The Viking Jupiter is lovely, lovely new ship. I believe we were its third sailing. Since the ship carries less than 1000 passengers I was surprised how big it was when we first pulled up in Civitavecchia. After being on board a couple ... Read More
The Viking Jupiter is lovely, lovely new ship. I believe we were its third sailing. Since the ship carries less than 1000 passengers I was surprised how big it was when we first pulled up in Civitavecchia. After being on board a couple of days you realize that the size for that number of passengers results in many public spaces to relax. In fact, with so many areas for folks to enjoy you get the sense that you are on a ship with many less people. In tandem with that concept it seems there is a lot of staff available. A side note here, most of the good cruise lines, big and small, have good staffs. The Viking staff may be the best as any I have encountered in over 20 cruises. A difference is that there are so many of them to meet the passengers needs. I wish I knew the ratio. For example, when someone leaves the pool area almost instantly an attendant shows up to remove spent towels and add new ones. As a result, it is easy to spot open chaises and just makes the whole area appear more attractive. Most of the staff's demeanor is friendly but not so much as to be even a little bit over friendly (a fine line that may be most appealing to their older clientele). You do get the sense and we were even told that the staff is very happy to be working for Viking.
As for appearance, the ship appropriately is done in Scandinavian style with blond wood, leather and pleasant blues throughout. Their towels and blankets (both very plentiful) were in the same color scheme and felt very high quality (note to self: why didn't you ask to buy a blanket?). The result is a calming and pleasant setting in every area of the ship.
It is an easy ship to get to know and the elevators and stairs were never crowded even when folks were leaving for port excursions. Signage is generally excellent except for a couple of floors where arrows pointing to lounges would have been more helpful. A neat feature is the sign between elevators shows you where to disembark for excursions. The pool area in many ways is the star of the ship. Since it has a roll back roof, it is used for buffets, special events and just relaxing when the outside temperature would be too low to sit out. Examples: embarkation day -- poolside grill open for passengers with grill and salad bar doing a great job; two special evening events -- a seafood buffet night and a tapas with excellent sangria night BEFORE dinner. Both were excellent with plentiful staff clearing tables and pouring wine.
Never thought I would do afternoon tea but enjoyed it greatly on the other side of the pool with a tremendous staff serving inside the Wintergarden and in the poolside lounge. Doretty (spelling?) from Peru took excellent care of her area. It should be mentioned that the crew really is an international crew with staff hailing from Asia, Europe and South America all of whom spoke impeccable English. The dining room is gorgeous, the two specialty restaurants Manfreddi's and Chef's Table were very lovely with our enjoying the Chef's Table a bit more. Maybe, it was the service of Ivan and his assistant waiter, maybe their innovative twists of food, or maybe the best damn dessert I ever ate. We would have loved to go back but ran out of time. The World Cafe is just plain wonderful. It is the spot most people chose for breakfast. Great, great, great.
Entertainment is appropriate for the clientele. Shows start kinda early and generally by 9:30 are ended. The shows themselves were very well attended and met the needs of the passengers, i. e. high octane shows featuring music of the Beatles, ABBA and the eighties. Every show we saw got a standing ovation. Later on there is continuing music and dancing elsewhere. Not to be ignored is the very beautiful and calming chamber music trio, pianist and guitarist that seem always to be playing. This is in the Living Room which has a bar whose staff is particularly talented at making drinks and making guests feel very comfortable. By the way, they have the most innovative system of taking orders; the staff member notes choices on what looks like an early model cell phone which immediately is sent to the kitchen or bar. The result is instant service of your drink or meal!
The fellow passengers were basically all middle age and above Americans who understood the kind of ship they were on. People were always dressed appropriately and it gave the ship a feeling of a country club even though I don't belong to a country club.
As eluded to earlier, service was impeccable in every area of the ship. The senior staff works as hard as their assistant waiters!
We were in a Penthouse Veranda. If funds allow, choose this upgrade. It is near perfect sizewise, plentiful storage, refreshed mini bar with little bottles of liquor, soda, beer and snacks. Closet lights go on when the door is opened. Hurray, for electricity -- there are USB ports throughout and the lighting is innovative. The bathroom has a heated floor! Example of the level of service: we found the shower head moved when full force water was turned on, a trip to customer service (24 hours) had it fixed in twenty minutes. Room stewards were good. Service in customer relations by Nichert was superb. We used the laundry and ironing facility.
Another example of Viking services: wind made stopping at the Port of Sete impossible. Within a half hour a new daily calendar with adjustments was printed and distributed. This sail day actually was a blessing since even though it occurred past midway of the cruise it actually gave us time to enjoy the ship's amenities: spa, pool, wonderful exercise room (never more than four people), etc. Even on this day with everyone on board, it was easy to find quiet area to sit and read or sit poolside in shade or sun.
I guess I could go on and on about the ship but suffice to say, it probably will be the cruise one will always remember since I strongly believe that Viking will uphold this level of service and luxury. Read Less