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There is also a couple of times for an "optional" excursion ...paseengers accompany the chef to buy ingredients for a meal which they then prepare and eat together in a small private dining area. Quite pricey on our cruise but I spoke with a couple of people who thought it was a great experience!

 

That sound like fun!

 

thanks

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Speaking of restaurants, I may be missing it, but I can't find info about the specialty restaurants on the website. Can anyone direct me, or let me know what they have?

 

On the Viking Oceans portion of the Viking website, select the "Why Viking" tab, then "The Viking Difference". Scroll down to Destination Focused Dining, and click on "Learn More". There you will find information about all of the dining options.

 

You may also want to watch some of the videos they have posted. In particular, there is one about the Resident Historians program on board. We found the speakers (there were three on our cruise on the Star) to be very interesting. In particular, James Stourton, a retired Deputy Chairman of Sotheby's Europe, was most entertaining and informative. We made a point to attend all of his presentations.

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On the Viking Oceans portion of the Viking website, select the "Why Viking" tab, then "The Viking Difference". Scroll down to Destination Focused Dining, and click on "Learn More". There you will find information about all of the dining options.

 

You may also want to watch some of the videos they have posted. In particular, there is one about the Resident Historians program on board. We found the speakers (there were three on our cruise on the Star) to be very interesting. In particular, James Stourton, a retired Deputy Chairman of Sotheby's Europe, was most entertaining and informative. We made a point to attend all of his presentations.

 

Ahhh - there it is! Well hidden.

Thank you!

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We like to sit in a lounge area & listen to music and have a cocktail before dinner. On Oceania, we could not do that, because surprisingly there was no music anywhere on the ship from around 7:15 - 8:15 and then again none between 915 & 1015 for after dinner drinks. NONE. Very surprised - they had nice looking lounges, good musicians when they played, but no one playing at those times. Are there places to have a drink & listen to music on V around those times? (Has anyone posted daily programs here?)

 

Surprised to hear that was your experience. On our last cruise, a group we connected with met at Martinis for Happy Hour before dinner every day. There was also a string quartet that played at the Grand Bar as you walked past to the main dining room.

 

Please tell me that there is Happy Hour with 2 for 1 drinks?

 

Mia

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Please tell me that there is Happy Hour with 2 for 1 drinks?

 

Mia

 

On Viking, no happy hour. No drink specials. No reusable souvenir cups. However, the Silver Spirits is $40 per day per cabin (covers all potables but does not cover wine by the bottle or premium drinks over a certain price).

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Surprised to hear that was your experience. On our last cruise, a group we connected with met at Martinis for Happy Hour before dinner every day. There was also a string quartet that played at the Grand Bar as you walked past to the main dining room.

 

Please tell me that there is Happy Hour with 2 for 1 drinks?

 

Mia

 

YES there were such groups/performers, but they did not play before dinner if you were dining at around 730 - 8:30, which I think is prime dinner time, nor were they playing when one of the large shows was on. It was geared towards earlier diners.

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On Viking, no happy hour. No drink specials. No reusable souvenir cups. However, the Silver Spirits is $40 per day per cabin (covers all potables but does not cover wine by the bottle or premium drinks over a certain price).

 

I'm just an occasional drinker, so I wouldn't get much out of a drinks package. I've heard that drinks prices are reasonable onboard and I hope I'm not being misled by someone who said that you can leave a bottle with the bartender and they will mix your drinks for you at no charge. But we will probably buy a bottle at duty free and keep it in our room. Happy Hour was just a welcome excuse to get together!:halo:

 

Mia

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We like the silver spirit package because we like to try different cocktails and wines. I enjoy club soda at night and we like Italian liquor with our coffee

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I'm just an occasional drinker, so I wouldn't get much out of a drinks package. I've heard that drinks prices are reasonable onboard and I hope I'm not being misled by someone who said that you can leave a bottle with the bartender and they will mix your drinks for you at no charge. But we will probably buy a bottle at duty free and keep it in our room. Happy Hour was just a welcome excuse to get together!:halo:

 

Mia

 

And remember that you don't have to hide in your room to drink it. You can byo and still be sociable.

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And remember that you don't have to hide in your room to drink it. You can byo and still be sociable.

One can also pick up a bottle of wine at any port and bring it on board.

I plan to buy some Cava when we are in Cadiz, our first Spanish port of call on my upcoming cruise.Also ,no silly corkage fee.

Another reason to love Viking, you are treated as an adult :)

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One can also pick up a bottle of wine at any port and bring it on board.

I plan to buy some Cava when we are in Cadiz, our first Spanish port of call on my upcoming cruise.Also ,no silly corkage fee.

Another reason to love Viking, you are treated as an adult :)

 

If you are in Cadiz, you want to try either sherry or a similar fortified wine called manzanilla (comes from a different part of Andalucia and hence cannot be called sherry), which are the local/regional wines for the area. I'm hoping to find a bottle of manzanilla in Barcelona and plan to drink it at Afternoon Tea instead of the tea. (I'm also planning to get a nice chunk of manchego cheese to go with it). BTW, the sherry that you find in Spain is nothing like what we can get in the US; it is a delicate wine and does not travel well. If you have tried it here and didn't like it, try it again in Spain. You might be surprised.

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Hi Katie,

It's hard to say why exactly you should try Viking Ocean as we don't know what things are most important for you.

I can tell you how we compare these cruise line products (overall) as we have cruised on all of them.

Viking Star 4.5* (currently on the ship)

Oceania Riviera 4.0* (Smaller ships 3.0*)

Celebrity Solstice class 3.5*

Celebrity Reflection subclass 3.0*

 

For the "luxury" or "near luxury" category, this ship is a breakthrough as it is for the first time since Crystal Serenity that a small (or relatively small) ship is designed as a real cruise ship, not as an expensive nursing facility packed into a small floating sink.

 

The ship has a couple of unfortunate misses in design but it does not prevent it from being well above Oceania and Celebrity overall.

 

The food quality (overall) will be just slightly below Oceania and above Celebrity.

The entertainment - similar to Oceania (almost non-existent by cruise industry standards).

 

Celebrity is just a floating hotel.

 

Viking is a real cruise ship.

 

I will post a short review on this board and the full review in my cruise blog.

 

I just reread your post, and I'm compelled to respond. I disagree and think it's wonderful that there are cruises that can accommodate the elderly with walkers, etc. There are few accessible places that they can stay in and visit. Some of these people also appreciate and enjoy good entertainment such as classical music and the lack of casinos and mainstream entertainment. Remember that you too might have their health conditions someday!

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...we should try Viking Ocean.

 

We are a couple that cruise often, mostly in the Caribbean and in suites. Our last two cruises (December and January) were on Oceania and Celebrity. One we found really boring but the food unbelievably good. The other offered excellent suite perks, much better entertainment, and the food was very good to pretty good to okay.

 

So for those who have cruised on Viking Ocean please convince us that we need to give this line a try. We are about to book so your input would be appreciated.

 

Thanks so much.:)

 

Katie

 

 

 

First of all why do you keep going to the Caribbean ? It's getting over run by the Mega Ships . Try and hold off and go on Viking's Midnight Sun voyage or their Viking Homeland cruise. They are just wonderful ! Quite , no Kids , no Gambling , and food that is equal to or better than Oceania and Celebrity. If smoking and the photo guys are what you go cruising for, then maybe the other lines are for you . Once you try Viking and their approach to cruising, you'll come back m, time after time . It's just better !

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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First of all why do you keep going to the Caribbean ? It's getting over run by the Mega Ships . Try and hold off and go on Viking's Midnight Sun voyage or their Viking Homeland cruise. They are just wonderful ! Quite , no Kids , no Gambling , and food that is equal to or better than Oceania and Celebrity. If smoking and the photo guys are what you go cruising for, then maybe the other lines are for you . Once you try Viking and their approach to cruising, you'll come back m, time after time . It's just better !

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

Love the Caribbean but could not agree more with this post.

Unfortunately, mega ships have infested the Baltic & Med too.

Viking's ship is a perfect size; often feels very private.

Many folks posting here rate Oceania food better than Viking. Can't say, myself.

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Based on one Oceans cruise and two River cruises:

 

Take the included tours because WALKING tours give you the chance to cut away from the group when you want to do so (just remember to ask how to get back).

 

Take optional tours because they go to a specific interest of yours (chocolate making in Talllin!)

 

DO NOT take optional tours for the "snacks" or "typical" local foods. You can find these better on your own and save a lot of money and/or sitting around while 45 people get served. You could be outside DOING something!

 

DO NOT take included or optional tours with descriptions saying "you will see...," "stop to view," or "enjoy a panoramic tour..." unless you are OK with riding on a bus. Walking tours are much better (in OUR opinion)!

 

Take canal boat excursions (worth the $) for an entirely different perspective -- and you don't get stuck in traffic!

 

DO take included or optional excursions if they include entry into that famous museum or site you wanted to see. Why? Because Viking gets you there before they open -- often getting early entry, beating the crowds!

 

DO assume that included tours may walk more slowly than you like, but your Quietvox earpiece works at a distance, so serious photographers can "circle ahead" and get shots without all the other Viking people blocking the picture. Warning: Narrow mazes of old town alleys can interfere with the Quietvox. Know the end point to rendezvous there!

 

Do take included tours simply to learn and gain an overview about a location. 95% of Viking's tour guides are extremely knowledgeable. If not your cup of tea -- or babbling too much about teacups -- ask where/when you can meet the group later. Chances are another couple or two will join you on an adventure! Then remember the guide's name and be sure to fill out the evaluation form about the boring teacup guide. Viking wants to know.

 

DO ask the guide about your off-the-wall interests (mine is fabric shops/local artisans). They can direct you for your "time on your own." Sometimes they can tell you where to get the BEST things away from the tourist traps (local grocery stores where the locals shop!).

 

Have fun!

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OK - you people have us scared :eek: We will be on our first Viking (Star) cruise in January. We're afraid from all the above comments that cruising Viking might become habit forming :D

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OK - you people have us scared :eek: We will be on our first Viking (Star) cruise in January. We're afraid from all the above comments that cruising Viking might become habit forming :D

 

Most definitely!!

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@GWESQ I forgot to mention that the musicians who were on board for our VO 2015 cruise were outstanding. The pianist, string quartet, and "serious" vocalists rotate between Explorer's lounge, main living room/atrium, and some stops in the smaller bar throughout the evening. If you prefer more casual vocalists, such as a tribute to the Beatles or Abba, there are some singers who do that in the theatre or the smaller bar. We followed the instrumentalists and pianist around. I cannot recall exact times in each venue, but once you see the Viking Daily, you can figure out how the "rotation" is working. In conversations with them, we learned about their REAL WORLD musical work... not conservatory students working for the summer. They are the real deal and concert grade good. The pianist was highly versatile and could delight tastes from classical to Cole Porter.

 

And the drinks are quite reasonable for those who don't have silver spirits level interest. PV level+ cabins (maybe lower...not sure) have a stocked minibar that includes some alcohol (free). If you ask your steward for specific items (tonic, gin, and no diet coke or bourbon, for example), they will customize for you. They'll also provide extra glasses/ice so you can take your own drinks anywhere on the ship. Between that and free room service, you can create a cocktail hour "portable picnic" to take up on the sundeck or to your choice of locations. No one will look at you like you are strange.

 

Our favorite place before dinner was the Explorer's lounge. You can sit and enjoy the piano and the views whether or not you want to drink. I don't recall exact cocktail times for the pianist. It gets a little busier later in the evening if they are doing a music trivia game or dancing, but there is always room to sit somewhere.

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Silly me. I never realized the Explorer's lounge offered dinner. I guess that shows you that I didn't read the daily word for word. What kind of food do they offer for dinner?

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Silly me. I never realized the Explorer's lounge offered dinner. I guess that shows you that I didn't read the daily word for word. What kind of food do they offer for dinner?

 

The don't offer dinner. They offer sandwiches until 5pm or so and then again some light snacks (and pea soup) after the dinner service is over.

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Take canal boat excursions (worth the $) for an entirely different perspective -- and you don't get stuck in traffic!

 

Can you describe what canal boat excursions that you took that were not duplicates of sailing in and out of the ports.

 

Thanks so much for the helpful review.

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Canal excursions in Copenhagen, St Petersburg were nowhere near the port in/out sailing. They are excellent. The Viking Stockholm water excursion we took was just around the harbor, not really a canal excursion.

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Agree. Making the same decision. Word up is that now Viking does Berlin via train, not bus.

Yes, that's true. Viking charters the whole train. The train station is 5-10 min away from the ship. We actually could see it. We didn't go to Berlin but we witnessed how the crew welcomed back the tired "Berliners" with music, refreshing towels and champagne. You should've seen the "Berliners" faces coming from tired to the huge smiles, they even moved differently, kind of lighter steps moving with the music. I would never forget this!

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Can you describe what canal boat excursions that you took that were not duplicates of sailing in and out of the ports.

 

 

In Copenhagen, the canal boat we took was ON OUR OWN, leaving Newhavn (sp?) after the included overview tour was completed. We stayed in town, bought tickets (about $10 as I recall), had lunch, and then reported for our boat. It's all right there in the middle of the Newhavn area. You can't miss it. Canals go throughout the city (not where the ship was) and let you see things from better angles, lots of interesting canal life, etc. We did go out into the harbor briefly, near where the ship was, but then took other smaller waterways. Definitely worth it. I think Viking may have offered a similar tour, but we chose to do this on advice from friends who had been there. We then walked back to the ship. It may have been a mile or so?

In Stockholm, we took the canal boat that went up through the locks into a lake, passing many places the ship could not go, again seeing local life and other sites. That boat also toured a bit of the harbor where the ship was, but saw more of it. This was a Viking optional tour. We did not do Stockholm included tour because we chose to do the Vasa museum-- a choice we LOVED! It is amazing. Best guide we ever had with Viking, too.

The SPB tour was our choice INSTEAD of the included one. No bus, and we got to weave in and out of narrow canals within the city, coming out onto the river where there were Russian Navy vessels. (It was about to be their "fleet week.") The best part was that we had a much longer time at the Church of the Spilled Blood just as they opened, and we could actually MOVE around inside. That place is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G, not "ABC." Entirely lined with mosaics made from small tiles, many reflective gold. We were lucky to get a sunny day, so light streamed in the clerestory windows making it look like a giant jewel box. The included tour may or may not stop there? I know those who took Viking's SPB super tour (the one that included almost everything) stopped there but only briefly, and it was late during the crowded day. The canal boat trip in SPB is part walking tour which was fine. Our guide was excellent, and we believe we had much better views of many buildings and important sites on this trip as opposed to a "panoramic tour." Fresh air, no bus :)

Can you tell we don't like buses much?

Enjoy!

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