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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We were very fortunate to be part of the christening ceremony of the Viking Star in it's home port of Bergen. What a privilege it was to join the Norwegians in this celebration on their national holiday of Constitution Day. A glorious ... Read More
We were very fortunate to be part of the christening ceremony of the Viking Star in it's home port of Bergen. What a privilege it was to join the Norwegians in this celebration on their national holiday of Constitution Day. A glorious day filled with wonderful memories. The ship was very tastefully designed with the theme of "living rooms" spread out all over the ship. These were places to relax, read a book, play games, meet your cruise mates, or to take tea. The libraries were incorporated into each of these areas with a great selection of cultural books. The service was exceptional as we were greeted each day by our first names in the Explorer's lounge, the Wintergarden, and the restaurant. We really enjoyed the food, especially the entrees that were from the countries we visited. The ports around the Baltic were all new to us and we really enjoyed the tours, especially the 2 day itinerary in St Petersburg. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
The trip was far better than expected. The Christening and party in Bergen were enough to make the trip worthwhile in itself. The included city bus tours or walks were worth the experience. The added Chocolate tour in Tallinn, Estonia was ... Read More
The trip was far better than expected. The Christening and party in Bergen were enough to make the trip worthwhile in itself. The included city bus tours or walks were worth the experience. The added Chocolate tour in Tallinn, Estonia was worth every penny, and we had no problems getting our Chocolates home. We also enjoyed our lunch at Taiko, Finland as well as the other events on that excursion. Both are recommended. One event we would like to have had would be a presentation by a ship engineer about the engines, weight, water handling, and all of the engineering technology involved in sailing the ship and details about the ship. A tour of the engine room or something similar would be great. Dining was over the top and service was very good. The food quality and flavor was exceptional. One problem was reservations. We made reservations the required day in advance only to find out that night in the Viking News that a lecture we wanted to hear was scheduled during our dinner reservation. This happened more than once so we either skipped the lecture or canceled the reservation. The excursions were great once we were started, the process of turning in a card, getting a tag, waiting in the Star Theater was chaotic and needs improvement. The Communications (including excursions) needs improvement. The ship has what must be a very expensive television communication system that could be used to let us know what when lectures were schedule during the trip, times to meet in the Star Theater for excursions, and announcements about schedules. The cabin was spacious enough, the housekeeping service was very good, the balcony was spacious enough and enjoyable, and we were able to regulated our heat. I didn't take advantage of the fitness room -- should have! The travel to Bergen was unpleasant with a 12 hour layover at Heathrow. I am sure there could have been better connections, but when I called, the reservations people told me the was what they could do. Our return to the US was perfect. The service from the airport to the ship and returning to the airport were excellent. The luggage tagging process was very well planned. Of course the maiden voyage can't be duplicated, but the trip was very good. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
My husband and I signed up for the Viking Homeland cruise over two years ago. We had just been on a Viking River cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam and loved it. We have been on many cruises with other lines before. Viking was our first ... Read More
My husband and I signed up for the Viking Homeland cruise over two years ago. We had just been on a Viking River cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam and loved it. We have been on many cruises with other lines before. Viking was our first river cruise. For the Viking Homeland cruise we opted for the Iceland pre-tour and it was excellent. The first day we were on our own, which was perfect given that our flight was overnight and we hadn't slept on the plane. Many other people were in the same boat. All we wanted to do was go to bed and get some sleep. The Hilton Hotel was first rate and the two days of tours fabulous. The first day was the Golden Horseshoe and the second day was a city tour in the morning followed by a trip to the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa in the afternoon. The second day we ate at a restaurant called the Kjallarinn Kitchen Bar. It was one of the best dinners we have ever had and we are international travelers. Note that prices in Iceland are not cheap compared to Canada. From Reykjavik, we flew to Copenhagen and then changed planes for Bergen. When we landed in Bergen Viking staff were there to meet us at the airport and check us in. So, when we arrived at the ship all we did was show them the documentation we had been given and we walked on board. We had a minimal wait at the airport. Our luggage was loaded immediately and within a few minutes off we went in a Mercedes van. The ship is incredible - beautifully designed with lots of open space and tasteful and elegant decor. The Explorer’s Lounge at the front was truly spectacular. The stateroom was spacious and the bathroom larger than on other cruise ships we have been on, which is many. The food was gourmet with many choices in the World Café (the buffet). We dined at the Chef’s Table twice – fixed menu. They change the menu every nine days so got to try two different meals. Hopefully they will change it more often in the future. We also ate at Manfredi’s twice (Italian) and again, the food and service was outstanding. Everybody was raving about it. We dined at The Restaurant once and must have hit it on an off night. The service was terrible and the server seemed overwhelmed. She was a trainee and she had little support from other staff. We waited over twenty minutes for a drink. This was way before the first course was served. We had to ask for bread to be brought to the table. When the food finally arrived we all got everybody else’s orders. Refills for drinks didn’t come until we had almost finished the main course. This was so not what we experienced everywhere else in all the other restaurants. We spoke with many other passengers re their experience at The Restaurant and they were quite pleased. The selection of the ports of call was excellent. We signed up for many of the paid excursions. We were quite pleased with each one of them. They were well organized and there was always at least one Viking crew member with us as well as the tour guide. Staff was available all day in the excursion area to answer questions. There were two desks where you sat down across from a staff member to discuss excursions or you sat on a sofa or chair and staff with laptops would come over to you to see how they could help you. The buses were high quality. The included-tours were also excellent. The only problem that we had was that we could not get on three of them as they were filled when we went to sign up, which was as soon as it was open to us. Somebody said that you get to choose based on the category of your cabin. So suites got a chance to sign up a few days before the next category of cabin and so on. Also, read the personalized cruise booklet that Viking sends you re the tours that you have chosen. We didn’t and ended up at times wanting more information re what the tour was about. It wasn’t until we got home and actually read what we had been sent that we realized how much effort Viking had put into personalizing what we would be seeing and doing. One of the guest speakers, who spoke about the fall of the Berlin Wall, Major General Sir Robert Corbett, was really top notch. The only complaint re speakers is that sometimes they were scheduled around 6:30 so if you were dining at any of the restaurants other than the buffet, you would have to miss them. They should have been recorded and made available on the TV. The live entertainment is as follows. The romantic guitarists was excellent; the live show in the Star Theatre with the Gilbert and Sullivan theme was far beyond what you see on other cruise ships – some of the singers were Broadway level. The Laundromat was free including detergent. Disembarkation went smoothly with groups departing well spaced out – so no crowds. Our suitcases were already sitting beside the bus to the airport and all we had to do was to identify them. We would not hesitate to sail with Viking again in a split second. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
The inaugural Viking Homelands cruise was special, especially celebrating Norwegian Constitution Day and the christening of the Viking Star in Bergen, Norway. The ship is elegant. The crew, surmounting the challenges of new ports - ... Read More
The inaugural Viking Homelands cruise was special, especially celebrating Norwegian Constitution Day and the christening of the Viking Star in Bergen, Norway. The ship is elegant. The crew, surmounting the challenges of new ports - outstanding service, and learning quickly. What's not to like about a cabin with a heated bathroom floor. Good selection of port excursions and ship's docking location. Great variety of food and drink, with extra special regional menu items as we progressed around the Baltic Sea. Most enjoyed the included spa features Enrichment activities and entertainment geared to us older adult passengers. Hated to debark. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
My husband and I take an average of two cruises a year since our retirement. Our bucket list includes places we have never been and the Baltic cruise hit a lot of the countries we've never been to. With a Danish heritage, Denmark had ... Read More
My husband and I take an average of two cruises a year since our retirement. Our bucket list includes places we have never been and the Baltic cruise hit a lot of the countries we've never been to. With a Danish heritage, Denmark had a special place in my heart but several other places were on my bucket list. Our favorite port was Bergen with the celebration of their constitution and the inauguration of the Viking Star. The shore excursions added a lot to our whole experience with great guides who gave us the history and parts of their culture different from ours. For instance, we visited an allotment that allowed apartment dwellers to have their own garden and live in a small house or a cabin on a beach for the spring and summer. I enjoyed the dining setup of smaller tables where two people could converse with just each other or with their neighbors. The food was very good and service was excellent. Lastly but not least, the Star is now my favorite ship. It was easy to enjoy the musicians in the different places. Since the Star is a smaller ship, it never felt crowded and we could always find a place to sit on one of the three floors in the atrium. The theater was very comfortable. The spa gave me a feeling of luxury in experiencing the whirl pool, steam room and snow grotto. If I wasn't kept so busy, I would have hung out in the Winter Garden and waited for 4:00 tea. Maybe next time as we liked the ship so much, we immediately booked a Mediterranean cruise for 2016. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
Nothing is perfect, but this trip was lovely. We joined the ship in Bergen and enjoyed every aspect of our trip. This is not to say that there weren't some areas in need of improvement, but our room (very well sound-proofed!) was ... Read More
Nothing is perfect, but this trip was lovely. We joined the ship in Bergen and enjoyed every aspect of our trip. This is not to say that there weren't some areas in need of improvement, but our room (very well sound-proofed!) was fine (though could have been a bit larger) and kept immaculate, the food wonderful and varied, the crew extremely well-trained, pleasant, and accommodating, and the ambiance delightful. We met many friendly people and any complaints we heard were minor indeed. The quality of the excursions was determined by the accuracy of the description provided to us by Viking as well as by the person leading the tour. In some cases, the tour guides imparted information with personality, humor, and warmth. In one particular case, (Stockholm city tour) the guide acted like she had many more things on her mind that the trip we were on. All in all, it was a good trip, and one we both enjoyed. If we had it to do over again, we might enjoy the ship more and book fewer and more meaningful excursions. Hopefully, Viking will provide more complete descriptions to enable making those choices a little easier. When we tried to book some excursions on-line we were told they were full and we added them to a "wish" or "wait" list. We never heard anything more about those trips, so assumed they remained unavailable, and later learned that passengers were able to book these same trips at the Explorers' Desk onboard ship. If only we had known to do this in time. One woman at the Explorer's Desk we did speak to was not very pleasant when added a trip. She did it, but seemed to be a great hurry (no one else was waiting) and impatient. Perhaps she was going "off shift"? One thing that would be wonderful for future trips would be if the rooms could be ready for embarking passengers as, generally speaking, they are exhausted from traveling and in need of naps! Another suggestion would be that options for non-stop travel be given; changing planes in Heathrow is no fun. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
This was my first adventure to Europe and I couldn't have picked a better introduction. For an inexperienced overseas traveler, it was wonderful not to have to worry about ANYTHING! Language, money exchange, what to see, where to ... Read More
This was my first adventure to Europe and I couldn't have picked a better introduction. For an inexperienced overseas traveler, it was wonderful not to have to worry about ANYTHING! Language, money exchange, what to see, where to go, and how to get there. Anything I needed was at my fingertips. Helpful, informative staff was available. The tours were great. All the guides were local people, so could add a lot of insight and answer questions with real experiential knowledge. The food was fantastic! The World Cafe had every choice you could want. Easy, simple or gourmet, whatever your tastes. The service was spot on. I'm going to rate everything excellent and it isn't hyperbole. Everything really was excellent! I absolutely recommend Viking to every experience level of traveler. You're free to do as much, or as little, as you wish. The ships are elegant, but informal and no stress. This year I'm going to enjoy a river cruise...and I have many more Viking trips on my waiting list. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We had been on 3 previous Viking River cruises and were anxious to try the new ocean cruise, so we decided to go on the new Viking Homeland cruise and boarded in Bergen. We spent 3 days prior in Iceland.While Iceland was nice, the weather ... Read More
We had been on 3 previous Viking River cruises and were anxious to try the new ocean cruise, so we decided to go on the new Viking Homeland cruise and boarded in Bergen. We spent 3 days prior in Iceland.While Iceland was nice, the weather was not. Cold, cloudy, overcast. the boarding of the Star was great. the ship is fantastic in every way. At the airport, there were a lot of Viking people there to get you going in the right direction. It would have been nice if the bus would have been a little closer to get on but that was minor. There was plenty to eat and the quality was great.. the ship is very relaxing and the staff is wonderful. I know that there were a number of negative reviews of the ship and the Viking company in general but I did not find any of them to be valid. I certainly would not cancel my trip because of those reviews. I most definitely would travel on the star again. My only negative would be the description of the shore excursions. They need to be more descriptive, especially if there is a lot of walking and stair climbing involved. Read Less
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