After sailing exclusively on Oceania for 6 years, with 8 cruises on the Marina or Riviera, we read many good things about Viking. So this was our first Viking experience. Overall, it was a wonderful cruise. However, due to some lapses by ... Read More
After sailing exclusively on Oceania for 6 years, with 8 cruises on the Marina or Riviera, we read many good things about Viking. So this was our first Viking experience. Overall, it was a wonderful cruise. However, due to some lapses by Viking, the hype appears to be a bit exaggerated.
Ship Design - Beautiful decor...furniture, artwork, even the food plates were impressive. Loved the Scandinavian wood styling throughout.
Cabin - Very comfortable, though there was a lack of sufficient drawer space compared to other cruise lines Ive sailed on. But sine I pre packed many items in jumbo zip bags, there was no space crisis.
Breakfasts - Our first one was at Mamsen's, where I was anxious to try the touted waffles.
Not a good experience. We placed our order, and was told to take a seat and it would be brought to us in about 15 minutes. After 20 minutes, I reminded a server, who then brought it - cold. And the coffee was not hot either.
The MDR had wonderful breakfasts, and attentive service. The smoked salmon and pancakes were particularly good. Fresh fruits delicious. Croissants inconsistent. Only once was there a wait to get in -10 minutes on a sea day - which shouldn't be the case on a cruise line like this.
Lunches - Lunches at the buffet were consistently good with many selections. I particularly enjoyed the Bagel of the Day and soup choices,Though, I missed the Oceania experience of staff redy to carry food to an empty table. Staff was available to then take beverage orders, but not as attentive as Oceania. Loved the banana cream pie! The pizza looked unappetizing and had few takers.
I missed having a cook to order pasta station which Oceania provided, and an occasional taco station. The outdoor grill had tasty burgers and hot dogs. Though, unlike Oceania where you would place your order and a server would bring it to your selected numbered table, I had to queue up and wait for the order, hoping there would be a table available, which were scarce compared to O's Waves Grill.
Dinner - We shared tables in the MDR, and met so many nice, friendly fellow travelers.
THree courses were just right. O's 5 courses were too formidable. The selection was varied enough and waiters were efficient. It was an inspiration to have local food options on the menu, depending on which country we were visiting. South American or Caribbean desserts were particularly scrumptious. The waiters not as friendly, chatty and visible as on O. An oddity was that we were always asked if we knew which dessert we wanted when the order was placed. (Too soon!) And we were never asked at the end of dinner if we would like coffee, tea, etc. The few times we had casual dining, there were ample choices.
Specialty Restaurants - Manfreddi's had fantastic breads and steamed mussel. My lasagna was good but not stellar. We passed on the Chef's Table, since the menus on nights we could find reservations didn't thrill us.
Room Service - The best on any cruise line. Not only were there hot items available to all passengers, but hot dishes like omelettes and pancakes, and coffee always arrived hot!
Entertainment - The one man show by the Cruise Director - who sang and had a great sense of humor - was the best show I have seen on a cruise ship in many years. The Beatles tribute at a poolside party was so much fun. The Viking Band and the two vocalists was the most talented resident band I've ever heard. A varied repertoire of so many styles, even taking requests. The production shows were forgettable and original songs cringeworthy.
Ship Excursions - We took two. The guide in Santo Domingo was informative and led an
interesting tour. But in Santa Marta, the guide spoke too quickly, was a bit difficult to understand, and allocated too much time at a museum..the time should have been spent at other places nearby.
Miscellaneous - The Viking Daily should have listed more port information. I found out later thst there were port guides available, but I liked the way Oceania's ship paper provided shuttle information, taxi and bus availability, and distance estimated fares to local destinations, concisely and readable the night before.
It would have been nice to be able to obtain cash onboard. Oceania would provide cash through Guest Services.
One word on guest lectures. We attended just one. The subject was on The Caribbean and World War II. However, 90% of the lecture was about events in Europe. Just a few minutes on what happened in the Caribbean, no detailed facts, almost an afterthought.
Conclusion - The trip didn't quite live up to the hype. However, it was a wonderful trip with many many pluses out weighing negatives. This is a cruise line halfway between premium and luxury. If the wrinkles were ironed out (and did I mention the free laundromat?) this may be our cruise line of choice. But for now the scale is tipped to Oceania. Read Less