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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
We chose this cruise because my sister in-law thought it would be fun to see Cuba. We made our reservation in September 2016, over a year before the cruise. In August of 2017 Viking informed all the passengers that they never received ... Read More
We chose this cruise because my sister in-law thought it would be fun to see Cuba. We made our reservation in September 2016, over a year before the cruise. In August of 2017 Viking informed all the passengers that they never received permission to dock in Havana. This means they sold us a cruise when they did not have permission to dock in Havana/Cuba. Viking informed us/passengers that they had permission (August 2017) to dock in Cienfuegos, Cuba and would be dropping the ports of Belize and Cozumel. As an incentive for people to keep their bookings for this cruise Viking offered us $500 ship board credit and all tours in Cuba for free. We felt that was a fair deal. We were told that the bus ride to Havana would be 2 1/2 hours, again we thought that was ok for the overnight tour. Well, we get on board and come to find out the bus ride will be 3 1/2 to 4 hours! The overnight tour to Havana was good but an exhausting schedule. We arrived at our hotel (dirty and about 2 1/2*) for the night and were informed that we had 1 HOUR to change for dinner and the Tropicana show. The show started at 10:00pm and ended at 12:00am. You could choose to miss the last half of the show and return to the hotel. You had to be ready for breakfast at 6:00am. We got 4 1/2 hours of sleep. then off to the Bay of Pigs museum (all in Spanish) then the ship. Our tour guide was not very good but that can happen with any tour. Viking had 3 shows One was good, about traveling and airlines. They other two were just ok. They had the same 6 good singers and a modern/ballet dance couple in the shows. Think of ABBA music with ballet dancing? This couple was in 2 of the shows and repetitive. Service in the restaurants was very slow. The Chiefs Table had a strange fixed menu and we chose to pass on that restaurant. We talked to other couples who felt the same. We were in the Explores Lounge one evening, it was not crowded at all, when we were ready to leave for dinner my husband went up to the bartender to cancel my order and she said the waiter forgot where I was sitting so he never brought my drink! The next day my husband saw that we had been charged for the drink, customer service did remove that from our bill. We all felt that maybe Viking Ocean Cruises is expanding so fast they are failing to train their people correctly. When you call Viking with questions you always seem to get different answers. We are booked for a cruise in 2019 and we are giving it some thought as to canceling before our big payment. The cruise is in April 2019 but they want full payment in late August 2018. Are they using our money to finance their new ships! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Itinerary: Miami, at sea, Key West, Cienfuegos 3 days, at sea, Miami Viking should stick to the European cruise market and forget about the Caribbean. If you were thinking about taking a Viking Caribbean Cruise don’t do it or at ... Read More
Itinerary: Miami, at sea, Key West, Cienfuegos 3 days, at sea, Miami Viking should stick to the European cruise market and forget about the Caribbean. If you were thinking about taking a Viking Caribbean Cruise don’t do it or at least wait a few years until they work out the kinks. I did not appreciate experiencing their growing pains on my dollar. To start, the itinerary I paid for was Key West, Havana overnight, Belize and Cozumel. Viking marketed this cruise before they had approval to dock in Havana, so in August we were informed that they were not approved and the itinerary no longer included Havana, Belize or Cozumel. Viking attempted to make up for it by giving a $250 ship board credit per person and an included tour on each day in Cienfuegos. The credit did help ease the annoyance a little, but if I knew then what I know now I would have wanted a full refund (not that this was an option). EXCURSIONS: IT IS AN 8 HOUR DRIVE ROUND TRIP FROM CIENFUEGOS TO HAVANA. The tours included a full day in Havana excursion (12 hours) or a 1.5 day overnight in Havana to make up for the itinerary change. Viking did not inform anyone that this meant a 4 hour bus ride each way to Havana. The Trinidad excursion was a little less then 2 hours each way. Yes, there is a bathroom on the bus. The excursions were a complete cluster the first day in Cuba. We waited 2.5 hours to clear immigration, exchange money and get the tour started. So, if you were on the 12 hour excursion to Havana you spent over 2 hours waiting, 8 hours driving and less than 2 hours to actually see Havana. The Trinidad excursion was also rushed due to the late start. The lunch was good, but again very rushed. The streets were so hilly and uneven that a few people had to request a cab for the way back to the tour bus. Do not take this tour if you have mobility issues. No time to shop or explore on your own. Cienfuegos on foot also felt rushed even though we started on time. Cigar factory part of tour was not worth the stop, but overall tour was pretty good. Tour guide couldn’t get the QuietVox to work so we couldn’t hear anything. We finally had 30 minutes to shop at the end. The Ship: The ship was elegant, beautiful and spotless. No crowds and no kids. Balconies in every stateroom. This ship is EXACTLY the same as the Viking Sea. I do think all the Viking ocean ships are designed the same, but even the menu and entertainment are exactly the same. The food: I am comparing the food on the Viking Sun to the very high bar that Viking set for themselves on my Viking Sea Ocean Mediterranean Cruise. The Wintergarden service was very slow and disorganized the first couple days. Manfredi’s served us Caprese salad with frozen mozzarella and cold pasta. On the Mediterranean Cruise Viking tailored the menu to each country we visited as we were in the region. They did not put much effort into creating a Cuban cuisine. They used the same menu as the other ship. However, the sushi was amazing and the pool grill had excellent service. The drinks: On the first sea day, it was as if Viking was surprised that people drink mojitos and pina coladas and hang out at the pool on a Caribbean cruise. Everyone was complaining that the pina coladas were not that good. For the price of this cruise you expect the drinks to be done right and not made with cheap mixer. I was also surprised that Viking would pull something like being out of stock of the nicer tequila included in the drink package. I suspect the itinerary change fiasco cut into their profit margin so they tried to save money in ways they thought would go unnoticed. We noticed. If this were a cheap cruise all these things would have been forgivable and even expected, but this was a VERY expensive cruise and the value was just not there. So you might as well take the more affordable cruise from the cruise lines that are experienced in this region. I have sailed two Viking Ocean cruises and I am not sure I like the all inclusive pricing. You end up paying a premium for things you don't use or like. While I appreciate the culinary artistry of the Chef's Table it was not good enough to pay more for. You get to reserve the specialty restaurants based on price of your cabin. The higher price for first dibs is NOT worth it. The main restaurant and casual dining venue are just as good. If you don't drink wine you still pay for it. The included tours are usually just OK and you have to pay for the better ones. They purposely schedule tours so you will not be able to take the included excursion and another optional one. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
In November 2016 we experienced Viking Ocean cruises for the first time on the Viking Sea and we were very impressed. In my 5 star review on C.C. I said "Well, I am delighted to say that out of the 15 or so cruises to date this one ... Read More
In November 2016 we experienced Viking Ocean cruises for the first time on the Viking Sea and we were very impressed. In my 5 star review on C.C. I said "Well, I am delighted to say that out of the 15 or so cruises to date this one was the best by quite a way!" Sadly our experiences on this cruise on the Viking Sky failed to meet our high expectations in many, but not all areas. My first piece of advice is that under no circumstances should you buy the Viking 2 night Pre-Cruise package. It was unsatisfactory in almost every way: For more details see my hotel review on t.advisor (Hilton Cabana Miami Beach). Viking's included tour was short, badly organised and in some cases the information given by the guide was just plain wrong. Transfer to the port from the hotel included the added bonus of a long and loud 'serenade' from a bus driver who should never give up his day job: although is it safe to drive with one hand while holding the microphone with the other: a practice that occurred on other tours during our cruise? Embarkation was quick and efficient but we were greeted ,upon entering the ship, with an underwhelming one quarter full glass of fiz. The cabin was pristine and just as good as the one on the Viking Sea and we were well looked after by our efficient and pleasant steward Dian, during our 14 night cruise. Food was another reason for our return and we ate Dinner in Manfredis on three occasions and I am pleased to report that this was a outstanding experience in every way: the food was delicious and the service impeccable. We did try the Chefs Table one night but found it to be a little pretentious and some of the food and wine was not to our taste. Dinner in the main dining room was of a high quality, with good service and a friendly atmosphere but on the odd occasion a long line to get in was a little irritating. You may have noticed the rather odd title to my review and now is the time to explain. There were food supply problems on our cruise: items that they didn't have or ran out of. These included mozzarella, granola, greek yogurt, some types of wine, dark beer (both types); we took on more in Columbia and then ran out again! and BANANAS. The lack of bananas given the ports of call we had visited before new supplies were eventually procured does not suggest great catering management! This leads me to another unsatisfactory aspect of our cruise .The included tours were plagued with problems. They seldom ran to time: some were very late, the guides were variable and in some cases one had to question what Viking were thinking: for example the visit to a "Craft and Heritage centre" in Montego Bay beggared belief: most items were probably made in China! The two tender ports were fraught with difficulties and I felt that the Viking staff in charge lacked experience and organisation. We enjoyed the entertainment in general and were particularly impressed by Iain James Kennedy's lectures. On board sea mammals expert Robin and partner, were a mine of interesting information. Some of the show productions were very similar to the ones on Viking Sea but we very much enjoyed the National Dance Company of Belize. Mamsen's was wonderful for breakfast and afternoon cake and the Pool Grill was a great venue with good food. To be honest, we tried the afternoon tea in the Wintergarden and found it a little underwhelming. Room service was rather variable. sometimes it was very good but on other occasions mistakes were made with the order and breakfasts were always earlier than ordered: sometimes far too early. The general layout of the ship is impressive. There is plenty of space and it is very easy to find a quiet spot. The free wifi worked pretty well compared to other ships we'd been on and the general attitude of the staff was friendly and welcoming in most circumstances. However, my feeling is that this ship is still a 'work in progress' This company have a place at the top of a very competitive cruise industry. They charge quite high rates to 'journey in Viking comfort.' On this cruise package did it justify these high rates? Sadly, my answer is no. One last piece of advice for the guests with later flights. We were delivered by Viking to Miami airport by 10.15am as part of their package for a 5.15pm flight to the U.K. We sat with our luggage for over 4 hours, before an understaffed BA check in took them off us. Organise something before the airport would be a sensible thing to do. I have asked Viking to contact me regarding my concerns, particularly with the Pre-cruise part of my package. It's early days, but I have not yet received any communication. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2017
We chose the Miami pre-cruise extension and were disappointed. I am accustomed to having Viking provide sightseeing each day. There was nothing scheduled for our arrival day, so we arranged our own tour. Our room was not ready, so we ... Read More
We chose the Miami pre-cruise extension and were disappointed. I am accustomed to having Viking provide sightseeing each day. There was nothing scheduled for our arrival day, so we arranged our own tour. Our room was not ready, so we were told to return after 4. We returned after our tour, around 6, and our room and similar ones had been given away!! We spend an interminable time at reception trying to find a place to bed down for the night. The hotel eventually upgraded us and gave us a $50 chit for dinner, but that didn't quite make up for the hassle we had endured. The wine and cheese party the next night (a disappointment after the usual Viking river welcome dinners) was held in room off the lobby that was open to the sky. It was a virtual wind tunnel. We were the first to take our inferior snacks and glass of wine out to the lobby, and were soon joined by most of the group. What a poor choice of a room...and of the nibbles. The Hilton Cabana Hotel was not the best. Only one elevator worked, so it was a disaster on the day of our departure for the ship as people tried to bring themselves or their luggage down to the lobby. Our luggage was never picked up, so Bob had to bring it down himself. The embarcation process was the smoothest I have ever experienced. (The same was true of disembarkation) Everyone was ready for us, passports were scanned, ship key cards issued and we were ushered onto the ship and greeted with a glass of bubbly...always a nice treat. We chose this to visit Key West, the Panama Canal and Cartagena, all of which we enjoyed, plus we wanted to experience a Viking Ocean ship since we've been on several Viking river cruises. The ports, other than the ones mentioned above, were not very interesting and the tours were dip. I was disappointed and I was also disappointed in the number of sea days, tho I knew how many there would be when I signed up. I never dreamed that I would finish three books of over four hundred pages while on a sightseeing cruise. The meals in the main dining room were the expected high caliber of Viking. The selections were so wonderful that we always had trouble deciding on what to have. We always selected different courses so we could sample each others choices. The idea behind the Captain's Table was clever- small bites of special sumptuous food- but we found the main dining room preferable to the Italian restaurant. The buffet lunch was always tasty, so was breakfast there, tho my husband preferred to have breakfast in the main dining room...so we alternated. I did have a problem with the tossed salad at lunch on the buffet. On your riverboats it is so easy to fix up a big plate of salad by yourself. On the Sky, the toppings/additions were out of reach so we had to stand in line and wait for the chef to serve us...time wasted and no one likes to stand in line for food. We are smokers and appreciated the fact that our area was covered and so protected from sun and rain, however the tall cigatette disposal towers were never emptied. There wasn't much to the gift shop, but it was certainly better than on your river boats. I have already complained about the rotating globe that we purchased in the shop and you can check your records for that. I think the shops on the Regent ships are more interesting...especially when there are so many sea days. Naturally, despite what I have written, we will try another Viking Ocean cruise...I am thinking of Bergan to Greenwich. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2017
This ship is easy to navigate and has wonderful public areas. The pools are very difficult to exit. The thermal pool in the spa had temperature issues, one day cold another scalding hot. The food was excellent with the best steaks. The ... Read More
This ship is easy to navigate and has wonderful public areas. The pools are very difficult to exit. The thermal pool in the spa had temperature issues, one day cold another scalding hot. The food was excellent with the best steaks. The staff was unfailingly efficient and pleasant. The shore excursions were a bit of a nightmare. This was Sky's first Panama Canal Cruise. Arriving in Belize after 2 PM with an 1 1/2 hour bus ride left little to no time to visit Mayan ruins. Some buses arrived when it was already nearly dark.. Other shore excursions had buses with weak to no air conditioning. One paid for excursion in Columbia highlighted a Gold Museum which was closed when we arrived. Our provided flight home was awful with a 5:30 PM departure time. Customer service agent with Viking had told us we would be able to exit our cabin at 8:30 AM and stay in the common areas till afternoon departure. (Lie or lack of knowledge on ships procedures?) Being a smaller ship you will feel the vibration even in calm seas. Entertainment was low keyed. Super comfy theater. Best of all no one is constantly bothering you to buy expensive fruity drinks. Read Less
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