48 Viking Ocean Viking Sea Repositioning Cruise Reviews

We picked this cruise because of its itinerary - "In the Wake of the Vikings" - a northerly transatlantic crossing, and we had to book it a year and a half in advance because it's only offered once a year. (Although, we ... Read More
We picked this cruise because of its itinerary - "In the Wake of the Vikings" - a northerly transatlantic crossing, and we had to book it a year and a half in advance because it's only offered once a year. (Although, we found out later that a 2nd Viking ship trailed this same itinerary by several days - so much for Viking's communications - more on that.) We did the 3-day pre-trip Iceland extension. Generally good, although we found out once there that there were 78 people on this pre-trip, and all but 8 of us had direct flights to Bergen to board the ship after Iceland. We were some of the unfortunate 8 - indirect flights thru Oslo. We asked the local Viking person (an independent travel guide, very helpful) "what did we do wrong to deserve this?" She said to call Viking, ask for direct flights, since another couple had done this, or have your travel agent do this for you. We emailed our US travel agent, asked her to to have Viking book us direct (like the 70 other people who had this done for them automatically). Viking's 1st response was that they would charge us $350/pp because this was a voluntary upgrade on our part! Gag me! We went back to our travel agent, she fought w/Viking and got the direct flights for no charge, like all the others (except a few who got stonewalled by Viking when they went direct to Viking). Other than that, the pre-trip was a nice way to explore Iceland - much more so than the planned one day shop in Reykjavik on the cruise. We did Blue Lagoon, Grand Circle tour, plus good tour around Reykjavik. Once we flew to Bergen, we found out (rumors among passengers on the bus ride to the ship) that we're not staying in Bergen, we're leaving a day early, i.e., right away, due to Hurricane Dorian, and we'll be skipping 1st two port stops (Shetlands and Faroes), in order to try and skirt hurricane on way to two new port stops in Iceland via two very rough sea days. Ironic, that we just left Iceland, flew to Bergen, to get on a ship and sail into a hurricane in order to go back to Iceland via rough seas. Why couldn't Viking let us know that back in Iceland and let us just rent a car and drive through scenic Iceland and catch up to the ship in 1st new Iceland port stop? This is 'classic Viking non-communication.' (Our only other Viking Ocean cruise was to go from Istanbul to Venice, only we found out 'by accident' that we weren't going to Istanbul, but cruise was going to start in Athens instead.) The Viking Sea ship is wonderful - small size - only 900+ passengers, great cabin attendants, great food, comfy beds, free wifi, free laundry, free beer & wine w/lunches and dinners, nice public areas. They offer two free specialty restaurants/trip - an Italian, plus a special Chef's Table. In keeping w/Viking's non-communications, we had booked one of each, only to find that Viking had somehow cancelled one of our reservations when we showed up for dinner. The two extra Iceland port stops were wonderful, but once we left Reykjavik, we were told that, due to storms off Greenland, that we'd be skipping the 1st Greenland port and have ... 2 more rough sea days! Prince Christian Sound (60 miles of interconnected fjords in S. Greenland) did make up for this, as it was a visual extravaganza. However, more of the same after Greenland - two more rough sea days due to bad weather off W. Greenland on our way to Newfoundland, and an alternative port once there. We heard from others on board that Viking has made this re-positioning trip 5 times, and has only made all port stops on its advertised itinerary only once! Seems like Viking needs to re-examine its repositioning trips - we understand that 2020 cruise goes in August, but I'm sure Viking is trying to maximize its profits with its Baltic cruises and didn't really want to leave that soon! Once home, we did receive a nice email from Viking saying, in effect, that they screwed up, and are offering a future voucher worth 40% of our trip cost on a future Viking cruise. We'll have to seriously consider whether we want to cruise Viking anymore. Their ships are great, and once onboard the crew and staff and accommodations are excellent, but Viking's communications with its passengers, especially pre-trip, STINK! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
embarking was quick and easy. once we were on the ship at 3.30pm we were advised that the ship would be leaving that night instead of the original plan of the next evening due to weather which meant we missed the port of Bergen as it was ... Read More
embarking was quick and easy. once we were on the ship at 3.30pm we were advised that the ship would be leaving that night instead of the original plan of the next evening due to weather which meant we missed the port of Bergen as it was too late to do anything that day. Big seas means we also missed Shetland Islands and Faroe Islands. instead we made for Iceland and had 2 make up ports of Akureyri and Isafjordur. both tiny stops. We then had to forgo Nanortalik due to 'weather'. When we got to Dagueanay.....well it isn't it was the port town of La Baie, 20 kms from the main city. No shuttles were pour on. We had to find a local bus or taxi of we es bed to go into the city. We reached Quebec, the best port of all and we had to be back on board by 3.30? surely we could have stayed longer given the fact how much we had missed out on previously? into Montreal at 4am? that to me says we definitely could have had longer in Quebec. The included tours were ok. Need more for active people. Not everyone is over 75. The entertainment was average. The singer's were ok but only did 3 showed in 2 weeks. The magician was awesome. bring on more odd this stuff. Comedians etc Classical pianist? yuck. start catering for the 50 year olds. We are your future cruisers. The cabins are nice and clean but not enough storage in deluxe verandah. put more shelving in instead of so much hanging space. had to leave most of our stuff in our suitcase which was frustrating. Noise in the cabin is totally unacceptable. rattling and banging in the walls, creaking like we were on an old Spanish Galleon or on the first fleet to Australia. that is no exaggeration. I still couldn't sleep with earplugs and a pillow over my head. Who wants to be sleep deprived their whole holiday? It was brought to Guest Services attention the 2nd day and their response was" its the weather" not good enough. Even when the seas were calm it was the same. Everyone we spoke to said the same thing, their cabins creaked and rattled also. Italian ship builders obviously can't get that right. Staff were friendly enough but ask for anything out of the ordinary and it's like the biggest deal. Ask for small portion, can't do it. Ask for 2 scoops of icecream, can't be done. Communication was terrible. We never knew when the ship was getting into port or leaving until the night before. couldn't plan anything. when in Reykjavik we dashed back to the ship between ships tours to grab lunch and check the Tax refund process to be told the ship want leaving until 8pm so we would have plenty of time. We got back from our second tour to hear that the ship was leaving at 6 and no time for any last minute shopping at the terminal shops and that the VAT guy was leaving. Asked for assistance again from Guest Services to see if anyone could help us with a Garmin charger for our watches as ours had been left on the previous viking cruise we had gotten off to get on this cruise. never heard from them again. The food was quite good in quality and the head chef Paul was great. constantly checking the quality and his people. Took great pride in his food and his people. We have previously cruised mainly with Azamara. Hard not to compare the 2. I'd choose Azamara every time. We chose this cruise for the itinerary but at the end of the day it missed too many ports. Why not call it for what it is. Transatlantic repositioning cruise. Not one for the destinations. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Viking Cruise Trans-Atlantic September 2019 Our cruises are always chosen for their itinerary, but after that, of course, the cruise line is a major consideration. We came across the “In the Wake of the Vikings” cruise with Viking ... Read More
Viking Cruise Trans-Atlantic September 2019 Our cruises are always chosen for their itinerary, but after that, of course, the cruise line is a major consideration. We came across the “In the Wake of the Vikings” cruise with Viking Ocean Cruises, a line new to us, back in early 2018, but we were not free at the time, so we expressed an interest with Viking for the 2019 sailing, through our local Travel Agent. We were not so happy, therefore, when we were eventually contacted by Viking to tell us that the cruise was finally open to the UK market, but, because it had been on sale in the USA for some time already, we had the choice of only one room in the category we wanted, a Penthouse Veranda room. It was, fortunately, in a good position, on the starboard side and forward, so we booked it immediately. Flights are arranged through Viking and we were booked on Scandinavian Air Services from Manchester to Bergen via Copenhagen, which all went smoothly. Our return flights, from Montreal to Heathrow and then on to Manchester, were with B.A. Unfortunately, our return flight to LHR was cancelled because of the B.A. strike and was, during the cruise, changed firstly with Air Canada to LHR and then with American Airlines to Philadelphia and Manchester when the Air Canada LHR/Manchester connection wasn’t possible. Ironically, because the Philadelphia flight from Montreal was stuck in Philadelphia when the time came, meaning our connection would be missed, we ended up back on our original B.A. flight to Heathrow, after retrieving our luggage and going back through Departures, which wasn’t pleasant, but we did at least get home not too much later than planned; the Economy section of the plane was almost empty too, which helped. Back in Bergen Airport, we learned from the Meet and Greet team that an alteration to the itinerary was already in place. The remnants of Storm Dorian were to blame, as bad weather predicted for our first two stops in Lerwick and Torshavn meant we would almost certainly not be able to enter the ports and also experience uncomfortable conditions at sea. The solution was to leave Bergen immediately and head for Iceland instead, missing our scheduled overnight stay in Bergen and full day there. Once aboard, which was a speedy and friendly process as we were quite late reaching the ship, we found a letter in our stateroom explaining the situation fully. Additional ports, Akureyri and Isafjordur, would replace Lerwick and Torshavn, after which our schedule would return to normal and we would avoid the worst of the storm by leaving Bergen immediately. This made little difference to us, as we have visited all four ports before, but many American guests were naturally disappointed. Our sea days were indeed on the rough side, but nothing too serious. Our days in Akureyri, Isafjordur and Reykjavik were good, but there was further information about the next part of the schedule from the Captain before we sailed from Iceland, heading for Greenland. Once again, stormy weather on our route to Prince Christian Sound and Nanortalik was to be avoided by turning a little north, which meant that we would still enter the Sound, but at the more comfortable time of midday instead of early morning. We would then miss Nanortalik completely and head straight for Qaqortoq. Once again, this suited us well as we were particularly keen to pass through the Sound and we were delighted that the Captain understood that it was an important part of the cruise for most passengers. This plan worked well and we had a wonderful passage through Prince Christian Sound, but before leaving Qaqortoq we were informed of a further change to the schedule because of the bad weather; the anchorage for L’Anse aux Meadows, a Viking settlement in Newfoundland, would be far too exposed to allow tendering, so the Captain and the company had gone to tremendous trouble to reorganise our stop to St. Anthony, a fifty minute bus ride away. Once again, everything worked very well, despite the need to disembark a sick guest into the conveniently close-by hospital, which delayed our departure. That was the end of our itinerary problems, but we have great admiration for the effort and cost the Viking Company was prepared to put into making our cruise as good as possible and we enjoyed the itinerary very much, although issues raised by other Cruise Critic writers about the actual location of the Saguenay dock and the lack of time in Quebec are worth noting. Viking Sea (and her sister ships) should have suited us down to the ground, because we don’t need evening entertainment, preferring the scenery outside the windows and the guest numbers are low. However, our final survey for the ship before disembarkation (conveniently delayed until after lunch for the group of us who had later flights) had us indicating that we would not recommend the ship to our friends and we would be very unlikely to travel with Viking again through a combination of several reasons. Slightly souring our initial impression of the ship was our first view of our room, which was missing the separate door and large window shown in the brochure, having instead a sliding door, somewhat screened by the curtain, which made the room seem dark and reduced the view from the sofa. We spend a lot of time in our room and this was a disappointment. The ship was full, so we could not be moved. I was also concerned by a possible lack of soundproofing after clearly hearing coughing through the wall, but in fact this was not an issue. Our main area of disappointment was the food on board Viking Sea. This is a very personal issue, of course. We prefer to eat in the World Cafe for all meals because we like the relaxed atmosphere and the views from the windows. We did eat in the Restaurant on one occasion when we thought the Cafe would be taken up by an Indian buffet, but it was extremely busy and my view was of a wall, whereas outside it was a beautiful evening. We just made it outside in time for the sunset. We never tried the other eating opportunities, apart from the Pool Grill, which we enjoyed. We found the menu in the World Cafe pretentious and repetitive and frequently not to our taste, with plenty of seafood and underdone meat, although the chefs would willingly cook portions to our requirements. Food was frequently cool in its presentation trays even when freshly put out and we learned to ask for our plates to be reheated, but cooked-to-order food could be left out on the plate for collection, therefore cooling again. Even my individual portion of mashed potato in the restaurant was cool. We usually enjoy soup on our cruises at lunch and dinner, but more often than not we found it was either fish or spicy and we went without. Desserts were more tempting and we took advantage of the gelato bar too, but our overall impression was poor, not helped by items missing from the drinks area, cool water in the hot water jugs and empty milk jugs. Making a hot drink could be a slow and frustrating process at times. Our early departure from Bergen meant that some food items had not been restocked, so some individual breakfast cereals were soon unavailable, as were some yoghurts and finally bagels. Even the orange juice from the machines turned into something more like sour squash from Quebec and would be like that for the next cruise, we were told. My reply was that I was pleased to be leaving, in that case. For some reason which is hard to define, we also found the atmosphere on board ship very uninspiring. The pool area and the Winter Garden were both frequently chilly, but guests, despite all rooms having their own balconies and sea views, would lie on the loungers wrapped in blankets. Even during the scenic cruising periods, there were not too many people outside to appreciate it. The indoor pool was closed almost all the time, either from the bad weather or maintenance and the outdoor hot pool was also occasionally closed at times. The outdoor decks were frequently closed due to the strong winds. The ship felt like an uninspiring Retirement Home, with Baggo the main excitement of the day! Obviously, there were plenty of other activities available during the day, but this is how we felt overall, compared with our experience on many other cruise ships. We also disliked the atrium area because all the windows were screened by obscuring netting, preventing any view outside, which was disappointing as this was a popular place to sit. The World Cafe sliding doors were ill-filling and draughty, but otherwise we generally enjoyed this space, even though we were often almost on our own there out of meal times. Viking Cruises offer an included tour at most ports. We normally preferred to walk around on our own, but at Qaqortok we opted into a “self guided” tour, which we thought would include an idea of a route and information on what we would see. Wrong! We received a basic map and enquiries afterwards made it clear that our group timings were simply a way of organising and monitoring the tendering process. Fair enough, but that is not a self-guided tour in our opinion. However, there were many things about Viking Sea we did like. We were most impressed by and appreciative of the information we were given by the Captain on the various itinerary changes and the way the problems were resolved. The staff members were all friendly and eager to help with any enquiries and our room stewards continually asked if we needed anything. An early cruise survey, which they asked us to fill in to satisfy their superiors, gave us the opportunity to suggest a couple of future improvements to the room in terms of more bathroom hanging space and hooks for outdoor coats, as well as mentioning the food issues. This resulted in the delivery of extra towels and hangers, which we declined, plus a series of phone calls from various departments trying to resolve matters which were generally simply suggestions! Our stateroom grade, Penthouse Verandah, included a complimentary minibar which was replenished daily. We don’t drink either the spirits or sodas in the minibar, but the sommelier was happy to remove those and provided us with wine to our taste instead. Lectures and port talks were available to watch on the room TV as well as live in the theatre, which we preferred on the whole. There was a good range of live TV, plus recorded programmes and films to choose from and the internet was usually good for our location. We were both able to use our tablets at the same time, which is unusual in our experience. Finally, although we stated in our disembarkation survey that we were unlikely to travel with Viking again, a promotion too good to miss and an interesting itinerary have offered us the opportunity to revise our opinions early next year. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
My brother and I wanted to cross the Atlantic. We were particularly looking forward to Funchal (Madeira) Portugal, cruising through the Strait of Gibraltar and visiting Sevilla and Valencia, Spain. We were not let down; sea days were a ... Read More
My brother and I wanted to cross the Atlantic. We were particularly looking forward to Funchal (Madeira) Portugal, cruising through the Strait of Gibraltar and visiting Sevilla and Valencia, Spain. We were not let down; sea days were a blast, the weather was good (60s and 70s), excursions were terrific. The staff is amazing - open and friendly, always engaging & remembering our names, taking care of any requests. Just terrific. Here’s an example of great service; we would read on the top deck most days in the late afternoon, where comfortable couches are located outside. One day there had been early rain, and the furniture had been secured. We asked a senior crew member if they could set up the furniture and within 5 minutes, it was set. Very impressive. The food was very good, entertainment was great. The Viking singers get a huge high-five. We used Viking Air Plus, which I recommend- all transfers were seamless. You can’t go wrong with Viking, and I have already signed on to a 2020 cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We took the recent repo cruise from Manhattan to San Juan. We started out with the easiest and fastest embarkation we have ever experienced. Kudos! We had heard all sorts of rave reviews about Viking Ocean and wanted to try it ourselves. ... Read More
We took the recent repo cruise from Manhattan to San Juan. We started out with the easiest and fastest embarkation we have ever experienced. Kudos! We had heard all sorts of rave reviews about Viking Ocean and wanted to try it ourselves. The ship was very nice with the furnishings "Danish Modern." It was not as lush as I was expecting. The public areas were kept very cold, to the point that people were wearing sweaters in the Caribbean. We had a Deluxe Veranda which was a pretty standard room, nothing special. It definitely needed more drawer space. The bathroom had a heated floor, which I am sure is a delight when cruising the Norwegian fjords, but in the Caribbean, it turned the bathroom into a sauna. We found out the last day that this could be turned off if you asked. The food was excellent, but the Main Dining Room could had a more varied menu. We usually don't go to the shows, but did see the excellent pianist. The crew was fantastic, no complaints. We did not take advantage of the shore excursions, having been to these islands many times before. The ship was very noisy, at least in our cabin in any but he smoothest of seas. It made bumping, popping and banging noises; very annoying when trying to sleep. The buffet was excellent at breakfast, with a large selection of choices and eggs made to order. The ice cream was good and a must after lunch. Overall, we enjoyed our first time on Viking, but would probably not go again. BTW, this was our 48th cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose the Viking Sea because we really liked the itinerary and had never sailed on Viking before. Our previous river cruising has been on Uniworld and Avalon. Trying the Viking ocean experience was a change for us. Embarkation ... Read More
We chose the Viking Sea because we really liked the itinerary and had never sailed on Viking before. Our previous river cruising has been on Uniworld and Avalon. Trying the Viking ocean experience was a change for us. Embarkation in Bergen was easy and we were so impressed once we got on the ship. It is just lovely. Our stateroom was a PV1-Penthouse Veranda suite on deck 5 and it was great. The bed was comfortable and there was plenty of storage. Our only issue was with our shower head. It kept sliding down the pole and would not stay in place. We told our cabin steward and he had a plumber take a look at it...didn't fix it though...it was a pain to take a shower. Our cabin stewards were fantastic...Niko and Ariel were some of the best we've ever had. The laundromat onboard was a great perk. It was free to use and they also provided laundry detergent. Viking touts the free beer and wine with meals. What they don't tell you, is if you order a drink during lunchtime hours in The Living Room where they have muffins, small plates and various snacks to choose from, they will ask you for your room number and you get charged. They don't specify that you need to be in the dining room, buffet or one of the specialty restaurants. Sorry, but I think that's petty. The food overall was good. We enjoyed Manfredi's very much. The waffle with berries in Mamsen's was great. The buffet was good but some of the food servers could use an attitude adjustment....it costs nothing to smile. We ordered room service breakfast several times and have no complaints. One day from 9 AM-1PM they put on an amazing brunch in the Wintergarden area. It was a sight to behold. You could tell a TON of work went into planning and executing it! Our biggest disappointment was the lack of interesting (for us) entertainment. The enrichment seminars were never ending. The lack of varied entertainment was glaring. The best show we saw starred the Cruise Director...singing. During this cruise I read 3 books and took naps (which I rarely do) out of boredom in the afternoons. The included shore excursions were just okay. We loved the tour in Lerwick, Scotland but thought the included excursion in Reykjavik was awful. The first place our German tour guide took us was to a ditch where women washed clothes 100 years ago......zzzz Based on our experience on the Viking Sea, we don't feel we got the value for the amount of money we spent on this cruise. For the amount spent, we can get a Neptune suite on HAL along with many more activities. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
It was a great cruise and we really wanted to see Norway. The food was better then we expected. We tried all three dinning rooms and we felt the Italian was the best. The ports and the tours was interesting and educational. The service in ... Read More
It was a great cruise and we really wanted to see Norway. The food was better then we expected. We tried all three dinning rooms and we felt the Italian was the best. The ports and the tours was interesting and educational. The service in the dinning rooms and the cabin stewards was above expectation. We were so impressed we are looking forward to our next ocean cruise. Embarkation and disembarkation was smooth and we did not have to stand in hallways as you do on larger ships. We enjoyed the choice of places to eat and that you could eat around the pool or in small areas around the ship. The cabin was large and the bathroom was larger than most ships. Viking does a great job with entertainment and making our cruise one of the most enjoyable ones we have gone on in a long time. We are looking forward to our next one. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I chose this as my first ocean cruise because of the itinerary and a previous experience with Viking River cruises. The ship was immaculate - they were even power-washing to exterior in one port because of marks made when docking. The crew ... Read More
I chose this as my first ocean cruise because of the itinerary and a previous experience with Viking River cruises. The ship was immaculate - they were even power-washing to exterior in one port because of marks made when docking. The crew are all attractive, energetic and ready to meed your every need. There was an amazing variety of shore excursions,, designed to meet the needs of those of us walking with a cane to the young who hiked miles over mountains! Dining is a pleasure. There are a variety of restaurants from buffets to white-linen tables. Of course, breakfast in bed watching the world go by through the glass wall separating your stateroom from your veranda. Viking cruises can be expensive but you get what you pay for. You can lounge by the pool, reading in a quiet corner of the library, or enjoy a drink in the observation lounges fore and aft. Be aware that internet access will be spotty at best unless you are docked in a port where the ship can connect with a service. There is always the option of locating the Starbucks in your port. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
After having a wonderful experience on Mediterranean Odyssey in March, 2017, we wanted to take another Viking ocean cruise. On that cruise, we had perfect weather, excellent service and food, were upgraded from a DV6 guarantee to a PV1, ... Read More
After having a wonderful experience on Mediterranean Odyssey in March, 2017, we wanted to take another Viking ocean cruise. On that cruise, we had perfect weather, excellent service and food, were upgraded from a DV6 guarantee to a PV1, and had excellent tours with the exception of Toulon (which has since been replaced by Marseilles). A big benefit of a Viking ocean cruise is that everything is included with no surprises, except tips and optional tours. Internet, water, minbar, and wine/beer with lunch and dinner are all included. Adults only is fantastic! They also give a lot of info ahead of time on each port. It is truly educational. We were very interested in the ports on Trade Routes, so we took the chance again to pay for a DV6 cabin and were upgraded to a PV2. Our flight on Air Canada Rouge had awful service and amenities compared to Luftansia the year before. (Iceland Air - on the way home - was better, but meals were terrible after waiting at the airport in Norway for 5 hours.) We were met at the airport, did have to wait for other flights to land, but it was very organized. We were whisked up to lunch; once we finished,it was time to go to our cabin. Our ship was right downtown this time, as opposed to the previous docking in a Barcelona which was a 20 minute drive. The ship did not disappoint with excellent food and service. Entertainment was similar and in some cases a repeat of the previous cruise. The fitness center was nice, but we only had the time and energy to use it on sea days. It would be nice if they had some classes. We did not use the spa. We were disappointed in the disorganization of the local tours and tour guides.We were shocked by the lack of knowledge of the Viking staff who booked and helped organize the tours; they knew nothing about the ports, how to best get around the cities,and what would actually take place on the tours. They even gave misinformation and made no effort to help us. In Amsterdam, they told us there was no public transportation, when in fact, they had a wonderful tram system! They did not offer a tour of Anne Frank’s House which is difficult to get tickets, and in spite of it being spring, we never saw a tulip or a windmill. We found out a few days before the cruise that the optional tour to London - one reason we opted for this cruise - was canceled due to an annual marathon. They added unappealing substitutions. The tour guide in Portsmouth dropped us off at the dockyard and could not tell us where to get the public bus back to the ship, which we needed because they were only giving us a short time to explore the dockyard and museums. They handed us tickets to the dockyard and left - no tour. In Falmouth we took a boring 3.5 hour bus ride along the coast with one stop to take pictures - A Scenic Cornish Drive. There was nothing of significance or historical interest. In Barcelona, there were political demonstrations so they could not do Panoramic Barcelona, and it was Sunday, so we could not enter the Barcelona Cathedral. Luckily, we planned to go to La Sabrado Familia Cathedral on our own which was easy to get to on the subway. We did have a great tour guide in Porto, Cartagena, Malaga, and Bruge (wonderful optional tour of Bruge and Canal Tour). There was not much of a tour in Bergen, but we stayed downtown and shopped meeting the wonderful shopkeepers. We made an appointment with the General Manager on board who listened and took notes on all our concerns about the tours, etc. He told us that this was a “repositioning cruise,” was not done regularly, so the staff was not familiar with the ports, tours, and tour agencies. I have seen that some changes have been made in Portsmouth tours and tours have been added in Amsterdam, although not Anne Frank’s Home. The staff, aside from those organizing tours, were amazing! Manfredi’s was fantastic! Book as early as you can; we set the alarm to get up and book as soon as they opened - same with shore excursions! Reservations once on board for Manfredi’s are impossible to get. Food at all restaurants is excellent though. We are booked on another cruise this spring, Cities of Antiquity and the Holy Land. We could not get a guarantee room, so we booked a PV room, as there is a big difference in the space and storage for clothes in a DV room. We found we spent more time in the room each cruise than one would think and wanted comfort. We are also doing the add on 4 nights in Athens, as it was very reasonable (staying at Athens Hilton) with breakfast, some lunches and 2 days of tours included. We can’t wait! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
The old saying "you get what you pay for" does not apply to Viking. We paid for a high-end, upscale cruise and got a 3 star experience. At the price point paid I expect to get personalised service as has been experienced on other ... Read More
The old saying "you get what you pay for" does not apply to Viking. We paid for a high-end, upscale cruise and got a 3 star experience. At the price point paid I expect to get personalised service as has been experienced on other ships at this price point. It is the little things that make a big difference and Viking seem to be missing this point compared to similar cruise lines. If I had paid less I would have had lower expectations and possibly been satisfied with the service provided. On the plus side, the ship was clean and spacious with plenty of areas for you to sit and relax. Decorated in Scandinavian style with lots of light timbers and shades of blues and taupes. The no kids, no casinos is a winning combination for me. The crew were genuinely very nice people who worked hard to provide us with a great service. Disappointed the cabin steward did not get to know my preferred name in 3 weeks yet many of the restaurant staff did. This is one of the little things that make a difference. Embarkation was quick but we were not welcomed to the ship. After travelling for 37 hours I thought a welcome drink and being shown to my cabin might have been in order! Disembarkation went smoothly but I felt like they could not wait to get rid of us. I know they have a quick turnaround for the next cruise but this is the last impression you are left with and if it is not positive then you have failed your passengers. Cabin - comments are below. Restaurants - Breakfast we either had room service or ate in the World Cafe. Both were fine and service was good. Lunch was mostly taken in the World Cafe which provided a buffet style venue and once at the Pool Bar which provided burgers and hot dogs. We found enough variety in the food offered over the 3 weeks and if you didn't like/could not eat the days menu then there was the choice to have a chicken breast or prawns grilled in a minute. We dined in the restaurants of an evening. Main restaurant you could opt to dine in parties of 2,4 or 6 which was a great way to meet other passengers. Menu was varied each evening with a destination inspired menu offered as well but there was little variety offered if you could not eat what was on the given menu. My main concern was the lack of detail for someone with a life threatening allergy. This was reported prior to boarding the ship yet every day I had to check and recheck what I was being given. As is usual practice on a ship, I was asked to complete a menu 24 hours in advance but there was no evidence that this was checked by anyone with knowledge of allergies. There were several times where I was served my allergen and when I quizzed the staff they advised it was OK for me to eat. Fortunately my fellow passengers would alert me to the ingredients so I was able to narrowly avoid the use of an Epipen. This is not how I wish to spend my holiday continually wondering if I am going to stop breathing. On other cruise lines I found that my menu was checked by the executive chef who would then organise for me to have a special version of regular meals including desserts, and I felt confident with the staff knowledge. Wines were offered with both lunch and dinner. Wine was free flowing and different wines were offered each day - One red and one white - from different regions. We went to Manfredi's (specialty Italian restaurant) on several nights and had very good service (hence why we returned). There was a variety of Italian dishes to try and the staff were knowledgeable about the dishes. I would make a particular note of Lorraine who was an absolute delight. She was friendly, knowledgeable and ensured that her guests had a positive evening by popping back to the tables to check everything was in order. She would also step up and explain dishes to guests when the head waiter was busy and she could others were ready to order dessert. This level of initiative needs to be acknowledged and rewarded. The Chef's Table (specialty set course tasting menu) was a huge disappointment. I was expecting silver service and a great culinary experience but it was way short of that. We were booked into dinner for 8pm (the ship chose this time) and had not been served our final course when the staff started to clean the restaurant around us including sweeping the floor. This was totally unacceptable and we were left feeling like we had to rush our final course and get out of the restaurant. We certainly did not experience "your expert hosts will enlighten every sip and forkful with fascinating commentary as you experience a thrilling synergy of aromas and flavors" as advertised. Entertainment was average. Some shows were good and they did provide variety each evening. The pianist and the trio were good in the Atrium in the early evening and the Viking band did a fantastic job in Torshavn each evening. The Cruise Director (Drew) did not interact with passengers as I would expect from previous experiences on other cruise lines. Enrichment lectures were most interesting. We had a great variety of guest lecturers on a broad range of topics and this is Viking's strong point. Meet and Mingle - great idea and one that Viking do really well most of the time. Again it is the little things that are missing. We were invited to 3 meet and mingles - 2 for cruise critic (11th and 25th April) and 1 for Australian and NZ passengers (22nd April). Now this is where the organisers could have liaised a lot better. The Aus/NZ night was held to commemorate ANZAC Day (which is 25 April). WHY oh WHY did they not liaise with both groups so that the commemoration was done on the correct day??? Such a missed opportunity which could have been so easily fixed with a bit of thought and negotiation. Included Tours - very superficial and did not cover the major sites. For example, in Helsinki we were not even told about Temppeliaukio Kirkko (Rock Church) even though it is regarded as a main attraction. The provided tours and maps did not encourage passengers to independently explore the ports of call. Viking could learn a lot from other cruise lines in this price bracket. In St Petersburg we opted to take a private tour with TJ Travel and I am so pleased we did - this company provided a comprehensive tour for less than half what Viking were charging. This is the only ship I have been on where the officers do not greet passengers when they pass them in the hallways. All in all a very disappointing time. I think I will sail with the smaller boutique lines again as they do provide value for money unlike Viking. In this price bracket I am unlikely to use Viking again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We loved the two river cruises we took with Vikilng, and were looking forward to this ocean cruise. And mostly it fulfilled our expectations. But there were a few problems that should not happen on any cruise, much less one with a ... Read More
We loved the two river cruises we took with Vikilng, and were looking forward to this ocean cruise. And mostly it fulfilled our expectations. But there were a few problems that should not happen on any cruise, much less one with a reputation as stellar as Viking. The good was very good. Cabins are excellent, great bathrooms (especially the heated floors, which feel good for feet and helps hand washing to dry quickly), nice sized balconies with comfortable chairs. Beds are great, pillows fascinating - soft, yet can be squished into all kinds of wonderful shapes. Lots of plugs, both USB, American, and European - didn't need our power strip that we always travel with. Beware, the outlet in the bathroom is American, but does not accept polarized plugs (my waterpik wouldn't work). The TV is the only real drawback in the room - the menus are a bit confusing (especially finding the bridge cam and reruns of ship talks). And it doesn't swivel, so all but impossible to see from the desk area. Small fridge, with some snacks and drinks included, and may be replenished depending on the type of room. Public spaces are gorgeous, with plenty of seating for all, some in noisy areas, and a few quiet areas (on deck and in Wintergarden) for those who don't enjoy a lot of background noise. Public bathrooms are plentiful and beautifully clean, there is a walking jogging deck on 2, and a walking area on the top of the ship on the sports deck.There is a free laundry on each floor, which we used once - after a gentleman took out my laundry to wash his pair of pants, I went back to doing laundry in the sink. Watching your laundry during a cruise is not my idea of a vacation. There is a reasonable laundry and dry cleaning service you can also use on board. Our major problems were in the food areas. Food was generally OK, not great. Pastas were great, as were much of the meat. Desserts were generally pretty and tiny, but little flavor. Same breads every day, all ok, but not much flavor. It would have been nice to have a bread of the day. Soups were generally poor, which was a huge disappointment after loving all the soups on the river cruises. Ice cream and smoothies were a big hit. Mamsen's in the Explorer's Lounge was great, but needs a better pick up system on crowded days. The special Norwegian waffles take a few minutes to make, and someone who didn't know the system grabbed ours one day. They have great pastries up there too, much better than any of the other restaurants. Afternoons/evenings bring great open faced sandwiches and cakes. Chef's Table, horrible service, very fancy food and tiny portions. Pool Grill - do not miss the great hamburgers, hot dogs and steak sandwiches. Best on the ship, along with the French fries and coleslaw. Manfredi's is very good. Florentine steak I had was small and too much fat, but the rest was very good. Pasta was fabulous, and they had better breads than elsewhere on the ship. Loved afternoon tea in the Wintergarden. Best desserts on the ship. Scones are fabulous, and a big selection of teas, even for non-tea drinkiers. Loved the Aquavit Terrace, great place to eat from the food court on nice days. World Cafe (food court) food mostly good enough, has everything that is in Restaurant. Flow patterns are problematical, all directions, and you need to wait for soups, pastas, and special orders, which clogs up the traffic flow at busy times. Drink service at all locations was not good for much of the trip, especially in the World Cafe. It's not easy to get your own drinks, and I often finished a meal with no one stopping by. We complained, and it got a bit better by the end of the trip. Everyone seemed to be working hard, so I don't know if the problem was not enough staff on duty, poor assignment of duties, not understanding American expectations of service, or just poor management in general. Staff throughout the ship were friendly and helpful, especially the cabin stewards. Odd timing of some programs, not bad if you eat dinner early, but late diners will miss out. Theater was excellent with good acoustics - could have been a bit bigger. Movies by the pool had terrible sound and poor popcorn. Lecturers were a real mixed bag. A couple were great, a couple so-so, and one was terrible. Generally don't seem to have had much oversight. Slides overfull with data, disorganized. Entertainment was average at best, a bit embarrassing at other times. Cruise director not particularly good, shore excursions guy very wordy and hard to understand. The ports and even distribution of sea days is what attracted us to this cruise. We missed stops in Guernsey and Copenhagen, which was disappointing, but everything else went well, and we saw so many places we've never been. Gorgeous weather almost everywhere (unheard of for April). Shore excursions are primarily bus or walking tours, usually 2-3 hours, giving you the highlilghts, and none too strenuous for so-so walkers. All included some shopping/free time. Warning, this is a very homogenous clientele. Almost all white Americans, 60-75 years old, with a few Australians, British, and Canadians mixed in. Most are from smaller cities and suburban areas. Table talk is often about previous Viking cruises and grandchildren. Much fitter group than what we've encountered on larger ships - no motorized wheelchairs, and many were devoted to extensive regimes on the walking deck. All in all, I would go on a Viking cruise again, but would not rank them higher than our past experiences on Norwegian, Princess, and Celebrity. I would continue to pick based on price, ports, and timing. I don't think I'm the normal Viking customer who seems to have a blind loyalty to all things Viking. It's easy enough for me to bypass the photo ops, casinos, and other annoyances on big ships Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Needless to say, we love Viking. We have taken seven River cruises and this is our first ocean cruise. The ship was fantastic with a 2 to 1 ratio of crew two passengers. The food was great with a large variety to choose from. No suits ... Read More
Needless to say, we love Viking. We have taken seven River cruises and this is our first ocean cruise. The ship was fantastic with a 2 to 1 ratio of crew two passengers. The food was great with a large variety to choose from. No suits required! Even offered free room service without additional charges. The included shore excursions were a brief overview and we would often ditch the your and strike out on our own. If the boat was Park more than 15 minutes away from the city, they would offer a free shuttle service from the boat to the center of the city. We found that we often had to take the paid shore excursions in order to see the top sites in the city. In St. Petersburg, we found Alla Tours that were about half the price of the Viking tours and were very convenient and our guide Alex was very knowledgeable. They provide the Russian visa needed to tour the city and I would highly recommend them. Due to weather, we were not able to visit the Gunersy or Copenhagen but that’s the risk you take on any sea cruise. On board the ship, they offer incentives to book additional cruises and in fact we booked two new ones. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Wife and I have been cruising over 25 years. These days we prefer suites on longer cruises so we upgraded to the Explorer Suite. Well worth the money. Great room and largest balcony we’ve ever had. Viking Sea is only two years old so ... Read More
Wife and I have been cruising over 25 years. These days we prefer suites on longer cruises so we upgraded to the Explorer Suite. Well worth the money. Great room and largest balcony we’ve ever had. Viking Sea is only two years old so we were definitely spoiled. Ship is in great shape and many things on board are fascinating like the shower in the suite. It’s walk-in with no ledge. Great drainage via great design. Heated towel racks etc. were all as one would expect in the top-rated suites. Room came with lots of extras and as the brochures say, all is included. Room service was great for early breakfast when shore excursions were leaving early. Service was impeccable. Food was great. Entertainment was so-so. The night club was fun. The house band playing in the night club was probably the best musicians on the trip. Had a great couple singing just about anything you could name and they hit it out of the park. Bar tenders do the flippy thing with bottles which is fun to watch as well. Pools, gym, etc. was all new and great. This trip was Barcelona and Beyond, a three-week cruise I understand they will no longer offer. Itinerary hit the Baltic region where we’ve never been. I’ll be brief and say this was the best cruise we’ve ever been on in over 25 years, but there are a few things that surprised us. 1. Shore excursions: The literature says shore excursions are included. Wrong. One shore excursion is included at no additional charge at each stop, but that excursion usually consists of a 3-hour bus ride with the tour guide talking about a site as you drive by. These are also what you get if you take the transfers onto the ship and off. They use the 3 hours to kill while the ship gets ready for boarding or the hotel is ready for check-in. I’d probably take a taxi in the future. Plan on paying for excursions the old-fashioned way if booking through the cruise. You can book your own through somebody like Viator.com but if they don’t get you back in time you’re screwed and the boat leaves without you. One thing about Viking, they stick to a schedule as far as departures. 2. Tips: The literature states a daily rate is charged per person that goes to handle all tips. Not really. At the end of the cruise we wanted to help out the crew and give more money by charging it to our room account and directing that to be split between members of the crew. After I already made the payment, I was talking to members of the crew. Each individual told me the same story. They get the same amount in their checks regardless of how full the ship is with guests. They never see any variance in the amount which strikes me as unusual since I’m sure other guests probably had the same idea of adding more to the account. So, if you want to add to the base amount go old-school and get envelopes from the passenger service desk and stuff your cash in them for tips at the end for those you believe deserve the additional amounts. 3. Hotels for before and after: Viking did an excellent job picking hotels. At least 4 stars for each. 4. Before and after excursions: You’re on your own for these. Viking only books those that occur during the cruise. At least they did on this one. We arranged our own. 5. Web site: Very useful. Fill out all the information for express check-in in the My Journey site. Site also had good info and videos of stops etc. Study it well in advance of your departure. 6. Travel insurance: Viking offers insurance that is good for the trip, but could use more for medical. You might want to augment this coverage with a medical that offers additional coverage. For instance, in states I had to be airlifted after an accident which cost over $40,000. In Europe and other parts of the globe, should the unthinkable happen, anything that flies costs 4 or 5 times that, plus the additional cost to repatriate back to the states. Just something to think about Summary ….. it will spoil you taking other cruises. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We select cruises based on itinerary and pacing, ship size and cruise line reputation. Viking Ocean did not disappoint! A big selling point for us was that the "Barcelona, Baltic and Beyond" cruise allowed us to stay overnight ... Read More
We select cruises based on itinerary and pacing, ship size and cruise line reputation. Viking Ocean did not disappoint! A big selling point for us was that the "Barcelona, Baltic and Beyond" cruise allowed us to stay overnight in several ports; Barcelona, Amsterdam, St. Petersburg and Stockholm.The Viking Sea provided a lovely atmosphere and exceptionally attentive service during this 21 day cruise. Dining offerings were varied and wonderful, with Manfredi's being our favorite and The Restaurant a close second. The World Cafe was fine for breakfast and lunch but service was a bit disorganized and the ventilation could be improved. We loved, loved Mamsen's! Wonderful waffles and pastries. The Wintergarden for tea and scones was a highlight for midday snacking. The best spot on the ship to enjoy the views and libations is The Explorer Lounge. It even has a fireplace! We took advantage of several of the included excursions and we're very pleased with them. We also purchased several excursions; very fine as well. On sea days we took advantage of the gym (our choices; rowing machine, weights and elliptical). This was a wonderful cruise and I look forward to our next adventure with Viking. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We chose to do a repositioning cruise on the Viking Sea in March of 2018 from San Juan to Barcelona. We have sailed over a dozen times on other cruise lines, predominately Seabourn and have done four other trans-Atlantic cruises, but were ... Read More
We chose to do a repositioning cruise on the Viking Sea in March of 2018 from San Juan to Barcelona. We have sailed over a dozen times on other cruise lines, predominately Seabourn and have done four other trans-Atlantic cruises, but were intrigued by the pictures and reviews of these new ships. First the good: The Viking Sea was a beautiful ship with spacious public areas. We loved the clean Scandinavian design and our lovely PV1 cabin. The Mediocre: The food. Perhaps we are spoiled by the exceptional cuisine on Seabourn, but we found the dining experience on the Viking Sea to be very disappointing. With the exception of the specialty restaurants (which were limited to two visits per cruise) the food and service in the main dining room were mediocre at best. There was never enough wait staff, the food was not very good, and the tables were jammed so close together that any thought of a romantic meal for two was impossible. In general we were surprised at the poor level of service on the boat (again compared to Seabourn.) While sitting around the pool, it was rare for anyone to come offer even a drink of water, let alone something alcoholic. This meant one of us (including my handicapped husband) had to go to the bar, order a drink, and carry it back. The Horrible: My husband suffers from Afib, a heart condition for which he has been treated for two years. Prior to leaving on this cruise, he was cleared to sail by his cardiologist in Florida. On day 9 of our cruise, he went to see the ship's doctor because he was having some symptoms related to this condition. The doctor prescribed a new drug, and he felt fine. On day 11, we took a private land excursion to Tangiers which tired him out. The next morning (shortly after we docked in Cadiz, Spain) he decided to see the doctor again, just to be sure he was okay. After running some tests (which concluded my husband had NOT had a heart attack) the doctor announced that "because the next day would be a sea day" he could not risk having us on board. We were told to summarily pack our things, leave the ship, and go to a local hospital in Cadiz. In a state of shock we complied. We spent the next 7 days in a hospital in Cadiz (where most of the staff did not speak English.) My husband was given an IV for hydration and hooked up to a monitor. And we waited and waited and waited for 4 DAYS to see a cardiologist. When he finally arrived, he did a short test, added a beta blocker (a drug my husband had previously taken) and said we were "cleared to fly." Hurray! But no, our Viking trip insurance company "Trip Mate," now responsible for getting us back to Florida, declared we must have a "medical escort" home. This, despite the fact that all the doctors at the Cadiz hospital said this was UNNECESSARY. So...we waited 3 MORE DAYS for a nurse to fly in from Colorado to accompany us home. THEN THE REAL KICKER.......Trip Mate just sent us a bill for $2,000 for my air ticket home, because it exceeded their limit for that class of service. It was the SAME class of service we had booked for our original flight home from Barcelona. In short...we missed the last three days of our cruise, spent seven nights in a foreign hospital, suffered considerable stress and discomfort, for ABSOLUTELY NO REASON. My husband, according to ALL the doctors in the Cadiz hospital, was medically fine to continue the cruise. He has been fine since we returned home. The Viking doctor made a mistake when he sent us off the boat. Now they want to charge us $2,000 more for his poor judgement. This is unconscionable and unacceptable. We do not intend to pay this bill, will never sail on Viking again, and have told all of our friends to beware of this cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
My introduction to transatlantic crossings was aboard the legendary FRANCE, back in 1971. During the ensuing decades I’ve sailed aboard more than 60 passenger ships and have crisscrossed the Atlantic too many times to count. The VIKING ... Read More
My introduction to transatlantic crossings was aboard the legendary FRANCE, back in 1971. During the ensuing decades I’ve sailed aboard more than 60 passenger ships and have crisscrossed the Atlantic too many times to count. The VIKING SEA voyage I’m reviewing was the third Atlantic crossing my husband and I have made in twelve months. And it was our first time sailing with Viking Ocean Cruises. Departing San Juan, VIKING SEA crossed to Barcelona in 15 days, with en route calls at St. Maarten, Madeira, Tangier, Cadiz and Valencia. We found the ship to be light-filled, spacious and very attractive. The décor is what one might call relentlessly Scandinavian (reindeer pelts draped over sofas!), with a color palette comprised mostly of whites, shades of taupe and pale blues, accented with blonde woods. The overall look is elegant, if a bit severe, and will appeal to some passengers more than others. Hard surfaces predominate throughout the public rooms, ensuring that voices carry. (Often the very voices you wish didn’t…) VIKING SEA was kept scrupulously clean throughout our voyage. I don’t know when I’ve sailed on a more spic ‘n span ship. Our cabin was a Penthouse Verandah that was bright, roomy and comfortable. Wardrobe and drawer space was more than adequate for our two-weeks onboard. Clothes-hangers are wood and are not of that irritating, ‘anti-theft’ design. The large bed (with room underneath for luggage) was wonderful, though the pillows were too thick and too firm for us. (I don’t know why we didn’t ask if other types were available; our mistake.) The ship’s laundry and the complimentary pressing service were excellent. Blessed with beautiful weather all the way across the Atlantic, we slept each night with the door to our balcony open and enjoyed falling asleep to the sound of the waves. You can't beat that! Having crossed westbound five months previously aboard Windstar’s STAR BREEZE (the former SEABOURN SPIRIT), I couldn’t help but compare the two cabins. The use of deep, rich colors aboard STAR BREEZE, as well as the heavy curtain that can be drawn between the sleeping and living areas, gave that cabin a wonderfully cozy look and feel. I could have moved-in permanently. Our VIKING SEA accommodations on the other hand - all blonde woods and neutral-colored fabrics - felt coolly utilitarian; rather like a quiet corner in an airport business class lounge. I never warmed to it. The bathroom was fairly large, with a heated floor and good cabinet and drawer space. The lighting was not very well thought-out however, as it was directed in the wrong directions. The roomy shower produced an absolute torrent of hot water at all times. But the glass door didn’t quite meet the marble sill, so we were always having to mop-up water that had leaked onto the floor. Our hard-working room stewards - one from China and the other from the Philippines - were always eager to please, friendly, immaculately groomed, and completely professional. In fact, all of the personnel whom I would consider to be ‘junior‘ staff or crew were extremely personable. We never walked past anyone cleaning a window or touching-up paint who didn’t greet us with a big smile and a friendly word. It was only those who’d attained a higher rank onboard who sometimes exhibited a bit of an attitude. So far, mostly all good. But I’ve yet to mention the cuisine… And that’s where Viking really disappointed us, because the majority of our meals were mediocre at best. And some were just downright bad. Too many of the hot entrees reminded me of corporate cafeteria fare; unimaginatively thought-out and prepared. Self-serve items sometimes sat-out far too long, such as slices of pizza that dried-out under the heat lamps. A celebration dinner in Manfredi’s Italian Restaurant was so salty we couldn’t finish it. (And we heard the same complaint from other passengers.) The onboard restaurants are oddly managed. Mismanaged, I’d call it. Imagine being told by various maitres d’, over the course of two weeks, “I’m sorry, but there are no tables-for-two available next to a window.” And then, after being seated in the middle of a restaurant, being asked by the waiter “Wouldn’t you prefer that table-for-two over there by the window?” This happened over and over! At the end of yet another evening of musical chairs, I wryly commented to the maitre d’ “You and your colleagues gaze intently into that computer of yours, looking for available tables, and yet you don’t seem to know which tables actually ARE available. So really, what is the purpose of passengers lining-up to check-in with you for a table assignment? You tell us the table we want isn’t available, and then the waiter assigned to serve us tells us it is!” I received a chilly, tight-lipped stare. This awkward disconnect, almost every time we went to dine, was something we have never experienced aboard other ships. In truth, the whole open-seating concept seems just beyond Viking’s capabilities, since there was always an impatient line of diners waiting to be seated, not only at the ‘come when you like’ main Restaurant, but at reservations-required Manfredi’s and The Chef’s Table as well. On one occasion, arriving late in the evening for dinner in The Restaurant, I asked the maître d’ on duty why we couldn’t be seated at an empty window table-for-two, clearly visible across the room. “Because there is no one to re-set that table” was the response. I had to bite my tongue, because I really wanted to say “Excuse me? FIND someone to re-set it.” I was pretty much DONE with dining on VIKING SEA at that point. I kept that thought to myself only because it was obvious the staff members in all of VIKING SEA’s restaurants were working furiously, meal after meal, seldom pausing for an instant. (Forget exchanging a few pleasantries with the person serving you. They haven’t the time!) Many of the younger staff seemed rather overwhelmed, and at times, unsure of their duties. At the start of a dinner with wine-pairings in The Chef’s Table, the white wines we were to be served with specific courses were all poured into our glasses at the same time by the young wine stewardess. When we said we’d like to have the white wine for the later course poured along with that course, so that it would be chilled, she was clearly unhappy. Our request meant, of course, that she would have to make more than one trip to our table. I understood that she may have had too many tables to serve on her own, but the staff’s excessive work load shouldn’t become the passenger’s problem. It often did when dining aboard VIKING SEA. Our waiter in Manfredi’s apologized for our evening’s chaotic service, confiding “Viking has taken away our waiters’ assistants. And on top of that, tonight is the first night with this new menu…” He was clearly stressed, which hardly made for the elegant dining experience Viking’s promotional materials extol. But then as I mentioned earlier, the food was too salty to enjoy anyway. And there were more problems to come… The expensive bottle of Veuve Clicquot that I’d requested – 24 hours in advance – be placed in an ice-bucket one hour before the time of our dinner reservation, arrived at the table only slightly chilled and with a dry paper label – a sure sign the bottle had not been iced. And then, at the end of the meal, the birthday cake I’d arranged as a surprise for my husband never materialized. When I later voiced my disappointment to the maître d’ with whom I’d made the arrangements, and who had carefully noted my requests for the Champagne and the cake in his small notebook, he offered only a sheepish shrug in the way of an apology, and blamed the sommelier for forgetting to ice the wine. Now honestly, icing a bottle of Champagne and arranging for a birthday cake should not be beyond the capabilities of anyone overseeing a restaurant – on land or sea. Failing to follow through on both of my requests was inexcusable. Offerings at the self-serve World Café were the most meager and the most haphazardly-prepared we’ve encountered on any cruise ship. (Dried-out, lukewarm scrambled eggs at breakfast...)That VIKING SEA’s galleys could turn-out so many sub-standard food items over the course of two weeks was a major let-down. Especially considering Viking’s lofty per diems! By way of comparison, we crossed eastbound last spring, from Cartagena to Lisbon, aboard Pullmantur’s MONARCH (the former MONARCH OF THE SEAS). Spanish-owned Pullmantur is hardly a high-end cruise line, yet the food served onboard was consistently impressive. Every meal we were served in the dining room was delicious, and the choices and quality of the myriad items available at the early morning-to-late night buffet were amazing. It was some of the best food I’ve ever enjoyed on any ship. Our VIKING SEA crossing cost us five times more than our junior suite aboard the MONARCH. Five times. Proving once again that paying more doesn’t necessarily guarantee getting more! Filling-out the comment card distributed prior to disembarkation, I suggested to Viking that “rather than rapidly adding one new ship after another to your fleet, perhaps you should consider investing more heavily in the ships – and the employees - you already have.” Maybe then we’d consider sailing with Viking again. But in the meantime, my husband and I are cancelling a previously-booked 2020 Viking cruise in Asia. We don’t want to risk being disappointed a second time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
I have been smitten with the Viking ship design since the first brochure arrived in my maibox a number of years ago. Picked this 15 day Transatlantic crusie for its sea days and ports of call. Frist TA and first Vking cruise. I am ... Read More
I have been smitten with the Viking ship design since the first brochure arrived in my maibox a number of years ago. Picked this 15 day Transatlantic crusie for its sea days and ports of call. Frist TA and first Vking cruise. I am amazed by the attention to detail in the design and furnishings of the ship: I lost count of the different style of chairs in the various public spaces. My favorite are the deep brown leather chairs next to the Living Room Bar. The railings in the hallways and even the door handles to cabins are wrapped in smooth leather. The lichen garden below the stairs rising to the full story sceen showing the most brillinat pictures throughout the day and evening. The views of sky, sea through every window above deck 1. The windows are floor to ceiling. In the World Cafe these were open on sunny days in port for more alfresco dining. Stunning spa with heated tile loungers, stream room , sauna, and snow grotto and small pool open to evyerone. Fees are only for massages. Food in all venues is very good, lots of variety, creative, and the" success cake "in Mamsen is the best dessert at sea. The crew from officers to the young man who was in charge of keeping the elevators clean were always friendly, going out of their way to answer a question or help in any way. The included excursions were basicly bus tours with stops or walking tours of areas of the port towns . All the guides were very knowlegable . The resident historian program is outstanding. Our historian Mark gave lectures on art, pirates, explorers, also had round table discussions and open office hours for small group discussion. The Deluxe veranda cabin was fine, with large shower, and heated bathroom floor. Could have had more drawers in the main cabin. We did find places for all of our stuff. Loved our balcony and table height for having breakfast while looking out at the morning sea or sailing into port. Met so many intersting passengers who were all having a good time while we crossed the Atlantic Ocean. The only negative is that they ran of three of the white wines on the wine list during the cruise. Many of us had the Silver Beverage Package and they miscalculated the number of wine drinkers with this package. They did not run out of the incudled wine, however. LOL This minor detail was the only negative I experienced. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We had heard good reports about Viking River Cruises and when we saw this lovely itinerary on the relatively new Viking Ocean Cruise line we decided to give it a try. And we were delighted with our choice! One reason we selected this ... Read More
We had heard good reports about Viking River Cruises and when we saw this lovely itinerary on the relatively new Viking Ocean Cruise line we decided to give it a try. And we were delighted with our choice! One reason we selected this cruise was because we love days at sea. While 7-8 days at sea does not appeal at all to some travelers, my husband and I, who are retired, enjoy restful days when we don’t have to be up and ready early for an excursion. And there is so much to do on the ship during those days - the spa and pools, in-room movies, exercising and games on the deck and just watching the vast views from our veranda. But then this cruise had some lovely ports that we had not visited before and definitely wanted to see - Puerto Rico, Madeira, Tangier, Sevilla, and others that we returned to visit. One of the features of Viking cruises is that the excursions are all included. Of course, you can upgrade for a fee if there is a special spot or experience in a port that is not part of the included outings, but pricey excursions are not necessary. The entertainment was fine although we didn’t go to very many of the shows. We liked the lectures about the various ports, their histories and political issues. The lectures were recorded so we could watch them at our leisure. The food on the ship was exceptional with a nice variety of good quality and healthy options. There was always plenty of food and drinks available whenever we wanted them. Service was outstanding for the most part. Staff members seemed to be happy and to enjoy their jobs. Because we had such a good experience on this trip, we booked a future cruise onboard and took advantage of the discounts we were offered. Overall, we had a great experience and are looking forward to our next cruise on Viking. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
2nd time on viking ocean cruise. Will never choose another cruiseline. They got it right, cruise director Mark is not the cornball type like many others, has great taste in entertainment, which is superior to all the other cruises i have ... Read More
2nd time on viking ocean cruise. Will never choose another cruiseline. They got it right, cruise director Mark is not the cornball type like many others, has great taste in entertainment, which is superior to all the other cruises i have tried. Food is tops, no pretensions, same with service. Ship is pure elegance, so spacious. Whats not to like. Shore excursions well organized, one free for each port. Classical music all over the ship is high quality. Cant say enough about ,nordic spa. Steam room, sauna, snowbroom, hot pools, all included. My husband used gym every day, well equipped, never crowded. Scandinavian buffet for breakfast is great for late risers. Sticky buns at buffet breakfast are delish. Gelato flavors change daily. On our anniversary we received a special chocolate cake, one of the best i have ever tasted. Loved daily high tea in wintergarden with string quartet. Perfect cruising. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
After thoroughly enjoying our Viking Homelands cruise in 2016, we decided we just didn't have much time on the ship. So crossing the Atlantic for 6 days was a delight! We never lacked for anything to do. The lectures were fantastic ... Read More
After thoroughly enjoying our Viking Homelands cruise in 2016, we decided we just didn't have much time on the ship. So crossing the Atlantic for 6 days was a delight! We never lacked for anything to do. The lectures were fantastic with four on board lecturers, including our resident historian. We only had 5 ports of call, all of them fascinating. And we stayed over in Barcelona, a wonderful city. Viking caters to ages 50+, so it is easy to meet people with like minds. We traveled with friends that we met on our Viking Bordeaux River Cruise. Our only complaint was the Air department, which kept changing our flights. Our travel agent was right on it, but we ended up paying to keep our original flights home, a long story. But on the whole, you can't beat Viking for food, service, and value. So, of course, we've signed up for another Ocean cruise in 2020. That will make our 8th Viking trip! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We are Viking groupies, I suppose! This was our 10th Viking Cruise---8 River and 2 Ocean, and while we have thoroughly enjoyed every one, this Atlantic crossing was the most restful of all. Sea days give one the opportunity to de-stress ... Read More
We are Viking groupies, I suppose! This was our 10th Viking Cruise---8 River and 2 Ocean, and while we have thoroughly enjoyed every one, this Atlantic crossing was the most restful of all. Sea days give one the opportunity to de-stress and and enjoy the luxury of having no absolute schedule that must be kept. We arrived a day early and had an afternoon to walk around Old San Juan and had a lovely dinner in a very small traditional l restaurant. Embarkation in San Juan went smoothly and quickly, as do all Viking embarkations. The ship is just the right size to offer a variety of restaurant and snack options, entertainment nightly in the theater, shopping for fun and necessities, a small night club for that late-night drink, entertaining band and vocalist and dancing. There were many lounging areas on board in the common areas and on deck, so after a couple of days I began to notice some of the guests had gravitated to their own little nests time after time. We especially enjoyed the educational lectures and the fact that we could catch them on the TV in our stateroom if we happened to miss one. And speaking of TV, for someone who rarely watches a movie on TV at home I found myself watching several full-length features as well as every episode of certain series (especially The Vikings, of course!) and documentaries as well. The in-room options for entertainment were excellent, including the satellite live TV (most of the time). The service by the staff, especially our stateroom attendants was wonderful. The only time we observed a little break in the usual friendly, efficient service of the staff was in the Tea Garden where some of the servers seemed inefficient and bored. We had a Junior Penthouse suite that was spacious, 2 large flat screen TV's. sofa and two lounge chairs, very comfortable bed, good lighting for reading and makeup. My husband did say he would have preferred better lighting in the bathroom for shaving. I however, was very happy with the dressing table and lighted mirror. The sleeping area could be closed off from the sitting area and outside deck by full-length drapes. The exercise equipment area could have been larger with more treadmills, as they were in great demand on sea days. The two specialty restaurants made dining a more special event, especially the Chef's Table, but all the food on board was well-prepared and well-presented. We appreciate the absence of young children on board, as well as no noisy, smoky casino! We were very pleased that an Easter Sunday religious service was held in theater (well-attended, with projected backdrop on the stage area that made it appear we were in a large church with stained glass windows. And on Easter Sunday every stateroom had a chocolate bunny placed there as a surprise. I also understand that Passover was also celebrated as well. The excursion in Madeira on the cable car and visit to the botanical garden was worthwhile. If you have never been to Tangier, the included tour by Viking is a good thing to do. We recommend visiting the Historic American Legation building--fascinating history. All the included tours give an excellent overview of the various cities. The last evening gathering of the ship's company and guests for meet and greet, entertainment and farewells on the main deck of the multi-level atrium left us all feeling that we had somehow become a family in our short time together. Disembarkation is a carefully planned and executed experience, and we highly recommend Viking's transportation to and from the airports rather than deal with expensive taxis. One other thing to note is that my husband, a 36-year career U.S. Navy Captain is ALWAYS pleased to see how well-maintained the ship is and ALWAY points out the crew cleaning, sanding, painting, etc. The cruise was everything we hoped it would be and are already planning our next Viking adventure.. As already mentioned, the stateroom was very comfortable, well-appointed and absolutely spotless, thanks to our stewardess and steward. We liked the location because it was near the explorer lounge, the theater, the fitness center and the Tea Garden. The only drawback for the location was the necessity to walk through the pool deck to go to the restaurants at the other end of the ship.. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
San Juan to Barcelona spring crossing. Overall...a great trip, enjoyed everyone we met—staff and cruisers. Positives: 1. Crew, especially our Indonesian cabin steward. 2. Dining. We ate dinner in the Main Dining Room + the ... Read More
San Juan to Barcelona spring crossing. Overall...a great trip, enjoyed everyone we met—staff and cruisers. Positives: 1. Crew, especially our Indonesian cabin steward. 2. Dining. We ate dinner in the Main Dining Room + the 2 specialty restaurants. All were excellent, and our favorite was the Main Dining Room with its 6-person “shared” table. Great opportunity to meet new friends. 3. Entertainment. Very pleasantly surprised! We enjoyed all the evening shows — plenty of variety, but each show was filled With enthusiasm and joy. P.S. Quality was “Triple A” in baseball terms. Terrific young performers “moving up” and developing their craft. If you need the Met every night, go to New York. If you love variety...sail on the Viking Sea. 4. At Sea for 7 days? Great. Always busy, yet still relaxed. Very refreshing Disappointments: 1. Half-day tour on St. Martin. Our 3-hour island tour was all about devistation and destruction on the Dutch side following the Sept 2017 hurricane. If Viking’s goal was to add tourist dollars to help restore the economy, then it was B- tour. If it was to show-off a beautiful Carribean island, then the grade was a D. Note: due to road construction that day, it to 45 minutes to move 500 yards. 15% of tour group gave up and walled back to the ship. 2. Tangier, Morocco. The city tour had the possibility of being a B+, and then we met our local guide. His goal was to get to all our scheduled stops as quickly as possible...so he could “get rid of us.” One bright spot — the very professional and enjoyable stop at the rug merchant and leather goods store. Overall a C. 3. Barcelona: We booked the 2-day post cruise. Loved it! But...we were told by the LA office and the Viiking Sea onboard team that we would be off the ship at 9 AM, and the bus ride to the Barcelona hotel would take one hour. So, I booked a 1:00 local tour. Unfortunately, the 1 hour tour took 3 hours! Then, 1 hour check-in. Result...missed our downtown tour. Lesson learned: do not book a tour too quickly on your post cruise. Overall: A-. Very Happy we took this tour. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We had been wanting to sail on a transAtlantic cruise for some time and also wanted to try Viking Ocean cruises. We enjoyed our trips on Viking Ocean cruises and loved the cruise format that has been adopted for the ocean cruises. There is ... Read More
We had been wanting to sail on a transAtlantic cruise for some time and also wanted to try Viking Ocean cruises. We enjoyed our trips on Viking Ocean cruises and loved the cruise format that has been adopted for the ocean cruises. There is a great deal of value in an inclusive pricing model as well as the superior accommodations and service. We loved all the spaces available for relaxation. The ship was full but we never felt any space was crowded. Afternoon tea was a delight. The upper level of the Explorers Lounge is a great place to unwind with a book, puzzle or just the view. The winter garden is a really special place to sit with friends or to people watch. The garden room is exquisitely decorated. The specialty restaurants are very good if a little overly creative in their menus. Our favorite was the Chefs Table. We especially enjoyed the little extras like the Viking museum,the accomplished musicians, the first run movies and the excellent lectures. It was a delight to be able to enjoy the spa and gym areas without feeling pressured to spend money and the included tours were good overviews of the various ports we visited. In all, Viking is now our favorite cruise line for ocean and river cruises. We have been cruising for several years now, mostly long cruises to less traveled places, and had settled in to continue on another line. That all changed with our first experience on Viking. Now Viking is our preferred cruise line. It is simply a superior experience. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We liked the itinerary and looked forward to an ocean experience of quiet, relaxing days at sea. There were many lectures and wonderful entertainments on board. We enjoyed the restaurant choices as well. No required dress-ups. We met ... Read More
We liked the itinerary and looked forward to an ocean experience of quiet, relaxing days at sea. There were many lectures and wonderful entertainments on board. We enjoyed the restaurant choices as well. No required dress-ups. We met very interesting people on board. We enjoyed the afternoon teas. The buffet choice for meals turned out to be our favorite. No waiting in line and it was very well organized. If you wanted linguine with shrimp for lunch, you simply went to that station (no line) and ordered it and then watched the chef prepare the dish right in front of you - delicious, fresh, the pasta perfect. The lectures were not just good - they were outstanding. And a great variety - adventurers who had sailed around the straits of Magellan with a crew of 8, oceanographers whose knowledge was overwhelming of saline and the environmental concerns today for our world's seas. The only underwhelming experience on board was to listen to the cruise pianist - played with the music in front of her - could not improvise - and every tune sounded the same in the same repetitive style. But she looked very Scandinavian if that made a difference. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Always wanted to take a trans-Atlantic cruise. We were greeted by cruise personal at the airport and professional processed to the pier for boarding. On board the cruise staff was supper helpful and kind. Our stateroom was well appointed ... Read More
Always wanted to take a trans-Atlantic cruise. We were greeted by cruise personal at the airport and professional processed to the pier for boarding. On board the cruise staff was supper helpful and kind. Our stateroom was well appointed and very clean. During the cruise, we were most fortunate to have had perfect weather the entire time (2 weeks). The port stops were great and interesting. I would have preferred the Casablanca stop over Tangiers stop as was originally programmed, but that's life. On board I discovered very comfortable areas outdoors and spent restful time reading and resting. The spa facilities were great especially the fantastic facial. Appreciated the "no hard sales" from any department especially the retail areas. A recommendation on my part is to have all denominational services available on Sundays and religious holidays. As it turned out, Easter services were provided by popular demand. And, as always, the food was excellent and beautifully presented. Thanks you for a most enjoyable 2 weeks. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Viking Sea Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.8
Dining 5.0 4.6
Entertainment 3.5 4.2
Public Rooms 5.0 4.9
Fitness Recreation 4.5 4.4
Family 1.0 4.4
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.2
Enrichment 4.0 4.4
Service 5.0 4.8
Value For Money 5.0 4.4

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