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firstforty2012

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Im  considering my first Viking cruise.  Im a veteran having taken just under 50 around the world.  My normal lines are Crystal, Azamara and Oceania.  How does Viking compare?  One thing I have noticed is dont call the sales line off the website unless you want to browbeaten into submission.  I have never had such rude, high pressure people speak to me about a cruise.

 

Comments?

 

 

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13 minutes ago, firstforty2012 said:

Im  considering my first Viking cruise.  Im a veteran having taken just under 50 around the world.  My normal lines are Crystal, Azamara and Oceania.  How does Viking compare?  One thing I have noticed is dont call the sales line off the website unless you want to browbeaten into submission.  I have never had such rude, high pressure people speak to me about a cruise.

 

Comments?

 

 

 

Maybe that just made the decision for you? I’ve just come from Orion. People onboard say it isn’t the usual Viking experience on this ship. I’ve only cruised with less expensive lines like Cunard, Princess and Celebrity. Some things Viking did better, eg the food. Other things the other lines did better. We found Orion to have issues with communicating to passengers. Almost like they don’t want to tell you bad news until there is no more time to wait. If you’ve cruised with Crystal I’m not sure that you should change. Oceania is reputed to have the best cuisine. I don’t know much about Azamara. 

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What is it that you like about Crystal, Oceania and Azamara?  Of my knowledge of those lines, in comparison to my experience on Viking i can say that Viking is probably more similar to Oceania in that the atmosphere is more relaxed (no formal nights, no pomp and circumstance) without the same focus on the cuisine.

 

Viking's ships are what I would describe as understated elegance in that they are nicely decorated with plenty of comfortable places to sit and just enjoy the atmosphere without feeling as though you're being herded from one attraction to the next.  The focus onboard is towards information sharing (ironic given the complete lack of information coming from their office on all things) by way of lectures and port talks which may or may not be your thing and of course these are also itinerary specific/dependent.  

 

Entertainment IMO is mediocre at best when it comes to the actual performances onboard in comparison to the larger production shows found on the mainstream line.  

 

The semi-inclusive nature of the product is nice too in comparison to other lines but keep in mind the included tours fill up fastest and more often than not they're a 'panoramic tour' which basically means a bus ride with a brief interlude to shop or look around but that's not always the case.  Of course its not the case with all included tours, but the bottom line is that you can't expect anything too spectacular for a tour you didn't pay extra for.  WiFi being included is a nice bonus as well provided you're not expecting to use it for more than checking emails, updating social media, etc.

 

As for the 'usual Viking experience', i think this is a case of the line experiencing what i call the 'Icarus Principle' where they seem to have been flying a little too close to the sun and now their wings might be melting a little.  Instead of perfecting the product on the first 2 or 3 ships, it seems the focus of getting more market share and brand recognition has taken precedence over consistency.

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Suggest reading the thread titled "Tell me why", which has almost 370 posts regarding the pros/cons of cruising Viking Ocean. Here is the link

 

 

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16 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

Suggest reading the thread titled "Tell me why", which has almost 370 posts regarding the pros/cons of cruising Viking Ocean. Here is the link

 

 

 

i highly recommend this thread as well. We have no experience with Crystal or Oceania. While we enjoyed our recent Azamara cruise, we found ourselves often saying, “It isn’t Viking.”  We do love, Viking, but we aren’t opposed to trying other lines if the opportunity presents itself. 

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Have cruised both Regent and Crystal numbers times. Wonderful in all aspects. The main reason we are more Viking people, is we get very similar experience  at about HALF the price.

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Taken 2 excellent Viking ocean cruises and am about to take another fine cruise on Silversea (Silver Muse Alaska in August) which has small 600 passenger ships.  I'll do an updated compare & contrast after that cruise.

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4 hours ago, philw1776 said:

Taken 2 excellent Viking ocean cruises and am about to take another fine cruise on Silversea (Silver Muse Alaska in August) which has small 600 passenger ships.  I'll do an updated compare & contrast after that cruise.

 

Following. I took VO twice. Enjoyed both times. I book a cruise to Alaska in May 2031 with Viking. So far, the reviews on the Alaska itinerary have not been great. I’d love to hear your comparison. 

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Viking has done just two sailings in Alaska as of this writing and it seems from reports thus far that they are faced with a steep learning curve. 

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As much as we have enjoyed our three Viking ocean cruises, I have read enough on this site to know that they sometimes have had problems as they have expanded into brand new areas. They generally work quickly to improve the difficulties for subsequent cruises. I know that is not much consolation to the guests on the maiden sailings of these new routes.

 

Personally, we have only selected itineraries that are mostly familiar to Viking, with perhaps a new port or two added. Our last was Russia and the Baltic Sea, with St. Petersburg, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Tallinn that are very familiar to Viking.   Visby, Sweden (a delightful stop) and Bornholm, Denmark ( room for improvement on the included tour) were the new ports. It was an excellent cruise. I honestly don't think I would select a first time sailing in a brand new area, in spite of my great satisfaction with Viking ocean and river cruises.

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12 minutes ago, Peregrina651 said:

Viking has done just two sailings in Alaska as of this writing and it seems from reports thus far that they are faced with a steep learning curve. 

 

We found that steep learning curve to be a weakness in Cuba, too.  To Viking's credit, the cruise director appeared to be very engaged with the customers on the topic. I gathered that Viking had bought into the government's / Havantur's tour proposals and listed them.

 

Several "light" or "medium" activity tours were anything but, for middle aged and older American tourists. 

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We have done four Viking Ocean cruises; two on the Star and two on the Sky.  On our first Sky cruise we felt that it just wasn't quite the same quality experience we had on the Star.  It was a new itinerary so that may have had some impact but the overall experience just wasn't what we had come to expect from Viking.  The problems were relatively minor but there was definitely a difference.  I noted the difference in my review and in communication with Viking directly and found that a significant difference when we boarded the Sky for another cruise about six months later.  The leadership team was different ... and a different cruise director (definitely an improvement).  It made a world of difference and things went very smoothly.  Hopefully things will improve on the Orion as well ... but be sure to (politely) note your observations to Viking directly ... we can only commiserate here, not solve problems.

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Posted (edited)

And yes, I will be communicating directly when we return. In the meantime I’m making dot points of the facts only and the conclusions will be obvious. 

 

Its understandable there is a learning curve involved with a new itinerary. And that to some extent we are guinea pigs, a phrase I heard from others on this cruise, multiple times. We were however, still paying the same premium rate as a well bedded in cruise. 

Edited by Pushka

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Quick response without writing a book!' (in my opinion)

 

Viking Ocean-great ship-perhaps our favorite from a ship standpoint. Food just a bit above average-nothing special. Service on ship was great, in dining room, not so good. Like the casualness of ship. Pretty decent entertainment. Lectures were outstanding. 

 

Silversea-ship just average but everything else was spectacular. Food was amazing in main dining and speciality restaurants. Entertainment was quite good especially for a small ship. Service matched every other aspect. The worse meal was excellent and it got better! Loved daily champagne delivery. Only negative, I hate dressing up but would do it again for such a good cruise. 

 

Regent-was real excited to sail Regent and perhaps my best description was that it was underwhelming. Ship was OK, nothing special. Service was quite good both on ship and in dining room. Food could be pretty good and pretty bad in same week! Not much attention paid to things like "rare', medium rare, etc. Excursions were included (I usually do my own) and that was the high point. They were excellent. For the price differential, I'll probably not sail Regent again. Just wasn't worth it.

 

Windstar-Loved this line also. Was on sailing ship. Great service, food. Not much else on board so I feel Windstar is best for port intensive itineraries. Will likely sail their "motor yacht" later this year or early next year. 

 

Bottom line-cruising is fun. It's all good!

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We have sailed on Crystal, Viking Ocean & River, & Oceania.  We love Viking and were especially impressed with the Orion crew when we sailed from Auckland to Bali this past Feb/Mar.  Our other Viking Ocean was the Baltic which also was great.  We did the Mediterranean w/ Oceania (Riviera) and they were great as well.  We feel that Viking and Oceania are comparable.  Food is very good on Viking; Oceania food is exceptional especially the specialty restaurants and their Terrace Cafe.  We loved our Asian cruise on Crystal but found the formal dress requirements of the main dining room to be too much(we prefer to be more casual) and found a number of Crystal passengers to be quite rude and the epitome of the 'Ugly American'.  We have four more Viking cruises booked and one Oceania between Dec 2019 through April 2021.  Our decision is usually based on the itinerary that we see.  We really like that Viking handles everything - flights, transfers, excursions, pre & post extensions.  In fact, heading home from Bali, American canceled our flight from Hong Kong to the US two days before the flight due to the 737 Max issue via email and just left us hanging(told us to contact our TA).  I emailed my TA who contacted Viking Air (and then I worked w/ Viking Air via email w/ a 15 hour time difference) to re-book the flight back to the US.  I felt if that I didn't have Viking Air handling the re-booking w/ American, that American would not have been as receptive.  Viking Air really went the extra mile to work everything out quickly.  We like most of the included Viking excursions (even if they are just panorama tours).  We opt for more in-depth Viking excursions if interested.  It's worth exploring!

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Glad that Viking Air helped you out.  They didn't lift a finger to help with our AA cancellation from Chicago to Venice.  Even suggested we accept what AA offered a spot on a flight with no assigned seats.  I know that we won't be using AA again.  I'm in doubt about using Viking Air again.  

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Since we have limited our cruising out of NY and NJ we have also been limited to cruise line choices.

While Crystal would be our first choice closely followed by Oceania Viking was the only line available at the time we wanted to cruise. We took a very nice b/b and found the ship and our suite excellent but the food several notches below that of our favorite lines. Service was fine although far from what we have become used to. Don’t expect luxury and you will not be disappointed.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/7/2019 at 1:42 PM, sleepybobo said:

 

Following. I took VO twice. Enjoyed both times. I book a cruise to Alaska in May 2031 with Viking. So far, the reviews on the Alaska itinerary have not been great. I’d love to hear your comparison. 

 

Alaska is definitely not  VO’s strength.  

Princess, Holland America, have excellent itinerary  .  Oceania as well for Alaska.

Overall,  Oceania is my cruise line of choice.  Have booked 7 future cruises with Oceania.  IMO, Overall, Oceania is that good over VO.

Edited by Kingofcool1947

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Kingofcool1947 said:

 

Alaska is definitely not  VO’s strength.  

Princess, Holland America, have excellent itinerary  .  Oceania as well for Alaska.

Overall,  Oceania is my cruise line of choice.  Have booked 7 future cruises with Oceania.  IMO, Overall, Oceania is that good over VO.

Yes, I found that out for myself last month. Certainly the lowest rung on the pecking order and frustrating to see Carnival and it’s ilk having a berth while we had to tender, a process that Orion handled extremely poorly. You’d expect they have it down to a fine art but nup. And don’t get me started on Vancouver embarkation where we didn’t have even have a berth for boarding until well after 5.30pm. 

 

In hindsight while we loved Explorer Lounge for viewing on still evenings, Princess and HAL have Alaska down pat, and the more expensive lines like Regent Seven Seas also do Alaska well but obviously more expensive. Viking was the only ship that had to tender and we had to tender three times plus embarkation. 

Edited by Pushka

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We were on Viking Orion from Tokyo to Vancouver so also experienced Alaska with Viking. There were quite a few tender ports including disembarkation. We found our time at Hubbard Glacier disappointing as the ship was a long distance away unlike on a previous cruise. We have reflected on our first Viking cruise and although we enjoyed our time on such a beautiful ship, we have decided the standard of food and the lack of choice and quality of included wine do not compare favourably to what is available on Oceania. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, sunnies said:

We were on Viking Orion from Tokyo to Vancouver so also experienced Alaska with Viking. There were quite a few tender ports including disembarkation. We found our time at Hubbard Glacier disappointing as the ship was a long distance away unlike on a previous cruise. We have reflected on our first Viking cruise and although we enjoyed our time on such a beautiful ship, we have decided the standard of food and the lack of choice and quality of included wine do not compare favourably to what is available on Oceania. 

As they say, you only get once chance for a first impression. This being our first cruise with Viking after cruising with Princess, Celebrity, and Cunard. For us, Viking didn’t work out. It’s the most we have spent on a cruise and while we loved aspects of the ship, and we agree that most of the crew works very hard, we’ve also found that to be the case on the above cruise lines. So while a Viking River Cruise is in our sights, to Egypt, we have decided to look for other options for Ocean cruises. We have contacted Viking about the multiple issues but the response has been “We are sorry” but they didn’t actually  address many of the other real issues we experienced and raised with them, including whilst on board and afterwards, last month. So disappointed, we thought Viking would be our new cruise provider. 

Edited by Pushka

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Pushka, we thought we would book another Viking cruise whilst on board. However,   the amount of illness on this cruise did dampen our enthusiasm and we did not book. Viking did try and minimise the spread of the virus by monitoring hand washing and removing salt and pepper shakers in the buffet. Unfortunately the serving tongs for self service were used by many!! In comparison, staff serve passengers in the buffet on Oceania. 

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On 6/6/2019 at 2:26 PM, Pushka said:

 

Maybe that just made the decision for you? I’ve just come from Orion. People onboard say it isn’t the usual Viking experience on this ship. I’ve only cruised with less expensive lines like Cunard, Princess and Celebrity. Some things Viking did better, eg the food. Other things the other lines did better. We found Orion to have issues with communicating to passengers. Almost like they don’t want to tell you bad news until there is no more time to wait. If you’ve cruised with Crystal I’m not sure that you should change. Oceania is reputed to have the best cuisine. I don’t know much about Azamara. 

 

Cruised with Oceania Sirena this past April from Buenos Aires to Rio... Food and Service beyond compare...  Have experienced RCCL, Celebrity. Princess, Holland American, and Seabourn.. This will be the first time with Viking on the Orion, Bangkok to Bali Nov 29...   Hope things improve before I get there...  Might be the one and only time for Viking...  But on the positive side.::. Experience tells me that sometimes the crew makes all the difference..   Turnover could be a problem... will just have to wait and see.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/18/2019 at 8:49 AM, Rodmanb294 said:

 

Cruised with Oceania Sirena this past April from Buenos Aires to Rio... Food and Service beyond compare...  Have experienced RCCL, Celebrity. Princess, Holland American, and Seabourn.. This will be the first time with Viking on the Orion, Bangkok to Bali Nov 29...   Hope things improve before I get there...  Might be the one and only time for Viking...  But on the positive side.::. Experience tells me that sometimes the crew makes all the difference..   Turnover could be a problem... will just have to wait and see.

 

The cabin crew and in all but one restaurant were excellent on the Alaska cruise. However I’d like to see a huge improvement in all aspects of tender management - it was like Orion had never used its tenders before and which I know is not correct - and in communication with people. Certainly pre cruise, when everyone knew there were major issues but we heard nothing from Viking until a couple of days before departure. And I’d also suggest that unlike Celebrity Cunard and Princess, other than a small stand at Portside , there is nothing offered whilst still on land, like a drink or towel, hot or cold depending on the climate. There are no “welcome back” messages until you are back on board and trying then to deal with all the scanning and just get to a lift. Too late by then. Especially if you’ve just done the tender process. Also because we had to tender so much, we completely missed the somewhat hidden down ramp to get to the tender berth at Juneau. We had to ask a Juneau Port person where to find the small entrance to it. Why was there no Viking presence? A red flag? When we walked down the ramp there was no tender just yet and just a port person sitting near by. 

 

Yesterday we just booked a Celebrity Cruise in Aqua class. Yes there is a casino but we will just not go to it. Yes there will be photographers but we will just avoid them. There will probably be kids but there are plenty of places for them to go. Art auctions - not too bad on Celebrity and will simply avoid. No formal nights in Aqua class. We can already see and book excursions a year out as well as restaurants. We have already had a phone call from Celebrity about an issue we had with the booking - they called me in Australia from the US after I’d sent them an email the day before. Celebrity handles tenders very well. We know which ports will be tendered and can plan accordingly. There will be more people but there are plenty of places to hide. Spa is included in Aqua. And it has a dedicated restaurant that we like. We have therefore moved on. I’d like to try a more exclusive ship other than Viking next time but just not in the right financial space yet. 

Edited by Pushka

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Viking punted? Viking does some important things well, but many lesser things, especially on new itineraries, not so well. 

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