Great ship, mediocre evening entertainments, miserable excursions

Viking Orion Cruise Review to Other (Asia/Africa/Middle East)

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 31

Overall rating:

3.4 out of 5
Viking Orion

14 Night Far East Discovery (Hong Kong To Beijing)

Sail date: October 07, 2018

Ship: Viking Orion

Cabin type: Balcony

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Review summary

We have cruised on HAL, MSC, Princess, RCL, Celebrity, Costa, Oceana, and Azamara. This was our second Viking Ocean Cruise. The first Viking Ocean cruise was in the Mediterranean and North Africa and it was great. This cruise was 14 days from Hong Kong to Beijing. The ship, like her sister ships, is great. We were unhappily surprised by the lack of entertainment on a number of the evenings, including days at sea. This is a real issue when you have multiple days at sea and you are on a ship for 14 days. But the biggest issue was the very poor planning and quality of the included excursions. Overall, these were the worst excursions we have experienced on the 35 cruises we have taken, and inferior to what we have experienced on Viking Ocean and Viking River in the past. Viking claims that part of the problem was the lack of qualified tour agencies in China. We doubt that is the only issue. We have cruised in Asia before, including Viet Nam, and have experience in arranging our own tours with tourist agencies that were recommended on Trip Advisor. We were picked up promptly at our distant ports by drivers and tour guides that had to travel 2 hours or more to meet us. But a good tour agency sends qualified guides even when they have to be bussed in from far away cities, This is not how Viking and its agency did it in China. Local young people who barely knew English and knew even less about travel and history were the "guides" that were provided. On our last day of this Viking cruise, we arranged to be picked up at the port for Beijing by a private tour agency that was recommended on Trip Advisor. The guide and driver made a 2 hour plus trip to pick us up and drive us to Beijing. The guide was proficient in English and took care of us professionally. So we can only conclude that Viking either did not do their homework to contract with quality tour companies or that they'd not care about their passengers, or that they were trying to cut corners and save money on their self described luxury 5 star cruise. At the price point that Viking charges, these included excursions were miserable and reflect poorly on the organization. They need to make major improvements in their excursion departments. Given this experience, we would have been better off to have cruised with a Cruise line that did not provide excursions as part of the pricing and to then have arranged our own tours with fellow passengers with reputable local agencies as described on Trip Advisor. The ship is beautiful as are its sister ships. What a shame that Viking ruins the experience by providing mediocre entertainment at night and a miserable experience.

Embarkation

4 out of 5

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5

Onboard Activities

2 out of 5

Entertainment

1 out of 5

Service and Staff

4 out of 5

Ship Quality

5 out of 5

Cabin / Stateroom

4 out of 5

Ports of call

Hong Kong

3 out of 5

Xiamen, China

2 out of 5

Naha, Okinawa

3 out of 5

Shanghai, China

4 out of 5

Qingdao, China

3 out of 5

Dalian, China

3 out of 5

Tianjin (Beijing), China

4 out of 5

Disembarkation

4 out of 5
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