Viking Orion Cruise Review by jamessmng
- Sail Date: April 2019
- Destination: Asia
The food was good, with the usual choices, and wine and beer and specialty coffee were included with every meal. I like the large selection of fruits, and the generous but not overwhelming portions of the sit down meals. There are two alternative restaurants which required booking. One of them pretended to offer oriental cuisine but I wasn't impressed. The menu consisted of a four course meal, each with a different choice of wine.
The on board staff was efficient, very courteous, and eager to please. Service desk is open 24-7. Services were offered with smiles and humor. All my request for information and change of land excursions were resolved promptly.
The itinerary includes a free excursion for each port visited, with a reasonably good selection of alternatives for additional fees. The ship stayed more than one day in most ports, which means that you will have plenty of time to explore on your own, if you do not sign up with the offered alternative excursions. However, some of the excursions were "sold out" as soon as booking became available. Many of the excursions lived up to expectation; the scenic boat tours of the beautiful Ha Long Bay were memorable. For some excursions, the descriptions on Viking's web site were more enticing than the actual trip, e.g., the "Ream National Park" trip in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, was no more than a long boat ride on a river. It was a relaxing ride, but I failed to see the flora and fauna mentioned in the Viking brochure, neither did the local guide point out any interesting features. Some of the land excursions took more than 2 hours to reach the destinations, because the ports were far from any interesting sites. I wish the long traveling time was clearly stated in the trip description. One of the excursions that I signed up was modified one day before the trip, without a clear explanation of the reason for the change.
One of the places I really looked forward to visiting was Haikou, China, but this was taken out of the itinerary a month before the cruise started. The stated reason was "poor feedback from past guests" which I doubt was the true reason. My email to Viking requesting further explanation was never returned. Another feature which attracted me to this cruise was the advertised $600 deduction for air fare. Before I joined, Viking assured me that I could choose any airline, but in the end, they could not book me on the airline of my choice, and I had to forgo the $600 deduction.
If you are looking for a relaxing cruise, with high quality enrichment programs and lots of free time, and don't mind paying a little more for the services, this cruise is for you.
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