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9 Viking Ocean Rome (Civitavecchia) Cruise Reviews

Continuous ship computer problems. Restaurant reservations repeatedly disappeared. Long wait times for bar service. We had the wine package, and at dinner, refills were tough to get. Long lines at the buffet. Items often ran out and were ... Read More
Continuous ship computer problems. Restaurant reservations repeatedly disappeared. Long wait times for bar service. We had the wine package, and at dinner, refills were tough to get. Long lines at the buffet. Items often ran out and were not replenished for many minutes. The principal training much of the staff has received is to repeat the mantra "I am so sorry. I do apologize for the problem." Staff is pleasant and friendly, but that only goes so far. Cabin has insufficient storage space. Bathroom had a heated floor, which was nice, but pitifully low water volume in the shower. Food was average, with the Chef's Table being a huge disappointment. We had back to back cruises, chosen for the itinerary. Too late, we discovered that the ship would leave port at 2pm from three stops, making it difficult to see much. We have taken over twenty cruises, on 9 lines. I realize that Viking is not aiming for the luxury market, but I cannot comprehend the rave reviews it has received from some travelers. First and last Viking cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We have been Viking fans for many years but this was our first sailing on the Sun. Our biggest issue was intermittent sewer odors coming through the ventilation system (not from the bathroom area). Although maintenance and Engineering ... Read More
We have been Viking fans for many years but this was our first sailing on the Sun. Our biggest issue was intermittent sewer odors coming through the ventilation system (not from the bathroom area). Although maintenance and Engineering attempted to resolve, they did not resolve, possibly because this is a design issue or requires a bigger fix than they could do at sea. Either way, Guest Services management was totally unsympathetic and offered no apologies, etc. One really nagging concern is that we were upgraded from a Penthouse Veranda on deck 4 to a Penthouse Veranda Junior Suite on deck 8. I can't help but wonder if they had previous sewer odor issues with this room and this was their attempt to get by until they could get a permanent fix? Noise level in this room was unusually loud and apparently came from doors slamming immediately below the room in crew access corridors or ? Food service often was very lacking in the World Cafe (sometimes nearly had to tackle waiters for beverages) even though they appeared to be adequately staffed. Perhaps this was a training issue related to the rapid growth. The quality of entertainment from the on board musicians poor. Again, this was very different from all our previous Viking experiences. Optional excursions ranged from poor to good (but none "great") and most of our's were expensive (more than $200 pp). With tipping and other costs included, the Viking price point and value is not what it used to be. Although I left similar comments with Guest Services and on my end of cruise survey, I have yet to hear any response from Viking Management. We will likely stick to Viking river cruises going forward and look to other small ship cruise lines for ocean cruises. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
A friend of mine recommended Viking as a way to visit Italy. I'm so sorry this is the path we chose. Onboard- jr. Penthouse is a fantastic room and clean. Other than that, I am NOT impressed and more than dissatisfied with the ... Read More
A friend of mine recommended Viking as a way to visit Italy. I'm so sorry this is the path we chose. Onboard- jr. Penthouse is a fantastic room and clean. Other than that, I am NOT impressed and more than dissatisfied with the service, & ship amenities. The pool is EXTREMELY small, no casino, no evening entertainment (other than various musicians in areas of the ship), restaurant and buffet hours are limited & CLOSE EARLIER THAN HOURS LISTED. The guest services personnel ARE not informed of the various tours available & "waitlist " you if a tour is full. Waitlist means nothing other than you'd like to book it but can't. They have no regard for the traveler with limited time in ports, & do not attempt to assist in alternate arrangements. Having cruised on Princess and Royal Caribbean, and paid half the price; this cruiseline does not compare. This will be my last viking cruise! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Viking hasn't been in the ocean cruise business for very long, and clearly has some issues to work out. While their ship is very nice, unfortunately some of the chosen ports of call cheapen the brand. (i.e., Trapiani should not be the ... Read More
Viking hasn't been in the ocean cruise business for very long, and clearly has some issues to work out. While their ship is very nice, unfortunately some of the chosen ports of call cheapen the brand. (i.e., Trapiani should not be the city vistied in Sicily, it should be Palermo; there are better ports than Sardinia; Algiers should be avoided, see below). But it is our experience with customer service that has sealed for us that we will not travel with Viking again. My experience with Algiers, one of the ports of call on this tour: Where to begin? As one passenger stated, "that city is like being on the set of Slumdog Millionaire." I was really looking forward to this port, which sounded exotic, but it was NOT as Viking advertises, in a myriad of ways. We started the morning with the included tour, which was supposed to take us to a number of stops. All tours required a police escort (our first indication this was not going to be like other ports) - instead of seeing any of the sites we were supposed to see, we saw ONE (the Martyrs monument, which as our guide admitted, is marred by the cell tower they have attached to the top and the "eternal" flame only lit twice per year). The rest of the time, the police led our 5 buses on a winding route through what looked like slums, with people on the street starting at us like animals in a zoo, often giving unkind gestures. Our guide said he had nothing to tell us about where we were being led, because he said he had no idea where we were or why we were in that area! Everyone was so ready to get off the sub-par bus and bewildered as to why we saw only one of the many sites we were promised, much less why Viking would bring us to this port of call at all. Based on the misrepresentation of the included tour, we had no faith that the optional tour we signed up and paid for would be as promised, so we cancelled and asked for a refund. We were told they could not give us a refund but we could call customer service upon our return to the States. Only later did we find out from a fellow passenger that the reason we had been rerouted was because of political demonstrations in the City Center. Strikes and protests had been going on for 4 months, something Viking should have known and forseen causing problems. But when we returned to the States and called Customer Service as instructed, we were given the runaround and had to go through many departments, and in the end were still denied a refund, with no explanation. Sad that we would be treated this way, especially since this was our 3rd trip with Viking. After our experience, we read several articles detailing all of the city's problems. Also, when it comes to safety, Algiers gets a 4 out of 5, with 5 being "avoid at all costs." As far as development and what it has to offer, Algeria ranks 80 out of 80 as the worst of all African countries. We were told by the Shore Excursions manager, "well we just wanted to give them a shot." This experiment should not be done on Viking passengers' dime. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We had the most wonderful experience aboard the Eastern Mediterranean cruise on the Sun about 2yrs ago. Things changed a lot in 2 years or from the East to Western Mediterranean. Almost a totally different company experience, the sad ... Read More
We had the most wonderful experience aboard the Eastern Mediterranean cruise on the Sun about 2yrs ago. Things changed a lot in 2 years or from the East to Western Mediterranean. Almost a totally different company experience, the sad part we introduced 2 frequent travelers with a lot of cruise ship experiences and they were really disappointed probably want return on a Viking tour. First day/night Captain asked everyone to wash hands. Pool, hot spas, sauna and other amenities closed for 3 days. No entertainment until the 5th day, by that I mean the singers, dancers and mini broadway like productions. Second day Captain again appeals to passengers to wash hands exercise sanitary precautions. Third day Captain ceased self serve in the cafeteria hoping to reduce spread and infection. Think it would have been wiser to stay in port and cancel the cruise. Just in our group of 6 passengers 3 became ill missing 2 full days, that's 50% of the group and 25% of the trip. How many really were affected??? Captain encouraged anyone who felt nausea or other symptoms to remain in their rooms, medical aides would come to them. Everyone I spoke with during and people we met on the cruise and have remained friends via social media felt that the sickness was aboard and we came to it. Why were the entertainers unavailable??Why were the pools, hot tubs, and other amenities closed?? Only sickness answers those questions. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We took the Viking Ocean Cruises “Iconic Western Mediterranean Barcelona to Rome” trip on their Viking Star ship from December 14-21, 2017. We have taken many river cruises with Viking and other companies and decided to try an ocean ... Read More
We took the Viking Ocean Cruises “Iconic Western Mediterranean Barcelona to Rome” trip on their Viking Star ship from December 14-21, 2017. We have taken many river cruises with Viking and other companies and decided to try an ocean cruise this time. The Viking Star is new and clean with many amenities, entertainment, good food and excellent cabin and restaurant staff. That said, this cruise had problems. First off, we could not select a specific cabin. We could not even select the side of the ship we wanted. Cabins were assigned at their California headquarters just prior to departure. I wanted the left (port) side which had a better view facing land since we were traveling east. No way. Our tickets were GTY veranda– meaning we were ‘guaranteed’ a cabin with a veranda but no level indicated. Of course we could always pay more for an upgrade once on board! We got cabin 5065 on the starboard (right) side with a view of nothing but water. Walk to the other side of the ship if you want to see anything. Given global terrorism, every time we returned to ship we had to pass through an airport-like security scanner. We were late departing Barcelona’s commercial port because other ships had priority. There was a strong wind and choppy seas but certainly nothing like the 2000 disaster film The Perfect Storm starring George Clooney about a vessel lost at sea. Along the way our overly-cautious Captain Lokling decided he could not dock Viking Star at Marseille’s natural harbour and yacht marina. Some land excursions leaving from Marseille were cancelled. He decided instead to dock further east at Toulon, home port of the French Navy Mediterranean fleet. We sailed into the harbor at Toulon in calm water under sunny skies. Then we sailed out again. Two hours later our captain finally made an announcement to passengers that he “did not like the look of it”. All remaining land excursions were now cancelled including one of the advertised “5 guided tours”. We anchored out at sea overnight. Cruise Director Jenna had nothing for us to do. Some drank; some slept; some read. Next morning we entered St. Tropez harbor and anchored offshore. Small orange tender boats were launched from Viking Star to transport us from ship to shore for our land tour. On returning, the tender boat I was in could not manage to align itself with the open entryway into the ship. Many attempts were made. The revving engines churned the sea into white froth. Then we smashed into the side of the ship breaking a front side window on the tender. Two more tries and we were finally hauled alongside by rope. Then, later that afternoon, for two hours none of the toilets on the ship would flush. We actually did dock at Monte Carlo. Those on port side of Viking Star saw the spectacular cityscape rising up the hills. Those of us on starboard saw only water. In the evening we were two hours late departing Monte Carlo – blame that pesky wind again. Our next stop was the commercial port of Livorno which is a 30-minute drive to Pisa and a 90-minute drive to Florence for those taking tours. The Captain’s Farewell Reception was held at 5:15 PM before some of the tours had returned to ship. Our last port was Civitavecchia where we disembarked for the bus drive to a hotel or airport in Rome. But before doing so, passenger’s credit cards were charged $105 US per person gratuity. No indication if this amount goes to cabin and restaurant staff or to ship’s officers as well. No indication either of any compensation to passengers for cancelled excursions and Marseille/Toulon bypass. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
I have enjoyed the cruise. The ship is lovely, beautifully decorated, very conveniently arranged – obviously, much thought and effort went into the planning. The food is healthy, attractive, deliciously prepared and of very nice ... Read More
I have enjoyed the cruise. The ship is lovely, beautifully decorated, very conveniently arranged – obviously, much thought and effort went into the planning. The food is healthy, attractive, deliciously prepared and of very nice variety. The staff was attentive, always friendly, cheerful and willing to be helpful. However, the experience was marred by the following: I initially booked the 4-day pre-tour in Florence, the Rome-to-Barcelona cruise and the following Barcelona-to-Rome cruise for my husband and myself. Sterling Reed, the booking agent I talked with was most helpful. At this point I was so happy with the service and the details of the trip that I invited a friend to join us. She asked for the same booking agent, received the same good service from him, and signed up for the same trip. We received messages from Viking urging us to go to “My Viking Journey” web site and sign up for excursions and dinner reservations as soon as possible (we were entitled to 1 dinner reservation in each specialty restaurant on each of the cruise weeks due to our cabin choice). However, “My Viking Journey” site only listed restaurant reservations for I week of the journey and excursions possibilities for the other week. Finally, we called Viking and the agent agreed to send a link to a website listing the missing choices. Then we spent another hour+ on the phone with the agent trying to schedule the desired reservations for us and our friend. However, because we had not received the excursion list on time, some excursions we wanted were no longer available and we could not book our friend with us on all excursions. The information packet for the first week cruise arrived to us late, the second week packet even later. Our friend’s first week packet arrived even later than ours. She had to phone and beg for her 2nd week info packet. It arrived 2 days before the trip and with no information as to her excursion reservations When we got on the ship we found that the length and timing of some of the excursions had changed resulting in some of our reservations overlapping in time so we could not go on some that we had reserved. Part way thru the first cruise week we received paperwork to be filled out for disembarkation. My husband filled out the form saying we would be staying on the ship and dutifully walked the form down to deck 1 and turned it in. The next day we received a phone call chiding us for not filling out the disembarkation form and asking us to come to deck 1. We explained that we had already turned in the form and that we were staying for the second week. The next day all the disembarkation info and tags were waiting for us in our room. We made another trip to deck 1 to be sure they knew we would be staying on the ship for the second week. Our friend also received a letter informing her she would be moving from deck 8 to deck 6. We had planned to spend the change-over day at leisure in Barcelona on our own. Now she had to pack everything up by 8:30 a.m. and might not be able to get into her new cabin until 2:00 p.m. She was given permission to enter the new cabin about 11:00 a.m. But by the time she was unpacked in the new cabin, half of our free day was gone. I do not understand why a cabin sold to one person would be sold to someone else for the same week and why the person already unpacked in the cabin should be the one to change. When we showed up for our reservations in the specialty restaurants for the second week, we were told they had no record of our reservation and no space for us. The next night our friend received a letter telling her to make her own arrangements to get to the airport from the ship although she booked all her travel arrangements though Viking. Would I recommend Viking to a friend? I would tell them we enjoyed the ship, the onboard staff, the food and the excursions. But I would warn them not to book more than just a basic 1 week cruise, that they should check constantly that the sign-up for the restaurants and excursions appears when it should on the “My Viking Journey” site, that they may have to call to get their information packet sent to them before the trip, that they may or may not get the cabin they were promised when they booked, that they should check when they get on the ship to see if they have overlapping excursions schedules, that they may or may not have the restaurant reservations they were promised and that they may be told they have to make their own disembarkation arrangements even if they book their air arrangements through Viking. How does our Viking experience compare to other companies? Over the last several years, we have traveled to over 70 countries on ocean liners, river boats, land tours and with several different tour companies. The different companies offered varying degrees of elegance, but all of them delivered the trip as described to us at booking – I have never before felt unsure that the tour company knew we were on the tour. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We just completed a Mediterranean sailing on the Viking Sea, one of Viking Ocean’s five ships. This was our first (and last) time sailing with Viking Ocean. We are seasoned cruisers (more than 40 cruises and more than 500 days at sea) ... Read More
We just completed a Mediterranean sailing on the Viking Sea, one of Viking Ocean’s five ships. This was our first (and last) time sailing with Viking Ocean. We are seasoned cruisers (more than 40 cruises and more than 500 days at sea) and it is clear to us that Viking Ocean is designed for people who are not like us. Specifically, we enjoy independent touring on our own. Viking Ocean is designed for those who like to do bus shore excursions as part of their cruise package. Viking Ocean Cruises (like Viking River Cruises) includes the cost of shore excursions in the price you pay. So the amount paid is higher by the amount of these included shore excursions. The main difference between the river cruises and the ocean cruises is that the river cruises typically dock right in the center of the city and the included tours are walking tours. The ocean cruises, on the other hand, are typically docked outside the city center and require a bus to get around. Viking Ocean has an included tour as well as several optional tours which are priced at an upsell rate of between $50-$200, which is also different from the river cruises (where most tours are included and there are few optional tours). Yet these optional tours on Viking Ocean are also bus tours, just longer than the 2-4 hour “free” included tour. Even the tours that are touted a “walking tours” are still bus tours for the majority of the tour, along with some minimal walking. We did a tour noted as being a “walking tour” and spent only 30 minutes of a 3h30m tour walking. We spent a longer amount of time waiting for the group to go to the bathroom than we spent on the actual walking tour (another reason we do not like big bus tours). So if you are limited mobility and/or you just like seeing the world from a bus window, this may be a good cruise line for you. However, if you are an independent traveler and like to do tours on your own, your money is likely better spent on other cruise lines. The Viking Sea was built last year and has several outstanding features, most notably its focus on private spaces onboard the ship. If you like reading a book in quiet and solitude, there are plenty of options available to you. Also, the pool area is completely covered during inclement weather with a retractable roof, very nicely designed for cool/cold weather cruising. The sit-down restaurants onboard are generally very good to excellent. There is the main dining room (called “The Restaurant”) with open seating as well as two specialty restaurants (Manfredi’s Italian and Chef’s Table fixed menu) that are included with no upcharge, a very nice touch on the part of Viking. You can make reservations in each of the specialty restaurants in advance and we were able to reserve a second night at each specialty restaurant while onboard. While the sit-down restaurants were generally quite good, the buffet (World Café) was very limited in selections and perhaps the smallest buffet of any we have seen on a cruise ship, including much smaller ships. Windstar had more selections on a ship with only 200 passengers. There were also noticeable time gaps, especially late morning, when no food was available at any of the restaurants. In the afternoon, the only options were the pool grill or afternoon tea at 4p. No pizza, no ice cream, they were only available when World Café was open. Given that several of the scheduled tours went during scheduled lunch hours, this ended up being an issue more than once. Yes, I know there is always room service, but when getting back onboard after a tour, it’s nice to be able to grab a quick bite. The room service menu in general is very basic. The evening entertainment is probably what you would expect for a river cruise, yet far below the standards of other cruise ships. There was only one evening of guest entertainers, which was the first evening in Rome, when we were in port until 11p (which turned out to be an overnight stay due to the Captain’s inability to get the ship out of the port). It was a quartet of opera singers and they were excellent. This is what Viking does on their river cruises, bringing onboard local talent, then getting them off the ship before departure. Which meant that that other 6 evenings of entertainment were the 6 singers and 2 dancers. The production shows were, in general, far below the level of most other cruise lines. The two exceptions were one male singer (Brian Rodriguez), who had an outstanding voice and the male dancer (Petr Fedorovskii), who is a classically trained Russian ballet dancer. The choreography and staging often felt like we were watching a high school or college musical production, not a professional production one notch below Broadway or Vegas. The dancing highlights were not choreographed at all, since they were when Petr broke away from his partner and did several independent dance moves on his own. I couldn’t help thinking we were watching a local college production. The reason why is because the performers (other than Brian and Petr) were all recent college graduates with limited real world experience. Talent well below what you would see on other cruise lines. Yet the choreography was also extremely basic, more like what you would expect from a high school musical. The staging was minimal, instead relying on a backdrop video screen that unfortunately did not work correctly on several occasions. The activities onboard were scarce, even on sea days (both scheduled and unscheduled), so it’s a good thing there were all of those private spaces for reading a book, since that’s the main activity for sea days. The Cruise Director, Heather Clancy, tended to be a little bit staged and theatrical in her style. We didn’t understand why until the last day of the cruise, when she performed opera. Ironically, this unscheduled performance, thrown in at the last minute, was perhaps the best performance of the cruise. Heather is an operatic mezzo soprano by training (and a very good one), so that explains a lot about her diva style. Our balcony cabin was well appointed with a larger than normal shower area, although this resulted in placing the closet space up against the bed, making for an awkward lack of a dressing area. The Captain (Svein-Rune Stromnes) seemed inexperienced with ocean cruising (even though this cruise was only in the Med, not the actual ocean) with only one year of experience as a Captain. He was not able to get our ship out of port in Rome until the following morning, due to “high winds” even though the regional ferries came and went and another cruise ship sailed into the port two hours before we left. The result was sailing the Strait of Messina at night and a limited day in Malta. The other decision made was to skip a port (Valencia, Spain) not due to the weather in Valencia, but because he was worried about the weather on the way to Barcelona, our disembarkation port, the next day. This resulted in canceling tours for the day, but no refunds were given because the tours were “free” as part of the cruise. Yes, I understand that, but they were not really free, we paid a premium for the cruise to include these excursions. Nor were port fees and taxes refunded, which is pretty standard for ocean cruises which skip a port. So Viking is actually financially incented to skip a port, which may better explain the Captain’s behavior. Then, the Captain couldn’t dock in Barcelona until the following day for disembarkation, which impacted the departure plans of many onboard (as well as those embarking for the following cruise). In all our cruising experiences, this Captain was by far the most timid about docking (and undocking) the ship. Perhaps there was more to these missed ports and delays that they were not telling us, since this is the same ship that was disabled in port a couple cruises back. So many problems for such a new ship. Or perhaps Viking, being rather new to ocean cruising, does not get priority with the port pilots and/or tugs. The interesting positive highlight with the extra day onboard is that Would we sail on Viking Ocean again? No. It simply does not fit our cruising lifestyle. But it may work for you if you like having bus tours arranged for you in every port and you are willing to pay the premium for those tours to be included. So what didn’t work for us may work for you. If you like bus tours, this may be your ship (and cruise line). Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We choose this Viking ocean cruise for its itinerary and our previous enjoyment of several great Viking River Cruises. It was a disaster from start to finish. We were suppose to leave from Boston, which we did but to LaGuardia not Rome. ... Read More
We choose this Viking ocean cruise for its itinerary and our previous enjoyment of several great Viking River Cruises. It was a disaster from start to finish. We were suppose to leave from Boston, which we did but to LaGuardia not Rome. Okay. We get to the ship with the usual Viking efficiency, but then it takes them 12 hours to get the ship away from the pier so we miss going through the Straits of Sicily during daylight and half our stay in Malta. We get to Tunis and... we're the first boat there since the last tourist massacre. Nobody can go anywhere with heavily armed guards, as in body armor and automatic rifles. Brits aren't allowed off the boat. Clear signs of militias. So off to Algiers but the boat can't handle the seas, as in ceiling plaster in my martini, so we're late again but no big loss because it is also too dangerous to tour. Now the ship can not do more than headway speed and we're a day late to Valencia but it's to rough to try to dock so we skip the port entirely and wait off Barcelona. Now we're a day late and Viking sends us to Boston via Barcelona to Rome to LaGuardia to Boston, a 24 hour trip...Got home more stressed out than when we left. I am perplexed about their seamanship. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
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