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Viking Ocean Viking Star Cruise Reviews

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Thanks for the information. We are looking at booking a hotel in Stokholm for when we disembark next year. We were looking at one hotel near the central station for our trip to the airport. Many thanks

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Agree with VV that it's about a half mile walk from ship to town. Also that cabs are unregulated. Hence, make sure you agree before you get in about the price, as the costs can vary dramatically from one cab to the next. There's a little yellow square in the window that will tell you the cost per kilometer, so check before you get in. We found some cabs almost double others. And if you call for a cab vs just hailing one off the street, there's an add-on fee. The exception to this is the cost to the airport which is supposed to be fixed.

 

We stayed at the Hilton Slussen which was a great location into Gamla Stan, but not near the airport. Also, the rooms were small and dark, but the location can't be beat. The Executive Lounge was poor, but the restaurant where you have breakfast was great.

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Thanks for the extra information. We won't have a problem walking but with our luggage may be a different story so we will need a taxi then. We are looking at hotels for a couple of nights stay before we fly back home.

Will continue investigating and thanks for all the tips.

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Cassandra44 - just finished reading your excellent, thorough, and thoughtful review. Very useful. And yes I fully agree that Berlin is not something one can do in a few hours. Construction, especially in the old East Berlin is a continuing fact of life. I've done two week long technical meetings there - one 2 wks ago and another 2 yrs ago. Given that I was there nominally for work, time available to tour was very limited. One thing you probably noticed was a skyline festooned with building cranes. Anyway, as I've written before we're planning to skip Berlin but catch it as part of Viking River's elegant elbe cruise with extensions on each end. But you mentioned that they've abandoned the restaurant reservation scheme based on cabin type? Guess I'll have to check out the VO site to see what's changed. We're doing the Penthouse verandah. And will pack a Squall Jacket and polartec hat just in case it's chilly out there (no different than I did when we did the Inner Passage in August four years ago.) We'll be doing Viking Homelands starting in Oslo with the extension at the end in Stockholm.

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Thanks, CharTrav.

Re restaurant reservations I am not sure whether the dining arrangements have changed for each category. I would suggest checking with Viking but the responses are sometimes conflicting.

We wanted flexible dining and hoped it wouldn't present problems - and it didn't (even though we were in basic V category) Others may have been able to make reservations - we never tried to - except in the specialty restaurants.

I think another poster (perhaps Elizabeth) mentioned that they had different colour markers on the dining chart which may have indicated that some were in fact reserved...others were not. I know we were apprehensive in advance in case a lot of passengers had opted for fixed thus making flexible more problematic...but in the end everything worked out fine.

I really think it would be helpful for Viking to clarify what they intend to do on future cruises.

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Cassandra 44 - yes it was me about the color coded dining room seating chart. The "reservation" system is NOT what I'd call fixed dining. And it has NOTHING to do with what we signed up for on the MyVikingJourney site. Let me try to elaborate. If you have a large party of 6 or 8, and to talk to the head of the Main Dining Room, they will try and accommodate you by holding a large table for you and they mark this in green marker on the seating chart. As people come in and tables are filled, they mark this in yellow marker. The blank tables are free and still open. As a green table gets filled, they erase the green and then use the yellow marker to indicate the table has people sitting there. If the dining room gets full and there are still green spaces that haven't shown up yet, they start giving away the green spaces.

 

They do this for larger parties, but if you're a party of 2 you have to really beg to also have a table marked green for you. We had a favorite table and waiter that we found fairly early on in our 50-days, and they color coded this table in green for us. However, if we were more than 15 minutes late and it was a busy night (say a sea day when everyone was onboard), then our table might be given away. So, if you DO have a favorite table and waiter, you can try to have your name added to the "reservation list" which is simply a manual list they unofficially keep that they use to cross reference the green tables. If you DON'T want to do this, it worked out fine - there was plenty of "open" seating and the only bottleneck was the standing in line to get assigned a seat. As I said in an earlier post, Viking at this time does not have any computerized system to implement fixed dining, so even if they decided to go this way, I think it will be a while. And since what they are doing now is working so well - and IMO it is working very well, I can't see them wanting to change it. The only part that baffles me is why they are still having folks sign up for fixed dining ahead of time - or are they now?

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Excellent commentary, Feedingfrenzy!! Well said!! Miss you guys!

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Feedingfrenzy-- Iceland was amazing. Glad I did it but wish I had done a pre cruise extension, instead of post cruise. Lots of folks coughing and sick on bus

I felt bad for them but also worried about me. Viking has some kinks to work out on this-- group too large. Needed another guide. But beside that it was great. Expensive country

 

As to all the dissension over reviews and negative comments --- I have yet to find any cruise perfect-- no one is perfect. Even after 3 months, there are still a few things that need to be ironed out on board the Star, but the difficulties previously described have for the most part been resolved and were likely due to maiden voyage issues. I am never going to do a maiden voyage, that I will say-- especially one that is maiden voyage for a new company which in essence Viking Oceans is-- the one thing that bothered me the most with all the negativity is that at least one couple , maybe more cancelled an upcoming cruise-- I admit to some concerns initially based on what I was reading, but being a. Glass half full kind of girl, I counted on many of these issues to be resolved by the time I boarded -- and they were-- the Viking Star is an entirely new product for Viking-- and it sounds like they have found out that what works on the rivers may not work at sea and vice versa-- they will get it right-- I am confident of this.

 

And this wasn't you Elizabeth, but someone who shall remain nameless actually questioned the safety of the ship just because it was rough one night.

We had some rough seas coming out of Flam. It was kind of exciting. She is a smaller ship and will feel the motion more than the larger ships, but we did have 20 foot swells and high winds-- the rest of the time, smooth as glass.

 

I have answered some questions on another thread specific to the Homelands cruise. I will do a review in the near future -- but as I am still en route home with a 3 hr delay at JFK, it will wait for another day:).

I will sail the Star or one of her sisters again-- I liked the ship that much-- I especially want to do the midnight sun trip sometime. Norway is flat out spectacular!!

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Teefine - And just maybe because I posted all those negative comments about the room (which Viking in all 49 days had not addressed), Viking finally listened and fixed the slamming door and the open stair tread. Would you have rather I not said anything and keft the problems as thet were for you to experience?

 

It's hard not to take the 3 of you personally where you slam me for "contrast drumbeat of negativity" and setting myself up as "THE oracle", put a "downer on every topic", and "hijacking every thread". And that 3 weeks later you heard "considerable criticism" of my posts from fellow traveller's as well. How is that not personal? How would you take it?

 

And I wasn't being sarcastic. I'm glad your trip was wonderful. I hope everyone has a fabulous time.

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Hmm. Ok. But I started a new thread yesterday that folks are free to use or ignore. Called "Viking Star Review - Fresh and New".

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I read Carolyn's post with great interest and mixed reaction. I think passengers would give the ship itself five stars for design and comfort, and high scores to the worker bees who do all that they can to ensure our comfort and satisfaction. And, yes, I understand that there are some glitches to expect on an inaugural cruise.

 

However, am I the only one to have been in the dark about expectations onboard ship? The Viking booking agent waxed lyrically for two years about how we would be blown away, wowed, and so lucky to experience the magic of a maiden voyage.

 

Funny, he never used the term 'shakedown', never said to expect so many lapses in service or so many technical glitches, be it the disembarkation procedures or tender challenges, or TVs that never worked, phone calls to the Explorers desk, room service, or housekeeping that often went unanswered? And more.

 

How many of you knew what you were getting into? We are infrequent cruisers, so the letdown of this shakedown took us by surprise. What about you? Perhaps had we used a TA, he/she would have urged us to think long and hard before booking.

 

 

I agree hence we are waiting,,...

 

 

We are looking at going on Viking so have been reading these threads, what amazes me is so much self righteousness as guests comments on their experiences.

 

It"s a fact that when a new ship is launched there are going to be "teething" challenges, however in the five star hotel industry these are carefully monitored over several months and they usually have a soft opening of 30% 50% 80% and 90% to iron out and perfect opening challenges.

 

During this time there are even incentives for people to pay a lower premium to stay at the hotel. After months o observations, tweeting, correcting and improving....

 

THEN they have a hotel launch.

 

Now lets look at the cruise industry and viking - people pay a large premium to join an "inaugural" cruise.

 

The cruise line has promised and marketed in their brochures a five star luxury product - hence the fares. So its more a case of 1 week shakedown and then "fill her up'!

 

All these guests have paid very good money and at this point there should be no or a minimum of hiccups, they are paying and expecting a flawless luxury experience and journey from embarking to disembarking.

 

At no point should anybody feel they are part of a guinea pig process.... and I am quite confident Mr. Hagen will agree with me.

 

What ever the perception of each individual experience a guest has good or bad - it has value.

 

If they wait to long, have poor service, things don't work when the are supposed to, well they have every justification to pass on their observations..

 

Of course there will always be a few who dwell on this... quite honestly at this level there is plenty of space to walk away.

 

It is the position of the onboard management and leadership to solve and alleviate any challenges and make those disappointed and valued guests happy.

 

We will wait a year before booking...

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20/05/2015...7:56 pm

 

Just back from Viking Star: Hits & misses

 

After putting river cruising firmly on the map, Viking Cruises launched a new effort last month: Its own ocean cruise line. The first new cruise line in over a decade, Viking Ocean Cruises also is the first line to launch with a brand-new, custom-designed and -built ship since Disney introduced Magic in the late 1990s.

 

The 930-passenger Viking Star, which underwent a series of shakedown cruises leading up to its christening in Bergen on May 17, is a ship that redefines affordable luxury in the marketplace. It’s luxuriously and sumptuously decorated, its crew is service oriented and well trained, and itineraries, which rarely repeat a port, are a perfect blend of destinations marquee and offbeat. Venues range from the superb Manfredi’s Italian restaurant to a best-in-cruise spa. There’s also its elegant sun deck, the kootchy-kootchy Torshavn nightclub, and its efficiently styled and larger-than-average staterooms (all of which come with balconies), among others.

 

Ultimately, however, what really distinguishes this new line — and its debut ship — is this: Viking has effectively transferred much of what really works for river cruising — a more value-added, inclusive experience — and brought it to the high seas. This means that passengers onboard Viking Star enjoy complimentary wine and beer with meals, free Wi-Fi, at least one free shore excursion in every port of call, where — and this is another standout of Viking’s Ocean product — immersive experiences are the focus.

And that’s what’s most interesting about cruising’s newest line: It feels like luxury, with a more moderate price tag. It’s the industry’s best oceangoing bang-for-the-buck cruise experience we’ve experienced.

 

With that in mind, here are our hits and very few misses.

 

Hits

 

Decor

 

Most passengers we’ve met onboard our two sailings agree that Viking Star is a beautiful ship. The style is eclectic Danish modern — very sleek and contemporary, but with vibrant colors, and lots of lovely touches. Intriguing collections of books dot bookshelves in public rooms. Shelves are also furnished with lovely art pieces (in particular, we love the gorgeous glass vases scattered throughout), antique artifacts, such as the ship models in the Explorer’s Lounge, and furniture throughout that’s both handsome and comfortable.

 

Balconies

 

All cabins have balconies, which is a plus to begin with. We also liked the simple but comfortable furnishings, which include wicker-like woven chairs and a table that’s high enough for dining.

 

Service

As you’d expect from a 930-passenger ship (small for the industry), the crew is well trained, polite, enthusiastic and friendly; after the first day or so, we were welcomed by name at the places we visited most.

 

Manfredi’s

 

The Italian eatery is Viking Star’s dining standout and we’ve never had a less-than-perfect meal there. Earning raves: flash fried calamari with a balsamic dipping sauce; osso bucco; a Fiorentino steak with a peppery crust; absolutely any pasta or risotto on the regular menu, along with the daily specials (all made in house); and, for dessert, a Nutella-infused panna cotta with a salty crust. The restaurant is open for dinner only; make your reservations early in your cruise.

 

Spa

 

Operated by Oslo-based Liv Nordic, the ship’s spa is the most gorgeous we’ve seen at sea. Services, which include salon treatments from hair styling to pedicures, and a whole range of massage and facial options, are top notch. The facility’s Norwegian-influenced relaxation area comes complete with a thalassotherapy pool, whirlpools, a snow grotto (big tip here: Wear slippers!), Finnish sauna, heated tile loungers and a fireplace-like special effect; these areas are communally shared by all passengers.

 

Locker rooms for men and women also have serene seating areas looking out at the sea, and cold-water pools. The best thing? You don’t have to buy a treatment to use the facilities. They’re complimentary — for all.

 

Misses

 

Chef’s Kitchen

 

We found superb cuisine everywhere onboard, from The Restaurant (soon to be renamed The Dining Room) to the World Cafe, Viking Star’s buffet venue where food is prepared on the spot in an open kitchen. The only venue that left us cold was The Chef’s Kitchen, a themed wine-and-food pairing, multicourse experience. The themes rotate; we tried the Asian-focused event, and one called Sweet and Salty, and both struck as rather pretentious (lots of foam used in dishes). The twice-a-night seatings were rarely crowded, perhaps due to the fact that the restaurant can’t accommodate any special requests, from vegetarian to gluten free.

 

Room service

 

It’s meant to be the ultimate convenience but on Viking Star, the staff didn’t quite have it together. Often the phone just rings through or you’re disconnected before placing your order. Orders are frequently wrong (on one occurrence, the order was read back, correctly, when placed, but a supervisor called for clarification anyway, and proceeded to send the wrong dishes).

 

Minibar

 

On Cruise Critic’s Live chat about Viking Star, one of the biggest topics was minibars. All cabins, save for the lowest-priced category, have funky minifridges that pull out like a drawer. Depending on your cabin level, you might get a smattering of juices and soda, or actually a smidge of liquor. On two different cruises onboard Viking Star, ours was never consistently refilled, and we would have appreciated an option to personalize what’s there.

 

Entertainment

 

Most river cruise lines, including Viking, shy away from elaborate evening entertainment. So it’s new territory for Viking Star. The line’s attempt to replicate big ship-style production shows felt pedestrian and occasionally silly. Entertainment that did work included an intimate Rat Pack review in the cozy Torshavn, as did a Beatles’ retrospective performed poolside. Responding to passenger feedback, Viking has started offering local dance and music talent in various ports of call (in particular, a performance by a choir from Barcelona’s Montserrat was a big crowd pleaser). Still, consistency of entertainment is in flux. We’ll keep an eye on possible changes.

 

Wi-Fi

 

The good news is that the ship has free Wi-Fi. The bad news is that if you, like everyone else, wait for a sea day to catch up on email, bank account updates, and Kindle downloads, you won’t get very far. The trick to getting the most out of the Wi-Fi is using it when everyone else is off the ship. Even then, it can be balky.

 

Thanks for the review.

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Karl Eckl question - yes - seemed overwhelmed putting out fires. Called him and left messages a couple times about our issues - never heard back.

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Hmm. Ok. But I started a new thread yesterday that folks are free to use or ignore. Called "Viking Star Review - Fresh and New".

 

I've been curious about Viking Cruises for the Mediterranean since they announced the launch of the first of their three ships and I just looked into a promotion for 15-night February 2017 sailing on the Viking Sea for two at $11,126, including airfare+transfer and trip insurance, in a veranda stateroom–but they expect final payment by December 2015. 11k is a lot of money for us to tie up for a year and a half. Though we've only sailed a few times we enjoyed the opportunity to lock-in our rates early while paying in full 90 days prior to sailing and in the few times we've sailed we enjoyed the opportunity to lock-in our rates early while paying in full 90 days prior to sailing. And I'm not sure this is such a value.

 

So, after reading the reviews and all the posts on this thread to determine a "midline" from which to draw a fairly decent idea of what to expect with this company's foray into ocean cruises, I decided not to pursue it as an option for our family Mediterreanean cruise in 2017.

 

It's wonderful to come to CC and get a lot of insight that helps in our decision-making. Sure, there are those tangents that some people get into while others tend to border on the nit-pick but this site is still a great source providing that one considered the information gleaned from here with a pragmatic approach.

 

The ship looks lovely but if I have to barter my first child to do this, I think I'll wait to see if they iron out the kinks in their SOP's. I love the idea of a truly inclusive package but when I keep seeing the "you get what you paid for" I cringe a bit.

 

Thanks for being part of my decision-making!

Edited by Pen1993

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Elizabeth..your sarcasm is disappointing and not worthy... My comments were less about negativity and more about monopoly.... There is no doubt your views were legitimate and some useful as well.... BUT...best xample I can give is that we had the same stateroom as you. I was devastated when, just a week before boarding, I read all your comments about awful noise, balcony intrusion, etc. this TOTALLY spoiled what should have been a joyous excitement leading up to the cruise. I boarded feeling negative and horribly worried and in face we had none of the,problems you did. I am sorry for your pblems but I so desperately wished you had. Ot aired them so completwly and with such authority. And when i posted my positive views shortly after embarking, be ause i wanted so much to stop others feeling as worried as you made me feel, whenever anyone commented or asked a question, boom...there you were with roothy and vv answering before I had a chance. That is the point I am making. So etimes too much of a good thing IS too much.

 

Teefine, Elizabeth will probably never mention this but she and her husband allowed a very senior Viking staff member to interrupt their preparing for dinner so that he could inspect their cabin to see for himself what the noise and privacy issues were. I had struck up a conversation with the staff member and in our talks that cabin came up. I thought he should become familiar for the sake of future Star passengers as well as for build-out personnel on next two ships in same design. I'm also a witness that he commented aloud that remedies were called for. Good for you if the cabin was enjoyable for your cruise.

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Re: Coco girl

I am wanting to cancel too. However, spoke to TA advised we would loose all our money as its a Sept. 3rd cruise.. I'm not liking all this drama. Did you loose all your money. What was the process you used?

Edited by Mammacat
Re coco-girl

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Re: Coco girl

I am wanting to cancel too. However, spoke to TA advised we would loose all our money as its a Sept. 3rd cruise.. I'm not liking all this drama. Did you loose all your money. What was the process you used?

 

Hi Mammacat,

 

Our cruise was/is in October 2015, we had paid the deposit in 2013. We called Viking direct ( didn't use a TA) to tell them we were cancelling, then backed that up with an email to them the same day as they had requested cancellation in writing.

 

The booking T & C's here in the UK state that you forfeit all deposits if you cancel, so that was exactly what happened; we 'lost' about £2,000.

 

It was a lot of money to lose, but we felt that it was the right decision for us.

 

Since we originally booked in 2013 there has been a lot of ' life stuff' happening in the Coco household. Mr Coco has had a couple of major ops and other events have happened that have made life a bit stressful.

 

Having sailed with Viking River a couple of times, we were very much hoping that our upcoming trip on the Star in her maiden season would be of the same quality as their River Cruises, where Viking has always exceeded our expectations. We wanted a great holiday, with every thing pretty much taken care of, and no stress.

 

It seems that for now at least, it is not to be. In my humble opinion, they are just not ready to deliver what we would expect of them, so rather than risk being disappointed and wasting our very, very precious holiday, we cancelled Viking and have rebooked with Cunard.

 

I realise that this is maybe a lot more info than you asked for Mammacat, but I give it hoping that others who read it don't flame me for cancelling and losing all that money.

 

We can't really afford to chuck cash away, but our holiday is precious to us, and right now as you quite rightly state, there is too much drama going on.

 

We hope that Viking sort out their many teething problems and go from strength to strength.

 

I do hope that if you go on your trip on September 3rd, that it is fabulous! ( and uneventful) :)

 

Either way, please report back to let me know.

 

Best wishes

 

Coco x

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Thanks for your reply. We too had booked in 2013. Since it is 30 days to the cruise they reserve the right to keep 100% of our money. That is why the TA told us not to cancel . We've also had a lot of health issues this year and was looking forward to a nice time with no drama....we River Cruised with Viking last June and it was great.... So....I will let you know..

Thanks for taking the time, I appreciate it..

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