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9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
My wife and I were anxious to try the much touted Viking Ocean. We booked a one week Rome to Barcelona cruise with a three-day pre-cruise Umbria extension. We made our own flight arrangements in order to assure only direct flights to and ... Read More
My wife and I were anxious to try the much touted Viking Ocean. We booked a one week Rome to Barcelona cruise with a three-day pre-cruise Umbria extension. We made our own flight arrangements in order to assure only direct flights to and from. We were, however, obligated to arrive on the day our extension began. Would have preferred to arrive a day or two earlier and meet the Viking guides at the airport but we were told this could not be done. I have since found out that there is a way around this by booking private transportation to the extension hotel for the first night there. Another couple in our group did this. The Umbria extension was outstanding. I have reviewed this elsewhere. Transportation from the extension to the ship was flawless though we didn't arrive until 5:00 PM with only a half hour until muster drill. As for the cruise itself, I must say that I readily understand the high marks given by the vast majority of its guests. The spotless ship, its gracious crew, its many amenities and very comfortable accommodations validate the acclamations. For me, however, there is one very prominent deficiency. This is dining. Let me hasten to say that the majority will probably disagree with me. I add this note in hopes of dissuading the many Viking defenders from venting. Folks, it's just a matter of some like chocolate while others prefer vanilla. Dining on Viking tends to be casual, and is meant to be. Of the various venues, The Restaurant (main dining room) is the only one with table linens. All others use plastic place mats. The World Cafe is the “buffet” which is cafeteria style self-service for everything except beverages which are served. This is very popular for a variety of good reasons. Guests who are in a hurry, who prefer to wear more casual clothes than suggested for other venues, who like to fill their plates with a variety of offerings, love this place. The World Cafe is always open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are two “specialty” restaurants, Manfredi's and The Chef's Table. Manfredi's has a very interesting menu with an Italian theme. The offerings are delicious and portions tend to be large. Service is as helter-skelter here as it is in all other service venues. I'll explain later. The Chef's Table offers a set menu which changes every several days. These two alternative restaurants serve dinner only and only by reservation. The remaining three food outlets are the Living Room bar, Mansen's (a Norwegian deli), and the Pool Grill. All with very good but limited menus. Of course, there is always the 24-hour option of room service which arrives promptly, on a tray, and must be consumed from your lap or shagged to the balcony table, unless you have a suite which includes a dining table. So what's my beef? Service! Everyone, in every mentioned venue and in every other part of the ship, is as gracious, friendly and accommodating as possible. It is the method obviously prescribed for them in the restaurants that troubles me. In all restaurants, one's server will introduce himself, or herself, and state that they will take care of you. That may be the only time you see him or her. Someone else may take your order, another to ask about wine, still another to bring the first course and so on. If you stick to three courses as shown on the menu this is OK. However if you veer from this, confusion and unwarranted delay result. Requesting a salad to be served after the main course, asking for a small serving of a main for a starter, or a large serving of a starter for a main just doesn't work when dealing with multiple servers. Asking one if San Pellegrino is available and being told yes, and later being told no by another, just doesn't work. This MO was very much more evident in Manfredi's and The Chef's Table than in The Restaurant. For this reason I preferred The Restaurant. We had two reservations in Manfredi's and two in The Chef's Table. We canceled one in each to return to The Restaurant. We would have been delighted to take all three meals every day in The Restaurant. Unfortunately The Restaurant serves lunch only occasionally when at sea, and does not serve breakfast before 8:00 AM which means you must dine elsewhere in order to make a early morning tour. With that off my chest, let me say that we enjoyed our first Viking cruise and would not be adverse to taking another. I am old but still a pretty fast learner and can work around the dining issues. I do want to offer special kudos to Natalie, the charming young lady who manned the desk at the entrance to The Restaurant, who always greeted me by name and “two chairs” as I preferred any table so long as it had two chairs (no banquet seat); and to Gregory from Armenia who took good care of us at the Living Room bar and saw to it that I had my breakfast oatmeal cookie in the morning and my Maker's Mark in the evening. I score our Viking cruise a 9 out of 10. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this cruise to try out Viking Ocean cruises. It was a very nice experience! Low key luxury & excellent service! We chose a penthouse veranda for the extra space. It was super nice! This was a port-intensive cruise - ... Read More
We chose this cruise to try out Viking Ocean cruises. It was a very nice experience! Low key luxury & excellent service! We chose a penthouse veranda for the extra space. It was super nice! This was a port-intensive cruise - Livorno, Monte Carlo, Marseille & Barcelona - so no sea days. But we still managed to use the pool, gym & restaurants. All good except Chef’s Table - we didn’t care for Lotus Menu. This would not be a cruise for those desiring nonstop action. Music & dancing were available but no Big Shows, acres of shops, or rock climbing walls... Quiet, classy & no kids under 18 allowed. The ports were amazing - it was hot weather, but that’s summer...we loved Florence & Marseille especially. We only did 2 Viking excursions - in Marseille (Chateau Flauguerges wine tasting) & a panoramic tour of Barcelona. The former was extra & the latter included. Others we booked on our own. A great cruise! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We fell in love once we were on board. Over the top service and warm compassionate crew and servers. We made some new friends and managed to share some laughs and some tears as well. Since we got the free upgrade to The Owner's ... Read More
We fell in love once we were on board. Over the top service and warm compassionate crew and servers. We made some new friends and managed to share some laughs and some tears as well. Since we got the free upgrade to The Owner's Suite (TOS) from our explorers suite, Viking did everything in their power to make magic happen on all levels for our 30th anniversary. Attention to detail at every corner and smiling faces at every occasion. That is until we had to leave our cabin and our steward Olivera behind. She made a lasting impression on us and touched our heart. Olivera would make a great Miss America coach one day as she has the ability to take any humble lady and make her realize why she is special and why she deserves to enjoy every aspect of the cruise including spa and take advantage of all the benefits that come with TOS. A special thanks to Olivera, Wendy, Daniel and Hector for making the private party happen with such passionate care. Special thanks to Manuel for his expert planning at the last minute when one of our excursions was canceled (we were the only ones who booked it). Also special thanks to John at the gelato bar and Sara who served up smiles at the same time she served your Sangria and everything else. We pray one day to meet up with this crew and servers again. As far as the excursions go, we felt that we got more out of the custom tours we planned than the major bus excursions. The Vatican museum was pure madness and we should have booked a private excursion there. What folks should take away is that the included tours are going to be super popular ones and the majority of the other tours will still be popular. Our favorite dining experiences were with Manfredi's and The Chef's Table. The calamari at Manfredi's is light and crispy, and they treat their seafood and meat dishes with respect. Daniel and Hector do a great job with their themed fixed menu at the Chef's Table. On the ship, I found the pools to be limiting but at least with Viking they are not crowded. The heated pool area on deck 1 features a slippery set of stairs that I slipped on and tore a gash in my right ankle which is now all black and blue. My issue was that I presumed if it was a pool step it would be like my personal pool and be a little rough on the step surface. I should have planned better, but Viking could make some additional safety precautions in my opinion. Overall, we would definitely book again, and have already planned our next outing to Australia and New Zealand over Thanksgiving 2020. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We booked our Viking Mediterranean Odyssey cruise and pre-stay in Venice We traveled with another couple, two close friends, who also booked with the same agency, Cruise Planners. In just about every aspect, this trip exceeded our ... Read More
We booked our Viking Mediterranean Odyssey cruise and pre-stay in Venice We traveled with another couple, two close friends, who also booked with the same agency, Cruise Planners. In just about every aspect, this trip exceeded our expectations. Our pre-stay in Venice was perfect. What a wonderful city for exploring the maze of narrow streets, canals, shops, and restaurants. Viking put us up in the Hilton Molino Stucky hotel in Venice. The hotel was beautiful with very clean and spacious rooms, a great location away from the crowds, and just a short complimentary water taxi ride to St Marks Square. With our pre-stay and overnight in Venice on the ship, we had a total of three days in Venice - a great beginning to a great cruise. Our ship, the Viking Star, immediately impressed us. This ship was Viking’s first ocean ship and therefore its oldest, but you wouldn't have known that. With its modern, bright Scandinavian decor, it was one of the cleanest ships we have ever seen. Viking included complimentary wine and beer at lunch and dinner, transfers, and two on-board specialty restaurants. Wi-Fi was free and unlimited, and it worked well in cabins and public areas – better than any of the other ships we have sailed. At sea, we were even able to use the Wi-Fi for face time and Wi-Fi phone calls, which is impossible on most cruise ships. One of the most enjoyable complementary inclusions was the Nordic spa, which had a salt water thalassotherapy pool, a steam room, a hot tub, a sauna, heated ceramic lounge chairs and a cold plunge pool, as well as a unique "snow grotto". We also enjoyed the unique infinity pool with a great view from atop the stern of the ship as we cruised along. The ship layout was easy to learn, and navigate as it had a nice, common sense flow to its design. Before our trip we attended a Viking presentation and were told that a ship of this size would normally accommodate about 1200 passengers, yet Viking reduces that to 930 passengers, giving the ship a less crowded feel. This isn't something I put a lot of faith in. After all, when is the last time you cruised and the ship didn’t feel crowded, especially around the buffet? However, Viking was right. The ship really didn’t feel crowded at all. It was easy to relax and enjoy the ship amenities, and we never had a problem getting a lounge chair like many other ships. We had stops in Split, Dubrovnik, Corfu, Naples, Rome, Florence, Monte Carlo, Marseille, and Barcelona with a day at sea. At each port, Viking supplied a free included tour. Most of these were walking tours with some better than others, but we were able to break away from the tour at any time and always had ample time to explore on our own. In addition, there were opportunities to book additional tours at cost. One of the best was an all-day small group tour with a separate tour provider, the Shore Excursion Group, that we did of the Amalfi, Positano, and Sorrento coast with two other couples – a remarkable day that we will always remember. We felt that the food on the ship was OK – not bad but not outstanding either. The important thing to note was that there are several venues for eating, so finding something to our liking was never a problem. As an example for dinner, we had choices of the two specialty restaurants (with reservations), the main dining restaurant, the world café (buffet) and a themed buffet provided at the pool-side grill. The onboard entertainment was very good, with a solo guitarist, solo pianist, string duo, house band and a house vocalist quartet. There were two occasions when local entertainment was brought onboard and we felt that Viking has the opportunity to improve their shipboard entertainment by bringing more good off-Vegas talent onboard for short periods in a manner similar to other cruiselines like Celebrity. The service from the crew was outstanding and the staff seemed genuinely cheerier than what we have seen on other cruise lines. One crew member, who had worked the cruise industry for many years, on several of the major cruise lines told us that Viking was the best company to work for. He told us they really took care of its employees and in his opinion life with Viking was much nicer than any of his other gigs. This positive attitude showed from all of the staff that we encountered throughout the ship. We had a wonderful cruise experience from Viking and Cruise Planners and look forward to more in the future. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We’d traveled with Viking twice before on their river cruises and love the Viking experience. I took my wife on her first cruise experience to the western Caribbean on one of those large ships and it was a disaster. So I convinced my ... Read More
We’d traveled with Viking twice before on their river cruises and love the Viking experience. I took my wife on her first cruise experience to the western Caribbean on one of those large ships and it was a disaster. So I convinced my bride we should try a Viking Ocean Cruise and neither one of us had been to Italy so the Odyssey made sense We started our trip with the Tuscany pre-sailing stay and were so glad we did. They put us up in a beautiful Tuscan Villa just outside of Florence and it couldn’t have been more charming. The accommodations were excellent, the service outstanding and the views were what you’ve seen in movies and pictures. We were taken on full day tours in high end motor coaches with a guide who put all other guides to shame. The tours were nice but as usual, the local guides tried to pump too much information into your ear so off we went to explore on our own once the meeting place and times were set. We enjoy the local shops & such but live just finding a small outdoor cafe and having a coffee or a glass of wine with some small nibbles. Viking bussed us to Venice where we picked up the Viking Star. What a beautiful ship. For a small ship it was quite large. But by comparison, we were docked next to the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Sea and we were tiny by comparison. We had cabin 8007 which we found to be a perfect location. The ship was easy to learn and easy to get around. The first thing you notice is how warm and friendly the crew is. From the stateroom stewards to the bar tenders, waiters, kitchen staff, etc. We spoke to many of the staff we came in contact with and they were genuinely happy to be there despite the hard work and long hours. To a person they all thought Viking was the best of all the cruise lines to work for. There were bars & restaurants all around the ship so getting a drink or a little something to eat was never an issue. There is the World Cafe buffet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, The Restaurant for breakfast & dinner and two other specialty restaurants that required reservations. Viking has a casual attitude so resort casual is fine for all the restaurants and pretty much anything goes in the buffet. So gentleman, leave your suits and sports coats at home. The real treasure is up in the Explorers Lounge which has a fabulous bar and lounge overlooking the bow of the ship as well as a little cafe that serves the best breakfast waffle you’ve ever eaten and then later in the day some of the best desserts. Cannot recommend it more. There is a wonder spa, workout facility, and an area near the spa with a hot pool, sauna, steam room and a snow grotto. Kinda crazy fun. The included tours and fine for getting around the various ports of call but there are many optional tours available as well at an additional expense. Check those out on line. The included tour in Rome was our least favorite so if there’s something really specific you want to see or do there, book that. Overall, I’m not sure you could have a better cruising experience than with Viking. Nothing in life is perfect but Viking seems to get as close as humanly possible. Now, I’ll caveat that with if you’re a whiny type who just likes to complain about the littlest thing, we’ll, nothing’s going to make you happy so just stay home so the rest of the passengers can enjoy themselves. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
I hate writing bad reviews but, with the money we spent well over $25,000. We choose this cruise line because we had heard so many wonderful things about Viking. We had been looking forward to this cruise for a year. This to us was not a ... Read More
I hate writing bad reviews but, with the money we spent well over $25,000. We choose this cruise line because we had heard so many wonderful things about Viking. We had been looking forward to this cruise for a year. This to us was not a Mid-Luxury Cruise. We have been on many cruise lines average, mid luxury and Luxury. We selected the Explorer suite aft #5109 for the size of cabin. There is no value you here as many things were skimped upon and I suspect awards bought for by Travel and Leisure for marketing purposes. Will never sail again with Viking. Costly mistake $$$$. Cabin: Upon our arrival the mini fridge was not working and warm. They replaced it the next day. The cabin was so hot we had them turn off the heated floors in the bath room. I am sure it nice to have this feature in a colder climate. It was 75 outside in Athens and very humid throughout the entire trip. The suite is roomy but, not as roomy as others we have been on in this category still comfortable in size but, just not worth the extra dollars we spent. The bed was hard as a rock and very uncomfortable. They had to place a topper on it but, still it was very uncomfortable. Would not recommend for arthritis or lower back issues. There is no storage in the living area and furniture is not comfortable for sitting, reading or watching a movie not to mention the angle of the furniture. The room is pleasant and the Scandinavian look is just not practical. Bath towels were thin and scratchy and although the bathroom is very roomy and beautiful even after cleaning efficiently twice daily by our steward smelled consistently of mold because the water from the shower sits on the floor and even though it is pitched doesn’t drain properly or quickly. Water pressure is very good. Also only one plug for the hair drying located in the tight closet underneath the shelf which is totally inconvenient. You have to get on your hands and knees to plug it in. Should have been placed above near the mirror. You can not use a hairdryer in the bathroom on any ship. Always seemed like the a/c would go off when in port and the cabin would get hot. Awful smells from the new carpet glue they installed in front of our door at 10:00pm. The smell never dissipated and smelled throughout the rest of our trip along with the smell of petroleum when they would fill up in port. Ship: The ship is beautiful but, the decor seems repetitive but, certainly not a deal breaker. Similar looking furniture throughout the cabin and ship. It is spacious so it does feel as though there are few people on board. Lots of space to be alone which was nice. Food: I never thought I could say this about any cruise line but, the food was the worst. I am not that picky of a eater nor is my husband but, the Buffett choices were so skimpy and almost all food over cooked. Beef tough, fish dry, no semblance of theme. Nothing exciting here very basic. The same repetitive things for lunch and dinner for 14 days and nights. Rice, potatoes, a meat sometimes attempts at ethic foods again either tasteless or over cooked. I ended up eating a lot of salad. They do include beer and wine with lunch and dinner but, mostly table wine. Not exactly how I saw that going. So disappointing! The Chef’s table was very good but, the menu repeated for 3-4 days and you can’t eat there every night as you have limited times and reservations. On the many attempts to the Restaurant(main) the sign said closed check your daily newsletter.....what? Why not post the times. When it was supposed to be opened it was closed. One day for lunch we stayed on board and ate at The Pool Grill. There was absolutely not another person on board guessing all on excursions. We had already been to the port so we decided on lunch. Our first clue should have been the 10 or so hamburgers stacked up in a pan under a heat lamp. We ordered and the cook place them back on the grill. My husband definitely felt ill that night. We brought this up to the restaurant manager and he said that is not acceptable to precook them and he would speak to the chef. Two days later we saw for steak and lobster night 8 steaks same pan same location same heat lamp. I guess he was just placating us. Live and learn. Staff and service: The staff is overall very good and for the most part always there to try and help although some could use some better customer service skills such as the Explorer desk who at the end just didn’t want to help with something as simple as a plastic bag. Cabin steward excellent Dwe worked hard to keep things in our cabin tip top. We tipped him generously because he worked so hard and was so on the ball. Excursions: Mostly good except we did have one guide in Olympia who just droned on spewing out factoids which was grating. This can happen on any cruise so again not a deal breaker. But, tours were very well organized. The thing that was annoying is you didn’t have a time to meet for your excursion until the night before. Not sure why but, they were on time so maybe that’s why. They do provide headsets that recharge in your room. Don’t forgot them or you are out of luck. We saw several people who forgot them and didn’t have them for tours. We always brought them. They are great devices but, then you so have to lug them around remember to bring them. Spa: Spa was very nice and including the pools, saunas and snow grotto interesting. When I went to change and shower there was no body lotion? Again skimping. I mean if you allow people to use the spa why only provide hand soap and hand lotion? WiFi The so called free WiFi is WORTHLESS!!! It didn’t work for most 90% of the time on board. Tech came down and checked it but, it kept disconnecting even while he was there checking it. He couldn’t figure it out and said they just changed it and have had problems with it in the past. I needed to be in contact with our house sitter as we had a problem in the basement. I ended up having to use my cell because it kept disconnecting and couldn’t text or email. My bill was over $500. I had planned on using their WiFi to stay in touch. I do understand satellite internet isn’t the best but, this happened even in port. Don’t offer WIFI If you can’t deliver. Just another thing someone dropped the ball on because this is a new ship that should not have happen. It was so slow nothing would load. In closing there are things one can overlook on any trip or cruise. The little annoyance certainly yes. This was not the case here. We spent a great amount of money and were taken for an expensive ride. Never Again! Buyer beware! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We left Venice May 6th on Viking Star on the "Empires of the Mediterranean".....a long anticipated trip which turned out to be almost as wonderful as we imagined! Our cabin (6087) was spacious and we did spend a lot of time ... Read More
We left Venice May 6th on Viking Star on the "Empires of the Mediterranean".....a long anticipated trip which turned out to be almost as wonderful as we imagined! Our cabin (6087) was spacious and we did spend a lot of time there enjoying the view from our balcony. The Star is a beautiful ship from one end to the other and we quickly discovered our favorite spot was the Explorer's Lounge with wide windows and comfortable seats and a great bar (be sure to get the Silver Spirits package!). We enjoyed our meals in the speciality restaurants much more than the World Cafe which is pretty much a buffet with lots of choices but it became not as special after a few days. However, our time on the Star was compared at every turn to our River Cruise last year on the Viking longboat, Mani. WE LOVED THAT CRUISE! Having a small number of people on a ship certainly makes it easier to make friends which makes for a much happier time! We met three couples almost immediately and we bonded for the whole trip and still are in contact. I hear a lot of people saying the same thing about making friends on a River Cruise. The Ocean ships have over 900 people and not as much opportunity to make friends as there are so many options available for activities and dining. We truly love anything Viking though! Hope for more cruises but the trip over the pond is getting harder and harder. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This is our second Viking ocean cruise and we have already booked our third! The ship is luxuriously appointed with comfortable seating everywhere. There is a choice of dining venues from the informal World Cafe to the Chef's ... Read More
This is our second Viking ocean cruise and we have already booked our third! The ship is luxuriously appointed with comfortable seating everywhere. There is a choice of dining venues from the informal World Cafe to the Chef's Table. Food is outstanding at each and every venue. The onboard "enrichment" (lectures, talks, films etc.) were all most interesting and enjoyable, with some outstandingly good speakers. The expeditions were also excellent, well planned and interesting. They even provide a 'shuttle bus' service for passengers wishing to arrange their own excursions. The exercise and spa facilities are just the best ever. The sauna, steam room, snow cabin, swimming pools and other installations are But the thing that really makes Viking the BEST is the staff. Every member of the ship's crew and staff wants to make their guests as happy and comfortable as possible. Any small problems that may arise are dealt with promptly and courteously. Viking are not the cheapest, but they are undoubtedly the best value for money. I'm counting the weeks until our next Viking cruise! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Wonderful cruise! We traveled with another couple and had side by side rooms. Our cabins were beautiful and spotless. We were thrilled that they were able to open the veranda divider while at ports. Apparently, this partition must be ... Read More
Wonderful cruise! We traveled with another couple and had side by side rooms. Our cabins were beautiful and spotless. We were thrilled that they were able to open the veranda divider while at ports. Apparently, this partition must be closed while the ship is in motion. This made visiting back and forth so easy! We chose the included tours at each port, and couldn’t have been more pleased. Due to winds we stopped at Villefranche instead of Monaco. It turned out to be one of our favorite towns, and Viking still provided us with a short bus trip to Monaco. We did hear a few older passengers stating that the excursions were more strenuous than they expected. We are all in our 60’s, and had no problem at all. The food was excellent, and the silver spirits package was well worth it! The nights we made it to the evening (9:15) show...it was great, especially when local entertainers came onboard. The staff was fantastic! I would definitely recommend this cruise. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This was a cruise of a lifetime! I will probably run out of superlatives by the end of this review. Before our cruise, we had a pre-cruise extension through Viking to Florence, Tuscany & Siena. It was an amazing experience - the ... Read More
This was a cruise of a lifetime! I will probably run out of superlatives by the end of this review. Before our cruise, we had a pre-cruise extension through Viking to Florence, Tuscany & Siena. It was an amazing experience - the Villa La Veronica was a great place to stay, our Viking host Francesca was the best, and Valentina our bus driver was a gem. We got to see Florence, Siena, and San Gimignano, all with excellent tour guides. We ate wonderful lunches and dinners with lots of wine, and met some of our fellow cruisers. A perfect start to our adventure! We boarded the Viking Jupiter in Venice. We have been on a few Viking river cruises so we were somewhat prepared for the style of the ship and our stateroom. We were in a DV2 cabin which was a good size for the two of us. We had plenty of storage space, drawers and closet. The bed was very comfortable and the bathroom was large enough for al our toiletries. Loved the drawers in the bathroom, made it easy to keep our stuff organized. We enjoyed exploring the ship - so many cozy spaces to relax, have a drink, listen to music, just chill. Our favorite spot was the Viking Bar, especially for pre-dinner drinks with either the classical trio or pianist Christina playing in the background. For scenic cruising we went to the Explorer's Lounge with its panoramic view. The food on the ship was wonderful. We typically ate breakfast in the World Café (buffet) because we usually had an early excursion and no time for a leisurely meal. The breakfast choices were extensive and service was very good. We rarely ate lunch, although we did have to try the Mamsen's waffle and Success Cake - delicious! We also enjoyed afternoon tea in the Wintergarden. Our dinners were mostly in the Restaurant. Lots of choice, including local items every night, as well as lobster twice during the cruise and prime rib. The wine list was extensive - we had the Silver Spirits package and enjoyed choosing a different wine every night. We ate once at Manfredi's - wonderful food and wine. Our favorite meal was our night at the Chef's Table - we chose the Xiang Asian menu and it was "to die for." The wine pairings with the food were perfect. Our cruise director Vicki was delightful. She was entertaining and funny and interacted with all the passengers. We enjoyed her show "Ship Happens." The Viking entertainers put on some great shows - ABBA Songbook, Decades, Beatles. The classical music from the trio and Christina added a nice touch to many spaces on the ship. We also enjoyed several of the enrichment lectures and appreciated the opportunity to meet and converse with the speakers. The only local show we attended were the folk dancers from Corfu, who were very good. Service - what can I say? Ask for anything and you will get it. Every crew member we met was friendly and went out of their way to make our experience a good one. We especially appreciated our room steward Leilani who made our room perfect for us. Our favorite waiters, Natata, Gjoko, and Michael at the Viking Bar and Nadia in the Explorer's Lounge were special. And - I don't remember his name - the maitre'd in the Restaurant who always remembered our name, very impressive. This review is already too long but...the ports and shore excursions were outstanding and very well organized We toured Venice, Split, Dubrovnik, Corfu, Pompeii, Rome, Pisa, Le Castellet (France) and Barcelona. We were a little disappointed to miss Monaco, could not anchor there due to bad weather, but nothing anybody can do about that. Overall this was an outstanding experience, one we will always remember. The ship, the people, the ports - everything came together for us and we enjoyed it all! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I recently returned from Journey to the Antiquities trip, March 23 to April 6, on the brand new Viking Jupiter boat. I was looking forward to an amazing trip with my 84 year old mother. This was probably going to be her last big trip. We ... Read More
I recently returned from Journey to the Antiquities trip, March 23 to April 6, on the brand new Viking Jupiter boat. I was looking forward to an amazing trip with my 84 year old mother. This was probably going to be her last big trip. We expected the best from this lovely new ship. What we got, was not. Here are my Explorer suite 3000 issues, and they are significant issues. So significant that I feel that any future passenger considering booking that room should be aware of, particularly on the cruise/travel websites… For their own good, since no one prepared me for those issues. The furniture was incredibly uncomfortable. Loveseat should have been a couch, and the two arm chairs were stiff like doctor's office furniture, and so hard and had to use bed pillows to make them usable for seating. They should have club chairs or some other softer seating for the amount of time spent in the room, which most people do when choosing a suite!!! especially so you don't have to run around the boat looking for seating! Transition/threshold strip between bathroom and bedroom was almost 2 inches high. We tripped constantly on it. What made this dangerous was during the night when my mom would need to use the bathroom. Not a frustration. Dangerous! Standing water in the shower. The water never drained, because the drain is on the right hand side of a square shower, parallel to the door, not in the center of the shower. It had to be dried daily by the housekeeping staff. Dangerous for my 85 year old mother to be in standing water taking a shower. This is a design flaw and two engineers came and took pictures. I recently renovated my home so I know a shower either needs to be pitched or the drain needs to be in the center. Neither in this case. And OMG, the worst - The noise!! Incredibly loud as we were directly over an anchor and the “thrusters” (according to the first officer who told me). From an hour prior to docking each time at port, arriving or departing, the noise level was unbelievable, the room shakes and vibrates, and would wake us out of sound sleep… and spaced over a few minutes each time, for over an hour. The noise was like a JACKHAMMER right next to us. Unbelievably loud. Even the TV on highest volume, could not be heard. 7 times in the morning, with 5 being at 6am. I’ve never heard noise that direct, and that loud, so close. It was deafening. I will try to upload the video of the noise if I can. Outside the room, in the hallway, was no noise at all. I contacted guest services several times. No offer of another room was made. I assume the boat was at capacity. I was told by Geoff, guest services manager, that this would be escalated to Viking headquarters. I confirmed I would be speaking to them upon my return. I have videos and pictures/proof of everything. I have attached some. The general public should know, as should the next passenger who spends $21,000 on this room. $5,000 for an average one week vacation (x2 for a 15 day cruise), is one thing. $21,000 is another. This was supposed to be a first class trip. In speaking to your customer service department upon my return, a rep, informed me that she could offer me a gesture of $250 voucher per person on my next Viking cruise. I will respond with exactly how I responded to her. “Are you joking?” A $500 “gesture” on a trip that I paid over $27,000 for??? And you want a second chance to impress me with a $500 voucher? You did not impress me the first time, and completely misled me and my investment in this journey, and you want a second chance, when I don’t get a second chance to pick a room that had no issues/less noise??? For the amount of money I paid you, I find that disgraceful! There should be some way to inform a selective passenger of the noise volume in that room. It was the most unpleasant wake up call each time we pulled in, and for the times we were in the room upon departure. And a gesture of that amount to offset what I paid YOU/Viking for the experience and ROOM??? Even my travel agent earned more in a commission on the booking than what your rep was offering me." Subsequent calls and emails to Viking customer service. No one seems to care that I overpaid and was dissatisfied. No, our trip didn't hit a huge storm and the piano did not go flying across the floor, but for the money I paid, 6 months prior to even traveling, you should be ashamed and do something about making HIGH paying passengers happy. I could have taken a $5000 cabin and not had any of these issues. What is so frustrating, is that Viking is treating complaints this way. I've emailed the CEO and senior management team multiple times already. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was our 4th cruise on Viking and each cruise gets better and better. Service, food, friendly atmosphere, tours, the ship and rooms are all top notch. We decided to stay in a PV3 cabin and really enjoyed the extra space usually we ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise on Viking and each cruise gets better and better. Service, food, friendly atmosphere, tours, the ship and rooms are all top notch. We decided to stay in a PV3 cabin and really enjoyed the extra space usually we stay in a DV cabin. We decided to mainly take this cruise for the 3 days in Israel and we were not disappointed. We decided to do a private tour in Israel as there were 10 of us and we booked through Guided Tours of Israel who did an excellent job. We could not ask for a better tour guide and driver. My least favorite port was Naples - quite dirty. The lectures on board were very interesting - especially the ones about Israel. The lectures were well attended, the lecture ended at 6:30 pm and everyone headed for the dinning room we did not have a long wait but Viking served champagne to all waiting in line and they did this several times - this is just an example of their service. They had several lunch specials around the pool , such as grilled salmon, mussels, and a fantastic brunch on one of our sea days served from 10 am to 1 pm. Excellent food stations and they served Bloody Mary's, champagne and Mimosas! Viking is a excellent cruise line, they care about the passengers and again you can not beat the service - we have booked 2 additional cruises with Viking. Entertainment is good, we always enjoyed going to the Living Room around 6 pm for a cocktail and the music. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We had an extraordinary experience on the Viking Star, exciting enough to book this trip on the Jupiter before we disembarked from the Star! And the Jupiter was fantastic, thus we booked our third cruise for 2020! The Jupiter is a new ... Read More
We had an extraordinary experience on the Viking Star, exciting enough to book this trip on the Jupiter before we disembarked from the Star! And the Jupiter was fantastic, thus we booked our third cruise for 2020! The Jupiter is a new ship and it had a few "new ship" blips; our volume on our tv was intermittent for 24 hours and the closet light wouldn't go off. Both of these were handled by our room steward Harias with speed and effectiveness. His service put Viking ahead of other cruise lines. Also, the delivery of the next day's menu for ordering vegetarian dinners did not always arrive to our stateroom in a timely manner. Marko, the dining room manager explained the situation but it was a bit frustrating. Staff were exceptional. Our waiter, Budi was the person who took care of us on the Star. He remembered us, remembered our preferences and we were served dark rolls for dinner and our beverages choices were ready when we sat down. Vegetarian options were available, nicely prepared but admittedly the dining room manager was not as involved with us. Entertainment by Viking Classical Trio was also a wonderful, repeat surprise. The pianist and guitar player on board, were also excellent but admittedly we are groupies of the Trio and went to as many of their performances as was feasible. Excursions were very good. Guides were exceptional but for one tour. Viking does a great job of vetting their guide services and we appreciate it. We travel for the experience of history and seeing the sites thus we appreciate that tours do not include "shopping" but rather Viking builds in "free time" in a location that can be explored with interest which may include, but doesn't focus on tee shirt shopping. In summary, Viking Ocean has proven to be service oriented, dedicated to making our experience worthy of repeating so we can travel to yet unseen locations. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
The Viking Jupiter is lovely, lovely new ship. I believe we were its third sailing. Since the ship carries less than 1000 passengers I was surprised how big it was when we first pulled up in Civitavecchia. After being on board a couple ... Read More
The Viking Jupiter is lovely, lovely new ship. I believe we were its third sailing. Since the ship carries less than 1000 passengers I was surprised how big it was when we first pulled up in Civitavecchia. After being on board a couple of days you realize that the size for that number of passengers results in many public spaces to relax. In fact, with so many areas for folks to enjoy you get the sense that you are on a ship with many less people. In tandem with that concept it seems there is a lot of staff available. A side note here, most of the good cruise lines, big and small, have good staffs. The Viking staff may be the best as any I have encountered in over 20 cruises. A difference is that there are so many of them to meet the passengers needs. I wish I knew the ratio. For example, when someone leaves the pool area almost instantly an attendant shows up to remove spent towels and add new ones. As a result, it is easy to spot open chaises and just makes the whole area appear more attractive. Most of the staff's demeanor is friendly but not so much as to be even a little bit over friendly (a fine line that may be most appealing to their older clientele). You do get the sense and we were even told that the staff is very happy to be working for Viking. As for appearance, the ship appropriately is done in Scandinavian style with blond wood, leather and pleasant blues throughout. Their towels and blankets (both very plentiful) were in the same color scheme and felt very high quality (note to self: why didn't you ask to buy a blanket?). The result is a calming and pleasant setting in every area of the ship. It is an easy ship to get to know and the elevators and stairs were never crowded even when folks were leaving for port excursions. Signage is generally excellent except for a couple of floors where arrows pointing to lounges would have been more helpful. A neat feature is the sign between elevators shows you where to disembark for excursions. The pool area in many ways is the star of the ship. Since it has a roll back roof, it is used for buffets, special events and just relaxing when the outside temperature would be too low to sit out. Examples: embarkation day -- poolside grill open for passengers with grill and salad bar doing a great job; two special evening events -- a seafood buffet night and a tapas with excellent sangria night BEFORE dinner. Both were excellent with plentiful staff clearing tables and pouring wine. Never thought I would do afternoon tea but enjoyed it greatly on the other side of the pool with a tremendous staff serving inside the Wintergarden and in the poolside lounge. Doretty (spelling?) from Peru took excellent care of her area. It should be mentioned that the crew really is an international crew with staff hailing from Asia, Europe and South America all of whom spoke impeccable English. The dining room is gorgeous, the two specialty restaurants Manfreddi's and Chef's Table were very lovely with our enjoying the Chef's Table a bit more. Maybe, it was the service of Ivan and his assistant waiter, maybe their innovative twists of food, or maybe the best damn dessert I ever ate. We would have loved to go back but ran out of time. The World Cafe is just plain wonderful. It is the spot most people chose for breakfast. Great, great, great. Entertainment is appropriate for the clientele. Shows start kinda early and generally by 9:30 are ended. The shows themselves were very well attended and met the needs of the passengers, i. e. high octane shows featuring music of the Beatles, ABBA and the eighties. Every show we saw got a standing ovation. Later on there is continuing music and dancing elsewhere. Not to be ignored is the very beautiful and calming chamber music trio, pianist and guitarist that seem always to be playing. This is in the Living Room which has a bar whose staff is particularly talented at making drinks and making guests feel very comfortable. By the way, they have the most innovative system of taking orders; the staff member notes choices on what looks like an early model cell phone which immediately is sent to the kitchen or bar. The result is instant service of your drink or meal! The fellow passengers were basically all middle age and above Americans who understood the kind of ship they were on. People were always dressed appropriately and it gave the ship a feeling of a country club even though I don't belong to a country club. As eluded to earlier, service was impeccable in every area of the ship. The senior staff works as hard as their assistant waiters! We were in a Penthouse Veranda. If funds allow, choose this upgrade. It is near perfect sizewise, plentiful storage, refreshed mini bar with little bottles of liquor, soda, beer and snacks. Closet lights go on when the door is opened. Hurray, for electricity -- there are USB ports throughout and the lighting is innovative. The bathroom has a heated floor! Example of the level of service: we found the shower head moved when full force water was turned on, a trip to customer service (24 hours) had it fixed in twenty minutes. Room stewards were good. Service in customer relations by Nichert was superb. We used the laundry and ironing facility. Another example of Viking services: wind made stopping at the Port of Sete impossible. Within a half hour a new daily calendar with adjustments was printed and distributed. This sail day actually was a blessing since even though it occurred past midway of the cruise it actually gave us time to enjoy the ship's amenities: spa, pool, wonderful exercise room (never more than four people), etc. Even on this day with everyone on board, it was easy to find quiet area to sit and read or sit poolside in shade or sun. I guess I could go on and on about the ship but suffice to say, it probably will be the cruise one will always remember since I strongly believe that Viking will uphold this level of service and luxury. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Wanted to visit several countries in a short period of time. A taste of southern Europe so to speak. Everything about this company, ship and service were top notch. The cabin gave us everything we needed. We spent a minimal amount of ... Read More
Wanted to visit several countries in a short period of time. A taste of southern Europe so to speak. Everything about this company, ship and service were top notch. The cabin gave us everything we needed. We spent a minimal amount of time there. The Dining was exceptional: Buffet was of high quality, the main dining was gourmet and the other "price included" restaurants were fantastic. The activity portion was good but we spent more of our time resting for the next day. The service was the best!! Apollo in the pool bar, Aura in dining, Sofia seemed everywhere and Hector in dining were some of the standouts. Our Cabin folks (Annabelle, Faree) were efficient and pleasant and do a super job! Our excursions were excellent with both walking tours and bus tours offering plenty of experience opportunities. If I would offer any suggestion it would be to allow more time for shopping, wandering (hop on, hop off stuff) café experiencing. We will go with this company again. Truly memorable. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise because we considered it would be a step up from the typical large ship pandemonium. We wanted adults, few pool games, less hysteria at food buffets and just an overall cleaner, calmer experience. We were not ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we considered it would be a step up from the typical large ship pandemonium. We wanted adults, few pool games, less hysteria at food buffets and just an overall cleaner, calmer experience. We were not disappointed. Since we wanted to spend a few days getting used to the time change in advance, we selected the pre-cruise extension - Ultimate Italy. This was three days in the Tuscan hillside with two full days of escorted tours in Florence, Sienna, and San Gimignano. It was worth every penny. It also allowed us to plan for a more relaxed visit when arriving in the Livorno port upon the ship. We would not have to repeat these cities. There were 30 of us on the pre-cruise extension. We came to know one another and were able to continue those connections on the cruise. Saturday morning we took a coach bus from our villa to the port in Civitavecchia. Arriving at the port there was a bit of a delay. The computers connecting the ship to the desks at the port were not communicating. Viking did their best processing all of us through, admitting about 20 at a time and sending us to the ship to check in at the guest services desk. It ended up working out just fine. We were very pleased with our room - a penthouse veranda category. Plenty of space for everything we needed and by far the nicest bathrooms of any cruise ship. Everything was very clean and crisp. The mini bar was stocked and remained stocked throughout the cruise. We loved all the food on the ship. Our favorite entree was the Bistecca Fiorentina (rib eye) served in Manfredi's. However, our second favorite experience was the king crab legs served every single evening in the World Buffet. We went to The Restaurant our first evening. It was great. However, we found that all the food on the menu there was also served in the World Buffet and you could be on your own schedule. They also always had two items that they made to order. For us it was frequently the New York strips. Mamsen's offers some unusual treats for breakfast and snacks. My husband fell in love with the pickled herring at breakfast there. We did not choose the Silver Spirits beverage package and found we certainly didn't need it. Beer and wine flow freely at lunch and dinner in any location where food is served. This includes the buffet and Mamsen's. And you can take what you haven't finished with you when you leave. We enjoyed the entertainment on the ship, though we are definitely not needy in this regard. The Viking band and singers performed a Beatles show and an Abba show that were fantastic. Seating in the auditorium is plentiful. And not a bad seat in the room. You don't have to dodge pillars and obstructions to your view. There is also usually light entertainment in the atrium area on the first floor. We found that a great place to hang out and watch the ocean or port activities. We enjoyed hanging out in the evenings in the Explorer's Lounge. When we were lucky enough to get seats in front of the water vapor fireplace we were delighted! The service on the ship is exceptional. These folks are definitely hard workers and eager to make your cruise enjoyable. Ports and Shore Excursions: Livorno/Florence - as mentioned, we had been to Florence on our pre-cruise extension. We took the optional excursion to the Leonardo da Vinci museum and to Lucca. This was the only disappointing experience of the cruise. The first stop in Vinci was at the childhood home of Leonardo and is nothing exceptional. The museum portion of that is just a holographic video. The second museum experience is a few miles away and is a museum of Leonardo's mechanical inventions. It is interesting, but rushed. Unfortunately, it was raining in Lucca so it put a damper on the enjoyment. That was not the tour guide's fault. Our second day in Livorno we took the included tour to Pisa. It was fantastic. The Monaco day was great. We took the included tour in the morning and Nice on your Own in the afternoon. The included tour covered a walk up the seaside with highlights of the history of the royal family and the city. It does not go to the casino Monte Carlo, but they do allow you to break off from the tour and head there on your own. We were in a bit of a hurry because we needed to get to our second tour. The trip to Nice was worth every penny. On the Marseilles day we took the included tour and then spent time on the ship. It was a great time to take advantage of the spa/steam room/snow room. Very exhilarating. Our only hiccup to the cruise itinerary came on the Sete port day. The winds prevented us from safely making port. Our captain made it a very comfortable day by taking us out to less choppy waters and giving us an unplanned day at sea. The staff got creative with a few impromptu talks and lessons. We also found an unexpected treat in the Explorer's Dome (above the Explorer's bar.) If you enjoy planetarium experiences, look for the three different shows they present in the dome. They require reservations but are easy to get on your viking app. Barcelona is a beautiful city/port. We were lucky to port at the World Trade Center so our ship was easy to walk off/on and right into the city. On this day we took our favorite excursion - the Gaudi Architecture tour. If you want to see the INSIDE of the La Sagrada Familia, this is the tour to take. Of the 800 photos we took during our vacation, 200 of them were inside this cathedral. We then continued the tour at Park Guell, another fantastic Gaudi creation. Because of the timing of this tour, we couldn't take advantage of the included tour but feel our decision was absolutely the best. After our first night on the Jupiter, we knew that Viking was to be our future. We met with the onboard cruise consultant who was very knowledgable about all the options for future tours. The discounts and access to popular cruises early make it worth considering booking your next cruise onboard. We ended up selecting the Grand European tour for next May, 2020 to see how Viking River compares with Viking Ocean. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise because we were looking for a 2-week ocean cruise on Viking that provided guided tours of Rome. We had just returned from a 2-week cruise on Viking that toured Norway and the UK. This cruise was excellent in almost ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were looking for a 2-week ocean cruise on Viking that provided guided tours of Rome. We had just returned from a 2-week cruise on Viking that toured Norway and the UK. This cruise was excellent in almost every respect from the cabin, the crew and the entertainment. Everything was top notch. This excellent cruise was called, Into the Midnight Sun on the Viking Sky. Because of this excellent experience we wanted to sail on another 2 week Viking cruise. We purchased what we though was another 2-week (14 night) Viking cruise from Athens to Barcelona and expected the same features and quality as we had on the previous Viking 14 day cruise. Unfortunately once we arrived on board the ship we learned that what we were sold was actually two back to back 7 day cruises. This was disappointing for two main reasons, first all the entertainment and most all of the lectures were repeated on the second 7 day cruise. Second and more importantly Viking did not provide their same level of excursions in Rome that they typically arrange for all other ports. Neither of the two offered excursions were acceptable to me and my wife as both excursions required us to spend 5 or more hours on our own in Rome. My wife and I do not feel comfortable spending this amount of time on our own in Rome. It is worth noting that the reason the Rome excursions were limited is that this was the embarkation and debarkation port and about 800 of the passengers were leaving the ship at this port. And about 800 new passengers were coming on board here as well. Of the approximately 900 passengers, approximately 100 of us were sold the 14-night cruise. All others were sold the 7 night cruise either from Athens to Rome or from Rome to Barcelona. In talking with many of the other 14 night passengers they too were equally disappointed that this was not a true 14 night cruise. The information in Viking's marketing material mentioned that this itinerary combined two cruises. I did not meet anyone that understood this meant that Viking planned to combined two 7 night back to back cruises for a select number of passengers. We all thought that everyone who boarded in Athens were going to be on a 14 night cruise. The food quality was good. Although the selection was somewhat limited. I would have preferred to have had a larger selection of vegetables, both cooked and raw for making salads. One night my wife ordered a NY strip steak medium at the World Cafe and after waiting 10 minutes the chef came out and spoke to my wife and another passenger about issues with getting their steaks. It took another 15 minutes for the chef to obtain the steak from the kitchen and then prepare it. I assume they ran out of steaks and no one replenished them in he World Cafe.. The entertainment on this cruise was amateurish. The vocalists were right out of college with very little experience. Individually they may be talented but together they did not harmonize at all. We were told that these 4 vocalists were new hires and had not worked together except for 11 days prior to performing their first show on the Viking Jupiter. In comparison to the quality of entertainment between what we had on the viking Sky and on the Viking Jupiter is significant. Jupiter were amateur's whereas Sky were professionals. The atmosphere around the entertainment on the Jupiter was similar to "elevator music". On the Sky the entertainment was much more upbeat, popular hits from the 60's and 70's. On the Sky the band and vocalists often time performed at the pool and there were easily 100 or more passengers up dancing and having a good time. On the Jupiter the band performed a couple times at the pool and there were maybe 20 or so passengers dancing and almost no one listening to and enjoying the music in the audience. We really enjoyed the educational lectures. Bother the resident historian and the astronomer were excellent speakers. This was the maiden voyage of the Jupiter and as such there were a number of mechanical issues. I am sure that within 6 weeks or so all the mechanical issues will have been worked out, unfortunately for us we were the guinea pigs or beta testers for the ship and crew. There were public toilets that would not stop flushing, spa pool water that was too hot one day and too cold another, the hot tub was routinely not as hot as the pool, the infinity pool was not in operation (no water), cabin hot water temperature was for several days way too hot. These issues were minor in comparison to the Rome excursion issue and the very poor quality entertainment. The shore excursions were sometimes too short and did not offer sufficient time to explore the area. For example we purchased the optional excursion to the Medieval Fortified Town of Carcassonne in France. The tour lasted about an hour at Carcassonne by a local guide. There is a castle museum within the walls of this town that required at least 90 minutes to tour. Unfortunately the tour did not provide adequate time to see everything within the castle museum. Additionally, admission to the castle museum was extra and not included in the Viking arrange excursion and had to be purchased separately. The tour of Herculeum out of the Naples port was excellent. The right amount of time and detail in the tour. Highly recommend this optional tour. Unfortunately there were high winds expected in Civitavecchia (Rome) so our stay at the Naples port did not provide sufficient time ofr us to see Naples. The ship had to leave the Naples port early (about 4 hours) in order to insure that the ship could get into Civitavecchia (Rome) so that 800 passengers could make their flights in Rome the following day. The best part of this cruise was the Viking crew. Everyone form the cabin steward to the restaurant waiters and staff were excellent. Almost all staff on this ship were excellent. Knowing what we know now we would not have purchased this 14-day cruise and do not recommend this cruise and itinerary to others. Based on our experiences with Viking on this cruise we most likely will not be traveling with Viking again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise as our first adventure on Viking. We have been on 13 other previous cruises with other lines and wanted to see how Viking compared. We were blown away at how much we enjoyed literally everything about it. The ... Read More
We chose this cruise as our first adventure on Viking. We have been on 13 other previous cruises with other lines and wanted to see how Viking compared. We were blown away at how much we enjoyed literally everything about it. The device was top-notch. The food was fantastic. Not having to wait in line and deal with hundreds of people at every turn was fabulous. No lines getting on the ship or off at port. The tours - both included and paid - were great. It was absolutely the best cruise we’ve ever been on! The staff was there to help at every turn, although we had zero issues. We waited for about 2.5 seconds to check in before boarding the ship, and I was literally the first person to disembark as we had an early flight back to the States. I cannot day enough good things about this ship. Truly. To the previous poster who complained about there being “nothing to do” - for the other 929 of us aboard this ship, we got exactly what we wanted - relaxation without kids running amuck, shows to keep us up at all hours of the night, and pool and relaxing chairs every single time we ent on deck to find one. We are 47 and 54, empty nesters who have earned our peace and quiet! We were busy with ports and tours, and we were able to actually relax the remainder of our time on the ship. Loved it. Oh, and our bill at the end of the cruise? $2.50 for one item we bought on board. That was it! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
I just noticed that the top of this review it says 7 Night Journey to Antiquities. That is not what was sold to us by Viking. We bought a 14 day cruise called Mediterranean Antiquities Cruise. More about that later in my review. We ... Read More
I just noticed that the top of this review it says 7 Night Journey to Antiquities. That is not what was sold to us by Viking. We bought a 14 day cruise called Mediterranean Antiquities Cruise. More about that later in my review. We chose this cruise because we had been looking for a cruise that stayed overnight in Rome and Viking sent us an email about this cruise and it was exactly what we were looking for. This cruise left Athens, Greece and ended in Barcelona, Spain with stops in Athens, Crete, Katakolon, Greece then over to Italy with stops in Sicily, Naples, Rome, Florence, a stop in Monte Carlo, onto France with stops in Marseille and Sete and finally arriving in Barcelona, Spain. So far so good. We also booked the two day pre cruise in Athens. Arrived in Athens and as with Viking someone was waiting there to take us to our hotel. Viking was amazing. They made registering at the hotel a breeze and then Viking staff was very helpful with tips on tours and restaurants. When it was time to board the ship, again Viking did an excellant job. Picked us up at the hotel and drove us to the port and checking into the boat was again a breeze. Being it was the Jupiter's maiden voyage we were able to get into our rooms right away. Room Steward Fiery was amazing. Anything and everything you needed he made it happen. The ship was beautiful. Since we had cruised earlier in August 2018 on the Sky we remembered pretty much where everything was. On our last cruise I did not have the opportunity to try Tea in the Wintergarden but this time the opportunity came up and we went to Tea. I am not a big tea drinking but you must try Tea at least once. The Tea as so good. The use loose tea not bags and it makes such a difference and the scones served with cream and jam were to die for. The newest item on the Jupiter was the planetarium which unfortunately Viking did not utilize to the fullest. We had an astronomer on board you would have thought that he would have given some lectures or shows in the planetarium. Nope. The two shows that we watched in the planetarium were something you could have watched on Natural Geographic. The seats in the planetarium did not recline so you could not see the entire ceiling so you could not see the entire film. Both times I was in there people were falling asleep it was so bad. Viking really needs to rethink the use of the planetarium. Such great potential not being used. We were also disappointed in the entertainment. On our cruise In To The Midnight Sun on the Sky in August of 2018 the Viking Band with Vince and Jennifer were amazing. They were always playing somewhere. We so enjoyed listening to them and the singers in the production shows .were so good and they too would be always performing somewhere on the ship. We were so looking forward to hearing the same type and quality of music on the Jupiter. Our first night we waited with anticipation to hear the Viking Band in Troshaven. We were the first one in Troshaven and when the band and the singer started we just looked at each other and went HUH! The band acted like they did not want to be there and the singer could not carry a beat and we could not understand her. So disappointed we left after 10 minutes. You never heard or saw the Viking Band unless it was in Troshaven or during a production in the Star Theater. If there was music on the ship it was a string quartet or piano. Nothing upbeat. The performers for the theater productions was also disappointing after being on the Sky. It was like watching a "high school production". The entertainment on the Jupiter was very disappointing. Ok now for the part that Viking did to us and approximately 100 other passengers. They sold us a 14 day cruise and once we got on the boat we found out it was actually two 7 days cruises back to back. Ok you think no big deal right............wrong! The first 7 days of our 14 day cruise ended in Rome. 800 passengers got off and 800 new passengers got on and what did they offer the 100 passengers that we on the boat still.....NOTHING! There was no port talk for Rome like they do for all other ports they stop in. There was an including tour offered for Rome where they drove you into Rome showed you some of the sights (by bus no stops) and then dropped you at Vatican City for 5 hours of free time! WHAT! The reason we booked this cruise was to be able to see Rome. The reason we book with Viking is so they will escort me with a guide around Rome. I don't want to have to do the leg work to find the tours and organize everything. Again that is why I book with Viking. Every other port you go to they offer at least a dozen different tours you can select from. Not for us and not in Rome! We were very disappointed in Viking. We spoke with several of the other 100 passengers that had been sold this "14 day" cruise and they too were not happy. We ended up staying on the boat and even then we felt like we were under everyone's feet because they were trying to get everything on the ship ready for the new passengers. So ok Rome was a bust! Then think about it on a 14 day cruise you have 14 days of different entertainment and lectures. Hmmmmmm not on back to back 7's so on the second week of our cruise all the production shows were repeated and they were not good enough the first time to go see them again and only a couple of new lectures. We are still working with Viking to figure out why and how this happened. I guess the old saying "buyer beware" should be applied here. Unfortunately by the time we found out what was happening we had already booked and paid for the cruise. All and all the Staff onboard the ship were amazing! The ship itself is amazing. Viking Marketing and Office Management not so much. 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10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We sailed on Viking Star last March and were hooked. This year we again wanted a port intensive, educational, small ship experience without the pushy, glitzy, and somewhat pedestrian atmosphere that many other cruise lines offer. We also ... Read More
We sailed on Viking Star last March and were hooked. This year we again wanted a port intensive, educational, small ship experience without the pushy, glitzy, and somewhat pedestrian atmosphere that many other cruise lines offer. We also wanted to be a part of a more mature clientele with no children or casino. We booked back-to-back Journey To Antiquities and Iconic Western Mediterranean. The upside to a February cruise was that, in most cases, you will be the only ship in port and excursion sites will not be crowded. The downside is you are rolling the dice regarding weather and rough seas. We got lucky! What an unbelievable experience this cruise was! Jupiter, a beautiful new ship, sailed its maiden voyage without a glitch. The weather was perfect (unusually warm weather in Europe this time of year), we made every port and the itinerary was way more than we expected. The wife and I have nothing but praise for the all involved in making this trip happen. From the time we got off the plane in Athens until we boarded again in Barcelona, we were expertly taken care of. Embarkation, debarkation and transfers were all quick and flawless. There was literally a representative every 20 feet to point the way. Nearly every time you board you are greeted with a smile, warm washcloth and a glass of campaign. We found the Viking Jupiter a gem with all members of the crew going out of their way to provide exceptional service. Captain Knutsen and his wife were great ambassadors making us and everyone else feel special. Our favorite relaxing place was the Viking Bar, although the explorer lounge is a popular option. We always found the young bartenders anywhere delightful,engaging and eager to share their stories. The Drink Package (($20 per person per day) is a great deal. Entertainment is average with several musicals. We tend to the cultural side and found the young guitarist and pianist to be very, very good. The Viking Trio was simply marvelous and they were a lot of fun to interact with. Enrichment talks were outstanding. Dr. Caroline Mallory's history lectures were comprehensive and educational as were the astronomy talks by Mr. Howard Parkins, whom I found to be a very entertaining speaker. The food was very good everywhere and the main dining room equal in quality to the specialty restaurants. The snails, ceasars salad, lamb shank, steaks and vanilla ice cream were our favorites. The pasta in Manfredi's is to die for. Portions were so large, we started splitting the entrees. Just about everyone uses the World Cafe' for breakfast were there are so many food options there it is hard to choose. The gym is fantastic for a good workout. The steam room, ice grotto and hot tub (a well kept secret and our second favorite place on board) were all free and a relaxing post tour alternative. The ¼ mile track is an excellent way to walk off a meal. We took several of the included tours: Athens Archaeological Museum, Ancient Olympia (one of the best tours), Panoramic Rome, Pisa (been here before but still breathtaking), and Monte Carlo which were more than adequate if one does a little research. We selected the optional tours to Knossos (do not do this tour if port is Chania; bus ride is 5 of the 8 tour hours), Ancient City of Tindari, Pompeii, Lucca, Avignon (must see), Carcassonne (another must see) and Gaudi Architecture in Barcelona. They were fantastic with the exception of Knossos. Overall, the optional tours were well worth the time and money. Guides were professional and subject knowledgeable. Vikings provided a bus shuttles in ports of Athens, Chania and Barcelona which was a nice touch. Of course with so much praise there has to be a few warts, albeit, not many. This is a “Thinking Person's” and not an entertainment cruise. The wine choices may be limit for some, but we are not sommeliers so it did not matter. Shore excursions were “snapshots” and time of some excursions we found to be too short: Athens Archeological Museum: 1 hour 15 minutes, Knossos: 1 hour 15 minutes, Pompeii: 2 hours. You cannot do Rome by bus and the only saving grace to this excursion was our guide planning sufficient free time for us to get in to Saint Peter's Basilica (beautiful). They were still good tours, just short. If you book back to back cruises, make sure you book the same room for both legs and be prepared for some minor hiccups: have to get new ship cards, re-register your credit card, specialty dining reservations may not take when booking online, tour booking issues on mid-cruise embarkation/debarkation day, shore excursion tickets not issued until second half of cruise. If you book Viking Air, make sure you have at least 2 hours in Charles de Gaulle and 2 1/2 hours in Miami (customs is a zoo) for connections. Other than the nitpicking above we found our overall experience with Viking to be outstanding and to the highest standards throughout. They want to get it right and ask for feedback on everything. The cruise line is quality, destination focused and trying to offer customers the best value for the money in the cruise market. The wife and I will sale with them again. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We booked back to back Mediterranean cruises, Dec 30 2018, and Jan 6 2019. We were attracted by the itinerary, and the wonderful reviews of Viking. The itinerary turned out to be misleading, and Viking appeared to suffer from institutional ... Read More
We booked back to back Mediterranean cruises, Dec 30 2018, and Jan 6 2019. We were attracted by the itinerary, and the wonderful reviews of Viking. The itinerary turned out to be misleading, and Viking appeared to suffer from institutional disorganization and generally poor food and service.. Ports - After paying in full soon after booking, which is a Viking requirement, we discovered that the ship dropped anchor in our ports of interest, but didn't actually remain in port long enough to actually see anything. All-aboard was 1:30 PM in Cagliari, Vigo and Portsmouth. As a result, it was impossible to reach Santiago de Compostela from Vigo, and impossible to reach the Sardinian interior from Cagliari. Viking offered no excursion to Stonehenge from Portsmouth, but we arranged for a private tour which got us back to the ship in time. In Malaga, Viking offered full day tours to Granada, none of which included the Alhambra. They offered no explanation for this. We arranged a private tour.for this port also, and purchased our own Alhambra tickets. Whoever designed this itinerary doesn't understand that cruisers might actually want to see something in the ports. Viking decided that the port call in Tunisia should be canceled for safety reasons, and substituted Naples. Unfortunately, this occurred on Jan 1, and all museums and archaeological sites were closed. The following day we were to have visited Trapani, Sicily, but this too was canceled because of high winds. Instead, we stayed until 1:30 PM in Naples, and were given a bus ride to the museum. The announcement of this new tour stated that buses would leave on Jan 2 at 7:30-10:30, every half hour. We could pick up tickets on Jan 2 between 10:00 AM and 1:00 PM. This was minor, and laughable, but so typical of communications from Viking. Enrichment lecturers - excellent. Unfortunately, they covered topics like the Alhambra, and Santiago de Compostela, places unreachable because of our short port stays. Apparently, this was another example of Viking's disorganization. Even the cruise director was unaware that our schedule would not permit visiting many sites that would have been expected to be on the excursion list. Ship - The Viking Sky is a lovely, well-designed ship. Furnishings are Scandinavian. Public spaces are comfortable and roomy. There are sufficient elevators and laundromats. We could not enjoy the outdoor spaces because of the cold weather. The pool roof was kept closed, adding a strong smell of chlorine to any meal we attempted to enjoy at the pool grill. Cabin - of average size, and lacking in adequate storage space. Three small drawers under the safe - that's it. The thermostat in the cabin seemed to have little control over the cabin temperature. Soundproofing was very good - we never heard noise from the hall, or cabin doors slamming. Bathroom - large shower, wonderful heated floor, and generous storage space. We ended up storing some of our clothes in the bathroom. Bathroom materials were linoleum and Formica rather than granite or marble. Food - ranged from okay to awful. I don't remember a single dish that I would describe as wonderful. The two specialty restaurants, requiring reservations, are Manfredi's and the Chef's Table. Our restaurant reservations regularly disappeared from the computer system (no explanation given). Manfredi's has a large Italian menu. Several of our dishes were bad enough that we decided grappling with the reservation system again was not worth it, and we skipped a return visit. The Chef's Table has a fixed menu that changes every three days. Our first visit was so bad, we decided that there must have been some calamity in the kitchen, and we tried again. This was just as bad. For example - Peking Duck turned out to be a small, soggy crepe wrapped around dry, flavorless, diced duck meat. Across the top of the crepe were arranged thin, dry, slices of duck. Around the perimeter of this creation was a circle of brown gravy, completely devoid of Asian flavors or seasonings. This was typical of our experiences at the Chef's Table. The Restaurant offered an extensive menu which looked good, but dishes were usually often poorly executed. One good thing is that Viking offers dinner as early as 6 PM for those who prefer to eat early. Service - Phone calls to the home office prior to sailing were a waste of time. Customer service was completely clueless - either could not answer questions, or provided misinformation. On board, service was invariably friendly and helpful. Our cabin steward was capable and knew how to perform his job. This was not the case with the restaurant and bar staffs. They gave the impression of being inexperienced, and stretched thin. It was not unusual to sit for 10 minutes waiting for someone to take a drink order in a bar. One night, in the Restaurant, our waiter gave another waiter a lesson on deboning fish, using my entree as the teaching tool. I didn't mind that - but should they really put a waiter on the floor who doesn't know how to debone a sole? Liquor - Cocktail prices were reasonable, on average $6-$8, as were the premium wines by the glass. We had read reviews that reported that the complimentary wine was pretty awful, so we took the Silver Spirits Liquor Package, which allowed us to have the "premium" wines at dinner. These were not great, coming from bottles that sell for $10 or less in the US, but better than the complimentary wines. Liquor service in the restaurants was slow, again because of thin staffing, and getting a refill was sometimes difficult. Finally, we requested to be seated with the same wine steward every night, and he took care of us. Entertainment - I can't comment, as we didn't see any shows. The resident guitarist named Matthew, however, was excellent. The bottom line is that Viking has many good ideas of what the cruise experience should offer - medium sized ships, comfortable surroundings, no photographers or casino, good value. But - . I believe they have expanded too quickly, and cannot begin to staff the ships with a sufficient number of experienced personnel. Itinerary, food, and service are the most important parts of the cruising experience for me. Unless Viking can get these things straightened out, this will remain my first and last Viking cruise. , Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This cruise was our first on Viking, but we have been on at least 30 cruises on various lines. Embarkation was the best we have ever experienced. Our Penthouse Jr. Suite was very nice with more than ample room, comfortable furniture and ... Read More
This cruise was our first on Viking, but we have been on at least 30 cruises on various lines. Embarkation was the best we have ever experienced. Our Penthouse Jr. Suite was very nice with more than ample room, comfortable furniture and an outstanding TV system with a great number of choices. There were two small negatives. The A/C system did not seem to respond well to the thermostat and we felt the room was just a little warm on several nights. Secondly, there was a lot of noise from slamming doors. Some was from passengers, but a lot was from crew doors. This is not uncommon on ships, but there is really need for better design and manintenance. The crew was excellent-the best we have ever experienced. The Viking recruitment policies and training are really evident throughout. In particular, our stateroom attendant was the best ever, but everyone did a wonderful job. The enrichment speakers were also outstanding. Subject matter was great and both were engaging and enthusiastic speakers. Shore excursions varies a little in quaity. The optional excursions were the best and were always better than the included excursions. We had a few negatives. The specialty restaurants were good, just not outstanding food. Service was very good. We felt the service in the dining room was slow on a few nights, but this could have been a function of dining times. The pool grille really needs work on service. Lines were always long with table numbers barely adequate. This could be alleviated with salads being self-service and sandwich orders taken and served at the table-as on Azamara. Similarly, there needs to be ice cream lines on both sides of the buffet. As others have noted, entertainment is not a strong feature of Viking. It was all provided by on board entertainers/staff and the Cruise Director. It was the weakest offering of any cruise we have been on. Overall, the Viking Sky offers very good value for the money. It is a beautiful ship with a great crew. With a few tweaks, it would have been 5 star. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We have sailed on many cruise lines, but this was our first time on Viking. It was also our first time in the Mediterranean in winter. We have always heard the old adage that sailing the Med after October could be interesting. Luckily ... Read More
We have sailed on many cruise lines, but this was our first time on Viking. It was also our first time in the Mediterranean in winter. We have always heard the old adage that sailing the Med after October could be interesting. Luckily for us, the seas were calm and the weather was beautiful. Embarkation went very smoothly and may have been our best boarding experience ever. We arrived at around noon and there was no line and we were on the ship in record time. The ship is very Nordic with clean lines, plenty of public spaces and a very light and bright interior. We went to the buffet for lunch and thought the food was good. At 2:00PM our cabin was ready. It was nice to enter the room and find our luggage waiting for us. We had a V4 cabin and the space was pretty standard for a balcony cabin. We liked having two chairs in the seating area rather than a couch. The only thing we wished for was a bit more drawer space. There were 3 drawers next to the closet and one more small drawer in each of the nightstands. Most other cruise lines have a way of maximizing storage space, with nooks and crannies located throughout the cabin - not Viking. The bathroom while not overly large was very nicely appointed. We especially loved the heated floors and its separate heating system. The balcony did not get put to much use as the weather was a bit chilly for sitting out. We thought the food in the main dining room was excellent with a varied selection of continental dishes. The waitstaff was attentive with both the waiter and the wine steward keeping close watch on their tables. While a visit to the Chef's Table and Manfredi's is included, not sure I would rush back to either. I think part of the problem for the Chef's Table is truth in advertising. When we have gone to chef's tables in the past, the chef has actually been there talking about the food. This is not the case for this experience. For us, the whole eveing was odd. We arrived right on time for our reservation and we were promptly seated. We had signed up for the Asian meal. We sat there for 5 minutes before we were acknowledged. Rather than the server, the first person who appeared at our table was the wine steward. As we had the Silver Spirits drink package, we were provided a wine pairing with each course. The wine steward poured three wines and told us what each wine was, but not why it was chosen to pair with the food. Finally our waitress came by the table and delivered menus. We were told that bread would be out soon as it wasn't ready yet. After a while we noticed other tables were getting bread delivered, so we asked and we were told we would get ours soon. When someone says that the bread is not ready yet, the expectation is that we would be served wonderfully warm bread fresh out of the oven. Well, the only thing that would make this bread "not ready" was no one put it in the basket. If the food had been fantastic, we would have forgiven some of the other hiccups during the meal, but it wasn't. The only thing I can think of is that they got a great deal on hoisan sauce as the main course duck was smothered in it. Dessert was strange as well with separate bites that perhaps on their own would have been okay, but combined on the same plate they just didn't work. Our experience at Manfredi's was better. The food and service was good, but we both felt the food in the main dining room was just as good. We absolutely loved the spa and the fact that so many of the amenities are available without charge. Even on sea days, the spa never felt crowded. The times we used the sauna, we were the only ones in it. That may be due to the fact that each changing room (men and women) have their own sauna. It appeared that the steam room was co-ed. We liked the snow room for cooling off after a sauna and the hydro-therapy pool was incredibly relaxing. While Viking touts its free tours in each port, I am reminded of the saying, "you get what you pay for." So in this case, not much. It felt like we spent an awful lot of time on the bus and not much time actually seeing anything up close. In fact, after taking the free tour in Cartagena, we cancelled our free tour in Vigo. Part of the problem may have been the limited time that Viking was in port. It seemed that the times could have been expanded a bit - getting to a location at 8:00 AM and needing to be back on board by 1:00PM really didn't leave a lot of time for sightseeing. We frequented the bar on the first floor and thought the service was great. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
The ship, the Viking Star, along with the cabins and on board entertainment was exceptional. The cabin housekeeping crew responsible the our room, 5054, provided outstanding service. The dining was superb in all the restaurants, especially ... Read More
The ship, the Viking Star, along with the cabins and on board entertainment was exceptional. The cabin housekeeping crew responsible the our room, 5054, provided outstanding service. The dining was superb in all the restaurants, especially Manfredi's Italian restaurant. The service in the restaurants was excellent. A special thanks to Mr Halil Kayhan and his staff, especially Ravi. Leo and Adrian provide excellent service in the Torshavan. Speedy and Christina made the nights in the Torshaven a memorable experience. Alexandria's piano concerts we're excellent. Our goals for the trip were met thanks to the shore excursion staff. Judi and Dora did an outstanding job to ensure we saw the Alhambra and the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. The last shore excursion to Portsmouth was disappointing because Portsmouth is famous for three ships, The Mary Rose, The HMS Nelson, and the Ironclad. Unfortunately, only the Ironclad was seen from a distance. We recommend a separate shore excursion be offered to downtown Portsmouth to include visit to these three ships. This was our third cruise with Viking and, once again, it was a wonderful experience and we look forward to more in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
I’ve been on the ship (Viking Sky) before and it is very nice so we decided on scheduling another cruise with Viking. I was looking for a birthday cruise. Viking provides great service and even a bottle of sparkling wine (Sekt) and a ... Read More
I’ve been on the ship (Viking Sky) before and it is very nice so we decided on scheduling another cruise with Viking. I was looking for a birthday cruise. Viking provides great service and even a bottle of sparkling wine (Sekt) and a cake on your birthday. Plus all the great restaurants, shipboard amenities, very nice spacious cabins, and comfort while you cruise. Really enjoyed the aquivet terrace for lunch al fresco. Excursions were well planned and very enjoyable. The transfers to the hotel and ship were smooth and the transfer from hotel to ship even included a free tour of Barcelona. We have already explored much of Barcelona on the extension before the cruise and enjoyed tapas and watching the Spanish (Catalans) celebrate the end of the holiday season on Three Kings Day when they actually celebrate and give. Gifts so our Barcelona tour on the morning of January 6 was very quiet. The cabin is very nice. Every cabin has a veranda and ours was a penthouse veranda on a middle deck. The bathroom is very functional and roomy for a ship. Good toiletries and high quality towels plus lots of storage for your kit. The heated floors in the bathroom are very nice especially on a cold morning. The cabin has lots of storage for clothes and everything that you might bring aboard. There is even a mini refrigerator with complementary drinks. Plus binoculars to use on the veranda, a hair dryer, and robes to wear to the spa. We used the outdoor hot tub, very nice. On previous trips we have used the indoor spa with hot tub, pool and snow grotto - a lot of fun. This trip we finally used the exercise room, which is included free, and has good quality machines. All of the restaurants are nice. We had lunch in the World Cafe and it has great variety of food and also had sit down multi course lunch one sea day in the Restaurant. Dinner was in The Restaurant most nights with local specialties or European food. The nights we ate in the upgraded restaurant - Manfredi’s was excellent - great Italian food and especially the steak Florentine. The Chef’s Table is also nice with food and wine pairings although frankly we don’t like it as much as the other restaurants. Breakfast is great with lots of choices at the World Cafe and one day we tried the Norse food at Mamsem’s although really just had a waffle. The ports on this trip are nice but not as special as other trips. Barcelona and Malaga were the best. Cartagena almost as nice. Vigo was interesting and we did the optional tour to Bayona. Portsmouth was a good port especially cruising right by the old town as we left the harbor. Read Less
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