1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
This was our second ocean cruise on Viking Sea and we wanted to see more of Norway as well as Shetland and Orkney. We flew into Bergen and were met at the airport as usual by Viking representatives and once at the port, soon had our ... Read More
This was our second ocean cruise on Viking Sea and we wanted to see more of Norway as well as Shetland and Orkney. We flew into Bergen and were met at the airport as usual by Viking representatives and once at the port, soon had our identity cards processed. We book the basic stateroom which has everything you need including a fantastic shower, a balcony, an extremely comfortable bed and free wifi (no tea and coffee in your room though). The ship is very clean and the crew are really lovely. They greet you all the time and seem genuinely happy to work for Viking. We enjoy Viking as they never try to sell you anything, you are just left to enjoy your cruise. There is so much room on board, lots of quiet places, always an included tour, free tea and coffee all the time as well as cakes and biscuits. Dinner and lunch come with free wine and beer and they are very generous with this. There is not much in the way of organised entertainment other than lectures, and some low key shows, but this suits us. On this occasion, I had booked all our tours after lunch. This worked well as we did not need to rush getting up, and had time to go into town on our own and just look round before returning for lunch and an afternoon tour. The scenery, particularly with the midnight sun, was stunning throughout Norway. We went through the Arctic Circle and stopped at Honningsvag before sailing south to Shetland. Shetland was more than we expected and again, wonderful scenery. However, we were VERY blessed with the weather and calm seas all through (apart from drizzle in Edinburgh) and missed the exceptionally hot weather in England. We always enjoy our food on board and tend to use the World Café self-service for breakfast and lunch, and the Restaurant for evening dinner. There is no need to dress up at any time - smart casual is the order of the day. The Restaurant does not accept shorts or jeans - men tend to wear short sleeved shirts and trousers - rarely a jacket. You will be allocated a table each time you go and can chose to sit on your own or with company. Viking sells mostly to the USA - probably about 80%, with others mostly coming from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Everyone is very friendly on board and we find that the Americans are all very well travelled and interested in World events. We had lots of conversations about Trump, Brexit and Boris! Viking do not take children and the age range is mostly retired and upwards although there did seem to be more of a younger element this time. People say to me that Viking is expensive, but really, we find that we don't spend any money on holiday other than some additional bar bills. They constantly hand out cold water bottles, are generous with beer and wine at meals, wifi is free, the gym is free, they often greet you with hot towels when returning from an excursion, the tours are very well organised and you almost never queue for anything. We are already booked with Viking for Alaska next year. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Summary: This is a great ship for an old person who likes wine and doesn't care about entertainment. If this isn't you, it's not much fun. Also, by the time you add up the cost of airfare, all the excursions and ... Read More
Summary: This is a great ship for an old person who likes wine and doesn't care about entertainment. If this isn't you, it's not much fun. Also, by the time you add up the cost of airfare, all the excursions and gratuities, you aren't much below the cost of a luxury cruise line like Regent. IMO this ship is not a good value. Even though my wife and I did enjoy the cruise, that was because of our experiences off the ship, not because of the ship itself. Pros: 1) Ship is generally comfortable, roomy, luxurious and well-maintained - but the bathroom suffers from very poor design (see Con #4). 2) Food in all venues is outstanding. The ingredients were top-notch and the kitchen staff makes a strong effort to keep the food interesting. If wine is important to you, this may be your ship. 3) Shore excursions were pricey but excellent. Cons: 1) The average age on the ship surely must surely approach 75. At 61, I still enjoy rock and roll and laughing and being energetic. There is simply no LIFE on this ship. 2) Contributing greatly to (1) is the pervasive music aboard: You get violinists, cellists and pianists who play slow, sad, depressing music all the time. The background music could be the soundtrack for a funeral. OMG! 3) Don't expect relief in the nightly shows. All but one were done by Viking's own crew. They're talented enough, but ALL the shows were 100% singing and dancing, even the ONE show in two weeks that involved outside talent. Viking didn't bring in ANY comedians, jugglers, acrobats, or magicians. They didn't even do any game shows. This was an expensive cruise and frankly this was just crappy of Viking. 4) The shower in our cabin simply could not be adjusted to a comfortable temperature even after seeking help. There is no warm or cool. There is only "hot" or "cold." You can choose "cold" by turning the knob all the way to cold or you can choose "hot" by moving the temperature selector 1 millimeter away from "cold." Moving the selector halfway to hot would scald you. Compounding the problem is the fact that the bathroom has no ventilation fan so all that steam stays in the bathroom. Moreover, the heated floor which would normally be great becomes a problem as there is no switch to turn it off, making the bathroom hotter yet. And YES, I asked for assistance with these issues but these are engineering problems beyond the ability of the crew to make any difference. 5) Viking's web site is very poor. All excursions are selected at a specific time on ONE day, first-come, first-served. If you aren't available online at that date and time, you lose. We were flying on another trip on that date and time but thankfully our travel agent logged in for us (on Sunday!) and got most of what we wanted. That's a really poor method of selection. Furthermore, you can't even see your cruise cost or payments on the web site. Why? Who knows! Save the e-mails they send you! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We had taken a Viking River cruise and loved. I wasn't sure what to expect on there smaller ocean ships. It was and incredible surprise. They offers so much entertainment and the staff was prefect, after several days you were on a ... Read More
We had taken a Viking River cruise and loved. I wasn't sure what to expect on there smaller ocean ships. It was and incredible surprise. They offers so much entertainment and the staff was prefect, after several days you were on a first name basis, every staff member spoke English which was very nice, you wanted for absolutely nothing. Port excursions were excellent and well organized. Being 67 I appreciated this is not a cruise line for children nor is it a cruse line for gamblers who spend there day in a casino. Minus kids and gamblers made for a great atmosphere of fun and conversation. On a late arrival back to the ship after and all day trip to Berlin were were greeted by 200 of the ships crew in line out side the ship with a welcome back, music, champagne and horderves. Upon arriving at our cabin we found a plate of finger sandwiches, deserts and a bottle of win which a letter from the captain apologizing for the German train system delay, they did this for all 600 people who were on that train. Tell me what other cruise line would do that. I will continue to be a loyal Viking customer. Big ships with 5000 of your closest friends are not necessarily better Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We have not been to Scandinavia or the Baltic countries so we really enjoyed the cruise and the ports of call. We ate in the Restaurant most nights where they had a good selection of dishes including a featured destination selection. We ... Read More
We have not been to Scandinavia or the Baltic countries so we really enjoyed the cruise and the ports of call. We ate in the Restaurant most nights where they had a good selection of dishes including a featured destination selection. We also ate at Manfredi’s two nights and throughly enjoyed the experience. We did not spend a lot of time in our room, but found it to be very comfortable. My wife especially liked the heated floor in the bathroom. We found the staff to be especially competent and it was amazing how quickly they got to know you by name. The common areas were conducive to sitting and talking or playing a game and there was almost always some type of entertainment going on. The included excursions provided a good insight into the ports of call and there was a good selection of optional excursions if you wanted additional experiences. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
We had wanted to visit the Baltics for quite a while and especially wanted to visit Russia. The ports we visited, the service we received on board, the tour guides, everything, on the whole, was all excellent! I recommend this cruise to ... Read More
We had wanted to visit the Baltics for quite a while and especially wanted to visit Russia. The ports we visited, the service we received on board, the tour guides, everything, on the whole, was all excellent! I recommend this cruise to anyone who enjoys visiting new lands and meeting friendly people. Our only disappointment was not being able to visit the Viking Village in Norway because of the limitsd number of people who are allowed to go. The highlight was visiting St. Peterburge. We took the canal cruise and visited two churches. The Church of the Spillex Blood is a work of art! Absolutely amazing! Another highlight was the Vassa Museum in Stockholm ! Well worth the visit. Even though the weather was a bit cool the first couple of days (while our hometown zweltdrec in oppressive heat) it was great for our excursions! When we asked Albert, our Stewart, about getting us some tea at night he accommodated us but making sure we had a pot of hot water and tea ever evening during the cruise. We should often sit out on the de k of our room, enjoy the sites as we sailed by amazing landscapes and enjoyed our hot tea before bedtime. Felicia, our housekeeper, and Albert were absolutely wonderful! They always welcomed us back with a warm smile and greeting when we returned from our excursions. Our Room was kept immaculately clean. Our bed was turned down every night with the tray of hot water, cups and tea ready for us to enjoyed. Thank you Viking for this trip of a lifetime. So many memories! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise as a great way to explore the Baltic region and we certainly achieved that aim....The tours and lectures meant we returned home having seen and learnt so much! From arrival at Stockholm to the departure gate at ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a great way to explore the Baltic region and we certainly achieved that aim....The tours and lectures meant we returned home having seen and learnt so much! From arrival at Stockholm to the departure gate at Bergen we were looked after very thoughtfully. The senior officers were ever present and available to talk to. A small niggle about the buffet was picked up by an attentive Restaurant Manager and dealt with professionally and personally by the Head Chef. The food throughout was excellent,we enjoyed both speciality restaurants and found it easy to make extra bookings once on the ship. Viking Sea is beautifully designed with lots of interesting artwork and understated Scandinavian style. The lectures we either attended or caught up with on the cabin t.v were all relevant and interesting/ thought provoking. There was more entertainment than we expected, we particularly enjoyed the 2 guest shows by Mary Jess and the resident Viking band and singers. The musicians who entertained in many of the public areas were very accomplished. We took several of the included tours, some were better than others but all gave us an introduction to the area which we were able to follow up independently at most destinations, often aided by the complimentary shuttle bus. After reading reviews we opted to use Alla tours in St Petersburg. They were excellent and I have no hesitation in recommending them. We chose not to take a tour in Berlin instead taking the included morning trip to Rostock and then occupying ourselves in Warnemunde (a local seaside town with a long sandy beach and promenade,interesting waterfront and lots of little shops,cafes ) A day well-spent. We were lucky to enjoy good weather throughout which always helps although strong winds in Gdynia meant we were unable to dock that day, an extra day at sea was easily occupied. If you decide to take this cruise I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our first experience with Viking and, though all-in-all a good cruise, we departed feeling like there was room for some improvements. Viking’s reputation and recent ratings speak for themselves, so my wife and I were very ... Read More
This was our first experience with Viking and, though all-in-all a good cruise, we departed feeling like there was room for some improvements. Viking’s reputation and recent ratings speak for themselves, so my wife and I were very much looking forward to this cruise, our sixth. We sailed from Barcelona, Spain on the Viking Sea ocean ship, ending up in beautiful Bergen, Norway. The 15-day itinerary along the west European coast was very attractive to us, both in length and variety of ports to be visited. We expected an above-average experience, which Viking pretty much did deliver, but they fell short in some unexpected areas. Spoiler alert: yes, we will likely sail with them again, despite the lapses that I’ll try to articulate here, along with some well-deserved compliments. The highlights/stars of the cruise were, for us, the ship and the crew. Both were exceptional compared to previous cruise experiences. I need to start somewhere so I guess I’ll go in alphabetical order. And since I usually refer to a ‘ship’ as a ‘boat’ I’ll talk about the Viking Sea first. ;-) Our last cruise had nearly 5000 passengers on it – way, way too many. Without going into details, the crowds, lines, noise were obvious issues. ALL of that was absent on this cruise. The Sea carries up to 930 passengers. There is no casino, no interior cabins, no huge shops, no children, no photographers; everything is scaled-down from the bigger liners, yet we never once felt harried or even particularly delayed, even while getting food at the buffet. The longest line we stood in was at the U.K. stop where everyone had to go thru a formal immigration interview. At first the number of folks queued up seemed exceptionally daunting, but we were whizzed in and out of there in no time. Much appreciated. The interior of the boat was stunning. Built in 2016, it was modern, well-organized and immaculate. The décor spoke to my Scandinavian roots; I’ve always been a fan of that type of furniture coupled with the clean, eye-pleasing space design. One unexpected detail we liked were the leather-wrapped stateroom door handles and hallway safety railings; very plush. The customer service/lounge area on deck one was appropriately called ‘The Living Room’ and instantly evoked sophistication and comfort at the same time. A few decks up, the Wintergarden lounge area amidships was especially attractive. I can’t find the words to describe it – do yourself a favor and Google it real quick. Our favorite area ended up being the Explorer’s Lounge at the bow on deck seven. It had two levels, the lower featuring a bar and LOTS of comfortable seating; the upper level was smaller, a bit more private and very quiet. Both had panoramic, 180 degree views of the outside. Side doors led to an exterior walkway in front which provided, IMO, the best forward-facing views of port arrivals and sail-aways. Every evening at 6 we were treated to either a violin/cello duet or piano music, which further enhanced the pre-dinner, end-of-the-day unwind, accompanied by refreshing libations and the new friends we met. I’m not a spa guy, but as promised to my wife I tried it on the last sea day. I felt it was modest, though classy; that is the space was in keeping with the rest of the décor. It seemed rather small to me, likely due to the boat’s size. That probably also explains why all the chaise lounges were taken. I hung in as long as I could, but on my way out I couldn’t resist checking out the Snow Room, a small rustic chamber with real snow in it. I sat for a few moments and actually felt somewhat refreshed. Never seen one of those before! (Avoiding the extreme temptation to say it was ‘cool’!) Ok, how was the room? We were in a Deluxe Veranda stateroom on deck 5, ALL the way forward on the starboard side, right below the bridge. The size (270 sq. ft.) and layout were serviceable. The bathroom was relatively spacious and featured a heated mirror and floor. The heaters were activated automatically when you inserted your sea pass card to activate the room lights, but they could not be turned off until you left the room (or took your card out). The heated mirror prevented fogging during showers and worked well. I didn't like the warm floor, in general, as it tended to heat up the whole bathroom space. My wife, who is always cold, loved it. For some reason there was only one little 22” towel rod in there, which pretty much forced us to have most of the towels changed out each day. If there’d been one or two more I would’ve gladly re-used those linens. The living area was comfortable, with a nice big flat-screen monitor in front of the bed. A small wet bar tucked in the desk had a nice assortment of snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. There was a bit of extra space to cool off wine bottles and food. The balcony was smallish, but not tiny. If the weather had been less windy I could see the two of us hanging out there more often than we did. The under-hanging search light just outside the railing (part of the bridge structure right above us) was only a minor annoyance. The MAJOR annoyance was the lack of dresser and shelf space. We got only three small drawers and a couple of open shelves in addition to an un-remarkable closet space. This was confounding given the open wall areas where they could have thrown up one or two shelf/drawer units. Some new friends showed us their Penthouse Junior Suite on deck 8 and that one had an actual dresser, in addition to more room. Another issue was the nightlight. Located at floor level near the bathroom, it was BRIGHT. We first tried covering it with some tape we’d brought, but we soon realized that a folded-up towel was required; it was that annoying. Mad, mad props to Viking Sea's crew. On our last cruise this element was a memorable low-point. This time, everyone (literally), no matter if he/she was a deck hand, housekeeping, or bridge officers, always looked us in the eye, smiled and offered a pleasant 'Good morning', ‘Enjoy your day', whatever. This simple gesture is essential, IMO, for an enjoyable cruise experience. The customer service personnel were knowledgeable, the bartenders were personable, and the wait staff were very attentive (with one lone exception, see below). The highlight came after our Bruges, Belgium excursion. As our bus pulled up to the boat, we were greeted to the sight of a huge red carpet and a double line of what appeared to be most of the senior officers and staff. Music was playing, hands were clapping, feet were stomping, and we got the 'welcome back aboard' of a lifetime! Gosh knows how long they had to stand out there; we were one of the last tour groups to return. I asked a waiter about it later and he indicated that they do this at least once a cruise, pretty much at random. How fun. Nice touch Viking! We also enjoyed the many educational lectures they offered, most of them aimed at the ‘middle ages trade routes’ theme of the cruise. Their ‘Port Talk’ presentations gave us useful info on the next port of call and the scheduled excursions. If we missed anything, we could view a recording of it later on their internal media system. I’m not a night owl so I can’t comment on the evening entertainment. Speaking of excursions, everything was very well organized. There were always plenty of personnel around to direct us and answer questions. The tour guides were fun and professional. Accommodations were made for folks using crutches, wheelchairs, etc. The disembarkation process on the final day was very efficient (sort of a one-way, final excursion, right?). No lines, we were whisked thru the terminal where our baggage, porters to carry them and taxi cabs were all waiting. Sadly, I need to move on to the "irks" part of this review, i.e. the food. The buffet was, maybe predictably, repetitive after a while. They did throw in some variety, most of which was not for my palette unfortunately. At breakfast, the scrambled eggs were Eggbeaters; to get a real egg you had to order an omelet or grab an Eggs Benedict (on which the ham slices were always way too small). The coffee was mostly bitter to my taste, and for some reason, you had to go from one end of the buffet to the other just to pair a bagel with some cream cheese. And I can't for the life of me understand why they couldn't, at least once in a while, put out some seasoned ground beef, chopped lettuce, cheese and tortillas so I could have a taco or something (i.e. Mexican food). They had Italian, they had Spanish, they had Asian - what gives? Overall, the food tended to be under-seasoned and bland, period, with very few options to jazz it up other than ground pepper or some Tabasco sauce. The memorable food-related highlight was our dinner at the 'Chef's Table' and an Asian-style menu. It was fantastic. Very gourmet-style, each course was as pleasant to look at as it was to eat. For daily faire, the burgers were excellent, and the buffet’s bakery always had a wide variety of tasty breads, rolls, pastries, etc. The low light was Manfredi's, their flagship Italian restaurant. Number one, I couldn't read the menu, it was ALL in Italian. I knew I wanted the rib eye steak, their signature dish, but I needed the waiter to help me choose a side. The food was good (yes, I can recommend the rib eye), but as we were eating, the waiter decided to disappear. From then on, we had to ask for everything: plates to be cleared, dessert menus, ready to order, etc. A second waiter eventually came by, and our desserts instantly appeared. Great, but where's the coffee we ordered? So we waited. And waited. Finally the first waiter decided to check in and he went off to look for coffee. The maître d’ stopped by - we had three people looking for coffee and the desserts were still sitting (granted, our choice). Sadly, it didn't end there. My wife's Tiramisu was a gloppy mess; just one little layer of sponge at the bottom, topped off in a coffee-cup-sized container with some kind of whip creamy, chocolate swirly, ... glop. We got back to our room and we're thinking 'Holy cats, what just happened?!' It was extremely disappointing, especially given the high regard in which the restaurant was held. Just a few more random observations to offer and I’ll wrap up (thanks for hanging in!). The captain had an irksome habit of docking early. We enjoy sail-ins and are willing to get up early to watch the early-morning ones when the opportunity avails. The Viking Daily newsletter always provided lots of info including arrivals/departures so we planned accordingly. More often than not we woke up to realize that we were already pulling into a port long before our alarm was due to go off. Oh well. Another frequent irk was the spotty wi-fi. It seemed to happen mostly during the day – the signal would just quit. Lastly, at many ports Viking would arrange for shuttles, or at least guides to help independent sightseers to explore on their own. This was completely absent at Amsterdam, which was especially confusing after my wife (being much more adventurous than I) found out that, with just a bit of advice from a fellow passenger, a short walk led to a very attractive part of town. The boat’s resources were silent on this. One last remark, and I don’t consider it to be a knock, is that the boat, at 745 feet long and 94 feet wide, got tossed around a quite bit in the choppy seas we encountered coming into the English Channel, then later in the North Sea. It got a bit dicey at times, where you had to walk really carefully when you were moving around. I doubt a larger boat would ride that way but IMO it just added to the experience. So, all things considered, it was a very enjoyable cruise. A lot of this was due to the spectacular, unusual stretch of clear, moderate weather we enjoyed in all the ports we visited; no rain, not even many clouds. The rain finally did arrive - on the day we departed. Viking, for the most part, came through with a wonderful experience, just as we expected they would. I remember on the last full day, a few of us were in the Explorers Lounge filling out Viking’s lengthy feedback questionnaire and it became apparent we were all struggling with how to rate the cruise with “As Expected”, “Better Than Expected”, etc. We all ‘expected’ an exceptional experience from Viking, but it seemed weird to choose “As Expected” because it felt like we were dinging them. In fact it was a compliment – we expected better and Viking delivered. On that basis, we’re more than willing to look into another ocean cruise with Viking. Too, I strongly suspect that we’ll try one of their river cruises in the future. And on that note, I’ll close. Thank you for reading this – I hope you’ve found it helpful. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our first cruise with Viking Ocean. In general, Viking Ocean provides a very good product. Specific strengths and weaknesses we experienced are noted below. EMBARKATION/DISEMBARKATION - The fastest/smoothest we’ve ever ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Viking Ocean. In general, Viking Ocean provides a very good product. Specific strengths and weaknesses we experienced are noted below. EMBARKATION/DISEMBARKATION - The fastest/smoothest we’ve ever experienced. STATEROOM: Deluxe Verandah, #5003, quite forward under part of the bridge. Best bathroom we’ve ever experienced, especially the heated floor and mirror to deter fogging. Comfortable bed. Could’ve used some more drawers. The coffee maker was nice to have, but wish it made a standard cup of coffee. A couple issues re: cleanliness. The desk had flip-top mirror with small storage cubbies. This area needed attention (hairs, debris, “crud”). On the day we were leaving, we found an extra bath robe, complete with dust bunnies under the bed. The in-room literature indicated that missing items would be charged to the on-board account. Sure hope a previous occupant didn’t get charged for that robe! An upside to the location of the stateroom was that we could look forward as well as to starboard. A downside of the location was periodic noise/footsteps at late hours from the bridge. We aren’t sure if this was a result of the specific location of the stateroom, but when we were in areas with more swell/wind, that cabin SQUEAKED and RATTLED to excessive degree. The ceilings, the walls, the closet doors chattered, such that it interfered with sleep. Oh, and part of a closet door was broken. SHIP AMBIENCE/SPACE: The ship is beautiful, and easy to navigate. We loved that there were only 900+ passengers. Therefore, there weren’t lines or crowds. No problem ever finding a chaise lounge or a quiet place to sit. This is a huge plus. The two-story forward Explorer Lounge has such a nice ambiance, as does the Wintergarden, and Living Room. EXCURSIONS: We opted to take the included tours with one exception. We purchased the walking tour of Bruges (Easter Sunday) and were glad we did as getting to Bruges on our own on Easter on a short port shop presented transportation difficulties. The excursions were well-organized, on-time, and the buses in good shape. The guides were informative. The “Paris on Your Own” excursion was an excellent included value. Two particular exemptions to the value of the included excursions was the stop at Cartagena (not enough substance, somewhat aimless), and the substituted port of Cherbourg, France for Falmouth UK. In the case of Cherbourg, Viking had little time to make arrangements. Our tour took us to a lovely chateau near the city, then there were about 1.5 hours left. The bus driver wanted to take us back to the ship; our guide Claudia was having words with him that the tour wasn’t over. Long story short, we ended up at a square in town and we were to return to the bus at an appointed time. And we found that the bus was gone, not to be seen again. (I can only surmise that the bus driver had had enough and took off). Fortunately, there was a Viking shuttle bus and we were able to make it back to the port. Two downsides of the excursions: 1) That they can punch an inconvenient hole in the day, so plan carefully. In a few cases, it made it hard, if not impossible, to do any additional exploration in port on our own, as where the ship was docked wasn’t walking distance. When a tour did offer some free time in the city – it ranged from 20 to 45 minutes. This left us with the option of shopping, photography, or trying a local delicacy. In Bruges, we had about 40 minutes and we were on a mission to buy chocolate gifts. That’s all we had time for – no opportunity to have a true Belgian waffle or frites. This pattern was repeated in several cities. 2) Upon boarding, we inquired about a bridge tour. The did offer them, without additional charge (great), but then learned that they were scheduled exactly during the times of the included tours. Portsmouth was a longer stop and we appreciated the provided shuttle bus from the port to back to the city. SERVICE: Excellent, pleasant and efficient. Guest services helpful, no lines to speak of. It was a pleasant change to have enough waitstaff circulating in World Café, in stark contrast to buffet venues on other cruises. Waitstaff remembered drink orders and our room number. My husband developed a liking for a particular type of Norwegian beer that wasn’t available at every location and the staff did always try to locate one for him. We only had two notable service lapses, both in Manfredi’s. Manfredi’s started out so well, and then nose-dived. We were seated, were told we were “business class” (?) and shown to one of the few booths. The wine steward appeared annoyed to perform her job (scowling, for example) and we were just completely forgotten during the dessert, even as we tried to wave someone down since there was a problem. The desserts arrived but the coffee we ordered did not. And did not and we couldn’t get any staff attention even with 3 waitstaff in the vicinity. How we finally got the coffee would’ve been comical if it wasn’t such a service lapse. FOOD: I know food is a touchy subject, and I’m not a “foodie” or a picky eater. Based on previous cruises, this was the most inconsistent aspect of the cruise. Nothing was bad, except as noted below, but food at the buffet (World Café) was in my opinion repetitive and lacking in variety, especially for breakfast. We really would’ve liked some quiches or frittatas, for example. And why was there never sausage links or patties? The Eggs Benedict gets a particular negative review because the English muffin had an approximate 1 inch by 1.5 inch piece of ham on the muffin, leaving a large area without meat, egg, or hollandaise sauce. I really loved the raisin rolls (croissant dough-based) and being able to make a cappuccino in a to-go cup. I had the “sandwich of the day” a couple times at the World Café and I was impressed with how the staff member would assemble it with such detail so it looked as good as the display. Magazine cover quality. I would’ve liked to try the Norwegian waffle at Mamsen’s, and although I didn’t get to, I did have one of the open-faced sandwiches for lunch and enjoyed it. We dined once at the specialty Chef’s Table during the Asian Panorama cycle. Really enjoyed it as well as the wine pairings that were chosen with the Silver Spirits beverage package. Manfredi’s: We each had the rib-eye steak which was excellent as well as the starters and sides. We were advised to save room for dessert. I had ordered the tiramisu and someone must have made a mistake in its preparation. It was served in a deep soup-like bowl. When I spooned into it, I immediately encountered an abundance of whipped cream. I started looking for the ladyfingers. Would you believe that tiramisu had ONE thin layer of ladyfingers approximately in the middle of the dish (which was at least 4” deep)?! I started hunting for more, but no, the bottom was more whipped cream stuff. The overall impression was eating a bowl of white glop. I gave up on it and honestly, if we could’ve gotten the wait staff’s attention without making a big scene I would’ve shown the “tiramisu” to the headwaiter, but unable to get anyone’s attention, we just left and wondered what had happened in that venue. The Restaurant – We had breakfast, lunch, and dinner several times at The Restaurant. Don’t know how I managed to get a mostly flavorless whole lobster (slightly uncooked from frozen and wasn’t accompanied by any sides, such as rice or potato) and apparently missed the only evening prime rib was offered. The evening of the Bruges stop, a featured entrée was described as a “regionally inspired” short rib dish. Being familiar with (and having prepared) Belgian and/or Flemish stews of this type, I had a good idea of what the flavor profile would be. It arrived, looked good, had tender chunks of beef and properly cooked vegetables. But it lacked a seasoning profile. Bland. The best way to describe it was that it was a blank slate – if they wanted to go French they could’ve gone with thyme, or rosemary for Italian, for example. I expected to taste dark beer and nutmeg being “regional” but it was absolutely generic – did the person with the herbs and spices forget to do their job? I didn’t finish any more of this dish either after a few bites. Once, at breakfast at The Restaurant I ordered the Eggs Benedict and asked to have enough ham/Canadian bacon put on the muffins to actually provide coverage on the muffins. This request confused the waiter, so I gestured and repeated my request. What I received was extra pieces of meat on a side plate so that I could construct it myself. OK, but I could go into most any coffee shop (Denny’s, IHOP) and not have this issue. It was strange. LECTURES/GUEST SPEAKERS/EVENTS – My husband attended (or watched later) more of these than I did, but I did attend 3 lectures presented in the Star Theatre by Dr. Peter Durrans. They were engaging and informative. I really enjoyed learning more about the areas we were to visit and what made them rise (and fall) in prominence. This cruise coincided with Easter Sunday. The cruise director, Jenna Beaudoin, led a non-denominational worship service that morning in the Star Theatre. Prayer, gospel readings, music and hymns by crew members (and even a volunteer who answered Jenna’s request to lead a hymn she wasn’t comfortable with) accompanied with a leaflet. The service was nicely done and well attended. And the chocolate bunny that arrived in our stateroom was a nice touch too! SPAS/POOLS: The spa is a beautifully appointed area. I wish the thalassotherapy pool was a bit warmer. Enjoyed the sauna, plunge pool, and the snow grotto. The stone chaises are so comfortable that I could’ve fallen asleep. Both the main pool and stern Infinity pool always seemed too cool to be enjoyable when I tested the water and other guests in the area noted the same. I really wanted to try out the infinity pool, so that was a disappointment. One BIG gripe: The hours of the spa! It closes to guests at 8:00 pm. I went down after dinner and a day of a lot of walking, looking forward to enjoying the area only to find that it is closed for staff use only. This is unacceptable to me, as I’m a after dinner soaker. And there are not any actual show performances after dinner to get too, either. SUMMARY: Based on the awards and recognition that the young Viking Ocean line has been receiving, we had high expectations for the cruise. Our expectations overall were met. If I could I would've scored this review as 4-1/2 stars. Would we cruise Viking Ocean again? Yes. Would we be more mindful of the times a particular itinerary spent in port, and the excursions relative to those times – yes, that would be absolutely critical. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and our past Viking expierences. One of our favourite things on this ship is beautiful, clean, modern, excellent public areas. Lots of comfortable areas to sit and relax without feeling ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary and our past Viking expierences. One of our favourite things on this ship is beautiful, clean, modern, excellent public areas. Lots of comfortable areas to sit and relax without feeling crowded. Food is excellent with daily theme luncheons offered on sea days around the main pool and several cook outs on the back deck were offered in the evenings as well as the buffet which always had lots to choose from. Daily offerings of crab claws, crab legs, big shrimp, sushi, shell fish, steak cooked to order, meat dishes. Rotating offers of roasts of lamb, pork, beef, roasted chicken, duck. Daily, a variety of vegetables, potatoes, rice etc, salads, fruit, breads and a nice variety of dessert. Breakfast offered eggs, omelets, cooked to order quickly, eggs benedict, fruits, waffles, in addition to all of the usual breakfast items. Restaurants are intimate and the service is provided by professional, friendly, outgoing staff who are attententive without being obtrusive. The menu offers a variety to choose from and our food was delicious at Manfrefi’s and at the Chef’s Table. The same can be said of the World Cafe, Mamsens and the Pool Snack bar which offered burgers of all kinds, foot long hot dogs, fries, Onion rings and all the trimmings in addition to numerous salads and desserts. The ice cream at the World Cafe is delicious with a variety of different flavours daily. All meals include wine and beer. The spa sauna, pool and snow grotto are an invigorating experience. There is a main pool with a retractable roof and an infinity pool on the back deck. All have lots of lounge seating in comfortable, relaxing surroundings. We especially enjoyed the Explorers Lounge located at the front of the ship. You feel as though you are the captain looking out through the expansive windows onto the ocean. The Viking Sea singers/dancers and musicians were the best and the most talented and enjoyable we have experienced in a long time. Beth, Hannah, Louis and Cole, along with cruise director Jenna treated us to Abba, Beatles, Divas, Motown music that rocked the theatre. The included excursions were informative and provided by knowledgeable guides. The most important thing is we are grateful to all of the staff for their attentive, genuine, smiling, caring approach, ensuring you are having a perfect vacation. How they are able to remember you by name and your cabin number is delightful surprise. It truly was, quote Captain Malmberg, “the happiest, friendliest, funnest ship on the ocean”. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We wanted to try Viking out and this cruise seemed to meet our needs of a winter cruise, in some warm weather at a better price than Viking offers for its Med Cruises. Our travel was so tiring, with a drive to Manchester, an overnight, ... Read More
We wanted to try Viking out and this cruise seemed to meet our needs of a winter cruise, in some warm weather at a better price than Viking offers for its Med Cruises. Our travel was so tiring, with a drive to Manchester, an overnight, then a morning flight out to Philadelphia, then a 5 hour lay over as there was a delay, then a 4 hour flight to San Juan. Coming back was even worse as I drove back from Manchester coming off the overnight flight from Philadelphia. Unfortunately as good as the cruise was, we will not attempt that travel again, as you might have guessed we are not part of the younger generation. Embarkation at the port was so easy and very quick, probably helped by it being past midnight before we got there. Our standard balcony cabin was lovely, all mod cons in place including charging points, bed nice and comfy although my wife and our cabin steward (Bayu) did have a few attempts at getting the right mix of pillows. Bayu was excellent, smiling every day and nothing was too much trouble. He did his job well and worked round our timings in the cabin. Bathroom was modern and really well appointed with a big glass shower cubicle. We thoroughly enjoyed the inclusive trips, they were mainly an overview, but all our guides were really good and we felt safe in their company. Getting on and off the Ship was so quick and easy, next to no queues. Some of the docking places were a bit industrial, so a couple of times our view was the container park when other ships in seemed to have better berths on occasion. We are not big drinkers but had the silver drinks package, it was excellent. Pina Coladas, the best we have had on any ship, we don't like the brain freeze drinks so the bar staff would make it on the rocks with just enough ice, nice and creamy and used the dark rum. We visited Barrincha in Puerto Rico, where the Pina Colada was supposedly invented and the ones on the ship were every bit as good as there. Don't worry if your favourite tipple is not on the bar menu, they will make it if you or they know the ingredients. Doods deserves special mention for looking after us so well. if we wandered in there as our last call for a nightcap he knew what I wanted and a simple thumbs up meant my Toasted Almond arrived at our table. Food was generally excellent, probably the best we have had at Sea other than Oceania, so Viking need to just get that bit better and match them to be top of the league. We did have the occasional wobble, but it was excellently handled by the waiters and in Manfredis we were delivered our pasta and risotto dishes at the same time as our huge steaks. They removed the steaks immediately. Viking head of Departments all get given a cabin at random to look after, so we got Gary, the Executive Chef (recently joined from Oceania). He rang us every couple of days and saw us out and about. On learning of our dislike of the mashed potato he immediately changed the recipe and it was so good after that. He also insisted we re visit Manfredis after our earlier issue with the Steaks, he organised it all and we had the best service and food of the cruise. we were also left nice little surprises in the room on a few of the days. So well done to Viking, as Gary said, it helps him stay close to the Guests and he can jump on things quickly and he did. We never had to queue for anything, sun beds were always available around the pools, no queues at the Bars, restaurants straight in. Entertainment, the Singers were really good, but Viking did not make best use of them, I would like to have seen a show in the lovely theatre every night. Also after 10.30 the ship was even more empty, some guest duos brought on board to enhance evening entertainment would be better for us. Would I go with Viking again, yes if they can keep their prices competitive and home port the Ship in the Caribbean where we can get a direct flight from Britain. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Well, we are back from our first Viking Ocean cruise – 10 days West Indies Explorer on the Viking Sea March 2019. We arranged our own flights, so we got to San Juan PR and made our way to the ship. Check in was easy-peasy and so ... Read More
Well, we are back from our first Viking Ocean cruise – 10 days West Indies Explorer on the Viking Sea March 2019. We arranged our own flights, so we got to San Juan PR and made our way to the ship. Check in was easy-peasy and so different than what happens on other lines. I’ve sailed Carnival (platinum), Royal Caribbean, and NCL in the past, so this was not my first check-in. Of course 930 passengers vice 3000-5000 makes quite a difference. Our room stewards Teddy and Emm were great and met us when we arrived and explained features of our room. They always greeted us if they were about and ensured we had everything we needed. Even though it was about 3:30PM, we found the pool grill had wonderful and we got our first wine and beer (free with lunch and dinner). Waiters were available and checked on us often. This continued throughout the entire cruise in all dining venues! Great job. On the second night onboard, just as we were getting ready to leave San Juan behind, we had our Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle – an invitation was left in our room with the Viking Daily the day before. The Captain and his command staff were busy, but every available senior staff officer attended. We had a very nice chat with Tom Aberg (Hotel General Manager), Edgar de Jaspi (Beverage Manager) and John Cunningham (Restaurant Manager) while enjoying free drinks and finger foods. From that evening on, we were always greeted by these senior officers. Surprisingly, a few days later we got another invitation to another Meet and Mingle. We went and when we asked, we were told by another Cruise Critic member, that they missed the first one – apparently they didn’t realize they had to sign up for the M&M on CC prior to arriving onboard, so they didn’t receive an invitation. But the staff wanted to ensure that they were not left out, so we had a second get together with all the trimmings and all the senior staff. (Now what other cruise line would do that???) At this meeting, in addition to Edgar and John, I had a nice talk with Jenn Beaudoin (Cruise Director) and Mara Buga (Guest Services Manager). I had a special request of Jenn and she made some calls had made arrangements. Thank you Jenn and thanks for Fredrik Svensson for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk to another Engineer! I’m not going to do a day to day accounting of my experiences, but I will make a few comments. First, the food and drink onboard is outstanding. All venues were excellent, but we always like the Restaurant and had wonderful meals in Manfredi’s and at the Chef’s Table. Service was impeccable regardless of where we ate. Secondly, I was so impressed by the Senior Staff. On most lines, one does not even see the Hotel Manager, Restaurant Manager, Financial Officer or Beverage Manager, but on this ship/line, they were highly visible and jumped in anytime there was need. For example, Tom, John or Edgar often were escorting guests in the Restaurant or in the Theater. (Again, where else have you ever seen this happen?) Third, I was somewhat concerned about taking the included excursions thinking they would be boring. Not so. The guides were obviously well vetted and could answer any question thrown at them. In many of the ports, the tour at a specific time was broken into smaller groups which worked well and kept wait time to a minimum. I learned something at every port! We also did a 3 optional tours and they were wonderful! Only thing I questioned was at all these wonderful Caribbean ports, there were no Scuba diving tours… hmmm. Fourth, was the general ‘we want you to learn something’ on this cruise vibe on the ship. There was a resident historian onboard who had some wonderful lectures and round table discussions. There was also a Geologist who gave talks on how the islands were formed and such. Really interesting! If you happened to miss the talk, don’t fear, it was recorded for on-demand broadcast on the in cabin TV along with lots of other great informative programs, news stations and movies. Fifth, the entertainment onboard was wonderful – singers and musicians were top notch. Shows were excellent. A steel pan group was brought onboard at one port to play by the pool for an afternoon show. We also had Line Dance lessons. Unfortunately, I have 2 left feet when it comes to this! But it was enjoyable! Overall, it was a GREAT Experience and it will not be our last Viking Ocean cruise! Great Job by everyone onboard! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We had done two Viking Ocean cruises and have cruised other lines such as Princess, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Oceana. We like the Viking River cruises better. We had a balcony but it was on the rear of the ship so we walked a lot. ... Read More
We had done two Viking Ocean cruises and have cruised other lines such as Princess, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Oceana. We like the Viking River cruises better. We had a balcony but it was on the rear of the ship so we walked a lot. There were few hangers and not that many drawers to put things in. They kept the hallways very cold,the restaurants were cold and the theater was cold. We were in the Caribbean so it should not have been cold when it was warm outside. I was getting sore throat and had to take a lot of cough drops. We ate most of our meals in the World Cafe even though tipping is automatic. The specialty restaurants were included but you needed to make all of your reservations at the beginning of the cruise. I am a comfort food person, not a gourmet. The Mexican restaurant food was not like any Mexican food I had before. The portions were small and some of the food was unfamiliar to me even though I spent 30 years going to Mexico. The Italian restaurant menu was in Italian with extremely small print in English and I could not read it with my glasses on. I just asked for ceasar salad and Chicken Parmesan. The Restaurant seemed to serve the same menu pretty often. Viking gives you wine and beer with lunch and dinner and we had purchased the silver package using a credti from our travel agent and that was good. There were two Captains parties plus a sale away on the last night with champayne and snacks and this was very good. I had a problem about being invited to a mix and mingle even though I had started the role call. So I missed the first event but Mara from Romania, who was the head of Guest Services helped us out and there was a second mix and mingle that we did attend. It seems redundant that first you have to either start the role call or enroll and an exiisting role call and then also register for a mix and mingle, But I now know this and will be ready for the next cruise. I like the River cruises better because the ships are smaller, it was never too cold and we had people, who kept us fully informed on all events. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Have done 8+ ocean cruises, 7 river cruises. This experience with Viking Ocean was the best we've had. Food was excellent, varied menus and lots of choices. Good excursions and options at each port. In retrospect we would have done ... Read More
Have done 8+ ocean cruises, 7 river cruises. This experience with Viking Ocean was the best we've had. Food was excellent, varied menus and lots of choices. Good excursions and options at each port. In retrospect we would have done more adventuresome excursions on our West Indies but no regrets. Staff on the ship is top shelf. The crew was just as good as could be. Have read previous reviews on CC with some complaints and negative comments about Viking Sea. If there were problems earlier there aren't now. Our evaluation, and that of others we sailed with: Viking Ocean a great experience, Far better than Oceana, Royal Caribbean, Princess etc. We noted that quite a few folks had done more than one Viking Ocean cruise already, just in their third year of operations. No casino, no kids, no pressure. No big shows. Nice events in the evening - a movie by the pool, a bit of classical music, some singers and dancers. Passengers were mostly 65+, about 1/3 from UK, 2/3 North America. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was our first ever cruise and we were celebrating a big birthday. Having heard about the ship, expectations were very high and it did not disappoint. We flew in to San Juan late in the evening and so just went to bed the first ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise and we were celebrating a big birthday. Having heard about the ship, expectations were very high and it did not disappoint. We flew in to San Juan late in the evening and so just went to bed the first night, but the embarkation was smooth and luggage was delivered quickly. As we arrived late, they put some sandwiches and fruit out for us along with a bottle of champagne and some red wine, and reminded us that we could order room service as well. As it was gone 1am and we had been up for 24 hours we passed! We were in a Deluxe Veranda cabin. We can't understand why anyone would complain about the size of these - it was very comfortably big enough for us. The bed was large and comfortable, the sitting area was ok, the bathroom was superb and it was great to be able to sit out on the balcony. On the first day we explored the ship which was all light and airy, not at all busy and just nicely laid back. We were always able to find places to sit and service was generally attentive. We ate mainly in the World Cafe as it was more casual and did not require us to dress up. The food was always nice there, usually a good choice of mains and some divine little desserts (as well as cookies and ice cream). We also sampled the Pool Grill where they did some delicious burgers and grilled tuna. We managed to have two meals at Manfredi's, the speciality Italian restaurant. The food was delicious and the plates were huge! We also had a special birthday meal at the Chef's Table which was a five course tasting menu, where every dish was exceptional, each of them paired with wines. We really enjoyed the entertainment on the ship. The main entertainment was from four young, energetic and very talented performers who put on three main shows - an ABBA show, a showcase of famous song writers and a Beatles show. One of them also did a solo show Divas through the Decades, and another did a jazz set Beyond the Sea - both of these were top quality. They were supported by a four piece band and two lounge singers who were ok. Other entertainment included a guitarist, a classical duo and a piantist, all of whom were ok. One of the real positives about the cruise was how friendly everyone was. It was impossible to pass any crew member without them greeting you, and it always seemed natural. The cabin service was exceptional with rooms serviced twice a day. We were surprised to read any negative reviews about this ship. Perhaps it does not have quite as much going on as some mega cruise ships, but for us this was close to perfect. A nice size of ship, never crowded, very attentive staff, good food and enjoyable entertainment. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We like a more luxury cruise, without kids and casinos. The food was fantastic and all the dining options. The staff went above and beyond to make us feel welcomed and happy. The ship itself is beautiful, yet understated. A clean elegance ... Read More
We like a more luxury cruise, without kids and casinos. The food was fantastic and all the dining options. The staff went above and beyond to make us feel welcomed and happy. The ship itself is beautiful, yet understated. A clean elegance if you may. Thoroughly enjoyed our cruise director Jenna....she was a blast. We will go again on VIKING very soon. We have been on Oceania, and to date that was our favorite. One aspect lacking a tad were the included shore excursions, they really weren't worth getting off the ship for. There were plenty of other excursions offered which we did do and really liked. The wine at dinner flowed nicely but the quality was give and take, one night very good, next night almost undrinkable. It never felt crowded onboard, there were plenty of quiet spots to sit and just reflect at what a wonderful ship this is. Can't say enough good things about our trip to the Caribbean and being on a clean, beautiful ship. One very fun night was dancing under the stars, good music and lots of dancing. We took part in the Movies under the Stars as well, really liked the comfort and popcorn. The ship was spotless clean and all the staff were happy and welcomed us daily. We would give the highest stars to service, then food. We would like to try a suite at some point just to compare. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
Small ship with under 100 guests and adult only. Booking through to leaving the ship was extremely well organised. We had a penthouse balcony cabin which gave excellent space for clothes as well as a sofa and chair, fridge, large tv etc ... Read More
Small ship with under 100 guests and adult only. Booking through to leaving the ship was extremely well organised. We had a penthouse balcony cabin which gave excellent space for clothes as well as a sofa and chair, fridge, large tv etc .The staff,[ particularly our cabin steward Alvin] couldn't have been better. The ship is not for people who want glitz and chandeliers, it has a comfortable elegance. The entertainment was good but not a lot of it and we would have liked it to be a little more varied. All of the restaurants were excellent far better than other cruise lines we have been with and afternoon tea was lovely. A free trip was offered on each island and the ones we went on were okay but not outstanding, the free trip we took on St Thomas should have come with a warning for back pain sufferers. The vehicles were open buses with it felt like no springs on very rough bumpy roads. We took taxis to the beach on a few occasions on different Islands with no problems until St Thomas when I wanted a nostalgic trip to Magens Bay which is unchanged and beautiful the water is so clear it is not neccesary to snorkel to see the fish they swim around your feet. unfortunately the taxi driver didn't return for us, luckily for us another couple shared their taxi with us. We would cruise with Viking again but we were very cross that we had to disembark at 7.45 for a flight at 1pm which meant a long wait at San Juan airport and another of 4 hours in New York. we would look more closely at travel arrangements made by Viking in future. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We are fairly new cruisers. We’ve been on one other cruise line, Crystal. Viking likes to brag that they’re a better rated brand than Crystal, so all of my views are compared to our experiences on Crystal. Ship: The ship itself ... Read More
We are fairly new cruisers. We’ve been on one other cruise line, Crystal. Viking likes to brag that they’re a better rated brand than Crystal, so all of my views are compared to our experiences on Crystal. Ship: The ship itself is beautiful. It’s classy and well laid out. They were very diligent about cleanliness, so we had no GI issues. It’s modern, well-stated, and the spa is phenomenal. Cabin: We booked an Explorer Suite, which was lovely. It had a wrap around balcony, a lovely bathroom, walk-in closet with a sit down vanity, ample storage, and a living room. My complaint about the room is that other than being able to book our excursions early, there’s no preferential treatment for the room category. The air travel accommodations/booking process was awful, which I will address later. When we got on the ship, we had to go looking for our luggage. It was not delivered to our room. With this room category, I would have expected a higher level of service, but that was not the case. Maybe the owner’s suite has this, but don’t expect anything extra for booking the higher level room. Dining: Crystal totally beat the Viking Sea in this category. The meal quality was spotty. We had great dinners at the specialty restaurants, Manfredi’s and The Chef’s Table, but the quality of service and food was inconsistent even there. The service and food quality at the World Cafe and The Restaurant was sometimes good and sometimes poor. We had great service in The Restaurant one night and poor service the next. They seemed untrained and even the manager was pitching in to help. I felt like this whole voyage was a training voyage for much of the crew. Entertainment: I hate to be negative here, because the entertainers were clearly trying to do a good job, but someone mentioned that it was along the lines of a high school musical presentation. I think that’s a great assessment. The left handed guitarist was great, but I wouldn't book this cruise line hoping for great entertainment. Excursions: We were in the Caribbean, so we were wanting relaxing, water-themed activities. The beach excursions were WAY TOO SHORT. We would just get settled on our beach chairs and they’d say, “time to go.” My advice would be to pay a taxi cab driver to take you to the beach and bring you back. Save the money for the taxi driver. The excursion I was most looking forward to, Cruising the Anguilla Channel, was canceled the night before. I think they knew all along, because it would never show up on our TV under our “excursions booked” tab, but they didn’t tell us until the night before. And take cash! The islands are still recovering and most of the places don’t take credit cards. We booked this cruise 8 months in advance. When we booked, the website simply said, “one free excursion per port.” They really needed an asterisk that made it clear that the excursion was their brief overview of the island in a bumpy, crowded bus. We thought it meant any excursion, which was NOT the case. Shady. Service: Our cabin manager was sweet and it would be difficult for me to fault her, but I found her English to be very hard to decipher. This was the case with many of the crew members. They were just inconsistent. We ordered room service, which is offered 24 hours a day, and more than once, they shorted us one breakfast. They brought the missing items 25 minutes later, but we had to leave for en excursion. The spotty service was most notable in the dining establishments and the luggage delivery I mentioned earlier wasn’t a good sign for our first 15 minutes on the ship. The people in Guest Relations seemed stressed out, probably from the negative comments. Everyone was trying to print boarding passes at the same time and they had trouble with the paper and printer. The spa had great people and they seemed to be the most organized and professional parts of the staff. BIG NEGATIVE: I specifically asked the travel agent and Viking NOT to make us sit and wait forever at the airport for our departing flight, as we had a nine hour flight awaiting us. Viking kicked us off the ship at 6:30 am, and our flight didn’t leave until 1:00 pm. By the time we arrived home, we had been up for 20 hours. There was a flight at 8:00 am that Viking could have booked us on. BIGGER NEGATIVE: I would advise anyone taking this cruise to book their own airfare. The cruise offers airfare as an included feature, but it’s really not worth it. We were flying out of LAX (Southern California). Viking wanted us to fly north to Chicago or New York, IN THE DEAD OF WINTER, just to turn around and fly south to Puerto Rico. We tried to renegotiate different flights that didn’t have us flying into inclement weather. We finally decided to purchase our own outbound flight, but because we did this, they charged us a $100 surcharge, which they would not reimburse us for. You read this correctly, they charged US $100, even though we paid for our own airfare, so we could avoid the illogical flights they wanted us to take!!! Embarkation and Disembarkation: The people were nice, and the guy who loaded the luggage at the Puerto Rico airport was a rock star! There certainly could have been more clear instructions, but we figured it out. Your Fellow Cruisers: Most of the people on the cruise were older people. When I say older, I mean 70+. This is fine, and we expected an older crowd. I am 60 and allegedly a young looking 60, so I had more than one older woman ask me if I was old enough to be on the ship. In fact, some women were somewhat hostile about it. My husband is older than I am, and we generated a few eye rolls and disapproving looks. We were there to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary, so clearly people were jumping to some wrong conclusions. The people we enjoyed were the ones who ventured out with us on excursions. They were more active and friendly. I guess you don’t get to choose who you cruise with, but just know that it’s mostly seasoned travelers. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
I was looking forward to this so much and first time trying Viking, thought the Caribbean would be a good choice as it was one of their less expensive cruises and I wanted to see what the Viking experience would be like without spending ... Read More
I was looking forward to this so much and first time trying Viking, thought the Caribbean would be a good choice as it was one of their less expensive cruises and I wanted to see what the Viking experience would be like without spending too much money. Weather was mixed, some of the Islands are still recovering from various hurricanes so be prepared for infrastructure and transport that may not be what you’re used to. No sea days, in a different port each day ( except San Juan at the beginning ) Let’s start with the good things: Beautiful contemporary classy ship with gorgeous public spaces. Staff good in the main but quite a few seemed to struggle with our British accents and some were surly and on automatic pilot. They didn’t listen. Good cabin stewards. Nice cabin but on the small side. Fantastic bathroom. Top end and stunning spa suite. Expensive for treatments though. Included excursions were ok but given itinerary it was to be expected. Optional excursions expensive. Silver beverage package good at a decent price but all drinks reasonably priced in any event. Other cruise lines should note. Good included WiFi And the not so good: Food and wine Layout of buffet and indeed main restaurant not great. Small ship so narrow down each side. In the main restaurant, you felt at times if you were sitting in a corridor. Service very spotty, wine waiters, difficult to get a hold of, serving staff were different all the time. Seemed a bit chaotic and it took on average around two hours each night for a 3 course dinner to be served. Not always asked if you wanted tea or coffee. Food itself ranged from very good to indifferent and we had over cooked fish and lukewarm food on more than a few occasions. The speciality restaurants offered better service but food didn’t live up to the hype. They take themselves far too seriously in The Chefs Table. The staff need to lighten up a bit and let their personalities come through. Having said that, there was one waiter who was particularly bumptious, condescending and aggressive. After we complained, the restaurant manager sorted it out but it was quite an upsetting experience. Mentioned the overcooked fish in mid cruise survey and was gobsmacked when the head chef called, came to see us in Manfredis that night, got the main chef to come to our table too and arranged for beautiful petit fours to be sent to our cabin. It was impressive how Viking wanted to sort things out. We had upgraded wines as on the package- seemed to confuse staff but in the main the upgraded versions were decent enough. However, the included wines were pretty poor with very limited choice. It wasn’t exactly free flowing either way. Mamsens good, coffee and pastries in the downstairs bar good. Lovely Gelato and desserts in the buffet. You get much better food and wine on Oceania though. No comparison. Room service- we gave up after a few days. Missing items. Wrong items. Entertainment- A real weak point. Good band, four great young singers with 4/5 shows over a 10 day cruise. Couple of movies shown in the evening. No guest artistes. Classical duo. Nice up to a point and then begins to grate. Good pianist but no vocals.Not looking for high impact stuff but it was a bit too sedate. Better than Oceania though where the Tumbleweed roams freely. Atrium bar and Explorers bar very nice places for a pre dinner cocktail. Toshaven - lovely little venue for dancing but not well attended. Good fun though and the band/ singers very good. Didn’t go to any enrichment lectures so can’t comment. Others said they were interesting. No casino but in my book, not missed. We are a couple in our late 50’s so we were at the lower end of the age spectrum. Fellow guests were in the main very nice, polite and courteous. So, summary- there is much to like about Viking BUT at this price point, there are other options that may suit better. It depends what you’re looking for. If only I could combine a bit of Oceania, a bit of Celebrity, Regent and Azamara with Viking, I think I’d have found the perfect cruise line. I thought I had found it, but I wouldn’t rush to book another cruise with them unless the itinerary sang to me. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We had been on the ocean ships before so knew what to expect. The boat is not that old the décor the same as other of the ocean ships. The layout virtually identical. So that makes a great experience or does it? The main plus is that you ... Read More
We had been on the ocean ships before so knew what to expect. The boat is not that old the décor the same as other of the ocean ships. The layout virtually identical. So that makes a great experience or does it? The main plus is that you get what you expect if you have been with them before. Much is the same, like the speciality restaurants and the casual dining venue and the general layout .The continuous growth of the company raises interesting possible concerns. Staff training needs to be good and standards maintained. It feel at times they are on the edge with inconsistent service levels at restaurants and dining venues. Casual eating at breakfast and lunch saw staff being moved around often to "cover" an area then be countermanded by another staff member which left gaps in cover. Food was not consistently hot, when advised the answer was not really acceptable as they said you could ask for hot plates. This was something of a challenge when you asked for hot plates, staff consistently looked surprised and often had to search around. The trips were in the main quite good for the places visited. They were of reasonable length and the party sizes good. The worst was the delay we had to an already Viking scheduled late arrival of 9 pm. We eventually reached our cabin at 1 in the morning. The staffing level was small on arrival and transfer to the ship was slow. It was clearly not unexpected. Departure was equally disappointing off the ship by 8 for a flight in the afternoon at 2 pm. 6 hours and not even a cup of coffee provided. Basically you lose a day travelling at each end not great value Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Our experience with Viking started with a beautiful brochure that I received in the mail. The West Indies Cruise looked like the right cruise for us.....and it was! Jason, in reservations, was the first person I was in contact with ... Read More
Our experience with Viking started with a beautiful brochure that I received in the mail. The West Indies Cruise looked like the right cruise for us.....and it was! Jason, in reservations, was the first person I was in contact with from Viking. He was friendly, well trained and helped me find the right stateroom and date. Embarkation and disembarkation was a breeze. The ship was spotless and well cared for. What really sets this ship apart from other cruises that we have been on is the staff and crew! Everyone wants your cruise experience to be exceptional. They have a heart for their passengers. I can't even begin to name all crew that gave exceptional service! The managers(general, financial,beverage managers) and cruise director of the ship were always available to answer questions and inquire about your stay. Cheeney and Emanuel kept our room spotless and made sure we had everything we needed. Jeffery(room service) started the mornings on a happy note with a smile and breakfast in our room. Gwen(public areas housekeeping) was always busy working but welcomed us with a big hello and sweet smile. Marta, Jeffery, Ezekiel, Grace and many others created a wonderful dining experience. There was always something yummy to eat! The spa services were perfect and no pushy sales pitch. Alexandra was so good at styling my hair, that I went twice for a shampoo and style! I can also recommend Elsa for a mani, pedi, and facial. After two weeks and my nails still look nice! Of course, we had to do some shopping. We went to the Precious Gems seminar and found it educational and fun. Love the jewelry! We learned a lot from the educational talks and met many friendly fellow passengers. It was a fantastic cruise and we want to go again! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
For the past 20 years, my husband and I cruised at least 2-3 time per year. We have been on Royal Carnelian many times, Princess, and finally graduated to Regent and Oceania. We absolutely love Oceania, even their three smaller ships ( ... Read More
For the past 20 years, my husband and I cruised at least 2-3 time per year. We have been on Royal Carnelian many times, Princess, and finally graduated to Regent and Oceania. We absolutely love Oceania, even their three smaller ships ( though they might show a sign of aging, the service, food, and bedding are amazing!). We try very hard to continue on Oceania only, however, they do not always have the dates or places we are looking for.We decided to try Vikings Sea this year. Beautiful ship, large bathrooms, but the bed and pillows were clearly made of straw. When we asked for another pillow, we were told that it was all they had. That aside, the food was definitely inferior to any 5 star cruises. You could barely get a cup of tea after 9 pm. Being on vacation, we decided not to concentrate of these inconveniences, and enjoyed the trip. To sum it up, although the ship itself deserves a 5 star rating, the rest, such as untrained staff, terrible bedding,very average food , and most importantly the attitude of customer relations, would keep us AWAY FROM VIKING in the future. Oceania, you will NOT be beat by Viking! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Travelled on the West Indies Explorer itinery in February as we prefer to minimise sea days and had heard good reviews about Viking. The pre cruise hotel in San Juan was poor and Viking have since acknowledged this. Our cabin was nice ... Read More
Travelled on the West Indies Explorer itinery in February as we prefer to minimise sea days and had heard good reviews about Viking. The pre cruise hotel in San Juan was poor and Viking have since acknowledged this. Our cabin was nice but lacked storage space the bathroom was very good. The pool area was small and cramped possibly due to the location of the winter garden which was a waste of valuable space only being used for an hour a day for afternoon tea. The retractable roof however was very good. The ship rolled constantly even in calm seas. The main restaurant is poorly designed along the sides of the ship. Tables are close together so effectively all tables are shared tables and you have to squeeze between diners to get to some tables. Food ranged from mediocre to excellent and service ranged from average to very poor. There were lots of staff in the restaurant but they appeared to be inexperienced with service very slow and chaotic. Trying to get wine other than the house wine via the drinks package was a challenge every time. Service in the lounges was also poor where there were simply not enough bar staff to cope with demand. Included excursions were also poor subjecting guests to 40 minute stops at tacky souvenir shops and ice cream parlours. Entertainment was very sedate the shows were poor and other entertainment mainly consisted of a pianist and classical duo. The band were good but only performed before 11pm a couple of times. These events were well attended and Its a pity they didn’t do more. I provided comprehensive mid cruise feedback which wasn’t acknowledged. I wouldn’t sail with Viking again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
This is my second time on the Viking Sea. There is so much to like- the small size, the Scandinavian design, the food, the inclusiveness of the rate, and even the heated bathroom floor. The ship is exceptionally well maintained. On ... Read More
This is my second time on the Viking Sea. There is so much to like- the small size, the Scandinavian design, the food, the inclusiveness of the rate, and even the heated bathroom floor. The ship is exceptionally well maintained. On this past cruise we are treated to great vocal entertainment, an excellent cruise director (female!), and a great itinerary including two stops in Columbia. The lecturers were also outstanding. I can easily give 4 stars, but not 5. The reason is the service in the "restaurant" (their term for the main dining room). Something is wrong. No longer are you served by a single waiter and a single assistant waiter; there is some sort of team approach. Also, there was a simple lack of wait staff which required waiters to serve too many clients and required even supervisors to become waiters. The whole place was frequently in disarray; Service was slow, extras like asking about coffee after the meal were usually forgotten. I hope this is a temporary problem, because otherwise this is a premier ship in a premier cruise line. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise because we thought it would be an upgrade from Princess and Celebrity. Over 25 cruises on 10 different lines. This had the worst mattress and the best bathroom. Your included excursion is picked by viking. Your ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we thought it would be an upgrade from Princess and Celebrity. Over 25 cruises on 10 different lines. This had the worst mattress and the best bathroom. Your included excursion is picked by viking. Your choice is to go on what Viking wants you to go on or pay for any of the other excursions. The entertainment was not up to the complicated entertainment you would have on a similar ship of this size. Lots of talent but basically a great band with 4 great singers. But that is as exciting as it gets. Didn't miss the casino or art offerings at all. Very quiet ship for people over 60. Leaving the ship was fast but the information of what was needed on the shore was usually wrong. Great housekeeping staff for our room The main dining room looks like a cafeteria and one night we sat for over 1 hour after our main course before being approached for coffee. The cafeteria on the top floor was predictable but at night actually had candles on the tables with nicer ambiance than the main restaurant. Mannafredis specialty well run and with good variety and good service Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We sailed on the Viking Sea in February, on the South America & the Caribbean cruise. This was our first time on a Viking Ocean cruise. We took their Waterways of the Czars cruise in 2016 and enjoyed that so much that we booked this ... Read More
We sailed on the Viking Sea in February, on the South America & the Caribbean cruise. This was our first time on a Viking Ocean cruise. We took their Waterways of the Czars cruise in 2016 and enjoyed that so much that we booked this cruise, due to its itinerary. It did not disappoint. Getting on Board with our luggage: The cruise embarkation was very easy. However, that is because we put our written itinerary booklets that Viking sent to each of us in our carry-on. That was lucky, as I was thinking about not bringing them at all. Security at the entrance to the port demanded to see those before we could board the ship, so have them handy! (We thought that Viking should have told us that.) Getting our luggage was a different matter. We got into San Juan about 1:00P and boarded the ship around 2:00P. However, our luggage was not brought to our stateroom until after 5:00P. That was bad, as we were in our winter wear and could not shower and change. Why we could not bring our luggage with us on the bus from the airport to the ship is a mystery. Ship Overall: The ship is very nicely designed and felt airy and spacious: it never seemed crowded. Cabin: Our deluxe veranda cabin (5007) was fine, but narrow. We could not pass by each other at the foot of the bed at the same time, and we are not big people. Also, the desk chair was too big for the space, so getting to the balcony was somewhat awkward unless we had the chair pushed all the way in. Also, it also would have been nice to have some more drawers to put things in. (We would give up the in-cabin coffee maker for that.) The bathroom was wonderful: lots of space, storage space, and a comfortably sized shower with a ledge! Our cabin stewards (Alvin and iPitu) were fabulous: they were personable, offered advice when asked, and kept our cabin spotless. Dining: We enjoyed the dining onboard the ship. We started many mornings with a latte and a pastry in the Viking Bar. We would then go up to the World Café for the breakfast buffet, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Lunch found us in the World Café, the Pool Bar, or Mamsen’s. While the drinks were better at Mamsen’s, the Pool Bar made a great steak sandwich and hot dog! We ate everywhere for dinner: Manfredi’s, the Chef’s Table, the Main Restaurant and the World Café. Jorge, the sommelier in the Main Restaurant was fabulous and poured up some great wines (we had the Silver Spirits beverage package). The food at each location was very good. When the World Café offered special buffets, it was fun to eat there. Onboard Lecture: We really liked the onboard lectures. They were entertaining and informative, and we tried to attend as many of those as we could. Shore excursions: The ship did not offer anything too exciting, so we tended to book our own excursions. We took two Viking excursions in Columbia. The tour guide for the Tastes and Sights of Santa Marta (Carlos) was fabulous! He was energetic, loved his city and infected us all with his enthusiasm. The guide in Cartagena was awful: hard to understand, slow and uninterested. He hit all of the marks indicated in the tour description, but did little more than that. Overall, the excursions on the river cruise were better. The Spa: We loved the spa! We both enjoyed the Nordic Bathing Ritual one night and I had a scalp massage, wash and blow dry another day. Both were fabulous and relaxing. Aleksandra, the hair stylist, is one of the best stylists I have ever had. Disembarkation: We had a 2:00P flight home. We had to be out of our cabin by 8:00A, and then off the ship by 9:30A. Although we had a Viking airport transfer included with our fare, we did not use it as they wanted to drop us off at the airport at 9:00A. We were not excited about spending the last day of our vacation in the airport. So, we stayed a little later in San Juan and then paid for a taxi. Viking should either offer post-cruise excursions with an airport drop-off or provide a comfortable place to wait with your luggage on board or nearby. We sat in a park near the port entrance until we caught a cab to the airport. We would sail again with Viking Ocean cruises. Read Less
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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