This cruise was a replacement cruise for a similar Caribbean Cruise offed by Viking a few weeks earlier. The original cruise sailed out and back to San Juan, Puerto Rico shortly after a major hurricane came through PR and several of the ... Read More
This cruise was a replacement cruise for a similar Caribbean Cruise offed by Viking a few weeks earlier. The original cruise sailed out and back to San Juan, Puerto Rico shortly after a major hurricane came through PR and several of the Caribbean Islands on the itinerary. Viking customer service was WONDERFUL booking us a different cruise several weeks later.
What is there not to like about the new Viking Ocean Cruise ships? The cabins are very well laid out, king size beds and balconies in all. I loved the bathroom, spacious, plenty of storage space, a huge mirror that miraculously does not fog up when the shower is on. Shower enclosure is a all glass and has a shelf along one side to hold shampoo and other supplies. Shower head is moveable on a vertical railing.
We were given an upgraded cabin that had even more storage space, a full size sofa, frig stocked with snacks and beverages every day, coffee maker (which didn't use much). The electronics are amazing. USB charge ports on each side of bed and at desk. Room TV gave you access to all travel data, menus, ability to make dining reservations, watch the educational lectures from previous days and a very nice selection of (free, of course) movies to watch.
Food was excellent. We chose the buffet for breakfast and lunch most days. The burger bar at the pool area also served a great selection of fresh salads. Wine and beer is available with both lunch and dinners at no surcharge. Dinner was either in The Resturant (the sit & be served dining), the Manfredi's Italian or the Chef's Kitchen, truly gourmet dining with excellent wine paring for each course. We are Vegan/ vegetarian and found many excellent dishes at all dining locations.
We took the included excursions at most ports. These are bus tours that make short stops at various locations. We had not been to most of these islands, so the bus tours are a good way to get acquainted with the different islands. Caraco was our favorite ports. The walking tour across the movable walking bridge was a highlight.
A few events made our cruise less than what we expected from Viking. Some were out of the Viking's control, others Viking certainly could do better. The first 2 days at sea were pretty rocky with large waves and rolling seas. We started from NYC in a tropical depression weather pattern. Our first port stop was to be Bermuda, but the weather conditions did not permit. We were disappointed to have missed Bermuda. Also the high seas caused some damage on the ship. A large window in the fitness center (level 1) broke out, hurt some unlucky folks who happened to be in the center at the time. The fitness center was closed for several days, the window secured and then the spaces partially re-opened. The treadmills were not useable for the rest of the cruise. But we were able to use other equipment in the fitness area.
Our main disappointment with this cruise was how embarkation and debarkation was handled. Our flight to the ship arrived at 5:30am at Newark, New Jersey. Viking provided a limo service to pick us up and drive to the NYC Passenger Ship port. We arrived at the port about 6:30am and there was no one from Viking there for about 3 hours. The people at the port were not sure what to do with us. We sat in cold, uncomfortable chairs till about 9:30am. A few folks from Viking then showed up and put us and our bags in a large, cold room. They provided some coffee and tea, set out breakfast pastries and promptly took the food away. The story was Viking could not serve food in the port area. This did not go over well with those of us waiting hours to turn in our luggage and aboard the ship. Finally about 11am the Viking check in was ready to process passengers. By then my husband and I had been flying and or waiting for planes or transfers about 15 hours.
Debarkation was also stressful. On the morning we left ship we were assigned a 7:30am time to get off the ship, get our bags, go through customs and board a bus transfer to Miami Intl Airport. We were delayed about 45 minutes getting off the ship because of some problem with the ship manifest. It seemed that the Viking staff did not have a working way to check us off the ship. The Viking crew were noticeably upset, as were we passengers who had flights at Miami airport. By the time we were off the ship, bussed to the airport, checked in for our flight to Denver, thorough security, and at our flight gate we had 5 minutes before the plane boarded. We would have missed the plane, except we walk fast.
Viking, I hope you are listening. We love your ships and services provided on the ship en route. It was just the beginning and end parts which were unpleasant. Read Less