This was our third consecutive, annual cruise with Viking. Having enjoyed several of their river cruises, we decided upon an ocean voyage this year, in part because we were taking our two "under 30" ages kids. Viking ocean ... Read More
This was our third consecutive, annual cruise with Viking. Having enjoyed several of their river cruises, we decided upon an ocean voyage this year, in part because we were taking our two "under 30" ages kids. Viking ocean cruises offer more onboard than do their river going sisters and thought the additional options would be more suited to their interests than the rather sedate life on a river cruise. As we expected, the cruise was wonderful and one all of us will always remember.
The itinerary was selected for its historical and cultural value. The ship embarked in Athens, but, since Viking offers no excursions before boarding, we booked a private company to pick us up at the airport, provide us with a personalized tour, and deliver us to the ship in time to sail.
Regrettably, flight delays caused us to miss the (expensive) Athens tour and almost the ship itself. Although the flight delays were no fault of Viking, Viking imposes a financial "penalty" for guests who plan their flights through their air department and wish to fly in on any date OTHER than day of embarkation. This really cuts time very, very short, with little allowance for flight delays. For some absurd reason, Viking charges $100. extra, per guest, if they choose to fly in a day early and avoid the type of grief we experienced. Why they feel this cost is justified is beyond our comprehension. First, the customer saves Viking the need to provide an airport transfer to the ship. The customer purchases their own transportation, hotel, entertainment, food and beverage. It costs Viking nothing and actually save them time and trouble. I'm still annoyed with this policy as it affecting our next cruise plans with Viking.
Once aboard, everything was delightful. The food was exceptional. Excellent variety and selections, fresh, beautifully presented and prepared with an expert hand. Since we are wine enthusiasts, we always purchase the Silver Spirits package as a convenience. It is actually quite a bargain. The wine list was adequate and far from legendary.Nevertheless, the Sky's sommelier, Roman, was delightful and went to extra effort to make suggestions and recommendations. Our waiters and the hostess always recognized us and called us by name!
Our cabin steward, Edy, was equally fantastic. He could not have been more friendly, helpful, attentive and thorough. Always at the ready to assist in any way possible, including remembering my cabin number when I forgot it the first couple of days.
If you are looking for a cruise with non-stop entertainment, Viking is not for you. We choose Viking specifically for that reason. No casinos, no guests under 18, no ambitious broadway shows, rock-climbing walls or on-board surfing. Viking caters to a different demographic. In the case of the Sky, guests could enjoy several pools and jacuzzi's, a heavenly spa facility too impressive for me to describe here (it has a "snow-room", if you can imagine), a full gym, and outdoor exercise and sports options (putting green, shuffleboard). Plenty to occupy one's interests when not ashore.
We have always found Viking to provide exceptional shore excursions. The guides are very knowledgeable and, with few exceptions, quite amenable, enthusiastic and helpful. We did, however, experience quite a bit of unhappiness and discomfort on the 5 hour optional excursion to Krka National Park. The park itself was spectacular and well worth the time. The problems occurred when the guide seemed to underestimate the time required for many "older folks" to walk across narrow bridges or pathways. Secondly, the bus driver became completely lost on the way back to the ship. This confusion added two hours of unhappiness, which became more and more pronounced as time ticked on. Guests were unhappy, and the bus driver and guide swearing at each other!
The final problem, and very upsetting to us, was the communication (not) provided by the Viking representative at the Hotel Molino Stucky where we stayed during our three day post-cruise extension in Venice. Poor communication caused us great confusion, grief and some money. When this fact was brought to her attention, she became very hostile and defensive. Rather than simply say " sorry for the misunderstanding", she thought it better to pursue an argument. She was truly the only completely rude Viking employee we have ever experienced.
Embarcation and disembarkation are non-events with Viking. Quick, simple, no lines, no confusion.
So, all in all, a great trip. We forgive Viking the glitches and will be repeat guests. Off to the Nile in 2020! Read Less