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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
I wanted to be able to say that I crossed the Atlantic by boat. We took the Grand European River Cruise with Viking in 2014 and we knew this cruise would also be very good. All cabins had a veranda, the cabin design and service was ... Read More
I wanted to be able to say that I crossed the Atlantic by boat. We took the Grand European River Cruise with Viking in 2014 and we knew this cruise would also be very good. All cabins had a veranda, the cabin design and service was excellent. Entertainment during the cruise was very good, the daily lectures and evening shows were interesting and enjoyable. Dining was very good and the menu selection was varied every day. The ports and shore excursions were very good, although I think the one day stop at St. Marten in the Caribbean could be eliminated. We booked our cruise late and we added an extra day in Puerto Rico and Barcelona, but the hotel was already booked up in Barcelona. So Viking put us and about 10 other couples on the high speed train to Madrid, Viking did an excellent job of coordinating our transportation and the handling of our luggage so we could enjoy the day. It was disappointing that we traveled through the Strait of Gibraltar in the middle of the night, a daytime passage would have been better. All in all the cruise was very good, but one 6 day crossing of the Atlantic is enough in my lifetime. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2017
Attractive pricing, wanted to try Viking and wanted to do an Atlantic Crossing. Viking ship size is ideal at around 930. Ship common areas are clean, very inviting and attractive. Some of the best in the industry. B Over ship ... Read More
Attractive pricing, wanted to try Viking and wanted to do an Atlantic Crossing. Viking ship size is ideal at around 930. Ship common areas are clean, very inviting and attractive. Some of the best in the industry. B Over ship accommodations are great and would highly recommend. Beer and wine offering at lunch and dinner are very nice and an added attractions over non all inclusive cruises. Pricing on this cruise was my main reason for booking. I did find the included air option to be a problem and as one might expect too restrictive. During the booking process it was recommended I wait and see what itinerary was offered before paying the additional fee for the airline selection option. I was told this should occur 60+ days before departure. This did not happen and once we received the itinerary it was totally unacceptable, taking well over a normal Atlantic crossing 16+ hours) with excessive layovers. When contacting the flight department we are now told all the other options were sold out. Now after several calls We were final put in touch with an air departure supervisor and I'm happy to report she corrected the problem. It did cost extra but it was a reasonable increase. From this experience, I would suggest making sure you're happy with the air options before finalizing your cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
--This Trip was taken as a result of a voucher issued by Viking to compensate in part for problems incurred on a River Cruise. At the suggestion of our Travel Agent and due to time constraints in using the Voucher, we chose this trip on ... Read More
--This Trip was taken as a result of a voucher issued by Viking to compensate in part for problems incurred on a River Cruise. At the suggestion of our Travel Agent and due to time constraints in using the Voucher, we chose this trip on the Viking Star. I rarely find the Embarkation and Debarkation smooth. This went fairly well. --The Ship was small next to many we have sailed but was well laid out and was relatively quiet next to most cruises. The ship was a bit more reflective of sea conditions as well. --Specialty Restaurants were Excellent and both regular restaurants were excellent, as was the Service. Food was outstanding. -- I enjoyed Most Enrichment lectures. A couple I did not attend due to content. We are accustomed to shows which were not regularly available. The persons giving the Enrichment lectures should be commended for the content and delivery --Waiters/Servers at the Bars and other Service areas were also outstanding and friendly and contributed immensely to a delightful experience --Ports were very good, especially liked Madeira. Shore excursions taken were those offered as part of the cruise. All were informative and good but one MAJOR Complaint was that the Guide moved too fast and persons with mobility restrictions could not keep up. Perhaps one of the tours in each port could be a slower tour, offering the same agenda and allowing people to keep up. THIS IS MY BIGGEST COMPLAINT ABOUT THIS CRUISE AND WAS EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTING. We had the same issue and the same complaint in part with the River Cruise. If Viking is to offer these excursions (which are appreciated otherwise), they need to be accommodating to ALL PERSONS that might use them. --we did not travel with children and noted that there were only a few children on this cruise. It was not really oriented to children --due to the many places we would like to visit, including the USA, I do not know if we will have the time to revisit Viking, but if we do, they would definitely be considered Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
The ship was absolutely lovely with very good and comprehensive features. The cabin was well fitted out but perhaps slightly smaller than we expected. The bathroom was great but the room did not have enough drawers. The veranda is ... Read More
The ship was absolutely lovely with very good and comprehensive features. The cabin was well fitted out but perhaps slightly smaller than we expected. The bathroom was great but the room did not have enough drawers. The veranda is small. We booked the cruise late and Viking seemed to struggle to get all the paperwork to us which gave minor problems. The daytime entertainment was poor with not enough to do - we had 8 days at sea; the lecturers were good and evening entertainment good with six excellent singers. The Cruise Director was likeable. Food was good though we went mainly to Manfredis the Italian restaurant which we liked a lot. The main restaurant often was slow. The wine with the meals was bottom of the range. The 'free' excursions were very good with one of the four perhaps below standard. Excellent guides. This will suit cruisers who want a bit of luxury and with plenty of cosseting. Excursions are a bit safe. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
A Critique of the Ship Viking Sea : I and my wife were recently on this ship for a cruise from Rome to Barcelona via Tunis and Algiers. The cabin space and the balcony size were adequate, but not enough drawer or shelf space. The ... Read More
A Critique of the Ship Viking Sea : I and my wife were recently on this ship for a cruise from Rome to Barcelona via Tunis and Algiers. The cabin space and the balcony size were adequate, but not enough drawer or shelf space. The desk had a lid which lifts up to access the drawer but became a nuisance because it lessened desktop space. There was no sofa bed. The TV had good quality, and the controls, and software were good. They have an app for the iphone for you to look up daily events, schedules and bookings, which was really a nice feature. They have Fox News, CNBC, MSNBC, but no CNN. However no TV whilst in port at Tunis. The Bathrooms and Showers were good and spacious. But no second set of towels. The Sink is square and shallow, has a flat bottom, so shaving cream does not drain out. The Drinking Water was free and plenty in the cabin, both bottled and in a large container. The Refrigerated Soft Drinks were also free and plenty and renewed daily. The Architecture was all straight lines or rectangles, with hardly any curves or rounds. The Design was all Scandinavian with simple bland pastel colors. Everything is square cornered: on the sink, table light, wall light, handles, faucets, shower head, etc. There was no Casino on board. Games such as bridge or chess had to be played in open spaces. There was no closed private room, and it was Impossible to play Mah-Jong. The maximum Capacity was 900. There were 850 passengers, with no kids. The Service was good with one service personnel for every two passengers which was really appreciated in the dining room. The Wine was free at lunch and dinner, and of good quality, with endless refills, like on their river cruises. Good only for wine lovers. The Food was generally good, similar to Oceania and Crystal, but the choice is less. The World Café is a clean lengthy cafeteria, one on each side of the ship, with the kitchen in the center of the ship between the two sides. They appear identical, but on closer look, the 2 sides serve different items, e.g. Ice creams, seafood, and sushi, only on one side, which you might miss if don’t visit the other side. However, the Sushi is very fresh and good, all the time. Like ice-cream, only on one side The Specialty Restaurants were difficult to book, but there were plenty of vacant tables, which were wasted, so their booking system needs to be improved. The Manfredi’s, - an Italian Restaurant, was quite good, almost as good as on Crystal’s. You could have all the following items for hors d'oeuvres, if you want: mussels, fried calamari, crab cakes, pate de foie gras, and escargot. The Chef’s Table – another specialty restaurant, was a joke. It is designed to promote Scandinavian cooking, and although they offer a different menu every 2 days, the flavor is just too bland. Can you imagine, the high-light on their menu was the Poached Salmon! After we tasted the main course, we walked out, and then ate again at the World Café whose average daily menu was much better. The owners would be well advised to convert this restaurant into French or Asian. The City Tours – were free and very well organized, similar to their River Cruises, usually 3 to 4 hours in the mornings, which was enough. For 800+ passengers, I counted 29 buses lined up at the quay side. The takeoff was staggered, and was quite a sight. In the city tours of Malta, Caglieri, Tunis and Algers - really nothing much to see. The worst experience was in Caglieri – where there was only one bathroom for 4 bus loads of passengers, which took over an hour. The Ship – has only 8 floors. The Pool has a roof that is openable. The Elevators take only 8 persons with comfort, not 14 as noted. All the office areas, computer stations, shops, and bridge and chess areas - are open on the corridor side with no privacy. They are open spaces, not rooms. The Dining Rooms were clean and bright, but no lunch is provided there. There were only 2 Shops, so you could not spend any money. They give no on-board credit, because their basic price was fairly low. They do not offer any Foreign Exchange so you must bring all the cash in Euros you might need. The Shows and Entertainment – were good on average, but not spectacular, with only 6 dancers and 2 singers who perform every other day. Life Jackets – are not stored inside the cabins. Peter Fan. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
The ship is great and the food was awesome. There are no formal nights, no casino, and no photographers constantly bothering the passengers. There is one free shore excursion in every port. There is no up charge for the 2 specialty ... Read More
The ship is great and the food was awesome. There are no formal nights, no casino, and no photographers constantly bothering the passengers. There is one free shore excursion in every port. There is no up charge for the 2 specialty restaurants. Free wine & beer at lunch, dinner, and in your cabin. It is a great concept! The entertainment was very good, especially some of the guest performers. The enrichment lectures were excellent, especially if you are interested in the Vikings and how they explored the lands being visited on this cruise. Most of the ports of call were very interesting, especially Bergen, Reykjavik, Saguenay, and Quebec City. Unfortunately, the service onboard was very inconsistent, especially room service and the World Cafe. The WiFi was free and you got what you paid for....it was awful. The old dial-up was faster than the Internet on this ship. Most importantly, the Captain elected to sail into hurricane force winds between the Faroe Islands and Iceland. Per the Captain, the waves were 40-45 feet which made it a very discomforting 4-5 hours. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2016
We chose In the Wake of the Viking cruise because of the route it sailed from Norway across the North Atlantic/Labrador seas to Montreal. And the ports it stopped at during the cruise Ship was always clean and orderly. And staff very ... Read More
We chose In the Wake of the Viking cruise because of the route it sailed from Norway across the North Atlantic/Labrador seas to Montreal. And the ports it stopped at during the cruise Ship was always clean and orderly. And staff very attentive. We had excellent cabin attendants. Dining was very good, especially the World dining buffet. Great variety of food and excellent preparation. We were disappointed that we could not book the Pre City - Oslo. Apparently space was very limited so if you didn't book it when the cruise was first offered there was no chance to get in on it. We missed one or two of our port stops because of a severe storm. We were actually in a port, not able to dock and found out that they wanted to get ahead of the storm so decided to pull out. Well we sailed right into the storm and had about 4-8 hours of very very rough seas. Found it interesting there were no overhead announcements of what the passengers should do to remain safe. People were in dining rooms and service continued with dishes/glasses flying off the tables. Quite a few passengers we spoke to thought safety of the passengers was not handled well. The ports/excursions we did get to take were very enjoyable and well organized. We may try an ocean cruise again but only in the Mediterranean region. We have always enjoyed your river cruises. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Itinerary looked very intriguing to us, plus we received mail offer for 2-for-1 prices and discounted airfare. Highlights include the city tour of Bergen, free time to wander around Bergen (especially funicular to top of the mountain), ... Read More
Itinerary looked very intriguing to us, plus we received mail offer for 2-for-1 prices and discounted airfare. Highlights include the city tour of Bergen, free time to wander around Bergen (especially funicular to top of the mountain), Reykjavik and swimming in the Blue Lagoon, hiking around L'Anse Aux Meadows in Newfoundland, and sightseeing in Quebec City. Lowlights were sailing through hurricane-like conditions (80-90 mph winds and 50 foot swells) which made for a very long, uncomfortable night and which caused us to miss a port at the Faeroe Islands. The crew was as accommodating as they could be, delivering room service when we had to leave the dinning room and battening down the glassware in our cabin. The ports were all adventures (in a good way) for us, visiting locations we would probably never have had the opportunity to see otherwise. The ports in Greenland were a bit primitive, but it was a thrill just to be there. The scenery was spectacular all through the cruise, and the optional excursions were great insights into the lands visited. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We went on this repositioning cruise because of the unusual itinerary. Norway, Shetland Islands, Iceland, Greenland, Faroe Islands, Newfoundland, Quebec and Montreal. It involved following how Vikings made their way to North America. The ... Read More
We went on this repositioning cruise because of the unusual itinerary. Norway, Shetland Islands, Iceland, Greenland, Faroe Islands, Newfoundland, Quebec and Montreal. It involved following how Vikings made their way to North America. The Viking Star was not quite ready for the heavy seas it encountered that cause quite a bit of broken dishes, glass and even one elevator. The crew we talked to said they had never seen this type of situation. They did not know how to secure things. We had a glass carafe broken in our room, which the crew took care of quickly.They were handling broken glass in many of the rooms. Maybe they needed plastic instead? Stateroom counters are not made for heavy seas and everything just flew all over the place. I am sure the designer never went out on a ship in a storm. We were in the buffet restaurant when the crashing of dishes and glasses started. The cook/server behind the counter looked bewildered when the dishes started crashing. One sliding door kept slamming open and shut to the kitchen and no one bothered to secure it. An announcement from the captain to secure all loose items in your room would have kept breakage to a minimum. Our dresser lamp and telephone flew on the floor. Everything was tossed like a salad. Nothing appeared to be secured, like other ships. We heard our balcony chairs outside sliding back and forth during the storm. One stateroom had a chair crash through their window, according to our shipmates. Making our way back to our room was not that easy without rails on many of the hallways and byways. Our trip to the Faroe Islands was cancelled because of the swells would not allow tendering. The crew were extremely friendly and helpful. In previous reviews, I have read how wonderful they are and it's true. I am not a gourmet or anything near that, but I agree with the reviews that the food is not as good as it should be. Boring and bland. Even in the specialty dining, it was boring. Breakfast was the same every day and it took forever to get an omelet. The coffee was weird. We could drink 4 cups and it was like there was no caffeine. It tasted off and cheap. The worst veggie burger in the world is available at the grill. The same grill's hot dogs with sauerkraut were my favorite meal on the ship. Very little fresh local fare was to be found on the menu. The unlimited room minibar was hardly ever refilled. We left notes which went unanswered. We would sometimes get a bag of chips or a candy bar. Chips are from housekeeping. Candy from mini bar people. We are not drunks, we just wanted vodka and not scotch. By the way, Grey Goose is not in the Silver Package or mini bar. ;( Our room was large. The window and door to the balcony are blocked by all the furniture. I would rather have one large slider than the blocked window and the door. No good view when laying in bed. The rails were being varnished everyday and not always labeled as "wet". I learned not to touch the rails. The included tours were usually good and very informative. Many were "booked" and we ended up seeing very little in Reykjavík, Iceland, other than doing a bus drive around the city and go to a water tower. I would not stay in Montreal for a post tour. I would jump off at Quebec City, which is much more interesting. The Quebec City port was too far from anything and was a giant construction and commercial zone. All transfers went well except there was no one at the Montreal Westin Hotel to explain what was happening with the baggage when we arrived too early. We did the Oslo pre-tour which was very good but I really did not need to see the ski jump. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 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: April 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
1 Helpful Vote
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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We have sailed transatlantic six times, this was the best experience in many ways. The five lecturers kept us busy two or three times s day with history, ecology and sports talks. Athens crew was friendly, helpful, professional, ... Read More
We have sailed transatlantic six times, this was the best experience in many ways. The five lecturers kept us busy two or three times s day with history, ecology and sports talks. Athens crew was friendly, helpful, professional, informal, consistant. The food was excellent in all venues. There is no extra charge for the two specialty restaurants, The public spaces are comfortable with many quiet nooks, books, art, board games, etc. The cabin is large and well furnished with a great bed. The bathroom has a large shower and heated floors, there's a built in night light. Very good entertainment, it varied from classical to song and dance plus we had an exceptional magician who also gave free classes. Viking Star transatlantic fills your sea days with interesting speakers, cooking classes, bridge lessons, craft classes, all free. Overall, great value for money. We are ready to do this cruise again next year. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 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: December 2018
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
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
1 Helpful Vote
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
1 Helpful Vote
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We love the size of the Viking Sun class ships and find the Viking staff very helpful welcoming.The Sun is a 2 yr old ships, which like others (e.g Viking Star) is extremely comfortable. This reposition cruise was a last minute ... Read More
We love the size of the Viking Sun class ships and find the Viking staff very helpful welcoming.The Sun is a 2 yr old ships, which like others (e.g Viking Star) is extremely comfortable. This reposition cruise was a last minute decision to primarily to celebrate my spouse's recent retirement. Viking repositions this ship from Europe to MIA where Vikings starts its World cruise offering. Therefore, the crossing offers only two ports of call (Azores and Bermuda). While most people on board were seasoned travelers, a few people were surprised that even with all the greatest technical advances this ship could rock. While we had a variety of weather, the Atlantic is not a small pond and it can be quite rough. Although I heard some complaints, I was surprised about some very unrealistic expectations. Since, we actually treated the trip as an adventure we loved it and rod ecommend that you take some Dramamine with you on any cruise . We did not need ours and the medical center could provide some, if you got seasick. Based on our sailing history, we would not rate this past cruise as extremely rough. The cabins on board the Viking Ocean are very comfortable, clean and well layout. Plenty of space to move around in with many public nooks suitable for curling up with a good book! The Viking Staff is selected for their "yes, we can" attitude. Although each one us are very unique individuals, the Viking crew is overall very happy and proud to be working for a rapidly growing company which the staff likes with a 90% retention rate over any 10 yr period. Food as expected on a cruise, is abundant, diverse and always delicious. On Christmas Eve the SUN served large steamed lobsters and perfectly executed Osso Bucco in their regular dining room. There were a few caviar offerings at the bars with all daily events and menus for all meals posted on in-room tv monitors. A few times we needed to use room service and while it too was very tasty, it could have been delivered a bit hotter. Although this cruise had only two ports of call there was plenty of entrainment. We do like the fact that Viking does not have a casino onboard. There were some small poker games and Chinese Mahjong available for those so inclined. There are also video tables where you can enjoy playing a computer black jack dealer. In addition to excellent port of call talks, Viking has a number historians, technical experts (e.g driverless car engineering), and musicians discussing their expertise in very simple and interesting presentations. Viking requires that passengers be at 16 years or old, which we found the adults to be quite friendly and open to making new acquaintances. For us, most part we found tables for two available. Since our last cruise, the bars have a greatly expanded selection of quality brands. Since I favor Tanquary Ten, I was pleased that it was available at every bar. and covered by our drink package. There is a night club for dancing and a night cap, but we did not visit it this trip.The cruise director conducted a caroling sing along in the atrium on Christmas Eve, utilizing the classical pianists, the Viking band and even the on board acoustic guitarist. Unfortunately, I did scrap up my leg at the Lisbon Airport and I needed to used the medical staff to heal it. This inconvenience limited my ability to use the abundant spa fitness services on board. The Viking Norwegian spirt shines with very unique spa treatments and many pools located in the spa, in addition to the lap pools and hot tubs found on deck. On the SUN you can elect to start in a hot sauna and then cool down in an ice room with snow. If it is your thing, there are great gym machines exist and in the morning you are invited to yoga/pilates classes. Otherwise, weather permitting, you can take to the promenade and get your exercise by running or walking around the ship with instructions on how many laps constituted a mile. All in all we enjoyed ourselves and would consider going again. We find sailings of this duration suit our life styles very well and while we liked this crossing, there are so many other offers that we have not tried. For example we doing a Panama crossing this month. Happy Cruising! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Our 12-day mid-Atlantic crossing on Viking Sun started from Lisbon and ended in Miami, with stopover in two ports - one in Ponta Delgada (Azores), and another in Hamilton (Bermuda). We booked our cruise and flights with Viking direct. ... Read More
Our 12-day mid-Atlantic crossing on Viking Sun started from Lisbon and ended in Miami, with stopover in two ports - one in Ponta Delgada (Azores), and another in Hamilton (Bermuda). We booked our cruise and flights with Viking direct. The first part of the cruise was very rough and bumpy but calmed down as we headed toward west. My husband and I flew on Delta Air’s red-eye flight from New York to Lisbon, arriving on the morning of our cruise. At the airport, the Viking reps couldn’t find our names on their rosters, but it was quickly sorted out and we were able to get on the shuttle bus along with our fellow passengers. We arrived at the Jardim Do Tabaco Pier where the Viking Sun was docked. After a quick check-in, we unload our carry-on bags in our stateroom and headed out to the city. The ship was not scheduled to leave until 11 PM, so we took Uber to Cervejaria Ramiro to have seafood lunch, and then to Manteigaria to pick up half a dozen of Lisbon’s famous pastel de nata. These delicate pastries costs only 6 euros and was very well packaged for take-out. We got back to the ship at 5:15 PM as that’s when the emergency drill was being held and everyone was required to attend. We had some of the pastries as our late night snacks and kept the rest in the mini fridge for later consumption. It was delicious cold as it was warm. Sun is Viking’s 4th ocean liner. Each ship is small, with only 930 passengers. All have the same layout, so you’ll only get lost once. As with everything Viking does, their customer service is TOP KNOTCH! Food on this ship was one of the best we ever had on any of our previous cruises – everything was delicious and fresh! We ate at all the restaurants (including the specialty restaurants) and our favorite was the World Cafe for their variety, choices, and attentive wait staff. Our room was the Penthouse Veranda on the 6th deck. It was very roomy and comfortable and had everything we needed, including his & hers slippers and robes. Bathroom also was roomy, but the shower temperature tends to change by itself. (I suppose we should’ve reported this to the Customer Service but didn’t.) There were plenty of storage spaces in the room, with safe and mini fridge that was refilled daily with drinks and snacks. We had two wonderful housekeepers, Ganang and Nestor, who always kept our room tidy and clean. Our room was in the front of the ship. We quickly realized our mistake in choosing this location when the ship encountered rough Atlantic Ocean! On rough sea days (for which there were more days than I cared to remember), staying in our room was like riding on a roller coaster! We should’ve chosen our room in the middle or in the back of the ship, as that’s where the stabilizers are located. To everyone’s relief, the ocean calmed down as we headed toward Bermuda. There’s self-service laundry room on every deck. Both the washers and dryers are large sizes. The detergent dispenser boxes are located in back of the appliances. You need to press the number that corresponds to your washing machine to inject the detergent into your washer. You need to bring your own dryer sheets and remember to remove the lint when you’ve finished. Nothing beats having clean clothes when I’m packing on the last day! Entertainment – scattered around the ship are the talented resident pianist (who’s also a composer!), a guitarist, and string duo. Beautiful music can be heard everywhere on the ship. There were also many enrichment programs given throughout the day offering many interesting topics, including a presentation of simulated Boeing 757 cockpit by a retired airline pilot, Lou Thieblemont. It was absolutely FASCINATING! Very rarely do I remember anything from these lectures, however, but on this occasion, one speaker stood out for me. His name is Mick Dawson and he ROWED across not just the Atlantic Ocean but also the Pacific Ocean! His lectures were all very inspirational. I used the gym’s rowing machine for only 10 minutes and I had enough. I can’t imagine rowing for grueling 189 days straight in the Pacific Ocean (a Guinness World Record!) Meeting such an AMAZING individual was worth taking this cruise! I bought his pre-signed book at the ship’s boutique – a Christmas present for myself. Nightly show was at 9:15 PM. Seats are limited, so you need to arrive early. Sometimes we caught the show, sometimes not. Viking Sun’s singers and band are all very talented -- as well as the guest magician, Stephen Williams. We thought we’ve seen all the magic tricks in the book, but he surprised everyone! Don’t miss his show if you see his name on the program. Heading the entertainment dept is Viking Sun’s mezzo-soprano cruise director, Heather Clancy, who looks like a school headmaster until she started singing Carmen. Her assistant is Brian Rodriguez, a tenor, who we had the pleasure of hearing him sing Beatles last year when we were on Viking Sky. LivNordic Spa – there’s no extra charge for using the ship’s thermal spa. Space is very limited, but we always found a place to soak or to sweat. We were disappointed that none of their four hot benches were hot. Each bench was lukewarm at best. (This was also true on Viking Sky.) I booked the spa’s Deep Tissue Massage for both of us before leaving home. My masseuse was Ingrid and she was very good. She removed all the tightness from my body and my muscles felt relaxed afterwards. My husband on the other hand did not cared for his masseur, who not only had garlicky breath, but also did not have enough strength. I tried to book another DTM with Ingrid for us, but she was all booked. Gym – had plenty of exercise machines and equipments. We found that going there early in the morning was the best time to use the treadmills. There is a separate room for stretching and for weight lifting. Food/Drinks – the executive chef on this ship is Thomas Noack, a very capable young chef. He was always walking around the World Café, making sure that everything was properly prepared. Food was very good no matter where we ate. One afternoon, they served lobster salad in the pool area. We liked it so much we got a second plate! I highly recommend Viking Burger at the Pool Grill and Mamsen’s waffle at the Explorers’ Lounge. We did not care for Manfredi’s rib eye. The steak was very fatty so we cut most of it off. Looking at other people’s plates, we could see that others also felt the same way. The second night at Manfredi’s, I ordered their seafood special, which turned out to be king crab legs. It was very meaty and very buttery -- VERY good! I wished I had order that the first time. As with other Viking cruises (from their river to ocean cruises), majority of their passengers belong to the older demographic. We are empty nesters but not yet at the retirement age. We enjoyed talking to many of the passengers and found conversations interesting and entertaining. We only had a problem with one particular couple, possibly the oldest couple on the ship (the husband was a few days shy of his 89th birthday), whom we found annoying. They acted like the ship was their private vessel! One incident happened on the morning we docked in Bermuda. My husband and I were having breakfast at the World Café and admiring the beautiful view outside, when we heard this elderly fellow making a lot of noises behind us. There were plenty of empty tables nearby, so we didn’t’ know what the problem was. Apparently, where we were sitting, had the best view of Hamilton, and that’s where this couple wanted to sit! The guy was huffing and puffing with all his might that I finally offered to give up our seats to them. A wait staff quickly stepped in and usher this couple to a nearby empty table by the window, even as the guy continued to complain that our seats had a better view. (Personally, I don’t think there’s any bad view in Bermuda, but go figure!) They were the only rude people we met on this cruise. Majority of the other passengers were polite and gracious and we enjoyed their company. Overall, we had a wonderful time on Viking Sun! From beginning to end, everything was well organized and stress-free. Viking is our favorite cruise line and we look forward to be onboard again! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Staff is friendly and courteous. Food was exceptional, could have been more by the way of entertainment perhaps, especially on lengthy sea days during cold weather. Overall one of the best cruising experiences I have had. We have ... Read More
Staff is friendly and courteous. Food was exceptional, could have been more by the way of entertainment perhaps, especially on lengthy sea days during cold weather. Overall one of the best cruising experiences I have had. We have already booked another Viking sea cruise for 2019! For anyone who is considering the liquor package, I highly recommend it. The wine selections are excellent and the liquors are top shelf.... well well worth the money. The spa area with the heat, cold, and salt water therapy is outstanding and never crowded. The locker situation leaves a lot to be desired however. The lockers should open and lock with your key card. Very few of them worked and a steward would have to come to lock or unlock your locker... a bit annoying.... when you set aside the minor inconveniences you’ll realize that you have had a really good experience with great staff and you will meet some very interesting people. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I love Viking Ocean. Well worth the money. We usually eat dinner in World Cafe since it has same menu Plus I like the seafood it offers. Sushi bar every night is good. Ten flavors of ice cream made on ship. I like you can order a steak at ... Read More
I love Viking Ocean. Well worth the money. We usually eat dinner in World Cafe since it has same menu Plus I like the seafood it offers. Sushi bar every night is good. Ten flavors of ice cream made on ship. I like you can order a steak at grill. I enjoy spending 3 hours for dinner in cafe eating and drinking wine. Great place to meet people. We will be on same ship in May for 21 day cruise. Have 40 day cruise in Dec. No longer do Celebrity. My only wish is that they do more games on sea days. They only throw the bean bag. I would like to see them do more minutes to win it games. Staff is very friendly. They all appear very happy. May be the free internet everyone has. I enjoy the shows each night. The local talent is also good.looking forward to next cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We liked the itinerary. It hit several places on our bucket list, such as Petra and the pyramids. We really enjoyed the lectures that prepared us for every stop. The staff was amazing. We adored our steward who was very attentive. And ... Read More
We liked the itinerary. It hit several places on our bucket list, such as Petra and the pyramids. We really enjoyed the lectures that prepared us for every stop. The staff was amazing. We adored our steward who was very attentive. And we felt very safe, even when we were sailing by Somalia. The ship is lovely and very well designed. The interior decorating is very Scandinavian and comfortable. There were lots of places to relax. Even though there were nearly 900 people on the ship, we never felt it was crowded. The food choices were excellent, and we probably ate more than we should have! We really enjoyed having a variety of food venues and the option to eat both inside and outside. We liked the experience so much that we signed up on board for another cruise on the ORION in Nov. 2019 -this time to Southeast Asia. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
It was a great cruise and we really wanted to see Norway. The food was better then we expected. We tried all three dinning rooms and we felt the Italian was the best. The ports and the tours was interesting and educational. The service in ... Read More
It was a great cruise and we really wanted to see Norway. The food was better then we expected. We tried all three dinning rooms and we felt the Italian was the best. The ports and the tours was interesting and educational. The service in the dinning rooms and the cabin stewards was above expectation. We were so impressed we are looking forward to our next ocean cruise. Embarkation and disembarkation was smooth and we did not have to stand in hallways as you do on larger ships. We enjoyed the choice of places to eat and that you could eat around the pool or in small areas around the ship. The cabin was large and the bathroom was larger than most ships. Viking does a great job with entertainment and making our cruise one of the most enjoyable ones we have gone on in a long time. We are looking forward to our next one. Read Less
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