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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
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
Sail Date: May 2015
The attention to details in all aspects of the cruise was far above excellent. The layout of the ship provided many different spaces for passengers use and the furnishing were absolutely the best I have ever seen. I have traveled on 6 ... Read More
The attention to details in all aspects of the cruise was far above excellent. The layout of the ship provided many different spaces for passengers use and the furnishing were absolutely the best I have ever seen. I have traveled on 6 other cruise ships. Even the choice of the books stocked onboard was right on target. This was the maiden voyage of the ship and the first ocean ship for the company but all went so well it seemed that this was not a first but just routine excellence. Kudos to all involved. We are booked next year on the Viking Sea the new sister ship to the Viking Star. I can hardly wait to see the ship and enjoy the outstanding hospitality. Bravo Viking cruise line. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
Short version embarkation poor low secirity not staffed had to find our way staff not professional do not attempt to assist. Rude disposition food low quality servers not attentive to guests striped suits walk around not connected ... Read More
Short version embarkation poor low secirity not staffed had to find our way staff not professional do not attempt to assist. Rude disposition food low quality servers not attentive to guests striped suits walk around not connected to guests wine we bought package for better wine BUT they are out of good wine and had to fight for any service attention only paid to comped guests promoting the ship Stateroom very small 3 drawers 3 inches deep for 2 guests dump designer wasted space still on ship for 6 more days over rated river boats much better, 4 river cruises we have done would expect more here Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
To those reading the reviews of Viking Star I submit that you must keep an open mind and not allow nitpickers and cheerleaders to overly influence your decision whether or not to choose Viking Ocean Cruises as your holiday provider. We ... Read More
To those reading the reviews of Viking Star I submit that you must keep an open mind and not allow nitpickers and cheerleaders to overly influence your decision whether or not to choose Viking Ocean Cruises as your holiday provider. We are in our mid 60's and have ocean cruised 40+ times mostly with Princess, a few times with Holland America, twice with Silversea Expeditions, and once each with Carnival and Celebrity Expeditions. We have also made 6 river cruises with Viking River and one with Vantage. Obviously cruising has been our vacation of choice for many years and our wish is to be able to cruise more in the future. We were pleased with our decision to sail with Viking Oceans and a good number of fellow passengers shared our opinion. We would rate this sailing with Viking Oceans to be in the top 6 or 7 of all of our cruising adventures. Like many others who have been happy with Viking River we took a leap of faith and booked (and paid for) their Viking Homelands itinerary two years in advance. We considered starting our holiday on the first Viking Star sailing out of Istanbul but are weary of issues all cruise lines have both with new constructions and pre/post refit sailings so we held off until the ship was on her third itinerary. Apparently the ship did not sail out of Bergen at maximum passenger capacity because there were numerous travel industry and other guests onboard for not more than several days. A crew member confided that about 75% capacity was the figure closest to accuracy for this sailing. I suspect Viking Star will be much closer to full capacity when she sails from Stockholm on 31 May. We would assess the Viking Star to be just about everything we had hoped it would be after attending the kick-off event in Los Angeles in 2013 and committing to our cruise the following day. The public spaces have a beautiful Scandinavian design well documented in previous reviews. Our DV5 cabin on deck 3 seemed bigger than balcony cabins on Princess and Holland America. The bathroom was definitely bigger and the enclosed shower was a welcome upgrade from what we have experienced on every vessel we've sailed on (generally for the same number of days at a price not much higher than Princess and Holland America) except when we sailed with Silversea Expeditions (and paid a lot more for four fewer days at sea). We enjoyed the smaller sized ship and the people we met onboard. Some of those folks had been on since Istanbul for a total of 50 days and by and large their attitudes regarding some of the bumps in the road we had anticipated and they experienced were good. I think the naysayers and gripers are in a small (but loud and overly critical) minority. We had two concerns with our cabin. Our safe was temperamental and we found it difficult to open and lock at times. Security visited us 4 times in 14 days when the problems arose (they came within minutes of calling in the problem). The entire safe should be replaced. The water temperature in the shower had a tendency to be HOT upon initial activation but we have learned over the years to start in the cold position and back the dial toward warm to ensure safety. We were very pleased with the presentation and high quality of our Viking Star dining experience. It was better than Princess and Holland America and just as good as Silversea. The complimentary wine was fine but nothing out of the ordinary. The dining staff were very friendly and could not do enough for us. Manfredi's was the highlight for us and apparently many other passengers thought as we did. The varied menu catered to many tastes and brought us back 5 times. The fixed menu scheme in the Chef's Table was OK with some issues (a menu which changed every nine days, wines that don't quite match the food pairings) which I firmly believe Viking will address and adjust. Our meals in the World Cafe, The Restaurant, The Pool Grill and Mamsen's were wonderful and the service in each venue was exemplary. An area which Viking Oceans needs to address is their schedule of enrichment lectures. We missed some because they conflicted with dining times. Hopefully in the future they will record the lectures and allow passengers to view them at a time of their choosing. We had no difficulties with our television and thought the options of in-room movies and live television was good. The port intensive schedule did not allow us to watch much TV but that was fine with us. The Viking Star christening ceremony in Bergen coinciding with Norway's Constitution Day celebration was definitely a once in a lifetime experience. Music of many genres was good except for an F-bomb inadvisably uttered by an immature male performer which undoubtedly embarrassed the owner of Viking Oceans and the Mayor of Bergen. The fireworks and the singing of Sissel, a well known Norwegian performer, was breathtaking. Anyone upset that the port visit to Flam was cancelled to accommodate the ceremony just didn't appreciate the occasion. Vikings Oceans also has to work on their generously included shore excursions. The audiovox "whisper boxes" are great and those devices allow the size of the tours to be larger than they should be. However the large size of the tour groups has a tendency to cause undue delays in moving around and there always seems to be a couple of folks who slow down the tour or show up late to the designated meeting time. Viking should have tours set aside for mobility challenged people who can go at a slower pace without worrying they will lag behind and slow other folks down. The tour guides need to stagger their starting points instead of following the first group all over the route. Things got so jammed up on two of our tours we decided to leave the groups and move about on our own. Other members of our group did the same and we felt badly for the guides. The only Viking Oceans optional tour we took was in Warnemunde where we went to Rostock. Only 13 people were on that tour and it was great! We had visited Berlin on several occasions previously and the bus ride into that great city was just too long for us to consider going there. So glad we made that decision! If Viking Oceans wants to make Berlin a desirable port visit they should offer an overnight package as they do for their Elbe River cruise. An overnight in Warnemunde would be fine with many even if they did not wish to go to Berlin. Gdansk/Gydnia was the only port we visited that I felt was not terribly attractive. This port visit could be cancelled to accommodate an overnight in Warnemunde. Tallinn, Helsinki, Aalborg, Copenhagen, Stavanger, Oslo, and St. Petersburg were fantastic. We took the Viking Oceans included tours in all ports except St. Petersburg where we contracted with a very well known private company who comprehensively showed us their city in groups that were limited to 16 and 12. customers. Shipboard entertainment was great but we were limited to listening to the wonderful flute, viola, and cello trio, Laura the pianist, and Laszlo the phenomenal guitarist. After long days ashore, dining with new friends and walking around the deck we simply ran out of gas and could not stay up very late. Our fitbits logged over 9 miles of walking every day of the cruise! On our final day in Stockholm we had the Infinity Pool all to ourselves and it sure was nice to look out over the famous Gamla Stan. We found the staff in the jewelry boutique to be extremely friendly, helpful, and flexible in meeting our needs. I think a number of negative commenters in this forum were unrealistic in their expectations regarding the ship but they certainly are entitled to their opinions. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
The excellent things were the ship itself. Many many many places to relax about the ship and actually set up like living rooms with throw pillows and everything. The Explorers lounge was amazing, two storys all glass at the front of the ... Read More
The excellent things were the ship itself. Many many many places to relax about the ship and actually set up like living rooms with throw pillows and everything. The Explorers lounge was amazing, two storys all glass at the front of the ship and plenty of comfortable seating. The Wintergarden and pool area had the best loungers. I enjoyed the World Cafe very much, but wish the weather had been warmer so that the sliding glass doors could be open and we could enjoy eating out on the deck tables. The room was amazing. I loved the bathroom, shelf and drawer storage, long counter, heated floor and an actual shelf the length of the shower in the shower. I loved the vanity that was in the desk as well, storage and lights, just perfect. Our balcony was a perfect size as well. The next excellent thing was the staff (below supervisory). Always there to be of service and always polite and kind. Ready for a little conversation as well if you wanted. We used room service quite a few times at night when we forgot to eat while the venues were open and that was always good. We also had breakfast delivered when we had an early day and that was excellent. The Laundry is free and the soap is included (in the laundramats on each floor). Must have: the waffles at Mamsons, breakfast and sometimes I saw them at lunch too. In the World Cafe I loved having my eggs made for me on the spot and at night when I couldnt find anything I would eat (very picky eater) I could have a NY steak grilled for me on the spot. The things that need some work and why I gave 4 out of 5 stars: The excursions, tho they get you out on time and back in time there were problems. We had two tour guides that were terrible. One was always way ahead of us and didnt like her lollipop, she moved too quick. The other wanted to impart TOO much information, long after no one was interested, and we were taken to a store to shop, kinda like the carpet factory tours but this one you couldnt skip because she wouldnt tell us where to meet the bus to get back to the ship so we could go off on our own. There were also a couple of really lame tours, like the Ice Bar in Helsinki. And one port that would have made a better sea day, Aalborg. There really wasnt much to see or do even tho we were docked right in the city. It felt like pulling up to my home town and expecting to have a tourist experience. And the really important one is.......Viking upper level employees. This is mostly seen before the cruise, during the booking process and after until you board. No one has the same answer, timelines are rarely kept and there is a certain arrogance you feel when speaking with them. We experienced this both before and during the cruise to some extent. Our particular cruise included the Christening in Bergen so there were alot of VIPs on board for much of our cruise and you could definately see and feel the difference in how the passengers were treated vs the VIPs. We felt like that when the owners were on board as well. And one last thing, the food venues. While they were all great (didnt try Chefs Table, as I dont drink and its based on wine pairings) there were times when nothing was open, there should be something (other than room service) where you can get something. And the alcohol, thats a whole other subject. When toasts are made its always with alcohol and nothing is offered for those that dont drink. Those who chose not to drink for whatever reason should not be left out. This has happened on every Viking trip I have taken, not just this one. This is a sensitive issue and should be recognized. Overall the cruise was good and the itenerary was excellent. The ship handled beautifully even in a storm we had one night. The captain is personable and you will see him spending time amoung the passengers. I sat next to him at the Russian Ballet and he attended as a passenger on an excursion. The food was excellent, for those that are not as picky as I am there were many choices and all were tasty. The prepayment (in this case almost 2 years) is ridiculous in this day and age and we would not do that again. This was a part of the ships maiden cruise (the 4th leg) and I can honestly say I wouldnt do another maiden cruise unless it was at a large discounted rate. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
Viking Star Cruise departure May 16th from Bergen, Norway Taking the Viking Star Cruise was a trip of a life time for us. We are not people who constantly cruise and looked forward to this cruise since we booked it in August of 2013. ... Read More
Viking Star Cruise departure May 16th from Bergen, Norway Taking the Viking Star Cruise was a trip of a life time for us. We are not people who constantly cruise and looked forward to this cruise since we booked it in August of 2013. We had previously taken the Viking river cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam in June of 2013 and enjoyed the atmosphere of a small ship with 120 fellow passengers. The Viking Star was well designed for comfort and beauty. The smallest detail was given considerable consideration for the comfort of the passengers. Being the maiden voyage of the ship we were prepared to accept problems. Our cabin 3097 provided all the storage and room required for the two of us. We enjoyed the view from our veranda on the back of the ship both in ports and while cruising. The only problem we had, and considered it part of a maiden voyage problem, was the lack to heat in our room for the first three days. The mechanics came each day when we complained and did their best to correct the problem. We found all ship personnel were very respectful and friendly. Karen and Jay who cleaned our cabin worked very hard and went out of their way to please us. The evening of May 17th my wife tripped on a low platform in the Winter Garden where there was no barriers and was badly bruised. Viking Star’s staff were very attentive as were the doctor and nurse in the medical centre. As the ship was being christened on May 17th and it was Norway’s National Day, resulted in the cancellation of the scheduled trip to Flam. (A visit to Oslo was added to our itinerary to replace the tour to Flam) We flew to Bergen three days in advance of embarkation and made arrangements to do “Norway in a Nutshell” a 12 hour tour by train, bus and boat to Flam and train back Bergen. This was a highlight of our trip and we certainly recommend this be part of the Viking Star planned tours. We would highly praise the ships’ entertainers. It was a pleasure to relax in the evenings and listen to Laura on the piano, the Classical trio, guitarist Laszlo and especially the Torshavn Trio. The musical entertainment in the theatre was light whimsical shows. The lectures in the evenings were interesting. We especially enjoyed the ones presented by Major General Sir Robert Corbett on his life in Berlin. The food on board was excellent either in the Restaurant or the World Café. The evening of our reservation at the Chef’s Table, the menu was shell fish which my wife cannot eat, so we had to cancel our reservation and did not rebook. There was no choice for other entries. Our disappointments were with some of the excursions both complimentary and the ones that were at an additional cost. Our chosen complimentary tour in Oslo of the Akershus Fortress & Norwegian Resistance Museum was cancelled the evening before the tour. This was a disappointment, but we visited the Viking ship museums in its place. Berlin Your Way, a complimentary excursion did not turn out as we expected. We enjoyed seeing the German countryside during the 4 hour bus ride to and from Berlin. The expected 3.5 hours on our own to tour of Berlin was cut back to 2.5 tour because of road construction. We had planned to take the Hop on/Hop off tour in Berlin At our first stop a tour guide came aboard to give a driving tour of the city. She could not tell us where our bus would be at the end of the tour, so we could not go off on our own. It was very difficult to see the places she was pointing out on the bus and we were not told if these places were on the left or right of the bus. This part of the tour of Berlin was extremely disappointing. We were dropped off at Check Point Charlie for an hour to get our own lunch, and there was not much to see in this area. Some of the excursions that were at an additional cost were over-priced. At Stavanger we wanted to visit the Oil Museum. The entrance fees to the museum was approx.. $19. Can. each. Cost of a walking tour and a visit the oil museum on a Viking tour was $99 each. We did the complimentary walking tour of the city, then walked a short distance and toured the oil museum by ourselves saving approx..$150. The guided walk through Helsinki cost $59 each and did include coffee and a pastry stop. The pastry was excellent. There was no warning that this was a fast paced walking tour. Our tour guide walked very fast, we did not feel there was time to stop to take photos along the way without having to run to catch up with her. She never looked back to see if we were keeping up or if we had all got across the street on a green light. One lady on our tour walked with a cane and another lady had arthritis in her feet, both had difficulty in keeping up with this guide. At one point I stayed back with them when the lady guide got out of sight ahead of us, and my wife ran to catch the guide and request that she slow down and wait for the slower people, but she didn’t slow down. There were 2 people missing when we left the Church in the Rock and she only waited a few minutes and left without them. The Waterways of Stockholm cost $89 each. This tour was on a “Hop on/Hop Off” boat that regularly tours Stockholm harbor – regular tour tickets are less than $40 a couple. Everyone who booked this tour was put on one boat forcing most people to sit three in each seat, or some sat in the back outside with no wind protection which was a cold place to be that day. It certainly was not an enjoyable tour, and was overpriced at $89 each. Some people we met on board booked and enjoyed a private 2 day tour of St. Petersburg with fewer people in a small van, costing much less than the Ultimate St. Petersburg 2 day tour offered by Viking costing $399. The tour “Palaces & Villas of St. Petersburg, costing $149 each was our choice for the 2nd day. It was an excellent tour and worth the price. Lunch was included. In St. Petersburg there were 4-5 cruise ships in the dock at St. Petersburg all much larger than the Viking Star and holding many more people. On our complimentary tour of the city, it was so crowded with buses and people, our bus found it hard to find a place to park long enough for us to get off to take photos. On the whole we enjoyed the cruise of the Viking Homelands, but we really preferred the smaller River Boat cruise with fewer people. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2015
After our first river cruise we signed up for the "maiden voyage" of the Viking Star, before the keel was even laid. After that we went on one more river cruise and waited for May 2015. We travel with another couple and ... Read More
After our first river cruise we signed up for the "maiden voyage" of the Viking Star, before the keel was even laid. After that we went on one more river cruise and waited for May 2015. We travel with another couple and anticipated the experience realizing Viking had never done this before. The first glitch was their sign up procedure for shore excursions. We could not link the two couples even after numerous phone calls and repetition of solutions that wouldn't work and never being able to get someone to call back. That was the first "glitch" and we discussed this on the ship with senior Viking people to allow them to modify their procedures. The second glitch was at Bergen airport. Viking staff gave conflicting advice so we had our boarding document but our friends waited 40 minutes at the ship terminal to make this happen. Also there was no one from Viking to take your luggage out to the buses. Another annoyance was finding out that people had been on a shakedown cruise from Barcelona to Bergen and this option was never offered to us. These were the only really sour spots on the whole trip. Viking's usual high standard of onboard services were evident everywhere. The crew was carrying and courteous apologizing for everything that did not go perfectly. They were all experience having worked for other cruise lines before coming to Viking. The cabin was well appointed with a mini bar that was re-stocked daily, comfortable beds, a bathroom that was superbly functional and generous in size and space. ONE problem a smell in our shower stall, the smell of low tide, that could not be gotten rid of. We had enough room to sit and even have our friends in for snack, and our veranda was hady when the weather was nice. (The Baltic in May is not a warm sunny place.) Food and wine couldn't have been better. One main venue "The Restaurant" that changed the menu nightly with local cuisine featured and always some staples for everyone. The two specialty restaurant, Manfredi's and the Chef's Table were a bonus. The Chef's Table was a tasting menu paired with wine servings. As a tasting menu small portions but more than enough food for all except the gluttonous few. If there was a problem you could go to the buffet style Grill and pig out. The grill was our venue for breakfast and a couple of dinners because of their sushi selection. Wait staff was wonderful for bottom to top, had some great conversations with senior staff and waiters also. The ports were interesting, Bergen was the ship's christening with a rock concert and fireworks (it is on you tube). Our St Petersburg experience was enhance by a private tour guide who worked well with us. We had him for 2 days with a driver and his expertise made the whole visit. Of the other ports we all felt Helsinki was not worth a stop especially after St Petersburg. The Aquavit tour was just a drink at a local farm. The Vassa ship in Stockholm is a don't miss. All in all 5 STARS and plans to be on another ocean cruise with a river cruise in between. I have seen some of the negative comments but anyone on board before Bergen had to realize the were on a shakedown cruise. When we arrive on board we waited in a lounge for our friends and the hostess said we should have been ther a week earlier when there was no furniture. So I guess we are glad we didn't get on in Barcelona for a 50 day experiment. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
I am not going to say this was perfect but the glitches were understandable given that this was the inaugural cruise. I should point out that we have mostly done the river side of Viking and a few other lines ocean types, one to Alaska and ... Read More
I am not going to say this was perfect but the glitches were understandable given that this was the inaugural cruise. I should point out that we have mostly done the river side of Viking and a few other lines ocean types, one to Alaska and a couple in the Caribbean. I do not like large boats and abhor the gambling and bingo and pictures that we often were subjected to. I think Viking has pretty much done everything right. The boat itself is gorgeous and even with 900 other people on the ship, there was no sense that they were there as the public spaces are large and there are enough different venues on the boat to allow for solitude if desired. The food is excellent throughout the ship, do not miss the sushi at night in the World Café on deck 7 as well as the shrimp and crab legs. The al fresco lunch around the pool at mid day mimics the river experience and we had excellent meals in the main restaurant as well as the two specialty restaurants. We generally found that everyone on the ship was attentive and helpful. A couple of negatives. Embarcation was a nightmare, they were unprepared for us in Bergen at the airport. If you arrive at an airport and they offer to take your picture and check you in, DO IT! Do not wait until you get to the ship, it takes forever and they did not make that clear. They also have little help for your luggage at the airport. Disembarcation by contrast was actually quite easy and well handled. We had a really full itinerary and found that most of the ships offerings in the ports, both free and paid were pretty good. We had a private guide in St Petersburg and I would recommend that as it will allow you to see much more. We arranged it ourselves and it turned out to be about 50% less than what the ship charged for a 2 day private tour. All in all, we loved it and I would not hesitate to do another Viking Ocean Tour. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
This was my husband's first cruise and he, a man of few words and not given to hyperbole, described it as fabulous! We booked our flights with Viking and these went off without a hitch both going and returning home. It was ... Read More
This was my husband's first cruise and he, a man of few words and not given to hyperbole, described it as fabulous! We booked our flights with Viking and these went off without a hitch both going and returning home. It was exciting to participate in Viking Star's maiden voyage. She is a beautiful ship with many intimate areas in which to relax throughout the ship as well as 2 pools, a fitness centre, saunas, plunge pools, hot tubs and a lovely stateroom with sufficient storage space. We also appreciated the availability of laundry facilities. We found the ride very smooth; in fact, it was hard to believe we were at sea. The food was excellent. We ate most of our meals in the World Café which was buffet style. There was an extensive selection and the wine (included) was of good quality. The excursions were splendid with knowledgeable and entertaining guides. We appreciated that every port featured a tour which was included in the price of the cruise. In addition, the educational component of the cruise was one of our highlights. We thoroughly enjoyed learning about the history and culture of the places we visited from experts who not only knew their subject matter but also were able to present it in an interesting way. The music was another high point. Every evening, we had our choice of a classical trio, a pianist and a guitarist as well as a band which played dance music. We love to dance and were able to do so every evening. The service was exceptional. Not only was it efficient but the staff were both friendly and accommodating, always going the extra mile to ensure a good experience. Bravo, Viking, for expanding into ocean cruises. We look forward to another cruise with you. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We signed up two years before ship was built. Had had good experience on Rhine river cruise several years ago. Would recommend highly. No need to opt for more expensive cabins. Our deluxe veranda cabin on deck 4 was excellent. Food in ... Read More
We signed up two years before ship was built. Had had good experience on Rhine river cruise several years ago. Would recommend highly. No need to opt for more expensive cabins. Our deluxe veranda cabin on deck 4 was excellent. Food in the Restaurant was good with varying selections each day. had breakfast and lunch in World Café. Good choices and variety. Chef's Table and Manfredi's were both interesting and delicious alternatives for dinner. Excursions were generally good but need to be tweaked. Berlin day trip on your own which promised 3.5 hours of free time was an ordeal. Ended up with less than 1.5 hours and travel time on bus to and from ship was onerous. 3.5 hours in morning and 4.75 miles on return. Russian museum excursion in St. Petersburg was very good but needs to be extended in time. With traffic ended up with less than 1.5 hours at museum on a 3 hour excursion. Tallinn was an unanticipated pleasure. Excursion was good but not enough time at open aire museum. Enjoyed Gdansk. Helsinki was a great pleasure. trip to Provoo and lunch at Haiku Manor were another unanticipated pleasure. Overall was a wonderful trip Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We loved the way Viking did ocean cruising. We have done over 20 cruises on ships ranging in size from 300 to over 6000 passengers. For us ships in the 700-950 range are perfect. Just the size of the Star. Big enough to have all the ... Read More
We loved the way Viking did ocean cruising. We have done over 20 cruises on ships ranging in size from 300 to over 6000 passengers. For us ships in the 700-950 range are perfect. Just the size of the Star. Big enough to have all the amenities we want and would ever need, but small enough to be able to get around the ship easily and do things like disembarkation with ease. The mostly everything included philosophy, the quality and variety of venues for food and beverage and the level of service by the staff. Again the Star implemented the philosophy very well on our trip. Some of the specifics are below. -Ship was incredibility quiet and stable and we tested from both forward and aft cabins. -Food was best ever. Being able to eat in speciality restaurants for free-just need to make a reservation was so nice. We ate twice at each one and had different things. Italian had a fair sized menu and chef table changes every 9 days. -The standard restaurant was set up such that there was always tables for two. Also had some really nice tables for groups if that was your preference. Food there was outstanding. There was the every night same thing (think steak, salmon, chicken and shrimp cocktail) part, a nicely varied regular menu of the usual number of choices but including some surprises like chateaubriand that was really cooked to order and one 3 course set of regional dinner items that varied each night. -Beer and wine free and poured as much as you could want and of reasonable quality at lunch and dinner. -Bar prices were reasonable. Variety of beer $4- same as soda. Standard mixed drinks $6. -Free unlimited and good quality Internet. A real first for us on our travels -Nordic spa was different. All the stuff there except massages was included. It was also fun to have a Swedish massage from a Swede. -Included excursions - ranged from bus to walking tours. Walking tours could get tiring, but great way to see old towns. Bus tours really just quick over views. Ones for money generally very good. One we did not do but heard was great was private tour of Hermitage before it opened to public. -All the public spaces were quite nice. For those of us who like Scandinavian, wonderful, for those who would chose other styles, perhaps ok to look at but not as comfortable as hoped. Some folks had trouble getting in and out of them. -One major issue is that access to all hot tubs was by ladders not steps. NOT ok for seniors with even minor mobility issues. -Pools are small-think hotel swimming pool. Infinity pool think small hotel pool. -We saw several shows and enjoyed them. To us usual ship quality. -No Casino if that is an important deal killer. - Free laundry facilities for all. All in all we thought it was a great value for our money with so many things included. We would HIGHLY recommend it!! Viking is definitely now our ocean line of choice. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
This was our 6th cruise with Viking, but obviously the first ocean voyage, and we felt that Viking did an outstanding job translating the "Viking Experience" to a larger ship. Were there small glitches? A few ... but I certainly ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise with Viking, but obviously the first ocean voyage, and we felt that Viking did an outstanding job translating the "Viking Experience" to a larger ship. Were there small glitches? A few ... but I certainly expected them on the maiden voyage, and nothing that happened in any way spoiled our overall satisfaction with the ship and our journey. My husband and I are seasoned travelers and history fanatics who are primarily interested in optimizing our time in port. If you want to party 'til dawn, this is not the cruise for you (although the shows were fun and the musicians were outstanding.) True to the Viking model, there was an included excursion with local guides in every port...and we took full advantage of the city tours to get some background and a sense of how each city was laid out. We were also appreciative of the free shuttles in almost every port that allowed us to explore on our own and be certain of arriving back to the ship on time before sailing. The Viking Star is extremely spacious and well-designed with multiple beautiful lounge/library/seating areas. We sampled all 6 dining venues - our favorite was Manfredi's, the Italian specialty restaurant that offers 2 seatings/night. The daily seafood, sushi and raw bar in the World Café was wonderfully fresh; there were always great vegetarian options in the both the Main Dining Room and World Café - and the traditional Norwegian and Scandinavian open faced sandwiches in Mamen's were marvelous. We even got a chance to dine al fresco for lunch on the back deck .. a pleasure we hadn't expected sailing in May in the Baltic. Every server in every restaurant was personable, upbeat and efficient. We deeply appreciated the fact that there is no additional charge for the specialty restaurants, and very good house wine and local beers are always included with meals - plus the bar cocktails are excellent and reasonably priced. The goal of Viking is always to provide value - not to "nickel and dime" passengers with extra charges. Internet is also free and we had fairly good service throughout - although it was better in some ports than in others (great in Norway and Sweden) and definitely better in port than at sea. We embarked in Bergen, and decided to fly in several days ahead of schedule to explore what we knew was a fantastic town. Great idea! We still booked our air through Viking, but booked our own hotel (Radisson Blu Royal on the wharf - THE best location for visiting the city) and we thoroughly enjoyed having a few days to unwind and transition to being on the ship. Disembarkation in Stockholm went very smoothly - and our flights home were on time and comfortable. The most memorable part of this cruise was the day the ship was christened in Bergen. I can't tell you how special Viking made us feel by coordinating this over-the-top event which included a 2 hour concert and firework, and welcomed the passengers front and center in the celebrations. I won't bore readers with the details of a one time event, but if you are interested, there is a video currently available on the Viking website. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
This was our 8th Viking cruise. The Viking Star is a beautiful ship that was beyond our expectations. Everything was very well designed and executed with state of the art materials and old world craftsmanship. The on board service was ... Read More
This was our 8th Viking cruise. The Viking Star is a beautiful ship that was beyond our expectations. Everything was very well designed and executed with state of the art materials and old world craftsmanship. The on board service was attentive without being intrusive. The meals in all of the ship's many eating venues were excellent with each venue having a unique Viking touch. The port & shore excursions started off very ragged, but improved rapidly as the journey progressed. This shows tHe people at Viking can learn quickly and adapt to challenging situations. The on board lectures were very well done, but the times could have been better scheduled. The atrium evening entertainment was an excellent top off to a great day. The chief's table with its innovative menu had very poor wine pairings. Overall, it was a disappointment. The meal cycle at 9 days was too long. The portions could be larger. Manfredi's was a real hit. This restaurant is truly the "star" of the Star. The restaurant had an excellent menu with well prepaired dishes, wonderfully served. Mamsens was a very refreshing introduction to scandavian cuisine. The world cafe has great selections of well prepared dishes. The crab legs were a real treat. Read Less
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2015
As always, Viking's focus was on destinations and enrichment. The ship is pristine, superbly designed, relaxing and entertaining. We enjoyed all the included excursions. I'll note that the quality of the guides was not up to the ... Read More
As always, Viking's focus was on destinations and enrichment. The ship is pristine, superbly designed, relaxing and entertaining. We enjoyed all the included excursions. I'll note that the quality of the guides was not up to the normal Viking bar - with some notable exceptions. However, I'm sure Viking will sort that out in short order. The food was plentiful and easily accessible. And what a pleasure it is to sail without the constant pestering to spend money on ship. There are so many quiet places on board where the traveler can go and recharge, read, have conversations with other guests. The crew, as is always true with Viking, is superb - friendly, cheerful, accommodating. We couldn't ask for more. And the destinations are topnotch. Gdansk was the only destination that wasn't fulfilling. I hasten to add: I'm still happy Gdansk is included because of its historical significance. I enjoyed seeing the city. It simply didn't impress. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We did the two day advance trip in Oslo. Beautiful city and the train ride from Oslo to Bergen was breath-taking. Overall the cruise was great. Our cabin was roomy and comfortable and very well maintained by our two regular stewards. ... Read More
We did the two day advance trip in Oslo. Beautiful city and the train ride from Oslo to Bergen was breath-taking. Overall the cruise was great. Our cabin was roomy and comfortable and very well maintained by our two regular stewards. Daily excursions worked smoothly. Excursion to Berlin was very ambitious. I think tours among the groups were uneven. Ours was fine, but we heard complaints from others. The dining was great. We liked the dining room, but were very pleased with the informality of the World Cafe. Excellent quality food and service in both places. Occasional room service was very convenient for us. Unfortunately we needed to visit the clinic on board. We were pleased with the treatment we received. An asset to the services that are provided on board. The logistics for transfer to the airport in Stockholm were barely satisfactory. The handouts we received had conflicting information. It was not clear where we needed to be. We waited in the theater, but we were not called to meet our bus at the pier. We went on our own. The scheduled departure time was not adequate to get checked in and through security at the airport. We had no time to spare and boarded the plane as soon as we got to the gate. We felt rushed and nervous that we might miss our flight. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
Viking has entered the ocean cruise market with a wonderful mid-size ship, Viking Star, registered in Bergen, Norway where we boarded. Our per-cruise extension gave us a too short but wonderful time in Oslo and a great 7 hour train ride ... Read More
Viking has entered the ocean cruise market with a wonderful mid-size ship, Viking Star, registered in Bergen, Norway where we boarded. Our per-cruise extension gave us a too short but wonderful time in Oslo and a great 7 hour train ride over the mountains to Bergen. We stopped in 8 different countries (5 different currencies) as we circled the Baltic. The ship is extremely well thought out and suited us perfectly. Very flexible dining schedules and choices. Food was all you could ask for with the gelato bar in the buffet being top stop for many of us. A 24 hour coffee/cappachino/latte machine was a close second. There was one included tour at all stops and a good selection of optional tours. The 900 guests were never crowded or forced to wait. Music and lectures were frequent and very available. The only negative was checking in at the Stockholm airport for the flight home. Viking did not allow enough time and did not support the process well. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
What a wonderful experience my husband and I had aboard the Viking Star. This first of three planned ocean-going vessels from Viking was beautiful! Light colored woods and lots of open spaces created great ambience. Our cabin was ... Read More
What a wonderful experience my husband and I had aboard the Viking Star. This first of three planned ocean-going vessels from Viking was beautiful! Light colored woods and lots of open spaces created great ambience. Our cabin was spacious with plenty of storage space. The stairways were decorated with reproductions of the Bayeux Tapestry, retelling the story of the Viking Conquest of England by William the Conqueror. Outside the main Dining Room, an exhibit of ancient Viking artifacts help tell the Viking story. The Dining Room was light and airy. The food was delicious with many regional dishes on the menu. Other dining venues had many tempting dishes. I particularly liked Mamsen's, an area just off the Explorer Lounge where Scandinavian Styled Breakfast, Lunch and Late Night Snacks were served. Tea in the Winter Garden is not to be missed. Dinners at the Chef's table were gastronomically unique and delicious, and Manfredi's offered a great Italian menu. Each evening in the Explorer Lounge, as it became dark, the constellations would magically appear on the ceiling. Also not to be missed is the spa with its Snow Room. As with the Viking River cruises, the staff was proficient and more than accommodatingly friendly. Service was excellent. At ports there was always an option for an included local tour in addition to optional (fee based) tours. We used both options and were not disappointed, especially with our 2 day tour in St Petersburg which included 3 Palaces, the city, the ballet and 2 traditional lunches. Onboard entertainment in the theater was cleverly devised "productions" with a talented cast. Daytime lecturers enhanced our knowledge of the Baltic Region and the Vikings We arrived in Bergen after a pre-cruise tour in Oslo and easily walked aboard the ship. I cannot think of a time where boarding was smoother with another Cruise Line. Disembarkation in Stockholm was equally facile, with a transfer to the airport for our flight back to the States. We look forward to our next Viking Cruise! Read Less
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