14 Viking Ocean Viking Orion Repositioning Cruise Reviews

We are in our mid fifties, very active, and chose this 23 day cruise because of the itinerary. It is a repositioning cruise, with 9 sea days. I was a bit nervous that I'd be bored during the sea days. In fact, I wish we'd had ... Read More
We are in our mid fifties, very active, and chose this 23 day cruise because of the itinerary. It is a repositioning cruise, with 9 sea days. I was a bit nervous that I'd be bored during the sea days. In fact, I wish we'd had more of them! The ship is beautiful. There are relaxing places to hide away, yet plenty of activities if you wish to be social. Make sure to do your research about the ship's facilities so you don't miss out on the many pleasures. So many people I spoke to had no idea the Nordic spa facilities existed - such a fabulous place and totally free of charge. Viking Orion caters for people who are intellectually curious, prefer reading books to gambling, and like a relaxed ambiance. The 7 lecturers on this cruise gave stimulating insights into geopolitics, nature, history, astronomy, art, and space travel. They made our sea days special. We particularly enjoyed Dr Jeffrey Hoffman, an ex NASA astronaut, who gave awe inspiring talks on his role with NASA, Hubble telescope, Mars exploration, and effects of space travel on the human body. Given that we were travelling the Pacific Ring of Fire, it might have been interesting to have had some talks about local Volcanoes, geology etc. Other daytime activities include Trivia ( great way to meet other people, we had several Trivia team Dinners), Bridge lessons, Dancing lessons, bean bag challenge, craft group, plus usual mini golf, shuffle board etc. The gym was well patronised. All the dining venues on the ship are excellent. The World Cafe is the buffet. It was occasionally crowded, but not like other ships. Sushi and crab legs are served in the evenings, but not on both sides of the buffet. Lots of variety, with some of the main restaurant items also turning up in the buffet ( not as prettily presented tho'). Breakfast was similar most days, but plenty of choice. Both speciality restaurants are free of charge. Although we were only able to make one reservation for each restaurant prior to the cruise, once you are on board you can basically go as many times as you wish, depending on availability. Booking through the cabin TV system is easy. Manfred's is Italian, with generous portions. Nobody minds if you have 2 starters, half portions of main courses ( steaks are large), or 3 desserts! Just ask. The Chefs table offers a 5 course degustation. The set menus change every 3 days. Portions are smaller, but still filling. We initially found the frequent details given by staff about the food and wine a bit fussy. Once you work out this restaurant is all about trying different flavours, textures, and seeing what works for you, then it becomes a food adventure. We went 5 times. The Restaurant offers plenty of choice, and is a great way to control food intake (unlike the buffet where you can easily scoff too much). Lots of tables for 2, or option to share with others. On sea days there were often themed lunches on the pool deck. My only complaint is that there is no food service between 2.30 - 4pm except for the Pool grill (or room service). This caused some lengthy waits at the pool grill when tours ended just after 2.30pm. Viking could consider opening Mamsens between these hours. We used the Fitness centre every other day. Its clean and spacious, with up to date equipment. The Pilates classes were very beneficial. Lily, our instructor, pushed us hard, and everyone kept coming back for more! Each Pilates session cost $10 . There are also Yoga and Aqua aerobics classes. The Nordic Spa was the quietest, most relaxing part of the ship. Incredible facilities - Steam room, snow grotto, Thalassotherapy pool, heated tile beds etc. Even a spin dryer to wring out your swimming costume. The Spa manager can give you a tour and show you how to use the facilities. You pay a fortune on other ships for this - here its free. Evening entertainment was varied. Our Cruise Director David, was extremely professional, with a great sense of humour. At least 6 guest entertainers were brought on board, each doing 2 shows. Ventriloquist, Don Bryan was a standout. The 4 Viking singers did 3 Musical Shows ( Abba, Beatle, and Motown). These shows are a medley of themed songs, and though very enthusiastically performed by the 4 talented singers, were not particularly entertaining ( however, lots of other guests loved the shows). The Viking Band were excellent, and when joined in Torshavn by vocalists Speedy and Kristelle, the party definitely started! The group assessed the demographic carefully, so a lot of 60's and 70s hits were played, along with some disco. The most modern hit was 'Uptown Funk'. The band really made a huge effort to please everybody - Thanks guys! The Pool Deck dance party was also well attended and fun. We purchased the Silver Spirits beverage package which was good value, especially with all the sea days. Bar staff were prompt, friendly, and willing to go the extra mile to get favourite drinks. Special mention to Ivan, for his wicked Gin cocktails. The staff have great customer service skills, even with those occasional guests who don't know how to say 'please' and 'Thank you'. Quality of service during the cruise was excellent. We did a mixture of included and optional tour excursions. The excursion Director gave realistic descriptions of the tours after the Port talks (these can also be watched on the room TV). Russia was more basic because of the remoteness of the area and because tourism is underdeveloped in the region visited. Everyone was given realistic expectations for remoter parts of Alaska and Russia ( and still some people whinged!) . The optional tour standouts for us were the "Alaskan Glaciers by helicopter' in Valdez, and Zip Lining in Ketchikan. Dutch Harbour had no organised tours, but turned out to be a hidden treasure. There were shuttle buses to town, stopping at a couple of small but fascinating museums. We learned about the Japanese bombing of Dutch harbour, and the terrible displacement of the Aleut people of the region. We then climbed Mt Ballyhoo and found the ruins of the WW2 defences, along with spectacular views. I would recommend Viking start grading their larger tours into fast, medium or slow walking groups. This works well on the river cruises, and allows for less able-bodied folks to mobilise safely, and for energetic passengers to see and do more. The cruise was excellent - look forward to sailing with Viking again, and would recommend this itinerary to those wanting a mixture of relaxation, education, and amazing scenery. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
An outstanding cruise which combines a repositioning with multi country/culture adventure. Seeing Alaska, Russia and Japan all while gaining extra sleep every other day made this relaxing. This ship (like all the Viking cruise ship) is as ... Read More
An outstanding cruise which combines a repositioning with multi country/culture adventure. Seeing Alaska, Russia and Japan all while gaining extra sleep every other day made this relaxing. This ship (like all the Viking cruise ship) is as near perfect as you can get. Comfort, food, service, public spaces, what’s included and what’s not ( no casino, kids, photos, auctions, crowds, etc) makes it a top cruise line. The entertainment was very good and varied as they pick-up up new entertainers all along the 22 days. But the talks were the best. Especially the NASA mission specialist / astronaut who took 5 trips into earth orbit and worked on the Hubble telescope. The planetarium was a nice change but needs better shows. Specialty restaurants were outstanding. We ate there many times but also loved the dining room. There were many nationalities represented on the cruise with the majority being Australians the Americans. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Choose Viking cruise based on positive prior Viking tour experience and smaller ship size. Ship personnel, amenities and dining experience more than met our expectations. Land tours were interesting and at a reasonable pace with adequate ... Read More
Choose Viking cruise based on positive prior Viking tour experience and smaller ship size. Ship personnel, amenities and dining experience more than met our expectations. Land tours were interesting and at a reasonable pace with adequate free time. On board included spa was exceptional, relaxing and regularly available. We got to know the dining staff who regularly went out of their way to accommodate our dining and drink likes even if they were not on the menu. The daily buffets offered a wide selection of food and dessert selections. Daily room service provided went smoothly. Daily news letter outline the on board and land tour itineraries to help in planning activities. On-board shows and talks were entertaining and educational. The mid ship pool area offered drinks, snacks and special pool menu. Pool area provided seats and lounge chairs over looking large windows in which to view whales, mountains and ports. Open mid ship area offered live music and games. Front explorer lounge offered drinks snacks, food and views. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Chose this cruise because we wanted to visit Japan, Eastern Russia and the Behring Sea. The ship was second to none, and I've sailed on many ocean cruises: 4 times on Princess (reasonably good for the money, but certainly not ... Read More
Chose this cruise because we wanted to visit Japan, Eastern Russia and the Behring Sea. The ship was second to none, and I've sailed on many ocean cruises: 4 times on Princess (reasonably good for the money, but certainly not great), 1 time on Celebrity (very good cruise line!), 1 time on Orient (now out of business - and with good reason), and 3 times on Oceania (also a very good cruise line -- but with several negatives which makes me wonder if I'll ever sail with Oceania again). But the best, by far, was Viking's Ocean ship - the Orion. Here's why: OLDER TRAVELERS. I'm a senior citizen (age 67 at the time) and this ship was great for older folks -- which is not to say that it's not also great for folks from about 35 years and older. But no children are permitted, so there was no crying children to cope with. My wife and I interacted with many others on this cruise and everyone was pleasant or nicer. I can't, of course, control who can sail on this cruise line, and one small group bothered me. I overheard them in the buffet restaurant complaining about a long delay to sail away from an Alaskan port -- and they were correct; it was a long delay. But they unanimously and loudly decided it was those "lazy union workers" at the port who were responsible even though there was no way for them to know. I've never been a union worker but to accuse anyone of something without evidence is just ignorant. I guess it takes all types to make a passenger list. SHIP. The ship is very well laid out. I love libraries on ships and on Viking there were little libraries all over the ship -- all with comfortable chairs and loungers, and friendly, attentive, unobtrusive drink service. Besides great libraries the décor was expensive but very tasteful. So many interesting pieces of art all over the ship, and great photos too. The interior of the ship was done in very warm, cozy colors. The gym was fantastic with just about any kind of machine you can want -- European style. I loved the fact that there was NEVER a line at the elevators! The stairs are right there, but if you want the ride, the elevators are fast and readily available -- even at meal time. FOOD. This is always of interest to travelers. I found that the food in the main dining room ranged from superb to rotten. Of course if you don't like your menu choice you can always get something else from that menu -- so you always have something at least "pretty good" to eat if not superb. The specialty restaurants were superb every time we went, and they don't cost extra to get in. But you do need reservations and at least BEORE the cruise you are limited in the number of reservations you can make in those specialty restaurants. After you're on the trip you can get extra reservations if available at the time you want. Another thing I liked about Viking Ocean cruises is the fact that in the restaurants (but not the buffet) if you're an anti-social sort (like me) you can always get a table for just you and your traveling companion. You can always opt to dine as part of a larger group, and if you want to dine with specific friends, that's always possible (if your friends like you enough). One other thing about the main dining room: it is NOT one large room; it is divided into five (or was it seven?) separate seating areas, so you never felt like you are eating in an airplane hangar or, ugh, a barn. The main dining rooms always felt cozy and service was great. CABIN: This was our first cruise with Viking, so I can't say much about the other cabins on the ship, but ours was enormous. Wasn't quite big enough for a full basketball game with referees and such, but very spacious and well-appointed. Of course the cabin steward and helper were so very pleasant, respectful (he wouldn't call me by my first name even though I insisted) and efficient. However, since my wife and I were in a large suite it was strange (after cruising on Oceania) that there was no "butler" service. I'm not a butler-type guy; I'm sweet and gentle and never demanding. But butler service on Oceania was so wonderful, and I missed it on Viking -- especially in our pricey cabin suite. But the cabin steward and his helper were great, and when we had laundry to do -- it always came back within 24 hours even though the schedule said it would take 48 hours. Go figure. POOL. I never went in the pool, but I loved the fact that the pool had a retractable roof so that when it was closed it was comfortable for swimming even in cold climates. As always on this ship, a library was right nearby and I did sit at poolside very content to read in peace and quiet. (Yes, fellow travelers did use the pool in every climate we visited.) ENTERTAINMENT. I can't say enough about the entertainment! I tend to choose lectures and science-oriented movies and there were 3 (count 'em, THREE) auditoriums (auditoria?). One very large one and there were always seats available for whatever was going on there, and two smaller ones for movies and lectures. Again, never a problem getting seats in these smaller places. The two smaller ones were closed off from the very large auditorium by a moveable wall - so during very popular entertainment presentations the seats in the small auditoriums became part of the already-large largest auditorium. FUTURE CRUISES. There is a "future cruises" office available (on a rather limited time schedule, unfortunately), and the discounts for those wanting to book future Viking cruises (both Ocean and River, I think) while on a current cruise are great! My wife and I were so impressed with Viking Ocean cruises that we booked another cruise at this "future cruises" office. The fellow who worked there could have been a little better informed on certain matters, but he was knowledgeable enough. Maybe he was filling-in for somebody else. But, as I said, his schedule in that office was very limited and you really needed to make a reservation in advance. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was our third cruise with Viking ocean. We chose this trip for the itinerary. We had never been to Asia and liked the ports in both Asia and Alaska. Crossing the Int’l Dateline added to the attraction. We were in the Orion in ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Viking ocean. We chose this trip for the itinerary. We had never been to Asia and liked the ports in both Asia and Alaska. Crossing the Int’l Dateline added to the attraction. We were in the Orion in Jan-Feb visiting New Zealand, Tasmania and Australia. This crew was better trained and worked well together. We were pleased with most aspects of the ship. A few little things need work, but nothing major. You know what you get with Viking-it is an older crowd but activities/entertainment were sufficient for us. While some of the entertainment was the same, they did a good job at adding new entertainers. As Viking enters new parts of the world they are learning their way with shore excursions and local customs. Shore excursions were well managed. They do a good job at calling people at the right time and keep waiting times to a minimum. Checkin staff did a great job. Local guides were good. A sufficient level of activities were offered. EMBARKATION a breeze. You can arrive well before your checkin time. You are greeted with a glass of champagne and invited to use the open restaurants. Your luggage will be in your room by your assigned checkin time. DISEMBARKATION-we had a curve thrown as we could not stay in port because of too many ships in Vancouver. Luggage was offloaded in the middle of the night. We didn’t hear a thing. We disembarked via tender according to flight times. Full breakfast services available. You had to be out of your stateroom by 10am. Tenders left according to schedule with staff assisting everyone. Our luggage was waiting at our terminal at the airport. One of the most efficient operations we have experienced. CABINS Deck 3. Be careful of location. Torshavn noise is audible almost every night. Not late into the night, but it may bother some. A very convenient deck. DINING-Dining room and World Cafe offered a varied selection. Soups could use some improvement. Replenishment of eating utensils/napkins was too slow. Chef’s table-staff could use better training. One visit we had two wine pairings and no food. The French menu was too rich; not a good balance between first and main courses. Manfredi’s was very good, but don’t try to have pasta as a separate course-throws them off! SERVICE in general was excellent. Lounges and bar waiters were great. Most were very personable-not long before they know your name and cabin #! Room steward was wonderful-Edwin. SHIP-beautifully appointed. Always spotless. This ship has a dome. I don’t think this is a feature that will be included in the rest of the fleet. Makes the 8th floor area very hot. Eliminates a nice viewing/drinking area. Don’t know if that is the reason why the 7th floor area of the Explorers lounge tends to be cold. The skins on the sofas are starting to shed. Most people rolled them back to protect their clothing! PORTS/excursions. Viking’s first visits to ports can present problems. Most of our excursions were organized. In cases where we took local shuttles the scheduled were mixed. We ended up seeing what we wanted to see. ACTIVITIES-a little more variety on sea days would have been good as this was a long cruise. Lectures varied and sufficient. Like the ability to view the port talk in your cabin on the following day. Very good selection of shows/movies on the in-room system. Free internet a great feature-reception was generally good. Suggestions-have hot water in the World Cafe for hand-washing. There were some illness problems. The internet system in the room for onboard account, reservations, etc needs immediate help. The ship can not control or correct any errors. The dining for Chef’s Table had the wrong info for almost 8 days. The general website also had errors for our trip. The map wasn’t corrected until a few days before we sailed. On board future booking-a great offer that we used. However, you need to book a specific cruise that you know you won’t be using. Mucks up the booking system for other Viking customers and the whole reservation system. Viking needs to keep its attention to detail at a high level as they release the rest of the fleet! We will sail with them again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We had always wanted to see Australia and New Zealand. Originally we thought we'd do this as a mostly land tour with another company, but my wife floated the option of doing this, plus Sydney to Auckland (which we will do the end of ... Read More
We had always wanted to see Australia and New Zealand. Originally we thought we'd do this as a mostly land tour with another company, but my wife floated the option of doing this, plus Sydney to Auckland (which we will do the end of this year). Viking could not have done a better job! This was a relatively new itinerary for the ship and crew, so this was especially impressive because they were still ironing out details with excursions. Some of our fellow guests did have some complaints such as not getting the ones they wanted, or did not like the free included excursions. Most of the free ones were okay, although 1 or 2 did not have great tour guides, but if people chose their paid excursions when Viking first made them available (before trip), there should not have been a problem. The crew on the ship were wonderful, from the captain who gave us daily updates (even on a storm that was chasing us) to the cabin stewards to the dining staff. They all would go out of their way to accommodate any request. I also greatly enjoyed the musical performances in the atrium as well as the shows and the planetarium. My wife (and obviously many others onboard) really appreciated the free laundry room. The itinerary and the excursions made this one the best trips I ever had. Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef was just spectacular. My wife tells everyone this was her dream trip (and we've done quite a few!) because she loves animals. Holding a koala at Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo near Brisbane, feeding wallabies, even feeding crocodiles at Crocodylus Park were experiences she'll treasure forever. There were certainly many opportunities to see wildlife we don't see here in the states, but there are also many options for other things to see and do, like the views at Castle Hill in Townsville. When we got to see the Komodo dragons, that was quite spectacular, but an added plus there was the nature walk around the island (of course with the guides to keep an eye on us!) I understand that due to poaching Indonesia may restrict this particular island, but hopefully there are other islands Viking can use for this excursion. The temples on Lombok and Bali were unbelievably beautiful and unique. As difficult as it was to believe, some on the tour criticized seeing them, but I think these were probably the same people who complain about the beautiful cathedrals in Europe. The Laguna Luxury Resort and Spa in Nusa Dua is a spectacular complex with unbelievable views from our rooms, 7 swimming pools, restaurants, nature walks, a beautiful beach, spa treatments in thatch-covered beach-front rooms and many other amenities, with many types of colorful birds. Although we gravitated towards zoos and nature parks, Viking has other tours that should appeal to almost anyone. Although some excursions may seem a bit expensive, when you take into account the extremely affordable cruise rates (compared with land and air travel by other companies) it's a great deal. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
If you want a ship with a casino, climbing wall, giant water slide, etc., ignore this review and Viking Oceans. If you seek a family cruise with you and your (non-adult) children, look elsewhere. If you like cruising with thinking people ... Read More
If you want a ship with a casino, climbing wall, giant water slide, etc., ignore this review and Viking Oceans. If you seek a family cruise with you and your (non-adult) children, look elsewhere. If you like cruising with thinking people and a remarkably intelligent, attentive crew visiting an itinerary of a lifetime on an impeccable, smallish ship, read on. We are just back from Viking’s Grand Pacific Explorer cruise that traced all around the Pacific, roughly following the Ring of Fire from New Zealand through Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Russia (Siberia), across the Bering Sea, and down through Alaska to Vancouver. Portions of this 93-day itinerary were also available in smaller chunks of 15 to 23 days. As we came to realize, the guests on shorter legs were taking a cruise on the ship. We lived there. And it was fantastic. There were roughly two dozen of us who traveled the entire way and another fifteen or so who embarked in Sydney for 79 of the 93 days. All tolled, we traveled 19,919 nautical miles on the ship. Convert to statue miles and add on the air travel, and our adventure went far beyond the distance around the globe. What we learned: You can be happy on a Viking Oceans ship for a long time and still be happily married. Although our Penthouse Veranda was not the smallest stateroom, several of the Grand Voyagers were in the standard size (all veranda) staterooms, and there was at least one couple who survived and celebrated their 50th anniversary just afterward. The secret is the many varied public spaces on the ship. The Explorer’s Lounge is great 24/7, and you don’t have to order any booze to just sit and enjoy the view and read. Or converse in comfortable seating clusters. Add the quiet reading area in the deck 1 library, the exterior wings outside the Winter Garden, and various nooks and crannies. There is always somewhere to go. Crossing the equator and the International Dateline can be fun. Viking made sure we celebrated on both occasions. May 14 happened TWICE (thus 93 days, not 92)! The seas are never what you expect. Yes, the Tasman Sea can be “lively,” as can the Bass Strait above Tasmania, but even the Bering Sea is not necessarily going to be bad. If you count on good or bad seas, you won’t get them. It’ s pure luck. Siberia did kick up a ruckus for us for one day, but the Bering Sea was crazy calm! You will get to know the crew very, very well. They will bring you just about anything, anytime. Room service delivers ANYTHING on their menu for free anytime. Ask for the things you don’t see but crave. This applies to those on the ship for two short weeks or for three months. “Another latte, madame?” “A scone from tea in the Wintergarden?… sure I will get that for you.” The only cost is if you elect to drink alcohol from the bar. Those with the Silver Spirits package pay nothing. Others like us paid very reasonable prices with no added gratuities if we chose to drink. Of course, the minibar in our PV cabin had standard level booze and mixers of our choice, so we could always carry our own drinks to the lounge. If we had brought a bottle of our own on board-- no problem. They’ll even provide the glass and ice. No nickels. No dimes. There is a bar waiter, Ardel, who introduced me to an excellent formula for a top shelf margarita, now dubbed the “Ardel Margarita” by several of us who enjoyed it! The senior officers are incredible. Kudos to the general manager for most of our cruise, Joaquim Scherz, and to the restaurant manager Gerome Venon, for making our group of voyagers feel especially welcome and for preventing monotony from EVER setting in – as if that could happen with such a rich itinerary! Even the entertainment team added some new performances so we could enjoy the talents of two different Viking Bands who were onboard during our tenure and especially the excellent ensemble of four young Viking Vocalists Aoibhin, Jorgen, Dan, and Beth, whom we got to know quite well. (These four, by the way, were the first to be awarded a new contract by Viking to stay together on their next cruise in the Caribbean.) Kudos to cruise director Spencer who rose to the role on this, his first cruise in the position. When Viking says they are a family, they are serious. That includes the passengers. They know you. They figure you out within a few days, and they are all eager to make the cruise p-e-r-f-e-c-t. Your cabin steward knows when you are likely to be out and about or when you have an excursion scheduled. The ice is there every day on time. The things you store in you bathroom are arranged exactly as you like them. After a few days, people know your names. (The general manager told us he actually looks over each guest list in advance and learns names and scans for those he has met before.) We learned much about the way Viking hires, trains, and rotates its crew and senior officers. We boarded Viking Orion and saw crewmembers we had met four years ago on Viking Star, now promoted to higher positions and happy in “the family.” The family extends to all the ships. When the Viking Sky encountered rough seas off the coast of Norway (while we were in Australia), every crewmember on Viking Orion was paying attention, praying, and even helping to send a video to the crew of Viking Sky in support and thanks for all their efforts. Family goes both ways. We Voyagers truly got attached to Joaquim and gave him a Viking umbrella salute send-off as he departed for a well-earned vacation. There were tears. Viking is truly fortunate to have such amazing people, and Joaquim is one who has been with VO since its launch. If he has any say about it, the quality will not diminish as the company expands. We sincerely hope his influence will keep things as good as they are! Speaking of family, our group of “Voyagers” definitely became one. People who take Viking cruises are fascinating folks with endless interests and stories. When you meet new people at home, you may see them once a week or a couple of times a month. When you make new friends on a ship, you see each other as often as three meals a day plus an excursion. Yes, we could avoid seeing them, but we enjoyed getting to know each other—really well! We avoided talking politics -- which was a refreshing change for over 90 days! We compared notes about our days (what excursion did you take?), drank a LOT of free wine (opened and closed the World Café many times), and watched out for each other when someone was “solo” on an excursion. These friendships will last for sure. We learned about the tons and tons of food they bring on board and when. We noticed that the chef went into town to pick up a few things while we were out on excursions – but only if he can find provisions that met Viking’s strict quality and safety standards. Within a couple of days, the cook at the breakfast fruit and yogurt bar handed me a bowl as I walked in each day and several times kept a few strawberries aside when the stock was dwindling before the next provisioning. He found the plain Greek yogurt that I like if it is not out on display. He was genuinely apologetic when the strawberries ran out in Siberia! If it wasn’t perfect, all we had to do was ask. Just when I was muttering to myself that there weren’t any chocolate options on the desert bar in the World Café, one of the supervisors offered to go down and get a chocolate mousse from the sit-down Restaurant downstairs…. “And where are you sitting, madame?” Or if the buffet choices were not exactly what we wanted, the chef custom-prepared a strip steak (“Medium? Four minutes, please.”) and delivered it to our table, with a potato and sour cream if that was what we wanted. All this in the “buffet” style World Café, our favorite venue for every day. Manfredi’s, the Italian specialty restaurant, is a gem. People seem to figure this out quickly, so be sure to book reservations as soon as you can. Book before you embark, as we did or stop by the laptop at the entrance to the world café to add more or make changes. We also learned that they will make every effort to change your numbers as you meet people and want a larger table. (Thank you, Ian!) Yes, we also ate in the Chef’s Table, but after trying each of the (mostly delicious) menus, we found we preferred the less formal and more flexible options elsewhere. We aren’t “The Restaurant” type people, though many of our friends were and enjoyed it just as much as we enjoyed the free-ranging exploration of the world Café – the same food, but you can graze and get up from your table at will. (Just hide your fork…. They clear TOO quickly!) The only nights I personally did not enjoy as much were the Indian Buffet theme nights, but my husband loved them. I just ordered a strip steak and tasted a few other things. I made the suggestion that perhaps not EVERYTHING had to be Indian… like the weird gelato flavors. We learned SO MUCH. The itinerary was loaded with places we had always wanted to see, and Viking offered many ways to learn about each one. The guest lecturers were great, and word gets out about which ones are REALLY good. The naturalist in the north Pacific and Alaska, the historian in Southest Asia, the archaeologist in New Zealand, the reef pilot on the Great Barrier Reef, and many others were terrific. If they can keep you awake in a darkened theater on a gently rocking sea, they must be good! The video replays on demand in the cabins were a MUST to keep up with the many things to learn. What we saw: It is a challenge to summarize forty-seven ports, but there were recurring themes: wildlife, history, religions, World Heritage sites, gardens, wine/beer/whiskey. We chose to take many optional excursions, mostly because we don’t like touring on buses much. A bus to GET somewhere is fine. We tend to like walking tours better. When we compared notes with our fellow travelers, we learned that by skipping some of the included excursions, we missed some good stuff. Some of the descriptions did not make it clear just how much time would be spent on or OFF the bus. As my husband says, the descriptions are a bit like real estate ads. Example: “Enjoy a panoramic tour.” Translate: bus ride. As Viking continues in these ports, we are sure the excursions will be refined and the descriptions edited for a better match to what is actually there. In the first season of a new itinerary, this is tough. We took this cruise knowing that would happen. Our priorities for tours may not be yours. My husband is a photo buff—both wildlife and street scenes, and I tend to enjoy culture, art, crafts, and people. Sometimes we split up to see what we liked best. We did not need to stay together every day of a 93 day cruise! Don’t miss the onboard cultural visitors. There were local groups who came on board in several countries to perform music and dance. ALL were amazing. Sometimes we did not find out about them until the day before or the day of. READ the Viking Daily! Port/excursion highlights: (Unless otherwise stated, all excursions/tours were VIKING offerings) Everything in New Zealand. Lots of wildlife and Maori culture options. We especially enjoyed visiting a sheep farm outside Napier, a foodie tour I did in Wellington, a seal watch my husband did outside Wellington, and wildlife cruises outside Christchurch and Dunedin. Others went to interior locations such as the Hobbiton tour. This may not be the best way to see interior New Zealand. I wish I’d had more time at Rotorua at the native (Maori) center there. Australia: Hobart, Tasmania. This port is right in town and we wish we had stayed MUCH longer. Just walk off the ship, and you were in a pedestrian area filled with shops and history. (Think Viking River Cruises.) We took a tour outside of town and visited a winery and the charming town of Richmond. Wish we could have done BOTH. We’d like to go back to Tasmania. The koala and kangaroo sanctuary outside Melbourne. Unlike many “sanctuaries” where the animals are caged or restricted, this one has animals on their own in the wild and shows visitors how to find and follow them respectfully. No koala cuddling, but fantastic naturalists who teach and let you participate in finding the animals. Sydney: Did a pub crawl in The Rocks on a HOT day. Saw lots of local color: weddings, crazy young professionals out having fun, and of course the Opera House right at Circular Quay. Since Viking Orion is small enough to pass under the Harbor Bridge, we were docked a short shuttle FERRY ride from Circular Quay. This could have been a pain, but it’s much more fun than a shuttle bus! We had a day on our own while others disembarked and embarked. Viking did offer an excursion for the in-transit passengers, but we elected to spend time with some new friends from Sydney whom we “met” here on CC. (They joined our cruise later in Hong Kong.) Great city. Almost anything you can do would be fun. Whitsunday Islands and Cairns: both are portals to the Great Barrier Reef. We went on a smaller catamaran out to snorkel in the Whitsundays and a very large one (but well managed) in Cairns. We are not experienced snorkelers and have never seen the reef before, so we enjoyed these. Experienced GBR visitors might like more private or selective tours, but these are hard to find and schedule within port time limits. Viking did managed the tendering in Cid Harbor (Whitsundays) very well. Thursday Island--- skipped because of an incoming cyclone! Darwin: wildlife options again. We saw Jumping Crocs, which we thought would be really touristy. It actually was fun. The Territory Wildlife Park was also good, though VERY warm. Take lots of water with you! Be sure to visit the aviary. Weaker Australia ports: Newcastle, Townsville. These are perhaps good ports for their access to other places inland, but we did not find the actual towns as interesting. Maybe with time? Indonesia: In general, Indonesia has bad traffic, hot weather, and lots of temples. The blend of religions is fascinating and varies from island to island. Get a taste by seeing some of everything. Komodo: The national park is going to be closed for 2020. We were lucky to see the dragons. Very hot, and the most aggressive vendors we saw on the entire cruise were in the tent as we left the park. Be prepared to be tough and to haggle. Otherwise just duck and keep on walking! TAKE WATER. Viking did an outstanding job of managing the tendering and keeping guests hydrated and safe. They were on the dock with COLD towels and drinks as we finished the tour. The really wanted everyone to drink and stay safe. Bali: another disembarkation/embarkation port. On the day on our own, we traveled by cab into Denpasar to visit the fabric street—a MUST for any quilter or sewing enthusiast. We did an evening dinner and performance that evening which was fun, though touristy. We enjoyed seeing Batiks being made and wood carvers in action on a Viking excursion the next day. Surabaya: We visited a temple that is actually within an amusement park. Though it looked like we were entering Wally World, the temple, right next to the water, was interesting. The seafood lunch served on the way was excellent though a bit crowded. Our highlight was a stop at a T-shirt place that had graphically bold shirts at very low (fixed) prices. Thanks to a good tour guide. We’ve gotten compliments on those shirts everywhere. Semarang: Entre to a daylong trip to Borobudur, a must-see. Don’t do the included tour. Not much there. The Rainbow Village is not as enthralling as they say. Those who went to Borobudur said the long ride was definitely worth it, especially with the police escort that accompanied the bus caravan, stopping the challenging traffic. Think presidential motorcade. Viking managed an unfortunate bus accident between two buses that were following too closely pretty well. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt. Jakarta: Interesting but not worth two days? Went on a tour that included an inside visit to a large mosque and Catholic cathedral and a walk through Chinatown Had some time on the second day to go into town on the Viking shuttle to a shopping mall that offered great shopping for authentic batik shirts and much more. I think half the ship bought batik shirts. Weaker ports in Indonesia: Lombok? We actually did not go into this tender port. Those who did said we did not miss much. We really should not judge. Singapore One day, and not enough. Unfortunately, immigration stole over 90 minutes of our day—through no fault of Viking. If there were way for the ship to stay two days and not have to do this each day, it would be worth it. We did a walking “Odyssey” tour and saw little India, Chinatown, and an area called Arab Street. I’d do that tour again. We had time to explore on our own, which we always like. I’d like to have seen the gardens at Singapore Marina Bay, but we did not have time. I’d REALLY like to swim in the world’s largest infinity pool on the rooftop there, but you have to stay in the hotel to do that… unless Viking has connections? Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) Our one day was a quick stop. My husband and I did separate tours. He enjoyed the Batu Caves and Pewter factory tour, managing to avoid having his hat stolen by the monkeys. I did the Blue Mosque tour, which was a misnomer. We saw a view of the mosque at a GREAT distance. We did enjoy a tour of several sites in the city and a FANTASTIC lunch at the Renaissance Hotel. Of course, the last thing we needed was more good food! We honestly cannot say whether Kuala Lumpur is worth more time. Thailand Bangkok: The port is VERY, very far from the city, at least two hours drive if traffic is not bad. We had three days in Bangkok, the middle one a disembarkation/embarkation day for other passengers. We did Viking’s Bangkok After Dark tour, which was twelve hours long! The heat was oppressive, and the guide kept a pace that was a bit too enthusiastic for the heat. It did take us to great things and included a much appreciated foot massage after a lot of walking. We had a local dinner of SPICY pad thai and time shopping in the iconic night market. The tour is good, but plan on being totally soaked with sweat. Pace yourself and carry water. We took a private tour on the ship’s changeover day, and that was smart. We had a small van with great A/C and endless water. We could get back into the cool van often. We split the tour cost with three other friends, so it was quite reasonable. We visited locations our first tour did not include. Day 3 took my husband on the Viking tour out to the Summer Palace and Ayutthaya. He declared that tour to be excellent, including the golf carts! (I rested and did much-needed laundry out of the heat.) Cambodia Sihanoukville: This is the toughest port to talk about. It is not pretty, and the people lack hope. This port sparked great debate among our friends onboard. In my opinion, Viking needs to be honest about what you will see (poverty, loads of trash, hopelessness). The contrasts of the hotel where Jackie Kennedy stayed (a claim to fame in this miserable town) and the life in a local fishing village are painful. The Cambodian Cuisine tour we took involved riding in tuktuks through dusty, dirty streets. I did not initially appreciate the mask they gave me to wear, as I have never had respiratory issues. In the end, I actually needed it. The market offered a realistic view of what people buy and eat. The beachfront barbecue food attracted too many flies for us to taste it. Then we went to the Jackie hotel and had delicious hors d’oeuvres and drinks while feeling hollowly fortunate. The second day we took the included tour, but we were warned by our friends to expect very sad scenes and sickening smells. They were right. The little children who should have been in school -- but had never even been REGISTERED to attend -- bore witness to the lack of hope of the Cambodian people. Yes, Viking should let us all see the realities, but the descriptions also need to be accurate. This port is a place to learn and think, not to enjoy. If the corrupt government is benefitting from Viking’s visits, perhaps this is not a good idea? Sadly, the countryside beyond the city has exceptional natural beauty, and the guides were very honest about their plight. Vietnam What a contrast to Cambodia. There is hope, and education is highly valued in this rapidly-growing economy. VERY. VERY. HOT. Ho Chi Minh City (known to the locals as Saigon): Three days. A fair distance from the port -- about an hour. Fantastic city to visit! We did the Saigon Cooking Class, which was excellent in both organization and fun. We shopped in the market, cooked, learned a lot, and enjoyed our own cooking. The next day we enjoyed a special visit to the Hotel Reverie with our fellow Voyagers (NOT an excursion) for high tea. This was arranged by the general manager and restaurant manager just for our group. WOW. If you have a chance to do this high tea on your own, DO IT. We’ve never, ever seen anything like it! Try the iced Vietnamese coffee. It’s addictive. The third day we did Viking’s “Iconic Ben Thanh Market” tour which was disappointing. We spent more time being served food than exploring the market (allowing NO time for this). I expect Viking will be clarifying expectations with the tour operator on this, as several of us spoke to the ship about it. Chan May (near Danang): Excursion to Ancient Hoi An. This city was swamped with tourists, and the tour was too commercialized for us. We had hoped for an interesting walking tour. We were herded into places to buy things, stopped ever so briefly amid the crowds to take pictures of landmarks with said crowds. Little to no time on our own as was advertised. Other guides were apparently more flexible, and our friends enjoyed their tours. Ha Long Bay (overnight): Wow. This place is drop dead gorgeous. Even the included tour is amazing. We did a longer, slightly different boat tour of the bay, including a stop at a floating village. Great tour! We also went outside the city to the mountains and Yen Tu Monastery. What a wonderful change of pace. We meditated and talked with the leader of the monastery, a man with remarkable charisma. The tour also included a delicious dinner at a resort hotel in the mountains. A winner! Hong Kong (3 days) Another changeover port. The included tour was good- Victoria Peak (in clouds), sampan ride in Aberdeen, and Stanley Market with free time. Spent our “off day” on our own with a friend who lives nearby then did more exploring on the third day with some fellow travelers. We then did the Hong Kong by Night tour which was OK but went back to some places we had already seen on our own. It would be great for people just starting out in HK. Taipei (Keelung port)- one day We did the tour to Yehliu Geopark with its amazing rock formations. Great photo op if you can go early enough for smaller crowds. Then went to mountain village of Jiufen. Cute, though filled with tourists. There were some nice places to have tea with a great view. The Taiwan landscape is very pretty! JAPAN! Japan was perhaps the biggest “surprise” of our trip. We had heard that it was beautiful, but it was MORE beautiful than we thought. We had also heard about the crowds during Golden Week—extended this year due to the installation of a new emperor. It was more crowded in some places than we could ever imagine. AVOID Golden Week. This was Viking’s first visit to the Japanese ports, so ALL of them did something special at the port: bands, dancers, etc.! Lots of fun. Japanese weather was a welcome relief from the heat in previous ports. Kagoshima: Great tour to Kamikaze museum and Chimai samurai historic district with classic Japanese gardens. Terrific intro to just some of the subtleties of Japanese culture. Nagasaki: (separate excursions). Imari and Arita pottery tour was outstanding. Learned a LOT about the aesthetic, the history, and the processes. Beautiful scenery en route. Husband did Historic Nagasaki tour for the atomic bomb story and more. Korea (a one day stop in Busan in the midst of Japan ports): Beomosa Temple and Fish Market tour was good. Lots of walking up hill. Fish Market is a true cultural experience, especially on the weekend! More Japan Hiroshima (2 days): Sobering as you would expect. The included tour to the Peace Park is good at hitting highlights on foot, though it was pouring rain. The museum would have been interesting, but the line stretched around a half mile! Optional tour to Itsukushima Shrine was great. Crowded because of Golden week. Go as early in the day as you can. We were on the 7 am ferry. Great photo ops of the floating torii gate you always see on brochures. Be sure to try some maple leaf shaped cakes. Osaka (Kyoto): We took the tour that traveled to Ancient Kyoto. Worst crowds we have ever seen. Heel to toe and shoulder to shoulder in a mob. Easy to lose the guide. (Others shared pictures taken by friends on “regular” weekdays showing NO crowds.) DO NOT GO during Golden Week. Very long path of thousands of torii gates, but too packed to enter. Scary crowded! The Golden Palace late in the day was less crowded and saved the day for us. Shimizu: (day and a half): Nice city with very friendly people. They had quite a welcome for us at the port since this was Viking’s first visit there. Amazing views of Fuji that cleared off for us. I went to Hiroshige Utagawa Museum. Speechless how good it was. Included tour also good… good photo ops. Tokyo ( 3 days): Port is immediately next to the Olympic Village they are building for 2020! This was our last disembarkation/embarkation port getting hundreds of new passengers onboard. Kamakuri tour to three shrine and temples very good but again crowded. 43 foot Buddha! Took Viking’s shuttle to downtown on the middle day, a Sunday, and discovered that NO ONE was in town during Golden Week. Walked to Iperial Palace Grdens (beautiful) and around the area near Nihonbaski Mitsubishi. The department store is worthy of a visit on its own, very old school and filled with amazing things, including a full basement are of food. See where people custom order their $50K silk kimonos! Third day took Edo-Tokyo Museum and City Tower tour. City tower not that great. The sky tower is better, I think, if you like that sort of thing. Museum and smaller local garden were nice. Tokyo is a gorgeous city, and SOOO clean! Be sure to try every Japanese bathroom. After Indonesia and others, they are a delight! Sapporo/Otaru: Beautiful location on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido. We took the optional tour to Nikko whiskey. Lots of fun. It SMELLED of whiskey when you walked onto the grounds. Friend told us the included tour was also very good. Much cooler here. The cherry blossoms were out, as this part of Japan is weeks behind the more southern areas. Russia (Siberia) Koraskov: Did the included tour. Damp, cold, and cloudy/drizzly. Not much here, and quite sad after Japan. The people are clearly longing for the good old days of the USSR. The performance was fun, and the vendors selling crafts there were very genuine. Most are happy to take USD, though they may cheat a bit on exchange rates! Petrapavlosk-Kamchatsky: This city benefits from the large Navy base (out of sight from the port). Volcanoes abound. We did the military history tour. Too much talking at you. Choose a different one, perhaps just the included. Orthodox cathedral is less than ten years old! Someone showed us video from the helicopter tour over the volcano, and it was amazing. (But I don’t think I’d go with a Russian pilot in a Russian-maintained helicopter! Very pricey, too.) USA Dutch Harbor, AK: No tours offered, but there was a shuttle (school) bus into town. The locals are VERY friendly and talk on the buses. Go to the Alaska Ship Supply for fun, and perhaps to Safeway just to see how the locals live. Bald eagles everywhere—like pigeons! Take a hike or a walk. If you’re an American who’s been away for a long time, stop in a local bar for American bar food… nachos or a cheeseburger? If you watch Deadliest Catch, you’ll recognize many locations. Kodiak, AK: Nature photo cruise was a real highlight. Small boat with only 6 guests and a very knowledgeable couple guiding it. WELL worth it! Small town with simple self-guided (walking) tour and a shuttle bus. Very genuine. Seward, AK: Kenai Fiords cruise was incredible. Whales, dolphins, eagles, and a glacier thrown in. Entire pods of orcas! This was a MUST MUST MUST DO, even on a drizzly day. Stay in town for a visit to the Sea Life Center or some shopping, A regular shuttle goes back to the ship. Icy Strait Point (Hoonah), AK: This small town with its native tribe of 760 people owns the port through a small corporation that benefits the tribe. They market it well, with many activities and tours. The whale watch cruise we took was actually done by a separate company that cooperates with the corporation. It was excellent. Great photos of humpbacks, including mama and baby. Sea lions, and more. Another keeper! Warning: the bridge you walk across into the port area is COLD because of the wind, but the temps are much nicer around the corner and out of the wind. Wear layers. Friend did the zipline and loved it. Sitka, AK: Busier port with another ship in port at same time. Cute, smallish town. Walking tour went 5+ miles to see historic sites, totem area, and Raptor Center. All are worth seeing. Wish we’d had longer in totems and Raptor Center. People who took included tour said it was good, too. Note: if you are looking for the post office, you have to go outside of town, They closed the location right next to the port! Ketchikan: VERY, very touristy. We saw a total of FIVE other ships in one day, one of whom was waiting for us to pull out. Downtown is all shops, some owned by other cruise companies. We went out of town to a Fishing lodge for a crab feast. It was fun, including the boat ride out to the island. Good wildlife and newspapers-in-the-picnic-table crab boil. Dress for the weather because you are on an outdoor deck. You also get a walk in a temperate rainforest at the lodge. If you want nothing but shopping, stay in town and walk off the ship. Some ships dock a bit outside of town. Vancouver, Canada: Kudos to Viking for handling the challenge of disembarking over 900 passengers by tender! It went quite well. We were off the ship and on our way to the airport ahead of schedule. We hope everyone’s bags went to the right place. Ours did. Viking, you made a difficult good-bye palatable by keeping it smooth and easy. Suggestions for Viking: Consider changing the itinerary for Jakarta and Singapore. Maybe steal a day from Jakarta and add it to Singapore? You could play with some of Indonesia, perhaps. What about Lombok? Semarang is not great, though you need it for Borobodur. Think about solving that? Think about how you want to “sell” your port call in Cambodia Continue to refine the excursions. We know you do this because of wise changes that were made after Viking Ocean’s first summer in the Baltic. Suggestions for future Grand Voyagers: Plan for HOT weather and extreme high humidity on this itinerary of traveling Feb-May as we did. We live in the southeast US and know humidity, but this is FAR worse. Plan to change your clothes from the skin out 2-3 times a day in many of these ports. Take enough clothing so you can do that. If you are on a long cruise with people getting on and off for various shorter :legs, “ ask the management to gather the “voyagers’ for cocktails and /or dinner and get everyone’s first names and cabin number while they are at that first gathering, That way you will know where to find each other! Emails help, too, if you want to be able to contact everyone. The ship management cannot give you this info. Thanks to TL from our group who spearheaded this! A long cruise is a marathon, not a sprint. If one excursions or day is lousy, just look to the next one. Share your feedback in a constructive manner. It goes much further, and the crew will always want to help you. Vary your excursions. Don’t book too many temples, street market visits, or anything else. You’ll get tired of it! READ the Viking Daily—before you go to bed! Get accustomed to giving laundry advice in Viking’s free launderettes. You know how they work, and you don’t want the newbies to break the machines! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
I also found not all passengers were treated the same. I think if you socialized with the crew you were treated better. If you spent time later in the evening with then and participated in their games, they greeted you and treated you ... Read More
I also found not all passengers were treated the same. I think if you socialized with the crew you were treated better. If you spent time later in the evening with then and participated in their games, they greeted you and treated you differently. Because of our age we thought this would be a good way to see Australia. Flight arrangements were terrible, sent us north to go west,long layovers. Food was very good and service excellent. Food in dining room was very good, specialty dining was excellent, World Café could have been better. Excursions could have been better, on some you spent more time on the bus than being able to enjoy the sight you were visiting. We've taken Viking River Cruises and I think the excursions and value for our money was much better. Also I think the crew was more attentive to all. We didn't have as many dining options but were excellent. Read Less
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
Sail Date November 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
Sail Date September 2018
I have sailed a lot, probably close to100 cruises. On Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, I have spent over 360 days. But I was so impressed with everything about this voyage, I’m not sure I ever will go back to any other line; I think I have ... Read More
I have sailed a lot, probably close to100 cruises. On Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, I have spent over 360 days. But I was so impressed with everything about this voyage, I’m not sure I ever will go back to any other line; I think I have found my new home on the seas. embarkation and disembarkation both went very smoothly, a benefit of sailing with only 900 other passengers. This was not only the first and last day of the cruise but also for every port we visited. We were in Suite 4000, a ES1 category. Before sailing, I looked at the diagram for the owner’s suite on deck 7. I wondered if I would have wanted or needed everything provided in that cabin. Once we boarded and were settled in our suite, I was perfectly happy and would not have wanted to move upstairs. Heck, even the lowest standard cabins on Vining Ocean are better than many higher-level cabins on other cruise lines. I have often been a Grills passenger on Cunard. The Queen’s Grill on QM2 is considered by some to be the best restaurant at sea. Although Wiking does not offer dishes prepared table side, the quality and presentation and variety is equal to the food on other ships. Open dining was a delight and we never had a wait, It was nice to have the alternative dining restaurants and not have to pay extra. The rotating menu at the Chef’s Table was a deal. We ate there five nights during the month we were on board. Wine (which was not bad) and beer (which I don’t drink) were free during meals and I never paid for non-alcoholic beverages and coffee away from the restaurants. I consider it a benefit not to have a casino on the ships, photographers always wanting to take your picture, and on the shops on board lining the hallways as they apply their wares. I loved not having announcements every hour. The lecturers were very good and well-versed to discuss their topics, especially the port talks. Evening stage shows were above-average and well attended, but not the glitzy performances produced on larger ships. At least one excursion is free in every port. I participated in some of those and they were fine. The optional, paid excursions were well run and educational. Good variety of options. The gym is good, plenty of machines. Never crowded. A great spa and - since the line is Norwegian - great sauna, jacuzzi, ice water buckets AND a snow grotto. Imagine a snowball fight in the Suez Canal, I can’t say enough to complement the Viking professionals who made this such an enjoyable adventure. I liked it so much that I already have booked a one month journey next summer. I am sold on Viking! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
What sold us about the cruise are the destination. The Viking Orion is beautiful with plenty public sitting and relaxing area beautifully Scandinavian furnishings. What impress us is how friendly the crew are. They are always smiling, ... Read More
What sold us about the cruise are the destination. The Viking Orion is beautiful with plenty public sitting and relaxing area beautifully Scandinavian furnishings. What impress us is how friendly the crew are. They are always smiling, say "hello" to you even you walk by them. We love the World Cafe, their food and services are better than the other dinning rooms.you can find king crab legs every night there. The order to cook oriental dishes there are great. The only thing is the storeroom services can be a little more efficient. They don't clean our room until after 10 a.m in the morning or prepare our beds after 9 p.m. I wish they can do it earlier. Maybe too many rooms to clean by 1 storeroom stewardess. Overall it was a great trip with some minor excursions mix up. Too many days in Mumbai especially for those with the 35days segment. They should have an overland excursion to the Tah Mahjai. Also, 1 day in Sri Lanka is enough. Overnight should be added to Penang and Singapore so passengers can enjoy the night food market and night life in both places. Too little time in these beautiful places. Also, entertainment can be brush a little bit. Aiden Soon 's performance is incredible, one of the best we saw in our cruises experience. Need more entertainers like him. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was our first cruise with Viking but I am sure it won't be our last. Previous cruises have been on much larger ships so were looking forward to discovering the difference. From day one we were blown away by the spaciousness of ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Viking but I am sure it won't be our last. Previous cruises have been on much larger ships so were looking forward to discovering the difference. From day one we were blown away by the spaciousness of the ship.The decor is wonderful and restful. No where was crowded and you could relax anywhere. The cabin was of a good size with plenty of storage space. Bathroom was great with seperate shower and heated floor, not that we need that as everyday was hot. Our cabin stewards were excellent and nothing was too much trouble. Free laundry was a real bonus. Just had to make sure got back in time to remove from machines as they were in high demand. Having said that, I never has to wait to use one. The restaurants were of a high standard but we chose to eat mostly on the Aquavit Terrace as was so pleasant in the morning and evening. It also meant that our friends could always find us!!! The pools were never crowded and the water was usually warm but sometimes a little too warm due to the very high temperatures we were travelling in. Unlike other ships there was never a problem finding a sun lounge. Spa was fabulous and a lot of fun. We tried the golf putting greens which were a real challenge. Entertainment was of a fairly high standard but didn't perhaps have the variety of larger ships.We enjoyed every performance we went to.The enrichment talks were extremely good and we learnt so much from the varied subjects presented. Trivia was always fun even though no prizes but that didnt stop the competitive nature of the players. I think Viking will have learnt a lot from this cruise about the shore excursions. We found the included tours to be very hit annd miss and unfortunately mostly a miss.This was the first time the ship had been to many of these ports. The tour guides were sometimes very hard to understand and the itineraries lacking in substance. A lot of the ports on this cruise were a long way from the city which we were visiting which meant a lot of travelling time in very hot weather. We organised a lot of private tours which worked very well and were more cost effective. In summary Brilliant ship. Excellent staff everywhere on the ship. Fabulous itinerary. Met wonderful people who hopefully we will be able to catch up with again in the future as we had so much fun. Missing it all already Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We choose this cruise, due to the many interesting ports, we'd not visited. Viking Oceans is trying to do, too much, too fast, and losing sight of the small details, involved in "Luxury Cruising". We'd sailed on ... Read More
We choose this cruise, due to the many interesting ports, we'd not visited. Viking Oceans is trying to do, too much, too fast, and losing sight of the small details, involved in "Luxury Cruising". We'd sailed on Viking River Cruises numerous times and on Viking Star, loving everyday. Not so with this cruise, Bay of Bangle, involved a different 'hurdle' daily. Embarkation in Mumbai was a total NIGHTMARE! No-one at the 'Guest Service' desk knew the definition of 'guest services'. We arrived late into ports, and therefore had the planned excursions rush. There wasn't any entertainment, as had been present of other Viking cruises. The food was, good. The service was delayed by staffing problems and a general lack of experience. We were given two days in Gao, India and one day in Singapore. Go figure! We had a three hour bus excursion in Georgetown. We drove around the same circle five times, without any potty breaks. There was a fort and a Palace, we couldn't get out and explore. Saving on port fees, we were two hours out of the city of Bangkok. This meant five hours on a bus, day one and 2 1/2 hours back the next day to the airport. Not a happy finish! We're going to give Viking Ocean more time to pull their act together, before any additional travel, on them. The ship is beautiful. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Viking Orion Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.6
Dining 5.0 4.3
Entertainment 4.0 4.1
Public Rooms 5.0 4.8
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.4
Family N/A 4.4
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 5.0 4.3
Service 4.5 4.6
Value For Money 5.0 4.1

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