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7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We are incredulous about the service on this ship: friendly, attentitive, and conscientious. Each person we see greets us warmly and with authenticity. The waiters learn your names within a day or two and treat you like royalty. After ... Read More
We are incredulous about the service on this ship: friendly, attentitive, and conscientious. Each person we see greets us warmly and with authenticity. The waiters learn your names within a day or two and treat you like royalty. After five days of being at sea, there is no let up in the attention to detail and graciousness. The food is generally quite good; the sushi bar is excellent and Manfredi's is uniformly delicious. We regret getting the silver spirits package however because one of us drinks only wine and the included wines listed are sub-par. The hard liquor choices on the other hand are wide-ranging and more than sufficient! Silver Spirits runs about $20/day and covers drinks up to $15, which is the price we normally pay for a single servings of wine so we thought we'd be okay, but were quickly disappointed. Next time we'll know or bring our bottles onboard which they permit. Love the ship, the room to spread out and the wifi has been terrific! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Wanted to try Viking Ocean and Cuba was on my list. Had been on Viking River Cruise so was curious about the Ocean Cruises. The look and feel if the ocean ship was similar to the River but bigger. Also the inclusion of the Thermal Spa ... Read More
Wanted to try Viking Ocean and Cuba was on my list. Had been on Viking River Cruise so was curious about the Ocean Cruises. The look and feel if the ocean ship was similar to the River but bigger. Also the inclusion of the Thermal Spa area which included the sauna, steam, snow room, cold pool and thermal pool with heated lounges chairs was an added bonus as there is not a charge to enter and use the Thermal spa like other cruise lines. The fitness center was well equipped as well. The pools were nice and nothin seemed crowed - not sure the ship was at 100% capacity. They had a nice smoking area on the top deck, which had plenty of seating and was not near any major public area such as the pools or dining areas. The ship was clean and the crew were in constant maintenance mode during the cruise. The staff were wonderful and we managed to have a few waiters that were special in that they remembered us and knew what we drank and were attentive, of course a little tip didn't hurt but was well deserved. The entertainment could be a little more varied especially in the main pool area to include so Top 40 tunes for some of the younger crowd, I had expected some latin music since this was a Cuba and Caribbean Cruise but none. Minus a casino more activities maybe would have been nice other than card and board games. Overall a very relaxing cruise even though we were unable to make our stop in Santiago Cuba due to weather. I booked another cruise while on board so overall pleased with the experience. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
After saving our money and paid time off for over three years, my husband and I were excited for our cruise to Cuba with Viking, who had shown us stellar service on their Paris to Normandy river journey in 2015. We were a little hesitant ... Read More
After saving our money and paid time off for over three years, my husband and I were excited for our cruise to Cuba with Viking, who had shown us stellar service on their Paris to Normandy river journey in 2015. We were a little hesitant at first, seeing that Viking had changed the itinerary on folks that booked in 2017 from Havana to Cienfuegos, but figured the team had it sorted out. Unfortunately, from the start we had trouble. Our airport pickup wandered away, leaving six of us who had just red eyed into Miami confused - they left the baggage area once the bags started coming, leaving us wandering until we found them quite far down the hall. Despite our stickers and luggage tags, we had to search for our rep, rather than him finding us (in Paris, our rep was there in uniform and took initiative to round up his charges, not the other way around). When we were dropped off at port, we were literally dropped off - no instructions, no guidance. An elderly woman in our group was jostled and fell to the ground. Finally, one of our fellow passengers found the correct entrance and led us in. The ship is lovely, if starting to show some wear, and the staff was delightful and polite and not too talkative. The hydrotherapy pools were spacious and stunning, especially for a ship of this size. We sometimes struggled to get drinks refilled at meals, so we started requesting two at a time so we wouldn’t be parched midway through a meal. For a larger ship than their river cruises, there was less variety in food choice - the seated restaurant and the buffet mirror on another, and since the specialty restaurants booked up fast, you essentially had the option of being brought your food or grabbing it yourself without much change in the menu. The river cruises have a small cafe that you can get American fare at, while their restaurants serve local specialties and more upscale dishes. Our free walking tour in Cienfuegos was one of the worst tours I have been on - the guide wouldn’t let us shop, he made us stand in the street as beggars circled us tighter and tighter (making me more and more nervous) while he talked about the largest travel agency in Havana (it seemed an odd thing to focus on when there was art and cigar shops and historic buildings surrounding us), and was angry people weren’t paying attention to his next long story about the optometry shop as we shifted uncomfortably in the street. At the cigar rolling demonstration, we were hustled out before we could buy anything - which made me incredibly uncomfortable when the shopkeepers had hosted us so kindly. We toured a hotel lobby, which ate into valuable time we could have been at an actual historical building. Being from Nevada, I know hotels. I don’t know 19th century Cuban mansions like Ville Palais, which we had only ten minutes in since we spent a valuable twenty minutes in a generic Hilton-like lobby instead. When we returned to the city center, it was after six and shutting down - stands were closing, shops were shuttered, and it was twilight - tourist time was obviously over. So we returned to the boat. Our Havana excursion was amazing, and the saving grace of our trip - the tour guide Jenny knowledgeable, focused on education and information and not her personal stories. The Hemingway House was closed (note, it’s always closed on Sundays, so why no one notifies us until the day before was concerning on Viking’s end and likely caused a scramble for the poor guides), so she arranged for a ride around Havana in the old school cars, which thrilled us all. She was honest about life in Cuba, and answered all of our questions on income and housing, and introduced us to multiple vendors and shops, even making sure we got proper change. This was the Viking experience I had been expecting and hoping for. Since Havana was a whirlwind of colors and sounds, we were excited for a low key day In Cienfuegos the following day - unfortunately, since the tender boats take 20 minutes each way, and everyone had to be back on the boat by noon, we didn’t get up in time to leave the boat on our third half day (our Havana day was over 13 hours with lots of walking). Which was heartbreaking when we found out that our second port stop at Santiago de Cuba was canceled due to wind. Santiago de Cuba was founded in 1515, and was something I was looking forward to so much. Being from out West in Nevada, we think somethings historic if it’s from the 1950s! But we were sure Viking would make it up to guests. We became less sure when they excitedly announced a bean bag toss to keep us occupied as we sailed past Santiago de Cuba. Okay, I thought. They’re getting things together. They need a little time. Surely the top cruise line in the world would not offer a simple bean bag toss as substitute for 50% of the Cuba port sites. Well, they also offered a trivia competition. And they also heavily suggested you pay extra fees for wine tastings and spa treatments to keep yourself occupied on a day that Viking had promised to entertain us with a port stop and free tour. My husband and I are in our 30s, and Viking cruises mean we go less often and pay more ($2,800/each in this instance), but our experience in Paris was so rosy, we pledged to be Viking customers exclusively. Having a major stop cancelled and cornhole substituted seemed laughable, and I again gave Viking the benefit of the doubt. I emailed our Viking rep, sure that something was in the works - a partial refund or credit towards our next cruise, or even a shipboard credit since they were pushing pricey services for entertainment in lieu of the port stop. Fred told me to email customer relations since he couldn’t do anything once we were on the boat. 24 hours after emailing, and 28 hours after the port cancellation, I have yet to receive an acknowledgment of my email, and my hope for a decent resolution is just about gone. To have such vastly different customer service experiences has led me to fear our stellar service in Paris was luck of the stars, and not Viking’s usual protocol. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend this cruise because you will pay premium price for average service and may not even see 50% of promised ports - and Viking will offer a game of bean bag toss as the only consolation to a lost day in Cuba. Oh, and trivia. Our 2015 Paris cruise was during the terrorist attacks - Viking stepped up to the plate in 2015 and arranged alternate excursions when we were unable to get back into the locked down city, and a staff person came to speak with us individually about safety and ensure our comfort. I’m surprised they were able to handle a very unexpected, very alarming event on the fly on that cruise, but the only solution they had for inclement weather on this cruise and a cancelled port was a bean bag toss. Oh yeah, and a trivia game. I would not recommend this cruise until Viking has figured out the Cuba logistics. From reading the other reviews, this isn’t one of Viking’s strong itineraries despite multiple years, and doesn’t appear to have the same level of professionalism and service found in their river cruises. I’m not sure we’ll do a Viking cruise again, considering the high cost and poor customer service our Cuba trip has highlighted. I expected to be a Viking customer for the next 70 years after Paris, but am beginning to realize they’re just like any other cruise line - all about that cash. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise because we were interested in seeing Cuba, as well as we were looking forward to getting away from cold winter weather. We have traveled on both Viking River and Viking Ocean and loved both. The Viking Star did not ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were interested in seeing Cuba, as well as we were looking forward to getting away from cold winter weather. We have traveled on both Viking River and Viking Ocean and loved both. The Viking Star did not disappoint. From the moment we embarked we were treated wonderfully. We stayed in a deluxe veranda, which was a nice size. Our room steward was very attentive and our room was spotless. We enjoyed our dining experiences. We ate dinner at both specialty restaurants, as well as in the main restaurant and had attentive service and found the meals to be delicious. We particularly enjoyed dining outside in the Aquavit Terrace for the Seafood Buffet. We enjoyed the chef's cooking demonstration as well as the backstage tour given by the Viking vocalists. We enjoyed the evening shows and particularly liked the late night dancing with the Viking Band in the Torshavn lounge. The evening outdoor movies were a pleasant touch. Our cruise director, Aaron, did a wonderful job. We enjoyed the infinity pool and never had difficulty finding a lounge chair. Service by the pool was excellent. We enjoyed afternoon tea. Our experiences on the ship were wonderful. We were disappointed with the short amount of time we spent in Cuba. For a one week cruise, we only were in Cuba for a little over 2 days. We also had to take a tender to get to land, which took additional time away from being in Cuba. Our stop in Santiago de Cuba was cancelled due to winds. We were informed of this as we were finishing breakfast getting ready to leave on our tour. We had hoped another port would have been substituted. Our tour in Cienfuegos was excellent and our tour guide was informative and friendly. The tour to Havana was a must. We saw a great deal and a highlight of our trip was touring in the classic cars. We enjoyed dining in an authentic Cuban restaurant. The 6 hour round trip bus ride was very long. We enjoyed the catamaran tour of Cienfuegos Bay. I was glad that I had done my shopping early in the trip, instead of waiting for the last day, in that I would have had nothing to bring back from Cuba. I have seen so much on previous Viking cruises and was surprised that in a 7 day cruise we only went to 1 port. I had thought we would have seen much more. In summary, the ship was perfect but for a seven day cruise the ports were sparse. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We wanted to see Cuba without having to experience the land based hotels which all of our friends who had traveled there said were not pleasant. And so we figured we would try a Viking Ocean experience based on several of their river ... Read More
We wanted to see Cuba without having to experience the land based hotels which all of our friends who had traveled there said were not pleasant. And so we figured we would try a Viking Ocean experience based on several of their river cruise trips. To tell you the truth is was truly a mixed experience. The ship was very manageable, clean and convenient. The cabin was great. Well stocked, king size bed, heated bathroom floors, great ventilation and temp control and the cabin steward was a 10+. The tours were mixed - some good, some bad - but it's always based on who your guide is. What was truly disappointing was one of the "included" tours which the ship's staff advised us not to take. Say what? You put us on a tour that's no good? Well then change it - don't advise us to pay more for an optional one. The dining room was not ready for prime time. There is a big difference between "unhurried" dining and SLOW. One night we sat at the table for 15 minutes waiting to be approached and nothing happened. Had to raise my hand and ask who had our table and one could tell by the looks on the faces that no one had a clue. But every night the service was that way. Alternate dining room reservations were simply put, a pain and not worth the effort. The buffet was good though and never disappointed. When the staff was asked how long they had been on board or with Viking the lack of experience was astounding. We really felt we were providing on-the-job- training and it was annoying. Entertainment was a mix of lectures and some shows. Lectures were great and shows were okay but in fairness it is a smaller ship and lacks some facilities We're booked to be on that same ship next year for an extended voyage but we are seriously rethinking it. I don't want to suffer more Viking growing pains. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
My wife and I had already cruised to Havana, Cuba aboard the NCL Sun, which didn't give us enough exposure to the Cuban Culture, music and art. We chose to cruise to Cuba again, this time with Viking Ocean Cruises. The itinerary, ... Read More
My wife and I had already cruised to Havana, Cuba aboard the NCL Sun, which didn't give us enough exposure to the Cuban Culture, music and art. We chose to cruise to Cuba again, this time with Viking Ocean Cruises. The itinerary, which includes a visit to Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba, and which also has extensive educational opportunities and onboard lectures given by knowledgeable Cuba experts was deeply important in our choice. The Viking Star is considered a small ship at a maximum 900 passenger capacity. This was immediately appreciated upon embarkation, which went flawlessly and we were processed and onboard ship within 15 minutes. We took the Viking two-day extension in Miami, which included a five hour panoramic drive through the city, including a stop at Calle Ocho and the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens on the day of embarkation. Arriving onboard ship, we were delighted to find our cabin ready and our steward available to deliver our luggage and address any of our concerns. The in-cabin experience was enhanced by our Steward, "K," and he went the extra mile to ensure our comfort. Unfortunately, the ship's digital system, including interactive in-cabin monitor, live TV, movies and recorded lectures and entertainment given in the theater crashed during the last three days of the cruise, which we found regrettable, since we couldn't catch up with any of the events we missed during the cruise. We found the dining aboard the Star to be excellent, with an ample variety of dishes and wines that changed daily, both in the Restaurant and up in the World Cafe, the casual buffet venue. We also had dinner in Manfredi's Italian Restaurant, which is included in the cruise. The food at Manfredi's is fresh and abundant, and we ended up ordering half portions because the regular size is astronomical. The complementary wine or beer at lunch and dinner is a fantastic feature, as the house wines change each day, giving us a wonderful tasting experience. The servers at all the dining venues were eager to please, and took time to get to know our preferences. Not having children onboard Viking cruises also makes the voyage more enjoyable. On land in both Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba, we took the complementary city tours, which we found to be average and not really worth the three hours. Sitting in a bus, that travels at high speed through the city, doesn't really give one the smells, taste and feel for the people of Cuba. The mandatory stops at cigar and rum shops ate up whatever free time we had. In Cienfuegos, my wife and I went off the grid and hired a private pedicab with driver to give us a personal tour of the city. This three hour tour included many places not covered by the complementary tour, and we stopped numerous times to meet and greet the REAL people of the city. My fluency in the Spanish language helped us to take full advantage of the driver's personal knowledge of his hometown, and we were able to meet many of his associates at local haunts. This direct contact with the Cuban people was what we were after when we chose the cruise. My only advice is to settle on a price BEFORE hiring a private tour guide. This is hard to do, as many of the private tours don't have posted prices or tour descriptions. However, Jordan, our pedicab driver gave us a private tour of a lifetime, and we gladly paid him $60 for the personal service he provided. In Santiago de Cuba, we only had a few hours, but the tour of the Basilica of Our Lady of Charity, the patron saint of Cuba, was truly amazing.and well worth the time spent there. The educational lectures and round tables are exceptional. The topics covered were truly current and topical on Cuban history, culture and arts. This is a hallmark of Viking Cruises, and a good reason why Viking remains as one of the best ways to the immersion into the local ports visited. Being on a small ship makes the voyage comfortable and uncrowded all onboard venues. Even though we didn't dock at the two ports, the four tenders got us off the ship and back on very efficiently. The digital glitches were unfortunate, but, in contrast to other cruise lines, Viking delivers a good cruise value. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
My wife and I are very experienced cruisers having been on more than 35. This was our first time on Viking Ocean Cruise line, Scandinavian and we were impressed by their very high ratings on River Cruises.and the fact they only carried a ... Read More
My wife and I are very experienced cruisers having been on more than 35. This was our first time on Viking Ocean Cruise line, Scandinavian and we were impressed by their very high ratings on River Cruises.and the fact they only carried a maximum of 930 passengers. Check in was a breeze with 6 or 7 receptionists waiting for us instead of long lines. It is considered a luxury cruise ship and as such commands a very high initial cost for the cruise which must be paid in full much before the cruise embarks. However, this is partially compensated for with many inclusions not permitted on other cruise lines. We were permitted to bring alcohol aboard the ship. They also included wine and beer with all meals and excursions at each port of call. While onboard my wife and her our friend Ann went to a cooking class with the executive Chef of the ship and he liked them. There were two special dining venues THE CHEF'S TABLE and another upscale Italian restaurant. We were supposed to go only once during the cruise but because of the connection my wife, Nela and Ann made with the Chef were permitted to go 4 times, where he prepared his specialties and served them. They were absolutely amazing and I've never had better food on any ship. For an additional charge you could choose other excursions customized to your interests. I chose one on Cozumel said to be the 2d largest barrier reef for snorkeling, 185 miles long which was disappointing as I had expected a wall but found only scattered limestone reefs with only smaller colorful tropical fish. I saw no predators like sharks, barracudas or even sting rays, that I had seen snorkeling and Scuba diving. Though the personnel were very friendly it was not well organized. In the middle of the sea they required half our passengers to climb onto a boat that pulled alongside. I'd not recommend that excursion. However one excursion we went on was exceptional and I'd highly recommend that in Mexico called SALSA AND SALSA in which my wife I and two friends, first time cruisers were taken on a couple buses to a 2d floor high ceiling open air room in a hotel and sat at tables for 10 with many vegetables and a musher, which is a small dish with a rough bottom and a pestle for crushing and mushing the vegetables with various recipes into different Salsas. We were provided aprons, Chef's hats and unlimited. Margaritas and ingredients to make more. Our hostesses were two young Mexican girls in their 20's full of enthusiasm that kept things going. After eating varied Doritos and Salsa and too many home made Margaritas where we lost count the tables were removed and the floor cleared for dancing the SALSA. I would never call myself a dancer but after 6 or 7 Margaritas figured nobody cared and did my best. We all left totally sated, happy and ready to recover. The entertainment onboard the ship was very limited in variety and elaborate productions but made up for it with extremely talented musicians and singers. There was one quartet of 4 British singers that performed on 3 different nights once emulating ABBA, then BEATLES and finally 60's music. I talked to a few of the performers afterward and found they were not a professional group but were hired individually and the group would disintegrate after the cruise ended. It made me tear up thinking so beautiful would end. Even our Cruise director was a former professional Opera Singer with a voice so perfect I asked my friend if she wasn't lipsyncing and he assured me she was not. She was amazing at the New Year's celebration party. On board I enjoyed their lectures particularly one on Catapults showing how very ineffective walls are, no matter how strong or well guarded. The gym was small and basic but had all the essentials for a good workout. I liked the Steam, Sauna and Ice room. The ice room was a real treat. Short periods of stress are good for your health and excessive amount can kill you. In summing up overall I'd say this cruise was exceptional and one of the best I've been on, though expensive. I've been on more moderately priced ships that were very good and can honestly say I've never been on any vacation I did not enjoy though some more than others, so in the end you'll have to decide what you want for yourself. I always consider price an important factor when deciding on a service or product. I was an accountant by profession. I like quality at a reduced price. That what makes a good value. If you want everything to be nearly perfect and are willing to pay top price VIKING is a choice, you won't be wrong with, but if you'd want to go on two or more cruises on a less expensive ship for the same price, then Princess or Celebrity are excellent ships. I wrote this review for Cruise Critic not Viking Ocean cruise line because I read Viking's terms and conditions in which they stated they can edit comments possibly making my review Fake News instead of the honest one I wrote by editing out anything negative. I said, but believe cruise critic will condense it with my concerns to its essence. I hope this has been helpful. Paul, an experienced cruiser. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We arrived directly from the airport where Viking personnel were easy to identify and directed us to a bus for transporting us to the ship terminal. The check-in process was very efficient and informative. We were allowed to board the ship ... Read More
We arrived directly from the airport where Viking personnel were easy to identify and directed us to a bus for transporting us to the ship terminal. The check-in process was very efficient and informative. We were allowed to board the ship right away but not go directly to our cabin until 2 PM, which was fine while we checked out the ship layout and enjoyed the beautiful view and day from the upper decks. For dining we generally ate at the World cafe for the ease of self service for food, dress code and no waiting for seating. The food was good but the variety was limited, same general menu the entire trip, with only a few changes from day to day, of course sampling from the dessert counter was the best part! The entertainment we attended was nice, but would have enjoyed additional talents as well. The activities menu was very limited to guest speakers, some interesting but not for everyone. Recommend advertising the on-board tours more, we stumbled onto them but only made the bridge tour on this trip, also offering helpful classes on ex: camera tips for better pictures, cooking cultural foods for pending ports, etc. would be great. We really appreciated not being bothered with a a sales pitch everyday for something (pictures, jewelry etc). The inclusion of Wi-Fi was truly a wonderful treat too. Service was impeccable, very friendly and accommodating staff. The most organized port and shore disembarkation that we have experienced so far among our three different cruise lines, probably helped with a smaller number of passengers too. We already have multiple future trips booked with Viking and look forward to cruising with you! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Love cruising with Viking so wanted to take this cruise with them. This was our 4th ocean cruise with them. The ships are spotless. The crew is friendly and polite. You can rely on them. The rooms are larger. Bathroom larger. Every ... Read More
Love cruising with Viking so wanted to take this cruise with them. This was our 4th ocean cruise with them. The ships are spotless. The crew is friendly and polite. You can rely on them. The rooms are larger. Bathroom larger. Every room has a lanai. Loved our cabin boy. Anything we needed, he got for us. The food was excellent. All freshly cooked. No preservatives. The lectures were very good but I would have liked more entertainment. Playing Trivia was not my cup of tea. A 22 day cruise needed more to do. The shore excursions were well organized. Our guides were knowledgeable and spoke good English. Not like some places. The poor countries were a little depressing but we knew that would be. We were lucky to have sunny weather. The fact that it was Central America, it was extremely hot and humid. We wanted to visit Cuba and travel through the Panama Canal. Each country was so interesting. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
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
I have done 2 Viking River Cruises so I wanted to see what the ocean cruise with Viking would be like. I was not disappointed and my only negative comment would be the overnight shore excursion was rather expensive ($799 each) and we were ... Read More
I have done 2 Viking River Cruises so I wanted to see what the ocean cruise with Viking would be like. I was not disappointed and my only negative comment would be the overnight shore excursion was rather expensive ($799 each) and we were not advised of this cost until shortly before our sailing date. Also they didn’t allow for the fact that there was a Marathon run that day so we were delayed waiting in the hotel lobby for over an hour. Everything else was above average though. The cabin was adequate and the bathroom was the best on any ship I’ve been on. Crew were great and with my garlic allergy the dining staff went above expectations to take excellent care of my needs and even provided me with garlic free dinner in Manfredi’s. Overall I would recommend Viking and would love to cruise again with them. Being a smaller ship there wasn’t the usual night club type shows but the did have local talent come on board as well as informative lectures. The included shore excursions were well done with great guides and lots of local information. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We were very interested in seeing Cuba, now that we finally had a way to get there. We were somewhat disappointed, however, in the destinations. Since Viking does not dock in Havana, we were at the port of Cienfuegos for 2.5 days. We ... Read More
We were very interested in seeing Cuba, now that we finally had a way to get there. We were somewhat disappointed, however, in the destinations. Since Viking does not dock in Havana, we were at the port of Cienfuegos for 2.5 days. We did arrange a private tour for our group of six to Havana, so we were able to see Havana, but it was a 3 hour drive from Cienfuegos. The excursions (except for our private Havana tour) were all provided by the official government-owned tourist company, and were clearly influenced by the government. Quality of excursions seemed to vary depending on which group you were in. We did the Streets of Trinidad tour, but it was the first day onshore and the line for currency exchange was long and slow. My group was last to leave for the tour. They took us to a small town far past Trinidad where we spent a little time, and by the time we got back to Trinidad, we hardly had any time left, and it was a lovely town where I would have really liked to spend more time. This was similar on the "walking tour" of Cienfuegos, which turned out to be much more of a bus tour. Since a tour of the cigar factory was included, again my group was among the last to get in; by the time we got back to downtown Cienfuegos we had hardly any time left and did no walking tour at all. The ship itself, however, was very nice. We were happy with the food, the ship itself and everything onboard. I would do an ocean cruise with Viking again, but wish our experience with the Cuba excursions had been better. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose it for Cuba and liked the overall itinerary. We were very pleased with Viking. The rooms were nice and all of staff were great. The food was very good. We liked the high end drinks you could get with the beverage package. We ... Read More
We chose it for Cuba and liked the overall itinerary. We were very pleased with Viking. The rooms were nice and all of staff were great. The food was very good. We liked the high end drinks you could get with the beverage package. We were pleasantly surprised as we'd never done a cruise that was not all-inclusive. The down side is there is no entertainment at night like other ships have, except for the small band. We did enjoy the one night on the pool deck when the band played. We met some great people. On our excursion to Havana, we loved our tour guide. What we didn't like what coming back in the dark on the road we were sharing with horse-drawn carts. That was not clear in information ahead of time or we probably wouldn't have gone. We did not take any other excursions and talking to other people, sounded like we made the right choice. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
After experiencing an excellent Viking River Boat cruise a few years ago, we were eager to sail on one of the new ocean voyage cruises. We were not disappointed. The ship, cabin, staff, food, etc. could not have been better. However, ... Read More
After experiencing an excellent Viking River Boat cruise a few years ago, we were eager to sail on one of the new ocean voyage cruises. We were not disappointed. The ship, cabin, staff, food, etc. could not have been better. However, the staff entertainment crew was less than expected, other than the Viking Band, which was the highlight of each evening's entertainment. Viking staff have gone out of their way to ensure the best service possible. All reasonable requests were met with a smile and willingness to oblige. We thoroughly appreciated the extras that were extended to all the guests, such as a glass of champange as we waited for table assignment for dinner among other thoughtful gestures. Dismbarkation and boarding which is slow and cumbursome on other ships was efficiently smooth on Viking Sky. Viking ship designs ensure that passengers do not feel the congestion that is so prevelant on the larger ships. Again, we were very pleased with all aspects of this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
The cruise embarking from Miami and into warm weather in February was the main reason we took this cruise. Seeing the Amazon was a bonus. Warm weather (from Ohio), ship is wonderful and people friendly. Entertainment- we enjoyed the ... Read More
The cruise embarking from Miami and into warm weather in February was the main reason we took this cruise. Seeing the Amazon was a bonus. Warm weather (from Ohio), ship is wonderful and people friendly. Entertainment- we enjoyed the carnival show at one of the stops. Didn't attend most of ship shows. Did go to chef's cooking demo and napkin folding. Was nice afternoon diversion on at sea days, of which there are many. The included tours not too exciting. The Amazon and the Caribbean islands do not have the clean quaint towns like on the European river cruise. Driving around for a couple hours around the nearest town is not the most scenic of tours. There are a few nice stops among hours of driving. I recommend the optional tours, as many as you can afford. We did an ocean kayaking in the Caribbean and also enjoyed the fishing for piranhas excursion (saw sloths!!) ... SO, i didn't know about shoes and clothes for the Amazon. We were there in February for rainy season. The few times the sun came out let us know how hot an humid it would be if not for the clouds. Do take a pair of closed toed shoes that you don't mind getting muddy. Even on an included tour, we slogged through a unpaved paths with heavy downpours all the way. The ships umbrella worked for me, Plastic ponchos were hot i understand, many had hooded rain jackets, easier to maneuver with than umbrella. I took my old work out shoes which worked fine. You also need nice shoes (not flip flops nor mens sandals allowed) for the specialty restaurants. Otherwise, sandals, flip flops, and a pair of slide on mesh worked for me. I wish I had brought a rain proof bag(purse). I did have plastic bag I ended up stuffing my purse and quitevox in for the heavier downpour days. Big enough to carry water bottle. Also, hat with chin strap! I had to wear my husbands after my straw hat popped off my head and flew off into the ocean at the very fist island stop. We didn't see many mosquitoes. When leaving the ship on the Amazon, I wore the long lasting insect repellent they recommend. I wore long sleeved loose cotton top and pants that were treated with . I think i'd stick to just the repellent if i did it again. We bought the Travalon, never took one. Had all the shots. (Expensive though some are covered by insurance, not the yellow fever) Visa added about $500 to travel cost for 2. Very rocky trip going down. They had to close the pools for a few day and couldn't land on Devils Island. Didn't bother us but there were some that it affected. Once we reached the Amazon, we had to keep doors closed at night. As the captain said, we were the only light in sight, and bugs fly. I wasn't bothered by insects at all. As early risers we saw large moths, grasshoppery like things and some beetles before they were washed away by the crew. Though once back on the ocean, i found myself sitting on the balcony at night more. We had out laptops for our graphic design business. WiFi was fine. We don't stream anything, mainly emails and PDF uploads. Laundry, had a couple machines down a couple days, but were fixed. A line formed when we had rainy(muddy) outings. But I didn't have to wait too often for a machine. Detergent is hard wired into machine, jst press a button to include it. Has 2 ironing boards with irons, a deep sink , couch and TV if you have to wait. We request carafe of sparkling water as well as still water and they do fit in the bottom of the fridge in room (in the center where plastic fingers are). You have a key card you must carry to get on and off the ship. The pocket on my phone was convenient. Also had audio books downloaded from library to listen to instead of head buried in book when lounging by the pool, gazing out on the world, heavenly. Overall, enjoyed the cruise, gained a few pounds and avoided some very snowy weather. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
Wanted to visit the Amazon on a luxury cruise line. The ship was very nice and never a crowd at any one area. The service was outstanding from the steward , restaurant, and service staff. The only reason for 4 stars instead of 5 stars was ... Read More
Wanted to visit the Amazon on a luxury cruise line. The ship was very nice and never a crowd at any one area. The service was outstanding from the steward , restaurant, and service staff. The only reason for 4 stars instead of 5 stars was the quality of the food. Presentation was very nice but some meats were overdone and tough. Fish dishes were a little over cook and dry. Would travel again . The Oceania line had better food but Viking has a nicer ship (new ship) and better service. Breakfast was the same everyday. The included tours were good on this cruise but not outstanding . It may be due to the infrastructure of the Amazon and the Caribbean island on the itinerary . Check in was very organized and wish other cruise lines should try to achieve. Afternoon tea was delightful along with the scones they served. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Who are we? We are a couple in our early 60's (a good 10-15 years younger than most on board) and have cruised on Princess 28 times. We decided to try something a little different and thought we'll give Viking Ocean a try. We ... Read More
Who are we? We are a couple in our early 60's (a good 10-15 years younger than most on board) and have cruised on Princess 28 times. We decided to try something a little different and thought we'll give Viking Ocean a try. We decided on a 7 day Caribbean cruise to "try it out". We've been to the Caribbean many times, so we went for the ship experience as much as the ports. I will try not to "compare" too much, but with so much experience on Princess it is hard to avoid occasionally. In a lot of ways comparing Viking to Princess is not comparing apples to apples. They are different experiences. Air was included in our fare. We live in upstate NY and flew out of Newark. We went in the night before, stayed in Newark, took the 4 am shuttle and got the 6 am flight booked for us by Viking on American Airlines. The weather gods were with us and it all went off without a hitch. We arrived in Miami around 10, went to baggage claim, saw the the Viking representative, collected our luggage, hopped on the bus, checked in and were on the ship around 11. You were given a glass of champagne and had to stay in the atrium area until around 11:30, when you could go to lunch and wander around the ship. We were allowed to go to our room at 1. We had lunch at the World Cafe and we walked the decks and learned our way around. Deck layouts are pretty straight forward and there are interactive maps at each stairway. Our room was ready by 1. It was a lovely room. Luggage wasn't there yet, so we explored a little more and rearranged some dining reservations. We booked the specialty restaurants on line, but learned that you should check the menus for the Chef's Table and change them once on board, since the menu changes every couple of days. We like to eat 6-6:30, and the only reservation I could get for Chef's Table in advance was for the first night. We preferred another menu and were able to change to another night easily. Since the 1st night was Super Bowl and we weren't going to watch we were able to get a reservation at Manfredi's for that night. Everything I've read says you can get additional reservations once on board. They were limiting reservations to 1 per couple at each specialty since it was a short cruise. They did say you could check back later in the week to see if there are opening. After eating at both places, we didn't check back, so I don't know if there were additional openings. Now that we're on board, I'll do category reviews rather than give you a day by day. Dining: Overall, good to very good. Since we all eat on all cruises I will give you a little comparison to Princess. For the price and reputation, I was expecting it to be better than Princess. It wasn't really. Overall, I would say it was comparable. World Café: I will give Viking the nod here for food quality. Very good quality for a buffet. Gelato, every day. I stood in that line a lot. Seafood and sushi, every evening. Sushi was excellent. Cold crab legs and shrimp, a little watery, typical of previously frozen seafood. Dinner buffet was the same as what was on the menu downstairs in the Restaurant. A nice opportunity to sample different things on the menu. Buffet layout was linear. It got crowded and congested at times. Not easy to jump in a grab one thing without standing in line and hard to walk past when busy. The Restaurant: Lots of two tops. We asked to share to get to know others. We met some very nice people this way. Always got a table for 6, a nice number, easy to talk. I would say the food was very good. (but not better than Princess). The nice thing they did (a it's a small thing), but each couple got their own bread basket and butter. A nice touch. Manfredi's: Very good Italian Specialty restaurant . Comparable to Sabitini's on Princess. No better, no worse. You pay a fee on Princess and you pay in your fare on Viking. So to me, a wash. We enjoyed it, and would do it again. The Chef's Table: We enjoyed the experience. The food and pairing were good and interesting. It is a 1 1/2 - 2 hour meal. It is a tasting and pairing menu. Choosing your menu is probably key to enjoying this. I've read mixed reviews on this and I feel the same way a bit. I enjoyed the experience and am glad I did it, not sure I loved it. Now the bad news. We had a few service snafus in the dining areas that I found disappointing and unexpected. In the world cafe, one day when we sat back in the Aquivit lounge for lunch, NO ONE bought us water, offered us a drink or cleared the table next to us. We eventually went to the bar and asked for both. No less than 10 servers walked past us and never even looked at our table. We were sitting 2 tables away from ships officers. Towards the end of our meal my husband flagged down a buffet manager and we nicely gave him a little feedback about it and still no one approached us. We had enjoyed sitting back there for lunch, but never did again after that. In the Dining Room, we felt the service was inconsistent. There seemed to be 3 servers assigned to each table and it seemed the right hand didn't know what the left hand was doing. We had silverware cleared, then reset again, dishes given to the wrong person, etc. Just little things. At the Chef's Table, I know, it's a long, leisurely meal, but we waited a full 1/2 hour between 2 of the courses. The people next to us, came in after us and were done well before us. In the Dining areas, we felt they are still working the kinks out of service. It is not consistant. Cabin: We booked a guaranteed deluxe veranda, about a week before the cruise we were assigned a cabin and upgraded to a penthouse veranda. It was lovely. Like a mini suite on larger lines. A sofa, wider balcony, larger closet, replenished mini bar and a bottle of champagne. Highlight of the cabin is the heated bathroom floor. Ahhhh... Cabin was kept clean and tidy by a very sweet and kind room stewardess. The ship: It is beautiful. Very elegant. Lots of areas to sit, mingle and enjoy. No place was crowded, except the pool on sea days. And yes there are chair hogs even on Viking. No chairs available by the pool mid day on sea days. We start early, so had no problem finding a seat. Another little service issue. We sat on the side seats at the pool, in the shade, facing the ocean. There were lots of servers walking through the main pool area, but I almost always had to flag someone down to come over to the side areas. A nice thing they do is bring water and cool washcloths around through out the day at the pool. Entertainment: Good, but limited. You are not going to have activities all day long and lavish shows, like on the larger lines. There was a Cruise Director and Assistant. 6 singers and 2 dancers. They all did a good job. The cruise director and assistant were very visible and accessible throughout the cruise. Lectures were offered daily, there were 3 guest lecturers. There was a nice welcome and farewell reception with free flowing champagne. Shore excursions: We tendered at 3 out of 4 ports and may as well have at the last, since it was 8 kilometers from the port. It really chewed up a lot of time at port. Here again, the tender crew did not seem to be well practiced at tendering. We did the included tours and there were generally good. Lots of bus time and lots if information. We did one optional tour, Mexican Street food. It was very good. Tours are well organized and worthwhile. We did purchase the Silver Spirit package. (I would never buy this on Princess, $70 a day is way too much for me.) It was an extra $20 a day. We got any cocktail and more choices in wines. It was worthwhile for us. it was nice to enjoy a cocktail (or two) without worrying about what we were spending. The bar staff was excellent and attentive. Over all we had a very good cruise. We would do it again. It is a very different experience (and price tag) than a mass market cruise. I think I would consider this a "bridge" cruise into the luxury lines. Ocean cruising is still relatively new to Viking and I think they still have some kinks to work out, especially in the service areas. They are not quite a well oiled machine yet. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Canadians Cruising Without Luggage This first part has everything to do with our accepting Viking’s free airfare offer. And I believe by telling about all these experiences, future ocean voyage passengers might learn and avoid ... Read More
Canadians Cruising Without Luggage This first part has everything to do with our accepting Viking’s free airfare offer. And I believe by telling about all these experiences, future ocean voyage passengers might learn and avoid similar problems. The big mistake was to accept that offer, something that will never happen again. I will try all my best to be brief. We left Ottawa on an Air Canada flight very late due to bad weather at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. We arrived too late for the connection to Miami. So, knowing that we already missed Miami’s ship departure, we decided to re-route to the next port of call which was luckily Key West; an Air Canada representative was able to find a flight there via Air Canada to Atlanta and then connecting with Delta Airlines to Key West. Once in Atlanta we boarded the Delta plane but because of mechanical problems we all had to leave the plane with the plan to soon re-board a similar plane, same seating arrangements etc. By the time they were ready to re-board the new plane, Key West airport reported that by the time our flight arrived (around 10 PM) the runway lights would be off as they always shut them down at 9 PM. So we overnighted in Atlanta and were told to be back at the airport no later than 5 AM The following morning we left Atlanta and arrived in Key West in the mid-morning of Feb. 5th. We were happy we got there early because it would be very easy to get to the ship before the 4 PM departure. Unfortunately, once in the baggage terminal we learnt that our two suitcases were missing. Regardless how hard they tried it was not possible to locate where they were. In a rush, we went all around Key West buying clothes, e.g. shirts, pants, swim suits, socks, running shoes and of course an extra suit case as we only had small carry-ons. Once on board, Guest Service staff took over and we cannot say enough for the great effort they put to try and locate our luggage but with no luck. From then on plus our will power, everything went great and if our spirits went down all the staff of the Viking Sky did their best to pick us up. Without any hesitation, they were the best staff ever of any cruise line or ship we have sailed on! Extraordinary! This was our first ocean cruise with Viking, so we were very much looking forward to this cruise, unfortunately we couldn’t enjoy it in the way we know very well how to do so. But wait, there was more trouble in storage for us. The first being a very early morning disembarkation from the ship. There is a regulation that ‘late joiners’ to any cruise must be the first off the ship and that meant at 7 AM. We ended up on the pier sidewalk in the open air with no transport available until 9:30. According to a Customs official late joiners were to pay a $700 penalty but in our case it seems that Viking will get the charge. There was no assistance from the on-shore Viking staff, so we had to arrange our own transportation to the J. M. Marriott hotel downtown where Viking had a hospitality suite for those passengers leaving Miami late in the day. Now comes our next nightmare. Another flight interruption between Miami and LaGuardia. LaGuardia incoming flights were all backed up and our 6 PM flight ended up leaving at 10 PM. Adding to the situation, our direct Delta Airlines flight ended up with a stop-over once again in Atlanta. The reason was to get a fresh crew of pilots. So all this resulted in our LaGuardia/Ottawa connection being missed. Once again an overnight stay in a hotel found on our own. The following morning, Feb. 12 we left towards Montreal with a connection to Ottawa, arriving around 3 PM. We checked for our lost luggage and they knew nothing about it. Finally, on Feb. 13th both suite cases were delivered to my home, in perfect condition. As you can realize, this was a real nightmare and something I would never wish to anyone, not even an enemy (if there is one around somewhere) Now to the good news! The ship is sensational, clean and ample with understated elegance. Our Penthouse Veranda was very spacious, a good sized veranda, no lounge chairs, just stiff wicker chairs; great bathroom with ample shower and good storage. The beds were comfortable and the TV system was sensational with many choices of music, movies and documentaries. One can check their room account at any moment. And for once, the computer access was very fast, free as well as printing stations. There were four terminals located on deck 1 very close to Guest Services. The room storage, although not a problem for us this time, was adequate being the closet a bit tight but the drawers were wider and deeper than any other cruise line taken. The fridge was replenished every day including snacks and miniature alcoholic beverages of your choice. The whole penthouse exudes elegance and the details of the furniture and fixtures were perfection. The carpet was in very good shape with a fantastic design. And last but not least, our cabin attendant Darius (Philippines) was a human being who radiated much happiness and hope. We could not have had anyone better than him to be assigned to our cabin. Please do not miss the Spa and the Ice Room, you would never know that you were on a ship. Very relaxing and peaceful indeed! Something else to be sure not to skip is purchasing the Silver Premium Spirits Beverage Package, it’s a bargain at $19.95 pp/day. Tea time was disappointing, the Winter garden was very pleasant with the three beautiful girls playing flute, violin and cello. Playing not only classic music but also some contemporary songs too. Food wise in general it was very good with the usual ups and downs. The Restaurant had very good choices and fantastic staff. Of the specialty ones our preferred one was Manfredi’s on both visits; the Chef’s Table first visit was very good but the second was a flop. Please check menus before reserving a table as they change every 3 days. The Waves Grill had a varied menu but concentrated on burgers and hot dogs with a good small salad bar. I guess it was popular as there were often quite long lines waiting to give their orders and the seating area was very small with tables too close to each other. The World Café, where brunch is served daily has a very good choice of items and the adjacent out door Aquavit Terrace that has the “so called” infinity pool was good. You can sit and have drinks served there but must go to the World Café or Waves Grill to pick up your food choices. It’s not very enjoyable while having your lunch to have bathers walk by dripping wet from the pool and different views of them some of which were quite intrusive. Again, whatever fault or problem we found, the staff made everything look and feel perfect. So be forewarned and choose your table carefully! If we were so happy with all the staff, we cannot say enough about our fellow passengers. They were polite, funny, warm, and most importantly respectful. The best passenger behaviour than on any other ship so far travelled. All tours taken were included and they were all worthwhile. More details and comment can be found in the excursions section. The entertainment was quite good. What was very appealing was the seating arrangements. You had your individual swivel armchair with a small table in between the next armchair and there is a large bar at the entrance so you can pick up your own drink or be served at your table in the theatre very quickly, The highlight of the night life was Torshavn! A kind of night club ambiance with two awesome singers (Joven and Angelica) a place where everybody was feeling free to dance and sing! Really, really a must! Are we thinking to cruise again with Viking Ocean Lines? Indeed!! But it will be without Free Air!!! That is unless it’s possible to do it on our terms!!! Please have that in mind especially if you coming from Canada during the winter season. But, please do not feel sorry for us because in time what will stay present in our minds will be the fantastic people we met and the good times we had during that cruise with Viking. The ugly and disheartening moments will slowly disappear for good. Have a great and safe trip, a good life and be happy!! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
LOVED the Viking Sky. We have done many ocean cruises on larger ships. This one was just right. Easy boat to navigate around, many amenities, first-class feel. Public areas were upscale. Wonderful dining room (not the big banquet hall ... Read More
LOVED the Viking Sky. We have done many ocean cruises on larger ships. This one was just right. Easy boat to navigate around, many amenities, first-class feel. Public areas were upscale. Wonderful dining room (not the big banquet hall feel of larger ships). Food was great. The World Café had a nice buffet, and seating (unlike on some larger ships) was never a problem. Access to the Aquavit Terrace (outdoor dining) was a plus. The ship's public areas were very inviting. Always a place to sit - never felt crowded. Be sure to spend some time in Explorers Lounge (two levels) and on the Aquavit Terrace (opposite ends of the ship). Those who have done a Viking River cruise will recognize the nomenclature and layout of many of the ship's areas. The cabins were adequately sized and very well appointed. The bathroom was luxurious. This brings me to some (relatively) minor matters that prevent me from rating the Viking Sky as a 5++++. 1. As wonderful as the bathroom was, what should have been a luxury amenity turned out to be a significant annoyance. The bathroom has a heated floor. On this ship (it may be different on others), there was no control for the heat (which was turned on with the light switch). Nice immediately after a shower, but otherwise it was always too hot! 2. While the size of the ship was ideal, it (apparently) puts us down in the pecking order for docking. This means that in some ports the larger ships get tied up at the pier and our ship sits at anchor. So, our passengers go ashore by tender. Very inconvenient - and annoying. 3. Avoid booking a cabin on deck 8. As much as we enjoyed having convenient access to the upper level of Explorers Lounge, this was more than offset by having the Sports Deck above - very noisy at times. Overall, I can't say enough about the first-class amenities and service aboard this ship. But there are a few issues Viking needs to address. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
Overall we loved our first Ocean cruise on Viking. One of our complaints were with Manfredi's. We were the last seating of the night and think that may have been part of the problem. I ordered lasagna and the sauce on it was just ... Read More
Overall we loved our first Ocean cruise on Viking. One of our complaints were with Manfredi's. We were the last seating of the night and think that may have been part of the problem. I ordered lasagna and the sauce on it was just like somebody had used canned tomato soup.....no flavor at all! My husband has Pasta fagoli and it was like a can of bean soup with a few tomatoes thrown in....not at all like it should be. Very disappointed in that experience. When we were in Key West, and took the trolley ride, it would have been nice to have been let off in the same place we started, we had no directions on how to get back to the ship and did a LOT of extra walking trying to locate the ship. Belize City was a major disappointment, very trashy, no place to go shopping but at the port, no beach to walk on and enjoy. I was thinking of beaches, etc. when I heard we were going to Belize, so another disappointment. I would think you could have found a 'nicer' place to stop in Belize. Being on a Caribbean cruise I would have liked to have seen more beaches for us to visit. Not much of a Caribbean cruise that I had dreamed it would be. We enjoyed the shows, the talks, the majority of the food, our room was great as usual. Our direct flight from Minneapolis to Miami was good. We didn't like having to fly to Dallas from Miami and then to Minneapolis. Why couldn't we get a direct flight back home again? Instead of taking 3.5 hours to get back it took 7-8 hours, that is awful! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
We were invited by another couple who had already booked their cruise (we didn't know at the time it would be their honeymoon!), but the destinations we visited were very enjoyable! I am glad we booked our flight through Viking ... Read More
We were invited by another couple who had already booked their cruise (we didn't know at the time it would be their honeymoon!), but the destinations we visited were very enjoyable! I am glad we booked our flight through Viking because our flight was delayed and the ship waited for us (63 people) to arrive before they set sail, thank goodness. Otherwise, we would've had to drive to Key West from Miami and find some place to sleep in order to meet the ship at the Key West Port by the next morning. The day we boarded was Superbowl Sunday and we watched the game on the big screen by the pool! It was amazing! The rooms were always clean, the hotel staff learned our names and used them since the first day! The food was excellent no matter where we ate and I didn't even gain any weight over the 5 days at sea! We purchased excursions at every port except Key West and if I had to do it over again, I would've just done the included excursions except for maybe 1 or 2. The drinks were a-plenty and they remembered my favorites! The entertainment was okay but was geared toward the older crowd (65+), the 4 of us were between 38 and 59, so something more age appropriate would've been nice, but not a huge deal. The singers always sang the same karaoke songs no matter where they were singing on the ship, so I thought they needed some new material. This cruise was limited to persons 18 years old and older. I also found the sea days were a bit boring at times as there are not a lot of activities to do on this ship besides lounging by the pool, reading or playing shuffleboard. The spa was incredible and I thoroughly enjoyed my facial and massage, although the prices are about double what I would pay back home. The fitness room was very busy in the mornings and it's small so I didn't get any workouts in while on board. We were always on schedule and the crew is definitely top notch. I loved how our room was always prepped with whatever we needed for our excursions the next day (towels, bottle water, etc.) and I loved the daily newsletters to inform you what was offered on the ship that day for entertainment and classes. The husbands took a cooking class one morning and they loved it! The chef was very informative and they cooked the meal again after we got back home and it tasted excellent. The saddest day was most certainly the last day, none of us wanted to go home! We will return for another Viking cruise one day, for sure! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
We have done several Viking River cruises and wanted to try the ocean cruise. We like the small ship experience so the ocean cruise, with 900 passengers was more than we like to experience. Our embarkation was probably not standard as ... Read More
We have done several Viking River cruises and wanted to try the ocean cruise. We like the small ship experience so the ocean cruise, with 900 passengers was more than we like to experience. Our embarkation was probably not standard as the ship arrived late in port due to high seas and immigration held things up. I'm sure it was not the usual calm enjoyable way to board., but it was annoying and not a good way to start the trip. Although embarkation and disembarkation were obviously much easier and quicker than the megaships. there is still a good bit of line to wait in. Do not mean to be critical of this--it just isn't what we like. The crew was herculean in their efforts to make things smooth and pleasant. Our cabin was lovely. After cruising Portugal on the smallest Viking river ship, this was actually luxurious. The public areas were spectacular, and the electronic technology throughout the ship was amazing (twittering bird sounds in the public ladies room?!) The entertainment was professional quality, and all the performers and shows were excellent. Hard to imagine that you could get 600 oldsters on their feet singing along to Beatles songs at 11 pm! The Spanish guitarist, the string trio, the pianist were all very accomplished and added greatly to the public areas. We found the educational lectures, a bit simplistic. Food was mostly adequate. We totally enjoyed the Italian restaurant, but could only get into it once. There was nothing wrong with the main restaurant; service was very good but the food was average. I will say they make gelato fresh every day and this was great! And we loved the pool grill. On the whole, the things we did not like on the cruise were us, not them. Itinerary was something we chose to go someplace warm, and it was not particularly interesting. Belize was awful: dirty, rude, third world, and they did not seem to like tourists. Other destinations were fine for what they were. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
We wanted a smaller ship - and 900 passengers fit the bill. There was plenty of room on board and areas for quiet relaxation and intimate dining. Food was very, very good compared to other cruise lines. Service was terrific, especially in ... Read More
We wanted a smaller ship - and 900 passengers fit the bill. There was plenty of room on board and areas for quiet relaxation and intimate dining. Food was very, very good compared to other cruise lines. Service was terrific, especially in the buffet (which is not typical of other cruise lines I've sailed with). Wine selection was decent as well. Cabins were spacious with plenty of storage. The problem was excursions which were anywhere from disappointing to terrible - these were the "included" ones. We had scheduled one excursion that was extra charge but it was cancelled because of weather issues. The Merida tour turned out to be nothing more than a long coach ride in both directions with about 15 minutes of "shopping" (unguided) on our own. It was supposed to be a walking tour of old colonial Merida which it was NOT at all. I complained about this to the Excursions desk, and they had had other complaints as well, plus one of them had been on that excursion and agreed with my feelings about it. To their credit, after we returned home they issued us a generous future cruise credit as a goodwill gesture. Viking is a newcomer to ocean cruises and I think they just need more experience with excursion vendors to weed out the bad ones - I don't think this was intentional, but we were definitely part of their "learning curve". Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
We booked a Penthouse Veranda on a 8 day Caribbean cruise. First time on Viking with most of our previous cruises on Celebrity in a Sky Suite, which is similarly priced on many itineraries. In summary. Ship: Lovely, spacious and airy ... Read More
We booked a Penthouse Veranda on a 8 day Caribbean cruise. First time on Viking with most of our previous cruises on Celebrity in a Sky Suite, which is similarly priced on many itineraries. In summary. Ship: Lovely, spacious and airy ship. Never crowded, except for the Restaurant (more about that later). No complaints here. Not allowing children is a real bonus. Cabin: The Penthouse Veranda is very nice, with plenty of storage space and a comfortable bed. Perhaps better than the average Sky Suite on Celebrity. Dining: The food was very good in the Restaurant and specialty restaurants. The biggest negative was that the restaurant is too small for the number of guests wanting to eat. With no reservations, we frequently had to wait and generally got placed too close to other guests. The Restaurant food and service is better than many other cruise lines main restaurant, but keep in mind you pay more to cruise on Viking. Our main comparison at this price point is Celebrity Suite class which has access to Luminae Restaurant and Michael's Club which is far more intimate with more refined service. Silver Drink package: On our cruise there were only a few extra white wines to choose from and often one of them was the same as the wine served for lunch and dinner. We spoke to the Food and Beverage Manage and he indicated that on our cruise they did not get their normal variety of wines. So unless you drink spirits the Silver Package is not worth the price, unless they have since improved the selection. Service: Across the board, the service was as good as any cruise we have been on. Very efficient and friendly. We usually enjoy talking to the service staff in the main restaurant but this was not possible due to the need to turn over the tables and the facty we were seated in a different location each night. Entertainment and activities: No large shows but the entertainment was still very good. So good enrichment lectures. Shore excursion: The included excursions were fine with many of them being bus tours. In summary it was a good cruise except for the lack of premium wines as part of the Silver package and the organization of the Restaurant. Perhaps it is not fair to compare Viking to Celebrity Suite class, but on many itineraries the Celebrity suites are less expensive. Read Less
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