7 Viking Ocean Viking Star Cruise Reviews for Romantic Cruises to Cuba

Wanted to try Viking Ocean and Cuba was on my list. Had been on Viking River Cruise so was curious about the Ocean Cruises. The look and feel if the ocean ship was similar to the River but bigger. Also the inclusion of the Thermal Spa ... Read More
Wanted to try Viking Ocean and Cuba was on my list. Had been on Viking River Cruise so was curious about the Ocean Cruises. The look and feel if the ocean ship was similar to the River but bigger. Also the inclusion of the Thermal Spa area which included the sauna, steam, snow room, cold pool and thermal pool with heated lounges chairs was an added bonus as there is not a charge to enter and use the Thermal spa like other cruise lines. The fitness center was well equipped as well. The pools were nice and nothin seemed crowed - not sure the ship was at 100% capacity. They had a nice smoking area on the top deck, which had plenty of seating and was not near any major public area such as the pools or dining areas. The ship was clean and the crew were in constant maintenance mode during the cruise. The staff were wonderful and we managed to have a few waiters that were special in that they remembered us and knew what we drank and were attentive, of course a little tip didn't hurt but was well deserved. The entertainment could be a little more varied especially in the main pool area to include so Top 40 tunes for some of the younger crowd, I had expected some latin music since this was a Cuba and Caribbean Cruise but none. Minus a casino more activities maybe would have been nice other than card and board games. Overall a very relaxing cruise even though we were unable to make our stop in Santiago Cuba due to weather. I booked another cruise while on board so overall pleased with the experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
After saving our money and paid time off for over three years, my husband and I were excited for our cruise to Cuba with Viking, who had shown us stellar service on their Paris to Normandy river journey in 2015. We were a little hesitant ... Read More
After saving our money and paid time off for over three years, my husband and I were excited for our cruise to Cuba with Viking, who had shown us stellar service on their Paris to Normandy river journey in 2015. We were a little hesitant at first, seeing that Viking had changed the itinerary on folks that booked in 2017 from Havana to Cienfuegos, but figured the team had it sorted out. Unfortunately, from the start we had trouble. Our airport pickup wandered away, leaving six of us who had just red eyed into Miami confused - they left the baggage area once the bags started coming, leaving us wandering until we found them quite far down the hall. Despite our stickers and luggage tags, we had to search for our rep, rather than him finding us (in Paris, our rep was there in uniform and took initiative to round up his charges, not the other way around). When we were dropped off at port, we were literally dropped off - no instructions, no guidance. An elderly woman in our group was jostled and fell to the ground. Finally, one of our fellow passengers found the correct entrance and led us in. The ship is lovely, if starting to show some wear, and the staff was delightful and polite and not too talkative. The hydrotherapy pools were spacious and stunning, especially for a ship of this size. We sometimes struggled to get drinks refilled at meals, so we started requesting two at a time so we wouldn’t be parched midway through a meal. For a larger ship than their river cruises, there was less variety in food choice - the seated restaurant and the buffet mirror on another, and since the specialty restaurants booked up fast, you essentially had the option of being brought your food or grabbing it yourself without much change in the menu. The river cruises have a small cafe that you can get American fare at, while their restaurants serve local specialties and more upscale dishes. Our free walking tour in Cienfuegos was one of the worst tours I have been on - the guide wouldn’t let us shop, he made us stand in the street as beggars circled us tighter and tighter (making me more and more nervous) while he talked about the largest travel agency in Havana (it seemed an odd thing to focus on when there was art and cigar shops and historic buildings surrounding us), and was angry people weren’t paying attention to his next long story about the optometry shop as we shifted uncomfortably in the street. At the cigar rolling demonstration, we were hustled out before we could buy anything - which made me incredibly uncomfortable when the shopkeepers had hosted us so kindly. We toured a hotel lobby, which ate into valuable time we could have been at an actual historical building. Being from Nevada, I know hotels. I don’t know 19th century Cuban mansions like Ville Palais, which we had only ten minutes in since we spent a valuable twenty minutes in a generic Hilton-like lobby instead. When we returned to the city center, it was after six and shutting down - stands were closing, shops were shuttered, and it was twilight - tourist time was obviously over. So we returned to the boat. Our Havana excursion was amazing, and the saving grace of our trip - the tour guide Jenny knowledgeable, focused on education and information and not her personal stories. The Hemingway House was closed (note, it’s always closed on Sundays, so why no one notifies us until the day before was concerning on Viking’s end and likely caused a scramble for the poor guides), so she arranged for a ride around Havana in the old school cars, which thrilled us all. She was honest about life in Cuba, and answered all of our questions on income and housing, and introduced us to multiple vendors and shops, even making sure we got proper change. This was the Viking experience I had been expecting and hoping for. Since Havana was a whirlwind of colors and sounds, we were excited for a low key day In Cienfuegos the following day - unfortunately, since the tender boats take 20 minutes each way, and everyone had to be back on the boat by noon, we didn’t get up in time to leave the boat on our third half day (our Havana day was over 13 hours with lots of walking). Which was heartbreaking when we found out that our second port stop at Santiago de Cuba was canceled due to wind. Santiago de Cuba was founded in 1515, and was something I was looking forward to so much. Being from out West in Nevada, we think somethings historic if it’s from the 1950s! But we were sure Viking would make it up to guests. We became less sure when they excitedly announced a bean bag toss to keep us occupied as we sailed past Santiago de Cuba. Okay, I thought. They’re getting things together. They need a little time. Surely the top cruise line in the world would not offer a simple bean bag toss as substitute for 50% of the Cuba port sites. Well, they also offered a trivia competition. And they also heavily suggested you pay extra fees for wine tastings and spa treatments to keep yourself occupied on a day that Viking had promised to entertain us with a port stop and free tour. My husband and I are in our 30s, and Viking cruises mean we go less often and pay more ($2,800/each in this instance), but our experience in Paris was so rosy, we pledged to be Viking customers exclusively. Having a major stop cancelled and cornhole substituted seemed laughable, and I again gave Viking the benefit of the doubt. I emailed our Viking rep, sure that something was in the works - a partial refund or credit towards our next cruise, or even a shipboard credit since they were pushing pricey services for entertainment in lieu of the port stop. Fred told me to email customer relations since he couldn’t do anything once we were on the boat. 24 hours after emailing, and 28 hours after the port cancellation, I have yet to receive an acknowledgment of my email, and my hope for a decent resolution is just about gone. To have such vastly different customer service experiences has led me to fear our stellar service in Paris was luck of the stars, and not Viking’s usual protocol. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend this cruise because you will pay premium price for average service and may not even see 50% of promised ports - and Viking will offer a game of bean bag toss as the only consolation to a lost day in Cuba. Oh, and trivia. Our 2015 Paris cruise was during the terrorist attacks - Viking stepped up to the plate in 2015 and arranged alternate excursions when we were unable to get back into the locked down city, and a staff person came to speak with us individually about safety and ensure our comfort. I’m surprised they were able to handle a very unexpected, very alarming event on the fly on that cruise, but the only solution they had for inclement weather on this cruise and a cancelled port was a bean bag toss. Oh yeah, and a trivia game. I would not recommend this cruise until Viking has figured out the Cuba logistics. From reading the other reviews, this isn’t one of Viking’s strong itineraries despite multiple years, and doesn’t appear to have the same level of professionalism and service found in their river cruises. I’m not sure we’ll do a Viking cruise again, considering the high cost and poor customer service our Cuba trip has highlighted. I expected to be a Viking customer for the next 70 years after Paris, but am beginning to realize they’re just like any other cruise line - all about that cash. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Everything was top notch from the service to the food. Nice shore excursions and great staff. Loved the fact that there was no photo taking event when boarding, no casino on the ship and no kids allowed on the ship. Such a peaceful trip. ... Read More
Everything was top notch from the service to the food. Nice shore excursions and great staff. Loved the fact that there was no photo taking event when boarding, no casino on the ship and no kids allowed on the ship. Such a peaceful trip. The cabin was well laid out and comfortable, the bathroom was best we have experienced on any cruise. There is not a lot of drawer storage but the closet is large and there is plenty of space under the beds. We went to the World Cafe and had lunch and it was very pleasant. The layout and general look of the buffet is very nice. The food on the ship was excellent in both the buffet and dining room. We ate two nights at Manfredi's, the Italian restaurant, and were very satisfied. Beer and wine is served at lunch and dinner and as much as you wanted. The staff was uniformly friendly and helpful. My only grip would be the gym is too small and there was never any hot drawn butter for the cracked crab, you always had to ask for it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Celebrating my 25th Wedding anniversary we chose Viking because a year ago it was one of the only 5 star under 900 passenger cruise ships going to Cuba for less than 10 days and its high rating. Our last cruise was on a Crystal ship from ... Read More
Celebrating my 25th Wedding anniversary we chose Viking because a year ago it was one of the only 5 star under 900 passenger cruise ships going to Cuba for less than 10 days and its high rating. Our last cruise was on a Crystal ship from Singapore to Hong Kong so the bar was set high. I have to admit Viking was up to the challenge, outside of our room attendant the service was excellent especially at the piano area bar where we had sparkling wine included in the Silver package that was pretty good. and I took full advantage of opportunity throughout the ship pre dinner after dinner and during the shows. we met some great people on the ship and even ran into some co-workers that we had no idea were going we closed the piano bar area down several nights. The majority of the guests were well over 70 so bedtime was pretty early. but wake up time was early also. :) The ship is very modern with wi-fi throughout and touch screen directories through out the ship. all orders taken by staff were on cell phones which made things much faster. The afternoon tea was a daily occurrence as the sandwiches and deserts were delicious and the service top notch. I ordered coffee and expresso instead with a splash of Cuban rum I brought back from the Tropicana show. I would cruise Viking again the beds and suite amenities were great . No nickel and diming with photos and extras or artwork etc. The excursions were good especially the Havana one. Cuba is still a 3rd world country going there was like going into a B&W movie and returning to Miami was like returning to a Digital Film ! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We are currently on the cultural Cuba cruise, and I would not advise anyone to take any cruise to Cuba unless you can be in Havana for 3 days. The Cienfuegos and Santiago ports are very lame. Havana was fantastic but the drive is over 6 ... Read More
We are currently on the cultural Cuba cruise, and I would not advise anyone to take any cruise to Cuba unless you can be in Havana for 3 days. The Cienfuegos and Santiago ports are very lame. Havana was fantastic but the drive is over 6 hours on very poor roads. We will try to plan another trip to Havana only in the future. The ship is beautiful, but seems to shake more in the ocean than other cruise ships we have been on. We had a junior suite that was very roomy with great bathrooms. The beds are very hard, but they gave us a topper to make it more comfortable. The internet was very slow and movies kept freezing up at night when more users were on. The premium wine selection was not good but the drink package was worth it for great mixed drinks. A big miss was not showing the college football National Championship game and it could not be watched anywhere on the ship. The food in the 2 specialty restaurants was excellent and the pool side grill had a great hamburger and tuna burger. The other restaurants were just ok. Room service seemed to run behind schedule most days for breakfast, so order at least 30 minutes early. The fitness center is small and we would have liked to see more weight machines but it seemed to work for us. On the plus side, Janice our cabin steward was excellent and we had fantastic bartenders in I Made and Eddie. The spa staff that did the pedicures were fantastic. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose it for Cuba and liked the overall itinerary. We were very pleased with Viking. The rooms were nice and all of staff were great. The food was very good. We liked the high end drinks you could get with the beverage package. We ... Read More
We chose it for Cuba and liked the overall itinerary. We were very pleased with Viking. The rooms were nice and all of staff were great. The food was very good. We liked the high end drinks you could get with the beverage package. We were pleasantly surprised as we'd never done a cruise that was not all-inclusive. The down side is there is no entertainment at night like other ships have, except for the small band. We did enjoy the one night on the pool deck when the band played. We met some great people. On our excursion to Havana, we loved our tour guide. What we didn't like what coming back in the dark on the road we were sharing with horse-drawn carts. That was not clear in information ahead of time or we probably wouldn't have gone. We did not take any other excursions and talking to other people, sounded like we made the right choice. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I never saw the notice for the Meet and Mingle in the daily happenings in the ship's program although I did see the signs for the get together, but did not know when it was happening. Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba were most ... Read More
I never saw the notice for the Meet and Mingle in the daily happenings in the ship's program although I did see the signs for the get together, but did not know when it was happening. Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba were most interesting and more vintage cars than I expected, The ship was perfect, as were the staff and food. Manfredi’s and The Chef's Table were such a treat, as were the many buffets. We met so many nice people on this cruise, everyone with such different backgrounds and perspectives. The onboard lectures were fantastic as were our guides on the excursions. The infinity pool was nice as was the regular pool, and the Aquivit Terrace was so nice and casual. I enjoyed being in my swim suit/robe and eating on the terrace. What a treat! Anastasia is a gifted piano player, and we enjoyed listening to her in the evenings. The launderette on our floor was nice to have. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Viking Star Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.8
Dining 5.0 4.7
Entertainment 3.0 4.1
Public Rooms 5.0 4.8
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.3
Family 1.0 4.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 4.2
Enrichment 4.0 4.3
Service 5.0 4.8
Value For Money 5.0 4.4

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