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tmk1941

Celebrity Sky Suite vs. Viking Ocean.

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We are planning an Alaska Cruise in August 2021. Substantially the same itinerary is available on the Revolutionized Millennium and Viking Orion. We would book a Sky Suite on Millennium; really enjoy Luminae and Retreat ( née Michaels Club). Are there equivalents on Viking Ocean?

 I am hoping tho hear from folks who have experienced both lines: the good and the not so good.

Thanks

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It’s hard to compare these lines as they are so very different.  Viking is a much smaller ship, no children and no casino.  Beer and wine are included with lunch and dinner but you can upgrade to a beverage package relatively cheaply.  The entertainment on Viking is more subdued with a pianist, classical strings trio and a singer.  In the evening there is a small disco tucked away but we found it dark and dreary.  The specialty restaurants are free. There is no dedicated restaurant for suites only.  We enjoyed the two Viking Ocean cruises we’ve been on but this year are only booked with Celebrity.

Edited by Oville

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29 minutes ago, Oville said:

It’s hard to compare these lines as they are so very different.  Viking is a much smaller ship, no children and no casino.  Beer and wine are included with lunch and dinner but you can upgrade to a beverage package relatively cheaply.  The entertainment on Viking is more subdued with a pianist, classical strings trio and a singer.  In the evening there is a small disco tucked away but we found it dark and dreary.  The specialty restaurants are free. There is no dedicated restaurant for suites only.  We enjoyed the two Viking Ocean cruises we’ve been on but this year are only booked with Celebrity.

We’re in our mid 60s and have no experience with Viking Ocean, but that just sounds so boring when compared to cruising in a sky suite with all of the Go Best perks in Alaska.
 

We did the Alaska cruise a few years ago on the Solstice in a C1 cabin and had a blast, especially  with the wide variety of entertainment and quality shows X offered!!! I can only imagine how much fun it would be to also be booked in a sky suite and eat everyday in the Luminae with all perks included!

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Viking Ocean ships only hold 930 passengers have all verandah cabins that are from 270-405 sq feet in size with very large bathrooms. You do not need a private dining venue because of the smaller size of the ship and all specialty dinning is free. Viking has one  free excursion at every port, free WIFI, free beer and wine at lunch and diner. The drinks package is only $18pp per day for $15 drink max cost. All Penthouse Verandah PV and up cabins come with free mini bar snacks, beer wine and spirits.. No charge for bottled water, specialty coffee and soft drinks. 

 

You have to compare both cruises and what is included in both to make a decision on what line to go with.  Both have their pros and cons. The Celebrity Sky Suite would compare with the Penthouse Suite PS on Viking in size and amenities. The PS suites are 405 sq ft in size. We prefer the Penthouse Verandah PV cabins at 338 sq Ft

Edited by terrydtx

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1 minute ago, terrydtx said:

Viking Ocean ships only hold 930 passengers have all verandah cabins that are from 270-450 sq feet in size with very large bathrooms. You do not need a private dining venue because of the smaller size of the ship and all specialty dinning is free. Viking has one  free excursion at every port, free WIFI, free beer and wine at lunch and diner. The drinks package is only $18pp per day for $15 drink max cost. All Penthouse Verandah PV and up cabins come with free mini bar snacks, beer wine and spirits.. No charge for bottles water and soft drinks. 

 

You have to compare both cruises and what is included in both to make a decision on what line to go with.  Both have their pros and cons.

Like the OP, we have considered Viking Ocean for specific itineraries. People who have enjoyed Viking always mention the included excursion at each port, the included wine & beer at lunch & dinner, and WIFI. I am curious about the quality of those included items, especially the excursions & the beer/wine. I realize this is very subjective, but I'd appreciate your assessment (and that of others who have posted on this thread). Thanks.

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2 minutes ago, Silkroad said:

Like the OP, we have considered Viking Ocean for specific itineraries. People who have enjoyed Viking always mention the included excursion at each port, the included wine & beer at lunch & dinner, and WIFI. I am curious about the quality of those included items, especially the excursions & the beer/wine. I realize this is very subjective, but I'd appreciate your assessment (and that of others who have posted on this thread). Thanks.

The free beer and wine are picked to compliment the itinerary and the post being visited. Mediterranean cruises will use Italian, French and Spanish wines and beer.  Excursions are also different at every port and are not the most expensive ones available and typically involve a bus tour of the port or city. The food is also geared to the itinerary and the ports being visited. They have live fresh cold water lobsters on board and they are served more than once served steamed whole. Cost wise VO will be much more expensive than a X Sky Suite. Again it is up to what you want and what you can afford to spend for a cruise and what itinerary you prefer. My sister and BIL did their first VO cruise last year  from Beijing to Hong Kong after 15 Celebrity cruises and absolutely loved VO and said they will have a tough time going back to X. This year they are booked and a Viking River cruise in Germany and Belgium.

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9 minutes ago, terrydtx said:

This year they are booked and a Viking River cruise in Germany and Belgium.

Hopefully they will not be expecting a similar experience to VO...

 

The river product is not bad, but it does not occupy the same relative position at the luxury end of the scale that VO offers...

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10 minutes ago, terrydtx said:

The free beer and wine are picked to compliment the itinerary and the post being visited. Mediterranean cruises will use Italian, French and Spanish wines and beer.

Thanks for this, and the other information you provided. The itineraries we are considering are European ones. For example, I've had my eye on the 16-18 day ones around Norway for some time.

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30 minutes ago, Silkroad said:

Thanks for this, and the other information you provided. The itineraries we are considering are European ones. For example, I've had my eye on the 16-18 day ones around Norway for some time.

We are booked on a 10 day VO cruise this September on the Viking Sea, Venice to Athens cruise with a PV1 cabin with no sea days.  We considered a similar 12 day cruise on the HAL Veendam that went from Rome to Venice. HAL visited the same ports but had 2 sea days. In the Mediterranean I hate wasted sea days because the Med is all about visiting ports and foreign countries. We compared a Vista Suite on HAL with the VO PV1 cabin and when we considered all of the inclusive things with VO there was barely any difference in price. Next year we wanted to do an exclusive cruise of Spain and Portugal and only Celebrity had this itinerary, so we booked our first X cruise since 2009 on the Infinity with a AQ class cabin. We go from Barcelona to Lisbon in 10 nights, unfortunately this cruise has 2 wasted sea days.

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We completed the Viking Alaska cruise in May last year. We have previously travelled with Celebrity in a traditional balcony and in Aqua, on Equinox and Silhouette in the Med and the Baltics. 
 

The things we loved about Viking - no children, no casino, no photographers. Yes there were included excursions but they were walking excursions or the bus drive around (except Skagway which was the train) and we were not interested in them and didn’t book any of them. So that’s a waste for us. Yes the alcohol is freely available during meals and it was quite nice. We did end up buying the package but maybe we didn’t need to. It was a very clubby like atmosphere on the ship. Beautifully decorated. Subdued. The cabins were wonderful especially the bathrooms and we were in the basic one midship. There are self serve laundries. Plenty of seating - everywhere. The pool and spa area was beautiful and access to all. The food was excellent. Although one serve of lobster was still partly frozen when we selected it from the buffet so not fresh!  The itinerary was fabulous though. Weather in May was wonderful. 
 

The things we really didn’t like - the way that excursions were released only about 100 days out and to the suites first. Ours were released at I think 70 days out. And by then many were booked out and never became available. We thought they’d be popular so we booked privately for pretty much the same excursions and we realised that we paid much less for the same trip. 
 

There were many logistical issues for our cruise that hopefully they’ve now sorted out. They have to. We didn’t even have a berth in Vancouver for departure. And couldn’t board until 7pm when our itinerary said we were departing at 5pm. (that never changed even though they knew a +year out that this was wrong). They did put people in a buffet style restaurant near by but everyone just wanted to be onboard. Plus we were corralled in the US customs hall for 2 hours watching all the other ships depart while we sat there waiting for Orion to pull into the now vacated berths. There were no announcements at all letting us know what was happening. We also had to tender in so many ports because Viking is the newbie into Alaska and has no priority. The communication was not good at all. In fact we felt treated like kids who shouldn’t be told of the bad news. It was a very paternalistic attitude and as intelligent thinking people it wasn’t appreciated. 

We don’t bother with the big ship style entertainment as we are usually weary after Med ports and we did like the style of the entertainment in Vikings Explorer lounge. It was usually quiet in there while the shows were on and one evening was spectacular as we cruised, very very slowly, amongst the snow capped mountains I think out of Juneau? Heaven. 

 

We sailed with Viking having had excellent experiences on Celebrity even at their basic cabin so given the cost of the Viking cruise and the fans saying how wonderful the service was, well, we were rather disappointed. 
 

So our next cruise is with Celebrity again. We do have a River cruise booked with Viking for next year though. 
 

Cost wise? The basic (but beautiful) cabin on VO is the same price for our Med cruise as a sky suite but we did get that Celebrity suite at a great price. 

Edited by Pushka

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Many thanks for your thoughtful reply. It about seals it for us: Celebrity again! I plan to book when we board Reflection in about three weeks. Also we cruised all the major rivers...on Vantage Deluxe. 

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1 hour ago, Pushka said:

 

The things we really didn’t like - the way that excursions were released only about 100 days out and to the suites first. Ours were released at I think 70 days out. And by then many were booked out and never became available. We thought they’d be popular so we booked privately for pretty much the same excursions and we realised that we paid much less for the same trip. 
 

 

We were initially concerned that higher level cabins get first shot at tours and specialty dining reservations.  We therefore payed a little more to trade up to a PV, a large 338sf traditional balcony cabin.  Then only 47 cabins (94 passengers) were able to book ahead of us.  We got online very early 77 days prior to sailing and booked all our shore excursions no problem.

 

Type          # cabins        days ahead

Suite              15                         97

JS                   32                        87

PV                104                        77

DV                271                        67

 

While aboard ship dw wanted to change some from afternoon to a.m.  Even though they showed as sold out staff told her to stand on pier and they would try to squeeze her in.  Worked every time. 

 

 

 

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21 minutes ago, Baron Barracuda said:

 

We were initially concerned that higher level cabins get first shot at tours and specialty dining reservations.  We therefore payed a little more to trade up to a PV, a large 338sf traditional balcony cabin.  Then only 47 cabins (94 passengers) were able to book ahead of us.  We got online very early 77 days prior to sailing and booked all our shore excursions no problem.

 

Type          # cabins        days ahead

Suite              15                         97

JS                   32                        87

PV                104                        77

DV                271                        67

 

While aboard ship dw wanted to change some from afternoon to a.m.  Even though they showed as sold out staff told her to stand on pier and they would try to squeeze her in.  Worked every time. 

 

 

 

 

Yes, I've heard that this happens too.  However with a bucket list once-off trip to Alaska there was no way I could risk missing out on seeing something that I wanted to do.  I'd thought about doing as you did, but we'd priced other cruise lines and Viking was already much more expensive than any other cruise we'd done so I had to have a limit.  

 

Another thing in Vikings favour - all cabins have a verandah - maybe thats why the public outdoor areas never seemed crowded.

 

I'd read also that the attandants at the bars remembered your name etc after the first visit.  As we had the package then there was no extra charge for drinks.  Every time we went to the bar we had to show our card - something that others had said would not be required after the first visit. And that was using the same attendants.

 

On Celebrity I have always felt the need to tip those who went out of their way to assist us and have done so (on top of the usual requirement). I did not feel that on Viking. 

Edited by Pushka

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