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101 Viking Ocean Cuba Cruise Reviews

We went on this cruise , after hearing how great viking was . Boy were we disappointed . First the good things, the boat was clean new and well decorated . The cabins were the same and they probably had the biggest bathroom that we have ... Read More
We went on this cruise , after hearing how great viking was . Boy were we disappointed . First the good things, the boat was clean new and well decorated . The cabins were the same and they probably had the biggest bathroom that we have ever encountered. The Italian speciality restaurant had the best food on the boat. All the staff that we meet , from the bartenders to the room steward were professional, help-full and friendly. Now the bad . I have always wanted to visit Cuba , its on my bucket list so we decided to try viking due to its itinerary and excursions. We signed up for the one on one salsa class , well it was 12 fellow cruisers to one spanish speaking instructor . It was described as an air-conditioned studio, well it was an outside patio of a bar . On the ride over all the guide talked about was about the rich people that used to live here and how the revolution has helped the people . I went for the culture not a political rally . Second we signed on for the catamaran tour. It was a double decker boat with plastic chairs . We were also signed up for the "kitchen table " this is where we were going to shop on the island with the chef prepare the meal and have dinner . It was cancelled , we found out later that it had been cancelled since they went to Cuba . The meals in the main dining room were disappointing , they seems to not have enough staff and for the few meals we ate there we were always asking for something . This is the first time we had to eat most dinners at the buffet . I know most people do but we r foodies and actually relayed our opinion to the head chef. But the kicker was the captain decided not to go to the second port due to bad weather . We went back to our room and got on the internet and found out that this was not true. The staff told us that the have not visited that port in the last 3 cruises . We were not the only disappointed travelers , that's all people talked about at happy hour and all the next sea day . When we got back home we had an email offering that viking would give a voucher for 500 dollars for a next cruise . I call viking customer service , discussed my concerns and the fact that I consider this to be false advertising . I was put on hold . they came back with 750 each , I refused and asked for ALL my money back. Again I was placed on hold and this time I was offered 250 dollar cash if I signed a non-disclosure form , I refused I stated that why would I go on another cruise when I was lied to so many times. I explained that we cruised a lot and if we were told the truth about Cuba we would have picked another itinerary . .Nothing, so I hung up . My job now is to spread the word about viking cruises and how they treat people . Gregg Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Wanted to try Viking Ocean and Cuba was on my list. Had been on Viking River Cruise so was curious about the Ocean Cruises. The look and feel if the ocean ship was similar to the River but bigger. Also the inclusion of the Thermal Spa ... Read More
Wanted to try Viking Ocean and Cuba was on my list. Had been on Viking River Cruise so was curious about the Ocean Cruises. The look and feel if the ocean ship was similar to the River but bigger. Also the inclusion of the Thermal Spa area which included the sauna, steam, snow room, cold pool and thermal pool with heated lounges chairs was an added bonus as there is not a charge to enter and use the Thermal spa like other cruise lines. The fitness center was well equipped as well. The pools were nice and nothin seemed crowed - not sure the ship was at 100% capacity. They had a nice smoking area on the top deck, which had plenty of seating and was not near any major public area such as the pools or dining areas. The ship was clean and the crew were in constant maintenance mode during the cruise. The staff were wonderful and we managed to have a few waiters that were special in that they remembered us and knew what we drank and were attentive, of course a little tip didn't hurt but was well deserved. The entertainment could be a little more varied especially in the main pool area to include so Top 40 tunes for some of the younger crowd, I had expected some latin music since this was a Cuba and Caribbean Cruise but none. Minus a casino more activities maybe would have been nice other than card and board games. Overall a very relaxing cruise even though we were unable to make our stop in Santiago Cuba due to weather. I booked another cruise while on board so overall pleased with the experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Wonderful cruise. Great staff, great food, excellent wines, good excursions, well-informed guides. All good except they cancelled the Santiago de Cuba stopover at the last minute, claiming that they might be able to get into the Santiago ... Read More
Wonderful cruise. Great staff, great food, excellent wines, good excursions, well-informed guides. All good except they cancelled the Santiago de Cuba stopover at the last minute, claiming that they might be able to get into the Santiago bay, but not get out due to "winds".... Well, we were not convinced. Viking did provide a $500 credit we can apply to a future cruise, but you know what, what if we redo the Cuba cruise and they again cancel Santiago, which we really wanted to see? What's the point then? Viking should get more serious about its stopovers because it was a deciding factor in our choice of this cruise. And if Viking can't keep to its itinerary, why bother. On the plus side, the staff of the boat was truly lovely, the food truly delicious, the indoor spa great and luxurious. The ship was the right size - not too big, not too small, blissfully free of casino and photographers. We enjoyed the promenade deck. It was possible to do a mile or so on it every day, which we really liked. Excursions were well organized, informative and fun, with enough free time to do a little shopping/exploring on our own. Guides were well-informed and pleasant, without overdoing it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this cruise because it was going to Cuba. We felt we should go before the United States decided to limit our ability to travel to Cuba. This did happen several months after our cruise. The only draw back to the cruise was we ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was going to Cuba. We felt we should go before the United States decided to limit our ability to travel to Cuba. This did happen several months after our cruise. The only draw back to the cruise was we miss a port due to weather conditions. The ship and excursions were great. There are many great places to sit, relax, and enjoy a cocktail. The food was wonderful; the Italian specialty restaurant was excellent. However, we were disappointed in the Peking Duck served at the other specialty restaurant. The entertainment was very good. Being a smaller ship, the staff to passenger ratio is very good. The staff had time to talk with us and we learned about their home countries which we enjoy. Our cabin and room service were excellent. We had a balcony cabin on the port side of the ship. We found this to be a very relaxing and enjoyable cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
My Husband and I just finished our Viking cruise to Cuba. It was amazing! We started from Newark New Jersey to Miami with no problems. We were picked up at the airport and were taken to the port with zero problems. Check in ... Read More
My Husband and I just finished our Viking cruise to Cuba. It was amazing! We started from Newark New Jersey to Miami with no problems. We were picked up at the airport and were taken to the port with zero problems. Check in took 5 minutes and went straight to our cabin 6063. Cabin was very nice and great location. One floor up to pools, pool grill, World cafe, and bar. We were greeted by our room Stewart June who was excellent. All the restaurants on the ship were excellent. The crew were all helpful and polite. Juiguian greeted us always in “The Restaurant” with her smile. I can’t understand how someone could say there were not enough choices of food. Or they didn’t like it. How much more could one eat? I am a picky eater and I always could find something great to eat. Everyone on the ship were always greeting us and asking if we needed anything. We have been on many different cruise lines, what we loved about this ship was the size. Our tours were great. Going through customs was a piece of cake. We had Judy take us around Cienfuegos. She was so well informed and explain life in Cuba. It was an extremely hot day but what do you expect from Cuba. Rather have 90 degrees than the 30’s in New Jersey. I don’t know what some people were expecting to see, we were surprised at what we did see. Our trip to Havana with George was incredible. I don’t know how he spoke from 8:00am to 8:00pm. We learned so much history, way of life, customs, etc etc We were so happy to go in the old cars . It only cost us $5.00 each to drive for a good 20 minutes. My only regret about the day trip was that I missed out of the over night stay at the Tropicana. We heard the hotel was very nice and the show was fantastic. Out last tour was a “Catamaran “ ride which really should be called a Boat ride. We were so tired from the two other tours that it was nice just to sit and take in the sight. We couldn’t go to our last port because it was going to be hard to leave the port because of high winds. Better safe than sorry. We had an extra day at sea to enjoy the beautiful weather. We didn’t exchange any money. I used euros for people at the stands and US dollars in the stores they took us to. Departure day was also very organized. Luggage, transportation, airport all went perfect. My Husband and I have no negative comments about Viking Star and Cuba travels. We are so glad to have seen a country that will hopefully change for the better. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
I am not typically a cruiser, but chose this cruise because it was going to Cuba and only Cuba. Other cruise lines would stop in Cuba, but would go to other destinations. We were supposed to dock in Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba, but ... Read More
I am not typically a cruiser, but chose this cruise because it was going to Cuba and only Cuba. Other cruise lines would stop in Cuba, but would go to other destinations. We were supposed to dock in Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba, but due to weather we could only dock in Cienfuegos so we received an extra day at sea (Viking did provide me with a small credit for missing part of the itinerary which I thought was a nice gesture). Cuba was fantastic, but wished they spent a little more time there. The excursions we did were very informative and enjoyable. As for Viking, I have to say I was very impressed. First of all, the room itself is quite comfortable. Each room has its own private balcony which was very nice, particularly in the evenings when you could sit outside and just relax. The bathroom is one of the best bathrooms that I have had on land or sea - heated floor, roomy shower, non fogging mirrors. The room also had plenty of dedicated USB charging stations, a mini bar, safe and coffee maker. You could also get 24 hour room service if you wanted. Lastly, there is complimentary self service laundry if need to clean some cloths. The service from the crew was excellent and never felt like they were trying to sell you anything. The crew, as is typical I think on most cruises, from all over the world and they were all pleasant, friendly and helpful. They were truly enjoyable to be around. The various dining options are varied and all delicious. There is a buffet, that offers a wide variety of options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You have various other other smaller options throughout the ship, including a burger bar near the pool, that serves to order burgers and other sandwiches, a small cafe in the front of the ship that gives you a variety of options and you can enjoy high tea each afternoon, a dizzying array of teas to choose from and accompanied by small finger sandwiches and deserts. The primary dining consists of the main dining area and two other restaurants, a dedicated Italian Restaurant and a Chef's Table restaurant. While the last two need reservations because of their limited seating, the main dining area does not. You can dine at anytime, there is no assigned seating and you can sit with a group or by your self. The menu has two parts; a fixed menu that does not change that gives you all the basics (steak, chicken, fish, etc., appetizers and deserts) and a second menu that changes daily that is usually themed. You can mix and match from the two menus and you will not be disappointed. We typically ate in the main dining area, but did eat once in the Italian Restaurant and it was equally delicious. Beer and wine is included with each meal, but you have other options as well. Overall, the food was outstanding! The ship also had very pleasing entertainment. There was classical guitarist, violinist and cellist and a piano player who played throughout the ship and throughout the day. They were all great. There was also other entertainers and we caught one other show, which was an Abba themed musical that was also enjoyable. Lastly, there are no children under 18, no casino and no photographers looking to take your picture all the time. I have to say that Viking was fantastic and I fear that I am now spoiled about what I will expect on a cruise. I had such a great time on the Viking Star that my wife and I booked a cruise, the Viking West Indies Explorer, for our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary and we are really looking forward to it. I cannot recommend Viking enough. They are certainly more expensive than other cruise lines, but you get what you pay for. If you are looking for excellent food, excellent accommodations, a relaxing atmosphere and a great crew, then Viking is for you. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
I really wanted to go to Cuba and a cruise was the easiest way to get there. I chose Viking because they spent the most time in Cuba and I could take a bus trip across the country and see Havana (it docks in Cienfuegos). The ship was ... Read More
I really wanted to go to Cuba and a cruise was the easiest way to get there. I chose Viking because they spent the most time in Cuba and I could take a bus trip across the country and see Havana (it docks in Cienfuegos). The ship was wonderful. Food was amazing, room was clean and well appointed (even a little spacious by cruise standards), staff was friendly and well trained, tour guides were well informed and helpful, and this ocean cruise was definitely up to the Viking standards we've experienced on our previous river cruises. Unfortunately, due to weather we were unable to cruise to our last itinerary stop (Santiago de Cuba) and ended up with an additional sea day. While this did not make us happy, they handled it very well. And...a surprise came in email the day we left giving us a $500 credit each because of the eliminate port. We already have a river cruise booked, unfortunately, we can't use it toward that trip. Perhaps we will take another Viking trip after that. It was nice not to have to call and shame them into giving us something :) Overall, a great trip! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
I spent a career in the Navy and always wanted to see Cuba from the other side of the minefield! Viking did its usual incomparable job in providing lifelong memories. Their customer service is simply the best. From embarkation to ... Read More
I spent a career in the Navy and always wanted to see Cuba from the other side of the minefield! Viking did its usual incomparable job in providing lifelong memories. Their customer service is simply the best. From embarkation to departure everything was perfect. Having sailed Viking Star in the baltic, we knew the ship well. Although Star is one of their older ships, she was so clean and well maintained, she looked brand new. The crew was well trained and always happy to interact with the guests. The food, as always, was top-notch. There may be other cruise lines that are more luxurious, but no one makes you feel more comfortable than Viking...and we have sailed them all. Folks are not very "brand loyal" these days but with Viking...its easy! This year we switch back to a river cruise and head for Russia. Standing in Red Square on July 4th will be quite an experience!! Thank you to Viking for consistently superior performance. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We choose this cruise because we wanted to see Cuba before cruise ship travel there was curtailed. This was our first ocean cruise with Viking and comparing it with other cruise lines we had been on we found the smaller Viking ships to be ... Read More
We choose this cruise because we wanted to see Cuba before cruise ship travel there was curtailed. This was our first ocean cruise with Viking and comparing it with other cruise lines we had been on we found the smaller Viking ships to be by far the better choice. Being 1 900 rather than 1 in 4000+ passengers makes a big difference. The ability to get into smaller ports and not having a port flooded with thousands of tourists enhances the overall on shore experience. We found the shipboard experience unmatched: food service was nonpareil, entertainment was excellent, ship cleanliness was notable, staterooms were comfortable and well appointed and the Cuban educational series was outstanding which served us well when we got ashore. The ship's size and design made it easy to quickly leran your way around. The shore excursions really gave us a chance to gain an appreciation for the Cubans and their culture. We would very highly recommend the Viking ocean cruises. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
After saving our money and paid time off for over three years, my husband and I were excited for our cruise to Cuba with Viking, who had shown us stellar service on their Paris to Normandy river journey in 2015. We were a little hesitant ... Read More
After saving our money and paid time off for over three years, my husband and I were excited for our cruise to Cuba with Viking, who had shown us stellar service on their Paris to Normandy river journey in 2015. We were a little hesitant at first, seeing that Viking had changed the itinerary on folks that booked in 2017 from Havana to Cienfuegos, but figured the team had it sorted out. Unfortunately, from the start we had trouble. Our airport pickup wandered away, leaving six of us who had just red eyed into Miami confused - they left the baggage area once the bags started coming, leaving us wandering until we found them quite far down the hall. Despite our stickers and luggage tags, we had to search for our rep, rather than him finding us (in Paris, our rep was there in uniform and took initiative to round up his charges, not the other way around). When we were dropped off at port, we were literally dropped off - no instructions, no guidance. An elderly woman in our group was jostled and fell to the ground. Finally, one of our fellow passengers found the correct entrance and led us in. The ship is lovely, if starting to show some wear, and the staff was delightful and polite and not too talkative. The hydrotherapy pools were spacious and stunning, especially for a ship of this size. We sometimes struggled to get drinks refilled at meals, so we started requesting two at a time so we wouldn’t be parched midway through a meal. For a larger ship than their river cruises, there was less variety in food choice - the seated restaurant and the buffet mirror on another, and since the specialty restaurants booked up fast, you essentially had the option of being brought your food or grabbing it yourself without much change in the menu. The river cruises have a small cafe that you can get American fare at, while their restaurants serve local specialties and more upscale dishes. Our free walking tour in Cienfuegos was one of the worst tours I have been on - the guide wouldn’t let us shop, he made us stand in the street as beggars circled us tighter and tighter (making me more and more nervous) while he talked about the largest travel agency in Havana (it seemed an odd thing to focus on when there was art and cigar shops and historic buildings surrounding us), and was angry people weren’t paying attention to his next long story about the optometry shop as we shifted uncomfortably in the street. At the cigar rolling demonstration, we were hustled out before we could buy anything - which made me incredibly uncomfortable when the shopkeepers had hosted us so kindly. We toured a hotel lobby, which ate into valuable time we could have been at an actual historical building. Being from Nevada, I know hotels. I don’t know 19th century Cuban mansions like Ville Palais, which we had only ten minutes in since we spent a valuable twenty minutes in a generic Hilton-like lobby instead. When we returned to the city center, it was after six and shutting down - stands were closing, shops were shuttered, and it was twilight - tourist time was obviously over. So we returned to the boat. Our Havana excursion was amazing, and the saving grace of our trip - the tour guide Jenny knowledgeable, focused on education and information and not her personal stories. The Hemingway House was closed (note, it’s always closed on Sundays, so why no one notifies us until the day before was concerning on Viking’s end and likely caused a scramble for the poor guides), so she arranged for a ride around Havana in the old school cars, which thrilled us all. She was honest about life in Cuba, and answered all of our questions on income and housing, and introduced us to multiple vendors and shops, even making sure we got proper change. This was the Viking experience I had been expecting and hoping for. Since Havana was a whirlwind of colors and sounds, we were excited for a low key day In Cienfuegos the following day - unfortunately, since the tender boats take 20 minutes each way, and everyone had to be back on the boat by noon, we didn’t get up in time to leave the boat on our third half day (our Havana day was over 13 hours with lots of walking). Which was heartbreaking when we found out that our second port stop at Santiago de Cuba was canceled due to wind. Santiago de Cuba was founded in 1515, and was something I was looking forward to so much. Being from out West in Nevada, we think somethings historic if it’s from the 1950s! But we were sure Viking would make it up to guests. We became less sure when they excitedly announced a bean bag toss to keep us occupied as we sailed past Santiago de Cuba. Okay, I thought. They’re getting things together. They need a little time. Surely the top cruise line in the world would not offer a simple bean bag toss as substitute for 50% of the Cuba port sites. Well, they also offered a trivia competition. And they also heavily suggested you pay extra fees for wine tastings and spa treatments to keep yourself occupied on a day that Viking had promised to entertain us with a port stop and free tour. My husband and I are in our 30s, and Viking cruises mean we go less often and pay more ($2,800/each in this instance), but our experience in Paris was so rosy, we pledged to be Viking customers exclusively. Having a major stop cancelled and cornhole substituted seemed laughable, and I again gave Viking the benefit of the doubt. I emailed our Viking rep, sure that something was in the works - a partial refund or credit towards our next cruise, or even a shipboard credit since they were pushing pricey services for entertainment in lieu of the port stop. Fred told me to email customer relations since he couldn’t do anything once we were on the boat. 24 hours after emailing, and 28 hours after the port cancellation, I have yet to receive an acknowledgment of my email, and my hope for a decent resolution is just about gone. To have such vastly different customer service experiences has led me to fear our stellar service in Paris was luck of the stars, and not Viking’s usual protocol. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend this cruise because you will pay premium price for average service and may not even see 50% of promised ports - and Viking will offer a game of bean bag toss as the only consolation to a lost day in Cuba. Oh, and trivia. Our 2015 Paris cruise was during the terrorist attacks - Viking stepped up to the plate in 2015 and arranged alternate excursions when we were unable to get back into the locked down city, and a staff person came to speak with us individually about safety and ensure our comfort. I’m surprised they were able to handle a very unexpected, very alarming event on the fly on that cruise, but the only solution they had for inclement weather on this cruise and a cancelled port was a bean bag toss. Oh yeah, and a trivia game. I would not recommend this cruise until Viking has figured out the Cuba logistics. From reading the other reviews, this isn’t one of Viking’s strong itineraries despite multiple years, and doesn’t appear to have the same level of professionalism and service found in their river cruises. I’m not sure we’ll do a Viking cruise again, considering the high cost and poor customer service our Cuba trip has highlighted. I expected to be a Viking customer for the next 70 years after Paris, but am beginning to realize they’re just like any other cruise line - all about that cash. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this cruise because we were interested in seeing Cuba, as well as we were looking forward to getting away from cold winter weather. We have traveled on both Viking River and Viking Ocean and loved both. The Viking Star did not ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were interested in seeing Cuba, as well as we were looking forward to getting away from cold winter weather. We have traveled on both Viking River and Viking Ocean and loved both. The Viking Star did not disappoint. From the moment we embarked we were treated wonderfully. We stayed in a deluxe veranda, which was a nice size. Our room steward was very attentive and our room was spotless. We enjoyed our dining experiences. We ate dinner at both specialty restaurants, as well as in the main restaurant and had attentive service and found the meals to be delicious. We particularly enjoyed dining outside in the Aquavit Terrace for the Seafood Buffet. We enjoyed the chef's cooking demonstration as well as the backstage tour given by the Viking vocalists. We enjoyed the evening shows and particularly liked the late night dancing with the Viking Band in the Torshavn lounge. The evening outdoor movies were a pleasant touch. Our cruise director, Aaron, did a wonderful job. We enjoyed the infinity pool and never had difficulty finding a lounge chair. Service by the pool was excellent. We enjoyed afternoon tea. Our experiences on the ship were wonderful. We were disappointed with the short amount of time we spent in Cuba. For a one week cruise, we only were in Cuba for a little over 2 days. We also had to take a tender to get to land, which took additional time away from being in Cuba. Our stop in Santiago de Cuba was cancelled due to winds. We were informed of this as we were finishing breakfast getting ready to leave on our tour. We had hoped another port would have been substituted. Our tour in Cienfuegos was excellent and our tour guide was informative and friendly. The tour to Havana was a must. We saw a great deal and a highlight of our trip was touring in the classic cars. We enjoyed dining in an authentic Cuban restaurant. The 6 hour round trip bus ride was very long. We enjoyed the catamaran tour of Cienfuegos Bay. I was glad that I had done my shopping early in the trip, instead of waiting for the last day, in that I would have had nothing to bring back from Cuba. I have seen so much on previous Viking cruises and was surprised that in a 7 day cruise we only went to 1 port. I had thought we would have seen much more. In summary, the ship was perfect but for a seven day cruise the ports were sparse. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Due to engine trouble on a Cuba cruise we missed the port of Santiago. Things happen OK. However, on a 7 day cruise that left us with 2 1/2 days in Cuba and the rest of the time on the ship. Viking has offered a 30% credit on a future ... Read More
Due to engine trouble on a Cuba cruise we missed the port of Santiago. Things happen OK. However, on a 7 day cruise that left us with 2 1/2 days in Cuba and the rest of the time on the ship. Viking has offered a 30% credit on a future cruise if you book within a year or $500.00 cash to sign a settlement agreement to keep your mouth shut. Considering that our cabins cost 10k for two people I think the 30% should be a cash refund not a ploy to get you to book another cruise. In addition there was a NORO outbreak , our shower door leaked and flooded the bathroom floor. Also the day trip to Havana involved 7 hours on a cramped Chinese made bus. The bus was clean but be prepared to have your knees butted against the front seat for that time. Tour guide Manny was very good though. Take something from the ship to eat for lunch because you may not want the mystery meat lunch at the state owned tourist restaurant in Havana. Went on two of the river cruises and had other problems . We are done with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
food was never served hot... dining hours were awful... ALL dining venues closed at 9:30 for breakfast and 10 pm at night..even the upstairs buffet... wanted a cookie at 10:00 ..everything was put away... upstairs, downtstairs, all over ... Read More
food was never served hot... dining hours were awful... ALL dining venues closed at 9:30 for breakfast and 10 pm at night..even the upstairs buffet... wanted a cookie at 10:00 ..everything was put away... upstairs, downtstairs, all over the ship.. i was told to call room service... got up late one morning at went upstairs for breakfast... it was closed... nothing avail until 11:30.... crew were nice but most were new..hadnt been on board long. didnt understand english well.. espcially at the pool grill... ordered a burger that was varied from the menu , they were confused... it was our first viking and will be our last... the river may be better but we usually do river with Uniworld and after this Viking experience i dont think i would try them again... excursions were HORRIBLE. car ride in havana was good thing but 7hr bus ride was the pits... bathrooms didnt work well... Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We liked the ship, the Star, very much -- size, etc. We had a suite and it was great -- large and very comfortable. We were very disappointed with the food and the service. The food was just average -- like a Princess or Royal Caribbean ... Read More
We liked the ship, the Star, very much -- size, etc. We had a suite and it was great -- large and very comfortable. We were very disappointed with the food and the service. The food was just average -- like a Princess or Royal Caribbean cruise ship. Certainly nothing special. The service in the restaurants and buffet was very spotty -- sometimes good but sometimes very lax. The staff seemed inexperienced and not able to attend to the guests properly. The entertainment was below par -- second or third rate. We docked in Cienfuegos, Cuba and had to take tenders for all tours and then had to take very long bus rides to get anywhere. My husband took the Caribbean Cold War History tour (Bay of Pigs) and was very disappointed with the museum (they closed the bathrooms when they saw the bus pulling up and told everyone they would have to use the restroom on the bus). And he said the restaurant was terrible. The tour to the Botanical Garden and Laguna Guanaroca included, again, a long bus ride. The Laguna Guanaroca was a waste of time -- really nothing to see. The Botanical Garden was my favorite and if the Laguna Guanaroca visit was eliminated, it would allow more time there. Our guide at the Botanical Garden was informative and did a wonderful job. The Day in Havana was interesting -- seeing the old cars and our lunch was nice. The ship was able to dock in Santiago de Cuba -- so no tenders. The The included Panoramic Santiago de Cuba tour was okay but walking through the business/store area was crowded and unnecessary. All the tours were expensive and not worth the money. Cuba is really not yet ready for tourists. Wonderful having wi-fi and free internet and it worked well. The TV was a little iffy but better than other cruises we have taken. We took the cruise because it was round trip Miami and just visited Cuba. We thought it would be interesting to finally be able to visit Cuba -- but there really wasn't a whole lot to see. Perhaps if we didn't have to take such long bus rides we would have seen more. Cuba is a very poor island. Our tour guides on the buses were informed and did a good job. Personally, I would not recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We wanted to see Cuba without having to experience the land based hotels which all of our friends who had traveled there said were not pleasant. And so we figured we would try a Viking Ocean experience based on several of their river ... Read More
We wanted to see Cuba without having to experience the land based hotels which all of our friends who had traveled there said were not pleasant. And so we figured we would try a Viking Ocean experience based on several of their river cruise trips. To tell you the truth is was truly a mixed experience. The ship was very manageable, clean and convenient. The cabin was great. Well stocked, king size bed, heated bathroom floors, great ventilation and temp control and the cabin steward was a 10+. The tours were mixed - some good, some bad - but it's always based on who your guide is. What was truly disappointing was one of the "included" tours which the ship's staff advised us not to take. Say what? You put us on a tour that's no good? Well then change it - don't advise us to pay more for an optional one. The dining room was not ready for prime time. There is a big difference between "unhurried" dining and SLOW. One night we sat at the table for 15 minutes waiting to be approached and nothing happened. Had to raise my hand and ask who had our table and one could tell by the looks on the faces that no one had a clue. But every night the service was that way. Alternate dining room reservations were simply put, a pain and not worth the effort. The buffet was good though and never disappointed. When the staff was asked how long they had been on board or with Viking the lack of experience was astounding. We really felt we were providing on-the-job- training and it was annoying. Entertainment was a mix of lectures and some shows. Lectures were great and shows were okay but in fairness it is a smaller ship and lacks some facilities We're booked to be on that same ship next year for an extended voyage but we are seriously rethinking it. I don't want to suffer more Viking growing pains. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the amount of time visiting Cuba. We toured Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Havana and Santiago de Cuba. All the tour guides were extremely knowledgeable and cautious for our safety. The ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the amount of time visiting Cuba. We toured Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Havana and Santiago de Cuba. All the tour guides were extremely knowledgeable and cautious for our safety. The ship was spotless, the crew always friendly and sincere no matter when and where. Embarking the ship's tenders was done with ease. The were more concerned for our safety and we felt comfortable with their assistance. We enjoyed the lectures offered. There were no big production shows. However, the singers and dancers were superb including the Cruise Director and his assistant. The fact that the Viking Star passenger load is less than 1,000 people, you get to know most of the entertainers, officers and other crew members personally. Meeting for the tours was handled very smoothly with hardly any wait time. The public rooms including quiet areas were decorated in good taste and very comfortable. The cappuccino was adequate, but most of the time it was machine made. I would like to have had it otherwise. Overall, I recommend Viking Ocean Cruise to Cuba. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
The destination and sale price of this cruise sold us on the sailing. We have heard about the great reputation of Viking and we were looking forward to traveling to Cuba on this ship. I write a travel blog, Simply Travel Abroad, and I ... Read More
The destination and sale price of this cruise sold us on the sailing. We have heard about the great reputation of Viking and we were looking forward to traveling to Cuba on this ship. I write a travel blog, Simply Travel Abroad, and I wrote a very detailed article about this wonderful experience. My husband, who is a scientist and lectures around the world, was particulary impressed with the historical conferences that we attended. Starting from the ease of check in, the clean spotless decor, the wide variety of food choices, the cruise line does not dissappoint. The cabin was ready for us when we arrived and I found it to be spacious and comfortable, allowing the simple luxury of space and ammenities. One of the things we loved most were the shore excursions. Since I travel a lot for my writing, I am not usually into the group excursion experience. However, we found that this was not a "heading of the sheep" experience, rather a personal and well thought out trip. As part of my job, I organize wine tours around the world and I can appreciate the well trained staff, the friendly ports of call and the overall experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise because we had heard such wonderful things about Viking River cruises. The timeframe and itinerary fit our needs. Our expectations were of luxury and perfection. Pros: The ship was beautiful and well ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had heard such wonderful things about Viking River cruises. The timeframe and itinerary fit our needs. Our expectations were of luxury and perfection. Pros: The ship was beautiful and well maintained. The staff was so friendly. We were in Explorer Suite 3095. We have been on other high end cruises, also in suites. The suite was the largest one we had been in: an actual living room, a dining table that sat 4, a bedroom (with a door), and a double sink bathroom with plenty of storage . Our cabin stewarts, Erik and Puput were so friendly and most helpful. The toiletries (constantly replenished) were wonderful. And the wrap around deck was fantastic. The enrichment programs were very interesting. Great speakers, interesting and varied topics. Cons: The food was hit or miss. When it was good it was delicious. When it was bad it was awful (Example: Twice at the World Cafe the roast beef, being carved at the station, was so tough and inedible. Heard from other people that they also had this problem.). It is a matter of opinion whether the menu was varied enough. The ridiculous: At the World Cafe (buffet) at breakfast there was sugar free syrup. However,at the main dining room (The Restaurant) we needed to ask for it. Every waiter who got it for us made sure that we knew that they had to go from the Restaurant (2nd floor) to the 7th floor (World Cafe). One time I was finished my pancakes before the syrup came. Twice..count ‘em..twice they printed the wrong time to meet for our tours. We were tendering in so it wasn’t as easy as going down the gangplank on to shore. We miraculously were early enough to make all the tenders but those two times it was by dumb luck. An example: the first time that was wrong is when they told us to be at the meeting place at 8:15. We were called for our tender at 8:01. One person on our tour actually believed the 8:15 time. We had to wait until 9:00 for our tour bus to begin driving! That was when the next tender arrived. Everyday at the same time (6-6:45) there was a program of live music with a viewing of Munch paintings. We never heard or saw it because we always ate at 6 when the restaurants opened, Unchangeable due to medical issues. The tour talks downplayed (at least one of the two) the included tours. The tour director actually downplayed two paid tours. We definitely disagreed with him on one but didn’t on the other. He said that unfortunately the description of the botanical garden that we were given in our initial information, at the time we booked it and paid for it, was too nice and it wasn’t that interesting. It wasn’t. On other lines we recieved more perks as suite passengers. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
It was an opportunity to travel to Cuba, which hasn't been readily available and may not be in the future, who knows! Traveled with my husband, my mother, and my sister. We stayed in Key Biscayne for 3 days prior to the cruise, and ... Read More
It was an opportunity to travel to Cuba, which hasn't been readily available and may not be in the future, who knows! Traveled with my husband, my mother, and my sister. We stayed in Key Biscayne for 3 days prior to the cruise, and got to the ship terminal 2 hours prior to our 3:00 pm embarkation time. But very few people were there, and we breezed through. We were given our room key and our luggage was there when we arrived. Disembarkation was equally as smooth. Our overnight trip to Havana was marred by the tornado, so we didn't see the Tropicana show. But friends of ours were there the previous night, and said it was fantastic. The Melia Hotel was quite nice (we were expecting worse). And the CARS!!!! The tour guides were very knowledgeable. The tour to Trinidad was a long bus trip, and not as interesting as we anticipated. In Santiago de Cuba, we decided we couldn't stand to be on another bus, so we went out on our own. We (my sister, my mother, and I) passed through customs, and were kind of standing around considering our options, when a man came up to us and asked if we needed a guide for the day. He was wearing a blue Infotur shirt and hat, and was very professional, explaining that he was with a state-run agency. It cost $40 an hour for the driver and old-car taxi, and $20 an hour for the guide. We took the taxi to the cemetary, and arrived well before the tour busses, which were arriving as we were leaving. This in itself was worth the $40! We then drove through the streets around town, and were dropped off in the city center. Our guide, Wilbert, stayed with us for over 3 hours, and only charged the $20 (I gave him a $20 tip, bought him lunch and drinks too). He took us all over, and it was a true person-to-person experience. He took us inside his home, showed us the ration book, took us to a neighborhood restaurant for lunch. My mother and sister had coffee with him in his home, and we all ate the local lunch (yes, including fresh veggies and lettuce) and didn't get sick! We brought a bag of toiletries, which he was very thankful for, and said he would share with people who needed them. Advice: Don't be afraid to interact with local people. They are very friendly and appreciate tourists. I would definitely go again, when we're able to just go as tourists, and do what we want. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We did cultural Cuba cruise from Miami.It was our first Viking ocean cruise,but we have been on river cruises and ocean cruises with other companies.The ship is nice,nice layout,great food and good service except the main restaurant,where ... Read More
We did cultural Cuba cruise from Miami.It was our first Viking ocean cruise,but we have been on river cruises and ocean cruises with other companies.The ship is nice,nice layout,great food and good service except the main restaurant,where it took2 hours to have dinner for 2 people every time.The Manfredi restaurant is excellent,great food and service.But The cruise was very boring,because there was nothing to do in the evening.The had singers3nights and a local band.Each performance took45 min,so after that there was nothing to do in the evening.There is so much music you can listen to.There was no topical cruise games and except lectures during the day,you had nothing to do.We missed last port,because it was too windy and spent extra day at see,which was extremely boring!We didn’t docked in Havana and it was3.5 hours each way to go there on the tour.We did 1 day trip for 290$ per person,some people went on overnight trip for 790$ per person.We spent more time on the bus than in Havana.The botanical garden tour we took in Cienfuegos was complete waste of time and money,there is nothing to see there.I will definitely go on another Viking river cruise,but never on the ocean cruise,because it’s luck of entertainment and it’s boring. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Honestly, we chose this cruise because we didn’t have to do international flying to take the cruise. Along with that, it’s cold weather at home and a warm climate was appealing. We were also intrigued by stories of Cuba and it sounded ... Read More
Honestly, we chose this cruise because we didn’t have to do international flying to take the cruise. Along with that, it’s cold weather at home and a warm climate was appealing. We were also intrigued by stories of Cuba and it sounded interesting. Everything on board was top notch. Food, service, entertainment, all excellent. Excursions were ok. a lot of emphasis from the guides was on helping us buy cigars and rum. Guides were very much into promoting Us/Cuba relations as they “love Americans”. It was heartbreaking to see the areas that clearly had once been so beautiful now delapidated and in disrepair. The guides were so proud of their heritage it seemed they didn’t see it the same way. Probably the highlight of the excursion was the ride through Miramar in Havana in one of the iconic classic cars with the top down looking at the once wealthy area’s beautiful (then) homes. The weather caused us to miss a port of call so we had an extra day at sea. We already had two days of the cruise as “at sea” so there was definitely a lot of boat time. It was good to see Cuba but I would not go back again. It truly is an eye-opening trip to see what can happen to a once prosperous country when put in the wrong hands. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We heard so many positive things about Viking that we thought we would try them. We have been on 21 cruises with various cruise lines and we can honestly say this is the best of them all! We had originally booked a cruise with them last ... Read More
We heard so many positive things about Viking that we thought we would try them. We have been on 21 cruises with various cruise lines and we can honestly say this is the best of them all! We had originally booked a cruise with them last Jan and also booked our flights with Viking Air to go to the West Indies out of San Juan. Our flight from Toronto to Charlotte was cancelled by weather issues and when we phoned Viking Air all she would say is "I can't get you to San Juan". Thankfully our cancellation insurance refunded all of our money and we promptly booked for this cruise to Viking. 7 days is the shortest cruise we have ever done so we booked a hotel in Toronto for 1 night, 2 nights in Miami (pre cruise) and then one night in Miami and one night in Toronto post cruise to stretch out our holiday. Our experience with Viking was just so outstanding! Not one complaint about anything. The ship is fairly new (2 years old) and she is beautiful! We had a Deluxe Verandah portside. OUr embarkation time was 1 pm but because our shuttle got us there for 11 we were prepared to wait but we were ushered right on board! Very friendly happy staff on board. We had signed up for a Meet and Greet (the Viking Star board wasn't very active) and we received a card in our room with our invite. Even though only 4 of us were there the ship's officers came up and we had champagne and apps during our time with them. Food was delicious! Specialty restaurants are included and because so many passengers went to Havana for an overnight tour we ate in Manfredi's a second night. Chef's Table was an Asian Theme and we loved it. You really don't need a drink package as they are very generous with wine and beer and water during your lunch and dinner meals. We enjoyed our included shore excursion in Cienfuegos and also the one we paid for (Bay of Pigs museum). Glad there is no casino aboard and no little ones around. Loved the spa facilities (everything included except the treatments) and the pools. Service was excellent. Our port stop in Santiago de Cuba was cancelled due to high waves but we enjoyed another sea day. Love, love, love Viking!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise due to the high Viking reviews. The Star ship was a great ship, but the ports in Cienfuegos and Santiago De Cuba are horrible. We took a private tour to Havana, and Havana is a great city, but it was a 3 hour plus ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to the high Viking reviews. The Star ship was a great ship, but the ports in Cienfuegos and Santiago De Cuba are horrible. We took a private tour to Havana, and Havana is a great city, but it was a 3 hour plus drive. We would recommend you finding a cruise ship that ported in Havana before choosing the Cultural Cuba Itinerary. What we loved about the ship were: 1) The well appointed junior suite staterooms with large bathrooms 2) The room attendant Janice was fantastic 3) The bartenders Eddie and I Made 4) The Chef's Table restaurant 5) The drink package for mixed drinks 6) The large spa 7) The free laundry and dry cleaning with the junior suite 8) The piano player and guitarists The improvements that need to be made: 1) A better itinerary for ports 2) The free excursions were very lame. I wonder if anyone on the Viking staff actually took the excursions 3) The TV signal kept freezing up 4) The wine list had wines that were 2 years younger than the list 5) Need a larger pool area as seating was very limited 6) Some of the staff had an attitude of indifferance 7) Better communication 8) Softer beds, but they will give you toppers upon request 9) Better entertainment as the Viking band singers were not very good 10) Room service was late many times and the food was always cold Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
My wife and I had already cruised to Havana, Cuba aboard the NCL Sun, which didn't give us enough exposure to the Cuban Culture, music and art. We chose to cruise to Cuba again, this time with Viking Ocean Cruises. The itinerary, ... Read More
My wife and I had already cruised to Havana, Cuba aboard the NCL Sun, which didn't give us enough exposure to the Cuban Culture, music and art. We chose to cruise to Cuba again, this time with Viking Ocean Cruises. The itinerary, which includes a visit to Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba, and which also has extensive educational opportunities and onboard lectures given by knowledgeable Cuba experts was deeply important in our choice. The Viking Star is considered a small ship at a maximum 900 passenger capacity. This was immediately appreciated upon embarkation, which went flawlessly and we were processed and onboard ship within 15 minutes. We took the Viking two-day extension in Miami, which included a five hour panoramic drive through the city, including a stop at Calle Ocho and the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens on the day of embarkation. Arriving onboard ship, we were delighted to find our cabin ready and our steward available to deliver our luggage and address any of our concerns. The in-cabin experience was enhanced by our Steward, "K," and he went the extra mile to ensure our comfort. Unfortunately, the ship's digital system, including interactive in-cabin monitor, live TV, movies and recorded lectures and entertainment given in the theater crashed during the last three days of the cruise, which we found regrettable, since we couldn't catch up with any of the events we missed during the cruise. We found the dining aboard the Star to be excellent, with an ample variety of dishes and wines that changed daily, both in the Restaurant and up in the World Cafe, the casual buffet venue. We also had dinner in Manfredi's Italian Restaurant, which is included in the cruise. The food at Manfredi's is fresh and abundant, and we ended up ordering half portions because the regular size is astronomical. The complementary wine or beer at lunch and dinner is a fantastic feature, as the house wines change each day, giving us a wonderful tasting experience. The servers at all the dining venues were eager to please, and took time to get to know our preferences. Not having children onboard Viking cruises also makes the voyage more enjoyable. On land in both Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba, we took the complementary city tours, which we found to be average and not really worth the three hours. Sitting in a bus, that travels at high speed through the city, doesn't really give one the smells, taste and feel for the people of Cuba. The mandatory stops at cigar and rum shops ate up whatever free time we had. In Cienfuegos, my wife and I went off the grid and hired a private pedicab with driver to give us a personal tour of the city. This three hour tour included many places not covered by the complementary tour, and we stopped numerous times to meet and greet the REAL people of the city. My fluency in the Spanish language helped us to take full advantage of the driver's personal knowledge of his hometown, and we were able to meet many of his associates at local haunts. This direct contact with the Cuban people was what we were after when we chose the cruise. My only advice is to settle on a price BEFORE hiring a private tour guide. This is hard to do, as many of the private tours don't have posted prices or tour descriptions. However, Jordan, our pedicab driver gave us a private tour of a lifetime, and we gladly paid him $60 for the personal service he provided. In Santiago de Cuba, we only had a few hours, but the tour of the Basilica of Our Lady of Charity, the patron saint of Cuba, was truly amazing.and well worth the time spent there. The educational lectures and round tables are exceptional. The topics covered were truly current and topical on Cuban history, culture and arts. This is a hallmark of Viking Cruises, and a good reason why Viking remains as one of the best ways to the immersion into the local ports visited. Being on a small ship makes the voyage comfortable and uncrowded all onboard venues. Even though we didn't dock at the two ports, the four tenders got us off the ship and back on very efficiently. The digital glitches were unfortunate, but, in contrast to other cruise lines, Viking delivers a good cruise value. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Everything was top notch from the service to the food. Nice shore excursions and great staff. Loved the fact that there was no photo taking event when boarding, no casino on the ship and no kids allowed on the ship. Such a peaceful trip. ... Read More
Everything was top notch from the service to the food. Nice shore excursions and great staff. Loved the fact that there was no photo taking event when boarding, no casino on the ship and no kids allowed on the ship. Such a peaceful trip. The cabin was well laid out and comfortable, the bathroom was best we have experienced on any cruise. There is not a lot of drawer storage but the closet is large and there is plenty of space under the beds. We went to the World Cafe and had lunch and it was very pleasant. The layout and general look of the buffet is very nice. The food on the ship was excellent in both the buffet and dining room. We ate two nights at Manfredi's, the Italian restaurant, and were very satisfied. Beer and wine is served at lunch and dinner and as much as you wanted. The staff was uniformly friendly and helpful. My only grip would be the gym is too small and there was never any hot drawn butter for the cracked crab, you always had to ask for it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
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