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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We have sailed transatlantic six times, this was the best experience in many ways. The five lecturers kept us busy two or three times s day with history, ecology and sports talks. Athens crew was friendly, helpful, professional, ... Read More
We have sailed transatlantic six times, this was the best experience in many ways. The five lecturers kept us busy two or three times s day with history, ecology and sports talks. Athens crew was friendly, helpful, professional, informal, consistant. The food was excellent in all venues. There is no extra charge for the two specialty restaurants, The public spaces are comfortable with many quiet nooks, books, art, board games, etc. The cabin is large and well furnished with a great bed. The bathroom has a large shower and heated floors, there's a built in night light. Very good entertainment, it varied from classical to song and dance plus we had an exceptional magician who also gave free classes. Viking Star transatlantic fills your sea days with interesting speakers, cooking classes, bridge lessons, craft classes, all free. Overall, great value for money. We are ready to do this cruise again next year. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
I chose this cruise because it left from Miami where I live. The ship is beautiful and is keep extremely clean in all areas. Service in all area were polite, pleasant and happy to help in any way needed. I was a single traveler so my ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it left from Miami where I live. The ship is beautiful and is keep extremely clean in all areas. Service in all area were polite, pleasant and happy to help in any way needed. I was a single traveler so my cabin was quite comfortable. For two people I think the drawers are not adequate.Shower was exceptional hot water whenever needed.The Manfredi's restaurant was the best food and service on the ship. Breakfast and lunch at the buffet and pool area had great selections of food chooses. The night time shows in the theater were very good, young and enthusiastic performers. The late night Torshavn Clubs entertainment , the Viking band and both singers and guitarist were exceptional. Shore excursion on St Martin was disappointing, too long and very depressing area. Excursion on Madeira and Barcelona were excellent. One last note traveling as a single person, the supplement charges are quite high. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
My Husband and I just finished our Viking cruise to Cuba. It was amazing! We started from Newark New Jersey to Miami with no problems. We were picked up at the airport and were taken to the port with zero problems. Check in ... Read More
My Husband and I just finished our Viking cruise to Cuba. It was amazing! We started from Newark New Jersey to Miami with no problems. We were picked up at the airport and were taken to the port with zero problems. Check in took 5 minutes and went straight to our cabin 6063. Cabin was very nice and great location. One floor up to pools, pool grill, World cafe, and bar. We were greeted by our room Stewart June who was excellent. All the restaurants on the ship were excellent. The crew were all helpful and polite. Juiguian greeted us always in “The Restaurant” with her smile. I can’t understand how someone could say there were not enough choices of food. Or they didn’t like it. How much more could one eat? I am a picky eater and I always could find something great to eat. Everyone on the ship were always greeting us and asking if we needed anything. We have been on many different cruise lines, what we loved about this ship was the size. Our tours were great. Going through customs was a piece of cake. We had Judy take us around Cienfuegos. She was so well informed and explain life in Cuba. It was an extremely hot day but what do you expect from Cuba. Rather have 90 degrees than the 30’s in New Jersey. I don’t know what some people were expecting to see, we were surprised at what we did see. Our trip to Havana with George was incredible. I don’t know how he spoke from 8:00am to 8:00pm. We learned so much history, way of life, customs, etc etc We were so happy to go in the old cars . It only cost us $5.00 each to drive for a good 20 minutes. My only regret about the day trip was that I missed out of the over night stay at the Tropicana. We heard the hotel was very nice and the show was fantastic. Out last tour was a “Catamaran “ ride which really should be called a Boat ride. We were so tired from the two other tours that it was nice just to sit and take in the sight. We couldn’t go to our last port because it was going to be hard to leave the port because of high winds. Better safe than sorry. We had an extra day at sea to enjoy the beautiful weather. We didn’t exchange any money. I used euros for people at the stands and US dollars in the stores they took us to. Departure day was also very organized. Luggage, transportation, airport all went perfect. My Husband and I have no negative comments about Viking Star and Cuba travels. We are so glad to have seen a country that will hopefully change for the better. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
I really wanted to go to Cuba and a cruise was the easiest way to get there. I chose Viking because they spent the most time in Cuba and I could take a bus trip across the country and see Havana (it docks in Cienfuegos). The ship was ... Read More
I really wanted to go to Cuba and a cruise was the easiest way to get there. I chose Viking because they spent the most time in Cuba and I could take a bus trip across the country and see Havana (it docks in Cienfuegos). The ship was wonderful. Food was amazing, room was clean and well appointed (even a little spacious by cruise standards), staff was friendly and well trained, tour guides were well informed and helpful, and this ocean cruise was definitely up to the Viking standards we've experienced on our previous river cruises. Unfortunately, due to weather we were unable to cruise to our last itinerary stop (Santiago de Cuba) and ended up with an additional sea day. While this did not make us happy, they handled it very well. And...a surprise came in email the day we left giving us a $500 credit each because of the eliminate port. We already have a river cruise booked, unfortunately, we can't use it toward that trip. Perhaps we will take another Viking trip after that. It was nice not to have to call and shame them into giving us something :) Overall, a great trip! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the amount of time visiting Cuba. We toured Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Havana and Santiago de Cuba. All the tour guides were extremely knowledgeable and cautious for our safety. The ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the amount of time visiting Cuba. We toured Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Havana and Santiago de Cuba. All the tour guides were extremely knowledgeable and cautious for our safety. The ship was spotless, the crew always friendly and sincere no matter when and where. Embarking the ship's tenders was done with ease. The were more concerned for our safety and we felt comfortable with their assistance. We enjoyed the lectures offered. There were no big production shows. However, the singers and dancers were superb including the Cruise Director and his assistant. The fact that the Viking Star passenger load is less than 1,000 people, you get to know most of the entertainers, officers and other crew members personally. Meeting for the tours was handled very smoothly with hardly any wait time. The public rooms including quiet areas were decorated in good taste and very comfortable. The cappuccino was adequate, but most of the time it was machine made. I would like to have had it otherwise. Overall, I recommend Viking Ocean Cruise to Cuba. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
It was an opportunity to travel to Cuba, which hasn't been readily available and may not be in the future, who knows! Traveled with my husband, my mother, and my sister. We stayed in Key Biscayne for 3 days prior to the cruise, and ... Read More
It was an opportunity to travel to Cuba, which hasn't been readily available and may not be in the future, who knows! Traveled with my husband, my mother, and my sister. We stayed in Key Biscayne for 3 days prior to the cruise, and got to the ship terminal 2 hours prior to our 3:00 pm embarkation time. But very few people were there, and we breezed through. We were given our room key and our luggage was there when we arrived. Disembarkation was equally as smooth. Our overnight trip to Havana was marred by the tornado, so we didn't see the Tropicana show. But friends of ours were there the previous night, and said it was fantastic. The Melia Hotel was quite nice (we were expecting worse). And the CARS!!!! The tour guides were very knowledgeable. The tour to Trinidad was a long bus trip, and not as interesting as we anticipated. In Santiago de Cuba, we decided we couldn't stand to be on another bus, so we went out on our own. We (my sister, my mother, and I) passed through customs, and were kind of standing around considering our options, when a man came up to us and asked if we needed a guide for the day. He was wearing a blue Infotur shirt and hat, and was very professional, explaining that he was with a state-run agency. It cost $40 an hour for the driver and old-car taxi, and $20 an hour for the guide. We took the taxi to the cemetary, and arrived well before the tour busses, which were arriving as we were leaving. This in itself was worth the $40! We then drove through the streets around town, and were dropped off in the city center. Our guide, Wilbert, stayed with us for over 3 hours, and only charged the $20 (I gave him a $20 tip, bought him lunch and drinks too). He took us all over, and it was a true person-to-person experience. He took us inside his home, showed us the ration book, took us to a neighborhood restaurant for lunch. My mother and sister had coffee with him in his home, and we all ate the local lunch (yes, including fresh veggies and lettuce) and didn't get sick! We brought a bag of toiletries, which he was very thankful for, and said he would share with people who needed them. Advice: Don't be afraid to interact with local people. They are very friendly and appreciate tourists. I would definitely go again, when we're able to just go as tourists, and do what we want. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Honestly, we chose this cruise because we didn’t have to do international flying to take the cruise. Along with that, it’s cold weather at home and a warm climate was appealing. We were also intrigued by stories of Cuba and it sounded ... Read More
Honestly, we chose this cruise because we didn’t have to do international flying to take the cruise. Along with that, it’s cold weather at home and a warm climate was appealing. We were also intrigued by stories of Cuba and it sounded interesting. Everything on board was top notch. Food, service, entertainment, all excellent. Excursions were ok. a lot of emphasis from the guides was on helping us buy cigars and rum. Guides were very much into promoting Us/Cuba relations as they “love Americans”. It was heartbreaking to see the areas that clearly had once been so beautiful now delapidated and in disrepair. The guides were so proud of their heritage it seemed they didn’t see it the same way. Probably the highlight of the excursion was the ride through Miramar in Havana in one of the iconic classic cars with the top down looking at the once wealthy area’s beautiful (then) homes. The weather caused us to miss a port of call so we had an extra day at sea. We already had two days of the cruise as “at sea” so there was definitely a lot of boat time. It was good to see Cuba but I would not go back again. It truly is an eye-opening trip to see what can happen to a once prosperous country when put in the wrong hands. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We heard so many positive things about Viking that we thought we would try them. We have been on 21 cruises with various cruise lines and we can honestly say this is the best of them all! We had originally booked a cruise with them last ... Read More
We heard so many positive things about Viking that we thought we would try them. We have been on 21 cruises with various cruise lines and we can honestly say this is the best of them all! We had originally booked a cruise with them last Jan and also booked our flights with Viking Air to go to the West Indies out of San Juan. Our flight from Toronto to Charlotte was cancelled by weather issues and when we phoned Viking Air all she would say is "I can't get you to San Juan". Thankfully our cancellation insurance refunded all of our money and we promptly booked for this cruise to Viking. 7 days is the shortest cruise we have ever done so we booked a hotel in Toronto for 1 night, 2 nights in Miami (pre cruise) and then one night in Miami and one night in Toronto post cruise to stretch out our holiday. Our experience with Viking was just so outstanding! Not one complaint about anything. The ship is fairly new (2 years old) and she is beautiful! We had a Deluxe Verandah portside. OUr embarkation time was 1 pm but because our shuttle got us there for 11 we were prepared to wait but we were ushered right on board! Very friendly happy staff on board. We had signed up for a Meet and Greet (the Viking Star board wasn't very active) and we received a card in our room with our invite. Even though only 4 of us were there the ship's officers came up and we had champagne and apps during our time with them. Food was delicious! Specialty restaurants are included and because so many passengers went to Havana for an overnight tour we ate in Manfredi's a second night. Chef's Table was an Asian Theme and we loved it. You really don't need a drink package as they are very generous with wine and beer and water during your lunch and dinner meals. We enjoyed our included shore excursion in Cienfuegos and also the one we paid for (Bay of Pigs museum). Glad there is no casino aboard and no little ones around. Loved the spa facilities (everything included except the treatments) and the pools. Service was excellent. Our port stop in Santiago de Cuba was cancelled due to high waves but we enjoyed another sea day. Love, love, love Viking!!!!!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Everything was top notch from the service to the food. Nice shore excursions and great staff. Loved the fact that there was no photo taking event when boarding, no casino on the ship and no kids allowed on the ship. Such a peaceful trip. ... Read More
Everything was top notch from the service to the food. Nice shore excursions and great staff. Loved the fact that there was no photo taking event when boarding, no casino on the ship and no kids allowed on the ship. Such a peaceful trip. The cabin was well laid out and comfortable, the bathroom was best we have experienced on any cruise. There is not a lot of drawer storage but the closet is large and there is plenty of space under the beds. We went to the World Cafe and had lunch and it was very pleasant. The layout and general look of the buffet is very nice. The food on the ship was excellent in both the buffet and dining room. We ate two nights at Manfredi's, the Italian restaurant, and were very satisfied. Beer and wine is served at lunch and dinner and as much as you wanted. The staff was uniformly friendly and helpful. My only grip would be the gym is too small and there was never any hot drawn butter for the cracked crab, you always had to ask for it. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
TBN hubby here: We are normally Celebrity loyalists -- Elite Plus and all that -- which means that we have spent $150,000, more or less, on cruises and now get a free coffee ;-). For this cruise we found the timing, ports of call, and ... Read More
TBN hubby here: We are normally Celebrity loyalists -- Elite Plus and all that -- which means that we have spent $150,000, more or less, on cruises and now get a free coffee ;-). For this cruise we found the timing, ports of call, and time in port to our liking, and we have friends who have raved about Viking Ocean Cruises based on their life total of two ocean cruises.So....why not? For a quick summary: we liked it! A Lot! Good food. Roomy cabin (penthouse veranda 5089). Restocked minibar daily -- no charge. A neat on-board cellphone app. Essentially unlimited soft drinks, wine, coffee, iced tea, hot chocolate. Ample sun deck area and minimal Chair hogging. A wonderful, included, warm pool, sauna, hot tub, snow-room area in the spa! Lots of open space. Guests must be 18 or older. No photographers, No casino. No formal nights. unlimited WiFi. Tasteful European-style decor with some nice historical touches. Did I mention good food! Entertainment choices in the theater were a bit thin but the cruise experience is geared toward folks that can entertain themselves and enjoy the many cultural enrichment offerings. There is nice, live music nearly all afternoon and evening in various venues and always a quiet place to relax. There was also evening dancing somewhere, but we didn't check it out. We didn't miss the lack of belly flop contests or officer/guest pool volleyball, egg drop, and so forth. And, if you are looking for a climbing wall, ice rink, or merry go round, you are in the wrong place. Trivia IS still available 'though. Price is bit of a downside because we can take nearly 2 cruises with Celebrity for the price of one on Viking, but that does not necessarily mean Viking is overpriced, just that being Elite Plus on Celebrity gives us some perks there. Many of those hose perks are available at no additional cost to the Viking guests, like we were, on the first cruise, This is based to some extent on the choice of cabin class. Unlimited WiFi, pressing service for our cabin class, guest laundry, essentially unlimited good quality house wines and soft drinks, and some other stuff I can't remember right now, are included in your first cruise with some discounts on booking on later cruises through the Explorers Club. Viking also offers an included tour of some type at every port.. Food was outstanding in the dining room, the buffet, and one of the (no additional cost) alternative dining restaurants. More on that later. The welcome aboard buffet set the tone with some of the best fish I have had anytime, anywhere, as well as delicious beef and excellent 'fixings' as we say here in the hills. For most of the cruise, the evening buffet area had king crab legs, rock shrimp, large shrimp, sushi,and varied "turf" dishes including prime rib, roast turkey, pork loin and more. Breakfast and lunch were equally impressive there. Dining room fare was also very good to excellent and service was good with a nice variety of daily menus and a standard everyday menu. We never had a long wait to be seated. For our taste the included house wine was very good and they offered refills almost instantly when your glass was low. I told my wife there must have been a large group of bird watchers in the dining room on our cruise, because several times the waiters gathered at a table with a cake and sang a rousing rendition of "Hoppy Bird Day". The ornithologists seemed appreciative, but DW only groaned at the bad joke. An evening, themed (Mexican, seafood, Cuban, etc.) buffet adjacent to the infinity pool was interesting and photogenic. Then there was Mamensen's Deli in the Explorer Lounge (gotta try the waffle), as well as the Living Room offering light fare such as snacks, deserts, and cookies depending on the time.. The pool grill offered burgers, pulled pork, and dogs and a selection of salads. Plenty of variety for our trip. The desserts in general were good but not outstanding in the buffet. better in the dining room, and spectacular in Manfretti's. Some of the cakes were unusual but were said to be Norwegian recipes from the owners grandmother (Mamensen). I liked them, wife not so much We liked the alternative dining restaurant called, I believe, Manfretti's. We used both our reservations there and the steak (I had) and the seafood (she had) dishes were very nice. The other, The Chef's Table, appeared to have the same menu most of our trip and a second menu for the weekend. Although I thought it was fine, my wife is more of a sprouts-and-twigs kind of girl and she did not like the menus for Chef's Table at all. I understand that it changes, so your experience may differ, In fairness, as we were waiting to cancel our reservations, two people exited and were raving about how delicious it was. Personal preferences at work here! A note: reviews on Cruise Critic and some friend's personal experiences indicate some cruise lines very strongly discourage independent exploration and lead people to believe that using independent tour companies or self guided tours are not allowed. We were concerned about this but it was NOT an issue. Viking clearly states in the port briefings and in their daily that independent tour guests are accommodated. They provide very nice city maps of the ports. The Viking tour participants do get priority. as they should, but we were on some of the earliest tender boats with no issues at all. Yea Viking! Viking has some great tours but we like to avoid buses of people and enjoy the flexibility to lengthen, cancel, add or shorten stops as we see fit. The itinerary is another personal preference type thing.. We liked this one. The two night stay in Cienfuegos allowed us to venture off on our own (sort of) with a very satisfying independent tour in a classic 1957 Chevy (excellent restored body and interior, highly modified drive train, and added AC). After a short preview of Cienfuegos and approximately 2-hour drive and some side trips we arrived for our visit. We stayed overnight in Trinidad, Cuba at an AirBnB lodging dating from the 1830's and were pleased with the very hospitable owners who lived there. They were the 5th generation of the family that built the lodging. The adequate and clean room was $30 and a wonderful breakfast was only $5 each. The lodging was called CASA COLONIAL and, while underwhelming from the outside, the lobby was a classic beauty. The arrangements were made online. Our tour guide, Alejandro, and Leo, our driver/taxi owner/builder and their company are fully licensed by the Cuban Government. Their company, FER TOURS was easy to deal with when we booked online with them and they did all they promised and more. We were treated to wonderful local restaurants and they customized their standard tour to include what my wife wanted to see. We stopped by the road on the drive in and purchased some local plantino manzanas (apple bananas) and some other exotic fruit. We particularly enjoyed these small apple flavored bananas that I have enjoyed in the past but wife had never tasted. A nice surprise was that our visit coincided with the 505th anniversary celebration of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was a real experience, with seemingly a hundred restaurants, live bands fireworks all in a celebratory atmosphere. It was something that wasn't planned but very much enjoyed. A decent sleep after turning in late, and our fine breakfast in the morning and then more touring in the Trinidad area and then the drive back. As the day wound down we spent short time touring Cienfuegos before the end of our second day and our return to the ship around 6pm. Next day we did a self guided walking tour of Cienfuegos. Our guides from the previous day had given us a quick tour of the route to the central square and we simply walked off the tinder and spent a few pleasant hours on our own. Pictures of classic cars and beautiful old buildings were the order of the day. The last stop was Santiago de Cuba. Again we had arranged another licensed independent tour and met our guide, driver, and the company owner of OUT OF THE BOX TOURS at the large CUBA sign, just a few minutes walk, and easily seen from the ships tender location. My wife had a couple of sights she wanted to see. The most important (to her) and beautiful was the Our Lady of Charity, which was 'a ways' out of town. We went there first and our Guide Alex an our driver Marion (sp?) were really on the ball for us. We arrived well before maybe two hundred of our closest friends (in Government-owned tour buses) from the ship's tours crowded into the parking lot of the cathedral. The alter and church is very beautiful. Ernest Hemingway's Nobel prize is among the many interesting and worth-a-photo displays. Lucky, our visit and the beautiful photos we took were complete because, as we were leaving, they were overwhelming the interior of the church. This was a short stay for this port and we did not stop for lunch, but we did visit the roof top bar of the Casa Grande Hotel beside the town square.. A very nice setting for a lovely drink and panoramic views of the city. This time our ride was a similar quality classic, but was a 1957 Ford Fairlane instead of the Chevy. Note: no shorts allowed for men or women and shoulders must be covered to enter the church so ladies take a wrap here or other churches just in case. Final thoughts. We had a great time. The Cuban people are friendly, even though they have a different view of many world events than those of us from the USA. Immigration was a non event but you do need to keep track of your visa. The classic cars are all over and make good photo opportunities. AMERICAN credit cards are not accepted although cards from other countries are accepted. There is a 13% penalty for changing US dollars. We had a bunch of Euros so changed them. Might be worth buying Euros to use on the trip depending on the exchange rate when you take your trip. This review is based on our unique combination of guides, weather, fellow cruisers and any number of other things that make up a individual journey. Your mileage may differ. Objects are closer than they appear. This review is not intended to treat,cure, or diagnose any disease....... Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
Celebrating my 25th Wedding anniversary we chose Viking because a year ago it was one of the only 5 star under 900 passenger cruise ships going to Cuba for less than 10 days and its high rating. Our last cruise was on a Crystal ship from ... Read More
Celebrating my 25th Wedding anniversary we chose Viking because a year ago it was one of the only 5 star under 900 passenger cruise ships going to Cuba for less than 10 days and its high rating. Our last cruise was on a Crystal ship from Singapore to Hong Kong so the bar was set high. I have to admit Viking was up to the challenge, outside of our room attendant the service was excellent especially at the piano area bar where we had sparkling wine included in the Silver package that was pretty good. and I took full advantage of opportunity throughout the ship pre dinner after dinner and during the shows. we met some great people on the ship and even ran into some co-workers that we had no idea were going we closed the piano bar area down several nights. The majority of the guests were well over 70 so bedtime was pretty early. but wake up time was early also. :) The ship is very modern with wi-fi throughout and touch screen directories through out the ship. all orders taken by staff were on cell phones which made things much faster. The afternoon tea was a daily occurrence as the sandwiches and deserts were delicious and the service top notch. I ordered coffee and expresso instead with a splash of Cuban rum I brought back from the Tropicana show. I would cruise Viking again the beds and suite amenities were great . No nickel and diming with photos and extras or artwork etc. The excursions were good especially the Havana one. Cuba is still a 3rd world country going there was like going into a B&W movie and returning to Miami was like returning to a Digital Film ! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We choose the Viking Star knowing that they would provide a quality cruise. The Cultural Cuba Itinerary would give us more time to explore several cities of Cuba and not just the one port of Havana. We were so impressed with the ... Read More
We choose the Viking Star knowing that they would provide a quality cruise. The Cultural Cuba Itinerary would give us more time to explore several cities of Cuba and not just the one port of Havana. We were so impressed with the friendliest of the staff, the design of the ship and the quality of the food. We were always greeted with a smile and a hello from every staff member each day. The ship invites one to relax. The decor is calming and peaceful yet elegant. The food in all the dining rooms was excellent. One of our favorite dinners was at Manfredini's. People we met were all friendly and eager to meet fellow cruisers. We never felt crowded on the ship, and never had to wait in any lines for dining. The only waits were for the tenders which were well organized and moved quickly. We took all our excursions through Viking and found them to be very good. The excursions provide People to People opportunities. We just wish the buses were for smaller group sizes. Trinidad was very interesting, and European like, with the old cobblestone streets. The privately owned restaurant they took us to was very good with a variety of menu choices for us that evening. It was great that we got to tour the city during the afternoon and the evening. We choose the day trip to Havana knowing this was a 3 hour drive, that we would also have the opportunity to see more of the Cuban way of life outside of the cities and away from the port. We also took the included excursions of Santiago and Cienfuegos. Both included some walking. Cuba has beautiful architecture, landscape and history and the Viking Speakers are onboard to Educate. We appreciated that there were no added charges for use of the spa facilities, which provided that extra level of relaxation. How pleasant to not have announcements all day being broadcast or photographers onboard. The singers and dancers were entertaining and the television choices were good. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
I was in Havana in 1952, and I wanted to compare that Havana with the Havana of today. Returning to the "first world" of the ship was a welcome change after a day spent in "thirld world" Cuba. We had traveled throughout ... Read More
I was in Havana in 1952, and I wanted to compare that Havana with the Havana of today. Returning to the "first world" of the ship was a welcome change after a day spent in "thirld world" Cuba. We had traveled throughout the Soviet Union in the mid-1980's, and our Cuba experience resembled that. In contrast- Cuba was clean and the people were very friendly. The Cienfuegos city tour was adequate, and we did have time to shop... but there is very little to buy other than rum and cigars. Our city tour guide was very informative about most peoples' way of life. We had the same guide on our tour of the Botanical Garden and Laguna Guanaroca. We thought this tour to be a waste of time and money. We had expected to see birds and flowers on the Botanical Gardens tour, but the local tour guide rushed us through so fast that we saw very little. Tour buses from the ship were arriving there too close together, and he had to rush us through so he could get to his next tour group. The one-day trip to Havana was just what we had expected. The tour literature had advised that it was a 3½ hour trip each way; so we were prepared for that. The mid-way rest stops were just what we had expected, from having traveled in third world countries. Viking had pre-paid the tips to the restroom attendants. We had adequate time for a walking tour around the restored part of Old Havana. I stood on a street corner and took photos of each old American car that passed by... and there were many of them! Our tour bus took us east along the Malecón to a state-run restaurant, El Aljibe, along Embassy row. The roast chicken breast was tasty, but I fed my entire meal to six hungry feral cats begging at our table. The restaurant is open-air, and the cats appeared well-fed, going from table to table, begging. The local musicians were very good. After eating lunch, a caravan of old 1950's convertibles picked up our group. My wife and I and two ladies rode in a restored 1954 Chevy Bel-Air convertible. As we returned to the downtown area our young driver decided to show us more of Havana, and we circled around el Capitolio, and newer office buildings. Back on our tour bus, we stopped at a store selling all sorts of souvenirs. Leaving Havana we went to the eastern suburb of Cojimar where we walked along the waterfront, saw a memorial to Hemingway, and had a rum drink at a local bar that he used to frequent. Here a local music group broke into a cha-cha-cha song, inviting our group to join in the dance. My wife got to play a gourd instrument, and we had a really lively time. We got back aboard the Viking Star just before the evening dinner time ended... and my dinner there took the place of the Havana lunch that I fed to the cats. Our sailing into the harbor at Santiago de Cuba was uneventful. We took the city tour which went first to the Shrine of the Virgin of Charity at the nearby village of El Cobre. There were too many tour buses there. The crowds made it almost impossible to see inside the Sanctuary. Our city tour guide was quite informative, talking mainly about Fidel Castro and his life in and around the city. We thought it interesting that this city still reveres Fidel and his revolution. After departing the harbor at Santiago de Cuba we cruised east along the southeast coast of Cuba. Shortly after sunset we sailed by the harbor at Guantanamo Bay. We knew where we were, but almost no one else on our ship had any idea that we were sailing by GITMO, and there was no notice from the ship about our location. While we couldn't see the military community inside the Bay, we easily spotted the detention camp which faces the ocean. We had a memorable dinner on the aft deck at the Aquavit Terrace, with GITMO's lights disappearing in the distance. Both our pickup and drop-off at Miami airport were timely and went without a hitch. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Looked for a hoilday cruise after Christmas. Chose Viking for a luxury experience. Embarkation a breeze at POM - on the ship in 15 minutes. No lines.No problems. Boat was not at location on paperwork but was easily found Room was not ... Read More
Looked for a hoilday cruise after Christmas. Chose Viking for a luxury experience. Embarkation a breeze at POM - on the ship in 15 minutes. No lines.No problems. Boat was not at location on paperwork but was easily found Room was not ready on time due to a prolonged immigration delay for staff. Understandable. PJS was very nice. A fantastic location. Very quiet. Meals on board were very good. Enjoyed every meal except the Chefs Table. The Asian Panorama was average. The wine selections was very good however. We had Silver Beverage package. Enjoyed all the different red wines, Spouse likes her Chardonnay.. Linda Clancey the Cruise Director was fantastic. The shows were very good, Also enjoyed the enrichment lectures. Port and shore excursions met our expectations, Really enjoyed the Lamanai Mayan site and Cichan Itza, Negatives: 1, Ship motion - seas were rough from Miami to Key West and first day at sea from Key West to Belize, Maybe small size of ship made this worse? 2, Key West port - Mallory Square was closed due to damage. Couldn't tender due to wind/waves. Got into a dock after another ship left. Port was very crowded. 3. Cozumel - short time in port. Overall would highly recommend Vking Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We were looking for a relaxing and fun way to start the new year. We were not disappointed! The crew was very friendly and took special care to make sure we were comfortable. The food was excellent with a lot of variety and choices of both ... Read More
We were looking for a relaxing and fun way to start the new year. We were not disappointed! The crew was very friendly and took special care to make sure we were comfortable. The food was excellent with a lot of variety and choices of both informal dining as well as more formal restaurants. Both lunch and dinner included wine, which was consistently of high quality and delicious. A pleasant surprise was the quality of the onboard entertainment — professional-level shows that presented selections from ABBA, the 60s, and the Beatles. We had a junior suite, which was very comfortable. The ship had many seating areas for taking sun and enjoying quiet conversation. There was also a well-stocked library. Finally, the gym was quite large with plenty of equipment, free weights and workout space. The one concern was that the embarkation dock was changed from J to F at the last moment, and we were not informed. Therefore, we had to scramble to get to the other dock and were worried about missing the ship. The high point was certainly the New Year's Eve party and dance! This cruise was truly an experience to remember! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Viking came highly recommended by friends and family, and we chose this particular cruise because of our interests in ancient civilizations. While on the cruise, we were able to visit three different Mayan ruins. The food and dining ... Read More
Viking came highly recommended by friends and family, and we chose this particular cruise because of our interests in ancient civilizations. While on the cruise, we were able to visit three different Mayan ruins. The food and dining options were second to none. Our favorite days were the At Sea days. We made full use of the spa, and went through the Nordic bathing ritual on an almost daily basis. Plenty of open spaces, with board games, cards, and a puzzle station. This is most definitely not a party or a booze cruise. Which is one of the reasons why we enjoyed it so very much. Our only issues were with the descriptions of some of the excursions, as well as the timing of the excursions. More time was devoted to traveling on the excursions than actuality at the sites. During a 7 hour tour, we only had 105 minutes to explore the site, and the remaining time was spent in transit. We would do it again, we were just disappointed that we didn't have more time to explore. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
My wife and I (I'm in my 70's)wanted to see Belize and Mexico primarily to see the ancient Mayan ruins but we didn't want to see the normal tourist hot spots that you can get on television documentaries all the time so we ... Read More
My wife and I (I'm in my 70's)wanted to see Belize and Mexico primarily to see the ancient Mayan ruins but we didn't want to see the normal tourist hot spots that you can get on television documentaries all the time so we ventured into the excursions offered by Viking Oceans. We chose Viking Oceans because it was a smaller cruise shipt and didn't carry thousands of passengers giving us a more intimate yet sociable experience. We went to Miami a few days early and made the mistake of staying in a hotel on the beach. The hotel that was booked for us was terrific but our mistake was getting a hotel on the beach. During the time we were there, the beach was really quite empty (cooler weather) but the shops and nearby restaurants were too overcrowded for us(again we like things more private and intimate). Our embarkation started with being picked up by the Viking staff and getting a short tour of Miami before heading to the ship. The tour was very interesting and went well. The ship seemed gigantic but getting to our rooms and having the bags delivered went off without a hitch. Every staff member was more than helpful making sure all our needs were met. The cabin was spacious well designed, clean, well stocked. comfortable and the veranda was a terrific place to go and just chill and drink some wine, The four dining rooms allowed plenty of room for places to eat and room service 24/7. I was never disappointed about any menu's but even though we had booked our reservations about eight months prior to our departure, their two specialty restaurants were booked for the entire trip and we never got to use it. The only thing I wish they would do is give every guest a chance to eat there at least once during the trip by simply limiting pre-booking to the larger suites to one visit on any given day and then allowing them to book more days once they were on the ship but again only allow one booking per day for any day and time they choose.This will allow everyone a chance to book any available restaurant at least once. Don't get me wrong, the food in all the restaurants was terrific but the smaller ones allow for more intimate dining which is what we would have preferred. There was never a lack of things to do or see on the ship. We walked throughout the ship familiarizing ourselves with its layout and that took us just about a full day. Social gatherings and just sitting out on the decks and relaxing always gave us opportunities to meet new people and make new friendships. The staff couldn't have been more friendly and helpful. Each and every one of them make you feel like you were a king or queen. They were fantastic and I don't know how they can do that day after day and still make you feel that they wanted you to give them something for them to do to make you feel comfortable and satisfied. The excursions we chose were fantastic. Well organized, knowledgeable guides and just total enjoyment. I believe on our next trip we will not go on as many excursions and probably choose to go off on our own exploratory expeditions to really get to know the country we are visiting. Disembarkation went just as smoothly as our embarkation. Not a single complaint about anything. The Cruise ship spaced us out according to our individual travel time schedule so everyone wasn't trying to get off the ship at the same time. Very well organized. This was my first cruise and I was totally impressed. This was my wife's third cruise and she said it was better than the Viking River Cruise she went on with her sister but only because I was with her this time. When we are ready to go on another cruise, Viking Cruises will be our first and only choice. As Tony the Tiger says "They're Great!" Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We took the New Year’s Cruise with Viking as our cousin’s had booked it and we love Viking. From the easy on to the easy exit all was seamless. Our rooms were ready so we went and checked out our room on the 4 th floor and our cabin ... Read More
We took the New Year’s Cruise with Viking as our cousin’s had booked it and we love Viking. From the easy on to the easy exit all was seamless. Our rooms were ready so we went and checked out our room on the 4 th floor and our cabin stuart Mohammad was there to greet us and tell us what was different from the ship we took on the Homelands and he was excellent. The room was always made up, fresh water refilled and new towels and products refilled in the bathroom. Viking does it right, from all balcony rooms to no kids under 18 and no casino. They don’t nickel and dime you as specialty restaurants are included, wine, beer, soda included at lunch/ dinner but what makes Viking special is the crew, everyone smiling and always a sunny good morning/evening, nothing was too much trouble. A few issues we had was two of the shows were the same as the shows we saw a year and a half ago on the Homelands ( ABBA/Beatles) maybe it’s time to change shows as most people are returning Viking cruisers now. Also in our refrigerator on the last 2 nights we had all seltzer water with no diet/ regular coke as we requested and they don’t supply chips anymore just pack of nuts and small chocolates. This, I believe, was a new route for Viking, Turquoise Caribbean Seas, and some of the included tours were not up to Viking standards. We drove almost an hour to Mérida only to have half an hour in the main square and our guide gave no description of what we were looking at just, “ this is the oldest house, this is the oldest church” and no time to visit anything. The trip to San Gervasio was disappointing as our guide talked about the Mayan number system and calendar but not anything detailed about the complex and never saw the tall house, just the few ruins at the beginning of the complex so we had plenty of time to shop, which we didn’t need. In Key West we could not tender but Viking worked their magic and got one ship at port to leave early so that we could at least get into Key West and everyone could take the included trolley ride, but all optional tours had to be cancelled. On the plus side we were in Key West for the sunset. I took the Snorkeling at the Barrier Reef in Belize and it was a great tour, the guides were very informative and never left people on their own in the water. We were in groups and they had kayaks around in case anyone got in trouble, and a rum punch to wash out the salt water in the mouth when we came back on the boat made for a nice touch. We were dropped off at Belize port where most stores/ restaurants were closed because it was Sunday. One thing about this cruise was that there were two sea days (7 night cruise) and as Viking is a port intensive cruise line, this was a disappointment to us as another port vs. a sea day would have been better for us as we don’t like sitting around but enjoy doing things. Like I said we took it because of my cousin’s taking it and probably would not have chosen this cruise for just us, but we were continuing on to a Florida vacation so this was a nice start to it. We are already booked for Frances Finest River Cruise this summer and Empires of the Mediterranean for 2020 so Viking has our loyalty, this is just my observation of this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this itinerary on Viking because we wanted to see Key West and spend a few days with warm sunny weather. We had previously taken a Viking River Cruise and enjoyed the smaller ship aspect of the Sun. From embarkation to ... Read More
We chose this itinerary on Viking because we wanted to see Key West and spend a few days with warm sunny weather. We had previously taken a Viking River Cruise and enjoyed the smaller ship aspect of the Sun. From embarkation to disembarkation, we were treated like valued guests. Our room (DV6) on Deck 3 was spacious, well organized and with sufficient storage in closet, drawers and bathroom. We loved having the balcony and the room to enjoy coffee at sunrise and a wine at sunset. The coffee pot was a particular treat as we aren’t human until coffee is consumed. Instruction for pot were fairly clear and produced strong coffee...just right! All meals were tasty, varied and served with a smile and wine. We ate at Manfedi’s one evening and Chef’s Table another...both we’re outstanding. The entertainment was well planned and timed which suited those of us who are ready to retire before midnight. There were lots of public spaces to give the impression of a much larger ship....would highly recommend for a relaxing winter break...or any adult get away. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
My wife and I wanted a high quality, small ship, mosty inclusive cruising experience. Viking Ocean Cruises was highly rated. Very effective advertising. Decided to give them a try for an 8 day Caribbean cruise. We were not disappointed. ... Read More
My wife and I wanted a high quality, small ship, mosty inclusive cruising experience. Viking Ocean Cruises was highly rated. Very effective advertising. Decided to give them a try for an 8 day Caribbean cruise. We were not disappointed. Used Viking Air for transportation to Miami...no issues. Transfer from Airport to the ship (Viking Sun) went well. Embarkation was smooth. Cabin (a delux on deck 4) was outstanding...really liked heated floors in bathroom. Bed comfortable. Room fridge stocked with soft drinks, water and chocolate at no charge. Food was high quality but would have preferred simpler fare (hamburgers, hot dogs, barbecue) besides just at lunch. Nice that specially restaurants were free, although we didn’t dine at either one. Ships store (toiletries, snacks) had limited hours...should be longer. Fitness Center adequate...given demographics of ship not a lot of competition for equipment. Spa options excellent but early reservations a must for basics like Manicures and Pedicures. Excursion options good. We paid for one excurion (jungle ATV) and loved it...well worth the extra money. Included tours not bad either. We’re not alcohol drinkers so skipped the drink package. Cruise Director planned and executed a great New Year’s Eve party. Received a ship bridge tour from watch officer...really interesting. Crew was great...very friendly and attentive to needs. Debarkation smooth. Customs in Miami was quick and easy. We booked another cruise while on board...we’ll be repeat customers. Viking doesn’t try to nickel and dime you to death (photographers, art, etc.). Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
This was my third Viking Cruise. It was a wonderful trip! The Viking Sun is beautiful, elegantly decorated, and pristine. The staff is very helpful at all times. Every activity from boarding to disembarking is organized and easy to ... Read More
This was my third Viking Cruise. It was a wonderful trip! The Viking Sun is beautiful, elegantly decorated, and pristine. The staff is very helpful at all times. Every activity from boarding to disembarking is organized and easy to follow. The amenities are great, especially the spa and pools. Our room was very clean, had everything you might need, and the low lighting and heated floor in the bathroom are very nice. It is nice to have such a great movie selection on the big TV, excellent wireless connection, and American outlets for your devices. The steward was very attentive, and the mini bar was filled with our requested tonic water every day. The food and cocktails are all good on the ship, and the Chef's Table is a must for anyone who cruises with Viking. The excursions were fun and educational, but I wish we had more time in each port. I already booked my next Viking cruise for June. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
My wife and I traveled with six friends. We had a Great trip over New Year. Food was great, people were very helpful. Cruise director and assistant had great voices, this was highlight of entertainment. Cabin was fine. Shore excursions ... Read More
My wife and I traveled with six friends. We had a Great trip over New Year. Food was great, people were very helpful. Cruise director and assistant had great voices, this was highlight of entertainment. Cabin was fine. Shore excursions were good, really enjoyed tube cave trip in Belize. The pyramids in Chitchen Itza was the tour that I found the most informative and most impressive. Love the small ship feel and easy on ond off at ports. I take advantage of the fitness center, well equipped open and airy. Getting to and from the ship at beginning and end of trip was easy. The Restaurant Manager was very helpful to get our group seated together each night. We enjoyed the food and variety in the World Cafe and the other food Kiosks. The only issue we had was we needed more clothing hangers for our room and our steward need two days to find extra hangers. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Read many good things about Viking and wanted to try a different cruise line. The ship was beautiful. The passenger to size ratio was great. Never felt crowded. The light interiors were a welcome change from other lines we’ve cruised. ... Read More
Read many good things about Viking and wanted to try a different cruise line. The ship was beautiful. The passenger to size ratio was great. Never felt crowded. The light interiors were a welcome change from other lines we’ve cruised. Cabins were very nice. Loved the heated floor and mirror in the bathroom. Dining was mixed. We liked the World Cafe. Food was very good with lots of choices. The grill had a nice selection. Tea at the Wintergarden was enjoyable. We didn’t feel the main dining room functioned like a well oiled machine. Service was not smooth, the kitchen was very slow, and the food was average. The specialty restaurants were better. A poor first meal at the Italian restaurant was resolved with a second visit. Other than that the crew was excellent. The ship was great. The included excursions were very good. The tour guides were knowledgeable and very friendly. We’ll definitely do another cruise with Viking. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Just coming off a 22 day cruise sailing Miami to Los Angeles. First time cruiser on Viking but not my last. Hubby and I are seasoned travelers and cruisers and believe we have found the cruise company for us. Smaller (900+ passengers), ... Read More
Just coming off a 22 day cruise sailing Miami to Los Angeles. First time cruiser on Viking but not my last. Hubby and I are seasoned travelers and cruisers and believe we have found the cruise company for us. Smaller (900+ passengers), sophisticated but not stuffy, great food, cabins are spacious and comfortable, super clean, enjoyable entertainment, included shore excursions and so much more. Ultimately though my love of this cruise was because of their staff. From the top down, ALL are committed to making this the best cruise you have ever been on. During the 3 week cruise we always met staff asking how we were doing, did we need anything, were we enjoying our cruise and what could they do for us. It appears the crew are treated well and love their jobs. The smiles are amazing. On board surveys were acknowledged with a phone call and a promise to review something, make a change or take immediately correction. The general manager and all department heads were available and approachable. We thoroughly enjoyed our meals in The Restaurant, Manfredi’s, Chef’s Table, Mamsens and the World Cafe. Room service was always available. Complimentary beer and wine at both lunch and dinner was a nice perk. Complimentary adult beverages at sail away’s, parties, receptions, etc. The food was plentiful, varied and beautifully presented. Loved Mamsens yummy light snacks with their Norwegian influence. Manfredi’s had an Italian styled menu and was always fantastic. Please note that there are no up charges for the specialty restaurants either! Our penthouse veranda cabin was spacious and very well organized. The bathroom and shower were roomy. Plenty of electric plugs and charging ports for your electronic devices. Tired of paying for wifi on other cruises? Well Viking’s wifi is FREE and generally worked very well ( even in the Pacific Ocean). Entertainment was appropriate for the passengers sailing with a classic and contemporary mix. The very talented Cruise and Assistant Cruise Director were fully engaged with the passengers. The ship’s band and small troup of singers were very good. Some special performers ( magician, violinist, local culture group,etc.) were also good. There were enrichment programs with guest speakers as well. Each port had a complimentary excursion provided plus other interesting choices. A lovely spa was also available plus 2 small ( but adequate) swimming pools. Quality and value through and through. No nickle and diming you as the passenger. I loved this cruise and have already booked another Viking adventure. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
My husband and I just returned from the one-week Cultural Cuba cruise aboard the Viking Star. First of all, this is a beautiful ship, stylish and very comfortable and just the right size at about 900 passengers. When we arrived at the ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from the one-week Cultural Cuba cruise aboard the Viking Star. First of all, this is a beautiful ship, stylish and very comfortable and just the right size at about 900 passengers. When we arrived at the Miami airport, the Viking personnel were waiting at the baggage area to take our bags and get us on a bus to the ship. It was very efficient and when we arrived at the port the check-in was also quick and painless. We were able to use our cabin 5051, a deluxe veranda, immediately. The cabin was well laid out and comfortable, the bathroom the best we have experienced on any cruise. There is not a lot of drawer storage but the closet is large and there is plenty of space under the beds. We went to the World Cafe and had lunch and it was very pleasant. The layout and general look of the buffet is very nice. We were very tired from an early flight so made an early night of it. The next day was a sea day and there was plenty to do, three lectures on Cuba during the day and entertainment in the evening. There are no "grand" productions but the entertainment was very professional. The highlight of the cruise was the show by Cuba musicians called Legends.Com. these were well-known Cuban musicians who gave a fabulous performance. I wish we could have seen another show! The stay in Cienfuegos was spread over three days so some passengers could go to Havana. We did the included city tour and enjoyed it very much. It is obvious that this was once a wealthy city and the cubans are slowly renovating the many old and beautiful colonial buildings. The guides on our tours were a real highlight of the cruise. They were open about the benefits and shortcomings of the Cuban system, free health care and educations, etc. but not full of propaganda. Really there was not a lot of overt political propaganda in the city. We were more than satisfied with the 3-4 hour tours because the heat and humidity really take it out of you. We were also very happy to return to the comfort of the ship and the tender ride was not a problem. The food on the ship was excellent in both the buffet and dining room. We ate one night at Manfredi's, the Italian restaurant, and were very satisfied. Beer and wine is served at lunch and dinner and as much as you wanted. The staff was uniformly friendly and helpful. Santiago was a very interesting city. While Cienfuegos is a cultural interesting provincial city, Santiago could be a really world-class city with adequate investment. Really, this was an excellent cruise and the Viking Star is a great ship -- no casino, no photographers or staff constantly trying to sell you something. I look forward to another Viking Ocean cruise. Read Less
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