Would a Luxury Cruiser Be Happy on Viking Ocean Cruises

Luxury Cruising
Is it a state of mind?
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#2
Miami, FL
400 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
Interesting article — as I remember a heated debate on the boards pretty recently on whether Viking was Premium Plus vs Luxury. This article definitely takes a stance, and supports it. But at the end of the day, Viking does seem like an excellent product which I'd love to try.
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#3
Washington State
24,665 Posts
Joined Dec 2005
There is much to like about Viking Ocean (based on this article and reviews from customers). However, I would still rate this cruise line at premium plus or luxury lite. As indicated in the article, there are things that prevent it from being a "true" luxury cruise line.
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#4
222 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
It seems that the Viking Ocean line has picked some of the gaudier things that some think of as ''luxury'' but have not picked up on the things that signify true distinction and style.
#5
3,769 Posts
Joined May 2005
Originally posted by Toryhere
It seems that the Viking Ocean line has picked some of the gaudier things that some think of as ''luxury'' but have not picked up on the things that signify true distinction and style.


We are just venturing into the more upscale lines. We did a Viking river cruise in 2016, and really loved it so we booked with Viking Ocean for our next cruise.

I have been reading boards and investigating other upscale and luxury cruise lines to see what might fit.

I keep sensing a theme - people speak of “luxury” but never seem to define it. I like nice surroundings. I like to be pampered somewhat, but I don’t think we need a butler. I do love good food and wine, but we’re not fond of formal. We prefer smart casual.

So can you elaborate on your post? What are the “gaudier” things Viking has”picked up on” as opposed to “the things that signify true distinction and style”

I know how I would define that and it seems Viking fits, but we haven’t sailed with Viking Ocean yet so I guess I will have to see. I do love the look of their ships.

We are definitely moving away from mainstream lines. I like nice understated surroundings and a relaxed friendly atmosphere. We don’t like snooty or snobbery. We do like comfort. So I’m trying to find a line that fits.

Might just be Viking, but I’m keeping options open and shopping around a bit.


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#6
100,473 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
I think you will know luxury when you see it.

To me the biggest difference I saw going from mainstream/premium lines to luxury lines was being seen as a person versus as just a "passenger". I feel the same way at hotels. I find that at the more luxurious hotels the staff takes the time to get to know us and make the stay more personal.

There are certainly other differences but for me this is a key differentiator.

Keith
#7
222 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
Originally posted by Cyber Kat
We are just venturing into the more upscale lines. We did a Viking river cruise in 2016, and really loved it so we booked with Viking Ocean for our next cruise.

I have been reading boards and investigating other upscale and luxury cruise lines to see what might fit.

I keep sensing a theme - people speak of “luxury” but never seem to define it. I like nice surroundings. I like to be pampered somewhat, but I don’t think we need a butler. I do love good food and wine, but we’re not fond of formal. We prefer smart casual.

So can you elaborate on your post? What are the “gaudier” things Viking has”picked up on” as opposed to “the things that signify true distinction and style”

I know how I would define that and it seems Viking fits, but we haven’t sailed with Viking Ocean yet so I guess I will have to see. I do love the look of their ships.

We are definitely moving away from mainstream lines. I like nice understated surroundings and a relaxed friendly atmosphere. We don’t like snooty or snobbery. We do like comfort. So I’m trying to find a line that fits.

Might just be Viking, but I’m keeping options open and shopping around a bit.


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Perhaps rather than “gaudier” I should have said “more obvious”.
It is usually quite simple to provide decent decor and furnishings. It is also not difficult to ensure that you give passengers more space.
I saw a very goood review of a Viking cruise by Fred Zinnemann on YouTube. He said that the ship was excellent. The layout is great and the food is good. The lack of children has to be a plus as well.
As Keith says, it is not those things that make a ship a “luxury” Ship, but the service and the attention to detail.
The best example I can give is the difference between a voyage on Ponant’s l’Austral and SeaDream II. The Ponant ship was nearly new. The decor and the furnishings were elegant and of great quality. But the food and the service, whilst good, we’re not anywhere near the standard that applied on SeaDream, where all the staff members know your name from the time you step on board. They quickly learn to anticipate your needs and go out of their way to make your trip enjoyable.
That is not to say that I didn’t enjoy my voyage in l’Austral. If the itinerary was good I would take a voyage on a ship like that without compunction. But I’d sail anywhere on SeaDream.
I haven’t noticed any snootiness on the luxury ships. The assumption applying on board those ships is that your fellow passengers are all fellow sophisticates who just by buying a ticket on such a ship belong there. On our last voyage, my wife and I taught a bunch of very wealthy people how to play air guitar and strut like Angus Young from AC DC, as the cruise director played “You shook me all night long” on the sound system
#8
100,473 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
I would add to Toryhere that I have met some of the nicest people on our luxury cruises.

In many ways we have actually gotten to get to know more people on those cruises.

Maybe the size of the ship plays a role because typically luxury lines have smaller ships.

Maybe it's because that often items such as wine/spirits are included so more people seem to
come out to the lounges before dinner making it a bit more social.

What I have learned over the years is people are people and when you sail on a ship with other people
you will meet people whose company that you enjoy as well as people who you might prefer not to
spend time with.

Just as I never generalize about people based on age (I have met some of the most enthusiastic and
active people who are high up in their physical age) I would not generalize people based on the line
they sail or their financial situation.

Keith
#9
3,769 Posts
Joined May 2005
Originally posted by Toryhere
Perhaps rather than “gaudier” I should have said “more obvious”.

It is usually quite simple to provide decent decor and furnishings. It is also not difficult to ensure that you give passengers more space.

I saw a very goood review of a Viking cruise by Fred Zinnemann on YouTube. He said that the ship was excellent. The layout is great and the food is good. The lack of children has to be a plus as well.

As Keith says, it is not those things that make a ship a “luxury” Ship, but the service and the attention to detail.

The best example I can give is the difference between a voyage on Ponant’s l’Austral and SeaDream II. The Ponant ship was nearly new. The decor and the furnishings were elegant and of great quality. But the food and the service, whilst good, we’re not anywhere near the standard that applied on SeaDream, where all the staff members know your name from the time you step on board. They quickly learn to anticipate your needs and go out of their way to make your trip enjoyable.

That is not to say that I didn’t enjoy my voyage in l’Austral. If the itinerary was good I would take a voyage on a ship like that without compunction. But I’d sail anywhere on SeaDream.

I haven’t noticed any snootiness on the luxury ships. The assumption applying on board those ships is that your fellow passengers are all fellow sophisticates who just by buying a ticket on such a ship belong there. On our last voyage, my wife and I taught a bunch of very wealthy people how to play air guitar and strut like Angus Young from AC DC, as the cruise director played “You shook me all night long” on the sound system


Excellent! Thanks - attention to detail makes sense. I like that. I don’t know if I would describe myself as a sophisticate. I’m more a little bit of everything, but not pretentious. I tend to fit myself into most environments. I’m a Gemini and I think that covers everything

I have a friend who likes SeaDream, but I don’t think their ships have balconies/verandas. That’s one thing we really like for a lot of reasons. We do like smaller ships without all the folderol they are adding to the Mega floating resort complexes the mainstream lines are calling ships these days.

I guess we’ll see where we are after our Viking Ocean cruise in March. We have another Viking river cruise booked for the fall. I am sensing that there is a bit of a fluid line between premium and luxury lines - depending on who I’m talking too. The definition doesn’t seem all that hard and fast.

I’ve been looking at Regent, Seaborne and Crystal, but I’m not sure which would be a good fit. I’ve heard from fans of all 3. We are most likely looking at a Canada/NE itinerary and Regent adds a stop in Bermuda that intrigues me (I understand the parent company has an agreement with the Bermuda government to bring more ships there).

I also want to do a Spain, France, Italy Med cruise - maybe Greece - and I’m interested in the Viking Into the Midnight Sun itinerary. It covers a lot of territory.

We are looking at 2019 and beyond at this point and the only thing we have booked is what is becoming an annual stay in Bermuda. But thanks for giving me a good starting point and some things to consider.




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#10
St. Paul MN
3,727 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
The author states:
" Few crew make any effort to learn your name, and any custom requests by passengers take time to fulfil. "
This is the exact oppposite of what many reviewers are saying about the service on Viking. Many talk about the personal /outstanding service they received from steward, wait staff, bartenders, and ship personnal.
I will be doing my first Viking cruise in March and will be able to experience a Viking cruise for myself. i will look for the attentio to detail.
I do see posters of Crystal and Regent here , who have not been on a Viking Cruise, giving their opinion which is just their speculation.
I personally would sali on Regent or Seabourn newer ships, but not Crystal or Silver Sea after reading their forums.
Some are stuck on the word Luxury meaning a very narrow and oftentimes nostalgic view of cruising.
To each their own... and the forum states" Luxury ... a state of mind."
#11
CA, USA
14,189 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
There are two components to a cruise ship, the hardware and the software. Hardware consists of the physical condition and outfitting the ship itself and most of the deluxe or premium lines do very well in that department as their ships are very nicely built. Software is what you experience once you are on board....the food, the service, the way you are recognized individually, how inclusive the ship is in terms of tips, alcohol etc. Personally, to me the software is far more important than the hardware. It's all the little things and details that come under this heading that really make a cruise "luxury" and if they are lacking all the atriums and chandeliers in the world will not make up for them.
#12
3,769 Posts
Joined May 2005
Originally posted by Azulann
The author states:
" Few crew make any effort to learn your name, and any custom requests by passengers take time to fulfil. "
This is the exact oppposite of what many reviewers are saying about the service on Viking. Many talk about the personal /outstanding service they received from steward, wait staff, bartenders, and ship personnal.
I will be doing my first Viking cruise in March and will be able to experience a Viking cruise for myself. i will look for the attentio to detail.
I do see posters of Crystal and Regent here , who have not been on a Viking Cruise, giving their opinion which is just their speculation.
I personally would sali on Regent or Seabourn newer ships, but not Crystal or Silver Sea after reading their forums.
Some are stuck on the word Luxury meaning a very narrow and oftentimes nostalgic view of cruising.
To each their own... and the forum states" Luxury ... a state of mind."
We've only done the Viking river cruise with our Viking Ocean coming up soon. We had outstanding service on our river cruise. Most of the crew called us by name. Our steward put a top sheet on the bed for us when we mentioned that we were too warm (it was unusually hot on our cruise). The wait staff always knew us and what we wanted to drink. and took excellent care of us. I'm hoping for the same on our ocean cruise, but it is a bigger ship, so we'll see. From what I've been reading on Viking boards and groups, I think it will be a very similar experience.
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Upcoming Cruises

Viking Modi -Grand European- 9/17/18
Azamara Journey - Bermuda & the Old South - 4/10/19
Viking Sea - Eastern Seaboard Explorer - 9/26/19

Past cruises
Viking Sea - West Indies Explorer- 3/17/18
Carnival Sunshine - Canada & NE - 9/9/17
Viking Mani - Rhine Getaway - 8/26/16 - photos & review
Carnival Pride - Eastern Caribbean - 4/23/16 - photos
Carnival Pride - Eastern Caribbean - 6/14/15 review & photos
Carnival Splendor - Canada - 9/1/14 photos
Carnival Splendor - Eastern Caribbean -6/10/13 review & photos
Carnival Miracle - Eastern Caribbean - 6/7/11 photos
Carnival Victory - Canada 6/12/07 Photos
Carnival Legend - Eastern Caribbean - 6/5/06 - Fabulous! Photos -
Voyager of the Seas - Bermuda - 5/15/05
Carnival Legend - Cruise to Nowhere - 2004
Carnival Victory - Cruise to Nowhere - 2003
Carnival Triumph - Cruise to Nowhere - 2002

#13
100,473 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Originally posted by Azulann
The author states:
" Few crew make any effort to learn your name, and any custom requests by passengers take time to fulfil. "
This is the exact oppposite of what many reviewers are saying about the service on Viking. Many talk about the personal /outstanding service they received from steward, wait staff, bartenders, and ship personnal.
I will be doing my first Viking cruise in March and will be able to experience a Viking cruise for myself. i will look for the attentio to detail.
I do see posters of Crystal and Regent here , who have not been on a Viking Cruise, giving their opinion which is just their speculation.
I personally would sali on Regent or Seabourn newer ships, but not Crystal or Silver Sea after reading their forums.
Some are stuck on the word Luxury meaning a very narrow and oftentimes nostalgic view of cruising.
To each their own... and the forum states" Luxury ... a state of mind."
Sorry to hear you would dismiss Crystal or Silversea Based on their forums.

The people who post on CC represent a very small percentage of those who sail each line.

I would speak with friends who have sailed each line. That is what we did before selecting our first two luxury lines we sailed on. I would also have a TA who is knowledgeable about these lines.

Keith
#14
222 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
Cyberkat
You don’t need a balcony on a SeaDream yacht, as the whole ship is your balcony. There are only just over 100 passengers and nearly the same number of crew. That is why the service is so good.
#15
Toronto, Canada
4,304 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
Originally posted by Cyber Kat
people speak of “luxury” but never seem to define it.
Because it means different things to different people. What some people think of as a requirement of "luxury" might be something that other people don't care about or even think doesn't belong in something luxurious.


For me, comfort, good food, and prescient service are the things that make luxury, but clearly all of those those are subjective. If I could get a cabin robe that fits me, that would be luxurious -- but they never seem to, regardless of what they're made of (apparently many places don't think luxury customers would ever be plus sized). Decor is also subjective, but "the grandiose crystal chandeliers and highly polished marble and granite so abundantly lavished upon luxury ships" mentioned in the article are the opposite of luxurious to me, and I adore beautiful photographic art.


Everything, including the definition and expectation of "luxury" is subjective.


I don't know why everyone keeps repeating about how great it is that the staff would address me by name. I don't care, and being addressed by my name is not great service, in my opinion, it's having a cheat card posted on a wall in the back with my name and photo. Remembering my favourite after-dinner drink is terrific, but whether it's served with a smile and my name or just a smile doesn't matter to me. Maybe some people get an ego charge out of it, but it really doesn't matter to me -- in fact, it seems a little obsequious.
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#16
3,769 Posts
Joined May 2005
Originally posted by calliopecruiser
Because it means different things to different people. What some people think of as a requirement of "luxury" might be something that other people don't care about or even think doesn't belong in something luxurious.





For me, comfort, good food, and prescient service are the things that make luxury, but clearly all of those those are subjective. If I could get a cabin robe that fits me, that would be luxurious -- but they never seem to, regardless of what they're made of (apparently many places don't think luxury customers would ever be plus sized). Decor is also subjective, but "the grandiose crystal chandeliers and highly polished marble and granite so abundantly lavished upon luxury ships" mentioned in the article are the opposite of luxurious to me, and I adore beautiful photographic art.





Everything, including the definition and expectation of "luxury" is subjective.





I don't know why everyone keeps repeating about how great it is that the staff would address me by name. I don't care, and being addressed by my name is not great service, in my opinion, it's having a cheat card posted on a wall in the back with my name and photo. Remembering my favourite after-dinner drink is terrific, but whether it's served with a smile and my name or just a smile doesn't matter to me. Maybe some people get an ego charge out of it, but it really doesn't matter to me -- in fact, it seems a little obsequious.


This is kind of what I’ve been thinking. It’s difficult to pin down, and defined differently by different people. So with that said, I don’t see where the dividing line sits between luxury and not quite luxury. It seems to move depending on who is doing the defining.

While I would love a private jet or a yacht, I’m happy with first class and a high quality cruise line.

I like a nice clean decor either modern or classic. I don’t really need “grandiose crystal chandeliers and highly polished marble and granite” abundantly lavished. I wouldn’t reject those things, but I don’t need them to feel pampered.

Soft fabrics, quality towels and linens, I notice by their presence - not so much by their absence as long as the quality is good. As for the robes - it’s certainly true that “one size” does not “fit all.” One would think cruise lines, resorts and hotels would get that and have other sizes available

I could be impressed by a pillow menu, but basically I’m not that fussy. If I can ask for and receive an extra when I need it, that works.

I do like good service. I think your definition of “prescient service” is perfect. That’s a luxury in today’s world of I don’t care attitudes. And service with a smile always counts. I can take or leave being called by name. They make an issue of it on Carnival and that’s hardly a luxury line

Funny, I was thinking about good service the other day in the grocery store. When I’m in Shop-Rite (local chain) and I can’t find something, first I have to find someone who works there. When I do, most times I get “that’s not my department,” or a wave of a hand (without looking up from their current task) and an “aisle 10.”

When I’m in Whole Foods, and can’t find something, it’s easy to find an associate. They will stop whatever they are doing, walk you over to the shelf with the product get one down for you, and ask if you need anything else - all with a smile. This is all about environment and atmosphere. And also worth paying extra for.

If this is luxury, I’ve found it on mainstream lines also, but many mainstream lines have large numbers of children running amok, and drunk adults who don’t seem to know you can’t stand in a pool, nor sit in a hot tub for extended periods of time, drinking, yet not getting out to relieve yourself of excess liquids.

They also have constant announcements about games and contests and sales of gold by the inch. They have loud music, casinos with slot machines jangling to attract gamblers, long lines at buffets, crowded pools surrounded by lounge chairs (occupied only by a towel, a book and a pair of flip flops.) There is constant jostling and juggling for space. And humongous ships packed with more people and over the top activities.

We would very much like to get away from that - which is why we are exploring other lines.

We enjoyed our Viking experience on the river cruise, so we booked the ocean cruise and I expect to enjoy that, but I guess the comparison between Viking and the mainstream lines has me thinking “what if there is even better.”

I don’t know... maybe I don’t need better. Maybe Viking Ocean will be a perfect fit and I’ll define luxury as a Viking cruise. I’m a curious person and I have a need for answers . I guess I really have to ignore other people’s definitions and find my own.

Still intrigued by Regent and maybe Seaborne not sure about Crystal or Oceania. All that “O Life” talk kind of turns me off.

Sorry, but I probably don’t “need” a balcony, but I want one. One of MY requirements for luxury is to have that space that’s ours alone. The whole ship as a balcony doesn’t work for me and that’s one of the things Viking seems to understand.

So this has been a very interesting discussion. I’m curious as to where it will go next.


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Upcoming Cruises

Viking Modi -Grand European- 9/17/18
Azamara Journey - Bermuda & the Old South - 4/10/19
Viking Sea - Eastern Seaboard Explorer - 9/26/19

Past cruises
Viking Sea - West Indies Explorer- 3/17/18
Carnival Sunshine - Canada & NE - 9/9/17
Viking Mani - Rhine Getaway - 8/26/16 - photos & review
Carnival Pride - Eastern Caribbean - 4/23/16 - photos
Carnival Pride - Eastern Caribbean - 6/14/15 review & photos
Carnival Splendor - Canada - 9/1/14 photos
Carnival Splendor - Eastern Caribbean -6/10/13 review & photos
Carnival Miracle - Eastern Caribbean - 6/7/11 photos
Carnival Victory - Canada 6/12/07 Photos
Carnival Legend - Eastern Caribbean - 6/5/06 - Fabulous! Photos -
Voyager of the Seas - Bermuda - 5/15/05
Carnival Legend - Cruise to Nowhere - 2004
Carnival Victory - Cruise to Nowhere - 2003
Carnival Triumph - Cruise to Nowhere - 2002

#17
100,473 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
A book that I recommend to new and experienced cruisers as a great reference tool is Cruising and Cruise Ships by Douglas Ward and published by Berlitz.

It is update manually.

I like his definition about Luxury Cruising.

I see it as a goal but not alway attainable day in and day out but nevertheless what luxury cruise lines aim for and what differentiates them from other lines.

"Luxury (elegance, sumptuous) cruises versus stand (large resorts ship) cruises are like the difference between a Bentley automobile and a motor scooter. "Luxury cruising shows be a flawless combination of ship, facilities, understated decor, food, culinary excellence and service and arriving in style. Unfortunately the word has been degraded through overuse by marketing people and advertising agencies....."

For me when I made the move from premium/mainstream cruise lines to a luxury line for the very first time i recognized the difference in a matter of hours when I needed assistance from the concierge and the response I received made me feel like an individual and NOT just a number.

Now like most things there are different flavors to luxury and that is good. By that I mean each luxury line has several similarities that do follow the author's definition but there is enough different recognizing that we are all different.

No different then driving a Lexus, Mercedes and BMW. All are luxury cars but the products have differences and even within the product line there are differences.

In the end the only opinion that matters is your own.

And you won't know until you sail on different cruise lines.

While we do have a favorite "go to luxury cruise line" in the end we make our decisions based on itinerary and that has given my wife and myself the chance to try other luxury lines. Just because they are luxury doesn't mea we will like each one and even within a cruise line doesn't mean we will like each ship since often all the ships within a cruise line are not identical with each other.

Keith
#18
1,415 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
On a cruise on the Europa 2, having completed a good 60% of a guided walking tour in Valencia I had a very bad fall, and was forced to return to the ship.

That evening I bumped into the Tour Office Manager who asked how I was feeling.

During the conversation she said that as I had not completed the tour she had given instructions that the cost be refunded to me.

For me, one facet of a luxury cruise experience.
#19
Toronto, Canada
4,304 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
Originally posted by Cyber Kat
They also have constant announcements about games and contests and sales of gold by the inch.
This was absolutely the best thing about my Crystal voyages, and (though it hasn't been mentioned) one of the truly luxurious things -- not being bothered or interrupted all the time. My last 3 cruises have been transoceanic on Crystal, and there is just one announcement a day - the Captain's update - other than any safety-related ones (of course). It was wonderful. I don't know what the other luxury (or even luxury-lite) lines are like in terms of announcements, as I haven't sailed with them. I would like to try other luxury (or luxury-lite) lines, but I cruise solo and the 30%-35% solo supplement on Crystal is too good a value to pass by. Even though I'm coming into some money and probably could afford to pay the 100% supplement on Silversea, Seabourn, or Windstar, I philosophically hate the idea of paying double. (yes, I know there are always sales somewhere, but then it's not really my choice about when and where I go.)
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