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Chosen for both the itinerary as well as Viking reputation and reviews, this ‘christening cruise’ for Viking to figure out the Amazon itinerary was, frankly, poor. I’ll carry on with the review but note, up front, that more than 2 weeks since disembarking and three weeks since filing a detailed letter with the ship’s GM and our meeting on board (which also went to their Head of Customer Service in LA), Viking have failed to make any form of contact to discuss. Pre-cruise Communications were poor, with little information about state of San Juan due to hurricane Maria and, we found out on board that a relatively large number had cancelled before departure due to concerns on this matter. However, as seasoned travelers, we were not concerned. Embarkation was spectacularly easy and attentive. The ship is genuinely outstanding, shines like a new pin, the common areas are really nicely laid out (lots of accurate positives written on other reviews about the ship physically so won’t repeat here). The orderly line of senior exec staff when shown to our suite bonded well for the trip....alas, I’m sure they regretted knowing us so early on as we had to have a number of meetings during our 21 days! To be economical with review, I’ll summarize as follows: 1) The quality of the overall experience was far from a luxury, or near-luxury cruise line. Having been with Oceania, Azamara, they win hands down. Frankly, Princess has them beat on almost any service measure. Beyond the senior staff, generally staff appeared lacking in training, rushed and casual (tables were often left unbussed for ages...) 2) There is no real dedicated suite service which exists with every cruise line today. Our stewardess was delightful as a person, but was having as much holiday as we did it appeared, often off the ship on tours etc while our suite was not being serviced (we had asked for fresh ice at 4pm each day....we got it ONCE in 21 Days. As well, no limes, lemons etc for minibar ever appeared. 3) One attraction for this suite, as we are wine aficionados, was the ‘access to the owners wine collection’. Well, the wine cellar in suite on arrival was essentially comprehensively stocked with the same (crappy) white and red wines served free onboard anywhere or a couple of the ‘silver beverage pack’ (also crappy) alternatives. We had a meeting with the sommelier to properly restock this, who failed to concoct anything of interest and it was only by going to the cellar, speaking with Guest Relations and their #2 sommelier called Paul (who was terrific, knowledgeable, engaging and helpful unlike his ‘boss’) that we finally had decent wines. But here is the nonsense; the wines came from the cellar, but we had to then carry them to dinner to be served as their systems apparently are not smart enough to deal with the fact we had choice of any wines on board with our suite! 4) We missed one port entirely (I’le de Salut) due to an entirely Viking made screw up as they waited for a container of food to arrive in Barbados (which we later found out was the second time they had this logistics issue) with absolutely no apology or statement from them either on board or subsequently. Many passengers were irked by this. We also were almost habitually late in other Amazon locations, which shortened our time in Manaus and Belem, again as Viking had just not figured timing for tides, currents etc. again, no apology here. 5) Shore excursions organized were beyond poor, excepting in Paritins (Bo Bumba show) and Tobago (jungle trek, impacted only by too many people and no intelligent oversight to ensure folks were physically capable of the trek), which was outstanding. Not helped by a tour director who really was not either competent or pleasant, which was a shame as her staff were almost all excellent. 6) Dining was unexciting generally. The Chef’s Table is an interesting idea, rotating 5 menus served rather theatrically, but appeared to have a foam fetish on almost every dish! We hear the galleys have remarkably little influence over cuisine as Big Brother at Base Camp in Basel dictates pretty much everything (as seems to be the case on almost everything else on the ship). Manfredi’s is OK for a couple of meals, but honestly main dining does attempt variety. It’s a shame the dining room is so darned crowded and noisy - more cafe than restaurant. Cooking classes run by Chef Manuel were instructive and always fun (and we met some of the more interesting people at these events). I should say that the restaurant management (Viking doesn’t have Maitre d’s) were universally attentive and helpful. 7) Educational sessions were generally good - a nice touch, but entertainment not exactly a high point - a cruise director singing one night as an example....excepting a truly exceptional classical music trio who were delightful. 8) What happened to Christmas and New Year? While not looking for a major party, no sign of Christmas menu in any restaurant was rather shocking and the New Year event in the Atrium was not even attended by any senior executive management. 9) Communications: a remarkable lack of on board communication from the Captain was notable, with an expectation you would 'self serve' for information on the in-suite systems. Finally, we may have been on a unique cruise (many guests commented) but honestly the lack of any real dress codes etc was awful. We were appalled by the way folks would arrive for wine classes or dinner. And, average age MUCH older than we would have expected. We are reasonably lively 60- something’s but felt like teenagers! All told we still had a good time made by ourselves but fighting for what you have paid for, and total radio silence on our concerns, truly shocked us. The on board Management (excepting shore stuff) were always helpful and pleasant, but their hands appeared tied by Basel. Guest Services (Guiseppe) was always attentive but we felt sorry for him always needing to intervene!!

Viking needs to get their act together before expanding - disappointing

Viking Sea Cruise Review by m2mboss

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Chosen for both the itinerary as well as Viking reputation and reviews, this ‘christening cruise’ for Viking to figure out the Amazon itinerary was, frankly, poor. I’ll carry on with the review but note, up front, that more than 2 weeks since disembarking and three weeks since filing a detailed letter with the ship’s GM and our meeting on board (which also went to their Head of Customer Service in LA), Viking have failed to make any form of contact to discuss.

Pre-cruise Communications were poor, with little information about state of San Juan due to hurricane Maria and, we found out on board that a relatively large number had cancelled before departure due to concerns on this matter. However, as seasoned travelers, we were not concerned. Embarkation was spectacularly easy and attentive. The ship is genuinely outstanding, shines like a new pin, the common areas are really nicely laid out (lots of accurate positives written on other reviews about the ship physically so won’t repeat here). The orderly line of senior exec staff when shown to our suite bonded well for the trip....alas, I’m sure they regretted knowing us so early on as we had to have a number of meetings during our 21 days!

To be economical with review, I’ll summarize as follows:

1) The quality of the overall experience was far from a luxury, or near-luxury cruise line. Having been with Oceania, Azamara, they win hands down. Frankly, Princess has them beat on almost any service measure. Beyond the senior staff, generally staff appeared lacking in training, rushed and casual (tables were often left unbussed for ages...)

2) There is no real dedicated suite service which exists with every cruise line today. Our stewardess was delightful as a person, but was having as much holiday as we did it appeared, often off the ship on tours etc while our suite was not being serviced (we had asked for fresh ice at 4pm each day....we got it ONCE in 21 Days. As well, no limes, lemons etc for minibar ever appeared.

3) One attraction for this suite, as we are wine aficionados, was the ‘access to the owners wine collection’. Well, the wine cellar in suite on arrival was essentially comprehensively stocked with the same (crappy) white and red wines served free onboard anywhere or a couple of the ‘silver beverage pack’ (also crappy) alternatives. We had a meeting with the sommelier to properly restock this, who failed to concoct anything of interest and it was only by going to the cellar, speaking with Guest Relations and their #2 sommelier called Paul (who was terrific, knowledgeable, engaging and helpful unlike his ‘boss’) that we finally had decent wines. But here is the nonsense; the wines came from the cellar, but we had to then carry them to dinner to be served as their systems apparently are not smart enough to deal with the fact we had choice of any wines on board with our suite!

4) We missed one port entirely (I’le de Salut) due to an entirely Viking made screw up as they waited for a container of food to arrive in Barbados (which we later found out was the second time they had this logistics issue) with absolutely no apology or statement from them either on board or subsequently. Many passengers were irked by this. We also were almost habitually late in other Amazon locations, which shortened our time in Manaus and Belem, again as Viking had just not figured timing for tides, currents etc. again, no apology here.

5) Shore excursions organized were beyond poor, excepting in Paritins (Bo Bumba show) and Tobago (jungle trek, impacted only by too many people and no intelligent oversight to ensure folks were physically capable of the trek), which was outstanding. Not helped by a tour director who really was not either competent or pleasant, which was a shame as her staff were almost all excellent.

6) Dining was unexciting generally. The Chef’s Table is an interesting idea, rotating 5 menus served rather theatrically, but appeared to have a foam fetish on almost every dish! We hear the galleys have remarkably little influence over cuisine as Big Brother at Base Camp in Basel dictates pretty much everything (as seems to be the case on almost everything else on the ship). Manfredi’s is OK for a couple of meals, but honestly main dining does attempt variety. It’s a shame the dining room is so darned crowded and noisy - more cafe than restaurant. Cooking classes run by Chef Manuel were instructive and always fun (and we met some of the more interesting people at these events). I should say that the restaurant management (Viking doesn’t have Maitre d’s) were universally attentive and helpful.

7) Educational sessions were generally good - a nice touch, but entertainment not exactly a high point - a cruise director singing one night as an example....excepting a truly exceptional classical music trio who were delightful.

8) What happened to Christmas and New Year? While not looking for a major party, no sign of Christmas menu in any restaurant was rather shocking and the New Year event in the Atrium was not even attended by any senior executive management.

9) Communications: a remarkable lack of on board communication from the Captain was notable, with an expectation you would 'self serve' for information on the in-suite systems.

Finally, we may have been on a unique cruise (many guests commented) but honestly the lack of any real dress codes etc was awful. We were appalled by the way folks would arrive for wine classes or dinner. And, average age MUCH older than we would have expected. We are reasonably lively 60- something’s but felt like teenagers!

All told we still had a good time made by ourselves but fighting for what you have paid for, and total radio silence on our concerns, truly shocked us. The on board Management (excepting shore stuff) were always helpful and pleasant, but their hands appeared tied by Basel. Guest Services (Guiseppe) was always attentive but we felt sorry for him always needing to intervene!!
Viking Cruises, Community Team has responded
Dear m2mboss, We are disappointed to learn of your displeasure with some aspects of your cruise, and additionally, that we haven’t contacted you to follow up on your comments. We hope, however, that you allow us the opportunity to discuss your concerns directly with you. To discuss your feedback in detail, please send us your information to TellUs@vikingcruises.com so we can arrange for a Customer Relations Agent to reach out to you. Your feedback as a valued guest is important for us, and we hope to have the chance to speak to you. Thank you for reaching out to us, m2mboss, and we hope to hear from you soon. Best, Viking Cruises
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of The Independent Traveler, Inc.
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Cabin Review

Cabin 7001
The Owner’s Suite on Viking is truly that - the Owner’s Suite, not just a fancy Suite name now de rigeur on other lines! Don’t let size fool you unless you are runnning a business aboard; of the 1400 feet or so! At least 500 is a boardroom (which to be fair I used some of the time as my ‘quiet room’). The Suite is very nicely appointed, with nice furnishings, lots of personal ‘owners’ touches, private dining table and a stocked wine cabinet (see however main review!). The sauna is interesting and likely nice for a cold Baltic trip but, as the Amazon was it’s own sauna, of limited utility. More important, there is no bath, only a shower “the owner doesn’t like baths” and the heated bath floor much commented by reviewers also MIA in owners suite - for same reason! Perhaps installing an On/Off switch could meet all guests goals?! Also, by suite standards, the bedroom is rather small, having given so much to the boardroom....
Further, on arrival, despite ship being 18 months old and the top suite, the sauna didn’t work, the B&O sound system didn’t work (both fixed over several days of cruising), the iPad sound controller had to be reset 5 times during the cruise, and the verandah sliders required Tarzan to open them at any time. To cap it off, no loungers on verandah, only a sofa and semi-upright chairs.
But, comfortable, clean, and very conveniently located. Not worth 2x premium over Explorer Suite under any circumstance however with little in way of quality service or attention to detail in the on-board experience

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews