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Sail Date: March 2019
Well, we are back from our first Viking Ocean cruise – 10 days West Indies Explorer on the Viking Sea March 2019. We arranged our own flights, so we got to San Juan PR and made our way to the ship. Check in was easy-peasy and so ... Read More
Well, we are back from our first Viking Ocean cruise – 10 days West Indies Explorer on the Viking Sea March 2019. We arranged our own flights, so we got to San Juan PR and made our way to the ship. Check in was easy-peasy and so different than what happens on other lines. I’ve sailed Carnival (platinum), Royal Caribbean, and NCL in the past, so this was not my first check-in. Of course 930 passengers vice 3000-5000 makes quite a difference. Our room stewards Teddy and Emm were great and met us when we arrived and explained features of our room. They always greeted us if they were about and ensured we had everything we needed. Even though it was about 3:30PM, we found the pool grill had wonderful and we got our first wine and beer (free with lunch and dinner). Waiters were available and checked on us often. This continued throughout the entire cruise in all dining venues! Great job. On the second night onboard, just as we were getting ready to leave San Juan behind, we had our Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle – an invitation was left in our room with the Viking Daily the day before. The Captain and his command staff were busy, but every available senior staff officer attended. We had a very nice chat with Tom Aberg (Hotel General Manager), Edgar de Jaspi (Beverage Manager) and John Cunningham (Restaurant Manager) while enjoying free drinks and finger foods. From that evening on, we were always greeted by these senior officers. Surprisingly, a few days later we got another invitation to another Meet and Mingle. We went and when we asked, we were told by another Cruise Critic member, that they missed the first one – apparently they didn’t realize they had to sign up for the M&M on CC prior to arriving onboard, so they didn’t receive an invitation. But the staff wanted to ensure that they were not left out, so we had a second get together with all the trimmings and all the senior staff. (Now what other cruise line would do that???) At this meeting, in addition to Edgar and John, I had a nice talk with Jenn Beaudoin (Cruise Director) and Mara Buga (Guest Services Manager). I had a special request of Jenn and she made some calls had made arrangements. Thank you Jenn and thanks for Fredrik Svensson for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk to another Engineer! I’m not going to do a day to day accounting of my experiences, but I will make a few comments. First, the food and drink onboard is outstanding. All venues were excellent, but we always like the Restaurant and had wonderful meals in Manfredi’s and at the Chef’s Table. Service was impeccable regardless of where we ate. Secondly, I was so impressed by the Senior Staff. On most lines, one does not even see the Hotel Manager, Restaurant Manager, Financial Officer or Beverage Manager, but on this ship/line, they were highly visible and jumped in anytime there was need. For example, Tom, John or Edgar often were escorting guests in the Restaurant or in the Theater. (Again, where else have you ever seen this happen?) Third, I was somewhat concerned about taking the included excursions thinking they would be boring. Not so. The guides were obviously well vetted and could answer any question thrown at them. In many of the ports, the tour at a specific time was broken into smaller groups which worked well and kept wait time to a minimum. I learned something at every port! We also did a 3 optional tours and they were wonderful! Only thing I questioned was at all these wonderful Caribbean ports, there were no Scuba diving tours… hmmm. Fourth, was the general ‘we want you to learn something’ on this cruise vibe on the ship. There was a resident historian onboard who had some wonderful lectures and round table discussions. There was also a Geologist who gave talks on how the islands were formed and such. Really interesting! If you happened to miss the talk, don’t fear, it was recorded for on-demand broadcast on the in cabin TV along with lots of other great informative programs, news stations and movies. Fifth, the entertainment onboard was wonderful – singers and musicians were top notch. Shows were excellent. A steel pan group was brought onboard at one port to play by the pool for an afternoon show. We also had Line Dance lessons. Unfortunately, I have 2 left feet when it comes to this! But it was enjoyable! Overall, it was a GREAT Experience and it will not be our last Viking Ocean cruise! Great Job by everyone onboard! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose the Viking Orion cruise because we had wanted to see Australia. We left on December 30 out of Auckland. As mentioned above the communication prior to leaving was inaccurate and insufficient. I really don't think the people ... Read More
We chose the Viking Orion cruise because we had wanted to see Australia. We left on December 30 out of Auckland. As mentioned above the communication prior to leaving was inaccurate and insufficient. I really don't think the people organizing this cruise were prepared. We continually got the impression that they would meet somewhere and decide what to do next. The food on the cruise was good, but not great. There were not enough salads and they only knew how to cook steaks 2 ways: well done or rare! The 2 speciallity restaurants were not really special. Manfredi's had Italian food that was only slighly better than the Olive Garden. The atmosphere was not at all elegant as you would expect for a "speciality" restaurant. There were plastic placemats and the lighting and overall atmosphere was just not good. The Chef's Table was bad. It was presented as a "groumet" restaurant, but it was hardly that. It had 4 courses. We went on Mexican night and the 1 st course was a single round corn chip with a small teaspoon of chopped octopus on it! The rest of the potions were equally small and not at all good. They arrived barely warm and were very small portions. The main course was short ribs. It consisted of a 2 inch square of molded meat that was the size of a brownie. It was cold and tasted like it was made last week! This restaurant used the same plastic placemats - not the white table cloths you would expect! We had another reservation that we canceled. Then, there were the Excursions! The included excursions consisted of sitting on a bus with the drive rattling off things to look at out the window. This was poorly done and usually we could not see what he was describing before we drove past. The worst excursion was one one we paid $129 for. This was the Otaga Wildlife cruise. For this cruise we boarded a boat that was probably 50 years old! It had no comfortable seats and was enclosed with cloudy plastic zip windows. They passed out binoculars to everyone. We ride was really rough and the boat driver narrated a script and pointed out a few birds (hardly the expected wildlife) that we could observe flying by as the boat swayed back and forth and bumped along at a fairly fast clip. Most of us could not focus on anything and maintain our balance on the boat. It was awful! A few people felt sick! I don't think the person who planned this actually went on this trip. I am furious that we paid for this! This trip was really rough! We spent a total of 5 days on very rough seas! As we walked along the halls, we would sway from one side to the other holding on to the rails! It was difficult to maintain your balance. There were many people who were sick! We missed the stops at Christ church and Hobart and Tasmania because of the rough seas! I don't anyone quite understood what we missed Tasmania because the communication was poor, as usual. Anyway, missing this stop caused us to spend an additional day on the very rough seas. Because we missed Tasmania, we had an extra day in Melbourne. We were promised 2 things: added excursions and compensation when we got back home. First of all, there were added excursions, but they had only a few places, so most of the passengers were left in Melbourne on there own. There was almost no help or guidance from the crew of things to see and how to get there. People go on tours and cruises, so people can guide them in sight seeing, Viking failed to do this or us! When we got home we were offered a $250.00 voucher to use on another cruise. This is a pathetic offer for compensation for missing Tasmania which is one of the major attractions on this cruise! I have only one more thing to mention. During the "At sea days", there were very few activities planned. There were lectures and a bean bag toss, but little else. Luckily, we brought a deck of cards. Oh and I almost forgot the mention that the cruise director was part of the evening entertainment. He was not a very good singer. I think his time would have been better spent on planning and organizing the cruise activities! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
My wife and I are very experienced cruisers having been on more than 35. This was our first time on Viking Ocean Cruise line, Scandinavian and we were impressed by their very high ratings on River Cruises.and the fact they only carried a ... Read More
My wife and I are very experienced cruisers having been on more than 35. This was our first time on Viking Ocean Cruise line, Scandinavian and we were impressed by their very high ratings on River Cruises.and the fact they only carried a maximum of 930 passengers. Check in was a breeze with 6 or 7 receptionists waiting for us instead of long lines. It is considered a luxury cruise ship and as such commands a very high initial cost for the cruise which must be paid in full much before the cruise embarks. However, this is partially compensated for with many inclusions not permitted on other cruise lines. We were permitted to bring alcohol aboard the ship. They also included wine and beer with all meals and excursions at each port of call. While onboard my wife and her our friend Ann went to a cooking class with the executive Chef of the ship and he liked them. There were two special dining venues THE CHEF'S TABLE and another upscale Italian restaurant. We were supposed to go only once during the cruise but because of the connection my wife, Nela and Ann made with the Chef were permitted to go 4 times, where he prepared his specialties and served them. They were absolutely amazing and I've never had better food on any ship. For an additional charge you could choose other excursions customized to your interests. I chose one on Cozumel said to be the 2d largest barrier reef for snorkeling, 185 miles long which was disappointing as I had expected a wall but found only scattered limestone reefs with only smaller colorful tropical fish. I saw no predators like sharks, barracudas or even sting rays, that I had seen snorkeling and Scuba diving. Though the personnel were very friendly it was not well organized. In the middle of the sea they required half our passengers to climb onto a boat that pulled alongside. I'd not recommend that excursion. However one excursion we went on was exceptional and I'd highly recommend that in Mexico called SALSA AND SALSA in which my wife I and two friends, first time cruisers were taken on a couple buses to a 2d floor high ceiling open air room in a hotel and sat at tables for 10 with many vegetables and a musher, which is a small dish with a rough bottom and a pestle for crushing and mushing the vegetables with various recipes into different Salsas. We were provided aprons, Chef's hats and unlimited. Margaritas and ingredients to make more. Our hostesses were two young Mexican girls in their 20's full of enthusiasm that kept things going. After eating varied Doritos and Salsa and too many home made Margaritas where we lost count the tables were removed and the floor cleared for dancing the SALSA. I would never call myself a dancer but after 6 or 7 Margaritas figured nobody cared and did my best. We all left totally sated, happy and ready to recover. The entertainment onboard the ship was very limited in variety and elaborate productions but made up for it with extremely talented musicians and singers. There was one quartet of 4 British singers that performed on 3 different nights once emulating ABBA, then BEATLES and finally 60's music. I talked to a few of the performers afterward and found they were not a professional group but were hired individually and the group would disintegrate after the cruise ended. It made me tear up thinking so beautiful would end. Even our Cruise director was a former professional Opera Singer with a voice so perfect I asked my friend if she wasn't lipsyncing and he assured me she was not. She was amazing at the New Year's celebration party. On board I enjoyed their lectures particularly one on Catapults showing how very ineffective walls are, no matter how strong or well guarded. The gym was small and basic but had all the essentials for a good workout. I liked the Steam, Sauna and Ice room. The ice room was a real treat. Short periods of stress are good for your health and excessive amount can kill you. In summing up overall I'd say this cruise was exceptional and one of the best I've been on, though expensive. I've been on more moderately priced ships that were very good and can honestly say I've never been on any vacation I did not enjoy though some more than others, so in the end you'll have to decide what you want for yourself. I always consider price an important factor when deciding on a service or product. I was an accountant by profession. I like quality at a reduced price. That what makes a good value. If you want everything to be nearly perfect and are willing to pay top price VIKING is a choice, you won't be wrong with, but if you'd want to go on two or more cruises on a less expensive ship for the same price, then Princess or Celebrity are excellent ships. I wrote this review for Cruise Critic not Viking Ocean cruise line because I read Viking's terms and conditions in which they stated they can edit comments possibly making my review Fake News instead of the honest one I wrote by editing out anything negative. I said, but believe cruise critic will condense it with my concerns to its essence. I hope this has been helpful. Paul, an experienced cruiser. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We were looking for a relaxing and fun way to start the new year. We were not disappointed! The crew was very friendly and took special care to make sure we were comfortable. The food was excellent with a lot of variety and choices of both ... Read More
We were looking for a relaxing and fun way to start the new year. We were not disappointed! The crew was very friendly and took special care to make sure we were comfortable. The food was excellent with a lot of variety and choices of both informal dining as well as more formal restaurants. Both lunch and dinner included wine, which was consistently of high quality and delicious. A pleasant surprise was the quality of the onboard entertainment — professional-level shows that presented selections from ABBA, the 60s, and the Beatles. We had a junior suite, which was very comfortable. The ship had many seating areas for taking sun and enjoying quiet conversation. There was also a well-stocked library. Finally, the gym was quite large with plenty of equipment, free weights and workout space. The one concern was that the embarkation dock was changed from J to F at the last moment, and we were not informed. Therefore, we had to scramble to get to the other dock and were worried about missing the ship. The high point was certainly the New Year's Eve party and dance! This cruise was truly an experience to remember! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We've sailed on two other Viking ocean ships, so we expected to enjoy ourselves. We did. The route through Caribbean islands and up the Amazon was new territory for us. Because of air schedule we didn't have time to see ... Read More
We've sailed on two other Viking ocean ships, so we expected to enjoy ourselves. We did. The route through Caribbean islands and up the Amazon was new territory for us. Because of air schedule we didn't have time to see San Juan, but had a good excursion into El Junque rain forest. Viking Sea is a splendid ship. All public areas are beautiful, open and light, comfortable to hang out at all times. There were 930 people on this "small ship," but you would never know it from the onboard experience; it was never crowded. We were in a smaller cabin but it was extremely comfortable, room for everything, well designed, great bathroom. And, of course, like every other cabin on the ship, it had a private balcony. We ate in all the dining venues; they were all good. To call the World Cafe a "buffet" gives a wrong impression. The food was always great, with a huge selection from crab legs and sushi on one end, through a choice of meats and fish, to the gelato station at the other end. Two scoops, twice a day, was my chosen prescription at the gelato station. The breads, pastries, and gelato are made fresh on the ship. The very best dining is in the Restaurant, while Manfredi's, Chef's Table, and Mamsen's were nice changes of pace from time to time. And if you can possibly stuff in a little more, we recommend the afternoon tea with special sandwiches and pastries in the Wintergarden. I like to eat, and I was always happy. There were many sea days on this itinerary. We were constantly entertained by Viking's selection of lecturers. Time simply didn't permit seeing every single lecture I would have liked to see. Others will have to discuss evening entertainment; we are early-to-bed folks and didn't see any of the evening shows. But the musicians playing around the boat during the day (string ensemble, pianist, guitarist) were just wonderful. What Viking does best is service. Every crew member smiled at all times and continuously offered to do anything we could imagine. It's uncanny for a bartender to remember your name on the second encounter, before you have ordered or mentioned cabin number. The captain greeted us daily over the intercom, and sometimes several times a day, with an incredibly cheerful and friendly account of what was happening and what was about to happen on "the friendliest and happiest ship on the seas, the Viking Sea." The first time I thought he was way over-the-top, but he always left people smiling. You just couldn't help it. His greetings added a lot to the enjoyment of the trip. Would I go with Viking again? You bet! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We enjoyed a prior Viking river cruise and wanted to experience a Viking oceans cruise and see parts of the Mediterranian. We're so pleased with Viking we're already looking to book another Viking cruise in 2019. The staff on ... Read More
We enjoyed a prior Viking river cruise and wanted to experience a Viking oceans cruise and see parts of the Mediterranian. We're so pleased with Viking we're already looking to book another Viking cruise in 2019. The staff on the ship was first class and catered to our desires. With Viking you get so much more with your booking than you get with other cruise lines. The extra amenities you get without being charged extra is a big plus. For example getting a free bottle of water as you leave the ship for the shore excursion and receiving a damp washcloth to clean up when you return to the ship was a very nice feature. The cabin was a good size and the bathroom was much larger than other cruise lines. One nice feature was the heated bathroom floor in the morning. Having free bottles of water and snacks in the cabin was an added benefit. 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise because it would be a once in a lifetime experience. To travel to such a remote area and yet be on such a wonderful ship was a great combination. We love the Viking Sea and all the crew. This was an adventure we’ll ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it would be a once in a lifetime experience. To travel to such a remote area and yet be on such a wonderful ship was a great combination. We love the Viking Sea and all the crew. This was an adventure we’ll never forget. We were very happy with our cabin, which was very comfortable. The food was delicious, including the gelato! The evening entertainment was always excellent, and the lectures were very interesting and informative. I enjoyed the games, Name That Tune and Trivia. Playing those is a good way to meet new friends. We are glad not to have children or a casino, and people smoking never were close enough to bother us. The pools are beautiful, and the entire ship is elegant and lovely. The shore excursions were interesting and informative. We do wish we had seen more Amazon wildlife, as we were not able to go on those excursions. We would have enjoyed excursions suited to the physically challenged,perhaps to the zoo where we could have seen animals. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We wanted to try Viking. Their food was very good. But we both agreed that Oceania's food is better. The cabin was comfortable. We had great cabin attendants. Always there to help. The mini bar was always stocked, extra towels ... Read More
We wanted to try Viking. Their food was very good. But we both agreed that Oceania's food is better. The cabin was comfortable. We had great cabin attendants. Always there to help. The mini bar was always stocked, extra towels if needed. The mustard drill was fast and very good. The ship was clean and the most comfortable ship that we have ever been on after more than twenty some cruises. Not crowded at all. There was always a comfortable place to sit and relax. Check in was fast and very easy. The staff was right there to help with any question. It felt like a very safe ship as well. The free excursions were nice. We had been to these places before, but not the very same locations. The ship is really the perfect size for us. Although, I have to admit that we like the small ships too. Like Sea Dream. I would definitely take another cruise on Viking. We haven't yet been on a River Cruise and would also like to try one of those soon. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We choose this cruise because of the routing, and this time of year for the lighter crowds of the off season and cooler weather. We were pleased with both the weather and lack of crowds. Also everything was decorated for Christmas ... Read More
We choose this cruise because of the routing, and this time of year for the lighter crowds of the off season and cooler weather. We were pleased with both the weather and lack of crowds. Also everything was decorated for Christmas which made it even more beautiful. Over all both the tours provided and the extra excursions we purchased were excellant. However, on the Night of Flamenco in Barcelona, I felt the venue was a little too commercial. The dancing itself was excellant, but the tapas and sangria were mediocre at best. Except for the ham, cheese and olives, the rest of the tapas were not good, the sangria was not authentic and the creme brulee was burnt. Also, because we booked a morning tour for the Monseratt Abby, we could not also do the included tour of Barcelona, they overlapped by 15 minutes. It seems like they could have scheduled that better. Our pre and post extensions in Madrid and Rome were very nice. In Madrid there was an included 1/2 day tour of the city, excellent tour guide. In Rome however there was no included tour, I found this to be inconsistant. The food on the ship was excellent, fresh, delicious available. The Restaurant, their main dinning room, was order off the changing menu, and freshly prepared with service equal to any fine dining establishment. The World Cafe, the morning noon and night buffet was fresh, and delicious, with some prepared to order foods also. All of the other restaurants etc. were additionally as good, although, the lasagne in Manfredi's left something to be desired. Our Silver beverage package was worth every penny, (not expensive) it was basically an open bar the whole time on the ship. We are not heavy drinkers, but it was nice to have a cocktail or two before dinner or after an excursion. I loved that they charged us a flat fee daily, (15.00) for tips for everyone, without having to dig out cash everytime you turned around. The staff on the Ship were courteous, efficient, and friendly. The embarking and disembarking were efficient and easy. Never waiting, very organized. Over all a truly wonderful experience. Oh, and don't forget to try the Princess cake at Mumson's Read Less
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