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Cruise Ratings
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Sail Date: August 2019
We have cruised many other cruise lines and were looking forward to this one because Viking was supposed to be a cut above, etc. It is not and we won't book another ocean cruise with them again. Food was average. Not much variety. ... Read More
We have cruised many other cruise lines and were looking forward to this one because Viking was supposed to be a cut above, etc. It is not and we won't book another ocean cruise with them again. Food was average. Not much variety. Service both dining and cabin was great. We had booked an Explorer Suite in the aft portion. The Infinity Pool on the 7th deck sprung a leak with the seal breaking overflowing on two separate occasions. First time they said they fixed it but then it happened again a few days later. We were told management would be contacting us. We heard nothing. Very disappointed in the lack of communication and caring. The cabin-couch only allowed for two people to sit. Chairs were hard to sit on-no cushioning. Overall, a very uncomfortable, unrelaxing cabin for the $$ spent! Entertainment sparse and poor and at later times. The shore excursions were nothing outstanding. Regular like you'd find offered by other cruise lines. Too bad because we really wanted to like Viking. Lack of caring doesn't do much for future booking on their ships. We're sticking with Holland America and Celebrity! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
I can only compare Viking to 2 other cruise lines, so I have a limited viewpoint. But just for the record, Viking continues to improve their overall experience with every cruise taken. The dining is superb and 99% of the food was ... Read More
I can only compare Viking to 2 other cruise lines, so I have a limited viewpoint. But just for the record, Viking continues to improve their overall experience with every cruise taken. The dining is superb and 99% of the food was excellent, hot and flavorful. The ship was beautiful and clean. Our cabin was cleaned 3 X a day we were provided daily snacks, drinks and iced. Our service was excellent. Some evenings our dinner was a bit slow, but the wine was always flowing freely while we waited. Entertainment was exactly as we expected - we are not big on shows and such, but what we did attend was very enjoyable. Shows were for mainly for people a little older than us and some were a little "corny". The ports and excusions are a mixed bag....some better than others. Everyone should do their homework beforehand to know where/what you want to see when you arrive at your port. Overall, the crew was very helpful and friendly, even the general manager was very accomodating. We will be back for more! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
The Viking Representative was waiting for us on our arrival at the airport. However, It would have been helpful to have had a "heads up" on which line for customs at Heathrow airport as we lost almost an hour waiting on the ... Read More
The Viking Representative was waiting for us on our arrival at the airport. However, It would have been helpful to have had a "heads up" on which line for customs at Heathrow airport as we lost almost an hour waiting on the wrong line. Our arrival at the Viking Sun was welcoming and from the moment we stepped on the ship we could not have wanted more. The ship is immaculate, the service and staff always there to please. We enjoyed the classical duo, two young talented ladies from Hungary who added many evenings of fine listening and elicited a beautiful atmosphere of European Class and elegance. The dining and food were abundance and quality was far beyond anything we had experienced on any other cruise. The disembarkation went smoothly with a Viking representative guiding us to the proper line at the airport. Going forward I will only travel on Viking. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Overall a great trip. The food and service was wonderful, our only suggestion would be to change the times of the entertainment. Some of the included excursions were just very general coach tours, so we were glad that we had chosen ... Read More
Overall a great trip. The food and service was wonderful, our only suggestion would be to change the times of the entertainment. Some of the included excursions were just very general coach tours, so we were glad that we had chosen optional ones, too Compared to other cruises we have been on, embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze. It was very nice not to be "upcharged" for everything as on other cruise lines, like the specialty restaurants and use of the spa. Our precruise stay in london was nice, the hotel was a great location. Viking picked us up at the airport, very convenient. Our travel agent did help us work put some flight issues, and I wish that our local airport could have been included in viking air. We like cruising and will consider viking again depending on the costs. We do get frequent mailings from them and will watcj for sales. Overall a lovely trip Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
I Wanted the Iceland extension and friends wanted us to go with them to the British Isles. One of the big reasons for selecting Viking was the smaller ship size with less passengers. We also appreciated the fact that like the river ... Read More
I Wanted the Iceland extension and friends wanted us to go with them to the British Isles. One of the big reasons for selecting Viking was the smaller ship size with less passengers. We also appreciated the fact that like the river cruises a city tour of each port was included. Overall we were quite pleased; we appreciated not having formal nights, not being pestered by photographers, getting around a smaller ship was nice, The cabin (category DV4) was quite nice and well laid out. The crew was very friendly and quite helpful. I liked that the dining room menu was, for the most part, available at the buffet. The food was very good (enjoyed some sushi every night) but I would like to have seen more bread variety in the buffet and a dispenser for standard "filter" coffee. We have already booked another Viking Ocean so that should say a lot. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
The embarkation and disembarkation were very organized and smoothly executed. No long waits or confusion about where to meet . There were always plenty of staff to direct and help you. The ship was immaculate and the wait staff and ... Read More
The embarkation and disembarkation were very organized and smoothly executed. No long waits or confusion about where to meet . There were always plenty of staff to direct and help you. The ship was immaculate and the wait staff and room stewards were great. However the staff at the Service desk weren't well trained. They couldn't answer many questions and weren't very helpful at finding out the answers to questions asked especially about tours. They just read the description of what was written in the travel book given to us before the trip. The food was outstanding with plenty of choices for all sorts of appetites and the servers were personable and helpful. The service was superb and the wine choices were always good and complimented the meal. The included tour excursions were just OK. Some were better than others but not up to the usual Viking standards. This is our 4th journey with Viking and it is the first one that the tours were mainly long bus rides with little time to see things and explore the area. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
We chose this cruise to see and learn about the British isles, as we have never been to Ireland, Scotland, nor other isles in the U.K. The cruise was fantastic, first time on Viking ocean. We loved that it was a smaller ship compared to ... Read More
We chose this cruise to see and learn about the British isles, as we have never been to Ireland, Scotland, nor other isles in the U.K. The cruise was fantastic, first time on Viking ocean. We loved that it was a smaller ship compared to the other behemoths. We enjoyed the great food, the choice of restaurants, and their flexible hours. The wait people were always attentive and courteous. We liked that wine and other beverages were always available at every meal, at no extra charge. Specialty coffees, or other soft beverages were always available at the bars, free. The cabins are spacious, clean, and adequate for most people, and serviced regularly. Entertainment at the theater was fabulous, with the ship’s performers, and guest entertainers. The shore excursions, included at every port, in addition to the optional tours, were for the most part very educational. They covered the highlights of the area, as much as one could see and absorb in a few hours. Overall, the cruise was wonderful, we’ll go again with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
Loved, loved, loved my Viking Ocean Cruise - Tour of the British Isles. The service was remarkable... by the second day, everyone from the bartenders to the waiters to the security personnel new me by name! Embarkation was a piece of ... Read More
Loved, loved, loved my Viking Ocean Cruise - Tour of the British Isles. The service was remarkable... by the second day, everyone from the bartenders to the waiters to the security personnel new me by name! Embarkation was a piece of cake - no wait whatsoever to board the ship, and rooms were available earlier than advertised. Disembarkation for tours and for final disembarkation also went very smoothly - departure times were always staggered, so you never felt like herded cattle. When flying home, Viking even sent a representative on the bus to the airport with us to make sure we were checked into our airlines smoothly! Included tours were just OK - mainly bus rides around cities with very quick photo stops. Highly recommend skipping the London tour, unless you've never been before and never plan to be back. Definitely will do another Viking cruise... next up - a river cruise! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
After returning home with a cold and tired from jet lag, I spent two days thinking about and writing this review. My gosh, it turned out to be 13 pages! So here goes, I will put it online in pieces since it is so long. In my defense, it ... Read More
After returning home with a cold and tired from jet lag, I spent two days thinking about and writing this review. My gosh, it turned out to be 13 pages! So here goes, I will put it online in pieces since it is so long. In my defense, it was an almost 4 week trip, with a pre-cruise stop. Review of Viking Jupiter UK cruise and pre-cruise Zurich trip July/August 2019 We booked a trip on the Viking Jupiter, going around the UK, beginning in Greenwich, London, UK and ending in Bergen, Norway. We used Viking air, which made it very easy. We upgraded to business, and also added a destination with their program. I like that I can pick my exact flights that I want and even pick my seats. This way, it is possible to have the times that I want, and also the least number of stops, or even nonstop direct. We flew to Zurich, Switzerland for our first stop. We have flown over, and once stopped in Montreux on Lake Geneva for lunch driving through to France. This was our first time spending a few days in Switzerland. We stayed at the Hotel Widder, which is a real gem, in a perfect downtown location, and dates back to the 12th century. This is a 5 star boutique hotel. We had a very lovely spacious room overlooking their garden. The blend of old and new is beautiful. The architect spent years perfecting this combination and it truly shows. There is an awesome bar with a superb mixologist, and outdoor garden seating and dining. Breakfast is served in a charming café with indoor and outdoor seating. We would highly recommend this hotel for anyone traveling to Zurich. The service was impeccable, and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay. Just so happened, that the Iron Man race was held while we were there. Even closed streets did not impact us at all, and we got to cheer and watch some of the runners. We visited a small art museum, the Kunsthaus Zurich. I was surprised at the wonderful work that I so enjoyed. The largest collection of Munch outside of Norway, many Giacometti, and Monet, Picasso, Chagall, Kandinsky and Brancusi. A Henry Moore, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Matisse, a section on Old Masters, and I could go on. Suffice it to say a must do while in Zurich, lovely café outside the front door with a large Rodin “Gates of Hell” to admire while drinking your coffee. Walking around the downtown, along the river Limatt and down to Lake Zurich, we also visited the Grossmunster and Fraumunster churches. The latter with astounding Chagall windows, no photos were allowed. The original building from 853AD was an abbey for aristocratic women. The former was the starting point of the Reformation in the first half of the 16th century in Zurich. Our first day trip with a private car service was up to Mount Pilatus and the city of Lucerne. We took the cog wheel train up to the top of the Mount, about 7000 feet. It was a cloudy day and we had nice views until some fog rolled in and we couldn’t even see the gondola to go down. It quickly rolled out and some nice gentlemen serenaded us with yodeling as we waited to go back to the bottom. We saw lots of cows and heard their bells as we went up the train. The views are just like a postcard. Next, we headed over to Lucerne, on the beautiful lake. We walked the covered bridge (Kapellbrucke) spanning the River Reuss, built circa 1365, and admired the paintings from the 17th century. It also has an octagonal water tower which predates the bridge. It is the oldest surviving truss bridge in the world, with strutted and triangulated trusses of moderate span with piled trestles. We also made a quick stop to see the Lion Monument, a rock relief from 1820 to commemorate the Swiss Guards massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution. Our next day trip we did on our own, taking an easy train ride to see the RheinFalls. Here we took the rock tour boat ride going out to a rock at the base of the largest falls in Europe, 75 feet high and 490 feet across. We climbed to the top for spectacular views with spray in our faces. We then took another boat across the river to the castle side for our train ride back. Our dining adventures in Zurich included a lovely dinner at the Michelin 2 star restaurant Pavillon . Their Head Sommelier, Marc Almert, received Best Sommelier in the World at the March 2019 ceremony in Antwerp by the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale. The restaurant received their second star in May 2019 honoring their chef, Laurent Eperon. The swiss chef, Daniel Humm (of 11 Madison Park fame in NYC), spent several years training here. The Pavillon is round, with views out to Lake Zurich and stunning flower arrangements. Needless to say, it was an awesome experience, which we thoroughly enjoyed. We also had a lovely meal on the outdoor terrace of the Storchen Hotel with views of the River Limmat. This venerable hotel is mentioned in Zurich tax records as early as 1357. It is believed a pair of rare black storks nested on it’s roof, and that is the legend of it’s name. This was a delightful city, and a perfect way to ease into our trip and get over our jet lag. Then, we were off to London, an easy hop away on British Air, where we arrived at the Hotel Beaumont, which is also a 5 star, luxury boutique hotel located in Mayfair. Inspired by the 1920’s, it is an Art Deco building on a quiet garden square, and steps from Mayfair, St James and the West End and only a few blocks from Hyde Park. Since we have been in London a few times, we had a different list of what to see and do, than we would have had on a first trip. Of course, we booked theater tickets, and enjoyed the Tina Turner musical, with great music. We had an early pre-theater dinner at the fabulous Eneko Basque Kitchen and Bar just steps away from the theater. The chef, Eneko Atxa, has a three star Michelin restaurant, Azurmendi, in Spain, one of the world’s top 50 restaurants. It won the Westholme Highest Climber Award in 2019, a previous winner was Blue Hill at Stone Barns for example. Great selection of tapas style foods, our server helped us to order, and everything was just delicious and service outstanding as well. If you believe in global warming or not, we hit a 100 degree day in London! This was unexpected, and we rearranged our schedule. The British Library is in a new building, with real cold a/c. Many other places say they have a/c, but not up to our standards, or what we are used to. Since we gave up our trip to Salisbury, due to the heat, we still got to see the Magna Carta. Also, Shakespeare’s first folio, illuminated manuscripts, maps, music; like an original Beatle lyric. The Diamond Sutra, the world’s earliest dated printed book; a Gutenberg bible, original manuscript of “Alice’s Adventures Underground”, Beowulf manuscript, Dame Anne McLaren notebook – pioneer of in vitro fertilization; a letter from Charles Darwin, Captain Scott’s South Pole diary, letter from Ada Lovelace to Charles Babbage, letter from code breaker Alan Turing, and so much more. King George III library is at the center of the building, with books and other printed material from the mid 15th century. This turned out to be an unexpected treat and kept us cool on the hottest of days. We spent an afternoon on a walking tour of the Inns of Court, and visited the Royal Courts of Justice, and the Templar Church, built in the 1180’s. Seven signatories of the Declaration of Independence and five to the Constitution, were members of the Middle Temple. We also went into Sir John Soane’s museum, which was his home, circa 1808. He was the architect of the Bank of England. How many people do you know with a sarcophagus in their basement? The home is described as one of the most complex, intricate, and ingenious series of interiors ever conceived. We did make a quick visit to the British Museum so I could see the Elgin marbles again. It was hot and crowded. Worse than a NYC subway at rush hour, we bailed. Tip, when there are long lines to get in, go around the back, most people don’t know there is another entrance, and no lines. On the recommendation of a colleague, we visited the Sky Garden. This is free, just need to sign up for a time slot. Fabulous views around London, especially the Tower of London, and Tower Bridge, and all along the Thames. Lots of places for a drink or a meal as well. We were lucky to have a clear day for great views, glad we stopped there! Then we decided to eat somewhere nearby, and lucked out to find Blacklock City down a stairway to a basement, in an old electricity substation on the grounds of London’s first meat market. Definitely order the “All in” for 2 people, a compilation of grilled beef, pork and lamb, with sides and grilled flatbread, lots of cool side sauces to boot. Great bar too! Our final dinner in London was at Berner’s Tavern, on the recommendation of our daughter and SIL. Michelin starred chef, Jason Atherton is at the helm and we made these reservations a long time before we even left the US. It is inside the Edition hotel, a reinvention of a landmark building, and it is hip and innovative. The bar was packed with young elegant folk. Gorgeous room full of mirrors and artwork, and lovely mouldings and ceiling. We went with our servers recommendation for the starter of a traditional British pork pie and we were not disappointed. We both chose the lamb for dinner and it was delicious. Great ending for our sojourn in London. The next day we packed up and headed out to Greenwich to meet the Viking Jupiter. We boarded the ship and went to check out our cabin. Oh, la di da! (to quote from Diane Keaton in Manhattan) The Explorer Suite was just awesome. We think it is about the same square footage as our apartment in NYC. The bathroom is to die for, and so spacious for a cruise ship. There are double sinks, and a large shower room, with a tub and expansive walk in shower with great water pressure. Think we could fit half a dozen people in it for a party. The bedroom is large as well, with full floor to ceiling windows out the front of the ship, and below the bridge, so we have the same view. Then, the living space has a desk area, a nice round table with four chairs, perfect for those early morning breakfasts before a long tour day, and a couch and two chairs with a coffee table. We appreciated the small fridge with snacks and our preferred beverages kept everyday, including water, and a daily fruit bowl. Two large flat screen TV’s also in the cabin. There are expansive windows on two sides. The veranda has two lounge chairs and a table and chairs. Windows in front keep out the wind and the deck overhead makes for shade and no rain. The only problem was the floor was always flooded after a rain, something must be wrong with the drain design. Our exceptional housekeeper cleaned it on her hands and knees with towels and a bucket so we could sit out there one afternoon. If this had not been such a port intensive trip, that would have become a problem. This was a truly wonderful space for a two week journey. We could easily see staying here for an around the world cruise and being very comfortable. The rest of the ship totally lives up to any and all hype. It is elegant and well designed. The spaces really feel like you are on a private and luxurious yacht. There was never a feeling of being crowded, and you could always find a place to sit and have a coffee, or read, or do a puzzle, or play cards, etc. The thought and care that went into decorating the ship truly shows, and I enjoyed all the artwork and information on the pieces. The best place for a latte, cappuccino or expresso was on deck 1, with a real deal machine. They did make them up on deck 7 at the World Cafe, but not the same. The bars and bartenders were all great, and after a few days they remembered your name and your drink! This reminded us of Crystal cruise service. The spa is awesome. We made our own second sea day while we had only a half day tendered stop at Ullapool in the Highlands. When we first got there one other person was in the hot tub, but she soon left and we had it all to ourselves. So, hot tub, steam room, cold snow room, hot tub, you get the idea. I chickened out, no bucket of cold water over my head. The dressing rooms also had a sauna and cold plunge pool, as well as showers. I had both a massage one day, and a facial another day. Great technicians and I enjoyed them both. I also had a manicure and hair blowouts. Competent and nice staff. Indulge when you are there, so worth it. There is a large pool with a retractable roof. We never went in, but saw a few people enjoying. There is also an infinity pool at the back. Being a part time Floridian with a pool and hot tub, waterfall in our backyard I rarely go in the pool on a ship. It was never crowded. Also, no problem finding a lounge chair. The Wintergarden was lovely, and we went one day to check out the high tea which is served everyday between 4 and 5. I am not a fan of cucumber sandwiches, but everything was presented beautifully and elegantly, and loved the tea. We did have our Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle in the Wintergarten. There were canapés and drinks. Many high level staff were there to greet us and chat. Unfortunately, only about half of those signed up came. To be fair, the captain had just announced that we were headed into a front and it might be rough seas. That may have kept some people away. Since we were a small group, we were invited to use the private dining room at the Manfredi Italian Restaurant, and a group of about 10 or 12 of us enjoyed a lovely dinner with pleasant conversation and got to know each other a little better. Thank you Viking for treating our cruise critic group so well. Another superb aspect of the ship is a planetarium on the second level of the Explorer Lounge. We saw all three of the shows, and two were 3D. Lots of fun and so unexpected on a cruise ship. Remember to sit as far to the back as you can for best viewing and no crick in your neck. On to the theater and the entertainment. The four singers were young and enthusiastic, with lots of energy. High powered shows with lots of costume changes. There was a Beatles show, perfect before Liverpool, a combo 50’s 60’s 70’s show and an ABBA show. We missed the comedian/magician on his first show, and caught the last half of the second show. He was fun and the audience really appreciated him. The assistant cruise director proved that Elvis is still coming back, and was in the room. He did an awesome job and it was very entertaining. The Viking band is good and although I missed their show they were awesome backup and played at the Torshavn in the late evenings. We only made it once, this was so port intensive and we had long days and we were tired. We also enjoyed the other two singers although we missed some of their performances. The string duo was elegant and classy, and we always enjoyed their playing. The same for the pianist. So much of the time they seemed to be playing to an empty room, which was sad, but that was later in the evening, and again, port intensive with long days, so I think many passengers retired early. Now, for the biggest entertainment surprise, was the cruise director, Heather. OMG, does this woman have pipes!!! She is a mezzo soprano, and I would be willing to listen to her every evening. She sang some favorites that Andrea Boccelli sings, like Nessun Dorma and Con Te Partiro (duet he made famous with Sarah Brightman) She is enormously talented and brings it up a notch. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
It was one of the few cruises that visited Shetland. I have watched the television series of the same name and I wanted to see the setting first hand. This was my first Viking Cruise and I would put it in the same category with Cunard. ... Read More
It was one of the few cruises that visited Shetland. I have watched the television series of the same name and I wanted to see the setting first hand. This was my first Viking Cruise and I would put it in the same category with Cunard. I enjoyed the relaxed less formal atmosphere. The cabin was comfortable and the room attendants provided excellent service. The cuisine in all the dining rooms was exceptional; my sister and I especially enjoyed The Chef's Table and Manfredi's. We appreciated the outstanding wine recommendations that the sommeliers provided and the staff's table service was commendable. In fact it is hard to imagine how the pleasant service of the staff could be any better. We had several favorites at the restaurants and bars. The included tours covered more of the sights than I expected and the optional tours were a good value. I recommend the Rugged Beauty of the North tour on Shetland (especially if you are a fan of the television show). Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Viking provides their customers with top of the line service, amenities, cuisine, tours and entertainment. As our first cruise, we wanted a premier experience with ease of planning and execution. Viking met and exceeded our expectations. ... Read More
Viking provides their customers with top of the line service, amenities, cuisine, tours and entertainment. As our first cruise, we wanted a premier experience with ease of planning and execution. Viking met and exceeded our expectations. They make sure that you are treated with kid gloves from the phone call to their excellent customer service agents, to flight planning, transportation to/from the ship, and room accommodations. Our cabin was first class with a spacious veranda, bathroom/shower, amenities, king size bed, wide screen TV and closet. We toke advantage of all the entertainment and education seminars which were first class. The included shore excursions were perfectly executed and the right amount of time, allowing us to get off the luxury buses several times, and return to the ship for lunch and then take the ship side buses to the local town(s) for shopping and eateries. We have two other cruises and river cruises scheduled as a result, and Viking is providing excellent discounts for returning customers. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this cruise to celebrate my husband's 80th birthday. We enjoyed it very much. We have taken many river and ocean cruises but not around the British Isles. The Viking Sun is a beautiful ship. The staircases are decorated ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate my husband's 80th birthday. We enjoyed it very much. We have taken many river and ocean cruises but not around the British Isles. The Viking Sun is a beautiful ship. The staircases are decorated with murals of the Bayeaux Tapestry. The place where high tea is served each afternoon looks like a forest. The Explorer's Lounge is a wonderful space for relaxing and watching the changing view. Our cabin was very comfortable and well designed right down to the wooden shoe horn/clothes brush. The staff is incredibly attentive. I was constantly being greeted with "Good Morning or Good Afternoon or Good Evening Madam." The waiter in The Restaurant not only pulled out my chair but unfolded my napkin and placed it in my lap. The food in all the dining venues was excellent. Viking advertises that each port has an included shore excursion. I found this to be somewhat misleading as the excursions that cost extra were, with a few exceptions, much better than the included ones, many of which consisted of sitting for hours on an uncomfortable bus. We have done several cruises on ships that had 2000, 3000 and 4000 passengers and much prefer the Viking Sun which has just 920. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
My wife and I had a long time desire to go to England, Scotland and Ireland and the Viking River cruise we were on 2 years ago gave us confidence to sign up for an ocean cruise. The on board experience was similar to the river cruise, ... Read More
My wife and I had a long time desire to go to England, Scotland and Ireland and the Viking River cruise we were on 2 years ago gave us confidence to sign up for an ocean cruise. The on board experience was similar to the river cruise, in that the service and friendliness of the staff was excellent. We never felt crowded or rushed. Never wanted to go somewhere on the ship and turned around because it was too busy. Also like the river cruise it was easy to meet people and see them in the restaurants or excursions. The food was outstanding with many options to choose from. The portions were just right and the quality and variety was outstanding. The entertainment and cultural activities exceeded our expectations as well. Plenty to choose from throughout the week. Lastly the excursions offered a wide variety of city and country activities. The tour guides were all excellent. Finally, we talked about taking the same cruise again we liked it that much. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
Selected this cruise because of promotional brochure indicating interesting ports of call. Promotional material didn't properly identify that many ports on this cruise were for a limited time, less than day, which made the cruise much ... Read More
Selected this cruise because of promotional brochure indicating interesting ports of call. Promotional material didn't properly identify that many ports on this cruise were for a limited time, less than day, which made the cruise much less enjoyable and disappointing. Wouldn't have taken it if had known this fact. Scheduled for two days in Barcelona and left after first evening. Afternoon or morning on five other destinations. Also not clear on personal touring transportation option which were limited. If you promote a stop/city then don't have transportation for sell guided tours readily available very disappointing. Most excursions were good but a few tried to pack too much activity into too short a time in port. We have done numerous river cruises with Viking and self guided is a big plus. Ship was nice and having taken an Amazon cruise in December we were familiar with the ship offering. Staff was always pleasant and accommodating. New ship so facilities were good. Enjoyed the Restaurant and the World Cafe'. World Cafe' staff was solicitous to passengers compensating for self service format. Had two occasions in Resturant that staff wasn't good and reflected staff either overworked or focused on certain passengers Selection of items was good in the World Cafe'.. We were not fans of the Chiefs Table due to the presentation and selection of menu but that is just a personal choice. Heard lot's of compliments about Chiefs Table from others. Manfradi's was pleasant but often portions were too large. Also some staff more pleasant than others. Again just a personal choice and observation. Service was good so would recommend this to other travelers. Enjoyed Mamsens and Explorer Lounge. Staff was great and environment was great place to meet other travelers. Sorry that this cruise wasn't what we had hoped for. Compared to our Amazon Cruise with Viking, our first Viking Ocean Cruise, this was a disappointment. Undecided on future Ocean cruising with Viking but would recognize that they do a good job on board. Will always consider Viking River Cruising. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
This was our second Viking Ocean cruise and we had our first cruise with Viking on the Amsterdam to Budapest river cruise in 2014. Needless to say we love Viking! The crew is always outstanding and the food is great. There are always ... Read More
This was our second Viking Ocean cruise and we had our first cruise with Viking on the Amsterdam to Budapest river cruise in 2014. Needless to say we love Viking! The crew is always outstanding and the food is great. There are always interesting tours and excursions available to suit everyone. The embarkation and disembarkation went flawlessly and as always the crew was ever helpful. We had the same level of cabin on both ocean cruises, the deluxe veranda and it is perfect for us. Our steward was fantastic and our room was spotless. We would travel with Viking any time and hope to do so again in the future. We especially love that there are no children and no casinos or water slides on Viking ships and the size of the ship is really great. We also love the free laundry on the ocean vessels. There isn't anything we would change. Please continue the wonderful service. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We took this cruise because we felt this cruise went to a lot of different places we wanted to see. The tours were all good, except that my husband lost 1 of his hearing aids 3rd day out. So, he had some trouble hearing things ... Read More
We took this cruise because we felt this cruise went to a lot of different places we wanted to see. The tours were all good, except that my husband lost 1 of his hearing aids 3rd day out. So, he had some trouble hearing things throughout the cruise. We were quite satisfied with everything except Blues Lounge. Hardly anyone ever went and stayed there. The music was way to loud, it was not good danceable music, and was always very cold in there. We like to dance, and certainly not at 11 pm at night at a Disco either. They had another band play nice music in one of the lounges during the supper hour, but we had to miss a lot of it as we were eating. The service was incredible. Absolutely great staff in every area. The meals were all great except the Mexican one. Did not care for that one at all. It was not what we were expecting. The other specialty restaurant was great, and we also enjoyed the variety offered daily in the buffet. All in all, good daily variety of excellent food. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
All in all we enjoyed the cruise although some of the port stays were too short to fully experience the places. We mainly wanted to see what each place had to offer and decide if we wished to return to spend more time and explore. Some ... Read More
All in all we enjoyed the cruise although some of the port stays were too short to fully experience the places. We mainly wanted to see what each place had to offer and decide if we wished to return to spend more time and explore. Some of the shore excursions were already booked so we did miss out on a few that we had really wanted. The ports using tenders were a bit cumbersome and time consuming. The ship was wonderful, cabin large and inviting and the dining was excellent with more than enough choices. We most enjoyed the Explorers lounge with the entertainment of guitar player Valentino. The pool and sauna area is also a wonderful feature along with the spa and gym. The service as always was excellent with all crew members being friendly, efficient at their jobs and going the extra mile. We thoroughly enjoy the Viking line and have already booked our next cruise. Read Less
8 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
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our first ocean cruise with viking. We had 2 days in madrid, spain prior to the cruise. The hotel, tours, services, and transfer were excellent. Embarkation in barcelona went smoothly. The ship was very beautiful. The room was ... Read More
This was our first ocean cruise with viking. We had 2 days in madrid, spain prior to the cruise. The hotel, tours, services, and transfer were excellent. Embarkation in barcelona went smoothly. The ship was very beautiful. The room was a standard veranda. It was nicely appointed and comfortable. We liked the world cafe for dinning. It had a wide variety of foods each meal. The restaurant was very good. Similar food to that served in the world cafe. We ate once in the chef’s table. The service and food were excellent. Great wine selection. Service on the ship was excellent. All the staff did their best to make our cruise comfortable. There was an issue with the ship staying in barcelona overnight so we had to move down the coast. This caused several of the shore excursions to be canceled or you had to ride a bus back for the excursion. The excursion to london required an 1.5 hour bus ride each way along with a ride around the highlights of city. Too much time on the bus and not enough time on foot at a destination. The foodie walking tour in copenhagen was excellent. The guide was very knowledgeable and entertaining. Read Less
12 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
2 Helpful Votes
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
Sail Date: April 2019
i can't say enough about the itinerary and the staff! Each stop was a great adventure. One scheduled stop/harbor was closed due to weather and an optional stop and full day of excursion was set for us (at no additional cost). ... Read More
i can't say enough about the itinerary and the staff! Each stop was a great adventure. One scheduled stop/harbor was closed due to weather and an optional stop and full day of excursion was set for us (at no additional cost). We loved the eating options....each one was fabulous. The places that asked for reservations.....if we were unable to get a reservation, we just stopped and talked to the person at the check in desk and if there were people who did not come to their reservation, we were able to use the reservation (they waited 30 minutes before they released the us We have done a RIVER Cruise and now the OCEAN cruise. VIKING shows you that the travelers' experience is the most important to them. Every crew member we interacted with gave us exceptional service. Everyone had a smile and wanted to be sure our every wish was taken care of. Every excursion was over our expectations! The excursions are all reviewed and you know before you sign up if there is a lot of walking (we are in our 70's and we thoroughly enjoyed EVERY excursion). THe only complaints I hear were from people who signed up for excursions which were NOT APPROPRIATE for their ability, Would we do it again? YOU BET!!! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
The itinerary was nicely organized so that we had great tours with quiet days in between to relax. The crew members were very friendly and caring and always tried to make sure everything was perfect. The port talks were very ... Read More
The itinerary was nicely organized so that we had great tours with quiet days in between to relax. The crew members were very friendly and caring and always tried to make sure everything was perfect. The port talks were very informative and it was handy having them recorded and available in our room so we could watch them at our convenience. The dress code was nice and relaxing, you don't need to have a lot of (any) really dressy clothes, dress pants and a collared shirt or sweater were perfect for all dining venues. The food was good for the most part but we didn't care for the offerings in the Chef's Table. We would have rather had more meals in the Italian restaurant, which was very good, but there was also a nice variety of food in the other restaurants. The staff in the explorer lounge were first rate. They remembered us after day one and always greeted us by name after that. The room attendants were most accommodating and considerate. We were glad we had a PV room with a little more space when we were relaxing in our room & on the balcony of our room. It was really helpful to have access to a laundry room during the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary...Bergen Norway to Barcelona. Wonderful cruise except for the stormy seas and the bland food and the constant, annoying cello and violins! The food....the Restaurant took at least 2 hrs to ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary...Bergen Norway to Barcelona. Wonderful cruise except for the stormy seas and the bland food and the constant, annoying cello and violins! The food....the Restaurant took at least 2 hrs to complete a meal, but the food was better here than in the World Cafe (buffet). Mancini's was great, but not for all the time. We never did the Captain's Table, you have no control over what's on the menu. The World Cafe is where we ate most of our meals because it suits our attire, and hours. For breakfast, you at the same thing boring thing everyday. I tried to get an omelet once, but the "chefs" were too busy fooling around to pay attention to the customers waiting, plus it took forever when they did. Lunch and dinner were just boring and the desserts were all mini gel-filled things. Aweful stuff. In the dining room, you got a proper dessert, but again, we only went there sporadically because we hated how long it took. I will say that the gelato ice cream bar in the WC was very good. We love Viking generally, but the food was seriously lacking on this cruise. Even the "chocolate" show near the end of the trip was mostly unedible. I found lots of people throwing their stuff away, including us. Never gave hurricanes in the North Atlantic any thought in October, I thought they mostly stayed around Florida or up the eastern seaboard. I was wrong! The seas were very rough my friends! Nothing 'normal' people couldn't handle, but if you are at all prone to getting sick, this time of the year may not be for you. You take your chances, I guess. Our first port was Bergen..loved it! The North Sea, not so much. We love Amsterdam as well, but the included tour did not allow us to stay in town. The only time they allowed us off the bus was to look at up close at a windmill and take a canal cruise. Our absolute favorite stop was Brugges, Belgium!! Don't forget to buy chocolate!! LaHavre was a wasted stop. 3hrs from Paris left us weary from bus traveling all day...9hrs worth...and that was the INCLUDED tour! Wish we would have never done that one. I guess we could have done Normandy, but we weren't really interested. Portsmouth England was very windy, but had a great lunch at a local pub. We missed Falmouth England due to hurricane Michaels forces flooding the town. Porto was a great town, loved walking around there, even though it was raining on us! Malaga was beautiful, so was Cartegena! Barcelona's included tour was a huge disappointment! The fact that we didn't arrive in to port until 2pm was bad too. Only left with this scant few hours to see Barcelona, and as it turned out, we didn't really see anthing! Unless you stay a couple extra days at the end of this tour, you will not see much of Barcelona...except huge amounts of traffic! Sadly we can't really rate any of the entertainment in the theater because the seas were so rough we rarely went there. Tea! If your ship has "tea time" GO. It was fabulous! You might want to give it a day or two to slow down though. We didn't go the first week, but we did the whole second week with a lot fewer people! It was my sister's birthday and they brought her the most beautiful piece of cake and a bottle of champagne to her room! All ya gotta do is let them know! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
We booked this cruise because of the itinerary and my wife's experience with Viking river cruises. Both the destinations and the hospitality were outstanding! The tour guides with real historical chops and the resident historians were ... Read More
We booked this cruise because of the itinerary and my wife's experience with Viking river cruises. Both the destinations and the hospitality were outstanding! The tour guides with real historical chops and the resident historians were stars. The food was on par with a legend of Valhalla (see what I did there?) We loved creativity of the Chef's Table, and were surprised it wasn't more packed. We were also pleasantly surprised by the excellent musical talent of the entertainment; they were professional and I would not be surprised to see them in first class musical theater productions or commercially successful in selling recordings. My only disappointment was the unavailability of spots on some shore excursions. In particular, we were unable to get in the Alhambra tour, and that was one of the top three reasons we picked this cruise. Bottom line, we loved it so much that we signed up (on the boat) for another ocean cruise in the eastern Mediterranean in 2020, and we are trying to get our extended family members interested. Read Less
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