Sail Date: August 2019
The Norwegian Spirit was our first Norwegian cruise. My husband and I usually cruise with Princess or Celebrity. When I saw this wonderful itinerary for the Baltic with so many ports, we decided to book it. When we arrived on the ... Read More
The Norwegian Spirit was our first Norwegian cruise. My husband and I usually cruise with Princess or Celebrity. When I saw this wonderful itinerary for the Baltic with so many ports, we decided to book it. When we arrived on the ship we were taken aback how dated it was. The decor, colors and public restrooms were all very very dated. The spa was decorated with Egyptian style decor. Having sailed on some of the newer ships, this is the worst ship we have ever been on. In speaking with the staff and other passengers, it is supposed to go into dry dock in January 2020. CABIN: We had a balcony room on the 10th floor and the main problem was the toilet not flushing, The bathroom was extremely dated and very tight. Having sliding doors on the shower and toilet area gives you less space. Our main problem with this room was the toilet not flushing. I had to call guest services no less than 6 times. The plumbing was a major issue. On a cruise that was a total of 16 days, the first 12 days we had to guess whether the toilet would flush or not! Finally they sent a plumber over to change a part. Then the toilet would not stop flushing for 3 or 4 times until it finally stopped. Very frustrating. The "balcony" was small and the floor was dirty. Staterooms are small on ships and other than the bathroom toilet fiasco, the room was average. BTW: trying to get a wake up call was impossible. They said it was not working. Trying to call someone about the toilet was also very frustrating because no one answers the phone. TELEVISION: Absolutely terrible. Norwegian Cruise advertisements constant on numerous stations. Cruise Directors usually have a show that updates everyone on upcoming and past activities. This cruise had the worst tv show by far. Plus the stations were limited or would scramble. Sometimes they had BBC, always had MSNBC and a few movies that were rotated in French, English and Spanish. On past cruises they have movies in the theater and on tv. Lots of choices for entertainment on board....not this cruise. I had to get on my phone at shore to see what was going on in the world. ENTERTAINMENT: We were not impressed with the entertainment on this cruise EXCEPT the Illusionist was excellent. The show Elements was really good though.It incorporated dancers and the Illusionist and acrobats who had previously performed. All the other entertainment was not up to par with other cruises we have been on. The singer at Henry's Pub was excellent. The live band in Galaxy and the Jazz band were all very good. The Theater shows at night were just ok other than the Illusionist. FOOD: The buffet was less than average based on other cruises. Very limited variety. The rice was always very dry. Meats over cooked and dry. Other cruises we would see a variety of cheeses and crackers, specialty items; designated area for pizza and burgers. The pizza looked like it was dry and just came out of a microwave. Breakfast was the same every single day. Poor variety and quality. We ate at all of the Specialty Restaurants and they were decent. Definitely Cagney's Steakhouse and Le Bistro were better choices than the dining rooms or the buffet. The Teppanyaki place was average. The prices for specialty dining are higher than on other cruises we have been on. If you are a foodie, you will be greatly disappointed. BARS: The bartender staff on this cruise was very attentive and it was always easy to order drinks. ACTIVITIES: This cruise had only one sea day and we were at a port nearly every day. Thus most people were too tired to get really involved in cruise activities. We went to the karaoke hour early on the cruise and there were 2 people. Bingo had to be cancelled several times because there were not enough people playing. The variety of "activities" was limited due to the port itinerary. SPA: I had a manicure/pedicure and was quoted $110. Once I got the bill I was told they made a mistake and it was actually $118. PLUS THEY CHARGE AN 18% AUTOMATIC GRATUITY on services. So I had to pay $138 for a mani/pedi. They also want to sell you products. The spa was really unattractive as well. I was not impressed with the prices, the service or the ambience of the spa. EXCURSIONS I wish they gave us more info in advance. Like you can pay for a shuttle to town at some ports. We bought excursions for every port. Some of the tour guides were excellent...some absolutely horrible. In Copenhagen we had a Guide whose native language was Spanish. No one could understand her. She really did not tell us anything about the area. That was a total waste of money. On several of the excursions we never were given time to shop or be on our own. Other cruisers told us they were frustrated with their excursions as well. LAUNDRY: There are no laundry facilities for the passengers on this ship. It is very expensive to have them do your laundry and it is charged by a per item fee. OVERALL: The Norwegian Spirit is an older ship in need of updating. Other cruisers told us they have been on many Norwegian cruises and the ships were great. Everyone basically agreed that we were not on this cruise for the ship. We were on it for the 15 day experience with one sea day to interesting ports. Overall experience for us was slightly below average. I would not cruise on the Norwegian Spirit again. Read Less
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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We’ve recently returned from a trip to Scandinavia that included the 22 night Majestic Fjords and Vibrant Russia cruise. We started the trip in Finland and southern Sweden before joining the cruise in Stockholm. We also extended the ... Read More
We’ve recently returned from a trip to Scandinavia that included the 22 night Majestic Fjords and Vibrant Russia cruise. We started the trip in Finland and southern Sweden before joining the cruise in Stockholm. We also extended the cruise with the Bergen to Oslo rail trip plus extra time in Oslo. There are things about the cruise that were very good. The boat is small, only about 900 passengers, and the decor is neutral (somewhere between modern Scandi and neutral high end nursing home). The gym and jogging deck were great and we made good use of them. The service is fantastic. Daisy and Ronal, who looked after our room, provided a higher standard of cleaning and organisation than any 5 star hotel I’ve stayed in (and I’ve stayed in a lot of 5 star hotels on five continents). There were a couple of experts who provided lectures and held post lecture discussions. Some of these were excellent. And travelling by ship gave us some spectacular views. There were things that fell short of our expectations. The food fell way short of my expectations. There are a number of dining options including the World Cafe, which is essentially a cafeteria, Mamsen’s, a cafe open at breakfast and lunch with a number of Nordic inspired options, The Restaurant, which is open for breakfast and dinner and is described as the premium dining option, Manfredi’s, an Italian themed restaurant, and The Chef’s table which offers a degustation experience. We had our first two meals, and indeed most of our meals during the cruise, in the World Cafe. I was quite shocked to see that the offerings included pasta and pizza kept warm under lights (probably reflecting my inexperience with cruises). The Cafe has plenty of options, some of which change from day to day, but generally the options were a bit ordinary and the steamed vegetables were invariably cold and soggy (I like to eat a lot of vegetables). We had one breakfast in The Restaurant and the food was okay but the service was chaotic. This was on our first morning on the cruise and my partner declared he wouldn’t have another breakfast there (a point he was willing to concede after two weeks of breakfasts in the Cafe). We also had a few dinners in the Restaurant and on each occasion some part of the meal would be okay to good but invariably other parts of the meal were substandard. Overall we felt it wasn’t worth changing out of jeans to dine in the restaurant. While we were offered two dates to dine in The Chef’s table, we only dined there once. Two of the courses were excellent, one okay and one unpleasant. The Mexican theme seemed a bit at odds with both the Baltic location and summer season. We cancelled our second dining option. We had a few breakfasts and perhaps five lunches at Mamsen’s but became bored with the food. We also had about seven meals in an additional dining option, The Pool Grill, but hot dogs and hamburgers weren’t really my idea of summer holiday dining and I pulled the plug on further meals at the Grill. We did have two meals at Manfredi’s and some of the courses were good but others not (my partner described them as cafeteria food delivered by a waiter). I should add that the coffee and tea on board are abysmal. A good point about the dining options was that there was seldom a wait. I can’t believe we paid $2,000/day for a cruise with such disappointing food. On top of the food, after booking the cruise that was inclusive of wine with lunch/dinner, we received an offer to upgrade our alcohol options at a cost of about $60/day for the two of us. I was so angry at the suggestion we pay extra just to have decent wine that I refused to consider it. All of the wine we had was drinkable but few wines were good. The logistics for the excursions were stunningly poor. A number of excursions required guests to meet in the theatre. On several occasions the wait in line and subsequent wait in the theatre, before disembarking, were more than 45 minutes. The line to get into the theatre went past lifts which mean people leaving the lifts were joining middle of the line, often to the audible concern of people further back in line who were afraid they would miss their excursion. The information for meeting onshore for excursions was often vague or downright wrong. This is frustrating, because it wastes precious time, and was actually quite stressful for excursions in Russia where the trip through immigration is quite intimidating. I’d add that on one occasion, early in our cruise, I asked a question of one of the more senior, public facing, staff about the meeting place for an excursion. Instead of answering me her reply was ‘didn’t you have an excursion yesterday?’. I’ve only fired a couple of people in my career but I’ve had fired her on the spot for that. I really resented, and on occasion was infuriated, every moment I spent waiting or following poor instructions. Viking needs to bring in design thinking and behaviour economic experts to work through these processes. I was also very aggravated that Viking didn’t contact us after the Sky’s incident off Stavanger earlier in the year and only replied to my queries when pressed and then with a really insulting response. Had we not paid for our cruise, I’d have cancelled, even though I’d have lost the deposit, because of the way Viking handled this. I can’t comment much on the entertainment because we weren’t interested in attending performances. Several times we encountered the pianist or the guitarist. Both were very talented but the easy easy listening selection they played held no appeal. I have a list of quibbles but my overall feeling is that Viking isn’t a luxury experience. It is aimed at middle America (and while I live in Australia, I grew up in middle America). I couldn’t recommend the cruise to anyone among our Australian family or friends without a lot of qualification (i.e. I don’t know anyone who I think would be happy with the cruise). It appears to me that Viking is trying to appeal to customers from a wider range of countries. I think they have a lot of work to do for that to be a success. I also don’t understand how they have been rated so highly as a luxury cruise. I suspect this is largely driven by the large middle American client base which biases feedback. For us, we have two or three holidays each year but I can’t imagine that we’d look at Viking again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This ship is beautiful and always spotless.We have been on about 95 cruises, many different cruise lines and ships .I usually do not write reviews, but after reading a scathing review by someone who was on this ship for 3 months in Feb. ... Read More
This ship is beautiful and always spotless.We have been on about 95 cruises, many different cruise lines and ships .I usually do not write reviews, but after reading a scathing review by someone who was on this ship for 3 months in Feb. 2019, I felt a few points should be mentioned. This person complained about everything, especially the staff, we had some issues but, we ALWAYS treat people with respect and never talk down to anyone. We departed the Viking Sun 5 days ago, I find it difficult to believe we were on the same ship. One morning we had breakfast in the Restaurant and the service for us was very slow. We kept getting coffee and danish but no entree until I spoke "nicely" to the head waiter(Tony), he immediately went into the kitchen to get our food.Tony kept apologizing and said this should never happen. Later that afternoon we went back to our room and on our table was a bottle of sparkling wine and 4 delicious chocolate covered strawberries.There was also a card apologizing for the bad breakfast service.Later at dinner I saw Tony again and shook his hand and thanked him, we always had great service after that. The food on this ship is not excellent all the time but, all the staff is, from the servers to the ladies in Guest services. This cruse is actually called Homelands and was 14 days.We loved our Penthouse veranda, and all the beautiful public spaces, this ship is a pleasure to sail on. I just wish we had more than 1 sea day.Cruise director Corrine Bach is a greatly talented person and also very nice. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise because it seemed like good value for money and was visiting some ports not previously visited. We boarded Costa Majestica in Genoa and from then their organisational skills or non organisational skills became evident. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it seemed like good value for money and was visiting some ports not previously visited. We boarded Costa Majestica in Genoa and from then their organisational skills or non organisational skills became evident. It took at least 4 hours to get on the ship with no regard for the elderly or disabled. The cruise was 28 days from Genoa to Stockholm. Most of the crew were not very friendly, the food was ok but always cold in the Buffet. Getting on and off the ship at most ports was a nightmare long ques along the ships passage ways or when coming back to the ship stretching hundreds of yards with people trying to push to the front which nearly caused some serious fights because of no crew supervision. Again with no regard for the elderly or disabled. Most of the shows and entertainment were in Italian ( which I suppose we should have known, an Italian ship leaving from Genoa). A lot of pre good excursions were cancelled because of the lack of English guides with some people having trouble getting their money back on some tours. We were also told by Costa that when filling in their feed back form only 9 or 10 score will be accepted for questions on the form or it will be discarded, Never agin will I sail. Costa. If anyone from Costa would like to contact me I would welcome it because no Costa represventive on the ship cared very much Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise as a great way to explore the Baltic region and we certainly achieved that aim....The tours and lectures meant we returned home having seen and learnt so much! From arrival at Stockholm to the departure gate at ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a great way to explore the Baltic region and we certainly achieved that aim....The tours and lectures meant we returned home having seen and learnt so much! From arrival at Stockholm to the departure gate at Bergen we were looked after very thoughtfully. The senior officers were ever present and available to talk to. A small niggle about the buffet was picked up by an attentive Restaurant Manager and dealt with professionally and personally by the Head Chef. The food throughout was excellent,we enjoyed both speciality restaurants and found it easy to make extra bookings once on the ship. Viking Sea is beautifully designed with lots of interesting artwork and understated Scandinavian style. The lectures we either attended or caught up with on the cabin t.v were all relevant and interesting/ thought provoking. There was more entertainment than we expected, we particularly enjoyed the 2 guest shows by Mary Jess and the resident Viking band and singers. The musicians who entertained in many of the public areas were very accomplished. We took several of the included tours, some were better than others but all gave us an introduction to the area which we were able to follow up independently at most destinations, often aided by the complimentary shuttle bus. After reading reviews we opted to use Alla tours in St Petersburg. They were excellent and I have no hesitation in recommending them. We chose not to take a tour in Berlin instead taking the included morning trip to Rostock and then occupying ourselves in Warnemunde (a local seaside town with a long sandy beach and promenade,interesting waterfront and lots of little shops,cafes ) A day well-spent. We were lucky to enjoy good weather throughout which always helps although strong winds in Gdynia meant we were unable to dock that day, an extra day at sea was easily occupied. If you decide to take this cruise I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this trip because we were running out of rivers. We have been on 9 river cruises and were not sure about an Ocean cruise but the Viking Homelands Cruise offered an opportunity to visit many new places. We were not sure about ... Read More
We chose this trip because we were running out of rivers. We have been on 9 river cruises and were not sure about an Ocean cruise but the Viking Homelands Cruise offered an opportunity to visit many new places. We were not sure about Ocean Cruising with so many more passengers but we are now hooked. We were amazed how comfortable we felt on the ship. You never felt that there were 930 people on board. There were so many places to relax and enjoy. By the second evening the bartender greeted us by name. We especially enjoyed the Explorers Lounge. The restaurant choices were great-many more options than on a river cruise and the food was excellent. The specialty restaurants offered diversity but the “Restaurant” was excellent and ended up being our favorite for dinner. The World Cafe was great for lunch and breakfast. There was never a line-a table could always be found. Viking does a great job but the shore excursions were the real treat on this cruise. They were all great but the Total St. Petersburg Package was absolutely wonderful. We had a great guide and the extra cost was well worth it. We have booked another Ocean Cruise with Viking.. 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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose the Marina because of the Baltic itinerary. We were not disappointed. The stops were wonderful. St Petersburg was the highlight. We booked three days with Guide-Guru Tours. My husband was skeptical, but ended up loving the ... Read More
We chose the Marina because of the Baltic itinerary. We were not disappointed. The stops were wonderful. St Petersburg was the highlight. We booked three days with Guide-Guru Tours. My husband was skeptical, but ended up loving the personal attention. The tour days in St. Petersburg were the highlight of our trip. Our tour guide, Tatiana, knew how to avoid all the lines and get us through all the places effortlessly. She would go ahead, purchase tickets, and by the time we reached the entrance she ushered us in. She was an amazing guide and we had a very small group. Eight of us the first day, six the second and just my husband and I the third. I will never take a large group tour again after the wonderful experience we had. It is impossible to see the sights in and around St. Petersburg in a large group. We saw twice as much as many of our shipmates. An extra bonus was that booking through Guide-Guru cost less than half of what some other fellow travelers paid! We contacted them via the internet and set everything up months in advance. We were able to pay in US dollars which saved up some $$. The Marina is a wonderful ship. The crew bends over backward to make sure your needs are met. I did not see one crew member without a smile and an offer to help you in any way. The food is delicious especially in the specialty restaurants. My husband said he had never tasted such a delicious piece of roast beef as he had in "Jacques" ,and we eat at fine restaurants frequently. The ship is a perfect size, never any crowds anywhere. We booked a Concierge level room. There was a lounge and several bags of laundry were included in the price. Also, we were able to book our specialty restaurants a month before which I appreciated. I would book another cruise on this ship without hesitation. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We took an Athens-Rome Mediterranean cruise on Marina in 2017. Loved the ship and the experience. We purchased this cruise on board. Nautica is much smaller than Marina but is dated and lacks the feeling of space and luxury of Marina. ... Read More
We took an Athens-Rome Mediterranean cruise on Marina in 2017. Loved the ship and the experience. We purchased this cruise on board. Nautica is much smaller than Marina but is dated and lacks the feeling of space and luxury of Marina. Embarkation at Stockholm was quick but there was no welcome cocktail. Our room (B2) on deck 6 was adequate. The bathroom was tiny and had only a shower protected by a cheap shower curtain (no bathtub as on Marina). Storage space was adequate. Our room was cleaned spotlessly every day. One person commented that a verandah is unnecessary on cruises to northern climates and during cooler seasons, and I agree, even though we had spectacular weather (Europe had its warmest weather on record). Our stateroom was near the rear elevator (closer to the restaurants) which was convenient. Nautica has only two specialty restaurants, so we were only allowed two such meals on a 12-day cruise (no surcharge). Oddly, each time we went, there were many empty tables. It should be noted that Nautica and the other three smaller (older) ships are being "reimagined" over the next year or two and the design looks attractive. Try to hold off until the ships are done. The interiors of Nautica are dated and frumpy. For example, on Marina there were real Picasso and Miro prints, and some delightful avant-garde works of art. On Nautica, the art looked like it came from a neighbourhood art show. Yes, this is a "first world" problem, but Oceania are among the most expensive cruises on the market. PA announcements were appropriate and brief and the cruise director was excellent on them. I was also impressed by the performers. The shows were appropriately scaled and tasteful, like a nightclub rather than Vegas. On Oceania, apart from a promotional package (cabin credit, 6 excursions/cabin, etc.) everything is extra. The wine lists are extensive and extremely expensive, starting generally at US$50 (one or two bottles) and shooting up from there. There is a 7-bottle wine package for US$350.00 and the choices were decent, but I did some research and found the majority of them cost in the range of US$10-20. Huge markup. Oceania permits bringing alcohol on board, as long as it is consumed in your cabin (there is a $25.00 corkage fee if you want to bring your bottle into a restaurant). Excursions are ridiculously expensive. Imagine 30 people paying US$300 each to board a bus for a day excursion. Typical. In St Petersburg, Russia, we went on one such excursion but were allowed only to get out of the bus at certain stops to take exterior pictures. The Hermitage, which we were looking forward to as a highlight, was too brief (actually only about 2.5 hours viewing) and of course it was massively overcrowded, which is not Oceania's fault. Tour guides were generally good, except in one case we signed up for a tour of modern Scandinavian architectural landmarks in Copenhagen but the tour was a disaster because the guide was subbed in at the last minute (with apologies) and had no time to prepare, so she showed us a few buildings near where she lived and in central Copenhagen then reverted to a tour of historic buildings because the time allotment was not used up. You would think these tours would all be pre-planned so anyone with some background could step in. We were also promised a tour of a "design factory" but were taken to a retail outlet instead which lasted about 10 minutes. Having said that, the food really is, with minor exception, the best of the cruise lines. One day the head chef made his rounds in the restaurant and I had a suggestion, which he implemented. The median age of the guests on oceania is probably about 70, and the food selections especially in the buffet area were appropriate. There were a few theme days, but most guests didn't seem to take advantage. Compared to Marina, Nautica's staff were a little too relaxed and familiar for my taste. Service can be personal but it should be deferential and non-intrusive. This is trivial, but one waiter asked me as a joke if I wanted ground pepper in my dessert, which was a bit of sarcasm over always having to offer ground pepper. We laughed but I had never experienced that on Marina. There is a merit/reward system for staff, and some of them seemed a little over-anxious about making an impression. My main complaint is with their marketing and sales. Oceania spends a lot of time trying to induce people to book on board, but the actual discounts are only about 5% for cruises that may be a year or more away. They also try to pressure you with the threat of "price increases" and are not flexible dealing with repeat customers. (Our travel agent enquired about how much an upcoming price increase would be, which was refused. That's not respectful of a customer who is looking at laying out $10-$20,000.00 per cabin and up.) Their online published prices are also misleading; when we enquired about a future cruise, they quoted the price for a stateroom two levels higher than the one we specified; when our travel agent enquired we were told it was for the "extra" package that was previously complementary. These cruises generally fill up and I don't see why they need to engage in high-pressure tactics. They tout their "loyalty" programme a great deal but benefits don't really accrue until you are over 10 cruises, and even then it might amount to free laundry. We each got a lapel pin worth about $5.00 and a free cocktail at a Captain's reception for our second cruise (22 cruise days total). The rest is window-dressing. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
They need to supply tea making facilities in cabin. Butler service is about 30 mins for a cuppa. Had problems with water not being hot enough for cup of tea with room service and in restaurants. Complained and they did try, but some ... Read More
They need to supply tea making facilities in cabin. Butler service is about 30 mins for a cuppa. Had problems with water not being hot enough for cup of tea with room service and in restaurants. Complained and they did try, but some were a bit smart about it. Food not always hot. Room service breakfast was often just warm or cold. Toast was cold and like concrete. Pizzas dreadful. Pub lunch was bad food was cold and tasteless tried bits left most of it then went to the buffet. Need more menu choices in the Restaurants. Only seemed to be Seafood or Meat for mains and raw meats or seafoods for starters. Soups 2 seafood and tomatoe. I can't eat ,Ost seafood but my husband enjoyed. No duck or chicken. I didn't like the Italian restaurant. The lunch buffet was best for choices. scored 8 out of 10. My main problem is with their system in handling payments. paid $1914 on travel card 10/9 and then on 12/9 they put it thru again for $1914 which is pending but showing a date of 10/9. I now have no money to spend in England it is all frozen! They say this is normal and I have to wait for my bank to clear it 5 days. Their attitude, contact you bank, I did who cancelled and told by email they would send new ones in 7 days to Aust address. No help when you are travelling. This should never have happened why would a Company take full payment then 2 days after this put through a hold for the same amount but with different reference nos and think that this was the way to do business. Was told this is their system they just didn't have any empathy at all. Very very angry and disappointed. The Australian office finally got involved and she contacted my bank and got the 2nd charged cancelled but too late as cards cancelled. They are looking into this event so am waiting to hear what went wrong. Excursions were very good a bit pricey but they all are. We had an issue with 1st private car 4 hour tour they short changed us about 30 mins but I mentioned this and they gave us extra time on the 8 hour tour on the third day to make up. The concert was wonderful. The shuttles where provided were good. The other tours were good with no more than say 35 people eg they didn't fill the buses so numbers were smaller. I wouldn't change any of the tours that we did. Ports were good choice. 3 days in St Petersburg was needed. Loved the size and no of people on board and this was the best aspect of what they offered. Ship was very elegant and pleasing, no loud rap music etc. Entertainment was pretty good. A lot of wait staff and Butlers so can't understand why food and hot water can't be hot for room service & restaurants. Attention to detail could be improved in this regard. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Have just completed cruise with Costa from Stockholm to Russia back to Stockholm and then down to Italy. Total around 21 days. Ship was built in 2004. Although I suffered from food poisoning on the last night, Dining in Restaurants and ... Read More
Have just completed cruise with Costa from Stockholm to Russia back to Stockholm and then down to Italy. Total around 21 days. Ship was built in 2004. Although I suffered from food poisoning on the last night, Dining in Restaurants and Buffett was quite good. Accommodation although a bit dated was good and consider room quite comfortable with a good mattress. The waiters and room attendants were good.That is the good points. The pool area was quite acceptable. Now the bad points. My cabin was in the lower section of the ship and during normal cruising quite comfortable, however when the boat exceeded 21 knots, the noise was unbearable and the cabin actually was shaking. So take the upper decks if you intend to book this ship. On 3 normal nights I was unable to sleep!. This was mentioned to the wonderful staff!! on the Hospitality Desk and who really showed little interest which was normal practice. There is definitely no customer service in this particular section of the Boat along with the Excursion staff. I went on numerous excursions and whilst I accepted that they might have been a bit expensive I could not believe how incompetent they were. The Russian excursion was excellent. The excursions I booked to Tallin, Rouen, Lisbon and Marseilles failed miserably due to various factors like the tour guide was either disinterested, on medication or something other or showed little interest in our group. The Excursion to Rouen in particular was crazy. We had just 1 guide with more than 20 English and more 20 German passengers. No headphones were provided and the guide alternated between German and English, spoke too low, was disinterested and nobody could hear her. Just crazy. On the tour of Tallin , 5 passengers were left behind due to no fault of their own, just incompetence by the tour guide and forced to either take taxi's back to the boat or walk back. This was explained to the Excursions Staff with little interest. I was not refunded for my taxi fare!! Other problems experienced including the internet packages. Although this ship appears to take this cruise on numerous occasions the internet packages never worked or provided the service advertised. A rip off. Other little things that were charged for was, breakfast in cabin, ice cream/crepes, Ice Cream Trolley and water. Despite having a Drinks package I was unable to be provide with bottled water. Had to pay 3 Euro. Just crazy. I guess another downside was that Costa Magica was always docked the furthest from the town. Compulsory Hotel service charges were also a surprise which the Australians were not aware of until arriving on board. No mention of these charges by Touring Company in our Booking Contract. In Costa's Tour Values they state Clear and Transparent prices and no unpleasant surprises. The only trouble is that you are not aware until you arrive on the ship. As one Passenger mentioned, it is always a good idea when talking to Costa Staff to keep both hands in your pockets!. Despite written assurances that excursions etc would be paid at the end of the cruise, they were taken out on a daily basis. Another broken promise.! Many Australians experienced troubles with this cruise. I would never travel with these people again and that is felt by most people. If Costa do come to these waters, stay away. They are plenty of good Cruise company's better. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
It was a great cruise and we really wanted to see Norway. The food was better then we expected. We tried all three dinning rooms and we felt the Italian was the best. The ports and the tours was interesting and educational. The service in ... Read More
It was a great cruise and we really wanted to see Norway. The food was better then we expected. We tried all three dinning rooms and we felt the Italian was the best. The ports and the tours was interesting and educational. The service in the dinning rooms and the cabin stewards was above expectation. We were so impressed we are looking forward to our next ocean cruise. Embarkation and disembarkation was smooth and we did not have to stand in hallways as you do on larger ships. We enjoyed the choice of places to eat and that you could eat around the pool or in small areas around the ship. The cabin was large and the bathroom was larger than most ships. Viking does a great job with entertainment and making our cruise one of the most enjoyable ones we have gone on in a long time. We are looking forward to our next one. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I choose this cruise because of the excellent river cruises we had heard about from other people. In addition, this cruise included 2 days in St. Petersburg and it was important to me to have that stop part of the trip. The food was ... Read More
I choose this cruise because of the excellent river cruises we had heard about from other people. In addition, this cruise included 2 days in St. Petersburg and it was important to me to have that stop part of the trip. The food was excellent! Not only was the food great in the two specialty restaurants but the World Cafe and The Restaurant were wonderful and included items to satisfy everyone’s tastes and desires. The staff was very friendly and professional. Viking really knows how to make a cruise happen efficiently and with ease for the customer. The ports of call were great and while we mostly went on the included tours, the several others that we purchased we well worth the added expense. The ship was only 2 years old and beautiful. The staterooms were comfortable and having our on veranda was just right. The ship’s decor and common areas were lovely and provided a casual but elegant atmosphere for relaxation. We could not have been more pleased with our experience on this cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Once again Viking has surpassed expectations for all aspects from pre-cruise to embarkation to disembarkation and flight home - everything in between. Every single Viking employee from captain to room stewards were polite, attentive and ... Read More
Once again Viking has surpassed expectations for all aspects from pre-cruise to embarkation to disembarkation and flight home - everything in between. Every single Viking employee from captain to room stewards were polite, attentive and knowledgeable. See separate section for comments about cabin. Dining options were excellent with specialty dining included and easy to reserve. We took most dinners in main dining room - outstanding service, varied menu, open seating, small room atmosphere. All common rooms were comfortable with books available for reading and interesting art work. The free spa is excellent and a great place to relax. Onboard entertainment adequate for small ship. The itinerary was of course the highlight. 11 ports and 8 countries in 14 days was amazing. Included and optional tours were all excellent. Every tour guide provided a memorable experience. All-in-all Viking goes out of their way to make you comfortable and part of the family. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We are not normally cruisers but were travelling with another more senior couple who appreciated the practical benefits of cruising. In particular, we wanted to visit St. Petersburg and this cruise offered three nights there. So we ... Read More
We are not normally cruisers but were travelling with another more senior couple who appreciated the practical benefits of cruising. In particular, we wanted to visit St. Petersburg and this cruise offered three nights there. So we selected the Oceania Marina based on itinerary and its strong reputation for good food. The food was excellent across the board. The four specialty restaurants as well as the Grand Dining Room and the buffet-oriented Terrace Cafe offered outstanding cuisine regardless of venue. Service both in and out of the dining venues was 5 star day and night. Can't speak much about shipboard activities as we really didn't avail ourselves of much of that. The string quartet that played daily in the main lounge before dinner was very accomplished and a pleasure to listen to. The guest pianist one evening was outstanding although we were only able to catch the latter portion of his show because of the timing of our dinner reservation that night. Wish he could have played more than one evening. In every port except St. Petersburg we did not hire a guide or take any group excursions. Talinn, Riga, Helsinki, and certainly Klaipeda are all small enough to navigate on ones own. The long Sunday at Klaipeda we mostly spent on board. Most places are closed on Sundays and the Klaipeda downtown can be covered in about an hour. Everywhere we went people spoke English. The long day we were docked at Warnemunde, we went to Lubeck -- which was brimming with medieval buildings dating back to the 13th century. We rented a car but there is public transport that will get you there as well. In St. Petersburg we toured with Dancing Bear Tours. They were fabulous. They were flexible, accommodating, and our guide spoke perfect English and was a source of so much history and information. Our driver provided door-to-door service at every stop. Great value and pleasant people to deal with. We took a canal boat ride one morning which was a wonderful way to see the city. We saw a number of churches but our favorite was St. Isaacs without a doubt. We are also culture vultures so highlights for us included the Russian Museum, the General Staff Building wing of the Hermitage, and of course the Hermitage proper. Could easily have spent whole days or even weeks in them. We enjoyed our outing to Peterhof as well, although the weather was not the sunniest. For something completely different, check out the royal bath house there if you go. I have no other cruises to compare the Marina to but would definitely recommend Oceania to anyone who is interested in exploring this part of the world. Both the ship and port experiences were grand. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I like smaller ships, if you consider 900 passengers smaller. Less off and on boarding time, more personal service, less ship to have to navigate within, accessible to smaller, more intimate ports of call. Get to know the staff. ... Read More
I like smaller ships, if you consider 900 passengers smaller. Less off and on boarding time, more personal service, less ship to have to navigate within, accessible to smaller, more intimate ports of call. Get to know the staff. Restaurants were excellent, with a wide choice of menu items. Lots of room in the general dinning area on the 7th deck. Never too crowded to find a seat for four. The special food style/items each night were a real hit. You did not have to dress up for the 7th floor dinning. If you wanted to dress a bit, the restaurants on 2d deck were excellent. Italian and steak - you needed reservations - always busy. My traveling partners and my wife and I are already researching where we can go on another Viking ship - cruise and river. You have a great model for cruising. Oh, heated bathroom floors are a real plus and there was lots of room in the bathroom for two people to be there at the same time and the stateroom was very comfortable. Wifi and TV was excellent. Great to see the ports of call info sessions as recorded if we did not get back from an excursion in time for the 1600 presentation in the very nice theater. The presentations nights were great and we were not inundated with personnel trying to sell us something throughout the ship (like some other lines do). We even got to play shuffle board and walk many miles on the promenade deck. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose the VIking Homelands cruise because of the variety of countries (Baltic countries plus add on of Iceland) and time of year fit well with our needs. This was our second Viking cruise (previous was the Grand European two years ago) ... Read More
We chose the VIking Homelands cruise because of the variety of countries (Baltic countries plus add on of Iceland) and time of year fit well with our needs. This was our second Viking cruise (previous was the Grand European two years ago) travelling with my brother and sister in law. The air travel booked for us went smoothly. Embarkation/disembarkation went without a hitch. Amazing with over 900 people coming from all over the world and we all arrived and were sent off at the correct times. Quite a scheduling feat. The staff were so friendly and helpful. Our room steward kept our room so neat and clean and met us with a smile and something cheerful to talk about several times a day. Several servers became good friends and would stop by and talk to us daily. The multiple food choices were spectacular (we loved the Chefs Table...I can't rave enough about how great it is). We enjoyed the variety of food choices and types of restaurants, trying dishes that we would not normally have at home and loved every one of them. Trying to be reasonable with food portions was difficult with so much good food available. Eating our way through the many choices was a challenge that we enjoyed. And there was the afternoon tea, how much fun that was. We did manage to maintain our weight. There was a varied selection of excursions available. We went over the descriptions of each and were able to book our first choice for every one. Our one disappointment was that we were not able to get into the Gdansk port due to high winds. A relative was born in Poland and we were looking forward to at least visiting the country for a few hours. The last minute alternate destination, Bornholm, was up the usual high standard we have come to enjoy with Viking excursions. Again these excursions were a scheduling marvel. Over 600 went by train into Berlin and everyone came back on time. The add on in Iceland excursions were wonderful. We loved the musical evening entertainment in the theatre. The music was tuned in so well to our age group, every evening the audience was singing along with the entertainers. We enjoyed the trivia contests and were always one away from winning. Next cruise we will win those mimosas! We could not partake in all of the offered on board activities as there was so much to keep us occupied. We found the port talks were very helpful. To fill in some free moments, and they were few and far between, we enjoyed the mini golf, shuffleboard, and scrabble tables. I staff and feel of the ship was so welcoming. Our every need was fulfilled Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
We like smaller ships. Viking does a wonderful job. The food was fantastic in all the dining rooms. The crew was excellent, they really catered to all our needs. Our cabin boys, Willy and Tijo were outstanding, couldn’t ask for ... Read More
We like smaller ships. Viking does a wonderful job. The food was fantastic in all the dining rooms. The crew was excellent, they really catered to all our needs. Our cabin boys, Willy and Tijo were outstanding, couldn’t ask for better. The excursions were great. Viking was great in the timing and picking the right guides for the excursions. The ship was immaculate, always someone cleaning. We didn’t do night entertainment, was too tired after long days of excursions.(which we picked), but we did hear the music, they played throughout the day, which was nice. Our embarkment and disembarkment went on time and smoothly. I can’t say enough about Viking they are great. Our extended days were great, Viking took care of our hotels and excursions and bags. Was a little disappointed that they had to cancel our stop in Poland, was looking forward in seeing the concentration camp, but understand the weather just happens and you have to compensate for that. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
We wanted to try Viking Ocean and to cruise in the Baltic. It was a great itinerary good excursions. The Viking Star was the best ship we have ever been on, and we are long time Azamara fans. We were a bit concerned as it is a bit larger ... Read More
We wanted to try Viking Ocean and to cruise in the Baltic. It was a great itinerary good excursions. The Viking Star was the best ship we have ever been on, and we are long time Azamara fans. We were a bit concerned as it is a bit larger than the Azamara ships that we liked. But the increased size made it better, larger cabins and public spaces. The ship was right sized for the number of passengers. I never felt like I was in a crowd. The specialty restaurants , included drinks and excursions offset much of the higher cost. The food was excellent, perhaps not as good as the one Oceania ship we were on previously, but everything else was better. The crew were exceptional, the bar tender quickly learned our preferences and cabin #. We were not big customers of his either. We Returned home and within a month booked a second Viking Cruise Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise because I wanted to cruise the Baltic Sea and my husband doesn't like big ships. I hadn't been on silversea before but I liked the itinerary and the cruising dates. My sister and her husband joined us. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because I wanted to cruise the Baltic Sea and my husband doesn't like big ships. I hadn't been on silversea before but I liked the itinerary and the cruising dates. My sister and her husband joined us. They thought the pricing was rather high and they didn't want to dress for dinner. However I convinced them it would be worth the cost and effort. After booking I was second guessing my decision because I found the SilverSea travel agent really shockingly terrible. He didn't return my phone calls or emails. I only spoke to him when I was lucky enough to reach him directly by phone. I was absolutely appalled. He never returned my sister's emails or phone calls either. Also I read some bad reviews on the chat line. Happily the cruise was fabulous in almost every way. The service was superb! Our suite was large, clean, functional and beautiful. We loved every restaurant and lounge. The decks were fantastic and the entertainment was outstanding. We had a great time in every port. The only area that didn't measure up were the SilverSea excursions. They could definitely have been much better. For example, not one of them had headsets and the groups were too large not to have them. That wasn't the only problem but I'm going into details on that. Luckily, we booked Alla Tours in St Petersburg which was excellent. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this cruise after taking a lovely and memorable river cruise with Viking. We had wanted to visit the Baltic countries on this itinerary. We were taken care of from the time we arrived in Stockholm until we checked into the airport ... Read More
We chose this cruise after taking a lovely and memorable river cruise with Viking. We had wanted to visit the Baltic countries on this itinerary. We were taken care of from the time we arrived in Stockholm until we checked into the airport in Bergen. The cruise on the Baltic was as smooth as the river cruise. This surprised us, as we had been on a previous Caribbean cruise (not a Viking cruise) that was quite rocky. The Sun and it’s crew was spectacular! The ship design and artwork were stunning and the cleanliness impeccable. The staff, to a person, was positive, professional and personable. The hiring, training and quality assurance of personnel is top notch. The staff were a team that handled themselves with a high level of friendly decorum. We ate our lunches on the Aquavit and found the food options to be plentiful and delicious. I loved the salad and salmon choices and my husband loved the meat, pizza and pasta selections. The freshness and taste of the food did not fail to delight. We often frequented the sushi bar as appetizers with early evening cocktails- heavenly! The choices for dinner in the Restaurant were plentiful and delicious. We also thoroughly enjoyed the Chef’s Table (paired wines with each course) and Manfredi’s (Italian perfection). The many areas of the ship made the ambiance relaxing and personal. We enjoyed both the infinity pool and outdoor seating on warm days and the enclosed pool area on cool days. We loved the coffee/espresso/ cappuccino machine availability 24/7. Yes, I am a coffee fanatic! We enjoyed evening cocktails in Mamsen’s- beautiful live music and ocean views. Our stateroom was lovely. It was cleaned twice daily -when we left in the a.m. and at turndown while we were at dinner. The bathroom was spacious with drawer space for personal items. The bedroom had ample plugs for phone/iPad charging and two barrel chairs for sitting. The private balcony with table and chairs was sweet for watching the world go by. My only minor comment is that the drawer space was very shallow and hanging space limited for 2 people. Truth: I bring a lot of clothes. I appreciate the fact that there are washers and dryers and irons/ironing boards on each floor with detergent -included without extra charge. I have never felt so wonderfully indulged as I did on this cruise. Yes, we booked our next Viking Ocean cruise before we left the Sun! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
We were looking for a special trip to celebrate our 50th anniversary. This cruise exceeded our expectations. We've cruised a number of times before but have never experienced the quality provided by Viking. One of the main selling ... Read More
We were looking for a special trip to celebrate our 50th anniversary. This cruise exceeded our expectations. We've cruised a number of times before but have never experienced the quality provided by Viking. One of the main selling points for this cruise was the small size of the ship, only 930 passengers. After cruising on ships that carried as many as 3,600 passengers, the small ship experience was great. Another feature we liked was the fact that a complimentary shore excursion was included at each port. Optional excursions were available at extra cost, but we found that other than the two-day excursion in St. Petersburg which we paid for, most of the included excursions met our needs. The guides for the excursions were some of the best we've experienced. While the cost of a Viking cruise is higher than many other cruise lines with similar itineraries, the amenities that are included such as the free shore excursions, the free beer or wine with lunch and dinner, the no extra cover charge for the outstanding alternative restaurants, the free mini bar stocked with sodas and snacks daily, complimentary Wi-Fi, make the cost difference minimal. The quality and variety of the food in all of the restaurants including the buffet was exceptional. The port talks where you actually learn about the port, not just the place to get the best deal on diamonds or tanzanite, were a welcome change from previous cruises we've taken. All cabins on a Viking Cruise are veranda cabins. There are no interior rooms. This cruise was without a doubt the best cruise we've ever taken. I would highly recommend the Viking Cruise experience. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Chose Oceania because of the itinerary (combination of Baltic Sea and Norway) and reviews. The itinerary was perfect. All ports were very interesting and added to our knowledge base (not one "bad" or "boring" port.) ... Read More
Chose Oceania because of the itinerary (combination of Baltic Sea and Norway) and reviews. The itinerary was perfect. All ports were very interesting and added to our knowledge base (not one "bad" or "boring" port.) The ship itself was perfect. Calling it "ship shape" would be doing it a disservice. Every inch of the ship was spotless, had beautifully decorated public rooms (including the bars), and was decorated with modern art (all over!!) Food was wonderful. Got to eat in each of the 4 specialty restaurants twice. Toscana was our favorite with Pepin's and Red Ginger a close second. The Polo Grill needed help with service. We are not buffet people but with the choices and special evenings at the buffet, we ate more dinners in the buffet area than the main dining room. In Vegas you would pay at least $50 per person for something like Marina's buffet. By the way, sign up for the galley tour - fascinating! Cabin was a Penthouse Suite (#11060). Perfect - - cleaned twice a day, Butler (Roger was great), large, and comfortable. Embarkation and Disembarkation was as easy as checking out of a hotel. Smooth. Only negative (and a major one for us) - - the Port and Shore Excursions. This trip was for "old" people with the average age being at least 70. Unfortunately, a lot of them are "infirmed" in some way and going on excursions slows down and limits what you are able to see. A 4 hour excursion is more like a 3 hour excursion - - people have trouble getting on/off the bus, in/out of their seats, slow walking, trouble hearing. Our best excursions were the ones we booked ourselves through the internet. My suggestion would be to book as many "private" tours as possible. With all this said, I would certainly cruise with Oceania again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We selected the Viking Homelands cruise because of the Baltic countries we wanted to visit.The ship is beautiful and exceptionally clean. Embarkation excellent and was on ship about 12:00 noon. Announced all cabins available about 1:30. ... Read More
We selected the Viking Homelands cruise because of the Baltic countries we wanted to visit.The ship is beautiful and exceptionally clean. Embarkation excellent and was on ship about 12:00 noon. Announced all cabins available about 1:30. Although we were in a veranda cabin, we ate in Manfredi's three times and twice at Chef's Table. Food was excellent in all dining venues. Didn't buy drink package. The complimentary wines at lunch and dinner were good quality table wines. If you want 90+ rated wines, buy the beverage package. Service in all dining venues was excellent. Loved the hot dogs and burgers at the sports grill. Gelato station was a favorite. The Restaurant offers a large selection that should satisfy any taste. The Cruise Director, Aaron, did an excellent job. The entertainment was good and targeted for a 60+ audience. The included shore excursions were average. We purchased three Viking optional excursions. They were more in depth and informative than the included tours. We also purchased two independent tours, an all day tour in Saint Petersburg and a Pulpit Rock tour in Stavanger. The included coach tours were our least favorite. They included a drive by of the city historical locations with a couple of 10 minute stops for photos. The included walking tours were much more enjoyable. They were concentrated on the historical centers of the cities and you could walk around a get a better feel for the city. Overall a wonderful vacation and we will definitely consider another Viking Cruise in the future. Read Less

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