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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This was our third cruise with Viking ocean. We chose this trip for the itinerary. We had never been to Asia and liked the ports in both Asia and Alaska. Crossing the Int’l Dateline added to the attraction. We were in the Orion in ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Viking ocean. We chose this trip for the itinerary. We had never been to Asia and liked the ports in both Asia and Alaska. Crossing the Int’l Dateline added to the attraction. We were in the Orion in Jan-Feb visiting New Zealand, Tasmania and Australia. This crew was better trained and worked well together. We were pleased with most aspects of the ship. A few little things need work, but nothing major. You know what you get with Viking-it is an older crowd but activities/entertainment were sufficient for us. While some of the entertainment was the same, they did a good job at adding new entertainers. As Viking enters new parts of the world they are learning their way with shore excursions and local customs. Shore excursions were well managed. They do a good job at calling people at the right time and keep waiting times to a minimum. Checkin staff did a great job. Local guides were good. A sufficient level of activities were offered. EMBARKATION a breeze. You can arrive well before your checkin time. You are greeted with a glass of champagne and invited to use the open restaurants. Your luggage will be in your room by your assigned checkin time. DISEMBARKATION-we had a curve thrown as we could not stay in port because of too many ships in Vancouver. Luggage was offloaded in the middle of the night. We didn’t hear a thing. We disembarked via tender according to flight times. Full breakfast services available. You had to be out of your stateroom by 10am. Tenders left according to schedule with staff assisting everyone. Our luggage was waiting at our terminal at the airport. One of the most efficient operations we have experienced. CABINS Deck 3. Be careful of location. Torshavn noise is audible almost every night. Not late into the night, but it may bother some. A very convenient deck. DINING-Dining room and World Cafe offered a varied selection. Soups could use some improvement. Replenishment of eating utensils/napkins was too slow. Chef’s table-staff could use better training. One visit we had two wine pairings and no food. The French menu was too rich; not a good balance between first and main courses. Manfredi’s was very good, but don’t try to have pasta as a separate course-throws them off! SERVICE in general was excellent. Lounges and bar waiters were great. Most were very personable-not long before they know your name and cabin #! Room steward was wonderful-Edwin. SHIP-beautifully appointed. Always spotless. This ship has a dome. I don’t think this is a feature that will be included in the rest of the fleet. Makes the 8th floor area very hot. Eliminates a nice viewing/drinking area. Don’t know if that is the reason why the 7th floor area of the Explorers lounge tends to be cold. The skins on the sofas are starting to shed. Most people rolled them back to protect their clothing! PORTS/excursions. Viking’s first visits to ports can present problems. Most of our excursions were organized. In cases where we took local shuttles the scheduled were mixed. We ended up seeing what we wanted to see. ACTIVITIES-a little more variety on sea days would have been good as this was a long cruise. Lectures varied and sufficient. Like the ability to view the port talk in your cabin on the following day. Very good selection of shows/movies on the in-room system. Free internet a great feature-reception was generally good. Suggestions-have hot water in the World Cafe for hand-washing. There were some illness problems. The internet system in the room for onboard account, reservations, etc needs immediate help. The ship can not control or correct any errors. The dining for Chef’s Table had the wrong info for almost 8 days. The general website also had errors for our trip. The map wasn’t corrected until a few days before we sailed. On board future booking-a great offer that we used. However, you need to book a specific cruise that you know you won’t be using. Mucks up the booking system for other Viking customers and the whole reservation system. Viking needs to keep its attention to detail at a high level as they release the rest of the fleet! We will sail with them again! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We are incredulous about the service on this ship: friendly, attentitive, and conscientious. Each person we see greets us warmly and with authenticity. The waiters learn your names within a day or two and treat you like royalty. After ... Read More
We are incredulous about the service on this ship: friendly, attentitive, and conscientious. Each person we see greets us warmly and with authenticity. The waiters learn your names within a day or two and treat you like royalty. After five days of being at sea, there is no let up in the attention to detail and graciousness. The food is generally quite good; the sushi bar is excellent and Manfredi's is uniformly delicious. We regret getting the silver spirits package however because one of us drinks only wine and the included wines listed are sub-par. The hard liquor choices on the other hand are wide-ranging and more than sufficient! Silver Spirits runs about $20/day and covers drinks up to $15, which is the price we normally pay for a single servings of wine so we thought we'd be okay, but were quickly disappointed. Next time we'll know or bring our bottles onboard which they permit. Love the ship, the room to spread out and the wifi has been terrific! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We have sailed transatlantic six times, this was the best experience in many ways. The five lecturers kept us busy two or three times s day with history, ecology and sports talks. Athens crew was friendly, helpful, professional, ... Read More
We have sailed transatlantic six times, this was the best experience in many ways. The five lecturers kept us busy two or three times s day with history, ecology and sports talks. Athens crew was friendly, helpful, professional, informal, consistant. The food was excellent in all venues. There is no extra charge for the two specialty restaurants, The public spaces are comfortable with many quiet nooks, books, art, board games, etc. The cabin is large and well furnished with a great bed. The bathroom has a large shower and heated floors, there's a built in night light. Very good entertainment, it varied from classical to song and dance plus we had an exceptional magician who also gave free classes. Viking Star transatlantic fills your sea days with interesting speakers, cooking classes, bridge lessons, craft classes, all free. Overall, great value for money. We are ready to do this cruise again next year. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
If you want a ship with a casino, climbing wall, giant water slide, etc., ignore this review and Viking Oceans. If you seek a family cruise with you and your (non-adult) children, look elsewhere. If you like cruising with thinking people ... Read More
If you want a ship with a casino, climbing wall, giant water slide, etc., ignore this review and Viking Oceans. If you seek a family cruise with you and your (non-adult) children, look elsewhere. If you like cruising with thinking people and a remarkably intelligent, attentive crew visiting an itinerary of a lifetime on an impeccable, smallish ship, read on. We are just back from Viking’s Grand Pacific Explorer cruise that traced all around the Pacific, roughly following the Ring of Fire from New Zealand through Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Russia (Siberia), across the Bering Sea, and down through Alaska to Vancouver. Portions of this 93-day itinerary were also available in smaller chunks of 15 to 23 days. As we came to realize, the guests on shorter legs were taking a cruise on the ship. We lived there. And it was fantastic. There were roughly two dozen of us who traveled the entire way and another fifteen or so who embarked in Sydney for 79 of the 93 days. All tolled, we traveled 19,919 nautical miles on the ship. Convert to statue miles and add on the air travel, and our adventure went far beyond the distance around the globe. What we learned: You can be happy on a Viking Oceans ship for a long time and still be happily married. Although our Penthouse Veranda was not the smallest stateroom, several of the Grand Voyagers were in the standard size (all veranda) staterooms, and there was at least one couple who survived and celebrated their 50th anniversary just afterward. The secret is the many varied public spaces on the ship. The Explorer’s Lounge is great 24/7, and you don’t have to order any booze to just sit and enjoy the view and read. Or converse in comfortable seating clusters. Add the quiet reading area in the deck 1 library, the exterior wings outside the Winter Garden, and various nooks and crannies. There is always somewhere to go. Crossing the equator and the International Dateline can be fun. Viking made sure we celebrated on both occasions. May 14 happened TWICE (thus 93 days, not 92)! The seas are never what you expect. Yes, the Tasman Sea can be “lively,” as can the Bass Strait above Tasmania, but even the Bering Sea is not necessarily going to be bad. If you count on good or bad seas, you won’t get them. It’ s pure luck. Siberia did kick up a ruckus for us for one day, but the Bering Sea was crazy calm! You will get to know the crew very, very well. They will bring you just about anything, anytime. Room service delivers ANYTHING on their menu for free anytime. Ask for the things you don’t see but crave. This applies to those on the ship for two short weeks or for three months. “Another latte, madame?” “A scone from tea in the Wintergarden?… sure I will get that for you.” The only cost is if you elect to drink alcohol from the bar. Those with the Silver Spirits package pay nothing. Others like us paid very reasonable prices with no added gratuities if we chose to drink. Of course, the minibar in our PV cabin had standard level booze and mixers of our choice, so we could always carry our own drinks to the lounge. If we had brought a bottle of our own on board-- no problem. They’ll even provide the glass and ice. No nickels. No dimes. There is a bar waiter, Ardel, who introduced me to an excellent formula for a top shelf margarita, now dubbed the “Ardel Margarita” by several of us who enjoyed it! The senior officers are incredible. Kudos to the general manager for most of our cruise, Joaquim Scherz, and to the restaurant manager Gerome Venon, for making our group of voyagers feel especially welcome and for preventing monotony from EVER setting in – as if that could happen with such a rich itinerary! Even the entertainment team added some new performances so we could enjoy the talents of two different Viking Bands who were onboard during our tenure and especially the excellent ensemble of four young Viking Vocalists Aoibhin, Jorgen, Dan, and Beth, whom we got to know quite well. (These four, by the way, were the first to be awarded a new contract by Viking to stay together on their next cruise in the Caribbean.) Kudos to cruise director Spencer who rose to the role on this, his first cruise in the position. When Viking says they are a family, they are serious. That includes the passengers. They know you. They figure you out within a few days, and they are all eager to make the cruise p-e-r-f-e-c-t. Your cabin steward knows when you are likely to be out and about or when you have an excursion scheduled. The ice is there every day on time. The things you store in you bathroom are arranged exactly as you like them. After a few days, people know your names. (The general manager told us he actually looks over each guest list in advance and learns names and scans for those he has met before.) We learned much about the way Viking hires, trains, and rotates its crew and senior officers. We boarded Viking Orion and saw crewmembers we had met four years ago on Viking Star, now promoted to higher positions and happy in “the family.” The family extends to all the ships. When the Viking Sky encountered rough seas off the coast of Norway (while we were in Australia), every crewmember on Viking Orion was paying attention, praying, and even helping to send a video to the crew of Viking Sky in support and thanks for all their efforts. Family goes both ways. We Voyagers truly got attached to Joaquim and gave him a Viking umbrella salute send-off as he departed for a well-earned vacation. There were tears. Viking is truly fortunate to have such amazing people, and Joaquim is one who has been with VO since its launch. If he has any say about it, the quality will not diminish as the company expands. We sincerely hope his influence will keep things as good as they are! Speaking of family, our group of “Voyagers” definitely became one. People who take Viking cruises are fascinating folks with endless interests and stories. When you meet new people at home, you may see them once a week or a couple of times a month. When you make new friends on a ship, you see each other as often as three meals a day plus an excursion. Yes, we could avoid seeing them, but we enjoyed getting to know each other—really well! We avoided talking politics -- which was a refreshing change for over 90 days! We compared notes about our days (what excursion did you take?), drank a LOT of free wine (opened and closed the World Café many times), and watched out for each other when someone was “solo” on an excursion. These friendships will last for sure. We learned about the tons and tons of food they bring on board and when. We noticed that the chef went into town to pick up a few things while we were out on excursions – but only if he can find provisions that met Viking’s strict quality and safety standards. Within a couple of days, the cook at the breakfast fruit and yogurt bar handed me a bowl as I walked in each day and several times kept a few strawberries aside when the stock was dwindling before the next provisioning. He found the plain Greek yogurt that I like if it is not out on display. He was genuinely apologetic when the strawberries ran out in Siberia! If it wasn’t perfect, all we had to do was ask. Just when I was muttering to myself that there weren’t any chocolate options on the desert bar in the World Café, one of the supervisors offered to go down and get a chocolate mousse from the sit-down Restaurant downstairs…. “And where are you sitting, madame?” Or if the buffet choices were not exactly what we wanted, the chef custom-prepared a strip steak (“Medium? Four minutes, please.”) and delivered it to our table, with a potato and sour cream if that was what we wanted. All this in the “buffet” style World Café, our favorite venue for every day. Manfredi’s, the Italian specialty restaurant, is a gem. People seem to figure this out quickly, so be sure to book reservations as soon as you can. Book before you embark, as we did or stop by the laptop at the entrance to the world café to add more or make changes. We also learned that they will make every effort to change your numbers as you meet people and want a larger table. (Thank you, Ian!) Yes, we also ate in the Chef’s Table, but after trying each of the (mostly delicious) menus, we found we preferred the less formal and more flexible options elsewhere. We aren’t “The Restaurant” type people, though many of our friends were and enjoyed it just as much as we enjoyed the free-ranging exploration of the world Café – the same food, but you can graze and get up from your table at will. (Just hide your fork…. They clear TOO quickly!) The only nights I personally did not enjoy as much were the Indian Buffet theme nights, but my husband loved them. I just ordered a strip steak and tasted a few other things. I made the suggestion that perhaps not EVERYTHING had to be Indian… like the weird gelato flavors. We learned SO MUCH. The itinerary was loaded with places we had always wanted to see, and Viking offered many ways to learn about each one. The guest lecturers were great, and word gets out about which ones are REALLY good. The naturalist in the north Pacific and Alaska, the historian in Southest Asia, the archaeologist in New Zealand, the reef pilot on the Great Barrier Reef, and many others were terrific. If they can keep you awake in a darkened theater on a gently rocking sea, they must be good! The video replays on demand in the cabins were a MUST to keep up with the many things to learn. What we saw: It is a challenge to summarize forty-seven ports, but there were recurring themes: wildlife, history, religions, World Heritage sites, gardens, wine/beer/whiskey. We chose to take many optional excursions, mostly because we don’t like touring on buses much. A bus to GET somewhere is fine. We tend to like walking tours better. When we compared notes with our fellow travelers, we learned that by skipping some of the included excursions, we missed some good stuff. Some of the descriptions did not make it clear just how much time would be spent on or OFF the bus. As my husband says, the descriptions are a bit like real estate ads. Example: “Enjoy a panoramic tour.” Translate: bus ride. As Viking continues in these ports, we are sure the excursions will be refined and the descriptions edited for a better match to what is actually there. In the first season of a new itinerary, this is tough. We took this cruise knowing that would happen. Our priorities for tours may not be yours. My husband is a photo buff—both wildlife and street scenes, and I tend to enjoy culture, art, crafts, and people. Sometimes we split up to see what we liked best. We did not need to stay together every day of a 93 day cruise! Don’t miss the onboard cultural visitors. There were local groups who came on board in several countries to perform music and dance. ALL were amazing. Sometimes we did not find out about them until the day before or the day of. READ the Viking Daily! Port/excursion highlights: (Unless otherwise stated, all excursions/tours were VIKING offerings) Everything in New Zealand. Lots of wildlife and Maori culture options. We especially enjoyed visiting a sheep farm outside Napier, a foodie tour I did in Wellington, a seal watch my husband did outside Wellington, and wildlife cruises outside Christchurch and Dunedin. Others went to interior locations such as the Hobbiton tour. This may not be the best way to see interior New Zealand. I wish I’d had more time at Rotorua at the native (Maori) center there. Australia: Hobart, Tasmania. This port is right in town and we wish we had stayed MUCH longer. Just walk off the ship, and you were in a pedestrian area filled with shops and history. (Think Viking River Cruises.) We took a tour outside of town and visited a winery and the charming town of Richmond. Wish we could have done BOTH. We’d like to go back to Tasmania. The koala and kangaroo sanctuary outside Melbourne. Unlike many “sanctuaries” where the animals are caged or restricted, this one has animals on their own in the wild and shows visitors how to find and follow them respectfully. No koala cuddling, but fantastic naturalists who teach and let you participate in finding the animals. Sydney: Did a pub crawl in The Rocks on a HOT day. Saw lots of local color: weddings, crazy young professionals out having fun, and of course the Opera House right at Circular Quay. Since Viking Orion is small enough to pass under the Harbor Bridge, we were docked a short shuttle FERRY ride from Circular Quay. This could have been a pain, but it’s much more fun than a shuttle bus! We had a day on our own while others disembarked and embarked. Viking did offer an excursion for the in-transit passengers, but we elected to spend time with some new friends from Sydney whom we “met” here on CC. (They joined our cruise later in Hong Kong.) Great city. Almost anything you can do would be fun. Whitsunday Islands and Cairns: both are portals to the Great Barrier Reef. We went on a smaller catamaran out to snorkel in the Whitsundays and a very large one (but well managed) in Cairns. We are not experienced snorkelers and have never seen the reef before, so we enjoyed these. Experienced GBR visitors might like more private or selective tours, but these are hard to find and schedule within port time limits. Viking did managed the tendering in Cid Harbor (Whitsundays) very well. Thursday Island--- skipped because of an incoming cyclone! Darwin: wildlife options again. We saw Jumping Crocs, which we thought would be really touristy. It actually was fun. The Territory Wildlife Park was also good, though VERY warm. Take lots of water with you! Be sure to visit the aviary. Weaker Australia ports: Newcastle, Townsville. These are perhaps good ports for their access to other places inland, but we did not find the actual towns as interesting. Maybe with time? Indonesia: In general, Indonesia has bad traffic, hot weather, and lots of temples. The blend of religions is fascinating and varies from island to island. Get a taste by seeing some of everything. Komodo: The national park is going to be closed for 2020. We were lucky to see the dragons. Very hot, and the most aggressive vendors we saw on the entire cruise were in the tent as we left the park. Be prepared to be tough and to haggle. Otherwise just duck and keep on walking! TAKE WATER. Viking did an outstanding job of managing the tendering and keeping guests hydrated and safe. They were on the dock with COLD towels and drinks as we finished the tour. The really wanted everyone to drink and stay safe. Bali: another disembarkation/embarkation port. On the day on our own, we traveled by cab into Denpasar to visit the fabric street—a MUST for any quilter or sewing enthusiast. We did an evening dinner and performance that evening which was fun, though touristy. We enjoyed seeing Batiks being made and wood carvers in action on a Viking excursion the next day. Surabaya: We visited a temple that is actually within an amusement park. Though it looked like we were entering Wally World, the temple, right next to the water, was interesting. The seafood lunch served on the way was excellent though a bit crowded. Our highlight was a stop at a T-shirt place that had graphically bold shirts at very low (fixed) prices. Thanks to a good tour guide. We’ve gotten compliments on those shirts everywhere. Semarang: Entre to a daylong trip to Borobudur, a must-see. Don’t do the included tour. Not much there. The Rainbow Village is not as enthralling as they say. Those who went to Borobudur said the long ride was definitely worth it, especially with the police escort that accompanied the bus caravan, stopping the challenging traffic. Think presidential motorcade. Viking managed an unfortunate bus accident between two buses that were following too closely pretty well. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt. Jakarta: Interesting but not worth two days? Went on a tour that included an inside visit to a large mosque and Catholic cathedral and a walk through Chinatown Had some time on the second day to go into town on the Viking shuttle to a shopping mall that offered great shopping for authentic batik shirts and much more. I think half the ship bought batik shirts. Weaker ports in Indonesia: Lombok? We actually did not go into this tender port. Those who did said we did not miss much. We really should not judge. Singapore One day, and not enough. Unfortunately, immigration stole over 90 minutes of our day—through no fault of Viking. If there were way for the ship to stay two days and not have to do this each day, it would be worth it. We did a walking “Odyssey” tour and saw little India, Chinatown, and an area called Arab Street. I’d do that tour again. We had time to explore on our own, which we always like. I’d like to have seen the gardens at Singapore Marina Bay, but we did not have time. I’d REALLY like to swim in the world’s largest infinity pool on the rooftop there, but you have to stay in the hotel to do that… unless Viking has connections? Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) Our one day was a quick stop. My husband and I did separate tours. He enjoyed the Batu Caves and Pewter factory tour, managing to avoid having his hat stolen by the monkeys. I did the Blue Mosque tour, which was a misnomer. We saw a view of the mosque at a GREAT distance. We did enjoy a tour of several sites in the city and a FANTASTIC lunch at the Renaissance Hotel. Of course, the last thing we needed was more good food! We honestly cannot say whether Kuala Lumpur is worth more time. Thailand Bangkok: The port is VERY, very far from the city, at least two hours drive if traffic is not bad. We had three days in Bangkok, the middle one a disembarkation/embarkation day for other passengers. We did Viking’s Bangkok After Dark tour, which was twelve hours long! The heat was oppressive, and the guide kept a pace that was a bit too enthusiastic for the heat. It did take us to great things and included a much appreciated foot massage after a lot of walking. We had a local dinner of SPICY pad thai and time shopping in the iconic night market. The tour is good, but plan on being totally soaked with sweat. Pace yourself and carry water. We took a private tour on the ship’s changeover day, and that was smart. We had a small van with great A/C and endless water. We could get back into the cool van often. We split the tour cost with three other friends, so it was quite reasonable. We visited locations our first tour did not include. Day 3 took my husband on the Viking tour out to the Summer Palace and Ayutthaya. He declared that tour to be excellent, including the golf carts! (I rested and did much-needed laundry out of the heat.) Cambodia Sihanoukville: This is the toughest port to talk about. It is not pretty, and the people lack hope. This port sparked great debate among our friends onboard. In my opinion, Viking needs to be honest about what you will see (poverty, loads of trash, hopelessness). The contrasts of the hotel where Jackie Kennedy stayed (a claim to fame in this miserable town) and the life in a local fishing village are painful. The Cambodian Cuisine tour we took involved riding in tuktuks through dusty, dirty streets. I did not initially appreciate the mask they gave me to wear, as I have never had respiratory issues. In the end, I actually needed it. The market offered a realistic view of what people buy and eat. The beachfront barbecue food attracted too many flies for us to taste it. Then we went to the Jackie hotel and had delicious hors d’oeuvres and drinks while feeling hollowly fortunate. The second day we took the included tour, but we were warned by our friends to expect very sad scenes and sickening smells. They were right. The little children who should have been in school -- but had never even been REGISTERED to attend -- bore witness to the lack of hope of the Cambodian people. Yes, Viking should let us all see the realities, but the descriptions also need to be accurate. This port is a place to learn and think, not to enjoy. If the corrupt government is benefitting from Viking’s visits, perhaps this is not a good idea? Sadly, the countryside beyond the city has exceptional natural beauty, and the guides were very honest about their plight. Vietnam What a contrast to Cambodia. There is hope, and education is highly valued in this rapidly-growing economy. VERY. VERY. HOT. Ho Chi Minh City (known to the locals as Saigon): Three days. A fair distance from the port -- about an hour. Fantastic city to visit! We did the Saigon Cooking Class, which was excellent in both organization and fun. We shopped in the market, cooked, learned a lot, and enjoyed our own cooking. The next day we enjoyed a special visit to the Hotel Reverie with our fellow Voyagers (NOT an excursion) for high tea. This was arranged by the general manager and restaurant manager just for our group. WOW. If you have a chance to do this high tea on your own, DO IT. We’ve never, ever seen anything like it! Try the iced Vietnamese coffee. It’s addictive. The third day we did Viking’s “Iconic Ben Thanh Market” tour which was disappointing. We spent more time being served food than exploring the market (allowing NO time for this). I expect Viking will be clarifying expectations with the tour operator on this, as several of us spoke to the ship about it. Chan May (near Danang): Excursion to Ancient Hoi An. This city was swamped with tourists, and the tour was too commercialized for us. We had hoped for an interesting walking tour. We were herded into places to buy things, stopped ever so briefly amid the crowds to take pictures of landmarks with said crowds. Little to no time on our own as was advertised. Other guides were apparently more flexible, and our friends enjoyed their tours. Ha Long Bay (overnight): Wow. This place is drop dead gorgeous. Even the included tour is amazing. We did a longer, slightly different boat tour of the bay, including a stop at a floating village. Great tour! We also went outside the city to the mountains and Yen Tu Monastery. What a wonderful change of pace. We meditated and talked with the leader of the monastery, a man with remarkable charisma. The tour also included a delicious dinner at a resort hotel in the mountains. A winner! Hong Kong (3 days) Another changeover port. The included tour was good- Victoria Peak (in clouds), sampan ride in Aberdeen, and Stanley Market with free time. Spent our “off day” on our own with a friend who lives nearby then did more exploring on the third day with some fellow travelers. We then did the Hong Kong by Night tour which was OK but went back to some places we had already seen on our own. It would be great for people just starting out in HK. Taipei (Keelung port)- one day We did the tour to Yehliu Geopark with its amazing rock formations. Great photo op if you can go early enough for smaller crowds. Then went to mountain village of Jiufen. Cute, though filled with tourists. There were some nice places to have tea with a great view. The Taiwan landscape is very pretty! JAPAN! Japan was perhaps the biggest “surprise” of our trip. We had heard that it was beautiful, but it was MORE beautiful than we thought. We had also heard about the crowds during Golden Week—extended this year due to the installation of a new emperor. It was more crowded in some places than we could ever imagine. AVOID Golden Week. This was Viking’s first visit to the Japanese ports, so ALL of them did something special at the port: bands, dancers, etc.! Lots of fun. Japanese weather was a welcome relief from the heat in previous ports. Kagoshima: Great tour to Kamikaze museum and Chimai samurai historic district with classic Japanese gardens. Terrific intro to just some of the subtleties of Japanese culture. Nagasaki: (separate excursions). Imari and Arita pottery tour was outstanding. Learned a LOT about the aesthetic, the history, and the processes. Beautiful scenery en route. Husband did Historic Nagasaki tour for the atomic bomb story and more. Korea (a one day stop in Busan in the midst of Japan ports): Beomosa Temple and Fish Market tour was good. Lots of walking up hill. Fish Market is a true cultural experience, especially on the weekend! More Japan Hiroshima (2 days): Sobering as you would expect. The included tour to the Peace Park is good at hitting highlights on foot, though it was pouring rain. The museum would have been interesting, but the line stretched around a half mile! Optional tour to Itsukushima Shrine was great. Crowded because of Golden week. Go as early in the day as you can. We were on the 7 am ferry. Great photo ops of the floating torii gate you always see on brochures. Be sure to try some maple leaf shaped cakes. Osaka (Kyoto): We took the tour that traveled to Ancient Kyoto. Worst crowds we have ever seen. Heel to toe and shoulder to shoulder in a mob. Easy to lose the guide. (Others shared pictures taken by friends on “regular” weekdays showing NO crowds.) DO NOT GO during Golden Week. Very long path of thousands of torii gates, but too packed to enter. Scary crowded! The Golden Palace late in the day was less crowded and saved the day for us. Shimizu: (day and a half): Nice city with very friendly people. They had quite a welcome for us at the port since this was Viking’s first visit there. Amazing views of Fuji that cleared off for us. I went to Hiroshige Utagawa Museum. Speechless how good it was. Included tour also good… good photo ops. Tokyo ( 3 days): Port is immediately next to the Olympic Village they are building for 2020! This was our last disembarkation/embarkation port getting hundreds of new passengers onboard. Kamakuri tour to three shrine and temples very good but again crowded. 43 foot Buddha! Took Viking’s shuttle to downtown on the middle day, a Sunday, and discovered that NO ONE was in town during Golden Week. Walked to Iperial Palace Grdens (beautiful) and around the area near Nihonbaski Mitsubishi. The department store is worthy of a visit on its own, very old school and filled with amazing things, including a full basement are of food. See where people custom order their $50K silk kimonos! Third day took Edo-Tokyo Museum and City Tower tour. City tower not that great. The sky tower is better, I think, if you like that sort of thing. Museum and smaller local garden were nice. Tokyo is a gorgeous city, and SOOO clean! Be sure to try every Japanese bathroom. After Indonesia and others, they are a delight! Sapporo/Otaru: Beautiful location on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido. We took the optional tour to Nikko whiskey. Lots of fun. It SMELLED of whiskey when you walked onto the grounds. Friend told us the included tour was also very good. Much cooler here. The cherry blossoms were out, as this part of Japan is weeks behind the more southern areas. Russia (Siberia) Koraskov: Did the included tour. Damp, cold, and cloudy/drizzly. Not much here, and quite sad after Japan. The people are clearly longing for the good old days of the USSR. The performance was fun, and the vendors selling crafts there were very genuine. Most are happy to take USD, though they may cheat a bit on exchange rates! Petrapavlosk-Kamchatsky: This city benefits from the large Navy base (out of sight from the port). Volcanoes abound. We did the military history tour. Too much talking at you. Choose a different one, perhaps just the included. Orthodox cathedral is less than ten years old! Someone showed us video from the helicopter tour over the volcano, and it was amazing. (But I don’t think I’d go with a Russian pilot in a Russian-maintained helicopter! Very pricey, too.) USA Dutch Harbor, AK: No tours offered, but there was a shuttle (school) bus into town. The locals are VERY friendly and talk on the buses. Go to the Alaska Ship Supply for fun, and perhaps to Safeway just to see how the locals live. Bald eagles everywhere—like pigeons! Take a hike or a walk. If you’re an American who’s been away for a long time, stop in a local bar for American bar food… nachos or a cheeseburger? If you watch Deadliest Catch, you’ll recognize many locations. Kodiak, AK: Nature photo cruise was a real highlight. Small boat with only 6 guests and a very knowledgeable couple guiding it. WELL worth it! Small town with simple self-guided (walking) tour and a shuttle bus. Very genuine. Seward, AK: Kenai Fiords cruise was incredible. Whales, dolphins, eagles, and a glacier thrown in. Entire pods of orcas! This was a MUST MUST MUST DO, even on a drizzly day. Stay in town for a visit to the Sea Life Center or some shopping, A regular shuttle goes back to the ship. Icy Strait Point (Hoonah), AK: This small town with its native tribe of 760 people owns the port through a small corporation that benefits the tribe. They market it well, with many activities and tours. The whale watch cruise we took was actually done by a separate company that cooperates with the corporation. It was excellent. Great photos of humpbacks, including mama and baby. Sea lions, and more. Another keeper! Warning: the bridge you walk across into the port area is COLD because of the wind, but the temps are much nicer around the corner and out of the wind. Wear layers. Friend did the zipline and loved it. Sitka, AK: Busier port with another ship in port at same time. Cute, smallish town. Walking tour went 5+ miles to see historic sites, totem area, and Raptor Center. All are worth seeing. Wish we’d had longer in totems and Raptor Center. People who took included tour said it was good, too. Note: if you are looking for the post office, you have to go outside of town, They closed the location right next to the port! Ketchikan: VERY, very touristy. We saw a total of FIVE other ships in one day, one of whom was waiting for us to pull out. Downtown is all shops, some owned by other cruise companies. We went out of town to a Fishing lodge for a crab feast. It was fun, including the boat ride out to the island. Good wildlife and newspapers-in-the-picnic-table crab boil. Dress for the weather because you are on an outdoor deck. You also get a walk in a temperate rainforest at the lodge. If you want nothing but shopping, stay in town and walk off the ship. Some ships dock a bit outside of town. Vancouver, Canada: Kudos to Viking for handling the challenge of disembarking over 900 passengers by tender! It went quite well. We were off the ship and on our way to the airport ahead of schedule. We hope everyone’s bags went to the right place. Ours did. Viking, you made a difficult good-bye palatable by keeping it smooth and easy. Suggestions for Viking: Consider changing the itinerary for Jakarta and Singapore. Maybe steal a day from Jakarta and add it to Singapore? You could play with some of Indonesia, perhaps. What about Lombok? Semarang is not great, though you need it for Borobodur. Think about solving that? Think about how you want to “sell” your port call in Cambodia Continue to refine the excursions. We know you do this because of wise changes that were made after Viking Ocean’s first summer in the Baltic. Suggestions for future Grand Voyagers: Plan for HOT weather and extreme high humidity on this itinerary of traveling Feb-May as we did. We live in the southeast US and know humidity, but this is FAR worse. Plan to change your clothes from the skin out 2-3 times a day in many of these ports. Take enough clothing so you can do that. If you are on a long cruise with people getting on and off for various shorter :legs, “ ask the management to gather the “voyagers’ for cocktails and /or dinner and get everyone’s first names and cabin number while they are at that first gathering, That way you will know where to find each other! Emails help, too, if you want to be able to contact everyone. The ship management cannot give you this info. Thanks to TL from our group who spearheaded this! A long cruise is a marathon, not a sprint. If one excursions or day is lousy, just look to the next one. Share your feedback in a constructive manner. It goes much further, and the crew will always want to help you. Vary your excursions. Don’t book too many temples, street market visits, or anything else. You’ll get tired of it! READ the Viking Daily—before you go to bed! Get accustomed to giving laundry advice in Viking’s free launderettes. You know how they work, and you don’t want the newbies to break the machines! 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
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this as we wanted to try Viking Ocean and like the shorter length from Lisbon. We also never had done a holiday cruise and Viking did it right. The food, entertainment, bars and lectures were top notch. We have been on many ... Read More
We chose this as we wanted to try Viking Ocean and like the shorter length from Lisbon. We also never had done a holiday cruise and Viking did it right. The food, entertainment, bars and lectures were top notch. We have been on many cruises and this was probably the most well designed cruise-ship we have been on to date. We booked again for a colder weather cruise in New England in 2020 and are thinking of the winter Norway cruise in 2022. The food was excellent and the specialty venues were also great. We had the SS package and are wine lovers and had a wide choice of wines by the glass to order. We also got a discount on bottle purchases and enjoyed our French Champagne by the Bottle. If you are interested in cooking classes, sign up right away when you get on board as they do not advertise them in advance. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We like Viking. It was going to the Azores which we had wanted to see and had never been to during any of our travels. We have sailed on Viking Ocean 4 times now. This was a cruise that did not live up to our expectations. The cruise ... Read More
We like Viking. It was going to the Azores which we had wanted to see and had never been to during any of our travels. We have sailed on Viking Ocean 4 times now. This was a cruise that did not live up to our expectations. The cruise director was very talented herself but pretty much dominated the cruise and did not let the other entertainers perform to the best of their abilities. The food which is usually excellent was still good but the service in the restaurants was unusually slow. Disembarkation was truly a disaster. Handled by the shore excursion manager it could not have been worse. This is the second time we have had this manager for shore excursions on Viking. Unfortunately he is not the best and often unorganized or ill prepared. In addition he is not accessible and does not speak English very well which makes him hard to understand. The ship is excellent and most of the staff would do anything for you. Since this cruise had 8 scheduled sea days there should have been more activities. We would be unlikely to take such a cruise again however we most likely will travel again on Viking. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Our past experiences with Viking have all been positive. We decided to enjoy our vacation with Viking...The staff was friendly and approachable at all times..The food is excellent, with a great variety of offerings... Unfortunately due ... Read More
Our past experiences with Viking have all been positive. We decided to enjoy our vacation with Viking...The staff was friendly and approachable at all times..The food is excellent, with a great variety of offerings... Unfortunately due to rough seas, we were not able to enjoy the pool and hot tub areas....the anticipated yoga and Pilates classes were a disappointment...they were not up to a standard that I have enjoyed here at home. Not worth the additional charge in order to participate. The speakers were interesting and we enjoyed Dr. Fuller and his offerings about the Vikings and their history. Our tour and lunch in the Azores was cancelled to our disappointment...we had been looking forward to learning about the agriculture and farming activities of the island. The substitute offering, which we chose, was just average and although it included lunch, we found that to be mediocre. We have eaten several meals in Portugal when on previous trips and enjoyed the local food immensely...The offering on this Azores tour was not representative of the excellent food that is available. All in all, we had a wonderful crossing and would do it again! PS. the disembarkation in Miami was not well done...probably due to the US customs people not there on time...but hoards of guests, with their travel gear, waiting in the hallways was not a good experience. We finally went up to Deck 7 just to get out of the crush. Since we had to vacate our rooms, they were not available, but you couldn't even get off the elevators at Decks 1 or 2, because of the crowded corridors of people waiting to disembark. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
The ship was excellent, looked brand new. Food was ideal and plenty of it, too much, my diet took a severe hit. The crew was very friendly and available for any request at any time. Responses from Guest Services were timely and complete. I ... Read More
The ship was excellent, looked brand new. Food was ideal and plenty of it, too much, my diet took a severe hit. The crew was very friendly and available for any request at any time. Responses from Guest Services were timely and complete. I really liked the fitness center, the equipment was excellent and in excellent shape. The spa was a special pleasure and we really enjoyed using the spa pool. The ship has plenty of space for everyone, I never felt crowed or that there wasn't a really nice spot to sit and read or just zone out. The dining area is spacious and we never had to wait for a meal. The preparation and menu had many items that we enjoyed and I actually sampled some things I would usually never eat. It was interesting in that respect, it was well prepared and timely. All in all this was an excellent experience and one I would recommend to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
The restaurant service was slow. Over 2 hours for dinner is SLOW. The World Café food was better than the sit down restaurant. Ship's stabilization system was not up to a wavy transatlantic crossing. The cabin was noisy with ... Read More
The restaurant service was slow. Over 2 hours for dinner is SLOW. The World Café food was better than the sit down restaurant. Ship's stabilization system was not up to a wavy transatlantic crossing. The cabin was noisy with squeaks and creaks. The sounds of the sea hitting the ship was annoying The ship's design seems more for the Caribbean or the Mediterrian as opposed to the Atlantic. The ships stabilizers did a poor job and seems to be operating like a step motor one or two steps behind were they should have been. The gym and pools were great. The spa was way above average. The 3 hour opera show was a poor idea. I walked out because there was no full translation on the screen. I liked the entertainment in the atrium. There were 2 missing singers from the first 7 days of the voyage. The band was great. I liked the four singers. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
The dinning room service was spotty. I think they got a lot of new people for this sailing. Improperly served courses, missing courses. But there was also impecably trained staff too in the dining room. Other than the dining room, the ... Read More
The dinning room service was spotty. I think they got a lot of new people for this sailing. Improperly served courses, missing courses. But there was also impecably trained staff too in the dining room. Other than the dining room, the service was great. We only made two stops on this cruise so our touring was limited. We took the free offerings. Nothing special. And the weather didn't help in the Azores. The cabin and bathroom were well laid out with plenty of electrical charging points for all our electronics. No adapters needed. Plenty of storage. Great lighting. The ship feels uncrowded. No lines for anything, except maybe ice cream. The free do-it-yourself laundry was great. However, the people using it were just plain rude, leaving their items in the machines after the cycle was finished. It was a mess. I suggest that anything left in the washer should automatically be put in the dryer and run. This way they don't show up 2 minutes before you need a dryer and then put their stuff in, delaying you from drying your clothes by a whole dry cycle. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
This was the sixth cruise my wife and I have taken with Viking--four river cruises and, now, two ocean cruises. We purchased the pre-cruise extension in Lisbon because we wanted to see it on the trip. Overall, the trip was excellent. We ... Read More
This was the sixth cruise my wife and I have taken with Viking--four river cruises and, now, two ocean cruises. We purchased the pre-cruise extension in Lisbon because we wanted to see it on the trip. Overall, the trip was excellent. We are accustomed to a very high standard of performance from Viking and our expectations, for the most part were fulfilled. The ship was immaculate, well maintained and well operated. Most of the time in a crossing is devoted to sea days and rest. The entertainers on this ship were truly extraordinary. They presented music that stretched from classical opera repertoire to Motown. There are no dedicated "dancers" but the singers danced and sang and did so very professionally. They entertained! The crew were friendly as well as helpful and accommodating, including the members of the deck department. They all seemed dedicated to helping passengers enjoy a great vacation--and they succeeded. Stateroom attendants were amazingly thorough and helpful. Our air arrangements were horrible however. We were booked on a United flight that operated an old Continental 737-200. Even though we booked suite accommodations on the ship, we were given some of the least desireable seats on this very over-crowded, filthy and old aircraft. On our return, free-air flight from Miami to Jacksonville we were charged $30 per bag by American Airlines and, again, assigned the very least desireable seats on the very cramped Embaer RJ-45. We could have driven from Miami to Jacksonville and arrive sooner than we did using our Viking Air booked flight. Do not use Viking Air. Be prepared for very leisurely meals in the dining room. Plan for a couple of hours or more at dinner if you choose to take your dinner in the dining room. Service is very slow, even on this ship of only 900 passengers. Or hope that more servers are hired to provide better service. The problem is not the waiters:the problem is that there are too few of them. Afternoon tea in the Winter Garden is a highlight of each day for us. With Viking, you also can expect a robust enrichment program presented by a "Resident Historian" as well as various "Guest Lecturers." Watch the schedule carefully to plan your days in a way that permits you to take advantage of these opportunities. They are wonderful and varied. We were particularly attracted to the presentations of a flautist who talked about music and its relationships to our trip and ports of call. We also heard from an astronomer and had the opportunity to learn about ocean sailing and rowing adventures. Viking is a welcome newcomer to the ocean cruise market. It provides a superior experience and, knowing its careful attention to detail in all its operations, I expect the delays in dining service will be resolved before our next trip, which most likely will be on Viking (but without its air option). Incidentally, there were no children among the passengers and there is no children's program. This is not an experience for children. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We love the size of the Viking Sun class ships and find the Viking staff very helpful welcoming.The Sun is a 2 yr old ships, which like others (e.g Viking Star) is extremely comfortable. This reposition cruise was a last minute ... Read More
We love the size of the Viking Sun class ships and find the Viking staff very helpful welcoming.The Sun is a 2 yr old ships, which like others (e.g Viking Star) is extremely comfortable. This reposition cruise was a last minute decision to primarily to celebrate my spouse's recent retirement. Viking repositions this ship from Europe to MIA where Vikings starts its World cruise offering. Therefore, the crossing offers only two ports of call (Azores and Bermuda). While most people on board were seasoned travelers, a few people were surprised that even with all the greatest technical advances this ship could rock. While we had a variety of weather, the Atlantic is not a small pond and it can be quite rough. Although I heard some complaints, I was surprised about some very unrealistic expectations. Since, we actually treated the trip as an adventure we loved it and rod ecommend that you take some Dramamine with you on any cruise . We did not need ours and the medical center could provide some, if you got seasick. Based on our sailing history, we would not rate this past cruise as extremely rough. The cabins on board the Viking Ocean are very comfortable, clean and well layout. Plenty of space to move around in with many public nooks suitable for curling up with a good book! The Viking Staff is selected for their "yes, we can" attitude. Although each one us are very unique individuals, the Viking crew is overall very happy and proud to be working for a rapidly growing company which the staff likes with a 90% retention rate over any 10 yr period. Food as expected on a cruise, is abundant, diverse and always delicious. On Christmas Eve the SUN served large steamed lobsters and perfectly executed Osso Bucco in their regular dining room. There were a few caviar offerings at the bars with all daily events and menus for all meals posted on in-room tv monitors. A few times we needed to use room service and while it too was very tasty, it could have been delivered a bit hotter. Although this cruise had only two ports of call there was plenty of entrainment. We do like the fact that Viking does not have a casino onboard. There were some small poker games and Chinese Mahjong available for those so inclined. There are also video tables where you can enjoy playing a computer black jack dealer. In addition to excellent port of call talks, Viking has a number historians, technical experts (e.g driverless car engineering), and musicians discussing their expertise in very simple and interesting presentations. Viking requires that passengers be at 16 years or old, which we found the adults to be quite friendly and open to making new acquaintances. For us, most part we found tables for two available. Since our last cruise, the bars have a greatly expanded selection of quality brands. Since I favor Tanquary Ten, I was pleased that it was available at every bar. and covered by our drink package. There is a night club for dancing and a night cap, but we did not visit it this trip.The cruise director conducted a caroling sing along in the atrium on Christmas Eve, utilizing the classical pianists, the Viking band and even the on board acoustic guitarist. Unfortunately, I did scrap up my leg at the Lisbon Airport and I needed to used the medical staff to heal it. This inconvenience limited my ability to use the abundant spa fitness services on board. The Viking Norwegian spirt shines with very unique spa treatments and many pools located in the spa, in addition to the lap pools and hot tubs found on deck. On the SUN you can elect to start in a hot sauna and then cool down in an ice room with snow. If it is your thing, there are great gym machines exist and in the morning you are invited to yoga/pilates classes. Otherwise, weather permitting, you can take to the promenade and get your exercise by running or walking around the ship with instructions on how many laps constituted a mile. All in all we enjoyed ourselves and would consider going again. We find sailings of this duration suit our life styles very well and while we liked this crossing, there are so many other offers that we have not tried. For example we doing a Panama crossing this month. Happy Cruising! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Our 12-day mid-Atlantic crossing on Viking Sun started from Lisbon and ended in Miami, with stopover in two ports - one in Ponta Delgada (Azores), and another in Hamilton (Bermuda). We booked our cruise and flights with Viking direct. ... Read More
Our 12-day mid-Atlantic crossing on Viking Sun started from Lisbon and ended in Miami, with stopover in two ports - one in Ponta Delgada (Azores), and another in Hamilton (Bermuda). We booked our cruise and flights with Viking direct. The first part of the cruise was very rough and bumpy but calmed down as we headed toward west. My husband and I flew on Delta Air’s red-eye flight from New York to Lisbon, arriving on the morning of our cruise. At the airport, the Viking reps couldn’t find our names on their rosters, but it was quickly sorted out and we were able to get on the shuttle bus along with our fellow passengers. We arrived at the Jardim Do Tabaco Pier where the Viking Sun was docked. After a quick check-in, we unload our carry-on bags in our stateroom and headed out to the city. The ship was not scheduled to leave until 11 PM, so we took Uber to Cervejaria Ramiro to have seafood lunch, and then to Manteigaria to pick up half a dozen of Lisbon’s famous pastel de nata. These delicate pastries costs only 6 euros and was very well packaged for take-out. We got back to the ship at 5:15 PM as that’s when the emergency drill was being held and everyone was required to attend. We had some of the pastries as our late night snacks and kept the rest in the mini fridge for later consumption. It was delicious cold as it was warm. Sun is Viking’s 4th ocean liner. Each ship is small, with only 930 passengers. All have the same layout, so you’ll only get lost once. As with everything Viking does, their customer service is TOP KNOTCH! Food on this ship was one of the best we ever had on any of our previous cruises – everything was delicious and fresh! We ate at all the restaurants (including the specialty restaurants) and our favorite was the World Cafe for their variety, choices, and attentive wait staff. Our room was the Penthouse Veranda on the 6th deck. It was very roomy and comfortable and had everything we needed, including his & hers slippers and robes. Bathroom also was roomy, but the shower temperature tends to change by itself. (I suppose we should’ve reported this to the Customer Service but didn’t.) There were plenty of storage spaces in the room, with safe and mini fridge that was refilled daily with drinks and snacks. We had two wonderful housekeepers, Ganang and Nestor, who always kept our room tidy and clean. Our room was in the front of the ship. We quickly realized our mistake in choosing this location when the ship encountered rough Atlantic Ocean! On rough sea days (for which there were more days than I cared to remember), staying in our room was like riding on a roller coaster! We should’ve chosen our room in the middle or in the back of the ship, as that’s where the stabilizers are located. To everyone’s relief, the ocean calmed down as we headed toward Bermuda. There’s self-service laundry room on every deck. Both the washers and dryers are large sizes. The detergent dispenser boxes are located in back of the appliances. You need to press the number that corresponds to your washing machine to inject the detergent into your washer. You need to bring your own dryer sheets and remember to remove the lint when you’ve finished. Nothing beats having clean clothes when I’m packing on the last day! Entertainment – scattered around the ship are the talented resident pianist (who’s also a composer!), a guitarist, and string duo. Beautiful music can be heard everywhere on the ship. There were also many enrichment programs given throughout the day offering many interesting topics, including a presentation of simulated Boeing 757 cockpit by a retired airline pilot, Lou Thieblemont. It was absolutely FASCINATING! Very rarely do I remember anything from these lectures, however, but on this occasion, one speaker stood out for me. His name is Mick Dawson and he ROWED across not just the Atlantic Ocean but also the Pacific Ocean! His lectures were all very inspirational. I used the gym’s rowing machine for only 10 minutes and I had enough. I can’t imagine rowing for grueling 189 days straight in the Pacific Ocean (a Guinness World Record!) Meeting such an AMAZING individual was worth taking this cruise! I bought his pre-signed book at the ship’s boutique – a Christmas present for myself. Nightly show was at 9:15 PM. Seats are limited, so you need to arrive early. Sometimes we caught the show, sometimes not. Viking Sun’s singers and band are all very talented -- as well as the guest magician, Stephen Williams. We thought we’ve seen all the magic tricks in the book, but he surprised everyone! Don’t miss his show if you see his name on the program. Heading the entertainment dept is Viking Sun’s mezzo-soprano cruise director, Heather Clancy, who looks like a school headmaster until she started singing Carmen. Her assistant is Brian Rodriguez, a tenor, who we had the pleasure of hearing him sing Beatles last year when we were on Viking Sky. LivNordic Spa – there’s no extra charge for using the ship’s thermal spa. Space is very limited, but we always found a place to soak or to sweat. We were disappointed that none of their four hot benches were hot. Each bench was lukewarm at best. (This was also true on Viking Sky.) I booked the spa’s Deep Tissue Massage for both of us before leaving home. My masseuse was Ingrid and she was very good. She removed all the tightness from my body and my muscles felt relaxed afterwards. My husband on the other hand did not cared for his masseur, who not only had garlicky breath, but also did not have enough strength. I tried to book another DTM with Ingrid for us, but she was all booked. Gym – had plenty of exercise machines and equipments. We found that going there early in the morning was the best time to use the treadmills. There is a separate room for stretching and for weight lifting. Food/Drinks – the executive chef on this ship is Thomas Noack, a very capable young chef. He was always walking around the World Café, making sure that everything was properly prepared. Food was very good no matter where we ate. One afternoon, they served lobster salad in the pool area. We liked it so much we got a second plate! I highly recommend Viking Burger at the Pool Grill and Mamsen’s waffle at the Explorers’ Lounge. We did not care for Manfredi’s rib eye. The steak was very fatty so we cut most of it off. Looking at other people’s plates, we could see that others also felt the same way. The second night at Manfredi’s, I ordered their seafood special, which turned out to be king crab legs. It was very meaty and very buttery -- VERY good! I wished I had order that the first time. As with other Viking cruises (from their river to ocean cruises), majority of their passengers belong to the older demographic. We are empty nesters but not yet at the retirement age. We enjoyed talking to many of the passengers and found conversations interesting and entertaining. We only had a problem with one particular couple, possibly the oldest couple on the ship (the husband was a few days shy of his 89th birthday), whom we found annoying. They acted like the ship was their private vessel! One incident happened on the morning we docked in Bermuda. My husband and I were having breakfast at the World Café and admiring the beautiful view outside, when we heard this elderly fellow making a lot of noises behind us. There were plenty of empty tables nearby, so we didn’t’ know what the problem was. Apparently, where we were sitting, had the best view of Hamilton, and that’s where this couple wanted to sit! The guy was huffing and puffing with all his might that I finally offered to give up our seats to them. A wait staff quickly stepped in and usher this couple to a nearby empty table by the window, even as the guy continued to complain that our seats had a better view. (Personally, I don’t think there’s any bad view in Bermuda, but go figure!) They were the only rude people we met on this cruise. Majority of the other passengers were polite and gracious and we enjoyed their company. Overall, we had a wonderful time on Viking Sun! From beginning to end, everything was well organized and stress-free. Viking is our favorite cruise line and we look forward to be onboard again! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Staff is friendly and courteous. Food was exceptional, could have been more by the way of entertainment perhaps, especially on lengthy sea days during cold weather. Overall one of the best cruising experiences I have had. We have ... Read More
Staff is friendly and courteous. Food was exceptional, could have been more by the way of entertainment perhaps, especially on lengthy sea days during cold weather. Overall one of the best cruising experiences I have had. We have already booked another Viking sea cruise for 2019! For anyone who is considering the liquor package, I highly recommend it. The wine selections are excellent and the liquors are top shelf.... well well worth the money. The spa area with the heat, cold, and salt water therapy is outstanding and never crowded. The locker situation leaves a lot to be desired however. The lockers should open and lock with your key card. Very few of them worked and a steward would have to come to lock or unlock your locker... a bit annoying.... when you set aside the minor inconveniences you’ll realize that you have had a really good experience with great staff and you will meet some very interesting people. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We enjoy cruising with Viking. They are first class and do not “nickel and dime” you. The service is excellent and the crew is very good. Everyone working on the ship is friendly and says hello with a smile. The food is outstanding ... Read More
We enjoy cruising with Viking. They are first class and do not “nickel and dime” you. The service is excellent and the crew is very good. Everyone working on the ship is friendly and says hello with a smile. The food is outstanding and the two specialty restaurants serve unique food . It is nice traveling with only adult passengers and also not getting harassed by photographers. The entertainment is average. We usually enjoy the lectures and classes , however, we did not enjoy them on this cruise. The topics were not interesting or relevant for us. I don’t care about somebody rowing across the Atlantic Ocean. The cruise port talks were not well done and the moderator seemed to be just reading his presentation. The two cruise directors were very friendly and personable- Mark and Heather. The two musical shows that Heather and her assistant, Brian Rodriguez, put on were very good. They both have beautiful voices . The glitches on our cruise were associated with the transition from one cruise to the other. It seemed that they forgot we were doing a B2B and we got no communication about the second half. There was a considerable change in the service for the second cruise and service wasn’t as good as the first part. There were long waits in the dining room for just service and food . Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
PROS: We picked this cruise for the length and itinerary--Rome to Miami 24 days. Iincluded tours in most locations were very good. The sea days were much appreciated after spending 14 days on a port a day. Getting on the ship was ... Read More
PROS: We picked this cruise for the length and itinerary--Rome to Miami 24 days. Iincluded tours in most locations were very good. The sea days were much appreciated after spending 14 days on a port a day. Getting on the ship was a breeze. The Sun is mostly identical to the Sky which we had been on in June, just newer. Very clean and well appointed. The Chef's Table had the best food. CONS: The included tours in Barcelona and Lisbon were a waste of time. Having been to both locations previously, we skipped out on both tours midway through and did our own thing. These could have been much better The exercise classes were very disappointing in selection and length. And the evening entertainment was hit and miss. Enrichment talks were often scheduled at the start of dinner. If you went to that, you would eat late and miss the entertainment. Getting off the ship in Miami was a nightmare--very disorganized and lack of communication. They kept reminding people to vacate their rooms but we couldn't leave the ship. And the people who were on their own (no flights, etc) were grouped to leave the ship first--just a bad end. Read Less
Joy
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I also found not all passengers were treated the same. I think if you socialized with the crew you were treated better. If you spent time later in the evening with then and participated in their games, they greeted you and treated you ... Read More
I also found not all passengers were treated the same. I think if you socialized with the crew you were treated better. If you spent time later in the evening with then and participated in their games, they greeted you and treated you differently. Because of our age we thought this would be a good way to see Australia. Flight arrangements were terrible, sent us north to go west,long layovers. Food was very good and service excellent. Food in dining room was very good, specialty dining was excellent, World Café could have been better. Excursions could have been better, on some you spent more time on the bus than being able to enjoy the sight you were visiting. We've taken Viking River Cruises and I think the excursions and value for our money was much better. Also I think the crew was more attentive to all. We didn't have as many dining options but were excellent. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
I love Viking Ocean. Well worth the money. We usually eat dinner in World Cafe since it has same menu Plus I like the seafood it offers. Sushi bar every night is good. Ten flavors of ice cream made on ship. I like you can order a steak at ... Read More
I love Viking Ocean. Well worth the money. We usually eat dinner in World Cafe since it has same menu Plus I like the seafood it offers. Sushi bar every night is good. Ten flavors of ice cream made on ship. I like you can order a steak at grill. I enjoy spending 3 hours for dinner in cafe eating and drinking wine. Great place to meet people. We will be on same ship in May for 21 day cruise. Have 40 day cruise in Dec. No longer do Celebrity. My only wish is that they do more games on sea days. They only throw the bean bag. I would like to see them do more minutes to win it games. Staff is very friendly. They all appear very happy. May be the free internet everyone has. I enjoy the shows each night. The local talent is also good.looking forward to next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose it for Cuba and liked the overall itinerary. We were very pleased with Viking. The rooms were nice and all of staff were great. The food was very good. We liked the high end drinks you could get with the beverage package. We ... Read More
We chose it for Cuba and liked the overall itinerary. We were very pleased with Viking. The rooms were nice and all of staff were great. The food was very good. We liked the high end drinks you could get with the beverage package. We were pleasantly surprised as we'd never done a cruise that was not all-inclusive. The down side is there is no entertainment at night like other ships have, except for the small band. We did enjoy the one night on the pool deck when the band played. We met some great people. On our excursion to Havana, we loved our tour guide. What we didn't like what coming back in the dark on the road we were sharing with horse-drawn carts. That was not clear in information ahead of time or we probably wouldn't have gone. We did not take any other excursions and talking to other people, sounded like we made the right choice. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
We took the recent repo cruise from Manhattan to San Juan. We started out with the easiest and fastest embarkation we have ever experienced. Kudos! We had heard all sorts of rave reviews about Viking Ocean and wanted to try it ourselves. ... Read More
We took the recent repo cruise from Manhattan to San Juan. We started out with the easiest and fastest embarkation we have ever experienced. Kudos! We had heard all sorts of rave reviews about Viking Ocean and wanted to try it ourselves. The ship was very nice with the furnishings "Danish Modern." It was not as lush as I was expecting. The public areas were kept very cold, to the point that people were wearing sweaters in the Caribbean. We had a Deluxe Veranda which was a pretty standard room, nothing special. It definitely needed more drawer space. The bathroom had a heated floor, which I am sure is a delight when cruising the Norwegian fjords, but in the Caribbean, it turned the bathroom into a sauna. We found out the last day that this could be turned off if you asked. The food was excellent, but the Main Dining Room could had a more varied menu. We usually don't go to the shows, but did see the excellent pianist. The crew was fantastic, no complaints. We did not take advantage of the shore excursions, having been to these islands many times before. The ship was very noisy, at least in our cabin in any but he smoothest of seas. It made bumping, popping and banging noises; very annoying when trying to sleep. The buffet was excellent at breakfast, with a large selection of choices and eggs made to order. The ice cream was good and a must after lunch. Overall, we enjoyed our first time on Viking, but would probably not go again. BTW, this was our 48th cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We are just off of the Viking Star...around the Caribbean Sea cruise. We left oct. 18 from Manhattan, NYC. It was a blustery warm day. This was our 1st ocean cruise after several river cruises (also w viking). It is a fabulous ... Read More
We are just off of the Viking Star...around the Caribbean Sea cruise. We left oct. 18 from Manhattan, NYC. It was a blustery warm day. This was our 1st ocean cruise after several river cruises (also w viking). It is a fabulous ship. Clean...very clean...with a tremendous staff. They always went above and beyond....from the housekeeping staff to waiters on up! We had done a guarantee cabin...which means we paid for the lowest class cabin in hopes of an upgrade...but..if an upgrade didn’t come..you got what you pay for. The main downer of this is that you don’t know your cabin assignment until days before the cruise. We were fortunate to get a category upgrade to a delux veranda...which was binoculars in room...a throw..and the fridge being restocked daily w soft drinks. The best part was that our room was mid deck midship. All rooms are balcony! Being home...one thing I miss is the heated bathroom floors!!! And the shower head. I also can’t say enough about the hot water in the shower. I love my hot showers...but they were really hot!! Love,love,love! The bed was comfy. We did have an issue with too soft of pillows...our room steward was gracious to find us a couple firmer ones by day 2! The food is unparalleled. We ate dinner in the restaurant most nights. Did Manfredi twice...to die for! And chefs table once (too gourmet for us). Breakfast in the dining room is wonderful! Always pleasant servers. Did I mention they have lamb chops on the breakfast menu? Yes..right next to the steak! Embarkation took us all of 10 minutes in Manhattan...organized and efficient staff made this an easy experience. Disembarkationin Miami at first seemed confusing...but it was the guests making the process chaotic. The staff had it down!! Once our color group was called...we were off the ship and onto waiting buses in 15 minutes. Luggage was wonderfully sorted for us. I can say how easy it all was. As stated in other reviews...the entertainment isn’t the best...but it WAS entertaining! We had a magician onboard for 2 nights and a female impressionist for 2...they were the highlights of entertainment. Our cruise director performed one evening..and there were 2 dance parties by the pool. Two movies were shown under the stars...documentaries....not a fan. This was 15 day cruise...so it is challenging at best to keep 900 passengers happy all the time. You could go to a vast number of lectures during the day. In each port there is an included tour. We participated in all of them...all showed an overview of each island. The free use of the spa was amazing. We loved the thermal pool. I have seen reviews where it is small..but at no time were there more than 4 in the thermal pool at once. My husband enjoyed the sauna, ice room and bucketOwater! Lol. The outdoor pools are nice...just deep. However there are bars to hold onto when in the pool. And plenty of room to sit around the edge of the main pool..in the water. Our weather was hot..so a refreshing dip was needed! We enjoyed the ocean cruise very much...but prefer a river cruise. Looking forward to another Viking adventure in our future. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Okay. I still think Viking Ocean cruises are the best. Our first Viking ship - the Sky - broke down & our cruise was truncated. BUT, overall, our recent Amsterdam to Barcelona cruise was above average: The ship is beautiful and, even ... Read More
Okay. I still think Viking Ocean cruises are the best. Our first Viking ship - the Sky - broke down & our cruise was truncated. BUT, overall, our recent Amsterdam to Barcelona cruise was above average: The ship is beautiful and, even though this was a full cruise, there’s still some places I haven’t made it to... Torshaven - I’m looking at you! I love that this is an adults-only cruise for the discriminating traveler. I also liked that the line has retained its dress code of casual elegance for dinner... surprising but good! Now for some negatives, to help Viking retain its reputation as The Best: Improve the excursions!! I found both the included and optional to be lacking. The size of groups, pacing, and especially the guides could have been better!! One thing that might help is to do like on our River Cruise. Have one enduring group for the “go-getters” and at least one for the “handicapped and ‘slow-getters’ like photographers.” On that same line, my husband and I did not feel we got the value of our $99 ea Andalusia excursion. A large part of it was tasting the regional food, yet putting a whole bus-load of guests around a long cafeteria table with no choice of foods except the lackluster offerings served by lackluster cafeteria-type employees was an insult!! And the food was not tasty, much less plentiful. Limited to one glass of sangria... Really? 2) Other things noted: the restaurant service ON THE SHIP seems to have slipped since 2015, as well. On our first cruise the staff not only knew us by name but remembered something of our preferences! More training needed in these days?? Oh! And another biggie ( re: lack of personalization): I started in, I think it was April, to try to make the staff aware of a special double-70th birthday reunion for my former college roommate & myself. I wrote several times, spoke to some people and even filled out forms for the exact words I wanted on the cake (to follow our celebratory dinner at Manfredi’s.) I, of course, agreed to pay a hefty charge for this service, yet it was never correct!!! To Viking’s credit I don’t believe we ever got charged for the cake (?), yet we got one we never ate brought to our cabin as a welcome gift... compliments of ourselves?! They also brought us a small non-personalized cake following the dinner - but only after a special request from my husband to our waiter. It was not how I wanted this special dinner for a friend of 50 years to be! I never even got a response, much less compliance, to what I had requested. And finally - about food service: the first room-service breakfast we ordered was not tasty at all and everything was cold. On our second try we specified clearly what we wanted (“hot”, “browned” etc) and it was only minimally better. This was a favorite part of our first (2015) Ocean cruise with Viking!! 3). A couple of suggestions that would make the staterooms even more comfortable: have not only top sheets, but also thin blankets available for those who can’t adjust to the comforters in duvets Provide small microwaves to just re-heat stuff (ie. coffee, croissants) Cut out the Cruise Directors’ unnecessary morning-chatter-announcements... or at least make them later. They annoy us late sleepers. They woke me up - yet I couldn’t really hear them! I suggest only NECESSARY announcements piped into the rooms (not what we can also read in the Dalies/weather etc.) Just beef up the Viking app a bit more with daily changes, etc. 4) And one last complaint: that Immigration check in our Portsmouth stop was inexcusable! We decided that that was the one excursion we would skip (in exchange for a luxurious morning in bed) because we didn’t want to get up early for the immigration check and had such a short time in port anyway. Imagine our dismay at being rooted out with no time to put on makeup or anything! And it is unreasonable if you are not going ashore at all. Why can’t you just check for the necessary sticker when people LEAVE THE SHIP - or, at least, warn people of this crazy requirement in the pre-cruise literature?! SO, it seems with all of the above, I must have hated this trip. NOT SO! It was actually great in sum total, and I will continue to recommend Viking Ocean cruises to everyone I know!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We liked the itinerary. It hit several places on our bucket list, such as Petra and the pyramids. We really enjoyed the lectures that prepared us for every stop. The staff was amazing. We adored our steward who was very attentive. And ... Read More
We liked the itinerary. It hit several places on our bucket list, such as Petra and the pyramids. We really enjoyed the lectures that prepared us for every stop. The staff was amazing. We adored our steward who was very attentive. And we felt very safe, even when we were sailing by Somalia. The ship is lovely and very well designed. The interior decorating is very Scandinavian and comfortable. There were lots of places to relax. Even though there were nearly 900 people on the ship, we never felt it was crowded. The food choices were excellent, and we probably ate more than we should have! We really enjoyed having a variety of food venues and the option to eat both inside and outside. We liked the experience so much that we signed up on board for another cruise on the ORION in Nov. 2019 -this time to Southeast Asia. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose the Viking Sea because we really liked the itinerary and had never sailed on Viking before. Our previous river cruising has been on Uniworld and Avalon. Trying the Viking ocean experience was a change for us. Embarkation ... Read More
We chose the Viking Sea because we really liked the itinerary and had never sailed on Viking before. Our previous river cruising has been on Uniworld and Avalon. Trying the Viking ocean experience was a change for us. Embarkation in Bergen was easy and we were so impressed once we got on the ship. It is just lovely. Our stateroom was a PV1-Penthouse Veranda suite on deck 5 and it was great. The bed was comfortable and there was plenty of storage. Our only issue was with our shower head. It kept sliding down the pole and would not stay in place. We told our cabin steward and he had a plumber take a look at it...didn't fix it though...it was a pain to take a shower. Our cabin stewards were fantastic...Niko and Ariel were some of the best we've ever had. The laundromat onboard was a great perk. It was free to use and they also provided laundry detergent. Viking touts the free beer and wine with meals. What they don't tell you, is if you order a drink during lunchtime hours in The Living Room where they have muffins, small plates and various snacks to choose from, they will ask you for your room number and you get charged. They don't specify that you need to be in the dining room, buffet or one of the specialty restaurants. Sorry, but I think that's petty. The food overall was good. We enjoyed Manfredi's very much. The waffle with berries in Mamsen's was great. The buffet was good but some of the food servers could use an attitude adjustment....it costs nothing to smile. We ordered room service breakfast several times and have no complaints. One day from 9 AM-1PM they put on an amazing brunch in the Wintergarden area. It was a sight to behold. You could tell a TON of work went into planning and executing it! Our biggest disappointment was the lack of interesting (for us) entertainment. The enrichment seminars were never ending. The lack of varied entertainment was glaring. The best show we saw starred the Cruise Director...singing. During this cruise I read 3 books and took naps (which I rarely do) out of boredom in the afternoons. The included shore excursions were just okay. We loved the tour in Lerwick, Scotland but thought the included excursion in Reykjavik was awful. The first place our German tour guide took us was to a ditch where women washed clothes 100 years ago......zzzz Based on our experience on the Viking Sea, we don't feel we got the value for the amount of money we spent on this cruise. For the amount spent, we can get a Neptune suite on HAL along with many more activities. Read Less
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