5 Venice to Europe - Western Mediterranean Viking Ocean Viking Star Cruise Reviews

This was our first ocean cruise with Viking after 3 river cruises. There is a difference but we adjusted quickly. We picked this cruise because of the itinerary and the sites we could see. We were off the boat almost all the times that ... Read More
This was our first ocean cruise with Viking after 3 river cruises. There is a difference but we adjusted quickly. We picked this cruise because of the itinerary and the sites we could see. We were off the boat almost all the times that were available. The extra tours (on river boats you don't pay for them) were worth what we paid for with few exceptions. And the exceptions were the guides not the tours themselves. Life on the boat was great and in one sense I wish there was more time not on the boat. At first it was ok 13 days we can do it all on the boat. Well 13 days later we probably did 40% of what was offered. Our fault not Vikings. The cabin was what we paid for and lovely! the service was great and I can't say enough about this part. The only downside was the veranda chairs were NOT comfortable at all. The food....hmmm breakfast was good not great. Don't get me wrong there was so much to choose from but unlike the river cruises this food was cooked for 1000 guests and was rather on the bland side. Lunch was good offering quick lunches and buffet as well as restaurant lunches. So you could get whatever you were hungry for. On a lot of our tours lunch on the boat was impossible so we probably had 5 on the boat. Dinners ranged from restaurant quality in any good city to bland food cooked for the masses. The two special resturants were exactly that special. Food to order flavorful and over all excellent. The regular restaurant was very good but again food for the masses. The staff in all the resturants worked their hearts out to make us happy. They were so gracious! The shows were good but don't expect Las Vegas type shows. The cast was talented and engaged the audience. One show was up at the pool deck which I though was great. 2 or 3 of the nights they showed movies on the pool deck too. That was great! Like a drive in without cars!!! One disappointment there was no recognition of previous Viking guests or a reception for Viking explorers. THAT SHOULD BE CORRECTED!!!!!!! If any of this sounds negative or like we had a bad time we have already booked the transatlantic crossing in Febuary of 17. So let that be your real guide. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We were anxious to cruise on a brand new small ship and on initial voyage of this route from Venice to Istanbul. We had a very good time overall but realize that we are more in favor doing river cruises because of the lower number of ... Read More
We were anxious to cruise on a brand new small ship and on initial voyage of this route from Venice to Istanbul. We had a very good time overall but realize that we are more in favor doing river cruises because of the lower number of passengers going into ports that are right in town. Although small ship cruising has only 930 passengers, it did not feel much smaller than a large ocean ship. Being the initial voyages for this ship, (Viking Star), there are still some things that not work as well as they should. Plastic vinyl covering on the doors of the shower had to be left on for an unknown reason. Computer glitches for breakfasts in a special dining area called "The Restaurant" were occurring daily. However this problem did not occur in the evening. There was also a day when the entire ship had some computer problems but the only inconvenience was not getting internet. A good chance to relax! Overall, Viking is very good and we are already booked on two upcoming river cruises. So we are happy with them. We had a great time on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
The crews was great! I think the walk to the bus was too long dragging our luggage on arrival at Venice airport. All tours of the various cities was excellent except Rome where the local tour guide was terrible. She could not be ... Read More
The crews was great! I think the walk to the bus was too long dragging our luggage on arrival at Venice airport. All tours of the various cities was excellent except Rome where the local tour guide was terrible. She could not be understood. I turned my "quite box" off because it was difficult to listen. The food was great. The itinerary was excellent. The ports were all I wanted to visit. The room service was very good except that the sign in the bathroom said to "put the towels on the floor when we want them change to save the environment". The towels were changed twice a day. I will recommend Viking Cruises to all my friends. This was our second experience with Viking. We plan to cruise the Rhine next. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Overall we had a great time - there were quite a few rough edges but we attribute them to the fact that the ship was brand new and many things needed to be ironed out. Our relative took the same cruise in Sept. and it appears that many of ... Read More
Overall we had a great time - there were quite a few rough edges but we attribute them to the fact that the ship was brand new and many things needed to be ironed out. Our relative took the same cruise in Sept. and it appears that many of the issues have been corrected. Here were some of the items that warrant improvement on our cruise - extremely long lines for dinner service; spotty cable/internet connections; unilateral changing of shore excursion times without prior notice; confusion at the excursion desk came boarding time for the shore excursions; less-than-robust nightly entertainment offerings; ports of call selection/shore excursions that can be improved. Let us expand on that last point. We'll be blunt - there are more desirable ports to stop in Greece than the one selected (substituting Santorini or Mykonos would be highly desirable); there was little to do at Provence even though it's along the way (We personally would have preferred to skip it, get to Barcelona one day earlier as there's much more to see there). The coverage of the shore excursions also can be improved. For example, we were left to hang out at the Vatican in Rome for 5+ hours - the lines were very long and there's no way we can get in; we were told about taxis and public transportation to get to the Spanish steps/Trevi fountain but no one told us about the "skip the line" option to get into the Vatican. One member of our cruise watched Rick Steves ahead of time, knew exactly where to go and was able to see the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican. For most of us, we were neither here nor there. We just stood by the tacky souvenir shops around St. Peters Square waiting for the tour bus to come pick us up. Rome ended up being an underwhelming stop because of how the shore excursion was executed. By the way, for some unknown reason, Viking told us to bring our passports on shore in Rome. We checked with friends who went with other cruise lines and heard no such thing. Having your passport on you is not such a good idea - two members of our cruise got pick pocketed and these incidents are hardly rare in Europe. Barcelona was a fun stop but the city shore excursion was also poorly routed. We spent a ton of time on Mt. Juic whereas some of that time could have been diverted to a quick stop at the famous La Segrada de la Familia. In response to repeated requests by the folks on our bus, the tour guide had to call HQ repeatedly for permission to even do a drive-by. Finally the green light came down and the driver got to "swing by" for us to snap some pictures. Like I said, the Barcelona excursion itinerary could have been tweaked to make it more rewarding. IMHO, La Sagrada would be more deserving of our time than looking at knick knacks and guarding our wallets against pickpockets along the La Rambla. If you want better and more in-depth coverage, you are better off doing the hop-on/hop-off than the "free" Viking city excursion. That's just our opinion. Like we said, most of the kinks (except for the ports of call) appear to have been ironed out with the passage of time, but there is one thing that irked us the most. We paid extra for business economy and called the airlines to book our seats as soon as the itinerary was released in December 2014. Viking changed the routing without notifying us. We happened to call them on a separate matter and by happenstance, found out in March, with weeks of departure. Obviously the prized side-by-side two-by-the window seats that we reserved in December were gone because we were now on a different flight. We spent an hour on the phone with Viking only to be called to the terms and conditions - that Viking reserves the right to change our flight routing. However the Viking representative admitted that no emails or any other form of notification was sent out. For our troubles, they gave us $100 shipboard credit. You decide for yourself, whether $100 was sufficient compensation for being stuck in undesirable seats across the Atlantic that we just paid $2,000 for. To make things worse, the routing that Viking switched us to was totally counter to the concept of getting from point A to point B in the most direct fashion. The new route they put us on coming back took us east from Barcelona to Frankfurt where we sat for hours only to head northwest again. Mind you, we really needed to head southwest to get home. Instead we went north the New Jersey and by another stroke of bad luck, equipment problems (not Viking's fault but really more bad luck with this routing) made us sit at the airport for hours before we could board the last south-bound flight to head home. We finally made it to our home city's airport at midnight. We wasted the better part of the day sitting around airports and flying backwards to get home. Even without having to pay extra, it was not a good use of our time. Having paid extra and being stuck in undesirable seats made it doubly worse. Our suggestion - book your own flights; you can do much better and be somewhat in control of your destiny. Our relative did it and it worked out just fine; you can shop for upgraded airline seats yourself and do as well if not better price-wise and time-wise. We would be remiss if we do not mention the great things about this cruise - the staff was wonderful (housekeeping, restaurant) and everyone truly aimed to please. After all, many of the technical difficulties on board were not their fault. The food and wine (although offerings could be more varied as they start to repeat) served were excellent and befitting of a luxury cruise. In summary, we did have a good time, having accepted the bad that came with the good. Our fellow passengers, mostly being Viking river cruise veterans, were extremely understanding. Viking's river cruises were excellent as they really have it down pat. Everyone believes that the newness of the ocean cruise concept is to blame for many of our woes. With time, things should improve. They must as the competition is stiff and we get solicitations from Viking's competitors every week. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We signed up for this cruise over two years before we left, but decided to do a Rhine cruise last August which we thoroughly enjoyed so we are really comparing a river cruise with the Med cruise from Venice to Barcelona. We did two days in ... Read More
We signed up for this cruise over two years before we left, but decided to do a Rhine cruise last August which we thoroughly enjoyed so we are really comparing a river cruise with the Med cruise from Venice to Barcelona. We did two days in Venice prior and two days in Barcelona post. We loved our cabin on deck 4 in the exact back of the ship two floors below the Infinity Pool. Our neighbor in the "around the corner suite" who had joined the cruise in Istanbul warned us that in a tough sea the pool would splash out onto our balcony. We did not experience any problems with this however. We did struggle with a few things. The coffee pots which were hybrid European Keurigs were up very high and difficult to figure out (many passengers told us this as well). There were a number of issues with the amount of people signed up for tours especially on our first few days. We were not big fans of the buffet style restaurant but absolutely love the Restaurant where meals were served as well as the two specialty restaurants Manfred's and the Chef's table both of which we were able to get two reservations apiece. We met wonderful people all over the ship. The entertainment was great. We especially enjoyed the speakers on the ports and the ambassador from Iraq who spoke a number of times. The ship was beautiful. The staff was fabulous especially the two guys who watched over our room and made sure that our every desire was met. I asked for ice on the first day and every day thereafter I had ice whenever we came back to the room. They were wonderful as were the wait staff in all of the restaurants. My wife fainted the day we were leaving the hotel for the boat as we waited to check in. She had an issue with some medicine she had just started taking. We spent the afternoon at the emergency room in Venice. The viking people got us there and stayed with us the whole time and made sure we got on the boat (with an escort) I could not say enough about that kind of service. I have to admit the riverboat cruise was more intimate but we have been on large ocean liners and I would much rather the Viking approach. The Star was overall our best ever vacation. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Viking Star Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.8
Dining 5.0 4.7
Entertainment 3.0 4.1
Public Rooms 5.0 4.8
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.3
Family 1.0 4.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.2
Enrichment 4.0 4.3
Service 5.0 4.8
Value For Money 5.0 4.4

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