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192 Viking Ocean Repositioning Cruise Reviews

With over 300 sea days on Holland America, we felt it was time for a change, and wanted to try out Viking Ocean. We could not have been more pleased with the overall experience. Check-in was swift and easy, with our documents awaiting ... Read More
With over 300 sea days on Holland America, we felt it was time for a change, and wanted to try out Viking Ocean. We could not have been more pleased with the overall experience. Check-in was swift and easy, with our documents awaiting us. We were also able to access our cabin earlier than promised. Our cabin was a Deluxe Verandah - nicely laid out, great bathroom with heated floors (also useful for drying wet clothes!), modern and clean. The TV systems are state of the art, and extremely useful - an example being the replay of lectures, etc. shortly after they are done live. It would be nice if the system had real-time data on navigation items such as course / speed / wind etc. Be aware that drawer space is somewhat limited, even with the extra ones in the closet on Sun, but the beds are high enough that even large suitcases are easy to store there, and can be used as additional storage. Our only cabin knock was the proximity of the closet to the bed - somewhat awkward to get at. Larger cabins don't have either of these two issues. Dining was excellent - the quality of food was high, and there are multiple choices. The open faced sandwiches in Mamsen's are exceptional - except for the calories, you could live on them! World café is good, with limited crowding, and would be excellent when the weather permits dining outside on the stern deck. The Restaurant is fully open seating, but we never waited more than a few minutes, even at peak times. The serving systems in the Restaurant seem to have multiple "handoffs" between the staff, and occasionally resulted in a missed request, but they were speedily corrected. Of the two specialty restaurants, we loved Manfredi's (Italian) - be sure to reserve as early as you can, as it's very popular. The Chef's Table was good, not great - some excellent dishes, some mediocre. We largely relied on the included shore excursions, as they tended to do an overview tour, and allow personal exploration afterwards. The two optional tours we used were well organized. Service levels throughout the ship were outstanding - even on a short cruise, the staff quickly learned to recognize us, and were always eager to assist. While we missed the chance to get to know our dining stewards as well as we have previously in a fixed-seating environment, we were able to make a few connections over the trip. Being so new, the ship is pristine and very stable and quiet. Maintenance is discreet, and not intrusive. And, the internet service put every other cruise line that we've been on to shame - a real leg up for staying in touch. Bottom line - we've booked two more voyages! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Great cruise line. Awesome ship and service. One of the best designed ships we have ever been on. Wraparound Promenade deck. Thermal spa outfitted with more different treatment areas (whirlpools, snow room, dry sauna, steam room, etc). ... Read More
Great cruise line. Awesome ship and service. One of the best designed ships we have ever been on. Wraparound Promenade deck. Thermal spa outfitted with more different treatment areas (whirlpools, snow room, dry sauna, steam room, etc). Great fitness room. Most rooms between the common areas on decks 1-2-7-8 limiting how many stairs to traverse to get between rooms and common areas. Ship had no feeling of crowding anywhere. Common services desks designed to address client needs. Ship was largely digital meaning that many things could be accomplished through television set in the stateroom. Service was exemplary in every way. Wait times throughout the ship were short or non-existent. Service was highly anticipatory. All administrative activities including embarkation and debarkation, as well as port visits were professionally and efficiently handled. Very good food, using fresh, high quality ingredients. Food was well prepared and tasty. Special requests were handled by the culinary staff with aplomb. World Cafe had most items of the Restaurant + some additional surprises. Mamsen's deli was okay, but the Pool Grill was outstanding. Both Manfredi's and Chef's Table were very good. Could have offered more traditional desserts. On-board activities, while not lacking, could have been more robust. Afternoon tea was great featuring more than 12 types of tea. Enrichment lectures were good also and were recorded for later viewing in the staterooms. No casino or bingo which was a plus. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We picked this cruise because of its itinerary - "In the Wake of the Vikings" - a northerly transatlantic crossing, and we had to book it a year and a half in advance because it's only offered once a year. (Although, we ... Read More
We picked this cruise because of its itinerary - "In the Wake of the Vikings" - a northerly transatlantic crossing, and we had to book it a year and a half in advance because it's only offered once a year. (Although, we found out later that a 2nd Viking ship trailed this same itinerary by several days - so much for Viking's communications - more on that.) We did the 3-day pre-trip Iceland extension. Generally good, although we found out once there that there were 78 people on this pre-trip, and all but 8 of us had direct flights to Bergen to board the ship after Iceland. We were some of the unfortunate 8 - indirect flights thru Oslo. We asked the local Viking person (an independent travel guide, very helpful) "what did we do wrong to deserve this?" She said to call Viking, ask for direct flights, since another couple had done this, or have your travel agent do this for you. We emailed our US travel agent, asked her to to have Viking book us direct (like the 70 other people who had this done for them automatically). Viking's 1st response was that they would charge us $350/pp because this was a voluntary upgrade on our part! Gag me! We went back to our travel agent, she fought w/Viking and got the direct flights for no charge, like all the others (except a few who got stonewalled by Viking when they went direct to Viking). Other than that, the pre-trip was a nice way to explore Iceland - much more so than the planned one day shop in Reykjavik on the cruise. We did Blue Lagoon, Grand Circle tour, plus good tour around Reykjavik. Once we flew to Bergen, we found out (rumors among passengers on the bus ride to the ship) that we're not staying in Bergen, we're leaving a day early, i.e., right away, due to Hurricane Dorian, and we'll be skipping 1st two port stops (Shetlands and Faroes), in order to try and skirt hurricane on way to two new port stops in Iceland via two very rough sea days. Ironic, that we just left Iceland, flew to Bergen, to get on a ship and sail into a hurricane in order to go back to Iceland via rough seas. Why couldn't Viking let us know that back in Iceland and let us just rent a car and drive through scenic Iceland and catch up to the ship in 1st new Iceland port stop? This is 'classic Viking non-communication.' (Our only other Viking Ocean cruise was to go from Istanbul to Venice, only we found out 'by accident' that we weren't going to Istanbul, but cruise was going to start in Athens instead.) The Viking Sea ship is wonderful - small size - only 900+ passengers, great cabin attendants, great food, comfy beds, free wifi, free laundry, free beer & wine w/lunches and dinners, nice public areas. They offer two free specialty restaurants/trip - an Italian, plus a special Chef's Table. In keeping w/Viking's non-communications, we had booked one of each, only to find that Viking had somehow cancelled one of our reservations when we showed up for dinner. The two extra Iceland port stops were wonderful, but once we left Reykjavik, we were told that, due to storms off Greenland, that we'd be skipping the 1st Greenland port and have ... 2 more rough sea days! Prince Christian Sound (60 miles of interconnected fjords in S. Greenland) did make up for this, as it was a visual extravaganza. However, more of the same after Greenland - two more rough sea days due to bad weather off W. Greenland on our way to Newfoundland, and an alternative port once there. We heard from others on board that Viking has made this re-positioning trip 5 times, and has only made all port stops on its advertised itinerary only once! Seems like Viking needs to re-examine its repositioning trips - we understand that 2020 cruise goes in August, but I'm sure Viking is trying to maximize its profits with its Baltic cruises and didn't really want to leave that soon! Once home, we did receive a nice email from Viking saying, in effect, that they screwed up, and are offering a future voucher worth 40% of our trip cost on a future Viking cruise. We'll have to seriously consider whether we want to cruise Viking anymore. Their ships are great, and once onboard the crew and staff and accommodations are excellent, but Viking's communications with its passengers, especially pre-trip, STINK! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
embarking was quick and easy. once we were on the ship at 3.30pm we were advised that the ship would be leaving that night instead of the original plan of the next evening due to weather which meant we missed the port of Bergen as it was ... Read More
embarking was quick and easy. once we were on the ship at 3.30pm we were advised that the ship would be leaving that night instead of the original plan of the next evening due to weather which meant we missed the port of Bergen as it was too late to do anything that day. Big seas means we also missed Shetland Islands and Faroe Islands. instead we made for Iceland and had 2 make up ports of Akureyri and Isafjordur. both tiny stops. We then had to forgo Nanortalik due to 'weather'. When we got to Dagueanay.....well it isn't it was the port town of La Baie, 20 kms from the main city. No shuttles were pour on. We had to find a local bus or taxi of we es bed to go into the city. We reached Quebec, the best port of all and we had to be back on board by 3.30? surely we could have stayed longer given the fact how much we had missed out on previously? into Montreal at 4am? that to me says we definitely could have had longer in Quebec. The included tours were ok. Need more for active people. Not everyone is over 75. The entertainment was average. The singer's were ok but only did 3 showed in 2 weeks. The magician was awesome. bring on more odd this stuff. Comedians etc Classical pianist? yuck. start catering for the 50 year olds. We are your future cruisers. The cabins are nice and clean but not enough storage in deluxe verandah. put more shelving in instead of so much hanging space. had to leave most of our stuff in our suitcase which was frustrating. Noise in the cabin is totally unacceptable. rattling and banging in the walls, creaking like we were on an old Spanish Galleon or on the first fleet to Australia. that is no exaggeration. I still couldn't sleep with earplugs and a pillow over my head. Who wants to be sleep deprived their whole holiday? It was brought to Guest Services attention the 2nd day and their response was" its the weather" not good enough. Even when the seas were calm it was the same. Everyone we spoke to said the same thing, their cabins creaked and rattled also. Italian ship builders obviously can't get that right. Staff were friendly enough but ask for anything out of the ordinary and it's like the biggest deal. Ask for small portion, can't do it. Ask for 2 scoops of icecream, can't be done. Communication was terrible. We never knew when the ship was getting into port or leaving until the night before. couldn't plan anything. when in Reykjavik we dashed back to the ship between ships tours to grab lunch and check the Tax refund process to be told the ship want leaving until 8pm so we would have plenty of time. We got back from our second tour to hear that the ship was leaving at 6 and no time for any last minute shopping at the terminal shops and that the VAT guy was leaving. Asked for assistance again from Guest Services to see if anyone could help us with a Garmin charger for our watches as ours had been left on the previous viking cruise we had gotten off to get on this cruise. never heard from them again. The food was quite good in quality and the head chef Paul was great. constantly checking the quality and his people. Took great pride in his food and his people. We have previously cruised mainly with Azamara. Hard not to compare the 2. I'd choose Azamara every time. We chose this cruise for the itinerary but at the end of the day it missed too many ports. Why not call it for what it is. Transatlantic repositioning cruise. Not one for the destinations. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Viking Cruise Trans-Atlantic September 2019 Our cruises are always chosen for their itinerary, but after that, of course, the cruise line is a major consideration. We came across the “In the Wake of the Vikings” cruise with Viking ... Read More
Viking Cruise Trans-Atlantic September 2019 Our cruises are always chosen for their itinerary, but after that, of course, the cruise line is a major consideration. We came across the “In the Wake of the Vikings” cruise with Viking Ocean Cruises, a line new to us, back in early 2018, but we were not free at the time, so we expressed an interest with Viking for the 2019 sailing, through our local Travel Agent. We were not so happy, therefore, when we were eventually contacted by Viking to tell us that the cruise was finally open to the UK market, but, because it had been on sale in the USA for some time already, we had the choice of only one room in the category we wanted, a Penthouse Veranda room. It was, fortunately, in a good position, on the starboard side and forward, so we booked it immediately. Flights are arranged through Viking and we were booked on Scandinavian Air Services from Manchester to Bergen via Copenhagen, which all went smoothly. Our return flights, from Montreal to Heathrow and then on to Manchester, were with B.A. Unfortunately, our return flight to LHR was cancelled because of the B.A. strike and was, during the cruise, changed firstly with Air Canada to LHR and then with American Airlines to Philadelphia and Manchester when the Air Canada LHR/Manchester connection wasn’t possible. Ironically, because the Philadelphia flight from Montreal was stuck in Philadelphia when the time came, meaning our connection would be missed, we ended up back on our original B.A. flight to Heathrow, after retrieving our luggage and going back through Departures, which wasn’t pleasant, but we did at least get home not too much later than planned; the Economy section of the plane was almost empty too, which helped. Back in Bergen Airport, we learned from the Meet and Greet team that an alteration to the itinerary was already in place. The remnants of Storm Dorian were to blame, as bad weather predicted for our first two stops in Lerwick and Torshavn meant we would almost certainly not be able to enter the ports and also experience uncomfortable conditions at sea. The solution was to leave Bergen immediately and head for Iceland instead, missing our scheduled overnight stay in Bergen and full day there. Once aboard, which was a speedy and friendly process as we were quite late reaching the ship, we found a letter in our stateroom explaining the situation fully. Additional ports, Akureyri and Isafjordur, would replace Lerwick and Torshavn, after which our schedule would return to normal and we would avoid the worst of the storm by leaving Bergen immediately. This made little difference to us, as we have visited all four ports before, but many American guests were naturally disappointed. Our sea days were indeed on the rough side, but nothing too serious. Our days in Akureyri, Isafjordur and Reykjavik were good, but there was further information about the next part of the schedule from the Captain before we sailed from Iceland, heading for Greenland. Once again, stormy weather on our route to Prince Christian Sound and Nanortalik was to be avoided by turning a little north, which meant that we would still enter the Sound, but at the more comfortable time of midday instead of early morning. We would then miss Nanortalik completely and head straight for Qaqortoq. Once again, this suited us well as we were particularly keen to pass through the Sound and we were delighted that the Captain understood that it was an important part of the cruise for most passengers. This plan worked well and we had a wonderful passage through Prince Christian Sound, but before leaving Qaqortoq we were informed of a further change to the schedule because of the bad weather; the anchorage for L’Anse aux Meadows, a Viking settlement in Newfoundland, would be far too exposed to allow tendering, so the Captain and the company had gone to tremendous trouble to reorganise our stop to St. Anthony, a fifty minute bus ride away. Once again, everything worked very well, despite the need to disembark a sick guest into the conveniently close-by hospital, which delayed our departure. That was the end of our itinerary problems, but we have great admiration for the effort and cost the Viking Company was prepared to put into making our cruise as good as possible and we enjoyed the itinerary very much, although issues raised by other Cruise Critic writers about the actual location of the Saguenay dock and the lack of time in Quebec are worth noting. Viking Sea (and her sister ships) should have suited us down to the ground, because we don’t need evening entertainment, preferring the scenery outside the windows and the guest numbers are low. However, our final survey for the ship before disembarkation (conveniently delayed until after lunch for the group of us who had later flights) had us indicating that we would not recommend the ship to our friends and we would be very unlikely to travel with Viking again through a combination of several reasons. Slightly souring our initial impression of the ship was our first view of our room, which was missing the separate door and large window shown in the brochure, having instead a sliding door, somewhat screened by the curtain, which made the room seem dark and reduced the view from the sofa. We spend a lot of time in our room and this was a disappointment. The ship was full, so we could not be moved. I was also concerned by a possible lack of soundproofing after clearly hearing coughing through the wall, but in fact this was not an issue. Our main area of disappointment was the food on board Viking Sea. This is a very personal issue, of course. We prefer to eat in the World Cafe for all meals because we like the relaxed atmosphere and the views from the windows. We did eat in the Restaurant on one occasion when we thought the Cafe would be taken up by an Indian buffet, but it was extremely busy and my view was of a wall, whereas outside it was a beautiful evening. We just made it outside in time for the sunset. We never tried the other eating opportunities, apart from the Pool Grill, which we enjoyed. We found the menu in the World Cafe pretentious and repetitive and frequently not to our taste, with plenty of seafood and underdone meat, although the chefs would willingly cook portions to our requirements. Food was frequently cool in its presentation trays even when freshly put out and we learned to ask for our plates to be reheated, but cooked-to-order food could be left out on the plate for collection, therefore cooling again. Even my individual portion of mashed potato in the restaurant was cool. We usually enjoy soup on our cruises at lunch and dinner, but more often than not we found it was either fish or spicy and we went without. Desserts were more tempting and we took advantage of the gelato bar too, but our overall impression was poor, not helped by items missing from the drinks area, cool water in the hot water jugs and empty milk jugs. Making a hot drink could be a slow and frustrating process at times. Our early departure from Bergen meant that some food items had not been restocked, so some individual breakfast cereals were soon unavailable, as were some yoghurts and finally bagels. Even the orange juice from the machines turned into something more like sour squash from Quebec and would be like that for the next cruise, we were told. My reply was that I was pleased to be leaving, in that case. For some reason which is hard to define, we also found the atmosphere on board ship very uninspiring. The pool area and the Winter Garden were both frequently chilly, but guests, despite all rooms having their own balconies and sea views, would lie on the loungers wrapped in blankets. Even during the scenic cruising periods, there were not too many people outside to appreciate it. The indoor pool was closed almost all the time, either from the bad weather or maintenance and the outdoor hot pool was also occasionally closed at times. The outdoor decks were frequently closed due to the strong winds. The ship felt like an uninspiring Retirement Home, with Baggo the main excitement of the day! Obviously, there were plenty of other activities available during the day, but this is how we felt overall, compared with our experience on many other cruise ships. We also disliked the atrium area because all the windows were screened by obscuring netting, preventing any view outside, which was disappointing as this was a popular place to sit. The World Cafe sliding doors were ill-filling and draughty, but otherwise we generally enjoyed this space, even though we were often almost on our own there out of meal times. Viking Cruises offer an included tour at most ports. We normally preferred to walk around on our own, but at Qaqortok we opted into a “self guided” tour, which we thought would include an idea of a route and information on what we would see. Wrong! We received a basic map and enquiries afterwards made it clear that our group timings were simply a way of organising and monitoring the tendering process. Fair enough, but that is not a self-guided tour in our opinion. However, there were many things about Viking Sea we did like. We were most impressed by and appreciative of the information we were given by the Captain on the various itinerary changes and the way the problems were resolved. The staff members were all friendly and eager to help with any enquiries and our room stewards continually asked if we needed anything. An early cruise survey, which they asked us to fill in to satisfy their superiors, gave us the opportunity to suggest a couple of future improvements to the room in terms of more bathroom hanging space and hooks for outdoor coats, as well as mentioning the food issues. This resulted in the delivery of extra towels and hangers, which we declined, plus a series of phone calls from various departments trying to resolve matters which were generally simply suggestions! Our stateroom grade, Penthouse Verandah, included a complimentary minibar which was replenished daily. We don’t drink either the spirits or sodas in the minibar, but the sommelier was happy to remove those and provided us with wine to our taste instead. Lectures and port talks were available to watch on the room TV as well as live in the theatre, which we preferred on the whole. There was a good range of live TV, plus recorded programmes and films to choose from and the internet was usually good for our location. We were both able to use our tablets at the same time, which is unusual in our experience. Finally, although we stated in our disembarkation survey that we were unlikely to travel with Viking again, a promotion too good to miss and an interesting itinerary have offered us the opportunity to revise our opinions early next year. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We are in our mid fifties, very active, and chose this 23 day cruise because of the itinerary. It is a repositioning cruise, with 9 sea days. I was a bit nervous that I'd be bored during the sea days. In fact, I wish we'd had ... Read More
We are in our mid fifties, very active, and chose this 23 day cruise because of the itinerary. It is a repositioning cruise, with 9 sea days. I was a bit nervous that I'd be bored during the sea days. In fact, I wish we'd had more of them! The ship is beautiful. There are relaxing places to hide away, yet plenty of activities if you wish to be social. Make sure to do your research about the ship's facilities so you don't miss out on the many pleasures. So many people I spoke to had no idea the Nordic spa facilities existed - such a fabulous place and totally free of charge. Viking Orion caters for people who are intellectually curious, prefer reading books to gambling, and like a relaxed ambiance. The 7 lecturers on this cruise gave stimulating insights into geopolitics, nature, history, astronomy, art, and space travel. They made our sea days special. We particularly enjoyed Dr Jeffrey Hoffman, an ex NASA astronaut, who gave awe inspiring talks on his role with NASA, Hubble telescope, Mars exploration, and effects of space travel on the human body. Given that we were travelling the Pacific Ring of Fire, it might have been interesting to have had some talks about local Volcanoes, geology etc. Other daytime activities include Trivia ( great way to meet other people, we had several Trivia team Dinners), Bridge lessons, Dancing lessons, bean bag challenge, craft group, plus usual mini golf, shuffle board etc. The gym was well patronised. All the dining venues on the ship are excellent. The World Cafe is the buffet. It was occasionally crowded, but not like other ships. Sushi and crab legs are served in the evenings, but not on both sides of the buffet. Lots of variety, with some of the main restaurant items also turning up in the buffet ( not as prettily presented tho'). Breakfast was similar most days, but plenty of choice. Both speciality restaurants are free of charge. Although we were only able to make one reservation for each restaurant prior to the cruise, once you are on board you can basically go as many times as you wish, depending on availability. Booking through the cabin TV system is easy. Manfred's is Italian, with generous portions. Nobody minds if you have 2 starters, half portions of main courses ( steaks are large), or 3 desserts! Just ask. The Chefs table offers a 5 course degustation. The set menus change every 3 days. Portions are smaller, but still filling. We initially found the frequent details given by staff about the food and wine a bit fussy. Once you work out this restaurant is all about trying different flavours, textures, and seeing what works for you, then it becomes a food adventure. We went 5 times. The Restaurant offers plenty of choice, and is a great way to control food intake (unlike the buffet where you can easily scoff too much). Lots of tables for 2, or option to share with others. On sea days there were often themed lunches on the pool deck. My only complaint is that there is no food service between 2.30 - 4pm except for the Pool grill (or room service). This caused some lengthy waits at the pool grill when tours ended just after 2.30pm. Viking could consider opening Mamsens between these hours. We used the Fitness centre every other day. Its clean and spacious, with up to date equipment. The Pilates classes were very beneficial. Lily, our instructor, pushed us hard, and everyone kept coming back for more! Each Pilates session cost $10 . There are also Yoga and Aqua aerobics classes. The Nordic Spa was the quietest, most relaxing part of the ship. Incredible facilities - Steam room, snow grotto, Thalassotherapy pool, heated tile beds etc. Even a spin dryer to wring out your swimming costume. The Spa manager can give you a tour and show you how to use the facilities. You pay a fortune on other ships for this - here its free. Evening entertainment was varied. Our Cruise Director David, was extremely professional, with a great sense of humour. At least 6 guest entertainers were brought on board, each doing 2 shows. Ventriloquist, Don Bryan was a standout. The 4 Viking singers did 3 Musical Shows ( Abba, Beatle, and Motown). These shows are a medley of themed songs, and though very enthusiastically performed by the 4 talented singers, were not particularly entertaining ( however, lots of other guests loved the shows). The Viking Band were excellent, and when joined in Torshavn by vocalists Speedy and Kristelle, the party definitely started! The group assessed the demographic carefully, so a lot of 60's and 70s hits were played, along with some disco. The most modern hit was 'Uptown Funk'. The band really made a huge effort to please everybody - Thanks guys! The Pool Deck dance party was also well attended and fun. We purchased the Silver Spirits beverage package which was good value, especially with all the sea days. Bar staff were prompt, friendly, and willing to go the extra mile to get favourite drinks. Special mention to Ivan, for his wicked Gin cocktails. The staff have great customer service skills, even with those occasional guests who don't know how to say 'please' and 'Thank you'. Quality of service during the cruise was excellent. We did a mixture of included and optional tour excursions. The excursion Director gave realistic descriptions of the tours after the Port talks (these can also be watched on the room TV). Russia was more basic because of the remoteness of the area and because tourism is underdeveloped in the region visited. Everyone was given realistic expectations for remoter parts of Alaska and Russia ( and still some people whinged!) . The optional tour standouts for us were the "Alaskan Glaciers by helicopter' in Valdez, and Zip Lining in Ketchikan. Dutch Harbour had no organised tours, but turned out to be a hidden treasure. There were shuttle buses to town, stopping at a couple of small but fascinating museums. We learned about the Japanese bombing of Dutch harbour, and the terrible displacement of the Aleut people of the region. We then climbed Mt Ballyhoo and found the ruins of the WW2 defences, along with spectacular views. I would recommend Viking start grading their larger tours into fast, medium or slow walking groups. This works well on the river cruises, and allows for less able-bodied folks to mobilise safely, and for energetic passengers to see and do more. The cruise was excellent - look forward to sailing with Viking again, and would recommend this itinerary to those wanting a mixture of relaxation, education, and amazing scenery. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
An outstanding cruise which combines a repositioning with multi country/culture adventure. Seeing Alaska, Russia and Japan all while gaining extra sleep every other day made this relaxing. This ship (like all the Viking cruise ship) is as ... Read More
An outstanding cruise which combines a repositioning with multi country/culture adventure. Seeing Alaska, Russia and Japan all while gaining extra sleep every other day made this relaxing. This ship (like all the Viking cruise ship) is as near perfect as you can get. Comfort, food, service, public spaces, what’s included and what’s not ( no casino, kids, photos, auctions, crowds, etc) makes it a top cruise line. The entertainment was very good and varied as they pick-up up new entertainers all along the 22 days. But the talks were the best. Especially the NASA mission specialist / astronaut who took 5 trips into earth orbit and worked on the Hubble telescope. The planetarium was a nice change but needs better shows. Specialty restaurants were outstanding. We ate there many times but also loved the dining room. There were many nationalities represented on the cruise with the majority being Australians the Americans. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Selected this cruise because of promotional brochure indicating interesting ports of call. Promotional material didn't properly identify that many ports on this cruise were for a limited time, less than day, which made the cruise much ... Read More
Selected this cruise because of promotional brochure indicating interesting ports of call. Promotional material didn't properly identify that many ports on this cruise were for a limited time, less than day, which made the cruise much less enjoyable and disappointing. Wouldn't have taken it if had known this fact. Scheduled for two days in Barcelona and left after first evening. Afternoon or morning on five other destinations. Also not clear on personal touring transportation option which were limited. If you promote a stop/city then don't have transportation for sell guided tours readily available very disappointing. Most excursions were good but a few tried to pack too much activity into too short a time in port. We have done numerous river cruises with Viking and self guided is a big plus. Ship was nice and having taken an Amazon cruise in December we were familiar with the ship offering. Staff was always pleasant and accommodating. New ship so facilities were good. Enjoyed the Restaurant and the World Cafe'. World Cafe' staff was solicitous to passengers compensating for self service format. Had two occasions in Resturant that staff wasn't good and reflected staff either overworked or focused on certain passengers Selection of items was good in the World Cafe'.. We were not fans of the Chiefs Table due to the presentation and selection of menu but that is just a personal choice. Heard lot's of compliments about Chiefs Table from others. Manfradi's was pleasant but often portions were too large. Also some staff more pleasant than others. Again just a personal choice and observation. Service was good so would recommend this to other travelers. Enjoyed Mamsens and Explorer Lounge. Staff was great and environment was great place to meet other travelers. Sorry that this cruise wasn't what we had hoped for. Compared to our Amazon Cruise with Viking, our first Viking Ocean Cruise, this was a disappointment. Undecided on future Ocean cruising with Viking but would recognize that they do a good job on board. Will always consider Viking River Cruising. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Choose Viking cruise based on positive prior Viking tour experience and smaller ship size. Ship personnel, amenities and dining experience more than met our expectations. Land tours were interesting and at a reasonable pace with adequate ... Read More
Choose Viking cruise based on positive prior Viking tour experience and smaller ship size. Ship personnel, amenities and dining experience more than met our expectations. Land tours were interesting and at a reasonable pace with adequate free time. On board included spa was exceptional, relaxing and regularly available. We got to know the dining staff who regularly went out of their way to accommodate our dining and drink likes even if they were not on the menu. The daily buffets offered a wide selection of food and dessert selections. Daily room service provided went smoothly. Daily news letter outline the on board and land tour itineraries to help in planning activities. On-board shows and talks were entertaining and educational. The mid ship pool area offered drinks, snacks and special pool menu. Pool area provided seats and lounge chairs over looking large windows in which to view whales, mountains and ports. Open mid ship area offered live music and games. Front explorer lounge offered drinks snacks, food and views. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Chose this cruise because we wanted to visit Japan, Eastern Russia and the Behring Sea. The ship was second to none, and I've sailed on many ocean cruises: 4 times on Princess (reasonably good for the money, but certainly not ... Read More
Chose this cruise because we wanted to visit Japan, Eastern Russia and the Behring Sea. The ship was second to none, and I've sailed on many ocean cruises: 4 times on Princess (reasonably good for the money, but certainly not great), 1 time on Celebrity (very good cruise line!), 1 time on Orient (now out of business - and with good reason), and 3 times on Oceania (also a very good cruise line -- but with several negatives which makes me wonder if I'll ever sail with Oceania again). But the best, by far, was Viking's Ocean ship - the Orion. Here's why: OLDER TRAVELERS. I'm a senior citizen (age 67 at the time) and this ship was great for older folks -- which is not to say that it's not also great for folks from about 35 years and older. But no children are permitted, so there was no crying children to cope with. My wife and I interacted with many others on this cruise and everyone was pleasant or nicer. I can't, of course, control who can sail on this cruise line, and one small group bothered me. I overheard them in the buffet restaurant complaining about a long delay to sail away from an Alaskan port -- and they were correct; it was a long delay. But they unanimously and loudly decided it was those "lazy union workers" at the port who were responsible even though there was no way for them to know. I've never been a union worker but to accuse anyone of something without evidence is just ignorant. I guess it takes all types to make a passenger list. SHIP. The ship is very well laid out. I love libraries on ships and on Viking there were little libraries all over the ship -- all with comfortable chairs and loungers, and friendly, attentive, unobtrusive drink service. Besides great libraries the décor was expensive but very tasteful. So many interesting pieces of art all over the ship, and great photos too. The interior of the ship was done in very warm, cozy colors. The gym was fantastic with just about any kind of machine you can want -- European style. I loved the fact that there was NEVER a line at the elevators! The stairs are right there, but if you want the ride, the elevators are fast and readily available -- even at meal time. FOOD. This is always of interest to travelers. I found that the food in the main dining room ranged from superb to rotten. Of course if you don't like your menu choice you can always get something else from that menu -- so you always have something at least "pretty good" to eat if not superb. The specialty restaurants were superb every time we went, and they don't cost extra to get in. But you do need reservations and at least BEORE the cruise you are limited in the number of reservations you can make in those specialty restaurants. After you're on the trip you can get extra reservations if available at the time you want. Another thing I liked about Viking Ocean cruises is the fact that in the restaurants (but not the buffet) if you're an anti-social sort (like me) you can always get a table for just you and your traveling companion. You can always opt to dine as part of a larger group, and if you want to dine with specific friends, that's always possible (if your friends like you enough). One other thing about the main dining room: it is NOT one large room; it is divided into five (or was it seven?) separate seating areas, so you never felt like you are eating in an airplane hangar or, ugh, a barn. The main dining rooms always felt cozy and service was great. CABIN: This was our first cruise with Viking, so I can't say much about the other cabins on the ship, but ours was enormous. Wasn't quite big enough for a full basketball game with referees and such, but very spacious and well-appointed. Of course the cabin steward and helper were so very pleasant, respectful (he wouldn't call me by my first name even though I insisted) and efficient. However, since my wife and I were in a large suite it was strange (after cruising on Oceania) that there was no "butler" service. I'm not a butler-type guy; I'm sweet and gentle and never demanding. But butler service on Oceania was so wonderful, and I missed it on Viking -- especially in our pricey cabin suite. But the cabin steward and his helper were great, and when we had laundry to do -- it always came back within 24 hours even though the schedule said it would take 48 hours. Go figure. POOL. I never went in the pool, but I loved the fact that the pool had a retractable roof so that when it was closed it was comfortable for swimming even in cold climates. As always on this ship, a library was right nearby and I did sit at poolside very content to read in peace and quiet. (Yes, fellow travelers did use the pool in every climate we visited.) ENTERTAINMENT. I can't say enough about the entertainment! I tend to choose lectures and science-oriented movies and there were 3 (count 'em, THREE) auditoriums (auditoria?). One very large one and there were always seats available for whatever was going on there, and two smaller ones for movies and lectures. Again, never a problem getting seats in these smaller places. The two smaller ones were closed off from the very large auditorium by a moveable wall - so during very popular entertainment presentations the seats in the small auditoriums became part of the already-large largest auditorium. FUTURE CRUISES. There is a "future cruises" office available (on a rather limited time schedule, unfortunately), and the discounts for those wanting to book future Viking cruises (both Ocean and River, I think) while on a current cruise are great! My wife and I were so impressed with Viking Ocean cruises that we booked another cruise at this "future cruises" office. The fellow who worked there could have been a little better informed on certain matters, but he was knowledgeable enough. Maybe he was filling-in for somebody else. But, as I said, his schedule in that office was very limited and you really needed to make a reservation in advance. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was our third cruise with Viking ocean. We chose this trip for the itinerary. We had never been to Asia and liked the ports in both Asia and Alaska. Crossing the Int’l Dateline added to the attraction. We were in the Orion in ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Viking ocean. We chose this trip for the itinerary. We had never been to Asia and liked the ports in both Asia and Alaska. Crossing the Int’l Dateline added to the attraction. We were in the Orion in Jan-Feb visiting New Zealand, Tasmania and Australia. This crew was better trained and worked well together. We were pleased with most aspects of the ship. A few little things need work, but nothing major. You know what you get with Viking-it is an older crowd but activities/entertainment were sufficient for us. While some of the entertainment was the same, they did a good job at adding new entertainers. As Viking enters new parts of the world they are learning their way with shore excursions and local customs. Shore excursions were well managed. They do a good job at calling people at the right time and keep waiting times to a minimum. Checkin staff did a great job. Local guides were good. A sufficient level of activities were offered. EMBARKATION a breeze. You can arrive well before your checkin time. You are greeted with a glass of champagne and invited to use the open restaurants. Your luggage will be in your room by your assigned checkin time. DISEMBARKATION-we had a curve thrown as we could not stay in port because of too many ships in Vancouver. Luggage was offloaded in the middle of the night. We didn’t hear a thing. We disembarked via tender according to flight times. Full breakfast services available. You had to be out of your stateroom by 10am. Tenders left according to schedule with staff assisting everyone. Our luggage was waiting at our terminal at the airport. One of the most efficient operations we have experienced. CABINS Deck 3. Be careful of location. Torshavn noise is audible almost every night. Not late into the night, but it may bother some. A very convenient deck. DINING-Dining room and World Cafe offered a varied selection. Soups could use some improvement. Replenishment of eating utensils/napkins was too slow. Chef’s table-staff could use better training. One visit we had two wine pairings and no food. The French menu was too rich; not a good balance between first and main courses. Manfredi’s was very good, but don’t try to have pasta as a separate course-throws them off! SERVICE in general was excellent. Lounges and bar waiters were great. Most were very personable-not long before they know your name and cabin #! Room steward was wonderful-Edwin. SHIP-beautifully appointed. Always spotless. This ship has a dome. I don’t think this is a feature that will be included in the rest of the fleet. Makes the 8th floor area very hot. Eliminates a nice viewing/drinking area. Don’t know if that is the reason why the 7th floor area of the Explorers lounge tends to be cold. The skins on the sofas are starting to shed. Most people rolled them back to protect their clothing! PORTS/excursions. Viking’s first visits to ports can present problems. Most of our excursions were organized. In cases where we took local shuttles the scheduled were mixed. We ended up seeing what we wanted to see. ACTIVITIES-a little more variety on sea days would have been good as this was a long cruise. Lectures varied and sufficient. Like the ability to view the port talk in your cabin on the following day. Very good selection of shows/movies on the in-room system. Free internet a great feature-reception was generally good. Suggestions-have hot water in the World Cafe for hand-washing. There were some illness problems. The internet system in the room for onboard account, reservations, etc needs immediate help. The ship can not control or correct any errors. The dining for Chef’s Table had the wrong info for almost 8 days. The general website also had errors for our trip. The map wasn’t corrected until a few days before we sailed. On board future booking-a great offer that we used. However, you need to book a specific cruise that you know you won’t be using. Mucks up the booking system for other Viking customers and the whole reservation system. Viking needs to keep its attention to detail at a high level as they release the rest of the fleet! We will sail with them again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was our first ocean cruise with viking. We had 2 days in madrid, spain prior to the cruise. The hotel, tours, services, and transfer were excellent. Embarkation in barcelona went smoothly. The ship was very beautiful. The room was ... Read More
This was our first ocean cruise with viking. We had 2 days in madrid, spain prior to the cruise. The hotel, tours, services, and transfer were excellent. Embarkation in barcelona went smoothly. The ship was very beautiful. The room was a standard veranda. It was nicely appointed and comfortable. We liked the world cafe for dinning. It had a wide variety of foods each meal. The restaurant was very good. Similar food to that served in the world cafe. We ate once in the chef’s table. The service and food were excellent. Great wine selection. Service on the ship was excellent. All the staff did their best to make our cruise comfortable. There was an issue with the ship staying in barcelona overnight so we had to move down the coast. This caused several of the shore excursions to be canceled or you had to ride a bus back for the excursion. The excursion to london required an 1.5 hour bus ride each way along with a ride around the highlights of city. Too much time on the bus and not enough time on foot at a destination. The foodie walking tour in copenhagen was excellent. The guide was very knowledgeable and entertaining. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
My brother and I wanted to cross the Atlantic. We were particularly looking forward to Funchal (Madeira) Portugal, cruising through the Strait of Gibraltar and visiting Sevilla and Valencia, Spain. We were not let down; sea days were a ... Read More
My brother and I wanted to cross the Atlantic. We were particularly looking forward to Funchal (Madeira) Portugal, cruising through the Strait of Gibraltar and visiting Sevilla and Valencia, Spain. We were not let down; sea days were a blast, the weather was good (60s and 70s), excursions were terrific. The staff is amazing - open and friendly, always engaging & remembering our names, taking care of any requests. Just terrific. Here’s an example of great service; we would read on the top deck most days in the late afternoon, where comfortable couches are located outside. One day there had been early rain, and the furniture had been secured. We asked a senior crew member if they could set up the furniture and within 5 minutes, it was set. Very impressive. The food was very good, entertainment was great. The Viking singers get a huge high-five. We used Viking Air Plus, which I recommend- all transfers were seamless. You can’t go wrong with Viking, and I have already signed on to a 2020 cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We had always wanted to see Australia and New Zealand. Originally we thought we'd do this as a mostly land tour with another company, but my wife floated the option of doing this, plus Sydney to Auckland (which we will do the end of ... Read More
We had always wanted to see Australia and New Zealand. Originally we thought we'd do this as a mostly land tour with another company, but my wife floated the option of doing this, plus Sydney to Auckland (which we will do the end of this year). Viking could not have done a better job! This was a relatively new itinerary for the ship and crew, so this was especially impressive because they were still ironing out details with excursions. Some of our fellow guests did have some complaints such as not getting the ones they wanted, or did not like the free included excursions. Most of the free ones were okay, although 1 or 2 did not have great tour guides, but if people chose their paid excursions when Viking first made them available (before trip), there should not have been a problem. The crew on the ship were wonderful, from the captain who gave us daily updates (even on a storm that was chasing us) to the cabin stewards to the dining staff. They all would go out of their way to accommodate any request. I also greatly enjoyed the musical performances in the atrium as well as the shows and the planetarium. My wife (and obviously many others onboard) really appreciated the free laundry room. The itinerary and the excursions made this one the best trips I ever had. Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef was just spectacular. My wife tells everyone this was her dream trip (and we've done quite a few!) because she loves animals. Holding a koala at Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo near Brisbane, feeding wallabies, even feeding crocodiles at Crocodylus Park were experiences she'll treasure forever. There were certainly many opportunities to see wildlife we don't see here in the states, but there are also many options for other things to see and do, like the views at Castle Hill in Townsville. When we got to see the Komodo dragons, that was quite spectacular, but an added plus there was the nature walk around the island (of course with the guides to keep an eye on us!) I understand that due to poaching Indonesia may restrict this particular island, but hopefully there are other islands Viking can use for this excursion. The temples on Lombok and Bali were unbelievably beautiful and unique. As difficult as it was to believe, some on the tour criticized seeing them, but I think these were probably the same people who complain about the beautiful cathedrals in Europe. The Laguna Luxury Resort and Spa in Nusa Dua is a spectacular complex with unbelievable views from our rooms, 7 swimming pools, restaurants, nature walks, a beautiful beach, spa treatments in thatch-covered beach-front rooms and many other amenities, with many types of colorful birds. Although we gravitated towards zoos and nature parks, Viking has other tours that should appeal to almost anyone. Although some excursions may seem a bit expensive, when you take into account the extremely affordable cruise rates (compared with land and air travel by other companies) it's a great deal. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We are incredulous about the service on this ship: friendly, attentitive, and conscientious. Each person we see greets us warmly and with authenticity. The waiters learn your names within a day or two and treat you like royalty. After ... Read More
We are incredulous about the service on this ship: friendly, attentitive, and conscientious. Each person we see greets us warmly and with authenticity. The waiters learn your names within a day or two and treat you like royalty. After five days of being at sea, there is no let up in the attention to detail and graciousness. The food is generally quite good; the sushi bar is excellent and Manfredi's is uniformly delicious. We regret getting the silver spirits package however because one of us drinks only wine and the included wines listed are sub-par. The hard liquor choices on the other hand are wide-ranging and more than sufficient! Silver Spirits runs about $20/day and covers drinks up to $15, which is the price we normally pay for a single servings of wine so we thought we'd be okay, but were quickly disappointed. Next time we'll know or bring our bottles onboard which they permit. Love the ship, the room to spread out and the wifi has been terrific! Read Less
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
Sail Date February 2019
If you want a ship with a casino, climbing wall, giant water slide, etc., ignore this review and Viking Oceans. If you seek a family cruise with you and your (non-adult) children, look elsewhere. If you like cruising with thinking people ... Read More
If you want a ship with a casino, climbing wall, giant water slide, etc., ignore this review and Viking Oceans. If you seek a family cruise with you and your (non-adult) children, look elsewhere. If you like cruising with thinking people and a remarkably intelligent, attentive crew visiting an itinerary of a lifetime on an impeccable, smallish ship, read on. We are just back from Viking’s Grand Pacific Explorer cruise that traced all around the Pacific, roughly following the Ring of Fire from New Zealand through Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Russia (Siberia), across the Bering Sea, and down through Alaska to Vancouver. Portions of this 93-day itinerary were also available in smaller chunks of 15 to 23 days. As we came to realize, the guests on shorter legs were taking a cruise on the ship. We lived there. And it was fantastic. There were roughly two dozen of us who traveled the entire way and another fifteen or so who embarked in Sydney for 79 of the 93 days. All tolled, we traveled 19,919 nautical miles on the ship. Convert to statue miles and add on the air travel, and our adventure went far beyond the distance around the globe. What we learned: You can be happy on a Viking Oceans ship for a long time and still be happily married. Although our Penthouse Veranda was not the smallest stateroom, several of the Grand Voyagers were in the standard size (all veranda) staterooms, and there was at least one couple who survived and celebrated their 50th anniversary just afterward. The secret is the many varied public spaces on the ship. The Explorer’s Lounge is great 24/7, and you don’t have to order any booze to just sit and enjoy the view and read. Or converse in comfortable seating clusters. Add the quiet reading area in the deck 1 library, the exterior wings outside the Winter Garden, and various nooks and crannies. There is always somewhere to go. Crossing the equator and the International Dateline can be fun. Viking made sure we celebrated on both occasions. May 14 happened TWICE (thus 93 days, not 92)! The seas are never what you expect. Yes, the Tasman Sea can be “lively,” as can the Bass Strait above Tasmania, but even the Bering Sea is not necessarily going to be bad. If you count on good or bad seas, you won’t get them. It’ s pure luck. Siberia did kick up a ruckus for us for one day, but the Bering Sea was crazy calm! You will get to know the crew very, very well. They will bring you just about anything, anytime. Room service delivers ANYTHING on their menu for free anytime. Ask for the things you don’t see but crave. This applies to those on the ship for two short weeks or for three months. “Another latte, madame?” “A scone from tea in the Wintergarden?… sure I will get that for you.” The only cost is if you elect to drink alcohol from the bar. Those with the Silver Spirits package pay nothing. Others like us paid very reasonable prices with no added gratuities if we chose to drink. Of course, the minibar in our PV cabin had standard level booze and mixers of our choice, so we could always carry our own drinks to the lounge. If we had brought a bottle of our own on board-- no problem. They’ll even provide the glass and ice. No nickels. No dimes. There is a bar waiter, Ardel, who introduced me to an excellent formula for a top shelf margarita, now dubbed the “Ardel Margarita” by several of us who enjoyed it! The senior officers are incredible. Kudos to the general manager for most of our cruise, Joaquim Scherz, and to the restaurant manager Gerome Venon, for making our group of voyagers feel especially welcome and for preventing monotony from EVER setting in – as if that could happen with such a rich itinerary! Even the entertainment team added some new performances so we could enjoy the talents of two different Viking Bands who were onboard during our tenure and especially the excellent ensemble of four young Viking Vocalists Aoibhin, Jorgen, Dan, and Beth, whom we got to know quite well. (These four, by the way, were the first to be awarded a new contract by Viking to stay together on their next cruise in the Caribbean.) Kudos to cruise director Spencer who rose to the role on this, his first cruise in the position. When Viking says they are a family, they are serious. That includes the passengers. They know you. They figure you out within a few days, and they are all eager to make the cruise p-e-r-f-e-c-t. Your cabin steward knows when you are likely to be out and about or when you have an excursion scheduled. The ice is there every day on time. The things you store in you bathroom are arranged exactly as you like them. After a few days, people know your names. (The general manager told us he actually looks over each guest list in advance and learns names and scans for those he has met before.) We learned much about the way Viking hires, trains, and rotates its crew and senior officers. We boarded Viking Orion and saw crewmembers we had met four years ago on Viking Star, now promoted to higher positions and happy in “the family.” The family extends to all the ships. When the Viking Sky encountered rough seas off the coast of Norway (while we were in Australia), every crewmember on Viking Orion was paying attention, praying, and even helping to send a video to the crew of Viking Sky in support and thanks for all their efforts. Family goes both ways. We Voyagers truly got attached to Joaquim and gave him a Viking umbrella salute send-off as he departed for a well-earned vacation. There were tears. Viking is truly fortunate to have such amazing people, and Joaquim is one who has been with VO since its launch. If he has any say about it, the quality will not diminish as the company expands. We sincerely hope his influence will keep things as good as they are! Speaking of family, our group of “Voyagers” definitely became one. People who take Viking cruises are fascinating folks with endless interests and stories. When you meet new people at home, you may see them once a week or a couple of times a month. When you make new friends on a ship, you see each other as often as three meals a day plus an excursion. Yes, we could avoid seeing them, but we enjoyed getting to know each other—really well! We avoided talking politics -- which was a refreshing change for over 90 days! We compared notes about our days (what excursion did you take?), drank a LOT of free wine (opened and closed the World Café many times), and watched out for each other when someone was “solo” on an excursion. These friendships will last for sure. We learned about the tons and tons of food they bring on board and when. We noticed that the chef went into town to pick up a few things while we were out on excursions – but only if he can find provisions that met Viking’s strict quality and safety standards. Within a couple of days, the cook at the breakfast fruit and yogurt bar handed me a bowl as I walked in each day and several times kept a few strawberries aside when the stock was dwindling before the next provisioning. He found the plain Greek yogurt that I like if it is not out on display. He was genuinely apologetic when the strawberries ran out in Siberia! If it wasn’t perfect, all we had to do was ask. Just when I was muttering to myself that there weren’t any chocolate options on the desert bar in the World Café, one of the supervisors offered to go down and get a chocolate mousse from the sit-down Restaurant downstairs…. “And where are you sitting, madame?” Or if the buffet choices were not exactly what we wanted, the chef custom-prepared a strip steak (“Medium? Four minutes, please.”) and delivered it to our table, with a potato and sour cream if that was what we wanted. All this in the “buffet” style World Café, our favorite venue for every day. Manfredi’s, the Italian specialty restaurant, is a gem. People seem to figure this out quickly, so be sure to book reservations as soon as you can. Book before you embark, as we did or stop by the laptop at the entrance to the world café to add more or make changes. We also learned that they will make every effort to change your numbers as you meet people and want a larger table. (Thank you, Ian!) Yes, we also ate in the Chef’s Table, but after trying each of the (mostly delicious) menus, we found we preferred the less formal and more flexible options elsewhere. We aren’t “The Restaurant” type people, though many of our friends were and enjoyed it just as much as we enjoyed the free-ranging exploration of the world Café – the same food, but you can graze and get up from your table at will. (Just hide your fork…. They clear TOO quickly!) The only nights I personally did not enjoy as much were the Indian Buffet theme nights, but my husband loved them. I just ordered a strip steak and tasted a few other things. I made the suggestion that perhaps not EVERYTHING had to be Indian… like the weird gelato flavors. We learned SO MUCH. The itinerary was loaded with places we had always wanted to see, and Viking offered many ways to learn about each one. The guest lecturers were great, and word gets out about which ones are REALLY good. The naturalist in the north Pacific and Alaska, the historian in Southest Asia, the archaeologist in New Zealand, the reef pilot on the Great Barrier Reef, and many others were terrific. If they can keep you awake in a darkened theater on a gently rocking sea, they must be good! The video replays on demand in the cabins were a MUST to keep up with the many things to learn. What we saw: It is a challenge to summarize forty-seven ports, but there were recurring themes: wildlife, history, religions, World Heritage sites, gardens, wine/beer/whiskey. We chose to take many optional excursions, mostly because we don’t like touring on buses much. A bus to GET somewhere is fine. We tend to like walking tours better. When we compared notes with our fellow travelers, we learned that by skipping some of the included excursions, we missed some good stuff. Some of the descriptions did not make it clear just how much time would be spent on or OFF the bus. As my husband says, the descriptions are a bit like real estate ads. Example: “Enjoy a panoramic tour.” Translate: bus ride. As Viking continues in these ports, we are sure the excursions will be refined and the descriptions edited for a better match to what is actually there. In the first season of a new itinerary, this is tough. We took this cruise knowing that would happen. Our priorities for tours may not be yours. My husband is a photo buff—both wildlife and street scenes, and I tend to enjoy culture, art, crafts, and people. Sometimes we split up to see what we liked best. We did not need to stay together every day of a 93 day cruise! Don’t miss the onboard cultural visitors. There were local groups who came on board in several countries to perform music and dance. ALL were amazing. Sometimes we did not find out about them until the day before or the day of. READ the Viking Daily! Port/excursion highlights: (Unless otherwise stated, all excursions/tours were VIKING offerings) Everything in New Zealand. Lots of wildlife and Maori culture options. We especially enjoyed visiting a sheep farm outside Napier, a foodie tour I did in Wellington, a seal watch my husband did outside Wellington, and wildlife cruises outside Christchurch and Dunedin. Others went to interior locations such as the Hobbiton tour. This may not be the best way to see interior New Zealand. I wish I’d had more time at Rotorua at the native (Maori) center there. Australia: Hobart, Tasmania. This port is right in town and we wish we had stayed MUCH longer. Just walk off the ship, and you were in a pedestrian area filled with shops and history. (Think Viking River Cruises.) We took a tour outside of town and visited a winery and the charming town of Richmond. Wish we could have done BOTH. We’d like to go back to Tasmania. The koala and kangaroo sanctuary outside Melbourne. Unlike many “sanctuaries” where the animals are caged or restricted, this one has animals on their own in the wild and shows visitors how to find and follow them respectfully. No koala cuddling, but fantastic naturalists who teach and let you participate in finding the animals. Sydney: Did a pub crawl in The Rocks on a HOT day. Saw lots of local color: weddings, crazy young professionals out having fun, and of course the Opera House right at Circular Quay. Since Viking Orion is small enough to pass under the Harbor Bridge, we were docked a short shuttle FERRY ride from Circular Quay. This could have been a pain, but it’s much more fun than a shuttle bus! We had a day on our own while others disembarked and embarked. Viking did offer an excursion for the in-transit passengers, but we elected to spend time with some new friends from Sydney whom we “met” here on CC. (They joined our cruise later in Hong Kong.) Great city. Almost anything you can do would be fun. Whitsunday Islands and Cairns: both are portals to the Great Barrier Reef. We went on a smaller catamaran out to snorkel in the Whitsundays and a very large one (but well managed) in Cairns. We are not experienced snorkelers and have never seen the reef before, so we enjoyed these. Experienced GBR visitors might like more private or selective tours, but these are hard to find and schedule within port time limits. Viking did managed the tendering in Cid Harbor (Whitsundays) very well. Thursday Island--- skipped because of an incoming cyclone! Darwin: wildlife options again. We saw Jumping Crocs, which we thought would be really touristy. It actually was fun. The Territory Wildlife Park was also good, though VERY warm. Take lots of water with you! Be sure to visit the aviary. Weaker Australia ports: Newcastle, Townsville. These are perhaps good ports for their access to other places inland, but we did not find the actual towns as interesting. Maybe with time? Indonesia: In general, Indonesia has bad traffic, hot weather, and lots of temples. The blend of religions is fascinating and varies from island to island. Get a taste by seeing some of everything. Komodo: The national park is going to be closed for 2020. We were lucky to see the dragons. Very hot, and the most aggressive vendors we saw on the entire cruise were in the tent as we left the park. Be prepared to be tough and to haggle. Otherwise just duck and keep on walking! TAKE WATER. Viking did an outstanding job of managing the tendering and keeping guests hydrated and safe. They were on the dock with COLD towels and drinks as we finished the tour. The really wanted everyone to drink and stay safe. Bali: another disembarkation/embarkation port. On the day on our own, we traveled by cab into Denpasar to visit the fabric street—a MUST for any quilter or sewing enthusiast. We did an evening dinner and performance that evening which was fun, though touristy. We enjoyed seeing Batiks being made and wood carvers in action on a Viking excursion the next day. Surabaya: We visited a temple that is actually within an amusement park. Though it looked like we were entering Wally World, the temple, right next to the water, was interesting. The seafood lunch served on the way was excellent though a bit crowded. Our highlight was a stop at a T-shirt place that had graphically bold shirts at very low (fixed) prices. Thanks to a good tour guide. We’ve gotten compliments on those shirts everywhere. Semarang: Entre to a daylong trip to Borobudur, a must-see. Don’t do the included tour. Not much there. The Rainbow Village is not as enthralling as they say. Those who went to Borobudur said the long ride was definitely worth it, especially with the police escort that accompanied the bus caravan, stopping the challenging traffic. Think presidential motorcade. Viking managed an unfortunate bus accident between two buses that were following too closely pretty well. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt. Jakarta: Interesting but not worth two days? Went on a tour that included an inside visit to a large mosque and Catholic cathedral and a walk through Chinatown Had some time on the second day to go into town on the Viking shuttle to a shopping mall that offered great shopping for authentic batik shirts and much more. I think half the ship bought batik shirts. Weaker ports in Indonesia: Lombok? We actually did not go into this tender port. Those who did said we did not miss much. We really should not judge. Singapore One day, and not enough. Unfortunately, immigration stole over 90 minutes of our day—through no fault of Viking. If there were way for the ship to stay two days and not have to do this each day, it would be worth it. We did a walking “Odyssey” tour and saw little India, Chinatown, and an area called Arab Street. I’d do that tour again. We had time to explore on our own, which we always like. I’d like to have seen the gardens at Singapore Marina Bay, but we did not have time. I’d REALLY like to swim in the world’s largest infinity pool on the rooftop there, but you have to stay in the hotel to do that… unless Viking has connections? Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) Our one day was a quick stop. My husband and I did separate tours. He enjoyed the Batu Caves and Pewter factory tour, managing to avoid having his hat stolen by the monkeys. I did the Blue Mosque tour, which was a misnomer. We saw a view of the mosque at a GREAT distance. We did enjoy a tour of several sites in the city and a FANTASTIC lunch at the Renaissance Hotel. Of course, the last thing we needed was more good food! We honestly cannot say whether Kuala Lumpur is worth more time. Thailand Bangkok: The port is VERY, very far from the city, at least two hours drive if traffic is not bad. We had three days in Bangkok, the middle one a disembarkation/embarkation day for other passengers. We did Viking’s Bangkok After Dark tour, which was twelve hours long! The heat was oppressive, and the guide kept a pace that was a bit too enthusiastic for the heat. It did take us to great things and included a much appreciated foot massage after a lot of walking. We had a local dinner of SPICY pad thai and time shopping in the iconic night market. The tour is good, but plan on being totally soaked with sweat. Pace yourself and carry water. We took a private tour on the ship’s changeover day, and that was smart. We had a small van with great A/C and endless water. We could get back into the cool van often. We split the tour cost with three other friends, so it was quite reasonable. We visited locations our first tour did not include. Day 3 took my husband on the Viking tour out to the Summer Palace and Ayutthaya. He declared that tour to be excellent, including the golf carts! (I rested and did much-needed laundry out of the heat.) Cambodia Sihanoukville: This is the toughest port to talk about. It is not pretty, and the people lack hope. This port sparked great debate among our friends onboard. In my opinion, Viking needs to be honest about what you will see (poverty, loads of trash, hopelessness). The contrasts of the hotel where Jackie Kennedy stayed (a claim to fame in this miserable town) and the life in a local fishing village are painful. The Cambodian Cuisine tour we took involved riding in tuktuks through dusty, dirty streets. I did not initially appreciate the mask they gave me to wear, as I have never had respiratory issues. In the end, I actually needed it. The market offered a realistic view of what people buy and eat. The beachfront barbecue food attracted too many flies for us to taste it. Then we went to the Jackie hotel and had delicious hors d’oeuvres and drinks while feeling hollowly fortunate. The second day we took the included tour, but we were warned by our friends to expect very sad scenes and sickening smells. They were right. The little children who should have been in school -- but had never even been REGISTERED to attend -- bore witness to the lack of hope of the Cambodian people. Yes, Viking should let us all see the realities, but the descriptions also need to be accurate. This port is a place to learn and think, not to enjoy. If the corrupt government is benefitting from Viking’s visits, perhaps this is not a good idea? Sadly, the countryside beyond the city has exceptional natural beauty, and the guides were very honest about their plight. Vietnam What a contrast to Cambodia. There is hope, and education is highly valued in this rapidly-growing economy. VERY. VERY. HOT. Ho Chi Minh City (known to the locals as Saigon): Three days. A fair distance from the port -- about an hour. Fantastic city to visit! We did the Saigon Cooking Class, which was excellent in both organization and fun. We shopped in the market, cooked, learned a lot, and enjoyed our own cooking. The next day we enjoyed a special visit to the Hotel Reverie with our fellow Voyagers (NOT an excursion) for high tea. This was arranged by the general manager and restaurant manager just for our group. WOW. If you have a chance to do this high tea on your own, DO IT. We’ve never, ever seen anything like it! Try the iced Vietnamese coffee. It’s addictive. The third day we did Viking’s “Iconic Ben Thanh Market” tour which was disappointing. We spent more time being served food than exploring the market (allowing NO time for this). I expect Viking will be clarifying expectations with the tour operator on this, as several of us spoke to the ship about it. Chan May (near Danang): Excursion to Ancient Hoi An. This city was swamped with tourists, and the tour was too commercialized for us. We had hoped for an interesting walking tour. We were herded into places to buy things, stopped ever so briefly amid the crowds to take pictures of landmarks with said crowds. Little to no time on our own as was advertised. Other guides were apparently more flexible, and our friends enjoyed their tours. Ha Long Bay (overnight): Wow. This place is drop dead gorgeous. Even the included tour is amazing. We did a longer, slightly different boat tour of the bay, including a stop at a floating village. Great tour! We also went outside the city to the mountains and Yen Tu Monastery. What a wonderful change of pace. We meditated and talked with the leader of the monastery, a man with remarkable charisma. The tour also included a delicious dinner at a resort hotel in the mountains. A winner! Hong Kong (3 days) Another changeover port. The included tour was good- Victoria Peak (in clouds), sampan ride in Aberdeen, and Stanley Market with free time. Spent our “off day” on our own with a friend who lives nearby then did more exploring on the third day with some fellow travelers. We then did the Hong Kong by Night tour which was OK but went back to some places we had already seen on our own. It would be great for people just starting out in HK. Taipei (Keelung port)- one day We did the tour to Yehliu Geopark with its amazing rock formations. Great photo op if you can go early enough for smaller crowds. Then went to mountain village of Jiufen. Cute, though filled with tourists. There were some nice places to have tea with a great view. The Taiwan landscape is very pretty! JAPAN! Japan was perhaps the biggest “surprise” of our trip. We had heard that it was beautiful, but it was MORE beautiful than we thought. We had also heard about the crowds during Golden Week—extended this year due to the installation of a new emperor. It was more crowded in some places than we could ever imagine. AVOID Golden Week. This was Viking’s first visit to the Japanese ports, so ALL of them did something special at the port: bands, dancers, etc.! Lots of fun. Japanese weather was a welcome relief from the heat in previous ports. Kagoshima: Great tour to Kamikaze museum and Chimai samurai historic district with classic Japanese gardens. Terrific intro to just some of the subtleties of Japanese culture. Nagasaki: (separate excursions). Imari and Arita pottery tour was outstanding. Learned a LOT about the aesthetic, the history, and the processes. Beautiful scenery en route. Husband did Historic Nagasaki tour for the atomic bomb story and more. Korea (a one day stop in Busan in the midst of Japan ports): Beomosa Temple and Fish Market tour was good. Lots of walking up hill. Fish Market is a true cultural experience, especially on the weekend! More Japan Hiroshima (2 days): Sobering as you would expect. The included tour to the Peace Park is good at hitting highlights on foot, though it was pouring rain. The museum would have been interesting, but the line stretched around a half mile! Optional tour to Itsukushima Shrine was great. Crowded because of Golden week. Go as early in the day as you can. We were on the 7 am ferry. Great photo ops of the floating torii gate you always see on brochures. Be sure to try some maple leaf shaped cakes. Osaka (Kyoto): We took the tour that traveled to Ancient Kyoto. Worst crowds we have ever seen. Heel to toe and shoulder to shoulder in a mob. Easy to lose the guide. (Others shared pictures taken by friends on “regular” weekdays showing NO crowds.) DO NOT GO during Golden Week. Very long path of thousands of torii gates, but too packed to enter. Scary crowded! The Golden Palace late in the day was less crowded and saved the day for us. Shimizu: (day and a half): Nice city with very friendly people. They had quite a welcome for us at the port since this was Viking’s first visit there. Amazing views of Fuji that cleared off for us. I went to Hiroshige Utagawa Museum. Speechless how good it was. Included tour also good… good photo ops. Tokyo ( 3 days): Port is immediately next to the Olympic Village they are building for 2020! This was our last disembarkation/embarkation port getting hundreds of new passengers onboard. Kamakuri tour to three shrine and temples very good but again crowded. 43 foot Buddha! Took Viking’s shuttle to downtown on the middle day, a Sunday, and discovered that NO ONE was in town during Golden Week. Walked to Iperial Palace Grdens (beautiful) and around the area near Nihonbaski Mitsubishi. The department store is worthy of a visit on its own, very old school and filled with amazing things, including a full basement are of food. See where people custom order their $50K silk kimonos! Third day took Edo-Tokyo Museum and City Tower tour. City tower not that great. The sky tower is better, I think, if you like that sort of thing. Museum and smaller local garden were nice. Tokyo is a gorgeous city, and SOOO clean! Be sure to try every Japanese bathroom. After Indonesia and others, they are a delight! Sapporo/Otaru: Beautiful location on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido. We took the optional tour to Nikko whiskey. Lots of fun. It SMELLED of whiskey when you walked onto the grounds. Friend told us the included tour was also very good. Much cooler here. The cherry blossoms were out, as this part of Japan is weeks behind the more southern areas. Russia (Siberia) Koraskov: Did the included tour. Damp, cold, and cloudy/drizzly. Not much here, and quite sad after Japan. The people are clearly longing for the good old days of the USSR. The performance was fun, and the vendors selling crafts there were very genuine. Most are happy to take USD, though they may cheat a bit on exchange rates! Petrapavlosk-Kamchatsky: This city benefits from the large Navy base (out of sight from the port). Volcanoes abound. We did the military history tour. Too much talking at you. Choose a different one, perhaps just the included. Orthodox cathedral is less than ten years old! Someone showed us video from the helicopter tour over the volcano, and it was amazing. (But I don’t think I’d go with a Russian pilot in a Russian-maintained helicopter! Very pricey, too.) USA Dutch Harbor, AK: No tours offered, but there was a shuttle (school) bus into town. The locals are VERY friendly and talk on the buses. Go to the Alaska Ship Supply for fun, and perhaps to Safeway just to see how the locals live. Bald eagles everywhere—like pigeons! Take a hike or a walk. If you’re an American who’s been away for a long time, stop in a local bar for American bar food… nachos or a cheeseburger? If you watch Deadliest Catch, you’ll recognize many locations. Kodiak, AK: Nature photo cruise was a real highlight. Small boat with only 6 guests and a very knowledgeable couple guiding it. WELL worth it! Small town with simple self-guided (walking) tour and a shuttle bus. Very genuine. Seward, AK: Kenai Fiords cruise was incredible. Whales, dolphins, eagles, and a glacier thrown in. Entire pods of orcas! This was a MUST MUST MUST DO, even on a drizzly day. Stay in town for a visit to the Sea Life Center or some shopping, A regular shuttle goes back to the ship. Icy Strait Point (Hoonah), AK: This small town with its native tribe of 760 people owns the port through a small corporation that benefits the tribe. They market it well, with many activities and tours. The whale watch cruise we took was actually done by a separate company that cooperates with the corporation. It was excellent. Great photos of humpbacks, including mama and baby. Sea lions, and more. Another keeper! Warning: the bridge you walk across into the port area is COLD because of the wind, but the temps are much nicer around the corner and out of the wind. Wear layers. Friend did the zipline and loved it. Sitka, AK: Busier port with another ship in port at same time. Cute, smallish town. Walking tour went 5+ miles to see historic sites, totem area, and Raptor Center. All are worth seeing. Wish we’d had longer in totems and Raptor Center. People who took included tour said it was good, too. Note: if you are looking for the post office, you have to go outside of town, They closed the location right next to the port! Ketchikan: VERY, very touristy. We saw a total of FIVE other ships in one day, one of whom was waiting for us to pull out. Downtown is all shops, some owned by other cruise companies. We went out of town to a Fishing lodge for a crab feast. It was fun, including the boat ride out to the island. Good wildlife and newspapers-in-the-picnic-table crab boil. Dress for the weather because you are on an outdoor deck. You also get a walk in a temperate rainforest at the lodge. If you want nothing but shopping, stay in town and walk off the ship. Some ships dock a bit outside of town. Vancouver, Canada: Kudos to Viking for handling the challenge of disembarking over 900 passengers by tender! It went quite well. We were off the ship and on our way to the airport ahead of schedule. We hope everyone’s bags went to the right place. Ours did. Viking, you made a difficult good-bye palatable by keeping it smooth and easy. Suggestions for Viking: Consider changing the itinerary for Jakarta and Singapore. Maybe steal a day from Jakarta and add it to Singapore? You could play with some of Indonesia, perhaps. What about Lombok? Semarang is not great, though you need it for Borobodur. Think about solving that? Think about how you want to “sell” your port call in Cambodia Continue to refine the excursions. We know you do this because of wise changes that were made after Viking Ocean’s first summer in the Baltic. Suggestions for future Grand Voyagers: Plan for HOT weather and extreme high humidity on this itinerary of traveling Feb-May as we did. We live in the southeast US and know humidity, but this is FAR worse. Plan to change your clothes from the skin out 2-3 times a day in many of these ports. Take enough clothing so you can do that. If you are on a long cruise with people getting on and off for various shorter :legs, “ ask the management to gather the “voyagers’ for cocktails and /or dinner and get everyone’s first names and cabin number while they are at that first gathering, That way you will know where to find each other! Emails help, too, if you want to be able to contact everyone. The ship management cannot give you this info. Thanks to TL from our group who spearheaded this! A long cruise is a marathon, not a sprint. If one excursions or day is lousy, just look to the next one. Share your feedback in a constructive manner. It goes much further, and the crew will always want to help you. Vary your excursions. Don’t book too many temples, street market visits, or anything else. You’ll get tired of it! READ the Viking Daily—before you go to bed! Get accustomed to giving laundry advice in Viking’s free launderettes. You know how they work, and you don’t want the newbies to break the machines! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
I’ve been on the ship (Viking Sky) before and it is very nice so we decided on scheduling another cruise with Viking. I was looking for a birthday cruise. Viking provides great service and even a bottle of sparkling wine (Sekt) and a ... Read More
I’ve been on the ship (Viking Sky) before and it is very nice so we decided on scheduling another cruise with Viking. I was looking for a birthday cruise. Viking provides great service and even a bottle of sparkling wine (Sekt) and a cake on your birthday. Plus all the great restaurants, shipboard amenities, very nice spacious cabins, and comfort while you cruise. Really enjoyed the aquivet terrace for lunch al fresco. Excursions were well planned and very enjoyable. The transfers to the hotel and ship were smooth and the transfer from hotel to ship even included a free tour of Barcelona. We have already explored much of Barcelona on the extension before the cruise and enjoyed tapas and watching the Spanish (Catalans) celebrate the end of the holiday season on Three Kings Day when they actually celebrate and give. Gifts so our Barcelona tour on the morning of January 6 was very quiet. The cabin is very nice. Every cabin has a veranda and ours was a penthouse veranda on a middle deck. The bathroom is very functional and roomy for a ship. Good toiletries and high quality towels plus lots of storage for your kit. The heated floors in the bathroom are very nice especially on a cold morning. The cabin has lots of storage for clothes and everything that you might bring aboard. There is even a mini refrigerator with complementary drinks. Plus binoculars to use on the veranda, a hair dryer, and robes to wear to the spa. We used the outdoor hot tub, very nice. On previous trips we have used the indoor spa with hot tub, pool and snow grotto - a lot of fun. This trip we finally used the exercise room, which is included free, and has good quality machines. All of the restaurants are nice. We had lunch in the World Cafe and it has great variety of food and also had sit down multi course lunch one sea day in the Restaurant. Dinner was in The Restaurant most nights with local specialties or European food. The nights we ate in the upgraded restaurant - Manfredi’s was excellent - great Italian food and especially the steak Florentine. The Chef’s Table is also nice with food and wine pairings although frankly we don’t like it as much as the other restaurants. Breakfast is great with lots of choices at the World Cafe and one day we tried the Norse food at Mamsem’s although really just had a waffle. The ports on this trip are nice but not as special as other trips. Barcelona and Malaga were the best. Cartagena almost as nice. Vigo was interesting and we did the optional tour to Bayona. Portsmouth was a good port especially cruising right by the old town as we left the harbor. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this as we wanted to try Viking Ocean and like the shorter length from Lisbon. We also never had done a holiday cruise and Viking did it right. The food, entertainment, bars and lectures were top notch. We have been on many ... Read More
We chose this as we wanted to try Viking Ocean and like the shorter length from Lisbon. We also never had done a holiday cruise and Viking did it right. The food, entertainment, bars and lectures were top notch. We have been on many cruises and this was probably the most well designed cruise-ship we have been on to date. We booked again for a colder weather cruise in New England in 2020 and are thinking of the winter Norway cruise in 2022. The food was excellent and the specialty venues were also great. We had the SS package and are wine lovers and had a wide choice of wines by the glass to order. We also got a discount on bottle purchases and enjoyed our French Champagne by the Bottle. If you are interested in cooking classes, sign up right away when you get on board as they do not advertise them in advance. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We like Viking. It was going to the Azores which we had wanted to see and had never been to during any of our travels. We have sailed on Viking Ocean 4 times now. This was a cruise that did not live up to our expectations. The cruise ... Read More
We like Viking. It was going to the Azores which we had wanted to see and had never been to during any of our travels. We have sailed on Viking Ocean 4 times now. This was a cruise that did not live up to our expectations. The cruise director was very talented herself but pretty much dominated the cruise and did not let the other entertainers perform to the best of their abilities. The food which is usually excellent was still good but the service in the restaurants was unusually slow. Disembarkation was truly a disaster. Handled by the shore excursion manager it could not have been worse. This is the second time we have had this manager for shore excursions on Viking. Unfortunately he is not the best and often unorganized or ill prepared. In addition he is not accessible and does not speak English very well which makes him hard to understand. The ship is excellent and most of the staff would do anything for you. Since this cruise had 8 scheduled sea days there should have been more activities. We would be unlikely to take such a cruise again however we most likely will travel again on Viking. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Our past experiences with Viking have all been positive. We decided to enjoy our vacation with Viking...The staff was friendly and approachable at all times..The food is excellent, with a great variety of offerings... Unfortunately due ... Read More
Our past experiences with Viking have all been positive. We decided to enjoy our vacation with Viking...The staff was friendly and approachable at all times..The food is excellent, with a great variety of offerings... Unfortunately due to rough seas, we were not able to enjoy the pool and hot tub areas....the anticipated yoga and Pilates classes were a disappointment...they were not up to a standard that I have enjoyed here at home. Not worth the additional charge in order to participate. The speakers were interesting and we enjoyed Dr. Fuller and his offerings about the Vikings and their history. Our tour and lunch in the Azores was cancelled to our disappointment...we had been looking forward to learning about the agriculture and farming activities of the island. The substitute offering, which we chose, was just average and although it included lunch, we found that to be mediocre. We have eaten several meals in Portugal when on previous trips and enjoyed the local food immensely...The offering on this Azores tour was not representative of the excellent food that is available. All in all, we had a wonderful crossing and would do it again! PS. the disembarkation in Miami was not well done...probably due to the US customs people not there on time...but hoards of guests, with their travel gear, waiting in the hallways was not a good experience. We finally went up to Deck 7 just to get out of the crush. Since we had to vacate our rooms, they were not available, but you couldn't even get off the elevators at Decks 1 or 2, because of the crowded corridors of people waiting to disembark. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
The ship was excellent, looked brand new. Food was ideal and plenty of it, too much, my diet took a severe hit. The crew was very friendly and available for any request at any time. Responses from Guest Services were timely and complete. I ... Read More
The ship was excellent, looked brand new. Food was ideal and plenty of it, too much, my diet took a severe hit. The crew was very friendly and available for any request at any time. Responses from Guest Services were timely and complete. I really liked the fitness center, the equipment was excellent and in excellent shape. The spa was a special pleasure and we really enjoyed using the spa pool. The ship has plenty of space for everyone, I never felt crowed or that there wasn't a really nice spot to sit and read or just zone out. The dining area is spacious and we never had to wait for a meal. The preparation and menu had many items that we enjoyed and I actually sampled some things I would usually never eat. It was interesting in that respect, it was well prepared and timely. All in all this was an excellent experience and one I would recommend to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
The restaurant service was slow. Over 2 hours for dinner is SLOW. The World Café food was better than the sit down restaurant. Ship's stabilization system was not up to a wavy transatlantic crossing. The cabin was noisy with ... Read More
The restaurant service was slow. Over 2 hours for dinner is SLOW. The World Café food was better than the sit down restaurant. Ship's stabilization system was not up to a wavy transatlantic crossing. The cabin was noisy with squeaks and creaks. The sounds of the sea hitting the ship was annoying The ship's design seems more for the Caribbean or the Mediterrian as opposed to the Atlantic. The ships stabilizers did a poor job and seems to be operating like a step motor one or two steps behind were they should have been. The gym and pools were great. The spa was way above average. The 3 hour opera show was a poor idea. I walked out because there was no full translation on the screen. I liked the entertainment in the atrium. There were 2 missing singers from the first 7 days of the voyage. The band was great. I liked the four singers. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
The dinning room service was spotty. I think they got a lot of new people for this sailing. Improperly served courses, missing courses. But there was also impecably trained staff too in the dining room. Other than the dining room, the ... Read More
The dinning room service was spotty. I think they got a lot of new people for this sailing. Improperly served courses, missing courses. But there was also impecably trained staff too in the dining room. Other than the dining room, the service was great. We only made two stops on this cruise so our touring was limited. We took the free offerings. Nothing special. And the weather didn't help in the Azores. The cabin and bathroom were well laid out with plenty of electrical charging points for all our electronics. No adapters needed. Plenty of storage. Great lighting. The ship feels uncrowded. No lines for anything, except maybe ice cream. The free do-it-yourself laundry was great. However, the people using it were just plain rude, leaving their items in the machines after the cycle was finished. It was a mess. I suggest that anything left in the washer should automatically be put in the dryer and run. This way they don't show up 2 minutes before you need a dryer and then put their stuff in, delaying you from drying your clothes by a whole dry cycle. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This was the sixth cruise my wife and I have taken with Viking--four river cruises and, now, two ocean cruises. We purchased the pre-cruise extension in Lisbon because we wanted to see it on the trip. Overall, the trip was excellent. We ... Read More
This was the sixth cruise my wife and I have taken with Viking--four river cruises and, now, two ocean cruises. We purchased the pre-cruise extension in Lisbon because we wanted to see it on the trip. Overall, the trip was excellent. We are accustomed to a very high standard of performance from Viking and our expectations, for the most part were fulfilled. The ship was immaculate, well maintained and well operated. Most of the time in a crossing is devoted to sea days and rest. The entertainers on this ship were truly extraordinary. They presented music that stretched from classical opera repertoire to Motown. There are no dedicated "dancers" but the singers danced and sang and did so very professionally. They entertained! The crew were friendly as well as helpful and accommodating, including the members of the deck department. They all seemed dedicated to helping passengers enjoy a great vacation--and they succeeded. Stateroom attendants were amazingly thorough and helpful. Our air arrangements were horrible however. We were booked on a United flight that operated an old Continental 737-200. Even though we booked suite accommodations on the ship, we were given some of the least desireable seats on this very over-crowded, filthy and old aircraft. On our return, free-air flight from Miami to Jacksonville we were charged $30 per bag by American Airlines and, again, assigned the very least desireable seats on the very cramped Embaer RJ-45. We could have driven from Miami to Jacksonville and arrive sooner than we did using our Viking Air booked flight. Do not use Viking Air. Be prepared for very leisurely meals in the dining room. Plan for a couple of hours or more at dinner if you choose to take your dinner in the dining room. Service is very slow, even on this ship of only 900 passengers. Or hope that more servers are hired to provide better service. The problem is not the waiters:the problem is that there are too few of them. Afternoon tea in the Winter Garden is a highlight of each day for us. With Viking, you also can expect a robust enrichment program presented by a "Resident Historian" as well as various "Guest Lecturers." Watch the schedule carefully to plan your days in a way that permits you to take advantage of these opportunities. They are wonderful and varied. We were particularly attracted to the presentations of a flautist who talked about music and its relationships to our trip and ports of call. We also heard from an astronomer and had the opportunity to learn about ocean sailing and rowing adventures. Viking is a welcome newcomer to the ocean cruise market. It provides a superior experience and, knowing its careful attention to detail in all its operations, I expect the delays in dining service will be resolved before our next trip, which most likely will be on Viking (but without its air option). Incidentally, there were no children among the passengers and there is no children's program. This is not an experience for children. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
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