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76 Viking Ocean Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

Numb, as in unbelievable, Numb as in over whelming, Numb as in booked another cruise with Viking for next year. We had seen the TV documentary "Mighty Ships" showcasing the "Viking Sky" and a week later were booked ... Read More
Numb, as in unbelievable, Numb as in over whelming, Numb as in booked another cruise with Viking for next year. We had seen the TV documentary "Mighty Ships" showcasing the "Viking Sky" and a week later were booked for our cruise on the "Sea", I had Viking do all our bookings for our transportation to Oslo, as well as our Oslo and Bergen extensions. We were not disappointed, as everything went well, with ground transportation, the 2 hotels we stayed in, as well as the train trip between Oslo and Bergen. I beloved they saved us about $4,000 Cdn, (for 2 people) as I booked the airfare using a dummy account, and was well satisfied with the outcome, and that didn't include booking hotels or train trip. Upon our arrival at the cruise terminal, we were informed we would leave Bergen a day early (disappointed) and miss the Shetland and Faroe Islands (disappointed), but would have two extra ports in Iceland (Wow), due to stormy seas as the remainder of Hurricane Dorian hit the area. A few other changes were made due to rough seas, but Viking and the Captain made the changes ahead of time, allowing replacements and relocations so our cruise wasn't days at seas. This allowed us to cross the Arctic Circle, and spend extra time in Iceland, a place we might have never returned to, as well attended to the safety of the ship and passengers / crew aboard. I have mobility issues and use a walker. The tours we took, were OK for our limits, as we were allowed to wander at our own speed and were given a time and place to meet, which we adhered to. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze, except at Quebec City. I knew, as Viking stipulates in their "FAQ" area, you are responsible for getting yourself off and on without crew assistance, but at Quebec City no wanted to take my walker on or off, and it was a long stand waiting while the walker sat on the pier. The boarding ramp also in Quebec City was not handicap friendly due to the small steps (my ability of using steps, not the port or ship or anyone else's ability). All other ports, crew couldn't have been nicer or more obliging getting the walker on and off, and assisting on ramps and tenders. The ship was beautiful, simple lines but very elegant. We had so much space and a good choice of areas to sit, depending the mood and what we wanted to see or the hear the music provided by the onboard musicians. The "Living Room" was divided into smaller sitting rooms (about 8 to 10 seats), each with art work, a multitude of reading material, ornaments on tables and shelves and thro-blankets and cushions giving a very warm and at home feeling. The food overall, was very good, sometimes things weren't great or what we expected but that's standard wherever you go or even at home. The "Restaurant" had wonderful choices, with standard fare on the left side of the menu and seasonal / regional choices on the right side. We mostly ate from the right side, and enjoyed what we ordered. Service was professional, and the odd time things did get dis-jointed, but we always got what we wanted, and if something was forgotten, it was there in seconds. We never left hungry. "World Cafe" had a nice choice of foods, and they would prepare to order. We only had lunch there, as we preferred the "Restaurant" where portions are controlled, as we always filled our plates way to much, and hate to waste food. "Manfretti's" was wonderful, especially the rib-eye steak, but learned we can order or split portions if we choose. We were very pleased we could have 4 dinners there. We had one dinner at the "Chef's Table", which was Asian and wonderful, but we choose not to return for the Mexican themed dinner. At both specialty restaurants, the servers explained the menu to us in great detail, as well as the wines we ordered. We paid for the "Silver Spirits" package which included upgraded wines at meals, and any alcohol or soft drinks on board. The jury is still out, whether we would get it again. I kept of tally of what we ordered, and we broke even. The upgraded wines aren't a big deal for us, and we are not big drinkers, but ordered a few specialty drinks we wouldn't of had if we were paying for each drink. However, it was nice knowing you wouldn't get a large bill at the end. The crew were "amazing" and everyone on board made our holiday special, from their hellos in the hallways or greeting us by name in the food and bar service areas. They remembered our likes or dislikes or could predict whether we were having 2 black coffees or 2 Absolute and tonic. High Points: 1) no children 2) no up-selling 3) included internet (worked well most of the time) 4) no photography or photographers in your face 5) treated like responsible adults (not to many party people on board) 6) no pushing future cruises, it was made known you could book on ship (which we did because we wanted to, not because of pressure) There is much more to tell, bu the highlight was, Viking did us well, and we look forward to our next cruise in June 2020. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was a great cruise, exceptional staff. Went to many ports all beautiful. Went to Sweden, Finland, Russia, Denmark, Germany, Estonia and Norway. We missed Poland due to rough water, but we would have been there five hours. Food was ... Read More
This was a great cruise, exceptional staff. Went to many ports all beautiful. Went to Sweden, Finland, Russia, Denmark, Germany, Estonia and Norway. We missed Poland due to rough water, but we would have been there five hours. Food was great and we saw a lot of country. We did many of the optional tours and some included tours, plus we did some walking tours on our own. The weather could have been better in some places but that is out of everyone’s control. On ship we had a massage which was great but a bit overpriced. We also went to the steam bat, the snow grotto, the thermal pool, the sauna and the cold pool. My traveling friend was Norwegian and Swedish and I am German and Finnish so it was great we went to all four countries. I was very happy to get to see the where the Berlin Wall was and Checkpoint Charlie. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise as a way to spend some time with dear friends. The primary driver was the itinerary, but we were also looking for a ship that would not overwhelm us with vast numbers of people and activities as the primary ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a way to spend some time with dear friends. The primary driver was the itinerary, but we were also looking for a ship that would not overwhelm us with vast numbers of people and activities as the primary attractions were the destinations. The ship was wonderful as were the people serving us. Our cabin attendants were exceptional and the food and service throughout the ship were fantastic. We ate at all the restaurants on board and without exception I can say the quality was excellent, the best I have ever had on any previous cruise with other companies. There was plenty to do each day of the trip and always easy to find a private space to enjoy the journey. We really enjoyed the included tours and they were all expertly organized and completed on time. We will definitely return for another cruise in the future. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Have traveled with Viking on a River Cruise in 2015. Best ever- and this Ocean Cruise was fantastic as well. We extended our trip by two days before embarking and two days after the cruise ended. Everything went smoothly. Having the ... Read More
Have traveled with Viking on a River Cruise in 2015. Best ever- and this Ocean Cruise was fantastic as well. We extended our trip by two days before embarking and two days after the cruise ended. Everything went smoothly. Having the Viking personnel arrange our air flights, connections, and stays before and after the cruise made the experience all the better.The crew, stateroom, food and entertainment were all excellent. All of the excursions were well planned and enriching. We had the best possible tour guides and the process and organization of the excursions was terrific. The food at each of the restaurants was excellent and the staff made us feel welcomed no matter where we went to eat. The cabin staff were friendly and made our stay almost like being at home. We have nothing but the best reviews of our trip and would gladly travel with Viking again soon. Thank you Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was my second criuse with Viking. Did Grand European Tour that was a river cruise and wanted to try an ocean cruise. Baltic cruise was very interesting with many ports of call. Just seeing how other cultures live will open your ... Read More
This was my second criuse with Viking. Did Grand European Tour that was a river cruise and wanted to try an ocean cruise. Baltic cruise was very interesting with many ports of call. Just seeing how other cultures live will open your eyes.Viking does cruising the best! Always attentive and best value for the money. No hassle vacation. Everything included, you just have to show up. Food is amazing, great quality and variety. Staff are great and go above and beyond. Ship is comfortable with plenty to do. You won't be bored. Entertainment is professional quality. One performance received a standing ovation! Staff said this was a first for them but it was well deserved. You get front of the line to every side trip. We never waited. VIKING's passenger capacity is lower than the big ships which I like as you get to know the crew and make friends. You are catered to. You have to try Viking, either a river cruise or ocean cruise. You won't be disappointed, promise! Can't wait to go again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this trip to once again hopefully experience the northern lights and to have the luxury of this beautiful ship. The itinerary looked good with overnight stops at Tromso and Alta. Embarkation was seamless, withing 15 minutes of ... Read More
We chose this trip to once again hopefully experience the northern lights and to have the luxury of this beautiful ship. The itinerary looked good with overnight stops at Tromso and Alta. Embarkation was seamless, withing 15 minutes of arriving at Tilbury we were having lunch in the World Cafe and our holiday had started. Very impressed. Our stateroom was ready early and we were given a guided tour of the facilities in the cabin. On my mentioning that I did not drink coffee (there is a coffee maker in the cabin) the steward straight away fetched me a kettle and kept the teabags topped up - he kept the cabin spotless for the cruise and chatted and laughed with us every day, making the experience a bit more personal. We ate mostly in the World Cafe as it was very relaxed and the food was tasty and plentiful. We tried the pool grill and the afternoon tea which were both great and Manifredis italian had great service and great food, The service in every bar and lounge and dining was second to none, Very impressed. There were plenty of interesting lectures to attend, and we enjoyed sitting in the Explorers lounge watching the fjords go by with a tasty waffle and fresh fruit. We relaxed in our cabin most evenings and watched a film on the TV so cannot comment on the evening entertainment. The included excursions were informative and gave us an oversight into each port. The highlight of the trip was 'Chasing the lights' at Tromso where we were treated to a spectacular display of the Aurora about an hour or so outside the town, so many photos ........ On the way home we had the honour of a glimse of 2 Killer whale from our balcony,,,another hightlight. a quick photo and they were gone. March is certainly a good time to take this cruise. The weather was great, even a sunny day in Bergen !! Disembarkation was fairly uneventfull although there was no rep at Oslo to help out. All in all a fantastic holiday and thank you to all the ships staff for a great trip. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this itinerary because I wanted to travel somewhere to see the Northern Lights. This was our third Viking Ocean cruise and we received the excellent service we have come to expect from Viking. We have our fourth already booked ... Read More
We chose this itinerary because I wanted to travel somewhere to see the Northern Lights. This was our third Viking Ocean cruise and we received the excellent service we have come to expect from Viking. We have our fourth already booked for August 2019. Our trip to Bergen to embark was interesting due to the snowstorm at the Bergen airport when we arrived, but KLM did a fine job, diverted us to Oslo to refuel and then back to Bergen. The Viking representatives were still waiting for us at the airport when we got there and we were quickly delivered to the ship. Embarkation was a snap and within 15 minutes of arriving at the ship we were in our stateroom, our luggage arrived about 30 minutes later. We booked a Penthouse Veranda, 5014, and were very happy with the room size and storage. The closet had plenty of room for all our hanging clothes and there were 10 drawers available for other clothes. Each night stand has two USB port, a US outlet, and an European outlet so there is plenty of support to keep your devices charged. We especially like the Chef's Table specialty restaurant. it is a set menu of a 5 Course meal and each course has it's own wine that changed every three days. Small individual portions, but plenty of food for us by the time the meal is over. We like the Asian Panorama and Xiang. When we don't eat at the Chef's Table, We eat our evening meal in the Restaurant where you get several choices of local food or their "always available" (food for picky eaters) menu for a three course meal. The first thing all the waiters asked was if we had any food allergies. Beer and wine are always included in meals, you can upgrade your wine selection with the Silver Beverage Package. The World Cafe is the buffet style restaurant and seems to have almost everything available that is on the Restaurant Menu and again beer and wine are included with the meal. Be sure to check out Mamsen's on deck 7 for a quick sandwich and some really good soups. All dining venues are included. There is always some sort of live music in the Explorers Lounge or the Viking Living Room. This cruise had a guitarist, pianist, and string duet. The Band playing in the Torshavn was outstanding. Viking provides enrichment lectures that cover local history and culture on all their cruises. This cruise had lectures on the Northern Lights and other astronomical occurrences. The service we received from our room steward and the wait staff was outstanding. Two of the bartenders and several of the waiters were on previous Viking Cruises that we were on and remembered us. One thing everyone that booked this cruise should have remembered was that it was January/February in Norway. It is going to be cold and dark. Take warm clothes. I heard some of the passengers complained about the dark. The cold made the Pool area cold, it is a glass enclosed space and when it is 5F outside it is going to be cold inside. Our room was comfortable and I was usually comfortable in my shirt sleeves anywhere other than the pool area and we live in Florida. We hit all the ports on the itinerary except Bodo. The weather forecast at Bodo was 30 F, with 35 MPH winds. I think the captain made a good decision in not stopping in a non sheltered port. The excursions would have been miserable. The other ports were interesting and informative (and cold). The Thermal Spa was a great place to go after an excursion out in the cold. There is a large warm pool, a hot tub, snow grotto, and steam room in the coed part with lounge chairs. There is a Sauna and Cold Plunge in each locker room. This is included and there are robes and towels available in the locker rooms, all you need is your key card to lock and unlock the lockers. The Silver Beverage Package (SBP) is worth a look. At $19.95 a day per person you only need to have three cocktails/beers/glasses of wine to pay for it. It covers everything they have on the bar. We are considering going on this itinerary again, just in the summer for the midnight sun. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
It is probably important for you to know my family and I are seasoned cruisers. Over the past 25 years we’ve sailed a total of 31 times on Celebrity, Holland America, Cunard, Princes, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, NCL, and MSC. This was ... Read More
It is probably important for you to know my family and I are seasoned cruisers. Over the past 25 years we’ve sailed a total of 31 times on Celebrity, Holland America, Cunard, Princes, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, NCL, and MSC. This was our first sailing with Viking Ocean. We’ve wanted to try another upscale, luxury line after sailing on Azamara a few years ago, but have never been ready to spend the extra money, which typically cost $400 to $500 a day, per person. We picked this cruise largely because it was a Northern Lights cruise in an area of the world we had never been, the Arctic Circle. The question is was the Viking Sky worth three to four times the cost of mainline cruises? One note of caution: even though we thought were prepared for the cold temperatures that awaited us, we discovered that we had not anticipated the severity of the bitter cold temperatures we would face and the length of time we would be exposed to them. On several days temperatures dropped to -25 F and we spent up to 5 hours on day without a break other than a camp fire. More about this later. Overview The Viking Ocean is a smaller ship than many of those found with the major lines, but not the smallest of the luxury lines, with 930 passengers. One of the more noticeable differences about sailing on some smaller ships is the lack of public areas from which to choose, less entertainment choices, and smaller cabins. Those deficiencies were really not present on the Viking Sky, which is one of the finest ships we have sailed on in terms of style and amenities. I really didn’t feel like I was on a small ship, even though there were fewer common areas. I can’t really say there is any more or less feeling of crowdedness on the smaller ships than with a larger ship. It seems to be all relative to the space per person. Where I did notice a difference was embarking or disembarking the ship. The smaller number of passengers reduced the lines and wait times considerably. Another benefit of sailing on a smaller ship was the nimbleness they have over their larger brethren to alter their itinerary or add a fresh food to the menu. The public rooms are nicely done and have a feel of warmth and elegance. There are four dining options aboard the Viking Sky making it equal to or a step above larger ships. The state rooms are among the most efficient and modern we have encountered. I loved the heated floor in the bath room and linens are a step above what you would expect from the more major cruise lines. Unlike many other lines, Viking Ocean is an oenophile’s heaven as wine is embraced and welcomed. You can bring onboard as much wine as you can carry and there is no corkage fee! All totaled, we noticed very few weaknesses, and there really wasn’t a lack of things to do, especially if you enjoy lectures, which is a feature of Viking. I think what was noticeable is what was missing, no art auctions, pushy promotions, a casino, baked Alaska parades, and much of the other glitzy fluff found on most other lines. Many frequent sailors of Viking Ocean that have tried other luxury lines like Oceania, Azamara, Seaborne, Regent and Crystal, swear that Viking Ocean is the gold standard for luxury cruises. The bottom line question: is Viking Ocean worth four to five times the cost of other upscale lines like Celebrity? I will address that later, but first a few more details. Embarkation The embarkation experience was one of the best in our 31 sailings. It took about ten minutes from start to finish. There were no lines, no customs, no waits, and no hassle. I only wish all our embarkations were this easy (see my 2013 review of the Infinity). Wine lovers will love that, unlike Celebrity who confiscated our wine when we sailed them in 2013, Viking Ocean welcomes bringing as much wine and spirits that you wish on board. While we often bring wine onboard cruises from our cellar, we’ve learned to become very creative in how we bring our wine onboard so as to avoid confiscation. Not so with Viking Ocean that also charges the lowest corkage fee of any line we know, which is zero!! Viking Ocean’s attitude toward wine certainly is one of the benefits that may bring us back again. The Ship The ship was new in 2017 and it really shows. We haven’t taken pictures of a cruise ship in years, but we did of the Viking Sky. The contemporary design coupled with the modern efficiency of the ship were stunning. There were a lot of places to sit and read a book, or write a cruise review, while enjoying a cup of espresso or a drink. One benefit is that the elevators were the fastest I’ve encountered on a ship and almost always available without a long wait. Dining If food is your thing, like it is mine, then you will be very satisfied on the Viking Sky. All of the dining rooms feature “anytime” seating. While the main dining room, The Restaurant, doesn’t accept reservations, we never had to wait more than 2 minutes for a table for two. Every other evening we skipped the main dining room and spent our evening in one of the two specialty restaurants, Manfredi’s or the Chef’s Table. One tip is to book your reservations immediately when you board. These fill up quickly and getting reservations later in the cruise, especially at Manfredi's can be difficult. The food quality and presentation in The Restaurant was certainly above average and what you would expect for an upper end cruise line. All of the waiters and waitresses who served us were extremely personable, helpful, and attentive. However, we enjoyed the service in the specialty restaurants a bit better than in the main dining room. The specialty restaurants, Manfredi’s and Chef’s Table, have no cover charge. They offer passengers a break from the main dining room with a quality of fare a slight step above. Manfredi’s features a wonderful Italian menu while Chef’s Table offers a set menu that changes every three days. One experience we’ve come to enjoy on other ships that would be fitting to an upscale ship like the Viking Sky would be an automated wine bar where guests can enjoy an assortment of wine available in 1oz, 2.5oz, and 5oz pours. This allows you to inexpensively sample a broad variety of wines you might not otherwise have the courage to try. One thing we appreciate about Viking Ocean is the fact that juice and espresso coffee drinks are available anytime during the day at no charge. Some lines make free juice available only in the mornings and charge for all espresso drinks. Wine As we mentioned earlier, we were especially pleased with how Viking Ocean embraces and welcomes wine lovers who want to bring their wines on board to enjoy. One of my perennial complaints on other lines, like Celebrity, is the high price of their onboard wines, which are priced about 4x’s retail, they also have the highest corkage fee of any line at $25 a bottle. Of course, since Celebrity will confiscate all but two bottles of wine you bring on board to enjoy, what’s the point of having a corkage fee at all? We found the Viking Sky was unequaled in being the most wine friendly cruise line we’ve sailed. The per bottle charges were reasonable and there are no corkage fees. One deviation from other lines is that the Viking Sky had noticeably fewer wine events than other lines. They had a few whiskey, vodka, and aquavit tastings, but no wine tastings that I recall. Fitness and Spa This is an area in which the Viking Sky is slightly above average. While they don’t have a lot of cardiovascular machines (three stationary bikes, two elliptical machines, six treadmills, and two stair-steppers) I never only had to wait for a machine once in 12 days. Notably, and unusual for most lines, every cardio machine was working for length of the cruise. Another abnormality, the men’s locker’s worked perfectly and there were a sufficient number of lockers which were all keyed to your stateroom key. The men’s locker room featured a dry sauna and plunge pool. The sauna was perfectly hot and in working order for the cruise. On many other cruise lines the saunas just don’t get hot enough to break much of a sweat, but this is not the case on the Viking Sky. There was also an area with hot tubs, cool rooms, and a steam sauna. One unique feature was an individual dryer for your swim suit that was really helpful. An extra bonus was the spa did not have a daily charge, which can cost up to $20 a day on other lines. Entertainment We thought the entertainment was surprisingly good for a smaller ship. The Cruise Director, Drew, and his assistant, Courtney, had amazing voices and both did their own shows which were very enjoyable. This is more probably due to the lack of a theater than anything else. It was refreshing that the Viking Sky had a live band rather than rely on sound tracks, which is becoming common on other cruise lines. The theater is quite expansive and comfortable. We never had a problem finding a seat in or near the front row. The onboard entertainment found in the lounges was very good. There wasn’t a disappointing instrumentalist or singer in the lineup, which is certainly unusual on a small ship. In contrast was our experience on Azamara where there wasn’t a lounge entertainer that rose above substandard. The enrichment talks were really outstanding, again in contrast with our experience on Azamara where they were consistently disappointing. We had four lecturers on board who were all phenomenal in their field. We were especially treated by having Dr. Ed Kopp from the Griffin Observatory in Los Angeles who was outstanding. Internet I run a small business and being connected to my staff is imperative, even on vacation. I depend on having a functioning Internet while on board any ship. The Internet on the ship was as good as or better than any I’ve had at sea. I got access 95% of the times I attempted to get online. And the fact the Internet was free was an experience I’ve never had with another line. On Azamara I paid $0.43 a minute for their lease expensive package. Having access to the internet on all my devices whenever I wanted it without having to pay attention to my usage was a game changer for me. For that reason alone Viking Ocean will be at the top of my list for future cruise consideration. Shopping The shopping experience is on par with most every other cruise line, boring! There is nothing exceptional to highlight here, except that they did not bombard you with specials and promotions which was refreshing. Afternoon Tea I have never reviewed an afternoon tea experience on a ship as most are not worth mentioning. However, the afternoon tea on the Viking Sky was the best we have had at sea. Not only are you served a three tier plate of sandwiches and desserts, they will also bring you proper sconces with jam and Devonshire cream. Yes, real clotted cream not the standard whipped cream. I don’t recall Cunard Line served clotted cream, but I can tell you no other ship I’ve been on has. This was a real treat! Ports of Call, Port Talks and Shore Excursions Our 12 day cruise started in London, England and went up the west coast of Norway, stopping at Stavanger, Bodo, Tromso, Alta, Narvik, and Bergen where we disembarked. The specific theme for this cruise was chasing the Northern Lights. And “chasing” is the right term. I was unprepared for how difficult it would be to see the Northern Lights. I assumed we would see them often or every night from the ship. I was wrong! The guides will tell you there are four things necessary to see the Northern Lights, but I say there are five: solar activity, cold weather, darkness, a clear sky, and luck. If any one of those is absent you will not be successful. The hardest one of these was a clear sky, which thwarted our efforts to see the lights continuously. While there was one really good sighting from the ship, it came and went very quickly. To see the lights really necessitated booking a Northern Lights tour that attempted to find a clear sky within a few hours’ drive of the ship. Even then spotting the lights was still a crap shot. We did have one night where we got to see a nice display of the lights for less than five minutes returning from an outing where we waited in -25 degree weather for 3 hours with nothing but a campfire to cut the bitter cold. This leads me to the most unexpected aspect of this trip, campfires and frozen food. We returned home with our clothes smelling of smoke because of the many campfires we encountered on our excursions. Whether it was dog sledding, reindeer sleighs, Sami camps, or Northern Light tours there was a campfire present in everyone to help with the bitter cold. There were very few heated buildings or shelters expect for a few tepees with campfires. At times the temperatures were so brutal that even the bread offered us was frozen. Which leads me to another unexpected aspect, the extreme bitter cold and the randomness of the tour vendors providing thermal suits, boots, head gear, and gloves. About ½ of our tours provided such apparel, and believe me we needed it even though I was wearing 5 layers of clothing, three pairs of socks, winter boots, two pairs of pants, a balaclava, knitted wool beanie, and a hoodie, a down vest, an outer coat, and gloves inside mittens. Which meant that the other ½ of the time the vendors provided no additional clothing. And in -25 degree weather, where you are outside for up to 5 hours at a time with only a campfire, this is a problem. My hands and toes were perpetually cold, even with hand warmers stuffed in my boots and gloves. Many people on our tours were simply unprepared for this and suffered because of it. I cannot stress enough how critical it is you don’t underestimate the cold. Here is the crazy thing, the tours we booked off ship provided thermal gear while those booked on the ship did not. The tours provided by the ship were significantly over priced and under delivered. Which leads me to this very important tip: don’t book tours with Viking Sky. Instead book only off-ship local tour providers. For example, with a local tour provider of dog sliding we were provided thermal gear and able to drive our own team of dogs. The tour provided by the ship offered no thermal gear, you could not drive the team, and was very poorly organized. Many in our party waited up to two hours in 15 F degree weather with no shelter and no campfire before getting a 30 minute ride. There was no food offered except for some frozen cake midway into the trip. The bus was so late arriving back at the ship that many missed their second tour. And for this, we paid $430 per person. Our request for even a partial refund fell on deaf ears, which really disappointed us given Viking Ocean’s stellar reputation for providing a top quality experience. We were told other tours that had similar misfortunes did remit refunds to passengers. Typically we save 25 to 75% off the ship’s prices by making our own arrangements prior to departure or using the Internet onboard the ship to contact several tour companies that are highly rated by TripAdvisor.com. Another great place to book private tours prior to departure is by looking under “Tours” and on the chat boards on CruiseCritic.com. We’ve never been disappointed following the advice of previous travelers. Our favorite ports were Stavanger, Bodo, and Tromso where the ship docked in the middle of town. However, even though in Alta and Narvik the ship docks some distance from the center of town the ship did provide shuttle buses. Quite frankly, there was really nothing to see in the town of Alta, where the emphasis is on booking tours to see the Northern Lights and staying warm. In Summary So, back to the question I posed earlier. Is the Viking Ocean experience worth three to four times the cost of other lines like Celebrity or twice the cost of Azamara? Certainly Viking Ocean has Azamara beat for value. Celebrity is often a good value for what you get, but Viking Ocean is in a whole different category and price range, so it’s a hard question to answer. However, if price is no factor, Viking Ocean is the only way to go! The service, stateroom amenities, ship amenities, free inclusions like wine and Internet, and dining room experience are undoubtedly among the best at sea. So is the ability for a smaller ship to get into, or nearer, ports the large ships can’t. For many people, this may be reason enough to pay the extra fare. For me, I will certainly sail with Viking Ocean again when I find an itinerary that is highly unique (like this cruise to the Arctic Circle) or heavily discounted. But I will be absolutely certain not to book any of their shore excursions!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Excellent cruise. Good value for money. Great way to see Cuba and get a feel for the culture. Excellent food and service. We loved the excursion to Havana and especially the ride thru the city in the old 1950's era cars. That was the ... Read More
Excellent cruise. Good value for money. Great way to see Cuba and get a feel for the culture. Excellent food and service. We loved the excursion to Havana and especially the ride thru the city in the old 1950's era cars. That was the highlight of the trip for me. The staterooms were spacious with plenty of room for all our clothes. The entertainment was extremely good as well. Our only disappointment was with the amount and timing of the dancing available to us. Would have liked more Latin/ Cuban music. Hopefully in the near future the cruise line will have a Havana terminal in order to avoid the 3 hour bus ride from Cienfuegos. The hotel in Havana was 4 star and had an excellent breakfast. The onboarding lectures were extremely interesting, especially the lecture on Havana cars and also the Cuban Missile Crisis. Expect to gains some weight with all the great food. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Travelled in a group of 12 and we all were exceptionally pleased! Group included first time cruisers and seasoned cruisers. Exemplary food, service and off-shore tours! Staff is superb in their professionalism and service,always with a ... Read More
Travelled in a group of 12 and we all were exceptionally pleased! Group included first time cruisers and seasoned cruisers. Exemplary food, service and off-shore tours! Staff is superb in their professionalism and service,always with a friendly smile! Staff Attention to detail is amazing! Staff can remember you name, cabin and details about your preferences. Off shore excursions are excellent. We did upgrade some of our tours and they were with the extra expense. The pre-destination informative sessions were very helpful before each port. We have been on many cruises and Viking’s food exceeded expectations. Wine parring was fabulous. If we ate off ship food schedule, sometimes it was difficult to find a food option when returning to the ship after a tour. Down side is the main entertainment. Same performers with different themes every nite led us to retire to our rooms too early. Ship was always very clean no matter what time of day and in all weather conditions. When crew had to scramble to change a port due to bad weather, the result was very organized and a positive experience. Already have another cruise scheduled! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We traveled aboard the Viking Sea on their Eastern Seaboard tour beginning in New York City with stops in Boston, Halifax, Gaspe and Saguenay, Quebec, Quebec City and Montreal where we disembarked. Through Viking, we added a five night ... Read More
We traveled aboard the Viking Sea on their Eastern Seaboard tour beginning in New York City with stops in Boston, Halifax, Gaspe and Saguenay, Quebec, Quebec City and Montreal where we disembarked. Through Viking, we added a five night package to Ottawa and Toronto. At each port of call, an excursion is included in the price of the cruise. Additionally, there are many other tours one can purchase depending on past experience and special interests one might have. We love Viking and this was our third ocean cruise. We have also been on three river cruises with Viking. We had the “penthouse veranda” and we loved this cabin. There is more space and it is worth the extra money. There are several restaurants to choose from with two of them—Manfredi’s and The Chef’s Table—needing reservations. There is no extra charge for the specialty restaurants. Included with lunch and dinner are wine and beer also at no additional charge. The food is very good at all of the restaurants. My husband did not like one evening meal—poached salmon. Other than that, we joyed every meal. Service is excellent on Viking ships and the vessels are spotless. We are big fans of Viking and will return in 2020 for their Australia and New Zealand itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I have sailed a lot, probably close to100 cruises. On Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, I have spent over 360 days. But I was so impressed with everything about this voyage, I’m not sure I ever will go back to any other line; I think I have ... Read More
I have sailed a lot, probably close to100 cruises. On Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, I have spent over 360 days. But I was so impressed with everything about this voyage, I’m not sure I ever will go back to any other line; I think I have found my new home on the seas. embarkation and disembarkation both went very smoothly, a benefit of sailing with only 900 other passengers. This was not only the first and last day of the cruise but also for every port we visited. We were in Suite 4000, a ES1 category. Before sailing, I looked at the diagram for the owner’s suite on deck 7. I wondered if I would have wanted or needed everything provided in that cabin. Once we boarded and were settled in our suite, I was perfectly happy and would not have wanted to move upstairs. Heck, even the lowest standard cabins on Vining Ocean are better than many higher-level cabins on other cruise lines. I have often been a Grills passenger on Cunard. The Queen’s Grill on QM2 is considered by some to be the best restaurant at sea. Although Wiking does not offer dishes prepared table side, the quality and presentation and variety is equal to the food on other ships. Open dining was a delight and we never had a wait, It was nice to have the alternative dining restaurants and not have to pay extra. The rotating menu at the Chef’s Table was a deal. We ate there five nights during the month we were on board. Wine (which was not bad) and beer (which I don’t drink) were free during meals and I never paid for non-alcoholic beverages and coffee away from the restaurants. I consider it a benefit not to have a casino on the ships, photographers always wanting to take your picture, and on the shops on board lining the hallways as they apply their wares. I loved not having announcements every hour. The lecturers were very good and well-versed to discuss their topics, especially the port talks. Evening stage shows were above-average and well attended, but not the glitzy performances produced on larger ships. At least one excursion is free in every port. I participated in some of those and they were fine. The optional, paid excursions were well run and educational. Good variety of options. The gym is good, plenty of machines. Never crowded. A great spa and - since the line is Norwegian - great sauna, jacuzzi, ice water buckets AND a snow grotto. Imagine a snowball fight in the Suez Canal, I can’t say enough to complement the Viking professionals who made this such an enjoyable adventure. I liked it so much that I already have booked a one month journey next summer. I am sold on Viking! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was our second Viking cruise. Our first was a river cruise from Amsterdam to Basel. We had such an amazing time we decided to try an ocean cruise on Viking. The ship was beautiful and had everything we wanted. Excellent foods, great ... Read More
This was our second Viking cruise. Our first was a river cruise from Amsterdam to Basel. We had such an amazing time we decided to try an ocean cruise on Viking. The ship was beautiful and had everything we wanted. Excellent foods, great staff, great shore excursions. Our room was clean and comfortable. Enjoyed the pools, entertainment, spa. The countries we visited were amazing. Scenery was breathtaking!!! Visiting Venice, Croatia, Montenegro and Greece was wonderful. Seeing where the very first Olympics were held, climbing up to the Acropolis and visiting the museum there was so enjoyable. It was very hot and humid though!! I would recommend going when it’s cooler. And be sure to read about the shore excursions, Viking explains the degree of difficulty, because some people had a hard time with some that we were on.Viking makes you enjoy and relax with everything they do!!! Thanks to all the great staff on board!! You’re the best!!!! We will definitely plan another cruise in the future with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This cruise: The Viking Homeland's offered many ports of call throughout Northern Europe. My husband and I have always wanted to visit this area. It was our opinion, THIS cruise must be among the most popular for all cruise ... Read More
This cruise: The Viking Homeland's offered many ports of call throughout Northern Europe. My husband and I have always wanted to visit this area. It was our opinion, THIS cruise must be among the most popular for all cruise lines as was witnessed by the large number of cruise/passenger ships we saw at sea and in ports. The experiences we encountered both on board ship and shore excursions offered inspiring sights, breath taking views filled with enormous amounts of historical and cultural wonders. We enjoyed fabulous dinning experiences in the Manfredi's Restaurant, as we ate there often. We were served some of the best food we've ever eaten, anywhere. As for service on board ship and in Manfredi's, was amazing and made for an awesome Cruise from start to finish. Three ports amongst our favorites were Tallinn, Estonia, Berlin, Germany and Eidfjord, Norway. I would highly recommend this cruise to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
While many in our group had visited most of the ports previously, we all wanted to visit the scheduled ports.We greatly enjoyed out pre-cruise in Madrid. The change of itinerary, costing us a night in Barcelona, was disappointing, though ... Read More
While many in our group had visited most of the ports previously, we all wanted to visit the scheduled ports.We greatly enjoyed out pre-cruise in Madrid. The change of itinerary, costing us a night in Barcelona, was disappointing, though Sète was lovely. The other ports were fantastic and the excursions, both included and optional, were well run and educational. We were a bit disappointed in the wine tasting at Valmagne Abbey (extremely limited amounts of wine to taste and quite discourteous servers), but the tour guides were all excellent and the locations provided great adventures and experiences for all of us. Toilets on all tour buses, regardless of length of tour, would be an improvement. One of the best things about the cruise was having an astronomer in residence; his expertise during star and planet gazing and when the international Space Station passed over the Orion was an amazing experience! We utilized and loved the included areas of the spa, including the cold room. The food and included wine was great and meals were leisurely, well served affairs. Both the spa and meal service are areas where Viking's luxury treatment of guests shines. The on board entertainment was good to adequate and provides Viking with an area in which to improve. We are looking forward to our next cruise with Viking. Our only real complaint stemmed from the flight arrangements going home. Viking needs to find a much better way to do flight arrangements, one that gives Viking far more control and the ability to provide much better customer service for dealing with problems and issues. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Had an Interest in the area that the cruise covered, Iceland, Norway, Shetland Islands, Orkney Island, Edinburgh, Scotland, England..Had done a previous Viking River Cruise and was impressed with the accommodations and the service so ... Read More
Had an Interest in the area that the cruise covered, Iceland, Norway, Shetland Islands, Orkney Island, Edinburgh, Scotland, England..Had done a previous Viking River Cruise and was impressed with the accommodations and the service so decided to try an ocean cruise with Viking. Really enjoyed the pre cruise option of several days stay with included tours in Iceland. The Geysir hot springs and the Blue Lagoon were some of the places along with the Golden Circle Tour. Great and knowledgeable land guide in Iceland. The staff on board ship were very friendly and helpful, always greeting you with a smile and asking if you needed anything. The ship is very clean and well maintained. The food options were varied with choices for every taste. They accommodated my husband special diet without any fuss or extra work on our part. Wine, if you wished to have it, was included at dinner at no extra cost. The cabin was comfortable with a small sitting area with two chairs and a coffee table and a outside veranda. Our refrigerator was refilled daily with our selection of beverages.Liked the heated bathroom Floor and the king size very comfy bed. There was an included tour in every port but there were also optional tours available. Found all of the tours guides very knowledgeable of the area of the tour. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this cruise because we wanted to visit the Baltic area countries and a part of Russia. It more than met our expectations. The food and beverages were up to the highest Viking standards. The specialty restaurants were one of the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to visit the Baltic area countries and a part of Russia. It more than met our expectations. The food and beverages were up to the highest Viking standards. The specialty restaurants were one of the trip highlights. The buffet meals contained such variety from appetizers to entrees, to desserts that anyone could enjoy a gourmet meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The focus on regional foods plus local beer and wines with lunch and dinner underline the quality of the food//beverage service. (As a seafood lover, I was even more impressed.) .The included tours were well organized, interesting and informative. We also enjoyed many of the entertainment and educational programs on board. The staff throughout the ship was always friendly, helpful, and welcoming, and the local guides were also friendly and knowledgeable. We have already scheduled another Viking cruise for the last two weeks of April, Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
The Viking Homeland cruise provided Excellent Ports of Call with a well organized shore excursions. There were good excursion options for each port, giving a taste of each city and country. The Viking Sky provided a ship of appropriate ... Read More
The Viking Homeland cruise provided Excellent Ports of Call with a well organized shore excursions. There were good excursion options for each port, giving a taste of each city and country. The Viking Sky provided a ship of appropriate size that provided comfortable amenities without having to use a larger size ship. The size of ship allowed access to ports that prohibited larger ships. The crew provided an excellent, friendly service. The ship provided excellent cuisine venues and choices for food and beverages. The food was excellent. The service was excellent, friendly and professional. The cabin was comfortable proving appropriate amenities. The staff was again excellent and friendly. They would not hesitate to take that extra step to make things more comfortable We would not hesitate to travel with Viking again. They were helpful and thorough from the time we booked the cruise, providing the necessary details prior to start of the cruise, to transportation to and from. They provided us an excellent experience and left great memories. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We did a river cruise for my retirement two years earlier and loved the Viking experience, with the exception that the food was not what we expected and very disappointing compared to other cruise lines we have experienced, i.e. lacking ... Read More
We did a river cruise for my retirement two years earlier and loved the Viking experience, with the exception that the food was not what we expected and very disappointing compared to other cruise lines we have experienced, i.e. lacking vegetables, salads, healthier foods, chef had poor choices/poor preparations. Then we tried the ocean cruise for my husband's retirement, because we wanted to experience Costa Rica and the Panama Canal in particular. It was a joyous experience for meals and time on the ship. We did NOT enjoy the excursions. The buses taking us to adventures were run down and worrisome that they could break down and leave us stranded in dangerous areas of Belize, Costa Rica, Cartegena, etc. The Cartegena trip took us to trashy shopping, even though we wanted to go to upper scale shops. Our best experience was the cruise and time on the ship; our next will include as many days at sea as possible! The ocean cruise was a truly relaxing vacation, always able to go to breakfast, lunch, or dinner, no clean up, never had to make my bed, etc. Some of the food was not the best, however, there were always enough good choices, AND the ice cream bar was a daily must! Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We were on the December 1-8, 2017 cruise to Cuba on The Viking Sun. Very beautiful new ship with really nice public areas, pool, spa, and fitness center. Like the river cruises, Viking did an outstanding job with the Cuba tours with ... Read More
We were on the December 1-8, 2017 cruise to Cuba on The Viking Sun. Very beautiful new ship with really nice public areas, pool, spa, and fitness center. Like the river cruises, Viking did an outstanding job with the Cuba tours with highlight being and included stay at a very nice Havana hotel and Tropicana Show. Cuban guides were excellent! Reason for giving Average score for Dining and Service: 1. Breakfast and lunch buffets were nice, but had some quirks. Only one side of the World Cafe had a salad bar and way too many desserts! 2. Wine service in the Restaurant was very poor because they only has 3 wine stewards, leaving only one for the Restaurant and the others for the specialty restaurants. Never did they announce what white or red wine they were pouring, nor did they offer a wine list. Once they lost a bottle of Chardonnay we had purchased, and after much to-do looking for it ending up just giving us a free bottle. The Head Waiter agreed with me about the poor service but said that upper management was not listening to his recommendations. Service was excellent in specialty restaurants. The Viking Band was excellent and really livened the place. Demographics of passengers were 60+ years in age and were retired college professor/ school teacher types, not saying their is anything wrong with that! Overall great cruise and beautiful new ship. Viking just needs to iron out some service issues in the Restaurant. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
We were very pleased with the overall cruise as well as the focus of our trip: The Panama Canal. We were disappointed that we had no input regarding flight times. That time of year is very unpredictable and we experienced a lot of ... Read More
We were very pleased with the overall cruise as well as the focus of our trip: The Panama Canal. We were disappointed that we had no input regarding flight times. That time of year is very unpredictable and we experienced a lot of rain. The included side trips in Belize and Roatan were not well timed, but the guides and drivers were motivated to provide a good experience, which they did. The Museum in Panama city should be included in the time allotted for the standard tour (info on the building of the canal before entering the canal). Dangerous situation in using the boats to go to/from Georgetown, Grand Cayman. This was the first Viking experience where we felt "rushed" on the included trips (probably because we were in the last groups and did not return until after dark several times (could have left earlier and returned later). It seemed like the staff was surprised by the volume of persons signed up for the included trips and the busses (?) were inadequate in Honduras and Belize. Even Panama City was not planned for a return bathroom stop and it was a Holiday so one was hard to find. Food, entertainment and lectures were truly great! The ship is well equipped, more intimate than the "bigger" ships and more commercial lines. I thank Viking for having a representative on all tours, so their input would be invaluable. We will definitely try to travel with Viking on our next river or ocean experience Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
This was our second Viking Star cruise, first the Inagural year Venice to Istanbul. We arrived in Athens three days early an toured on our own. Once we boarded the Star, we felt we had arrived home. The most welcoming part was several of ... Read More
This was our second Viking Star cruise, first the Inagural year Venice to Istanbul. We arrived in Athens three days early an toured on our own. Once we boarded the Star, we felt we had arrived home. The most welcoming part was several of the bartenders remembered us from two years prior. When you are addressed as Mr. Lang and welcome back, that was it, this was going to be a great trip. Tours— Highly recommend Mykonos by 4X4 vechicle trip, Nazareth & Sea of Galilee Shore Excursion, and last and most memorable From Naples The Vistas & Villages of the Amalfi Coast Shore Excursion. The last one stops in Sorento shipping and Delightful 3 Star restaurant lunch. The road trip along the coast were as advertised most scenic, I finally got the Amalfi Coast off my bucket list after 3 prior visits. Food— My favorite Restaurant is Manfredi’s, memorable fine dining, Chef’s Table was disappointing both trips, the Restaurant is better. My breakfast and late night treat was Mamsen’s in the Explorer Lounge on Deck 7. Interesting note the Executive Chef David McDonald is the only cruise chef I have ever seen throughout the ship we’re food is served- “inspecting the troops”, so to speak, everyday. He has the time to talk to guests- a mark of a true professional. Future bookings and discounts were not available on this cruise because of the official reservations agents departure, a letter was given to some Explorer Members to use this code. I missed the window due to health issues, but will try now on an Amazon Cruise in December 2019. The staff in all corners of the ship were very professional, I believe this is due in part to the original crew who set and maintain a high standard for all new members. All in all Viking out got it right, I hope this experience is transferred the new Ocean ships coming on line. Last — This is not a family cruise for younger folks, I believe as it was modeled this way. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We have done several river cruises with Viking and were curious about Viking Ocean. The price was good and had free air. We then continue to Cuba on a back to back for a total of 18 days. We found the staff outstanding, the went out of ... Read More
We have done several river cruises with Viking and were curious about Viking Ocean. The price was good and had free air. We then continue to Cuba on a back to back for a total of 18 days. We found the staff outstanding, the went out of there way to make your cruise enjoyable. The entertainment was very good. The food was very good, and we enjoyed having the option of dinning rooms without additional charges. Our favorite was Manfredi's. As expected, the ports on the Transatlantic were limited, and the shore excursions were a disappointment. However, I enjoyed the Cultural Cuba ports and shore excursions. The Background information and speakers were very good, and made the sea days enjoyable. I had a knee replacement, so I found the main pool hard to get into, and only used it once. The infinity pool at the back of the ship is small, but very enjoyable. The spa therapy pool is very nice, my used it every day. The seating around the the pools were very comfortable. We enjoyed sitting outside the Wintergarden, it was very quiet and comfortable. The pool grill had a great selecton of hamburgers and the onions rings are great. Afternoon tea was fun, and the pastries in the Explorers' Lounge were outstanding. The cabin and balcony was comfortable, but our closet was in an awkward location next to the bed. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
This was my third cruise with Viking. We were able to drive to the Port of Miami so embarkation and disembarkation were extremely easy, along with parking at the terminal. Our cabin included a sitting area, large closet, plenty of ... Read More
This was my third cruise with Viking. We were able to drive to the Port of Miami so embarkation and disembarkation were extremely easy, along with parking at the terminal. Our cabin included a sitting area, large closet, plenty of drawers, and balcony with chairs and table. The ship has two specialty dining rooms, a main restaurant, cafeteria style restaurant, plus several other areas with food. The very friendly crew was from lots of different countries and it was interesting finding out where they were from and learning about these countries. The ocean ships of Viking are smaller ships which is what appeals to me. This was Viking's first cruise to Cuba so there were some snags with the excursions but having been with them before and seeing how well run their excursions always are I am sure their next cruise was very well organized. The destination lectures were very informative and knowledgeable. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
My wife and I, both in our 70's made the cruise. Our pre-cruise visit to Bergen was great. We had Viking plan the air, which was a mistake. They routed us through Heathrow, which I avoid based on experience several years ago. It has ... Read More
My wife and I, both in our 70's made the cruise. Our pre-cruise visit to Bergen was great. We had Viking plan the air, which was a mistake. They routed us through Heathrow, which I avoid based on experience several years ago. It has gotten worse. It took over an hour standing in line with our carry-on luggage to get on a bus to take us from Terminal 3 to Terminal 5. We had reserved the Hotel Oleana in Bergen. It was conveniently located, nice staff, but the furnishings were spartan. Good weather and we ate well in the 3 days there before we boarded the ship. I thought embarkation went smoothly but my wife disagrees. We both were very happy with our stateroom, especially the heated bathroom floor. Wish I had one at home. I screwed up, not having looked at the ships plans/specifications enough beforehand. I thought it would be too cool to use the pool, so didn't pack a bathing suit. But the main pool and it's hot tub were protected and there were two more hot tubs plus the two pools and the sauna in the spa. Dining was great, with several options. I regret that they did not offer more choices of joining others when we went into The Restaurant. We met fewer other cruise travelers than we have on other cruises. We both took advantage of the talks and enjoyed them a lot. One speaker was so good that I regretted I was not going to be on the next leg (to New York) to hear some scheduled for it. All of the crew were helpful and pleasant to deal with. Security process for exiting and reboarding at the port stops was very efficient. I appreciated the steps they went to to help us keep our hands clean and prevent the spread of disease. There were several locations outside of the staterooms where people could relax and read. An ample number of books were available at multiple locations. In many of these one could be close enough to the performing musicians to have the music in the background. All of the musicians were top notch. Portable hearing sets were available to help people hear the excursion guides but they were awkward to use and were unnecessary except on one tour I went on. The size of the ship is large enough to have great facilities but small enough to go places larger ships cannot visit. We were already book for a Spring 2018 cruise on the Viking Sea when we booked this one. We liked it enough to book a cruise on the Viking Orion in December 2018. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
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