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fenwayt24

Viking Star 4/19-5/2

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My husband and I, along with a few friends were on our first Viking Cruise.

We expected such high quality from this company as they are world renowned

for there river cruises.

The itinerary we picked was the Mediterranean. The Viking Star was beautiful. Norwegian inspired and every area was incredible.

But, since it is their maiden voyage with, not only with this ship, but with many more passengers, then Viking is used to (190 on river boats vs 900 on the Star)there were many areas that needed improvement, which I am sure they will have worked out sooner rather than later.

Our first concern was that the life jackets were not in our room. They are to be handed out in your assigned station. This might work on a river boat but in the ocean..not so much. Many passengers were upset with this.

Our stateroom was beautiful, bed was comfortable, bathroom was roomy. There was little space for clothing. My husband found it easier to live out of his suitcase and there were on going issues with the television. Wifi was great as were able to keep in touch back home.

The onboard nightly entertainment was geared more to the older crowd. I would say the average age was late 60's.Violins and piano every night in the atrium. Two of the shows were great..ABBA and the Rat Pack. Not a lot to do on ship after 9pm. Many people brought cards to play. You could here a pin drop and walk around the deck at night without seeing a sole. They did have one night with oldies music by the pool and it was great. Maybe more of that is needed, along with maybe a comedian.

Ports of call were amazing. We did many of the excursions that were offered by the line and most were great. We did use Rome in Limo for a full day with that tour company and I highly recommend them. The port of Corfu, should be eliminated to maybe a day at sea or another Greek port. Many passengers we spoke to agreed with this. Bathroom stops during shore excursions are almost not existent. The time they allow for free time, when your hoping to get some shopping in, is taken up looking for a bathroom. Thus..no time for shopping. More free time is needed all excursions.

Information people at the desks, never had an answer for you and also had to get you the info from someone else. Much help was needed the last day with passengers trying to get airline boarding passes printed. It was a nightmare and took much of our day that was suppose to be spent in the beautiful city of Barcelona.

Food was wonderful in main dining. They have two speciality dining rooms. The Chef's Table, which wasn't to my liking and Manfredi's which had wonderful Italian dishes. They do need to rethink the buffet times to correspond with shore excursions as many times you would get back on ship and the buffet would be closed, with only a grill open, with limited items.

All in all, I'm sure Viking will take all the complaints that they are receiving and will have them worked out very soon. It's a whole new world for them,they are a cruise line now and passengers expect the quality of Viking and the smoothness and entertainment of the other cruise lines.

We had a great time with our friends and met many new ones. Saw unbelievable sights, that we never thought that we would ever see. If interested in cruising with Viking.. I wouldn't hesitate to do it again, but I would think twice about doing a maiden voyage.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to post a full review.

 

What was your favorite space on the ship?

What was your favorite meal in the main dining room?

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My favorite spot on the ship, I guess, was the pool area. When it was nice

Out, they had the roof open and when it wasn't nice or too

Windy they had it closed. It's very quiet there. Able to read,

Relax and nap.

Since I am not a fish water, all of their

Beef dishes were good. Especially the beef

Wellington. Yum!!!

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Thanks for the review. My turn on the Star is coming up later this year!

 

I was surprised to hear that Viking distributes the life jackets at the life stations rather than placing them in the rooms. However, this makes a lot of sense to me. On cruise lines that put them in the room, we are always told to NOT go back to the room in an emergency to get them but instead to report directly to our assigned station. I suppose that in a panic situation, trying to get back to your room (possibly blocked, or possibly partially blocked by a horde of scared people coming your way, etc.) is more disruptive and takes more time than is necessary. Also, those dangling straps seem to get in the way, even if all you're doing is walking calmly to your station during the drill, making it possible to trip and fall. I am perfectly OK with just going to my station from wherever I may be at the time of an alarm, and getting a jacket there. Besides, that also means there's more room in the closet for my stuff if I've overpacked - which is often for me (sigh!)

 

Anyway, thanks for the comments. I loved your itinerary, by the way.

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Was there no bar/lounge area with entertainment after 9:00 p.m.? That's common on Viking river cruises. It's nice to see a new entry into the small to mid-ship cruise market, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Viking will get this right. There is a huge market for this type of cruise since the mass market cruise lines are building bigger and bigger ships that will no longer be able to stop in smaller ports. Hopefully, Viking will grow to meet this need.

Edited by Mackenzie1

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Many still prefer life jackets in room. I guess it's a personal thing. There are a few bars but we found that most were closed after 9:30 (maybe one open) with very few people there. Most decks were deserted by 10:00pm. It is an older crowd. When I said 69 was the average age, I was being nice. More like 75. I'm sure they'll have all the bugs out soon,if management was listening to the numerous complaints and hopefully they will have it running smoothly soon. You can't compare River cruise patrons to cruise ship patrons. A huge difference. But, if you go for the right itinerary, then that's all that matters.

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What a pity the music etc is so staid - I am going on 62 and sailing next year and having been grown up in the 60's in England, my music tastes are more Acker Dacker (AC/DC for those scratching their heads) and Black Sabbath! Even the Beach Boys are before my time. Hopefully the musicians actually KNOW some 80s, 90s, 21st century music or I'll be playing my Rock My Run mixtapes in my headphones all cruise!

 

If the music on board is too retro I'll feel like I'm in some time warp back to my parents'generation!

My partmer is the same, he's not quite 60. We're from New Zealand and hope that the musicians can also play some Australasian pop and rock classics on request - how about it Viking?

Edited by pukekolive

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Was there no bar/lounge area with entertainment after 9:00 p.m.? That's common on Viking river cruises. It's nice to see a new entry into the small to mid-ship cruise market, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Viking will get this right. There is a huge market for this type of cruise since the mass market cruise lines are building bigger and bigger ships that will no longer be able to stop in smaller ports. Hopefully, Viking will grow to meet this need.

 

I don't know if you've seen the blogs by "travelinsubman" but if not, he gives a writeup of sorts on the bars on Star. I don't have a link for his blog, but you could probably google it and then look for his writeup called "Living on the Ship" or something like that. He says that, yes, the music is pretty old stuff, but at least if you stay in the bar (Torshavn, I believe) the musicians (and bartender I'm sure!) stay as long as you stay!

 

I'm glad Acker Dacker was explained - that had me scratching my head! I'm a lot closer to 65 than 75, and don't know which I'd run from more in Torshavn - a waltz or Acker Dacker! As for Australasian pop rock, good luck on that!

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The above-mentioned blog is here:

 

https://travelinsubman.wordpress.com/

 

You have to scroll right for the April 26 entry titled "Living on the Viking Star".

 

I have been living vicariously through the blog as my Viking Star trip isn't until 2016!

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Hopefully management is listening and will get into the cruise ship mode. They

Can still keep it classy but need to do a rethink on entertainment. As I said, we loved our itinerary and that's what we went for. I'm sure by next year they will be fine. Can't wait to hear.

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Not so sure that's what Viking is aiming at. From the start they made it clear it was to be a destination, enrichment focused cruise line, with no splashy shows like on larger mainstream lines, no casino, etc. It will be interesting to see how things go in a couple years and how, if at all, they change to attract new customers.

 

I'm OK with what they have now, as I normally spend a lot of time off the ship and don't care that much about entertainment, amenities, etc. However, everyone's different, and some people will likely end up going on a different cruise line after trying Viking Oceans once!

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Thank you for your review on the maiden voyage of the Viking Star. We too are embarking on the 50 day sailing on the Viking Sky in 2016 and trust that they have sorted out a lot of the problems. My query is what sort of money should we be taking for this trip. We will have Euros, but intend to have a 5 day stay in istanbul, should we be acquiring their money. Are Euros sufficient for the rest of the trip all around western Europe? Any advice would be most appreciated. I like to go to the markets etc so will need 'cash' at these places and don't know how many different currencies I might need. Any advice from anyone please Hope the trip is going well now. Regards Quilter Extraordinaire

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Loved your review. You kept an open mind about a Maiden Voyage and realized there would be hiccups. We can't wait to give it a try. Thanks for taking the time to post.

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Hi Quilter - we did not go overseas with any foreign currencies on us, but depended on using Bank ATMs, or worst case, exchanging USD for foreign currency. Montenegro has their own currency, but will take Euros. Croatia requires their own Kuna, but may have adopted the Euro by the time you get there. Don't know if Gibraltar is on your itinerary, but they have the Gibraltar Pound which is different from the British pound, but they would take euros - just not a great exchange rate. Norway has their own Krona, and I know St Petersburg has Rubles. When we were there 2 years ago, they would take USD but at a very bad rate. Don't know what their policy will be now regarding dollars - political climate has changed. Haven't gotten there yet, but think the other Baltic States have their own currencies, but Germany would be Euros and soon too I THINK Poland. But we've had no problem getting local currencies out of ATMs. We have 2 different ATM debit cards just in case. And I don't have too much money in either bank account just in case one of the cards gets "compromised".

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We brought mostly euros and a small amount of kunas, as that was what the countries used that we visited. I checked all the countries prior to leaving. We did get our money prior also at our local AAA..no charge if over 200.00. Since this was our first trip abroad, we didn't want to spend time looking for atms or banks. We did find out that there are exchange places at the airport. Seem to be as you depart the plane, didn't notice any elsewhere. We exchange our foreign currency prior to our leg of traveling. In retro speck, and now that we are world travelers, I would get all our currencies at the airport. It's fast and the exchange rate is better than back home. Also, make sure you get coins (usually the smallest bill is a five) as you will need those for bathrooms. Ran into a few issues in that department. Enjoy your trip. It's amazing..

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Thank you fenwayt24 for that information on the currencies. We have a while to go yet before we embark on 3rd April 2016 but now after reading all the reports etc. from passengers are starting to get a little excited. It will be a big journey and we want to have everything right and not forget anything. Enjoy your journey and keep us all posted. Regards QE

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