Before booking our Alaskan cruise with Viking, my husband and I did extensive research about not only Viking, but many competitors as well. We feel, we got exactly what we expected and found that some of the complaints we did hear were ... Read More
Before booking our Alaskan cruise with Viking, my husband and I did extensive research about not only Viking, but many competitors as well. We feel, we got exactly what we expected and found that some of the complaints we did hear were from passengers who had no idea what they signed up for and then complained about it. Viking was a great experience for us and exactly what we wanted in an ocean vacation.
Viking was enticing to us for what it offers, but for many things it does not offer as well. We wanted a cruise with no casinos, no children, no photographers snapping pictures constantly which we've lived through before, only a very small area for smokers, no rides/fancy water slides,and no charge for self-service laundry or drinks.
My husband and I are avid life long learners. We wanted a cruise with like minded travelers who were interested in learning as much as possible. We got that! We enjoyed the many learning opportunities including the small Viking museum on board, port talks, enrichment videos on the cabin television, and Explorers' Dome. There were also guest lectures and talks with the Viking resident historian. We ran out of time to do all those educational options, but will next cruise!
We really enjoyed all the dining experiences. Our room service for breakfast was right on time and what we ordered, The World Cafe offered a variety of food. We always enjoyed what we got and the many seating options affording us amazing views. We ate at Manfredi's twice and The Chef's Table three times. Manfredi's is an Italian restaurant, and the food was superb. We truly enjoyed The Chef's Table experience which we will caution is not for everyone. There's a set menu with paired wine for each course. You need to really be a foodie and be adventurous with your palate. We are, so we loved trying new food and wine. Again, we researched the dining options and knew exactly what we were getting. Plus all menus are posted on the cabin tv's, Voyager app, and outside the restaurants. The Restaurant was an excellent dining option as well. We enjoyed everything we ordered. One of our favorite treats was at Mamsen's. We went down early for breakfast several mornings and had their traditional Norwegian waffle with coffee where we could sit in the front of the ship relaxing with an ocean view and exceptional service. We did not purchase the optional alcoholic beverage package, but instead opted for the included wines. We really enjoyed the variety of wines from various parts of the world we were offered at lunch and dinner. We never had to wait long for a table or our food. The reason we didn't give dining a five star, we would have given it a 4.5 star if it were an option, is we felt there should have been more Alaskan food options which was advertised.
We truly enjoyed the LivNordic Spa with snow grotto, steam sauna, jacuzzi, mineral pool, and heated loungers. It was so refreshing and relaxing. We went to the spa eight out of our ten days and were able to enjoy it each time with minimal passengers present. The staff was always making sure everything was in tip-top condition and took the time to get to know us and chat with us for as long as we wanted to continue talking.
The service was exceptional. All crew members seemed genuinely happy and had amazing memories. When we entered many of the eating venues, the servers knew our preferences without even asking and greeted us warmly. They always treated us with respect and would spend many minutes just chatting with us. They took very good care of us. They not only greeted us, asked us how we were doing, attended to any concerns we had, but also kept the ship very clean in all the public areas and our cabin.
As we've said before, we knew exactly what to expect for all our shore excursions. Again, we heard some complaints from passengers who didn't read what they were buying and then complained it wasn't what they thought. All of our purchased excursions were a five star except one. We did a whale watching tour, kayaking among the glaciers, bus/train ride to the Yukon, and Zodiac experience. We would give all those excursions a five star. The taste of Juneau was a bit disappointing as it was suppose to be more hands on cooking and learning about Alaskan cuisine than what it was. We did three free excursions and enjoyed two of the three. It would be nice if Viking had two free options - one for people with mobility issues and one for people who can do a tour that's moderate and above. We understand to make the free excursion available to everyone, it had to be a bus tour with easy walks, but it would have been nice to have more variety for the free excursion. Passengers also need to remember the amount or variety of animals seen on excursions is not within Viking's control nor is the weather. Come prepared. We were grateful to see what wild life we saw.
We enjoyed the entertainment. The pianist and violinists that performed in the atrium were very talented. We also went to most of the shows in the theater where we could sing along and enjoy very fun performers. The cruise director and assistant cruise director were so warm and welcoming. They did a superb job both performing and making sure all activities ran smoothly.
We also noticed how many passengers were into fitness and taking the stairs rather than the elevators. That was refreshing as well as not having to walk through several smoking areas to get to our destination. We met so many friendly passengers from all over the world. While we were among some of the youngest, we're both 52, we felt very comfortable and enjoyed ourselves. There were many opportunities to visit other passengers if we wanted during meals or the Wintergarden's tea time which we thoroughly enjoyed as well as opportunities to find a quiet, private spot where we could just enjoy each other.
We were happy with all aspects of our cruise. Although there were some minor issues, there was nothing that would deter us from going on Viking again. It was truly a memorable voyage. Read Less