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LauraS

Would a Luxury Cruiser Be Happy on Viking Ocean Cruises

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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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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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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.

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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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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

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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

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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

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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

 

 

 

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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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."

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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.

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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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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

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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.

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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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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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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

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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.

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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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Have to disagree that people that have sailed on luxury cruise lines but have not sailed on Viking Ocean are only speculating. Firstly, I think that you could have a great experience on any of the most recognized luxury lines for people in North America - in alphabetical order - Crystal, Regent, Seabourn and Silversea.

 

IMO, it is easier to compare luxury lines with each other and premium plus (Oceania, Azamara, Viking Ocean) with each other. One difference between premium and luxury is inclusiveness. and suite size. On Regent, for instance, international Business Class air and included or lower priced excursions are also included. Suite sizes on luxury cruise lines are "generally" over 300 sq. ft. (yes - there are exceptions).

 

Although we have not sailed on Viking Ocean (nor do we wish to), we have sailed on Oceania twice (on their newest ships). The ships were amazing despite the fact that they have some inside staterooms which is not something that luxury cruisers are used to. Luxury cruisers are also used to all balcony ships (again, there are some exceptions - generally with older ships in the fleet).

 

We actually find the passengers on luxury lines a bit more friendly. As has been mentioned, this could be because alcohol (top shelf) is included. This doesn't mean that these passengers drink a lot but do enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine/champagne before and/or after dinner. On Oceania, a premium plus cruise line, unless you purchase a package for around $69/day/per (for the premium package) most passengers do not go into the lounge for their "measured" mini drinks. The exception is at Happy Hour or at an event where they is free alcohol. During those times, the lounges are packed and it can be difficult to get a seat.

 

Dress codes on luxury lines are, for the most part, "elegant casual" (Silversea is a major exception - their passengers like to dress up and you will see suits, tuxedos, etc. on most nights). On Regent, the minimum dress code for men after 6:00 p.m. is slacks and a collared shirt (no jeans). During the day, anything goes (except for bathing suits without covers and bathrobes).

 

It is probably obvious that we are Regent cruisers that have also sailed on Silversea and Oceania. I have absolutely nothing negative to say about Crystal or Seabourn - the reviews and comments that I've read from passengers are quite positive. IMO, there is a big difference between premium plus and luxury but it is difficult to describe (and if I tried, there would likely be disagreements).

 

If you can afford* luxury cruising, I think that it the way to go. If not, premium or premium plus cruising is fine.

 

*"Afford" in this case does not mean how much money you have. Some people prefer less expensive cruises so that they can cruise more. Others take fewer cruises on more expensive cruise lines. Many people on Regent book the lowest category suites which enables them to cruise more. We tend to book upper suites and only take 1-2 cruises per year.

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travelcat2,

"Although we have not sailed on Viking Ocean (nor do we wish to), ..."

Thanks for answering the question posed in the title of this thread.:)

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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.

But surely the fact that they bother to have a cheat sheet to remember your name is a signifier of good service.

I think Charles II, the cleverest and suavely of our monarchs, summed up good service in his reference to Lord Godolphin who said was never in the way and never out of the way.

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For me the elements of luxury cruising/yachting are:

Understated but luxurious design in the public areas and the cabins

The ability to eat al fresco at every meal

Cocktail parties and other events designed to allow passengers to mingle if they choose

Elegance rather than glitz being the watchword

All inclusive fare

Great linen, bathroom supplies etc

A high crew to passenger ratio

Excellent service which makes you feel like an individual not a passenger

Outstanding international cuisine which is cooked a la minute and not mass-produced

More space free in the common areas of the ship

The ability to visit smaller more interesting ports

Hardly any announcements over the PA

No Broadway shows and the like, but a minimum amount of entertainment

Staying overnight in ports to allow passengers to enjoy the night life

A crew with great knowledge about the ports

High quality excursions, including guided walks by officers or the chef around towns or markets

An international blend of passengers who are well-travelled and interesting

I think the last is probably one of the most important factors. The whole experience really goes both ways. Although we are paying for the experience, it behoves us to try to make things as pleasant as possible for our fellow guests and the crew.

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But surely the fact that they bother to have a cheat sheet to remember your name is a signifier of good service..

No, it tells me that they know how to remember people's names, that's all. There may be good service without that, and lousy service with that. It's just window dressing that makes someone take notice, but doesn't necessarily reflect the quality of the product.

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But surely the fact that they bother to have a cheat sheet to remember your name is a signifier of good service.

I think Charles II, the cleverest and suavely of our monarchs, summed up good service in his reference to Lord Godolphin who said was never in the way and never out of the way.

 

They all have different ways to remember your name but not the cheat sheets.

 

Sometimes I think they know more then we do.

 

For example, we do sail a particular line often so overtime get to know the personnel. One time we were looking at the menu for the following night. I saw a fish I did not recognize and asked the Head Waiter about it. He looked at me and said Mr. XXXX you had it last year and you loved it. Well back in the room I looked at a blog I write and sure enough he was right. No cheat sheet. All spontaneous.

 

On many of the luxury lines they are taught how to remember names.

 

In fact we once went to a lecture and the lecturer taught the audience how to memorize names.

 

Regardless of all of this I believe one of the differences with a luxury ship to say a main stream one is that my experience eon most (yes most not all) is that when things are done properly you are treated more as a person/individual then just a number.

 

Keith

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Getting back to the original thread no one knows for sure unless you try Viking.

 

And.......We are all different so what does it matter if I would like a premium line but you don't.

 

Same would apply to any product.

 

Would a Lexus owner enjoy owning a BWM. What do you think the answer is?

 

Well, my thought is it will vary by person.

 

Why?

 

Because we are not clones of one another. We all see things a bit differently and that is evident on CC each and very day including this thread.

 

We will try new lines for itinerary. For us that is an opportunity to try another new line.

 

Keith

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No, it tells me that they know how to remember people's names, that's all. There may be good service without that, and lousy service with that. It's just window dressing that makes someone take notice, but doesn't necessarily reflect the quality of the product.

 

I have never been anywhere where the service was under par and the people providing that service addressed me by name. In fact it is often a sign of bad service that you are not addressed by name.

 

Those providing average service do not take pains. Bothering to learn people’s names is one of the set of pains that those who wish to provide good service take. It is not a parlour trick designed to take in the punters.

 

It is of course possible to have no idea of someone’s name and still to provide good service. But typically this occurs in quick, one off transactions. When you are dealing with someone over a period of days, it is nice to know they remember who you are. It is also more pleasant if the you acknowledge them by name as well.

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I have never been anywhere where the service was under par and the people providing that service addressed me by name. In fact it is often a sign of bad service that you are not addressed by name.

 

Those providing average service do not take pains. Bothering to learn people’s names is one of the set of pains that those who wish to provide good service take. It is not a parlour trick designed to take in the punters.

 

It is of course possible to have no idea of someone’s name and still to provide good service. But typically this occurs in quick, one off transactions. When you are dealing with someone over a period of days, it is nice to know they remember who you are. It is also more pleasant if the you acknowledge them by name as well.

I'm not saying that you're wrong, I'm relating my belief - and my opinion isn't wrong either. I do think of it as a parlour trick and it really doesn't impress me much.......to me, that's the easy part of great service. It only matters to me if it's part of the package, and even then, it's a minor part to me. I don't suddenly feel more important just because someone uses my name.

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I have never been anywhere where the service was under par and the people providing that service addressed me by name. In fact it is often a sign of bad service that you are not addressed by name.

 

 

 

Those providing average service do not take pains. Bothering to learn people’s names is one of the set of pains that those who wish to provide good service take. It is not a parlour trick designed to take in the punters.

 

 

 

It is of course possible to have no idea of someone’s name and still to provide good service. But typically this occurs in quick, one off transactions. When you are dealing with someone over a period of days, it is nice to know they remember who you are. It is also more pleasant if the you acknowledge them by name as well.

 

 

 

Quite frankly I’m finding this emphasis on remembering names a bit humorous.

 

We have sailed with Carnival - which I think most in this thread would place on the lowest of the low rungs - and I wouldn’t completely disagree. I have issues with Carnival and other mainstream lines, but service isn’t one of them.

 

The people who have served us on Carnival have been wonderful. The room stewards and staff do have cheat sheets to remember names, and they do an excellent job.

 

They, and the bartenders, and the dining room wait staff all remember what you like and don’t like. They do what they can within the parameters set for them and quite often push those boundaries to please a guest. And it’s even more remarkable that they do it with twice or three times the number of guests to care for than their luxury counterparts. I think that says something for their dedication to service.

 

My issues with the mainstream lines - aside from the packed to the gunnels mega ships, the madding crowds, the cacophony, and the constant nagging to buy something - is that they are eliminating the niceties that used to elevate the experience above what it has become, and they continue to degenerate that experience with cost cutting measures designed to keep the lowest common denominator happy to sail with them.

 

I like the niceties, and that’s what I include in my definition of luxury. I like tablecloths, nice china and crystal. I like soft lighting, and soft background music, and soft fabrics. I will admit to a fondness for sparkle. 🤩 I don’t need fawning attention, but attention to detail is good.

 

I wouldn’t list all inclusive in my definition of luxury. I’m ambivalent - ala carte works for me as well. I just like to know ahead of time which I’m dealing with.

 

I don’t have the posts at hand, but someone mentioned having drinks included as a luxury aspect because it makes people friendlier. I’m not sure I would agree with that line of thinking, but I will point out that Viking (since that is the line in the subject) includes wine and beer with meals and their beverage package is only $20 a day per person - which I think is very reasonable. Included beverages may make some people friendly, but at the same time make others obnoxious.

 

Another member here said that Viking had the atmosphere or resemblance to a “homeless shelter.” Really?

 

Quite frankly I find that description overboard, totally unfair and more than a bit ridiculous. I can’t speak for the Ocean division, but that certainly didn’t fit our river cruise experience and I find it difficult to believe that the ocean cruises will be so different from our river experience.

 

I can’t speak for other Viking cruisers, but we pack more than a carry on. I don’t bring steamer trunks but I do pack an adequate amount and variety of clothes.

 

I’m a Gemini. I mention that because those of us born to that sign can usually fit into any atmosphere and be completely at home. I can do tuxedos and ball gowns just as easily as sweatshirts and well-worn jeans.

 

The older I get, though, I just don’t want to bother with the requirements of formal. I like casual with a bit of style and flair. I don’t find jeans as comfortable as some do, but I’ve seen people who CAN wear them with panache. I can rub elbows with those folks

 

Someone else mentioned space. I think Viking meets that requirement in the public areas, and they offer a broad enough selection of cabins that all their guests can find one to meet their needs.

 

We don’t require a lot of space, but we do want a balcony/veranda. I think a bit of private outside space is necessary, even if there isn’t the need to get away from the crowds as found on mainstream cruises.

 

We booked a Deluxe Veranda because it seemed to meet our needs, but I think next time I would go with the Penthouse Veranda - mostly for the extra storage space.

 

Someone else mentioned liking some ships of a line, but not others. I know many won’t agree with me, but I really like that Viking ships are all the same. If you like one you will like them all and you can feel at home the minute you step aboard.

 

To conclude this long ramble (and I will admit to being a rambler), I’m beginning to think that luxury isn’t the issue - at least not with me. I am looking to be a bit pampered. We never used to fly business/first because it didn’t seem necessary - especially for short flights - but like the cruise lines, the airlines have diluted the experience to a point where it has become necessary to be at least a bit comfortable.

 

I may find that Viking Ocean fits all our requirements. If so I might not look further. On the other hand, I know that if you don’t look beyond current requirements, you don’t know what you might find. I am, above all else, curious - another Gemini trait.

 

We aren’t wealthy but standard measures. We are what my mother always defined as “comfortable.” We can afford better things and experiences, but not the best, most extravagant. We like to treat ourselves well when we travel, and within some limits we can.

 

So I can’t really answer the question at hand, but I do think we will be happy with Viking, and we’ll see where that takes us. One thing I have learned from this conversation is that apparently luxury - like beauty - is in the eye of the beholder.

 

Namaste

 

 

 

 

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Quite frankly I’m finding this emphasis on remembering names a bit humorous.

 

We have sailed with Carnival - which I think most in this thread would place on the lowest of the low rungs - and I wouldn’t completely disagree. I have issues with Carnival and other mainstream lines, but service isn’t one of them.

 

The people who have served us on Carnival have been wonderful. The room stewards and staff do have cheat sheets to remember names, and they do an excellent job.

 

They, and the bartenders, and the dining room wait staff all remember what you like and don’t like. They do what they can within the parameters set for them and quite often push those boundaries to please a guest. And it’s even more remarkable that they do it with twice or three times the number of guests to care for than their luxury counterparts. I think that says something for their dedication to service.

 

My issues with the mainstream lines - aside from the packed to the gunnels mega ships, the madding crowds, the cacophony, and the constant nagging to buy something - is that they are eliminating the niceties that used to elevate the experience above what it has become, and they continue to degenerate that experience with cost cutting measures designed to keep the lowest common denominator happy to sail with them.

 

I like the niceties, and that’s what I include in my definition of luxury. I like tablecloths, nice china and crystal. I like soft lighting, and soft background music, and soft fabrics. I will admit to a fondness for sparkle. 🤩 I don’t need fawning attention, but attention to detail is good.

 

I wouldn’t list all inclusive in my definition of luxury. I’m ambivalent - ala carte works for me as well. I just like to know ahead of time which I’m dealing with.

 

I don’t have the posts at hand, but someone mentioned having drinks included as a luxury aspect because it makes people friendlier. I’m not sure I would agree with that line of thinking, but I will point out that Viking (since that is the line in the subject) includes wine and beer with meals and their beverage package is only $20 a day per person - which I think is very reasonable. Included beverages may make some people friendly, but at the same time make others obnoxious.

 

Another member here said that Viking had the atmosphere or resemblance to a “homeless shelter.” Really?

 

Quite frankly I find that description overboard, totally unfair and more than a bit ridiculous. I can’t speak for the Ocean division, but that certainly didn’t fit our river cruise experience and I find it difficult to believe that the ocean cruises will be so different from our river experience.

 

I can’t speak for other Viking cruisers, but we pack more than a carry on. I don’t bring steamer trunks but I do pack an adequate amount and variety of clothes.

 

I’m a Gemini. I mention that because those of us born to that sign can usually fit into any atmosphere and be completely at home. I can do tuxedos and ball gowns just as easily as sweatshirts and well-worn jeans.

 

The older I get, though, I just don’t want to bother with the requirements of formal. I like casual with a bit of style and flair. I don’t find jeans as comfortable as some do, but I’ve seen people who CAN wear them with panache. I can rub elbows with those folks

 

Someone else mentioned space. I think Viking meets that requirement in the public areas, and they offer a broad enough selection of cabins that all their guests can find one to meet their needs.

 

We don’t require a lot of space, but we do want a balcony/veranda. I think a bit of private outside space is necessary, even if there isn’t the need to get away from the crowds as found on mainstream cruises.

 

We booked a Deluxe Veranda because it seemed to meet our needs, but I think next time I would go with the Penthouse Veranda - mostly for the extra storage space.

 

Someone else mentioned liking some ships of a line, but not others. I know many won’t agree with me, but I really like that Viking ships are all the same. If you like one you will like them all and you can feel at home the minute you step aboard.

 

To conclude this long ramble (and I will admit to being a rambler), I’m beginning to think that luxury isn’t the issue - at least not with me. I am looking to be a bit pampered. We never used to fly business/first because it didn’t seem necessary - especially for short flights - but like the cruise lines, the airlines have diluted the experience to a point where it has become necessary to be at least a bit comfortable.

 

I may find that Viking Ocean fits all our requirements. If so I might not look further. On the other hand, I know that if you don’t look beyond current requirements, you don’t know what you might find. I am, above all else, curious - another Gemini trait.

 

We aren’t wealthy but standard measures. We are what my mother always defined as “comfortable.” We can afford better things and experiences, but not the best, most extravagant. We like to treat ourselves well when we travel, and within some limits we can.

 

So I can’t really answer the question at hand, but I do think we will be happy with Viking, and we’ll see where that takes us. One thing I have learned from this conversation is that apparently luxury - like beauty - is in the eye of the beholder.

 

Namaste

 

 

 

 

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As I might have said above, a YouTube cruise reveiwer called Jim Zimmerlin has done a review of Viking Star which I think shows that the ship is very good.

 

The main reason I wouldn't travel on it is the fact that it still has a lot of passengers.

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For me the elements of luxury cruising/yachting are:

Understated but luxurious design in the public areas and the cabins

The ability to eat al fresco at every meal

Cocktail parties and other events designed to allow passengers to mingle if they choose

Elegance rather than glitz being the watchword

All inclusive fare

Great linen, bathroom supplies etc

A high crew to passenger ratio

Excellent service which makes you feel like an individual not a passenger

Outstanding international cuisine which is cooked a la minute and not mass-produced

More space free in the common areas of the ship

The ability to visit smaller more interesting ports

Hardly any announcements over the PA

No Broadway shows and the like, but a minimum amount of entertainment

Staying overnight in ports to allow passengers to enjoy the night life

A crew with great knowledge about the ports

High quality excursions, including guided walks by officers or the chef around towns or markets

An international blend of passengers who are well-travelled and interesting

I think the last is probably one of the most important factors. The whole experience really goes both ways. Although we are paying for the experience, it behoves us to try to make things as pleasant as possible for our fellow guests and the crew.

 

You are likely not a candidate for Crystal, Regent, Seabourn or Silversea. I cannot imagine how much a cruise line would have to pay to have a crew with "great knowledge about the ports" and an officer that actually has the time to be away from the ship in order to walk around towns or markets. For the most part, luxury cruisers love the entertainment - even though it cannot compare with mainstream cruise lines. I believe that you have sailed on SeaDream Yacht Club which is a different type of cruising completely. Personally, I would not be comfortable on such a small boat/ship - especially if there were children onboard that one cannot avoid. And, no matter what anyone says about a balcony, having your own private balcony where you can sit and relax - have cocktails and enjoy the sea is not possible without a balcony.

 

Most luxury cruise lines (the ones mentioned above) have a very high rate of return passengers. They are welcomed onboard as if they were family. Knowing names is not required but it is a nice touch (and the cruise line that we frequent does not have a cheat sheet with pictures somewhere but do have a reliable way of identifying passengers.) I personally do not want to dine al fresco at every meal - unless the temperature was around 70 degrees and clear.

 

Who needs a cocktail party when everything is included? Every evening on a luxury cruise line is an opportunity to mix and mingle with other guests.

 

Not sure what you mean by "glitz". We each have our own preference when it comes to the design, colors, etc on a ship. Our favorite ship does not have the decor that we would have in our home but that does not matter to us. What does matter is large suites (not cabins/staterooms), balconies, excellent service and food.

 

In any case, we all have our likes and dislikes and we can't change anyone else's mind. All we can do is share information about our personal experiences on a cruise line and let others decide which cruise line fits the best for them.

 

Cyber - you would likely be very happy with Viking Ocean since you are coming from a mainstream cruise line. It is luxury cruisers that are used to everything that a luxury cruise line has to offer than are taking a small step down in order to sail on Viking Ocean, Oceania or Azamara. In terms of names, in my wildest imagination, I cannot see people on large cruise ships remembering anyone's names. Once you have sailed on a non-mainstream cruise line, you'll probably understand where some of us are coming from. Hope that you give Viking Ocean a try!

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Cyber - you would likely be very happy with Viking Ocean since you are coming from a mainstream cruise line. It is luxury cruisers that are used to everything that a luxury cruise line has to offer than are taking a small step down in order to sail on Viking Ocean, Oceania or Azamara. In terms of names, in my wildest imagination, I cannot see people on large cruise ships remembering anyone's names. Once you have sailed on a non-mainstream cruise line, you'll probably understand where some of us are coming from. Hope that you give Viking Ocean a try!

 

 

 

I’m quite sure we will be happy with Viking Ocean and we are sailing with them in the Caribbean next month. I wanted to do the Into the Midnight Sun itinerary but DH wanted someplace warm. I can’t argue with warm.

 

I don’t know how they do it, but on Carnival, the stewards, dining room wait staff and bartenders all remember your name and preferences.

 

On our last cruise the wait staff we had were wonderful. They quickly learned what we liked and would bring extras and something special they thought we might like. They were amazing.

 

We previously booked cruises on Carnival because it was fast and easy. It didn’t even matter where the ship was going it was just a quick getaway that didn’t require much thinking. We weren’t looking for luxury just a convenient getaway.

 

Now we are retired and have time to think about what we are doing, where we are going and time to explore options - which is what we are doing.

 

I’m trying to understand what the definition of luxury means to other people. My own definition is rather flexible and open at the moment. I don’t know if how other people define the concept matters as much, but I am trying to determine what I want to require for my definition - if that makes any sense.

 

I do know that we are more than ready to move beyond the hoards and masses of the mainstream lines, including their ship within a ship concepts. That doesn’t appeal at all.

 

Maybe Viking Ocean will be our entrance, our first step and we’ll see where we go from there. I’m excited about the possibilities.

 

 

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Hope that you eventually do the Land of the Midnight Sun - it was amongst our top cruises ever! In the meantime, enjoy Viking Ocean:D

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