Sail Date: July 2019
We visited Stockholm, St Petersburg, Tallinn and Helsinki. This was a beautiful cruise that is very well organized in every aspect. I think it also gives you a great sense of Italy and their way of life and partying. The only bad ... Read More
We visited Stockholm, St Petersburg, Tallinn and Helsinki. This was a beautiful cruise that is very well organized in every aspect. I think it also gives you a great sense of Italy and their way of life and partying. The only bad thing that I have to point out is that they have VERY small swimming pools on the ship, and this is a real problem when 3000 people want to swim at the same time. I loved the food, Italian cuisine is famous worldwide and I think there is something to eat for everyone. :))) And they have a WONDERFUL entertainment team which made me dance and stay awake every single night till God knows which hours. Important to know: - You can link your credit card to your ship card and then don't have to worry about payment. - They have totems now, so you can book your excursions there. - Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly and without any crowds and problems. I will definitely travel with Costa again! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
This was my second criuse with Viking. Did Grand European Tour that was a river cruise and wanted to try an ocean cruise. Baltic cruise was very interesting with many ports of call. Just seeing how other cultures live will open your ... Read More
This was my second criuse with Viking. Did Grand European Tour that was a river cruise and wanted to try an ocean cruise. Baltic cruise was very interesting with many ports of call. Just seeing how other cultures live will open your eyes.Viking does cruising the best! Always attentive and best value for the money. No hassle vacation. Everything included, you just have to show up. Food is amazing, great quality and variety. Staff are great and go above and beyond. Ship is comfortable with plenty to do. You won't be bored. Entertainment is professional quality. One performance received a standing ovation! Staff said this was a first for them but it was well deserved. You get front of the line to every side trip. We never waited. VIKING's passenger capacity is lower than the big ships which I like as you get to know the crew and make friends. You are catered to. You have to try Viking, either a river cruise or ocean cruise. You won't be disappointed, promise! Can't wait to go again! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
The minor detail on an otherwise great cruise is that the hot tubs never really get hot enough. The international standard is 103 to 105 Fahrenheit and I felt that the tubs on "Wind" were about 100 to 101 F and that difference is ... Read More
The minor detail on an otherwise great cruise is that the hot tubs never really get hot enough. The international standard is 103 to 105 Fahrenheit and I felt that the tubs on "Wind" were about 100 to 101 F and that difference is significant .... The route was a good one. Copenhagen to London. The stops along the way were well thought out and the guides were good. Cabin service was excellent and we especially enjoyed the laundry service. We did not attend any of the theatre shows but did go to the various bars. The guitar player was very good and he had the room all up and dancing. His name was Aidan. The last stop was Honfleur and we especially enjoyed the cocktail mixing class. The instructor was excellent. The trip up the Thames River will rank as one of the most memorable of the whole cruise as the song that was played as we travelled under Tower Bridge was "Hail Britannia". It was 9 PM, and a dark night so very dramatic. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This cruise: The Viking Homeland's offered many ports of call throughout Northern Europe. My husband and I have always wanted to visit this area. It was our opinion, THIS cruise must be among the most popular for all cruise ... Read More
This cruise: The Viking Homeland's offered many ports of call throughout Northern Europe. My husband and I have always wanted to visit this area. It was our opinion, THIS cruise must be among the most popular for all cruise lines as was witnessed by the large number of cruise/passenger ships we saw at sea and in ports. The experiences we encountered both on board ship and shore excursions offered inspiring sights, breath taking views filled with enormous amounts of historical and cultural wonders. We enjoyed fabulous dinning experiences in the Manfredi's Restaurant, as we ate there often. We were served some of the best food we've ever eaten, anywhere. As for service on board ship and in Manfredi's, was amazing and made for an awesome Cruise from start to finish. Three ports amongst our favorites were Tallinn, Estonia, Berlin, Germany and Eidfjord, Norway. I would highly recommend this cruise to anyone. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Serenade of the seas We chose this cruise liner because we wanted to visit the Baltics in Scandinavia We travelled 4 hour journey to Heathrow terminal 5 arriving at midnight in Stockholm which left very little time to look around ... Read More
Serenade of the seas We chose this cruise liner because we wanted to visit the Baltics in Scandinavia We travelled 4 hour journey to Heathrow terminal 5 arriving at midnight in Stockholm which left very little time to look around the city. We had no information or details provide as to what time Royal Caribbean that would be picking us up for transfer to the cruise liner. Grand Centre by Scandic hotel were unable to provide information, but mentioned RC rep would be arriving in the morning for transfers. 1 July 2018 in the morning of our cruise we checked again, hotel staff informed us they received an email and pick up would be 11:45am an hour delay instead of 10:45 Am. So if we wanted to go out we should arrive at the hotel by 11 AM Luckily we decided to return to the hotel by 10 am RC was present at the hotel transfers were 10.45 am so we should bring all our lunch gage down to the lobby at 10-30 am John our house keeper was very efficient and friendly. Our select to dine at 8-30 pm in the main dining room, But they were very flexible regarding the dining times. The waitress were friendly, comoared to our first cruise with RC dining wasn’t as nice experience, waiters were rushing about very busy serving guests, at times we had to draw their attention. Our main meals were lukewarm so I requested to ensure our meals could be served hot. There were quite a number of guests coughs and colds, many without covering the mouse was inevitable that it would be passed around . We both did finally catch a cold. Saturday early morning after midnight, my husband got out of bed he stood on the carpet outside the shower / entrance door which was soaking wet. He quickly moved our luggage to one side used towels to soak up the water. I was woken by the commotion To call r3cotion. Maintenance men at requested promptly resolved this issue Instead of leaving it till the next morning in Ashe the situation worsens. A hot air very noisy heater was left in our cabin the whole day to dry the carpet. It did cause some on convenience as we are unable to rest inou cabin. Last day of cruising was no toilet flushing water again this was dealt with very quickly by maintenance . We were offered a 10% discount for next cruise, which is based on the cruise fair paid for the current sailing and is valid for one year. With family commitments thank you we are unsure if we will be able to use this complimentary gesture offered ! Arriving at Stockholm airport at 11.30 am with many hours to spare before flight departure at 21-20 pm. Not feeling too well we just rested in the airport. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This is my second cruise on Oceania and true to form all of the amenities they mention and all of the service they brag about is truly only available on their concierge suites or higher. If you are in a regular room you will not get the ... Read More
This is my second cruise on Oceania and true to form all of the amenities they mention and all of the service they brag about is truly only available on their concierge suites or higher. If you are in a regular room you will not get the best service or opportunities on the boat. A couple of examples. They rave about their great "specialty" restaurants. Priority is given to the upper suite classes and by the time you get on the ship or can book a reservation on line for the most part all of the reservations are taken and the best you can get is an 8:30 PM reservation just before they close. Another example you are warned repeatedly that if you are off the boat on a private tour not booked by the boat and you return to the ship late the ship will leave you. Except if you are in a penthouse suite. Our boat left late after they announced one of the penthouse guests to please contact them if they were on the boat and then an hour later a limo showed up with a family that ran and got on the ship. So if you are in the Penthouse even the rules don't apply to you. I just feel that Oceania has an attitude that they only care if you book the higher suites and spend more money. We tried to book excursions only to be told they were sold out and they put us on a waiting list but they would not tell you how the waiting list worked so how would you know if you even had a chance for an excursion. They say they have the best food of all cruises but I did not find this the case. The food is OK but unless you again are willing to spend a fortune on their "gourmet" dinners I have had similar and at times better food on other cruises. I just feel they over charge you for basic service with no real advantage to enhanced services and they don't mind letting you know because you didn't book the penthouse. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise because we wanted to visit the Baltic area countries and a part of Russia. It more than met our expectations. The food and beverages were up to the highest Viking standards. The specialty restaurants were one of the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to visit the Baltic area countries and a part of Russia. It more than met our expectations. The food and beverages were up to the highest Viking standards. The specialty restaurants were one of the trip highlights. The buffet meals contained such variety from appetizers to entrees, to desserts that anyone could enjoy a gourmet meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The focus on regional foods plus local beer and wines with lunch and dinner underline the quality of the food//beverage service. (As a seafood lover, I was even more impressed.) .The included tours were well organized, interesting and informative. We also enjoyed many of the entertainment and educational programs on board. The staff throughout the ship was always friendly, helpful, and welcoming, and the local guides were also friendly and knowledgeable. We have already scheduled another Viking cruise for the last two weeks of April, Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
The Homeland theme in the Baltic filled our specific desire to learn about family historic geography. As a half-Norwegian half-German guy, I learned more than I expected. In addition, the visit to the Hermitage was astounding. The ... Read More
The Homeland theme in the Baltic filled our specific desire to learn about family historic geography. As a half-Norwegian half-German guy, I learned more than I expected. In addition, the visit to the Hermitage was astounding. The “Gold Room” was particularly enlightening. Thank you Viking fo getting us into the venue earlier than must tourists. Our visit to Gdask, Poland was also a highlight. Survival and rebuilding the heart of the city indicates the ingenuity of people. Very encouraging. The ship’s staff really knew how to move passengers on and off the ship with very few long lines or delays. Nice going. The entertainment program singers and dancers were invigorating, even after a long day of excursions. The music and staging were impeccable. The various restaurants were also excellent. The Chef’s Table was a surprise since we sampled food that I would never order at a regular restaurant. More education! This was the best cruise that we ever experienced with Viking...by far. Next year we expect to cruise the British Isles with Viking. We can hardly wait!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
This was our 3rd Viking trip--two on riverboats and this one on an ocean cruise. We boarded the Viking Sea in Stockholm and spent 14 days visiting countries along the Baltic Sea. My husband has a rare form of Parkinson's Disease, ... Read More
This was our 3rd Viking trip--two on riverboats and this one on an ocean cruise. We boarded the Viking Sea in Stockholm and spent 14 days visiting countries along the Baltic Sea. My husband has a rare form of Parkinson's Disease, but he was able to participate in all embarkations and disembarkations, except for one when a rope handle entry ramp was used instead of the usual hard handle. The food was outstanding and we, of course. indulged ourselves a little more than needed. Both the ship and our cabin were kept in immaculate cleanliness and order by skilled, friendly cleaning people. Service was excellent. Someone was always there to meet our every need. The social director kept us well informed of all events and activities and made sure we met at the appropriate time for our group to go ashore. All shore excursions were led by guides who lived in the area, so each guide was quite knowledgeable about the history and events of the city and/or area in which we were traversing. A large number of additional excursions could be selected in addition to the included ones. We consider this one of the best trips we have had to date and we would definitely do a Viking excursion again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Itinerary was exactly what was wanted for a Baltic cruise. 3 days in St. Petersburg is a must. The other ports were excellent. One port allowed us the opportunity to meet family we had located and only corresponded with for years. ... Read More
Itinerary was exactly what was wanted for a Baltic cruise. 3 days in St. Petersburg is a must. The other ports were excellent. One port allowed us the opportunity to meet family we had located and only corresponded with for years. September sailing was decent weather. Rain for short bursts of time during one or two tours but sunny and pleasant other days. Tour guides from Oceania and private tours spoke and understood English. The history and life style philosophy of the various countries was explained and discussed by and with the tour guides. As for Russia...Despite the concerns, we elected to take a private tour of both St. Petersburg and Berlin. Price was excellent and did include the the Russian Visa. Going through customs in SPB was not an issue. Just show your printed tickets sent prior to the cruise. It had dates and times. The tours were full days on all 3 days in SPB. Berlin was also a full day. Be prepared with good walking shoes in all ports. Food: average to poor. Main Dining Room Maine lobster was very dry. Menu the same on the nights we looked for options. Entries needed to meet the spice rack. Buffet: Better option. Shrimp and FL lobster tail cooked to order. Desserts looked beautiful had no flavor. Sorbet best bet. Only did Italian speciality restaurant. The Asian servers could not pull off the Italian accent. They did try. Food was average at best. Other specialities restaurants booked. In the Buffet, plates and cups were attempted to be removed when plates half eaten with coffee or tea cleared up as others still eating at our table. Other nights could not wave down a person for adult beverages or servers. More so in the evening than breakfast. Tables were available for other diners during these time. Servers in the buffet and on the tables spoke English but need work on their comprehension. Many of the people seemed to be on their first contract in need of more orientation. Entertainment: Singers and dancers obviously had talent. The shows were a disappointment. No performances until 9:30pm. Very late when the tours started at 8am or earlier. Activities: Lecturer on TV was good. Did not attend bean bag toss or Bingo on the sea day. For being labeled a "premium/luxury cruise experience", average is a very generous rating. Would think long and hard about rebooking on this cruise line. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
We chose Viking because of the locations of this cruise and the opportunity to visit multiple countries without having to pack and unpack. The location, weather at the time of the year was absolutely perfect. The excursions were enriching ... Read More
We chose Viking because of the locations of this cruise and the opportunity to visit multiple countries without having to pack and unpack. The location, weather at the time of the year was absolutely perfect. The excursions were enriching and enjoyable. We had wanted to visit the Scandinavian countries and Russia and this gave us this opportunity. Viking has such good advertisements on PBS; that helped too! The staff was so attendant to every need. We loved the choices of dining venues and the excellent choices of food that was prepared. The portions were just the right size and being so gave us the opportunity to try many different ones. The on board shows and entertainment were excellent. As I love attention to details, the Viking crew never left one detail unattended too. The checking in and out each day, the train arrangements going into Berlin, the buses for tours, and step-on guides were tops in my opinion. It was all so very well organized! Appreciate Viking having the arrangements for us to not have custom issues in each country. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
This cruise was chosen by Altius Insurance Cyprus (my husband work in this company) as a reward. It was my first cruise, but definitely I will do it again!!! The ship was so clean, nice odor, you could smell the cleaning odors ... Read More
This cruise was chosen by Altius Insurance Cyprus (my husband work in this company) as a reward. It was my first cruise, but definitely I will do it again!!! The ship was so clean, nice odor, you could smell the cleaning odors everywhere. We had cabin 6109. The service was amazing. The man that was cleaning our cabin was so polite. The dining on the second deck was amazing. I was wondering how they could serve so tasty food to thousand people "a la carte". The waiters were amazing...so polite! What impressed me the most was the guy and the team in charge with the entertainment!! I remember his name! Louis...was everywhere...dancing...singing... presenting...amazing humor and energy! But what amazed me the most was the assistant bar manager: Pantelis Zoografos! What a personality! I am a marketer and maybe I evaluate different than other people but his eyes were everywhere, ready to offer his services, to say a joke or to say something nice! Make me wonder if this man was born for this job or maybe the job was invented for him!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2017
I was travelling with a group of friends on this cruise. We met up in Stockholm a few days before to visit the sights. We stayed in the Södra Hammarbyhamnen area of stockholm which was a quick public transit ferry ride away from ... Read More
I was travelling with a group of friends on this cruise. We met up in Stockholm a few days before to visit the sights. We stayed in the Södra Hammarbyhamnen area of stockholm which was a quick public transit ferry ride away from downtown (and the port!) On embarcation day, I took a transit ferry directly to Frihamnen port where the Silhouette was docked and walked right on the ship in a manner of minutes. This was one of the most efficient boardings I've ever seen. The ship is a beauty. Lawn club was in fine condition on the top deck, overall condition of the ship was impeccable. Staff friendly and plentyful. Pools well maintained and staffed (though the hot tubs were not warm enough... but that's just my preference). My cabin was an inside on deck 11 foreward, probably the largest inside I've ever seen. It was the same size as it's neigboring balcony cabins (minus the balcony). My group of 30 people had 3 reserved tables for fixed time dining at 20:30 and as one would expect on Celebrity the MDR food and service were excellent. I did not have one disapointing meal. Buffet was also impressive, selection and quality were up there with my expectations for Celebrity. Bar service was quick and efficient, I never had to wait for a drink anywhere on the ship. Entertainment on the ship was so-so... theatre shows were ok but nothing compared to the shows I saw on my last 3 cruises (Carnival Vista, NCL Escape and RCCL Jewel OTS). Main atrium band was really good, but had a very limited music roster. The same songs came back too often. I enjoyed all the ports, but my favorite was Tallin. I did not book and excursion and just walked around randomly old Tallin and was not disaponted. It's a perfectly preserved medieval city with a discovery on every street corner. On your way back to the ship, don't be afraid to go visit the huge abandonned looking concrete structure near the port. It's an old soviet era concert hall built for the Moscow olympics and a perfect example of soviet ultra utilitarian concrete construction. We took a red bus in Helsinki, but ended up walking around everywhere after our first stop as the bus couldn't access many areas due to a massive Pride-Day parade. St-Petersburg was as hectic as one would expect. Getting off the ship was quick (no wait), and Russian customs took around 30 minutes to clear. Riga was nice, but the ship docked in a lumber yard 40 minutes out of town (no I am not kidding!) and we had to buy bus transfers to get into Riga... not cool Celebrity you should have supplied a shuttle. While on board, I also did the "Behind the scenes" tour. Excellent visit to the "off limits" areas of the ship, I always love those tours... and Celebrity allows cameras so that was awesome! I would absolutely do this cruise again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2017
We wanted to see the Scandinavian countries and St. Petersburg so we chose this cruise which stopped in Sweden, Finland, Russia, Germany, Denmark and Norway. The cruise was great the only negative part was not getting to see the ... Read More
We wanted to see the Scandinavian countries and St. Petersburg so we chose this cruise which stopped in Sweden, Finland, Russia, Germany, Denmark and Norway. The cruise was great the only negative part was not getting to see the Polish port due to mechanical problems. The substitute of a small Danish island was nice but we would have rather seen Gdańsk. The included tours give one an overview of the port cities and when supplemented with additional tours more than fill the time at any port. The size of the ship allows docking in the center of most cities which enhances the overall experience. Our accommodations were perfect and the overall experience was very enjoyable. This was our second Viking cruise and are now looking forward to our third. That in itself should tell anyone that we enjoy Viking cruises. I would be remiss in this review not to mention the excellent staff and crew. They really seem to enjoy waiting on you and making your experience something special. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2016
Our third cruise with Royal Caribbean but the first with a mid-sized ship. we occupied the cabin 9536 on the 9-th desk which it was fairly big and has a nice balcony. The cabin attended was very efficient and tried to meet all our ... Read More
Our third cruise with Royal Caribbean but the first with a mid-sized ship. we occupied the cabin 9536 on the 9-th desk which it was fairly big and has a nice balcony. The cabin attended was very efficient and tried to meet all our request, always with a smile. The Windjammer restaurant was very well assorted for breakfast and the main dinning room was also quite good. The cruise is the most comprehensive that we found for the Baltic sea but we think that Klaipeda in Lithuania and Fredericia in Denmark can be replaced or skipped. Since there it was a consistently a smaller ship then other we shipped with, the diversity of shops and the public area was a little bit too limited. Also so it was the central area of the ship in evening hours, too crowd to find a place to sit and hear the music or dance. The Cruise director, Toppi, was an amazing multi-talent guy. Yes, indeed, it was a very pleasant trip and the stop in St. Petersburg was entirely outstanding. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2016
We chose this cruise because due to the location we knew it would be cool weather wise.This was correct..nice and cool.Itenerary was Stockholm/Helsinki/St Petersburg/Talinn/Stockholm.Absolutely loved all the ports except St Peterburg.Would ... Read More
We chose this cruise because due to the location we knew it would be cool weather wise.This was correct..nice and cool.Itenerary was Stockholm/Helsinki/St Petersburg/Talinn/Stockholm.Absolutely loved all the ports except St Peterburg.Would not recommend going there.And if you do my advice is if your there 2 nights as were were only sign up for one day of excusions.Many people had booked both days and wished after the first they had not.You cant get a refund if you book both.Also avoid walking tours in St Petersburg...terribly crowded in summer and street level grim and dangerous w pick pocketing.Be prepared for all the tours in St P to be extremely crowded.Your main concern will be not losing your tour guide.On this cruise the best place to shop is Talinn pricewise.We were very pleased with the Luminosa.Service was great food was good.Biggest complaint which is significant is no free wifi.Its crazy paying extra for wifi and we didnt but our trip would have been easier if we could have.Also wish they would have been better about keeping kids out of the adult pool.Other wise we were happy with our cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2016
Royal Caribbean was so disappointing this time around. The staff did not seem sympathetic to our plight of lost luggage, and assured us that we would be able to shop for clothes on our excursions. We were not able to shop for any ... Read More
Royal Caribbean was so disappointing this time around. The staff did not seem sympathetic to our plight of lost luggage, and assured us that we would be able to shop for clothes on our excursions. We were not able to shop for any essentials on our excursions as we only went to souvenir shops. I suggested that Royal help us find a way to get to shopping and they did not. All they were able to give us for the five days that we had no luggage was a white t-shirt and sub very sub-par toiletries. They offered us laundry service, but the guest services desk lady must have not been very in touch with what was happening because when I asked how long our laundry would take to get to us she said "48 hours." Luckily, housekeeping was a bit more realistic and when we discussed it with them, they were able to turn our laundry around in a couple of hours. For formal night, she offered to give my husband a free tuxedo, but offered nothing to me. The lady at the front desk (Jasmine) told us she would locate our luggage, and then told us she couldn't locate it. When I asked her who she called, she told me SAS. To that I told her that we had a transfer from United to SAS and our luggage was most likely with United. She asked ME if I wanted to call United myself! My husband firmly recommended that she do it herself. Later that day, she told us she was able to locate it with United. So that caused an unseemly delay in getting our luggage because of her ineptitude. I came crying to the front office after four days of no luggage , no makeup and no toiletries and she offered me 100 dollars credit to my account (any outfit on the ship cost no less than 54 dollars each) and a night at one of their restaurants in her words "out of my own goodwill towards you." I was aghast at the lack of sympathy. She later told me our luggage would be waiting for us in Estonia on the morning before our excursion. To my dismay, we did not get our luggage as promised in the morning but at night. The ladies in the spa, were very gossipy and rude, even talking about guests behind their backs. The people working in the Windjammer never smiled or offered any table service. The whole crew (aside from a few people in housekeeping and in various bars) were amazingly lacking in customer service. After this trip, I will never want to board a Royal Caribbean trip again! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
I was part of a larger group, booked via Globetrotter so I really did travel with Costa by my own choise. (Aktiespararna, where I´m a member, had a 50 year anniversary cruise.) • The cabin was really excellent, spacious and fresh. ... Read More
I was part of a larger group, booked via Globetrotter so I really did travel with Costa by my own choise. (Aktiespararna, where I´m a member, had a 50 year anniversary cruise.) • The cabin was really excellent, spacious and fresh. Very few disturbing sounds. • The theatre, where we had two days of education, was poorly equipped; the resolution on the screen was terrible and it was impossible to read. • The service in Taurus was excellent but the food was not; we had two really nice dinners, and five average ones, which I found disappointing. • The breakfast buffé at Taurus was excellent but I was not happy with the fact that I could not have breakfast after 9,00. • I did found it disturbing to have a feeling of being thrown out from the restaurant. • The buffé restaurant Andromeda, was a bit chaotic and not so nice. • I was satisfied whit the offer of your drinking package ”Pio Gusto”. Good value! • The ship was nice with many really nice areas to sit down, read and have a drink. • The crew who where engaged with the excursions was not very service minded, and spoke a poor english. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
My wife and I and our good friends celebrated our 50th wedding anniversaries together via the Viking Homelands Cruise. We enjoyed a couple of extra days in Stockholm prior to embarkation so that was a treat; our third time in Stockholm ... Read More
My wife and I and our good friends celebrated our 50th wedding anniversaries together via the Viking Homelands Cruise. We enjoyed a couple of extra days in Stockholm prior to embarkation so that was a treat; our third time in Stockholm and I hope we have many more. The Ship was spectacular, the crew was outstanding, and the overall experience was excellent. We expected a few glitches due to the fact the Viking Star was on its inaugural cruise with actual paying customers from Stockholm to Bergen and there were a few. Certainly there was one excursion we would vote to have removed and that was the Ice Bar in Helsinki. Our expectations may have been too high but vodka shots and a dog sled in a tin shed were not what we bargained for. The other minor issue was dinner on board at the Chef's Table. The food and service we exceptional, however, the menu rotated once every 9-11 days. We had two reservations and would have had the same meal for the second reservation as we has for the first. My expectation of a "Chef's Table" was for the Chef to feature a different menu daily highlighting some of his/her experimental or signature dishes. Everything else was great. The cabins were roomy, comfortable, and well appointed. The service staff was well prepared to meet our needs. We hated to disembark although Bergen is a great place to claim land once more. We finished the trip in Iceland with a post-cruise extension. Interesting place; great people, nice to visit but why people would live there I will never know. (They might say the same thing about my homeland!!) We have enjoyed three Viking River Cruises (Russia, Southern France, and China) and will definitely do more of them. Will also keep itineraries for the Viking Star on our radar because we loved the size of the ship and the quality accommodations. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2013
I sailed on the Oceania Marina mid June with a group of 10 friends that I met through Cruise Critic over the years. I have already published a comparison of my "observations" on Oceania vs. Azamara, on the Oceania board. I have ... Read More
I sailed on the Oceania Marina mid June with a group of 10 friends that I met through Cruise Critic over the years. I have already published a comparison of my "observations" on Oceania vs. Azamara, on the Oceania board. I have reset my expectations and had a little "cooling off" period so I am hopeful that this review will be fair and balanced and will only deal with the Marina experience. Firstly, the ship is gorgeous! She is clean and bright and cheerful and the works of art onboard are amazing. It was a delight just to stroll around her. I arrived too early to embark but my luggage was taken away quickly and I was free to wander or sit or snack. The port in Stockholm is a working port, as were all the ports on the Baltic cruise, so the terminal was a prefab unit but was just fine. There was a small gift shop with coffee and snacks and water. There were quite a few folks there already but it was not crowded. It was cool outside so the temperature in the terminal was pleasant. There were enough seats to handle the number of passengers so all was well. At around 1:30 am they began herding us all towards the security check point. Since there was a bit of a crush - they began to call the Suite passengers first, then PH, then Concierge and so on. This created a bit of a fuss since there were lots of folks already in line. It seemed a bit disjointed. One still had to go to the check-in counter and line up in the appropriate line before being allowed to board, so it seemed strange that they wouldn't just let the line clear through security and let the Concierge and above board after check in. The entire process from line up to check-in to boarding took less than 25 minutes. Pretty good! Suite wasn't ready so I proceeded to the Terrace Café for a bite and a drink...I was impressed by the variety and the quality of the food, along with the presentation. I managed to secure a table on the aft deck. Weather was wonderful and I was enjoying the view! After snacking and downing a perfectly prepared martini - I popped down the one floor to see my room. Very lovely - spacious and well appointed, clean and bright. I had flowers from some friends that had been delivered so the smell was lovely UNTIL ..... I entered the bathroom. :-( Where I was greeted by the smell of sewage. Yikes ---- I thought I was imagining it until my cabin steward came in a told me this was a known issue and they had been struggling to keep it under control. Bottom line - I smelled it off and on for the duration of the cruise. My friends and I also noticed it in the hall out side my room. I know that they were pouring lots of water in and using heavy duty chemicals but the issue was never really resolved. Luckily - my room smelled so lovely from the flowers, I didn't notice it in the room. It seemed to be worse during the day - at night I think I was just so exhausted, I didn't notice. The balcony is a nice size with comfortable chairs but I could have used a table for dining out there as that is what I love to do each morning. The walk in closet is totally decadent .... I could have rented it out, all I needed was a blow up mattress! The tv was a good size with lots of news stations (no CNN).... the cordless phone was a great touch --- used it in the closet!!!!! The upmarket amenities were excellent. The smell was also very noticeable at the shuffleboard court. So much so that my friends stopped going there. They also put away the sports equipment precisely at 6 - although the sun didn't set until midnight. We returned from touring around 5 pm each night as did most people. The food in the Specialty restaurants, Terrace Café, Waves and Room Service was excellent....really well done with lots of choices. Service was great too. Red Ginger had a great manager and I can't remember her name but she was also at Waves and you could see that she REALLY knew what she was doing. She was also really kind to her staff and that was nice to see. Table turnover for the buffet was good. Only one day where it was so busy that you couldn't find seating. I didn't get a chance to go to Toscana, but my friends thought that it was the best dinner they had onboard. Red Ginger came in second. Not that the others were bad...they weren't. I don't think I had a bad meal anywhere EXCEPT the GDR. The food and service there was spotty everytime I went there for breakfast or dinner (with the exception of dining at the Captain's table). We tried it several times and we were always disappointed. Food wasn't hot and when it was sent back, it came back cool again. If it can be good when dining with the CAptain, it should be as good as that for all guests I think. I have recently adopted a gluten and dairy free lifestyle. I was accommodated in every way possible and managed to get very tasty alternative foods! I must say - they watched me like a hawk and I had to tell them that I wouldn't die if I had any gluten or dairy in fact the only thing that might happen is that I just might contribute to the nasty smell we were noticing around the ship!!!! LOL AND NO the nasty smell wasn't me ... I CHECKED!!! :-) The entertainment onboard was nothing special - but this has been noticed by many reviewers for some time. The ports were very intensive and most folks retired early. If you ate dinner past 7:30 it was usually impossible to see the show that started at 9:30. My friends and I aren't notable night crawlers - so it was usually a quick boo at the show's tail end and off to bed. We danced one night and the duo were good. The guitarist was spectacular!!! He did two shows and we wish he had done more. Magician was good too. The Spa onboard is beautiful - but get ready to shell out HUGE bucks for treatments. The Sanctuary turned out to be the biggest disappointment for us all as there was very little maintenance done on it. Used towels, long abandoned by their users, lay on the loungers. New clean towels were sometimes not even available. In the change room, baskets overflowed with used towels and amenities were not replaced. Locker keys were given out and when opened there were still used robes in them. The beautiful heated stone loungers in the Serenity room had used towels on them and the tables were littered with used cups and soda cans. What a shame. My friends and I went up there every day and always had the same experience. When we asked the Spa desk about this - we were told that they are not responsible for cleaning the areas. It was Oceania's job. Hmmmmmm. The gym was well appointed and all the machines were in service everytime I went. But again, there was an issue with tidying up. The disinfectant cloths were empty or turned over and bleach spilled out on the counter for hours! My butler and his staff were excellent - shout out to Sonu and Liliya! Every night he presented himself to escort me to dinner as he felt it was necessary that a single woman should not enter the dining room alone! That was lovely. I wish I could remember the names of all the people who were so wonderful on board. The crew were all so friendly and kind - it was a pleasure to see their smiling faces each day. In summation, I would say that Oceania is a solid 5 star cruise experience. The issues I have mentioned could be fixed very easily and I hope that it has already been taken care of. Based on my previous travels with many other cruise lines, I would say that my experience would have been enhanced if there were just a couple of things that had been there that I missed. Anyone in mid or senior management to say hello/goodbye each day at the gangway. Cold towels and a refreshment at the gangways after tours returned. Anyone in a senior management position to Welcome guests onboard and maybe a sparkling wine? A more proactive greeting from Mid or Senior Management or officers when walking about the ship. I always felt that I had to do a little "dance" to get someone's attention or even to say Hello. It became a bit of a joke as we started counting the number of times we had the practiced "avoidance" coming towards us. Just because we are troublemakers at heart...we boomed out hello to everyone walking by! They always returned our hello with a smile.....with one exception. ;-) What it comes down to is that little things make the difference between meeting expectations and exceeding them. Many new or "upmarketing" cruisers onboard felt that their first Oceania experience was extraordinary having nothing else in the 5 star region to compare it with. To that end and in that market Oceania has achieved and possibly exceeded customer satisfaction. I would hope that delighting the customer would extend also to passengers who have experienced other cruise lines competing for the same market share. I am sure that Oceania values this highly prized group and from all I have seen of their spectacular shoreside service and the exemplary attention I have had from some their senior management, meeting expectations is not the goal. It will be my pleasure to cruise again with them in the future and will feel confident that the experience will be solid 5 star approaching 6!   Read Less

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