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Review- Viking Sea: From the Caribbean to the Amazon (Dec 16, 2017 to Jan. 6, 2018)

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12 hours ago, daryllafferty said:

I had pictured the trip up the Amazon like an adventure movie with green walls of jungle on both sides and tropical birds and animals occasionally seen or heard.  Are parts of it anything like this?  Or are the banks of the river pretty much all cleared, farmed and settled?

 

Does the ship stay mostly in the middle of the river, or is it sometimes close enough to the banks to see things?

No, this isn’t an adventure movie. If you want to do that, I recommend Acapulco. We took a tour there of the real jungle where Rambo was filmed.

 

The estuary to the river is huge and long, over 100 miles so you won’t see anything for some time. There are cities along the way you can see from the ship. We tendered in Paratins and Belem. I did not get off at Belem because it was such a hit and humid day and people were passing out on the dock. Most interesting for us was Santarem. We did the piranha fishing and had a ball, they take you in a smaller boat through the areas the ship can’t reach. We also did Meeting of the Waters which was fantastic. We also did one of the jungle walk,  Think it was in Santarem. But you aren’t going to see a lot of wildlife. They don’t like having people around.

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On 1/12/2020 at 5:40 PM, daryllafferty said:

There haven't been any comments posted here for over a year.  I would like to hear reviews of the more recent cruises up the Amazon.  Did Viking fix some of the problems?

 

We are scheduled on the Star for November 29, but if we don't hear that things have improved we may change our mind.

 

 

Please read reviews in other threads, including the Dec 18, 2018 sailing.  Clearly the first time out in 2017 sailed under a dark star with things going wrong early, often not under Viking's control, e.g. missed food container, high winds at Devil's Island, hot and humid weather.  Once people decide they are not having a good time, it's hard to change the vibe on the ship.  Also notice many of the comments on this thread are from people who did not actually take the trip.

 

We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise, as did everyone we talked to on the ship.  I've been to the upper Amazon on wildlife focused trips.  This isn't one of them; it's a cruise on a cruise ship.  Yet . . . I'm a birder and there were other birders who got together from time to time with the Viking-supplied naturalist to compare notes.  We saw some nice birds, especially around Manaus.  If it had been a birding trip, I would have been unhappy.  But it wasn't.  Just so you know what you are getting into.

 

There are a lot of "sea days," which are actually river days.  I enjoyed sitting on the top deck watching the river, the river traffic, the river banks with forest, occasional birds go by.  My wife thought that was excruciatingly boring and amused herself elsewhere on the ship.

 

The things that Viking always does well (the ship, the food, the service) were up to the usual Viking standard.  We have booked three Viking cruises since this one.

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On 1/8/2018 at 9:23 PM, Bollinge said:

The Boi Bumba show in Parintins was something we will never forget. “Petty” crime is a problem everywhere, not just in the “third world”. Think Barcelona, Rome, Athens.

 

The only time I have ever been robbed was in Naples on the main drag in broad daylight when I had a Rolex watch snatched by a gang on Vespas.

 

 

The Rolex did it!

 

While I can't comment on the ship, I will say something about the ports. The Boi Bumba show is extraordinary. Not to be missed. The dancers do a small part of the actual big festival in Parintins. 

 

"Petty" crime in most South American countries includes ripping jewelry off people, just don't wear anything gold, silver, precious or imitations on shore. I thought every traveler knew that, but obviously many don't and seem also unaware of the extreme poverty. It helps to come prepared with some background knowledge from books, documentaries, and a good enrichment speaker on the ship. We will travel to the Amazon basin for the third time.

 

 

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20 hours ago, stilltrucking said:

I've been to the upper Amazon on wildlife focused trips.

 

Napo Wildlife Center in Ecuador? That was one of our best trips and we are not avid birders. Like you I like to watch the river traffic and forest go by, did it on the Danube and the Mekong. 

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On 1/13/2020 at 10:01 PM, daryllafferty said:

I had pictured the trip up the Amazon like an adventure movie with green walls of jungle on both sides and tropical birds and animals occasionally seen or heard.  Are parts of it anything like this?  Or are the banks of the river pretty much all cleared, farmed and settled?

 

Does the ship stay mostly in the middle of the river, or is it sometimes close enough to the banks to see things?

 

The river is too wide up to Manaus, after all you will be on an oceangoing ship. For vistas like you imagine, you need to take a river boat tour or stay in a lodge where they take you on canoes into narrow water ways. We saw the most animals when the Napo Wildlife Center lodge in Ecuador provided us with an Indian guide. We would have walked by the anaconda without seeing a thing and I even missed a rare animal while I was fiddling with my camera, but I have pictures of a giant river otter popping up next to the canoe.

 

The ocean going ships are not always in the middle of the Amazon. The banks are mostly forested. Bring binoculars. Most jungle animals are elusive, but I saw flocks of birds.

 

 

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On 1/14/2020 at 12:28 PM, stilltrucking said:

Please read reviews in other threads, including the Dec 18, 2018 sailing.  Clearly the first time out in 2017 sailed under a dark star with things going wrong early, often not under Viking's control, e.g. missed food container, high winds at Devil's Island, hot and humid weather.  Once people decide they are not having a good time, it's hard to change the vibe on the ship.  Also notice many of the comments on this thread are from people who did not actually take the trip.

 

We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise, as did everyone we talked to on the ship.  I've been to the upper Amazon on wildlife focused trips.  This isn't one of them; it's a cruise on a cruise ship.  Yet . . . I'm a birder and there were other birders who got together from time to time with the Viking-supplied naturalist to compare notes.  We saw some nice birds, especially around Manaus.  If it had been a birding trip, I would have been unhappy.  But it wasn't.  Just so you know what you are getting into.

 

There are a lot of "sea days," which are actually river days.  I enjoyed sitting on the top deck watching the river, the river traffic, the river banks with forest, occasional birds go by.  My wife thought that was excruciatingly boring and amused herself elsewhere on the ship.

 

The things that Viking always does well (the ship, the food, the service) were up to the usual Viking standard.  We have booked three Viking cruises since this one.

 We were on the Dec 18 cruise with the missed container and missed Devil Island. If you had read the entire thread you would know that. 

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15 hours ago, LadyImpactOhio said:

 We were on the Dec 18 cruise with the missed container and missed Devil Island. If you had read the entire thread you would know that. 

I think you mean Dec 16 (2017).  That’s the sailing that had missed container, missed Devil’s Island, etc.

 

Of course I read this entire review thread.  Also the Roll Call threads for the Dec 16, 2017; Nov 27, 2018; and Dec 18, 2018 departures of the same itinerary.  In Spring 2018 I was considering whether to cancel my booking for the Dec 18, 2018 departure, and was *very* interested in what people had to say.  I decided to stay on the cruise, and I’m glad I did.  That’s why I suggest that people contemplating this trip read more than just this Dec 16, 2017 review. The Dec 18, 2018 Roll Call will show several people canceling their bookings, but later, when the cruise is underway, people having a good time.  (Even some wildlife photos taken on the decks of the Sea!)  Departures since then, including the one coming up Feb 20, 2020 have been fully booked.

 

I’m sorry LIO had an unhappy time on the Viking Sea in 2017.  That’s time and money that can’t be retrieved, and must be really irritating.  But many later cruisers on Caribbean to the Amazon have really enjoyed that itinerary on that ship.

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