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76 Viking Ocean Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

This was our first cruise and a retirement dream trip. We chose Viking because of their high ratings and the fact that most everything was included. About 5 days into a 14 day cruise my husband became very ill along with several others. ... Read More
This was our first cruise and a retirement dream trip. We chose Viking because of their high ratings and the fact that most everything was included. About 5 days into a 14 day cruise my husband became very ill along with several others. At least 2 ( that we know of) were taken off the ship,and hospitalized in the closest locations. My husband was cleared to travel home but it took about a week for him to fully recover. Two days after we got home, we got an email that went to all passengers that Legionnaires Disease was identified on this ship. No one personally called us after we made 5 visits to the ship doctor. We still never heard anything more from Viking. Be aware of this situation. My thought would be that we would have at least been given some credit toward another cruise and that a representative would have followed up on my husband's condition. I understand that they could face legal issues but, because of our situation, I would not recommend Viking to anyone. If you go, be aware of all medical situations and have a plan with your family if Viking leaves you in a foreign hospital. I have kept all medical papers and am in the process of,dealing with insurance companies. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
The Amazon always sounded so exotic to me and when I saw that Viking was doing a 21 day Caribbean to the Amazon it was a must try. Must try because we were on the Viking Sea in Norway July 2017 and were having a wonderful time (save that ... Read More
The Amazon always sounded so exotic to me and when I saw that Viking was doing a 21 day Caribbean to the Amazon it was a must try. Must try because we were on the Viking Sea in Norway July 2017 and were having a wonderful time (save that for another review). We booked on board the Viking Sea during our July cruise and were ready for our adventure 5 months later. The first and last part in the Caribbean were as expected with azure blue seas, tropical breezes and some snorkeling. The hurricane damage from the 2017 season was evident though. We were the only ship in port in St. Thomas. Never before for us! Arriving at the Amazon after 4 days at sea, port of Iles du Salut, French Guiana had to be pasted by due to delay of a container in Barbados. Major disappointment for most on board. Continuing 1000 miles roundtrip to Manaus, Brazil with 3 additional stops all hit the low bar. Included tours were below expectations with views of notable buildings only from the outside, slums and dirty rivers seen from the buses. The onboard entertainment with a relatively new cruise director was totally lacking. He told us that the owner of Viking expected us to be racing books. That astounded me! Glad we brought a board game from home or would have been ready to jump ship. The highlight for me was the Piranha fishing in Santarem, Brazil that I paid extra for. Viking has moved low on our list now but still have a 23 day river and pre-cruise scheduled with them this summer. This was our 39th cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
A chance to see and experience the amazing Amazon was the draw. The boat, the food, the cabin, the on board service - and the Amazon River - was excellent. FIRST CLASS. The on shore tours were generally mediocre. While this was ... Read More
A chance to see and experience the amazing Amazon was the draw. The boat, the food, the cabin, the on board service - and the Amazon River - was excellent. FIRST CLASS. The on shore tours were generally mediocre. While this was Viking's first time in the Amazon - IT SHOWED. Not even close to our experience on other Viking tours. (One big exception was the outstanding local pageant in Parentis. That was exceptional. The rest left much to be desired.) Many of the local guides were not at all fluent in English. The "Included" tour in Belem was a "march to hell". Virtually no commentary while walking (understandable, because we ran). Pleas to "slow down, you have a group of seniors" went unheeded. The shipboard lectures, however were top draw... as I would have expected from Viking. We took the Viking Montreal to NYC cruise last year. The experience was excellent. That is why we signed up for the Amazon. A real disappointment. The experience vs cost makes me seriously question another Viking Ocean cruise Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
My husband and I chose this cruise as we love the Viking River cruises. The ship is beautiful, well appointed and easy to navigate. Well done!!! We enjoyed the game tables that helped pass time at our at sea day. We found that ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise as we love the Viking River cruises. The ship is beautiful, well appointed and easy to navigate. Well done!!! We enjoyed the game tables that helped pass time at our at sea day. We found that the ship's restaurant and Chef's Table staff are still learning the art of serving and customer service. Rather being served all at once at a large table, some waited for over 5 minutes for everyone to get their meal while our food got cold waiting for everyone to begin. Some staff offered many excuses rather than taking decisive action. The Restaurant was soooo loud it was like we were having a shouting match to hear. We found Manfredi's staff the best on the ship, very efficient and pleasant. We don't normally like buffet dining but we chose the World Cafe several evenings because it was quiet and the wait staff very friendly, attentive and accommodating. The food prepared on the Aft Terrace was always cold because of the weather. Perhaps, close it if temperatures do not permit a pleasant experience. Breakfast Room Service was always great and timely. We were anxious to feel the same "Valued Customer" feelings as we had onboard your River Cruises.Unfortunately, the sequence for booking excursions was extremely disappointing. If we didn't pay the higher stateroom cost, we got locked out of some of the optional excursions which forced us to find a private Tour Guide. It made us feel less than Valued Customers. We found out the Algiers Casbah excursion only had 60 seats. This is not very equitable for the other 800 passengers. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Wonderful cruise. Great staff, great food, excellent wines, good excursions, well-informed guides. All good except they cancelled the Santiago de Cuba stopover at the last minute, claiming that they might be able to get into the Santiago ... Read More
Wonderful cruise. Great staff, great food, excellent wines, good excursions, well-informed guides. All good except they cancelled the Santiago de Cuba stopover at the last minute, claiming that they might be able to get into the Santiago bay, but not get out due to "winds".... Well, we were not convinced. Viking did provide a $500 credit we can apply to a future cruise, but you know what, what if we redo the Cuba cruise and they again cancel Santiago, which we really wanted to see? What's the point then? Viking should get more serious about its stopovers because it was a deciding factor in our choice of this cruise. And if Viking can't keep to its itinerary, why bother. On the plus side, the staff of the boat was truly lovely, the food truly delicious, the indoor spa great and luxurious. The ship was the right size - not too big, not too small, blissfully free of casino and photographers. We enjoyed the promenade deck. It was possible to do a mile or so on it every day, which we really liked. Excursions were well organized, informative and fun, with enough free time to do a little shopping/exploring on our own. Guides were well-informed and pleasant, without overdoing it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We wished to experience the high Arctic, and we love Norway from previous cruises. Northern Lights have long been on the desired list. Almost as an afterthought we signed on to the Churchill’s England pre-cruise tour, and it proved to ... Read More
We wished to experience the high Arctic, and we love Norway from previous cruises. Northern Lights have long been on the desired list. Almost as an afterthought we signed on to the Churchill’s England pre-cruise tour, and it proved to be one of the best aspects. We saw the elusive northern lights twice, pretty but not spectacular, and the trip would have been almost as good without them. London in January isn’t for tourists seeking green lawns, sunny skies and shirtsleeve temperatures, but it wasn’t awful; mostly 40s F, rain off and on, and the most pleasant aspect was lack of summer vacation hordes. The hotel, Royal Horse Guards is perfectly fine, and in a superb Central London location. The guide, Don Brown, was with us the entire time, and of many fine Viking guides over several years and 5 cruises, he was absolutely the best! The tour sites; Churchill War Room, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Blenheim Palace, and Bletchley Park, could not have been more fascinating. Transfer to Tilbury to begin the cruise was effortless. The first couple of days in the North Sea were quite expectedly adventurous, and not for faint hearted or weak mid-sectioned amateur sailors. Lots of Vikings stayed in staterooms, and many who appeared were quite pale and subdued. Luckily, we haven’t ever become seasick. Between Stavanger and Bodo we entered the Norwegian Inside Passage and the rest of the cruise was like a quiet lake. The onboard experience was mostly up to Viking’s very high standard. Food was superb. Entertainment was better than average, particularly guest pianist/singer Tom Seals. Staff built snowmen on the rear deck; a fun photo-op! Some shore tours could have been better planned on this inaugural cruise. There was quite a lot of uncomfortable bus riding in the dark. Luckily we brought clothing suitable to the Arctic; had we not, some tours would have been miserable. Our best shore tours were a family visit near Tromsø although the tour description did not mention outdoor fun and thus we were notprepared clothing-wise. Sami reindeer camp near Alta -22F, the Ice Hotel near Alta, cathedral concerts in Bodo and Tromsø, and husky dogsled riding were also great. A 19th Century Island village near Bodo was also interesting and fun. The Alta museum offered spectacular views and interesting displays. We did get the feeling that with Viking’s recent rapid expansion, possibly some shortcuts are being taken, and that attention to service and plannning detail might have slipped a bit. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Went to see the Northern Lights and experience Norway where we had never visited. Due to weather we never saw the Northern Lights...The Norway Coast was spectacular and worth the experience. If I had to do the cruise over again I ... Read More
Went to see the Northern Lights and experience Norway where we had never visited. Due to weather we never saw the Northern Lights...The Norway Coast was spectacular and worth the experience. If I had to do the cruise over again I would like to go during the spring or summer - Norway is beautiful but hard to appreciate when it is cold and icy during the winter. That said, it was interesting during the winter and something we will never forget. The Viking Sky was a lovely ship and the attendants were great. We have no complaints with the service provided during the cruise and our room was excellent in design and the attendants were friendly and took care of our needs beyond expectations. Some of the onboard entertainment was excellent...some interesting...some a bit lacking. Some is designed for the academic which was a bit beyond our interest. Overall the only change we would consider is the time frame - winter in the far north was worthy of the experience but during a warmer time of year may have provided better shore experiences. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We had been on a wonderful cruise on the same ship last year and LOVED it. The room was a nice size...all rooms have verandas. The fridge is stocked each day, the bathroom floor is heated, the staff is excellent, the food is exceptional! ... Read More
We had been on a wonderful cruise on the same ship last year and LOVED it. The room was a nice size...all rooms have verandas. The fridge is stocked each day, the bathroom floor is heated, the staff is excellent, the food is exceptional! Love this cruise line because there are no theme nights, casinos, or children. Our disappointment was with a couple of excursions with terrible guides. On one, we were on the bus for 2 1/2 hours.....didn’t have a bathroom break....never got off the bus to take pics, walk in a church, or eat or get a drink. Bus got stuck on a one way street. It was awful. We saw two attractions: a lighthouse and a church. Was told there “was a beautiful beach but we’re not going there!!!” All we saw was the slums of that island. We know it’s not the cruise line’s fault....they don’t hire the guides themselves. I see that that cruise is not offered in 2019 or 2020. I would take another cruise with Viking again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
First Viking Cruise, my wife and I enjoyed it immensely. Good staff, very engaged and aware of customer needs. Lots of attention to detail like constantly refreshing buffet offerings in World Cafe. The "all in" policy on tips, ... Read More
First Viking Cruise, my wife and I enjoyed it immensely. Good staff, very engaged and aware of customer needs. Lots of attention to detail like constantly refreshing buffet offerings in World Cafe. The "all in" policy on tips, free mini-bar etc was nice. The Port Talks were excellent, and gave a good idea of what to expect. The talk and slides on the antique cars was great. How do the Cubans maintain 60 year old cars, and get simple things like oil filters. All answered. Talks on politics, on the cities to be visited, etc. Room 6031 was clean, and perfectly fine for a short cruise. The lack of drawer storage was notable,so we threw the hair dryer, shoe shine pack, etc into the closet to create more space. Dining was fine. We had dinner in Manfredi's, and at the Chef's Table, as well as in the World Cafe. The wine selection was OK, the (free) base wines ranged from good down to swill. Beer was fine with a good range of European choices. Several special nights with pig roasts out on the aft deck, seafood spectacular, etc. All were done well. Full breakfasts were available, with alcohol for those who wanted it. The excursions are a work in progress. Cuba doesn't have a lot of experience in tourism, and more remote places like Cienfuegos and Santiago are behind the curve. That's to be expected. On four excursions, we had two superb guides, one OK, and one awful. I'm not sure how much control Viking has over the tour operators (I only saw one provider in both places). In one case, we were expected to walk through knee high grass, down a washed out culvert to see a lake. And back up via another route. Older people had trouble other , people were concerned about ticks in the grass. Another guide engaged us in a forced march, so we could spend a whole half hour in yet another a rum / cigar shop. The third in four excursions. Several people had trouble with the pace. There was a lot of overlap, as we received the Cienfuegos city park talk twice, from two different guides. It was interesting what they chose to emphasize. Some guides were great, and the excursions provided a great window into a lovely country. Hard working people, horse drawn carts, street musicians, vivid colors, wonderful sunsets. I had the opportunity to walk by myself through the mercado and beyond after one excursion ended. The guide had received 30 people, and delivered 30 people back to the dock. After that, I walked off on my own. About a two mile walk. Friendly people selling wood carvings, hats, gourds, etc. Didn't feel the least bit threatened. The neighborhoods looked a little more worn than those traversed by the tour buses, but it seemed more real. Street musicians, very lively areas. I speak a little Spanish, and did fine. The US government requires that the trip address certain people to people needs. So, we saw an honors arts school, with young children demonstrating high levels of musical proficiency. And visited the adjacent painting studio where the instructors displayed their work, most in support of the revolution. For sale, too. Other schools visible on our trip did not appear to have the same level of maintenance or exterior paint. But, all kids wear uniforms, and those we met were exceptionally polite. I'd go back to either Cienfuegos or Santiago de Cuba in an instant, and I will. But, I know it will be different, just like it was different five years ago. A government patrol boat sat near our ship in both ports. In Santiago, the ship was required to anchor about 30 minutes outside the main harbor, making a long tender ride Practical notes: I tipped guides, taxi drivers, etc in all of US dollars, Cuban convertible pesos, and Euro. They were grateful for the tips, it's a big part of their income. The government takes a cut off the conversion of all US$ to Cuban currency, so most preferred the Euro We departed Santiago de Cuba in the late afternoon, bound for Miami. A day at sea, and a 6am arrival in Miami. Customs doesn't report for work until 7am, so it was 7.15 before the first people were processed. Everyone was required to be out of their cabins by 8am, and off the ship by 9am. I would have liked a few more hours in Santiago de Cuba, and an hour more sleep in Miami. This is not a child friendly cruise. No kids activities, and most excursions were adult level. Not too much partying, the average age was probably mid-60s. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
In the Wake of the Vikings - Ocean Cruise (Sep 2018) Sep 01 - SAN DIEGO - FRANKFURT * Flew on Lufthansa First Class (excellent service) * Arrived in Frankfurt and was met at the plane with a wheel chair for Glenn and full ... Read More
In the Wake of the Vikings - Ocean Cruise (Sep 2018) Sep 01 - SAN DIEGO - FRANKFURT * Flew on Lufthansa First Class (excellent service) * Arrived in Frankfurt and was met at the plane with a wheel chair for Glenn and full assistance transporting us to our departure gate. (Excellent service) Had a couple of hours layover in Frankfurt. Ate lunch at airport. Sep 02 - FRANKFURT - OSLO * Flew to Oslo, Norway (short flight) * Our arrival was late afternoon. * Transfer from Airport to Hotel - provided by Viking - Private Mercedes Benz Limo. * Joe Christian was our driver. (Exceptional service) * Hotel was excellent. * Due to our arrival in the early evening our visit to Oslo was limited. Sep 03 - OSLO - BERGEN * Breakfast at hotel (Food was delicious, procedure for seating in dining room was chaotic) * Transfer from Hotel to Train Station via included Bus tour of Oslo - (Tour Guide was very good) * Train to Bergen - There was confusion regarding the seating on the train. * (The arrangement for lunch on board was unexpected, but the boxed food was hot and good) * Transfer from Train Station to Hotel did not go well. (Guide was late, unapologetic and very unprepared. * Bus driver and passengers were kept waiting with no explanation from the Guide). * Hotel was excellent. We had dinner in the bar as the dining room was full. Sep 04 - BERGEN * Breakfast at hotel (excellent) * Transfer to from Hotel to Ship via included Bus Tour of Bergen did not go well. * Tour Guide was not organized, very difficult to understand. * We literally drove in circles and passed the same locations two and three times. As a result we were not able to spend sufficient time at the Gamle Bergen Open Air Museum * Tour Guide did not clearly point out the difficulty of negotiating the open air museum to our physically challenged passengers. * This included tour has the potential to be so much better. Sep 05 - BERGEN * Breakfast on Ship * We chose to walk on our own from Ship to Funicular in the morning * Strolled through town back to ship seeing some sites along the way * Set sail in the evening for Lerwick, Shetland Islands (UK) Sep 06 - LERWICK - SHETLAND ISLANDS * We chose to skip the tours and took a shuttle bus from the dock to Downtown Lerwick. * We strolled the streets and enjoyed our visit. Sep 07 - TORSHAVN - FAROE ISLANDS ALTERNATE PORT - KOLLAFJORDUR * Our cruise hit a major snag here. After the Captain docked, he was informed by the port authority that we could not dock there. Apparently the dock was double booked and our ship eventually (after 2 hours of discussions) had to relocate to another port on the island. * After relocating we were finally able to disembark and take a two hour bus tour of the area. OK but nothing to write home about. Captain to be commended for his handling of the situation. * Sad thing was the town of Torshavn lost out on our visit entirely. And some of the tours had to be cancelled. * The alternate port was nothing more than a dock and no village. * Very disappointed that none of us were able to visit Torshavn due to the dispute with the port. Sep 08 - AT SEA Sep 09 - REYKJAVIK, ICELAND * We docked without incident at this port. * Glenn took a bus tour of the city. * Pat went to the Blue Lagoon. Very well done with one exception - we were told to bring a towel with us to the lagoon. However when we arrived at the lagoon we were informed that towels were provided as part of our tour package. * This was the only port of call where some of us encountered rain. Sep 10 - AT SEA Sep 11 - NANORTALIK, GREENLAND (aborted) ALTERNATIVELY - AT SEA * Due to bad weather conditions in the area it was decided to skip this port and continue to Qaqortoq, Greenland. * As a result we had an extra day at sea. * Because we had the time the captain took us through a couple of magnificent fiords on the way. Sep 12 - QAQORTOQ - GREENLAND * We woke up this morning in this charming village community. * We tendered in. * We opted out of any tours and wandered around the village on our own. * Viking did an excellent job of greeting us on shore. * The weather was picture perfect. Sep 13 - AT SEA Sep 14 - L’ANSE AUX MEADOWS, NEWFOUNDLAND (aborted) ALTERNATE PORT - SAINT ANTHONY, NEWFOUNDLAND * Due to dangerous weather conditions in the area we continued to an alternate port, St. Anthony, which proved to be a delightful and very friendly community. * Glenn stayed on board the ship. * I took a tender into town and did a lot of walking, exploring and hiking. * Another picture perfect day for weather. * This port should be on the itinerary Sep 15 - AT SEA Sep 16 - SAGUENAY, QUEBEC, CANADA * The scenery as we left the Seaway and went up the river to Saguenay was beautiful. * We arrived in the morning to great fanfare. Several of the town folk came to the dock to greet us with dancing and music. * Upon arrival we were taken in busses to a very large auditorium for a major theatrical production. Excellent. * The port provided wheel chair and electric cart service for the physically challenged from and to the ship. * The transfer from ship to theater and back to dock was a bit chaotic, but short. * Back on board we freshened up, had lunch and then did some walking along the harbor. * Our ship had the best docking location. * There were three other ships in port at the same time and they all had to tender in. * Crew and Staff were on shore to welcome us back to ship with music and champagne! * Another picture perfect day for weather. Sep 17 - QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC, CANADA * Pat toured the town on his own including a trip on the funicular and coffee and sandwich at Starbucks. * Glenn took a guided bus tour of the city. Excellent Tour and Tour Guide. * We did not get the ideal docking position but there was a shuttle that transferred us between ship and the city. * We felt that an overnight with an extra day in Quebec City would have been preferred. * Another picture perfect day for weather. Sep 18 - MONTREAL * Arrived in Montreal. Disembarkation went very well. Viking Staff there to help and give directions inside the Terminal. * Short Transfer to Hotel via a large van. * Settled into the Westin hotel and began our explorations on our own. * No included tours here. * We had lunch and dinner at the hotel. * The Hotel and Dining Room was excellent. Sep 19 - MONTREAL - Extended stay * Enjoyed our included breakfast at the Hotel. * We set out on our own and toured the city including a visit to the Bank of Montreal and Notre Dame Basilica. * As suggested by the Hotel concierge we had an excellent lunch at the Portus 360 revolving restaurant with commanding views of the city. * We then continued exploring the city on foot, including a visit to St. Patrick’s Basilica and the Olympic Monument. * We attended the night show AURA at Notre Dame Basilica followed by a delicious dinner back at the hotel. This should be highly recommended to all clients in advance so as to get a seat. Very popular. Reservations should be made well in advance. We purchased our tickets on line from home before the trip. Sep 20 - MONTREAL - PHILADELPHIA - SAN DIEGO * Enjoyed our included breakfast at the Hotel. * After breakfast Pat took one last walk through Montreal Old Town * We had a private included transfer from Hotel to Airport in the afternoon * Flight was late leaving Montreal - no one at the airport kept us informed * Arrived in Philadelphia and was met at the plane with a wheel chair for Glenn and full assistance transporting us to our departure gate. (Excellent service) * Arrived in San Diego late at night and took cab home. The ship - Viking Sea * It is important to note that there was a serious problem on board this ship. Based on our own personal experience and conversations with some of the passengers - there is a noise problem that needs to be addressed. * Our cabin, 4084, was so noisy we could not sleep at night. * We invited engineering into 4084 so they could hear the noise as well and they did. Not at all clear what the cause was but it was intermittent and even occurred when the ship was not moving. It was a very loud booming sound and vibrated one wall in the cabin. * After two nights in that cabin - Viking relocated us to cabin 5026 which was identical to 4084 except without any noise. * The staff was excellent. The public areas were comfortable. * Attention to detail could be better. Example: the tile floor in the World Cafe is chipped and cracked in places and the grouting appears dirty. Food Service & Entertainment * Food on board the ship in the main dining room and the World Cafe was creative and delicious. The food was not often hot and only mildly warm. Warm plates were offered as an alternative to the cold plates under the counters at the buffet. This needs attention and better notice. * For one of the meals in the main Dining Room Glenn had to ask the waiter for a replacement of the main course as the one delivered was barely warm. * Meals were creative, excellent presentation and flavorful. * Eric, the maitre’d, was outstanding. He was attentive and helpful. Prior to the cruise we were not able to get an earlier seating in the Chefs Table and Manfredi’s restaurants. Eric took care of that and we were able to dine earlier. * The Pool Grill provided nice simple options for meals. * The waffles in Mamsen’s were outstanding. * Both Alternative Dining Rooms were excellent. Service excellent and food excellent. * Wintergarden Afternoon Tea very well done. * The Afternoon Brunch in the Wintergarden was outstanding. They did run out of some of the items too soon. * Table 131 in the main Restaurant is a very bad table to sit at. There are glaring fluorescent lights from the kitchen area visible in parts of the dining area. Recommend a modification so the light is not visible to guests. * Entertainment on board was good. Drew, the Cruise Director, was amazing. His ability to sing, play musical instruments and his knowledge of the ports we visited - incredible. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We like this trip itinerary. Ship was very nice and clean. Every restaurant food was great. Room service was fantastic. We love spa. This is our first ocean cruise with Viking, we did River cruise with Viking before. We ... Read More
We like this trip itinerary. Ship was very nice and clean. Every restaurant food was great. Room service was fantastic. We love spa. This is our first ocean cruise with Viking, we did River cruise with Viking before. We thought this ship is very small, once we arrived at port Viking sun is pretty big size and inside there are everything what we need and everywhere is enough spaces. Excursion of each port event are nice organized for city tour and proper duration for walking tour. Weather was much nicer than what we expected in May, every 8 country we were traveling sunshine and good temperature. Most of the top, we like no casino on ship and no children around. All staffs of ship are very kindness and knowledgeable what should know about their duty. I had bad experience with one of lady at front desk(passenger service desk) otherwise every where every staff are wonderful . We enjoyed very much this "Viking home land" itenaries and we wish stayed more over night at St. Petersburg. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We were on a group trip (every one or two years) and had plenty of time for socializing with the 13 companions. ("Captains" table at back of dinning room for our large group) as well as the included excursions. These bus trips ... Read More
We were on a group trip (every one or two years) and had plenty of time for socializing with the 13 companions. ("Captains" table at back of dinning room for our large group) as well as the included excursions. These bus trips were adequate but had the usual competition for the locations from the other travelers so did not stand out like some itineraries. The food was good and they even got us in to the specialty locations which have private dining rooms for large groups. Since we are already booked on the same ship for November in the Med I guess I can say we'll be back (just not as a large group). Crew was great and we even found one who was with us last August (different ship). unfortunately we did have to skip the Shetlands stop reportedly due to the heavy winds but we had also been under under a reduced power at the time. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We choose this cruise to celebrate the anniversaries oft of the couples in our group. The beginnings of the cruise were wonderful. The ship and cabins are great. the crew is very good and made every effort to provide a wonderful ... Read More
We choose this cruise to celebrate the anniversaries oft of the couples in our group. The beginnings of the cruise were wonderful. The ship and cabins are great. the crew is very good and made every effort to provide a wonderful experience. On the third day of the cruise the port promotions system failed and we were force to return to Barcelona and end the trip. Viking did their best to make this bad situation as good as possible. The service never changed even after they said we would get a full refund. the only weak point was Viking air. The return flights they found made for a very difficult and tiring trip. I realize it was a bad time of year but would like them to tell me what the new flights look like before I give up my old. I would have stayed more days rather than take the flights provided. Still like Viking and am going to take another cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Wanted to see Scandinavia. We enjoyed the cruise, and really liked the size of the ship. The additional tours we took were very enjoyable except for Germany/Berlin. Would have preferred more time in Amsterdam or Helsinki. We have ... Read More
Wanted to see Scandinavia. We enjoyed the cruise, and really liked the size of the ship. The additional tours we took were very enjoyable except for Germany/Berlin. Would have preferred more time in Amsterdam or Helsinki. We have traveled with Viking and are looking forward to our ocean and river cruises we have booked for next year. The rooms and service were very nice. The restaurants were nice, but we didn't enjoy The Chef's Table as much as the other dining venues. The food was very good, but we felt rushed at The Chef's Table; it wasn't a very relaxing experience. The ship as I said was very nicely sized - we do not do the "monster" cruises. It was also very clean and all the staff was very attentive. Our most enjoyable shore excursions were Gdansk, Amsterdam, Stavanger, and Helsinki. We did a number of additional tours and found them all worth the extra we paid, except for Berlin. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Invited to join group of friends and the take in the beauty of the coast of Norway and intriguing Scotland. New and pleasant ship and great crew with spectacular scenery and interesting ports along the way. Cabin was very nice and ... Read More
Invited to join group of friends and the take in the beauty of the coast of Norway and intriguing Scotland. New and pleasant ship and great crew with spectacular scenery and interesting ports along the way. Cabin was very nice and new but more modest than we have experienced on other cruise line for the same category. Better entertainment than we have had on past cruises but the food was not up to the standards we enjoyed on Oceania cruises along the coast of France and Italy and from Turkey to Greece. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. We did experience problems with tours being unorganized with last minute changes. Air travel arrangements via Viking was not smooth or easily managed. An example was that we had to wait to secure seating on several flights and neither Viking or the Airlines could assist us so we were left with inferior seating choices and given few alternatives for upgrades. I would certainly reconsider using the air services provided by Viking. Also, disliked having to pay in full almost three years in advance of the cruise date. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We were a group of 6 couples who took advantage of the 2 for 1 deal offered by Viking, cruising the Meditteranean from Venice to Istanbul on the Viking Star. For most of us, it was a first cruise on a smaller ship and we were not sure what ... Read More
We were a group of 6 couples who took advantage of the 2 for 1 deal offered by Viking, cruising the Meditteranean from Venice to Istanbul on the Viking Star. For most of us, it was a first cruise on a smaller ship and we were not sure what to expect. The Star's crew and the ship itself met and exceeded our expectations. The ship is state of the art in its technology and appointments. From the consistent wifi on board to the clear, concise updates of all our daily activities to be found on our personal accounts, to the beautiful computer graphics of varied Viking journeys to be found on the coffee tables in the stunning atrium, the ship is first class all the way. The staff and crew were solicitous, courteous and took care of any requests we had expeditiously. For example, when we requested a special meal to be prepared for us to celebrate a festival, they not only obliged but outdid themselves in the thought and care they put into its preparation. Dining options were plentiful, with several restaurants and cafe's offering varied options. Shore excursions were timely, informative and varied. Since the ship docked early in the morning and was in port most of the day, there was ample time to do one or sometimes two excursions per day. The theater, jazz club and atrium offered fun music and dance presentations performed by energetic youngsters who got everyone energized as well! Both the embarkation and disembarkation process was seamless and easy. The crew and staff took care of the luggage and registration procedures were quick and painless. Room for improvement? Of course! The exercise facilities could be larger, more vegetarian food options could be offered and the high tea service could have expanded space and hours. However, overall this cruise was the best that we have taken thus far and an excellent value for the money. We have been strongly recommending it to all our friends. Thank you Viking Star staff and crew, for a wonderful and memorable 9 days! Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
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
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