plentiful. Best meal was served at Manfredi's. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
My sister recommend it. She had done a River Cruise and wanted try this one. She loved them both. The cruise included my three sisters and I. We felt so spoiled the whole time. The staff were always so sweet, courteous and efficient with ... Read More
My sister recommend it. She had done a River Cruise and wanted try this one. She loved them both. The cruise included my three sisters and I. We felt so spoiled the whole time. The staff were always so sweet, courteous and efficient with good sense of humors and memorized our names wherever they would see us. The food and drink was amazing, so many delicious options. The entertainment was great. The band in the lounge were so talented and fun and the cover ABBA group were incredible. The ship was always so clean and spot less, our cabins were always kept up and clean and well stocked. We went on quite a few excursions, which were amazing and there were so many great options to choose from. This was a trip of a life time and I would do it again in a heartbeat, especially with my lovely fun beautiful sisters!! Thank you Viking Star!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This cruise was to celebrate a special anniversary, our 50th and we wanted a very special cruise to a place we had never been. The 7 Night Iconic Western Mediterranean cruise did not disappoint. We felt pampered in every way. The ship is ... Read More
This cruise was to celebrate a special anniversary, our 50th and we wanted a very special cruise to a place we had never been. The 7 Night Iconic Western Mediterranean cruise did not disappoint. We felt pampered in every way. The ship is beautiful. The food was delicious and all of the Star's employees were always eager to please the passengers in every way. The entertainment on board was wonderful. The bathroom in the stateroom exceeded my expectation. It put a smile on my face every time I want in it and the heated floor was such a treat. All of the toiletries were high quality. I didn't have to use any that I brought, which I always do just to make sure. An especially nice perk is that every deck has three washer and dryers for guests to use free of charge, including detergent and an iron and ironing board. I was able to come on board with clean cloths and leave with clean cloths. I would highly recommend a Viking cruise. You will not be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Chose Viking for a sophisticated luxurious experience- NOT. CONSTRUCTION (!) POWERWASHING(!) Misleading ports of call- “ Tuscany Florence” “Provence” - Yeah sure as long as you’re paying to get yourself there! When I ... Read More
Chose Viking for a sophisticated luxurious experience- NOT. CONSTRUCTION (!) POWERWASHING(!) Misleading ports of call- “ Tuscany Florence” “Provence” - Yeah sure as long as you’re paying to get yourself there! When I originally booked St. Tropez was one of the ports which was abruptly switched to Sete, France. Not an exciting destination to say the least. Entertainment- AMATUER hour. They’ll tell you there’s a jazz club but no jazz to be played. Food- average at best. I lobster tail on lobster night was over cooked mush. Dont fall for the “elegant” sounding videos- check photos I included- there’s part of what you’ll get. (Photo n video could not be posted in this site w phone) After I posted a review on ConsumerAffairs.com I was contacted by Viking’s customer relations department. All they gave me was attitude, and “I’m sorry you feel that way” like I was the one with the problem. Horrendous. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was a 25th wedding anniversary cruise. The boat was amazing. Room was a wonderful size. We had a deluxe veranda. The food was 5 star quality and was absolutely delicious. No need to eat off the boat. The meals served were from ... Read More
This was a 25th wedding anniversary cruise. The boat was amazing. Room was a wonderful size. We had a deluxe veranda. The food was 5 star quality and was absolutely delicious. No need to eat off the boat. The meals served were from the region we were visiting - and did I mention they were outstanding! The excursions were good. I would choose differently on some of them now that I have been the the Iconic Mediterranean cruise. We added a pre-excursion in Rome and so glad we did. The concierge at our beautiful hotel arranged a night bus tour and fabulous meal at a restaurant in Rome. One of our highlights. The staff on the boat were extremely kind and funny. Always smiling and willing to help in any way. The only port we stayed on the boat was Montpelier. I wish we could have skipped that stop and had two days in Barcelona. Our flight on the way home was the only bad experience but not the fault of Viking. Took us 28 hours to get from Barcelona to Pittsburgh. Hope we can travel with Viking again. Loved every minute. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose this cruise to try out Viking Ocean cruises. It was a very nice experience! Low key luxury & excellent service! We chose a penthouse veranda for the extra space. It was super nice! This was a port-intensive cruise - ... Read More
We chose this cruise to try out Viking Ocean cruises. It was a very nice experience! Low key luxury & excellent service! We chose a penthouse veranda for the extra space. It was super nice! This was a port-intensive cruise - Livorno, Monte Carlo, Marseille & Barcelona - so no sea days. But we still managed to use the pool, gym & restaurants. All good except Chef’s Table - we didn’t care for Lotus Menu. This would not be a cruise for those desiring nonstop action. Music & dancing were available but no Big Shows, acres of shops, or rock climbing walls... Quiet, classy & no kids under 18 allowed. The ports were amazing - it was hot weather, but that’s summer...we loved Florence & Marseille especially. We only did 2 Viking excursions - in Marseille (Chateau Flauguerges wine tasting) & a panoramic tour of Barcelona. The former was extra & the latter included. Others we booked on our own. A great cruise! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
My wife and I were anxious to try the much touted Viking Ocean. We booked a one week Rome to Barcelona cruise with a three-day pre-cruise Umbria extension. We made our own flight arrangements in order to assure only direct flights to and ... Read More
My wife and I were anxious to try the much touted Viking Ocean. We booked a one week Rome to Barcelona cruise with a three-day pre-cruise Umbria extension. We made our own flight arrangements in order to assure only direct flights to and from. We were, however, obligated to arrive on the day our extension began. Would have preferred to arrive a day or two earlier and meet the Viking guides at the airport but we were told this could not be done. I have since found out that there is a way around this by booking private transportation to the extension hotel for the first night there. Another couple in our group did this. The Umbria extension was outstanding. I have reviewed this elsewhere. Transportation from the extension to the ship was flawless though we didn't arrive until 5:00 PM with only a half hour until muster drill. As for the cruise itself, I must say that I readily understand the high marks given by the vast majority of its guests. The spotless ship, its gracious crew, its many amenities and very comfortable accommodations validate the acclamations. For me, however, there is one very prominent deficiency. This is dining. Let me hasten to say that the majority will probably disagree with me. I add this note in hopes of dissuading the many Viking defenders from venting. Folks, it's just a matter of some like chocolate while others prefer vanilla. Dining on Viking tends to be casual, and is meant to be. Of the various venues, The Restaurant (main dining room) is the only one with table linens. All others use plastic place mats. The World Cafe is the “buffet” which is cafeteria style self-service for everything except beverages which are served. This is very popular for a variety of good reasons. Guests who are in a hurry, who prefer to wear more casual clothes than suggested for other venues, who like to fill their plates with a variety of offerings, love this place. The World Cafe is always open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are two “specialty” restaurants, Manfredi's and The Chef's Table. Manfredi's has a very interesting menu with an Italian theme. The offerings are delicious and portions tend to be large. Service is as helter-skelter here as it is in all other service venues. I'll explain later. The Chef's Table offers a set menu which changes every several days. These two alternative restaurants serve dinner only and only by reservation. The remaining three food outlets are the Living Room bar, Mansen's (a Norwegian deli), and the Pool Grill. All with very good but limited menus. Of course, there is always the 24-hour option of room service which arrives promptly, on a tray, and must be consumed from your lap or shagged to the balcony table, unless you have a suite which includes a dining table. So what's my beef? Service! Everyone, in every mentioned venue and in every other part of the ship, is as gracious, friendly and accommodating as possible. It is the method obviously prescribed for them in the restaurants that troubles me. In all restaurants, one's server will introduce himself, or herself, and state that they will take care of you. That may be the only time you see him or her. Someone else may take your order, another to ask about wine, still another to bring the first course and so on. If you stick to three courses as shown on the menu this is OK. However if you veer from this, confusion and unwarranted delay result. Requesting a salad to be served after the main course, asking for a small serving of a main for a starter, or a large serving of a starter for a main just doesn't work when dealing with multiple servers. Asking one if San Pellegrino is available and being told yes, and later being told no by another, just doesn't work. This MO was very much more evident in Manfredi's and The Chef's Table than in The Restaurant. For this reason I preferred The Restaurant. We had two reservations in Manfredi's and two in The Chef's Table. We canceled one in each to return to The Restaurant. We would have been delighted to take all three meals every day in The Restaurant. Unfortunately The Restaurant serves lunch only occasionally when at sea, and does not serve breakfast before 8:00 AM which means you must dine elsewhere in order to make a early morning tour. With that off my chest, let me say that we enjoyed our first Viking cruise and would not be adverse to taking another. I am old but still a pretty fast learner and can work around the dining issues. I do want to offer special kudos to Natalie, the charming young lady who manned the desk at the entrance to The Restaurant, who always greeted me by name and “two chairs” as I preferred any table so long as it had two chairs (no banquet seat); and to Gregory from Armenia who took good care of us at the Living Room bar and saw to it that I had my breakfast oatmeal cookie in the morning and my Maker's Mark in the evening. I score our Viking cruise a 9 out of 10. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We had decided to join our friends on this cruise however we had not done our homework and the weather was brutally hot. Of course Viking can’t control the environment but it certainly would be a key factor if we decided to go again in ... Read More
We had decided to join our friends on this cruise however we had not done our homework and the weather was brutally hot. Of course Viking can’t control the environment but it certainly would be a key factor if we decided to go again in that time slot. We enjoyed the amenities and service on the ship especially High Tea. It would have been nice to have tours that we’re a bit longer at each stop but that might have created logistics problems for Viking. We did spend a few days in Athens before departure which was a mistake. The city is quite dirty and the smog was overbearing. Unfo, there was graffiti on many of the buildings and it seems as if the city does not have the resources to clean up after the street artists abusing public property . All and all we certainly would recommend the itinerary and the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I choose the Mediterranean Ocean cruise to take my mother to the Vatican and Europe for the first time. We enjoyed the wine at lunch and dinber and the restaurant and in room dining options on the Viking Star. The King size bed cabins were ... Read More
I choose the Mediterranean Ocean cruise to take my mother to the Vatican and Europe for the first time. We enjoyed the wine at lunch and dinber and the restaurant and in room dining options on the Viking Star. The King size bed cabins were modern and comfortable as well as the bathroom which had a fairly large shower. Even the public bathrooms were always spotless with calming cheerful bird sounds. Our steward room service was wonderful, the bartenders were very friendly and most all the staff fantastic. We also enjoyed the excursions and itinerary for the the ports in Italy, France and Spain. Sete was lovely, Monaco was fun and we needed more time in Barcelona. We even had time to watch one movie under the stars and the lounge band for dancing was so much fun. I would definately choose Viking again someday to try a river cruise next. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Viking Star has more than we could do on one cruise. I suggest reading thoroughly through all the information to see what is available and included with the cruise and planning ahead. Included excursions were good except for one which ... Read More
Viking Star has more than we could do on one cruise. I suggest reading thoroughly through all the information to see what is available and included with the cruise and planning ahead. Included excursions were good except for one which started in Port Grimaud before many of the shops in the town were open, one in Mote Carlo with a rude guide (not Viking personnel), and the bus tour through Marseille which could have been skipped. Dining options were great and we found a team of servers in the main restaurant that were exceptional. No need to waste time having dinner at the buffet! Buffet good for breakfast and eating out on deck before the early morning excursions we signed up for. Steward was available and accommodating. Some issue with the plumbing required repair and extra attention to our bathroom, but all was taken care of quickly and to our satisfaction. Entertainment staff employed by the line was substandard but those hired from the locations were super as was the lecturer each night that spoke about the next day’s location. We would book with Viking again for ocean or river cruises. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We did a river cruise a few years ago with Viking and decided to try their Ocean cruises. The Ocean cruise was the best. We wanted to see a little of Italy. It was a great cruise, Florence was the best. Some of the included tours were ... Read More
We did a river cruise a few years ago with Viking and decided to try their Ocean cruises. The Ocean cruise was the best. We wanted to see a little of Italy. It was a great cruise, Florence was the best. Some of the included tours were just ok. We tried to do a morning tour every day and we were able to get back to the ship on most days for lunch and had a relaxing time at the pool. The decor of the ship was unbelievable. It was one of the nicest ships that I have ever been on. The food was very,very good. We ate at the World Cafe almost every night. It was nice to sample all of the different food that was prepared. Because it was a small ship, getting on and off the ship was very easy. The entertainment was very good and enjoyable. We would definitely recommend sailing with Viking Cruises and we will plan a future cruise with them. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We enjoyed all our previous Viking river cruises and were eager to have a Viking ocean cruise experience. We opted for the pre-cruise extension in Rome and soaked up the art and history of the Eternal City. Our hotel was a five-star ... Read More
We enjoyed all our previous Viking river cruises and were eager to have a Viking ocean cruise experience. We opted for the pre-cruise extension in Rome and soaked up the art and history of the Eternal City. Our hotel was a five-star property on the Via Veneto directly across the street from the US embassy. A Viking representative was on hand to help with reservations, etc. Our cabin on Viking Star was spacious and comfortable--an upgrade from the river cabins. Our steward (Cedric) was helpful and courteous. By the third day he anticipated our needs and remembered our preferences. There are several dining venues aboard the Star, and the cuisine is excellent. The Silver Spirits package is a good value. We were impressed with the variety and quality of on-board entertainment. It ranged from pop to classical. Land excursions were offered daily--some were included and some at extra cost--and afforded the opportunity to see the countryside. We visited Florence and Pisa in Italy, Monaco, St. Tropez, Nice, Aix-en-Provence, and Barcelona. All land travel was aboard modern Mercedes coaches. The local guides were knowledgeable and friendly. An important feature of Viking ocean ships is the size of the vessels--there are only 900 guests compared to 3000+ on the mega ships. A better experience all around. In Summary, we were delighted with our Viking Star experience and are already discussing our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
My brother had booked the cruise and invited us to join. There ended up being 12 of our family members on the cruise. We had such a wonderful time. The included excursions were good. The optional excursions were exceptionally good! We ... Read More
My brother had booked the cruise and invited us to join. There ended up being 12 of our family members on the cruise. We had such a wonderful time. The included excursions were good. The optional excursions were exceptionally good! We enjoyed the Explorers Lounge each late afternoon. Manfredi’s was our favorite restaurant. We only tried The Chef’s Table one night and didn’t enjoy it as much. The pina colada’s by the pool are the best I’ve ever tasted! Kudos to each and every staff member! They had our names and likes down almost immediately! Our cabin was a deluxe veranda and we were very pleased with it. The balcony was roomy. The nightclub had good entertainment. This was the ideal cruise for the Western Mediterranean. There was so much to see! I can’t wait until our next trip! We are spoiled to Viking and will likely do many more trips with them! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This was our first crucial and we did a lot of research before we picked it. We even went to the cruise show at the NEC. We wanted a small boat that was very informal and that is what we got. We loved it. We would go back and would ... Read More
This was our first crucial and we did a lot of research before we picked it. We even went to the cruise show at the NEC. We wanted a small boat that was very informal and that is what we got. We loved it. We would go back and would certainly recommend Viking. The ship is very understated. The decor is Scandinavia chic. The cabins are small but have everything you need. What is a bonus is the verandah where you can sit and admire the sunsets. Everywhere is spotless. However there is always somewhere to sit and read quietly. The pool are does get busy and we found it can be harder there to find a place to sit than say in the Explorers lounge. The staff are amazing. Someone somewhere is always working with a smile, saying hello and can I help you? Food- we tried all the restaurants. There is plenty of food and the quality is good, service can be a bit slow depending on who is serving you. Chefs table- worth going once, set 5 course menu with different wines at each course. Food a bit too rich for us. Manfreidis - again worth going to, more choice but very loud and busy. Restaurant- more formal but fine didning, excellent food. Worlds cafe - ate there mostly as it is very informal no need to dress up. Fantastic buffet you could just have a bowl of soup or a 3 course meal. Afternoon tea was delicious Explorers lounge - lunch and cakes in the afternoon. Good quality Pool grill mainly beef burgers but again good quality for lunch You can have drinks with your meals some didn’t bother having the drinks package. Trips- we only paid for Florence which is definitely worth the money. Stunning. Pisa - seeing the leaning tower was good fun Monaco- loved it and you can get around so easily you don’t need the tour St tropez- don’t bother with the tour waste of time. Not much to see and you can do that on your own Marseilles- again loved it so much to see but I wouldn’t bother with the tour as a shuttle bus is run from the ship and it is so easy to do your own thing. Barcelona again I would do my own thing as the tour is mainly a coach trip and 30mins in the city. Fellow passengers aged from 20-80 but 95% are American. Criticism - the flights having to change at Amsterdam when we are only flying from England to Rome and from Barcelona. It took us 14 hours to get home door. It was quicker to get to the states. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We spent 3 days in Rome before our Viking cruise! We chose Viking because of the size of ship and lower number of guest along with longer stays in ports. The dining was beyond excellent! The food was amazing! Our only criticism is that ... Read More
We spent 3 days in Rome before our Viking cruise! We chose Viking because of the size of ship and lower number of guest along with longer stays in ports. The dining was beyond excellent! The food was amazing! Our only criticism is that we were never able to get into Manfriedi’s restaurant which we would love to have gone. The staff/crew were amazingly accommodating, personable and attentive!!!! We wanted for nothing! We found all entering and leaving the ship and excursions to be well organized and managed. My absolute favorite time was the excursion to the winery Torre A Cenaia!!! The staff there made us all feel like home and were great!!! The Pitti Sangiovese was the best I’ve had and only wished I could get it in the USA. Please let the winery know they are the best and Viking made a great choice for an excursion! We will be taking more Viking cruises, both ocean and European river cruises. Next will be the Alaska cruise with Viking! Thank you for an amazing time!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We're a couple in our mid-70's, and this was our first Viking ocean cruise after two river cruises (Danube and Rhine) as well as three ocean cruises with three different lines. Our cruise itinerary was east to west (Rome to ... Read More
We're a couple in our mid-70's, and this was our first Viking ocean cruise after two river cruises (Danube and Rhine) as well as three ocean cruises with three different lines. Our cruise itinerary was east to west (Rome to Barcelona). To be honest, the primary reason we chose this cruise was because of the pre-cruise offering in Tuscany, and it didn't disappoint. We were lodged at the Villa il Poggiale, an absolutely charming hostelry dating from the 1500s. Our hosts were wonderfully kind and accommodating, and our Viking host, Alessia, was extraordinary, the equal of any we've ever had. Unlike other pre- and post-cruise extensions we've had with Viking, most of the meals were included and were both bounteous and delicious. Thank goodness for all the walking we undertook on the tours. The first full day was a bus ride to Florence and a walking tour, including lunch. We had been to Florence back in 2002, and it was nice to see it again. April, however, is not a good time to visit since this is the time in Italy for school trips. The usual swarm of tourists, therefore, was greatly magnified by youngsters elementary to high school age. Shopping was nice, as always, and our free time began outside two affiliated stores, one for gold and the other for leather, with whom Viking has arranged a significant discount. The second day we went to Siena and San Gimignano with a wonderful lunch at a Tuscan farmhouse in between. Siena was crowded, of course, but even the large number of people could not diminish the magnificence of the Piazza del Campo, where the biennial races are run matching horses from some (but not all) of the 17 contrade, or sections, of the city, each of whom bears a fanciful name, from dragon to caterpillar. San Gimignano, like Siena, is perched on a hill, but is much smaller, consisting mostly of a main street that goes up one side and down the other. Wonderful views and more good shopping, including the locally grown lavender. We left the villa early Saturday morning for the bus trip to Civitavecchia, Rome's port city. It's always exhilarating to board a ship, but we were sorry to have to part with Alessia. The Viking Star, launched in 2015, has aged very well despite a stain here and a worn chair seat there. Embarkation was wonderfully smooth -- better even than Viking's river cruises. Our stateroom class (penthouse veranda) gave us access at 1 a.m., so our arrival at 11:30 gave us just enough time for a good lunch and a bit of a stroll around the ship. For information on our cabin, see below. Dining is primarily in the World Cafe (all buffet with the menu changing daily) and The Restaurant, where guests are seated and attended by very friendly and helpful staff. The food and service, I thought, were consistently better than in the World Cafe. Specialty restaurants were Manfredi's (Italian, very popular) and The Chef's Table (varying theme menus, kind of edgy and not as popular.) I think the Viking demographic (50 and up, sometimes way up, white Americans) had a sort of distrust of Chef's Table fare. There's no charge for these restaurants, but reservations are necessary. The breakfasts were excellent -- so many dishes from which to choose. Our only quibble is that the orange juice did not seem fresh, but rather more of an orange drink. We went to the entertainment only the first two nights, but both were excellent -- a quartet of opera and light classical singers and then a 12-member saxophone ensemble from a music school for teens. The enrichment activities were very appealing, but we didn't attend any due to time constraints. Day-long shore excursions and hearty suppers with wine made for early bedtimes. We did, however, go to a Cruise Critic "Meet and Mingle" party on the second afternoon. It was very nice, with most of the senior officers there, except that we and another couple were the only passengers to attend out of the 12 who had accepted the invitation. Shame on you people who weren't there. It was a bit awkward for everyone. Shore excursions (including one free one) were featured at every port of call. Our favorites were Scenic Lucca and Pisa (from Livorno), the Exclusive visit to Villa Rothschild (at Monaco), the Palace of the Popes at Avignon (from Marseille) and Montserrat Abbey north of Barcelona. We saw Lucca on a Sunday morning and, for once, there weren't any crowds -- at least until lunchtime. During our free time, had a good visit to Puccini's home (now a museum) and the gift shop. The Rothschild villa is splendid, but the real treat was a stroll through the breathtaking gardens capped by champagne and canapes al fresco. The papal palace is immense and only partially restored, but the part on view is most impressive. Montserrat Abbey is high in the mountains, about 4,000 feet above the plain, and we reached it by cog railroad. The jewel of the abbey is the Black Madonna, which we got to see up close. The complex is home to a school of young choristers famous through Europe. Bought a CD, of course. The only dud (and this wasn't Viking's fault) was the day on your own in Florence. It was a Monday, hence most of the major museums were closed, and the crowds prevented us from seeing much of anything else, including the Duomo, for which we had bought tickets in advance. Disembarking on the final morning was smooth, at least until we reached the train station for the journey to Madrid. Our guide had told us we'd probably be on Track Six or Seven. We got there only to find that we were really on Track One. Kind of harum-scarum. While the Madrid extension is billed as two days, it's really a day and a half since most of the first day is taken by a train trip from Barcelona. We were housed at the Intercontinental Madrid. Our room was tiny, smaller, I think, than our cabin on the Star, and the window looked out on a forest of rooftop television aerials and satellite dishes. Surely Viking could have insured us nicer accommodations. The bottom floors, however, are splended, indeed, with lots of mirrors and polished wood. The hotel is not smack in the center of the city, thus is not walking distance from the Prado art museum, the royal palace, or the Plaza Mayor. Still, it was in a good part of town, with plenty of embassies and lots of nearby restaurants that were affordable. There also were a couple of small art museums nearby, and the National Library had a very good exhibit on mass communication devises from hieroglyphics to flash drives. Dining at the hotel was distinctly unaffordable, for us, anyway. The tab for two Coke Zeros in the bar, for instance, was 17 Euros (over $20 USD). The main restaurant is similarly pricey, but the bar menu is much more in reach. The breakfast buffets (included in the rate) were wonderful. Altogether a wonderful trip, particularly the Tuscany extension. There were about 32 of us, and we achieved such camaraderie -- doubtless grape-fueled to some extent -- that we held a reunion party in the Explorer Lounge on the last night of the voyage and are keeping in touch with one another via email. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We had done two river cruises with Viking and decided to try the Ocean Cruise and selected the Mediterranean cruise for it's wonderful ports of call. By every measure Viking Star met or greatly exceeded all of our expectations. ... Read More
We had done two river cruises with Viking and decided to try the Ocean Cruise and selected the Mediterranean cruise for it's wonderful ports of call. By every measure Viking Star met or greatly exceeded all of our expectations. Beautiful ship, excellent service, wonderful food, great entertainment, and wonderful tour options. We already had a great experience with Viking on the river cruises - we can now add Viking Ocean to our list of wonderful experiences. The public areas of the ship were so welcoming and conducive to meeting with friends for a drink before dinner. The dining options were wonderful - Manfredi's was by far our favorite! However not to slight the other options, they were just as good with lots of options, ability to accommodate our large group at times. The shows were good and the entertainment at Torshavn was awesome! if I had one thing to find issue with would be the night the entertainment was by the pool. it was very difficult to get seating to see the performers - not sure why this was held there but it was not the best option as far as we were concerned to perform a show. We loved the lunches where the food was prepared out on the Aquavit terrace - such a great option! All in all a fabulous experience. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We have traveled with Viking before, on a river cruise, but this was our first ocean cruise. We spent several days in Venice and Rome before embarking and several days in Barcelona after disembarking. Once on the ship, we found the staff ... Read More
We have traveled with Viking before, on a river cruise, but this was our first ocean cruise. We spent several days in Venice and Rome before embarking and several days in Barcelona after disembarking. Once on the ship, we found the staff courteous and helpful, the food delicious, the excursions well-executed. We liked that the cabin was larger than the one on the river cruise. Our stewards attended to our cabin several times a day. We did lots of walking on our shore excursions and enjoyed relaxing by one of the two pools on our return to the ship. We enjoyed eating in the several restaurants and meeting with friends in the lounge or going to a show afterwards. The ports we visited from Rome to Barcelona -- Livorno, Monaco, St. Tropez, Marseilles -- were beautiful. We tell everyone how great Viking is. We are already planning our next cruise! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. The cruise was described as Rome to Barcelona. We opted to stay 2 addt’l days at the end in Barcelona. However, had we known we wouldn’t see ANY of Rome, we would have ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. The cruise was described as Rome to Barcelona. We opted to stay 2 addt’l days at the end in Barcelona. However, had we known we wouldn’t see ANY of Rome, we would have added on 2 days at the beginning as well. The ships departure port is 45min. from Rome. So there was no time to see the points of interest on our list. We also felt thatvsome if the excursion descriptions were a bit misleading. One in particular in St Tropez was called Culbary Walk. The description stated we would see food demonstrations and taste food from local chefs. We did taste crepes. But we did not see them being made nor was there any instruction on how to eat them or what to put on them. Some people in our group did not even know how to fold them. This was very disappointing. We also felt that if we were held to the dress code standard in the restraints then everyone should be. We witnessed a family of 5 dressed VERY casually in jeans and old t-shirts get seated. It was even posted at the check-in. We mentioned it to the Maitre ‘D and were told that some people didn’t know so we made an exception. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We had been looking for a cruise that either began or ended in Barcelona and the fact that this cruise had a unique itinerary that included Tunis & Algiers drew us to select it. We'd also traveled on a Viking River Cruise and ... Read More
We had been looking for a cruise that either began or ended in Barcelona and the fact that this cruise had a unique itinerary that included Tunis & Algiers drew us to select it. We'd also traveled on a Viking River Cruise and enjoyed it very much. However, the cruise was disappointing. Tunis was canceled two weeks before departure due to political unrest and Naples was substituted but bad weather prevented the ship from the harbor. Algiers was canceled enroute due to weather and Mallorca was substituted but the ship arrived so late that none of the optional excursions were available and we virtually only had 4 hours in that port. We fully understand that Viking has no control of the weather and the ship's safety is paramount, but never the less it was a disappointment. Our Deluxe Veranda cabin experience was less than satisfactory. We were unable to unpack our suitcases because there were only 3 drawers that were 3 inches deep and 18 hangars in the closet for clothing for two adults. Seriously! Upon request, more wire hangars were brought to us. (Our river cruise cabin had more storage.) I am short and putting clothes above the closet was not a solution. We ended up keeping our suitcases on top of the chairs. Additionally, the cabin was very plain, even for Danish style. The staff were hospitable and kind. The restaurant selections were plentiful. The food was good and varied, but nothing was exceptional; even in Manfredi's. We chose not to eat at the Chef's Table because the offerings were too strange. (We are not foodie's.) The ship's interiors were lovely, particularly the Wintergarten. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We took the Moscow-St. Petersburg river cruise (2013) and loved it despite a serious weather event. Then we were on the maiden voyage of the Sea from Istanbul-Venice 2016--unrest in Istanbul caused a schedule change, but we had flown into ... Read More
We took the Moscow-St. Petersburg river cruise (2013) and loved it despite a serious weather event. Then we were on the maiden voyage of the Sea from Istanbul-Venice 2016--unrest in Istanbul caused a schedule change, but we had flown into Istanbul a couple of days early, so we got to see the city. We excitedly signed up for the Southern Mediterranean Discovery (March 1-8, plus 2 days in Barcelona) **specifically** to go to Tunis and Algiers. A couple of weeks prior to sailing, we were notified that Tunis was being eliminated due to unrest, but Naples was being substituted. OK, well, we'll still have Algiers. The wind at Rome caused us to stay in port more than seven hours past our sail time, which caused us to skip Naples with no port substitution, just a lost visit and a day at sea on the way to Trapani, Sicily. As someone else said, Palermo should have been the port. Very little in Trapani. From Trapani we sailed to Cagliari, Sardinia. Again, nothing special. Somewhat interesting, but not really worth the stop. On to Algiers. But wait. Nope. Algiers was cancelled because the weather was too bad, they said. Mallorca was substituted. Lovely island, but we arrived so late, no excursions, just enough time for a quick walk in the city. Then to Valencia,which is a beautiful place that we enjoyed. And, finally, Barcelona where, if you didn't sign up for the extension, just like on our earlier 2016 cruise ending at Venice, you got shuttled directly to the airport, so it's not really a stop where you experience anything, but it's billed as one. We, fortunately, were savvy enough this time to extend and had a great time on our own in Barcelona. By far the best part of the trip. So, instead of visiting Africa twice, we had a cruise of Italy and Spain.. I do not recommend this cruise, and that makes me sad. I have praised Viking to the skies for their ocean ships and the ships are still exemplary. The on board staff is, with few exceptions, wonderful and the food is usually very good. We did note a tiny drop in service from 2016. Not terrible, but noticeable. Of course, Viking cannot be held accountable for the weather but, having read other reviews on other sites, it appears that cancelling Tunis and Algiers is something of a Viking habit. That particular cruise is only offered December to early-March and weather in the Mediterranean, as we discovered, is iffy at best. Probably better to eliminate that entire itinerary altogether and avoid disappointing customers repeatedly because it was clear from what other customers said, the Africa stops were the main attraction for the cruise. We most definitely did not get the trip we paid for, even if it wasn't entirely Viking's fault. It was supposed to be a huge trip for us with a luxurious junior penthouse suite and business class airfare, a huge treat. Our extra-special trip was not. At all. Overall Viking experience: Something that has been an ongoing concern for us is the headquarters or on-land service personnel/agents. All three of our Viking trips have had strange scheduling issues and mixed up air connections such as scheduling us in 2016 for a 6:55 a.m. flight home only to find on the final itinerary that the ship was scheduled to dock at 6 a.m. Had I not realized the mistake and called, we would have been in a heap of trouble. I had to be rather assertive to keep from having them book us on a wildly out-of-the-way three-stop trip back. This 2018 cruise was, clearly, an issue for them. We received emails saying if we had concerns, to contact them. I called and spoke to a very snippy, snide agent, but finally spoke with a more professional one who had authority. He was very nice, polite, and helpful and we worked out a decent deal, but we've decided we won't be Viking customers again. To be totally fair, I should say that our cruising days are very likely over. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Having taken a land tour through Italy, we wanted a way to see numerous countries without constantly packing and unpacking! After reviewing numerous cruise lines we chose Viking based on ship size, maturity requirements and excellent ... Read More
Having taken a land tour through Italy, we wanted a way to see numerous countries without constantly packing and unpacking! After reviewing numerous cruise lines we chose Viking based on ship size, maturity requirements and excellent rating. Viking exceeded our expectations in all categories. The cabin was comfortable and the balcony inviting even on chilly evenings. The cabin service was exceptional and they must be invisible as each time we left the cabin we came back to a clean room and we never saw anyone! We ate at all the on-board restaurants and our favorite was the one we were in at that time! We enjoyed every shore excursion we took whether included or if a small fee was required. Every evening we were delighted with the on-board entertainment. What a wonderful closure to a marvelous day of world traveling. We enjoyed this cruise with Viking so much that we are scheduled to sail with Viking again in May and October in 2019. Come join us and Viking if you want a trip of a lifetime! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Viking Star Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.8
Dining 5.0 4.7
Entertainment 3.0 4.1
Public Rooms 5.0 4.8
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.3
Family 1.0 4.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.2
Enrichment 4.0 4.3
Service 5.0 4.8
Value For Money 5.0 4.4

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