1 Helpful Vote
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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 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
I was in Havana in 1952, and I wanted to compare that Havana with the Havana of today. Returning to the "first world" of the ship was a welcome change after a day spent in "thirld world" Cuba. We had traveled throughout ... Read More
I was in Havana in 1952, and I wanted to compare that Havana with the Havana of today. Returning to the "first world" of the ship was a welcome change after a day spent in "thirld world" Cuba. We had traveled throughout the Soviet Union in the mid-1980's, and our Cuba experience resembled that. In contrast- Cuba was clean and the people were very friendly. The Cienfuegos city tour was adequate, and we did have time to shop... but there is very little to buy other than rum and cigars. Our city tour guide was very informative about most peoples' way of life. We had the same guide on our tour of the Botanical Garden and Laguna Guanaroca. We thought this tour to be a waste of time and money. We had expected to see birds and flowers on the Botanical Gardens tour, but the local tour guide rushed us through so fast that we saw very little. Tour buses from the ship were arriving there too close together, and he had to rush us through so he could get to his next tour group. The one-day trip to Havana was just what we had expected. The tour literature had advised that it was a 3½ hour trip each way; so we were prepared for that. The mid-way rest stops were just what we had expected, from having traveled in third world countries. Viking had pre-paid the tips to the restroom attendants. We had adequate time for a walking tour around the restored part of Old Havana. I stood on a street corner and took photos of each old American car that passed by... and there were many of them! Our tour bus took us east along the Malecón to a state-run restaurant, El Aljibe, along Embassy row. The roast chicken breast was tasty, but I fed my entire meal to six hungry feral cats begging at our table. The restaurant is open-air, and the cats appeared well-fed, going from table to table, begging. The local musicians were very good. After eating lunch, a caravan of old 1950's convertibles picked up our group. My wife and I and two ladies rode in a restored 1954 Chevy Bel-Air convertible. As we returned to the downtown area our young driver decided to show us more of Havana, and we circled around el Capitolio, and newer office buildings. Back on our tour bus, we stopped at a store selling all sorts of souvenirs. Leaving Havana we went to the eastern suburb of Cojimar where we walked along the waterfront, saw a memorial to Hemingway, and had a rum drink at a local bar that he used to frequent. Here a local music group broke into a cha-cha-cha song, inviting our group to join in the dance. My wife got to play a gourd instrument, and we had a really lively time. We got back aboard the Viking Star just before the evening dinner time ended... and my dinner there took the place of the Havana lunch that I fed to the cats. Our sailing into the harbor at Santiago de Cuba was uneventful. We took the city tour which went first to the Shrine of the Virgin of Charity at the nearby village of El Cobre. There were too many tour buses there. The crowds made it almost impossible to see inside the Sanctuary. Our city tour guide was quite informative, talking mainly about Fidel Castro and his life in and around the city. We thought it interesting that this city still reveres Fidel and his revolution. After departing the harbor at Santiago de Cuba we cruised east along the southeast coast of Cuba. Shortly after sunset we sailed by the harbor at Guantanamo Bay. We knew where we were, but almost no one else on our ship had any idea that we were sailing by GITMO, and there was no notice from the ship about our location. While we couldn't see the military community inside the Bay, we easily spotted the detention camp which faces the ocean. We had a memorable dinner on the aft deck at the Aquavit Terrace, with GITMO's lights disappearing in the distance. Both our pickup and drop-off at Miami airport were timely and went without a hitch. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We choose the Viking Star knowing that they would provide a quality cruise. The Cultural Cuba Itinerary would give us more time to explore several cities of Cuba and not just the one port of Havana. We were so impressed with the ... Read More
We choose the Viking Star knowing that they would provide a quality cruise. The Cultural Cuba Itinerary would give us more time to explore several cities of Cuba and not just the one port of Havana. We were so impressed with the friendliest of the staff, the design of the ship and the quality of the food. We were always greeted with a smile and a hello from every staff member each day. The ship invites one to relax. The decor is calming and peaceful yet elegant. The food in all the dining rooms was excellent. One of our favorite dinners was at Manfredini's. People we met were all friendly and eager to meet fellow cruisers. We never felt crowded on the ship, and never had to wait in any lines for dining. The only waits were for the tenders which were well organized and moved quickly. We took all our excursions through Viking and found them to be very good. The excursions provide People to People opportunities. We just wish the buses were for smaller group sizes. Trinidad was very interesting, and European like, with the old cobblestone streets. The privately owned restaurant they took us to was very good with a variety of menu choices for us that evening. It was great that we got to tour the city during the afternoon and the evening. We choose the day trip to Havana knowing this was a 3 hour drive, that we would also have the opportunity to see more of the Cuban way of life outside of the cities and away from the port. We also took the included excursions of Santiago and Cienfuegos. Both included some walking. Cuba has beautiful architecture, landscape and history and the Viking Speakers are onboard to Educate. We appreciated that there were no added charges for use of the spa facilities, which provided that extra level of relaxation. How pleasant to not have announcements all day being broadcast or photographers onboard. The singers and dancers were entertaining and the television choices were good. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Love cruising with Viking so wanted to take this cruise with them. This was our 4th ocean cruise with them. The ships are spotless. The crew is friendly and polite. You can rely on them. The rooms are larger. Bathroom larger. Every ... Read More
Love cruising with Viking so wanted to take this cruise with them. This was our 4th ocean cruise with them. The ships are spotless. The crew is friendly and polite. You can rely on them. The rooms are larger. Bathroom larger. Every room has a lanai. Loved our cabin boy. Anything we needed, he got for us. The food was excellent. All freshly cooked. No preservatives. The lectures were very good but I would have liked more entertainment. Playing Trivia was not my cup of tea. A 22 day cruise needed more to do. The shore excursions were well organized. Our guides were knowledgeable and spoke good English. Not like some places. The poor countries were a little depressing but we knew that would be. We were lucky to have sunny weather. The fact that it was Central America, it was extremely hot and humid. We wanted to visit Cuba and travel through the Panama Canal. Each country was so interesting. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I’m currently on a 21 day Cuba, Panama and the Pacific Cruise on the Viking Star. This is our 5th cruise, we have been on Celebrity Infinity and Reflection, Crystal Symphony and a Uniworld river cruise. The Viking Star is nice but lacks ... Read More
I’m currently on a 21 day Cuba, Panama and the Pacific Cruise on the Viking Star. This is our 5th cruise, we have been on Celebrity Infinity and Reflection, Crystal Symphony and a Uniworld river cruise. The Viking Star is nice but lacks some of the luxury touches found on other ships in this rather expensive price range. Perhaps I prefer a different design aesthetic. We are in a Penthouse Veranda, which we paid to upgrade to in order to have enough storage space. Thanks to previous CC reviewers I was warned of the limited drawer space in the regular veranda cabins. We opted not to purchase the Silver Spirits package and feel that it was a smart financial move. Most of the included wines have been fine, on days when we don’t care for the offerings we purchase a bottle and have come out ahead. The wine list to purchase from is fairly limited, so if you are very particular I suggest bringing your own wines. Cocktail prices are very fair at $5-8. Finally, by not having the package I don’t feel motivated to drink my moneys worth! Dining on the ship has been mixed, I’ve been surprised that some of my best meals have been in the World Cafe. The menus have been very good with a nice variety to choose from. I can control my portions and not waste food. The Restaurant has had some serious fails with slow delivery, mixed up orders, cold soups, sauces and gravies. We’ve dined in Manfredi’s twice and the food is good, but portions are huge. I learned to ask for half portions. Feeling a bit under the weather today, I ordered room service. I was hoping for a nice hot cup of soup, unfortunately it was barely lukewarm. On a positive note, the waitstaff are the friendliest and most professional I’ve ever encountered on a cruise. We have not dined at Chefs Table yet so I cannot comment on that. Regarding the excursions, We have only done the included excursions so far and most have been disappointing, somewhat unorganized, very limited as to what you see and two ran quite late. I would suggest if time permits that you plan your own excursions. Many offered by Viking were overpriced compared to arranging our own. I understand the risks involved in doing so. Finally, big kudos to our stateroom attendants Sam and Borche. They are the sweetest gentlemen and have kept everything in immaculate condition. We are still undecided if we would cruise with Viking again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Just coming off a 22 day cruise sailing Miami to Los Angeles. First time cruiser on Viking but not my last. Hubby and I are seasoned travelers and cruisers and believe we have found the cruise company for us. Smaller (900+ passengers), ... Read More
Just coming off a 22 day cruise sailing Miami to Los Angeles. First time cruiser on Viking but not my last. Hubby and I are seasoned travelers and cruisers and believe we have found the cruise company for us. Smaller (900+ passengers), sophisticated but not stuffy, great food, cabins are spacious and comfortable, super clean, enjoyable entertainment, included shore excursions and so much more. Ultimately though my love of this cruise was because of their staff. From the top down, ALL are committed to making this the best cruise you have ever been on. During the 3 week cruise we always met staff asking how we were doing, did we need anything, were we enjoying our cruise and what could they do for us. It appears the crew are treated well and love their jobs. The smiles are amazing. On board surveys were acknowledged with a phone call and a promise to review something, make a change or take immediately correction. The general manager and all department heads were available and approachable. We thoroughly enjoyed our meals in The Restaurant, Manfredi’s, Chef’s Table, Mamsens and the World Cafe. Room service was always available. Complimentary beer and wine at both lunch and dinner was a nice perk. Complimentary adult beverages at sail away’s, parties, receptions, etc. The food was plentiful, varied and beautifully presented. Loved Mamsens yummy light snacks with their Norwegian influence. Manfredi’s had an Italian styled menu and was always fantastic. Please note that there are no up charges for the specialty restaurants either! Our penthouse veranda cabin was spacious and very well organized. The bathroom and shower were roomy. Plenty of electric plugs and charging ports for your electronic devices. Tired of paying for wifi on other cruises? Well Viking’s wifi is FREE and generally worked very well ( even in the Pacific Ocean). Entertainment was appropriate for the passengers sailing with a classic and contemporary mix. The very talented Cruise and Assistant Cruise Director were fully engaged with the passengers. The ship’s band and small troup of singers were very good. Some special performers ( magician, violinist, local culture group,etc.) were also good. There were enrichment programs with guest speakers as well. Each port had a complimentary excursion provided plus other interesting choices. A lovely spa was also available plus 2 small ( but adequate) swimming pools. Quality and value through and through. No nickle and diming you as the passenger. I loved this cruise and have already booked another Viking adventure. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We wanted to experience The Viking Ocean experience. We were extremely impressed with all aspects of the Viking ocean experience. From the easy embarkation process, to our explorer suite being ready as soon as we boarded, and the very ... Read More
We wanted to experience The Viking Ocean experience. We were extremely impressed with all aspects of the Viking ocean experience. From the easy embarkation process, to our explorer suite being ready as soon as we boarded, and the very helpful suite stewards. The steward gave us a tour of the suite and explained all the specific details of the suite as well as what was included in our package. The Explorer Suite was well laid out and the wrap around verandah was to die for. We were also very impressed with the quality and taste of all the meals we had on board. Although we indulged a lot it felt like we were eating healthy. We were not too impressed with the destination. We were anchored in both the ports and the water was definitely not Caribbean blue. More muddy than blue. That was disappointing. However, being on the super luxurious cruise ship was well worth the trip. We will certainly go on another Viking Ocean cruise and hope they expand their destinations out of Florida into the Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
I have done 2 Viking River Cruises so I wanted to see what the ocean cruise with Viking would be like. I was not disappointed and my only negative comment would be the overnight shore excursion was rather expensive ($799 each) and we were ... Read More
I have done 2 Viking River Cruises so I wanted to see what the ocean cruise with Viking would be like. I was not disappointed and my only negative comment would be the overnight shore excursion was rather expensive ($799 each) and we were not advised of this cost until shortly before our sailing date. Also they didn’t allow for the fact that there was a Marathon run that day so we were delayed waiting in the hotel lobby for over an hour. Everything else was above average though. The cabin was adequate and the bathroom was the best on any ship I’ve been on. Crew were great and with my garlic allergy the dining staff went above expectations to take excellent care of my needs and even provided me with garlic free dinner in Manfredi’s. Overall I would recommend Viking and would love to cruise again with them. Being a smaller ship there wasn’t the usual night club type shows but the did have local talent come on board as well as informative lectures. The included shore excursions were well done with great guides and lots of local information. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
Our friends invited us on this cruise because they had taken other Viking cruises and were happy with them. The food was very tasty and fresh. We enjoyed the various talks every day. At night the entertainment was 1st class. We ... Read More
Our friends invited us on this cruise because they had taken other Viking cruises and were happy with them. The food was very tasty and fresh. We enjoyed the various talks every day. At night the entertainment was 1st class. We play Trivia every week so we enjoyed that. We met lots of interesting people who had taken lots of Viking cruises. We enjoyed the infinity pool and hot tub. I would like to take another Viking cruise. Cuba turned out to be an interesting destination. We had not considered visiting earlier to a large extent because of the apparent discouragement of travel there by the US government. We found the people there to be mostly apolitical and living as they had to. There was certainly no feeling at all of anything but friendliness among those we met or all the others we simply met or saw on the streets. I certainly think US sanctions do much harm and essentially no good. Hopefully our relations with the Cuban people will continue the improvement that has finally begun to take place during the last few years. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
First Viking Cruise, my wife and I enjoyed it immensely. Good staff, very engaged and aware of customer needs. Lots of attention to detail like constantly refreshing buffet offerings in World Cafe. The "all in" policy on tips, ... Read More
First Viking Cruise, my wife and I enjoyed it immensely. Good staff, very engaged and aware of customer needs. Lots of attention to detail like constantly refreshing buffet offerings in World Cafe. The "all in" policy on tips, free mini-bar etc was nice. The Port Talks were excellent, and gave a good idea of what to expect. The talk and slides on the antique cars was great. How do the Cubans maintain 60 year old cars, and get simple things like oil filters. All answered. Talks on politics, on the cities to be visited, etc. Room 6031 was clean, and perfectly fine for a short cruise. The lack of drawer storage was notable,so we threw the hair dryer, shoe shine pack, etc into the closet to create more space. Dining was fine. We had dinner in Manfredi's, and at the Chef's Table, as well as in the World Cafe. The wine selection was OK, the (free) base wines ranged from good down to swill. Beer was fine with a good range of European choices. Several special nights with pig roasts out on the aft deck, seafood spectacular, etc. All were done well. Full breakfasts were available, with alcohol for those who wanted it. The excursions are a work in progress. Cuba doesn't have a lot of experience in tourism, and more remote places like Cienfuegos and Santiago are behind the curve. That's to be expected. On four excursions, we had two superb guides, one OK, and one awful. I'm not sure how much control Viking has over the tour operators (I only saw one provider in both places). In one case, we were expected to walk through knee high grass, down a washed out culvert to see a lake. And back up via another route. Older people had trouble other , people were concerned about ticks in the grass. Another guide engaged us in a forced march, so we could spend a whole half hour in yet another a rum / cigar shop. The third in four excursions. Several people had trouble with the pace. There was a lot of overlap, as we received the Cienfuegos city park talk twice, from two different guides. It was interesting what they chose to emphasize. Some guides were great, and the excursions provided a great window into a lovely country. Hard working people, horse drawn carts, street musicians, vivid colors, wonderful sunsets. I had the opportunity to walk by myself through the mercado and beyond after one excursion ended. The guide had received 30 people, and delivered 30 people back to the dock. After that, I walked off on my own. About a two mile walk. Friendly people selling wood carvings, hats, gourds, etc. Didn't feel the least bit threatened. The neighborhoods looked a little more worn than those traversed by the tour buses, but it seemed more real. Street musicians, very lively areas. I speak a little Spanish, and did fine. The US government requires that the trip address certain people to people needs. So, we saw an honors arts school, with young children demonstrating high levels of musical proficiency. And visited the adjacent painting studio where the instructors displayed their work, most in support of the revolution. For sale, too. Other schools visible on our trip did not appear to have the same level of maintenance or exterior paint. But, all kids wear uniforms, and those we met were exceptionally polite. I'd go back to either Cienfuegos or Santiago de Cuba in an instant, and I will. But, I know it will be different, just like it was different five years ago. A government patrol boat sat near our ship in both ports. In Santiago, the ship was required to anchor about 30 minutes outside the main harbor, making a long tender ride Practical notes: I tipped guides, taxi drivers, etc in all of US dollars, Cuban convertible pesos, and Euro. They were grateful for the tips, it's a big part of their income. The government takes a cut off the conversion of all US$ to Cuban currency, so most preferred the Euro We departed Santiago de Cuba in the late afternoon, bound for Miami. A day at sea, and a 6am arrival in Miami. Customs doesn't report for work until 7am, so it was 7.15 before the first people were processed. Everyone was required to be out of their cabins by 8am, and off the ship by 9am. I would have liked a few more hours in Santiago de Cuba, and an hour more sleep in Miami. This is not a child friendly cruise. No kids activities, and most excursions were adult level. Not too much partying, the average age was probably mid-60s. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
My husband and I just returned from the one-week Cultural Cuba cruise aboard the Viking Star. First of all, this is a beautiful ship, stylish and very comfortable and just the right size at about 900 passengers. When we arrived at the ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from the one-week Cultural Cuba cruise aboard the Viking Star. First of all, this is a beautiful ship, stylish and very comfortable and just the right size at about 900 passengers. When we arrived at the Miami airport, the Viking personnel were waiting at the baggage area to take our bags and get us on a bus to the ship. It was very efficient and when we arrived at the port the check-in was also quick and painless. We were able to use our cabin 5051, a deluxe veranda, immediately. The cabin was well laid out and comfortable, the bathroom the 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. We were very tired from an early flight so made an early night of it. The next day was a sea day and there was plenty to do, three lectures on Cuba during the day and entertainment in the evening. There are no "grand" productions but the entertainment was very professional. The highlight of the cruise was the show by Cuba musicians called Legends.Com. these were well-known Cuban musicians who gave a fabulous performance. I wish we could have seen another show! The stay in Cienfuegos was spread over three days so some passengers could go to Havana. We did the included city tour and enjoyed it very much. It is obvious that this was once a wealthy city and the cubans are slowly renovating the many old and beautiful colonial buildings. The guides on our tours were a real highlight of the cruise. They were open about the benefits and shortcomings of the Cuban system, free health care and educations, etc. but not full of propaganda. Really there was not a lot of overt political propaganda in the city. We were more than satisfied with the 3-4 hour tours because the heat and humidity really take it out of you. We were also very happy to return to the comfort of the ship and the tender ride was not a problem. The food on the ship was excellent in both the buffet and dining room. We ate one night 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. Santiago was a very interesting city. While Cienfuegos is a cultural interesting provincial city, Santiago could be a really world-class city with adequate investment. Really, this was an excellent cruise and the Viking Star is a great ship -- no casino, no photographers or staff constantly trying to sell you something. I look forward to another Viking Ocean cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We wanted to try out Viking Ocean cruises after 35+ cruises on other lines. We liked the focus on destination cruising and were attracted by the absence of casinos, child entertainment facilities, amusement park rides, etc. We were ... Read More
We wanted to try out Viking Ocean cruises after 35+ cruises on other lines. We liked the focus on destination cruising and were attracted by the absence of casinos, child entertainment facilities, amusement park rides, etc. We were wowed by the wonderfully roomy stateroom, with abundant storage and closet space. The service by the room stewards and dining room wait staff was above any we have experienced on other ships. The board process was lightning fast, no waiting, no excess paperwork, all smiles and welcome. The World Café was amazing -- most upper deck buffet restaurants on cruise ships are lacking, but Viking Star's service and seating were wonderful. Everything was open, easy to get to the food, high quality food, lots of seating and no feeling of being crowded. The ship's officers closely monitored the Cuban immigration process when we landed in Cienfeugos, expediting however possible. The shore excursions were well run, giving us an excellent exposure to not only Cuban culture, but the values and practices of a socialist society. One tour guide took us into a ration store, demonstating how subsidized food distribution works, and intervied the manager of the store for us. We intend to take more Viking Ocean cruises in the future. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I had taken a Viking river cruise and wanted to experience the ocean cruise. The ship is beautifully decorated, The cleanliness is so evident everywhere. Service and food is outstanding. My usual cruise lines I travel on are all ... Read More
I had taken a Viking river cruise and wanted to experience the ocean cruise. The ship is beautifully decorated, The cleanliness is so evident everywhere. Service and food is outstanding. My usual cruise lines I travel on are all deluxe-Sliver sea-seabourn etc. and I must admit Viking Ocean is right up there and maybe surpassing them. I was in a Penthoust veranda suite 6019, comfortable plenty of draw space and closet.One complain I do have is the difficult maneuvering one has to do to use the TV. If the remote is not aimed just right it wont work. The two or three shows they have were very good. I also think they should go to a truly all inclusive , as the other deluxe lines . On the Cuba itinerary being in Cienfuegos for 3 nights is quite inconvenient for visiting Havana. It is almost a 3 hour drive And you really need to stay overnight in Havana to get to see anything, and that is not really enough. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
Excellent cruise. Good value for money. Great way to see Cuba and get a feel for the culture. Excellent food and service. We loved the excursion to Havana and especially the ride thru the city in the old 1950's era cars. That was the ... Read More
Excellent cruise. Good value for money. Great way to see Cuba and get a feel for the culture. Excellent food and service. We loved the excursion to Havana and especially the ride thru the city in the old 1950's era cars. That was the highlight of the trip for me. The staterooms were spacious with plenty of room for all our clothes. The entertainment was extremely good as well. Our only disappointment was with the amount and timing of the dancing available to us. Would have liked more Latin/ Cuban music. Hopefully in the near future the cruise line will have a Havana terminal in order to avoid the 3 hour bus ride from Cienfuegos. The hotel in Havana was 4 star and had an excellent breakfast. The onboarding lectures were extremely interesting, especially the lecture on Havana cars and also the Cuban Missile Crisis. Expect to gains some weight with all the great food. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We hadn't been to those particular Caribbean islands on previous trips so wanted a brief time to explore. One day in each port gave us an idea which island(s) we might wish to return to for a longer stay. The sunny skies (most days) ... Read More
We hadn't been to those particular Caribbean islands on previous trips so wanted a brief time to explore. One day in each port gave us an idea which island(s) we might wish to return to for a longer stay. The sunny skies (most days) and warm seas made the trip extra enjoyable. The cruise staff gave excellent service. Our cabin was kept spotless. The singing entertainment group chose music that was upbeat, harmonic, and varied. We enjoyed the casualness of dining. Sometimes we chose to sit by ourselves and other time chose to sit with a small group. Whichever it was, we met delightful traveling companions. We think that fellow travelers are more friendly on Viking ships. The port excursion we enjoyed the most as a couple was the St. Thomas "Kayak, Hike, & Snorkel of Cas Cay". The guides took very good care of everyone, no matter the kayaking ability level. On St. Martin, I took a French cooking class that was just like being in a class in Paris. We prepared the dishes with the chef's guidance and then ate our gourmet creations. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
From the moment we stepped in to the embarkation lounge in Miami we could tell this cruise was different from others we'd taken with other companies. First of all, there were no lines!! We breezed right through. And no Welcome Aboard ... Read More
From the moment we stepped in to the embarkation lounge in Miami we could tell this cruise was different from others we'd taken with other companies. First of all, there were no lines!! We breezed right through. And no Welcome Aboard photo to purchase later either. Instead we were welcomed aboard with glasses of champagne. Clearly a different kind of cruise line! How wonderful!! The ship is airy and bright and easy to navigate. There is no casino and the shops are small but well stocked. There are lots of spaces to sit and read or play board or card games while watching the world go by outside the ship. And every afternoon and evening there was lovely music being played somewhere- near the pool, at the pool, in the Atrium. Our stateroom was equally bright and airy. And our steward was waiting for us to give us a tour of it so we would know where everything was and how everything operates. How thoughtful! He knew us by sight by the end of the first day. There are plenty of dining options aboard and we managed to dine in all the venues at least once during the week. The staff was, without exception, friendly, attentive and professional. The choices in the Main Dining Room and the World Cafe are largely the same but in the Cafe, you choose how many things you want to try and how much of each you want. When we went to the Main Dining Room the first night right after the lifeboat drill, there was a line. Not to worry, here came a waiter with more champagne to keep us all amused! And the line moved very quickly. Dinner at Manfredi's was an immersion into Italy. Delicious!! The Chef's Table is a dining event - with five courses paired with different wines all explained by the staff. Experiential dining at its best. The two full days at sea allowed us to explore the ship, swim and hang out at the pool, play games, go to tea in the Wintergarden (the scones are fabulous!), try out all the exercise options and go to the lectures. The lectures are another thing that set Viking apart from other cruise lines. We actually came home a lot better informed about Cuba, Cuban history and the history of US Cuban relations than we were when we left. It's a good feeling! The port excursions were extraordinary as well. Other than the first day and the last day, the process of clearing Customs and Immigration each day was quick and seamless. The first day, the additional paperwork and the lines to exchange money caused the process to take longer. And the last day, all of the trips arrived back at the terminal at the same time causing a delay. That wasn't the plan but it is what happened. We went to Trinidad de Cuba, a day in Havana, a walking tour of Cienfuegos and the trip to the coffee plantation near Santiago de Cuba. All allowed us to glimpse different bits of Cuban history, Cuba today and the people who live there. Only at one stop were we surrounded by local people selling souvenirs and trinkets. The tour company is owned by the government. The buses were all brand new air conditioned coach buses with a bathroom if necessary- very comfortable. The tour guides were all knowledgeable and spoke good to excellent English. It was clear that there were times when they could be frank and other times when they were less forthcoming. That in itself was a lesson. None of these trips were overly strenuous. The trip to the coffee plantation was the most walking over uneven ground that we did. There were water bottles provided as we left the ship each day and more on the buses so we were able to stay well hydrated in the heat. The meals that we ate on the tours off the boat (Trinidad and Havana) were good and gave us additional insights into Cuban culture and cuisine. Each tour seemed to include a cocktail somewhere that seemed a bit superfluous. But it was fun. And then we got another full day and half sea to process what we'd seen and heard, and to enjoy the activities and the ambiance that is Viking. Ahhh! But alas, all good things come to an end. Even though we wanted to linger, disembarkation went just as smoothly as embarkation. We breezed through Customs and Immigration and almost before we knew it we were back on the bus headed to the airport. I have recommended this trip and Viking to everyone who will listen to me since we got home. And we're already pouring over the catalogs to plan our next voyage. Viva Viking!!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
The titles tells it all - This Is Not Your Typical Review Spoiler Alert: I was born in Cienfuegos 67 years ago, left in 1961 and had not returned in 57 years.But my memories are still fresh. The three day stopover was just long ... Read More
The titles tells it all - This Is Not Your Typical Review Spoiler Alert: I was born in Cienfuegos 67 years ago, left in 1961 and had not returned in 57 years.But my memories are still fresh. The three day stopover was just long enough to see what has changed in 57 years. Answer: Nothing! Think...What if nothing had changed where you live in the last 57 years. How sad. What price to be paid for supposedly "free" healthcare (no such thing - bring your own toilet paper, sheets, food, medicines, etc. to the hospital)? The real price: Your liberty. It was also sad to see many of my fellow passengers fawning over the old cars, decrepit buildings and the absence of any aspects of modern life. They thought these things were "quaint". Many also bemoaning "The Embargo" they know little about: "The Embargo" does not prevent Cuba from buying anything it wants in world markets - even food and medicines from the US can be had. But the problem is that Cuba does not make a thing of significant value that anybody wants to buy - rum and cigars do not a modern economy make. As to the cruise and itinerary. Overall, as always, 5 stars to Viking! Ship: Been on the Star 2 times and both have been superb experiences. This was the original ship (2014) of the Viking ocean fleet. It set the standard for all to follow to this day. Perfect size for this cruise. Cabin: Ample and sleek: Scandinavian functionality combined with style. And superb attention by the staff. Dining: Viking is the only cruise line where going to the main dinning room is as good or better than the specialty restaurants. Variety, extensive, high quality and attentive service. The specialty restaurants: Italian and a Chef's table (ever-changing menu) are fantastic. And don't forget the World Cafe - the best buffet presentation I have experienced in a luxury liner. And custom order anything. Yes, they'll accomodate just about any requests No kidding. Services: All your needs are covered, and more. Excursions: Extensive selection to the right places. Have fun deciding which to take. Hard choices. So don't read this review the wrong way. If you really want to see what Cuba is all about - this is the cruise for you. Just remove the rose colored glasses and take a hard look. You'll be glad you get to return to the Viking Star every day and enjoy the very best the world has to offer (on-board). And don't forget: You're free. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We enjoyed a previous Viking Ocean cruise and wanted to see Cuba. The major drawback was that the ship did not dock in Havana. There was a 12 hour, rather expensive, excursion into Havana. We enjoyed that excursion but thought that it ... Read More
We enjoyed a previous Viking Ocean cruise and wanted to see Cuba. The major drawback was that the ship did not dock in Havana. There was a 12 hour, rather expensive, excursion into Havana. We enjoyed that excursion but thought that it should have been an 'included' excursion since most people visiting Cuba want to see Havana. Both ports required 'tendering' so this cruise isn't for the 'disabled'. We usually cruise with Crystal cruises so our evaluations may be biased. Viking Ocean uses the river boat model....basic entertainment, etc., assuming that you will be in port most days anyhow. Our cabin was noisier than on our previous cruise (newer ship), but I understand that that will be corrected when the SKY is refitted in 2020. The dining is very good in all of the restaurants and reservations were not difficult to obtain. The wine selection is limited...a white and a red each day. On our previous cruise with Viking, they would serve one of the wines from another day if you found one that you particularly liked. The staff on this cruise weren't willing to do that. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise to spend time with group of friends and experience Cuba. Our group of 10 were accommodated at all restaurants with group seating ( twice with private dining rooms!) I was pleased to see a wide variety of gluten free ... Read More
We chose this cruise to spend time with group of friends and experience Cuba. Our group of 10 were accommodated at all restaurants with group seating ( twice with private dining rooms!) I was pleased to see a wide variety of gluten free foods available! The service level matched that of Silver Sea...perhaps even better in several venues. Aaron Syfert was one of the best cruise directors we have experienced.....all activities and excursions were executed well! The highlight of the trip was the overnight Havana excursion....at first I was reluctant but don't regret! We enjoyed several unique features of this ship.....thermal spa, infinity pool, and putting green. Since we partied quite a bit, I was glad we spent the extra money of the drink package. I'm not sure if it was planning or luck but the flight travel arrangements, transfers, etc. were seamless! I will certainly include Viking in my searches for our next cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We were very interested in seeing Cuba, now that we finally had a way to get there. We were somewhat disappointed, however, in the destinations. Since Viking does not dock in Havana, we were at the port of Cienfuegos for 2.5 days. We ... Read More
We were very interested in seeing Cuba, now that we finally had a way to get there. We were somewhat disappointed, however, in the destinations. Since Viking does not dock in Havana, we were at the port of Cienfuegos for 2.5 days. We did arrange a private tour for our group of six to Havana, so we were able to see Havana, but it was a 3 hour drive from Cienfuegos. The excursions (except for our private Havana tour) were all provided by the official government-owned tourist company, and were clearly influenced by the government. Quality of excursions seemed to vary depending on which group you were in. We did the Streets of Trinidad tour, but it was the first day onshore and the line for currency exchange was long and slow. My group was last to leave for the tour. They took us to a small town far past Trinidad where we spent a little time, and by the time we got back to Trinidad, we hardly had any time left, and it was a lovely town where I would have really liked to spend more time. This was similar on the "walking tour" of Cienfuegos, which turned out to be much more of a bus tour. Since a tour of the cigar factory was included, again my group was among the last to get in; by the time we got back to downtown Cienfuegos we had hardly any time left and did no walking tour at all. The ship itself, however, was very nice. We were happy with the food, the ship itself and everything onboard. I would do an ocean cruise with Viking again, but wish our experience with the Cuba excursions had been better. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
Selected this cruise because I had done a river cruise. The price was right. The greeters at the airport were right there and saw to everyone's needs. When we arrived at embarkation, boarding the ship was a breeze. We found our ... Read More
Selected this cruise because I had done a river cruise. The price was right. The greeters at the airport were right there and saw to everyone's needs. When we arrived at embarkation, boarding the ship was a breeze. We found our cabin with no difficulty and the accommodations were excellent for two people. Our room steward, the restaurant staff, excursion desk were all outstanding. The enrichment lectures were informative and well presented and attended. It was enjoyable in the evening to have music in the public areas. We enjoyed the game tables - with no casino. That certainly was an added plus to this trip. We had wonderful shore excursions with local guides who went above and beyond other guides I've had when traveling others companies. There isn't a negative thing I could share about this cruise. I've told friends thinking of traveling to Cuba - "This is the one for you!" If you are thinking about a trip to Cuba, "This is the one for you, too." 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
Travelled in a group of 12 and we all were exceptionally pleased! Group included first time cruisers and seasoned cruisers. Exemplary food, service and off-shore tours! Staff is superb in their professionalism and service,always with a ... Read More
Travelled in a group of 12 and we all were exceptionally pleased! Group included first time cruisers and seasoned cruisers. Exemplary food, service and off-shore tours! Staff is superb in their professionalism and service,always with a friendly smile! Staff Attention to detail is amazing! Staff can remember you name, cabin and details about your preferences. Off shore excursions are excellent. We did upgrade some of our tours and they were with the extra expense. The pre-destination informative sessions were very helpful before each port. We have been on many cruises and Viking’s food exceeded expectations. Wine parring was fabulous. If we ate off ship food schedule, sometimes it was difficult to find a food option when returning to the ship after a tour. Down side is the main entertainment. Same performers with different themes every nite led us to retire to our rooms too early. Ship was always very clean no matter what time of day and in all weather conditions. When crew had to scramble to change a port due to bad weather, the result was very organized and a positive experience. Already have another cruise scheduled! Read Less
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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