9 Viking Ocean Viking Sea Cruise Reviews for Repositioning Cruises to Transatlantic from San Juan

My brother and I wanted to cross the Atlantic. We were particularly looking forward to Funchal (Madeira) Portugal, cruising through the Strait of Gibraltar and visiting Sevilla and Valencia, Spain. We were not let down; sea days were a ... Read More
My brother and I wanted to cross the Atlantic. We were particularly looking forward to Funchal (Madeira) Portugal, cruising through the Strait of Gibraltar and visiting Sevilla and Valencia, Spain. We were not let down; sea days were a blast, the weather was good (60s and 70s), excursions were terrific. The staff is amazing - open and friendly, always engaging & remembering our names, taking care of any requests. Just terrific. Here’s an example of great service; we would read on the top deck most days in the late afternoon, where comfortable couches are located outside. One day there had been early rain, and the furniture had been secured. We asked a senior crew member if they could set up the furniture and within 5 minutes, it was set. Very impressive. The food was very good, entertainment was great. The Viking singers get a huge high-five. We used Viking Air Plus, which I recommend- all transfers were seamless. You can’t go wrong with Viking, and I have already signed on to a 2020 cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise because I had hand surgery recently and was not able to carry around suitcases. We thought an ocean cruise would allow us to have a great experience and not need to change rooms or locations, which is exactly what ... Read More
We chose this cruise because I had hand surgery recently and was not able to carry around suitcases. We thought an ocean cruise would allow us to have a great experience and not need to change rooms or locations, which is exactly what happened. The ports were all fun, however, visiting St.Martin Island was a little sad. The hurricane ruined that place and there is little beauty away from the ocean. Fortunately the visit was short. Portuguese Madeira was quite beautiful. It was spring and the flowers and landscapes were wonderful. We would have liked more time there. Cadiz and Valencia were very interesting. Lots of history, of course, and good food. The walking tours of both cities were very good. The guides were well informed and knew their stuff. We loved Barcelona. Our second time there so we did things we had missed on our first trip. We stayed extra days and used Viator tours for a couple of outings to wine country and Montserrat. The ship was wonderful and the food excellent. We were on the ship on April fools day and the Captain ran a scam on the passengers about a leak in the storage room and running out of toilet paper. Really funny. Overall, a great voyage. Six days at sea was filled with a new and very good bridge class, super fun cooking classes, sessions in the gym, Mohjong, evening shows and a few lazy days. A really wonderful experience. It is unlikely that we will do another long sea voyage, but as a first and only this one was terrific! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose to do a repositioning cruise on the Viking Sea in March of 2018 from San Juan to Barcelona. We have sailed over a dozen times on other cruise lines, predominately Seabourn and have done four other trans-Atlantic cruises, but were ... Read More
We chose to do a repositioning cruise on the Viking Sea in March of 2018 from San Juan to Barcelona. We have sailed over a dozen times on other cruise lines, predominately Seabourn and have done four other trans-Atlantic cruises, but were intrigued by the pictures and reviews of these new ships. First the good: The Viking Sea was a beautiful ship with spacious public areas. We loved the clean Scandinavian design and our lovely PV1 cabin. The Mediocre: The food. Perhaps we are spoiled by the exceptional cuisine on Seabourn, but we found the dining experience on the Viking Sea to be very disappointing. With the exception of the specialty restaurants (which were limited to two visits per cruise) the food and service in the main dining room were mediocre at best. There was never enough wait staff, the food was not very good, and the tables were jammed so close together that any thought of a romantic meal for two was impossible. In general we were surprised at the poor level of service on the boat (again compared to Seabourn.) While sitting around the pool, it was rare for anyone to come offer even a drink of water, let alone something alcoholic. This meant one of us (including my handicapped husband) had to go to the bar, order a drink, and carry it back. The Horrible: My husband suffers from Afib, a heart condition for which he has been treated for two years. Prior to leaving on this cruise, he was cleared to sail by his cardiologist in Florida. On day 9 of our cruise, he went to see the ship's doctor because he was having some symptoms related to this condition. The doctor prescribed a new drug, and he felt fine. On day 11, we took a private land excursion to Tangiers which tired him out. The next morning (shortly after we docked in Cadiz, Spain) he decided to see the doctor again, just to be sure he was okay. After running some tests (which concluded my husband had NOT had a heart attack) the doctor announced that "because the next day would be a sea day" he could not risk having us on board. We were told to summarily pack our things, leave the ship, and go to a local hospital in Cadiz. In a state of shock we complied. We spent the next 7 days in a hospital in Cadiz (where most of the staff did not speak English.) My husband was given an IV for hydration and hooked up to a monitor. And we waited and waited and waited for 4 DAYS to see a cardiologist. When he finally arrived, he did a short test, added a beta blocker (a drug my husband had previously taken) and said we were "cleared to fly." Hurray! But no, our Viking trip insurance company "Trip Mate," now responsible for getting us back to Florida, declared we must have a "medical escort" home. This, despite the fact that all the doctors at the Cadiz hospital said this was UNNECESSARY. So...we waited 3 MORE DAYS for a nurse to fly in from Colorado to accompany us home. THEN THE REAL KICKER.......Trip Mate just sent us a bill for $2,000 for my air ticket home, because it exceeded their limit for that class of service. It was the SAME class of service we had booked for our original flight home from Barcelona. In short...we missed the last three days of our cruise, spent seven nights in a foreign hospital, suffered considerable stress and discomfort, for ABSOLUTELY NO REASON. My husband, according to ALL the doctors in the Cadiz hospital, was medically fine to continue the cruise. He has been fine since we returned home. The Viking doctor made a mistake when he sent us off the boat. Now they want to charge us $2,000 more for his poor judgement. This is unconscionable and unacceptable. We do not intend to pay this bill, will never sail on Viking again, and have told all of our friends to beware of this cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
My introduction to transatlantic crossings was aboard the legendary FRANCE, back in 1971. During the ensuing decades I’ve sailed aboard more than 60 passenger ships and have crisscrossed the Atlantic too many times to count. The VIKING ... Read More
My introduction to transatlantic crossings was aboard the legendary FRANCE, back in 1971. During the ensuing decades I’ve sailed aboard more than 60 passenger ships and have crisscrossed the Atlantic too many times to count. The VIKING SEA voyage I’m reviewing was the third Atlantic crossing my husband and I have made in twelve months. And it was our first time sailing with Viking Ocean Cruises. Departing San Juan, VIKING SEA crossed to Barcelona in 15 days, with en route calls at St. Maarten, Madeira, Tangier, Cadiz and Valencia. We found the ship to be light-filled, spacious and very attractive. The décor is what one might call relentlessly Scandinavian (reindeer pelts draped over sofas!), with a color palette comprised mostly of whites, shades of taupe and pale blues, accented with blonde woods. The overall look is elegant, if a bit severe, and will appeal to some passengers more than others. Hard surfaces predominate throughout the public rooms, ensuring that voices carry. (Often the very voices you wish didn’t…) VIKING SEA was kept scrupulously clean throughout our voyage. I don’t know when I’ve sailed on a more spic ‘n span ship. Our cabin was a Penthouse Verandah that was bright, roomy and comfortable. Wardrobe and drawer space was more than adequate for our two-weeks onboard. Clothes-hangers are wood and are not of that irritating, ‘anti-theft’ design. The large bed (with room underneath for luggage) was wonderful, though the pillows were too thick and too firm for us. (I don’t know why we didn’t ask if other types were available; our mistake.) The ship’s laundry and the complimentary pressing service were excellent. Blessed with beautiful weather all the way across the Atlantic, we slept each night with the door to our balcony open and enjoyed falling asleep to the sound of the waves. You can't beat that! Having crossed westbound five months previously aboard Windstar’s STAR BREEZE (the former SEABOURN SPIRIT), I couldn’t help but compare the two cabins. The use of deep, rich colors aboard STAR BREEZE, as well as the heavy curtain that can be drawn between the sleeping and living areas, gave that cabin a wonderfully cozy look and feel. I could have moved-in permanently. Our VIKING SEA accommodations on the other hand - all blonde woods and neutral-colored fabrics - felt coolly utilitarian; rather like a quiet corner in an airport business class lounge. I never warmed to it. The bathroom was fairly large, with a heated floor and good cabinet and drawer space. The lighting was not very well thought-out however, as it was directed in the wrong directions. The roomy shower produced an absolute torrent of hot water at all times. But the glass door didn’t quite meet the marble sill, so we were always having to mop-up water that had leaked onto the floor. Our hard-working room stewards - one from China and the other from the Philippines - were always eager to please, friendly, immaculately groomed, and completely professional. In fact, all of the personnel whom I would consider to be ‘junior‘ staff or crew were extremely personable. We never walked past anyone cleaning a window or touching-up paint who didn’t greet us with a big smile and a friendly word. It was only those who’d attained a higher rank onboard who sometimes exhibited a bit of an attitude. So far, mostly all good. But I’ve yet to mention the cuisine… And that’s where Viking really disappointed us, because the majority of our meals were mediocre at best. And some were just downright bad. Too many of the hot entrees reminded me of corporate cafeteria fare; unimaginatively thought-out and prepared. Self-serve items sometimes sat-out far too long, such as slices of pizza that dried-out under the heat lamps. A celebration dinner in Manfredi’s Italian Restaurant was so salty we couldn’t finish it. (And we heard the same complaint from other passengers.) The onboard restaurants are oddly managed. Mismanaged, I’d call it. Imagine being told by various maitres d’, over the course of two weeks, “I’m sorry, but there are no tables-for-two available next to a window.” And then, after being seated in the middle of a restaurant, being asked by the waiter “Wouldn’t you prefer that table-for-two over there by the window?” This happened over and over! At the end of yet another evening of musical chairs, I wryly commented to the maitre d’ “You and your colleagues gaze intently into that computer of yours, looking for available tables, and yet you don’t seem to know which tables actually ARE available. So really, what is the purpose of passengers lining-up to check-in with you for a table assignment? You tell us the table we want isn’t available, and then the waiter assigned to serve us tells us it is!” I received a chilly, tight-lipped stare. This awkward disconnect, almost every time we went to dine, was something we have never experienced aboard other ships. In truth, the whole open-seating concept seems just beyond Viking’s capabilities, since there was always an impatient line of diners waiting to be seated, not only at the ‘come when you like’ main Restaurant, but at reservations-required Manfredi’s and The Chef’s Table as well. On one occasion, arriving late in the evening for dinner in The Restaurant, I asked the maître d’ on duty why we couldn’t be seated at an empty window table-for-two, clearly visible across the room. “Because there is no one to re-set that table” was the response. I had to bite my tongue, because I really wanted to say “Excuse me? FIND someone to re-set it.” I was pretty much DONE with dining on VIKING SEA at that point. I kept that thought to myself only because it was obvious the staff members in all of VIKING SEA’s restaurants were working furiously, meal after meal, seldom pausing for an instant. (Forget exchanging a few pleasantries with the person serving you. They haven’t the time!) Many of the younger staff seemed rather overwhelmed, and at times, unsure of their duties. At the start of a dinner with wine-pairings in The Chef’s Table, the white wines we were to be served with specific courses were all poured into our glasses at the same time by the young wine stewardess. When we said we’d like to have the white wine for the later course poured along with that course, so that it would be chilled, she was clearly unhappy. Our request meant, of course, that she would have to make more than one trip to our table. I understood that she may have had too many tables to serve on her own, but the staff’s excessive work load shouldn’t become the passenger’s problem. It often did when dining aboard VIKING SEA. Our waiter in Manfredi’s apologized for our evening’s chaotic service, confiding “Viking has taken away our waiters’ assistants. And on top of that, tonight is the first night with this new menu…” He was clearly stressed, which hardly made for the elegant dining experience Viking’s promotional materials extol. But then as I mentioned earlier, the food was too salty to enjoy anyway. And there were more problems to come… The expensive bottle of Veuve Clicquot that I’d requested – 24 hours in advance – be placed in an ice-bucket one hour before the time of our dinner reservation, arrived at the table only slightly chilled and with a dry paper label – a sure sign the bottle had not been iced. And then, at the end of the meal, the birthday cake I’d arranged as a surprise for my husband never materialized. When I later voiced my disappointment to the maître d’ with whom I’d made the arrangements, and who had carefully noted my requests for the Champagne and the cake in his small notebook, he offered only a sheepish shrug in the way of an apology, and blamed the sommelier for forgetting to ice the wine. Now honestly, icing a bottle of Champagne and arranging for a birthday cake should not be beyond the capabilities of anyone overseeing a restaurant – on land or sea. Failing to follow through on both of my requests was inexcusable. Offerings at the self-serve World Café were the most meager and the most haphazardly-prepared we’ve encountered on any cruise ship. (Dried-out, lukewarm scrambled eggs at breakfast...)That VIKING SEA’s galleys could turn-out so many sub-standard food items over the course of two weeks was a major let-down. Especially considering Viking’s lofty per diems! By way of comparison, we crossed eastbound last spring, from Cartagena to Lisbon, aboard Pullmantur’s MONARCH (the former MONARCH OF THE SEAS). Spanish-owned Pullmantur is hardly a high-end cruise line, yet the food served onboard was consistently impressive. Every meal we were served in the dining room was delicious, and the choices and quality of the myriad items available at the early morning-to-late night buffet were amazing. It was some of the best food I’ve ever enjoyed on any ship. Our VIKING SEA crossing cost us five times more than our junior suite aboard the MONARCH. Five times. Proving once again that paying more doesn’t necessarily guarantee getting more! Filling-out the comment card distributed prior to disembarkation, I suggested to Viking that “rather than rapidly adding one new ship after another to your fleet, perhaps you should consider investing more heavily in the ships – and the employees - you already have.” Maybe then we’d consider sailing with Viking again. But in the meantime, my husband and I are cancelling a previously-booked 2020 Viking cruise in Asia. We don’t want to risk being disappointed a second time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
I have been smitten with the Viking ship design since the first brochure arrived in my maibox a number of years ago. Picked this 15 day Transatlantic crusie for its sea days and ports of call. Frist TA and first Vking cruise. I am ... Read More
I have been smitten with the Viking ship design since the first brochure arrived in my maibox a number of years ago. Picked this 15 day Transatlantic crusie for its sea days and ports of call. Frist TA and first Vking cruise. I am amazed by the attention to detail in the design and furnishings of the ship: I lost count of the different style of chairs in the various public spaces. My favorite are the deep brown leather chairs next to the Living Room Bar. The railings in the hallways and even the door handles to cabins are wrapped in smooth leather. The lichen garden below the stairs rising to the full story sceen showing the most brillinat pictures throughout the day and evening. The views of sky, sea through every window above deck 1. The windows are floor to ceiling. In the World Cafe these were open on sunny days in port for more alfresco dining. Stunning spa with heated tile loungers, stream room , sauna, and snow grotto and small pool open to evyerone. Fees are only for massages. Food in all venues is very good, lots of variety, creative, and the" success cake "in Mamsen is the best dessert at sea. The crew from officers to the young man who was in charge of keeping the elevators clean were always friendly, going out of their way to answer a question or help in any way. The included excursions were basicly bus tours with stops or walking tours of areas of the port towns . All the guides were very knowlegable . The resident historian program is outstanding. Our historian Mark gave lectures on art, pirates, explorers, also had round table discussions and open office hours for small group discussion. The Deluxe veranda cabin was fine, with large shower, and heated bathroom floor. Could have had more drawers in the main cabin. We did find places for all of our stuff. Loved our balcony and table height for having breakfast while looking out at the morning sea or sailing into port. Met so many intersting passengers who were all having a good time while we crossed the Atlantic Ocean. The only negative is that they ran of three of the white wines on the wine list during the cruise. Many of us had the Silver Beverage Package and they miscalculated the number of wine drinkers with this package. They did not run out of the incudled wine, however. LOL This minor detail was the only negative I experienced. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We had heard good reports about Viking River Cruises and when we saw this lovely itinerary on the relatively new Viking Ocean Cruise line we decided to give it a try. And we were delighted with our choice! One reason we selected this ... Read More
We had heard good reports about Viking River Cruises and when we saw this lovely itinerary on the relatively new Viking Ocean Cruise line we decided to give it a try. And we were delighted with our choice! One reason we selected this cruise was because we love days at sea. While 7-8 days at sea does not appeal at all to some travelers, my husband and I, who are retired, enjoy restful days when we don’t have to be up and ready early for an excursion. And there is so much to do on the ship during those days - the spa and pools, in-room movies, exercising and games on the deck and just watching the vast views from our veranda. But then this cruise had some lovely ports that we had not visited before and definitely wanted to see - Puerto Rico, Madeira, Tangier, Sevilla, and others that we returned to visit. One of the features of Viking cruises is that the excursions are all included. Of course, you can upgrade for a fee if there is a special spot or experience in a port that is not part of the included outings, but pricey excursions are not necessary. The entertainment was fine although we didn’t go to very many of the shows. We liked the lectures about the various ports, their histories and political issues. The lectures were recorded so we could watch them at our leisure. The food on the ship was exceptional with a nice variety of good quality and healthy options. There was always plenty of food and drinks available whenever we wanted them. Service was outstanding for the most part. Staff members seemed to be happy and to enjoy their jobs. Because we had such a good experience on this trip, we booked a future cruise onboard and took advantage of the discounts we were offered. Overall, we had a great experience and are looking forward to our next cruise on Viking. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
2nd time on viking ocean cruise. Will never choose another cruiseline. They got it right, cruise director Mark is not the cornball type like many others, has great taste in entertainment, which is superior to all the other cruises i have ... Read More
2nd time on viking ocean cruise. Will never choose another cruiseline. They got it right, cruise director Mark is not the cornball type like many others, has great taste in entertainment, which is superior to all the other cruises i have tried. Food is tops, no pretensions, same with service. Ship is pure elegance, so spacious. Whats not to like. Shore excursions well organized, one free for each port. Classical music all over the ship is high quality. Cant say enough about ,nordic spa. Steam room, sauna, snowbroom, hot pools, all included. My husband used gym every day, well equipped, never crowded. Scandinavian buffet for breakfast is great for late risers. Sticky buns at buffet breakfast are delish. Gelato flavors change daily. On our anniversary we received a special chocolate cake, one of the best i have ever tasted. Loved daily high tea in wintergarden with string quartet. Perfect cruising. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
After thoroughly enjoying our Viking Homelands cruise in 2016, we decided we just didn't have much time on the ship. So crossing the Atlantic for 6 days was a delight! We never lacked for anything to do. The lectures were fantastic ... Read More
After thoroughly enjoying our Viking Homelands cruise in 2016, we decided we just didn't have much time on the ship. So crossing the Atlantic for 6 days was a delight! We never lacked for anything to do. The lectures were fantastic with four on board lecturers, including our resident historian. We only had 5 ports of call, all of them fascinating. And we stayed over in Barcelona, a wonderful city. Viking caters to ages 50+, so it is easy to meet people with like minds. We traveled with friends that we met on our Viking Bordeaux River Cruise. Our only complaint was the Air department, which kept changing our flights. Our travel agent was right on it, but we ended up paying to keep our original flights home, a long story. But on the whole, you can't beat Viking for food, service, and value. So, of course, we've signed up for another Ocean cruise in 2020. That will make our 8th Viking trip! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Transatlantic from San Juan to Barcelona with stops in Madeira, Tangier, and Cadiz. The ship is beautiful! The food was excellent no matter the venue. Enjoyed the entertainment and movies with discussion groups afterward. The Meet ... Read More
Transatlantic from San Juan to Barcelona with stops in Madeira, Tangier, and Cadiz. The ship is beautiful! The food was excellent no matter the venue. Enjoyed the entertainment and movies with discussion groups afterward. The Meet & Mingle was outstanding—cocktails, hot appetizers and officers who truly wanted to engage. There are outdoor fitness machines on the sports deck for those who prefer to enjoy ocean sounds rather than gym noises. Lots of nooks and small group gathering space on the outdoor decks. Loved having laundry facilities on each floor—including an ironing board. Let us pack less with no expense. Free detergent (or you can use your own). Great social spot as we waited for a washer or dryer to open up. Lots of men doing the laundry! Viking also lets you bring your own liquor and wine aboard with no corkage fees. Wine and beer offered freely at lunch and dinner but cocktails are reasonably priced. They treat adults like adults. One initial challenge was loud banging noises in our cabin. The first night there were six crew members including head of housekeeping in our cabin trying to figure out where the noise was coming from. Because cruise was sold out, told no other cabin. Next day, noise was worse. Someone had canceled so we were moved—no noise! Finally a good night sleep! Someone else had also complained about noise and was moved to our old cabin but said the noise was worse so moved back to their previous cabin. Two days later, we found the problem—a ratchet strap hitting the metal on a lifeboat which was right under a vent pipe at our old cabin. Suggested they pad it—maintenance showed up immediately and did so. End of noise. Responsiveness to our complaint was immediate and taken seriously. Commend housekeeping, maintenance and guest relations. Stellar. Loved the heated bathroom floors! Lovely cabins with luxurious bathrooms. Public spaces are inviting. Different music (not loud!) rotated between—a string trio, pianist, jazz, etc. My husband is a singer and would’ve liked a passenger choir to fill some of the Sea days. The CD said he’d been lobbying for one so would keep trying. All in all, loved this cruise. We met more people on this cruise than any other. Signed up for two more in future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Viking Sea Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.8
Dining 5.0 4.6
Entertainment 3.5 4.2
Public Rooms 5.0 4.9
Fitness Recreation 4.5 4.4
Family 1.0 4.4
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.2
Enrichment 4.0 4.4
Service 5.0 4.8
Value For Money 5.0 4.4

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