Sail Date: September 2018
We did the Vikings Homelands cruise on the Viking Star. We were impressed with the excellent food options, the onboard entertainment, and the choices of sidetrips. For us, seeing Swan Lake performed in St Petersburg was the highlight, ... Read More
We did the Vikings Homelands cruise on the Viking Star. We were impressed with the excellent food options, the onboard entertainment, and the choices of sidetrips. For us, seeing Swan Lake performed in St Petersburg was the highlight, although just touring The Winter Palace was a close second. There were three dinner restaurants, and the Italian option was our favorite. We consistently found there were numerous excellent choices, and the service was always friendly and efficient. The complimentary wine choices were quite good. The price fixe restaurant offered excellent courses, but we preferred having more choices. There were also another formal restaurant and the possibility of eating at a fourth choice offering a buffet. I would strongly recommend making dinner reservations at the two restaurants requiring them early in the cruise. The rooms were clean and very comfortable, and the cleaning crew did an excellent job. I highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
I had heard and read great reviews for Viking. I was interested in the Viking Homelands cruise and I was not disappointed. It was more than I realized. From the time Viking personnel met us at the airport and guided us through the port ... Read More
I had heard and read great reviews for Viking. I was interested in the Viking Homelands cruise and I was not disappointed. It was more than I realized. From the time Viking personnel met us at the airport and guided us through the port and then onto the ship, everything went smoothly. The food was great with good variety of menu and venue. The cabin was comfortable for the two of us. All the ports were interesting with great guides. I would have liked to be able to exchange a tour without getting charged extra because it was not the included tour for the day. I was so impressed that three days into the tour, I signed up for the Mediterranean cruise for 2019. I especially enjoyed the review of the next days tours and what was important to know before we were going to leave the ship. There was order in the groups leaving and where we were suppose to meet. I am looking forward to the next cruise in October. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We booked this cruise in November 2016, primarily for the itinerary and small ship and also took the option of the Iceland pre-cruise extension and looked forward to it for 2 years. It was expensive but having cruised before on upper ... Read More
We booked this cruise in November 2016, primarily for the itinerary and small ship and also took the option of the Iceland pre-cruise extension and looked forward to it for 2 years. It was expensive but having cruised before on upper premium and middle market lines we felt that that the inclusions of wifi, included wines and beer and some tours were worth it. Booking from New Zealand meant we had to pay in Australian dollars, unlike other lines, which left the currency risk with us. At our first touch point with Viking there was no-one to at the notified transfer point at Reykjavik Airport. We were at the place our documents told us to be and after 20 minutes I smelled a rat and took photos of where we were and the airport clock. The only contact phone number we had was for the pre-cruise hotel and they were disinterested. Eventually we were given the number of the local agents who, after a long time on the phone (at 3 bucks a minute), arranged a van to the hotel - had we had to do this ourselves a cab would have been USD150. It later transpired that Viking had not loaded our inbound flights into their system so while they knew we are coming they then virtually ignored us. The local agents went from uninterested to aggressive when we complained and told us we must have been in the wrong place and at the wrong time. Photographic evidence refuted this but to no avail. One female Viking agent turned out to be one of the tour guides and had a face like a dropped pie whenever she saw us. No tip for you! The hotel provided was the Grand Hotel Reykjavik. The promo information from Viking stated we would be accommodated in a Hilton or Hilton equivalent but this was no Hilton! It was 3 star at best with slow and unfriendly staff. A lot of our fellow passengers had flown in from the US, arrived at 6am and were told that check in opened at 2pm and to leave until then. Considering the cost of this trip, this was unacceptable - several elderly and exhausted passengers were on the verge of tears at being dumped for 6 hours in a hotel lobby after flying all night. The included Golden Circle tour was interesting with tours of geysers,Thingvellir National Park, the Gullfoss falls, Kerid Crater and many panoramic views of volcanoes and glaciers. Our guide, fortunately, was not the pie lady. The next day we went to the Blue Lagoon which was fun and then on a city tour. An early check out and transfer took us to the airport the next day and we flew Icelandair to Stockholm to board the Viking Star The arrival staff at Stockholm were efficient and we were swiftly transferred to the Viking Star. Boarding was efficient and a glass of champagne and a cool towel were offered one embarkation - a nice touch. The ship was beautiful on first impression and our deluxe verandah stateroom was spacious and nicely appointed with the best bathroom we have seen at sea (and even in some hotels). Our stateroom attendants were fantastic and we were greeted by name from the first day. The room was always made-up - we came back from breakfast after 45 minus to find it cleaned and made up - witchcraft we assume was involved. We found some jarring touches though - the terrace behind the buffet had potted rosemary plants on the tables - 50% of these were dead and dried up. We also noted drooping wires in some public spaces secured with electrician’s tape and the pool area smelled bad - chemicals and something else undefined but unpleasant. The included wifi was so slow that we gave up on it and used the wifi available onshore. In Aalborg, Denmark the weather was sunny and the temperature was 25C. With an onboard time of 1pm the restaurants were crowded, so we ate lunch in the very crowded pool deck. The much vaunted opening roof on the pool deck remained closed and temperatures soared - easily into the high 30’s and very uncomfortable. Many people complained to the waiters who tried to do something but to no avail. In most ports we took advantage of the included tours, which mainly consisted of a bus ride around the city, a bit of a walk around, an hour of free time and a transfer back to the port. These were mostly fine if uninspired. We were trapped in St Petersburg due to high winds and had to cancel the scheduled stop in Gdansk. Because of Russian visa restrictions we had to stay on the ship while it was trapped though Viking organised a couple of paid trips - none of these were interesting and we thought that Viking’s contingency plans should have included what to do if the ship couldn’t leave. Other ships that were due to call into St Petersburg couldn’t get in so there would have been plenty of other tour options available. Other paid tours we went on were high quality and good value compared to some of the other lines we’ve sailed on. Where Viking lost us as future passengers was the food. The wait staff were disorganised and slow - it was faster to go to the bar to get a drink than wait for a wine waiter to come to our table, though we noticed a marked improvement halfway through the cruise when a new maitre d’ took over the World Cafe. We saw a few sharp comments from him and shall we say motivation looked like it had increased. One wine waiter who had been uninspired before this, appeared with a bottle every time we took a sip - from sublime to ridiculous. The food in general was not good. The buffet was okay but uninspired.We noted every night that there were overcooked steamed broccoli, carrots and cauliflower as a vegetable option and these appeared in the Restaurant as sides. Salads had nice names, but were often warm and wilted which made the dressings slimy and unappetising. The desserts in the buffet were all cold with no hot option as seen on other lines. The stand out offerings were crab legs and shrimp in the World Cafe though man does not live on seafood alone. The breakfast buffet was acceptable but by the end of the cruise had become very “samey”. Dishes prepared on demand at the buffet, such as steak, Caesar salad or eggs Benedict were very good. Manfredis Italian restaurant was not a patch on the competition we’ve sailed on, the Restaurant suffered with the same wait staff malady as the buffet and the Chef’s Table was execrable. Not one of our fellow passengers we interacted with had anything good to say about it - it begs the question who Viking are trying to impress with this - their guests or themselves? A couple of standout fails. In the Restaurant I ordered a dessert of pear clafoutis. This is a golden custardy light dessert - except on Viking it was dark brown, hard and burnt - and sent back. The Chef’s Table degustation was horrible - lightly seared tuna as appetiser and barely cooked steak served on a plate with a smear of grey mushroom sauce that looked like moly grease and had all the visual appeal of that grease on a mechanic’s overalls. Thankfully there was bread on the table so we didn’t go hungry. Other lines do fine dining so much better. We should point out that the bar staff were fabulous. We had the Silver Spirits beverage package at extra cost and from day one our names and drinks were known and with generous pours. One waiter who knew we were going to be outside on the smoking area on deck on a stormy night gave us two drinks so we didn’t have to walk back while the ship was pitching and rolling. Guest relations scored a point for investigating the Reykjavik stuff up (prompted by my travel agent at home) and finding that Viking’s Sydney staff had not loaded our inbound flights causing us to be stranded at the airport. They gave us onboard credit in recompense and refunded the not insubstantial cost of making cell phone calls in Iceland. That scored point was promptly lost when we filled out the request for paid transfers from the ship to the airport on disembarkation which was slipped under the door. This form was never processed and our luggage was tagged as “own arrangements”. When we went down to guest relations to enquire a lady shrugged her shoulders and said we were on our own as the arrangements for transfers were closed. A phone call to the manager who resolved the first issue fixed that but why was it a problem in the first place? Disembarkation was rapid and easy, our bags were taken to the coach and we were swiftly transported to the airport for our own arranged flight to Oslo and London. SAS had technical problems however and virtually all of the Viking Star passengers were milling around the airport trying to find out from SAS and Viking air what was going on, particularly those with connections onto the US. So our trip ended as it started with distressed people milling about with virtually no support from Viking. We had high hopes for Viking, the itineraries, the inclusions, the beautiful small ship, all were turned to naught by amateurish and clumsy details, indifferent service in some areas and awful food. Viking charges an upper premium price but delivers a less than mid market experience. We’ll cruise again (already booked) - but not with this line. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
We had wanted to visit the countries around the Baltic Sea and this particular cruise itinerary suited our preferences. We had previously taken a Viking river cruise so knew that we would be pleased with the Viking ocean cruise. ... Read More
We had wanted to visit the countries around the Baltic Sea and this particular cruise itinerary suited our preferences. We had previously taken a Viking river cruise so knew that we would be pleased with the Viking ocean cruise. Everything about the cruise met our expectations and we look forward to another booking with Viking. The cities/towns/ports visited were very interesting and there is so much history. The tours we took were all very informative. Appreciated that enrichment films and lectures were presented before each port. This was helpful in understanding the ports as we visited. Also enjoyed the presentations on different gems, etc onboard. We travel to see the world and learn the history of different countries. Stopping at the different ports gives us a chance to talk with the locals and learn about daily life. We appreciate the great job Viking does to enhance their cruises. Staff, menus, cabins, ports... all is great. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise do to past experience with Viking river cruises and their excellent service. It also had the itinerary we wanted. The ship is only 3 years old and in perfect condition. Really appreciate the free water bottles and ... Read More
We chose this cruise do to past experience with Viking river cruises and their excellent service. It also had the itinerary we wanted. The ship is only 3 years old and in perfect condition. Really appreciate the free water bottles and included beer and wine at lunch and dinner. Staff spoke excellent English and addressed any needs that came up. Also appreciate the smaller passenger count and very seldom felt crowded except on a couple of occasions. Dinning was generally excellent except for a few poor entrees. Appreciate the no extra charge for the specialty restaurants. For dinners would have appreciated two entree sizes because a number of times because of the size of the servings I felt food was wasted. Would have liked all liquors included with the price as it is on other luxury cruise lines. Because of weather we did not get to stop in Poland which is something we were looking forward to. 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise because our backgrounds are Polish, German, Danish and Irish, so we would be able to visit some of the countries our ancestors came from Embarkation took only about 10 minutes. We enjoyed the port lectures in the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because our backgrounds are Polish, German, Danish and Irish, so we would be able to visit some of the countries our ancestors came from Embarkation took only about 10 minutes. We enjoyed the port lectures in the theatre giving us an idea of the countries we would visit. Most of the tour guides on the buses were very knowledgeable, and having headsets was a great help in hearing everything they said. In our leisure time, we enjoyed relaxing on a lounge chair by the pool, the music was always so calming. We did not swim in the pool because the water was a little cooler than what we are used to in Florida. We also enjoyed listening to the guest piano player, and guitarist. Our favorite restaurant for dinner was The Restaurant--we enjoyed being waited on and they always tried to give us a table for 2 at the window. We ate in Manfredi's twice, and the food was excellent, however, it was quite noisy for our liking. The World Café also had so many choices to choose from, all delicious. I think we had gelato every day of the cruise! We never really had to wait on any lines for too long with anything we did. We loved that we could walk from one end of the ship to the other and not be tired out. The shows in the evening were all outstanding. Our cruise director, Brian Rodriquez led an interdenominational service on Sunday and sang the Our Father which blew everyone away with his phenomenal voice. He also had his own show one evening, and we couldn't believe the range of songs he performed. When all 600 of us returned on the train from Berlin, we were welcomed back with a reception by the crew & staff with a red carpet, champagne and music. It was the perfect ending for a perfect day. Service was excellent from everyone, and we were always greeted with a smile and nice salutation. Eventually they called us by our first names. All good things must come to an end, and we disembarked at 6 am, The Viking porter crew took care of our bags from the terminal all the way to check-in at the airport. We felt very safe and cared for. Thank you Viking for a wonderful trip! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
The itinerary is what interested us the most. We had done 2 river cruises with Viking before and felt confident that they have an excellent product. The itinerary was excellent as were the programming aspects of this cruise. The boat ... Read More
The itinerary is what interested us the most. We had done 2 river cruises with Viking before and felt confident that they have an excellent product. The itinerary was excellent as were the programming aspects of this cruise. The boat was immaculate and the service was beyond expectations. At times, the excursions could get crowded -- same with the port with a combination of boats -- but Viking did its best to minimize those situations. The meal choices were plentiful and all of high quality. There was always something you could do on the boat, or choose to just hang out. We loved the diversity of the itinerary and the ports. Also, the boat was just the right size -- large enough to not get bored and small enough to not feel overwhelmed. We took advantage of an on-board promotion and booked our next cruise. We are very much looking forward to it! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We are Interested in the Nordic countries and the Baltic. Also Findland, Russia and Poland. Food was very good but the standard white wine (a French Blanchard was not very good). It would have been nice to very the complimentary wines. ... Read More
We are Interested in the Nordic countries and the Baltic. Also Findland, Russia and Poland. Food was very good but the standard white wine (a French Blanchard was not very good). It would have been nice to very the complimentary wines. Service was very good particularly room service. We were disappointed we missed Gdańsk Poland because of weather. Our room steward was excellent. The free excursions were generally good but could have been more extensive. The Berlin excursion left too much free time and did not stop enough at the major attractions. The optional excursions were excellent but a little pricey. This being said the buses and loading were well organized. Embarkation and debarkations were well managed and quick.! Read Less
Viking Star Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 0.0
Dining 5.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 0.0
Family 1.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 5.0 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0

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