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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose the cruise primarily for the itinerary - ports in Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium and Denmark. Before booking and paying for your cruise, Viking does not identify ports where you will have only a partial day to explore. A full ... Read More
We chose the cruise primarily for the itinerary - ports in Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium and Denmark. Before booking and paying for your cruise, Viking does not identify ports where you will have only a partial day to explore. A full day in Barcelona after embarkation was cancelled and we spent a day at Tarragona, a beautiful stop but not Barcelona. We only had partial days (6 hours) in Cartagena, Porto, Bruges and Copenhagen. All of these ports deserve more time. Viking provided shuttle buses in most ports but did not advise of this service before sailing. This complicated our independent preplanned tours of cities. Viking maps of ports were inadequate and we always needed to get maps supplied by local tourism kiosks. The food generally met our expectations but was very uneven ranging from excellent to meals that were not as ordered and one that was inedible and sent back. Wine choices were extremely limited. We were offered the same Chilean white wine for at least 4 days in a row. The wine was never related to ports of call despite visiting major wine producing countries. Viking creates high expectations for food, wine and local experiences through their advertising which leads to disappointment. The ship is beautiful - minimalist decor, spacious lounges and dining areas and quality art make for a comfortable relaxed ambiance. The small number of passengers made embarkation and disembarkation and dining a pleasant experience. Included and and optional shore excursions barely met expectations. Included excursions were bus tours and very slow, very limited walking tours. Optional shore excursions were neither as interesting nor as active as those advertised as "example" excursions before we booked the cruise. Each day in port as we disembarked, there was a cooler with hundreds of plastic water bottles for passengers. Given that Viking cruises on the ocean, you would think they would be more ecologically responsible. Give passengers a reusable water bottle when they board. Entertainment was limited in variety and quality. Very glad we arranged our own flights after hearing of other passengers' experience with flights arranged by Viking. The small ship experience was so good that we would travel with Viking again. We would just check all the details of the itinerary before paying and we would lower our expectations on food and drink and compare prices accordingly. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Viking Jupiter – Western Europe – Barcelona to Copenhagen – April 25–May 9, 2019 For Context - We are in our late 60’s and this was our 3rd Viking Ocean Cruise in 12 months. We did the Caribbean in February 2019 on the ... Read More
Viking Jupiter – Western Europe – Barcelona to Copenhagen – April 25–May 9, 2019 For Context - We are in our late 60’s and this was our 3rd Viking Ocean Cruise in 12 months. We did the Caribbean in February 2019 on the Viking SEA and did the Baltics Homelands Cruise on the SKY in May 2018. We consider ourselves quite mobile and enjoy tours/activities that require lots of walking and exercise. We hope to do 5 to 10 miles walking whenever we are in ports when we take cruise vacations. We have done primarily DIY trips where I planned everything and managed traveling by train or car to different hotels or B&B’s every couple nights, combined with DIY sightseeing. As we’ve aged, this certainly takes a toll on us both in the planning and the execution – so another reason for trying out cruising again after many years. We have been on other cruise lines, but picked Viking on recommendations from friends, who really like the format and clientele makeup. We found this to be very true: focus on history, ports, education and casual but good food. Less focus on entertainment and keeping people highly occupied all the time. Viking seemed to be different and targeting a niche market which we thought we would enjoy: no kids, no formal nights, no casinos, no Las Vegas Entertainment, no flamboyant dinners, no late night parties and more – so we thought we might meet others who had the same feelings at least. Viking Jupiter is a fabulous ship! We’d been concerned about being on a new ship given how people have recommended waiting for Viking to work out kinks. However, the itinerary was just too good to pass up and we thought that with several months “shakeout”, Viking would correct most if not all of the major issues on the first several voyages – and we were correct. We observed some very good updates in the Viking Jupiter from our earlier Sea & Sky cruises. – with one major exception (the new Planetarium). For the most part, Viking has this down now and does a fantastic job. We could see, however, some small kinks, which was expected as they grow and have to add and train new staff. Simple patience and pleasant discussions with newer staff went a long ways to helping them learn. Room (see below in separate section) TV and the Viking App: We enjoyed the TV, not so much for the shows like BBC, Television, movies, and more, but for all the information you can see about the cruise itself. Viking did a great job of getting all the information into one place here – and accessible by an amazingly simple remote control! Love it! We would check the weather, look at the Bridge Web Cam live, view the port talks, enrichment lectures, and more (like Ted talks). We could also check our billing account live, view restaurant menus, make dinner reservations, and more!! The app was also well designed and easy to use. Was looking at it constantly throughout the day to check on weather, the Daily Schedule, menus, making reservations, the excursions, things we had booked, future ports, and much much more. Again – kudos to Viking here!! Entertainment We enjoyed the evening shows at 9:15 in the Star Theatre. We are not as hyper critical as others and so they were all quite good in our opinion, some better than others. The only comment is that some of the shows seem to go from ship to ship (as in ABBA, the Beatles, Songs of the Decades), but there was still a good variety. Although the shows in the evening were quite popular, we never had an issue getting a seat, as long as we arrived by 9:00 or 9:05. Probably the one disappointment (versus our previous cruises) was the Cruise Director. To be fair, she had just come over to Viking from another line – but she came across as ditsy, unprofessional, unprepared, and not knowing anything (which certainly couldn’t be true or they wouldn’t have hired her). Just not our style I suppose. Another unexpected treat was the rotation of musical entertainment around different public spaces throughout the days – we had an excellent pianist, a Classical Trio, and a Guitar player (who, sadly, had his speakers on too loud though). They would play at different locations such as Explorer’s Lounge, Wintergarden, and the Attrium – particularly at cocktail hour and after dinner. We did not go to hear the bands in Torshavn, the ship’s night club, but people did say they enjoyed it. History, Lecture, and Enlightenment This is easily one of the best parts of the Viking Cruises. Each cruise we’ve had excelled here. Jupiter was outstanding! We had 4 or 5 guest lecturers and historians as well as an Astronomer. The depth and variety of these different lectures/presentations was amazing – we couldn’t attend each one in person, but they were always available on the Room TV shortly afterwards. True highlights! We thoroughly enjoyed Russell Lee, one of the lecturers, who was absolutely enthralling in his talks on Anne Frank, How Wool Changed early Europe, the Mona Lisa you didn’t know about, and the Tulips Bubble of 1600’s Holland. So interesting!! About the only aspect we didn’t care for that much were the port talks. They had such great promise. The issue to us is that they started out great with some good knowledge on the ports, but too little time was spent on that and it seemed that nearly two thirds of the time was then focused on selling/pushing the various tours/excursions. Since by the time you see it you are already pretty much committed in or out, what was the point? I did like however, the way they used the map graphics to show where everything was. Would have rather spent time in tips and how to see the ports or attractions, what the people are like, what to watch for and watch out for, and more things like that. Improvement needed here. Onboard the Jupiter We spent so much time in the Explorer’s Lounge (as we had done in prior cruises). On the 7th level, it has such a fantastic view, and a very small bar as well. It is adjacent to Mamsens so you can get something to eat there and carry it to the lounge are to look forward. Planetarium: The one big change we viewed as not so good: The Jupiter, as a newer ship, greatly changed the explorer’s Lounge. A Planetarium was constructed that takes over ½ of the 8th floor of the Explorer’s Lounge. This sounded good at first, but the execution is sadly lacking. You had to get tickets (at the excursion desk) to go in and they showed 3 different short films (not that good) on Astronomy and Science up on the Planetarium ceiling. A poor use of this huge dome. There are only 26 seats and you have to crane your neck to look upwards. Was not that interesting-or comfortable. So much more could have been done with this and perhaps Viking will figure it out and/or remove the Planetarium on future ships. Another fallout was that it made the Explorer’s Lounge much more crowded all the time, as most people had to jam into the 7th floor area. Not a good tradeoff in our opinion. I felt they could have used the Astronomer instead to give talks/discussions on the stars above. Again, loved the walking deck on level 2 – we used it most days we could for exercise. Only issue was there were plenty of signs telling everyone to walk clockwise, yet it seemed half the people ignored that, which caused some confusion. A nice addition from the earlier ships were additional tables and chairs on this deck at the fantail so you could watch the wake as we sailed. Amazingly, it was never busy as very few seemed interested in just taking it all in as we traveled on the seas. For us it was a perfect place to relax. The spa was another treat onboard. Only services like massages cost anything – the use of the spa area is free/included. Loved the “resistance” pool and hot tub. You can visit the snow room and then the dry sauna room. Even take a cold water dunking with a bucket! (The hot and cold Nordic routine!) But we most enjoyed lying on the heated “lounge” pads. If you wanted private space to sit and read, there were so many good nooks and crannies to curl up in! A treat not to be missed was the Viking Heritage “room” area on the 2nd level – with lots of interesting material (like a museum) on the Vikings. The wifi was excellent on the ship. A new policy that limits rooms to 2 active users at a time really has helped and certainly was not the inconvenience that many had thought would happen. Food and Restaurants: World Café: We did quite a bit of our eating here. It just fit out style so well. We liked the nice, quiet and relaxing atmosphere and ambience. There were never any lines, there were such great waiters to attend to you, and we never felt rushed. Plus the views on the 7th deck from there were the best! The food selection was great in our opinion and you could see what you were getting ahead of time so less wasted food. Absolutely enjoyed the sushi every evening – an outstanding sushi chef! You could also get some food made to order (such as steaks and other pasta, grilled shrimp, and more). Overall we thought the quality and variety of the food here was way better than we expected (and had been led to believe by many of the other reviewers who did not care for it). We liked that we could always find a table and usually always one with a nice view. We sort of got to “know” the World Café “regulars”!! We were always promptly served with drinks (wine in this case) from such a friendly staff. Since there was never any feeling of hurry or rush, we would go up and create an appetizer plate, relax, have a glass of wine, rehash the day and watch the view, and then meander back to get perhaps some hot plates…. Eventually the evening always led to: gelato! A real treat. Loved the new cooking station back by the Aquavit Terrace where you could order omelettes in the morning, pastas and other items in the lunch time, and a noodle bar in the evening. Not only did it improve the flow, but allow us to engage with the cooks! We enjoyed the Aquavit Terrace itself for sitting and having a drink or glass of wine before dinner – what a view! The tables surrounding it and extending out onto the fantail were perfect for enjoying outdoor dining when the weather was good. Chef’s Table: Now this was definitely something we could not experience at home! Our favorite place! So unique! We wound up going 4 times as they have rotating menus every several days and we wanted to experience them all. For us the atmosphere was perfect – a nice, relaxing, quieter environment, where the waiters take you through a multi-course special meal paired with various wines. Not only educational but excellent food. You actually had some time to converse with the staff! Despite comments by others, we felt we got plenty of food (and wine) and if for some reason you were still hungry you could always go to the World Café for more food. The Restaurant: We did not attend the main dining room this cruise although we went on our previous ones. As stated before, each cruise had a personality. On the Jupiter, for some reason, this was the most popular place and always had long lines to wait to get in. (It was wide open on our previous cruises). We also heard reports that it took a long time to get waited and served here. Mamsens: This small place near the Explorer’s Lounge has some interesting items. We had oatmeal and toast for breakfast once, had the many different open faced sandwiches for lunch (shrimp, roast beef, salmon), and then had their cakes in the afternoon quite often! Those were to die for, especially the almond one. The Viking CEO’s mother’s special recipe we heard. The Pool Grill: Located out by the pool, they served grilled food to order on a limited menu. The hamburgers were some of the best we have ever had. Our tried and true order, however, was the seared ahi tuna, cooked perfectly at medium rare for us! That, combined with the wonderful salads they have, made for a perfect lunch while sitting outside by the pool. On the Jupiter there are quite a larger number of tables and chairs to eat outside, compared with the earlier ships. A real treat was when the staff used the Pool Area to put on specialty meals – such as Italian night, or Seafood Grill, and in one instance on a sea day, a huge “brunch” was held with some amazing dishes and treats to choose from. My observation is that Viking is getting more creative in the presentation of various meals. Wintergarden: We had tea here just once, as it was absolutely packed every day for some reason. Wonderful scones and small sandwiches, and the choices of tea were amazing. However, for us, the cacohony and din in that room was too much to bear – couldn’t hear anyone talk!! Not a very relaxing atmosphere to have high tea!! Manfredi’s: We’d been to this place on the other cruises and went just once on the Jupiter. We actually cancelled our 2nd reservation. To us, this place was not special at all, although the food was acceptable. The environment was not our style – seemed more raucous, loud, boisterous like a large bistro with too many large parties that have had too much to drink. For us not that comfortable a place to eat. Also, it seemed short staffed and so we had to constantly wait for everything – and it took well over 2 ½ hours to get through the meal. The portions were so embarrassingly large and it seemed like such a waste of food – but perhaps they were targeting a certain audience who wants that size. However, it was indeed quite popular – especially with large groups. Yet it didn’t seem any different than so many restaurants in the USA back home – nothing special. But maybe familiarity to home is what people wanted. The Staff: We thought the staff and crew were again absolutely wonderful and beyond expectations each cruise. Not only was every single person helpful and professional, they managed to be friendly and engaging without going overboard. We used the excursion desk and customer service locations on the 1st level quite a bit and found them all quite helpful at getting answers to any questions we had. We enjoyed that even if they didn’t have the answer they were able to find someone who did. We did have some small issues during the cruise, but we also were able to get them addressed in a timely fashion. We enjoyed some of our discussions with the restaurant staff as well, and sort of got to know them, and vice versa. We liked that they were attentive (and noticing), but not overbearing or pushy, like some places. Our captain and the other officers were outstanding. They exuded a quiet confidence and trust. Much of this had to do with their communication to the passengers about things that were happening or going to happen – such as the weather precautions, changing of ports, or arrival/departure times, and what to expect. We never felt in the dark and very much appreciated the good communication. ITINERARY/PORTS/EXCURSIONS: Barcelona: we arrived a few days early. I would very much recommend “Barcelona Day Tours”. We took a private tour to Montserrat that also included Barcelona and Park Guell. Well worth it. The next day we did a Free Walking Tour of Barcelona – again quite outstanding! Good thing we did since the Jupiter wound up having to change ports the evening that we boarded (we learned this about 2 weeks before sailing). At first we were disappointed, but the added port (Tarragona) was well worth it. Tarragona: This lesser known port about 30-40 miles south of Barcelona was a real hit! We walked all around town and the ship provided free shuttle buses to and from the port. Famous for its Roman Ruins – plus it was quite uncrowded. An unexpected treat. Will be interesting to see if this becomes the norm with Barcelona forcing ships to leave early. Cartagena: One of the more disappointing tours. We did the included tour. It is luck of the draw on who you get for a guide, as we spoke to friends who were on other buses who had fantastic tours! Very inconsistent. Our guide had a difficult time with English and didn’t go much beyond what was necessary. A highlight though was the visit to the Roman Amphitheatre and Museum. Just wish we had more time there. We enjoyed then wandering around the city streets on our own, finding a nice shop to get some Spanish wine to bring onboard. The Jupiter docked right in town -easy walking distance. Malaga (Granada): We were unable to get the optional excursion to the Alhambra, even with a DV2 room, as it instantly sold out. Apparently the Alhambra only makes a limited amount of tickets available per day. We tried private tours but they were mostly sold out and one wanted over $500 pp. Sort of a blessing in disguise, as we had 2 outstanding tours in Malaga. We took the optional Nerja Caves tour in the morning. What a surprise – an exceptional trip to visit the Caves underground – very unique. Note: no one with mobility issues should do this. After quite an amazing walk down through the caves, we spent time in the city of Nerja – what a wonderful place on the Mediterranean! Would highly recommend this tour. In the afternoon we did the included tour, which was surprisingly good and well worthwhile-another good guide. Saw quite a bit of Malaga – first via a short drive around town, and then a good amount of walking all throughout the city. Again, the new terminal port is located right near town so it was easy to walk all around everywhere. Although disappointed in not going to the Alhambra, we were quite delighted with how our day turned out. Porto: We took the included tour of the city – very good guide. It is definitely a very gritty city but seemed quite real with very interesting people. The tour gave us a chance to do a lot of walking throughout the city, seeing some amazing sights, finishing down by the Douro River, where we had some free time to walk on our own. Just wish we had more time in Porto. It really grew on us! We did see the Viking River Boat on the Douro River – perhaps that might be in our future. Falmouth (Cornwall): The weather was not so good, so we cancelled our St Michaels Mount Optional tour and did the included Cornwall drive tour instead. Turned out to be a good decision. We had an outstanding guide who told us all so many great stories about Cornwall as we meandered through the countryside. One of the real highlights was stopping at the parking lot next to the ocean and having time to walk out to the causeway that goes to St Michaels Mount – that was an experience in itself! We were back on the ship for lunch and then spent the afternoon walking all around Falmouth. The ship docks right in the harbor – easy walking distance to town. We must have done perhaps 5-7 miles and it was just a wonderful, sometimes, gritty fishing village to wander around. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Portsmouth: We were fortunate to have some wonderfully clear sunny weather entering into Portsmouth harbor, although quite cold in the low 40’s (F). Glad we got up to see us come into Portsmouth – a beautiful sight to behold! You could see the famous Portsmouth Spinnaker Tower for miles! We had been before to most of the places on the optional tours (Stonehenge, Salisbury, London, Winchester) and so decided to just take the included tour. We heard from those who went to Stonehenge that they had a fabulous time. Our tour was also quite good as we had an outstanding guide (again). We got to see all around Portsmouth area, stopping at several places and getting a real feel for the area. After lunch we decided to explore on our own. The port has a free shuttle to the museums and ships. The terminal area is quite a bit under security and it takes a decent time to get in and out and to the ship. However, we took the bus down to the D-Day museum, which I wanted to see particularly given that the 75th anniversary celebrations were going to occur in a few weeks. This museum did not disappoint. Absolutely amazing place. We wound up spending much more time here than intended and didn’t get to go to the ships, but it was well worth it. We met at the museum a 95 year old British vet of D-Day and spoke with him for an hour. A true highlight and memory. LeHavre, France: It was raining when we arrived. We had booked 2 optional tours, scheduled to take up the whole day – Honfleur in the morning and Rouen in the afternoon/evening. However, a day or two earlier, we were notified that the Yellow Vests were planning a large demonstration later in the day in Rouen, and the French authorities recommended that tour groups leave before that, just to be safe. So we had to choose between Rouen and Honfleur and chose Rouen. I’m sure Honfleur was great, but our Rouen optional tour was exceptional. We had an excellent guide who made the ride to Rouen very interesting by telling us the history. This tour was an all walking tour – and quite a distance – not recommended for anyone with mobility issues. But that is why we liked it. We must have walked around nearly all of old Rouen over cobblestone streets, in alleys, and into all kinds of cathedrals and historic sites. I would very much recommend this tour. Despite the on and off rain, we loved Rouen and will have to come back. Bruges Thank goodness we had already visited Bruges for 3 days a few years ago. Unfortunately our luck ran out. We had purchased the optional Bruges Walking Tour and this was likely the worst excursion we have ever had on a Viking Cruise. The city was again magnificent – albeit very cold, windy, but sunny. Our guide was simply – incompetent. I knew we were in trouble when he was reading and searching from his many pages of notes. He really didn’t convey much of anything. We would have been better to go into town on our own again. We spoke to others on the tour who had different buses and guides – they had such a good time – so again, luck of the draw. I sort of expect that with included tours, but was quite disappointed with having to pay $59 each for this one – as were others on our bus. Win some lose some though. Go with the flow. Amsterdam: After Bruges, the gods must have taken pity on us. We didn’t have the best weather, but that’s about the only negative on our visit to this wonderful city. We’d been here many times before and it is likely our favorite European city. We had thought of just exploring it ourselves and/or doing an optional tour outside town, but the weather was bad. We decided to take the included Canal Cruise – and we were certainly glad we did. We had probably the best guide of our whole trip. He was from Amsterdam and made cruise so interesting and entertaining. Such wonderful stories and delivered with humor and audience interaction. We were all sad when the 2 hour ride ended. After lunch on the ship, we head back out on our own and walked 8-10 miles all around Amsterdam, revisiting all of our favorite places. The ship docked so close (10 minute walk) to Amsterdam Centraal Train Station! The vibe of Amsterdam, with its wonderful people, bikes traveling everywhere, the amazing shops, cheese tastings, and historical sights – was again a highlight for us. We did hear that Amsterdam is seriously considering curbing tourism as it has gotten to popular a place to visit. We’ll have to see how that all transpires. (Venice and Bruges are also considering the same thing) Kiel Canal: And now for the true unexpected highlight of the cruise. And we never left the ship. Sailing through the famous Kiel Canal in northern Germany was amazing. The shores are just so close and people on the banks would wave and shout to us as we glided, seemingly effortlessly, past small towns & container ships, bridges, roads, countryside, and more. The weather turned nice and we got to see the late sunset off the canal at nearly 10 PM, watching small pairs of swans gliding by…. Simply breathtaking! Copenhagen: We’d been here before with the Viking Sky and had taken the Included walking tour. It had been quite good and gave us lots of exercise last year – but we wanted to do something different this time. Given that we planned to spend a couple more nights here after leaving the ship, we decided to venture out. As such, we did not take any Viking tours in Copenhagen, although if we had, we would have done the Rothskilde Cathdral and Viking Ship tour. We wound up taking the free Viking shuttle bus from Langelinie pier (the close pier near the Mermaid) into town, near Nyhavn Harbor. Spent the afternoon at Tivoli Gardens-an easy walk. Then took one of the Canal Cruises – the weather turned cold windy and bitter but it was still a fascinating cruise. I believe Viking optional tours has it – and it would be well worth it to be sure. That evening (our last on the ship), the Copenhagen Harbor made the Jupiter change ports to the farther out Oceankaj pier. This was because the closer pier is normally used only for ships that do not disembark/embark or stay the night. So another couple mile quick cruise. On disembarking at the end of the cruise the next day, we then took the bus from Oceankaj into town and to our hotel. Must say that Viking handled the disembarkation quite smoothly and efficiently. Post Cruise: I highly recommend that if you have not seen Copenhagen, that you stay longer. We used our extra days to 1) take some free city walking tours and walking around our own on day 1 and 2) Take an all-day sightseeing tour outside Copenhagen to see Rothskilde Cathedral, the Viking Ship Museum, Fredericksborg Castle, and Kronberg Castle. Hamlet Tours: one of the better private tours we’ve ever done. There were several other passengers from the Jupiter on this small private van tour. In summary – a wonderful time, not without some hiccups, but upon reflection, all better than expected. As stated earlier, each cruise we’ve been on has had a very different feel and personality, based on the passengers who happened to be on board, the ports, and the weather. The real consistency has been the Viking crews and service – outstanding! We will be booking future cruises on Viking. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This is our second Viking ocean cruise and we have already booked our third! The ship is luxuriously appointed with comfortable seating everywhere. There is a choice of dining venues from the informal World Cafe to the Chef's ... Read More
This is our second Viking ocean cruise and we have already booked our third! The ship is luxuriously appointed with comfortable seating everywhere. There is a choice of dining venues from the informal World Cafe to the Chef's Table. Food is outstanding at each and every venue. The onboard "enrichment" (lectures, talks, films etc.) were all most interesting and enjoyable, with some outstandingly good speakers. The expeditions were also excellent, well planned and interesting. They even provide a 'shuttle bus' service for passengers wishing to arrange their own excursions. The exercise and spa facilities are just the best ever. The sauna, steam room, snow cabin, swimming pools and other installations are But the thing that really makes Viking the BEST is the staff. Every member of the ship's crew and staff wants to make their guests as happy and comfortable as possible. Any small problems that may arise are dealt with promptly and courteously. Viking are not the cheapest, but they are undoubtedly the best value for money. I'm counting the weeks until our next Viking cruise! Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our first experience with Viking and, though all-in-all a good cruise, we departed feeling like there was room for some improvements. Viking’s reputation and recent ratings speak for themselves, so my wife and I were very ... Read More
This was our first experience with Viking and, though all-in-all a good cruise, we departed feeling like there was room for some improvements. Viking’s reputation and recent ratings speak for themselves, so my wife and I were very much looking forward to this cruise, our sixth. We sailed from Barcelona, Spain on the Viking Sea ocean ship, ending up in beautiful Bergen, Norway. The 15-day itinerary along the west European coast was very attractive to us, both in length and variety of ports to be visited. We expected an above-average experience, which Viking pretty much did deliver, but they fell short in some unexpected areas. Spoiler alert: yes, we will likely sail with them again, despite the lapses that I’ll try to articulate here, along with some well-deserved compliments. The highlights/stars of the cruise were, for us, the ship and the crew. Both were exceptional compared to previous cruise experiences. I need to start somewhere so I guess I’ll go in alphabetical order. And since I usually refer to a ‘ship’ as a ‘boat’ I’ll talk about the Viking Sea first. ;-) Our last cruise had nearly 5000 passengers on it – way, way too many. Without going into details, the crowds, lines, noise were obvious issues. ALL of that was absent on this cruise. The Sea carries up to 930 passengers. There is no casino, no interior cabins, no huge shops, no children, no photographers; everything is scaled-down from the bigger liners, yet we never once felt harried or even particularly delayed, even while getting food at the buffet. The longest line we stood in was at the U.K. stop where everyone had to go thru a formal immigration interview. At first the number of folks queued up seemed exceptionally daunting, but we were whizzed in and out of there in no time. Much appreciated. The interior of the boat was stunning. Built in 2016, it was modern, well-organized and immaculate. The décor spoke to my Scandinavian roots; I’ve always been a fan of that type of furniture coupled with the clean, eye-pleasing space design. One unexpected detail we liked were the leather-wrapped stateroom door handles and hallway safety railings; very plush. The customer service/lounge area on deck one was appropriately called ‘The Living Room’ and instantly evoked sophistication and comfort at the same time. A few decks up, the Wintergarden lounge area amidships was especially attractive. I can’t find the words to describe it – do yourself a favor and Google it real quick. Our favorite area ended up being the Explorer’s Lounge at the bow on deck seven. It had two levels, the lower featuring a bar and LOTS of comfortable seating; the upper level was smaller, a bit more private and very quiet. Both had panoramic, 180 degree views of the outside. Side doors led to an exterior walkway in front which provided, IMO, the best forward-facing views of port arrivals and sail-aways. Every evening at 6 we were treated to either a violin/cello duet or piano music, which further enhanced the pre-dinner, end-of-the-day unwind, accompanied by refreshing libations and the new friends we met. I’m not a spa guy, but as promised to my wife I tried it on the last sea day. I felt it was modest, though classy; that is the space was in keeping with the rest of the décor. It seemed rather small to me, likely due to the boat’s size. That probably also explains why all the chaise lounges were taken. I hung in as long as I could, but on my way out I couldn’t resist checking out the Snow Room, a small rustic chamber with real snow in it. I sat for a few moments and actually felt somewhat refreshed. Never seen one of those before! (Avoiding the extreme temptation to say it was ‘cool’!) Ok, how was the room? We were in a Deluxe Veranda stateroom on deck 5, ALL the way forward on the starboard side, right below the bridge. The size (270 sq. ft.) and layout were serviceable. The bathroom was relatively spacious and featured a heated mirror and floor. The heaters were activated automatically when you inserted your sea pass card to activate the room lights, but they could not be turned off until you left the room (or took your card out). The heated mirror prevented fogging during showers and worked well. I didn't like the warm floor, in general, as it tended to heat up the whole bathroom space. My wife, who is always cold, loved it. For some reason there was only one little 22” towel rod in there, which pretty much forced us to have most of the towels changed out each day. If there’d been one or two more I would’ve gladly re-used those linens. The living area was comfortable, with a nice big flat-screen monitor in front of the bed. A small wet bar tucked in the desk had a nice assortment of snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. There was a bit of extra space to cool off wine bottles and food. The balcony was smallish, but not tiny. If the weather had been less windy I could see the two of us hanging out there more often than we did. The under-hanging search light just outside the railing (part of the bridge structure right above us) was only a minor annoyance. The MAJOR annoyance was the lack of dresser and shelf space. We got only three small drawers and a couple of open shelves in addition to an un-remarkable closet space. This was confounding given the open wall areas where they could have thrown up one or two shelf/drawer units. Some new friends showed us their Penthouse Junior Suite on deck 8 and that one had an actual dresser, in addition to more room. Another issue was the nightlight. Located at floor level near the bathroom, it was BRIGHT. We first tried covering it with some tape we’d brought, but we soon realized that a folded-up towel was required; it was that annoying. Mad, mad props to Viking Sea's crew. On our last cruise this element was a memorable low-point. This time, everyone (literally), no matter if he/she was a deck hand, housekeeping, or bridge officers, always looked us in the eye, smiled and offered a pleasant 'Good morning', ‘Enjoy your day', whatever. This simple gesture is essential, IMO, for an enjoyable cruise experience. The customer service personnel were knowledgeable, the bartenders were personable, and the wait staff were very attentive (with one lone exception, see below). The highlight came after our Bruges, Belgium excursion. As our bus pulled up to the boat, we were greeted to the sight of a huge red carpet and a double line of what appeared to be most of the senior officers and staff. Music was playing, hands were clapping, feet were stomping, and we got the 'welcome back aboard' of a lifetime! Gosh knows how long they had to stand out there; we were one of the last tour groups to return. I asked a waiter about it later and he indicated that they do this at least once a cruise, pretty much at random. How fun. Nice touch Viking! We also enjoyed the many educational lectures they offered, most of them aimed at the ‘middle ages trade routes’ theme of the cruise. Their ‘Port Talk’ presentations gave us useful info on the next port of call and the scheduled excursions. If we missed anything, we could view a recording of it later on their internal media system. I’m not a night owl so I can’t comment on the evening entertainment. Speaking of excursions, everything was very well organized. There were always plenty of personnel around to direct us and answer questions. The tour guides were fun and professional. Accommodations were made for folks using crutches, wheelchairs, etc. The disembarkation process on the final day was very efficient (sort of a one-way, final excursion, right?). No lines, we were whisked thru the terminal where our baggage, porters to carry them and taxi cabs were all waiting. Sadly, I need to move on to the "irks" part of this review, i.e. the food. The buffet was, maybe predictably, repetitive after a while. They did throw in some variety, most of which was not for my palette unfortunately. At breakfast, the scrambled eggs were Eggbeaters; to get a real egg you had to order an omelet or grab an Eggs Benedict (on which the ham slices were always way too small). The coffee was mostly bitter to my taste, and for some reason, you had to go from one end of the buffet to the other just to pair a bagel with some cream cheese. And I can't for the life of me understand why they couldn't, at least once in a while, put out some seasoned ground beef, chopped lettuce, cheese and tortillas so I could have a taco or something (i.e. Mexican food). They had Italian, they had Spanish, they had Asian - what gives? Overall, the food tended to be under-seasoned and bland, period, with very few options to jazz it up other than ground pepper or some Tabasco sauce. The memorable food-related highlight was our dinner at the 'Chef's Table' and an Asian-style menu. It was fantastic. Very gourmet-style, each course was as pleasant to look at as it was to eat. For daily faire, the burgers were excellent, and the buffet’s bakery always had a wide variety of tasty breads, rolls, pastries, etc. The low light was Manfredi's, their flagship Italian restaurant. Number one, I couldn't read the menu, it was ALL in Italian. I knew I wanted the rib eye steak, their signature dish, but I needed the waiter to help me choose a side. The food was good (yes, I can recommend the rib eye), but as we were eating, the waiter decided to disappear. From then on, we had to ask for everything: plates to be cleared, dessert menus, ready to order, etc. A second waiter eventually came by, and our desserts instantly appeared. Great, but where's the coffee we ordered? So we waited. And waited. Finally the first waiter decided to check in and he went off to look for coffee. The maître d’ stopped by - we had three people looking for coffee and the desserts were still sitting (granted, our choice). Sadly, it didn't end there. My wife's Tiramisu was a gloppy mess; just one little layer of sponge at the bottom, topped off in a coffee-cup-sized container with some kind of whip creamy, chocolate swirly, ... glop. We got back to our room and we're thinking 'Holy cats, what just happened?!' It was extremely disappointing, especially given the high regard in which the restaurant was held. Just a few more random observations to offer and I’ll wrap up (thanks for hanging in!). The captain had an irksome habit of docking early. We enjoy sail-ins and are willing to get up early to watch the early-morning ones when the opportunity avails. The Viking Daily newsletter always provided lots of info including arrivals/departures so we planned accordingly. More often than not we woke up to realize that we were already pulling into a port long before our alarm was due to go off. Oh well. Another frequent irk was the spotty wi-fi. It seemed to happen mostly during the day – the signal would just quit. Lastly, at many ports Viking would arrange for shuttles, or at least guides to help independent sightseers to explore on their own. This was completely absent at Amsterdam, which was especially confusing after my wife (being much more adventurous than I) found out that, with just a bit of advice from a fellow passenger, a short walk led to a very attractive part of town. The boat’s resources were silent on this. One last remark, and I don’t consider it to be a knock, is that the boat, at 745 feet long and 94 feet wide, got tossed around a quite bit in the choppy seas we encountered coming into the English Channel, then later in the North Sea. It got a bit dicey at times, where you had to walk really carefully when you were moving around. I doubt a larger boat would ride that way but IMO it just added to the experience. So, all things considered, it was a very enjoyable cruise. A lot of this was due to the spectacular, unusual stretch of clear, moderate weather we enjoyed in all the ports we visited; no rain, not even many clouds. The rain finally did arrive - on the day we departed. Viking, for the most part, came through with a wonderful experience, just as we expected they would. I remember on the last full day, a few of us were in the Explorers Lounge filling out Viking’s lengthy feedback questionnaire and it became apparent we were all struggling with how to rate the cruise with “As Expected”, “Better Than Expected”, etc. We all ‘expected’ an exceptional experience from Viking, but it seemed weird to choose “As Expected” because it felt like we were dinging them. In fact it was a compliment – we expected better and Viking delivered. On that basis, we’re more than willing to look into another ocean cruise with Viking. Too, I strongly suspect that we’ll try one of their river cruises in the future. And on that note, I’ll close. Thank you for reading this – I hope you’ve found it helpful. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our first cruise with Viking Ocean. In general, Viking Ocean provides a very good product. Specific strengths and weaknesses we experienced are noted below. EMBARKATION/DISEMBARKATION - The fastest/smoothest we’ve ever ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Viking Ocean. In general, Viking Ocean provides a very good product. Specific strengths and weaknesses we experienced are noted below. EMBARKATION/DISEMBARKATION - The fastest/smoothest we’ve ever experienced. STATEROOM: Deluxe Verandah, #5003, quite forward under part of the bridge. Best bathroom we’ve ever experienced, especially the heated floor and mirror to deter fogging. Comfortable bed. Could’ve used some more drawers. The coffee maker was nice to have, but wish it made a standard cup of coffee. A couple issues re: cleanliness. The desk had flip-top mirror with small storage cubbies. This area needed attention (hairs, debris, “crud”). On the day we were leaving, we found an extra bath robe, complete with dust bunnies under the bed. The in-room literature indicated that missing items would be charged to the on-board account. Sure hope a previous occupant didn’t get charged for that robe! An upside to the location of the stateroom was that we could look forward as well as to starboard. A downside of the location was periodic noise/footsteps at late hours from the bridge. We aren’t sure if this was a result of the specific location of the stateroom, but when we were in areas with more swell/wind, that cabin SQUEAKED and RATTLED to excessive degree. The ceilings, the walls, the closet doors chattered, such that it interfered with sleep. Oh, and part of a closet door was broken. SHIP AMBIENCE/SPACE: The ship is beautiful, and easy to navigate. We loved that there were only 900+ passengers. Therefore, there weren’t lines or crowds. No problem ever finding a chaise lounge or a quiet place to sit. This is a huge plus. The two-story forward Explorer Lounge has such a nice ambiance, as does the Wintergarden, and Living Room. EXCURSIONS: We opted to take the included tours with one exception. We purchased the walking tour of Bruges (Easter Sunday) and were glad we did as getting to Bruges on our own on Easter on a short port shop presented transportation difficulties. The excursions were well-organized, on-time, and the buses in good shape. The guides were informative. The “Paris on Your Own” excursion was an excellent included value. Two particular exemptions to the value of the included excursions was the stop at Cartagena (not enough substance, somewhat aimless), and the substituted port of Cherbourg, France for Falmouth UK. In the case of Cherbourg, Viking had little time to make arrangements. Our tour took us to a lovely chateau near the city, then there were about 1.5 hours left. The bus driver wanted to take us back to the ship; our guide Claudia was having words with him that the tour wasn’t over. Long story short, we ended up at a square in town and we were to return to the bus at an appointed time. And we found that the bus was gone, not to be seen again. (I can only surmise that the bus driver had had enough and took off). Fortunately, there was a Viking shuttle bus and we were able to make it back to the port. Two downsides of the excursions: 1) That they can punch an inconvenient hole in the day, so plan carefully. In a few cases, it made it hard, if not impossible, to do any additional exploration in port on our own, as where the ship was docked wasn’t walking distance. When a tour did offer some free time in the city – it ranged from 20 to 45 minutes. This left us with the option of shopping, photography, or trying a local delicacy. In Bruges, we had about 40 minutes and we were on a mission to buy chocolate gifts. That’s all we had time for – no opportunity to have a true Belgian waffle or frites. This pattern was repeated in several cities. 2) Upon boarding, we inquired about a bridge tour. The did offer them, without additional charge (great), but then learned that they were scheduled exactly during the times of the included tours. Portsmouth was a longer stop and we appreciated the provided shuttle bus from the port to back to the city. SERVICE: Excellent, pleasant and efficient. Guest services helpful, no lines to speak of. It was a pleasant change to have enough waitstaff circulating in World Café, in stark contrast to buffet venues on other cruises. Waitstaff remembered drink orders and our room number. My husband developed a liking for a particular type of Norwegian beer that wasn’t available at every location and the staff did always try to locate one for him. We only had two notable service lapses, both in Manfredi’s. Manfredi’s started out so well, and then nose-dived. We were seated, were told we were “business class” (?) and shown to one of the few booths. The wine steward appeared annoyed to perform her job (scowling, for example) and we were just completely forgotten during the dessert, even as we tried to wave someone down since there was a problem. The desserts arrived but the coffee we ordered did not. And did not and we couldn’t get any staff attention even with 3 waitstaff in the vicinity. How we finally got the coffee would’ve been comical if it wasn’t such a service lapse. FOOD: I know food is a touchy subject, and I’m not a “foodie” or a picky eater. Based on previous cruises, this was the most inconsistent aspect of the cruise. Nothing was bad, except as noted below, but food at the buffet (World Café) was in my opinion repetitive and lacking in variety, especially for breakfast. We really would’ve liked some quiches or frittatas, for example. And why was there never sausage links or patties? The Eggs Benedict gets a particular negative review because the English muffin had an approximate 1 inch by 1.5 inch piece of ham on the muffin, leaving a large area without meat, egg, or hollandaise sauce. I really loved the raisin rolls (croissant dough-based) and being able to make a cappuccino in a to-go cup. I had the “sandwich of the day” a couple times at the World Café and I was impressed with how the staff member would assemble it with such detail so it looked as good as the display. Magazine cover quality. I would’ve liked to try the Norwegian waffle at Mamsen’s, and although I didn’t get to, I did have one of the open-faced sandwiches for lunch and enjoyed it. We dined once at the specialty Chef’s Table during the Asian Panorama cycle. Really enjoyed it as well as the wine pairings that were chosen with the Silver Spirits beverage package. Manfredi’s: We each had the rib-eye steak which was excellent as well as the starters and sides. We were advised to save room for dessert. I had ordered the tiramisu and someone must have made a mistake in its preparation. It was served in a deep soup-like bowl. When I spooned into it, I immediately encountered an abundance of whipped cream. I started looking for the ladyfingers. Would you believe that tiramisu had ONE thin layer of ladyfingers approximately in the middle of the dish (which was at least 4” deep)?! I started hunting for more, but no, the bottom was more whipped cream stuff. The overall impression was eating a bowl of white glop. I gave up on it and honestly, if we could’ve gotten the wait staff’s attention without making a big scene I would’ve shown the “tiramisu” to the headwaiter, but unable to get anyone’s attention, we just left and wondered what had happened in that venue. The Restaurant – We had breakfast, lunch, and dinner several times at The Restaurant. Don’t know how I managed to get a mostly flavorless whole lobster (slightly uncooked from frozen and wasn’t accompanied by any sides, such as rice or potato) and apparently missed the only evening prime rib was offered. The evening of the Bruges stop, a featured entrée was described as a “regionally inspired” short rib dish. Being familiar with (and having prepared) Belgian and/or Flemish stews of this type, I had a good idea of what the flavor profile would be. It arrived, looked good, had tender chunks of beef and properly cooked vegetables. But it lacked a seasoning profile. Bland. The best way to describe it was that it was a blank slate – if they wanted to go French they could’ve gone with thyme, or rosemary for Italian, for example. I expected to taste dark beer and nutmeg being “regional” but it was absolutely generic – did the person with the herbs and spices forget to do their job? I didn’t finish any more of this dish either after a few bites. Once, at breakfast at The Restaurant I ordered the Eggs Benedict and asked to have enough ham/Canadian bacon put on the muffins to actually provide coverage on the muffins. This request confused the waiter, so I gestured and repeated my request. What I received was extra pieces of meat on a side plate so that I could construct it myself. OK, but I could go into most any coffee shop (Denny’s, IHOP) and not have this issue. It was strange. LECTURES/GUEST SPEAKERS/EVENTS – My husband attended (or watched later) more of these than I did, but I did attend 3 lectures presented in the Star Theatre by Dr. Peter Durrans. They were engaging and informative. I really enjoyed learning more about the areas we were to visit and what made them rise (and fall) in prominence. This cruise coincided with Easter Sunday. The cruise director, Jenna Beaudoin, led a non-denominational worship service that morning in the Star Theatre. Prayer, gospel readings, music and hymns by crew members (and even a volunteer who answered Jenna’s request to lead a hymn she wasn’t comfortable with) accompanied with a leaflet. The service was nicely done and well attended. And the chocolate bunny that arrived in our stateroom was a nice touch too! SPAS/POOLS: The spa is a beautifully appointed area. I wish the thalassotherapy pool was a bit warmer. Enjoyed the sauna, plunge pool, and the snow grotto. The stone chaises are so comfortable that I could’ve fallen asleep. Both the main pool and stern Infinity pool always seemed too cool to be enjoyable when I tested the water and other guests in the area noted the same. I really wanted to try out the infinity pool, so that was a disappointment. One BIG gripe: The hours of the spa! It closes to guests at 8:00 pm. I went down after dinner and a day of a lot of walking, looking forward to enjoying the area only to find that it is closed for staff use only. This is unacceptable to me, as I’m a after dinner soaker. And there are not any actual show performances after dinner to get too, either. SUMMARY: Based on the awards and recognition that the young Viking Ocean line has been receiving, we had high expectations for the cruise. Our expectations overall were met. If I could I would've scored this review as 4-1/2 stars. Would we cruise Viking Ocean again? Yes. Would we be more mindful of the times a particular itinerary spent in port, and the excursions relative to those times – yes, that would be absolutely critical. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We booked back to back Mediterranean cruises, Dec 30 2018, and Jan 6 2019. We were attracted by the itinerary, and the wonderful reviews of Viking. The itinerary turned out to be misleading, and Viking appeared to suffer from institutional ... Read More
We booked back to back Mediterranean cruises, Dec 30 2018, and Jan 6 2019. We were attracted by the itinerary, and the wonderful reviews of Viking. The itinerary turned out to be misleading, and Viking appeared to suffer from institutional disorganization and generally poor food and service.. Ports - After paying in full soon after booking, which is a Viking requirement, we discovered that the ship dropped anchor in our ports of interest, but didn't actually remain in port long enough to actually see anything. All-aboard was 1:30 PM in Cagliari, Vigo and Portsmouth. As a result, it was impossible to reach Santiago de Compostela from Vigo, and impossible to reach the Sardinian interior from Cagliari. Viking offered no excursion to Stonehenge from Portsmouth, but we arranged for a private tour which got us back to the ship in time. In Malaga, Viking offered full day tours to Granada, none of which included the Alhambra. They offered no explanation for this. We arranged a private tour.for this port also, and purchased our own Alhambra tickets. Whoever designed this itinerary doesn't understand that cruisers might actually want to see something in the ports. Viking decided that the port call in Tunisia should be canceled for safety reasons, and substituted Naples. Unfortunately, this occurred on Jan 1, and all museums and archaeological sites were closed. The following day we were to have visited Trapani, Sicily, but this too was canceled because of high winds. Instead, we stayed until 1:30 PM in Naples, and were given a bus ride to the museum. The announcement of this new tour stated that buses would leave on Jan 2 at 7:30-10:30, every half hour. We could pick up tickets on Jan 2 between 10:00 AM and 1:00 PM. This was minor, and laughable, but so typical of communications from Viking. Enrichment lecturers - excellent. Unfortunately, they covered topics like the Alhambra, and Santiago de Compostela, places unreachable because of our short port stays. Apparently, this was another example of Viking's disorganization. Even the cruise director was unaware that our schedule would not permit visiting many sites that would have been expected to be on the excursion list. Ship - The Viking Sky is a lovely, well-designed ship. Furnishings are Scandinavian. Public spaces are comfortable and roomy. There are sufficient elevators and laundromats. We could not enjoy the outdoor spaces because of the cold weather. The pool roof was kept closed, adding a strong smell of chlorine to any meal we attempted to enjoy at the pool grill. Cabin - of average size, and lacking in adequate storage space. Three small drawers under the safe - that's it. The thermostat in the cabin seemed to have little control over the cabin temperature. Soundproofing was very good - we never heard noise from the hall, or cabin doors slamming. Bathroom - large shower, wonderful heated floor, and generous storage space. We ended up storing some of our clothes in the bathroom. Bathroom materials were linoleum and Formica rather than granite or marble. Food - ranged from okay to awful. I don't remember a single dish that I would describe as wonderful. The two specialty restaurants, requiring reservations, are Manfredi's and the Chef's Table. Our restaurant reservations regularly disappeared from the computer system (no explanation given). Manfredi's has a large Italian menu. Several of our dishes were bad enough that we decided grappling with the reservation system again was not worth it, and we skipped a return visit. The Chef's Table has a fixed menu that changes every three days. Our first visit was so bad, we decided that there must have been some calamity in the kitchen, and we tried again. This was just as bad. For example - Peking Duck turned out to be a small, soggy crepe wrapped around dry, flavorless, diced duck meat. Across the top of the crepe were arranged thin, dry, slices of duck. Around the perimeter of this creation was a circle of brown gravy, completely devoid of Asian flavors or seasonings. This was typical of our experiences at the Chef's Table. The Restaurant offered an extensive menu which looked good, but dishes were usually often poorly executed. One good thing is that Viking offers dinner as early as 6 PM for those who prefer to eat early. Service - Phone calls to the home office prior to sailing were a waste of time. Customer service was completely clueless - either could not answer questions, or provided misinformation. On board, service was invariably friendly and helpful. Our cabin steward was capable and knew how to perform his job. This was not the case with the restaurant and bar staffs. They gave the impression of being inexperienced, and stretched thin. It was not unusual to sit for 10 minutes waiting for someone to take a drink order in a bar. One night, in the Restaurant, our waiter gave another waiter a lesson on deboning fish, using my entree as the teaching tool. I didn't mind that - but should they really put a waiter on the floor who doesn't know how to debone a sole? Liquor - Cocktail prices were reasonable, on average $6-$8, as were the premium wines by the glass. We had read reviews that reported that the complimentary wine was pretty awful, so we took the Silver Spirits Liquor Package, which allowed us to have the "premium" wines at dinner. These were not great, coming from bottles that sell for $10 or less in the US, but better than the complimentary wines. Liquor service in the restaurants was slow, again because of thin staffing, and getting a refill was sometimes difficult. Finally, we requested to be seated with the same wine steward every night, and he took care of us. Entertainment - I can't comment, as we didn't see any shows. The resident guitarist named Matthew, however, was excellent. The bottom line is that Viking has many good ideas of what the cruise experience should offer - medium sized ships, comfortable surroundings, no photographers or casino, good value. But - . I believe they have expanded too quickly, and cannot begin to staff the ships with a sufficient number of experienced personnel. Itinerary, food, and service are the most important parts of the cruising experience for me. Unless Viking can get these things straightened out, this will remain my first and last Viking cruise. , Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This cruise was our first on Viking, but we have been on at least 30 cruises on various lines. Embarkation was the best we have ever experienced. Our Penthouse Jr. Suite was very nice with more than ample room, comfortable furniture and ... Read More
This cruise was our first on Viking, but we have been on at least 30 cruises on various lines. Embarkation was the best we have ever experienced. Our Penthouse Jr. Suite was very nice with more than ample room, comfortable furniture and an outstanding TV system with a great number of choices. There were two small negatives. The A/C system did not seem to respond well to the thermostat and we felt the room was just a little warm on several nights. Secondly, there was a lot of noise from slamming doors. Some was from passengers, but a lot was from crew doors. This is not uncommon on ships, but there is really need for better design and manintenance. The crew was excellent-the best we have ever experienced. The Viking recruitment policies and training are really evident throughout. In particular, our stateroom attendant was the best ever, but everyone did a wonderful job. The enrichment speakers were also outstanding. Subject matter was great and both were engaging and enthusiastic speakers. Shore excursions varies a little in quaity. The optional excursions were the best and were always better than the included excursions. We had a few negatives. The specialty restaurants were good, just not outstanding food. Service was very good. We felt the service in the dining room was slow on a few nights, but this could have been a function of dining times. The pool grille really needs work on service. Lines were always long with table numbers barely adequate. This could be alleviated with salads being self-service and sandwich orders taken and served at the table-as on Azamara. Similarly, there needs to be ice cream lines on both sides of the buffet. As others have noted, entertainment is not a strong feature of Viking. It was all provided by on board entertainers/staff and the Cruise Director. It was the weakest offering of any cruise we have been on. Overall, the Viking Sky offers very good value for the money. It is a beautiful ship with a great crew. With a few tweaks, it would have been 5 star. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We have sailed on many cruise lines, but this was our first time on Viking. It was also our first time in the Mediterranean in winter. We have always heard the old adage that sailing the Med after October could be interesting. Luckily ... Read More
We have sailed on many cruise lines, but this was our first time on Viking. It was also our first time in the Mediterranean in winter. We have always heard the old adage that sailing the Med after October could be interesting. Luckily for us, the seas were calm and the weather was beautiful. Embarkation went very smoothly and may have been our best boarding experience ever. We arrived at around noon and there was no line and we were on the ship in record time. The ship is very Nordic with clean lines, plenty of public spaces and a very light and bright interior. We went to the buffet for lunch and thought the food was good. At 2:00PM our cabin was ready. It was nice to enter the room and find our luggage waiting for us. We had a V4 cabin and the space was pretty standard for a balcony cabin. We liked having two chairs in the seating area rather than a couch. The only thing we wished for was a bit more drawer space. There were 3 drawers next to the closet and one more small drawer in each of the nightstands. Most other cruise lines have a way of maximizing storage space, with nooks and crannies located throughout the cabin - not Viking. The bathroom while not overly large was very nicely appointed. We especially loved the heated floors and its separate heating system. The balcony did not get put to much use as the weather was a bit chilly for sitting out. We thought the food in the main dining room was excellent with a varied selection of continental dishes. The waitstaff was attentive with both the waiter and the wine steward keeping close watch on their tables. While a visit to the Chef's Table and Manfredi's is included, not sure I would rush back to either. I think part of the problem for the Chef's Table is truth in advertising. When we have gone to chef's tables in the past, the chef has actually been there talking about the food. This is not the case for this experience. For us, the whole eveing was odd. We arrived right on time for our reservation and we were promptly seated. We had signed up for the Asian meal. We sat there for 5 minutes before we were acknowledged. Rather than the server, the first person who appeared at our table was the wine steward. As we had the Silver Spirits drink package, we were provided a wine pairing with each course. The wine steward poured three wines and told us what each wine was, but not why it was chosen to pair with the food. Finally our waitress came by the table and delivered menus. We were told that bread would be out soon as it wasn't ready yet. After a while we noticed other tables were getting bread delivered, so we asked and we were told we would get ours soon. When someone says that the bread is not ready yet, the expectation is that we would be served wonderfully warm bread fresh out of the oven. Well, the only thing that would make this bread "not ready" was no one put it in the basket. If the food had been fantastic, we would have forgiven some of the other hiccups during the meal, but it wasn't. The only thing I can think of is that they got a great deal on hoisan sauce as the main course duck was smothered in it. Dessert was strange as well with separate bites that perhaps on their own would have been okay, but combined on the same plate they just didn't work. Our experience at Manfredi's was better. The food and service was good, but we both felt the food in the main dining room was just as good. We absolutely loved the spa and the fact that so many of the amenities are available without charge. Even on sea days, the spa never felt crowded. The times we used the sauna, we were the only ones in it. That may be due to the fact that each changing room (men and women) have their own sauna. It appeared that the steam room was co-ed. We liked the snow room for cooling off after a sauna and the hydro-therapy pool was incredibly relaxing. While Viking touts its free tours in each port, I am reminded of the saying, "you get what you pay for." So in this case, not much. It felt like we spent an awful lot of time on the bus and not much time actually seeing anything up close. In fact, after taking the free tour in Cartagena, we cancelled our free tour in Vigo. Part of the problem may have been the limited time that Viking was in port. It seemed that the times could have been expanded a bit - getting to a location at 8:00 AM and needing to be back on board by 1:00PM really didn't leave a lot of time for sightseeing. We frequented the bar on the first floor and thought the service was great. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
The ship, the Viking Star, along with the cabins and on board entertainment was exceptional. The cabin housekeeping crew responsible the our room, 5054, provided outstanding service. The dining was superb in all the restaurants, especially ... Read More
The ship, the Viking Star, along with the cabins and on board entertainment was exceptional. The cabin housekeeping crew responsible the our room, 5054, provided outstanding service. The dining was superb in all the restaurants, especially Manfredi's Italian restaurant. The service in the restaurants was excellent. A special thanks to Mr Halil Kayhan and his staff, especially Ravi. Leo and Adrian provide excellent service in the Torshavan. Speedy and Christina made the nights in the Torshaven a memorable experience. Alexandria's piano concerts we're excellent. Our goals for the trip were met thanks to the shore excursion staff. Judi and Dora did an outstanding job to ensure we saw the Alhambra and the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. The last shore excursion to Portsmouth was disappointing because Portsmouth is famous for three ships, The Mary Rose, The HMS Nelson, and the Ironclad. Unfortunately, only the Ironclad was seen from a distance. We recommend a separate shore excursion be offered to downtown Portsmouth to include visit to these three ships. This was our third cruise with Viking and, once again, it was a wonderful experience and we look forward to more in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
I’ve been on the ship (Viking Sky) before and it is very nice so we decided on scheduling another cruise with Viking. I was looking for a birthday cruise. Viking provides great service and even a bottle of sparkling wine (Sekt) and a ... Read More
I’ve been on the ship (Viking Sky) before and it is very nice so we decided on scheduling another cruise with Viking. I was looking for a birthday cruise. Viking provides great service and even a bottle of sparkling wine (Sekt) and a cake on your birthday. Plus all the great restaurants, shipboard amenities, very nice spacious cabins, and comfort while you cruise. Really enjoyed the aquivet terrace for lunch al fresco. Excursions were well planned and very enjoyable. The transfers to the hotel and ship were smooth and the transfer from hotel to ship even included a free tour of Barcelona. We have already explored much of Barcelona on the extension before the cruise and enjoyed tapas and watching the Spanish (Catalans) celebrate the end of the holiday season on Three Kings Day when they actually celebrate and give. Gifts so our Barcelona tour on the morning of January 6 was very quiet. The cabin is very nice. Every cabin has a veranda and ours was a penthouse veranda on a middle deck. The bathroom is very functional and roomy for a ship. Good toiletries and high quality towels plus lots of storage for your kit. The heated floors in the bathroom are very nice especially on a cold morning. The cabin has lots of storage for clothes and everything that you might bring aboard. There is even a mini refrigerator with complementary drinks. Plus binoculars to use on the veranda, a hair dryer, and robes to wear to the spa. We used the outdoor hot tub, very nice. On previous trips we have used the indoor spa with hot tub, pool and snow grotto - a lot of fun. This trip we finally used the exercise room, which is included free, and has good quality machines. All of the restaurants are nice. We had lunch in the World Cafe and it has great variety of food and also had sit down multi course lunch one sea day in the Restaurant. Dinner was in The Restaurant most nights with local specialties or European food. The nights we ate in the upgraded restaurant - Manfredi’s was excellent - great Italian food and especially the steak Florentine. The Chef’s Table is also nice with food and wine pairings although frankly we don’t like it as much as the other restaurants. Breakfast is great with lots of choices at the World Cafe and one day we tried the Norse food at Mamsem’s although really just had a waffle. The ports on this trip are nice but not as special as other trips. Barcelona and Malaga were the best. Cartagena almost as nice. Vigo was interesting and we did the optional tour to Bayona. Portsmouth was a good port especially cruising right by the old town as we left the harbor. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
If Viking Ocean were publicly traded I would buy stock. The ships are the perfect size, you never feel crowded. The most remarkable thing is really the crew. Viking has the happiest crew on the ocean and this makes all the difference in ... Read More
If Viking Ocean were publicly traded I would buy stock. The ships are the perfect size, you never feel crowded. The most remarkable thing is really the crew. Viking has the happiest crew on the ocean and this makes all the difference in the way they interact with passengers. Our room stewards, Kari and Rosiel added a great deal to our overall enjoyment. They were extremely attentive to our needs and were always joyful. We enjoyed the entertainment especially dancing at the Torshavn. The band and bar staff were really good. The guides and transportation for all the excursions exceeded our expectations. My experiences with Viking tours have opened up new opportunities for my future destinations with Viking because of the confidence I have in their planning and safety considerations. Cruising with Viking is the best we have ever experienced. We have already booked an exciting trip in October 2020. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise to experience one of the new Viking ocean ships. We have taken four Viking river cruises. We are experienced cruisers and wanted to compare Viking with Regent, one of our favorite lines. We rate the two very close. We ... Read More
We chose this cruise to experience one of the new Viking ocean ships. We have taken four Viking river cruises. We are experienced cruisers and wanted to compare Viking with Regent, one of our favorite lines. We rate the two very close. We like the light woods and Nordic decor of the Viking Sky. The restaurants are better on the Regent Explorer as is the food quality. We also like the all inclusive Regent, which covers cocktails, tips, and business class air. The entertainment was good, but the big shows were repeated in the second week. We had not realized that this series of voyages were in 7 day segments, so many passengers left the ship in Rome, and new ones boarded for the continuation to Barcelona. Cruising in the winter always carries the risk of weather problems, and indeed we lost St. Tropez before sailing and Sicily during the cruise. The shore excursions were good with the exception of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. It was extremely crowded - an hour outside, then another hour in the museum before we were packed into the Chapel with hardly room to move- just shuffle along and try not to lose your balance or lose sight of your guide. Never mind trying to look up at the ceiling for more than a few seconds. I think Viking should work with someone to improve this tour. As is it is not worth the cost. Another small complaint with the dining room is it was difficult to get seated with other people. The lectures were mixed - the retired colonel lectures on the WW2 were very good, but the rest were unimpressive or of no interest. I might consider sailing with Viking Cruises again if the itinerary is good. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
I had taken a number of Viking River Cruises and they were great, so I decided to take one of their Ocean Cruises, and it was wonderful, all that I expected. The staff was very friendly and helpful. The food on board was excellent, with so ... Read More
I had taken a number of Viking River Cruises and they were great, so I decided to take one of their Ocean Cruises, and it was wonderful, all that I expected. The staff was very friendly and helpful. The food on board was excellent, with so many varieties of dishes and numerous "Alternative" dining options. The ship and the cabin were clean and well appointed, and being that the cruise was over the Holiday season (Christmas and New Years'), it was tastefully decorated. The ports we visited were great, the excursions were very good and the guides were very knowledgeable, with so much information. I only wish the time in a few of the ports could have been longer. There was a variety of entertainment on board and the "Port Talks" were very helpful in planning time in the various ports. I enjoyed the cruise so much I have already made reservations for my next ocean cruise, this time alittle longer. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We prefer Viking because it's a smaller ship with fewer people, thereby allowing us to become acquainted with staff and passengers. The price is all inclusive so we're not being nickel-dimed for every items. Viking emphasizes ... Read More
We prefer Viking because it's a smaller ship with fewer people, thereby allowing us to become acquainted with staff and passengers. The price is all inclusive so we're not being nickel-dimed for every items. Viking emphasizes service and customer relations, a winner for any business. Our cabin was meticulously cleaned daily. The menu choices were so varied that my wife and I each enjoyed our individual preferences. We even got to know the entertainers rather well and will root for them as they pursue their careers. The included shore excursions were always well-organized and, while the skills and knowledge of local guides predictably varied, many interesting sites were visited. Frankly, the cruise director generally makes the difference and we've had great ones on both cruises. There are always things to nitpick but the bigger picture is that Viking worked hard to ensure we again had a pleasant cruise - and we did! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
I have always wanted to do a Mediterranean cruise. I have cruised with Viking before and knew they wouldn't disappoint. However, this cruise was a huge disappointment. If you don't purchase the extra excursions, you will be ... Read More
I have always wanted to do a Mediterranean cruise. I have cruised with Viking before and knew they wouldn't disappoint. However, this cruise was a huge disappointment. If you don't purchase the extra excursions, you will be bored. The port stops are underwhelming. Barcelona was great. Montpellier was nothing special. Marseille was fun to wander around. We paid for the Nice and Monte Carlo excursion and it was a waste of money. We loved the Tuscany to Pisa tour, our guide was amazing! We paid for the Wine and Merenda tasting. It was over sold, freezing cold and extremely chaotic. The hosts were lovely but it wasn't the best experience. We didn't realize we had to pay to get into Florence. We thought it was included and it was sold out when we realized it. Thus, we ended up going into Livorno, which was another boring port town. I was not expecting to spend most of my time on the boat because of the underwhelming port towns. I expected more culture and interesting excursions. The service in the World Cafe was impeccable. We loved the sushi and crab leg dinners. However, in the restaurants it was not good. We would sit down to dinner and tell the staff we had food allergies. Instead of making sure we had something to drink, water, they would walk away from us to get our menu. This meant we sat for 10-15 minutes just waiting. No drinks, no water, nothing! The worst experience was in the Chef's Table. We sat down and waited for 10 minutes for someone to come and greet us. Then, we waited another 15 for them to come back to us with drinks. We also didn't get any service in the Torshaven. The common areas were full and we ended up just going back to our room often. Tea time was chaotic too. I just was not really happy with our experience. The staff in the World Cafe was amazing. Our room attendant was very kind and brought ice every time. In summary, our experience was just OK. Not amazing but just ok. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
First Ocean Cruise with Viking after 4 river cruises. Very intimate for an Ocean Cruise. Food was better than river cruises as was the entertainment. The formal production shows were still pretty hokie but the musicians that played ... Read More
First Ocean Cruise with Viking after 4 river cruises. Very intimate for an Ocean Cruise. Food was better than river cruises as was the entertainment. The formal production shows were still pretty hokie but the musicians that played around the ship each night were awesome. I really liked that you had dining options and that included not only where you ate but when you ate. The ship was tastefully decorated and there was more than enough space for everyone. Nothing ever seemed crowded. We have taken over 10 Ocean cruises with other cruise lines (Norwegian and Royal Caribbean) which ranged from just OK to pretty good but none of them compared to our Viking Ocean Cruise. However, while it had some advantages over the river cruises that we have taken, I still prefer the river cruise experience. Nothing beats being able to walk off your ship and be right in town and the views while cruising are so much better when you are on a river as opposed to being on a larger body of water. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We LOVE Viking Cruises. This is our 2nd cruise with Viking, but our 1st ocean cruise. We were disappointed in the cabin for not having enough storage draws, lived out of my suitcase mostly. The house keeper was excellent, and the dining ... Read More
We LOVE Viking Cruises. This is our 2nd cruise with Viking, but our 1st ocean cruise. We were disappointed in the cabin for not having enough storage draws, lived out of my suitcase mostly. The house keeper was excellent, and the dining room waiters were the best. The food was so good where we ate and in the dining restaurants. Entertainment was lacking. Docking was not as good as other cruises, as we were not able to just walk off the ship into the ports. The excursions were not great. disappointed in the tours, we only got a glimpse of the famous church in Barcelona. Could not dock in Monaco due to the weather, it was one of the sites I wanted to see. As far as the excursion to Florence/Pisa, I assumed we were to go to both cities, wrong. Went to Pisa and not Florence, another disappointment. If you are going to advertise Florence/Pisa, then I expect go to both Florence AND Pisa. Otherwise put them on seperate days, this was very confusing. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Viking offered enough incentives and perks to make the cruise comparable in cost to most other cruise lines and with included services the total cost was even favorable. Embarkation and disembarkation was well planned and went smoothly. ... Read More
Viking offered enough incentives and perks to make the cruise comparable in cost to most other cruise lines and with included services the total cost was even favorable. Embarkation and disembarkation was well planned and went smoothly. Staff were abundant and helpful in all phases. The ship is beautiful and well designed. Our cabin was very nice and clean. Could have used a few more drawers, but steward provided more hangers. Included excursions were usually bus and/or walk tours. Good for first time visitors to those ports. Local guides were excellent but at times difficult to hear and sometimes difficult for me to understand their accent. Could use better mics. The cruise director informed me that Viking does not dock in any port where it has to tender. Good policy. Excursion desk staff was excellent and would cancel and reschedule excursions when they could. All meal venues were excellent. Several times during the cruise the staff set up additional food service at the pool that provided better options than the usual excellent food service. For example, one night at the pool there was unlimited lobster tail and on another there was king crab. Pool meals were so popular that people had to stand in line several minutes for popular fare. Could have used a few more tables. Some had to go in the cafe to find a seat. Manfredi's (sp?) specialty dining was excellent also. Best steak on any cruise line. One small complaint. The main restaurant food was excellent. However, the delay to order was at times longer than we thought was appropriate. Good people, just long wait at times. The wait staff was excellent. The excursion buses were always on time and the outside excursion staff was especially helpful. Judy, the outside manager was there even in the rain and cold offering a smile and help as needed. The nightly entertainment was not as big a stage productions as on some ships, but the performers were skilled and energetic. Did not miss any and all were enjoyable. My wife and I and only two other couples attended the meet and mingle. The ship sent the head chef, the food manager, the hotel manager, the head waiter, and several waiters with drinks and food. The ship staff was very disappointed in the attendance. I would encourage those who register to always attend. Viking would be cautious to provide another meet and mingle reception to that extent. Viking will continue to be a primary (but not exclusive) choice for our cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
This was our first cruise EVER, and what an wonderful experience it was. From the minute we got to Barcelona and met our coach to be transferred we were treated so well! Our room - Penthouse Veranda Suite 6013 was beautiful, Starboard ... Read More
This was our first cruise EVER, and what an wonderful experience it was. From the minute we got to Barcelona and met our coach to be transferred we were treated so well! Our room - Penthouse Veranda Suite 6013 was beautiful, Starboard side but it did not matter the way we docked in ports. Our dining experiences were over the top! We loved "The Restaurant." The Pool Grill had the Best Burger I have had in years! We made a point to visit every single restaurant on board. We also had reservations at The Chef's table and Manfredi's - SO Delicious! In the Spa we indulged in the hydro-facial and a massage! Both were exceptional! We had excursions most every day in the different ports! Our favorites were the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Monte Carlo on our own & A Day in Tuscany. The staff on Viking Sky were so professional and took such good care of us! We will definitely cruise with Viking again! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We enjoyed a prior Viking river cruise and wanted to experience a Viking oceans cruise and see parts of the Mediterranian. We're so pleased with Viking we're already looking to book another Viking cruise in 2019. The staff on ... Read More
We enjoyed a prior Viking river cruise and wanted to experience a Viking oceans cruise and see parts of the Mediterranian. We're so pleased with Viking we're already looking to book another Viking cruise in 2019. The staff on the ship was first class and catered to our desires. With Viking you get so much more with your booking than you get with other cruise lines. The extra amenities you get without being charged extra is a big plus. For example getting a free bottle of water as you leave the ship for the shore excursion and receiving a damp washcloth to clean up when you return to the ship was a very nice feature. The cabin was a good size and the bathroom was much larger than other cruise lines. One nice feature was the heated bathroom floor in the morning. Having free bottles of water and snacks in the cabin was an added benefit. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We always wanted to go to Europe, but didn't want to go alone since we don't speak any languages besides English. This was the perfect way to see so much, have wonderful experiences, and truly leave the worries at home. Viking ... Read More
We always wanted to go to Europe, but didn't want to go alone since we don't speak any languages besides English. This was the perfect way to see so much, have wonderful experiences, and truly leave the worries at home. Viking met us at the airport in Barcelona, managed our luggage, took us to the ship, and made it very relaxing. Once on board, the accommodations were exquisite, the food was marvelous, and the staff was very attentive to our needs. The included excursions were very well planned. The extra excursions offered were good values for what they included. We were definitely overwhelmed with the quality of the vacation. If we had to change one thing, we would have upgraded our airfare to first class so we would have been more well-rested after traveling all night. The coach flights on Delta were nice, but the seats were quite confining for two tall people. So we were worn out for our first night in Barcelona and spent it aboard ship. I would recommend getting the larger cabin that includes the silver beverage package. It is well worth the money if you enjoy fine wine. I can't wait to explore with Viking again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
This was my second cruise, and the first Viking cruise for the family member with whom I was traveling. This was the happiest, most relaxed, most exciting time I could possibly have imagined! Our stewards were incredibly attentive to ... Read More
This was my second cruise, and the first Viking cruise for the family member with whom I was traveling. This was the happiest, most relaxed, most exciting time I could possibly have imagined! Our stewards were incredibly attentive to everything we wanted or needed; the staff throughout the ship were wonderful in helping us find what we needed or suggesting ideas that we would possibly be interested in. The tour guides were nothing short of amazing, each so bathed in knowledge for the areas they supported. And then, there was the food!! Oh . My . Goodness!! No matter which restaurant we chose to eat in on the ship, the food was skillfully prepared to satisfaction. We decided to stay over 2 nights in Rome at the end of the cruise, a wise decision. We had a guide pick us up at the ship and spent 4 hours touring Rome under a great deal of his suggestion and guidance. We toured the Vatican with a docent (DO this!!). All in all, I can't wait for another opportunity to sail with Viking ~~! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
Wanted to try the ocean cruise since we had already done a river cruise. My wife and I were not disappointed. The ship was big enough to feel safe and small enough to feel like family. I wish the itinerary would have included a few sea ... Read More
Wanted to try the ocean cruise since we had already done a river cruise. My wife and I were not disappointed. The ship was big enough to feel safe and small enough to feel like family. I wish the itinerary would have included a few sea days in order to explore the ship more and been able to use the ships facilities without sacrificing shore excursion time. The ports of call were outstanding. The excursions were very interesting and informative. Most ports were easily accessible to local Hop on Hop off busses which dropped us off right at the ship. The hot sauna and snow room looked awesome, but we were never able to actually partake of it due to other preferences. The Wintergarden Room was so beautiful and the afternoon tea service was very nice. The entertainment team was AWESOME and very personable. Will travel again on Viking in the very near future. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We went on this cruise to join our friends who went on River cruises with us. We also wanted to see the beautiful Viking ship that is advertised on our TV programs. The ship is totally lovely. The food was excellent. The staff wonderful. ... Read More
We went on this cruise to join our friends who went on River cruises with us. We also wanted to see the beautiful Viking ship that is advertised on our TV programs. The ship is totally lovely. The food was excellent. The staff wonderful. We were happy with many of the excursions in the cities on the cruise. But some of the excursions were not planned well and were rushed. We spent more time on the bus to and from Florence than in the city itself. Also rainy fall weather disrupted a couple of our excursions. Perhaps the fall is not the right time for this trip. One disappointment is that the ship always moved from port to port at night while we slept. The only coastlines we saw from the ship were Barcelona, our first port and when we left Monaco, a truly beautiful view. We did not see the Italian Amalfi coast from the ship when sailing from Florence to Rome. So sad. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We wanted to try Viking. Their food was very good. But we both agreed that Oceania's food is better. The cabin was comfortable. We had great cabin attendants. Always there to help. The mini bar was always stocked, extra towels ... Read More
We wanted to try Viking. Their food was very good. But we both agreed that Oceania's food is better. The cabin was comfortable. We had great cabin attendants. Always there to help. The mini bar was always stocked, extra towels if needed. The mustard drill was fast and very good. The ship was clean and the most comfortable ship that we have ever been on after more than twenty some cruises. Not crowded at all. There was always a comfortable place to sit and relax. Check in was fast and very easy. The staff was right there to help with any question. It felt like a very safe ship as well. The free excursions were nice. We had been to these places before, but not the very same locations. The ship is really the perfect size for us. Although, I have to admit that we like the small ships too. Like Sea Dream. I would definitely take another cruise on Viking. We haven't yet been on a River Cruise and would also like to try one of those soon. Read Less
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