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Viking Ocean Viking Star Cruise Reviews

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As a small business owner with a website I often get emails from businesses offering to monitor my reputation and fix any negative postings. I was never tempted to use any of them, but they do exist. Tripadvisor, the parent company has had a lot of problems with fake reviews. It does check IP addresses of the submission if it is in doubt, to see it is from the establishment being reviewed. Also bad reviews can come from competitors. As in any public forum the reader must check each review and make their own decision as to whether or not it is valid. I am often suspicious of both the rants and the raves which do not mention both the good and bad of a travel experience. A reputable company will monitor websites like this, and use the information to improve their service.

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Just the number of reviews for June, given the size of the ship, should give cause for some healthy skepticism.

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Given that this was the Viking Oceans maiden voyage, and that a good percentage of us did not return until Mid May, or like us into June, I am not surprised at all that the reviews are now coming in! After all, I have to believe that posting a review on CC was probably not the very first thing that most people do upon their return from a long trip.

So that said, seriously, when else would anyone expect these postings come in to CC?

Edited by Vineyard View

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Just looked at it against another much larger new build...Anthem of the Seas and things looked off. But, then as previously stated, people may have been encouraged to review. I'm just a number cruncher and analyzer by profession, so I tend to look for things out of the norm for further research.

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We are not river cruisers, but had done many ocean cruises, mostly with Oceania and Regent. We chose this cruise for its new concepts, ports and the Viking reputation.

 

Apart from the glitches and a few problems, the cruise was great. We have already booked the Midnight Sun cruise for 2017 (2016 has long been sold out).

 

Pros. Great modern design, long hours in ports, good tours (some great) with good guides (some very good) at free or moderate prices. Very good dining (not as good as Oceania, but better than most). Very good and unique dining opportunities on board, in addition to the specialty restaurants. Manfrieds excellent. People do try to help--one of our tours was cancelled for lack of sufficient numbers; after complaining a private car and driver (no guide because did not need one) was arranged for only slightly higher cost. The WIFI was free and for us it worked very well (I use it a lot). The free wine was very good.

 

Cons. Some of the service and cabin personnel needed more training. They tried hard and things got better, but there were issues since many of them had not worked at this level before. The TV had lots of problems, but did work at the end of the cruise--the system's design is terrific with lots of info, but it was too complex for starters. The specialty Chef's Table restaurant is really bad; it takes almost three hours and the food is strange--many empty tables. Not much was promised in the way of entertainment and that is what was delivered. The small shows in Torhaven were good. The lectures were just OK, and were not reshown on the TV. The Cruise Director is an excellent and experienced man, but you almost never heard or saw him; no TV show in the A.M. to greet the days events.

 

I think the problems will disappear ant this will be an excellent cruise line

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We are not river cruisers, but had done many ocean cruises, mostly with Oceania and Regent. We chose this cruise for its new concepts, ports and the Viking reputation.

 

Apart from the glitches and a few problems, the cruise was great. We have already booked the Midnight Sun cruise for 2017 (2016 has long been sold out).

 

Pros. Great modern design, long hours in ports, good tours (some great) with good guides (some very good) at free or moderate prices. Very good dining (not as good as Oceania, but better than most). Very good and unique dining opportunities on board, in addition to the specialty restaurants. Manfrieds excellent. People do try to help--one of our tours was cancelled for lack of sufficient numbers; after complaining a private car and driver (no guide because did not need one) was arranged for only slightly higher cost. The WIFI was free and for us it worked very well (I use it a lot). The free wine was very good.

 

Cons. Some of the service and cabin personnel needed more training. They tried hard and things got better, but there were issues since many of them had not worked at this level before. The TV had lots of problems, but did work at the end of the cruise--the system's design is terrific with lots of info, but it was too complex for starters. The specialty Chef's Table restaurant is really bad; it takes almost three hours and the food is strange--many empty tables. Not much was promised in the way of entertainment and that is what was delivered. The small shows in Torhaven were good. The lectures were just OK, and were not reshown on the TV. The Cruise Director is an excellent and experienced man, but you almost never heard or saw him; no TV show in the A.M. to greet the days events.

 

I think the problems will disappear ant this will be an excellent cruise line

 

It's really interesting to hear what people care about and focus on. You're about the first person to mention the cruise director, but I know on the Oceania boards, the cruise directors seem to be talked about a LOT, and people have their favorites and least favorites. I've never really cared that much about the cruise director, but I suppose he/she IS responsible for more than just making announcements (and on lines with more splashy entertainment, sometimes singing/dancing, too!), so the cruise director IS important. On another cruise line, the visibility and "approachability" of the Captain seems to be quite important, and I could never really figure that out. I'm happy enough if the Captain is experienced and capable, and don't care if he slings hamburgers, stays in his room (work or sleep one!), or what, as long as we don't run aground or something!

 

Anyway, it was interesting to read your comments. Everyone is so different in what matters to them, and what they're used to, which seems to influence their views. I assume you know there's an entire section for Cruise Reviews, but if not, it's here: http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/getreviews.cfm?action=ship&ShipID=748 You can also rate the ports and excursions on the cruise, which is helpful for the people coming after you!

 

By the way, I was surprised to see that Cruise Critic has categorized Viking Oceans as a Luxury cruise line, as I don't think that's what the owner of the cruise line had in mind!

Edited by roothy123

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PS: I'm another maiden cruiser who has booked "Into the Midnight Sun"

 

(7/1/2017) .

 

I don't know why my old countdown clock disappeared, I did invent the Viking Star countdown clock.

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Hi sitraveler! By then (2017) they should have the ShoreEx kinks worked out. Some friends of ours are going in early summer 2016 and I'm a bit worried about them as the fellow has a bit of a mobility issue. This particular itinerary looks like it could be a but physically demanding, but I know you two will be up for it. Happy sailing!

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Elizabeth,

I recently booked the subject cruise on the Viking Star (at least the ship is in-service right now). The cruise isn't until 2017, so hopefully Viking will have time to revise and implement improvements to the many challenges encountered on the Maiden voyage.

I think my most pressing concern regards debarking and re-boarding at ports of call. Specifically, how is the process prioritized? I assume Viking-sponsored excursions are staged and moved en masse, but what about stragglers? There are several areas we would like to explore on our own, but are hesitant without some idea of whether we'll be the first, last, or luck-of-the-draw when going ashore.

P.S. Thank you for the other very informative posts about your voyage.

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Elizabeth,

I recently booked the subject cruise on the Viking Star (at least the ship is in-service right now). The cruise isn't until 2017, so hopefully Viking will have time to revise and implement improvements to the many challenges encountered on the Maiden voyage.

I think my most pressing concern regards debarking and re-boarding at ports of call. Specifically, how is the process prioritized? I assume Viking-sponsored excursions are staged and moved en masse, but what about stragglers? There are several areas we would like to explore on our own, but are hesitant without some idea of whether we'll be the first, last, or luck-of-the-draw when going ashore.

P.S. Thank you for the other very informative posts about your voyage.

 

Getting off independent is easy if you are docked, tender ports can be difficult and confusing.

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As sitraveler says, it's very easy to get off independently when docked. The passengers on the Viking tours are usually assembled first in either the Star Theater or the Torshavn Lounge. It is usually at LEAST 15 minutes, but more usually a half hour, from the time the announcement comes on that we're cleared to disembark until they start offloading the tour passengers. It seems to take the ShoreEx folks that long to get organized. So this is a great opportunity to get off with no crowds. Further, if you go to the gangway for disembarkation even BEFORE the announcement, the crew will let you off as soon as they are actually cleared. It seemed to us to be a lag from the time the ship was cleared and people could get off and the actual announcement. So it's possible to get off the ship a good half hour to 45 minutes before the first tour people got off.

 

However as sitraveler stated it's more difficult when tendering. But the strategy is still the same. Although you may be the first to get on the tender, your tender may wait quite a while before it takes off.

 

Whatever you do, do NOT ask a Viking person what you should do as an independent traveler. If you do this you will be stuck behind the tour groups. We did this only once. Your basic strategy is to just go to the gangway. If the tours have already started offloading, just merge into one of the groups.

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Elizabeth, your post is exactly the type of information I was looking for. This will be very helpful as we plan our outings and strategy for "quickest exit". Thanks to both sitraveler and you for the helpful posts.

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My review of the 50-day cruise just posted under the "Cruise Reviews" section. It's pretty long and detailed. Hope it's useful to future cruisers.

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Wow. Loved the review. In peasant (DV) only the floor warmed up.

 

1,000% accurate.

 

And yes, independent tours are the best.

Edited by sitraveler
..>

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My review of the 50-day cruise just posted under the "Cruise Reviews" section. It's pretty long and detailed. Hope it's useful to future cruisers.

 

 

Thanks for taking the time and effort to post. Really enjoyed the comprehensive review.

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My review of the 50-day cruise just posted under the "Cruise Reviews" section. It's pretty long and detailed. Hope it's useful to future cruisers.

Many, many thanks for your review & yes, it will be of great use to me (& others) when undertaking the 50 day Viking Empire in March next year. However, my greatest hope is that Viking Management not only takes the time to read your review, & takes it on board but actually is proactive in rectifying all the matters you have taken the time to point out. I know you have recommended DIY as far as shore excursions are concerned because Viking falls far short of fulfilling expectations. I find this aspect very disappointing. One of the main reasons I booked the 50 days was to take the hassle out of organising on shore experiences. That Viking's description of all of the included & paid excursions is in such glowing terms was the major reason I had no hesitation in booking, particularly after experience with river cruises in Russia & China. Even though I have been to many of the cities on the itinerary, I still found excursions on offer that excited my interest. Now, thanks to Viking's poor planning, it would seem that I am going to have to laboriously organise on shore excursions online for almost 50 ports!!!:(

That said, I sincerely ask Viking Management to fulfil the promises made on their web sites AND GET THEIR ACT TOGETHER lest their sojourn into ocean cruising be a dismal failure. A cruise is not viable when there are no passengers!

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We leave in two weeks for the Homelands trip on the Star. Have to say I'm quite astonished at some of the posts here... I know it says Cruise CRITIC, but honestly, folks.... Did you really think a maiden voyage or the next few would not have had issues? Of course there would be glitches.

 

I'm greatly looking forward to this trip and will post reviews when I can. I don't think I have to post my previous trips, who remembers, but have been on Seabourn in Caribbean, Alaska years ago in Universe Explorer, Smithsinian Elbe River, and many Viking, Grand Circle river trips.

 

the difference between river trips and ocean trips on a larger ship means that they have some kinks to work out. We knew this going in and are excited about the trip.

 

 

Good point. The first sane thing I've seen written here (have been working my way through this entire thread). Frankly, what did folks expect going on the maiden voyage of not only a brand new ship, but of a new ocean cruise line? I know folks expected and demanded perfection but when a brand new model car comes out from even an established auto manufacturer, how many of you wait a few model years before buying that model? And how many of you, who do choose to buy that brand new model, simply shake your head when little or even big things go wrong with it? And feel blessed when they don't? So...despite everything I've read here and shared with my husband, we are still enthusiastic about our homelands cruise on the Star next year, by which time we have absolute confidence that all these shakedown issues will have been resolved to the same level of excellence we enjoyed last year with Viking River. I look forward to your reviews!

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Could you post a link (full URL) to your review, please? I'd like to read it but couldn't find it at the review site. Thanks!

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Oops. Sorry. This request was for id4elizabeth. Should have quoted you in my reply.

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Oh dear... What to say.... Some info was helpful and would be helpful to Viking. But an awful lot was just complaining and indeed nitpicky. Will post comments after we are on The Star this weekend. Clearly many issues were maiden voyage related and have already been fixed.

pqcking my sense of humor and also my sense of what issues we really important and which are not. I personally love a heated towel rack by the way.

I don't mean to bash what the reviewer thinks is helpful. Some of it is.

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I had the pleasure of meeting id4elizabeth on the first leg of the maiden, from Istanbul to Venice. We shared many private excursions, along with other cruisers, during the nine day trip. She is a seasoned traveler, avid photographer, gracious, soft spoken, and fun company. Unlike some travelers who are boorish, demanding, and revel in making a scene, Elizabeth is discrete, tempered, and fair-minded.

 

I respect her for her honest assessment of her cruise experience and share many of her opinions. What some perceive as a rant I see as constructive criticism, and a legitimate reflection of growing frustration experienced over the course of fifty days. She apparently thought long and hard about what to say in her review, as she so states, and I think it is balanced and from the heart. Let's not disparage anyone for their opinions on this site, please.

 

I'd share a travel experience with her anytime.

 

Paquebot

Edited by paquebot

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fair enough. i take your point. i didn't mean to imply boorish. it was a considered thoughtful review and i guess i'm hoping that some of the original issues have been resolved.

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I ended up giving them a high overall score in the review but I also highlighted areas where there can and should be improvements.

Examples - Viking Air got us into Stockholm very late and with the marathon and road closures we got there late only to find that we had only 1 person come on the bus for check in and the machine wasn't working properly.

By the time we had dinner and unpacked it was time to go to bed so effectively we wasted the first day.

However I have to say that initially Oceania air was even more problematic. We sailed with them in 2004 in the Med and our return air arrangements to Canada were horrendous...involving a 4 am dash to the airport, flight to Frankfurt then a 7 hour delay for the ongoing flight.

I think that's an aspect of the teething problems experienced by new companies and hopefully that will be addressed...as it was with Oceania.

 

I think communication with the US office was really a problem for us...we kept getting conflicting information and our TA just got the brush off too.

 

Some of the included excursions were a problem...the one in Stockholm on the 2nd morning passed in a blur - we didn't get off the bus - so I have a very sketchy idea of the city. Next time we would go early. Guides varied in their language abilities and in their motivation to do a good job. We had good guides in some cities - but others seemed to have no idea about how to pace a tour (eg the one in Bergen was really slow). We also enjoyed the guide in Stavangar and Flam. Others couldn't master the quietvox system and need more instruction.

 

Overall we liked the dining on board although the World Cafe was often a bit crowded and opening times that were posted re early arrivals were sometimes inaccurate.

 

It is a new cruise line with a new ship and I was prepared to overlook many of the problems (I wrote a review on CC a few days ago). We really loved the ship design and the destinations and the general ambience on board ( not much pop music, no photographers and interesting lectures). Just very relaxed low key atmosphere. I think someone posted that it was funereal...perhaps so but many people in the demographic they are aiming at probably appreciate the lack of loud intrusive "stuff" and I suspect only a small minority want to dance into the wee small hours.

With a port intensive itinerary most of us wanted to be fresh for an early start to the day. might be quite different if there were more sea days (only 1 on our itinerary) when more activities on board would be more appropriate.

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Oh dear... What to say.... Some info was helpful and would be helpful to Viking. But an awful lot was just complaining and indeed nitpicky...

 

Actually Elizabeth took the time and trouble to distinctly prioritize her comments and even used the term "nit picky" herself.

 

Clearly many issues were maiden voyage related...

 

Yes, and clearly Elizabeth made that point several times throughout her very thorough, very well written review of her personal experience on the maiden voyage.

 

and have already been fixed....

 

This remains to be seen. That Gdansk brewery tour that isn't actually a brewery tour is still being billed as a brewery tour by Viking. I'll let you know if Viking has done anything about that next month after we've completed that excursion. Thanks to Elizabeth, my husband and I won't be disappointed. We are taking the excursion anyway because of the visit to the Granary and because none of the other options appeal to us. But thanks to a maiden voyager's complaint, we're expecting a beer in a restaurant, not a brewery tour.

 

I would prefer to let the paid cheerleaders who got the fast wifi do the cheerleading and let us regular folk report our own experiences as we experienced them, but maybe that's just me.

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